Comment Of The Day: “Monday Ethics Final, 3/8/2021: A Bad Day In The Revolution”(Item #5)

I’m combining successive comments by a single commenter again. Humble Talent‘s observations regarding the angry “cultural appropriation!” reactions to Chris Cuomo saying he was “black inside” are wide-ranging and open up many difficult and fascinating ethics topics that I’m certain the 27 people still reading Ethics Alarms will find edifying.

HT began by responding to my query, “I wonder if Cuomo’s critic had the same reaction when Toni Morrison pronounced Bill Clinton as our first black President?”

Here are the two parts of Humble Talent’s Comment of the Day on item #5 of the post, “Monday Ethics Final, 3/8/2021: A Bad Day In The Revolution“:

They square this circle by comparing experience, neither is about objective reality.

Objectively, Cuomo is just as black as a fully intact biological man with gender dysphoria is a woman. But this isn’t about objectivity, reasonableness, or the truth…. It’s about oppression. Because really… What else differentiates someone who misrepresents their race, like Rachel Dolezal, or Shaun King, to someone who misrepresents their sex? Sure, both can be murky, is the child of a mixed race couple black or white? Is a person with Klinefelter or Turner’s syndrome a man or a woman? Progressives would usually say that the person With XXY or XYY are whatever they self identify as, and similarly for the mixed race child, whatever box they choose to mark. And if you get a fully intact biological man who believes that he’sa woman… Well, welcome to the club! But if you’re a white woman who puts on a lot of spray tan, dreds up her hair, and works as a black NAACP activist for most of her life… Fuck off bigot? I guess.

I’m not saying that I agree with this, but from their perspective the difference is oppression. The man who thinks they’re a woman statistically has a significant chance of having mental health issues, their suicide rate is orders of magnitude larger than the population in general, they’re often viewed as pedophiles, or predators, their families often disown them. Regardless of whether you’re a man or a woman who believes they are a woman or a man, saying so opens you up to a world of scorn and oppression in a way that Chris Cuomo saying he’s black on the inside never will. Similarly, Rachel Dolezal could have lived the life of a normal white woman, which they view as being privileged. It helps in understanding their mindset if you view lying about your oppression to be akin to stolen valor. Because black women as a class are disenfranchised, regardless of whether individual black women are disenfranchised, Rachel donning the persona of a disenfranchised class stole the social currency of oppression, because she hadn’t paid for it with the experiences of growing up black. And that’s not acceptable.

Here commenter johnburger2013 asked, “What do we say about an individual who thinks he/she is, for instance, an aardvark?,” and Humble Talent continued…

I mean…. This is the crux of the matter, isn’t it? Kindly, one would hope. There’s obviously a mental health issue there. But just like the right thing to do when your aunt sees hallucinated bugs crawling up her walls isn’t to fumigate the house, calling her crazy isn’t helpful.

Honestly… I’ve kind of come around on this, over the years. At a personal level, the progressive treatment for gender expression is closer to right; These people are in distress, nothing of value is added by demeaning them. For the most part, it doesn’t do anyone any harm in using whatever pronouns they want, and I don’t find a whole lot of value in being an asshole. The people we’re talking about aren’t well, and making fun of them is like making fun of a guy in a wheelchair: It can be funny in the abstract, but up close and personal, it’s not a great look.

But that’s personally. On a policy level, trans people are being used by people who don’t give a rat’s ass about them to push a political ideology that is kinder to them, but not really beneficial for them. We have to do a better job at picking our fights; and pick the right targets. There are precious few places where someone’s sex actually matters anymore, we need to differentiate where it does, and create policy that makes sense. Trans people don’t like that their driver’s license has the “wrong” sex in the sex field. I don’t like the idea of a government ID with false information on it as affirmation for a person with a mental health condition… But why does a driver’s license need a sex field? Can we do away with it and make everyone happier? It’s hard to mock the absurdity of ideas without mocking the people associated with those ideas, particularly in this case because mentally unwell people do absurd things, but I think we have to at least try.

Look at the first item on the list today: “Evangelicals for Biden.” It’s almost an oxymoron. But there were evangelicals who were willing to look past the Democrat’s record on abortion, which they view as the literal murder of babies, because they disagreed with Trump or the Republicans on issues x, y, and z. Somehow x, y, and z seemed worse to them than the possibility of more baby-murder. We need to give people less x, y and z. Sometimes x, y, or z are inherent to conservatism, and if those are deal breakers, we’re never going to convince people who care very much about the inverse of x, y or z to support you. But if x, y, and z alienate people, and they have nothing to do with conservative values or principles, then maybe we don’t need them.

14 thoughts on “Comment Of The Day: “Monday Ethics Final, 3/8/2021: A Bad Day In The Revolution”(Item #5)

  1. “The people we’re talking about aren’t well.”

    HT, doesn’t your saying that immediately toss you out of the club and onto the street head first? Aren’t we enthusiastically to believe these people are not only well, they’re heroic?

    • I don’t think so, no. Even the fronts that activists put out generally accept that trans people have gender dysphoria, and that dysphoria needs treatment or management.

      The problem is, and I mentioned in my comment above is that it’s hard not to take the absurd examples and extrapolate off them, particularly because trans people disproportionately have mental health issues, there are a disproportionate amount of lolcows that you can use to nutpick.

      A great example is Jessica Yaniv. Jessica is, in my opinion, a genuine crazy person. She is a militant litigation abuser, process troll, and general bad person. Her Twitter posts, particularly to underage girls is creepy when it’s not outright gross, and I genuinely believe that she would benefit from therapy. She is the posterchild for trans activist excess, and revisions to the law should be made to protect against people like her.

      But not every trans person is like Jessica Yaniv. In fact, I know Jessica’s name specifically because she’s an outlier. If our understanding of trans people is entirely molded by people like Yaniv, I think that does a disservice to everyone involved.

      • The point I was trying to make, while not ever saying, is: I think that if that attitude exists in the wild, it’s probably an overcorrection to people reacting to people like Yaniv, in an attempt to highlight the larger population of trans people not like Yaniv.

      • Two high school friends, long since married to each other, have a daughter, the younger of two, who has decided she’s a guy. From what I’ve seen, I just don’t think they or their other daughter have the option of considering their now son as suffering from any sort of disorder. The now son had always struck me as a very vibrant tomboy, as if she wanted to be the son her father didn’t have. I had assumed she would be perfectly happy being a lesbian. Perhaps ten years ago she would have been? At least she’s in her late twenties or even early thirties and not a pre-teen or pre-adult.

  2. the 27 people still reading Ethics Alarms

    Difficult to argue with Trump’s observation he was a bonanza for all media, non? Every day was a battle people wanted to join in. Now, we have peace in our time.

  3. Thanks Jack,

    As always, I read through these and cringe a little bit when I find my typos (thank you for fixing “sex feild”), but I don’t think there was anything in there where I said the exact opposite of what I meant this time, so maybe I’m getting better!

    I was particularly proud of a few of points in there; the one I highlighted, the one you did, and “x, y, and z”. Particularly the one I bolded though… Once I had that thought, it was just so clear and obvious. I think I’d already known the theory, but finding the words for it was kind of fulfilling, somehow. I don’t have the right word.

  4. My problem with all the transgender advocacy is that it isn’t really even about people with gender dysphoria.

    When you are talking strictly about people who are genetically male but mentally feel like they are female and vice versa, there is biological evidence that they may actually have the parts of their brains that make up sexual identity formed as the opposite sex. You can look at studies of androgen insensitive males, genetic males immune to testosterone, and see that it is possible to have the brain form differently than the genetic sex. Those individuals look, act and think like females, and usually do not even know they are not genetic females until they are examined by a gynecologist as teenagers because they never started menstruating. If hormones cause the brain to form one way or the other, then I can understand how biologically some people end up “born in the wrong body” due to hormone imbalances during gestation. I have no issue with those individuals, and before all the transgender “advocacy” started, I was very sympathetic to those people.

    Transgender advocates are not really pushing for acceptance of those individuals, however. They are pressuring everyone to accept at face value the professed “identity” an individual claims to identify as, no matter how bizarre or biologically unlikely. They claim gender is no longer binary and that it can change minute by minute, which there is NO biological evidence for. They are pushing for acceptance of “genders” like these:

    Arithmagender– A numerical gender. it can range from any number/s, positive, negative, decimals, fractions, etc.

    Argogender– A subset of genderfluid wherein the changes between one’s separate genders or the parts of one’s gender happen gradually, or a gender that is defined by its slowness.

    Astergender– A gender that feels bright and celestial.

    Astralgender– A gender that feels connected to space.

    Those are not genders. They are acid trips. They are also just one random selection of part of the “list of genders” found here:

    I’m so sick of listening to this kind of bullshit, that I no longer particularly care about the plight of people with actual gender dysphoria.

    Making people angry and exhausted is the actual purpose of the modern transgender advocacy, because it has nothing to do with transgender people. It’s purpose is to move Marxist ideology forward, not help anyone.

    Which makes it something that conservatives HAVE to argue with the left about, and drags all kinds of ridiculous garbage into the conversation, stokes anger, divides people, etc. It does that by design. You cannot just ignore X, Y and Z, because the actual issue has nothing to do with X, Y and Z. The actual issue is Marxism, and the way the left is using X, Y and Z to promote Marxism.

    • I am sympathetic to both sides of this issue. Under the Golden Rule, we should treat all people with respect and in the manner we wish they treat us and others. There is no reason to be cruel to someone because of that person’s gender issues – that is simply cruel. I do believe that there are deeper psychological issues at play and we need to

      However, there is also the point that Null makes, which is that according to the “Gender Wars” if someone declares to a gender other than what is biologically known, we must accept that declaration without question as an objective, immutable fact. To state otherwise is “transphobic” whatever that means. The Left owns the language and gets to decide what the rules are according to the Left’s discretion, and the those definitions are subject to change with or without notice. Deviate from that language at your peril.

      Therein lies my quip about the aardvark. While in my dealings with Caitlin Jenner, I am going to refer to Bruce Jenner as Caitlin, but I am under no illusion that Caitlin Jenner is, in fact, a woman. I reject the idea that gender is a cultural construct. If gender and sex are social constructs, then species identifications are cultural and social constructs, too. In fact, PETA will tell you that. Suspending logic and reason for the purpose of an ideologically driven cultural trend is intellectually dishonest and subversive.


  5. Lots of things here:

    -Bill asks if wanting to change sex is healthy. It depends on the person and situation. There is also a difference between wanting to be the other sex and wanting to change it. I wanted to pee like a boy as a young girl. Many girls actually have that experience. That is different from having huge strips of flesh taken off an arm to create a pseudo penis that will never naturally function as a man’s would.

    Out of all the people I’ve met who were trans-identified that I’ve known and cared about, only one, in my opinion, seemed truly right in his chosen identity. Of course I’m not the arbiter of who is or isn’t trans but I mention this because it can potentially be healthy if the person is highly realistic about the limitations that come with hormones, surgery, and “cross-dressing.” The other thing that makes a difference in my mind is the person understanding that sex really can’t be changed, only that their appearance to pass is potentially increased to the common citizen.

    -Why does sex need to be on our ID? For identification purposes. If I need to know that a murderer is on the loose in my neighborhood, or that an elderly person is lost, it’s good to know the sex.

    -The Golden Rule doesn’t require lies. Remember the Emperor of America, Joshua Abraham Norton? His “royal subjects” in San Francisco even called for “His Imperial Majesty” to be freed after he was jailed for vagrancy charges. Citizens humored this guy. Which is fine and apparently he was quite the freedom fighter.

    Yet San Francisco citizens went along with the delusions of a mentally unwell man. Did it hurt him? Did it hurt the community? Did it set a kind of precedent for the weirdness that is San Francisco? A place where Harvey Milk and Jim Jones and Nancy Pelosi honed their political black magic? Who knows but I think one can be respectful without having to pretend.

    -As far as the aardvark thing, there are a small but growing number of people who not only identify as not only as another sex, or another race, but another species. Or no species at all but want to be robot/human hybrids. It’s called transhumanism and it’s a movement that will keep growing. Surely one day there will be calls for robot rights and being able to have a doctor try to turn your hands into dog paws (someone has already had their hands cut off for this).

    Where do we draw the line for the right to destroy our bodies in order to rebuild them in our own medicalized image? Will we one day have to address someone as “His Imperial Majesty” or speak to someone in meows? Probably not. But if I ever move to San Francisco this will be the song I sing:

    You say potato and I say potatx
    You say Latino and I say Latinx
    He/Her, They/Them
    Woman, Womxn
    Let’s call the whole thing off.

    • “-Why does sex need to be on our ID? For identification purposes. If I need to know that a murderer is on the loose in my neighborhood, or that an elderly person is lost, it’s good to know the sex.”

      Sorry, I don’t buy it. There is a zero percent chance that in either of those cases, people would have called the DMV to check the gender on the person before making the announcement. And even if they did…. In states where a trans man cannot change the sex field on their ID, does it make sense to put an APB out for a person looking like Buck Angel as a “60 year old woman”?

      But that’s just the tip of the iceberg… Why bother having a sex field on employment applications? Membership forms? On webpage signups? Again… There are going to be cases where gender is actually material, and we should identify those and make policies that make sense, but most of the sex boxes we check off are either vestigial or unnecessary.

        • I was going to make that point, and left it out: I think that there’s going to be a huge downside risk of correlating this kind of data in the future. Unless you actually need to know this, collecting it could, I think, open you up to discrimination lawsuits. Discovery in a such a suit would be so much easier if you could legitimately say: “Our corporation neither knows nor cares to know the gender of our employees/customers, it is not important to who we are or what we do.”

  6. Apart from some rare genetic condition like Klinefelter’s or Turner’s syndrome, if you have a dick you’re a guy and a vagina you’re a woman. Feeling one way or another is irrelevant despite what the LGTBQ crowd says.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.