Michael Knowles: “Prejudice, broadly, is a very good thing”

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Citation From the November 2, 2023, edition of The Daily Wire's The Michael Knowles Show

The reason transgenderism works as a political issue for conservatives is, I think, largely aesthetic. The conservative argument on transgenderism from the moral perspective, from the political perspective, from the anthropological perspective -- those are all true too. But I think it's aesthetics that is so persuasive. Here's a good example. Here's a trans activist who has gone viral -- hat tip to Libs of TikTok, as always -- a trans activist who has gone viral for saying that not giving kids puberty blockers is tantamount to mutilation.


Forget about his argument. Obviously, the argument is crazy. Would you ever leave your child with that person? Ever? Under any circumstances? No, of course not. He looks deranged and is deranged. And his argument is deranged. But it's -- people can hear terrible arguments, but when terrible arguments are made by people who seem glamorous, say, or sophisticated, say, or intellectual, say, then those arguments sometimes catch fire. I think of someone like Angela Davis. Angela Davis was a Black power activist, an avowed communist, a terrorist, someone who was complicit in murder and terrorism and political assassination, but a lot of people liked her. A lot of people still like her today. A lot of prominent liberals will quote her because she seems intellectual, and she seems somewhat sophisticated, glamorous in a radical kind of way. This guy doesn't. The trans activists don't. They look especially off. And we should not run away from that. We should recognize -- a friend of mine says that facts don't care about your feelings, which is true. But politics largely cares about your feelings, and your feelings are largely informed by what you see. It's informed by aesthetics.


So, what is it? Why wouldn't you leave your kid with this crazy looking guy? Out of prejudice. It's -- you have a prejudice. You look at a guy with five o'clock shadow, who's wearing a dress, who's shrieking and shouting and doesn't look put together, and your prejudice kicks in and says, yeah, this is not a great idea. Some ideologues will be so radically pro-leftist that they will reject their prejudices. They will reject their gut instinct that says, probably not a good idea to leave my kid with this person. And that's very imprudent. So much of liberalism is just a rejection of prudence, it occurs to me.

You know, prejudice can be bad if we discriminate unjustly against people. That can be very bad. But prejudice, broadly, is a very good thing. It's something that Edmund Burke, one of the great conservative philosophers, exalted. Russell Kirk, a more recent conservative philosopher, exalted. It's a good -- it's called prudence. And prudence for Aristotle, and every wise statesman since, is the paramount political virtue.