Last week in our Geek in Pictures, I included a stylized chart that Colin Wright, an evolutionary biologist of liberal inclination, created (though I wasn’t sure at the time that he was the creator):
Naturally the left, deeply insecure about their positions (which helps explain their censorious and authoritarian disposition), reacted badly to this chart, as Wright explained in a terrific article in the Wall Street Journal today after the cartoon went massively viral following Elon Musk’s embrace of it:
The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent called it a “silly chart” that has been “brutally debunked.” His colleague Philip Bump described it as “simply wrong” and an “obvious exaggeration.” Mr. Bump even provided a series of actual silly charts showing “the average ideological score (using a metric called DW-NOMINATE)” and “evaluations of ideology as measured in the biennial General Social Survey (GSS).”
Debunking a cartoon with a chart is like answering a love poem with a syllogism.
I should add that at some point in the last year or so, Wright tweeted that despite being a life-long Democratic voter “who has never voted for a Republican,” he was likely to vote Republican in 2024 for any nominee other than Trump. We’ll see if that extends to DeSantis if it comes to be.
Anyway, to continue with Wright today:
People on the left once viewed free speech as sacrosanct and championed speaking truth to power. Now they disparage open expression as a danger to democracy and minorities. The aspiration of judging individuals by the content of their character rather than by the color of their skin has given way to identity politics and “equity” initiatives that prioritize group interests over individual rights. Women’s rights, previously understood as relating to their oppression on the basis of sex, is now viewed by the left through the lens of gender identity, which gives priority to men who declare themselves to be women. Today’s progressive can’t even tell you what a woman is. The right may be inconsistent in its support of free speech, individual rights and women’s rights, but the left is consistent in its opposition to all three.
One last excerpt:
[W]hile working as a postdoctoral fellow at Penn State in 2018, I found myself ostracized by scientific colleagues and people I thought were my close friends because I was unwilling to promote scientifically inaccurate claims about biology to avoid offending those who identify as transgender.
Suddenly, simple truths, supported by both science and common sense—such as “male and female are real biological categories defined by reproductive anatomy”—became taboo. For my great sin of stating plain biological facts and advocating for civil discourse, I endured relentless smears as “transphobic,” “far right,” even a “white supremacist.” Similar experiences have played out for millions across the U.S. and abroad.
I hope many on the left will resist the urge to debunk or dismiss my cartoon and instead use it as an opportunity to understand why so many people feel it describes their experience. Something has happened over the past decade to make many liberals feel politically homeless, and a lack of curiosity about why is a recipe for not only political failure but social strife. It contributes to our increasing inability to have reasonable, compassionate discussions on issues of great importance.
The experience of “neoconservatives” in the 1960s and 1970s—liberals “mugged by reality”—is happening again right now, and I think a new generation of thoughtful defectors from leftist dogma is rapidly reaching critical mass.