What ethical principles are we supposed to glean from this crazy story?
Lia Thomas, a biologically male swimmer who has transitioned to female, has been unfairly crushing all female collegiate competition while being allowed to compete as a transgender athlete. Ethics Alarms has covered the story in more than one post. Lia herself is unapologetic, and her Machiavellian coach is reportedly thrilled. Thomas’s teammates and opponents are not so thrilled, but so far have lacked the courage to take any meaningful action to preserve the integrity of their sport, fearing to end up like J.K. Rowling but without all the money.
So was ex-man Thomas unbeatable as a current woman? No! Yale female swim team star Iszac Henigdefeated her in the women’s 100-meter freestyle with a time of 49.57 seconds. In fact, Thomas finished fifth with a time of 52.84 seconds. (How did THAT happen? Sounds like she “took a dive” to me, no pun intended…) In the 400-freestyle relay, Henig completed her leg in 50.45 seconds versus Thomas’ 51.94.
There is a catch, however. Henig is also a trans competitor, except that she is in the process of transitioning from female to male. In order to illustrate this with a dramatic gesture, the 20-year-old pulled down the top of his swimsuit to reveal the absence of breasts, which she-soon-to-be-he has had removed. A UPenn parent remarked, “I wasn’t prepared for that. Everything is messed up. I can’t wrap my head around this.”
Yikes. There are several items below—in fact, all of them— that I would like to devote whole posts to, but far more in my In-Box that I have to devote whole posts to. For some reason, the ethics issues dam has burst in the last few days.
1. There should be no controversy over this: it is wrong, unfair, and absurd for Lia, formerly “Will,” Thomas to compete as a female swimmer in collegiate competitions. Here is the transitioned, now female, former University of Pennsylvania’s men’s swim team star (for three years). His “after” photo is on the left. Oddly, his various treatments and operations have left him a better swimmer as a side effect! Well, that’s not quite right, but she’s dominating the women’s meets, as against Columbia University last month when she won a pair of gold medals in the 200 free and 100 free with margins of 5.4 seconds and 1.3 seconds.
That photo on the left is virtually the only shot of Lia now: I can’t find any full body shots since she transitioned into a championship competitor. Hmmmmm...
If female swimmers who haven’t had the boost of going through male puberty don’t have the guts to protest this, then they deserve what happens. That goes for the female athletes in every other sport as well, and their parents, and their coaches, and the feminist weenies who are allowing women’s sports to be destroyed by their unwillingness to appear “unwoke.”
No question, excluding trans, ex-males from gender-segregated sporting events is a hardship for the new women. I’m sympathetic. I am. But it makes no sense ethically or logically to allow the special problems of a tiny minority to harm the vast majority of female athletes.
The Halloween ad for Twix, manufactured by Mars Foods establishes a new assault on American democracy, using venal and unscrupulous private corporations to do the government’s bidding. Rod Dreher, who is often too far Right for me but spot on in this case, writes of the jaw-dropping ad (yes, I find it offensive, and also scary in a non-Halloween way),
This is an aspect of the weird totalitarianism we are living through today. We have seen harder manifestations in cases where physicians, academics, and others lose their jobs for questioning transgender ideology. Things like the Twix ad cannot be understood as apart from the overall message discipline of the Left: that there is only one permissible opinion to hold, and those who do not hold it are enemies to be crushed.
This is not a one-off, and it is not neutral. The inability of normal people to understand what is happening here is one reason why this garbage is so effective at changing the way people think.
Bingo. The ad is a tool of totalitarianism. “Weird” is too mild a word for it, indeed a poor word, because it diminishes the significance of what this represents. It represents the indoctrination of children. The ad is an implied threat. It declares that anyone who does not agree with the State is evil, and will be punished, even killed. It is sickness presenting itself as virtue.
I guess it’s time to show the ad. As Samuel Jackson says in “Jurassic Park,” “Hold on to your butts!”
it’s not as catchy as “Bias makes you stupid, ” but “Ideology makes you unethical” is just as true. However, just as bias is unavoidable, ideologies of some kind are necessary. The trick is to find one that doesn’t do more harm than good.
The diagram above was explained to me by a friend, fan and boss, the late Richard Halpern. He was a devotee of Chaos Theory, which he called his “religion.’ Life is chaos, he said, and human systems were chaotic. He likened living to a passenger plane’s journey through the endlessly unpredictable air currents and weather phenomenon in the skies. He analogized the plane’s guidance system to a linear constant through chaos, without which, Rich said, the plane would be lost. “No plane follows the charted path the whole trip, because it is constantly knocked off course, but that constant is there for the plane to return to. Ideologies are the same: you have to have that ever-present constant or be lost, with no basis for deciding where to turn, and when you’re navigating through chaos, it really doesn’t matter what it is.
This is why religion is so useful, and all mandated value systems, what Ethics Alarms defines as “morality.” Laws are mandated moral codes, You don’t have to make a million separate decisions, just one: Follow that constant! The constant can be repugnant to others or based on myth and bias, but once someone commits to it, it will do the job. This is where cults come from. This is how Amway became successful. This is why people elevate political and social goals to the point that all of their decisions about who to associate with, what to watch and read and how to align priorities are based on them. Abortion. The environment. “Social justice.”
A new book by Helen Joyce, an Irish journalist who is executive editor for events business of “The Economist,” takes on one of the weirder ideologies that has arisen in recent years, what she calls “gender-identity ideology.” It would be nice if she were a psychiatrist, or a doctor, but then those and most other professional groups in the United States have been so cowed into knee-jerk alliance with the progressive movement that any member of them daring to challenge the cant would face “cancellation.” Her book is titled “Trans: When Ideology Meets Reality.” To be fair, that title could be fairly and accurately adapted to any ideology; remember that neo-conservative icon Irving Kristol (yes, Bill’s dad) famously said that a conservative was “a liberal who has been mugged by reality.” (A cynic is a neo-conservative who was mugged by Iraq.)
Jack Phillips, the stubborn Christian baker who owns Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado, is being sued again, this time because he refused to make a custom cake celebrating a clients’ gender transition. In 2012, the baker refused to bake a custom cake for a same-sex wedding and was accused of unlawful discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
In Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission (2018), the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 for Phillips overturning the decision of the Commission on the grounds that it was obviously biased against him as well as devout Christians. One commissioner even compared Phillips’s invocation of his Christian beliefs to justify rejecting the cake design to defenses of slavery and the Holocaust. Yeah, I remember that the Nazis were really unreasonable about cakes. SCOTUS never reached the constitutional question of whether the government can compel people to create speech or artistic expressions they object to on religious grounds or otherwise.
If a custom cake design is art, then I think the answer to this is easy: no. Similarly wedding photographs, though if you used what we got from our wedding photographer, calling them “art” is a stretch.
With a conservative Supreme Court, the baker wins. And yet…
The first time around, after finally getting all the facts, I held that both Phillips and the gay couple who obviously targeted him to bend him to their will were being jerks. My position hasn’t changed a bit. I wrote here,
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?”
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.
Courthouse News Service reports that a March 2 opinion by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia has ruled that the Anderson Mill Elementary School in Spartanburg County, South Carolina and its principal had not exceeded their authority to regulate school-sponsored student speech when they refused to distribute a student essay on a controversial topic.
At issue was an essay authored by a 10-year-old girl on the topic of transgender individuals. Thework was originally included in an essay collection placed in the student’s classroom and distributed to parents. The school principal ordered the essay to be removed, telling the girl’s mother that it was age-inappropriate and would upset some parents. The mother filed a lawsuit on behalf of herself and her daughter for a claimed violation of the First Amendment, naming the principal, the school and the school district as defendants.
The law is pretty clear on this point, and I suspect that this was a pro-trans rights grandstanding and virtue-signaling exercise by someone who has time on their hands and money to burn, and who found a lawyer wanting to make noise about alleged anti-transgender discrimination…which this incident was not.
I regard such lawsuits as unethical abuses of process.
In “Utopia,” the strange and violent Amazon series about a mysterious graphic novel that turns out to be both true and a coded guide to an upcoming pandemic, the diversity propaganda is so heavy-handed that it could knock out Godzilla with a left cross. Let’s see: all the good couples are mixed race. A middle -class black woman takes in troubled white children. A white husband and wife have a family including multiple black and Asian children, which you would think violates the good couples are mixed-race rule, but it’s a trick: that white couple is villainous, and their white children are too, tough the minority kids seem to be OK. A group of assassins appears to include only whites, and the main heroine is black, though her character in the graphic novel that everyone is chasing after is white. Her female mentor is white, but she is so covered in grime that she looks black. (Why isn’t that blackface?)
At what point does this become so forced and absurd that audiences object to it?None of the race obsession adds a thing to the story except weirdness, and trust me, “Utopia” needs no more of THAT.
1. Welcome to my world! Here is a submitted comment to this post: the proud idiot “RidenwithBiden” (Oooh, clever!) writes, “My God, an entire website dedicated the the sanctimonious and bottomless brainwashed hypocrisy of traitorous right wing nut jobs.”
2. Here are some Biden voters I have no sympathy with whatsoever…President Biden signed an executive order that will require institutions receiving Title IX funding to allow biological males who identify as female to compete in women’s athletic events. This should effectively kill women’s sports while making a joke out of “competition.” Women voted overwhelmingly for Joe Biden, a serial sexual harasser who was accused of rape on the record by a staffer, and he was clearly going to do this. Now feminists and women’s sports advocates are whining?
What betrayal? Sorry that you weren’t paying attention, but it was always obvious that the most extreme end of the LGBTQ lobby was pulling Joe’s strings. The one who betrayed female athletes were feminist voters. Own it, ladies.
Children are being bombarded by media and social media propaganda asserting that a vast number of people are trapped in bodies having the “wrong” sex organs, and celebrating the “T’s in the LGBTQ+ interest-group-of-convenience as the cool new martyrs. Thus an increasing number of these children convince their woke and irresponsible parents, and doctors who would rather be politically correct than “do no harm,” to divert their fates from the natural biological path to something else, because everybody is doing it, or everybody is saying it’s the right thing to do. It shouldn’t take much to figure out this is a terrible trend based on terrible reasoning, but there are so many such trends and ideas flourishing now that it’s hard to bat them all away.
And so we have the case of 23-year-old Keira Bell in Great Britain, who is suing a National Health Service gender clinic that she says should have challenged her decision to transition to male as a teenager. A tomboy as a child, Keira says her determination to switch gender gradually built up as she found out more about transitioning online, and “one step led to another.”
1. It deliberately or ignorantly confounds bias with hate. Bias is a preference that may or may not be rational. There is no evidence that those men who would not choose to date trans women hate them. Do short men choose not to date tall women because they hate them? Do educated men prefer not to date high school drop-outs because they hate them?
2. Thus the poster denies the human right to choose who we want to have romantic relationships with. If it’s hateful not to want to date women who used to be men, then it’s hateful to choose only to date attractive women, thin women, strong women, Jewish women, women of one’s own religion, nationality or race. Personal preference is itself unacceptable if it does not advance the current definition of social justice.