Not Cis; not a TERF

My friend loathes the word “cis”. She told me of going to University, where the young ladies had a curfew of 11pm imposed on them, and had to wear a dress for the evening meal on Sundays. Male guests were not permitted after 7pm. She rebelled.

She was amazed and repelled by how compliant the others were. This was in the ‘Seventies, not the ‘Forties. I love her strength and determination. She managed to get round some of the rules, and was part of the pressure for their relaxation. There was no curfew when I went to Uni in the ‘Eighties, though one lad asked when “Lights Out” was, and we got the impression he would have liked one.

Back in the Eighties, feminists talked of “Consciousness raising”. If you could explain to women how oppressed they were by patriarchy, they would become feminists, fighting it. No-one talks of that now. No amount of consciousness raising will drive the soft pink floral sweater from the nation’s wardrobes. Some women see the oppression and fight it, some women love femininity and work with it. I don’t know whether James Damore, formerly of Google, is right that women are generally more co-operative, interested in people rather than things, or whether that is from socialisation or predisposition, but some women are.

Why should she be called “cis”? She rejects the feminine gender stereotype, because she does not fit it. She is a radical feminist: women share reproductive organs, and femininity is merely cultural, merely oppressive. She is a woman, but that does not make her a particular gender, and her gendered expression sometimes fits and sometimes fights the gender stereotype.

I wish she would meet me half way. I would love co-operation between her gender non-conformity and my own, because the gender stereotype, the Patriarchy, oppresses both equally and because I am more interested in people than things, and in co-operation. She called Trans a conservative movement. Tell that to the conservatives, who hate us! I suppose her argument is that we go along with the idea that my co-operativeness, etc, makes me feminine so I should express myself as female. Feminine = Female is a conservative idea. However, I have sought out the way society permits me to be my extremely feminine self- it is transition, which allows me to escape the masculine expectations forced on me. I love floral blouses and dresses, so want women to wear men’s shirts, jackets and ties if they wish; and if they wear dresses I do not imagine that says anything about their levels of co-operativeness or interest in people.

So, she is not Cis, because she does not conform to gender. Not only trans people reject the gender enforced on them. I could argue that it makes a useful shorthand to distinguish those who call ourselves trans or non-binary from everyone else, but she is not having that. She even rejects the idea that we might be particularly distant from the stereotypes, thinking gender oppresses everyone, apart from a few “alpha” males.

I would not presume to state her argument against the word TERF, but she is not hostile she says to trans women, only supportive of the rights of- she would say “biological women”. Calling us “women” sticks in her craw, but it is our way in to freedom.

The lesson I draw from this is that it is a disaster for both trans folk and her kind of feminist that we should be ranged against each other; that the oppression we suffer from Patriarchy, or whatever, is very similar, as is our interest in attacking that oppression. I feel in some cases her side’s objection to us is rooted in revulsion from femininity, falsely enforced on them. Femininity freely chosen is beautiful.

Transracialism

Can someone cross between races as we express other genders? Transracialism is not a good analogy for transgender, either for those seeking to support transracialism or oppose transgender.

When considering transition, one of the ways I argued myself out of it was to imagine what Afro-Caribbean friends would think if I blacked up. Blacking up for entertainment is seen as repulsive and racist, but transition is not blacking up: Drag queen expression is more like it. We do not perform a caricature to mock, we seek to live our lives normally. Now women perform imitating drag queens, and some say they are appropriating gay culture, and should not.

White people use black people’s art forms- white rappers, white jazz players, without pretending to be black. Could we not dress in brighter, softer fabrics without claiming to be women? No- playing the piano is only part of my being, my nature, and would be so even if I did it as a full time job. Improvising in words or music, the free flow rather than planning and executing the plan- or planning in advance a musical edifice, an epic poem, a symphony- is human, not of one race. No. I could not have softened and presented as a soft male. Others could, perhaps, I could not. I was too terrified of it. As a man I had to be Manly. Only as Clare could I free my soft self.

In one way, transracialism may be more justified. People who appear white may have black ancestry. In Black and British: a forgotten history David Olusoga met apparently white people who had black ancestors, who intermarried rather than being part of a black community. Those people should be allowed to celebrate their heritage. And they do not have black skin in a white-dominated world.

Why would you pretend to be black? When I googled “Rachel Dolezal” I found she had changed her name to Nkechi Amare Diallo. She taught African Studies, and tried to advance her career through the NAACP and the Spokane Police Ombudsman Commission. She told lies, claiming to be the victim of hate crimes which did not happen, using the title “Professor” without being entitled, copying JMW Turner’s paintings without acknowledgment. Her lies were designed to produce career advantage and social capital. She is a fraudster. It is therefore not clear that her claim to be black is based on her internal sense of her identity, rather than a feeling that a black person might have an advantage in the career path she chose.

As a teacher, she would be a role model for black students. She has no right to that. I do not claim to be a role-model for girls. That is one of the attacks on us, that we prescribe an ideal femininity, we enact the patriarchal oppression that this is the way to be a woman, but I do not imagine my way of being is ideal for anyone but myself, or deny the good of “manly” virtue in women, or assert that they should not exemplify any virtue seen as unfeminine. I speak for no-one. My identity as a woman is cultural not biological, and so I exemplify the freedom to alter cultural identity.

The NAACP has white officials, black people have white friends, and it is not clear that any Caucasian self-identifies as Black as a matter of identity rather than a way of fraudulently seeking advantage. The analogy of Nkechi Diallo breaks down, and the analogy of some transracialism for other motives is worthless, as such transracialism does not exist.

(c) Ferens Art Gallery; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Pride II

The pride and love I have for my country make me cringe in disgust when I hear the security announcements at the sleepy local station. Please report anything suspicious to a police officer or a member of the station staff. Why would a police officer be here? What like? Have they left a bag unattended? Maybe they put it down for a moment. Are they wearing a big coat to hide something? Maybe they have a thyroid problem. Are they avoiding staff and police?

Citizens! Study those around you with suspicion. Your prompt action could protect the Country we Love from Terrorists! Or, just turn it into Hell on Earth. See it. Say it. Sorted. The Dunning-Kruger effect in action- a police idea of a catchy slogan. Look, it alliterates!

Good to see them ticking the equality boxes. Terrorists can be female too! Or, the police informant with that large bag- is there a bomb in it? is not scoping her out to see if she is trans, but wondering if he can escape by drawing attention to an innocent passenger.

When I get to Tate Modern, there is a queue for the bag check. How dare they, really, how dare they poke and prod through my handbag? Why every single bag, making people wait? “Open the bag please” he says. Oh, fuck off. I do so with ill grace, and take my waterproof out on command. Then I go in to the gallery.

Here I can get into the holiday mood, relaxed, open, happy, in an instant, usually, but the guards and searching just ruin it. If I wanted to bomb an art gallery, where better than to run in and explode just where it is crowded, at that queue?

To the exhibition Art in the Age of Black Power. I much prefer this to “Queer British Art”- we queers were prosecuted and vilified, and most of that was suffering soft people oppressed by the authoritarian control freaks. Here I see Malcolm X portrayed in bright colour, a Prince, Black, Bad and Beautiful, a hero. Black people still get shot after being stopped for no discernible reason by traffic police- well, none of the gun death in the US is explicable to a European, all of it is abhorrent, but the racial prejudice in these killings is an additional dimension of vileness; and here people whose lives are under threat are Proud, standing tall and free. It is beautiful.

Sitting in front of that portrait I realise I am high on art and progesterone. It is a good experiment. My feelings are heightened, more immediate and more intense. And, usually when I am this out of my skull I am at home or with friends. I have to be aware of the possibilities of overreacting. That said, it’s a good feeling.

To the British Museum. Here, visitors are shunted round barriers so we slalom from the front gate to the side of the courtyard, even though there is no queue. Four security guards get us through, standing on a pedestal behind a desk so I must offer up my handbag.

It is lovely to see H. We see the Hokusai, wander off for dinner somewhere, and passing the Leicester Square ticket booth get tickets for An American in Paris, which is wonderful. By the third time I am resentful of having my bag prodded, but it is now a dull ache rather than anger. I am glad this is only occasional for me at the moment. It would take some of the joy out of life. I would hate to get completely accustomed to it, though.

Fermi’s Paradox

Where are all the alien species? Why can’t we detect them?

If there are space-faring civilisations, they have to be social. Solitary animals, passing on skills to their offspring, might not even learn to make flint axes, leave alone smelt iron. Ironwork requires specialisation. Even reaching the moon involved more than 300,000 people. Rocket science is not particularly complicated, unlike brain surgery; rocket engineering is extremely complex.

They also have to be altruistic. We are destroying the environment because enough people care more about their own short term gains. We may destroy our species, or even our biosphere, before we have been transmitting radio waves for two hundred years. From the start of life to the end of intelligence takes perhaps 3.8bn years, and two hundred is a tiny part of that. Alternatively, we are increasingly transmitting information by cable rather than broadcast, so we may stop emitting radio waves because of improving technology.

This is not certainty. The Singularity, in transhumanism, is the moment when intelligent machines start to program themselves, and their intelligence starts to increase exponentially. Possibly before the biosphere is destroyed, such machines will have been created, operating automated plant to reproduce. With unfettered neoliberalism, they could inherit paranoid selfishness from their creators, and seek to destroy any other civilisation which they would perceive as a threat.

However, I hope that the spacefaring civilisation would see the galaxy as a place of abundance rather than scarce resources needing conquest to avoid competition. We would certainly not be slaves in mines, as any civilisation which could travel through space could mine with automation more efficiently.

I hope that we have two things they might want to preserve. We have our culture. If we were contacted by a more advanced civilisation, our culture might become a pale imitation of theirs. They want us to develop without contamination, to benefit from our unique way of seeing the universe, and relating to one another. We have our genetic diversity. Considering that bacteria are as different from archaea as eukaryotes are, possibly there are unique genetic solutions on Earth, never seen elsewhere.

Though as humans are destroying the biosphere’s genetic diversity, they might want to conquer us in order to preserve it.

Intelligent life may not be common. If it evolves in aquatic species, it will not lead to technology, leave alone space travel. Life here may need the Moon, which keeps our axial tilt stable: Mars’ axial tilt varies from 0° to 60°, which could cause climate change too rapid for species to adapt, preventing complex evolution. Life may need Jupiter, whose gravity captures rocks like the Chicxulub impactor, or we would have had more mass extinctions from such impacts.

They have not come yet.

And now what shall become of us without aliens?
These people were in sooth some sort of settlement

Bullshit II

The sword of truth shall shatter against the shield of bullshit.
Then Mr Valiant for Truth shall be smothered by the blanket of bullshit’s warm, dank embrace
and all the congregation shall say, “Amen”.

My dear blogging buddy Violet, a friend since 2013 when we met commenting on an extremist Christian blog, is completely astonished that so many people can believe all this [the world, the universe] is here on the whim of an invisible being. Well, as with any action, I believe what is in my interests to believe. I have no particular need to understand how the Universe, or life, or my species came into existence, and no-one knows what caused the big bang or the first self-replicating molecule anyway. I like to believe that the institution of the University seeks the truth, that those academics who investigate the biologic column have useful theories about the history of Earth, and that their careers depend on approximating truth and eliminating error. So I believe that the planet is 4.6bn years old.

Others believe that the Bible is literally true and the Earth about six thousand years old. It bonds them in their communities, which can be extremely supportive to those who do not rock the boat. It gives them a shared morality and understanding, and a belief in a certain, explicable world, which is reassuring. For the worst, it shows they are the Saved, and everyone who does not agree is dead through [their] trespasses and sins following the course of this world, following the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work among those who are disobedient. Believing that everyone who does not agree with you is deluded by Satan is reassuring.

I believe in truth. Some things are ascertainable. The planet is warming because of industrial CO2 emissions. Brexit will be a disaster. Donald Trump Jr. met a Russian government lawyer because she promised dirt on Hillary Clinton. If human beings can agree what our circumstances are, we can work together to improve them. This is the mainstream Labour/Labor/Democrat view.

Increasingly the Conservative/Liberal/Republican view is that people with power and wealth should do as they please, and the fittest will survive. They should not be taxed; instead the poor should work for the minimum the market will bear. Government spending should be minimal. That means the Right cannot speak the truth, as it would stop them doing what they want. So Republicans have a negative view of higher education- 58% -ve, 36% +ve, while Democrats are positive by 72 to 19%.

There has always been bullshit in politics, but it has been increasing. Climate change denial is bullshit, yet politicians persist with it- because the truth would require international government co-operation, and stop their paymasters from doing what they want. There was a sprinkling of bullshit, on the most important issues, such as Mr Reagan’s “Supply-side economics”, which GHW Bush called “Voodoo economics”- the idea that tax cuts on the rich increase economic growth, and even tax receipts. They wanted to reduce tax on the rich, so they said it would be a good thing for everyone, even though that was repeatedly proven untrue. Mr Trump, however, ignores the truth for a Bugsy Malone Splurge-gun of bullshit: claiming that Mr Putin would want a Hillary Clinton victory is only a part of it.

Are there vacancies at the top of the US Administration because Trump has not nominated people, or because the Democrats have blocked confirmation proceedings? I tend to believe the NYT, rather than Mr Trump’s twitter feed, that it is Trump’s fault, but one could dig down into the data, and compare with the performance of earlier administrations. However cynicism about politicians serves the Right and not the Left, because it decreases respect for a common shared truth. Instead, the Left needs to tell the truth, and point out the lies. If we never forgive the liars we may defeat them.

Should the British Government renege on treaty obligations to the EU? They involve paying a substantial sum. Mr Johnson, the foreign secretary, says the EU can “whistle” for it. Germany, which paid off the last money due under the Treaty of Versailles in 2010, may disagree, and how may we enter a new treaty if we have proved ourselves untrustworthy?

Only the Left can act in the interests of all the people. Therefore only the left is patriotic. Patriotism is not about military parades, leave alone invading other countries.

 

The intense world theory

“What is wrong with you?” is rarely a useful question. “How do you differ from me?” or “Who are you?” are different ways of approaching the other- as distinct from me, or as someone in their own right. How they differ is easier for me to understand, because I start from myself, and understand myself; but it might cause me to ignore important things, or see myself as the default. Anyway, I may miss parts of you which are too far from my own experience.

The intense world theory suggests how autistic people may be gifted, and how their gifts might be nurtured, rather than how they may be sick, and made as normal as possible.

Here is the Sally-Anne experiment.

Simon Baron-Cohen performed this experiment on autistic children, some of whom failed to answer correctly that Sally would look for her marble in the basket, not knowing that Anne had hidden it. He deduced that these children did not have a proper theory of mind, knowing that others felt and thought differently from themselves.

However, Henry Markram considered other possible explanations for the autistic children not answering the question correctly. They could actually be better at seeing into the minds of others. This is so disturbing that they develop strategies to avoid it. His theory predicts that all autistic children have exceptional talents that are locked up; an upbringing introducing them gently to a rich, diverse environment in a predictable way could allow those talents to develop.

The children are easily traumatised. Fear memories were so quickly acquired, lasted longer, were difficult to erase and over generalized… the neocortex could render the world intense, highly fragmented and overly specialized while the amygdala would dial up the emotional component of the intense world making it potentially extremely painful and aversive forcing the autistic child to take refuge in a secure bubble. Neural microcircuits in their brains process information more intensely, so that they see, feel and think more intensely. The infant brain should make and trim connections rapidly- that is why we sleep so much when we are babies- but the autistic brain develops these circuits too early, and does not trim the connections. Some microcircuits that should wait their turn to develop, develop too early and begin to dominate over the other microcircuits driving hyper-preferences, repetitiveness, idiosyncrasies and eventually making unlearning and rehabilitation very difficult.

Henry Markham claims this is a unifying theory, explaining all the observations. Other theories explain less, or are based on a view of autism as a form of mental retardation. We explain more if we can see something as good in itself.

This is from this article, which I found here. Simon Baron-Cohen, famous autism researcher, believes the problem is a lack of empathy, but I observe in my Aspie friends a great deal of empathy.

However, here I read that the child subjects were asked three questions-

Where will Sally look for her marble? (The “belief” question)
Where is the marble really? (The “reality” question)
Where was the marble at the beginning? (The “memory” question)

What were the autistics’ answers on the control questions?

Here, there are alternative explanations of why the autistic children might have been recorded as failing to answer the belief question. Autism would be a disorder of communication rather than of empathy.

I want to understand others as I want to be understood- not disordered, but different.

Social Pressure II

There are people. Some of them are assigned female at birth, AFAB, some are assigned male at birth, AMAB. Some of them are intersex, they matter too, and my friend was fair pleased to learn she was Klinefelter’s- she had two X chromosomes! But I am writing for people who fit “normal” sexual development but not gender stereotypes, and find this uncomfortable.

The gender stereotypes affect AFAB and AMAB differently. Women do most of the caring for children and dependents, most of the housework, get promoted less, get interrupted more.

The stereotypes are rigid in childhood, enforced by toyshops and peers.

Many people don’t conform to those, perhaps most. “Patriarchy” is the concept that society is configured in the interests of the dominant males. Depending on personality, some people are happy in their own skin and happy not to conform- the boy who does ballet, the girl who plays rugby. Some try to conform, until that becomes unbearable. There is a spectrum, so some only differ a little from the stereotype, some differ a lot.

Some people are homosexual, some heterosexual, some bisexual. I don’t say “gay” and “straight” because, while there are men attracted to men, “gay” is a particular way of conceptualising that.

When you don’t conform, there are different ideas on how you can conceptualise yourself and your relation to the wider society, including “trans”, “non-binary” and “gender-non-conforming”. Non-conforming AFABs are not merely soft, non-conforming AMABs are soft, so there are differences in how they respond. Radical feminists can be very angry.

Each person is an individual, so no-one precisely fits those boxes; the boxes are fuzzy enough to include different people.

There is social pressure on the person who does not fit, to be trans. The wider society understands that, so if you are gender-diverse they may think you are trans and get confused if you are not. A GP once told me that one of the GP’s main tasks is to protect patients from specialists, who want to do stuff- and surgeons had the brilliant idea of implanting a womb in Lili Elbe, killing her by organ rejection. Surgeons busily remove wombs and gonads, and alter the appearance of bodies.

Many AMAB find dressing as women arousing. There are taboos against being visibly or discernably aroused in public and these extend to being cross-dressed.

Some people may have a physical sex dysphoria, and would want their organs altered even if there were no gender stereotypes. We can’t know. However, transition provides a relatively comfortable place for some people. I am happier transitioned than I was before, and I realised, before, that even if in five years’ time I was trying to make a go of life presenting male again, transition was the route I had to take to get there.

Because transition is a relatively comfortable place, I want transition, including physical alteration, to remain possible for people. I would also like people to feel accepted in their assigned sex, as gender non-conforming as they wish. I feel both groups are similar people with similar problems, and a similar interest in social acceptance of the widest possible gendered behaviour, for both genders. If I feel I want to do something which is particularly masculine I say “Today I am non-binary” and do it. This is liberating.

However, where there is social pressure to conform, the interests of each appear to be in opposition. Non-transitioners may feel pressured to transition, the “acceptable” way of being non-conforming. Transitioners may feel pressured not to, as transition is seen as harmful by social conservatives and radical feminists alike.

I want both choices to be accepted, but I take a side in the debate. Those who transition may see themselves as a class apart, really transsexual, AMABs who are really women, AFABs who are really men. It is not a choice of a particular course of action, it is the choice to recognise and affirm rather than suppressing who they really are. I say it is a choice. Yes, they really are naturally very far from the stereotype, but that does not mean they really are the other gender. I don’t accept theories of brain sex to justify transition, and ideas of a feminine soul or two-spirit are myths, stories to say why transition feels comfortable, appropriate, or the most desirable thing in the world, rather than a rigorous scientific this therefore that hypothesis. If it is generally thought that transition is a choice, it will be less acceptable.

Scientific studies are fraught. How many children detransition? Can you tell which trans kids will definitely want to transition as adults, and prevent their wrong puberty? People with a particular interest fight over the methodology and conclusions. Particularly, what should be the default when we don’t know? Why should it be that a trans child must undergo an assigned sex puberty, making transition later more difficult?

Some people detransition because of social pressure. Society forces them back in the closet. Some find a way to self-acceptance that does not involve presenting as the opposite sex.

Yes, it is a choice, but a choice made by oppressed people between unattractive options: given that you don’t fit the stereotype, you can pretend to fit it, live openly not fitting it, or transition. It is easier not to conform if you are comfortable in your own skin, but not everyone is, and people who face this choice often aren’t. Social Justice Warriors who want everyone to self-actualise, be valued, and reach their full potential should be very careful what they say. Social conservatives who value order and conformity should back the fuck off.

Critical thinking

Arguing that critical thinking cannot be taught, Daniel Willingham gives an ideal definition of it. Thinking, whether reasoning, making judgments or decisions, or problem solving, may be critical or not. Critical thinking is effective in that it avoids common pitfalls, such as seeing only one side of an issue, discounting new evidence that disconfirms your ideas, reasoning from passion rather than logic, failing to support statements with evidence, and so on. Critical thinking is novel in that you don’t simply remember a solution or a situation that is similar enough to guide you. For example, solving a complex but familiar physics problem by applying a multi-step algorithm isn’t critical thinking because you are really drawing on memory to solve the problem. But devising a new algorithm is critical thinking. Critical thinking is self-directed in that the thinker must be calling the  shots: We wouldn’t give a student much credit for critical thinking if the teacher were prompting each step he took.

To think critically about an issue, he says, you need some understanding of it. Using primary sources in history takes a historian’s skills, and if you read, say, a Liberal backbencher’s opinion on Home Rule for Ireland in the 19th century, you need to know the context to consider it critically. By Willingham’s definition, a lawyer analysing what facts needed proved, what law needed argued, to win a case, would not clearly be “critical”, nor their ability to see through the opponent’s eyes, to imagine what they would argue, in order to refute it, even if the lawyer had not argued such a case before.

The historian of the period would have the skill of erasing hindsight and getting into the knowledge of that MP at the time; know what the issues were, and the opinions, and the interests and power of the different actors. But the journalist’s question, “Why is this bastard lying to me?” might get anyone somewhere. Children are capable of understanding that an experimenter must control all the variables but one- he calls this a “metacognitive strategy”- but in order to do that they need some knowledge of what they experiment on, including what variables might have an effect.

If Willingham is right, only experts can think critically, and only about their area of expertise; but this is too restrictive. Other metacognitive strategies, such as internal contradictions being an indication to trust a person’s statements less, can be taught. As everyone is a layperson concerning most matters, the main question is how much to trust any particular account of an issue. I could probably understand the evidence that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, but do not want to make the effort. I simply trust when I am told that it is. I have reasons to do so, from the way I have been taught about science and what I have read about climate change. It matters to me that those reasons are good enough. I care about the truth.

Many other political questions may be affected by personality. Should we apply the precautionary principle to particular pesticides? How much evidence do you need that neonicotinoids weaken bees, so that other causes kill them more easily? Careful souls may need less evidence before the pesticides are banned, pending more research. Anyone should realise, though, that those with a short term financial interest in using the pesticides, and their lobbyists, are less trustworthy than independent scientists, so we need a strong publicly funded University sector to maintain that independence for the good of all.

People think habitually and creatively, mistakenly and accurately, and sometimes believe the truth because of invalid reasoning. We work hardest thinking about things which concern us most, and often decide questions emotionally then rationalise retrospectively. We also hold particular opinions which don’t really matter personally- I am never going to have an abortion- because the opinion fits a particular group. The skill I need is to work out when I might trust an account, and when to disbelieve it; but to know stuff people can’t work out for themselves people need to trust, and undue trashing of trust drives us apart.

More: AC Grayling thinks philosophy, defined as “careful enquiry”, should be taught in schools.

Misgendering and “Honesty”

Jordan Peterson, an academic, thinks he is a martyr because he insists on calling trans women “he”.

Most people are in love with their particular life drama. Their story is their identity. The ego runs their life. They have their whole sense of self invested in it. -Eckhart Tolle

It’s almost impossible to provide people with enough protection so that they feel safe to speak. OK, so we’ll address that directly. It is not safe to speak. It never will be. But the thing you’ve got to keep in mind is that it’s even less safe not to speak.

It’s a balance of risks — do you want to pay the price for being who you are and stating your mode of being in the world, or do you want to pay the price for being a bloody serf — one that’s enslaved him or herself. Well that’s a major price. Man that thing unfolds over decades and you’ll just be a miserable worm at the end of about 20 years of that.

No self-respect, no power, no ability to voice your opinions. Nothing left but resentment because everyone is against you because of course you’ve never stood up for yourself. Say what you think. Carefully pay attention to your words. It’s a price you want to pay if you are willing to believe that truth is the cornerstone of society. -Jordan Peterson

There is an “I”. It may not be nameable, so there are cataphatic and apophatic traditions in theology- saying what God is, or God is not. I am not just my story, my struggle, all the things I have done and not done, always restricted by what I have not done before.

I know I can speak Truth, when I say something I am completely certain of. I Know it. Saying such things is different from simply giving an opinion. Peterson says, say what you believe, however much you suffer for it, and one thing he “suffered” for was saying I don’t recognize another person’s right to determine what pronouns I use to address them. I think they’re connected to an underground apparatus of radical left political motivations. I think uttering those words makes me a tool of those motivations. And I’m going to try and be a tool of my own motivations as clearly as I can articulate them and not the mouthpiece of some murderous ideology.

He gets to say who I am, in his view. I don’t know whether he actually misgenders people, but he seems to think that if I say my name is Clare and my pronouns she/her/hers, that is something he deigns to grant out of his own generosity not something I claim as of right.

In between us is reality, and the question whether I am a man or not. I say I am a woman, and if he calls me a man he takes from me my right to say who I am and be who I am. He says that whether he accepts another’s view of reality is his choice, and I oppress him by demanding my right to define even myself.

Of course, he has a lot of fans who want to call me “he” and feel self-righteous about it. They want to be nasty to me, even if he simply wants to resist being forced to be nice.

He does not accept concepts of privilege or oppression. The idea that women were oppressed throughout history is an appalling theory.

Peterson and Brophy concluded that political correctness exists in two forms, which they call PC-Egalitarianism and PC-Authoritarianism. Simply put, PC-Egalitarians are classic liberals who advocate for more democratic governance and equality. PC-Authoritarians are, according to Brophy, “the ones now relabelled as social justice warriors.” Both share a high degree of compassion. Extreme compassion, they believe, can lead to difficulty assessing right from wrong. It also can mean the forgiveness of all failures and transgressions by people viewed as vulnerable. “Any personality trait to an extreme is pathological,” Brophy says.

According to Peterson, in Scandinavia there is an intense attempt to flatten out cultural differences between the sexes, and the biological personality differences are strongest there. For example, women are more agreeable. Gender is biological destiny, not social construct or performance.

If gender is biological destiny, and I map onto those feminine personality traits, then I am a woman, rather than a man more comfortable presenting as a woman. Or, I am a diseased male, failing to live up to my destiny.

The University of Toronto seems to try to wish it away. Sioban Nelson, the vice-provost of faculty and academic life, who seemed weary of the subject… argued that the university had no problem balancing its commitment to freedom of speech and its support for vulnerable groups or minority views. It was not an either-or situation, she said. Regarding Peterson specifically, she said, “The university has made it very, very clear, and has been quoted ad nauseam, that we do expect all members of our community, faculty or staff, to abide by the human rights code and to be respectful and supportive of each other.” I feel that misgendering is not supportive. Either he gets to define my gender, or I do.

He makes a virtue of being disagreeable. If you worry about hurting people’s feelings and disturbing the social structure, you’re not going to put your ideas forward. I disagree. There comes a moment when I, though I always seek to be agreeable, stick my head above the parapet and say

This is my truth.

This is the thing I will not back down on, though all society denies it. This is the thing I will assert though the Heavens fall. That is a matter of integrity, not agreeableness. A disagreeable person might think himself Innovative, when he was merely contrarian.

One thing about me that’s strange is that I will have impossibly difficult conversations with people. There are people who shy away from that. They let monsters grow under their rugs. Their marriages fall apart. They get detached from their children. They carry around resentments and unresolved conflicts. I’m not doing any of that. If there’s something to be discussed that’s difficult, we’re going to discuss that right down to the goddamned foundation. It is a good thing for me that when someone misgenders me I think he is a discourteous oaf, rather than that I am a pervert or whatever.

I found Jordan Peterson’s insistence on Truth here, and the account of the resulting stooshie here.

Campaigning III

We did not expect to win the election. On election day, I circulated two cards, one saying the Tories are already celebrating, one saying Time is running out. These were to go to voters who had previously indicated they would vote Labour. We did not have the canvass data, and we did not have tellers at the polling stations. There was a Tory there when I went to vote, telling.

The card said “Only Beth Miller can hold the Tories to account”. Well, she would speak and vote against a Tory government, question them, and campaign in the constituency, but arguably a government MP is better for the constituency. He might bring home a few bribes. In a Labour-led coalition, the Tories would not need “held to account” as there would be a majority to defeat them. I suppose you could say a Labour government would be showing how badly the Tories had damaged the country, holding them to account in some sense; or defeating them held them to account, or punished them, for that damage; but I would rather Labour reversed some of the damage.

We need a full canvass. I put those cards through a few doors which had a Sun pushed through beforehand- with its vile propaganda. “Today you can rescue Britain from the catastrophe of a takeover by Labour’s hard-left extremists. Jeremy Corbyn would not just reverse seven years of job creation and growth under the Tories. He would chuck our country’s spectacular progress and prosperity over the last 35 years in the bin.” Headline- “Don’t chuck Britain in the Cor-bin” with a mocked up picture of Mr Corbyn in an old metal trash-can. Today it is back to its soft titillation- “Rhian frolics in the Sun”, a picture of a smiling, big-breasted woman in a bikini- with more Tory propaganda.

It works. “I’ve always voted Labour but I could not vote for that terrorist sympathiser Jeremy Corbyn” said one voter to the Labour candidate. Mr Corbyn promoted peace talks publicly as Tory ministers pursued them privately. And consider the DUP’s terrorist present, never mind their past: the Loyalist Communities Council, representing Loyalist paramilitaries, endorsed three DUP candidates, all now MPs. After a UDA murder last month, the DUP leader Arlene Foster met the UDA leader Jackie McDonald. She said all paramilitary groups should disband, yet she gives them credence and acknowledges their power by meeting with them? I give all this detail because voters have been divorced from reality, by the propaganda.

In this constituency the UKIP vote collapsed 6213 and the Labour vote increased by 4873. Unfortunately the Tory vote increased by 5511. Turnout increased by 3463. It is not clear where the UKIP vote went, especially without canvass returns. I hope the Green vote went to Labour, but perhaps people just stayed at home. The LibDem vote increased by a stonking 87 votes.

We could put the work in Corby town itself, but the constituency has a huge area of mostly Tory villages. There are radicals in all those villages- I talked to one yesterday, she was enthused about the campaign- but we have to get the vote out, which means canvassing and telling.