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Samizdata quote of the day

Whenever I hear people stereotyping based on gender. “Women vote this way”, “Men act in this manner”, I am reminded of the great contrast between Britain’s two women Prime Ministers. Thatcher, won a brilliant renegotiation of the EEC, trounced the unions, denationalized vast swaths of obscene nationalized industries, and was one of the four people instrumental in ending the cold war. May, the other lady from number 10, apparently couldn’t negotiate the purchase of a sausage supper for fifty quid in the local fish and chip shop.

Apparently, it is more to do with the content of your character than the content of your underpants.

Fraser Orr

29 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • CaptDMO

    And the rest of us that actually know how a Bell Curve is derived will continue to comprehend that stereotypes, outliers, and the oft idiotically cited borderline/spectrum, do not simply evolve from the mist.
    I could be wrong of course.

  • Mr Black

    I think it’s called “the exception proves the rule”. This is the same kind of delusional nonsense that has republicans thinking illegals are natural right-wingers because they have religion. Nope.

  • The Sage

    Is a boilerplate bit of NAXALT really a quote of the day? Even James Damore was more red-pilled on this issue than Mr. Orr seems to be.

  • pete

    There are an infinite number of identities on the gender spectrum so an opinion poll seeking results based on gender would have many more categories than just men and women.

  • John B

    Unless you have spent your whole life in a coma, you will have noticed that the behaviour of men and women has many things in common; men and women behave/act differently in others.

    It is one of the reasons why the family unit with a female mum and a male dad has evolved, because of specialisation and division of labour to produce best outcome most often.

    As for voting: don’t polls often separate results into gender groups as well as age groups and don’t they show that there are difference between how men and women vote, as well as differences within age groups?

    Why is it so difficult to accept men and women are different – clue they are physically different for a start, one can have babies the other not?

  • bob sykes

    “The exception proves the rule” means that it tests the rule. Proves is used here in its other meaning of test. No body has any vocabulary anymore.

    And you cannot argue from outliers and exceptions. Stereotypes, like all rules, exist because on average they are true. Black IQ’s on average are one (White) standard deviation lower than that of Whites, and that difference means everything when White communities are compared to black communities. Or when women’s athletic ability is compared to men’s on average. The average male is stronger than the average woman Olympian.

  • Paul Marks

    Very good post – good because it is true.

  • Horace Dunn

    “The exception proves the rule” means that it tests the rule.

    Not quite. You’re right that “test” in this case means something closer to “prove”, from an archaic usage. However, the idiom in question means something quite distinct. It means something more like “The exception demonstrates the rule”. An example:

    Imagine a school lavatory where there are 10 washing basins, each fitted with a tap. At the end of the row of basins is another tap with a sign above it that reads “this water is suitable for drinking”. From that you can deduce that the water in all the other ten taps is good for washing hands but not good for drinking. How do you know that, since there is no sign saying “NOT suitable for drinking” above the other taps? You know it because the the rule “water from these taps is not suitable for drinking” has been proved (or tested, or demonstrated) by the exception, i.e. the single tap that is marked as suitable for drinking.

    But you’re right to raise this. It’s a shame that this idiom has been rendered all but unusable.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “Why is it so difficult to accept men and women are different – clue they are physically different for a start, one can have babies the other not?”

    Because the argument is over whether their brains are different, and you can’t see the differences in brains. (The skull gets in the way.)

    Some argue that men and women have identical brains in different bodies, and it’s all due to upbriging and cultural conventions. Some argue that the genitals determine the mind, and the ability to have babies is what makes your mind develop that way. Others argue that both brain and body develop differently in the womb, that the Y chromosome contains the SRY gene that triggers the development of testes which releases dihydrotestosterone which is converted to a cascade of other sex hormones that trigger switches on dozens of different cell groups all around the body/brain causing them each independently to develop in either a male or female pattern, and that while errors in this process are common, so everyone has a few features more typical of the other sex, by an large the two sexes have different behaviour and personality because it’s wired into their brain anatomy at birth. This does not, of course, mean that *all* differences between the sexes are pre-wired, as many of them clearly change over time – some are purely cultural, some are a mixture of nature and nurture.

    The original argument was over equality for women, and whether it was justifiable to stop women voting, working independently, signing contracts, and owning property because their tiny brains would overheat if challenged with complicated ‘man stuff’. So the feminists argued that men’s and women’s brains were basically the same, and the differences were all due to culture and the patriarchy. The right-wingers opposing them initially argued that sex-differences were wired in, until someone pointed out that this meant homosexuality and transgenderism were probably real, and due to people of one sex getting some of their brain modules wired like the other sex. They had previously believed that these were aberrant cultural phenomena, (i.e. sinful behaviour,) and that people could be educated out of them. And now, since both sides of the nature/nurture argument have consequences that both sides of the political debate find abhorrent, nobody knows what to think!

    Ultimately, for many people, it all depends on what you want to be true. That’s why it’s so difficult.

  • Fraser Orr

    FWIW, I find the reaction to this curious. I was not at all saying that women on average don’t behave differently on average. Of course they do. If you fraction the population almost any way that is going to be true. Left handed welsh, black Lesbians no doubt behave on average differently than right handed ones. And there are certainly biological causes for that too in some cases. However, not by any means all. Scottish people on average behave differently than English people, but I doubt that difference is rooted in biology.

    The left is obsessed with categorizing people in this way. It is so distasteful that those who so often lionize Martin Luther King do precisely the opposite of what he recommended — treat people by the color of their skin not the content of their character.

    But my point was almost exactly the opposite. It was that despite these average behaviors individual women (or individual left handed welsh black lesbians) have a very wide spread of behavioral choices. And it is precisely for that reason that treating people categorically is so very wrong.

    I would have thought that was extremely obvious from my allusion to Martin Luther King. But perhaps not.

    BTW, kudos points for anyone who knows where “left handed welsh black lesbians” comes from. I’m betting Julie from Chicago knows.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “The left is obsessed with categorizing people in this way.”

    I’ve not noticed that the right are any different in that regard.

    In some ways, left-vs-right stereotyping is like male-vs-female stereotypes or black-vs-white stereotypes. People have to simplify the world into manageable conceptual chunks. We’re all human.

    When an official form invites us to tick a ‘race’ or ‘ethnicity’ box I recommend crossing it out and writing ‘human’.

    (From ‘The tyranny of the discontinuous mind‘.)

  • [May] couldn’t negotiate the purchase of a sausage supper for fifty quid

    Actually I think the problem is that she could – and indeed would – negotiate the purchase of a single one-sausage supper for £50 plus surcharge plus agreement to purchase all her food at that price from that supplier until the supplier agreed to a change.

  • ragingnick

    the modern liberal blank slatist believes that somehow the obvious physical differences between men and women, or between different ethnic groups, end at the border of the skull. Or that the ‘content of ones character’ can be entirely separated from such such differences.

    Now of course there are large differences between individuals within groups, however that does not negate the real differences between groups as the OP seems to be suggesting.

  • Filing the serial numbers off this one for use as a future QotD post.

  • however that does not negate the real differences between groups as the OP seems to be suggesting.

    I fail to see how the OP is suggesting that at all.

  • FWIW, I find the reaction to this curious

    As do I 😆

  • Julie near Chicago


    I know I’m Letting Down the Side 😥 , but I don’t recognize your quote at all. And I got nowhere when I tried to Look It Up.

    Please, I confess my ignorance and beseech thee for enlightenment. ❓

  • Nullius in Verba

    Fraser was alluding to:

    “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character,”

  • Peter Melia

    Mrs Thatcher won the Falklands war, according to the wishes of the people.
    Mrs May will win the Brexit war, also according to the wishes of the people.
    When Mrs Thatcher became Prime Minister, it probably never occurred to her that she would be in power carrying out the wishes of the people, by fighting a war at a far corner of the globe.
    When Mrs May became Prime Minister, it probably never occurred her that she would be in power carrying out the wishes of the people, by obeying their referendum wish and extricating Britain from the EU.
    It is far, far too soon to compare these two great Prime Ministers.

  • Nullius in Verba

    Oh, hang on. You meant “left handed welsh black lesbians” didn’t you?

    Dunno. I gather the British political philosopher Kenneth Minogue created the figure of ‘the one-legged Black Lesbian’ for a similar purpose. I guess someone else has their own variant.

  • Fraser Orr

    @Julie, in your defense I did completely mangle the quote. This is what I was thinking of:


    From “Jobs for the Boys”, which unfortunately is one of the two episodes not readily viewable on the web…

    I must have added the left-handed thing by Freudian slip, since I am, myself, part of that persecuted minority. (Left handed that is, not being a lesbian, a trade unionist, disabled, or…thank God… Welsh.)

    You righties have no idea how rough we have it. Every pair of scissors doesn’t fit our hands, and as you write your hand drags across the freshly written ink, smudging it. And do exam graders take that into account? Of course not. They just mark us down for that which is in our very nature. It is a right hand world, designed for right handed people. I think I should have got a special access quota in college admissions…

  • Julie near Chicago

    Ah! Now I understand, Fraser. :>))) –Though I have to admit I probably wouldn’t have gotten it anyway, as I’ve only watched “Jobs” a few times. Now had it been “Party Games” or “The Key”….

    Thanks for filling in that particular hole in the head. :>)


    NiV, the Great Frog knows I Have a Dream, although I see little chance of its happening. But if it did, the G.F. would have arranged a lovely dwelling place (whether or not with it/he/she) for my Honey, me, and our two dogs — with plenty of food from all over, and four real seasons. I could go on, but you I hope you get the drift. –Oh, and Samizdata would carry on forever.

    And Chicago’s our “jewel of an airport,” Meigs Field, would be returned to its former glory, as would the Midway Plaisance and Jackson Park, onaccounta the G.F. would have arranged things so that Chicago and especially UC would never have heard of the execrable O, who would have been drowned at birth on his home planet by its parent the great Cthulhu, who knows a wrong’un when he sees it. Along with dude who dug up the runways in the dead of night at Meigs.

    And Idlewild would get its proper name back. @*&@!%*!@@

    –Heh, I got so carried away I forgot I was talking to you, NiV, and not Fraser, who is an adopted native of the Chicago area. (What, exactly, is an “adopted native”?)

  • Roué le Jour

    It’s pointless complaining that May hasn’t negotiated a good deal for Britain, she isn’t trying to. She has “negotiated” a good deal for the EU, which was her intention all along. Indeed, one might say she was appointed prime minister to do exactly that.

  • Horace Dunn

    Roue –

    Exactly right. This isn’t about the UK vs the EU but about the governing class against the rest of us.

    I can’t work out why they’re going through the motions, though. Why haven’t they just told us that we can’t have what we want? That’s the usual strategy. Perhaps the whole thing is a show-Brexit. If they make it difficult and damaging enough then we’ll jolly well do as we’re told next time.

    They’re not nice people, politicians.

  • Fraser Orr (December 8, 2018 at 11:25 pm), you haven’t scratched the surface of properly-PC-stle left-handed whining. You must complain about microagressions: athletes being praised for their ‘dexterity’; terrorists being called ‘sinister’; etc. You make the huge mistake of talking about real inconveniences, which we righties can evaluate (as tiny), whereas the point of PC is that no-one can challenge the enormity of an SJW’s feelings (but at least they usually don’t know what ‘enormity’ means, so will not call you out for that microagression 🙂 ).

    Personally, when I think of your ancestor, sword-fighting his way up a castle staircase designed to penalise the lower of the two fighters on the assumption he would be right-handed, who owes his success and probably his life to being left-handed, I feel you have an unfair advantage. When I retreat to the ancestral castle in the highlands as civilisation collapses under the weight of political correctness, may the mob of starving social justice warriors that try to take it from me be all right-handed!

  • Mr Ecks

    {Deleted by the management: pure ad hominem is not welcome}

  • Nullius in Verba

    “I must have added the left-handed thing by Freudian slip, since I am, myself, part of that persecuted minority.”

    Me too.

    I did briefly wonder whether it was a reference to the reports that lesbians are more commonly left-handed than the average, but left-handedness is less common in Wales and Scotland than in England. (It’s amazing what scientists are curious about!) But I concluded that would be just too obscure for everyday use.

    “you haven’t scratched the surface of properly-PC-stle left-handed whining. You must complain about microagressions: athletes being praised for their ‘dexterity’; terrorists being called ‘sinister’; etc.”

    I protest your use of binary language! You forgot about the ambidextrous, the ambisinister, dexterfluid, the unihanded (natal and post-op), trihanded and quadhanded polymelia, the unhanded, the dehanded (common in the Saudi Arabian criminal population), phantom hands, left/right asomatognosia, heterochiral enantiomers (for the chemists! The term ‘homochiral’ is strongly discouraged nowadays), those unfortunate people who have been flipped left-to-right through a faulty teleporter, the Goddess Mahakali, …

  • Mr Ed

    Mrs May has done wonders to combat one stereotype, that of women getting the better deal out of a ‘divorce’.

  • The ‘lovely black lesbian’ quote was surely ‘Neil Kinnock’ on Spitting Image…?