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Do you stand with Maya?

After selling half a billion Harry Potter books, it ought not to be news that J K Rowling has found a bunch of new readers. She has, though. But not all of them are fans. In the last few days twin rivers of praise and obloquy have washed over her for this tweet:

Dress however you please.
Call yourself whatever you like.
Sleep with any consenting adult who’ll have you.
Live your best life in peace and security.
But force women out of their jobs for stating that sex is real?

#IStandWithMaya #ThisIsNotADrill
12:57 PM · Dec 19, 2019

She was referring to the judgement given by the employment judge Mr J Tayler in the employment tribunal case Forstater vs CGD :

The specific belief that the Claimant holds as determined in the reasons, is not a philosophical belief protected by the Equality Act 2010.

Those of you who did not leap to read the 26-page judgement may find it hard to understand what has aroused Ms Rowling’s anger. There are slightly more digestible accounts of the case between Maya Forstater and her former employer, the Centre for Global Development, available from Izzy Lyons in the Telegraph, Gaby Hinsliff in the Guardian, Clive Coleman for the BBC, and Andrew Sullivan in New York Magazine‘s blog, the Intelligencer – scroll down to see the part about the Forstater case. I got the link to the actual judgement from Mr Sullivan’s article.

So, do I stand with Maya?

Er, sort of. I’m kind of hovering sympathetically in the same general area without getting too close. The tragedy is that the debate we are getting is not once but twice removed from the debate we should be having. Should Maya Forstater be free to say what she thinks about the issue of whether transwomen are women? Yes, a thousand times yes. I would fight that battle gladly. Should the Centre for Global Development be free to impose restrictions on the speech of its employees as a condition of their employment? Yes in Libertaria, but in the real life UK… it’s complicated. Are transwomen “really” women? That question is subjective. The attempt to make it a matter of law does nothing but breed hatred. Yet at present all discussion of transgender people quickly becomes lost in an impenetrable maze of competing definitions of womanhood. The one issue that this futile discussion settles is which banner one marches under in the transgenderism wars, when there never needed to be sides at all.

104 comments to Do you stand with Maya?

  • Jake Wunderdogg

    Except for a vanishingly small fraction of people with significant genetic problems, if you have two X chromosomes you are a female, from your initial conception on, like it or not, and regardless of hormone injections or physical mutilation. Likewise if you have an X and a Y chromosome, you are a male on the same basis. There have always been some females with relatively masculine personality traits, and some males with relatively feminine personality traits, the personality lies along a continuous spectrum. The Chromosomal make up is either one or the other, again, with the exception of a very small number of persons whose cells may have a portion of cells with XX and a portion of cells with XY, or other extremely rare (e.g., double) combinations of chromosomes. A person is “dealt a hand” of chromosomes at conception.

    …convince me I’m worng.

  • Jake Wunderdogg

    For backup on the chromosomal variation I’d cite:

    Chromosomal Variation in Man: A Catalog of Chromosomal Variants and Anomalies: Online NLM Version [Internet].

    Chimera
    Same entry as in 11p120 (Bourthoumieu et al, 2005).
    Anneren G, Frykberg T, Gustavson K H: A boy with true hermaphroditism and sex chromosome mosaicism and a fertile woman with Turner mosaicism in a family with a translocation 8p:19p. Clin. Genet. 20:289-295, 1981. [PubMed]
    Case 1.
    chi46,XX/46,XY,t(8;19)(p21;p13).
    Case 2.
    mos45,X,t(8;19)(p21;p13)/46,XX,t(8;19)(p21;p13).
    Index Terms: Chimera,Hermaphrodism … true,Turner syndrome
    Battey D A, Bird G W G, McDermott A, Mortimer C W, Mutchinick O M, Wingham J: Another human chimaera. J. Med. Genet. 11:283-287, 1974. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
    Index Terms: Chimera
    Benirschke K, Naftolin F, Gittes R, Khodr G S, Yen S S C, Allen F H: True hermaphroditism and chimerism. Am. J. Obst. Gynecol. 113:449-458, 1972. [PubMed]
    Patient Ophelia S. (U-411417) in this report.
    Index Terms: Chimera,Hermaphrodism … true
    Benirschke K: Chimerism, mosaicism and hybrids. In Human Genetics, Proc. Fourth Int”l. Cong. Hum. Genet., de Grouchy, J, F J G Ebbing and I W Henderson, Editors: Excerpta Medica, Amsterdam :212-231, 1972.
    Benirschke K: Hermaphrodites, freemartins, mosaics and chimaeras in animals. In Austin, C R and R G Edwards, Editors. Mechanisms of sex differentiation in animals and man. Academic Press :421-462, 1981.
    46,XX/46,XY chimera.
    Index Terms: Chimera
    Boklage C E.: Embryogenesis of chimeras, twins and anterior midline asymmetries. Hum. Reprod. 21:579-591, 2006. [PubMed]
    A good review.

  • George Atkisson

    Unfortunately, the Marxist Left will not allow neutrality. They want division and chaos, pitting one side against another. You’re either inside the approved Narrative or forever an outcast deserving nothing but vituperation. It keeps their base in line and fuels their inchoate rage against “The Other”.

  • Ian

    Mr John Tayler is a solicitor, not a judge. The term “employment judge” is a fudge. Employment tribunals are conducted by a solicitor or barrister in the presence of two laypersons. Employment tribunals are a “trial without a trial” — not Magna Carta. Put 12 people in a room and tell me this is just. And yes, I have read the entire “judgement”. I don’t think it will survive appeal.

  • SB

    Jake Wunderdogg, you most certainly are worng, but you are not wrong.

  • I make a distinction between gender and sex. You are free to tell me that gender is absolute and immutable. (To be fair, you didn’t – but you came close.) I am free to disagree. Man and woman, male and female, are bimodal distributions heavily weighted at the two ends. But the middles of both distributions are not empty, just thinly populated; nor are the distributions identical.

    Nonetheless, we can say with general accuracy that there are male and female, and as long as you are not spitting it out with violent disapproval at people who disagree, it shouldn’t be cause for firing or censure. Disagreeing is one thing; losing your cool, quite another.

    In any case, look at the trouble Google is having these days. They are enforcing a PC workplace on computer programmers. They fired James Damore, who merely said that on average, men and women have different patterns of interests. And they are firing other people for saying or doing other things. I’m including links to articles, and to a copy of the memo involved.

    https://www.rt.com/usa/398920-google-damore-gender-equality/

    https://www.quotev.com/story/9922506/James-Damores-Diversity-Memo

    https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2019/12/labor-unrest-at-google-is-getting-worse-kathy-spiers-fired

    If you start firing people for saying things that once were okay (I am carefully not making the “okay” finger gesture) pretty soon the workplace turns into a snakepit of paranoia. This is not good for the company, nor is it good for the workers, but lawyers have found it profitable.

    Do not feed the lawyer.

  • The clear and present danger to free speech on this and many another matter makes me keen to stand with Maya at this time.

    In a world where an employer could openly refuse to hire anyone simply for believing in some PC absurdity, another employer should be as able to refuse to hire anyone who did not believe it. Of course, for that world to exist, today’s PC must become less powerful.

    Meanwhile, wherever the PC intrude the state into a previously apolitical area, government is that gun on the floor that everyone is fighting for lest the other side get it, and we will often either stand with Maya or stand against her.

  • Chester Draws

    Hemaphrodites, etc are irrelevant to political point. They are clearly not full males, nor full females. And no-one has ever thought they were.

    That is quite different, and should be entirely separately discusssed, from our trans- crowd. I’m more than happy that those unfortunate to be inter-sex can declare which sex they want to be. I don’t think that men that dress as women should be allowed to do the same.

  • Jim

    “The one issue that this futile discussion settles is which banner one marches under in the transgenderism wars, when there never needed to be sides at all.”

    Transgenderism was ‘invented’ as a ‘thing’ precisely to create sides. There have been men who dressed up as women and lived as women for donkeys years, they got on with it, by and large everyone let them.

    Then the identity politics brigade discovered them, and hey presto! a fully fledged causus belli was created……..the Left created this looking for a fight, the very least we can do is give them one. There are some wars that are just inevitable, and at some point you pick a suitable trigger point and say ‘That’ll do’ and get to it.

    Identity politics has been spoiling for a fight for long enough, its time they had one. And Trans rights is a good place to start, because the identity politics side have run out of more sympathetic groups to champion and are now out on a limb, having alienated virtually all other sections of normal society. They are incredible vulnerable to a sharp cultural counter attack.

  • Fraser Orr

    @Jake Wunderdogg
    Except for a vanishingly small fraction of people with significant genetic problems,

    I suppose it depends on when you think a population vanishes, but sex chromosome problems are not really all that uncommon. Turners syndrome for example is about 1:3000 live births, Klinefelter’s is about 1:600 males, XXX females are about 1/1000, these are in descending order of the severity of the associated disability. Or so says WHO

    …convince me I’m worng.

    🙂 🙂 🙂

  • bobby b

    “She took her former employer, the US think tank Centre for Global Development (CGD), to an employment tribunal, arguing that they discriminated against her “deeply held” view that there are only two sexes, which should become a protected belief under the Equality Act.”

    So, this US-based QUANGO takes advantage of the fact that it employs some of its people outside of the protections of the US Constitution, and, using its government-granted funds, fires people for exercising their free speech rights.

    My standing with Maya would most profitably be expressed by questioning my own Senators and Representatives about why we fund such people.

  • Fraser Orr

    bobby b
    My standing with Maya would most profitably be expressed by questioning my own Senators and Representatives about why we fund such people.

    Clearly Bobby, by you even questioning such a thing, you hate foreigners, especially black and brown ones. I mean are you not in favor of global development? Are you not in favor of “thinking”. I mean “think” and “global development” are right there in the title, so you must hate those too.

    I think you should be fired from your job for being such a lamentable hater.

    🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Jake Wunderdogg

    @Fraser Orr

    Touche… 🙂
    I’d replace “vanishingly small portion” with words to the effect of “roughly one half of one percent of…”

    I met one particular lady suffering with the effects of Turner’s, a student in a course I taught which required a great deal of reading and interpretation in the Federal Acquisition Regulations (which are as bad as the name implies.) The effects of her genetic heritage included, among many other difficulties and discouragements, the most extreme nearsightedness I’ve ever encountered. Through pure persistence and drive, she finished in the top 10% of the class, and I have the greatest respect for anyone who can triumph over such seemingly overwhelming odds.

    Sincere Best Wishes for the holidays, whatever your faith.

    JW

  • bobby b

    “I think you should be fired from your job for being such a lamentable hater.”

    I ought not be allowed to work another day in civilized society. I denounce myself. I shall go off and live in the woods and the deserts and on the mountains and the beaches and seek penance for my sins.

    And the perfect tan. Retirees should seek the perfect tan. 😉

  • Flubber

    “Transgenderism was ‘invented’ as a ‘thing’ precisely to create sides.”

    Just as the gay issue was previously. When the left “won” and gays were “integrated” into society (excuse the shoddy language), the left needed another cause celebre.

    The problem is now that the debate isn’t that transgender people should be accepted, but that the patently false belief that men can become women (and vice versa) becomes the only acceptable belief.

    Theodore Dalrymple sums it up quite nicely:

    When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is to co-operate with evil, and in some small way to become evil oneself. One’s standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control.

  • Julie near Chicagoj

    Flubber,

    When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is to co-operate with evil, and in some small way to become evil oneself. One’s standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control.

    This has been quoted hereabouts before, but it can’t be quoted enough. It s/b a QUOTD on every website and every newspaper’s front page (above the fold!) in the land.

    Whatever else, Goebbels etc. and the Commies were masters at this. And of course, Mr. Orwell wrote a book about it.

    Thank you for the quote. :>))

  • Mr Black

    Just look at how the left calls the tune and the right jumps around on cue. Trans didn’t exist 5 years ago, it was nothing. The left reclassifies these mentally ill perverts as “trans” because it’s politically useful to them and the mindless drones on the right start talking about trans people as if it’s a real thing. You’d have nothing to say if the left didn’t give you their talking points. We should be fighting back against this insanity, instead we’re yet again watching the right make accommodations and retreats to the lefts demands.

  • Jim (December 24, 2019 at 12:29 am), while I agree 110% that the identity-politics PC have been ‘spoiling for a fight’ – that is, are bullies spoiling for endlessly-repeated Maoist pleasure of humiliating victims by making them say what they do not think – I will pedantically and trivially qualify your “Trans rights is a good place to start, because the identity politics side have run out of more sympathetic groups to champion”. The ‘mascots of the anointed’ can sometimes deserve some sympathy before they become so – and some after they become so, even as the PC corrupt those they can.

    I hated East Germany and hated its ‘female’ sports Olympic Fraud. In the 80s, it became OK to mock communism. I laughed at the jokes about the deep-voiced ‘female’ athletes. I admired the courage of the East German doctor who whispered in the ear of one girl, “If you ever want to have a family – if you ever want to have children – get out of this programme now“. I felt sympathy for those pushed into the programme without by any means knowing what was involved. Having read much of the humiliations that totalitarian states inflict on their subjects, I could sympathise with the situation of those who were usually young teenagers when they first got involved, who were lied to by almost everyone, who undoubtedly made moral (immoral) decisions as they became aware that there were things they had to hide from the olympic judges, etc., and who gradually over decades discovered what the long-term effects would be.

    Totalitarianism organises the guilt of its subjects. (Hannah Arendt)

    In sports, there are no such excuses in today’s west and my contempt for those who steal female sports trophies today is unbounded. But, far from that, there are people who lack even the compensation of having evil communist apparatchiks to blame for their lives having these complexities to handle. The PC would love to have them join their whiners’ chorus. If we think of the time it took us to think about what-all being libertarian meant (some of this blog is that we’re still thinking about it), we can sympathise with some ‘mascots’ – without diminishing our loathing of ‘the anointed’.

  • Penseivat

    The Frankfurt School of thought chalks up another victory.

  • Tom G

    when there never needed to be sides at all.

    The War needs two sides; once gay marriage is accepted, culture battle won, another battle must take place.
    The PC liars NEED the wars, and the normal (bad) side, against the abnormal/revolution (good PC) side.

    Reality is oppressive, and the PC liars oppose oppression.

    Because non-Libertarian laws are being used to win culture battles, it’s acceptable to me to use the same laws to oppose those wanting to exercise Human Rights of Free Speech. So I’m with Maya.

  • radu

    I make a distinction between gender and sex. – I keep hearing this and never understood what is the point? Unless gender is very closely tied to sex, what is the point of even having gender (except for nouns off course)

  • Nullius in Verba

    “When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves…”

    Yes. The problem is that *both* sides believe that they are the ones being forced to tell lies by the other side. For centuries, trans people have been forced to tell the lie that they fitted into society’s binary categories, when that was not true. Which is why free speech doesn’t just mean the freedom to speak what society considers to be the truth. Being force to repeat “the truth” is just as bad.

    “I make a distinction between gender and sex. – I keep hearing this and never understood what is the point?”

    ‘Gender’ is the sex of the brain – the way it’s wired. Male/female brains are arranged differently, just as bodies are. But other people can’t see inside your brain/mind, only you can. 99% of the time the brain and body match, but about 1% of the time they don’t. However, given the social pressure in the past to hide non-conformity, it’s not surprising that a lot of people incorrectly assume 99% is 100%.

    It’s a sort of intersex, but in a sense it’s normal. There are dozens of different brain modules that exhibit anatomical sex differences. The complex chain of signalling sex-hormones controlling pre-natal development sometimes go wrong. Most people have a few brain modules more common in the other sex, but most of them are socially neutral. A woman who can read maps, a man who can ask for directions, it’s no big deal. But modules for particularly significant characteristics, like sexual attraction and socialisation cause big trouble. Who you’re attracted to is wired into the brain – men are attracted to women, women are attracted to men. But if you get the wrong one, which happens on the order of 1-5% of the time, the shape of the mind reflects that, and the externally visible behaviour changes (if such behaviour is not under penalty of death). The transgender are the same thing with different bits of the brain.

    Before we knew about the brain, the common belief was that mental characteristics were ‘imaginary’ – a matter of choice. It was the feminist, left-wing, ‘blank-slate’ school of thought. It was the right that realised the truth, that our minds are in many ways as biologically determined as our bodies.

  • Jon

    I think we need to be a bit careful to distinguish between the people and the ideas they hold. Too often here there seems to be a genuine dislike for the people and we end up ‘playing the man’ rather than the ball. Once again- I think our conduct should be tailored to win the argument of the neutral observer.

    As a gay man, I’m a beneficiary of the improved social environment in which the UK finds itself, as against the rather more noxious (and dare I say it, fearful) one in which I grew up. By adapting our social codes to include more people, rather than weaken heterosexual marriage and society (which always seemed a spurious argument to me) we have strengthened it to the tune of the gay population who wants to get married.

    The difference between the gay rights and trans rights debate is critical. Gay people wanted only equality before the law. Trans rights seek to redefine not only their own gender but also everyone else’s and that’s why there is perhaps more push back.

    Having said that, whatever you believe about the politics and psychology of the trans debate, there’s no doubt in my mind that the individuals affected are some of the most vulnerable in society- whether you think they’re useful Marxists idiots, people with a psychological condition, or people whose gender is misaligned with their sex. One of the reasons that the right loses so many of these battles is that it appears callous (including to many members of the population who are otherwise sympathetic). You can win the debate and win the war by being the more empathetic, AND espouse decent liberal values (as others explain above) by simply letting people choose what they want to be, and letting others use the words they want to use (whilst suggesting that we’ll all run along better it those words are shaped by kindness).

    And if this is done properly and with love, you’ll win more allies – including, by the looks of it, JK Rowling and her not inconsiderable pulpit.

  • Jon

    I can’t get the edit to work on my phone- but meant to say I want to win the support of the neutral observer, rather than the argument. But still, happy Christmas all!

  • Suburbanbanshee

    If we accept psychological delusions as a valid gender, then obviously suicide hotlines are oppressive to those of suicidal gender identification.

    Same thing with those who identify as murderers. Gotta let ’em fulfil themselves, right?

    In fact, it suggests that all psychological and psychiatric treatment is deeply immoral and oppressive. Heck, even being taught in school must be ruinous to the original state of the brain. Same with teaching babies to talk.

    Once we leave babies totally alone to enjoy their brains’ natural beauty and power without any modification, our species will quickly die out, due to neglect. But how much freer those dead babies will be!

  • Flubber

    Trans rights seek to redefine not only their own gender but also everyone else’s and that’s why there is perhaps more push back.

    Its simpler than that – the Trans rights lobby are trying to redefine reality.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=moX3z2RJAV8

  • Jon
    December 24, 2019 at 1:24 pm

    I think we need to be a bit careful to distinguish between the people and the ideas they hold. Too often here there seems to be a genuine dislike for the people and we end up ‘playing the man’ rather than the ball. Once again- I think our conduct should be tailored to win the argument of the neutral observer.

    As a gay man, I’m a beneficiary of the improved social environment in which the UK finds itself, as against the rather more noxious (and dare I say it, fearful) one in which I grew up. By adapting our social codes to include more people, rather than weaken heterosexual marriage and society (which always seemed a spurious argument to me) we have strengthened it to the tune of the gay population who wants to get married.

    The difference between the gay rights and trans rights debate is critical. Gay people wanted only equality before the law. Trans rights seek to redefine not only their own gender but also everyone else’s and that’s why there is perhaps more push back.

    The gay rights movement in the USA really got underway when the police raided the Stonewall Inn (a gay bar) in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969. These raids were routine at the time, but this one was different: the gays fought back. Rumors say the drag queens were a major part of that revolt. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stonewall_riots

    You can see why gay men began to fight for the right to be – if nothing else – left alone. You’ve lived it. But what about those drag queens and transgendered at Stonewall? Didn’t they have cause to fight also? They were being swept up in the same net, and quite probably laughed at while it happened. Would they, too, not want to be left alone?

    I’m transsexual. Been a woman for over twenty years now. I don’t bother people about it, and they don’t bother me about it – I could care less about other people’s self-definitions. But I’d just as soon be allowed to live my own.

    There are less pleasant transsexuals, but most of them are Leftist jerks. As you say: “…distinguish between the people and the ideas they hold.” At the same time, remember the feminist slogan: “Well-behaved women don’t change the world.” The left is desperate to change the world.

    All groups, gays and the transgendered included, contain a healthy sprinkling of jerks. Fight the jerks, not the rest of us. And don’t believe the Left when they tell you only they have your best interests in mind.

  • radu

    ‘Gender’ is the sex of the brain – is this a generally accepted definition? Because I am not sure it is.

    Male/female brains are arranged differently – many would call this hate speech, though I agree

    I do agree that trans people are wired differently and have no issue with transition in itself, but what matters most to people is the sex of most of the body, not the brain, so while I can pretend trans women are women in order not to cause emotional pain, I will never believe that nor will I be sexually attracted to trans women. But this view would be seen as transphobic by some.

  • Peter Barrett

    Jon December 24, 2019 at 1:24 pm
    “One of the reasons that the right loses so many of these battles is that it appears callous.”
    Nail – head.
    Which is why the climate emergency brigade chose Greta as a Gorian apostle. Who dare attack a mere child, and one with severe mental challenges as well.

    The great majority were accepting of trans people, many were even sympathetic. Now the left has drawn the battle lines to “protect this oppressed minority”, but the sympathy is now waning. Did they even bother to ask whether they wanted this protection? Slowly more and more people are becoming aware of what is happening around them, the futile discussions about how many genders there are on the BBC and unisex toilets in schools are just two subjects which have opened the topic to mass scrutiny. There is still some sympathy, but now accompanied by mistrust, not the greatest achievement.

  • Jacob

    Definition of “woman”? It’s too complicated, above my pay-grade.

    But this question is also interesting.
    Should the Centre for Global Development be free to impose restrictions on the speech of its employees as a condition of their employment?”
    A private employer should be able to impose on his employees any reasonable code of conduct or speech. For example: a Christian employer could demand that his employees refrain from blasphemy, at least at work.
    But a government employer (like the CGD, government financed) should be bound by general free speech laws, such as the First Amendment.

  • Flubber

    Slowly more and more people are becoming aware of what is happening around them, the futile discussions about how many genders there are on the BBC

    Its far worse than the BBC. With no debate whatsoever, the government and the judiciary have adopted the far left position that gender is whatever anyone says it is. Hence the creepily laughable stories of male rapists in female prisons.

    The public was never asked for its acceptance – it was imposed – by get this, the “Conservatives”

  • Runcie Balspune

    The problem is now that the debate isn’t that transgender people should be accepted

    And to think this all started because a guy with a dick wanted to use the ladies loo if he was in a dress.

  • bobby b

    “Fight the jerks, not the rest of us.”

    I never wanted a tattoo.

    But if I did, . . .

  • Jon

    Ellen- you’re quite right. There will likely have been more than a smattering of trans people amongst the crowd at Stonewall and of course they deserve their rights to privacy and equality as well as decent treatment at the hands of the rest of us.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “Same thing with those who identify as murderers. Gotta let ’em fulfil themselves, right?”

    Same with those who identify as Christians, right-wingers, traditionalists, etc. It wouldn’t be the first time in history that being right-wing was treated as a mental illness. Beware of the precedents you set.

    “‘Gender’ is the sex of the brain – is this a generally accepted definition? Because I am not sure it is.”

    It’s the one scientists use.

    “The great majority were accepting of trans people, many were even sympathetic. Now the left has drawn the battle lines to “protect this oppressed minority”, but the sympathy is now waning.”

    The sympathy isn’t waning. It’s getting stronger.

    Most people are capable of making the distinction. It’s like the difference between radical feminists and women generally. Support for women’s rights is stronger than ever. Support for radical feminists not so much. The general public sympathise with and support the transgender. They don’t like political correctness. They know their enemy.

    “The public was never asked for its acceptance – it was imposed – by get this, the “Conservatives””

    The public have been asked, and are generally accepting, which is precisely why the Government did it. The public don’t like the politically correct, but they don’t like racists, sexists, homophobes, and transphobes, either. Those are all political correctness too, just for a different branch of politics.

    The public don’t like political correctness, but see it as a necessary measure needed to combat the even worse problems of ‘discrimination and hate’. You’re not popular with the public, either.

    Of course, the bigger danger is the threat to freedom of expression from all sides. Freedom to live as you like. Freedom to say you don’t like it, and don’t agree.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Fight the jerks, not the rest of us.

    Fair enough; but, in return for “us” not fighting the rest of “you”, “you” ought to join in the fight against the jerks.
    (Nothing against Ellen personally: i have no reason to think that she doesn’t.)

    The same deal holds for ethnic minorities, btw.

    I’ll have more to say, but for now i just wish you all a Merry Christmas. Even for my fellow Heathens.

  • bobby b

    ” . . . in return for “us” not fighting the rest of “you”, “you” ought to join in the fight against the jerks.”

    Also in fairness, I think the social costs incurred by fighting jerks can vary – it can be much more costly to fight against your “own” jerks in many respects. Yeah, it would be very helpful – in direct proportion to how much more it costs to participate.

    Not having skin in the game makes it effortless. Ask me to help fight rampant Scandinavian supremacy movements, though, and I have to hesitate. These are my people . . . 🙂

  • Snorri Godhi
    December 24, 2019 at 7:52 pm

    Fight the jerks, not the rest of us.

    Fair enough; but, in return for “us” not fighting the rest of “you”, “you” ought to join in the fight against the jerks.

    I’m well into my seventies. I don’t have the energy, and I don’t want to be punched by Antifa as a Nazi. I don’t stay on the reservation. Do you really think they wouldn’t punch me?

    So I try to set a good example before the rest of society. I’m polite, I tip well, I try to be helpful. And I write, like I’m doing here now, just to remind you heathens that there are some non-jerk transgendered.

  • Fraser Orr

    One wonders when the PC culture will object to the categorization of connectors by gender. This is a female socket, this is a male plug…. etc. It’d be fun to hear than insanity.

    Of course I always thought such descriptions were really rather explicit myself, that and the rather common phrase “your turn in the barrel” which is of course based on an extremely bawdy joke. It just seems to me curious that such things that are really extremely sexuality explicit should be part of common G rated dialog. Perhaps their origins are just lost to the users.

    Or perhaps it is because, with connectors being designed and defined by geeky engineers who never get laid, that perhaps it is their only form of titillation? 😈 😈

    BTW, I was curious about the etymology of “titillate”, my puerile mind went one way but unfortunately not… apparently it is (ultimately) onomatopoeic of the sound of giggling. OK, I’ll stop rambling now.

  • Julie near Chicago

    bobby,

    “Not having skin in the game makes it effortless.”

    What do you know about it, Whitey?*

    https://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/black-history-month-2015-civil-rights-allies-article-1.2129213

    (Arguing with your point about “skin in the game” — which is a good with which it’s hard to disagree; but for once “hard” does not mean impossible. )

    *The line just came to mind and seemed (seems) apt. You are one of the Favored, at whom I never feel the urge to loose the dogs of Snark. :>))

  • neonsnake

    Not having skin in the game makes it effortless

    Respectfully, sir, I disagree. I don’t think it’s “effortless” for you to fight for something that you have no reason to fight for. Maybe you see it as such, but you’re still going against “your” kind, if that makes sense.

    I’ve seen you step out of your lane plenty.

    (Agreeing with Julie)

    Maybe…*gasp*…you believe in liberty for all? Like, actually all? 😉

    I’m well into my seventies. I don’t have the energy, and I don’t want to be punched by Antifa as a Nazi.

    In a different, much less visible way, I too have a little more yin than yang in my make-up. And I too find it tiring, and I’m just a child. I can’t fight everyone all the time. I just want to be left alone to live and love.

    “you” ought to join in the fight against the jerks.

    I don’t do well with “ought”, not would I expect many readers of a libertarian blogsite.

    How about I switch that and say that you “ought” to join the fight against the jerks on “your” side, first? Which of us is right?

  • neonsnake

    All that aside.

    Merry Christmas, you glorious bunch.

    “You’re saying humans need… fantasies to make life bearable.”

    REALLY? AS IF IT WAS SOME KIND OF PINK PILL? NO. HUMANS NEED FANTASY TO BE HUMAN. TO BE THE PLACE WHERE THE FALLING ANGEL MEETS THE RISING APE.

    “Tooth fairies? Hogfathers? Little—”

    YES. AS PRACTICE. YOU HAVE TO START OUT LEARNING TO BELIEVE THE LITTLE LIES.

    “So we can believe the big ones?”

    YES. JUSTICE. MERCY. DUTY. THAT SORT OF THING.

    “They’re not the same at all!”

    YOU THINK SO? THEN TAKE THE UNIVERSE AND GRIND IT DOWN TO THE FINEST POWDER AND SIEVE IT THROUGH THE FINEST SIEVE AND THEN SHOW ME ONE ATOM OF JUSTICE, ONE MOLECULE OF MERCY. AND YET—Death waved a hand. AND YET YOU ACT AS IF THERE IS SOME IDEAL ORDER IN THE WORLD, AS IF THERE IS SOME…SOME RIGHTNESS IN THE UNIVERSE BY WHICH IT MAY BE JUDGED.

    “Yes, but people have got to believe that, or what’s the point—”

    MY POINT EXACTLY.”

    Have a great one, guys, gals, and everyone/anyone in-between. Love to all.

  • bobby b

    “What do you know about it, Whitey?*”

    “Effortless” was indeed the wrong word. I need to stop speaking in absolutes. It’s just a lot easier. Which is why I have a lot of respect for outspoken black American conservatives. It costs them more to speak up than it costs me.

    “I don’t think it’s “effortless” for you to fight for something that you have no reason to fight for.”

    I cannot think of a thing I have ever fought for that I didn’t have good reason to fight for. 🙂

    Merry Christmas, all!

  • Julie near Chicago

    Merry Christmas to all who frequent this most delightful of parts! 😀

    And Happy Winter Solstice Week to everyone of every persuasion hereabouts (as well as Merry Christmas).

    😉

    And Happy Hanukkah for those who celebrate the Festival of Lights. May your candles never go out! 😀 😀

    A fine bunch indeed. May everyone find that Santa loaded up the stocking with well-deserved diamonds instead of the dreaded coal. 😀 😀 😀

  • Julie near Chicago

    bobby, I know you know that perfectly well. It was just a tease. Really. You’re a stand-up guy, which means you’ve taken a few for the Team.

    .

    Although it did remind me that quite a few “whites” who went South to fight for the equal legal rights of blacks were at risk of their lives at the hands of other “whites” who didn’t see things that way. Which is what flew through the vat with the line right behind it, like an airplane towing an advertising banner. :>))

    And a very Merry Christmas to you, with or without moving boxes. 😉

  • Clovis Sangrail

    Merry Christmas, one and all!

  • Snorri Godhi

    Ellen:

    I don’t stay on the reservation.

    That is more than just satisfactory for me.
    Did you really think that, when i mentioned fighting, i meant street fights?

    Bobby:

    Also in fairness, I think the social costs incurred by fighting jerks can vary – it can be much more costly to fight against your “own” jerks in many respects.

    Actually, i believe that the main parameter is whether the jerks have the ruling class on their side (because they are henchmen of the ruling class) or against them (because they are the bogeymen of the ruling class).

    And even that needs qualification. Trump is of the ruling class, obviously; but he is not of the PARTY of the ruling class: he does not want to give more power to the ruling class, in fact the establishment (party of the ruling class) see him as an existential threat.

    It is much more costly to fight the establishment than to fight for it. That is just as true for jerks as for non-jerks.

    Added in proof: otoh if you are not a jerk, then the potential rewards of fighting the establishment are much greater than those of fighting for it: you could become a leader of a new establishment!

  • Snorri Godhi

    Neonsnake:

    How about I switch that and say that you “ought” to join the fight against the jerks on “your” side, first?

    I cannot fight jerks on my side, since i do not regard any jerks as being on my side.

    That is not a True Scotsman fallacy: a Scot does not get to choose who is a Scot and who isn’t, but i do get to decide who is on my side.

    It is true that jerks occasionally support my side on specific issues. For instance, White supremacists will usually oppose immigration, just as i do, for different reasons — but my opposition to immigration does no favors to White supremacists. In fact, restricting immigration would decrease support for White supremacism!

    Related: demand for white supremacists vastly exceeds the supply. (H/T Instapundit.)

  • Paul Marks

    As Paul Joseph Watson (a man I have sometimes OPPOSED in the past – but this time he is correct) has pointed out – it is hard to feel any sympathy for J.K. Rowling over the social media mob of leftists coming after her, as the lady used to be one of the leaders of the leftist mob and used them against anyone she disliked (for example the above mentioned Paul Joseph Watson).

    “You used the mob against me, and other people, – and now I am supposed to feel sympathy for you when your own mob turns on you?” That is indeed a valid point.

    Like Pope Francis who finally mentioned that Christians are being killed in Africa and the Middle East – but wishes to let the population that is killing them (the persecutors – not the persecuted as he falsely claims) into Europe – where they will kill more Christians, J. K. Rowling was a great supporter of allowing “refugees” into the West – a hostile population (persecutors – not the persecuted) who will eventually kill Christians and kill other people (for example JEWS). Again like Pope Francis, J.K. Rowling did NOT take the “refugees” (who are not refugees) into her own palace – the lady has many large houses, but uses none of them for these migrants, neither does Pope Francis. “Diversity for you – but NOT for me” is their message – ordinary people are to be forced to pay, via their taxes, for the hostile incomers and are to be driven from the areas in which they now live (as has been seen in Sweden – what “Imperialism and Colonialism” are native Swedish people guilty of? what crimes have they committed that makes it just to wipe them out? why are they not even allowed to SPEAK FREELY in opposing this policy and its consequences?).

    J.K. Rowling was utterly ruthless in directing the leftist mob against anyone who opposed ENFORCED “diversity” – or pointed out that the word is a LIE as the areas do not, in the end, end up being more “diverse” than they were before. What eventually happens is that one population and culture is replaced by another population and culture – that is NOT diversity in any normal meaning of the word “diversity”. So now the leftist mob has turned on her – why should anyone care? And why should anyone care if the the population that Pope Francis says Italy must allow in (and who he specifically says should NOT, repeat NOT, be converted) decide to take over the Vatican one day. Why not? Why should they not do that? And what is his moral argument for keeping them out of the Vatican City State if they have the right to go anywhere else?

    Yes the gentleman is 83 – he is going to be dead (of natural causes) long before such a day comes. But what sort of morality is “after me the deluge”. “Let in a hostile population – because by the time their numbers are sufficient to take over the area I myself live in, I will be dead”. That is a moral position? I hold that it is not a moral position – and neither is the position that J.K. Rowling pushed for years. I repeat Pope Francis is specifically AGAINST real assimilation – he said so only a few days ago. For the new population to adopt superficial things such as pop music and sport, that is fine – but for them to adopt Western BELIEFS – NO, Pope Francis is AGAINST that. He even says that efforts at conversion are evil – that they are throwback to “the Crusades” (which he also regards as evil).

    Now I suspect that J.K. Rowling agrees with that position (that conversion is wrong – and that there is nothing wrong, [or hostile] with the beliefs the incoming population, and their children and children’s children, have) – but then, to be fair, the lady does not claim to be Pope. The lady does not claim to be the chief guardian of certain doctrines, in charge of spreading belief in those doctrines – and then say that belief in those doctrines should neither expected from those who claim to believe in them (for example Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, Pete Butigieg and the other leftists who claim to be Catholics and yet spread INDUSTRIAL SCALE abortion), nor spread among people whose cultural belief tradition has been actively, violently, hostile to Christians for some 14 centuries. Whilst, at the same time, saying that this population should be invited into the West.

    Wink (“who am I to judge”) at the slow motion genocide of the existing population by 1960s “social policies” (such as industrial scale abortion and the collapse of the family) and invite in (yes INVITE) a population whose beliefs have been in violent conflict with the West for some 14 centuries and insist that any effort to change their beliefs must NOT be made. As if Pop Music and Association Football can take the place of fundamental beliefs – in a spiritual void.

    As for the basic Trans Cult Frankfurt School of Marxism or “Post Modern” (officially “Post Modernism” is not Marxist – but it accepts the “exploitation and oppression” mantra and has the same collectivist objective of Marxism) NO – sex-gender is NOT a “social construct” and cutting off the penis and testicles of a man and filling him with drugs does NOT turn him into a woman.

    If it was “just” adults mutilating themselves it would be one thing – but it is not. The cult has spread (has been spread) to CHILDREN who who being targeted for sexual mutilation. Sexual organs do not regrow – and filling a confused child with powerful drugs, to confuse them further, is a wicked thing to do.

    This, the sexual mutilation of children, is evil – utterly evil. And no one should be silent in the face of such evil.

    It shows that the Frankfurt School left (and the “Post Modern” left) have no limits to their wickedness – that there is nothing, nothing at all, that they will not do.

    I am NOT a good man – far from it. But there are evils which even I can not ignore – regardless of any punishment I may receive for opposing those evils.

  • CaptDMO

    Well…IN THIS MATTER, you all make points worthy of drooling idiots, except when you make brilliant observations I endorse of course.
    (That tends to fluctuate with me, depending on the phase of the moon)

    I wonder how the exchange seen in THIS “forum” would have gone in….say…fairly well civilized Pompeii, three days before “the big one hit”, among those afforded the leisure time to chat about such things?

  • Paul Marks

    CaptDMO – there was nothing the people of Pompeii could do, other than flee. I hope we are not at that stage – and if the people of the West do have to flee, where are they to to flee to?

    The despicable BBC did not take Christmas Day off from attacking President Trump.

    After they had finished praising Pope Francis (for the misguided sentiments I examine above – if he had used his sermon to make the basic claims of Christianity, the divinity of Jesus even as a baby and so on, rather than make a speech in support of Social Justice politics, the BBC would not have been pleased), the BBC proceeded to attack President Trump.

    He has kept out lovely asylum seekers – what a wicked man President Trump is! Here the BBC presents us with the example of such an asylum seeker – a lady from Honduras who the they interview in Mexico.

    Why does not the lady claim political asylum in Mexico? Would that not be in line with the “International Law” that the BBC claim that President Trump is breaking? After the United States does NOT have a border with Mexico – how can the United States be the first country from Honduras that the lady came to (the “International Law” position for claiming asylum) – indeed I suspect this lady went to Guatemala before she went to Mexico (look at a map).

    And WHY was the lady in political difficulty anyway? Honduras is NOT a dictatorship – the gangs (the gangs the “liberal” left in the United States love so much) are more of a threat than the government is in Honduras.

    So why was it stressed that POLITICAL activities got the lady into trouble? Could it be that the lady is a Marxist activist?

    I suspect that this is exactly what the lady is – and if there is one thing the United States does NOT need it is yet more Marxist activists. Someone who would go into Texas and start denouncing the unequal land ownership and demanding “Progressive” taxation and the “redistribution” of land and other goods, whilst dressed up in a black facemask and using violence (the supposedly “anti” Fascists of the Marxist Antifa use Fascist methods and even dress up all in black like Mussolini’s followers).

    The BBC presented this lady as typical of the type of people that the wicked President Trump is trying to keep out of the United States – and I AGREE with the BBC, I think this Marxist (“Social Justice”) type is indeed typical. And that is why I believe they should be kept out – by any means necessary.

    I am glad I can end Christmas on a note of agreement with the BBC – I agree with them that this person is typical. Which is why they want the migrants let in, and I want them kept out.

    Mexico has a leftist regime – the lady (and the rest) can stay there. Although I suspect that the lady (and the rest of the migrant army) are a bit too extreme even for Mexico. There are different sorts of “Social Justice” people – some are just corrupt thieves (such as the government of Mexico), but some are a lot worse – like the lady and her Comrades.

    I suspect (although I could be proved mistaken) that, for all his support for Social Justice, Pope Francis will not be inviting the Central American Migrant Army of Marxists to live in the Vatican – and that that J.K. Rowling will not be giving them her many houses.

  • Tedd

    Fraser:

    I remember the early days of search engines when, as a mechanical engineer, my searches for “screw” or “stud” were often rewarded with non-fastener-related results.

    But, to your point about engineers, I think the familiarity of these adjectives in the engineering context simply renders them abiological. I don’t think of the “maleness” of a connector as having any relationship to the biological term “male,” any more than you likely think “left handed” when you read “sinister.”

  • neonsnake

    I cannot fight jerks on my side, since i do not regard any jerks as being on my side.

    Ah, but see, neither do I, Brother Snorri!

    I share some characteristics with some people who are jerks, sure. But I’m not answerable for the worst elements amongst the gay community (and I don’t even have the decency to be properly gay), and I refuse to be held accountable for their actions, nor to be obligated to fight them.

    On the other side, I refuse to be held accountable for the “despicable actions”, so called, of middle-aged white men in middle-management positions, of which I am also one. I hope that makes sense.

    But I will, of my own free choice, fight anyone who takes an authoritarian/intolerant position. But I hold open the option to choose. I suspect that sometimes, my intolerance of intolerance goes too far, and I’ve always attempted to hold my hands up when I do so. I openly admit my failings here. I like to think that I’m very tolerant of characteristics, but I know I have significant work to do when it comes to behaviours.

    Anyway – Merry Christmas to you and yours, Snorri! I hope you’re having a great one!

    J.K. Rowling was utterly ruthless in directing the leftist mob

    Paul, I believe that J.K. Rowling is a particular type of leftist, which I will call “Blue Labour”.

    I think (stress on *think*, for I can not know for certain) that she advocates for redistribution of wealth – but only for “people like her” – ie. excluding people of colour, minorities, etc.

    Some years ago, faced with a 3-4 hour round commute, I listened to all of the Harry Potter books as read by Stephen Fry. Took me about six months. Soothed by the voice of Mr Fry, I missed some stuff at the time, but afterwards, I began to realise just how bad they were; the elite of the wizards vs the Muggles, the “evil” goblin bankers (blatant stand-in for Jews), and worse of worse, the “Chosen One” bullshit of Harry Potter himself – only certain people are important, and the important people are chosen by their bloodline.

    She’s not about diversity. She’s anti-diversity. She’s about “know your place, serf”.

    The worst example, to my mind, is her post-revelation that Dumbledore was gay. He wasn’t. There’s no hint in the books, and yet she’s trying to gain credibility amongst “the left” afterwards, by pretending he was. It’s a cynical ploy, I think.

    Paul, I think that your critique of big corporations being “woke” is a similar thing. I don’t think they’re genuinely “woke”, I think they’re going after the cachet of appearing to be “woke”.

    There is, I think, a type of leftist that has the diagnosis exactly right (vis-a-vis oppression of minorities by the majority), and has “merely” fucked up the prescription – wanting more state intervention.

    I have enormous sympathy for them, and I stand both with them and by them – and I will take on the chin whatever flak that earns me, whilst I do my damndest to talk them round.

    The Blue Labour crowd, on the other hand, I have zero sympathy for. That includes Ms. Rowling.

    The Maya Forstater case is a curious one. I’ve read reports that she sent 150 anti-trans tweets in one 5-day week. Let’s say that’s two per waking hour. I’ve also read reports that she deliberately mis-gendered a donor for the place where she worked. I don’t see that as a victory for free speech, rather that she’s quite rude.

    She wasn’t fired.

    Her contract came to an end, and the company that she previously worked for decided not to renew her contract, due to her consistent record of making her co-workers uncomfortable with her anti-trans tweets (including a potential donor).

    I don’t see that the company has acted incorrectly. I think she’s gone crying to the state to protect her belief that she deserves to be re-employed by a company that she has actively harmed by her actions.

    I do not “Stand with Maya.” I stand against her, as a Libertarian.

    I re-iterate – anyone who looks at the above paragraphs and wants to call me fascist. I will drive to you (within reason, in the UK), take you for a beer (or drink of choice) and a chat. Honestly, I will do this.

    I do not believe that my anti-bigotry makes me a fascist.

    I regularly travel between Milton Keynes and Watford. You ever want that beer, Paul, let me know. If nothing else, we’ll have an entertaining couple hours talking about Stoicism.

    From a Circled-A anarchist – Merry Christmas to you and yours, Paul.

  • Paul Marks

    Still Natalie has asked a question and I should answer it.

    YES – I “stand with Maya” (to some extent) although I doubt the lady would want the support of an old reactionary like me.

    So, assuming that Judge Taylor is correct in his interpretation of the 2010 Equality Act, I am not in sympathy with the philosophy of that Act (I am a conservative, although no longer a member of the Conservative Party, – I should not be expected to support something called the “Equality Act” as “Social Justice” equality is what conservatives are AGAINST).

    As for the far left group sacking this lady because she dissented from their far left philosophy?

    Well there I differ from Natalie.

    The “Centre for Global Development” is openly a leftist group – if someone dissents from a tenant of modern leftism (in this case the Trans Cult) they should really expected to be sacked by a far left group. For example, if someone is employed by the “Flat Earth Society” and states that the world is NOT flat they should expect to be sacked – and saying “but the world is not flat – it is a scientific fact that the world is not flat” is not really a defence.

    It is a bit different if someone is forced out of a group that does NOT openly present itself as a far left group. Indeed if someone is forced out from a self described “Conservative” group for expressing Conservative opinions (or even NOT actually expressing those opinions himself) – opinions that the vast majority of Conservative voters agree with.

    A more interesting case would be if this lady had NOT been working for the Flat Earth Society or the Centre for Global Development (or some other insane group), but had been, say, working in the local supermarket.

    Should a supposedly non political employer be allowed to dismiss people for expressing political opinions?

    As Natalie rightly says “in Libertaria yes” – but we do not live in Libertaria (as Natalie also rightly says), we live in a bleeped up world where both government and private employers are under threat from far left death-to-freedom-of-speech doctrines.

    “You have Freedom of Speech – as long as you are prepared to live on the dole, or beg in the streets” is not very good.

    Sometimes there is a libertarian solution – for example to Social Media.

    If Social Media companies are “publishers” then they can indeed censor opinions – but they are also legally responsible for every word said on their site (they would be bankrupt within a year – endless legal actions for libel).

    And if Social Media companies are NOT publishers, if they are “neutral platforms” they they may NOT be sued for what people put in their social media site. But then they must NOT censor these people – they must not favour one side against another.

    So for Social Media sites such as Facebook and Twitter there is no need for new laws – what is needed is for the existing American laws to be ENFORCED.

    First question to any Social Media company (including Google Youtube) “are you a publisher?”

    If the answer is “yes” then they can be sued to bankruptcy – and will be.

    If the answer is “no – we a neutral platform, like the telephone company” then they may NOT censor people.

  • Paul Marks

    One of my many typing mistakes – I meant that the United States does not have a border with HONDURAS, I typed Mexico rather than Honduras – my apologies.

    Neonsnake – I am going to have to leap to the defence of J.K. Rowling at this point (an unusual position for me to be in).

    I do not thing the lady is racialist – quite the contrary, the lady bends over backwards (and always has done) to show how much she loves nonwhite people.

    You might think that this leftist exaggerated love of non white people is a bit odd – perhaps covering a private dislike, but that is “not proven” as the Scots say.

    As for the books themselves – I have never read any of the Harry Potter books, I started to read the first one but I did not like how the family that the young Harry Potter lived with were presented (and I did not really care for the writing style).

    Perhaps I was being unfair to the books – but then I do not read as I used to. There are many books in this house that I have never read and will never read.

    In the past that would have astonished and horrified me – but now perhaps it is just one aspect of being old.

    As for “Diversity” – sometimes it seems to work and sometimes it does not.

    For example Florida is a very diverse society – lots of hispanics and people from all over the world, and it seems to work well enough. Even at the level of the cities – in Texas the cities are a mess financially (something that is often overlooked).

    California is also a diverse society – and it does not work, and it works less well each passing year.

    This leads me to my opinion that is not “race” (skin colour and so on) that really matters – if that is what really mattered then Florida would not work.

    What matters, I believe, is the ideas in the heads of people – and that, I believe, is NOT racially determined.

    The above is why I get irritable when ignorant people call me a racist – not because I believe that racialists should be punished in any way (after all Winston Churchill and many other people had racialist beliefs), but because I do not happen to be one myself – so it is just irritating to be described as one.

    Like someone saying I am tall, blond and slim – when I am actually short, dark haired (well I am bald now – but I used to be dark haired) and fat.

    The first couple of times it is O.K. – but if people keep making the mistake of misdescribing me, it becomes annoying.

  • bobby b

    “She wasn’t fired . . . Her contract came to an end . . .”

    Well, this does change things a bit. It’s not the impression that I got from what I read – I suppose intentionally on the writer’s part.

    So, you can go to a tribunal if your contract is completely satisfied, but you then don’t get further contracts? Seems . . . odd.

    Legalities aside, this is one of those situations in which doing the polite, decent thing requires you to satisfy both sides, which is impossible. So, perhaps my best bet isn’t to stand by anyone involved, but merely buy some popcorn and watch?

  • neonsnake

    Mr. Marks – if I may repeat myself?

    The above is why I get irritable when ignorant people call me a racist

    I feel similar, when people call me a fascist. I have Muslim friends, and I get irritated when people call them terrorists, and I leap to their defense.

    My offer for buying you a beer and having a chat remains open. I pass by Kettering regularly enough. It’s not an idle threat 🙂

    As for diversity – my girlfriend is Argentinian. I myself am bi, as you know.

    Am I a good person, Paul?

    No. I don’t think I am.

    I live in the ground floor flat of a house, which we got so our dogs have space. Upstairs there is a Cuban lady who we give food to when I overcook.

    And, separately, a bloke who growls and swears at our dogs from his window, but won’t answer the door when I knock to question him on this.

    The off-licence round the corner is run by a Muslim couple. They’re really nice. Sometimes their kids run my card through the machine. Silly, but they love it. I think it makes then feel grown-up.

    There’s a German girl doing a law degree on the top floor. She sometimes gives us tomatoes when she has too many (she grows them on her balcony)

    The pub round the corner is full of all sorts.
    Greebos, crusties and goths. I’m currently helping a guy, 48 year old, with his CV, having been made redundant from his job at The National History Museum. He’s been there 15 years.

    He and I “ejected” a few guys from the pub this week for getting a bit too much for the bar staff.

    I’m not a good person.

    I guess, look – diversity can work. I’m living it. It takes some work, but it’s worth it.

    I guess, I’m just asking for people to be clear a little more accepting of other ways of living.

    And if not, then still:

    Merry Christmas, Paul. Hope you’re having a great one.

    Hit me if you ever want that beer.

  • Neonsnake

    impossible. So, perhaps my best bet isn’t to stand by anyone involved, but merely buy some popcorn and watch?

    *Passes homemade mulled wine*

    Here, have some glogg. Get some of this down you.

  • Snorri Godhi
    December 25, 2019 at 1:09 pm

    Did you really think that, when i mentioned fighting, i meant street fights?

    These days, you cannot be sure anything won’t end up in a street fight. You can be walking quietly along, when suddenly a furious crowd comes around the corner, and there you are.

    I’m not sure how often this truly happens – you find out these things through the news media (if you are lucky) and we all know they are steeped deeply in Agenda.

  • Lee Moore

    On Jake and Fraser’s discussions on the frequency of “significant genetic probems’ I recommend this

    https://www.leonardsax.com/how-common-is-intersex-a-response-to-anne-fausto-sterling/

    excellent summary of reality. From which we can glean the following important facts :

    1. there are indeed plenty of genetic irregularities of sexual development, which may affect up to 1.7% of the population

    2. but one such irregularity – late onset congential adrenal hyperplasia (LOCAH) – accounts for about 1.5% of that 1.7%

    3. and LOCAH often presents no actual symptoms, and so can often hardly be said to represent a “problem”

    4. moreover, LOCAH, together with most of the other well known genetic problems like Turners and Klinefelters are not “intersex” conditions, as there is no uncertainty about the sex of the afflicted person

    5. once one subtracts the non intersex coditions from the much touted 1.7% one finishes up with something more like 0.02% – or say 15,000 in the UK, which is not nothing. But it’s not a lot.

    In fact Sax overestimates the frequency of true intersex conditions in humans, when considering the question from a purely biological point of view, by accepting – from a medical point of view – conditions such as complete androgen insensitivity syndrome and congenital adrenal hyperplasia as “classic intersex conditions.” But biologically they are not intersex conditions. In such cases the the gonads are not ambiguous, though they may be underdeveloped, and it is the gonads which determine biological sex.

    In reality, cases of ambiguous gonads, ie genuine intersex, are very rare indeed. Mosaics being an obvious genuine example.

    None of which is to say that people with abnormalities of sexual development should not be treated with respect and consideration. But we should take politically inspired allegations of a large intersex population with a large pinch of salt.

  • Lee Moore

    Ellen : I’m transsexual. Been a woman for over twenty years now. I don’t bother people about it, and they don’t bother me about it – I could care less about other people’s self-definitions.

    I, by contrast, am quite interested in other people’s definitions, of themselves or other things, since I find it’s difficult to communicate, on transmit or receive, with folk who call a spade a fork.

    So I know pretty well what I understand by the word “woman” – it’s an adult human who has ovaries.

    That is to say gonads which, if and when functioning normally, can generate female gametes. In the same spirit as I accept that a man who lost a leg in a car accident, still meets the definition of “biped”, I include adult humans who have lost their ovaries, and adult humans whose ovaries don’t work properly, or any longer. (For completeness, I should add that I would not use “woman” to describe an adult human who has both ovaries and testes, but that is not a bridge I’ve had to cross yet.)

    From your comment, I’m guessing you mean smething different by “woman.” But what ?

  • JohnB

    Paul Marks, you are correct in your general assertion.
    It is, indeed, amazing how far people will bend the truth, especially to themselves, in order to follow a line of thinking that is patently less than true, in order to gain or retain some form of perceived advantage.
    I wonder if George Orwell would have survived, never mind been published, in 2019?
    And your question: ” . . if the people of the West do have to flee, where are they to to flee to?”, is indeed, pertinent.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “But biologically they are not intersex conditions. In such cases the the gonads are not ambiguous, though they may be underdeveloped, and it is the gonads which determine biological sex.”

    If that’s your definition, yes. It’s not everyone else’s definition, though.

    “So I know pretty well what I understand by the word “woman” – it’s an adult human who has ovaries. That is to say gonads which, if and when functioning normally, can generate female gametes.”

    So if a woman is infertile, or has her ovaries surgically removed (ovarian cancer, say), she ceases to be a woman? How can you include such a person, if that’s really your definition?

    This argument is all about definitions. ‘A human has two legs’. True, right? So if someone loses their legs, they cease to be human. By that definition, at least. In a Frankenstein world of organ transplants and artificial implants and amputations, which bits constitute the individual ‘person’? If you have a heart transplant or kidney transplant from someone else, do you partly become that person? Do you have a claim on their property? If that person is of the other sex, or another race, do you partly change sex or race? If you can transplant kidneys, hearts, lungs, liver, then why not ovaries?

    In the old days before medicine, the simplistic categories worked. In the more complicated modern world, we had to change the definitions, as medicine revealed the flaws and inconsistencies of the old ones. Nowadays, the legal person is based on the brain. You can lose or exchange anything else, and still be considered alive and ‘you’. But brain death in a still-living body is death. ‘You’ are your brain, not your body.

    Hence the modern definition. An infinite number of alternative definitions are possible, of course, and they’re not ‘wrong’ as such. People using different definitions can correctly judge the same statement to be respectively both true and false at the same time, with no inconsistency. An argument about what the best definition to use is is not the same as an argument about what’s true. But some people are insistent not only on their own truth, but also insist everyone else use their definitions, too.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Neonsnake:

    There is, I think, a type of leftist that has the diagnosis exactly right (vis-a-vis oppression of minorities by the majority)

    But the fact is, historically it has been minorities that oppressed the majority. Or, if they were not exactly oppressors, at least they were collaborators of the ruling class.

    You know Chinese history: the Chinese eunuchs were a (manufactured) minority who were faithful to the Emperor. The Emperor could trust them because he knew the eunuchs would be slaughtered without his protection.

    Another example: the Polish King employing Jews as tax farmers. (Dirty work, but somebody has got to do it.) Polish attitudes to Jews are a sad, regrettable, but predictable consequence.

    More recent examples: Saddam relying on the Sunni minority in Iraq; the Assads, father & son, relying on the Shia minority in Syria; and as i understand Gaddafi relied on Black immigrants to Lybia.

    Then there is the use of foreign mercenaries: Vikings, by the Byzantine Emperor; Swiss, by the Pope. And the Brits were also quite clever in finding warrior minorities, like the Gurkhas, the Sikhs, etc.

    And then there was the Soviet ruling class exploiting the homosexual minority in the British secret services — while persecuting homosexuals at home.

    Ibn Khaldun devotes quite some space to analyze this phenomenon, which goes to show that it must have been common in the Middle East long before Saddam, the Assads, and Gaddafi.

    It has also been the case, of course, that the ruling class used minorities as bogeymen. I am not aware, however, of any case in which LGBT minorities have been persecuted as bogeymen. They have been persecuted more as an afterthought.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “But the fact is, historically it has been minorities that oppressed the majority.”

    ??!

    Do you mean that Jews were always in the majority? Or that blacks in the US were always in the majority? Or most people in medieval times were heretics and atheists? Or that more than 50% of people are gay?

    Or do you mean “It’s not ‘oppression’ if we the majority do it”?

    PS. Merry Christmas.

  • neonsnake (December 25, 2019 at 7:25 pm), like Paul Marks (December 25, 2019 at 7:57 pm) I will have to defend J.K. Rowling. I have posted as regards the Harry Potter books, and written qualified criticism of another of her books in a long comment (“When are yours ever short, Niall?”, I hear you ask 🙂 ) in a thread whose OP is Mr Ed noting JKR’s echoing Voltaire.

    I don’t think JKR intended the goblins as stand-ins for Jews. It is made plain that goblins defend themselves violently when attacked or just annoyed – even bleeding-heart Hermione ridicules the idea that goblins need protection – and conversely, IIRC, there is no slightest hint they exploit their management of wealth to secret political effect.

    Your suggestion that wizards and muggles can be stand-ins for elite intellectual PC-ers versus the common people, who are to be cared for but their opinions ignored, has a bit more content. (Others on the web have noticed this.) I think that, unconsciously, some of that is present. I find it revealing that when Hermione protects her parents by erasing herself from their memories, the text omits any assurance she discussed it with them first and got their agreement to it.

    The worst example, to my mind, is her post-revelation that Dumbledore was gay. He wasn’t. There’s no hint in the books, and yet she’s trying to gain credibility amongst “the left” afterwards, by pretending he was. It’s a cynical ploy, I think.

    I wholly disagree with you. Having read the books repeatedly, I feel sure Dumbledore’s teenage relationship with Grindlewald was indeed homoerotic, and was seen in those terms by JKR from early in her planning of the series. In a book aimed at children, some of them quite young, nothing is said beyond those readers’ understandings – a child reading it will naturally not get the slightest suggestion – but I think the adult reader, as naturally, on reflection, realises that their relationship had that element.

    If you think of the writing of the whole story going forward, not post-hoc, certain points emerge.

    1) Between 1992 and 1997, JKR planned all 7 books in considerable detail before publishing the first. If in 1993 you had told her to reflect on this Dumbledore-Grindlewald thing because in the year 2007 the question of Dumbledore’s “orientation” would be front-page news, then she would have thought you were stark staring mad! She probably hoped – nervously hoped – that her publishers were right to guestimate that her books would be popular enough with young, mostly male, child readers to earn their keep. (Her publishers were not so confident – they only did a half-the-usual-size initial test-the-waters print run.) She probably hoped that she’d have two or three adult friends close enough that she could discuss the plot from an adult PoV without their suddenly remembering urgent appointments. She surely did not anticipate the problem would instead be how much to say to hordes of enquiring MSM reporters.

    2) With JKR acquitted of planning in 1992 to make some PC point in 2007, still less of inventing it post-hoc, we can see her original motive was no different from that of many a classic detective story writer long before ‘alternative’ meant ‘flattered’: if you make the plot-revealing relationship a bit alternative then readers will not get onto it as fast. If Grindlewald had been Grindlewalda, readers (child and otherwise) might earlier have suspected the substory of Dumbledore and Grindlewald not always being just enemies. (I think there is also the issue that, while JKR can imagine female baddies with a vividness that surely impedes her being a full-on woke feminist, they are followers; Voldemort, like Harry, is male, and I suspect Voldemort’s precursor Grindlewald also had to be male in her imagination.)

    3) Most important of all, Dumbledore’s virtue and philosophy is seen as a penitent’s burned-hand virtue. The mature Dumbledore is ashamed of his past relationship with Grindlewald. In the key explanatory scene, he admits his conscience slept and it is natural for the adult reader to see that it slept because another part of him was awakened – was aroused – by Grindlewald’s innate violence. “That which I always sensed in him” was indeed sensed – and was no turn-off. A very natural reading (I would say, the natural reading) is that Dumbledore was – by Dumbledore’s own moral code – a pervert, i.e. was attracted to that which should have repelled him. He is now ashamed and penitent because he, correctly, sees himself as having been positively attracted to a Grindlewaldian capacity for violence that should have disgusted him, and therefore guilty of what happened when Grindlewald acted “as anyone else would have foreseen”. He never mends the nose his brother’s punch broke over his sister’s grave (we are informed in book 6 that broken noses can be easily mended in the magical world) in the hope that his brother one day will, in token of forgiveness (he never does). Meanwhile it serves as a sign of penitence – but only his brother knows what it means.

    Needless to say, the agenda-pushers did not even see this. PC reporters fail to report things not just because they intentionally tell a lie or hide a truth but because they can be as blind to the obvious implication as a child reader can be to an adult implication.

    Summary) I think you are quite wrong in imagining JKR made up the homoerotic aspect of the teenage Dumbledore-Grindlewald relationship out of whole cloth in 2007 to please the woke. I think she always had an adult knowledge of her story but did not write beyond the understanding of her youthful readers (the right choice on artistic grounds, never mind others). In 2007, with the final book published and adult reporters asking questions, she had a choice of lying, silence or answering ‘yes’ – without trying the probably-impossible and unwelcome-to-her task of shoving into their reluctant minds a not-so-woke aspect of the Dumbledore-Grindlewald story that was doubtless never her agenda, just her plot device, and which, in the 15 each-woker-than-the-last years between 1992 and 2007 she may have become less eager to reflect on and still less eager to talk about.

  • You know Chinese history: the Chinese eunuchs were a (manufactured) minority who were faithful to the Emperor. The Emperor could trust them because he knew the eunuchs would be slaughtered without his protection. (Snorri Godhi, December 26, 2019 at 12:50 pm)

    I think you omit an aspect. Eunuchs were trusted by the Emperor (and would have been trusted and employed by others) because in Chinese society – immensely focussed on family and lacking any more theological religion as a countervailing force – it was hard to trust anyone to put any interest above that of benefitting descendants who would then worship their ancestors, i.e. you. A eunuch was not going to have a family and therefore had to pursue other goals, have other loyalties.

    In practice, of course, the eunuchs were a deep state who managed and defrauded the emperor even as they protected his authority from others.

    Governments can be attracted to employing foreign mercenaries simply because they are outside the political realm and so unlikely to support any of the hostile political movements that flow amongst their subjects – so long as the pay is kept up. And government itself can be the oppressing minority, whether robber barons and knights against peasants, or communist party functionaries against their peoples. But the majority can oppress too. Burke speculated that a pure democracy without constitution would be the most shameless government in the world because the majority’s approval of its own acts would look to it like general approval.

  • neonsnake

    Merry Christmas, Niall.

    And a happy New Year. I hope you’ve had a good one, brother.

  • Ferox

    But force women out of their jobs for stating that sex is real?

    That could be an artifact of English English (as opposed to American English), but I cannot help but notice that “women out of their jobs” was specified, instead of “people out of their jobs”.

    And then I cannot help but suspect that, had the person in question possessed a penis, Rowling would have found the situation far less pressing – possibly even uninteresting.

  • bobby b

    Niall Kilmartin
    December 26, 2019 at 5:04 pm

    (“When are yours ever short, Niall?”, I hear you ask 🙂 )”

    Ah, but we still read ’em cover to cover, so you’re obviously doing something right, Sir.

    (But I have to admit that I’m struggling with your interpretation of D & G’s relationship. I mean, it’s detailed, and well-argued, but I think you give short shrift to intense brother-brother relationships, which is how I always read it. As to the guilt portion, I always saw it as “my love for my brother blinded me to his evil, to the ultimate harm of others I loved.”)

  • bobby b (December 27, 2019 at 1:55 am), if JKR had instead said, “No, it was not that way at all” then I would have accepted that, despite my arguments. I think her story means a lot to her and so feel she would not lie about it on either side. (I presume you are meaning ‘brother’ metaphorically – as in ‘soulmate’.)

    For a real-life analogy on your side of the argument, consider the film “Heavenly Creatures”, based on actual events, which, in PC fashion, implies a lesbian aspect to the intense relationship between the two teenage murderesses but a surviving real-life girl – long out of jail after her too-short sentence and who in other ways does not seem at all above spinning to excuse her younger self – emphatically denies there was the least aspect of it and seems to have no motive to lie about that (if anything the reverse), although one can quite see why the scriptwriters needed far less PC prejudice than usual to assume that this relationship, so intense it alarmed the girls’ parents even before the duo became murderous, ‘must have been so’.

    So I take your point that my arguments alone, absent JKR’s statement, could not be conclusive, though I find them persuasive. In his later life, Dumbledore appears to have no significant other and to lead a celibate life. This, I think, is more consistent with my interpretation than with the assumption that the Grindlewald thing had no relationship to his sexual feelings – though one could argue he simply had a huge secret in his past that he felt he could never share, so could never get close to anyone. (In my interpretation, Dumbledore’s statement that he renounced any political career as part of his penance and because he did not trust himself would be paralleled by the implication he had renounced something else as well, for the same reasons.)

  • Lee Moore

    Nullius : So if a woman is infertile, or has her ovaries surgically removed (ovarian cancer, say), she ceases to be a woman? How can you include such a person, if that’s really your definition?

    Que ? My one line definition was supplemented to cover precisely the sort of thing you mention.

    moi : In the same spirit as I accept that a man who lost a leg in a car accident, still meets the definition of “biped”, I include adult humans who have lost their ovaries, and adult humans whose ovaries don’t work properly, or any longer.

    A light bulb whose filament has blown does not become a pelican. It remains a light bulb – a broken one. A light bulb whose filament never worked is not a toothbrush, it’s a defective light bulb.

    Nullius : This argument is all about definitions.

    Sure, as is every argument which uses words. But it isn’t about arbitrary definitions. It’s about definitions of words that map to phenomena in the real world. We aren’t allowed to claim that evolution has a “purpose” as it doesn’t, but animal body plans have nevertheless been sculpted by the evolutionary algorithm, and the sculpting of the various components is functional. Not by any means perfectly so, but it is not eccentric to claim that legs perform the function of enabling animals to move about; eyes, ears and nose perform the function of sensing the environment; hearts perform the function of pumping oxygenated blood around the body, and gonads perform the function of manufacturing gametes. Of course, these organs may also perform secondary functions. Ears and noses are useful for balancing spectacles on.

    The fact that an organ may be defective in relation to its primary biological function, or may have been removed, either accidentally or on purpose, does not change the evolutionary body plan of the organism. If a man loses an eye, he becomes a one eyed man, not a Cyclops.

    Sex, in the higher eukaryotes, is strictly binary. Reproduction requires the combination of a male gamete and a female gamete. There are no other kinds of gamete. The sex of a gamete is entirely unambiguous, and different types of gamete require different production equipment in the organism (differentiated gonads) and different delivery mechanisms (genitals and other secondary sexual characteristics.) Consequently, the sex of an organism is defined by the type of gametes it makes, and that in turn rests on the type of gamete factories it has – the gonads. Everything functionally downstream of that – from genitals to a winning smile – is strictly obiter.

    When I say “require” I mean at the current state of technology. A human with functioning testes, but who has no penis, and who has a uterus and vagina, and a full array of female secondary sexual characteristics might still be able to father a child, as medical technology advances. Such a human is therefore unambiguously male, from a biological point of view. If there are testes but they don’t work to produce sperm, then the human is a reproductively non functional male. And if the testes have been chopped off, ditto.

    To use the word “woman” to describe a human with testes (either functioning, non functioning, or removed) is perfectly permissible – you can use a word how you choose – but it departs from the objective functional reality of the biological definition. Which is perfectly consistent across the higher eukaryotes – gonads define sex. Whether they are working properly or not. We do not search about for a new word to describe a bird with a broken wing. It’s a bird. It happens to have a broken wing.

    Of course, the fact that the sex of gametes is strictly binary, does not imply that the sex of organisms must be strictly binary. Some animals are simultaneously hermaphrodite – they have both kinds of gonads and make both kinds of gametes . Some animals really change sex – from functional male to functional female. But there are as yet – and we await medical developments – no such humans.

    There are, however, a very very small number of humans, who do have defective, or partially formed, gonads which are neither unambiguously male nor unambiguously female. These folk are genuinely intersex – neither male nor female.

  • neonsnake

    by Dumbledore’s own moral code – a pervert

    You might be right, it’s quite possible that she saw such relationships as some kind of immoral perversion, which requires, as you say, penitence. That seems to fit.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “My one line definition was supplemented to cover precisely the sort of thing you mention.”

    But you didn’t actually give a supplemented definition. You simply pointed to an example where your definition clearly didn’t work, but which you said you included anyway.

    Now this might mean that the original sentence is *not* the definition you are using – you’re using a different, unstated one which I am meant to somehow deduce from a single example. Perhaps you imagine there is only one possible way to extend it to include the example you describe?

    Or – more common, in my experience – you don’t actually have a specific definition in mind, but a set of moving goalposts. You provide a definition, and when that doesn’t work for every case you tweak it, and when someone provides a counterexample to the tweak you tweak it again. And when that doesn’t work either, you shift to a different definition, which you claim is equivalent, and then when the new definition goes wrong too, you shift back, or pull out yet another definition, or say it depends on context, or claim that I’m just nit-picking and “You know perfectly well what I mean.”

    No, I don’t know what you mean – and neither do you. People think “it’s obvious” and therefore there must be a simple definition, which everyone knows, and even if they didn’t quite state it right first time that doesn’t mean it isn’t perfectly well-defined and obvious, and somewhere inside this fuzzy, unexamined cloud of beliefs. (I may be doing you an injustice. I often find myself simplifying a complicated situation for the sake of making an argument or explanation comprehensible or readable. But I’m getting this impression.)

    If your definition of a ‘woman’ is functional ovaries, then that would require that we would have to do a gynaecological examination every time we tried to identify someone as ‘man’ or ‘woman’, and it means infertile people have no sex. No ovaries isn’t a broken lightbulb. It’s not a lightbulb at all. And neither is it how we recognise lightbulbs in practice.

    “The fact that an organ may be defective in relation to its primary biological function, or may have been removed, either accidentally or on purpose, does not change the evolutionary body plan of the organism.”

    Evolution has equipped us with the blueprints for two separate body plans, each plan having a different function. An organism contains some parts arranged according to one blueprint, and other parts arranged according to the other blueprint. Each part is operating correctly, implementing it’s primary biological function. No individual part is ‘broken’. It’s just that the two patterns are not supposed to appear in the same body.

    So if you make a car using half the parts from a Range Rover and half the parts from a Pickup truck, is the resulting vehicle a Range Rover with ‘wrong’ pick-up truck bits, or a pickup truck with ‘wrong’ Range Rover bits? Is the question even meaningful? Can we pick some individual bit of the vehicle, that we claim embodies the ‘essential purpose’ of the vehicle, and say that if it has a Range Rover gear stick then it’s a Range Rover? What if someone else picks a different bit to base their definition on? Why is one choice right and the other wrong? If a body contains a male-pattern brain and female-pattern genitals, is that a male with ‘broken/wrong’ genitals, or a female with a ‘broken/wrong’ brain? Or simply a single whole organism with a male-pattern brain and female-pattern genitals, an ‘intersex’, a type/pattern in itself, both of them being ‘right’ for that organism? Why is one description any better than the others?

    You meet someone in a shop. You meet someone in a business meeting. You meet someone on a train, or crossing the road, or having a cup of coffee, or in a debate, or on the internet. You are very rarely interested in whether they have functioning ovaries.

    A hairdresser distinguishes people based on whether they have long hair or short, whether they are likely to want elaborate styling and braiding or something simple, and whether they have a beard to trim. A clothes shop is interested in what sort of clothes they want to buy. A bookseller wants to know whether they like romantic novels or thrillers. A bra-fitter wants to know if they have breasts. A shoe-seller wants to know if they wear high heels. In most social situations in which people meet and need to identify a sex for social reasons, genitals are not directly involved, and even more rarely on display for identification purposes.

    And on those rare social occasions when functioning genitals *are* involved, then infertility *is* indeed a relevant factor – a fertile woman is not in the same category as an infertile one.

    There are dozens of possible definitions, each suited for a different social purpose, and each using different criteria. Many of them are objective, biological, and functional. (Beards, breasts, and brains all have objective evolutionary biological functions.) Why is one objective/biological/functional/evolutionary definition universally better than any other?

    “Sex, in the higher eukaryotes, is strictly binary.”

    Definitely not! There’s one fungus with over 20,000 different sexes! (And non-binary gametes.) And in case you don’t consider those ‘higher’ enough, there are -as you later say – plenty of hermaphrodites, many reptiles determine sex not by gamete type but by the temperature of the eggs as they develop, and whiptail lizards famously reproduce without any males at all.

    Nothing in nature is binary. All the boundaries are fuzzy.

    “To use the word “woman” to describe a human with testes (either functioning, non functioning, or removed) is perfectly permissible – you can use a word how you choose – but it departs from the objective functional reality of the biological definition.”

    Of one particular biological definition.

    “Of course, the fact that the sex of gametes is strictly binary, does not imply that the sex of organisms must be strictly binary. Some animals are simultaneously hermaphrodite – they have both kinds of gonads and make both kinds of gametes . Some animals really change sex – from functional male to functional female. But there are as yet – and we await medical developments – no such humans.”

    Again – you’re presenting a definition and then admitting that it doesn’t work. First, you say sex is “strictly binary”. Then you say it isn’t. Which is it? How can we work on shifting ground like this?

    And while humans producing both sorts of gametes are vanishingly rare, (I’ve only heard of one case,) humans that produce neither are relatively common. If we define ‘sex’ by what sort of gamete people produce, then they’re neither sex. If we start talking about what sort of gametes somebody would produce if things were otherwise than they are, the possibilities are endless.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Lots of thoughts about all this, but to boil it down (for now) to just two:

    1. Lee, your explanation just above in which you insist on speaking of an organ’s or an organism’s functionality rather than “purpose” (which may or may not imply some sort of “conscious” design, or some sort of “plan”) makes my little brain beat with joy! This has become a hobby-horse, in my head anyhow.

    That does not mean I denigrate any sort of “religious belief” in the matter of plan, but only that “functionality” covers the facts without appeal to any sort of religious or pseudo-religious (if you insist on spirits of some sort) philosophy.

    The whole comment is good.

    2. Stick your fingers in your ears if you’ve heard this from me before, but I say that for at least the last hundred years or so we have been far more obsessed with sex than the Victorians ever were. Limbs! Ankles! Pianos! OMG, what next!

    The century is far from alone in its interest in sexual perversions (a most un-PC phrase nowadays, which is part of my point); See the famous Bosch painting, and I imagine in literature too, and I imagine going back at least to the Greeks.

    This is not to say that I personally consider homosexuality to be perverse in the proper sense: taking Evil as the good, and the Good as evil, thus worshipping the Evil for being evil, under color of its being the core Correctness, or Good. Nor do I think it must serve some evolutionary “purpose.”

    But it has gotten to the point that all forms of litcrit, or art criticism, seem to home in on whatever sexual “perversion” it can manufacture in whatever work or school of work is being discussed. In the case of Miss Rowling, if — IF — she really thought Dumbledore should be a closet homosexual, I can’t help wondering if that idea leapt to mind because the culture is saturated with sexual-faultfinding. (Note that this has been going on since long before 199x, homosexuality having been an important target among not just Jews and Christians but also among the Elite Sophisticated Critics–except targeted for praise as being sophisticated and not written for rednecks.) Same with all those (present company possibly excepted; I’m not sure Niall makes the grade into the Elite Sophisticated Critics circle) who read the same into the Harry Potter books, which I haven’t read and, based on this discussion, will not read.

    (Just as I won’t reading anything positing Frodo as representing Christ. –Yes, I know, somebody posted that the Professor himself confessed to it. Nevertheless, he also wrote in the intro to LotR that the story was not to be taken as allegory; and I do not see that Frodo really fits into the image of Jesus. Far from it! In fact, JRRT has said that it was always “the Northern thing” that absorbed him. But those are hero-military tales, not Christ-like ones. Although, note the observation below by some editor. Then again, Miss Piggy really looks quite toothsome in her eyelashes and lipstick.)

    I did enjoy the movies, especially the first, save that I prefer Michael Gambon’s (From H.P. 3 & ff.) Dumbledore to Richard Harris’s.

    Speaking of celibacy cloaking homosexual proclivities, it became quite popular a few decades ago to decide that Jesus was (quite obviously!) a homosexual.

    (And also that he was taking up with that whore Mary Magdelene, but never mind.)

    If the authoress knew this, perhaps it was in her mind to have Dumbledore as a stand-in for Jesus, and not H.P.

    As for H.P. the Christ, every single-hero-come-to-save-us-all (for just about any value of “all”) except for some of those featuring a clearly Bad Guy as the “hero” (musta gone off those meds) could probably be read as Jesus, if you work hard enough at it.

    On the other hand, getting into J. Peterson territory, one can certainly recognize Jesus as the archetypical [sic !!! — we don’t say “typal” instead of “typical”] Overarching Hero-Saviour.

    Somebody said (from memory), “There are only 5 plots, and boy-meets-girl–>boy-loses-girl–>boy-gets-girl is three of them.”

    .

    As always, these are my own opinions. I hope that some of deserves a claim to the word “knowledge,” but where it falls short I’d be grateful to know, though I don’t promise to discuss (nor to not-discuss either. *g*) For personal reasons, time is in short supply nowadays.

    🙂

    P.S. bobby, at December 27, 2019 at 1:55 am:

    Interesting. We could chew this over for awhile! Of course the instant comeback is that this “intense brother-brother relationship” is itself homoerotic (as 300 is said to be — haven’t seen it myself), not to mention incestuous. Then again, the mere assertion is just that.

    :>))

  • Julie near Chicago

    Niall,

    As usual, your comments are interesting and insightful — quite possibly including the last. A word about that:

    It’s possible that if I read the books, I would get the same sense of Dd that you do. We’ll never know, because as I say, I won’t read them.

    That is for the same reason that I have for refusing to see the LotR movies: I know the characters, I know the landscapes, and if I met any of them or it, I would recognize the subject at once.

    The movies would pollute my own vision, of which I am exceedingly fond. :>)

    Similarly, I very much like the HP movies, although by me The Sorcerer’s Stone is hands-down the best. (Although I wish they’d given Dd’s part to Michael Gambon from the first.)

    (Dolores Umbridge, or to use my pet name, “Polly Pinks,” is a masterpiece. And the actress is wonderful! Should I meet her in real life, I will deck her at once, and she deserves far worse. I know her type!!!)

    But, Niall, your comments tend to have one attribute that eats time I don’t have: I have to chase down most of your links, and ALL of the ones that lead to a comment or posting of yours. The present case is no exception, which is why I’ve spent the last couple of hours in dark corners of the cyberstacks to which you’ve sent me, and which for some reason tend to be full of light when I get there.

    Specifically, yours at December 24, 2019 at 9:05 am is interesting and informative: esp. the last part, beginning with

    “I admired the courage of the East German doctor who whispered in the ear of one girl, “If you ever want to have a family – if you ever want to have children – get out of this programme now“. ….”

    Something I haven’t seen mention of anywhere else, and yes, the doctor had great courage and great humanity.

    And the rest,teeing off from Hannah Arendt, also interesting and informative.

    The same applies to the comment about the Chinese eunuchs as Republican Guards. Very interesting Chinese history, as Republican Guards are certainly still with us. In fact some of us saw the possibility of Obaman Republican Guards around the time of the 2008 election; and the attempt to build the Cult of Personality, a thing of evil repute politically, made us all the warier, even those of who (at the time) were going mostly on intuition.

    Anyway, so thanks as usual for all your commentary. Much appreciated.

    .

    Paul, great comments from you as usual.

    .

    Neon, yours at December 25, 2019 at 7:25 pm is exceptional. *Standing Ovation*

    .

    Snorri, special thanks for the link to Hinderaker’s piece at Powerline on the non-toxicity of “the centuries-old OK symbol” or however he put it.

    .

    Ellen, nobody in his [the inclusive pronoun!] right mind would consider you a jerk. And I will be delighted to join you in not attending rallies, marches, etc. which are likely to attract “Antifa” thugs. :>)))

    . . .

    I’m not sure how many particularly interesting discussions Samizdata can have before they become too much the norm to mention as such; but anyway, this is surely one. Just about all the comments (and Natalie’s posting) are interesting and add both flavor and meat to the discussion.

    Just My Opinion, of course…. 😎

  • Lee Moore

    I do apologise, Nullius, if I was unclear.

    My definition of woman – adult human with ovaries – was simplified, and was not intended for inclusion directly into statute. I thought my analogy with one legged man still being a biped would enable you to discern the more complete, but more tedious version, which includes not merely ovaries present, but ovaries past and ovaries yet to come. So, to complete the puzzle :

    1. “a woman is an adult human who has, or used to have, ovaries (functional or not)”

    And for even more completeness,

    2. a “human female” is “a woman, or a human which may be expected to develop into a woman with the passage of time”

    and in each case

    3. “woman” and “human female” excludes humans with testes

    I include 3. although it is superfluous, so you can work ot how to categorise a true human hermaphrodite. An analogue to 3. is necessary in some species.

    If your definition of a ‘woman’ is functional ovaries

    It is not. However,

    then that would require that we would have to do a gynaecological examination every time we tried to identify someone as ‘man’ or ‘woman’,

    You are confusing the practicalities of identification, with the underlying reality. If a tree stands in the forest, it is still a tree, even if there is no one there to identify it as such.

    and it means infertile people have no sex.

    No. Or only very rarely, and such folk (those who have no sex) are infertile because they have no sex.

    No ovaries isn’t a broken lightbulb. It’s not a lightbulb at all. And neither is it how we recognise lightbulbs in practice.

    Not quite sure what your point is. A broken filament in a light bulb makes it defective as a light bulb in its primary function – giving light. But it’s still a lightbulb. Or do you have another word for a broken lightbulb ? In my household Mrs Moore says :

    “Yo, get off the sofa you lazy bum. The lightbulb in the hall is broken. Change it !”

    How does it go in yours ? “ My sweet, the djangobum in the hall, that used to be a lightbulb, needs to be swapped for a lightbulb” ?

    What if someone else picks a different bit to base their definition on?

    Sexual function is hierarchical. No gonads, no point in even tuning up the other instruments. Genitals and all that swaddling are downstream. It may be that scientists will be able to take gametes from working gonads and create babies from them, even if the whole of the rest of the sexual functionality chain is broken or flipped. But no gonads and that’s it.

    I quite appreciate that people may want to sort people into various categories for all sorts of social purposes. But if a hairdresser wants to treat men with long hair as women for charging purposes, the man with long hair is a man being treated as a woman for this purpose. He’s not actually a woman. He’s actually a man. Sex is an objective biological category. By all means treat a P as a Q for whatever purpose it suits you to treat a P as a Q. I have no plans to stop you. You can treat a man like a dog. But he’s still, actually, a man.

    moi : “Sex, in the higher eukaryotes, is strictly binary.”
    Nullius : Definitely not!
    Again, I apologise for assuming too much would be inferred. Sex in the higher eukaryotes (yes higher than funghi) is strictly binary because it is a characteristic of gametes The sex of an organism is inferred from the gametes it makes, and therefore may not be binary. As well as male and female, an organism can be neither (no gonads) or both (hermaphrodite.) Or one after the other. As I mentioned, humans come in male, female and very very rarely, in neither. No one has yet observed a true human hermaphrodite, so far as I am aware.
    The point of emphasising the binary nature of sex is to emphasise that sex is all about gametes – which drive all other sexual differentiation.

  • Julie near Chicago (December 28, 2019 at 5:14 am), the Harry Potter books are much better than the films and have far more in them. The films are in the main very poor adaptions (I partly exempt the very first, which was clever in making the minor change of Harry’s encounter with Olivander being the prompt for Harry’s being told of his parents’ fate instead of part of Hagrid’s long expository discussion. It needs nitpicking to fault the first film, though one can – for example if you watch carefully the scene where the Dursleys flee after Hagrid gives Dudley a tail, you will see the poorly-directed cast are rather dancing off the stage than fleeing). But film 2 is a poorer adaption, 3 is dreadful, 4 and 5 are better than 3 but still bad and suffering from the fact that the later books are far longer whereas the films are the same length, so time pressure is becoming brutal. Film 6 has some competently-adapted scenes (e.g. the visit of Cissy and Bellatrix to Snape and Wormtail conveys all the points of the book scene in a time-efficient and dramatic film scene) and 7 is IMNSHO less well-adapted than 6.

    JKR has (rarely – she may of course be constrained by contract) complained of her “not having the authority” to prevent adaptation-decisions she disliked. She seems to have lacked the wisdom or forcefulness of Suzanne Collins, who arranged to have an executive role in the Hunger Games’ adaptions, which are far better than average. (Still with a few faults of course; for example, the films needlessly dumb down the tactical cleverness of both Katniss and her enemies in the books. But, as you may be beginning to suspect 🙂 , I rarely see a film of a book I know well without recognising that the adaptor knew it less well, believed in stopping work at 5 sharp and/or had an uninventive mind!)

    In fairness to JKR’s adaptors, I will note her plotting style resembles that of detective story writers – she buries elements that will be vital later into minor incidents in complex and often amusing or dramatic scenes about other things – which makes her no holiday job to adapt when time pressure means you must cut things. If you cut the scene then you cut the clue – which you must then somehow reinsert. But I think the adaptors of all but the first film did a poor job even so.

    On another point of yours, I saw an interview of the (now grown-up) girl who, warned by the doctor, escaped the East German athlete programme (and did indeed get married and have kids IIRC). She did not mention (may not have known) the name of the doctor and I do not know if it is in the public domain (he may well be dead now, of course). Others were not so lucky and I have also heard and read of them. The subject was passably covered after the fall of the communist regime including in BBC programmes whose makers would be afraid to cover it now lest the woke cancel them as the woke wish to cancel JKR.

    [Coincidentally, my own GP in Scotland is from east Germany and was a teenage guard on the communist side of the wall with a rifle (and hating it) at the very end of the regime’s life, just after I was briefly on the West German side of the wall (or rather, of the wire, in my case). We joke – though he still feels it deeply and does not laugh as lightheartedly as I do – about how, had our timelines been slightly more coincident and a crossing attempt occurred, we might just have shot each other.]

  • Nullius in Verba

    “I thought my analogy with one legged man still being a biped would enable you to discern the more complete, but more tedious version, which includes not merely ovaries present, but ovaries past and ovaries yet to come.”

    Fair enough. So women with Turner’s syndrome, often born without ovaries, are not ‘women’ under this definition, right?

    “a “human female” is “a woman, or a human which may be expected to develop into a woman with the passage of time””

    So a child with a fatal disease not expected to live beyond childhood is not a human female, right?

    “You are confusing the practicalities of identification, with the underlying reality. If a tree stands in the forest, it is still a tree, even if there is no one there to identify it as such.”

    No, I’m saying that there are lots of possible definitions of ‘tree’, *all* of them based in underlying reality, and this is not the one we use.

    Trees are made of wood. Except that palm trees aren’t. Trees have a central woody stem. But what about bamboo, which has a tall and woody stem, but is more closely related to grasses? Trees have growth rings inside the step, except for those that don’t. And so on.

    If someone proposes a definition of ‘tree’ that requires studying their internal structure, their root system, or details of their seeds, then it’s obvious that this *can’t* be the definition of ‘tree’ people are using when they say “Hey! Look at that tree!” I’m not denying the underlying reality of tree rings, I’m just saying it’s obviously not the definition people are using when they point to a palm tree.

    “Not quite sure what your point is. A broken filament in a light bulb makes it defective as a light bulb in its primary function – giving light. But it’s still a lightbulb. Or do you have another word for a broken lightbulb ?”

    No, I was talking about the case where there is no lightbulb. We have a wire hanging down from the ceiling, and nothing at the end of it. Or we have a house with no electrical wiring.

    “Sexual function is hierarchical. No gonads, no point in even tuning up the other instruments.”

    Sexual function is a chain, and depends on every single link of the chain. An organism has to be viable. It has to survive. It has to have gonads. It has to produce gametes. It has to be able to fertilize them. It has to be able to bring them to term. It has to be able to give birth. It has to be able to feed and defend they young until it is independent. If any of those elements are missing, it’s not worth bothering with any of the rest. Why is one particular link in the chain privileged over all the rest?

    “Sex is an objective biological category.”

    Sex is a statistical cluster of characteristics, from which we can derive many objective biological categories.

    Suppose we have a set of ten different characteristics that can occur in two forms, A and B. The first column might be “beard/no beard”. The second column might be “breasts/no breasts”. The third column “attracted to men/attracted to women”. And so on. The characteristics are distributed in different organisms like:
    ABABAAAAAA
    AABAAAABAB
    AAAABBAAAA
    BAABAAAAAA
    AAAAAABABA

    BABBBBBBAA
    BBBBBABBBB
    BBBABABBBB
    BABBBBBABB
    ABBBBBBBBA

    One group are “mainly A”. The other group are “mainly B”. But there’s no single characteristic that is an infallible guide to which cluster they are in, or to what any other column contains.

    You can pick any column, or any combination of columns, and build an “objective biological category” around them. And because there are two clusters, these categories will *mostly* agree.

    All the categories so built are equally objective, equally biological, equally real. None of them is any more biologically objective than any other. And different people use differently constructed categories for different social purposes.

    You’re using one definition. The modern world uses a different one. Both are real. Neither is ‘factually wrong’, seen from it’s own point of view. They’re just using different definitions.

    Definitions are a social convention; we collectively agree what words mean in order to more efficiently communicate ideas and information. So the ‘correct’ definition to use always depends on who is talking to who, and why. Sometimes we’re really talking about column 1, sometimes column 2, and sometimes column 3. The real world is complicated. It doesn’t separately neatly into simple categories. But our brains can’t cope with the world’s complexities, so it insists on imposing simplistic subjective categories, and then stuffing everything into those artificial categories. Even when the category criteria are based on objective reality, the *choice* of criteria to use is always subjective. We choose criteria based on convenience, and on the most common social uses. Not everything is about sexual reproduction.

    The problem we’re trying to solve is that some people get badly hurt by being first stuffed into the wrong category based on inappropriate criteria, and then society punishing any non-adherence to its protocols based on its approximate division. If society was flexible and tolerant about it, it wouldn’t matter, but society isn’t.

    Travelling in Ireland during the Troubles, a journalist is stopped at a checkpoint by balaclava-wearing gunmen. “Are you a Protestant or a Catholic?” He is asked. Realising the danger of giving the wrong answer, the journalist carefully answers “I’m an atheist.” Impatiently the gunman responds “Yes! Yes! But are you a Protestant atheist, or a Catholic atheist?”

    It’s the harm done by people insisting that everyone else be slotted immutably into one of their own mental categories, which determine how they’re to be treated in all matters, that is at issue. If you’re talking about something to which gametes are actually relevant, like population genetics, then nobody cares if you use a gamete-based definition of sex. But if someone is going to threaten to knife someone travelling on the bus because they’re wearing a dress and the knife-wielder doesn’t think they should, supposedly based on the dress-wearer’s gametes (which are totally invisible in this context), then this is a social problem. Society has no business imposing rules or limiting the freedom of any individual member except to prevent unconsented harm to others.

    Society has tried to address the problem by changing the commonly accepted definition, (with the full support of most of the population). It’s better not to coerce people into differently-treated categories by sex, but if you’re going to do so then give people who don’t quite fit the choice of how they would prefer to be treated, to minimise the harm you do. It’s not a perfect solution; nothing ever is.

  • Nullius in Verba

    Oh, and on the subject of gametes, this might be interesting. It’s getting complicated.

  • neonsnake (December 27, 2019 at 9:03 pm), JKR’s powerful real-time (not just retrospective) portrayal of Bellatrix’ attraction to Voldemort seems relevant. To the young reader, Bellatrix is simply a strong portrayal of the horrible wicked witch of every fairy story, but I think the grown-up reader easily spots the hints of something seriously strange in Bellatrix’ intense desire both to torture people for Voldemort and to cringe to him. Bellatrix is, I think, very very very distantly inspired by JKR’s understanding (and/or misunderstanding) of Unity Mitford. JKR was fascinated by the story of the Mitfords when younger, both admiring (and failing to see through) the inveterate liar Jessica (who admired Stalin) and horrified by the violent and violence-loving Unity (who admired Hitler).

    JKR’s handling of Bellatrix influences my assessment above of how she handles Dumbledore. Her problem is: how can Dumbledore be good enough to repent what his youthful self did, yet bad enough and/or tempted enough to have done it? (Sort of like: how can Anakin Skywalker be the sweet little boy we see in The Phantom Menace yet turn to the dark side? George Lucas solved that problem – poorly! 🙂 )

  • The problem we’re trying to solve is that some people get badly hurt by being first stuffed into the wrong category based on inappropriate criteria (Nullius in Verba, December 28, 2019 at 1:15 pm)

    The problem that free speech supporters are trying to solve in the western world of today is that free speech gets badly hurt when people pretend that stuffing people in the ‘wrong’ category using ‘inappropriate’ criteria hurts them enough to justify laws limiting speech. Words like ‘wrong’ and ‘inappropriate’ are challengeable to a degree that leaves words like ‘man’ and ‘woman’ trailing in their dust.

    As I said in my first comment in this thread (would it had been my last 🙂 ), I stand with Maya at this time because of “the clear and present danger to free speech on this and many another matter”.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Niall:

    the Harry Potter books are much better than the films and have far more in them.

    I certainly agree, w/o qualifications when it comes to The Order of the Phoenix. The only other H.P. books i read are The Half-Blood Prince and The Deathly Hallows, of which i would say that at least the movies are still worth watching.

    Kenneth Branagh was hilarious in The Chamber of Secrets, btw.

  • Snorri Godhi

    You must forgive me for not reading all the comments and not replying to the replies to me: life is too short.

    Just wanted to say that i used to favor the chromosomal definition of sex/gender, until i thought seriously about the adrenogenital and androgen-insensitivity syndromes.

    Now i think of a human’s gender as defined primarily by external anatomy, though i am somewhat flexible. (That means that a man can change into a woman, though perhaps not completely.)

    Why not self-identification? inter alia, because i am a Humean: i do not know for a fact that self-identification will not change tomorrow.

    Why not brain anatomy? because at present, that is less reliable in detecting gender than opinion polls are in predicting election results.

    BTW i write “gender” instead of “sex” because for me sex is not an attribute but an activity — a fun activity, with a modicum of luck.

  • Lee Moore

    Nullius : So women with Turner’s syndrome, often born without ovaries, are not ‘women’ under this definition, right?

    No.

    https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/turner-syndrome

    “The ovaries develop normally at first, but egg cells (oocytes) usually die prematurely and most ovarian tissue degenerates before birth.”

    So a child with a fatal disease not expected to live beyond childhood is not a human female, right?

    No. My definition needs to clarify “expected” in relation to normal development, in order to satisfy a fully textualist approach to statutory construction. On the currently favoured purposive approach, though, you’d probably be inside by now doing 3 to 5.

    As to your tree, I disagree. People’s conceptions on what a star is have changed a lot over time. Now – in those parts of the world which science has touched – people accept that although they will identify any small point of light in the night sky as a star, some of those points of light are in fact not stars – they may be planets, or galaxies or other bits and bobs of celestial furniture. And likewise with the fishy whales. You can, and we all do, use rough and ready means of identification to describe things, and while you’ll usually be right, you accept that you may misidentify things from time to time, and you are happy to be corrected by a chap with a bigger telescope, or a fancier degree.

    On to the hierarchy of sexual function.

    Sex is a statistical cluster of characteristics, from which we can derive many objective biological categories.

    Yes and no. Sex – in humans and anything else bigger than a fruit fly – is about reproduction. There are two gamete sexes and all those other characteristics derive from that fact. The gamete factories, the mate detection and attraction systems, the gamete delivery / reception systems, the incubation system, the young-rearing system. They’re all different between male and female organisms, because what helps turn your gamete into a chunk of surviving offspring differs between males and females.

    If we look at humans, in the wild, male humans need only functioning gonads and functioning genitals (aside from the usual non sexual equipment basic to survival.) All other sexual characteristics are “nice to have”, not “essential.” If you can’t attract a female with your charms or take home pay, you can impregnate one by force. If you’re female, you need a functioning uterus, but all the downstream kit that evolution has provided you with to help your gametes succeed (your soft enticing skin, your come hither eyes, your cues of chaste faithfulness, your hourglass figure etc) – they’re all substitutable. You can look like a gorilla and have no charms whatsoever and you can still get pregnant. And if you have a rich Dad, your kid has excellent survival prospects.

    So while – in the wild – the long chain of sexual characteristics all the way to psychology is important to your chances of finding, keeping and reproducing with, a partner, these secondary characteristics are, well, secondary. Or in technical terms, gravy.

    So if we’re sticking with biological essentials it’s down to gonads and genitals. Plus uterus if you’re female. On that basis, it’s easy to identify 99% of humans correctly.

    So what do we do with your As and Bs if there is disagreement between the gonads and the {genitals/uterus} ? Well. You could rationally say – just as I do for folk who have no, or mixed, gonads, OK – you’re a neither.

    But biologically genitals etc are downstream of gonads. Gonads come first and create the indispensible gametes, as well as contributing to the functionally downstream gamete delivery / reception systems.

    And, since we now know that doctors can, for example, collect eggs from a female and have them fertilized externally and then implanted into another female, allowing the first female to reproduce without using her own downstream equipment, we can appreciate that even the genitals/uterus can, at a pinch, be excluded from your A and B chart.

    Gonads are King. And Queen.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “The problem that free speech supporters are trying to solve in the western world of today is that free speech gets badly hurt when people pretend that stuffing people in the ‘wrong’ category using ‘inappropriate’ criteria hurts them enough to justify laws limiting speech.”

    I don’t disagree with that. But it doesn’t stop at speech, does it?

    Maya isn’t forbidden by law from tweeting her opinions about the transgender. Nobody has suggested prosecuting her. All that’s happened is she’s lost her job. A voluntary arrangement between parties was not re-offered because one of the parties wasn’t happy that the other party was losing them business by being an obnoxious nutter to the potential donors. Just as she can exercise her freedom of expression, so they can exercise their freedom of association.

    So Maya tried to prosecute them under equality law, to compel them to employ her, on the grounds that their actions discriminated against her beliefs.

    I think she has a point. They are indeed discriminating against her based on her deeply held beliefs. They are doing to her what society used to do to the LGBT crowd. You could lose your job. You could lose your friends. You could lose access to your kids, or get kicked out by your family. You could get subjected to hate mail and insults and verbal bullying of all sorts. You could find yourself unwelcome anywhere in ‘polite society’. And all of that does more than merely offend – not being able to get a job (any future prospective employer’s HR department who Googles her name will know exactly what she did) causes real problems for her even making a living, just as being known as LGBT can cause real problems for people because of the way many in society still view them. If her beliefs had been a protected category, she might indeed have been able to compel people to employ her, despite their dislike of her opinions.

    So I can see how one could ‘stand with Maya’ on the grounds that it isn’t fair that some people get this protection and not others. And yet, on free speech and freedom of association grounds, we want to be limiting what people can claim protection for, not extending it. Maya is asking for free speech to express her beliefs, but those beliefs are calling for society to deny freedom to the transgender. Thus we can consistently support her right to express her opinions, just as we enthusiastically defend the rights of Islamists and Marxists and environmentalist campaigners. But we can’t consistently support her opinions, or her use of discrimination law to try to compel an employer. They’re authoritarian.

    “Why not self-identification? inter alia, because i am a Humean: i do not know for a fact that self-identification will not change tomorrow.”

    Why does that matter? Why is it necessary that the identification not change?

    And how, for example, would you apply it to the problem of determining who is a Catholic and who a Protestant? (Or who likes Marmite…) Can we allow people to self-identify as Catholic, or should we always apply the objective medical test for Catholicism to be sure? Does it matter for the validity of self-identification that someone might claim to be Catholic today, and change their mind tomorrow?

    Is the Pope Catholic? How can we tell?

    “And, since we now know that doctors can, for example, collect eggs from a female…”

    And since we now know that doctors can in principle take any cell of the body, and produce eggs and sperm from it…

  • neonsnake

    If her beliefs had been a protected category, she might indeed have been able to compel people to employ her, despite their dislike of her opinions

    And that’s precisely what she was, in her own words, aiming for. She openly said that her end goal was to have her views recognised legally as a philosophy, a protected category. She wanted, explicitly, to restrict the free speech of people who disagreed with her, and their freedom of association.

    Again, she didn’t lose her job. Her contract came to an end, and she wasn’t re-employed. I’ve done some contract work; I’ve been in situations where I reasonably expected my contract to be extended.

    Had I rocked the boat to an extent that my co-workers felt it necessary to issue complaints about me (let’s pretend I’m anti-Semitic) and had I repeatedly tweeted anti-Semitic views, and badmouthed a potential investor of Jewish origin, and my employer had said “lol no” when it came to re-establishing my contract, this whole thread would not be happening. Any “right” I had to go crying to the government to protect my “free speech” rights over the rights of people to disagree would have been, rightly, laughed at.

    But, for some reason, anti-trans still seems to be ok, for most people, and weirdly, for libertarians.

    that stuffing people in the ‘wrong’ category using ‘inappropriate’ criteria hurts them enough to justify laws limiting speech

    🙁

    Thing is, Niall, the stats on suicides, violence and murder against trans people seem to suggest that stuffing people into inappropriate categories genuinely does hurt them, in far more serious ways than cis-gendered people feeling a tad aggrieved at being asked/required by their employer to use pronouns that trans people feel are appropriate.

    I wish that weren’t the case, and it was as simple as “free speech”, but it’s not. We don’t live in Libertopia, as many people are pointing out.

    So it appears that a choice needs to be made, in the real world, in this specific case of Maya. We can support those who would restrict liberty by appealing to the government to protect their rights to be anti-trans. Or we can support the rights to free speech for those who support liberty, by opposing people who appeal to the government to protect their rights to own free speech. Not to say that there aren’t sensible conversations still to be had, but they’re not to be had my Maya or her ilk by silencing opposition. (The converse holds true, as I’ve said on many an occasion, I’ll have you remember)

    Free speech is not the right to remain free of consequences in the private sector. It’s free speech, not free rein. Maya wants legal protection for free rein.

    Right. I’m about to go fully off the reservation. Christ, I’m gonna get slammed…

    *Deep breath*

    Ok.

    Nullius in Verba/Lee Moore.

    What difference does the science make?

    What if, instead of some predetermined biological fact, it was simply a choice?

    Why would that make it better/worse?

    Why are people not at liberty to make that choice, and to live with the consequences – positive or negative?

    “Born this way” is fine, from a certain pre-derministic Western way of thinking. But it removes an element of choice, as I see it.

    I believe it to be important to recognise that choice is liberty. “Born this way” is a, I dunno, *flails*, a cowards’ way out of supporting liberty, I feel.

    *ducks and runs for cover”

  • bobby b

    “What if, instead of some predetermined biological fact, it was simply a choice?”

    I don’t know that we get anywhere if we don’t define our terms.

    Call someone what they wish to be called? Just be polite and compassionate?

    Or send the 6’4″ trans-female sex offender into the womens’ prison?

    There are two separate arguments here dressed up as one. It does no good to argue based on one scenario when your interlocutor’s argument is based on the other. Y’all end up talking past each other.

    (And, Neonsnake, I think that your “what if it’s just choice” offering yields differing imperatives in these two scenarios.)

  • neonsnake

    I don’t know that we get anywhere if we don’t define our terms.

    Maybe.

    I’m not wholly bought in, but what if, instead of getting caught up in science and biological facts, we went with freedom of choice instead?

    Does arguing over what makes a woman a woman, or vice versa, really help? I’m unsure that it does.

    Call someone what they wish to be called? Just be polite and compassionate?

    Why not?

    There’s an argument, a fair one, that had we not just been polite and compassionate, then many of the laws that we rail against would not have been necessary, from the Civil Rights Acts onward.

    I don’t know about that. I can see both sides.

    Or send the 6’4″ trans-female sex offender into the womens’ prison?

    Is that a thing that happens regularly, or makes the news because it’s new news? Do we send male rapists into all male prisons? Should we?

    I personally think that it’s a boogeyman, fake news to a large extent. I wish I knew why (I can venture some guesses, I suppose. After all, trans-panic is a legal defense for murder in some states).

    I think it’s an interesting thought experiment, never the less.

  • Lee Moore

    What difference does the science make?

    Possibly a bit too cryptic for me. If you mean what difference does it make if X uses “woman” to describe a human with ovaries (past, present or future) while Y uses “woman” to describe what most of us call a “tea-cosy”, the difference that it makes is that communications between X and Y become more complicated. So it’s a bit like the difference made by the fact that different groups of people use different languages. We can muddle round that, but it makes life a bit more complcated – unless we confine our socialising to folk who use the same language.

    Obviously if the state decides to impose legal sanctions on folk who use the “wrong” word, then the consequences go a little past mere confusion.

    If you mean what difference does it make that the science is as it turns out to be, rather than if it had turned out to be some other way, well, that’s a very open ended question. Even among, say, mammals, although each species has two sexes and the sex role is differentiated, the sex role is not differentiated in precisely the same way in each mammal species. The female shoulders the main burden of childcare in all mammals, but how big that burden is, and how it plays out in practice varies widely.

    Thus for example, humans have big brains, and big heads, which leads to all sorts of consequences. Humans are born very prematurely (compared to other mammals) with the result that human infants are much more helpless for much longer than most mammalian young. That puts a huge burden on the mother, which in turn makes her require lots of support from the father. Hence human pair bonding – which is far from the norm in mammals. And hence male humans are much less aggressive around children than are, say, male bears.

    And pair bonding leads to the search for all those sexual-social clues. Is he going to stick around and support me and my baby, and protect me. And is he actually capable of doing that ? And on the other side – is she a whore or can I be confident that I’m the father of her baby ? These are not problems Momma and Poppa Bear face.

    So how the science turns out to be has all sorts of interestng implications for how we live, and for how our thinking parts operate. For example technological changes like the pill, or DNA testing, or plentiful food or the movies have their immediate and obvious effects, but then they have all sorts of other unpredicted effects.

    The pill changes which type of men women want to mate with, DNA testing solves the man’s “who’s the Daddy ?” problem, but consequently risks family stability, plentiful food leads to early menarche and more cognitively immature mothers, and the movies make all of us more dissatisfied with the sexual attractivness of our partner, who (usually) compares poorly with the Hollywood examples. If the science – ie how we evolved to be as we are – were different, large chunks of what makes human society what it is, would be different. But I’m afraid I can’t tell you exactly how.

    What if, instead of some predetermined biological fact, it was simply a choice?

    I refer the Hon gentleman to my answer above.

    However, science may change some of the predetermined biological facts. At present science can’t turn a man into a woman. It can’t do the basic thing of allowing a man to make eggs, or a woman to make sperm. But they’re making progress with mice which may in time make sperm dispensible. (Harder to do artificial eggs, but give them time.)

    They’re also struggling with the downstream secondary sexual characteristics which may not be essential for reproduction, but are – see above – central to social life. A few hormones and a bit of surgery do not allow Caitlin to reshape Bruce’s skeletal and muscular structure. But who knows – in time they will do better.

    Perhaps an important way station is not to do with choosing sex, but to do with choosing how beautiful you are. Cosmetics and cosmetic surgery have achieved wonders the past 100 years. A woman of 50 can look like a woman of 35 did fifty years ago, with a bit of effort. But until scientists can reliably change ugly people into beautiful ones, it seems unlikely that they’ll be able to change men into “socially functionally” women, or vice versa. By that I mean into “women’ that men are willing to date.

    Likewise, even though the modern world allows a modern woman to pursue a high flying career, science has not yet solved the problem of allowing her to defer babymaking for as long as a man can. Nor has it solved the problem that women’s brains are tuned (on average, M’lud) to pursue hypergamy, while men’s are not. Science has not yet worked out which knobs to twiddle to change that sort of thing. In short, it may be all be rather a big job.

  • bobby b

    “I personally think that it’s a boogeyman, fake news to a large extent.”

    Agreed. But I’m not advocating any particular position or philosophy here. This is a subject way out of my pay grade.

    I’m just pointing out that, almost invariably, while one protagonist has one of those two scenarios in mind, the other protagonist has the other scenario in mind. While I’m arguing “of course we ought to be polite and address people as they wish” – hard to argue with, in my mind – the reaction is going to stem from “so we have to let them choose to be put in prison with cis-women!”, which is hard to argue in its own right. And it ends up as ships passing in the night.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Niall,

    I have no self-discipline.

    And you are just the type of man to take advantage of that lack in my character.

    As you have done in your comment above addressing the HP books and seducing me away from my sworn vow never to read one. 👿

    Namely, now you’ve gotten my curiosity bump up and I’m afraid I’m going to have to read at least the first one, to see what I think. The Young Miss has them in some strange non-digital format involving something called paper and something else called ink. Unfortunately her father and I saw fit to give her the set for Christmas one year. Parents are a sorry lot, to quote Veronica Lodge’s (Archie’s girlfriend’s) father. 😥

    Nuts. I’m trying to have a life here, y’know.

    😀

    As for having to put up with the film’s producers and editors’ changes, I would mention Miss R, who allowed Atlas and, I think, The Fountainhead, to be published only with such edits as she approved of. Thank the Great Frog she wasn’t a Leninist or Maoist — we’d all have been in our graves long since!

    .

    Your stories about the genuinely helpful and humane E. German doctor whose Olympian patient took his advice, left the program, and now has children remains strongly moving. As is your telling us about the E. German soldier, now your GP, who, during the War, would have shot you, out of duty I guess, but who hated the idea. I’m glad he forbore, for my sake as well as yours. And I’m glad that you can get together as friends now and then.

    Thank you. :>)))

    P.S. Your mention of “the sweet little boy Anakin Skywalker” reminds me of my reaction to the photo of the young Obama happily riding his bicycle. Such a sweet-face, happy-looking child … such a shame what became of him.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “What if, instead of some predetermined biological fact, it was simply a choice?”

    Yes. Consider my example above of people identifying as Catholic.

    It’s a real problem, too!

    The science is a completely separate issue to the libertarianism. I like to argue both, though.

    “Is that a thing that happens regularly, or makes the news because it’s new news?”

    There were 125 TG prisoners in England and Wales in 2017 according to page 13 of this, out of a total prison population of about 85,000. This includes both FtM and MtF but the statistics don’t count how many of each, doesn’t include those with gender recognition certificates (if any), and statistics aren’t collected on which prisons they’re housed in. There’s no guarantee or requirement that a MtF TG would be put in a women’s prison anyway – a risk assessment is done in every case, and there’s already a procedure in place so that any especially violent/dangerous female prisoner (TG or not) can be housed in a male prison if that’s deemed necessary for safety/security.

    Mostly it’s clickbait – it stirs up the readers’ passions.

  • bobby b

    “As you have done in your comment above addressing the HP books and seducing me away from my sworn vow never to read one. “

    Break your vow, happily.

    I’ve read the LOTR works many times, and watched the movies fewer but numerous times. I’ve read the HP books and watched the movies.

    You read the books to get the author’s work, and you watch the movies to see techies work their magic on and with some portion of the author’s work. It’s all worthwhile, for different reasons.

    One never takes the place of the other. So long as you don’t expect them to, you’ll not have a conflict.

  • I’m just pointing out that, almost invariably, while one protagonist has one of those two scenarios in mind, the other protagonist has the other scenario in mind. (bobby b, December 29, 2019 at 2:42 am)

    That is often true – in many a thread besides this one – but I think my scenario has in fact a passable overlap with e.g. neonsnake’s (of December 28, 2019 at 10:59 pm) where he offers suicide statistics as one reason to think that:

    “stuffing people into inappropriate categories genuinely does hurt them, in far more serious ways than cis-gendered people feeling a tad aggrieved at being asked/required by their employer to use pronouns that trans people feel are appropriate.”

    As Ayn Rand divided those who would socialistically steal your money into ‘looters’ and ‘moochers’ – into those who would forcefully take it, and those who would invent a reality in which your money wasn’t really yours, so we need a term for those whose demand is

    describe me as I want you to or I’ll kill you

    and another for those whose demand is

    describe me as I want you to or I’ll kill myself

    i.e. terms for tyrants and for snowflakes.

    The first amendment demands a ‘clear and present danger’ before “violence and murder” become arguments for its limitation. I know of no case where even a clear and present danger of suicide cause its limitation – and hope there is indeed none. During the indyref, a guy on my side that I talked with confessed to anxiety, trouble sleeping, etc. – the idea of being forced into a strictly binary ‘Scottish exclusive-or British’ state caused him great mental disturbance. During that time I thought of several arguments to offer against voting for the natz – but “to restore my friend’s mental equilibrium” was not one of them. Conversely, I once had a long chat with a trans in which I tried hard to ensure that, in any further downer episode with suicidal thoughts (as had been confessed to), there would be at least the encouragement of knowng that all viewpoints spoke for life. However the same chat started with the guy’s agreement – uneager but accepted – that true discussion would be rendered impossible by the concept of ‘hate speech’.

    A single scenario can contain both a genuine (if, I trust, very slight) possibility of suicide and an acceptance that free speech is worth any risk.

  • the E. German soldier, now your GP, who, during the War, would have shot you, out of duty I guess, but who hated the idea. (Julie near Chicago, December 29, 2019 at 9:55 am)

    I think he would not, even then, have shot at anyone, but a fake shot designed merely to avoid his being punished might by wild mischance have gone anywhere. Happily, the possibility was never more than immensely unlikely.

    The experience has made him very unfriendly to firearms (in US terms, he is not at all a second amendment guy). In his case, I have some sympathy. We’ve discussed how I imagine shooting for Churchill, for freedom, whereas his country’s history means he thinks of shooting to kill escapers from communism, or shooting for Hitler – two very different scenarios.

    As far as reading HP books is concerned, those who like that sort of thing will find it the sort of thing they like – and contrariwise. JKR has limitations and talents. In that kind of literature, I rate Dianna Wynne Jones higher overall, but in the areas where JKR is talented, she is strongly talented.

  • So Maya tried to prosecute them under equality law (Nullius in Verba (December 28, 2019 at 7:40 pm)

    Yes, aspects of this involve whether and when pursuing the equal oppression of the laws contributes to making them less oppressive. (I will control myself and let what I wrote then restrain me from writing yet another long comment. 🙂 )

  • Nullius in Verba

    “so we need a term for those whose demand is describe me as I want you to or I’ll kill you and another for those whose demand is describe me as I want you to or I’ll kill myself i.e. terms for tyrants and for snowflakes.”

    But the laws didn’t arise from either of those groups. The victims of bullying generally don’t complain. They just commit suicide.

    There’s another group involved. The friends and parents of dead children, who wake up one morning to find their son or daughter has just slit their wrists, and only then discover that for the past several years they’ve been subjected to a systematic campaign of abuse, intimidation, humiliation, exclusion, and hate. Kids who don’t fit in. Kids who show a weakness or vulnerability. Kids who belong to some excluded group, one that is unpopular in society, that people think it’s acceptable to abuse. And everyone’s attitude is that this is normal, it’s trivial, it’s just something everyone has to put up with, it’s something you’re supposed to “man up” and deal with yourself, there’s nothing anyone can do anyway, and if you tell the authorities they’ll only do something ineffective like telling the bullies to stop being mean, with little or no enforcement, and then the bullying will get twice as bad because you ratted on them to the authorities. (It’s often quite difficult to get the victims of bullying to report it, rather than suffering in silence.)

    Life is intolerable. They see no other way out. So they kill themselves. And then all the furious grief-stricken parents and horrified teachers and employers and so on are left asking themselves what else they could or should have done.

    What should be done?

  • Nullius in Verba

    “Yes, aspects of this involve whether and when pursuing the equal oppression of the laws contributes to making them less oppressive.”

    There’s another way to look at that – do laws that aim to oppress the oppressors make those oppressors less oppressive?

    i.e. If, for example, homophobes spend several millennia selectively oppressing gays, does introducing laws selectively oppressing homophobes in the same sort of way make the homophobes less homophobic? Does an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth work when people respond “Yes, but *my* eye was justified!”? Does it do anything to persuade them that the only answer is to get rid of *all* oppression, including their own? Not just oppression against “us”, but also oppression against “them”?

    Or do they simply not see it that way?

  • neonsnake

    While I’m arguing “of course we ought to be polite and address people as they wish” – hard to argue with, in my mind – the reaction is going to stem from “so we have to let them choose to be put in prison with cis-women!”, which is hard to argue in its own right. And it ends up as ships passing in the night.

    Ah, I get what you mean. Yes – a good point, well made.

    Mostly it’s clickbait – it stirs up the readers’ passions.

    The science is a completely separate issue to the libertarianism. I like to argue both, though.

    Yes, that’s very much my sense of the matter, regarding both clickbait and liberty.

    And I suspect that you find science interesting for its own sake (and it is, I’ve certainly learned a lot from the research you’ve put in and posted).

    i.e. terms for tyrants and for snowflakes.

    I don’t have any direct experience with people at that level of depression, as far as I’m aware, but I’d be hesitant to use a word like “snowflake” to describe someone who is genuinely suicidal, although I think you were using it in the case of someone falsely threatening suicide as a response to not getting what they wanted.

    Even so, whilst yes there are clearly tyrants, and clearly snowflakes, there are also victims – those who were driven to suicide by bullying, and also those who were harmed, beaten, hospitalised and murdered, at a hugely disproportionate rate to the general population. I don’t know how true it is, but there was a stat going around a while ago that the life expectancy of MTFTG is around 35 (from memory). Even if that’s slightly out, it’s still pretty horrific.

    So I can certainly see the point of view of the people who think “something must be done”.

    And then all the furious grief-stricken parents and horrified teachers and employers and so on are left asking themselves what else they could or should have done.

    What should be done?

    This will be a bit of a truism, but most people, when thinking of “what should be done”, will append the words “by the government” to the end of that sentence.

    Now, obviously, we’re right and they’re wrong ;), but I reckon if we were to host a conference for all the full-on libertarians in the UK, we could probably hire one of the rooms at my local pub, and have room to spare. So the lens that everyone else is using is “by the government”.

    What lens should we be using?

    Well, my answer is the same as always. One can support free speech, whilst criticising what is being said, and – crucially – standing by and with the people who are being oppressed; which it is perfectly possible to do without even mentioning “the government”.

    If we don’t, then I think we’re implicitly reinforcing the (incorrect, to my mind) notion held by the overwhelming majority of the population that without Big Stern Daddy Government keeping a Big Stern Eye on us, then we’re dooming the poor, the oppressed, the vulnerable etc, and that we simply don’t care about them

    (insert Bastiat quote here!).

  • Nullius in Verba (December 29, 2019 at 1:41 pm), my answer to your question is two-fold.

    On the one hand, the history of persecution of catholics by protestants and protestants by catholics in the 1500s and 1800s, followed by the gradual embrace of religious toleration in later centuries, could be quoted to support the idea that mutual experience of persecution, and of resistance to it preventing it from ‘solving the problem’, can motivate adopting a more live-and-let-live approach.

    On the other hand, the founder of the religion in whose name those particular persecutions occurred spoke and acted in a way unhelpful to justifying them and helpful to resisting them even when resistance seemed hopeless. Where another religion’s founder killed people for verbal dissent and allowed followers to dissimulate if the odds seemed unfavourable, then “but my eye was justified” may be less easily unlearned. (I presume you meant: “but my poking out his eye was justified” or “but your poking out my eye in retaliation was not justified”.)

    However, from the nuclear doctrine of mutually-assured destruction to the western doctrine of balance-of-powers to the 2nd amendment, political history is full of arrangements that rely less on teaching the intention not to behave wrongly than on learning from the incentive provided when targets are able to retaliate against perpetrators who do, so I’d say that even if facing the latter case, the ability to retaliate by demanding equal enforcement stands well within a long line of such arrangements.

  • Nullius in Verba

    Some would say it was now equally unequal.

  • bobby b

    Just as an FYI here:

    “A federal court has ruled that prisons in the state of Illinois must provide access to hormone therapy for transgender inmates and must let inmates choose which facility they go to based on their gender identity.”

    Here’s the Court Order:

    https://www.aclu-il.org/sites/default/files/field_documents/186_-_mem_order_granting_pls_mot_for_pi.pdf

    So perhaps its not the simple boogeyman we were thinking it was. NiV’s statistics look to be an accurate picture of how things used to be.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “So perhaps its not the simple boogeyman we were thinking it was. NiV’s statistics look to be an accurate picture of how things used to be.”

    My statistics were for the UK, not the US, which of course has a lot more prisoners kept in a lot nastier conditions, although the relative size of the TG population appears similar.

    I would observe in passing that the policy isn’t quite what the headline says. The judgement does not say the prison service “must let inmates choose which facility they go to based on their gender identity”, it says they must stop mechanically assigning them to a facility based on their genitalia, placement decisions should be “individualized”.

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