Thoughts on Matt Walsh
By Douglas Groothuis
For most of my life as a philosopher and later (if I dare say it) as a public intellectual, it was necessary to establish your credibility through earning academic degrees, by teaching, by writing articles, reviews, and books, and by giving radio or TV interviews. It also helped to be quoted in major newspapers and magazines, such as Time or the New York Times.
Now, all that has changed. Instead of “public intellectuals” we have “influencers,” most of whom are not intellectuals, but have a knack for getting noticed, mostly online. Matt Walsh is one of those influencers, but he is not a glitzy or silly celebrity. He brags about not finishing college and is a comedian as well as a social critic. Nevertheless, he often gets to the heart of moral issues—especially about sexuality—and will speak hard truths that others avoid.
I read Matt Walsh’s book and watched the corresponding film, What is a Woman?, both of which I positively reviewed at The Christian Research Journal. I often listen to Matt’s podcast when I am driving or otherwise occupied, and listen I to him more than to any other political podcaster. While Mr. Walsh is a compelling and influential social critic, but not above criticism.
First, the positives. Matt is usually an incisive thinker, getting to the presuppositions of gender ideology and other leftist positions. He has strong philosophical instincts to root out error and absurdity.
Matt is strongly pro-life and pro-traditional family, for which he should be commended. He supports marriage and having children. Today, this is a radical position.
Matt is articulate and has a commanding voice. There is nothing wishy-washy or vague about his views. You know what he thinks and why. He gives you a big target to attack.
Matt is fearless and doesn’t worry about being a contrarian on many matters, particularly on gender ideology. He is willing to speak the truth about these aberrations in strong language, come what may.
Matt has taken it to the streets by opposing gender transition measures used on minors in his home state of Tennessee. A bill he influenced recently passed and will forbid gender transitions on minors. He should be applauded for this. Conservatives need to win the day politically and not just intellectually.
While Matt’s sarcasm can grow old, he is often quite clever, usually in his mockery. When actions and viewpoints are absurd and evil, mockery is sometimes called for.
For these reasons, I appreciate Matt Walsh’s voice and activism in our insane and declining times. I often pray for him and for his family, since he regularly receives death threats. When I saw him speak at The Western Conservative Summit in 2022, everyone attending his lecture was checked for weapons. This was not done for any other speaker at the event.
However, Matt is prone to some mistakes. While he calls out perversity for what it is on gender ideology, he often wishes ill upon those he criticizes. As a self-identified Christian, he should not do that. Gender ideology needs to be defeated intellectually, culturally, and politically. Moreover, the transvestites and trans-people leading the charge are often deeply disgusting people, especially when they seek to lead children into their perverted ways. Nevertheless, Jesus taught us to love our enemies (which doesn’t mean pretending they are friends). For all the evils of a trans activist wanting to recruit children to their cause, we should pray for them and hope they repent of their depravity. Moreover, we should not gloat if they are defeated politically. “Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice” (Proverbs 24:17).
Matt also sometimes takes some extreme and wrongheaded stands. For example, he has advocated that hard drug dealers receive the death penalty. However, as heinous as drug dealing is, the death penalty should be reserved for those who commit murder (Genesis 9:6).
He is also an isolationist on foreign policy, which is an unrealistic stance in a globalized world. The views of Ben Schapiro, Matt’s boss and colleague, are wiser on this matter. Ben believes that it is in America’s best interest to support Ukraine, for example, while Matt just rails against it. Moreover, to withhold all foreign aid, particularly regarding extreme emergencies, is hardhearted (although much foreign aid does not accomplish what it purports to accomplish). On the problems with state-to-state foreign aid, see the older work of P. T. Bauer and, more recently, Dead Aid by Dambisa Moya.
Matt Walsh is a young man (mid-thirties) with a huge following and considerable impact on our culture and politics. He is smart, but prone to overstatements. He is courageous, but sometimes arrogant. However, he was not arrogant with any of the people he disagreed with in his film, What is a Woman? May Matt Walsh become wiser but no less courageous and committed in the conservative cause to restore sanity to society.