Calling out Andrew Bolt

Brace yourselves. This is rather lengthy. But it needs to be said.

I like Andrew Bolt. Very often his points are reasoned and right. So it is with dismay that I must offer some criticism. But I’ll start by highlighting Bolt’s own words from 2016, written about the praise offered by the ‘Left’ when David Morrison was appallingly appointed as the Australian of the Year:

“But the head-turning fame, cash and flattery they receive for their views sends a powerful signal to everyone else: toe the Leftist line and this, too, could be yours.”

Bolt’s words are a warning to us all: beware of the flattery of the radical and revolutionary left.

They are important words, especially from one who has been so tirelessly and personally attacked for his views.

I do not for one moment think that Andrew Bolt would deliberately abandon his principles for this flattery. But years of abuse can be wearing.

It can lead to attempts to deflect criticism. To mitigate it. To unwitting searches for ‘proof’ that you are not the ‘hateful bigot’ as proclaimed by the maddening mob.

It can also lead to silence; to efforts to avoid highlighting inconvenient truths in order to ward off abuse.

This is the trap that Andrew Bolt appears to have fallen into. And I’ll get to that.

But I also want to highlight some very recent writing from Andrew Bolt:

“CHRISTIANS, prepare for persecution. Open your eyes and choose stronger leaders for the dark days.

I am not a Christian, but I am amazed that your bishops and ministers are not warning you of what is already breaking over your heads…

…How cowed the churches have been before this looming persecution, now picking off vocal Christians, one by one.”

Last week Bolt outlined the attack on Christianity from ‘human rights’ commissions and now in school yards. If only Christian leaders were prepared to speak as clearly as he.

Although Bolt is non-Christian, he correctly points out that the Church’s leaders are seemingly inept, silent and incapable of providing any defence against the growing attempts to use ‘human rights’ law and the push for ‘tolerance’, ‘diversity’ and ‘equality’ as a brutal battering ram to eradicate all traces of Christian belief from social life.

Unfortunately, Church leaders are failing for precisely the same reasons that Bolt deserves criticism. They are putting personal agendas ahead of principles. They are focused on studiously avoiding criticism instead of speaking out. And they appear more interested in currying favour from their enemies than defending Christian beliefs from outrageous attack.

And that is exactly what Bolt has done on the issue of transgenderism, or the patently absurd idea that a man can become a woman at a mere whim and a bottle of pills.

It is the modern day alchemy.

A decade ago this concept would have been laughed down by conservative commentators. Yet now Australia’s most read conservative commentator has accepted it and embraced it. Given this, one can hardly be surprised that Church leaders have also chosen silence in the face of the gender-bending onslaught.

After US President Donald Trump declared that ‘transgender individuals’ would not be allowed to serve in the US military, Andrew Bolt interviewed Mark Latham.

This is part of what was said:

Andrew Bolt: But someone’s who’s undergone the whole transgender process, if they’re capable of shooting you, they’ll shoot you. What’s the difference if they’re transsexual, or they’re bisexual, or they’re male or they’re female as long as their finger pulls the trigger?

Mark Latham: Well it is a capability question. I spoke to a military expert earlier today who gave the example in the Australian Army of say they have to search Muslim women in Afghanistan and due to the religious and cultural sensitivities there, I’m afraid the transgender person, who some would describe as a bloke dressed as a woman, is not able to perform that task. He’s left behind.

Andrew Bolt: Yeah but men can’t perform that task anyway. Man can’t perform that task of searching women in Afghanistan anyway. Surely you just pick the right troops for the job.

Mark Latham: Well the man dressed as a woman certainly can’t do it. You do need females to do it in the Australian Army, that’s true. But the man dressed as a woman can’t do it and in fact –

Andrew Bolt: They’re not men dressed as women. They wouldn’t say they’re men dressed as women. They’re saying they’re women who once were classified as men but they’re women now. I mean –

Mark Latham: Yeah but in dealing with Afghani locals they know it’s a man dressed as a woman and –

Andrew Bolt: No they wouldn’t necessarily.

Mark Latham: under their religion whether we like it or not – Andrew, that’s a big, big problem. Worse than anything else you could be doing in terms of military personnel –

Andrew Bolt: Well that’s, alright –

Mark Latham: – so there’s a loss of capability. A direct example and it’s the sort of thing that Trump’s acting on in the United States and we should be worried about in this country.

Andrew Bolt: Well look, one of my friends is Cate McGregor who has undergone the process, is a woman now. I’m sure if Cate was anywhere near military equipment, I wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end. I mean, why couldn’t she serve in this case in the Australian Army? Which she did, she did.

Mark Latham: Well Trump’s got his experts saying there’s a loss of morale, capability, there’s extra medical costs involved…

Bolt went on to describe Trump’s transgender ban as a rather crude barrier.

However, to be fair, he also made it clear that he questions why the military funds sex-change operations and that he had concerns about any measures to reduce fitness or capability levels in order to promote minority groups within military or police forces.

And finally, both Latham and Bolt agreed that Chelsea Manning, the transgender soldier jailed for divulging military secrets, was not a great cheerleader for the transgender cause.

So let’s unpack it.

Bolt is opposed to any measures that undermine military capability. But he’s a friend of a transgender person. So he’s not a fan of Trump’s decision.

And he also thinks the transgender cause needs a better poster girl than Chelsea Manning. Presumably, his good friend Cate McGregor would fit the role.

Now that it’s unpacked and digested, a couple of things are clear: Bolt’s position, usually so logical, is actually one based on emotion.

And that’s why it is so contradictory.

Let’s look at the eroding effect on capability that transgender military service entails.

This is from a series of briefing notes provided to US Army commanders on 16 September 2016:

US transgender

According to US Army briefing notes, transgender personnel cannot be deployed without first obtaining briefings about host nation customs and laws.

There are several other scenarios provided to commanders about actions they should take with regards to transgender personnel. These include provision of maternity leave for ‘males’ who become ‘pregnant’ after ‘forgetting’ to take their hormones and the requirements for lady soldiers to simply accept that military service entails that they may have to shower in the same open space as ‘females’ with ‘male genitalia’.

Most of them include extra expense for facilities, or extra leave for transgender personnel who are unfit to deploy. That’s not a great start on capability.

But let’s look in detail at the case study above. It revolves around a transgender person posted to a ‘female’ role who is then unable to perform that role precisely because he is not a female at all, but a male, even though everyone must address him with female pronouns. The solution: commanders must undertake a whole range of extra briefings before they can deploy any transgender soldier. That necessarily entails a reduction in flexibility and capability.

And then there’s every chance that those briefings may make it clear that the transgender soldier is simply unable to be deployed anyway. That’s a complete waste of capability altogether.

We are seeing a clash of two worlds here: the real world and the stuff of fiction. And military capability loses out.

Either the soldier is unable to deploy (depleting capability). Or he does deploy but cannot function (also depleting capability). Whatever you might think of Afghanis, their women are not as stupid as our Lefties. This insanity may befuddle the generals and politicians in Australia, but it will not pass the ‘pub test’ in the outer districts of the badlands.

And it highlights the absolute nonsense of the transgender push: a man cannot become a woman, hence the fact that a transgender ‘woman’ cannot actually do a job that only a woman can. In fact, the whole purpose of the adjective in the term ‘transgender woman’ is to highlight that the person is not a real woman.

No wonder Trump has banned transgender military service.

Despite this, don’t expect common-sense to prevail in institutions like the Australian Army. It accepts that a man can become a woman, so it will necessarily ensure that female-only roles are open to transgender ‘women’.

If you accept the former, you must also accept the latter. If you fail to accept the latter it is compellingly obvious that you don’t accept the former. Anything in between is likely to result in court cases, a clogged up bureaucracy and the complete absence of military capability.

Obviously the above example details the reduction in capability in the specific instance of a transgender ‘woman’ in a female-only role. However, as the briefing notes detail, the loss of capability and expense also go across the board. Often it includes extra leave, delayed fitness assessments and non-deployment of transgender soldiers.

This should all be obvious. Yet somehow we have arrived at a point where military commanders are now briefed on all sorts of absurd transgender scenarios instead of spending their moments preparing for war.

It also involves the entire US military adopting new language to make transgenderism fit. Soldiers no longer have a gender that is ticked off on their service records. They no longer even have a gender that is assigned to them at birth. Now their service records have a ‘gender marker’ and they are required to ‘comply’ with that, regardless of whether they are actually male or female now, at birth, or otherwise.

The whole system, to use the Australian vernacular, is arse about.

More importantly, a profoundly personal issue has taken priority over the military mission.

And then there’s the morale element. No one has ever asked Defence personnel in Australia their views on serving with transgender soldiers.

But I can speak for many of them: they are concerned about the impact on their team, their mission, and, at the end of the day, their very lives.

Transgender people are 11 times more likely to attempt suicide than the average population. Over one third will self-harm. Transgender people are also 18 times more likely to think about suicide. Incredibly, 41% of transgender people surveyed by the National LGBTI Health Alliance in July 2016 reported that they had contemplated suicide in the previous two weeks.

To put it simply again, the last place a soldier wants to be is in a trench or under the leadership of a person who has lost the will to live, or who questions it frequently. The policy to allow transgender people to serve in the military is putting the lives of patriotic Australians at risk.

And there’s also the overall recruitment argument. There are about 20 transgender people serving in the Australian Defence Force. That’s not much gain for a lot of pain. I’ve had vastly more parents write to me over the past three years to let me know that they will not allow their children to join the Defence Force as a result of its rainbow agenda.

Again: capability is lost. This policy is shrinking rather than growing the recruitment pool.

It seems clear to me that the push for transgender soldiers is one that can only decrease military capability. However, I do admit that I am biased on this issue. Perhaps I am wrong. Perhaps Andrew is right.

But what he and no one else can deny is that there has been precious little debate about this issue. It is simply off limits.

Crazily, considering this debate is about transgender people taking up positions in Western armies supposedly ready to fight war, one of the reasons we can’t debate this issue is because it might cause them to self-harm. Yet we are told that these same people are capable of withstanding the stress of combat and protecting the nation.

In Australia, the United States and right across the Western world, militaries have simply opened their doors without scrutiny, without evidence and without debate.

And that is because the only military voices allowed to speak on this issue within the mainstream media are those coming from the likes of Andrew’s good friend, Cate McGregor. Those who might dare to raise an alternate view know that they will be sacked.

To my knowledge, since Trump’s ban was announced the mainstream media in Australia have chosen not to speak with any former or serving soldiers who are prepared to back it. It’s not because we don’t exist. It’s because we’re ignored.

Instead, critics of Trump with military ties have been given a mega phone.

The ‘Left’ do it for blind ideological reasons. However, it seems to me that on the ‘Right’ of the political commentariat, emotional reasons have won the day. It might not be the flattery that Andrew Bolt has previously warned about, but it is the friendship.

Which brings me to Cate McGregor, who was formerly Lieutenant Colonel Malcom McGregor.

If Chelsea Manning is the wrong person to promote the transgender cause, then McGregor is hardly the answer.

In the last years of McGregor’s time in the Australian Defence Force, he:

  • was counselled for unacceptable behaviour after abusing a Victorian man, including sending emails that were signed off with the words ‘Catherine McGregor AM – suck on that fuckwit’,
  • abused my father publicly, costing Defence $25,000,
  • boasted about his access to the Chief of Army (David Morrison) during the administrative process undertaken against me to terminate my appointment as an officer (part of which was for expressing my concern about the impact of transgender personnel in the Australian Army) while tweeting that he had access to ‘data’ on me a ‘mile deep’,
  • claimed on the ABC that he would not ‘bite back’ at critics and then five days later emailed me with a link to his interview while also attempting to pressure me to resign, and
  • publicly stated at the National Press Club while speaking as a the ‘Director of Research and Analysis in the Office of the Chief of Air Force’ that he had wedged the Liberal Party over transgender issues.

All in all, that’s not a great track record. I might say, as one who was told that I could not have any involvement in political activity in my private capacity, that it is also somewhat galling to have a senior officer making politicised comments in their official capacity as a senior officer over this issue.

For full disclosure, the Australian Army did investigate me for unacceptable behaviour against McGregor. It found that I had no case to answer in this investigation or in any of the others it held into my conduct.

I was still sacked.

In contrast, it refused to investigate my complaints against McGregor, who had already been found to have breached Defence policy on unacceptable behaviour. He was then promoted. I am sure this all had nothing to do with the fact that I was persona non grata while he was working in the Chief of Army’s Office on important speeches about feminism.

Finally, McGregor became part of that head-turning fame, flattery and cash bandwagon that Andrew Bolt warned about, along with David Morrison and Liz Broderick. All three of them were key personnel in the political push to change the Army’s culture and in a strange coincidence, all three of them were also finalists for the Australian of the Year in 2016.

Again, I am sure that it had nothing to do with the fact that Qantas is a sponsor of the award, nor with the fact that the Qantas chairman, Alan Joyce, was subsequently awarded an Order of Australia in a process overseen by a committee in which Liz Broderick is a key member.

To top it all off, McGregor subsequently handed back his Queenslander of the Year award after complaining that he should have won the top prize instead of David Morrison.

A bit of a circus really.

And it’s one that the normally consistent Andrew Bolt has befriended.

However, that does not explain completely his lack of logic on this issue. True, it indicates a certain emotional tie, but it is not the whole story.

For that, we have to go back to Tony Abbott. And Andrew is an unashamed supporter of the former PM.

When McGregor first rose to prominence for his ‘transition’ it was because he received the continued support of Tony Abbott (who was the opposition leader at the time). Then (and as always) Abbott was under attack by the Left for being the mad monk, a conservative bigot and a blast from the 1950s past.

Yet here he was was greeting Malcolm-turned-Catherine with a kiss on the cheek. And a number of conservative commentators, including Andrew Bolt, fell for the trap.

They used this action to proclaim that Abbott was not what the Left made him out to be. Bolt quoted extensively on his blog from an article by Janette Albrechtsen, praising Abbott for his actions. He’s backed McGregor for praising Abbott a number of times since.

It was an attempt to win praise from the Left. That never works.

Instead, what Bolt really did was point out that Abbott was not as conservative as he was made out to be. But he was so blind in his support for Abbott that he could not see the truth, nor the impact of Abbott’s actions.

I respect Tony Abbott has friendships. But they should not override the national interest. And one thing is quite clear: unlike Trump, Abbott did not have the intestinal fortitude to ban transgender military service when he was in a position to do so.

And Andrew Bolt, usually so forthright and clear, is all at sea over one of the most absurd identity issues concocted by the Left.

At the end of the day, the truth is that a man cannot be a woman.

I do not deny the fact that some people face a profound personal crisis. It must be tremendously searing and I would not wish it on my enemies. These people need help, not a uniform and a gun.

But they will not receive help if the solution imposed by the institutions of state is to force society to accept a lie.

That’s why I speak up. No doubt it’s easier that I don’t have transgender friends. And Bolt would probably get his wish on the Church leadership if they spent less time worrying about making friends as well.

*****

Father Bob, I assume, is one of the Church figures whose leadership Andrew Bolt laments. I certainly lament his leadership too.

Here is Father Bob after Trump’s transgender ban:

And here is the Patron of Father Bob’s foundation speaking about the Catholic sacrament of Holy Communion (at the 59:30 mark):

Father Bob might do a great job feeding the hungry. Christ did that too.

But he fed them the truth first…

Author: Bernard Gaynor

Bernard Gaynor is a married father of eight children. He has a background in military intelligence, Arabic language and culture and is an outspoken advocate of conservative and family values.

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