In my (much) younger days, I did some boxing. Bill Bianco, an Italian-American living in Boonville, North Carolina, who had boxed as a pro for a little while, gave me my first lessons in the art of pugilism when I was in elementary school. Later, for a year – prior to an honorable discharge in January 1971 – I boxed on our company team at the United States Military Academy.


Besides working out in boxing gyms when I could find them, I also taught boxing for a while to a group of homeschooled boys. I loved the sport, and though I am egregiously out of shape today, I love it still.


I was a counterpuncher, which means I fought defensively. I’d watch for my opponent to leave an opening or stick to the same routine of attack, and then unload on him. Archie Moore, Sugar Ray Robinson, Gene Tunney, Muhammad Ali with his rope-a-dope technique: these guys were my boxing heroes.


Now let me introduce you to some other counterpunchers who are my heroes.


First into the ring are Selina Soule, Chelsea Mitchell, and Alanna Smith, the three Connecticut girls who filed a federal lawsuit to ban transgender athletes from participating in female sports. Because their state allows biologically male athletes to compete in women’s sporting events, two transgendered males “have taken 12 women’s championship state titles.”


These young female athletes argue that forcing them to compete against biological males deprives them of the chance to win sports scholarships to universities and colleges. They insist that their lawsuit has nothing to do with “lifestyle.” As Smith says, “It’s simply about fairness of play.”


Standing up to our current political and cultural climates like this takes guts.


The next bout brings this anonymous Chinese woman into the ring. In the wake of the coronavirus and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) deceptions, this woman posted a video in which she accuses the government of lying about the virus, and then goes on to support the independence of Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Tibet. During her tirade against the CCP, she recognizes she may be arrested or killed for speaking out, and says of her accusations that “a sacrifice of blood and flesh is necessary for revolution!”


By the time you read these words, she may have already made that sacrifice.


Our third practitioner of the “sweet science” is Cardinal Joseph Zen, former bishop of Hong Kong. The cardinal recently criticized the Vatican and Pope Francis in harsh terms for selling out the Catholic Church in China. In 2018, the Vatican signed a secret agreement with the CCP that apparently allows government control of the Catholic churches, priests, and other religious. Only churches aligned with the state will now be regarded by both Rome and Beijing as legitimate. As Cardinal Zen bitterly points out, this is the “killing of the underground church.” Rome is deaf to such criticism these days, but at least the cardinal is in the ring.


Next out at the bell are biologists Colin Wright of Pennsylvania State University and Emma Hilton of Britain’s Manchester University. Breibart News reports that in the February 3 edition of The Wall Street Journal this dynamic duo asserted that “no third type of sex cell exists in humans, and therefore there is no sex ‘spectrum’ or additional sexes beyond male or female. Sex is binary.”


They go even farther: “The time for politeness on this issue has passed. Biologists and medical professionals need to stand up for the empirical reality of biological sex.”


I can only imagine the barrage of verbal punches and threats thrown at these two brave souls.


We could learn some lessons from these examples. 


Long ago now, the counterculture warred against the Establishment. Today that counterculture is the Establishment. The radicals of the end of the 20th century are now the professors in our universities, the politicians governing our cities, and the cultural gurus dominating our art and literature.


Those opposed to this new Establishment are the true counterculture. Like the Connecticut athletes, or Cardinal Zen, or that poor anonymous Chinese woman, they know one thing for certain:


They have to punch back, good and hard.



[Image Credit: Wayne Short, Public Domain]