Faulty Default

David Henry
1 min readOct 27, 2021


What we leave unspoken is often most important. It’s an assumption of understanding between speaker and listener, writer and reader. Henry David Thoreau memorably makes note of what is left unsaid in the early pages of Walden:

In most books, the I, or first person, is omitted; in this it will be retained; that, in respect to egotism, is the main difference. We commonly do not remember that it is, after all, always the first person that is speaking,

It is precisely this first person to which Thoreau draws attention that, if we are not prone to thinking outside of, will lead us astray, leading us to the assumption that all first persons are just as ours. But that is not the case. That is not the case at all. There is no default to fall back on, only egotism.

It is this egotism, the assumption that the vantage point from which he sees the world is the default position, that makes Austin Hannum’s “hot take” tweet about trans women in disc golf particularly galling. Only from a position of assumed safety can someone ask others to comment on and debate over the status of a non-default group as if they were a new disc stamp or course design.

A human being and their life, safety, and happiness is not something to be discussed via #debateme Twitter like it is the new mozzarella sticks at USDGC. Tepid apology aside, I can only hope that Hannum learns that fellow humans don’t simply exist to garner more online engagement.