A couple of weeks ago, comedian Bill Maher, host of Real Time on HBO, had New York Times columnist David Leonhardt and Duke University professor Nancy MacLean as panelists to discuss current events in America. During the first panel discussion segment, Maher engaged the panel to opine on the Republican Party advancing concerns about primary and secondary schools pushing gender identity ideology onto children. These are some of their responses:
They are engaging in this absurdity. Why? Because they are playing to this QAnon base for voters. They understand their party has no popular party positions. I think this focus on pedophiles is a way of recognizing they have left the normal constitutional policy universe to play to these voters because they have nothing else to offer them except fear. – MacLean
It is a sign of how radicalized the Republican Party has become and how disconnected it’s become from truth in some big ways. – Leonhardt
These opinions are coming on the heels of the popularization of the term ‘groomer.’ A groomer in this sense is one who primes children for sexual abuse. The term is now used on individuals of the political left that are against the recent Florida bill to limit gender ideology in the classroom. Hence, the reference to the QAnon belief that the Democratic Party is operating a child trafficking scheme. They want to tie those calling the political left groomers to QAnon.
MacLean wishes to tie concerns by Republicans about gender ideology in the classroom to something conspiratorial to dismiss the issue. Likewise, Leonhardt hopes to radicalize Republicans to suggest they are not being reasonable or truthful. I will suggest, however, that both these individuals are engaging in morally reprehensible behavior whereby they are belittling the issue of adults in the school system by pushing their sexual ideology onto children under the guise of support for education.
For all Leonhardt and MacLean’s self-righteousness and linguistical maneuvering, a layperson can see they are engaging in morally bankrupt rhetoric. They have no interest in the suffering of children caused by twisted individuals. They only care about their partisan narrative.
“It’s bipartisan,” MacLean would exclaim in response to Maher’s stating members of the political left involved with Jeffrey Epstein were on his “sex island” to suggest if members of the political right were there it is not an issue. Leonhardt would affirm MacLean’s exclamation.
Consequently, Leonhardt and MacLean stated that Republicans are pushing a false narrative early in the segment. So, their position went from it wasn’t happening to it is happening, but both sides are doing it. When faced with the reality of what Epstein and his buddies from the political left did, they pivot to a both-sides argument. This suggests that their arguments are not being guided by moral agency to correct the issue but rather a morally disinterested narrative to benefit their political preference.
Maher points out that Democrats also had advanced concerns about pedophilia in America in the early 90s. Of course, Leonhardt and MacLean do not seek to square their previous statements to this fact. And let’s be charitable here; they can’t. However, I would suggest they would likely advance the Democrats had real moral agency in the 90s, but today’s Republicans are pushing a false narrative. This hypothetical response would prompt the question, “Would it be possible that the Democratic Party was pushing a false narrative in the 90s to procure voters?” How would they be able to rationalize their belief that Democrats have moral agency, but Republicans are pushing a false narrative on the same issue? They cannot. Any answer they give that maintains the Democrats have moral agency and Republicans are pushing a false narrative is one that ultimately suggests these individuals lack a moral compass on the issue.
Maher stated explicitly that “child f****ng” appears to be a problem in America. MacLean responded in what can only be thought of as leftist ignorance in light of U.S. Supreme Court justice Ketanji Brown Jackson’s response to the question “what is a woman?” MacLean responded, “what do you mean” as if the phrase “child f****ng” in a conversation about pedophilia needed an “expert” to define. This highlights her cynical ignorance of the issue and how grossly unqualified she is to lead a public discussion on the matter.
For Leonhardt and MacLean, everything is in defense of their partisan narrative. And when the narrative diverges from reality, then it is a reality that is the problem. If children are being abused, then it is their problem because they don’t properly understand the current social trend adopted by the political left. This attitude adopted by Leonhardt, MacLean, and those on the political left makes them morally corrupt agents on matters of gender identity. America is trying to find a balance between an individual’s right to pursue whatever gender identity they wish and the limits to when such a proposition is adverted in public education insofar as children are concerned. The political left is not helping.
Joshua Peters is a philosopher and social critic from Raleigh, NC. His academic background is in western philosophy, STEM, and financial analysis. Joshua studied at North Carolina State University (BS) and UNC Charlotte (MS). He is a graduate of the E.A. Morris Fellowship for Emerging Leaders.