Quoth the great William F. Buckley: “Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views.”
I’ll say this much about the staff at The Denver Post: At least they were able to countenance John Caldara’s views until he started talking about gender.
Caldara, president of the Independence Institute, was a libertarian voice at a newspaper that doesn’t usually lean that way.
He’s no longer there — a decision that was made, according to him, because he thinks there are only two sexes.
In a column posted to Facebook on Saturday, Caldara, who’s been writing for The Post since 2016, said editorial editor Megan Schrader “found my writing too insensitive.”
“And yes, it is,” Caldara said. “My column is not a soft voiced, sticky sweet NPR-styled piece which employs the language now mandated by the victim-centric, identity politics driven media.”
Caldara has been a champion of LGBT rights, he said, but he objects to using gender pronouns different from a person’s biological sex.
“What seemed to be the last straw for my column was my insistence that there are only two sexes and my frustration that to be inclusive of the transgendered (even that word isn’t allowed) we must lose our right to free speech,” he wrote.
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“To be clear I am strongly pro-gay marriage, which has frustrated many of my socially conservative friends. I have friends, family and employees from the LGBT community. I don’t care who uses whose bathroom, what you wear, or how you identify. People from this community have rights which we must protect.
“But to force us to use inaccurate pronouns, to force us to teach our kids that there are more than two sexes, to call what is plainly a man in a dress, well, not a man in a dress violates our right of speech.”
Caldara had written two recent stories in which he criticized what he deemed free speech restrictions on transgender individuals.
On Jan. 3, he said that The Associated Press’ style guide, which is used by a multitude of publications, has become a “propaganda guide” on the issue because of a recent dictate regarding language that can be used to refer to transgender individuals.
“The AP has updated its style to say that gender is no longer binary and thus declared a winner in this divisive debate. They ruled that, ‘Not all people fall under one of two categories for sex and gender,’” Caldara wrote.
“There are only two sexes, identified by an XX or XY chromosome. That is the very definition of binary. The AP ruling it isn’t so doesn’t change science. It’s a premeditative attempt to change culture and policy. It’s activism.”
Two weeks later, Caldara used his column to discuss a 2019 Colorado law requiring elementary school students to be instructed in “comprehensive human sexuality,” instruction that also touches on transgender issues.
“Some parents weren’t thrilled a couple of years back when during school their little ones in Boulder Valley School District were treated to videos staring a transgender teddy bear teaching the kids how to misuse pronouns or when Colorado’s ‘Trans Community Choir’ sang to kids about a transgender raven,” Caldara wrote.
“What are the protections for a parent who feels transgender singing groups and teddy bears with gender dysphoria might be ‘stigmatizing’ for their kid? How can a parent decide if she wants her kid in that class if the material isn’t transparent and easily accessible?”
The latter column was linked by Caldara in his Facebook post and identified as “the column that got me fired from the Denver Post.”
Caldara’s editor, the aforementioned Schrader, didn’t shine any light on whether it was Caldara’s language on transgender individuals that got him fired, only that he was, in fact, terminated.
“I am writing a job description as we speak to fill his position,” she said in an email to The Washington Free Beacon.
“I hope that conservative Colorado writers will apply knowing that we value conservative voices on our pages and don’t have a litmus test for their opinions,” Schrader said.
Except she declined to say whether she fired him over a litmus test on his opinion on transgender individuals and the language used to refer to them.
There could be a different explanation for Caldara’s firing. If there is, it seems unusual she wouldn’t at least say there was more to this than the fact that Caldara believes (rightly) that gender and the English language are both less fluid than The Denver Post or the AP think.
I wonder what exactly the editors of The Post are looking for in a conservative columnist. No doubt, they want one of the Good Ones™, the kind of Republican who admits of all the tenets of modern liberaldom but protests slightly against some of them.
They may be against a carbon tax but think cap-and-trade is a good idea. They believe in strict constitutionalist judges — along the lines of John Roberts, say. Antonin Scalia was a bit far for them. And more than anything, they talk about bringing civility back to politics — which almost always means giving the pained Bill Kristol smile whenever they’re savaged and then politely trying to explain in the nicest possible terms why they don’t quite see it that way. That civility means they might grumble a bit about the AP’s new rules or Colorado’s “comprehensive human sexuality” education for elementary school students, but they’ll mostly go along with it and hope the issue goes away.
That’s the kind of conservative the media tolerates.
Conservatives, on the other hand, are less likely to countenance them.
In one of his final columns for The Post, Caldara spelled out why.
“It is fascinating how the built-up frustration to the main-stream media carried Trump to victory,” he wrote. “It’s more fascinating that the media has shown absolutely no introspection into their role in the phenomenon. They really think most Americans see them as they see themselves — brave warriors of truth, not torchbearers for progressive ideology.
“One only has to listen to NPR reporters and their pee-your-pants excitement at covering Trump’s impeachment to conclude they still have no idea so much of America considers them the enemy.”
The Denver Post can’t erase biological reality and look askance at anyone who points to it as a regressive relic.
If it’s true that Caldara was fired for saying there are only two sexes, it’s yet another proof of William F. Buckley’s timeless axiom.
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