Forbidden Topics: Don’t Dare to Discuss These

June 1, 2021 Updated: June 10, 2021


Identity politics enthusiasts, race advocates, and political partisans forbid any discussion that might contradict or even question their narratives. Disobey them at your peril; they’ll call you horrid names—sexist, racist, homophobe, Islamophobe, male supremacist, white nationalist, fascist, and Nazi—and accuse you of “hate speech” as a warm-up to trying to cancel you by getting you fired, your honors revoked, your institutional ties annulled, sued, fined, and jailed.

COVID-19 questions not to ask: Do lockdowns work at all, other than in the spike in suicides, overdoses, and domestic violence? Are masks at all effective in blocking the transmission of the virus? Is the origin of the virus a laboratory in Wuhan? Doesn’t natural immunity exist in those who have had COVID-19? If you ask any of these, you’re a “conspiracy theorist,” an “anti-vaxxer,” and you’ll be accused of personally being responsible for untold deaths.

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario has warned that “physicians who are publicly contradicting public health orders and recommendations … may face an investigation by the CPSO and disciplinary action when warranted.” Because the science is “settled” by whatever “public health” officials have said this week.

Diversity and equity questions not to ask, unless you want to be called “sexist”: How come female students made up around 60 percent of university students and graduates? Does that not mean that males are “underrepresented” and need special programs to raise their presence to 50 percent? How come there’s a major push in policy, programs, and regulations to increase the number of female students in STEM fields to 50 percent, when females already make up a supermajority in the social sciences and humanities, the fields they prefer and choose?

Unless you want to be accused of being an “Islamophobe,” don’t ask whether Islam is anti-Jewish. Don’t ask what the Quran means by “thou will surely find the most hostile of men to the believers [Muslims] are the Jews and the idolaters” (Quran 5.82), or “fight those who believe not in God and the Last Day and do not forbid what Allah and his Messenger have forbidden … until they pay the tax in acknowledgment of [Muslim] superiority and are in a state of subjection” (Quran 9:92). Or why in the 21st century, a government party in a Muslim country demands of its citizens: “Let us prepare ourselves for the decisive battle against the Jews, those apes, pigs, and worshipers of calves. There will be no peace with the Jews. This jihad is the jihad.” The Hamas Charter reads, quoting a prophecy in the hadith, “The Day of Judgement will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Muslims, O Abdullah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews.” Don’t ask whether this plays a part in attacks on Jews around the world, or on Israel.

Aren’t there still men and women? If you ask, imposing this binary, you’ll be accused of literally “denying the being” of the people spread amongst 126 genders. Never mind about biology and its genes and chromosomes; science is so 20th century. Today, whatever identity anyone imagines is real. Disrespect anything that anyone claims, and you’ll be canceled. If you decline to call someone whatever pronoun they adopt or invent, you could be fired, expelled, fined, or jailed. The Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Committee (SOGIC) section of the Canadian Bar Association, British Columbia Branch convinced the British Columbia Provincial Court to issue “an announcement … that all parties appearing in court would henceforth be asked to specify what pronouns they want others to use when referring to them, as well as their preferred forms of address,” wrote Karin Litzcke in Quillette.

Not using preferred pronouns may lead to contempt of court charges and incarceration. In the case of objecting to the transition of your own children, by calling them by the pronoun for their biological sex, for example, social services will take them away or send you to jail. Don’t dare to deny that men can become women and women can become men, or that children of 8 years should be allowed to choose life-changing medical treatments, unless you want to be called a “transphobe.” Anyone can “transition” to a different sex if they feel like it. Unfortunately, detransitioning turns out to be more difficult. And don’t try transitioning to a different race; these attempts have, when discovered, all been fails.

How come biological males who identify as females are allowed to participate in and dominate girls’ and women’s sports? Uh oh, don’t ask. But is it not irrefutable that males, on average, are larger, heavier, faster, and stronger than females? So isn’t it unjust that they’re allowed to take over female sports? Ask this, and you’ll be labeled as “transphobic.” Any objection to trans-females in female sports, female bathrooms, female dressing rooms, women’s shelters, and prisons is denounced as “hate speech.”

Given that, every year in America, around two and a half thousand blacks are murdered, how come the dozen or so unarmed—but, in some cases, aggressive—blacks killed by police are the main topic of conversation, and the justification for rioting, looting, burning, assaulting, killing, and defunding the police? What about the thousands of other black murder victims? It’s, you know, “racist,” to ask about the fact that almost all—roughly 90 percent—of blacks murdered are murdered by other blacks. Some blacks are murdered by whites and others, but more than twice as many whites are murdered by blacks. Black victims of violence are overwhelmingly the victims of black criminals, which is why blacks don’t want to defund the police. But don’t talk about it, racist.

How come our most celebrated social organization, a self-declared Marxist organization dedicated to destroying the nuclear family, is now officially endorsed by the Biden administration and the State Department? I’m referring, of course, to Black Lives Matter, an organization focused on vilifying police and ignoring black-on-black crime. But don’t ask, or else you’re a “racist.”

Why have we allied with genocidal terrorist organizations as our most sympathetic victims? Hamas and Islamic Jihad are explicit about destroying their neighbor Israel and murdering Jews all around the world. They’re now the good guys? Ask and you will be denounced as an imperialist, colonialist, white supremacist, and Nazi. Why is the Biden administration planning to rebuild Gaza, rather than allowing Hamas and Islamic Jihad to reap the consequences of their aggressive actions? If the Palestinians are captive to Hamas and Islamic Jihad, as alleged, why do they vote—when they can vote—for Hamas as their preferred rulers? The proposed Palestinian election was just called off by Fatah because the polls showed Hamas would win. If you ask why we’re siding with Hamas, you’ll be denounced as evil.

Today, freedom of speech is denounced as a cover for hate speech. Certain people’s imagined identities are sacrosanct, while others’ identities are those of oppressors, which must be expunged. Opinion is now closed. Like in third-world despotic countries, and fascist and communist totalitarian states, only the official “social justice” “antiracism” narrative is allowed. Other opinions are punished. “Diversity” is only for race, gender, and ethnicity, not for thought and ideas. Logic, science, and evidence are passé. Is silence a safe option? If you don’t repeat their slogans, they’ll claim that “your silence is violence.”

Philip Carl Salzman is professor emeritus of anthropology at McGill University, senior fellow at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy, fellow at the Middle East Forum, and president of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

Philip Carl Salzman
Philip Carl Salzman
Philip Carl Salzman is professor emeritus of anthropology at McGill University, senior fellow at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy, fellow at the Middle East Forum, and president of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East.