Afternoon Ethics Woolgathering, 7/20/2022: Conspiracies And Condign Justice

July 20 should be permanently recognized as Conspiracy Theory Day. It’s the anniversary of Neil Armstrong walking on the moon in 1969, and the event spawned one of the most hilarious of all conspiracy theories, that the whole thing was faked by NASA. Many believe it still. This one is an anti-government conspiracy theory, so perhaps the “Truthers” fantasy that George W. Bush bombed the Pentagon and Twin Towers on 9/11 has passed it. Or maybe the theory that a Kennedy assassination conspiracy involving President Johnson and the CIA is at the top of the list. My 8th grade history professor told our class that it was a fact that FDR conspired to let the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor so the U.S. would enter the war.

A friend from childhood, smart to the point of brilliance, who once commented here often, sincerely believes that Barack Obama’s natural born citizenship is a hoax.

These conspiracy theories that cause people to believe their own government is a malign force are very harmful. More harmful yet is the current environment, where both political parties are vigorously pursuing conspiracy theories against the other.

It does not help the situation that some conspiracy theories, like the one that long held that the government was withholding evidence of unidentified flying objects, turn out to be true.

1. Condign justice dept. “Condign justice” was a term I never heard or read before George Will started using it. Then I stopped reading George Will, whose NeverTrumpism revealed him to be a classist hypocrite, requiring me to use it. Today’s example is the mayors of New York City and Washington D.C. complaining bitterly about being inundated with illegal immigrants. New York is suffering in great part because of its proud position as a “sanctuary city,” thus encouraging illegals to violate our laws. NYC Mayor Eric Adams demanded yesterday that the federal government help pay for what he said was a wave of illegal immigrants pouring into the city, as he whined about the city’s “safety net” being strained by busloads of people coming from border states and elsewhere. (CBS News helpfully apes Adams in calling the border-breachers “asylum-seekers,” hoping to cover-up what they really are.)  Awww. Well gee, Mayor, if you didn’t openly invite them and say they would be welcomed and protected from our mean old laws, maybe there wouldn’t be so darn many.

Some old saw about making beds seems to be appropriate here. Idiot.Meanwhile, down in D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser went on national TV to complain that her city’s homeless shelters were filling up because of buses of illegals being sent  to the city from Texas and Arizona. It’s your party, Mayor, and the policies of your party’s President that are responsible. Waves of illegal immigrants pouring through the porous border controls are just fine with the leadership of Democrat-run cities as long as they stay in Arizona, New Mexico, California and Texas. But not if Eastern mayors have to cope with the results of unenforced laws. After all, “they’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people,” except that good people don’t break the laws of countries they want to live in.

Hey! Maybe a wall would help….

Condign justice!

2. Update…maybe it’s just that today’s Americans have the attention span of puppies. Following up on yesterday’s rueful post about the deterioration of  baseball’s All-Star Game and the institution this year of a revolting “home run derby” tie-breaker, I find this dispiriting news. The ratings for last night’s game haven’t been released, but…

The Major League Baseball Home Run Derby averaged 6.88 million viewers across ESPN and ESPN2 Monday night… the Derby ranks as the most-watched All-Star event in sports this year — outdrawing the NFL Pro Bowl on ESPN, ABC and DisneyXD (6.69M) and the NBA All-Star Game on TNT and TBS (6.28M). The past five years the Derby has been held (2017-19 and 2021-22), it has outdrawn the NBA All-Star Game three times (2017, 2021 and 2022) and the Pro Bowl twice (2017 and 2022).

Great. All-Star Game fans like the simple-minded home-run derbies. Baseball is apparently just giving them what they want.

3. Back to condign justice for a moment…Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz is complaining that Democratic mayors and city councils have “abdicated their responsibility” in fighting crime and addressing mental illness, which has forced his company to close stores due to fears over employee safety.

Oh no you don’t, Howard! You’ve been a leader of woke corporate virtue-signaling, grandstanding about race, making derelict-friendly policies that were bound to lead to disaster (and did), allowing customers to be harassed if they dared to be Trump supporters. This is your party, your ideology, and you are ethically estopped from blaming the party whose delusions you have enthusiastically supported.

4. More follow-up: AOC, who is shameless, is also claiming that she wasn’t pretending to be handcuffed as she was led into custody for breaking the law while joining a meaningless, toothless, grandstanding demonstration in front of the Supreme Court. “Putting your hands behind your back is a best practice while detained, handcuffed or not, to avoid escalating charges like resisting arrest,” she tweeted. Right. Who is so gullible as to swallow that? Well, anyone who is so dense that they support a clueless, dishonest demagogue like AOC, I suppose.

I answered my own question.

In related news, here are the unethical members of Congress who took part in the protest:

  • New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
  • Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar
  • Missouri Rep. Cori Bush
  • Massachusets Rep. Ayanna Pressley
  • Massachusets Rep. Katherine Clark
  • New York Rep. Nydia Velazquez
  • California Rep. Barbara Lee
  • California Rep. Jackie Speier
  • California Rep. Sara Jacobs
  • Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib
  • North Carolina Rep. Alma Adams
  • Pennsylvania Rep. Madeleine Dean
  • New Jersey Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman
  • Texas Rep. Veronica Escobar
  • Illinois Rep. Jan Schakowsky
  • New York Rep. Carolyn Maloney
  • Michigan Rep. Andy Levin

[I guess Andy identifies as a woman.]

Every one of them was abusing their position and undermining both the separation of powers and the Court itself. The three branches of government don’t protest each other. If a President doesn’t like a bill passed by Congress, he vetoes it. If he disagrees with Congress’s policies, he makes his view known in speeches (and, sadly, tweets). He doesn’t picket the Capitol. If Congress members don’t like a SCOTUS opinion, their option is to pass a law; that’s their role. Do the Justices demonstrate in front of the White House when the President signs an unconstitutional executive order? Of course not.

But members of Congress engaging in civil disobedience in front of the Supreme Court is worse than any of these. The Court determines what the law is; Congress must decide what the law should be. SCOTUS decisions are not and cannot be determined by what anyone, including members of Congress, wants.

Incidentally, did you know that Donald Trump was a threat to democracy because he violated “democratic norms”?

5. And since I mentioned magic gender flipping...Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary has again embraced the Orwellian tactic of changing the language to support an ideological argument. The dictionary publisher has added a secondary definition of “female” that defines the term as “having a gender identity that is the opposite of male.”  The dictionary also changed the definition of “girl”:


93 thoughts on “Afternoon Ethics Woolgathering, 7/20/2022: Conspiracies And Condign Justice

  1. ““Putting your hands behind your back is a best practice while detained, handcuffed or not, to avoid escalating charges like resisting arrest,” she tweeted. Right. Who is so gullible as to swallow that? Well, anyone who is so dense that they support a clueless, dishonest demagogue like AOC, I suppose.”

    I don’t support AOC, but I guess I am gullible enough to swallow this, because it is factually true. People often put their hands behind their backs when they’re arrested even if they are not cuffed. In fact I didn’t understand those claiming that she must have been pretending to be handcuffed, only to forget halfway through in order to raise her fist, because that explanation makes far less sense than the idea that she just put her hands behind her back because she was under arrest.

    • I’m sorry. I guess I missed the class in high school (?) that covered where best to hold your hands when you’re under arrest?

    • How odd, then, that of those arrested, the only ones to hold their hands behind their backs were AOC and Omar. Moreover, they knew that the scene was being thoroughly videos. The chances of them being accused of resisting arrest was exactly zip. AOC is openly, vocally anti-police, and a serial fabulist. The motivation of trying to make the police look excessively forceful is far more plausible, don’t you think? than her making certain she seen by police as not being cooperative—especially since she gave a defiant power salute?

          • Had she kept her hands behind her back the whole time, her spiel about “best practices” and setting an example of not escalating would be plausible. Showing deference to the police would be a positive in her otherwise pointless protest; naturally she couldn’t do that.

            Raising her hand destroys her case, and proves her a fool and a hypocrite.

            • Raising her hand indicates to me that she changed her mind about being compliant and chose to show defiance instead. Which is unwise, but not the same as “She was trying to pretend to be handcuffed and then forgot.” She can be stupid, but she isn’t that stupid.

              • Defiance…

                She kept departing the scene after the cops told her to depart the scene.

                Such brave. Much defiant.

                No. She didn’t forget she wasn’t handcuffed, she didn’t care. She went from pretending to be handcuffed to pretending to be defiant.

        • In the real world, a person who did what she did while being cuffed would likely be thrown to the ground. Officers in real-world situations have no idea what that person might be doing and any act of non-compliance is generally met with swift, overpowering action, for the overall protection of both the cuffer and the cuffee.

          The video doesn’t show the beginning, but the woman on the officer’s left isn’t cuffed and her hands aren’t behind her back and she’s making zero effort to keep them there for fear of “escalating charges like resisting arrest.”

          Rep. Ocasio-Cortez is – like many in DC – a slave to the spotlight and she wants to give the appearance of being cuffed. To paraphrase a bumper sticker I saw years ago on I-40 in Texas, “If Ocasio-Cortez is the answer, how stupid is the question?”

        • Exactly. She’s so awesome. She is showing The Man, speaking truth to power. That cop really mistreated her, too. I bet she has brutal scars from those virtual shackles. Oh, and the emotional trauma if being dragged and beaten by police while in custody. She will have PTSD forever. I fear for her mental state. And, who will defend her against those serious charges? She is facing life in prison, at the very least, along with a crushing fine of about $50 plus court costs. What will she do?


        • Well, that and CNN already had their pictures.

          An amazing number of outlets reported her being arrested, cuffed and escorted away, with accompanying pictures, even though none of the above was actually true.

          • That’s my thinking here, too. The photos were taken; the narrative set; the initial story spread before the truth finally came out. No need to play the game anymore.

                • You’re right, of course, why should I be amazed that National News outlets would debase themselves for Democrat narratives? It is 2022 after all, I should be used to this. I guess maybe I’m just disappointed, after the leadership change at CNN and all that hoopla about them going back to straight news, I’d have figured that they’d… Y’know… Confirm details. Like whether the member of congress had actually been handcuffed or arrested. The fuck was I thinking?

                  • I don’t know. You clearly weren’t thinking that they probably just got the story wrong and then corrected themselves when they realized that, because you’re devoted to projecting the worst possible motives onto your political enemies, even if other motives are more likely. But you’re definitely not alone in that.

                    • The people on site, the ones who took the pictures, they saw the raised fist, they took pictures of the raised fist. Those pictures were not used. Those headlines were the ones written. They knew.

                    • It’s impossible to argue against this when you won’t be specific about which sources you’re referring to.

                      But it’s unlikely that was their motive, since if they knew such photos existed, they would have also had to have known they’d come out shortly. Why set themselves up for embarrassment like that? Do you think reporters like being embroiled in fake news controversies?

                      By the same token, AOC would have also had to have known the raised fist photos would come out, so it doesn’t make sense to assume her goal was to pretend she was handcuffed.

                      Granted, it was stupid for AOC to put her fist in the air and stupid for any media source to not get confirmation before writing that AOC had been handcuffed (and just from my experience, I’ve only seen one reporter on Twitter make that claim). But people can be stupid in a lot of different ways, and being stupid is usually a more likely explanation than lying.

                    • Oh, Nate. Be honest. She and Omar were led away in virtual shackles and subjected to the most degrading virtual abuse ever visited upon a virtual detainee. I saw those officers cyber-whipping them with cyberwhips, demanding a cyberconfession identifying her cyberbosses. Didn’t you see the cybercarnage? And, no, they didn’t raise their fists in defiance. No. They raised their arms to defend against the online onslaught of internet police brutality, which will leave lasting scars on their browsing histories. Oh, the humanity!


    • Addendum…I would normally salute your giving AOC the benefit of the doubt. However, she has such a long record of deceit and absurd denials that she has forfeited that consideration.

    • Hiding your hands behind your back is a fast way to escalate unless you have coordinated how you will be led away with Capitol police in advance.

      Go ahead and put your hands behind you when an officer is giving you instructions and see how well that goes for you.

    • Is it *actually* factually true?

      You wanna start telling young black men that when facing arrest, the best place for their hands to be is hidden behind their backs? Or maybe there’s a situational component to this? Perhaps that’s only for when the police have “arrested” you, but not put cuffs on you, before the police make the decision not to cuff you, your should have your hands clearly visible!

      Perhaps us rubes are only unable to see the erudite wisdom of AOC’s hand position because she has big booty Latina congresswoman privilege and we can’t think of another case where a person has been placed under arrest, not cuffed, and allowed to walk away. I mean, usually, arrestees are cuffed or zip tied, so they don’t get to choose where their hands go.

      Yes, that must be it.

      • There is an officer RIGHT BEHIND HER in the video Jack posted on the other article. Her hands are not “hidden” behind her back and they are clearly visible to the officer who’s arrested her. Yes, I think once someone has been arrested and there is an officer behind them, it’s fine to put your hands behind your back.

        Your “big booty Latina” reference just makes you look motivated by racism and sexism and weakens your (already fairly weak) case.

        • Nate,

          I think you are misunderstanding HT’s point. I don’t believe he is referring to the video in the previous post, but rather to Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s explanation that Jack highlighted above. Let’s look at her words:

          “Putting your hands behind your back is a best practice while detained, handcuffed or not, to avoid escalating charges like resisting arrest.”

          Actually, that is the WORST possible advice the Congresswoman could give to a person being detained. When detained, officers are usually facing the person-of-interest and talking, so that person putting his/her hands behind where they can’t be seen is an absolute no-no…and is almost CERTAIN to escalate. You ever watch “Live PD” when it was on? Countless times, officers would say, “Get your hands of your pockets” or “Keep yours hands where I can see them”. Any other action by the detainee was a near guarantee to be cuffed.

          I won’t bet the mortgage, but I’ll bet a large amount of money that Humble Talent was writing from that perspective.

          • On the nose.

            AOC had said:
            “Putting your hands behind your back is a best practice while detained, handcuffed or not, to avoid escalating charges like resisting arrest,”

            Jack had said:
            “Right. Who is so gullible as to swallow that? Well, anyone who is so dense that they support a clueless, dishonest demagogue like AOC, I suppose.”

            Nate had said:
            “I don’t support AOC, but I guess I am gullible enough to swallow this, because it is factually true.”

            Yours Truly said:
            “Is it *actually* factually true?”

            Because… Of course…. It is not. And I think it’s obvious what I was referring to, but to give him every benefit of the doubt, I’ve said the same in response to him.

            For someone who isn’t an AOC supporter, he’s sure tied himself into a pretzel in order to support her.

            • HT,

              You’re so right that JM’s comment is on the nose.

              A fail safe recommendation perhaps would have been:
              • Drop to your knees;
              • Place your hands on top of your head with your fingers laced; and,
              •Cross your feet at the ankles.

              I think that’s a pretty standard compliance exercise police are taught to use.


        • Shifted goalposts. I don’t care if you think it’s “fine” to put your hands behind your back and pretend to be cuffed AOC called it the “best practice”. Not only is that not true, absent the big-booty-Latina-congresswoman privilege (and if you don’t get the reference, think what you want, I really don’t care what you think), there are fact patterns where doing that leads to your death.

          • It’s not shifted goalposts, it’s context. Obviously she could have been clearer, but she’s referring to the context in which she was arrested. Once the police have already seen that you are unarmed, and they are standing behind you, putting your hands behind your back *where the officers can see them* (not “hidden” as you suggested) is a show of compliance and that you are not armed.

            I looked up the reference to “big-booty-Latina-congresswoman privilege” (with SafeSearch on, of course) and found it originated from a right-wing troll named Alex Stein. Not knowing who that was, I checked his Twitter and saw that he posted a video in the last 24 hours with leading white nationalist Nick Fuentes. Is that the kind of person whose references I am supposed to be familiar with? Is that the kind of person you like to emulate?

      of or denoting the sex that produces small, typically motile gametes, especially spermatozoa, with which a female may be fertilized or inseminated to produce offspring:
      “male children” ·

      Hah! Sperm producing persons! Would that render women egg producing persons? So, if you have no lead in your pencil, you’re not a male?

      a male animal or plant:
      “the males have brilliant sky-blue wings”

      Male humans don’t exist any longer?

        • Hah. Hilarious. And they have bright blue wings. Why is “Nothing to see here. Move along.” such a popular lefty default position? It’s a passive aggressive ad hominem. “Oh, you silly person. Why don’t you worry about important things instead of shouting at people on your lawn?”

  2. 5. There is a vast difference between a police state proscribing and enforcing language usage on the one hand and, on the other, a private company describing how words are actually used.
    Language evolves, more rapidly these days than in the past due to widespread use of social media. And just as it is important to keep up with evolving popular culture, it is important to keep up with current trends in language usage. Webster helps with that (as do others, such as the Urban Dictionary).
    Those who don’t like a particular usage are free to shun it, and even to disparage it, with no fear of thought police descending on them, and with no fear of being forced to think a certain way.
    Language is used to support ideological views, but to view dictionary definitions, the descriptions of how words and terms are actually used, as somehow supporting ideology smacks of, well, confirmation bias.

    • Many people use the term less when the grammatically correct usage would be fewer. Because people fail to follow grammar rules does not make them correct no matter how often it is used.

      Imagine if popular, but incorrect, usage in contracts or in establishing the nuance of or limitation to a particular law is used. Ambiguity in language creates chaos and unnecessary litigation. Lawyers are required to be proficient in correct language usage so it is a bit unfair to characterize a lawyer’s challenge to a language authority for creating a definition that effectively makes a word have really no meaning or meaning anything the reader or user decides it to be at any given time.
      Using the logic that allows the public to take understood meanings and change them to suit their needs would allow white Europeans to claim a racial lineage being pigmented Oceanians and not responsible for all those original sins heaped upon white Europeans. Conversely, we can all start calling Blacks or POC’s white and thus we are all the same. None of this helps society work efficiently.

      • What you’re actually saying is that words have different meanings in different contexts. Of course technical precision is necessary in law, as it is in many other fields. It’s also quite common for terms to have a very different meaning in law than in colloquial speech.

        Language evolves, and that is of course true for racial classifications as well. Irish and Italians were once not considered white. The labels they were given changed as society changed, just as gender terminology is now.

        So much of this blog seems dedicated to insisting that social change happening currently is inherently bad, without much justification, and the arguments I see employed to attempt justification all seem to ignore how social change has happened in the past. It’s strange. I thought this blog was going to be about ethics but instead it’s all about promoting some strange form of social conservatism (that for some reason makes room for gay marriage).

        • Nate
          The entire argument about the definition of female is predicated on how Title IX is being bastardized by the belief that simply when the populace decides an XY chromosomal biological entity claims to be an XX entity. This is a legal issue. If a biological male purports to be a biological female under TitleIX then the attempt to create equity is rendered moot. The logic you are using would permit whites to claim to be non-white to obtain affirmative action protections.
          Language may evolve but to demand that it should change without pushback is rather authoritarian. Gaslighting requires doublespeak and changing definitions. Calling semiautomatic weapons weapons of war is an example. Another is calling the dozens of riots that caused destruction of businesses and injuring police officers peaceful protests, while a 3 hour riot at the Capitol is an insurrection designed to overthrow the government. Yes, words matter because most people who want to believe something will adopt a meaning to fit their preferred narrative.
          Another word being bandied about incorrectly is Fascist. Fascist are those who believe in a strong central government that uses private enterprise to facilitate
          economic sanctions against the populace who oppose the fascist regime. Trump was labeled a fascist but was the exact opposite. This is why allowing the unfettered devolution of meanings makes people ignorant.

          • People with XY chromosomes are not claiming to have XX chromosomes.

            No one checks or ever has checked a person’s chromosomes when determining whether they can join a certain sports team.

            • Again, c’mon, man! The entire transgender debate lays upon the foundation that one’s gender is fluid, kind of like water, and one’s present sense identity controls one’s sex/gender. If Billy Thomas is now Lia Thomas and qualifies as a woman for the purposes of competing in college sports and woman athlete of the year, then I, my friend, am an aardvark with all rights, duties, and privileges of aardvarkdom.


            • “No one checks or ever has checked a person’s chromosomes when determining whether they can join a certain sports team.”

              I’m beginning to think someone should…

                • Yes that’s exactly how I’d characterize adults who decide that they need to check under a kid’s pants to see whether they can play softball or not.

                  • Embarrassingly bad response, Nate: not clever, not honest, and not constructive to the conversation. It’s left-wing trolling. When a sport is segregated by gender, it is because males are deemed to have an advantage over females in it due to the advantages of male puberty.Nobody “checks under a kid’s pants” to see whether they can play softball (or baseball, for that matter) unless a league is gender-segregated…and if it is, then a biological male is cheating who claims to be a girl for the purposes of that sport. Cheating is unethical. Lia Thomas is cheating. Obviously. If such sports eliminate a gender limitation, then that solves the problem, but female athletes, most of them, will be hurt.

                    This isn’t hard. I don’t know why you feel you have to be a jerk.

                    • For the lurkers who have been kicked from this website (like when a Friend thought you were unfairly mean to that one lady who got banned quite quickly), I’ll repeat myself here: this is why this blog is accused of being an echo chamber. There are certainly, definitely liberal people who can argue without being absolute jerks, and some of them used to post here.

                      But the Twitterati that have been posting here lately are either so assured of their intelligence/superiority or they sincerely are just terrible people that there’s no way they’ll last more than a few days before they cross a line with the host.

                      Not a loss, except that we do often miss the counterpoint. Not worth the totally unnecessary vitriol in this case though.

                    • A point of order: “A Friend,” whom I know personally, kicked himself off by making the absurd demand that if the juvenile “Katie,” who directly breached the commenting rules and refused contrition, wasn’t re-admitted, he’d leave. That kind of threat will always get the same response here no matter what the context.

                      But you accurately report the typical and depressing script: a new commenter passes moderation, then gradually ups the vitriol and arrogance level while monopolizing multiple discussions and insisting on channeling partisan talking points. He or she gets warned, and can’t, or won’t, restrain themselves. There is no reason why hard left contributors here shouldn’t be able to behave, but I have noticed that such people don’t behave on any websites, for the most part. Althouse’s middle-left blog has almost only rightish commenters; presumably her Leftist readers can’t muster comments that get through her moderation process. Without moderation, on other sites,typically one or two screaming, snide insults-hurling, knee-jerk ideologues dominate the exchanges. This is the tone the far Left has encouraged and cultivated.

                      It’s sad, and bad for civil and multi-sided discourse.

                    • Yeah sorry, my comment wasn’t clear. A Friend thought that Katie didn’t deserve to be banned, but she was gratuitously insulting towards you, the host of the website. I wasn’t trying to say that A Friend was banned, just that he thought your actions were unfair and contributed to the echo chamber.

                  • Yeesh.

                    Nate, you need context explained to you constantly.

                    Michael West wasn’t responding to your comment about checking genitalia, he was responding to mine, which read that checking chromosomes should possibly be a thing in some sports.

                    Following the indenting in these discussion threads is vital.

    • Wrong. Webster’s has done this already many times lately. It’s not just a coincidence that at a time when doubletalking progressives are getting justly hammered for claiming they can’t define what a woman is, and the fantasy that someone is magically a new gender by simply saying so was proclaimed during a Senate hearing, Webster’s picks this moment to decide that the language has changed? Funny, I don’t recall Webster’s changing the definition of “Waterboarding” from “an interrogation technique usually regarded as a form of torture” to “a form of enhanced interrogation”. Why is that?

      Woman and girl are NOT used the way Webster’s now claims except for an extremely tiny but vocal ideologically-driven minority. There is a long way to go before that definition belongs in the dictionary, if ever

      Your protest would have more credibility if Miriam Webster’s hadn’t outed itself as a biased and partisan referee of language, as I wrote about here.
      I didn’t write about the dictionary choosing to change the definition of “assault rifle” to fit the inflammatory and inaccurate rhetoric of anti-gun activists.

      There are other examples. This isn’t just innocent language clarification, HJ. It’s culture warfare, and the other reputable dictionaries aren’t doing it.

      • I would agree that Webster should have added a gender ID definition for ‘woman’ before moving on to ‘girl’ because that brings to mind an age group that would have a better understanding of gender dysphoria, one where gender identity would be more reasonable. In it’s polite usage, ‘girl’ generally refers to an age group where gender identity should be nothing more than the play kids go through.
        I also will note that Webster’s example is unsatisfactory, as it refers to a “trans girl”, which is something different than gender ID.
        But, these are not an arguments for dropping the definition Webster used, but perhaps arguments for moving it farther down the list of usages.

        • I’m not concerned about the definition, but rather the obvious politically motivated timing of it by a language source that, as you noted, is supposed to be objective and motivated by informed judgments about where the language is. Webster’s blew any presumption of objectivity when it began publicly taking partisan positions. Thus its latest, which, I agree, seems hasty and incompletely thought out, is legitimately under suspicion…or should be.

      • “Woman and girl are NOT used the way Webster’s now claims except for an extremely tiny but vocal ideologically-driven minority.”

        I’ve noticed you make a lot of sweeping generalizations without providing evidence.

        The definition you objected to just says “a person whose gender identity is female.” This would include all cisgender girls as well as transgender girls. Do you have any evidence that the majority of Americans do not understand transgender girls to be a subset of “girls?” A poll or anything?

        My understanding is that this blog includes more than one frequent transgender commenter. Do you really believe yourself and the majority of your audience to be at “cultural warfare” with these guests?

        • I understand what the word girl means. What is a trans-girl? Is that someone with two X chromosomes at birth and who later believe they are men, or is it someone with a Y chromosome who later believe they are women?
          I find it confusing, but if a dare ask for clarification, I am called a bigot and am shunned.

          • I mean I won’t call you a bigot, I’d just say you need to get out more and learn. Your question was phrased respectfully, so there’s no reason for me to shun you.

            A trans woman or trans girl is someone who is assigned male at birth, but later identifies as a girl or woman.

    • Urban Dictionary? Urban Dictionary is for keeping up with the 20-somethings for whom the latest turn of phrase is hip until the 50-somethings catch on. Many of the definitions are derogatory and pornographic. If one wishes to have a vernacular useful in a boys’ locker room, Urban Dictionary is the resource.

  3. AOC Commenters,

    I believe that the shoulder patches of the LE personnel have “DC Metro” on them, not US Capitol Police. AOC was already under arrest, as evidenced by the Officers firm grip on her upper arm. However, she did run the risk of her gesture being misunderstood and could have led to Resisting Arrest charges.

    I know an FBI Agent who was once assigned to the DC Division Office, and told me that there are some specific locations in DC where an accident or incident may end up with 13+ LE jurisdictions responding to argue over who controls “the scene.”

    Finally, if past foreshadows the present, AOC is highly likely to continue to be reelected by her constituents. Yes, she’s ambitious, but I think she’s clever enough not to “fight above her weight,” at least for now. Nonetheless, the question I pose is: suppose she is elected 15 times or more as a Representative. If her causcus is in the majority, would/could she be elected Speaker of the House?

    A scary thought and a prophecy that I’ll not likely live to see if it comes true.


  4. AOC and her vast knowledge of police procedure notwithstanding, I assure you that putting your hands behind your back without being instructed to do so during a police encounter will almost certainly get you taken to the ground or perhaps even having a gun drawn on you, depending on the suddenness of your movement.
    This was all just a photo-op anyway; one account of the incident I read yesterday explained that the protesters were blocking traffic when there was plenty of space available out of the trafficway for them to protest, but they refused repeated police orders to do so.
    Sounds sort of “insurrection-ey” to me. (Maybe Liz Cheney will weigh in with an expert opinion.)
    Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.

    • Again, the officer was already behind her and could clearly see her hands.

      And merely blocking traffic or other stupid forms of protest aren’t “insurrectiony” at all unless the goal is to overthrow the government.

        • No, the goal of the January 6th rioters was to overthrow the government by forcing Congress to refuse to certify Biden’s win, thus keeping control of the government in the hands of Trump. They were very clear on this.

            • On the point that they were following Trump’s wishes to pressure Pence to refuse to certify, and this would lead to Trump staying in office? Yes, they were clear on that. They may have promoted a metric ton of inconsistent and even contradictory conspiracy theories to justify that goal, but they were clear about that goal.

  5. It’s funny… I’m old enough to remember Culture War I, the great war, the war to end all wars, back in 2005. If only we knew then that it would only be the precursor to Culture War II a mere five or six years later.

    Back in CW1, conservatives would say things like “words matter. They have meaning. Look at the dictionary.” They’d also have the understanding that some words meant more than what was in the dictionary, for an example, to quote myself from that era: “If all “feminism” meant was the belief that men and women should be equal, I’d be a feminist…. but there’s more too it than that, so I’m not.” For the most part, we could walk and chew gum at the same time.

    Progressives have never had that ability. They didn’t like that conservatives could say things like “look at the dictionary” and be completely correct, so there was a decade long effort by progressives to pressure corporations like Websters to change the definitions to their proscribed tastes. Because they had it backwards then…. The Webster definition wasn’t creating the context, the context had, up until this effort, created the definition and the definition reflected reality. Changing words in a dictionary doesn’t actually change reality, it just gives you the talking point.

    And they’re still doing it. Matt Walsh recently said on a roundtable with Dr. Phil and some Enbys something to the gist of “If an archeologist digs up your bones 1000 years from now, they’ll be able to tell with near certainty whether you were male or female, they won’t have any idea what you identified as, your gender goes down to your bones.”

    Well, progressives *really* didn’t like that. Their damn bones were going to give them gender dysphoria. So there was an effort aimed at archeologists to stop classifying remains as male or female because the archeologists wouldn’t know what the person identified as.

    I wish this was an Bee piece, I really do.

    • The argument you’re taking issue with is that archeologists should look at more than just bones when trying to determine the gender identity of a subject. Why is having more information better than having less in this context?

          • The archaeologist, singular, in that article explicitly did;

            “Last week, Canadian Master’s degree candidate Emma Palladino wrote a Twitter thread on the matter and sparked controversy. She is pursuing an advanced degree in archaeology.


            In a 10-Tweet long thread, she called the methodology used by the archaeologists to determine the sex of the human remains “stupid”. She claimed that the archaeologists are “acutely aware of how culturally and spatially relative the concepts of sex, gender, and identity are. While a bioarchaeologist might identify a set of remains as “probably female”, it is understood that the gender of an individual is never necessarily the same as their sex, and that gender is a whole spectrum we’ve barely begun to unpack.


            She further argued, “Labelling remains “male” or “female” is rarely the end goal of any excavation, anyway. The “bioarchaeology of the individual” is what we aim for, factoring in absolutely everything we discover about a person into a nuanced and open-ended biography of their life.”

            Now you’ll probably argue that this is common practice, and nothing she said interacts in a negative way with the common practices of today. That we already go further than just sexing the remains, we try to look into who the people are and how they lived their lives.

            Sure. So… Why’d she say all this then?

            The gender activists went even further;

            “Associate Professor Jennifer Raff of the University of Kansas published a paper in February 2022 titled “Origin: A Genetic History of the Americas”, in which she argued that the division between physically or genetically ‘male’ or ‘female’ individuals was not possible. She suggested it was impossible to determine the gender of a 9,000-year-old Peruvian hunter as no one knows how “that person identified themselves”. She further argued that the dual-gender system was imposed by Christian colonizers.”

            Well, fuck. Impossible. Generations of science right out the window.

              • And she’s saying to ignore a relevant data point (the sex of someone) presumably because she thinks it is not relevant.

                That’s not science, it’s promoting the orthodoxy.

                  • Let me get this straight. She thinks the current process for determining the sex of a subject is “stupid.” However, she’s not against determining the sex of a subject, she just thinks the current method is stupid. Unless she is suggesting a scientifically sound method that results in more accurate determination of the sex of a subject, it certainly appears that she is suggesting disregarding the sex of a subject and instead focusing only on how that subject chose to identify. Gender, not sex, is what she appears to be saying is what matters.

                    Otherwise, the current methodology plays an important role in determining the whole picture of the subject and is not “stupid.”

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