PROF JENKINS: How the left uses barriers to advance its agenda

Leftists have never met a barrier they don’t despise—except maybe, in some cases, the gates blocking the entrances to their exclusive neighborhoods.

Rob Jenkins is a Higher Education Fellow with Campus Reform and a tenured associate professor of English at Georgia State University - Perimeter College. In a career spanning more than three decades at five different institutions, he has served as a head men’s basketball coach, an athletic director, a department chair, and an academic dean, as well as a faculty member. Jenkins’ opinions are his own and do not represent those of his employer.     

The subject of barriers came up in an unintentionally comical way a few weeks ago, during former University of Pennsylvania swimmer Paula Scanlon’s testimony before Congress. 

As Campus Reform reported, Scanlon testified that she and her teammates were “forced to undress in the presence of a 6-4 biological male with fully intact male genitalia 18 times a week”—a reference, of course, to Will “Lia” Thomas. 

The funny part—perhaps “ironic” is more fitting—came when Democrat Representative Steve Cohen of Tennessee unwittingly acknowledged the importance of barriers:

“I think Penn didn’t deal with your situation like they could have,” Cohen told Scanlon. “They should have been putting up some type of different barriers in the women’s area of the locker room.” 

Um. You mean, like, walls? Like the walls between the men’s and women’s locker rooms? Brilliant idea, Congressman. Why hasn’t anyone else ever thought of that in 6000-plus years of recorded human history? 

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Cohen was pilloried on social media by both sides—by the left for suggesting Thomas doesn’t belong in the “women’s section” and by the right for thinking there ought to be such a thing as a “women’s section” in a women’s locker room, as well as for being a pompous buffoon.

Clearly, leftists have never met a barrier they don’t despise—except maybe, in some cases, the gates blocking the entrances to their exclusive neighborhoods. Other than that, barriers of all sorts, whether literal or figurative, are bad. They must be torn down, delegitimized, or overcome. 

That attitude was on display during the Trump years, when the Donald’s (somewhat anemic) efforts to “build the wall” across our southern border were vehemently opposed by “progressives,” including many supposed Republicans. 

Why would anyone object to a barrier intended to prevent people from coming into our country illegally, many of them drug and/or human traffickers? 

Possible answers to that question abound, but one is simply that it’s a barrier, and we can’t have any of those. People should be able to do whatever they want, wherever they want, whenever they want—except, perhaps, vote for Donald Trump—without anything getting in their way.  

Obviously, some barriers do need to be overcome, especially the figurative kind: those that prevent people from fulfilling their potential due to race, sex, or physical handicap. In this country, over the past five or six decades, we’ve made remarkable progress in tearing down those kinds of barriers.

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But other barriers are good and necessary, making it possible for society to function smoothly. That includes many literal barriers, like the walls that keep out criminals. Or those that separate men’s and women’s spaces.

The Left’s antipathy toward physical barriers, however, is merely emblematic of their utter disdain for all barriers—for anything that prevents them from being whatever they want to be at the moment. 

Nowhere is this mindset more evident than in the “transgender” movement. Since the emergence of the human race, we have been a binary species, with two sexes (and only two) necessary for procreation. Nor can one sex “transition” into the other. That path is barred by biological reality. 

Leftists want to remove that barrier, too. And since they can’t actually change biology, they resort to redefining words. Now a “woman,” long understood as an adult female, is anyone who claims to be a woman. In that way, they believe, the barrier has been eliminated. Men can become women, and vice-versa.

Unfortunately for them, they’re not really eliminating the barrier; they’re just highlighting it. But don’t you dare tell them that. Leftists think they are gods who can alter reality simply by manipulating language. And gods don’t do barriers.

Editorials and op-eds reflect the opinion of the authors and not necessarily that of Campus Reform or the Leadership Institute.