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Jerry Shenk


Feedback Etiquette: A Guide

by Jerry Shenk
 

Writers tend to have thicker skin than most politicians and, unlike the latter, can handle criticism. In fact, publishing email contact information encourages reader feedback. With few exceptions, my emails, pro or con, receive responses, usually beginning with thanks for readers' interest.

But, if you're inspired to criticize written commentary, keep your comments objective, informed and honest, approaching the high standards responsible writers set for themselves. Misleading statements, dishonesty, gratuitous insults and diversions are, at best, sophistry.

For example, before disagreeing with anything I've written about gender identity, you should learn that gender identity (birth gender, transgender) and sexual orientation (straight, gay, lesbian) are different. Transgenderism is purely psychological, a feeling. Since a "gay gene" has never been isolated, homosexuality may be as well, but, if you accept the premise that "gays are born that way," then there's a fundamental inconsistency in any argument which conflates the notion of gender identity with sexual orientation. You can't have it both ways. Writing about one but not the other is perfectly logical.

But, legislating anatomical males' access to women's facilities under the smokescreen of transgender "nondiscrimination" actually discriminates against observers of Judeo-Christian and Muslim religious doctrine, and limits religious freedoms for people of faith, including employers, businesses, charities and communities. Religious liberty and transgender nondiscrimination can, indeed, be mutually exclusive. Cultural disagreements, it seems, are contests of competing faiths. The secular left's new, quasi-religious sexual "orthodoxy" deliberately undermines traditional faith-based constitutional protections.

But I've never disputed gays' and lesbians' — or transgenders' -- rights to use appropriate birth-gender facilities or demand that they lose jobs absent other causes.

Sexual predators should concern everyone. Mandating gender-neutral bathroom policies to indulge a tiny, confused, self-described transgendered minority will make potential victims more accessible to predators. There exists no empirical evidence which even suggests that predators, transgendered or otherwise, cannot or won't exploit government-imposed employer or public gender-neutral, multi-user facilities to locate, isolate and victimize female prey.

As another example, if you charge that I "advocated shutting down the entire Department of Homeland Security (DHS)" you have an obligation to provide an in-context quotation or a digital link to support that fantasy. And, if you assert that "shutting down" the federal government will automatically close the DHS, "you either don't know your topic or… are willfully trying to mislead..."

The October, 2013, government "shutdown" didn't shut DHS, the U.S. Coast Guard, Army, Navy or Air Force. Nor were "Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Federal Emergency Management Agency" closed. Sadly, even Congress stayed open. National parks and veterans memorials were closed, though, to wring as much emotional value as possible from an apocryphal "shutdown." The latter was designed to defeat congressional conservatives' principled attempt to rein in government spending -- an objective shared by too few congressional Republicans, including local representatives who favor "more measured approaches" -- things reasonable people may view as "capitulation."

So, keep the feedback coming — it's welcome. If you keep things honest, accurate and civil, I'll reciprocate.



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