Readers React: Why liberals should resist Trump-like calls to ‘trust our guts again’

A protester takes part in a rally against President Trump's immigration policies in Los Angeles on June 30.
A protester takes part in a rally against President Trump’s immigration policies in Los Angeles on June 30.
(Mark Ralston / AFP/Getty Images)

To the editor: Virginia Heffernan is on my side on the issues. In her most recent column, however, she reaches what I believe is a dangerous conclusion: “We need to back off the online cacophony and trust our guts again.”

She says that intellectual insecurity is a dangerous thing to befall a people. What I am seeing on the right is a dangerous intellectual security. They “go with their gut” when claiming that immigrants are criminals. They go with their gut when they claim that climate change is a hoax.

Science is built on intellectual insecurity. In a search for the truth, one must test, experiment, observe, study and obtain evidence. Heffernan claims that intellectual insecurity leads us to accept nitwit beliefs. Quite the opposite is true for most educated people.

The left isn’t innocent either, and I fact-check many posts I see on Facebook — because going with my gut wouldn’t benefit me or society, but it would reinforce emotional and nitwit beliefs.


Stephanie McIntyre, Simi Valley


To the editor: Heffernan makes it sound so simple when she says that we need to “trust our guts again.”

I wonder what her “gut instinct” tells her about ripping a 20-week-old fetus from a mother’s womb. If it doesn’t make her cringe at the thought, I think she needs a gut check.

I am pro-choice, but it’s for pragmatic reasons despite what “my gut” tells me. I understand that “my gut” wouldn’t allow me to support many policies “my mind” tells me we need to support in the real world.

P.J. Gendell, Beverly Hills


To the editor: Heffernan’s column on the shared values under assault by the Trump administration brought to mind memories of the old public service announcements of my television-viewing youth.


Local stations reserved commercial space for 30-second civic messages or updates on social service programs. These PSAs provided important information while conveying shared values to their viewers.

Heffernan’s call to return to our “human perceptions, common sense and baseline notions of right and wrong” enjoins us to become aware of a much-needed media cultural course correction away from a new kind of PSA: promotion superseding accuracy.

Doug Braun-Harvey, San Diego

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