Abigail Shrier and rational fear

At a Hillsdale College National Leadership Seminar in Franklin, Tennessee, in May 2021 – the same one addressed by Andy Ngo whom we examined on 4 June – there was a talk by Abigail Shrier, author of Irreversible Damage.

She has a Wikipedia page which, in its first paragraph, includes the following verbatim statement,

The book endorses the contentious concept of rapid onset gender dysphoria.

I have yet to read her book, but I’ve heard this speech twice. When you’ve heard her speech, you may like to decide for yourself whether that statement by Wikipedia is likely to be true. You may also understand why I chose to link her name to her own website instead of Wikipedia in order that she – rather than others – should tell us who she is.

The introduction is made by our old friend, Timothy Caspar, who makes the usual precise and concise job of it. He also throws in an appealing play on words at the end.

As stated earlier I’ve watched this twice, and you can add to that several dippings in and out at particular spots. It took only one viewing to absorb, marvel at, and get angered by, what she has to say; the rest was trying to analyse and understand her delivery.

She reads her speech, which for me is always a disappointment because spontaneous shooting from the hip is always more audience-friendly. As usual I wait eagerly for an ad lib ‘aside’ to see how much more fluent it is, but in this event it isn’t. On the contrary it is full of stumbles. That is very unusual. Intrigued, I look for a reason and eventually I think I find it. I’ll return to that, but meanwhile I claim that Shrier could easily be taught how to shoot everything from the hip, and would find it super-liberating, but would take a heap of persuading that it was a good idea.

She is very nervous, and these aren’t Hump nerves because they don’t recede after the first couple of minutes. She continues to display nerve symptoms throughout, making me itch to help her. For instance the periodic adjustment of microphones is a classic example. As a generality nerves are divided into rational and irrational, and rational ones are those that get dug in and stay for the duration, so what does she have to be rationally nervous about? The content is beautifully coherent.

She doesn’t seem to be upset by the audience’s laughter. It isn’t derision: it’s laughter of astonishment, of incredulity, even outrage, and there is plenty here to cause outrage.

Children’s futures being destroyed by organisations who exist to help them is an outrage. The fact of most transgender activists not themselves being transgender is an outrage, as it suggests their motivation to be sinister. The huge list of previously respectable institutions that have been infiltrated and hollowed out by activists is an outrage. The disgusting techniques used to stifle any debate is an outrage. And so on.

At 20:14 she tells us that trans-bigotry is “soaked in lies”. At 28:25 she addresses “Why?”, and the answer comes at 29:35. Chaos. Chaos is the point. It’s all tied in with a range of other disreputable and mendacious movements – BLM, Antifa, Critical Race Theory, Extinction Rebellion, etc. Chaos is the point. The more lies you can invent to swell the victim class, the more people you have to join the Revolution.

I can think of many other movements that are soaked in lies, but don’t get me started.

Shrier ends at 32:12, and as the applause hits her just look at her face! How often have you seen such smiles of profound relief? And lest there be any doubt listen to what she says at 33:05. She has become conditioned to be scared stiff of her audience. That’s where the rational nerves stemmed. Scott Atlas made a similar observation when he spoke to Hillsdale.

What sort of evil are we up against when daring to speak the truth is made so dangerous? It’s an evil that causes all-but-extinct organisations like Hillsdale College, that espouse free debate, to be of huge importance.

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