by Mary Margaret Olohan
Both meek “aw shucks” conservatives and “chest thumpers” conservatives are handing America over to woke activists, author Abigail Shrier claimed in a Monday Substack.
The journalist and author highlighted the successful work of anti-Critical Race Theory writer Christopher Rufo, who Shrier praised for speaking not to elites, but to Americans, by “gathering evidence and pointing out the glaring harm in clear, unapologetic (but never crass or rude) language.”
“Rufo is out there identifying the problem, alerting the public, and sounding all available alarms,” Shrier wrote. “If he hasn’t yet slain the beast, he has at least awakened American parents from their coma, convinced them that they cannot trust the teachers and administrators and school boards who treat children, not as students, but as recruits for their revolution.”
“In other words, Rufo has thus far sailed clear of the Scylla and Charybdis conservatives so often pinball against: hyper-polite fecklessness on one side of the boat and chest-thumping ignorance on the other,” she continued.
Most conservatives can be classified into two groups, Shrier wrote — “chest-thumpers” and “aw, shucks” conservatives — and neither side is winning. Shrier said that “aw shucks” conservatives are “polite and naïve,” afraid to offend the Left, and want to “get all the terminology right.”
“To the activist Left, they look like a meal,” Shrier said.
“They don’t understand that the chaos is the point,” Shrier wrote. “While they strain to avoid a faux pas, they don’t even feel the dagger going in…They do not fight Silicon Valley—they are confused about whether their belief in free market economics allows it. They do not fight for women—not if it means any mud splashed on their full-break trousers. They have lost every important cultural battle and – if given over to their protection – we would lose America.”
“Chest thumpers” are conservatives who lack “neither fight nor heart,” Shrier continued, describing this type of conservative as the “youthful, chest-beating, triumphalist sort” who “relies heavily on mantras.”
“Chest-Beating conservatism offends on purpose, as if offense itself were an argument,” Shrier said. “It ham hocks the Left’s grist—CRT or Gender Ideology—into an overstuffed and unappetizing conservative burrito: ‘This is all because of gay marriage!’ ‘This is all because of Roe!’ ‘Ban in vitro fertilization!’ ‘Blame Caitlyn Jenner!’ and the like.”
This type of conservative “would rather heap contempt on moderates, score points for Team Red, and sully themselves in rudeness,” Shrier said. They will not have a lasting impact on culture because they are “quick to condemn but lack the curiosity to engage,” she added.
When the Administration replaces the word “mother” with “birthing people,” you don’t Aw, Shucks, as if you’ve encountered the last native speaker of Etruscan. You’re faced with a direct assault on women & the family. Respond in kind.
My newest Substack!https://t.co/1xdpXwqw2r
— Abigail Shrier (@AbigailShrier) July 12, 2021
“The Left wages war every day, in every school system in America and, no doubt, many a summer camp,” she said. “It knows the stakes are high and it comes prepared to fight. It has an uncomplicated revulsion for Judeo-Christian religion, American traditions, American symbols, our founders, and individual rights. It despises the nuclear family, like good Marxists do—which is the real reason it cannot abide the words “mother” and “father.” (It understands no one was ever moved to family formation by the dream of becoming a “gestational parent.”) It does not disguise its plan to replace all of these things.”
While “aw shucks” conservatives meet the left meekly, she said, the “chest thumpers” enable the Left by elevating people like Republican Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene.
Shrier offers a solution to conservatives: “Stop playing the Left’s game of victimhood, stop straining to adopt its lingo.”
She hedged that she is not encouraging disrespectful language, but instead encouraging Americans who want to resist woke ideology to “speak as plainly as you can.”
Instead of saying “transwomen in women’s sports” and tacitly agreeing that biological men are a kind of woman, Shrier suggested, say “biological males in women’s sports” — a phrase “both accurate, clear and essential to making the argument our daughters need you to win.”
“The point of the Left’s quick-changing lingo is to confuse, to make it impossible to form an argument or respond to one,” she said. “The lingo is very much a trap, and if you’re straining to master it, you’re already caught.”
“Nor should you accept that the point of public dialogue is to avoid offense,” she continued. “That has never been the point of language, though it is often the point of its opposite (silence). The goal of language in the public sphere must always be to speak truthfully and as clearly as possible. If you can avoid offense, so much the better. If you cannot, then at least you’ll have been understood.”
In early June, Republican Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford pushed Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra to address the department’s use of the term “birthing people,” asking Becerra about the “language in the President’s proposed budget regarding maternal health that referred to ‘birthing people’ instead of mothers even though the science is clear that women give birth.”
“I also noticed you changed a term in your budget work. You shifted from using the term “mother” to “birthing people” rather than mother. Can you help me get a good definition of “birthing people”? Lankford asked.
SEN. LANKFORD: "Can you help me get a good definition of 'birthing people?'"
BECERRA: "We're trying to be precise in the language that's used."
SEN. LANKFORD: "Mom is a pretty good word. That's worked for a while." pic.twitter.com/tE6uBPQFVM
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) June 11, 2021
Becerra responded by saying twice that he would have to check the terminology that was used.
Shrier slammed Lankford for “affably” responding to the HHS secretary, writing, “When a member of the Administration replaces the word ‘mother’ with ‘birthing people,’ you don’t Aw, Shucks, as if you’ve encountered the last native speaker of Etruscan. You’re faced with a direct assault on women and the family. And you respond in kind.”
Shrier called on Republicans to tell Becerra and “anyone else peddling progressive misogyny or progressive racism” that “reducing mothers to one of our biological functions (like reducing people to their races) is degrading, derisive, and unacceptable.”
“You call it what it is: an outrage. You say that the mothers of this country deserve better. That you will not apply to a woman any foul term invented by the ‘inclusive language’ factories. That biological men do not belong in women’s sports for reasons so obvious, only a fool would doubt them. You don’t object on the basis of victimhood—because American women, for the most part, are no one’s victims,” Shrier said. “You object on the basis of dignity.”
“And you must dislodge from your heads the misguided notion that the point of standing up for what’s right is to ‘Own the Libs,’” Shrier added. “If conservatives exploit the Left’s radicalism cynically or naively, if they approach thoughtful and courageous Americans of other political stripes with the defeatist mentality that there is no point trying to win over anyone else, they will lose. Which is a damn shame, because these fights might actually be won.”
Abigail Shrier’s book, Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters, has sparked controversy and gained the attention of media pundits such as Joe Rogan since it was published in June 2020. The book examined spikes in transgenderism among teenaged girls who formerly displayed feminine traits and tendencies.
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Mary Margaret Olohan is a reporter at Daily Caller News Foundation.
Photo “Christopher Rufo” by Christopher Rufo.