It’s culcha, stoopid

Tim Newman hosted an interesting debate over at his place this week on the neo-colonialism of Africa by China.

To summarise; some African states are preferencing Chinese investment over Western countries because they believe, rightly or wrongly – time will tell, that the conditions and requirements that accompany the cash are less onerous. No hectoring about legislating for same sex marriage before a couple of billion dollars of humanitarian aid is released into the president’s Swiss bank account, that kind of thing.

This piqued my interest and I felt it deserved being exposed to a smaller audience (still trying to find a font for sarcasm, by the way).

Colonialism has a bad reputation these days, hence why the description above of the Chinese indulging in neo-colonialism would probably grate if read by anyone in Beijing.

The pros and cons of the era of colonialization are often debated and we could spend a long time discussing the multiple motivations of each country during their various land grabs into Africa, Asia and South America. Geo-political power and financial theft were clearly the defining factors in most “adventures” into the dark interiors of these continents but there were also many individuals motivated by altruism and a higher moral purpose.

We can cynically dismiss these as fools or worse but there’s enough evidence to show they truly believed what they were doing was moral. If you find yourself challenging that statement, perhaps have a thought experiment and switch the Christian missionaries for Wahhabi-inspired jihadis – both were/are motivated by a certainty of moral purpose.

But, whether we feel that the moral standards or geo-political decisions by people a hundred or more years ago are still compatible or comparable in any way with today is not particularly interesting.

To clarify; what’s the damn point of criticising the King of Belgium for taking the Congo in 1886? He did it because all the major powers around him in Europe had done it elsewhere and he felt left out. Belgium’s little personal ego trip was simply a tragic and farcical conclusion of similar decisions made for mildly different reasons in the centuries before. The British got India because they didn’t want the French, Portuguese, Russians, et al to get it, for example. Very different times, very different situations.

Whatevers, as the kids say.

No, what’s really curious is to examine how the experiments have turned out post-independence and hypothesise about the results.

My original thought on how to tackle this was to search for a ranking of countries by a measure of something like “safety”, then look down the list for ex-colonial states and see how they compare, perhaps examining if there were unique or common aspects that might explain differences.

The first search brought up this, the Global Peace Index from the Institute for Economics and Peace. Looks credible.

Hang on, France (61) is lower than Sierra Leone (35)? The USA (121) is only one point above Myanmar (122) and 3 points above the Democratic (ahem) Republic of Congo (126)?

Oh do fuck off. Let’s have a check of our old friend the test of expressed versus revealed preferences… where exactly in the Democratic Republic of Congo are your offices, you people working for Institute of Economics and Peace?

I bet the poor workers in the Mexico office are spitting tacks they didn’t get the New York job.

Well this explains a lot;

It is a United Nations accredited NGO in Special Consultative Status to the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

Ok, let’s find another survey then, one with slightly more credibility than a Caitlyn Jenner Instagram post of a positive pregnancy test.

Here’s the WEF with their list claiming Rwanda is 9th whilst the UK is 78th. Look, we all know Britain has been on the slide for some time now but is it really that far below Rwanda in terms of safety (excluding Tower Hamlets, obviously)?

Christ on a bike, this is turning into a struggle. If you didn’t previously realise that UN-funded organisations are highly-politically motivated, perhaps today is the day your moment of satori arrives.

This list is curious though, the list of countries ranked by migration rate (you may need to click the button to sort in descending order).

Turkey has the 2nd largest intake of immigrants after the USA? Hmm, curious. Just an uninformed guess here, but I wonder if that’s something to do with Syria?

Here’s another curious list and one more relevant to the original question; countries people WANT to move from and to.

Vilfredo Pareto being a hero round these parts, we’ve made some pretty charts for your edification;

The chart above somewhat contradicts the taxpayer-funded studies of the WEF and IEP. In fact, with almost two thirds of the population of “peaceful” Sierra Leone wishing to get the hell out of Dodge, it’s almost as if the respondents to the Gallup poll are trolling our lefty tax breastfeeders.

This chart also shouldn’t surprise anyone in the least either. When we get to South Africa (1% of potential migrants want to move there) we perhaps ought to bear in mind that, if you’re in the half of the Nigerian population who want to leave, South Africa is actually a more realistic prospect than the USA.

Also, the statistical margin of error of this survey is plus/minus ~1%, so there’s that.

Bill’s Opinion

Hats off to Western European post-Enlightenment culture; it’s the most popular in the world and the most successful at providing a safe and stable environment for common people (i.e. those who don’t have privileged careers working for UN quangos in New York) to just get on with their lives.

Liberia’s constitution was written as an almost cut and paste from the American one.

Draw your own conclusion as to why half of Liberia’s population want to move, and most likely want to move to the USA.

My opinion is that the culture of the USA is universally-accepted to be hugely more preferable than that of any of the countries listed on the first chart, nearly all of whom have been independent nations without colonial masters for 70+ years.

I’ll take, “Things that didn’t happen” for $800, Clementine

Clementine Ford has been allowed out on day release again.

My friend’s son is banned from wearing a tutu in his ballet class.

A friend of mine moved to Queensland some time ago and enrolled her two children in a small, local ballet school. They both adore dancing, and her young son especially has embraced wearing tutus and other dance paraphernalia.

I have a friend who encourages her son to wear girl’s clothes. Much hilarity ensues, as I will now explain“.

Recently, the school began preparing for its end of year concert. What followed was a disturbing insight into how deeply people still hold on to their assumptions and phobias about binary gender expression and the challenges this presents.

The rest of the world has a problem. Not my friend or me, you understand, but the rest of the world“.

My friend’s son – we’ll call him “John” – was excited to join the other little dancers, wearing his tutu and dancing along with them. But apparently this didn’t accord with the teacher’s vision.

The teacher planned a dance concert with each child playing a particular part. This involved a specific costume for each role. My friend encouraged her son to rebel and wear something else.

Because the rest of the world has a problem, not my friend and me“.

John was told that not only would he not be allowed to wear the same costume as the other dancers, he would also be performing in pants as the role of The Doctor, the character who (vomitously) gets to give all the little girls their spoonful of medicine.

Sounds like they were performing The Nutcracker by Tchaikovsky.

Girls can be doctors and wear trousers too, by the way.

For the past few weeks, my friend had been locked in a battle with the coordinator of the school. She has always been a strong advocate for both of her children, allowing them to express themselves and their personalities through their clothing as they please.

Remember, the rest of the world has a problem, not my friend“.

She had thought the issue was resolved, telling the teacher John should be supported to wear his tutu over the pants if that’s what he chose. This is what he wanted, and so he and his entire family turned up to the concert that day wearing tutus.

Sounds like one side of the discussion agreed something the other side didn’t.

Imagine my friend’s horror when she watched as the teacher forced John to the side of the stage and began to remove his clothing to take the tutu off him.

A teacher undressed your child in public? When is the court case?

Oh.

My friend tried to intervene, repeatedly telling the teacher that she was not okay with what was happening while her son stood there crying. To make things worse, the teacher then gave John lollies to stop his tears.

The rest of the world has a problem, not my friend. This is upsetting for my friend’s child, for some reason. Also, lollies contain gelatine which isn’t vegan so is not compatible with our family diet“.

Bill’s Opinion

If you’re looking for a fight, telling a dance school owner that your child isn’t going to wear the costume for the role they have been allocated for the end of term concert is a great way to start one.

One wonders what the dance school owner’s version of this story would read like?

Organising an end of term concert is a nightmare, with 60 kids to train in specific parts and then to sort out the costumes for each. It only takes one or two awkward parents or kids and the whole event becomes a complete pain in the arse.

I should have known that the blue-haired lesbo and her misbehaved kids would cause a problem.

I tried to tell her when she ranted at me a couple of weeks ago that each kid gets a part to play and we allocate the costumes out based on size and fit.

She’s pulled her kids from the school now. Thank fuck.”

“Mr. Chesterton, tear down this wall!”

One of the constants of our age is that, no matter how obscure and bizarre the question, it can be asked by the Guardian.

Well, apart from questions like, “how many genders are there?” or, “how does the Scientific Method relate to climate science?“.

We digress.

Here’s the Grauniad’s Komment Macht Frei section asking, “why do we even need prisons anyway?“.

Amazingly, the article is longer than number of words in the sentence, “because we don’t want Jeffrey Dahmer or Myra Hindley living next door“.

As is the Grauniad’s idiom, sub-editing and logical consistency are unknown concepts. Therefore we have the usual rambling bounce around many disparate points desperately trying to find a consistent narrative.

For example, the reason Australia has jails is because it was a penal colony;

For a settler nation that began as a penal colony, it is no coincidence that we have an obsession with putting people in prisons. 

If only there was a control experiment we could use as a comparison, something like a country that wasn’t originally a penal colony. We could then check to see whether there are prisons in that country or confirm whether they’ve found a more progressive solution. Ah.

It is also no coincidence the ninth biannual Sisters Inside conference held this month, previously titled “Are Prison’s Obsolete?”……….

Probably not as obsolete as that Grocer’s Apostrophe.

…..named after the Professor Angela Davis book and work, was retitled “Imagining Abolition … A World Without Prisons”. It propelled beyond begging the question and instead imagined a future. The conference attracted more than 300 people from Australia and abroad.

That must have been a fun conference. One wonders whether the organisers bothered with hiring security or not?

Redefining language is a key part of the progressive tool kit. This, for example;

At the heart of the three days of the conference were women who have experienced criminalisation and have been imprisoned, self-determination and the role of colonisation and white supremacy in the formation of the prison industrial complex. 

Can be translated back to English as, “female criminals“, unless the authors are suggesting they were (all) victims of miscarriages of justice, in which case the conference should have been concentrating on justice reform not prison abolition.

The rambling goes on;

Despite Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people make up roughly 3% of the nation’s total population, 28% of the total prison population is Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people, with Indigenous women representing the fastest growing of these numbers.

There seems to be an obvious solution staring us in the face here, something along the lines of……. don’t break the damn law.

That’s not how progressive logic works though, is it? A lefty will look at those statistics or the ratios of female to male CEOs and automatically know the root cause is (pick your preferred combination) sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, islamophobia.

Just to ensure we run the gamut of fallacies, there’s a strawman chucked in the mix;

Any time a black person dies in custody the public often responds with “well they are criminals they deserve it”. 

Do they? Which people say that? Got any examples?

We also rarely see or give platforms for those who have been criminalised to speak to this in their own words.

Have been criminalised is an interesting turn of phrase, almost as if they have no agency or personal responsibility for the outcome. As for not having a platform; do you mean apart from an all expenses trip to Melbourne for a three day conference?

How about this for classic cognitive dissonance;

To build a world without prisons is to disrupt a society built on inequity, patriarchal violence and colonisation.

This means addressing the roots of poverty and trauma.

Nationally, 70-90% of Aboriginal women incarcerated have experienced family violence and most Aboriginal women in prison have experienced sexual trauma. 

That sounds suspiciously like the results of a fully-cultural patriarchy…. and the culture at fault isn’t Western European post-Enlightenment, is it?

But somehow it’s the fault of that Western European post-Enlightenment culture for not fixing it, of course;

This reflects a failure of the state to protect black women….

More intersectional language is deployed but nothing tangible or actionable is actually offered as a solution.

Here’s the final paragraph in full. You may recognise the meaning of the individual words but good luck with understanding them in this combination;

Through the centring of those with lived experience and solidarity between those affected by criminalisation and allies, this conference highlights this movement is growing and strong, and has moved beyond imagining a world without prisons and is ready to build it.

Bill’s Opinion

If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.

By the way, the authors of this utter guff were;

Nayuka Gorrie is a Kurnai/Gunai, Gunditjmara, Wiradjuri and Yorta Yorta freelance writer.

That’s five different “nations” they are claiming to belong to, which makes Elizabeth Warren’s Cherokee claims seem quite reasonable.

Witt Church is a white social worker living in Naarm (Melbourne). Their work focuses on abolition and supporting communities impacted by criminalisation.

Why do we care about his/her/zher skin tone? Also, if you’re going to use a proper noun to describe a place, it’s probably best to use one universally recognised. To understand why, perhaps try booking a flight to Carthage for your holidays.

When did you stop beating your wife?

There’s been a campaign running since 1991 called the White Ribbon which seeks to get men to pledge to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women and girls.

Very laudable, we’re sure.

Let’s consider the 27 year campaign as an experiment. Is there any evidence it has made a difference?

The Australian version of the campaign publishes selected statistics here. There are a lot of highly-cherry picked data points on that page, feel free to browse them yourself. There is no mention of how these data points have changed over time, however. Which seems an unusual omission if you are requesting generous public donations to a charity that’s had a single purpose for nearly three decades. It’s not unreasonable to ask, “….and how successful has this approach been since 1991?” before handing over a chunk of money.

Fortunately, the source data is linked here at the Government statistics department, the ABS.

Halfway down the page, this gem appears;

Changes in partner violence prevalence rates over time

The proportion of women who experienced partner violence in the previous 12 months has remained relatively stable over the last decade. In 2005, approximately 1.5% of women aged 18 years and over experienced partner violence in the previous 12 months, whilst in 2016 the figure was 1.7%.

Oh, that’s inconvenient. It’s almost as if nearly 30 years of virtue signalling and hectoring of regular law-abiding citizens has had little to no impact to problems in the real world.

Perhaps there’s a clue to be had as to why from the White Ribbon website’s data page;

Indigenous Australia
Statistics show that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women experience high levels of violence and abuse. Family violence among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people impacts on the health and social outcomes of women and children.
Indigenous women are 32x more likely to be hospitalised due to family violence than non-indigenous women.

Wait, what? 32 times more likely to be beaten so severely that hospital treatment is required? That’s a shocking data point by any reasonable measure.

Bill’s Opinion

We can argue over the causes of the incredible asymmetry of severe abuse between the indigenous population and everyone else, and perhaps that will be the subject of a further discussion here at another time.

What seems incontrovertible is that White Ribbon Australia’s resources and campaign are incompetently directed. If the charity’s organisers truly wished to reduce serious physical domestic abuse of women, instead of buying hugely expensive TV, radio and internet advertising, running poster campaigns and events in white-collar offices and similar events in major metropolitan centres, it would seem obvious that the resources should be directly-targeted at a particular and easy to identify demographic.

Of course, however noble the original aims of the charity, eventually it becomes a self-sustaining organism.

If this statement seems incorrect, try the following thought experiment; imagine White Ribbon was approached by a pharmaceutical company with a study that suggested they could produce an effective prophylactic with no side effects that could be added, like fluoride for dental health, to the water supply and would immediately prevent men from beating their partners. What would be the response of the charity, do you think?

Well, for a start there would have to be immediate job losses for the full-time staff (who currently account for $2m p.a. of the charity’s operating costs). That’s not going to be popular. Turkeys voting for Christmas, an’ all that. The army of researchers and other hangers on would need to find other sources of income too.

There would also be an end to the need for the following lucrative programme of extortion which, according to the annual accounts, brings in over $2m a year in “fees”;

The White Ribbon Australia Workplace Accreditation Program is our world leading violence-prevention initiative focused on providing organisations with the tools and strategies to actively prevent and effectively respond to violence against women and drive gender equality.
Organisations that demonstrate a commitment to tackling violence against women and meet and exceed 15 criteria across three standards as independently assessed, become accredited as White Ribbon Workplaces.

It’s likely a safe assumption that the current list of accredited organisations is heavily-skewed to those who can pay the fee rather than, say, a liquor store in a town with a large aboriginal population.

Oh look, our old friend Brian “virtue signalling” Hartzer is all over it like a bad case of genital warts.

Corrupt narrative as child abuse

Remember the perfectly rational and sane mother of a young boy who claimed to be transgender at the age of three?

Let’s check in with Emma Salkild, shall we?

Ok, so the young lad is still trans and now has a girl’s name.

The fact that his/her/zher details have not been amended on the healthcare system is an offensive oversight to Emma and, apparently, triggered an argument with a Doctor’s receptionist.

Perhaps we can pause for a moment and ponder whose responsibility it might be to update a minor’s changed personal details on the Medicare database?

Oh yes, the parent or guardian’s.

Just to spell it out; Emma is upset that the new doctor’s surgery didn’t know that she’d decided to rename her son, despite the fact that she’d not actually submitted the requisite request to update his details.

Does that seem like the response of a rational and functioning adult human?

Of course not.

But this is just a minor level of irrationality when compared to her acceptance of the following statements;

– Sex and gender are social constructs, disconnected from biology.

– A 3 year child is able to articulate complex statements about their gender identity.

– It is in the best interests of the child if the parent and wider society agrees to go along with their fantasy that they are the opposite sex than their biology might suggest.

Bill’s Opinion

We all carry irrational and illogical beliefs in our head. Internal consistency is an ideal to be strived for but an impossible ideal.

A surprisingly large number of our irrational beliefs have almost no impact on our or other people’s well-being, however. You can believe the world is only 3,000 years old and we are all descended from Adam and Eve but still wake up, drive to work and manage the Accounts Payable function for a company without those beliefs interfering at all.

However, if you are of the belief that sex and gender are social constructs and, if we could reverse all social conditioning, an individual born with a penis and Y chromosomes can be a woman, AND you act upon these beliefs by imposing this view on a child, we have a problem.

Specifically, this woman is guilty of abusing a 6 year old boy in Sydney, Australia.

It is not unreasonable to anticipate there will be significant legal ramifications to this case in the future.

Where is the intervention by the relevant authorities mandated to consider the child’s well-being? Who is Emma’s Case Officer and what are they doing about this?

This Be The Verse
BY PHILIP LARKIN
They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had,
And add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn,
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another’s throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf,
Get out as early as you can,
And don’t have any kids yourself.

That’s a nice country you’ve got, be a shame if anything happened to it

Moving the Australian embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem will increase the risk of Islamic terrorist attacks against Australians or people suspected of being Australian.

We’re not threatening you though, just warning you of what some people, for whom we’re not responsible, might do.

Let’s face it, who amongst us would not wish our neighbours to warn us if we were unknowingly putting ourselves in danger?

Australians must feel a huge sense of gratitude to the leaders of Malaysia and Indonesia for such kindness and selflessness to warn them of an increased threat of terrorism.

After all, there’s nothing more comforting than being lectured by leaders of majority Muslim countries on what might trigger terrorism attacks….. like an arsonist giving free advice to firefighters.

For example, one can sense the concern for the safety of all Australians in the Malaysian Prime Minister’s advice;

…..in dealing with terrorism, one has to know the causes. Adding to the cause for terror­ism is not going to be helpful … I pointed that out.

Ah, cause and effect, eh? Very sage advice.

What might be the causes of terrorism do we think?

Here’s a multiple choice list to consider;

1. Someone with mental health issues being convinced by a religious leader of a guaranteed afterlife in paradise if they kill infidels.

2. Country A moving their embassy in Country B to the capital city, against the wishes of Country C.

Bill’s Opinion

The Association Fallacy falsely links a group of individuals to another group of individuals because they share a similar quality.

However, there seems to be an exception to this rule; when looking at the group of people who are anti-Zionist and the group of people who are anti-Semitic, there is pretty much no recorded cases where the two groups don’t match completely.

As Tim Blair points out, Dr. Mahathir’s track record on both anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism is hiding in plain sight. Of the list of people to be assumed to be arguing in good faith against the embassy move, Mahathir would be one or two levels from the very bottom of the list. There’s probably only some blokes from Austria and Germany in the 1930s who would be beneath him on that list.

The man, in his own words, frequently repeated, is an unreconstructed Jew-hater. We’ll take no lectures about the causes of terrorism from him, thanks very much.

Anyway, the embassy move won’t happen now as the Australian government lost the by-election it was fighting in the Jewish area and the idea will now be buried quietly as yet another cynical attempt to cling to power.

As Thomas Sowell said,

No one will really understand politics until they understand that politicians are not trying to solve our problems.  They are trying to solve their own problems — of which getting elected and re-elected are No. 1 and No. 2.  Whatever is No. 3 is far behind.

“Orwellian” is often over-used

This isn’t one of those occasions.

Male middle school teacher is disciplined for refusing to oversee a female student, who identifies as male, undress.

Follow the link to the story but here’s a summary of the situation;

  • A girl, between the ages of 11 and 13 (USA middle school) identifies as male
  • The school has agreed to allow her to undress in the boys’ changing room
  • A male PE teacher has refused to be present in the changing room while she is undressed
  • The teacher has been disciplined

Stop for a moment and re-read that.
Assuming motivation is claiming to be capable of mind-reading, so we won’t engage in that here. Instead, we will look at what is being asked of individuals by the actions being undertaken;

The student is demanding the teaching staff and male students accept her claim of being male and ignore any physical evidence to the contrary.

The school has agreed to these demands and has passed the requirement to agree to these demands to the male students and the teaching staff.

The male students haven’t agreed to these demands.

The male PE teacher hasn’t agreed to these demands.

Bill’s Opinion

The problem with the school’s decision to accept the demands and require similar acceptance from others is that the school is not the only party which might incur “cost” from the consequences.

It’s not mind reading to assume the male students might feel somewhat uncomfortable about having a naked girl in their changing room. It’s also not mind reading to assume the male teacher doesn’t want to be subject to a criminal prosecution for an inappropriate association with a minor.

By demanding the students and teaching staff agree to the statement, “I’m now a boy” , the school is requiring others to change their thoughts. In the case of the male PE teacher, the school is demanding he ignores his knowledge of criminal legislation, regardless of whether or not the requirement is contrary to his moral or ethical views.

Obviously this is insanity.

More importantly though, what role are the parents, guardians and other responsible adults playing?

Specifically, what on earth are the parents of the girl thinking by allowing her to be naked in the company of naked boys who are going through puberty?

Where’s the duty of care by the school, the Board of Governors, the district education authorities, etc.?

This is the point where the truth and practical consequences of theoretical virtue signalling is tested. A hashtag on Twitter is one thing, going to jail for watching a minor of the opposite sex get undressed is quite a different thing.

Finally, even if everyone involved genuinely signed up to the changes, has anyone thought about the consequences that in a few years the, now older, girl has a change of mind and decides that she was exploited and shouldn’t have been indulged in her teenage mistakes?

Oh, and for the benefit of the anonymous corrector yesterday; yes, I call this Cultural Marxism. What do you call it?

Capitalism and democratic choices are a distant memory in Australia

Remember how, back in the mists of time there used to be a clear choice for voters; a party of the free markets and less government spending versus a party representing the working class and unions?

Perhaps we’re looking back with rose tinted glasses and t’was always thus. Nonetheless, Australians were given a very clear glimpse of what lies ahead should the economy take more than a minor dip over the coming months and years; the federal government becomes lender of last resort to crap businesses.

No. Really.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Small Business Minister Michaelia Cash will announce the small business funding policy on Wednesday, promoting the soon-to-be-established Australian Business Securitisation Fund as a way to overcome banks typically only lending to the self-employed when they pledge their personal home as collateral.

To summarise the announcement; “if the banks looked at your business and decided it was a poor bet and you didn’t have enough skin in the game, we’ve just decided the Australian taxpayer and their superannuation funds will lend you the money anyway“.

It’s very easy to be generous with other people’s money, isn’t it?

This is bound to end well.

The irony is that this policy wasn’t announced by either of the openly Socialist parties but by one of the two parties that historically claimed to be champions of free markets and minimal government intervention.

At a state level, similar disconnects have been shown between expressed and revealed preferences. Here’s a “free markets” politician bailing out rent-seeking taxi medallion speculators.

The $2bn fund to lend money to businesses judged by commercial lenders to be poor risks is an interesting development though, coming as it does so soon in to the worst housing crash in a generation, but particularly after this little legislative gem was snuck through onto the statute books with hardly any media coverage or explanation; insolvent banks can be rescued by confiscating deposits.

Bill’s Opinion

Will a “bail-in” of superannuation funds or bank deposits ever happen in Australia?

Unlikely, but not impossible. The risk isn’t zero.

There’s a great and often quoted dialogue in Hemmingway’s The Sun Also Rises;

‘How did you go bankrupt?’ Bill asked.

‘Two ways,’ Mike said. ‘Gradually and then suddenly.’

Perhaps this is the “gradually” part for Australian depositors. If so, it might be an idea to know how quickly you could act to not be caught out by the “suddenly“.

The left can only project. Part 3

The Rabble Rouser is a blog by American social psychologist, Lee Jussim. It’s interesting because he’s clearly got enough “fuck off money” to be able to write about what he believes to be true, rather than what his profession’s echo chamber demands. The broad accuracy of gender stereotypes, for example.

His most recent content is a guest post by Michael Millerman. While the post itself is interesting, discussing the climate of fear in educational establishments preventing students from expressing opinions, it’s the comments below the article that are more intriguing.

Millerman describes trying encourage a class to discuss what aspects of the human condition are a result of social constructs. He was met with a fearful silence.

Note that, as he relates the situation, he didn’t offer a position himself, but tried to start a discussion but none was forthcoming.

In the blog post, he also doesn’t offer an opinion on which aspects he thinks may or may not be a result of social constructs. The blog post is about the reluctance to discuss topics, not what the “correct” answers are to those subjects.

So it’s fascinating therefore that several of the comments accuse him of “dogwhistling”, transphobia and of being a right wing troll.

Bill’s Opinion

Two of the commentators accurately explain what is going on;

Your comment is designed from the start to attack the moral standing of Professor Mllerman. You do not address his arguments in the least, but instead attack his moral character so you can consequently disqualify every argument he makes.

And;

DARVO means “Deny, Attack, and Reverse Victim and Offender”, and this is exactly what the regressive-Left are doing to their ideological opponents (including other Lefties, progressives, and dedicated feminists). I think people should keep DARVO in mind the next time they see someone being attacked as “phobic”, to help them better analyze what is actually happening.

The negative commentators are either unconscious to the fact that they are not taking on the arguments but reverting to “playing the man not the ball“, or, they are deliberately utilising “DARVO” as a strategy.

Be it deliberate or accidental, the result is the same; Millerman’s points are not addressed as existing in isolation from Millerman as a person. For these people, the speaker IS the argument, not simply the vessel in which it is delivered.

This is a pernicious form of mental illness; by finding an objectionable aspect of Millerman’s history, background or personality, the difficult task of disproving anything uncomfortable or complex that he might say is avoided. The trick to doing this and still being able to function is to convince yourself that it is a reasonable strategy. Denial, in other words.

It’s science, Jim, but not as we know it

At first blush, this seems like yet a further example of the debasement of science in the cause of cultural Marxism; Scientists petition the Trump administration over changes to Title IX rules.

As scientists, we are compelled to write to you, our elected representatives, about the current administration’s proposal to legally define gender as a binary condition determined at birth, based on genitalia, and with plans to clarify disputes using “genetic testing”. This proposal is fundamentally inconsistent not only with science, but also with ethical practices, human rights, and basic dignity.

The temptation is to dismiss this as propaganda because it runs counter to the everyday human experience; 99.999% of the interactions you will likely have today will be with people who are clearly male or clearly female.

However, if you like your world view to be informed by objective truth rather than dogma, it can be worth employing an alternative approach when faced with a statement that is counter-intuitive; “steelman” the position. That is, assume they are arguing in good faith and look for the strongest argument and facts in support of their position.

Let’s give it a try, shall we?

Picking up a few statements made, let’s look for the one most likely to be difficult to falsify;

The relationship between sex chromosomes, genitalia, and gender identity is complex, and not fully understood.

That’s fair enough. The word “identity” is most important in that sentence. Without it, most people would disagree, probably even disagreeing with the “not fully understood” part too.

It’s not a very strong argument to use as a basis of how we define gender though. Your identity and how I and the rest of the world perceive it are not necessarily aligned.

There are no genetic tests that can unambiguously determine gender, or even sex.

Let’s assume the authors are arguing in good faith. If so, we would need them to explain what they mean by the inference that gender and sex are different concepts. In the contemporary version of the English language, these nouns are interchangeable.

Without this common understanding of definitions, it’s impossible to agree or disagree with this statement. Therefore it’s not the best argument they have.

Even if such tests existed, it would be unconscionable to use the pretext of science to enact policies that overrule the lived experience of people’s own gender identities.

Again, without knowing what you mean by gender versus sex, this statement has no persuasive merit.

Though scientists are just beginning to understand the biological basis of gender identity, it is clear that many factors, known and unknown, mediate the complex links between identity, genes, and anatomy.

This is a re-worded version of the opening statement. We agree, as long as the word “identity” remains.

In intersex people, their genitalia, as well as their various secondary sexual characteristics, can differ from what clinicians would predict from their sex chromosomes.

Yes, not disputed. Caster Semenya, for example. The causes and symptoms of intersex are not the same as transgenderness or body dismorphia.

It’s a strong argument for intersex people but, as they are only 0.05% of humans, it would be disingenuous to then expand this for other groups.

The proposed policy will force many intersex people to be legally classified in ways that erase their intersex status and identity, as well as lead to more medically unnecessary and risky surgeries at birth.

If true, the legislation is poorly-worded. It’s not apparent how the changes to school funding rules would result in gender surgery at the birth of an intersex person.

This might be a strong argument for intersex people but the case hasn’t been made with enough supporting detail to persuade sceptics.

Millions of Americans identify as transgender or gender non-conforming, or have intersex bodies, and are at increased risk of physical and mental health disorders resulting from discrimination, fear for personal safety, and family and societal rejection.

The bundling of transgender (a condition which seems to be underpinned by mental causes), gender non-conforming (this requires a definition before we can address it) and intersex (a physical condition caused by hormonal variances during gestation), is either erroneous or deliberate.

It’s hard to determine the truth of statements about the causes of mental health disorders when multiple conditions are bundled together as if they were Triple A mortgage-backed securities.

This is not their most persuasive argument, therefore.

Our best available evidence shows that affirmation of gender identity is paramount to the survival, health, and livelihood of transgender and intersex people.

There is definitely significant scientific dispute and debate on this point and what the best available evidence is showing. The work of Debra Soh and Lee Jussim, for example.

Again, not the most persuasive argument.

Bill’s Opinion

The opening statement is inaccurate by omission; the administration is not proposing to “legally define gender as a binary condition determined at birth“, it’s much more specific than that. The missing part of that sentence might be, “for the purposes of the Title IX clause of the United States Education Amendments of 1972“.

It’s an important omission. The proposed changes are specific to funding decisions of schools, and have no wider societal or Constitutional impact. Arguing such is to invoke the slippery slope fallacy.

The strongest arguments made in the scientists’ letter are relating to intersex individuals, the “I” in LGBTQI. If the proposed Title IX changes bundle the handling of this medical condition with that of the wider “TQ” groups of the LGBTQI consortium, the legislation has made the mirror image of the error the scientists have made. That is, making sweeping generalisations about multiple categories of people where great differences are very apparent.

My conclusion is, if we assume both sides are arguing in good faith and with the best interests of all concerned at heart, the letter writers might want to offer solutions to the pragmatic societal problems caused by gender being defined to be whatever a person says it is.

Similarly, the Trump administration legislation drafters might want to think about what approaches should be taken for different categories of condition.

Lastly, to fall back to an Ad Hominen, the entire letter risks being dismissed as complete hogwash because of one signatory, an utterly discredited Malthusian;

Paul R. Ehrlich, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus of Biology,

Stanford University

A word of advice to letter writers and petition creators in general; there are some signatures it’s just better not to collect.