Ryan Anderson, author of 'When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment'.

Charles Lewis: Stupidity abounds in an arrogant world

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  • March 10, 2021

We often bemoan the state of the world. A word such a “tragic” is often used. War and famine still plague much of the world and here in Canada we live under an anti-life government. So yes, tragic is fitting.

There is another word I could apply to life today: “stupid.” It is a word I rarely use because there is a demeaning quality to it. But then again some acts really are really incredibly stupid.

To wit: In late February iconic toymaker Hasbro decided, for the sake of gender equality, it would no longer call its popular 70-year-old offering Mr. Potato Head. Instead, it would now be called Potato Head. As reported by the Associated Press: Hasbro did this “in an effort to make sure all feel welcome in the Potato Head world.”

I had not realized that potatoes feel aggrieved by any kind of inequality. But then again I’m the furthest thing from woke.

This tribulation over an elderly spud forced Hasbro to reassure its fans that Mr. Potato Head is not going anywhere. You can still buy Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head but the box will read Potato Head, without the gender bias.

The same week as the Hasbro affair Amazon decided to join the parade by banning a book called When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment by Ryan Anderson. A move that was not only profoundly stupid but also tragic.
Amazon controls 50 per cent of the American book market and 75 per cent of the e-book market. That power can damage the community of ideas by a flick of a switch.

Since Amazon is not saying why it banned the book we are left to guess the reason. I will take a stab at an answer: Anderson’s book challenges the new assumption that when children say they want to change their God-given sex we must believe them.

It so happens that in 2018 I interviewed Anderson. I also read the book from cover to cover, which I doubt that Amazon officials have done. I say this because there is absolutely nothing in this book that is transphobic or homophobic or in any other way bigoted or, to any reasonable person, controversial.

When Harry Became Sally explains that the most dangerous thing a parent could do would be allow a child to make such a life-altering decision. Yet there are pressures that have crept into government and some of the medical establishment that a child should be obeyed, no matter how outrageous.

We spoke about how changing language opens the doors to decisions that just a few years ago would have been considered monstrous.

First, Anderson explained that biological sex has been replaced with “sex assigned at birth.” And that helping a child to change sex has become “gender-affirming care.”

“Meanwhile, if you have a grade-school boy who doesn’t feel comfortable in his body and you help him feel comfortable in his body, the activists use the pejorative ‘conversion therapy.’ But if you help that boy transition to a girl, that’s called ‘affirming.’ It’s a remarkable Orwellian use of language,” he said.

In a First Things article Anderson explained that not only was no reason given for removing his book but he wasn’t told the book would be delisted. He wrote: “Amazon never informed me or my publisher that it was removing my book. And Amazon’s representatives haven’t responded to our inquiries about it. Perhaps they’re citing a religious objection to selling my book? Or maybe they only sell books with which they agree? (If so, they have a lot of explaining to do about why they carry Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf).”

They also carry Mao’s Little Red Book — which was carried by the youthful Red Guards as they tortured and murdered anyone they suspected of being a “running dog capitalist.”

Banning books is an act of desperation. It comes from those who are so certain in their arrogance that their position in unassailable they cannot fathom why someone would want to hear the “other side.”

At least they are not burning books … yet.

(Lewis is a Toronto writer and regular contributor to The Register.)

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