J.K. Rowling lost it on Twitter when she unloaded on a guy who called U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May a whore. While I initially cheered her on, the fist-pumping quickly stopped when her tirade devolved into a politicized feminist screed.
Here’s Rowling’s 14-tweet rant:
Just unfollowed a man whom I thought was smart and funny, because he called Theresa May a whore. If you can’t disagree with a woman without reaching for all those filthy old insults, screw you and your politics. I’m sick of ‘liberal’ men whose mask slips every time a woman displeases them, who reach immediately for crude and humiliating words associated with femaleness, act like old-school misogynists and then preen themselves as though they’ve been brave. When you do this, Mr Liberal Cool Guy, you ally yourself, wittingly or not, with the men who send women violent pornographic images and rape threats, who try by every means possible to intimidate women out of politics and public spaces, both real and digital. ‘Cunt’, ‘whore’ and, naturally, rape. We’re too ugly to rape, or we need raping, or we need raping and killing. Every woman I know who has dared express an opinion publically has endured this kind of abuse at least once, rooted in an apparent determination to humiliate or intimidate her on the basis that she is female. If you want to know how much fouler it gets if you also happen to be black or gay, ask Diane Abbot or Ruth Davidson. I don’t care whether we’re talking about Theresa May or Nicola Sturgeon or Kate Hooey or Yvette Cooper or Hillary Clinton: femaleness is not a design flaw. If your immediate response to a woman who displeases you is to call her a synonym for her vulva, or compare her to a prostitute, then drop the pretence and own it: you’re not a liberal. You’re a few short steps away from some guy hiding behind a cartoon frog.
Rowling seems surprised that a man of noble liberal stock would behave in such a way, but from my vantage point as a conservative writer, it’s more common than not. I won’t deny that conservatives have bashed me a few times, but I’ve suffered verbal abuse mostly from liberal men and women.
Verbal Abuse Is Standard on Social Media
Like many female writers and politicians, I’ve been called everything from “d-mned c-nt” to “filthy whore.” A liberal gay man who was angry that I criticized normalizing transgenderism threatened to rape me with a Glock. When I advocated voting for Ted Cruz in the primaries, Trump voters called me an elitist hag.
Later, when I advocated voting for Donald Trump in the general solely as a political strategy given the corruption, anti-American ideology, and failed policies of Hillary Clinton, Black Lives Matter men threatened to rape me, and both liberals and “principled” NeverTrump conservatives called me a mail-order slut sold by Putin to Trump.
Yeah, it’s ugly out there, especially on social media. Notice I didn’t go on a rant complaining about being abused. I don’t know many conservative women who play the girl card when they’re verbally assaulted in the political arena.
Liberal women, however, are quick to respond with a whiny gripe when they’re attacked, despite their silence when conservative women, such as Michelle Malkin, Ann Coulter, Sarah Palin, and Michele Bachmann, along with many others including my lovely female colleagues at The Federalist, are denigrated in the vilest ways by the golden boys of liberalism. In this, Rowling has thankfully deviated from the norm by coming to the defense of a conservative woman.
The Fault Is Identifying Liberalism With Support of Women
While I think Rowling and others who react to name-calling mean well, their case for civility is undermined by their own political philosophy, ethical propositions, and hypocritical feminist ideology. Rowling makes it clear that she’s a liberal who has high expectations of liberal men. For her, liberalism is synonymous with treating women with respect.
The implication here is that other political views are inherently disrespectful to women: To be liberal is to be pro-woman. To be anything else is to be anti-woman. This is why conservatives are dismissed as misogynists, stigmatized by a false label, before they even open their mouths. They’re not liberals, so they must hate women—so the narrative goes, and Rowling, a preeminent storyteller, does well advancing it.
In truth, liberalism is not pro-woman. As Rowling and the rest of us have observed on numerous occasions, liberal men can be just as abusive to women as any can other men. This is true for politicians, businessmen, entertainers, teachers, or store clerks. Anyone who denies this is simply lying to herself. Just consider the behavior of Anthony Weiner, Ted Kennedy, Bill Clinton, and any number of rappers. Liberalism is no pathway to sanctification.
Yet these men are often excused because they hold to a political philosophy that is considered pro-woman. A liberal politician might drive a woman off a bridge and leave her there to die, but he’s still adored by the liberal cabal because he’s pro-abortion. Given this history of liberal hypocrisy, Rowling’s willingness to call out a liberal Twitter follower should be applauded. However, her argument is deeply flawed because her faith in liberalism is misplaced. The supposition that liberalism itself is pro-woman is a myth.
Progressivism Is Worse for Women Than Conservatism Is
The fact is, liberal policies hurt women more than conservative policies do. Big-government health-care increases costs and reduces quality of care for women. Abortion puts women’s health at risk and kills millions of little girls, devaluing life and leaving women struggling to overcome trauma from self-inflicted violence. Welfare programs that perpetuate broken families make women dependent on the state instead of being free individuals.
Higher taxes rob women of the freedom to keep their own property and spend their earnings as they see fit. Countless regulations on businesses reduce the size of the workforce, cut wages, and hurt women who want to provide for themselves and their loved ones. Increases in federal programs undermine the effectiveness of local and state programs that are the real safety nets for women who can’t provide for themselves or need help.
Centralized government makes politicians unaccountable to female voters, fosters corruption, and ushers in a cultural serfdom that generates inequality and dependence. Taxpayer-paid birth control takes money from hard-working women and gives it to women who refuse to take personal responsibility for their sexual choices. Wealth redistribution in the name of compassion takes economic opportunities, jobs, and education from one woman and gives it to another in the name of mythical material equality. This is political theft that leaves women poorer and less free to make choices for themselves.
Liberalism Is Oppression
I could go on, but suffice it to say, liberalism isn’t the panacea feminists imagine it to be. It doesn’t free women from oppression. It is oppression. It’s bondage to state power. It reduces a woman’s control over her own life. It makes her less free, less equal, less secure, less prosperous, and, ultimately, less happy. Rowling’s diatribe about the supposed glories of liberalism regarding the dignity of women is based on a false premise—a lie that has seeped into the consciousness of too many, blinding them to what liberty, equality, and happiness truly look like.
Showing respect to women is not a “liberal” principle born of leftist political dogma. It’s a moral principle. It’s an objective value based on the do-no-harm principles of natural law and human dignity derived, not from fickle manmade constructs, but from the immutable imago Dei. Given liberalism’s rejection of natural law and objective values in favor of moral relativism and subjectivism, it has no basis on which to censure a man’s words or actions. The moral relativism of liberalism provides no authoritative basis for Rowling to criticize anyone.
Liberalism rejects the meta-narrative of objective value, leaving individuals to determine their own moral values for themselves: “What’s right for me is right, and you can’t tell me any differently.” If we lived alone on islands, this wouldn’t be a problem, but since we live in society with others, these subjectively defined values are not evaluated according reason and a common understanding of objective morality, which fosters respect, but imposed on others through compulsion, intimidation, and force. Despite this fact, Rowling puts liberalism at the center of her moral universe—a failed proposition because it’s a universe bankrupt of morality except what the most powerful determine.
Feminists Do Precisely What Rowling Is Complaining About
The final flaw in Rowling’s rant is her demand that liberal men stop defining and criticizing women in light of their femaleness. “If your immediate response to a woman who displeases you is to call her a synonym for her vulva, or compare her to a prostitute, then drop the pretence and own it: you’re not a liberal,” she says. Yet, ironically, it’s liberal women themselves who thrust their vulvas to the forefront of just about every issue. They’re the ones who are steeped in identity politics and can’t see a person as an individual but only part of a categorical whole—gender, sexual preference, race, and infinite other “idenities” that eventually creep into intersectionality.
Liberal women constantly define themselves by their sex. “I am woman” is screamed from every corner of society, assaulting the senses like George Orwell’s Two Minutes of Hate. Everything is woman-centered. First female scientist, first female doctor, first female president, women’s issues, women’s health, women’s day, woman’s march, p-ssy hats, vagina suits, vagina monologues, vaginas, vaginas, vaginas. What started years ago in first-wave feminism as a reaction to men seeing women only in light of their sexuality has led to women seeing themselves only in this same light.
Feminists today are the ones who’ve put woman’s genitalia on parade and demanded that men genuflect before their sex. Liberal men have complied, positively affirming feminist demands and allowing female subjective morality to be imposed on them. Some of these saps even go so far as to call themselves feminist men.
Why, then, is Rowling so offended that a man like this negatively responds within the same gender-identified context? He’s actually being rather consistent, don’t you think, not to mention exercising his subjective rights in a universe of relativism? He’s been told to see women through the grid of their sex, not their humanity, individuality, and certainly not through any objective morality. When he lashes out, still focusing on her femaleness, except this time in a negative light, who are feminists to complain? They can’t change their narrative just because their feelings are hurt.
Feminists have a choice. They can either continue to make their sex the primary issue in every political, social, and cultural debate, and thereby live with consequences of being seen, judged, and treated according to their vulvas. Or they can stop being hypocrites and treat everyone as individuals, each unique and not merely a part of a category in some intersectional paradigm.
They can stop advocating liberal policies and ideologies that hurt women, and they can embrace conservative principles that promote the dignity of women and men as self-governing individuals. Finally, they can reject relativism, which gives them no defense to oppose hostile forces in a morally bankrupt world, and embrace objective values that promote virtue, peace, and respect. The choice is theirs.