Yesterday morning, I commented upon the gender fascists’ insistence that we abandon traditional pronouns in favor of differently gendered pronouns or other dreadful assaults on the English language. This morning, I stumbled upon two perfect images to illustrate that point:
Cousin It moved into my brain today when I read Jay Nordlinger’s extended rumination on pronoun insanity at America’s institutions of “higher” education. (And why, precisely, are we sending our children to be indoctrina… er, “educated” at places in which everyone is quite obviously too high to function normally?) You remember Cousin It, don’t you? A part of the extended Addams Family, Cousin It was a chattering, gender indeterminate mound of hair.
After Nordlinger explains the newest Leftist lunacy, with its savage attack on traditional pronouns, you too will find that Cousin It has taken residence behind your frontal lobe:
Recently, Donna Braquet, the director of the Pride Center at the University of Tennessee–Knoxville, wrote the following on the university’s website: “With the new semester beginning and an influx of new students on campus, it is important to participate in making our campus welcoming and inclusive for all. One way to do that is to use a student’s chosen name and their correct pronouns.”
Obviously, she thinks that “their” goes with “student” — which is very modern.
She had some advice for teachers. “In the first weeks of classes, instead of calling roll, ask everyone to provide their name and pronouns. This ensures you are not singling out transgender or non-binary students.” She also recommended that, at events where name tags are used, pronouns be printed beside names.
What are the optional pronouns, by the way? “There are dozens,” Braquet explained. These include “ze/hir/hirs,” “ze/zir/zirs,” and “xe/xem/xyr.” “These may sound a little funny at first,” said Braquet, “but only because they are new. The she and he pronouns would sound strange too if we had been taught ze when growing up.”
What are PGPs, you ask? They’re “preferred gender pronouns.” I’ll let Cornell College, in Mount Vernon, Iowa, elaborate:
A preferred gender pronoun is a consciously chosen set of pronouns that allow a person to accurately represent their gender identity in a way that is comfortable for them. For example, a trans* person may begin using a gender-neutral pronoun prior to transitioning, and a gendered pronoun afterwards, or an agender, bigender or third-gender person may choose to use a neutral or invented pronoun.
Maybe fogeys have said this for millennia, but it’s not merely that I don’t quite understand the culture, I don’t even understand the language. That asterisk after “trans,” incidentally, does not lead to a footnote. That’s the way the word is spelled.
More from Cornell College: “Recognizing and accepting alternative gender pronouns helps gender-non-conforming people feel more comfortable with their gender identities and highlights the problems created by our cultureʼs strict gender binary.”
“Strict gender binary”? I have a feeling that this means men and women. I also have the feeling that it’s not strict enough.
Cornell has some recommendations for “normalizing” the exchange of PGPs. In other words, you give yours, I give mine. This ought to be normalized.
You can do this by “introducing yourself with your pronouns: ‘Hi my name is Dave, Iʼm a visiting professor, and my pronouns are he/him/his.” Then Dave is to “ask students to include their personal pronouns when introducing themselves as well.”
Here is advice for Dave and other professors: “When choosing readings for class try to include articles or examples that use gender neutral language or that feature gender-neutral or gender-ambiguous people.”
Sorry, my dear friends among the consciousness raising warriors on the Left, but it’s just too much to ask of me (a) to remember all those new pronouns (I always was bad at learning new languages) and (b) to know on any given day what pronoun a specific person felt applied upon awakening (and yes, you, the speaker, are supposed to know).
Several bizarre trends are burgeoning on American college campuses, all of which have the potential to backfire in spectacular form against the hardcore Leftists who are promulgating these ideas. This post focuses on three of the worst ideas in modern academia:
(1) The next generation of political correctness, which classifies any speech that hurts a student’s feelings as either a microaggression or a form of triggering. Older generation Lefties are slowly figuring out that these concepts are a form of censorship — but pointing that out, of course, is a form of microaggression that can trigger feelings of persecution in women, members of the LGBTQRSTUV community, people of color, people with handicaps (including young lawyers who demand corner offices at large law offices because they suffer from claustrophobia, something that really happened), victims of rape, victims of bad haircuts, people traumatized by reading about Cecil the Lion, etc.
(2) The bizarre pretense that a person’s sex is no longer a biological matter (as in X and Y chromosomes, which manifest themselves in different reproductive systems, hormones, musculoskeletal systems, etc.), but is simply a matter of preference, so that students can now claim to have a “fluid gender identity” that changes depending upon the person’s mood. On Tuesday, feeling manly, you can put on jeans and a baseball cap, and manspread over a couple of seats at a campus coffee shop; then on Wednesday, to explore your feminine side, you can put on a nice sun dress, put conditioner in your beard to make it soft and silky, and participate in the Womyn’s Group’s latest protest against male hegemony.
(3) The rabid attack on all men as rapists. The most recent examples of this campus pathology range from a manifestly delusional confabulator (as happened at the University of Virginia), to a pathetic woman desperate for attention (as seen with Emma Sulkowicz), to a scorned woman (such as the one who fell into the clutches of one of academia’s professional man haters, and then managed to drag an innocent man into a kangaroo court beyond even Kafka’s imaginings).
The last of the three trends, incidentally, is a direct by-product of the virulent misanthropy that incubates in “womyn’s studies” departments and that thrives on American campuses. If you’re interested in learning more, I highly recommend Robert Stacy McCain’s Sex Trouble: Essays on Radical Feminism and the War Against Human Nature. The book, which is by McCain’s own admission a work in progress, provides chapter and verse on the man-hating lesbians who occupy academia and churn out academic bestsellers. One of the more prominent examples of these “scholars” was the late Andrea Dworkin who, in 1987, published Intercourse, which asserts that all male-female penetrative sex is by definition a form of rape.
You do realize, of course, where we’re going with these three trends? One day, it’s going to happen that a young woman, whether because she’s delusional, an emotional exhibitionist, or simply vindictive, will file a complaint with her university’s sexual harassment squad claiming that, even though she consented for months to have sex with her boyfriend, she’s concluded in retrospect that her erstwhile boyfriend raped her. Being familiar with the Stalin-esque administraition her campus, she rightly assumes that, once she’s filed her complaint, her boyfriend will be summoned before a kangaroo court and run out of campus on a rail, with his entire future destroyed. Ah, sweet revenge!
But wait! In the Perfect Storm scenario, the ex-boyfriend, when called before the tribunal, refuses to bow down. He does not beg for a lawyer. He does not offer pathetic, chauvinistic attacks against his victimized accuser. He does not beg for mercy.
Instead, the accused ex-boyfriend claims that the charge against him cannot possibly be true. The reality, he says, is that during the time he was dating his accuser, his gender identity was feminine. Not only was his gender identity feminine, it was also lesbian — and to the extent his appearance on campus was externally masculine, he behaved that way because he had discovered that he had much greater sexual success as a lesbian (with sexual success defined as encounters with other women) when those same women believed he was a man. He knew, however, at all relevant times, that he was a lesbian having sex with the woman now hiding behind a screen and accusing him of the heteronormative crime of rape.
Not only does the accused ex-lesbian boyfriend deny the charges against him, he counterattacks. His accuser, he says, the so-called “victim,” has caused him deep emotional distress. She is therefore guilty of microaggressions directed at (1) lesbians, (2) women, and (3) gender fluid individuals. Moreover, the administrative tribunal itself is a triggering factor that has caused him to relive in a post traumatic stress way the horrors of a childhood with religious conservative parents who insisted that men are men, women are women, and that marriage can be only between one man and one woman.
Because of these appalling microaggressions and triggering events, the manifestly innocent ex-lesbian boyfriend, upon leaving this administrative tribunal, plans to head directly to Leslie Abramson’s office, where he will file a suit against the University and his accuser alleging discrimination, sexual harassment, gender bias, emotional distress, and all other claims necessary to compensate him for the terrible emotional wrongs committed against him. The worm will have turned.
As you may have gathered from the number of things we did every day on our recent trip to Virginia and environs, ours was not a restful vacation. I capped off the fatigue with a cold and, since our return, have been having a very hard time motivating myself to do anything. My theme song for the week has been Irving Berlin’s Lazy, although I’d have to add fatigue and inertia to the laziness mix:
Still, despite my laziness, I have managed to peel myself off the couch and find my way to the computer occasionally, so I do have some posts to share with you:
Made You Laugh
Before I get to the depressing stuff — and, lately, all the news seems to be depressing — I wanted to tell you about a weekly column my long-time friend Gary Buslik is starting at The Blot. I first introduced you to Gary a few years ago when I reviewed his outrageously funny book Akhmed and the Atomic Matzo Balls: A Novel of International Intrigue, Pork-Crazed Termites, and Motherhood. I’ve since read, though shamefully neglected to review, his delightful travelogue, A Rotten Person Travels the Caribbean: A Grump in Paradise Discovers that Anyplace it’s Legal to Carry a Machete is Comedy Just Waiting to Happen. In both books, and in the various travel articles of his published in anthologies, Gary’s voice is true: erudite, wry, mordant, snarky, self-deprecating, Jewish, and very, very funny.
Since Gary just launched his weekly column, there’s only one week’s worth of writing, but I think you might enjoy it: The Great Jewish Dilemma.
Yes, Martin O’Malley’s link between ISIS and climate change is crazy
Democrat presidential hopeful Martin O’Malley came in for a good deal of derision for saying that ISIS’s rise can be tied to climate change. The obvious reason this is a laughable point is because the most direct tie to ISIS’s rise is, of course, Obama’s retreat, which created a giant ISIS-sized vacuum. My friend Wolf Howling sent me an email which I think nicely summarizes the Obama/ISIS link:
A fascinating article in the NY Review of Books states that it is the Iraqi organization originally founded by Zarqawi, the utterly sadistic terrorist we sent off the mortal coil in 2006. The movement obviously survived him, and this really throws into stark relief the wages of Obama and the Left cutting and running from Iraq in 2010. ISIS is like a bacteria that survives a stunted course of antibiotics. Had we stayed in Iraq, there is no possible way that ISIS could have had a rebirth.
The author of the article tries to make sense of the rise of ISIS. You can read his ruminations. My own theory is two-fold: One, ISIS is preaching the true Salafi / Wahhabi purist doctrine that makes of the world a thing of black and white, where all things that support Allah are pure, while everything that does not is evil and can be dealt with without regards. Thus it is a draw to young Arab men. If you want to see how, here is a fascinating article by Tawfiq Hamid, a doctor who became a terrorist, who discusses the lure of Salafism / Wahhabism and all its deadly toxins.
Two, the ISIS ideology is a draw because it is utterly without bounds in its sadism or cruelty. This also is a draw to a particular segment of Arab men. It is the Lord of the Flies. It is going into a scenario where you will have the power of life, death, and pain with virtually no restrictions.
The fact is that ISIS should not be around today. My word, but Obama has so totally f**ked us in the Middle East . . . . He makes Carter look like Nixon by comparison.
I only wish I’d written that, but at least I can share it with you. So yes, O’Malley is an ignorant moron.
Still, never let it be said that the Left doesn’t protect its own, so The Atlantic has tried to throw a life saver to O’Malley: Martin O’Malley’s Link Between Climate Change and ISIS Isn’t Crazy. The article’s premise is that there’s a connection between drought and unrest. To which I say, “Well, duh!”
Any student of history knows that in primitive societies (and Muslim Middle Eastern countries are extremely primitive when it comes to food production, due to natural limitations, societal factors, and the transfer of food crops to biofuels) anything that interferes even marginally with food production has devastating effects, with war one of the most common ones.
However, as my reference to “students of history” makes clear, droughts have always happened. O’Malley wouldn’t have been a moron if he’d said “the drought they’re experiencing in the region no doubt was a contributing factor to unrest in the Syria – Iraqi region.” But instead, he had to throw in “climate change” — and what makes that so laughable is that we’ve come to the point which climate change is responsible for everything. I’m awaiting the day when we get an article saying that Caitlyn Jenner’s unfortunate transgender habit of dressing like a male chauvinists’ dream 1950s pin-up girl is also due to climate change.
I have work to do today, but no actual deadlines, so naturally I’m procrastinating like crazy. And what better way to do so than to share a few interesting things with you? How about my starting with the most inspirational. I’ll go from the sublime to the ridiculous, which means I’ll end with links to articles about Hillary’s candidacy.
Noah Galloway, American soldier, DWTS contender
Noah Galloway lost his left arm and leg in Iraq. His appearance on Dancing With The Stars was a little bit by way of being a gimmick because how can someone dance without an arm and with a totally lost leg (i.e., no knee)?
Today is showing signs of being every bit as challenging as yesterday was (work ended in the wee hours of the morning), so this will be a round-up marked by brevity. Still, there are things I’ve saved that haven’t become stale, old yesterday’s news and that I very much want to share with you.
America’s Sergeant Major has a new home
One of my favorite milbloggers is America’s Sergeant Major, whom I first met when I discovered his post about Tabata drills. Having done Tabata drills myself, it resonated. I also just loved the sense of humor and sense of responsibility that infuse his writing:
Simply thrashing a group of Marines into the ground is pretty easy and not a method of instruction I prefer. If they are simply getting their doors blown off without learning anything then I figure I’ve passed up a great training opportunity.
I like to ask Marines why we PT at all. Their answers are inevitably: “To be in shape.” “Be fit.” My personal favorite is: “To look good naked 1stSgt!” I appreciate the honesty.
The bottom line is we conduct PT in order to make our bodies harder to kill. Never mind the idea of being fitter and stronger than your enemy. Fit, healthy bodies tend to survive being shot, blown up, infected, and other rough treatment. It’s only natural the Corps would develop a culture of physical fitness within its ranks.
The Tabata quotation is from an older post, but you’ll find that America’s Sergeant Major hasn’t lost his edge. The only thing that’s changed is that he’s got himself a shiny new site. It’s really gorgeous. Please check it out.
I can’t remember if I’ve fulminated here about California’s drought. My shtick, which I’ll share with anyone who’s listening, is that California’s horrible drought was foreseeable and preventable.
No, it’s not climate change. It’s a completely predictable cyclical drought that comes along like clockwork every few decades.
“Ah,” says the wise climate changista, “but it’s worse now because global warming.” No! It’s worse now because of insanely stupid water management practices, including minimal reservoir upgrade and increase, despite the fact that California’s population has more than doubled since 1961. And of course that the enviromentalists in California government have the bright idea, in the middle of a massive drought, to flush away millions of gallons of water to protect that little Delta Smelt.
Anyway, don’t take my word for it; take Victor Davis Hanson’s.
Over at Power Line last week, John Hinderaker ask plaintively “Does anyone fact-check the president?” The short answer is “no.” Hinderaker provides the latest example of the long answer.
Incidentally, I want to know what the word is for tyranny by media, because that’s what we’ve got. The media tyranny explains why we have people in government so grossly dishonest — intellectually, historically, politically — with nary a word allowed to be said against them in the outlets that control most of America’s air time.
Are we suffering under a “media-archy”?
The bad decisions of the effete
Effete is not a word one hears often any more. It’s a good word, though, and one that well describes huge swaths of 21st century America:
1. lacking in wholesome vigor; degenerate; decadent: an effete, overrefined society.
2. exhausted of vigor or energy; worn out: an effete political force.
3. unable to produce; sterile.
Scott Locklin builds a whole political argument around difference between those who engage with real life and todays effete, enervated Americans: Never trust anyone who hasn’t been punched in the face — and he means really punched, not just metaphorically punched.
I’ll just note the historic truism that Rome fell when its prosperity left people unwilling and unable to defend themselves. (I’ve also heard that they got that way from drinking their wine from cups made of lead, which may be true too, but they were drinking that way long before the empire’s slow, dismal decline.)
Who has abortions? Men do, that’s who!
No, that title is not a joke. Thanks to our brave new world of fluid genders, Katha Pollitt argues vigorously that we’re being sexist in denying that men have abortions:
Who has abortions? For most of human history, the answer was obvious: women have abortions. Girls have abortions. Not any more. People have abortions. Patients have abortions. Men have abortions. “We must acknowledge and come to terms with the implicit cissexism in assuming that only women have abortions,” wrote feminist activist Lauren Rankin in July 2013 in truthout.com. She went on to criticize as exclusionary slogans like “the War on Women” and “Stand with Texas Women.”
Apparently Katha needs a little biology lesson: Abortions require pregnancies; pregnancies require a uterus; and a uterus is by definition female. You can take a woman, stuff her full of hormones so she gets good and hairy on her face and chest, and has a nice deep voice; slice off her breasts; and create a fancy new dangling dongle for her, but at the end of the day, that’s all cosmetic. When she gets pregnant, it’s because under the cosmetics, she’s still a woman with a uterus and the accompanying hormones.
But don’t listen to me; listen to Monty Python:
Any surprise that he’s a former Marine?
Meet retired Marine Corps. Sergeant Patrick Maxwell, who’s off with the Kurds fighting against ISIS:
“I’m very libertarian in my beliefs and I don’t think we need to be committing U.S. boots to the ground to do another long war like that, ” he says. “But myself as a private citizen – if I want to go take a vacation and shoot some terrorists in the process, that should be my own business.”
It would be different, of course, if Maxwell wanted to join up with terrorists to shoot Americans. But as long as he’s not harming American interests, while it’s not my idea of a vacation, I sure can’t quarrel with him.
If you’ve been wondering who supports Jeb Bush….
The GOP establishment’s love affair with Jeb Bush is mystifying, because he can’t win. Barring a handful of RINO bazillionaires, nobody, and I mean nobody, wants a third Bush in the White House. He’s too Bush-like for Democrats, and too Bill Clinton-like for conservatives.
Wait. I take that back. Garth Kant has an idea about what might be driving this Jeb furor.
A coda to the off-duty cop murdered in Philadelphia
It’s been a couple of weeks since two brothers murdered Officer Robert Wilson III in Philadelphia. I have three comments to make based upon an article about Wilson’s last moments and about his killers.
First, Wilson died incredibly bravely. Second, take a look at the picture of his murders. Look closely. Notice anything interesting about their foreheads? (The forehead thing is supposition, by the way, so I’ll be interested in seeing if it’s true or someone just had a very large zit that popped in a visible spot.) Third, please note how the brothers have different last names, suggesting a dysfunction in their home life going back to their births.
Two things you should read about Eric Holder’s “disparate impact” crusade
The Obama government has told America’s school districts that they need to stop punishing black kids more than they do white kids. In Democrat-led cities, that’s exactly what the schools have been doing, with entirely predictable results:
Convinced traditional discipline is racist because blacks are suspended at higher rates than whites, New York City’s Department of Education has in all but the most serious and dangerous offenses replaced out-of-school suspensions with a touchy-feely alternative punishment called “restorative justice,” which isn’t really punishment at all. It’s therapy.
“Every reasonable effort must be made to correct student behavior through…restorative practices,” advises the city’s new 32-page discipline code.
Except everywhere it’s been tried, this softer approach has backfired.
What’s more, the movement — which is driven by new race-based anti-discipline guidelines issued by the Obama administration — is creating friction between teachers unions and the liberal mayors they otherwise support.
That last paragraph I quoted is a reminder that revolutions always eat their own.
Anyway, it’s a long, good article and you should read the whole thing. Then, when you’re done, go here, to Stately McDaniel Manor to read how Eric Holder wants to bring to crime fighting the exactly same “disparate impact” logic that’s turning America’s public schools into “Lord of the Flies” environments.
And now, back to work….
Andrew Klavan tries to sort out the Left’s gender constructs. It’s not easy, but I will say that he can carry a tune:
Facebook’s decision to add something like 50 new gender identification categories to its “about me” section caused a small flurry of interest in the news and in social media. Progressives embraced the change because it’s a step towards ending the stultifying limitations of male and female. Conservatives were upset by the change because they believe that, while human sexuality is variable, those stultifying limitations of male and female are necessary ingredients for a functioning society. Engineers noted that Facebook put the new system in place primarily to make for more targeted, and therefore more profitable, advertising.
Within a few days of reading about Facebook’s gender re-identification scheme, my daughter asked me what I thought of Bowdoin as a possible college for her. I’ve never been to Bowdoin and I’ve only met one person who has. Back in the early 1980s, one of my less-appealing UC Berkeley classmates had transferred out of Bowdoin, saying it was claustrophobic. Still, when I heard the word “Bowdoin,” I thought to myself, “You know, I was just reading about Bowdoin lately….”
It turns out that I was reading about Bowdoin almost a year ago, when a 355-page report came out detailing exactly what a modern liberal-arts curriculum looks like. Although the report focuses on Bowdoin, I suspect it would apply equally well to all other high-end American colleges and universities. It’s decidedly Leftist in outlook, of course, but that was to be expected. What Bowdoin also is, though, is reductive. It doesn’t look at big things; it looks at microscopically small things:
The report documents an increasingly fractured academy that has no common curriculum and in which so-called identity studies take priority over a study of the West. It highlights, for example, the 36 freshmen seminars offered at Bowdoin in the fall of 2012. They are designed to teach writing and critical-thinking skills and to introduce students to the various academic departments. Some of the subjects are unsurprising: The Korean War, Great Issues in Science, Political Leadership. Others seem less conducive to critical thinking and fruitful classroom discussion: Queer Gardens, Beyond Pocahontas: Native American Stereotypes; Sexual Life of Colonialism; Modern Western Prostitutes.
Parents who send their kids to expensive colleges thinking that doing so will expand their mental horizons will discover that these $200,000+ investments do just the opposite: they shrink young people’s view of the world and of their place in the world. By the time you leave the four year Progressive incubator, you’ve learned that you’re not just “an American” (which is an embarrassing designator in any event). Instead, you’re an African-Polynesian-Neutrois-with-a-economically-fostered-learning-disability. Or perhaps you’re a white-male-hegemonic-patriarchal-chauvinist-imperalist. Or you could be a currently bigender, but questioning, pre-transexual Hispanic from an economically marginal semi-urban upbringing.
Once upon time, the American notion of “e pluribus unum” applied, not just to the states, but to the people in the states. The metaphor used to illustrate this union was a melting pot, in which each person’s culture and individual qualities blended to form a big, rich, satisfying whole. By the 1970s, that “we’re all in it together” view had vanished in favor of a “tossed salad” metaphor. We weren’t one great whole anymore, but we still at least shared the same salad bowl.
Now, however, it’s impossible to think of America in terms of any food metaphor. Cooking inevitably involves blending and transformation towards a greater (and tasty) whole. Our young people, however, are being taught that Americans have no relationship to each other. We’ve been individualized into tiny little pieces, floating alone in space. Not only is this a very sad worldview, it’s antithetical to man’s basic nature as a social animal.
I thought it was bad when I was at Berkeley, an extraordinarily cliquish school back in my day, and found that the tennis players shunned me because I didn’t play tennis, the science geeks shunned me because I was bad at science, and the dorm dwellers shunned me because I commuted. Nowadays, though, it’s not enough even to be a tennis player or a science geek or a dorm resident. Instead, within those subsets, the beleaguered student has to find the right variable races, genders, sexual orientations, political views, and academic interests.
America was always a big country. The dream around the world was that you could leave behind your boring, impoverished, or even dangerous homeland (or home town), and come to a vast country where you could strive to be anything. The whole was infinitely greater than the sum of the parts, and each part yearned to belong to that whole. Now, though, we’re a little country. We have a little president who exerts vast power to do teeny-weeny little things; we have a huge military that occupies itself figuring out how to be gay and women friendly; we have a Secretary of State who ignores civil wars and violent democratic revolutions in favor of bloviating about car exhaust and factory smoke; and we have an education system that is dedicated to teaching students to think small.
Facebook isn’t causing the end of the world as we know it. Facebook is reflecting the fact that the world as we once knew it has already ended.
Back in the late 1980s, Disney began airing commercials that spawned a catch-phrase. After a Super Bowl or other major sports event, someone would ask the champion what his plans were and he’d holler out “I’m going to go to Disney World [or Disneyland]!”
I thought of that commercial when I heard about Bradley Manning’s announcement now that he’s been convicted.
“So, Bradley, you’ve just been sent to prison for 39 years! What are you going to do next?”
As I transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me. I am Chelsea Manning, I am a female.”
No, Bradley, you are not a female. When you have died and your skeleton and DNA are all that remains, science will identify you as a man. What you are is deeply confused. Just as those athletes are going to Disneyland, you’ve just announced that you’re retreating to your own private fantasy world. The only difference is that you’re going to get the taxpayer to pay for your vacation from reality.
I’ve been hammering at this point for a long time — namely, that biology is not some imaginary construct. It’s real and cannot be wished away. Yet that is precisely what our Progressive culture is trying to do. Kevin D. Williamson has absolutely the best analysis I’ve ever seen of the Leftist belief that “wishing can make it so” when it comes to “gender identity”:
We have created a rhetoric of “gender identity” that is disconnected from biological sexual fact, and we have done so largely in the service of enabling the sexual mutilation of physically healthy men and women (significantly more men) by medical authorities who should be barred by professional convention if not by conscience from the removal of healthy organs (and limbs, more on that later), an act that by any reasonable standard ought to be considered mutilation rather than therapy. This is not to discount the feelings of people who suffer from gender-identity disorders — to the contrary, those feelings must be taken into account in determining courses of treatment for people who have severe personality disorders. But those subjective experiences do not render inconsequential the biological facts: A man who believes he is a woman trapped in a man’s body, no matter the intensity of his feeling, is no such thing. The duty of the medical profession is not to encourage and enable delusions, but to help those who suffer from them to cope with them. It is worth noting here that as a matter of law and a matter of social expectation, the fiction of sex change is treated as the paramount good: We are not expected to treat those who have undergone the procedure as men who have taken surgical and hormonal steps to impersonate women (or vice versa) but as people who have literally changed sex, which they have not — no more than Dennis Avner, the famous “Stalking Cat” who attempted to physically transform himself into a tiger, changed species.
Please note that Williamson is not hostile to people who feel a disconnect between brain and body. Instead, he is hostile to a society that rejects reality wholesale in an effort to make a very small minority of people comfortable. (If you’re thinking “The Emperor’s New Clothes” here, you’re on the right track.) The other thing you should note is that many people who undergo gender identity, despite achieving their dream of looking like a person of the opposite sex, are still unhappy. Their discomfort with their old body was a symptom of some deeper psychological disturbance, and a little slice and dice on the operating table (not to mention dangerous hormone treatments) won’t change that more profound despair.
This government-mandated societal delusion is costly. The intangible cost is that it creates massive cognitive dissonance in an up-and-coming generation that is being trained to deny reality. It’s also costly because insurance companies are pressured to pay for gender delusion treatments. Heck, even prisons are now paying. This means that you, the taxpayer, will pay for “Ms.” Manning to get special “gender re-assignment” treatment in prison. All of which caused a wonderfully snarky friend of mine to send me an email with his own plea for “re-assignment”: “If the gov’t is required to pay for prisoner’s trans-gender therapies, which I understand cost an average of $20,000, then they are also required to pay for my trans-ethnic reassignment therapy too. Since I identify as Polynesian, I will need money for my tanning therapy, hair treatments, and for me to learn a Polynesian language.”
Following my friend’s quite reasonable take on the government’s insistence that everyone must pay so that we’re free to be whatever we want (free because someone else will pay if we claim victim status), I’m pretty darn sure that I’m Claudia Schiffer trapped in a short, only moderately-attractive, middle-aged woman’s body. Put another way, my real identity is super model, not soccer mom. This disconnect (or, to use a fancy term, body dysmorphia) causes me profound mental anguish. I’m subject to age-ism and look-ism inconsistent with my true identity, and daily battle the glances of myself that the mirror reveals. I have a right to be whole. I recognize that I’ll always be short, but I think it will take only about $100,000 in plastic surgery (facelift, cheek implants, jaw implants, hair weaves, breast implants, butt implants, a little bit of liposuction, colored contact lenses, wardrobe consultations, etc) in order for me to look as my mental self-image tells me I should look:
Natan Sharansky, the former Russian dissident and current Israeli citizen, wrote about one of the hallmarks of a totalitarian society: its mandate (enforced with fines, imprisonment, and even death) that all citizens accept government statements of fact as true even when the citizens’ own senses prove absolutely that the government’s imposed reality are false. People cease to believe in their government, which is manifestly lying to them; they become cynical; and, eventually, they become desperate to end the cognitive dissonance that makes it impossible for them to deal with the real problems and issues they face in their lives. At that point, of course, drink, drugs, and revolution all become reasonable options.
In a comment to an earlier post, BrianE linked to a quite interesting article about possible genetic differences between blacks and whites. The article is about a book the title of which probably tells you all you need to know, “Taboo: Why Black Athletes Dominate Sports and Why We’re Afraid to Talk About It.” What is striking is the reaction of the critics who are, indeed, “afraid to talk about it.” As one critic (a college professor, of course) put it, “Some information has a more dangerous content than others.” In other words, some truths are too dangerous to tell. The good professor even opposes efforts to find out the truth: “Only bad things can come from research into racially based differences in sports performance.”
Personally, I have no idea whether there are significant differences between blacks and whites. I have no idea about the science and, certainly, a good non-scientific case can be made to the contrary. I know that there are many white volleyball players who can jump as high as black basketball players do. I know that whites dominate in swimming just like blacks do in track. I know there are as many world-class white high-jumpers and pole vaulters as black (though not as many good white long jumpers and triple jumpers).
However, while there may or may not be real differences between blacks and whites, there are unquestionably real differences between men and women. Men are bigger stronger and faster. Women mature faster and live longer. Oddly, no one suggests that by saying men are bigger, stronger or faster we are implying that men are less intelligent and that this is a terrible truth that should not be told. If we treated the differences between the genders like we do differences (if any) between the races, there would be no Title IX. In fact, there would be no girls’ teams at all. There would be only one team in each sport, likely dominated by men, and we wouldn’t even be allowed to talk about it, just like we aren’t allowed to talk about the predominance of blacks in track, or basketball or football (or the lack of blacks in swimming, hockey or cycling for that matter).
Does any of this make any difference? I think it does. The more we refuse to even consider scientific truth in any area, the less rational and mature we become. Whether it’s differences between the races, the truth about global warming, the actual threat to America from Islamic extremists, the true state of decline of American capitalism, or whatever the subject, I think we should do all we can to discover the truth and face that truth squarely. What do you think?