By Steven Yates
July 16, 2022
-The Khiara Bridges Chapter–
Just recently, an exchange between Josh Hawley (R.-Mo.) and a law professor at UC-Berkeley named Khiara Bridges at a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting in the wake of the overturning of Roe v Wade went viral. The exchange went like this:
JOSH HAWLEY: Professor Bridges, you said several times, you’ve used a phrase I want to make sure I understand what you mean by it. You’ve referred to people with a capacity for pregnancy. Would that be women?
KHIARA BRIDGES: Many women, cis women, have the capacity for pregnancy. Many cis women do not have the capacity for pregnancy. There are also trans men who are capable of pregnancy, as well as non-binary people who are capable of pregnancy.
J.H.: So this isn’t really a women’s rights issue, it’s a—
K.B.: We can recognize that this impacts women, while also recognizing that it impacts other groups. Those things are not mutually exclusive, Senator Hawley.
J.H.: So your view is that the core of this right then is about what?
K.B.: So I want to recognize that your line of questioning is transphobic and it opens up trans people to violence by not recognizing them.
J.H.: Wow, you’re saying that I’m opening up people to violence by asking whether or not women are the folks who can have pregnancies?
K.B.: So I’m— I want to note that one out of five transgender persons have attempted suicide. So I think it’s important—
J.H.: Because of my line of questioning?
J.H.: So we can’t talk about it?
K.B.: Because denying that trans people exist and pretending not to know that they exist—
J.H.: I’m denying that trans people exist by asking—
K.B.: Are you?
J.H.: —if you’re talking about—
K.B.: Are you? Are you?
J.H.: —about women—
K.B.: Are you?
J.H.: —having pregnancies?
K.B.: Do you believe that men can get pregnant?
J.H.: No, I don’t think men can get pregnant.
K.B.: So you are denying that trans people exist! Thank you!
J.H.: And that leads to violence? Is this how you run your classroom? Are students allowed to question you—
J.H.: —or are they also treated like this where—
K.B.: No, no, no, they’re allowed to question!
J.H.: —they’re told they’re opening up people to violence by questioning?
K.B.: We have a good time in my class! You should join!
J.H.: I bet!
K.B.: You might learn a lot!
J.H.: Wow, I would learn a lot. I’ve learned a lot—
K.B.: I know!
J.H.: —just in this exchange.
So what did Sen. Hawley learn? Judging from the look on his face, I would surmise he left the exchange convinced he was dealing with a certifiable nutjob. With a nose ring at that, symbolic of the regression to tribalism heralded by identity politics.
He might also have inferred: one of many, in American academia. For obviously Professor Bridges did not hire herself. Academic hiring (which I saw up close a few times, back in the day) is a lengthy, bureaucratic process. Numerous higher-ups must sign off on permanent appointments. Many of these higher-ups have agendas. Filling quotas of “underrepresented groups” — women, ethnic minorities, and more recently, sexual minorities — has been one of them for quite a while now.
We see the result, with bizarre neologisms like cis women and trans men (now common in academia), and the wild, impulsive leaps Professor Bridges makes from seemingly banal questions like, Are we talking about women? to insinuations of violence and suicide.
American academia has fallen to the point where one is not allowed to state openly that those capable of normal pregnancy are biological women.
That’s intellectual suicide.
Also of interest is how corporate media handled the exchange. The idea that Sen. Hawley somehow lost the encounter, or engaged in a “transphobic” line of questioning, was picked up. The mental confusion over who can get pregnant was missed.
This is corporate media suicide.
Just the titles of the various reports are enough.
From the initial article I ran across (Yahoo, aggregating from ultra-left HuffPo): Professor Schools Sen. Josh Hawley for His Transphobic Questions During Abortion Hearing.
Or, from the same source: Law Professor Takes Down Josh Hawley.
Really? Did whoever wrote these headlines actually view the exchange?
From Yahoo News itself: Professor Scolds Sen. Josh Hawley During Abortion Hearing: ‘Your Line of Questioning Is Transphobic’.
From the hard-left The Advocate (also courtesy of Yahoo’s news feed): Watch Law Professor Khiara Bridges Blast Josh Hawley’s Transphobia.
From Vox (picked up by MSN and other feeds): Josh Hawley’s Viral Transphobic Comments Explained.
Those should do. If you are so inclined, gentle reader, you can find more accounts of how major news media online and offline reported this incident here.
Lemmings could not do better.
It should go without saying, Hawley was not “denying that trans people exist” or can get pregnant. He was denying, by implication at least, that “trans men” are really men. If they can get pregnant, it is because they are not men but women. Period.
This should not be rocket science, but this is where we are in 2022, when a national senator is no longer allowed to say that only women can get pregnant without getting “schooled” for it (interesting word, that!), and when intellectually suicidal law professors deny biological reality in order to use “inclusive language.”
And when corporate media, given its leftward leap into wokery over the past couple of decades, describes an exchange such as this as “taking down” one of the few political figures who seems to have a grip on reality.
I recently explained this to a friend, who finally interrupted with something like, “How can someone get to be a law professor and be that stupid?!”
My response may have sounded, at first glance, like I was coming to Khiara Bridges’ defense. I pointed out that she has a doctorate in anthropology as well as a law degree. She’s written a couple of books, even if one of them is on critical race theory.
The point isn’t easy to grasp at first, but this isn’t about intelligence. It’s about your basic worldview and the direction you take it. Your reasoning — good, bad, or indifferent — and the lens through which you see the world, will follow your worldview.
Some philosophical materialists, for example, are brilliant thinkers — and if their thinking is brilliant enough it will take them into a mental cul-de-sac, which they may recognize as such or not. An example is the British-born philosopher Colin McGinn (b. 1950), who spent much of his career trying to answer, “How can human consciousness exist in a material universe?” He eventually concluded that the human brain isn’t “wired” to understand itself. Some call this the “new mysterianism.” It is a way of throwing up one’s hands in a gesture of despair. Most academic philosophers feel compelled to see everything through the lens of materialism, just like most academic scientists.
I thought it a good idea to toss a nonpolitical example in here, because readers can consider it dispassionately. For if someone begins with the political premise behind, say, critical race theory (that racism has been built into the structure of the American Constitutional political and legal system from the start, and so permeates American life whether we know it or like it or not), that person will see every situation through that lens, never question it, and hit a parallel cul-de-sac: how could the best-intentioned social engineers end racism from American society without ending American society itself? (Which may, of course, be the real goal of critical race theory.)
That such considerations are over the heads of cultural leftists is to be expected. I would be interested in a survey of how many of Professor Bridges’ students could get the year of the U.S. Constitution’s ratification right, or what they would come up with if asked to write about — for example — Federalist Papers 10 or 51. Or, more broadly, how they would respond to queries about the influence of various strains of Christianity on the history of the legal system in the U.S.
In short, if her students are learning anything.
Have they been taught anything except case law and how to view the American legal system through any lens other than race and sexual confusion?
This is the seemingly unstoppable train American academia has been on at least since the late 1980s, and when we watch exchanges such as the above, we see that train going over an intellectually suicidal cliff. When viewing how corporate media has reported the exchange to the public, we see that cliff broadening, as like lemmings, woke-era presstitutes mindlessly follow the academic “experts.”
© 2022 Steven Yates – All Rights Reserved
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Steven Yates’s latest book What Should Philosophy Do? A Theory (2021) is available here and here. His earlier Four Cardinal Errors: Reasons for the Decline of the American Republic (2011) is available here.
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