Your identity is not your choice

There’s been a lot of public talk about “identity” lately, stimulated by high-profile cases of transsexuality (notably the athlete now named Caitlyn Jenner) and transracialism (Rachel Dolezal). It needs to be said: most of the talk, on all sides of these disputes, has been obvious nonsense – utter drivel that should not have survived five minutes of thought.

I thought we had reached the limit of absurdity with the flap over Rebecca Tuvel’s paper In Defense of Transracialism, about which it can only be said that while Tuvel seems marginally less insane than her attackers, everyone involved in that dispute has obviously been huffing unicorn farts for so long that oxygen no longer reaches their brains in appreciable quantities.

But that’s in a corner of academia where one rather expects postmodernism to have shut down rational thought. In its own way, the following statement in an exudation of mainstream journalism is much sillier, and has finally pushed me into writing on the topic. I quote it not because it’s a unique error but because it’s representative of a very common category mistake.

Thus should there be a weighty presumption against so blocking people, against subordinating them by substituting our judgments about their identity for their own.

This would seem to be a rather uncontroversial point, based on ordinary liberal arguments in favor of tolerance and respect for the dignity of others.

Ah, yes. So, what then would be amiss if I stood up in a public place and claimed to be the Queen of England? Who are you to substitute your judgment about my identity for my own?

There would actually be two different kinds of things wrong with this claim. One is that I can’t grant peerages – the people who administer the English honors system wouldn’t recognize my authority. The other is that the claim to be “Queen” (as opposed, to, say, “Prince-Consort”) implies an observably false claim that I am biologically female.

These criticisms imply a theory of “identity” that is actually coherent and useful. Here it is:

Your “identity” is a set of predictive claims you assert about yourself, mostly (though not entirely) about what kinds of transactions other people can expect to engage in with you.

As an example of an exception to “mostly”, the claim “I am white” implies that I sunburn easily. But usually, an “identity” claim implies the ability and willingness to meet behavioral expectations held by other people. For example, if I describe my “identity” as “male, American, computer programmer, libertarian” I am in effect making an offer that others can expect me to need to shave daily, salute the Stars and Stripes, sling code, and argue for the Non-Aggression Principle as an ethical fundamental.

Thus, identity claims can be false (not cashed out in observed behavior) or fraudulent (intended to deceive). You don’t get to choose your identity; you get to make an offer and it’s up to others whether or not to accept.

There was a very silly news story recently about “Claire”, a transsexual “girl” with a penis who complains that she is rejected by straight guys for ‘having male parts’. Er, how was “she” expecting anything different? By trying to get dates with heterosexual teenage boys using a female presentation, she was making an offer that there is about her person the sort of sexual parts said boys want to play with. Since “she” does not in fact have a vagina, this offer was fraudulent and there’s no wonder the boys rejected it.

More to the point, why is this “girl” treated as anything but a mental case? Leaving aside the entire question of how real transgenderism is as a neuropsychological phenomenon, “she” clearly suffers from a pretty serious disconnect with observable reality. In particular, those delusions about teenage boys…

I can anticipate several objections to this transactional account of identity. One is that is cruel and illiberal to reject an offer of “I claim identity X” if the person claiming feels that identity strongly enough. This is essentially the position of those journalists from The Hill.

To which I can only reply: you can feel an identity as a programmer as strongly as you want, but if you can’t either already sling code or are visibly working hard on repairing that deficiency, you simply don’t make the nut. Cruelty doesn’t enter into this; if I assent to your claim I assist your self-deceit, and if I repeat it I assist you in misleading or defrauding others.

It is pretty easy to see how this same analysis applies to “misgendering” people with the “wrong” pronouns. People who use the term “misgender” generally follow up with claims about the subject’s autonomy and feelings. Which is well enough, but such considerations do not justify being complicit in the deceit of others any more than they do with respect to “I am a programmer”.

A related objection is that I have stolen the concept of “identity” by transactionalizing it. That is, true “identity” is necessarily grounded not in public performance but private feelings – you are what you feel, and it’s somehow the responsibility of the rest of the world to keep up.

But…if I’m a delusional psychotic who feels I’m Napoleon, is it the world’s responsibility to keep up? If I, an overweight clumsy shortish white guy, feel that I’m a tall agile black guy under the skin, are you obligated to choose me to play basketball? Or, instead, are you justified in predicting that I can’t jump?

You can’t base “identity” on a person’s private self-beliefs and expect sane behavior to emerge any more than you can invite everyone to speak private languages and expect communication to happen.

Racial identity is fuzzier than gender identity becuse, leaving aside “white men can’t jump”, it’s at first sight more difficult to tie it to a performance claim. Also, people who are genetically interracial are far more common than physical intersexes. Although this may mean less than you think; it turns out that peoples’ self-ascribed race correlates very accurately with race-associated genetic markers.

Nevertheless, here’s a very simple performance claim that solves the problem: if you are a man or woman who claims racial identity X, and I do too, and we were to marry, can we expect our children to claim racial identity X and, without extraordinary attempts at deceit, be believed?

This test neatly disposes of Rachel Dolezal – it explains not just why most blacks think she’s a fraud but why she’s an actual fraud. To apply it, we don’t even have to adhere to an “essentialist” notion of what race is. But the test becomes stronger if we note that (see link above) a genetic essentialist notion of race is probably justified by the facts. Among other applications, genetic racial identity turns out to matter for medical diagnosticians in assessing vulnerability to various diseases – for example, if you are black but claim to be white, your doctor may seriously underweight the possibility that you have hypertension.

As a culture, we got to the crazy place we’re at now by privileging feelings over facts. The whole mess around “identity” is only one example of this. It’s time to say this plainly: people who privilege feelings over facts are not sane, and the facts always win in the end. Though, unfortunately, often not before the insanity has inflicted a great deal of unnecessary suffering.

764 thoughts on “Your identity is not your choice

  1. Exactly my reasoning but better argued.

    We should all agree that there is a line beyond which you are considered not sane. I propose that line be placed here: if what you believe is contrary to clear, demonstrable fact, you are not sane.

    Therefore, “I am a man attracted to a man” is perfectly sane. Nothing in objective reality refutes that.

    But “I am a person with XY chromosomes but I am a woman” is clearly not sane. It is provably, indisputably incorrect. Reality is not subject to opinion or the whim of misfiring neurons.

    • >But “I am a person with XY chromosomes but I am a woman” is clearly not sane.

      Right principle, wrong fact basis. It is possible, due to failures in fetal morphogenesis, to be genetically XY but somatically female and/or have a non-masculinized brain due to early androgen deficiency. Rare, but it happens; there are real physical intersexes.

      “I am somatically and neurologically male but I am a woman” is, however, a much more difficult proposition to defend.

    • >Scott Alexander (Slate Star Codex) reaches a different conclusion on the issue:

      On the contrary, I think it’s the almost the same conclusion reached from a slightly different angle.

      What Scott correctly observes is that language is a tool with a function. If you try to change linguistic categories or usage so that they no longer assist prediction as well as they used to, people will resist your attempt because it damages the tool.

      Application of this truth to “transgender-friendly” pronouns is left as an easy exercise for the reader.

  2. Excellent post.

    What do you think of this:?

    different groups will make different predictions about a person (ex: a japanese person will be perceived differently by a group of german and a group of chinese); so that person has several identities depending on the groups perceiving them.

    The claim part, while essential, might be answered with several answers. In that case, conceptually, is there a multi-dimensional identity? Or does only the original group of the person matter? Or something else entirely?

    Second, does the identity needs a claim to exist? If the whole group of origin believes you are a hacker, and you competently answers of all the definition about a hacker, but don’t care to identify as a hacker, do you have the hacker identity?

    Third, what about a gradual identity? I might be considered as a hacker by 90% of people considering themselves as hackers, but as the same time, lack some property (let’s says the ability to develop in C) to be considered a hacker by the remaining 10%. Would I be a 90% hacker?

    Finally, if these remarks have some merit, don’t they muddy the essential logic you shown?
    Shouldn’t they be mostly ignored so as to safely handle most of the cases?

    I’m personally interested in the answers…

    • >that person has several identities depending on the groups perceiving them.

      Yes. And this is a problem how?

      There is a sensible question that can be asked in situations like this. I can grade other peoples’ perception of my identity by how well it aligns with my own self-concept – but that grading puts no obligation on them.

      >Second, does the identity needs a claim to exist? If the whole group of origin believes you are a hacker, and you competently answers of all the definition about a hacker, but don’t care to identify as a hacker, do you have the hacker identity?

      Depends. If you are denying the title because you don’t think you’ve earned it, then I see proper humility at work. On the other hand, when other people describe you as a hacker to each other despite your refusal to use the label, they may be conveying valid predictions that render your denial irrelevant – such as “He thinks RFC 1149 is hilarious and often laughs when it is mentioned.”

      >Third, what about a gradual identity?

      The universe doesn’t run on Aristotelian logic. There’s no problem of principle here either.

      >Finally, if these remarks have some merit, don’t they muddy the essential logic you shown?

      No. It still all cashes out to predictions. The theoretical apparatus you user to generate them is far less interesting than whether you predict accurately at all.

  3. Leftists love to talk about the “internal contradictions” of capitalism and the ideologies of opponents, but they have now reached the point of disappearing up their own fundaments. I love it that they will simultaneously claim that 1) gender is a purely social construct, and 2) some people are “born gay” and cannot change, or are “in the wrong bodies” and require major surgery to correct this problem.

  4. Wow, how horrifyingly oversimplified. As a trans woman, in fact, *I* do get to assert what my identity is, because you and the rest of the Neanderthals on the right are simply wrong. The biology of this is far, far more complicated than your poor understanding of the topic. Stick to writing code – you’re good at that.

    • >As a trans woman, in fact, *I* do get to assert what my identity is

      Yes, you do, I agree. You get to “assert” anything you like. It doesn’t follow that anyone else has to accept that assertion.

      That is the failure of reasoning I am arguing against. Your feelings are not an entitlement. Your demand that other people conform to your self-belief doesn’t create any obligation that they do so. You can offer any identity you like; it is up to other people whether they accept.

      Notice that I didn’t offer any opinion about whether “Claire” is “really” a transsexual or not. I didn’t try to pass that judgment because it doesn’t matter.

  5. > Yes. And this is a problem how? […]

    None, it is the approach I use consciously daily: a composite gradual identity depending on the outside observers.

    Internally, I’m me. And whatever I internally claim to do or have or know, I consciously fight against defining myself by it. No humility in my case, only a need for accuracy.

    > Depends. […]

    So, I understand that an identity doesn’t need a claim. Hmm… In UML parlance, I see 2 roles at work there: the identity subject, and the identity observers.
    I wonder if the relation between the subject and its composite identity is conceptually different from the relation between the observers and that composite identity. It may be that the relation is conceptually the same, but the subject’s relation to their identity is special only in that they have a more detailed view (and probably biased), and some interest in the perception of the identity by others.
    Which is linked to why there is a claim, really. In fact, what they say when saying “I am X” could be translated as “I claim I would experience some (detriment | harm | loss of potential gain) by not being considered a X”.

    > The theoretical apparatus you use(r) to generate them is far less interesting than whether you predict accurately at all.

    Let me argue that the theoretical pattern allowing to solve that very human problem may be very interesting in itself, in that it could be reused for similar human problems.
    As I plan to have relatively soon some mixed-race children, I’m sure I’ll remember this pattern.

    Thank you :)

  6. This is great stuff and needed to be said. And I don’t see why those who actually intend to have (for instance) their sex hardware changed — once the hardware is changed, their real identity will be the same as their intended identity.

  7. Hmm, if I fix my answer in more than the alloted time, the fixed answer is lost.

    PS fix: the relations are the same, the “composite identity facts” are simply a vector in the vector space describing reality; and the “composite reality perception” is a projection of that vector onto the observer perception of reality through their perception functions.
    It’s only the perception functions that are different in their content.

    Summary: they’re all mad XD

  8. There is often a derision of Theists by Atheists because they believe in something which cannot be proven via material evidence (The only analogy I can think of is try to prove Music – not sound or small pleasant noises but Mozart – so someone deaf from birth – he cannot experience it). Theists will be called ignorant, stupid, dangerous, crazy, insane, though they might be pleasant and don’t lie, cheat, steal, or do violence. But the entire intolerable complaint is they think something which is in conflict with reality, but not in a demonstrable way on either side.

    Now we have “transgender” who are perfectly healthy males or females. The males have viable sperm, the females have periods and can bear and nurse children. But somewhere inside they think they OUGHT to be the other – the conflict is because they aren’t.

    In the slatestarcodex above, the suggestion is just to let them go with the illusion, and he recounts a hair-dryer incident that didn’t fix the underlying OC, but neutralized it. And properly treating the OC would have been much harder.

    The problem is we have no technology or magic that can turn a man into a woman or vice versa – replace testicles with ovaries and the rest of the anatomy. We can at best create a eunuch on estrogen with a facade, but he won’t have periods or be able to bear children. (I wonder if a man who wants to change had a sister who became brain-dead if a transplant could, but this is not a general case). Some transgenders who have had reassignment surgery have become much happier for having done it, but others actually get worse because they start out at 100% the wrong gender but all the surgery and hormones just makes them 60% the wrong gender. They have fake genitals. Their body is dependent on doses of foreign hormones. And for all that they only get a facade. And if you have brow ridges and an adam’s apple it looks creepy, but those are rarely addressed.

    As to how they want to be addressed or things like rest-rooms, out of tolerance and politeness I can use the term they want, and if they look like their desired gender, I’m not going to ask or probe if they go into the restroom that corresponds to it. The problem comes with the insistence that a bearded baritone should be able to use the lady’s room because he identifies as a she. And that the usual SJW penalties and purges be done to anyone who refuses to use “Xe” or whatever pronoun and fails to accept the narrative. And they want me to pay for their reassignment surgery (I take the libertarian stand – it’s their money and body, and if they can find a doctor they should be allowed to)

    And here I come back to Christians and Theists. I’ll add “creationism”. Or gay “Marriage” which should not involve the state. There is no limit on the intolerance for such beliefs (see Brendan Eich), and they must be purged and even persecuted – to the point of hunting them down. I know of no one who is hunting down transgender people to insult them and get them fired or such.

    We have abandoned “live and let live” long ago, so it is now a civil war between the SJW left and the alt-Right (including the alt-lite). Transgenders are nothing new. Wendy Carlos (was Walter, “Switched on Bach”) did it many years ago with little fanfare or complaints. The problem is now because it is a SJW leftist cause celeb, people get famous or praised or protected for coming out of the closet as transgender, now with 57 varieties! That is the only reason for this post. The insistence that everyone has to accept their ideas about gender identity and (un) reality with a big “or else”. And while there would be objections to having taxpayer funded bible lessons for teenagers, they do want taxpayer funded (or subsidized – or my health insurance premiums) reassignment surgery and treatments. They have become militant about it.
    The correct answer is four, but now if you don’t say five…
    https://odetojoandkatniss.wordpress.com/2013/08/09/1984-star-trek-and-the-psychology-of-torture/

  9. That doesn’t sound like identity is not a choice. That sounds like identity is very largely a choice, inasmuch as I have a substantial measure of control over the sort of transactions that others can expect to engage in with me.

    • >That doesn’t sound like identity is not a choice. That sounds like identity is very largely a choice, inasmuch as I have a substantial measure of control over the sort of transactions that others can expect to engage in with me.

      Can I choose to be pregnant and bear children?

      Can I choose to be 6’7″?

      Your “identity” is indeed partly choice, but it’s constrained by facts. I can’t choose to be 6’7″ or become pregnant and bear children, so any identity assertions I make contrary to those facts will necessarily be rejected.

  10. As you point out, if I make an identity claim about myself such as “I am X”, then that is equivalent to making a suite of predictive claims about my background and likely future behavior. This is basically how we usefully define words in general. And obviously in some cases these predictions can be wrong and harmful, e.g. racial bias that is either unwarranted by the facts, or misapplied to a particular individual.

    But here’s the point of contention: the identity that others assign to me will then determine how others perceive me and interact with me. Depending on the context, I might prefer that others interact with me *as if* I possessed identity Y rather than X. In fact, on some dimensions this change in interaction might be warranted.

    In other words, identity is both an objective fact, and what one might call a “social construct”, meaning that the identity I am assigned by society will affect my interaction with society. That the social construct is by and large the way it is for good reasons, because it tends to produce accurate predictions, doesn’t change the fact that I might wish I had a different identity.

    Now one particular sin of the modern “identitarian” left is to load up these social constructs with more and more meaning, very much including concepts of moral guilt and superiority. And as we add to the meaning of these constructs, there is additional impetus to wish for the power to change them.

    Thus I see a thoroughgoing individualist ethic as the ultimate solution to transidentitarianism. Who cares if Joe is a “boy” or a “girl”? From an information-theoretic perspective, if you know Joe as a person, then there’s no added information from learning which social label Joe is assigned. And then it should be seen as pretty silly to argue at length over which label is correct.

    And if Joe wants to take hormones, undergo surgery, date men, wear dresses and makeup, or whatever else…so what?

    And if you want to assign tremendous moral weight to the categories “man” and “woman” apart from the facts about Joe the individual…well, that’s your problem.

  11. This goes hand in hand with the destruction of truth, of it being disparaged as a western, white, male thing. We may never achieve perfect understanding of truth, a perfect vision of the platonic ideal, but without a dedication to staying in the same ballpark, all the things we depend on, which in turn depend on objective consistency, crumble away, not to be replaced by a people no longer willing to acknowledge that a bridge is, and either stands, or doesn’t, no matter how you feel. That a tail, is indeed, not a leg.

  12. Thus should there be a weighty presumption against so blocking people, against subordinating them by substituting our judgments about their identity for their own.

    This would seem to be a rather uncontroversial point, based on ordinary liberal arguments in favor of tolerance and respect for the dignity of others.

    Well that certainly isn’t a bunch of airy nonsense. I had no idea that I could enslave someone by using a pronoun they didn’t like! Such power!

    This puts me in a aphorogenic mood:

    Defecating on the Map will not change the Territory, regardless of how many laxatives you took.

    — Ian’s Law of Territorial Invulnerability

    Perhaps a bit crude, but what these fools are attempting is far cruder.

    • >Defecating on the Map will not change the Territory, regardless of how many laxatives you took.

      *snrk* Oh dear Goddess. I wish I’d thought of that!

  13. @Wynona Stacy Lockwood:

    because you and the rest of the Neanderthals on the right

    You and your friends are free to decide that esr is shallow and dismiss all his logic, and agree that he is a Neanderthal. He has no say in the matter.

    IOW, you are proving his point, and he’s absolutely fine with that.

    • >IOW, you are proving his point, and he’s absolutely fine with that.

      True. But then again, I don’t generally expect incisive thought from anyone sufficiently ignorant or ahistorical to think “on the right” describes me accurately.

  14. One thing that interests me is how the OP isn’t really so much about identity as it is about making useful predictions about other people, possibly when self-identity is offered, but not necessarily.

    As I’ve heard Eric say before: individuals are not groups. I’ll add further: a group isn’t even necessarily its symptoms. If a group exhibits a bundle of symptoms, it’s my duty to figure out which symptoms are truly intrinsic to the group, and which are not; if I don’t, I run the risk of making misleading predictions, and holding myself back.

    If, every time I encounter symptom X, I also encounter symptom Y, it will strengthen “X -> Y” in my mind, whether or not I can identify a causal chain.

    At the same time, an individual has to manage their symptoms. If the symptom is intrinsic to a group, then that individual is going to get judged as that group (e.g. a fellow judged as being black due to skin color; another judged as trans by having certain combinations of male and female morphology). Again, some of those symptoms are intrinsic, and some aren’t. The former can’t be changed; the latter can.

    Finally, current tech and epistemology play a role. If tech enables an identity criterion change, then we can expect more individuals with that change; but at the same time, many people won’t be aware of it, and will run into bad predictions, even if they try to avoid them.

    If that change is chosen, rather than imposed, then it makes sense that the person changing will be in a much better position to establish by example what everyone can predict, than it is for everyone to spontaneously become aware of such changes and tease out which criteria are intrinsic, which are causal, etc.

    Which is a very long-winded way of saying that, for example, citing your identity as transgendered and then proceeding directly into a very bigoted remark is very likely not going to do your fellow transgenders any favors.

  15. I was going to link to Scott’s article, but I see someone already did, so that’s great.

    > What Scott correctly observes is that language is a tool with a function. If you try to change linguistic categories or usage so that they no longer assist prediction as well as they used to, people will resist your attempt because it damages the tool.

    What function do you want the words “man” and “woman” to perform that is complicated by the existence of transgender people?

    Consider a set of typically female attributes. {long hair, wears makeup, wears dress, high voice, plays with dolls not trucks, likes boys, uses she/her pronouns, uses women’s bathroom, XX chromosomes} There has never been one attribute that perfectly determines the category. Lesbians, tomboys, deep-voiced women, XY chromosomes with congenital androgen insensitivity; they’ve always still been classified as women, and you’d make mostly-incorrect predictions by doing otherwise.

    You also can’t rely on gender alone to determine whether to date a person. Maybe you go on a few dates with a woman and then she reveals that she’s into BDSM, or wants children, or won’t have penis-in-vagina sex, or lives in New Jersey. There are plenty of things that could make or break a relationship. Nobody’s going to list all their quirks on a first date, and it’s not “fraud” if you don’t match a stereotype.

    All the article says is that Claire faces difficulty dating because most straight boys like {feminine presentation, vagina}, gay ones like {masculine presentation, penis}, and she has {feminine presentation, penis}. It’s not demanding that straight boys be attracted to her. It’s just asking for sympathy. And it doesn’t even talk about how some guys violently assault their dates when they learn they’re trans, which in inexcusable. (A woman could literally defraud you, like by stealing cash from your wallet on a date or something, and it wouldn’t be a license to murder them.)

    So back to language as a tool with a function. If you call Claire a man, you’re saying that someone with makeup, women’s clothing, a female name, a typically female hormone balance, etc, is nevertheless a man, because of one physical attribute that almost certainly isn’t involved in your dealings with them. (And if they’re “post-op”, you’d be insisting on an attribute that *used* to be there.) That seems more damaging to the use of the word “man” than just calling someone a “woman” who has a penis but fits many other female attributes.

    > you can feel an identity as a programmer as strongly as you want, but if you can’t either already sling code or are visibly working hard on repairing that deficiency, you simply don’t make the nut.

    Trans people work pretty damn hard to meet expectations for the gender category they want to fit in. Clothing, voice training, posture, hormone therapy, various surgeries… If anything they have to overcompensate. A cis woman can have a deep voice, wear a shirt and pants, cut her hair short, and still confidently correct people who call her a man, and expect them to just go with it.

    > It’s time to say this plainly: people who privilege feelings over facts are not sane, and the facts always win in the end. Though, unfortunately, often not before the insanity has inflicted a great deal of unnecessary suffering.

    I quite agree.

    • >So back to language as a tool with a function. If you call Claire a man, you’re saying that someone with makeup, women’s clothing, a female name, a typically female hormone balance, etc, is nevertheless a man. That seems more damaging to the use of the word “man” than just calling someone a “woman” who has a penis but fits many other female attributes.

      But my argument isn’t about what I want to call Claire, at all. It isn’t even about whether she’s “really” transsexual, in whatever sense that’s a meaningful claim. At most, it’s about whether I should repeat Claire’s identity claims to other people in a way that is likely to deceive them.

      What I’m pointing out is that the combination of (a) presenting as female, to (b) heterosexual boys “she” wants to date, (c) while in possession of a penis, is fraudulent, and “she” has no warrant to be surprised or upset when the clothes come off and they reject “her”.

      I can only feel sympathetic to such behavior in the rather detached way I feel sympathy for a delusional psychotic who hears voices – actually, less so, because the psychotic’s capacity to know better is probably severely impaired, while Claire’s may well not be.

      Again, whether Claire is “really” transsexual, and whatever that means, is not really relevant. Neither are all the edge cases you cite. Nor is the possibility that Claire might be assaulted (which I think everyone can agree would be horribly wrong).

  16. For some time now, I’ve claimed that I identify as “Mythical.” Now, how others take that is not subject to any claim I might make. Though there are times I witness some folks.. and well, I start looking for the way IN to the labyrinth.

  17. “You are a Neanderthal” is not an argument. Are you sure it’s wise to dignify it with a logical response, as opposed to a rhetorical one? (Are we sure ‘neanderthal’ is an insult the way it’s intended to be?)

    >utter drivel that should not have survived five minutes of thought.

    And didn’t. Humans are liars. Today’s game is about pretending we’re taking the idea seriously and competing to see who can still defect without getting caught. It’s super fun this go-around, because we’ve got several jurisdictions to outlaw anyone who refuses to play the game.

    We’re rich, right? We can afford some tricky games that erode the economy, right? Luckily, a life dedicated to playing arbitrary games isn’t pointless at all.

    Bad ESR, bad! How are we supposed to assess your sportmanship if you refuse to play with us? Oh by the way, there’s an entry fee…

  18. For some time now, I’ve claimed that I identify as “Mythical.”

    If it comes up I identify as a Kerbal. The fact that explosives and other high energy devices are considered “controlled substances / devices” is an oppressive affront against my sexuality and culture!

    Let them chew on that one.

  19. It needs to be said: most of the talk, on all sides of these disputes, has been obvious nonsense

    I forget the origin of the quote, but someone said something along the lines of, “Gender may not be binary, but it is certainly bimodal”. Claiming that we should “abolish gender” (and I have heard this claim) is absurd – as far as categories/clusters of human beings go it’s probably the most distinct category/cluster I can think of and has an enormous amount of predictive value.

    At the same time, I think there’s a flipside to your definition of “identity” as “a set of predictive claims”. Namely, if medicine/biotech/engineering gets good enough, it will be entirely possible to change gender identity. Hell, maybe in the future, some people will do it as a matter of routine. (I doubt you would shy away from this conclusion, but I bet a lot of social conservatives would.) And, all things considered, I’m pretty sympathetic to the idea. Assuming that the technology exists, if you really feel like you should be a man/woman/other when your physical characteristics suggest otherwise, I’d say go for it. (I think this argument also applies to race and is why I find some of the neoreactionary talk I’ve heard so tedious – why are arguing about fake racial superiority when genetic engineering could give us the real thing?)

    Of course, this doesn’t resolve what we should do now. I don’t remember the study, but I think I remember seeing data that showed that basically everyone with body integrity disorder who ended up disabling/amputating the limb regretted it later. It’s appropriate to call a desire to remove a perfectly functioning limb “mental illness” and, although I hate infringing on anyone’s freedom to do whatever they want with their own body, I think forcibly preventing them from mutilating themselves is the least bad option.

    The question I have is whether or not this is true or not for transexuals and I’m betting there’s a lot of confounding factors. Plus, the highly politicized nature of the debate is going to make finding good studies difficult. But in a properly done series of studies, I can imagine a few possibilities:

    – (100% – epsilon) of transsexuals regret transitioning; in this case, it’s just mental illness. Ban doctors from performing these kinds of procedures.

    – A statistically significant percentage of transexuals are happier/have higher quality of life as measured via a suitable proxy (maybe, suicide rate goes down compared to those who are denied transitioning?) In this case, definitely don’t ban the procedures. “First, do no harm” and all that.

    – Data is confounded/unclear. If I had to guess, this is where we actually are. And in this case, I think the best thing is to let people do what they want.

    • >(I doubt you would shy away from this conclusion, but I bet a lot of social conservatives would.)

      That is correct. If we actually had Varley-equivalent technology for sex changes from the Ophiuchi Hotline, Claire could alter matters so that her presentation as female to the teenage boys she wants to date is not fraudulent. The whole issue of identity claims as deception would not arise unless there was some general notion abroad that a person who had once been male could never be female – an essentialist claim that I would reject.

      >A statistically significant percentage of transexuals are happier/have higher quality of life

      I think you have to change this to “a majority within 95% confidence” for your argument to work.

      On the evidence I see, it is doubtful that reassignment surgery meets this test (some of its pioneers have so decided and will no longer do it). But the data is noisy and equivocal; I don’t feel enough confidence to make a judgment.

  20. PapayaSF:

    I love it that they will simultaneously claim that 1) gender is a purely social construct, and 2) some people are “born gay” and cannot change, or are “in the wrong bodies” and require major surgery to correct this problem.

    Indeed. If gender is a social construct, why should gender identity be any more natural, real, solid, or tangible? If anything, I’d say it’s even higher up the abstraction ladder.

  21. esr:

    [In the OP] That is, true “identity” is nececessarily…

    *necessarily

    [In a comment] …I don’t generally expect incisive thought from anyone sufficiently ignorant or ahistorical to think “on the right” describes me accurately.

    I suppose you reject that label because in your country it’s associated with Christian fundamentalism or something like that; but from a Latin American – and possibly European – point of view, you do belong to the right wing. Fine by me, mind you; I’ll gleefully classify myself that way as well, for I oppose both statism and the leftist mindset that has produced such concepts as “gender identity” (which, incidentally, is state-sanctioned in my country) and forces us to recognize them.

  22. > But my argument isn’t about what I want to call Claire, at all. It isn’t even about whether she’s “really” transsexual, in whatever sense that’s a meaningful claim. At most, it’s about whether I should repeat Claire’s identity claims to other people in a way that is likely to deceive them.

    I think we agree that it’s not a meaningful claim, just like “Is Pluto a planet?” isn’t meaningful. There are just various attributes, and we define categories that conveniently group attributes.

    > What I’m pointing out is that the combination of (a) presenting as female, to (b) heterosexual boys “she” wants to date, (c) while in possession of a penis, is fraudulent, and “she” has no warrant to be surprised or upset when the clothes come off and they reject “her”.

    > I can only feel sympathetic to such behavior in the rather detached way I feel sympathy for a delusional psychotic who hears voices – actually, less so, because the psychotic’s capacity to know better is probably severely impaired, while Claire’s may well not be.

    It is not fraud to defy stereotypes. I don’t think Claire’s surprised when she’s rejected—disappointed, but not surprised. It’s an unavoidable fact that most of the boys who are attracted by her public presentation are turned off by her penis. Not all, but most. She’s not denying that.

    But she has no duty to act a certain way for the sake of others’ expectations. Flirting with a guy at a bar is not a contractual agreement to sex. Wearing a blue shirt in Wal-Mart is not a contractual agreement to help lost customers. And presenting as female is not a contractual agreement to have a penis.

    Hell, dates aren’t transactions. They’re a way of getting to know each other. That Claire has a penis is one fact her dates learn about her, and either they’re okay with it or they’re not.

    You keep putting quotes around “she”. Clearly you don’t think Claire qualifies as a woman. Why not? What would she have to do to qualify? If your answer is “get bottom surgery”, then do you ask people in public what’s under their clothes so you can refer to them correctly? And what about intersex people? If your answer is “be born with XY chromosomes”, how do you deal with androgen insensitives, or XXY, or XXX? You can’t dismiss them as edge cases, because gender is an attribute with effects on most aspects of life, not just dating, and it’s one that people infer right away from details like what you wear and how you speak. Why would you demand or expect people to signal their gender based on one biological attribute instead of all the other more important ones?

    Like, if I refer to my friend in conversation as “she”, I’m implying various things by that. The listener can assume if they met this friend, she’d speak and dress and act and think a certain way. But any of those assumptions could end up not being true for this specific friend. And if the listener wants to interact with the friend, like by getting them a birthday gift, they’re better off asking about the individual instead of extrapolating from their gender. Trans women “are” women, and trans men “are” men, in the sense that they fit naturally into those categories using the relevant attributes.

    And about pronouns. If you called Claire “she”, you’d be signaling that you expect her to wear bikinis; to have a female name; to use the girls’ bathroom; etc. Those would all be true beliefs. If you called Claire “he”, you’d be signaling a bunch of false ones, but at least you’d successfuly imply that she has a penis (which isn’t your business) and XY chromosomes (which, while probably true, is not actually known by anyone and totally irrelevant). Calling her “she” in quotes is just snide. You’re not adhering to what you think is true *or* what she thinks is true, you’re just clearly signaling “I don’t trust you to know your own gender”.

    • >And presenting as female is not a contractual agreement to have a penis.

      It certainly isn’t. I think you meant that the other way around, sort of.

      But presenting as female isn’t an “agreement” to anything – no meeting of the minds is implied. It is an offer to enter into a set of transactional scripts. Agreement only happens at the point when someone else accepts the offer.

      >But she has no duty to act a certain way for the sake of others’ expectations.

      In the most abstract sense, not. But if you want to be understood, you have to speak a public language. If you want to have a successful social interaction, you have to have the ability and the will to perform in a way that matches closely enough to other parties’ expectations for the script to continue. So while there is no duty in an absolute moral sense, you’ll be very lonely if you refuse to perform to any expectations at all.

      >Hell, dates aren’t transactions.

      You have too narrow a reading of the word “transaction”, then.

      >You keep putting quotes around “she”. Clearly you don’t think Claire qualifies as a woman. Why not?

      Because when the heterosexual teenage boy she’s trying to have sex with sees a penis, he’s not going to think “woman”. He’s going to think “Barf! Creepy pervert guy pretending!” Which is at least as valid as her ascription, if we’ve given up having objective criteria for gender.

      All your talk of edge cases – all of which I acknowledge as having some truth to it – is going to be irrelevant to that boy. Probably irrelevant to Claire, too, as physical intersexes are so rare that even with the prior that she’s transsexual the odds that she’s an intersex in any detectable way are still low.

      >You’re not adhering to what you think is true *or* what she thinks is true, you’re just clearly signaling “I don’t trust you to know your own gender”.

      Accurately signaled, because in fact I don’t. Given her reported behavior, the likelihood that she is sufficiently confused or insane not to know seems quite high.

  23. @Jorge Dujan

    It might help to know that many Conservatives over here think Libertarians are just Leftists with a few good ideas. Neither of these maps is accurate. And both of them say far more about the speaker than the speakee (this is a word now).

    The situation is complicated because historically Conservatives and Libertarians have been allies against Communists and their brethren, and come to similar conclusions on a number of issues. They are also close enough that people regularly cross the boundary between them, but they disagree on way too many deep issues to be considered anything more than medium distance allies, let alone the same.

    • > They are also close enough that people regularly cross the boundary between them

      Jorge, there’s a ha-ha only-serious joke Libertarians tell about this. To wit:

      Every once in a while a Libertarian gives up and defects to the Republicans. Whenever this happens, the average IQ of both groups increases.

  24. > If we actually had Varley-equivalent technology for sex changes from the Ophiuchi Hotline, Claire could alter matters so that her presentation as female to the teenage boys she wants to date is not fraudulent.

    Okay, that answers my question. But it just raises others. Her presentation is already close enough to a biologically XX woman that boys call her “beautiful”, so I’m guessing your objection is still that she has a penis? And that modern surgery is insufficient to change that?

    First of all, surgery *is* good enough that a trans woman can have sex without seeming unusual at all. It’s not always that successful, but it can be.

    Second of all, I think you’re mistaken about your own use of words. If you’re talking to me about our taxi driver, or your lawyer, or my friend of a friend, and you refer to them with pronouns, you are not trying to let me know what their genitals look like and whether I’d want to date them. You are letting me know the public aspects of their gender that were relevant in whatever context is being brought up. By those aspects, trans women are obviously women and trans men obviously men. (Attempting to scrutinize their bodies for signs of how testosterone/estrogen affected their development, and refer to them differently thereby, is highly prone to failure. Places with “bathroom laws” have thrown out more insufficiently feminine cis women from bathrooms than trans women, let alone the “men dressing as women to sneak in” that supposedly motivate such laws.)

    • >I’m guessing your objection is still that she has a penis?

      No, it’s more her conspicuous non-possession of a vagina.

      My real objection is that her identity claim implies the ability, and willingness, to do something she can’t do – that is, have mutually satisfying sex with a heterosexual boy who wants to put his dick in a pussy, not feel halfway conned into performing some sort of homosexual behavior that he probably finds disgusting.

      >You are letting me know the public aspects of their gender that were relevant in whatever context is being brought up.

      That is true. But gender is almost never irrelevant, even when the context is not sexual. One important reason for this is that male and female brains differ; the differences in organization are laid down relatively early in fetal morphogenesis and produce fairly dramatic differences in distribution of various important cognitive traits. As a well-known example, male-organized brains are superior at 3D kinematics; as a less-well-known one, female-organized brains are superior at recall of visual detail. These are not small differences in means but really dramatic ones, so much so that you need to be well over into the right tail of your sex’s distribution before you match the average for the other sex.

      I’d be prepared to stipulate that for almost all purposes, the sex of your brain (that is, whether it was resculpted by androgen exposure during morphogenesis) is more important than the sex of your genitals. (Well, at least, unless a boy is looking at your penis when he expected a pussy.) But it is rare for those not to be congruent, and even more rare in men or women who present as heterosexual rather than gay.

  25. I have a venn diagram of identities, which varies with the preceived transactions possible. “Joyce’s husband the scorekeeper” overlaps with “Uncle Dave”, overlaps with my work identity, “dcollierbrown”.

    Some are even obolete: “fatso” no longer applies (;-))

  26. Providential:
    https://milo.yiannopoulos.net/2017/05/pee-privilege/
    (There are probably others but this is the most sourced)
    Now pee-privilege is a Kafka-trap.

    Above I said “live and let live”. Let me put it more simply.
    You want someone who is by most sane and scientific definitons a man or male to be able to call himself or identify himself as a woman or female.
    But why don’t you extend to me the same privilege on the same basis?
    Why can’t I call this man/male by using the pronouns I desire to use or FEEL should be used?
    Neither of us are “gods” or kings and should be “equal” in our rights. If I’m offended by the inaccuracy of their self-description and use the anatomically correct pronouns, and they are offended, why is their feelings and being offended any more or less important than mine?
    An earlier comment tried to use pettifoggery – what if the man wears a dress or uses make-up? Sorry, drag-queens are still men. Except for a tiny minority of intersex, everyone is either a man or a woman. Changing the appearance does NOT change the essence.
    But take any common activity that is split by gender, e.g. sports. If a man wears a dress, can he compete as a woman? This is already creating problems. Women’s world records generally correspond to 15 year old boys. What will the olympics do (which also had to address intersex competitors). What about a Women in STEM scholarship? Or even race – can I “identify” as a Native American so get all the affirmative action goodies?
    If we are to have a rule of law, based on science, it needs to be based on genetics, but appealable if there is a conflict (the XY but androgen resistant woman – one actually delivered a baby in the UK). But in this case we are trying to determine reality, not trying to supplant it with someone’s imagination.

  27. This transactional interpretation of identity strikes me as reasonable if not necessarily correct, but what’s more interesting to me is that it also seems to overlap heavily with the only sensible way I know of to cash out the oft-repeated term “social construct”.

    Amidst a hell of a lot of “educate yourself”, special pleading, buzzword soup and angry handwaving, “social construct” (in the context of personal identity, as opposed to, say, color names) has been defended to me by a reasonable person willing to pin down meanings in clear language exactly once that I can recall, where it meant that your identity is literally constructed by society – i.e. you are the thing other people take you to be, which will be based on how you interact and present, not what you’re thinking or feeling or wanting. This is about past experience rather than prediction, but otherwise strikingly similar.

  28. In a great many science fiction stories, robots are gendered. Helen O’Loy is one of the classic examples. These robots rarely have anything resembling genitals, and certainly don’t have chromosomes. But I’ve rarely noticed anyone claiming this is some sort of scientific mistake. People who are willing to point out all sorts of scientific mistakes in science fiction stories claim that Lester del Rey made an error in referring to Helen as a “she.” The “Transformers” franchise is far from a model of good hard science fiction, but no one seems to think that it is a huge scientific error that Optimus Prime is referred to as a “he” instead of an “it.”

    The way aliens are treated in science fiction is similar. Piccolo from the “Dragonball” franchise is referred to as a “he” even though he can give birth. So it seems like gender is something people assign to creatures that resemble cismen and ciswomen far less than transpeople do. Which suggests that it isn’t about biology.

    What this suggests to me is that gender, like science fiction, is a radial category. The prototype for man and women are cismen and ciswomen who have penis/vaginas and can impregnate/get pregnant. However, people who resemble the prototype in some ways, but not in others, such as transpeople, intersex people, aliens, and robots, still fit in the category.

    Under this model, the gender-identity discourse consists of transpeople insisting they resemble the prototype closely enough to be included in the radial category. They are opposed by people who stubbornly insist on treating gender as a classical category, even though it isn’t.

    • >Under this model, the gender-identity discourse consists of transpeople insisting they resemble the prototype closely enough to be included in the radial category. They are opposed by people who stubbornly insist on treating gender as a classical category, even though it isn’t.

      OK. That’s reasonable. But…does it seem to you that I am treating gender as a classical category? If it does, how would my arguments have to change to avoid that error?

  29. There is no ‘spectrum’ of sexes evidenced by the existence of XXX/XXY (or more) chromosomes. These are genetic defects, male and female. The greater the divergence from XX & XY, the greater the physical abnormalities, health problems, retardations, and shortened life expectancies.

    As we currently do not have the medical ability to shift between XX and XY, the tern “transsexual” is utter nonsense. Hair, makeup & wardrobe do not a female make. If you throw in some cosmetic surgery, you are *still* not a female…but I do have concerns about your mental health if you would mutilate your body in the belief that you will accomplish the impossible.

    Given an understanding of “gender” as a more role-based identity, I am comfortable with the term “transgender”, as one can outwardly appear to be ‘conventionally’ male or female. Most of the time, I see rather stereotypical affectations being applied, so the illusion doesn’t hold for very long.

    That said….I have had a couple of “crying game” moments, where the male was utterly convincing as a woman (no, none of these experiences were in a bedroom ;) and, after talking for a long while, had a bucket-of-ice-water-in-face realization slam into me. I’ve never had that experience with females presenting themselves as men.

    I will not endorse a scientifically incorrect delusion by using incorrect pronouns. Nor will I participate in childish babbling by using ‘alternate’ pronouns like “xe”, “zir” etc.

  30. @Erik:

    This is about past experience rather than prediction, but otherwise strikingly similar.

    That’s a distinction without too much of a difference; past experience shows that past experience is one of the most powerful tools for making predictions.

  31. The faux outrage over “misgendering” and “deadnaming” has other, far more accurate names:

    Gaslighting. Brainwashing. It is psychological abuse. It is insisting that you say you see three lights when there are four.

    The shibboleths of the Left are designed to break people’s minds. This is why we need “decodewords”, terms which accurately describe what the Left wishes to obfuscate and deprive them of their power.

  32. My $.02 on identity: I worked for a few years at an educational institution that had English classes for immigrants. Many of them had left countries embroiled in civil strife. I learned a few things from them, one of them being this — when a civil war breaks out on ethnic/racial/religious lines, you don’t get to choose a side. The other side chooses it for you.

  33. I am also a trans woman, but, unlike Wynona, I’m not about to berate you. I am troubled, however, by the conclusions you seem to be adopting.

    While in public presenting as a woman, I look, speak, and act like a woman in all ways. What does it matter what set of genitals is under my skirt? If you’re not my lover, and you’re not my doctor, why do you care?

    Unlike Claire, I am not seeking romantic relationships with heterosexual men. I am already in a relationship, thank you very much, and even wear an engagement ring to show this. If I interact with people on a non-romantic basis, am I somehow being “fraudulent” towards them if I assert my identity as a woman? If they’re not harboring expectations of being able to access my vagina, does it matter whether I have one or not for the purposes of our interaction?

    It’s bitterly ironic that some of the same people who I agree with on so many other topics seem to be the ones that want to deny my very existence, and, in the worst cases, support those lawmakers that want to legislate me out of existence. I’m not saying you’re one of those, but what you’re writing is troubling to me in the same fashion.

    • >If I interact with people on a non-romantic basis, am I somehow being “fraudulent” towards them if I assert my identity as a woman?

      I’m not concerned by you. I’m not even greatly concerned by Claire. She’s just one child, possibly confused, possibly insane.

      What concerns me is people who, for political reasons, want to gaslight behavior like Claire’s out of existence – to insist that, at one and the same time, I am (a) required to accept Claire’s self-ascribed identity as a woman despite the fraud she purveys, but (b) I may never question anyone’s identity-politics dismissal of myself as a cis white male, and (c) as a white male I am required to accept someone else’s ideologically-driven decision about whether Rachel Dolezal is black.

      If “identity” hadn’t become weaponized, the currency of ego and grievance and status claims, I wouldn’t need to point out that nobody actually gets to choose theirs – they can only make offers. You’re not special that way, and while I don’t judge you I reserve the right to do so – to either accept or reject your offer of a “female” identity – should we ever interact directly.

  34. @Amy Tapie – You are not misrepresenting yourself from the angle of sexual relationships, sure….but what if a guy doesn’t realize you are male and starts getting ideas? At what point do you clue him in? Is your significant other male or female?

    I would hope that you would not join a female sports team (claiming to be female), as your biological sex would likely give you an unfair advantage. How about presenting as female to gain advantage in STEM (or Women In Tech) academic entrance?

    I won’t criticize you for taking advantage of cheap drinks on a Ladies’ Night, however….I hope your male liver bankrupts them ;)

  35. There’s a principled consequentialist claim that the strict application of these labels has caused a great deal of harm, and as soon as we liberated people from them life got better for many, many people.

    To put it another way, I think it is quite clear that people ascribe far more predictive power to these labels then they actually carry, ultimately to great harm, and we’re probably better off with looser definitions of them.

    To put it yet another way, if you’re sad about the loss of predictive power that comes with a looser application of these labels, you were probably kidding yourself about how accurate those predictions were in the first place.

  36. @Sean C. – What? When I see a guy and refer to him as “he”, the ‘predictive power’ is likely to be edging up around the thick end of 100%. What more can I do? What ‘harm’ are you referring to?

    Personally, I am not troubled at all with ‘trans’ people. I feel compassion for them and their obvious disconnect from reality. It feels cruel to be ‘accepting’ of such delusions….and I suspect such ‘acceptance’ is promoted more out of narcissistic virtue-signalling desire, than concern for their well-being.

  37. I think the argument can be simplified further, to remove the notion of “identity” entirely:
    The statements “I am $gender” and “I am $race” are treated like any other factual claim, as a compressed set of predictions, dependent not only on the text of the statement but also on the context within which it was uttered. (Of course, this excludes epiphenomena. As it should.)
    So, if you’re (say) genitally male but neurologically female, describing yourself as female to a potential sexual partner is inaccurate (even deceitful), whereas the same statement made to (say) a potential business partner is not. A gender claim, like any other claim, is true to the extent that it can reasonably be expected to give rise to accurate predictions on relevant questions by the hearer.
    And while you have the right to make false statements*, I also have the right to not believe you, to decline from repeating those statements, and even to contradict them.
    No specially-treated notions of “identity”, no worrying about “transaction”; just operationalist epistemology and contextual language processing.

    * Of course this does not indemnify the speaker from any reliance or fraud cases which may be founded on those false statements… but the statement itself is not intrinsically unethical.

  38. @Edward Cree:

    whereas the same statement made to (say) a potential business partner is not.

    But why does the statement even need to be made?

  39. Unlike Claire, I am not seeking romantic relationships with heterosexual men. I am already in a relationship, thank you very much, and even wear an engagement ring to show this. If I interact with people on a non-romantic basis, am I somehow being “fraudulent” towards them if I assert my identity as a woman? If they’re not harboring expectations of being able to access my vagina, does it matter whether I have one or not for the purposes of our interaction?

    Given the responses: no, I’d say you’re not being fraudulent. In fact, by the apparent standards of the crowd here, you’d be identified in good standing; advertising as engaged, not looking for romance elsewhere (the latter is actually more important by far), and to address Dan’s response, any guy who ever tried to hit on you and got sniffy when you reject deserves to be mocked. (If he can’t read “not interested” from body language, he’s a bit of a doof. (Confession: I could fall for this.) If he forgets to check for the ring, he’s a confirmed doof.) And if he found out you were trans and made a lot of hay over it, he’d get mocked again and we’d be on alert to watch for him trying anything violent, because enough of us have seen or heard how that can go.

    …in the limit, I suppose it’s best if you advertise as trans-woman – that would afford the best predictions for others – but personally I don’t see myself making many predictions differently from “engaged woman” in that case, and there are reasons to withhold that information. That terrain is complicated in ways I find interesting.

    • >Given the responses: no, I’d say you’re not being fraudulent. In fact, by the apparent standards of the crowd here, you’d be identified in good standing;

      In case it’s not clear, I agree with Paul. My previous reply to Amy Tapie may have read as hostile in a way it was not intended to be.

  40. @Dan – I would hope any guy “getting ideas” would be deterred if I displayed my engagement ring and said, “Sorry, I’m taken.” That statement would be simple truth. (I had that happen to me a few weeks ago…a fellow stopped me as I was leaving a diner with friends and asked me where I’d gotten the pendant I was wearing, then said, “Can I ask you another question? Where’ve you been all my life?” I giggled, showed my ring, and said, “Sorry, I’m taken.” He laughed, too, and I left.)

    My significant other is, in fact, female, and is highly accepting and supportive of me. We got together long before I came out to her, which was around 4-1/2 years ago. I can honestly say that, without her acceptance and support, I would not be the woman I am today.

    I’m not interested in joining sports teams. As for a “women in tech” event…well, I’m a woman and I’m a software engineer, do I qualify? If such an event is intended to counter a perceived bias against women in technology, it may very well be that I have more bias against me because of being a trans woman in technology….

    And you needn’t fear me bankrupting the bars on Ladies’ Night. I can’t drink. Gout, you know. ;)

  41. @ESR – Quite frankly, I dislike the whole concept of “identity politics.” All I generally ask of people is that they treat me as they would any other woman. Otherwise, I prefer to mind my own business.

    And I think Rachel Dolezal is a few gigs short of a terabyte, myself. There’s at least some basis for explaining transgender people in terms of biology; for instance, there have been analyses done on the brain structure of trans women that show they’re more like that of cis women than they are of cis men. (See this, as an example.) No similar basis exists for “transracial” people.

    If we were to ever meet in person, I’ll let you judge for yourself what my appearance and demeanor is like. If you’re like almost all other people I know, though, you’ll come down firmly on the side of “female.” But you’re right, I can’t predict your reaction in advance.

    • >All I generally ask of people is that they treat me as they would any other woman.

      Is that really a reasonable request, though? Sorry, this is not intended to be a hostile question – but if I’m interpreting your back story correctly you probably have an androgenized brain (see my previous remark about brain sex being more important in most circumstances than genital sex).

      I thus wouldn’t expect your behavior to be female-typical, at all – and indeed it has not been in this very conversation. Would you actually expect me to ignore the difference in priors between “has an un-androgenized brain” and “has an androgenized brain”? If so, why? That is, why should I throw way information that increases my likelihood of correctly modeling your behavior, capabilities, and preferences?

  42. @Paul Brinkley – I don’t hide the fact that I’m a trans woman; that’s what it says under “Gender” on my Facebook profile for instance. I just don’t mention the fact unless it’s important in the context I’m interacting in.

    Now, I’m flattered when I attract male attention, but I definitely don’t want it turning too serious. That’s why I wear the engagement ring. (My significant other insists I wear it, in fact!) I’ve also gotten occasional attention from lesbian women, which is also flattering, but the same argument applies.

  43. @ESR – I didn’t mean subtle things like that. Just the common courtesy of calling me by my name, referring to me as “she” and “her,” and things like that. I won’t even insist that you hold the door open for me, although I do appreciate that courtesy when I receive it. :)

    I certainly act more feminine than my significant other, who is a self-described “redneck bitch from Hell” and proclaims, “I ain’t no lady!” She’d be the first to tell you that, in fact. Yet she was born female. (When she first saw me dressed as Amy, albeit without makeup, her first reaction was, “I’m jealous, you look more feminine than I do!”) Could you make predictions about her behavior based on the fact that her brain is un-androgenized?

    Aside from just common social courtesy, you can think and predict as you like. As I said, I don’t hide the fact that I’m trans. I’m generally very open about discussing it with other people, because it’s my firm belief that the more people actually know us transgender people as people, and know about what makes us the way we are, the fewer people will hate and fear us.

    • >Could you make predictions about her behavior based on the fact that her brain is un-androgenized?

      I admit, my first reaction would be to wonder about that premise.

      >it’s my firm belief that the more people actually know us transgender people as people, and know about what makes us the way we are, the fewer people will hate and fear us.

      I don’t think anyone in this discussion thread hates or fears you.

      I’ve known a number of transgender people and haven’t hated or feared any of them. I have wondered how many are mislabeled mental cases; I admit to being perhaps too influenced by the first trans I knew, an SF fan back in the 1980s who was quite obviously (though harmlessly) bonkers. That is, in a way you are equally obviously not.

      Mind you, I don’t have any values-driven desire to believe that trans people are crazy – given some of my friendships that would actually be a very inconvenient conclusion. But you should read what I previously wrote about this.

  44. @Amy Tapie:

    Just the common courtesy of calling me by my name, referring to me as “she” and “her,”

    That’s more than reasonable, and given your statements about your appearance, should be fairly easy to remember, if not simply automatic for most people.

    Frankly, if someone were to wave a magic wand and get everybody to agree on a third set of pronouns for people who don’t want to identify as male or female, I wouldn’t even find that a huge problem, and would probably manage to remember the correct thing to say most of the time.

    But when I see things like this, well, sometimes I can’t even remember people’s names right, much less how they would like to be referred to in the third person.

  45. Our species evolved complex language skill, and it persisted, because it “worked” in the sense that it aided our ability to survive and thrive in a world of extreme existential threat and hardship. We can deduce that accurate communication was an imperative in that ancient environment, and we are descended from the survivors that possessed that trait.

    Today, we are squandering that heritage by the egregious abuse of language that is revealed in this post. That tragedy is far greater than the hurt feelings of the insane.

  46. My direct experience with trans women is limited; I only personally know two, both of whom I consider friends, and have only met one IRL. (The other is a good friend on Second Life.) I don’t consider either one lacking in sanity. I’m willing to accept that they are mentally female; I have no reason to believe otherwise. The one I know on Second Life is scheduled to undergo the surgery in September.

    I’m willing to agree with them when they tell me they’re women. I’m in no position to argue with them, even if they were to completely disrobe in front of me. I can’t crawl inside their heads and tell for myself what they feel they are. I’m unlikely to find myself in a position where the physical hardware makes any kind of a difference, anyway.

    As far as I’m concerned, you can be whoever you want to be, as long as it doesn’t affect me. Claiming fake American Indian ancestry in order to get a preference in a faculty appointment, though? That’s where it starts to affect me.

    Fundamentally, if it weren’t for the whole identity politics grievance industry, this would be a tempest in a test tube. As long as the Left insists on identifying people by irrelevancies, though, they’ll have to deal with crap like this.

    And yes, Wynona, I’m a Republican who supported Donald Trump (reluctantly at first, but more and more as his administration goes along). I’ll point out, along with others, that Eric most assuredly is not, just as he will correct anyone who says I am a libertarian to him

  47. Discussions about identity politics, especially in this forum, always seem to get bogged down due to two reasons: an availability heuristic that suggests that rare but shocking stories (in this case someone complaining about issues in their sex life when they don’t have the honesty to openly discuss their gender / sexual identity mismatch) are par for the course; and the fact that the media likes to blow up outrageous statements by self important idiots into scandals that are bigger than Ben Hur. The fact of the matter is that the vast majority of trans people are normal, nice people like all others and are totally aware that they need to be open about their identity to those will be encountering them in a sexual context. However, since we all have completely non sexual encounters with 99.9% of the people who feature in our daily lives, that means that virtually no one is on a need to know basis. Perhaps in the arena of professional sports an exception must be made, but that’s pretty much irrelevant.

    Admittedly, some trans people are arseholes in the same way that some cis people are arseholes. And many gender theorists will defend the arseholes in their attempt to defy common sense and consideration for others. That is what this blog post is notionally responding to, but it makes no attempt to distinguish between its antagonists (gender theorists high on crack) and those it will be misinterpreted as referring to (ordinary people who just happen to dress, look and wish to be given basic customary treatment as if they were born with the opposite sex to what they originally had).

    Eric, two things: be careful how you write because while people have no inherent right not to be offended, something like this seems guaranteed to cause a lot of upset that was totally unnecessary in making its point; and also try to get a better perspective on how common things are in real life. When the left comes out with a statement like “shut up and listen”, the valuable kernel in the mess of kafkatraps surrounding it is that you probably don’t have a good sense of what is common and uncommon when it comes to people’s lives which are quite different to your own and especially when the group is relatively small in the general population. It’s worth trying to gain an appreciation of what daily life is like for them so that you don’t waste time complaining about stories that only ever occur in the tabloid press.

    Alternatively, maybe you do have a decent understanding of that, but then focus on the real issue here which is the way that the most juvenile sociological analysis from teenage tumblr accounts has monopolised discussions about social issues today.

  48. Just to offer a rather serious and real world example of what ESR writes of … the following was posted some time ago on a “Military Wives” chat group in Twentynine Palms, California in regards to someone at MCAGCC …

    “My husband and I can’t conceive children. He seems rather bothered by it. Do you think I should tell him I used to be a man?”

  49. Amy Tapie wrote: Quite frankly, I dislike the whole concept of “identity politics.” All I generally ask of people is that they treat me as they would any other woman. Otherwise, I prefer to mind my own business.

    …are you sure you’re not trying to get friendly attention from all the guys here? :-D

    (Seriously, I’m kinda with Patrick: should be easy enough to remember. But if you don’t mind, I for one won’t think of you as just another woman, either. You say you’re trans; I would probably see you that way, for all the missteps that might also imply. But then, you’re also not just another trans. On that note, I’m kinda bummed about your gout…)

  50. As for “androgenized brains”, I have to say, on a layman’s level, I’m honestly unsure about what I’d do with such a factoid. There’s simply too much variation within that, as Amy’s anecdote about her SO illustrates. I’d be much too occupied with object-level characteristics of a person. If “brain sex” is a thing, it’d be hard for me to treat it any more than an academic curiosity.

    I ran across another case of unexpected racial identity aside from Dolezal, a year or so ago. Unfortunately, I didn’t bookmark it at the time. All I can remember for sure about him was that he’s male, dark hair, large build, claims he grew up in a black neighborhood to the point that culturally, he’s as black as any other fellow of color. He might be a journalist. I think he was adopted by black parents, which would explain the upbringing. He doesn’t seem bonkers; he’s quite aware he’s fair-skinned, but is making a cultural claim, and can apparently support it. I might have run across him while researching some gun issue. He’s not Michael Strickland or Shaun King.

    Does this ring any bells for anyone else?

  51. esr:

    Every once in a while a Libertarian gives up and defects to the Republicans. Whenever this happens, the average IQ of both groups increases.

    But last year you registered as a Republican in an attempt to stop Trump. That proves an intelligent libertarian can have legitimate reasons to join the GOP; you did it temporarily because you wanted to make a difference at a critical time, whereas others might do it permanently due to perceived limitations of the non-aggression principle (such as the paradox of tolerance). I’m not saying the latter has actually happened (I’m not acquainted with such socio-political mechanics), but it does seem possible.

    Dan:

    I would hope that you would not join a female sports team (claiming to be female), as your biological sex would likely give you an unfair advantage.

    You might enjoy this piece by Walter Williams: “Transgenderism Can Be Helpful”.

  52. I think a confounding issue that causes problems in discussion of trans that is there are observationally at least two categories of trans-people, which I will label “conforming” and “snowflakes”. The conforming are generally trying as hard as is compatible with physical reality and their happiness to present as the appropriate standard gender in the context of the society they live in. The snowflakes generally are trying to present as some unique point either in between the standard categories or outside them completely. I’ll leave out the otherkin and such.

    From my personal experience, the snowflakes are the real issue. Very few of the conforming I have met insist I use nonstandard awkward pronouns (personally, I insist snowflakes refer to me as Your Grace), expect I telepathically intuit their preferred social behaviors, or yell at me for anything other than behavior that would also be stupid towards non-trans examples of the gender.

    I think this also fits nicely into Eric’s thesis. Certainly the conforming have differences, but once I account for that my expectations of their behavior based on their presentation is accurate, and usually within the normal variation. The snowflakes make this behavioral prediction (deliberately?) difficult and taxing of my time and effort. I have to remember the (sometimes large) list of individual issues, and remember it for each person. And that assumes they don’t change it again next week.

  53. “But then again, I don’t generally expect incisive thought from anyone sufficiently ignorant or ahistorical to think “on the right” describes me accurately.”

    As far as I can tell, you seem like you’re on the right because you take “right wing” sources of information much more seriously than you take “left-wing” sources of information. I kinda-sorta suspect this comes from your general worries about Stalinism, which aren’t very valid in post-Reagan America.

    • >I kinda-sorta suspect this comes from your general worries about Stalinism, which aren’t very valid in post-Reagan America.

      *hollow laughter*

      No, it comes from being able to see the fingerprint of Soviet memetic weapons. Even today, “left-wing” sources are rotten with that corruption. Soviet propaganda memes were internalized over generations by many people who genuinely had (and have) no idea they’re running a program designed by Active Measures and propagated by Willi Munzenberg’s apparat and its successors. Most of the few people who really understand the problem are former members of the apparat themselves, people like former General Ion Pacepa of the Securitate. And they can’t get enough Westerners to pay attention.

  54. > > A statistically significant percentage of transexuals are happier/have higher quality of life
    >
    > I think you have to change this to “a majority within 95% confidence” for your argument to work.

    This seems like a very difficult threshold to set. I’m comfortable giving upper and lower “bounds”: if, empirically, almost everyone regrets X later (where X is some behavior that is plausibly self-harm), then stop them. If a majority think it improved their life, despite the side-effects, then certainly allow it. But that leaves a lot of middle ground where I don’t trust any particular group of people to make that decision for other people. There’s a lot of things that are statistically bad for people that we don’t try to stop them from doing to themselves.

    I can’t think of any answer to this question that I like.

  55. > As far as I’m concerned, you can be whoever you want to be, as long as it doesn’t affect me.

    What about insisting on using the women’s restroom? What about wanting to play on the women’s sports team?

    Hint: you might want to think about why restrooms and sports teams are segregated by gender.

  56. @ Patrick Maupin – “I cannot imagine there was ever a time when language was not used as a weapon.”

    The evolutionary response when encountering someone who uses language inaccurately is to assume that they are a potential threat or otherwise dangerous. This is tied to Eric’s notion of predictability in interpersonal interactions. If a stranger presents as unpredictable, your guard should be up lest you fall victim to a lethal ruse.

  57. So if I walk up to you and tell you I am Jesus Christ trapped in a fat white guy body and my preferred pronoun is Lord, universally you would think I am nuts and if taken to a psych facility would get an armful of Haldol or Trazadone. But today if you walk around in a dress with external genitalia and a bra, and I don’t call you by a female pronoun and treat you like a woman, I am called a hater and a transphobe. Sorry, buying into and reinforcing delusion is not kind or helpful but rather damaging to that individual. Transexuals are 10x more likely to attempt suicide as compared with the general population. This is the hallmark of untreated psychiatric disease.

  58. Eric, I think you’re playing a dirty rhetorical trick by bringing in Rachel Dolezal and comparing her case to that of a trans-person. Rachel is clearly batshit nuts in the ugliest kind of way. If there are any genetic, hormonal, or chemical differences between Black brains and White brains, Rachel’s brain does not have the particular characteristics of a Black brain. She was raised in a White household (by parents who insist that she is crazy and seem somewhat embarrassed by their daughter) in Lincoln County, Montana, which is a long way from the nearest Black community. Among other things, she claims to have lived in a Teepee and in South Africa, both of which are apparently untrue.

    In short, Rachel Dolezal is batshit nuts and probably somewhere on the schizophrenic spectrum, and she is despised by people on both the left and right, in large part because it’s obvious that her relationship with Black people and Black culture is a matter of exploitation rather than real cultural affiliation. Essentially, Rachel Dolezal appears to be both crazy AND fraudulent.

    On the other hand, a trans-person has some real issues with brain development that result in a nasty problem, something along the lines of “My brain tells me I’m THIS sex, but when I look between my legs I see THAT sex, and I find it very distressing.” If I imagine that I look between my legs and see the opposite genitals than my brain expects it’s obvious why this is a problem and why I should be sympathetic.

    In short, you’re taking a group of people who have a problem (sane or otherwise) that’s worthy of some sympathy and comparing them to a single person who’s behavior is both insane and exploitative.

    BTW, I think the way you addressed this issue may tie into why people see you as being on the far-right. This kind of ugly comparison is typical of the way people on the far-right write about their opponents – and you could certainly have written something about trans-people and their views of reality, and whether we should respect those views without comparing trans-folk to a fucked-up fraud like Dolezal.

    “Trans-folk are messed-up weirdos like that Dolezal bitch” probably isn’t what you’re trying to say, but it kinda came out that way. (The classy way to handle things might have been to address Dolezal’s issues in another post.)

    • >In short, you’re taking a group of people who have a problem (sane or otherwise) that’s worthy of some sympathy and comparing them to a single person who’s behavior is both insane and exploitative.

      If you think “Claire’s” behavior is much less fucked up than Dolezal’s, you need to take a deep breath and re-evaluate. Frauds, both of them – claiming sympathy they don’t deserve after the fact.

      Is that all trans people? No. But Dolezal isn’t all black people (or whatever the weird relevant class), either. What unifies these cases is that they’ve both been taken up as cudgels in the politicization of identity – this is precisely the reason there was a Tuvel flap at all.

  59. No, it comes from being able to see the fingerprint of Soviet memetic weapons.

    Sigh. And now that you’ve proved my point, ask yourself the following question: Where do the rhetorical tactics of the far-right come from? The racist dog-whistles, the implicit assumption that the U.S. is a Christian country, the sexism, the pejorative comparisons of anything not on the rightist agenda to communism, the ugly language… there’s a playbook there too, and you may be immune to one playbook but you’re susceptible to the other. This is why you come off as a right-winger – I imagine that a Libertarian should be skeptical of both playbooks!

    (I’ll give you a place to start. When Newt Gingrich was speaker of the house, he wrote up guidelines about how the Republicans should talk about Democrats and Liberals… and Newt was a college history teacher before he ran for Congress!)

    • >immune to one playbook but you’re susceptible to the other.

      Oh, bullshit. I know right-wing cant by its smell too and I don’t fall for it even a little. But even a stopped conservative clock is right occasionally and they got it right about Communist subversion. Go read the freaking Venona transcripts; it’s not even secret any more.

  60. “My husband and I can’t conceive children. He seems rather bothered by it. Do you think I should tell him I used to be a man?”

    The marriage was obviously fraudulent, and the man should be given an annulment without further ado.  And damages.  LARGE damages.

  61. ” As a trans woman, in fact, *I* do get to assert what my identity is, because you and the rest of the Neanderthals on the right are simply wrong. ”

    Hmm… suppose Eric asserts that he is God Emperor of the Universe, and demands to be obeyed without question, addressed as “Your Imperial Majesty”, and so on.

    Let’s stipulate, just for the sake of argument, that he *really* believes this. It’s how he honestly feels.

    Are you, I, and everyone else then obliged to treat him as such, addressing him by his preferred style, obeying his commands, and so on?

    If not, why not?

  62. “Rachel is clearly batshit nuts in the ugliest kind of way. ”

    I am reminded of an ancient Hustler cartoon. It depicts three shepherds, two of which are having vaginal sex with their sheep. The third shepherd is performing cunnilingus on his. One of the first two looks at the other and says “Man, that Bartholomew is sick.”

  63. There are genuine intermediate cases, but these cases are extremely rare.

    Partial androgen insensitivity produces a person with male physical advantages, somewhat reduced male physical advantages, and genuinely intermediate sexual organs, which organs are incapable of reproduction.

    Full androgen insensitivity produces someone who looks and almost always acts like a hot woman, has sexual organs that can function (poorly) as female sexual organs and not at all as male sexual organs, cannot reproduce, and has considerably reduced male physical advantages, but is still typically bigger and considerably stronger on average than women are on average.

    But these cases are very very rare. Further, people have never complained about those with complete androgen insensitivity passing as women, because they are born with the right equipment and inclination to perform the female role, apart from reproduction.

  64. “Leaving aside the entire question of how real transgenderism is as a neuropsychological phenomenon, “she” clearly suffers from a pretty serious disconnect with observable reality.”

    There is a condition called Body Dysmorphic Disorder. It is a condition that drives people to suicide:
    https://www.adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/related-illnesses/other-related-conditions/body-dysmorphic-disorder-bdd
    http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/body-dysmorphic-disorder/home/ovc-20200935
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Body_dysmorphic_disorder

    There are strong similarities with transgenders in that their “brains” are convinced that their body is not as it should be .There is also an alien limb syndrome where people perceive a limb as not belonging to them, the parallels with genitalia is obvious. The difference with transgenders is that in BDD, people are convinced their body is different from what others perceive. .

    Transgenders very well know the actual sex of their body, but that is not the sex they feel it should have. Transgenders also know this well before puberty. Except for this single point, transgenders are mentally normal. No way is known that can bring a transgender to change their ideas. The only strategies that “work” on transgenders are the ones that “work” on homosexuals, get them to deny their feelings and hide them.

    You can all run amok claiming other people are mentally ill, like was done with homosexuals, but that does not change the reality for these people. Getting their sex change operation gives these people a satisfactory life again. At least in countries where they are not fired or beaten up by random strangers for being different (btw., that seems to have been the aim of the bathroom laws, getting transgenders murdered). And transgenders can find a love just as everybody else.

    And yes, your example sounds crazy. But I can find completely crazy libertarians too if I look for them.

  65. @Eugine Nier
    “Hint: you might want to think about why restrooms and sports teams are segregated by gender.”

    Restrooms are segregated because men are pigs that foul up the stalls. There are too many men that also harass women. Women cannot stand that.

    For the rest, there are always too few stalls for the women, so they sneak into the men’s rooms. Which does not seem to worry the men.

    Sport teams are another matter. Sport lives by arbitrary rules, separating teams on age, weight and sex. Ass men are stronger than women, they play separately in most sports. And the rules have nothing to do with “identity”, but with your body.

  66. Winter: “Getting their sex change operation gives these people a satisfactory life again.”

    The suicide rates for transgendered people who have received the appropriate surgery are much higher, across countries and many different studies. See this article in The Federalist for discussion.

    “At least in countries where they are not fired or beaten up by random strangers for being different (btw., that seems to have been the aim of the bathroom laws, getting transgenders murdered).”

    Render unto me a fucking break. Nobody, but nobody, wants to “get transgenders murdered”. This is fully as offensive as JAD’s frothings.

  67. Render unto me a fucking break. Nobody, but nobody, wants to “get transgenders murdered”. This is fully as offensive as JAD’s frothings.

    Conservatives have a raging boner for policing people’s sexuality, and meting out harsh punishment for sexual deviance. The anti-abortion movement in the United States, for example, has as its primary goal to punish women with unplanned pregnancies for being sluts; any rhetoric about the life of the unborn child is concern trolling, nothing more. Hint: If they were really concerned about the life of the unborn, they’d put their money where their mouth is and set up charities to match expectant mothers with adoptive families who would assume responsibility for the unwanted child — and all of the mother’s medical expenses until that child comes to term.

    The goal of the gender bathroom laws is to send the message that by law, gender identity is expressed between the legs and no deviance from this rule will be allowed; if transgendered people get hurt or killed in the process, no big deal. They didn’t listen to the message, and their example will help amplify and reinforce the message.

  68. @Jay Maynard
    “The suicide rates for transgendered people who have received the appropriate surgery are much higher, across countries and many different studies.”

    Yes, being a transgender is tough, and makes your life much harder. Suicide is the leading cause of death in young people. But there is a lot that can be done beyond denying transgenders a sex change: Suicide is correlated to exclusion and discrimination:
    http://www.newsweek.com/transgender-bathroom-law-study-suicide-454185

    See this study:
    https://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/wp-content/uploads/AFSP-Williams-Suicide-Report-Final.pdf

    @Jay Maynard
    “Nobody, but nobody, wants to “get transgenders murdered”.”

    James Dobson
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/progressivesecularhumanist/2016/05/james-dobson-kill-transgender-people-using-public-bathrooms/

    And then there is Kevin Swanson, who does not make a difference between LGBT
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kevin_Swanson_(pastor)

    And their following:
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2017/03/16/seven-transgender-women-have-been-killed-this-year-democrats-want-jeff-sessions-to-investigate/

    http://time.com/4575908/transgender-americans-killed-2016-rights-lgbtq/

    With the expected results:
    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/what-its-like-to-use-a-public-bathroom-while-trans-20160331
    https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/intelligence-report/2016/%E2%80%98bathroom-bill%E2%80%99-debates-heat-transgender-people-die

  69. @Jeff Read

    Conservatives have a raging boner for policing people’s sexuality, and meting out harsh punishment for sexual deviance.

    No. They don’t want sexual deviance forced onto them and their children.

    The anti-abortion movement in the United States, for example, has as its primary goal to punish women with unplanned pregnancies for being sluts; any rhetoric about the life of the unborn child is concern trolling, nothing more.

    False. The “punish” meme is a leftist invention. Human life is human life even if that life was unplanned.

    Hint: If they were really concerned about the life of the unborn, they’d put their money where their mouth is and set up charities to match expectant mothers with adoptive families who would assume responsibility for the unwanted child — and all of the mother’s medical expenses until that child comes to term.

    I know of countless churches and others on the right who’d love to do this, but the cost of such has made it essentially impossible. Between the expected legal fees for adoption ($25k+) and the medical expenses ($5k+) there is essentially no-one who can pay the bill. (Who’s to blame for this messed up situation is not easy to discern.)

    Besides, when an abortionette is offered adoption they almost uniformly refuse.

    The goal of the gender bathroom laws is to send the message that by law, gender identity is expressed between the legs and no deviance from this rule will be allowed;

    So what’s the objectively verifiable alternative? Hint: what’s claimed to be rattling around in someone’s skull doesn’t help.

    if transgendered people get hurt or killed in the process, no big deal.

    Who said this? Citation please. And how often does this happen?

  70. Jeff: “If they were really concerned about the life of the unborn, they’d put their money where their mouth is and set up charities to match expectant mothers with adoptive families who would assume responsibility for the unwanted child — and all of the mother’s medical expenses until that child comes to term.”

    There are, or at least were, just such charities, set up by churches. When I was a kid, my family was a host family for one such charity. We took in pregnant teenagers, supported them until they gave birth, and generally kept them out of trouble. The child was adopted by others, and the charity paid the medical bills.

    You were saying?

    “if transgendered people get hurt or killed in the process, no big deal.”

    You cannot reach that conclusion on the evidence available. You’re putting words into people’s mouths.

  71. @Michael
    > And how often does this happen?

    “It found that 12 percent of transgender people were verbally harassed in public restrooms within the previous year, 1 percent were physically attacked and 1 percent were sexually assaulted. Nine percent said someone denied them access to a bathroom.”
    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-lgbt-survey-idUSKBN13X0BK

    In addition, the murder rate of transgenders in the USA this year has been larger than in 2016
    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2017/03/04/why-have-there-been-so-many-trans-murders-this-year.html

    On the other hand, there have been NO reports of transgenders attacking people in bathrooms.
    https://mic.com/articles/114066/statistics-show-exactly-how-many-times-trans-people-have-attacked-you-in-bathrooms#.taYTKbpDG

  72. There was a very silly news story recently about “Claire”, a transsexual “girl” with a penis who complains that she is rejected by straight guys for ‘having male parts’. Er, how was “she” expecting anything different? By trying to get dates with heterosexual teenage boys using a female presentation, she was making an offer that there is about her person the sort of sexual parts said boys want to play with. Since “she” does not in fact have a vagina, this offer was fraudulent and there’s no wonder the boys rejected it.

    Things like this make me wonder if you are so locked in logical libertarian headspace that you don’t really get how LGBTQ people work, or even how people work. I’m bloody autistic, and even I can see what’s going on!

    Everybody knows, including Claire, that Claire’s offer is “fraudulent”. (The unkind internet term for people like her, in fact, is “trap” — as in Admiral Ackbar’s “it’s a trap!”.) But humans are highly social creatures, and when your choices come down to committing this sort of fraud or enduring loneliness and social isolation, five-nines percent of humans will pick fraud every time. Consider how many fraudulent offers are made by ciswomen regarding their age, their level of reproductive fitness, etc. There are entire industries built around this sort of deception: fashion, make-up, cosmetic surgery.

    No, no, wait, let me refer you to your own words:

    “But Eric,” I hear you ask, “I’m a beta male, and I’m standing around at some stupid party, and I am neither tipsy nor stoned. How do I become self-confident enough not to smell of fear?” I can answer in two words: fake it.

    –Eric S. Raymond, “Sex Tips for Geeks”

    In light of this, is the game Claire is playing really so different from the game everybody plays?

    If gender is fluid enough to allow people like Claire to not only “pass” as women but even look cute in a bikini, it stands to reason that our categories of “straight” and “gay” are fluid as well. There is a significant contingent of LGBTQ persons who believe that if you like a person for who they are, “it shouldn’t matter” what their plumbing is. Obviously, it does matter for the straight men in the video, but maybe Claire is looking to hit paydirt and find a man who’s a little bit more flexible. Maybe — like a lot of women — she’s not looking for sex right away, but the foundation of a stable relationship that will turn sexual once she undergoes surgery?

    The article said she was from Virginia, which means she has to grapple with the barbaric American health care system as well. Many countries in Europe recognize gender dysphoria as a valid psychiatric disorder and gender transition as standard-of-care treatment, and so would foot the entire bill for Claire’s surgery, hormone therapy, and psychiatric counseling. In America, no such luck. So there’s a good chance that Claire might be suffering through this part of her life with a dingle-dangle between her legs that she doesn’t want and that she would have, in ideal circumstances, gotten rid of by now but can’t because she lives in a country where physical and mental health outcome is tied to monetary income.

  73. No. They don’t want sexual deviance forced onto them and their children.

    False. The “forced” meme is a rightist invention, used to justify denying fundamental human rights to the different.

    • >False. The “forced” meme is a rightist invention, used to justify denying fundamental human rights to the different.

      Who are you to deny Michael’s lived experience? He feels oppressed, therefore he is oppressed. Only the feelz matter, and applying rational skepticism just shows that you don’t get it. Wake up!

      (The preceding was, for the thickwitted, satire. Dolorously indistinguishable from stupid shit people really say.)

  74. @Patrick Maupin

    Steve Martin in The Jerk?

    …nope; the guy I’m thinking of is real. And, I ran across him within the last 5-10 years.

  75. More thoughts:

    I do agree that there are way too many assertions of identity and demands that such identity be respected, without skin in the game to back it up. This is what distinguishes transgendered people from “transtrenders”. Transgendered people are so distraught by their body-mind gender mismatch that they put in time, work, pain, and (in countries with benighted health-care systems) considerable personal treasure to fixing it. Not many sane people in our society are willing to accept that this person is a woman (and yes, “she” has looked that way for years); indeed, some of the transpeople I knew have gotten angry when they see someone cop to the trans identity without putting in the effort.

    Part of it is that transgenderedness is the new autism. It’s something that’s easy to claim but difficult to dispute, and makes you feel like you’re part of a special oppressed out-class with magical powers. If being “different” makes you an amazing magical unicorn, a lot of folks are going to want to hop on the “different” bandwagon.

    As for the rest of it? I blame the internet. The internet has enabled people to spend quite a bit of their day in chat rooms pretending to be, say, a rainbow-winged nine-tailed faerie kitsune; and consequently, since they spend so much time pretending with like-minded folks who indulge them by playing along, to grow attached to that “identity” and believe that the faerie fox is the essence of who they are and that anyone who tells you otherwise is a Nazi.

    Finally, when hearing talk of Rachel Dolezal, I can’t help but think of Iron Eyes Cody, the famous “crying Indian” from the don’t-litter advertisements of the 1970s. He wasn’t really a Native American but an Italian dude named Espera Oscar de Corti. He successfully played most of us — for decades.

  76. > if we’ve given up having objective criteria for gender.

    Have we? What if the criteria is “whatever brain thing, but neurology is hard so we’ll accept self-identification as a proxy” – Observing how someone self-identifies is an objective fact.

  77. Rachel Dolezal is a sad case. Her parents adopted several Black children and apparently treated them better than their own offspring. Rachel may be reacting to the love and support that her adopted siblings received and she was denied, by trying to be more like them.

    In that case at least, trans-racial adoption was child abuse against the natural children.

  78. @Random832
    “What if the criteria is “whatever brain thing, but neurology is hard so we’ll accept self-identification as a proxy” ”

    Actually, why would anyone even care about the plumbing of the person in front of them?

    It is universally considered rude to ask people about their genitalia. So, why bother? If the person wants to be treated as a man/woman, why even hesitate? It is not that I should feel obliged to have intercourse with every woman I meet and therefore have to be sure.

    On the other hand, if you think women should be treated fundamentally different than men, then it matters. But I would be glad to make life difficult for such people.

  79. I think Eric is correctly making the point that our society is changing rapidly in a direction in which language is frequently being used inaccurately. This is harmful to communication and human interaction on a macro-scale, and there are now institutional forces that promote this conduct rather than discourage it.

    Trans people are a tiny fraction of the population, yet their plight is spawning a society-wide language dysfunction. And the destruction of language is no trivial matter.

    • >I think Eric is correctly making the point that our society is changing rapidly in a direction in which language is frequently being used inaccurately.

      No, I wasn’t actually trying to make any point specifically about language at all. Reread the OP.

  80. @TomA
    “I think Eric is correctly making the point that our society is changing rapidly in a direction in which language is frequently being used inaccurately.”

    As far I know, this claim has been made by every generation of pundits since at least the times of Plato. Somehow, language still exists.

  81. “Everybody knows, including Claire, that Claire’s offer is “fraudulent”.. But humans are highly social creatures, and when your choices come down to committing this sort of fraud or enduring loneliness and social isolation, five-nines percent of humans will pick fraud every time.”

    The decision to present as a female while having male parts was one Claire consciously made, and without having made this decision she would not (and predictably would not) be in a situation where she has to choose between fraud and social isolation.

  82. @Winter
    “As far I know, this claim has been made by every generation of pundits since at least the times of Plato. Somehow, language still exists.”

    Some things do not scale correctly.

    Example: the village hobbo in the past was known by everybody, and special behaviors were internalized by the villagers to manage him. He might have been mean-spirited, with bad inclinations, yet some villagers made him work, eat, clean, and have some “normal” social interaction. Better, they corrected his bad behaviors, so as to continue to include him in the village community, even on the fringes.
    Now, in a big city, one thousand times bigger, a citizen might interact with 1000 hobbos, and not know what their special behaviors are. His only ways to protect himself is to avoid all interactions with all hobbos. Hobbos are now without “normal” interactions, and their degree of inclusion in the community is dramatically down.
    This example might not be perfect, its only intended use is to display the fact that a community relations do not scale unchanged, and might even make emerge untractable problems.

    Now, we currently have a huge scale magnification of the numbers of relations through the internet, particularly the aptly named social networks.
    So, our communities relations won’t be unchanged, and some untractable problems might emerge.
    It would only be natural that our languages reflect that.

    Yet I think the change is quite different in nature from the previous social changes languages have handled. Increase in mutations frequency, and checks-to-fix frequency too.
    A bit like coming from a world with some cvs repositories, to a world with some millions of git repositories cohabiting ^^

  83. @ Winter – “As far I know, this claim has been made by every generation of pundits since at least the times of Plato. Somehow, language still exists.”

    Sorry for the confusion. I wasn’t trying to suggest that language would cease to exist. Rather, my point was that clarity in communication is superior to distortion.

    And sorry to Eric for misreading his central point in the OP. The practice of misleading behavior is indeed a dysfunction as well; albeit a more narrow problem.

  84. This is pretty much exactly what I thought before I spent some serious time going through the available research in the field.

    Humans are animals. We have instincts. We have instincts that tell us things like “how do humans reproduce”. Because we’re fairly complicated animals, we aren’t always very closely tied to those, but we have this strong innate sense that our species comes in two types and we need to be able to tell them apart. For most people, one type or the other will be attractive to us, based on some internal wiring somewhere. And most people have a strong sense of which type it is that they are.

    The obvious default case is that you know yourself to be whichever sex your chromosomes or genitalia would suggest (these are not always the same), and are attracted to the opposite sex. But those are at least four different questions. There’s ways to be XY and obviously-female (androgen insensitivity). You can end up attracted to the same sex. And you can end up with a brain wired for the other sort of body.

    You’re quite right: Identity of that sort *isn’t* a choice. But multiple sources have confirmed that, insofar as we have found statistical differences between male and female brains, trans people are generally right as to which sort they have. (We can’t use this as our primary test for whether or not they’re “real” because the tests known are currently destructive and only usable post-mortem.)

    My experience has been that some people don’t have a strong sense of gender. (I’m one of them.) To us, people who strongly feel that they have a gender which isn’t what we’d have guessed look crazy. But! It turns out that also some people have a strong sense of gender which *is* what we’d have expected, and they look crazy to me too. The big reveal is: No, I’m the weird one. Most people have a strong sense of this.

    Ultimately, the correct hacker approach should be “observe the data and react accordingly”. Denying people’s experience of their gender is about 50% lethal and reliably produces horrible outcomes. Counterexamples exist, but there are perhaps a few dozen of them recorded, against tens of thousands of cases where acknowledging people’s sense of themselves worked.

    And you could, I suppose, argue that this should be viewed as a “brain defect”, but… You can’t easily change who people think they are, and even if you could, all you can really do is kill them and hand their body to a completely different person. We can, reasonably well, give people bodies they feel comfortable in. Doing so makes them happier, more productive, and less likely to kill themselves. This is probably the best choice available at this time.

    If that requires me to grant that the naive view of human biology I had when I was a small child isn’t quite up to handling the complexities and fuzzy boundaries that biology produces, okay, I’ll grant that. It produces better results.

    • > We can, reasonably well, give people bodies they feel comfortable in.

      If this is the case, why doesn’t gender reassignment surgery affect rates of attempted suicide?

      I’m all for going where the data leads. That’s not what I see either side of the culture wars over transgenderism doing.

      Conservatives’ reactions seem to be dominated by religion-derived taboos and visceral ick reactions – which, while disappointing, is no better than I really expect from them, either. The Left’s reaction is to mascotize the gender-dysmorphic as yet another ginned-up cause to be used in the wider Gramscian culture war. Towards that end they’ve created an elaborate theology of “gender identity”, expressed at nearly its most fatuous and content-free in the Tuvel paper and the attacks on it, that has no actual explanatory power for helping people with dysmorphia. Not overly surprising, since its real use is as a political cudgel.

      The least hypothesis to explain the statistical failure of reassignment surgery to be effective treatment is that, like people with BIID, most transgenders are mentally ill before reassignment and remain mentally ill after it in way that reassignment surgery cannot change or affect. I say “most” because there is undoubtedly a small minority of physical intersexes who are not mentally ill and for which the intervention is helpful. (This is what the few positive indications in the data point at.)

      What do I mean by “mentally ill”? I mean this to describe a person who not only has a belief system out of predictive congruence with reality (“I’m a male stuck with a pussy”/”I’m a female stuck with a penis”) but whose mechanisms for updating beliefs are damaged or blocked (see this previous post for discussion). Trying to fix this with surgery is doomed.

      Anyone got a theory that fits the facts better than this? I don’t see one.

  85. Wow, lots to respond to here! Thank you to everyone!

    @ESR – I read through your earlier post. It seemed to me to be a little harsh towards trans individuals, classifying us with paranoid schizophrenics and people who want to amputate their healthy arms or legs. How am I supposed to feel when reading that? Admittedly, you’re not as harsh as many on the political Right, but what you wrote sounds way too much like a friend from college that I had to block on Facebook because her religious background rendered her unable to accept me as a woman. (She’s the only one I’ve had to do that to.)

    @Patrick Maupin – I’m a big fan of the use of singular “they” as a gender-neutral third-person pronoun. It’s a very old usage, dating back to at least the 15th Century, and only fell out of favor in the 19th Century. I’m pleased to see that revived. Do know that there are many people in the community that are confused by all these “new” pronouns as well; I was at a barbecue with a bunch of longtime drag queens just this past Sunday where this was brought up.

    @Paul Brinkey – Don’t be too bummed about the gout; I’m not. As long as I take my allopurinol and stay away from alcohol, I’m fine. And I never was that much of a drinker anyway. :)

    @John Dougan – I would definitely classify myself as “conforming.” But I dress and present as a woman to please myself first, not anyone else. (And no, that doesn’t mean I dress inappropriately…I’ve turned out to have a better fashion sense than I would have guessed!)

    @Troutwaxer – “‘Trans-folk are messed-up weirdos like that Dolezal bitch’ probably isn’t what you’re trying to say, but it kinda came out that way.” EXACTLY! This is why I was troubled by what ESR wrote. I’m trying to follow the maxim of “assume goodwill,” but I was still troubled by it, admittedly to a milder extent than by some of the things I’ve read by people whose opinions I otherwise agree with.

    @Jeff Read – “transgenderedness is the new autism” – It’s interesting you mention that, because there have been at least two recent studies showing a mild correlation between autism spectrum disorder and gender variance. Supposedly, someone with autism spectrum disorder is as much as seven times more likely to be gender variant than a neurotypical. This piqued my interest because I was diagnosed with ASD in high school, and saw a therapist while attending college, who had several of her grad students work with me as well. I’m friends with one of those grad students now on Facebook, and forwarded her the links to those studies. She found them interesting and compelling. (It doesn’t hurt that she has since come out as lesbian, and hence may be somewhat more understanding of my position.)

    As for “the internet”…before coming out as trans, I actually did use a female avatar part of the time on Second Life. Some of my friends who saw me driving this avatar suspected I might be trans long before I told them.

    @Winter – “It is universally considered rude to ask people about their genitalia. So, why bother? If the person wants to be treated as a man/woman, why even hesitate?” That’s exactly the kind of attitude I would like to see more of. (I think many people reading this do have this attitude, including ESR, despite my misgivings about his writings.) For my part, I will address anyone presenting as female as “she” and “her,” whether they’re a trans woman or even just a male-identifying crossdresser, unless they tell me different. In the support group meetings I facilitate, I do ask people to identify their preferred pronouns, and do my best to remember them.

    • >@ESR – I read through your earlier post. It seemed to me to be a little harsh towards trans individuals, classifying us with paranoid schizophrenics and people who want to amputate their healthy arms or legs. How am I supposed to feel when reading that?

      Reality is what reality is. It’s not hostility to point out where the evidence leads; it’s hostility to go beyond what the evidence admits.

      The difference between me and a tranny-hater is that I’m not happy about the fact that I can’t see any way to epistemologically distinguish between BIID, schizophrenic delusion, and reports of transsexualism in people who are somatically and chromosomally congruent. I would like for reality to be different, rather than viewing the facts as convenient for my emotional fixations.

      That said…I may be in some attenuated sense be at fault here. I guess the way to put it is that I like the role of the one sane man willing to speak harsh and unfashionable truths without fear or favor, and dark humor is a natural mode for me. Perhaps I should give more weight to the possibility that this will make me seem hostile and uncaring even though I am not.

      >Supposedly, someone with autism spectrum disorder is as much as seven times more likely to be gender variant than a neurotypical.

      I would have been surprised if it were otherwise, though the exact 7:1 ratio wasn’t in my thinking. It’s consistent with a model in which autism and most transsexuality are both MBD (Minimal Brain Damage) syndromes. All MBDs are co-morbid; they cross the fuzzy boundary between “neurological” (like my spastic palsy) and “psychological”.

  86. My problem with getting anywhere close to defining “transsexuality” as a disorder is that it is a sexuality thing; and sexuality does not have an “external” appearance.

    Claire appears to be sexually interested in males who are sexually interested in females. That’s tough, but is it “crazy?” If Carl identifies as male and is sexually attracted to males who are sexually attracted to males, that’s no longer viewed as “self-dangerously crazy to the point of needing intervention”: any more (though it’s still less “safe” than being “cis/het” (for lack of a better term). And how many people would care if Carl was born JAmes and called himself Carl for some reason?

    Claire has problems if Claire expects to find it “easy” to find someone who will be sexually attracted to Claire (that someone would need to be a male who is sexually attracted to women with penises, a pretty small chance); and if Claire is not being up-front about Claire’s “Sexuality” that’s shades into deliberate deception .

    I don’t really have a conclusion to this, other than to note that I think that making someone deny and abjure their own personal sexual feelings is a capital-S Sin. (Subject to the usual disclaimers about willing and consenting adult partners – which necessarily includes full and frank disclosure to those partners. But it’s nobody else’s damn business who you want to screw or how you want to screw them, as long as they’re cool with that and are capable of being cool with that.) And to note that people can and should be able choose how they dress and how they ask people to name them. You can feel free to observe their wishes or not, but calling Carl “Mike” when he’s asked you not to is pretty rude.

  87. “Rachel’s brain does not have the particular characteristics of a Black brain. ”

    That’s an interesting peek behind the curtain.

  88. I’ve been trying to figure out how ESR’s theory of identity would apply to the bathroom controversy:

    The purpose of gendered bathrooms seems to be to reduce the level of voyeurism that occurs in bathrooms. Since the majority of people of people are heterosexual, segregating bathrooms by gender reduces the number of people who wish to engage in voyeurism to a minimum.

    I’m having trouble translating this into ESR’s framework of “offers about what kind of transactions people will expect of you.” You generally don’t engage in transactions in a bathroom, you go in, do your business, and get out. I suppose you could argue that a transwoman, by appearing to be female, is creating the expectation that she will be heterosexual (since most women are), and is therefore uninterested in engaging in voyeurism. I don’t know what ratio of transwomen are heterosexual relative to the gender they identify as, so I don’t know how accurate that expectation is. But it doesn’t matter because no sane person is arguing that cis lesbians are engaging in deception by not being heterosexual while definitely being female. And “won’t spy on you while you poop” is a “transaction” most people expect everyone to engage in, regardless of sexual orientation or gender.

    If we go from “transactions” to “interests” and we can make a little more progress. Assuming everyone has a strong interest in not being spied on in the bathroom, and also a strong desire not to be kicked out of the bathroom they intended to use, what is the optimal solution, from a utilitarian perspective? I think that a female-presenting transwoman who has to use the men’s room is far more likely to be voyeurized than ciswomen who allow transwomen to use their bathroom are going to be (and vice versa for men and transmen). Under the same principle we allow gay and lesbian people to continue to use their gender’s restrooms.

    We also have to take false positives into account. Considering that transpeople only compose about 0.3% of the population, they are probably vastly outnumbered by cismen and ciswomen who look somewhat feminine or masculine. That means that the odds that a cisperson will get kicked out of the bathroom for looking like the wrong gender are probably vastly greater than the odds that they’ll get voyeurized by a transperson.

    What this adds up to is that transpeople should probably be allowed use the bathroom they want to. Although really, I feel like throwing up my hands in disgust over all the ink that’s been shed over this. In 18th century Japan men and women regularly bathed together, and didn’t seem to have any problems with it. Why can’t we just have all unisex bathrooms and hold heterosexuals to the same standards that we hold gays and lesbians? Bathrooms have stalls, for god’s sake!

    Really, I think that the fact that ESR chose dating as the transaction to focus on in his theory of identity makes it appear far more anti-trans than it actually is. For the vast majority of interactions we have in day to day life, transpeople presenting as their preferred gender are not doing anything dishonest, and it’s more efficient to treat them the way they’d prefer. If you’re trying to point someone out to someone else (which is at least 80% of the time gender comes up in casual conversation), referring to the person wearing a dress and long hair as a woman will point them out effectively regardless of what’s between their legs. If someone is trying to use your gender to figure out if you have common interests with them, a transwoman presenting female may be less deceptive than a tomboyish ciswoman wearing a skirt. And as I already established, letting people use the bathroom of their choice is probably best for everyone.

    • >Really, I think that the fact that ESR chose dating as the transaction to focus on in his theory of identity makes it appear far more anti-trans than it actually is.

      It wasn’t actually intended to be “anti-trans” at all. Or pro-trans. To the extent I had a political agenda it was about opposing the use of “identity” as a political cudgel. But really I was just trying to show people how to think about “identity” in a way that doesn’t lead straight to crazy.

  89. It always surprises me to find those people who would vote themselves rich actually expect to be subsidized.

    If one is able to find any amount of self-satisfaction with one’s chosen identity, and find an appropriate audience, why then plead for broad social acceptance? The Allman Brothers play the music they are able to play whether anyone else on the planet calls them ‘Southern Rock’ or not. They are only going to get the revenues from the tickets they can sell, from those who appreciate the Allman Brothers for the music they actually do play.

    So this is at root a fundamental question of assimilation, and that always denotes an exchange. You cannot have it both ways, although you can compromise at any point along the spectrum. You also cannot, *from either direction*, create a new arbitrary standard that all parties are bound to recognize.

    What sickens me is that there is a particular section of the chatting classes who from their equivalent seats at the courts of the Sun Kings of American 1-percenters can “There outta be a law” their way into actual legislation. Or at least summon a category 5 tweetstorm of boycotts and political arm twisting aimed at any politician obstinate enough to defy their insinuations. None of this bodes well for liberty.

    There are two kinds of people. Those who think America works best *without* regard for identity and those who think America works best with *special* regard for identity. We are mired in a war of negotiating weights and measures for special regard. Occam spins in his grave.

  90. Read:
    > Conservatives have a raging boner for policing people’s sexuality, and meting out
    > harsh punishment for sexual deviance.

    It’s really kind of humorous that what the Progressives did 30, 60 or 100 years ago get blamed on conservatives.

  91. @ESR – “Perhaps I should give more weight to the possibility that this will make me seem hostile and uncaring even though I am not.”

    There is that, although, were I in your place, I would give more weight to the probability that your words will be seized upon by the very “tranny-haters” you take pains to differentiate yourself from, and used to justify their hatred. To justify their attempts to exclude all of us from public life, sending us back into the closet to suffer in silence. To even justify murder. (We have the Transgender Day of Remembrance every November 20 for a reason, you know…)

    Now, you can’t be charged with responsibility for the actions of others; even I know that. And I’m more than willing to believe that it is Hell Highway you’re trying to pave, i.e., that your intentions are good. (I’ve read your writings for a long time…you’ve always shown good intentions in what you do.) There just isn’t anything I can really do about the haters that will twist your words to their own ends. Except fret. So I’m fretting. :)

    @Cobb – “If one is able to find any amount of self-satisfaction with one’s chosen identity, and find an appropriate audience, why then plead for broad social acceptance? The Allman Brothers play the music they are able to play whether anyone else on the planet calls them ‘Southern Rock’ or not. They are only going to get the revenues from the tickets they can sell, from those who appreciate the Allman Brothers for the music they actually do play.”

    The Allman Brothers aren’t in danger of their lives if someone gets angry because they misinterpreted the genre of their music. The “trans panic” defense is still accepted in some courts here in the United States, even though, to my ears, it’s as unjustifiable as the Chewbacca Defense.

    You can think what you want about me. As long as you treat me in a courteous fashion, I won’t gainsay your right to think what you think, In fact, how would I even know? But the minute you use your negative opinions about me to justify denying me the civil rights granted to every other human being (with “life” being the first and most important, but not the only one), you’re in the wrong.

    • > I would give more weight to the probability that your words will be seized upon by the very “tranny-haters” you take pains to differentiate yourself from, and used to justify their hatred.

      Haters will always be with us. If we let ourselves be silenced for fear of how they might use hard truths, no truth would every be spoken and the haters would still find rationalizations in the lies. Therefore I choose truth-speaking over silence.

      I don’t think I would be emotionally capable of doing otherwise, really.

  92. @ESR: Agreed. Which I why I said “There just isn’t anything I can really do about [it]. Except fret.”

  93. @ JimR: That’s an interesting peek behind the curtain.

    I think we have a misunderstanding. As Eric observed, there are physical brain differences between trans people and non-trans people. I’m hypothetically extending that to Black people vs. White people so we can see how Rachel Dolezal’s claims stack up against the claims of transgender folk.

    Assuming, for rhetorical purposes, that such differences existed, (and they don’t) Dolezal would not be a person who has those differences.

    • >I’m hypothetically extending that to Black people vs. White people

      It doesn’t have to be hypothetical. See Racial Brain Differences.

      I didn’t actually know before I went looking just now that patterns of cortical folding are almost like genetic fingerprints – so heritable, and with large enough variation across ancestral populations, that you can back-read ancestry by mapping them. There’s your Dolezal difference.

      What I was looking for was something slightly different – confirmation of something I remember from my 1970s physical anthro classes at UPenn. That is, degree of cortical folding correlates with IQ (wrinklier brains are smarter – no prize for guessing this is a simple effect of cortical surface area) and that wrinkliness varies across racial groups in exactly the ways you would expect if you know about racial differences in mean IQ scores. There were even some drawings of brains in my anthro textbook that were there to show what “difference in degree of cortical folding” looks like.

      (The way I would have applied this was by checking whether Dolezal’s cortical surface has a folding degree more like that of Europeans or sub-Saharan Africans. Cruder than folds-as-fingerprints, but probably effective.)

      I didn’t find that confirmation online, and wasn’t really expecting to; that whole subject has since become so taboo that you can be run out of academia for speaking the most well-confirmed truths about it. And as for those drawings…they probably couldn’t be published today without causing an uproar that would get somebody burned at the stake.

  94. @ esr “But really I was just trying to show people how to think about “identity” in a way that doesn’t lead straight to crazy.”

    I can live with that, so let’s follow it up, without prejudice and see where it leads: We have a small population of gender dysphoric people who believe that they have the wrong genitals. How do we handle this in a way which doesn’t lead to some form of social derangement or general idiocy?

    First, I would want the default to be that we treat such people kindly. Beating them up, accusing them of sin, or denying them the same rights as the rest of us is not acceptable. We might go further and discuss them in our health classes so that kids get educated in how to help them to the best outcome, and adolescent boys can know that a girl with a dick is not an attack on their masculinity, but instead a fellow human being with a problem, and that beating up on the “girl with a dick” will not help the situation. People who mistreat others do not make society saner.

    In fact, I’d go a step further and postulate that identity politics is secondary to oppression. In other words, people think, “Hey, there are a lot of people like me, and we are all mistreated, so let’s gain some political power.” We don’t have a left-wing association of weird/crazy/angry Czechoslovakians because Czechoslovakians are not generally victims of hate crimes. So we keep things from getting crazy by not oppressing people.

    Second, I would want to explore this phenomenon scientifically so we know why this is happening, and perhaps a multi-modal model is the most appropriate; there may be multiple reasons why someone believes that they are burdened with the wrong gender. In other words, Lynn has a female brain in a male body, Rhonda has minor brain damage secondary to a concussion while playing peewee football, Trevor has psychological issues, William has a problem with “his” brain chemistry, and Pat is schizophrenic. This requires further research, but it would allow us to categorize each subset of gender dysphoric people accurately and help them get the best outcome.

    Third, we need simple words by which to categorize dysphoric people, something like “I’m a _________,” which translates to “I have brain-damage-based gender dysphoria, I am physically male and mentally female.”

    Fouth, the U.S. needs to get over our general weirdness about sex before we hurt another generation of people who already have enough problems.

    These four things would bring us fairly close to sanity.

    Think of how you’d handle it if you were writing code and 0.3 percent of your data was not able to be parsed with your standard algorithms; you’d investigate the cause and write some special code to handle the special cases, and you wouldn’t be hostile afterwards.

    • >These four things would bring us fairly close to sanity.

      I agree with you pretty completely about all of this. Which probably fails to surprise you.

      Ain’t going to happen, though, as long as the Gramscians are getting political juice from mascotizing transsexuals. Sanity on this issue would be against their interests.

  95. @Amy Tapie:

    > I’m a big fan of the use of singular “they”

    The singular “they” is sometimes useful. But the use of “him” or “her” is usefully disambiguating often enough (and provides useful redundancy often enough) that it is wishful thinking to believe this usage would disappear if everybody became enlightened, and most likely quite counterproductive to try to force this change.

  96. (wrinklier brains are smarter – no prize for guessing this is a simple effect of cortical surface area)

    But why would surface area of all things matter? Why isn’t volume the measure, or perhaps connection density variations?

    • >But why would surface area of all things matter? Why isn’t volume the measure, or perhaps connection density variations?

      Because the logic associated with higher brain functions lives within 2-4mm of the cortical surface. The interior of the brain is mostly interconnects and older subsystems associated with functions like sensory processing, motor control, and autonomic regulation.

      *blink* This is one of those things I thought everybody knew.

  97. Haters will always be with us. If we let ourselves be silenced for fear of how they might use hard truths, no truth would every be spoken and the haters would still find rationalizations in the lies.

    I guess one way to test this approach would be to try to find the most egregious example from history of a truth used to rationalize something abhorrent. Standard go-to example would probably be eugenics. What are some others? Bipolar people can be much more harmful with a gun? Voters are generally low-information? Korrellian death ray currently aimed at Earth means we may as well panic?

    Alternately: are there truths that are sufficiently dangerous if not supplemented by other truths? Or do all truths naturally come with a protective wrapper of the form “the truth is: I also would rather this were not true”?

    • >Standard go-to example would probably be eugenics.

      Yes, but to sharpen the point I’m going to step right onto the third rail behind eugenics; that racial/ethnic differences in IQ and time preference are readily measurable, significant, and heritable. Undoubtedly this is the most horribly abused Damned Truth in history – possibly there was some other contender before the Holocaust, but there certainly hasn’t been since.

      It’s a dangerous thing to know unless you also hold in mind that the mass is not the individual – that, in fact, you don’t know where the singular human being in front of you falls on his ancestral population’s bell curve until you have measured him. Forgetting this leads to insanity and evil.

      But I think if we suppress that Damned Truth, we risk more than by speaking it. Racists are going to racist anyway, because they’re emotionally fixated and stupid. I’ve said often that we should deny them the weapon of being the only people willing to speak the truth about population differences, and I still believe that.

      >Or do all truths naturally come with a protective wrapper of the form “the truth is: I also would rather this were not true”?

      I’ve had only mixed success pointing that out about myself. A lot of people, perhaps projecting from their own behavior, don’t seem to be able to grasp the concept that one might point at truth one is unhappy with simply because one believes not knowing the truth is more dangerous.

  98. > Assuming, for rhetorical purposes, that such differences existed, (and they don’t) Dolezal would not be a person who has those differences.

    To play devil’s advocate for a moment… there is a deep tendency for humans to believe in some form of dualism (sentiments like “all you can really do is kill them and hand their body to a completely different person” are an indication of this), and the presence or absence of non-physical differences of the “mind”/”soul” is not as easily measured.

    Whether or not it is true or not in any particular case, this could be a hidden basis on which Dolezal and any supporters she may have believe that it is a reasonable thing to believe. (And an overenthusiastic rejection of dualism explains a tendency to dismiss trans people if someone is not familiar with the existence of a neurological basis or if they think that it might not apply to a specific person)

  99. @Jay Maynard: “The suicide rates for transgendered people who have received the appropriate surgery are much higher” than who? Trans people who don’t get surgery? I doubt that. In fact, the number of trans people who haven’t had surgery who commit suicide because of gender dysphoria is probably unknowable. Many of them may not be out as trans to anyone so all anyone ever knows is that some depressed kid committed suicide.

    It should be no surprise that people who get relentless criticism and rejection commit suicide at a higher rate than those who receive social acceptance.

  100. > The “trans panic” defense is still accepted in some courts here in the United States

    Cite? People have tried to use it, sure, but all the examples I’ve seen anytime in the past few decades were it being thoroughly shot down by the court.

  101. > > “The suicide rates for transgendered people who have received the appropriate surgery are much higher”

    > than who? Trans people who don’t get surgery? I doubt that

    It seems intuitively obvious to you that it must be false, because you regard sex as a superficial accident, only skin deep, but it seems intuitively obvious to me that it must be true that transgendered people who undergo surgery have higher suicide rates than those that merely cross dress, because sex goes deeper than the surgeon’s knife can reach.

  102. esr:It’s a dangerous thing to know unless you also hold in mind that the mass is not the individual – that, in fact, you don’t know where the singular human being in front of you falls on his ancestral population’s bell curve until you have measured him.

    But the most important characteristics, those that you most desire to know, you cannot measure. You have to rely on proxies. And race, sex, etc, are among the best proxies, the ones we should weight most heavily.

    At the center of the bell curve, race and sex etc are only weak predictors, but at the edges of the bell curve, very strong predictors. The edges of the bell curve do not overlap significantly.

    Thus, for example, there is probably substantial overlap in propensity to repay a mortgage between a random black and a random white. But a person applying for a mortgage is not random. From the fact that he walked in the door, you are probably dealing with the best of the whites, and the best of the blacks. And the best of the whites does not overlap significantly with the best of the blacks.

    Similarly Obama’s diverse website team did not overlap significantly with Obama’s undiverse website team.

  103. @ esr “Is that all trans people? No. But Dolezal isn’t all black people…”

    Doesn’t matter. That kind of comparison is still a right-wing tactic. We have one, single, odious person, and you’re comparing (just for the U.S.) a varied group of about a million people to the One Odious Person. If you people to stop treating you like a right-wingnut, stop acting like one. Your point about identity politics would have been just as valid without the ugly comparison. (And in fairness, you shouldn’t be using Rachel Dolezal to make points about anyone. As as crazy person she’s not a fair representation of anyone’s problems or ideologies.)

    If you quack like a duck…

    • >That kind of comparison is still a right-wing tactic.

      You know what? I officially don’t care.

      I can’t trim my sails to avoid everything some fscking dumbshit thinks is a “right wing tactic”, and if I could I would refuse to be shut down by “Oh, no! If you say that you’ll sound like a Bad Person!”

      Don’t try this shit again. It won’t work next time, either.

  104. But a person applying for a mortgage is not random. From the fact that he walked in the door, you are probably dealing with the best of the whites

    Suddenly everything JAD has ever said makes sense: This statement can only come from someone who lives in Crapistan or some other third world country (or Europe) where the average person is poor by American standards.

    Unless he wants to argue that the majority population of the US is east asian or ashkenazi jew, but I think even JAD would balk at something that ludicrous.

    • > I think even JAD would balk at something that ludicrous.

      To be scrupulously fair, there’s a germ of truth in his observation about small difference in distribution means being amplified at the right and left tails. Small differences in dispersion can have an almost indistinguishable effect.

      Of course, JAD being JAD, he has piled a buttload of craptastic prejudice over and around that truth. But it’s still there.

  105. “Assuming everyone has a strong interest in not being spied on in the bathroom, and also a strong desire not to be kicked out of the bathroom they intended to use, what is the optimal solution”

    I think there’s a different problem here: it’s just that women have a terminal preference for not having people with penises in the bathroom. A lot of people like to phrase it in terms of being spied upon, but the real answer is that our ideas about privacy are intricately tied to gender (in the bodily sense) in a way which can’t be reduced to an objection about something else.

    A lot of women, for instance, would object to being seen naked by a strange man more than by a strange woman, regardless of whether the man or woman is deliberately spying (and regardless of the sexual orientation of the man or woman); one of those two is just inherently more objectionable than the other.

    • >I think there’s a different problem here: it’s just that women have a terminal preference for not having people with penises in the bathroom.

      I agree. The element of threat there is pretty much irreducible, given (a) a person with a penis in the ladies’ room is pre-sorted for some sort of sexual deviance, and (b) you can’t know what kind of deviance until it may be too late to avoid sexual assault. The prior probabilities are very different from random person-of-penis in a non-tabooed setting.

      One of the many reasons the politics around transgender rights troubles me is that trans activists are so drunk on their victimology that they plain ignore considerations like this, or yell that raising them is prima facie proof of bigotry. This does not incline me to respect them.

  106. jonathan on 2017-05-09 at 13:08:28 said:And if Joe wants to take hormones, undergo surgery, date men, wear dresses and makeup, or whatever else…so what?

    In many cases, this is self-destructive behavior. While it can be said that it is Joe’s choice, social attitudes encourage or discourage choices. As individuals, we have a responsibility regarding what we encourage or discourage in others.

    This is especially true regarding youngsters and children. The present fashion for transgenderism has caused some trendy adults to encourage apparent gender disorder in children, with potential disastrous consequences. (This includes children with atypical preferences in toys and play being told they are transgendered and encouraged to cross-dress.) There is evidence that many children have episodes of gender confusion which they just grow out of – but at present, they are in danger of misguided psychiatric intervention and irrevocable hormonal and surgical mutilation.

    But (rock and hard place) for some children, the gender confusion is permanent, and the child would be better off if changed before puberty.

    So this is not an issue that can be just so-whatted; there are too many dangers involved.

  107. @esr: Somewhere upthread you mentioned Gramscian damage, Active Measures etc. I share your frustration at how few people are aware of it; you may be amused to see the reaction* I got recently when mentioning it on an otherwise sane and scholarly forum. tl;dr: to most people, it sounds like a conspiracy theory. (These people have apparently never heard of prospiracy.)

    What would it take to get this information past the filters and into general knowledge? Or is that impossible as long as education systems are state-controlled? I suspect that if we could make the majority of people (especially my generation) aware of this, then the political centre would move several large strides in the direction of sanity. However, I also suspect that you know this already, and that if you had a solution you’d have mentioned it by now.

    * To be scrupulously fair, the moderator action was (it turned out) not for the Gramsci part, but for having the temerity to quote Thomas Sowell. (I’m now wondering if I should leave that forum on principle.)

    • > However, I also suspect that you know this already, and that if you had a solution you’d have mentioned it by now.

      Indeed.

      There is some hope. I’ve been watching my essays on Gramscian damage and kafkatrapping slowly ripple outwards, tracking it by citations; they’re reaching people, and they’re providing language and conceptual tools for the fightback.

  108. Amy,

    It’s interesting you mention that, because there have been at least two recent studies showing a mild correlation between autism spectrum disorder and gender variance. Supposedly, someone with autism spectrum disorder is as much as seven times more likely to be gender variant than a neurotypical.

    Interesting, though not surprising. There is on average much more neural difference between any two random autistics than between any two random neurotypicals. Some other brain divergences are bound to fall outta that tree.

    However — that is not what I was getting at. What I was getting at is that where “special snowflakes” looking for attention and special pleading once claimed to be on the spectrum, they are now increasingly claiming to be transgender, genderfluid, agender, etc. without putting much work in to manifest their chosen gender identity except maybe in Tumblr screeds. This may sound like right-wing bloviation, but I’ve seen enough people who were deeply disturbed to begin with — like “get off on manipulating people and forming mini-cults of personality” disturbed — suddenly wake up one morning and decide that they are trans or agender or nonbinary, but at any rate wish now to be known as “Joe” rather than Jessica. And then post more flirty, cleavage-showing cosplay selfies or whatever, like nothing happened. So I can’t dismiss such “transtrenderism” or pretend like it’s not a thing.

  109. > This statement can only come from someone who lives in Crapistan or some other third world country

    Apex fallacy. Most white people do not have mortgages. Probably all males on this list have or will have a mortgage, but we are not typical.

    Further wealth does cause mortgages, and poverty does not prevent mortgages. What prevents mortgages is lack of trust.

    The financial crisis was a result of the demand that low trust groups receive the same treatment as the better people of high trust groups. Which demand was met by using financial derivatives to unload the resulting dud mortgages on some other sucker.

  110. I’d like to provide a few useful links specifically on the matter of transsexuality.

    First, the Wikipedia article Causes of Transsexuality, which lists what’s known about the biological basis of transsexuality with links to the peer reviewed articles. To sum it up, transsexuals have brains areas morphologically similar to those of the opposite gender, therefore when they state they feel like the opposite gender they’re stating an objective, factually accurate, and clinically verifiable (although probably expensive at this point) fact about the physical structure brains, it isn’t a mere subjective preference.

    Second, two currently official positions by the American Psychiatric Association, responsible for the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), on how to care, treat and deal with transsexuals both as individuals and as members of society:

    a) Individually, from their Position Statement on Access to Care for Transgender and Gender Variant Individuals:

    (…) the American Psychiatric Association:

    1. Recognizes that appropriately evaluated transgender and gender variant individuals can benefit greatly from medical and surgical gender transition treatments.

    2. Advocates for removal of barriers to care and supports both public and private health insurance coverage for gender transition treatment.

    3. Opposes categorical exclusions of coverage for such medically necessary treatment when prescribed by a physician.

    b) Socially, from their Position Statement on Discrimination Against Transgender and Gender Variant Individuals:

    (…) the American Psychiatric Association:

    1. Supports laws that protect the civil rights of transgender and gender variant individuals.

    2. Urges the repeal of laws and policies that discriminate against transgender and gender variant individuals.

    3. Opposes all public and private discrimination against transgender and gender variant individuals in such areas as health care, employment, housing, public accommodation, education, and licensing.

    4. Declares that no burden of proof of such judgment, capacity, or reliability shall be placed upon these individuals greater than that imposed on any other persons.

    Together, these links offer the most recent scientific and medical information on the subject.

  111. Most white people do not have mortgages. Probably all males on this list have or will have a mortgage, but we are not typical.

    For your version of reality to be true the advertising frequency of mortgages and mortgage related services would have to be different from it’s observed rate. Alternatively your category of “best whites” is such a large chunk of the bell curve that it is meaningless.

  112. I have observed people on GamerGate related fora referring to you as the guy who invented the word kafkatrap.

    So yes, it is working.

  113. Not to beat a dead horse, but the OP topic, political cudgel angle, and Gramscian utilization are symptomatic of a societal level pathology. In other words, we have bigger problems than just a few pissed off transexuals.

  114. > I’ve been watching my essays on Gramscian damage and kafkatrapping slowly ripple outwards

    I’ve been doing my part. For example, I plugged kafkatrapping without citation (why I didn’t do the cite will be patently obvious if you read the thread) here, and SHG spread the meme further here.

  115. >Restrooms are segregated because men are pigs that foul up the stalls.

    This is incorrect. Women’s rooms tend, as a rule, to be MUCH filthier than men’s rooms. Ask anyone who’s worked as a janitor.

  116. troutwaxer: >That kind of comparison is still a right-wing tactic.

    esr: > You know what? I officially don’t care.

    Troutwaxer’s tactic is the same one used by evil control freaks since the beginning of time. Someone who thought that people shouldn’t be burned as witches got put under suspicion of witchcraft. Someone who suggested that constitutional rights applied to everyone got called a commie sympathizer. And so on.

    We recently saw this tactic used when anyone who who pointed out the severe structural problems with Obamacare got characterized as “racist”.

  117. As a culture, we got to the crazy place we’re at now by privileging feelings over facts. The whole mess around “identity” is only one example of this. It’s time to say this plainly: people who privilege feelings over facts are not sane, and the facts always win in the end. Though, unfortunately, often not before the insanity has inflicted a great deal of unnecessary suffering.

    Another widespread insane meme in this category is the on-going castigation of those who give advice that is intended to prevent victimization. Today’s example:

    http://www.allure.com/story/dont-tell-women-not-to-take-nudes-tell-men-not-to-hack-them

  118. > Conservatives’ reactions seem to be dominated by … visceral ick reactions – which, while disappointing, is no better than I really expect from them, either.

    Why would people’s absolutely normal and evolutionarily-favored responses disappoint you?  That’s as bad as Lysenko insisting that crop plants behave according to Soviet doctrine, not their evolutionary history.

    Your cite of Gramsci should have clued you to this. Why not?

    > First, I would want the default to be that we treat such people kindly. Beating them up, accusing them of sin, or denying them the same rights as the rest of us is not acceptable.

    Insisting that we accept such delusions as fact is psychological abuse that should be rejected out of hand and punished if not ceased permanently on request.

    Yes, this includes your social presentation. In a normal society, this is strongly linked to biological roles and capabilities. Demanding that your delusion be privileged over the biologically-driven judgement of normal people is oppression of the strongest and most offensive sort.

    > People who mistreat others do not make society saner.

    Insisting that delusions be accepted as truth has brought American society to the brink of war.

    STOP. NOW.

    • >Why would people’s absolutely normal and evolutionarily-favored responses disappoint you?

      Because it’s letting your hindbrain pre-empt the judgment that your forebrain ought to make. You’re a human being and presumably a full sophont. Act like one, and stop with the monkey screaming.

  119. @Doctor Locketopus:

    > Women’s rooms tend, as a rule, to be MUCH filthier than men’s rooms.

    My own anecdotal evidence supports this, but I must confess my teen-age janitorial experience was in a location ( a cloth store) where the women’s room was used much more heavily.

  120. Edward: “To be scrupulously fair, the moderator action was (it turned out) not for the Gramsci part, but for having the temerity to quote Thomas Sowell. (I’m now wondering if I should leave that forum on principle.)”

    Run, do not walk, away. Thomas Sowell is one of conservatism’s great thinkers, and anywhere quoting him is objectionable enough to invoke moderator action is nowhere a thinking person should be.

    Alexander: Quoting the DSM in a discussion of sexuality is as unreliable as quoting the IPCC reports in a discussion of climate change. Both are in no small part political documents not based in science but rather intended to advance a specific agenda.

    The sad part of all this is that there are real problems there, and we have no good answers. Transition surgery for gender dysphoria is, at the moment, the least bad answer, but that does not make it good.

  121. @Patrick Maupin – “The singular “they” is sometimes useful. But the use of “him” or “her” is usefully disambiguating often enough […]”

    I’m not advocating that “they/them/theirs” completely replace “he/him/his” or “she/her/hers” for all uses, just that those pronouns be more of a “standard” usage when you want a gender-neutral third-person singular pronoun for a person. I use “she/her/hers” myself.

    @ThirteenthLetter – The “trans panic” defense has been used as recently as 2015 in this case. This isn’t a court citation, but the “trans panic” defense was mentioned in relation to the recent outing of Survivor contestant Zeke Smith as a trans man.

    @Ken Arromdee – “it’s just that women have a terminal preference for not having people with penises in the bathroom.”

    How are they going to know? Cis women do not run around exposing their genitals to other people in the ladies’ room. Neither do I. There are stalls in there, you know. I only undo my clothes when I’m in the stall with the door latched, and make sure everything’s back in place before I unlatch that door. If someone is peeking into the stall in an attempt to see what kind of genitals I have attached to my body, then I’d say they’re the pervert here, not me. (Not to mention that trans women who still have penises often can’t use them to commit sexual assault. HRT will do that to you.)

    @Jeff Read – “What I was getting at is that where ‘special snowflakes’ looking for attention and special pleading once claimed to be on the spectrum, they are now increasingly claiming to be transgender, genderfluid, agender, etc. without putting much work in to manifest their chosen gender identity except maybe in Tumblr screeds.”

    I can’t say that that appeals to me much, either. Most trans people I know really had to work to get themselves in a position where they can express their true selves. My own appearance represents the culmination of years of work developing makeup skills, a proper wardrobe, the behavior patterns associated with women, and so forth. To a certain extent, I’m not sure these kids you describe understand what they’re playing with.

    @Russ Cage – It’s rhetoric like yours that makes me want to make my next project, after completing my legal transition, getting firearms training and a concealed-carry permit. Your words are the kind that are going to be used as justification for the murder of trans women, and I refuse to become a statistic simply because my existence “offends” you or anyone else. I’ve seen too many candles lit on Transgender Day of Remembrance in memory of murdered trans women and men. I’ll be damned if anyone’s going to light such a candle for me.

    • >@Russ Cage – It’s rhetoric like yours that makes me want to make my next project, after completing my legal transition, getting firearms training and a concealed-carry permit.

      While I’m generally in favor of that, I think you’re overinterpreting what Russ Cage actually wrote.

      I didn’t see a threat of violence specifically against transsexuals there, or a justification for such violence. When Russ said “brink of war” it was clear that he was referring to war not against transsexuals but the activists of the PC left, which Russ views as attempting to impose multiple insanities on him. In that view of the world, you are not a cause but a sort of symptom; shooting you wouldn’t help, though shunning you and refusing your claim to be anything but a mentally ill person would be a reassertion of sanity.

      I think people like Russ have let their fear and anger get the better of them and are not reasoning about the details of the threat very well – but I also think their anger is not baseless at all, and the threat they perceive is real. I’ve had to fight it myself – SJWs are attempting to colonize and wreck the hacker culture under the banner of “diversity”…

      Russ needs to chill and reconsider carefully whether instinctive revulsion is really any basis for making normative claims. But you could stand to be a bit less twitchy, too. It’s not all about you, nor about transsexuals in general.

  122. @Doctor Locketopus
    “This is incorrect.”

    Not having personal knowledge of the matter of women’s rooms, I went on reports of women. That might be wrong, or the women might focus on other types of filth. I could not say either way.

  123. esr:

    I’ve had two posts that didn’t take, one last night, one tonight. Have they ended up in the mod queue? If so, the second replaces the first, so the first can be squelched.

  124. >Cite? People have tried to use it, sure, but all the examples I’ve seen anytime in the past few decades were it being thoroughly shot down by the court.

    Last time I saw this argument, it turned out to be equivocation on “accepted”. Some courts in the United States have banned that line of argument out of hand; you can’t even raise it without getting sanctioned immediately. Other courts still “accept” it in the sense that the court permits you to put forward the argument, then shoots it down.

  125. @Jay MAynard
    “The suicide rates for transgendered people who have received the appropriate surgery are much higher” than who? Trans people who don’t get surgery?”

    Page 8, table 5
    https://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/wp-content/uploads/AFSP-Williams-Suicide-Report-Final.pdf

    There is no difference in suicide risk between those who want surgery and those who have had it. However, the risk is lower for those who do not want it than those who do want it/have had it. Also, trans who are not visibly different have a somewhat lower suicide risk than those who are visibly different. The same increase was found for those who get out of the closet.
    Tables on page 9

    The biggest risk increase is not seen after surgery, but seems to be associated with coming out as a transgender. In other words, it all looks as if it is the coming out as a transgender that is the dangerous part. Which points to the reactions of society as possibly a part of the problem.

    Maybe, because transgenders then run into the likes of JAD? Or worse (that should be possible)?

  126. @Ian Brueno
    “This statement can only come from someone who lives in Crapistan or some other third world country (or Europe) where the average person is poor by American standards.”

    There is a major difference between the USA and the rest of the world wrt mortgages.

    In the US, a home owner who cannot keep up with his payments leaves his house and his debts behind. In most of the world you can lose your house, but not your debts. Your remaining mortgage debts stays with you after the bank sold your house. That changes the calculations of those who take out a mortgage (page 32 in the link).

    Actually, deficiency rates after the 2008 crisis were almost everywhere lower than in the USA.
    (figure 7)
    https://cbaweb.sdsu.edu/assets/files/research/Lea/10122_Research_RIHA_Lea_Report.pdf

  127. In the US, a home owner who cannot keep up with his payments leaves his house and his debts behind. In most of the world you can lose your house, but not your debts. Your remaining mortgage debts stays with you after the bank sold your house. That changes the calculations of those who take out a mortgage (page 32 in the link).

    This is a restatement of the US’s liberal bankruptcy laws; it doesn’t apply only to mortgages. Unless you’re referring to the 12 “non-recourse” states, where handing ownership to the bank satisfies the mortgage. In which case the IRS will want their fair share of the “income” calculated as the difference between the sale price and the mortgage price, if they catch you at it.

    Anyway, US “exceptionalism” in treatment of failed debtors is IMHO a benefit of residency/citizenship. You can screw up and get your slate wiped.

  128. @Ian Argent
    “Anyway, US “exceptionalism” in treatment of failed debtors is IMHO a benefit of residency/citizenship. You can screw up and get your slate wiped.”

    I am all for it. Lenders should be forced to evaluate risks before they lend. But it is not the law of the world outside the USA. I think this is one reason there are more startups in the US. In Europe, your first bankruptcy tends to be your last.

  129. @Russ Cage:

    > Why would people’s absolutely normal and evolutionarily-favored responses disappoint you?

    If there’s one thing science has been consistently showing, for the last 400 years at least, it’s that “absolutely normal and evolutionarily-favored responses” are wrong in almost 100% of the cases. Take literally any knowledge domain and confront what your intuitions and instincts say about it, from the shape of the Earth and the movement of the Sun and the stars, the nature of biological processes, with what we now know about it, and in almost all of the cases, with very few exceptions, science will not only tell but show you that your intuitions and instincts are wrong.

    “Evolutionarily-favored responses” have one single purpose and usefulness: they help you survive time enough in the savanna, while living in a tribe of up to 150 members, while lacking any deep knowledge of how the world works, for you to have offspring. That’s it. And attributing any higher purpose or any general applicability outside those bounds to them is also an incorrect instinctual/intuitive response.

    @Jay Maynard:

    > Quoting the DSM in a discussion of sexuality is as unreliable as quoting the IPCC reports in a discussion of climate change. Both are in no small part political documents not based in science but rather intended to advance a specific agenda.

    The main link in my answer was the first, to the Wikipedia article and all the peer reviewed publications it links to. The two other links show practical attitudes that agree with the state of the art scientific research on the matter. Therefore, I suggest you at least read the Wikipedia article in full, as it’s not only informative but also well written.

    I should also point out that disregarding the APA’s position because it’s the APA’s position isn’t a proper intellectual behavior. The two documents link to the sources on which the two official positions are based. Those, plus the links in the Wikipedia article, should offer enough basis for a proper judgment of the scientific merit of both positions by themselves.

  130. > A lot of people, perhaps projecting from their own behavior, don’t seem to be able to grasp the concept that one might point at truth one is unhappy with simply because one believes not knowing the truth is more dangerous.

    A person not grasping this, or advocating implicitly that that position is wrong, goes instantly on my list of persons to avoid.

    Now, I recognize this might be a childish behavior of mine. Lots of politicians promote that this position is dangerous for the people they defend. And in the strange new world with lots of apes screaming at everything they don’t like we’re living in, promoting an unpopular idea may destroy all one’s chances of doing a right deed that need promoting another idea.
    Thus the logical politicians position.

    There is a lot of unappreciated good into a silent position. Yet, it may mean one may only support one cause in their life.

    Disclaimer: of course, we are all apes.

  131. @esr:

    I think you’re being a bit too charitable to Russ and that Amy has every reason to be twitchy, if not about what he said, then certainly about how it could be interpreted.

    First, I would want the default to be that we treat such people kindly. Beating them up, accusing them of sin, or denying them the same rights as the rest of us is not acceptable.

    Insisting that we accept such delusions as fact is psychological abuse that should be rejected out of hand and punished if not ceased permanently on request.

    The remedy to bad speech is apparently punishment. What form should the punishment take? What form has punishment typically taken when the government refuses to provide it and people reach for self-help?

    • >The remedy to bad speech is apparently punishment.

      Yes, but punishment of who? Russ can correct me on this, but I’m seeing a desire to punish PC enforcers here – people trying to gaslight him.

  132. Hmmm, do blockquotes work here?

    it’s letting your hindbrain pre-empt the judgment that your forebrain ought to make.

    Things sexual are much of what the hindbrain is about.  The people who convince their forebrains to override such basic things are how you get deadly disorders like anorexia nervosa.  Doing so is well over on the scale of stupid.

    Doubly so in the case of overriding judgements about what is female.  The only mass epidemic of an incurable, deadly STD in the USA was driven by MSM.

    You’re a human being and presumably a full sophont. Act like one

    Others have written that a major difference between liberals and conservatives it that the latter have a far more highly developed and sensitive disgust reaction.  Disgust is one of the first emotions to develop in infants.  What you’re demanding is something that’s guaranteed to set up neuroses at the very best.  I didn’t dump Christianity to infect myself with another pathological meme-set of guilt complexes.

    If you think that “gayness” is inborn and not curable, you must accept disgust also.  Even Ed Brayton has found himself feeling it strongly enough to write about it.

  133. @Russ Cage – It’s rhetoric like yours that makes me want to make my next project, after completing my legal transition, getting firearms training and a concealed-carry permit.

    Got mine years ago.  The BLM kerfuffle in Fergadishu made me very glad I had.

    Your words are the kind that are going to be used as justification for the murder of trans women

    Frankly, bullshit.  You want to FORCE your delusion on me.  Now you want to escalate to holding a gun to my head… LITERALLY.

    My own appearance represents the culmination of years of work developing makeup skills, a proper wardrobe, the behavior patterns associated with women, and so forth.

    IOW, you’re fake and try very hard not to be spotted as one.  At least I can console myself with the thought that you’re probably a much bigger danger to yourself than you are to me.  Given the documented suicide risks, transexuals should probably be categorized as mentally ill enough to be forbidden firearms.

  134. If there’s one thing science has been consistently showing, for the last 400 years at least, it’s that “absolutely normal and evolutionarily-favored responses” are wrong in almost 100% of the cases.

    Like preferring to eat steak rather than shit?  Like 90+ percent of men refusing to have sex with other men, preferring women?

    “Well, no, not that, but….”

    No “buts”.  You pick examples of things outside of basic society and far beyond human scales of space and time and then pronounce all of the finely-tuned, survival-critical reactions that got us to the point of being sophonts “wrong”.  They’re “wrong” in the same way that Newtonian mechanics is “wrong”.  It’s a superbly accurate model for cases of low spatial curvature and speeds << c.  Basic human reactions are literally built for human survival in our natural environments, and especially among humans.  The massive differences in those environments is why we have HBD; the various human populations have been subject to divergent selection and evolution.

    Go ahead and try making the New Soviet Man where others have failed so dismally.  I’ll even withhold objections to you killing another 66 million in the effort, so long as they’re all volunteers (the victims of the Cheka sure weren’t).  But do it somewhere else.

  135. @JimR:

    “Insisting that we accept ” is not mere bad speech.

    I insist that you accept that you’re wrong about this.

  136. @esr:

    > Yes, but punishment of who?

    That is as unknown as the form of punishment at this point. But with SJWs going to war with Ross and JAD and JimR and friends, Amy’s instinct that she may be collateral damage cannot be dismissed out of hand.

    • >Amy’s instinct that she may be collateral damage cannot be dismissed out of hand.

      If transsexuals like Amy want out of the line of fire in the culture war, the most effective thing they can do is insist that the Left stop mascotizing them. A good analogy would be the #notyourshield faction in GamerGate.

  137. “I insist that you accept that you’re wrong about this.”

    Cute. Brendan Eich would like a word with you.

  138. @JimR:

    Your reference to Eich is even cuter. “Insisting” is verbal. Conflating that with the action of firing is moronic, no matter how much I insist you understand that my insistence that Hillary be prosecuted or that Trump be fired is meaningless.

  139. Are y’all deliberately being obtuse?

    No amount to badgering someone to accept something (whether a delusion or not) rises to the level of return violence: if you beat them up then you are the aggressor, but you can yell back at them all you want.

    And on the flip side; once someone tries to use actual force they are fair game for what force is necessary to make them no longer a threat.

    Bro do you even NAP?

  140. Verbal assault is assault.  It is a crime.  It’s often the harbinger of worse crimes.

    Don’t raise angry voices unless you want people to prepare themselves to receive and repel a physical assault.  And above all, DO NOT assemble in numbers to do it.  Look up “disparate force”.  Anyone subject to it has legitimate fear for their life.

  141. > No amount to badgering someone to accept something (whether a delusion or not) rises to the level of return violence: if you beat them up then you are the aggressor, but you can yell back at them all you want.

    The line between badgering and violence is not so binary as you’re implying.

    To make an obvious example, one foundational operation in the modern iteration of the culture wars is the calling down of the Internet Lynch Mob, with expressed intent to cost people jobs and other economic opportunities. Is denying someone any possible livelihood “violence”? It can certainly thoroughly ruin someone’s life.

    More generally, the history of actual mass violence shows a pattern of sequential escalation through more and more hostile actions, transitioning mostly smoothly between “fiery eliminationist rhetoric” and “deniably incited violence” (and then further). If someone is exhibiting behavior that in the past has reliably warned of future violence toward you, what’s the reaction?

  142. @Russ Cage:

    > (…) and then pronounce all of the finely-tuned, survival-critical reactions (…)

    Do you use condoms? Do you approve of women who use the pill, DIU and other such methods? Then you already overcame your “survival-critical” reactions and are forfeiting the survivability of your genetic code.

    The difference isn’t one of essence, it’s one of gradation. Being polite and kind towards people with differing brain structures doesn’t reduce your survivability unless and except the person’s differing structure includes attributes such as psychopathy and/or random violence. Refusing medical science, on the other hand, well might actually reduce your survivability.

    Tell me: what will you do once CRISPR advances enough so as to be able to switch the Y chromosome in every single cell of a male-born human body into an X chromosome, and surgery advances enough to give a male-to-female transsexual a body that matches the physical structure of her brain in every detail, up to and including a fertile uterus? It’s the same tech that will provide for, among other things, perpetual life to your own body. Will you demand the technology be outlawed? Will you demand that strict rules be put in place so that some/most of their potential uses be outlawed? Given your slippery-slope argument invoking the deaths of Communism, let me return the favor with: Will you demand that, if outlawing those uses doesn’t prosper, every female you met have at hand a “genetic birth certificate” stating whether they were actually born with a double pair of X chromosomes? Will you demand Google Glass-like devices pop up details about all individuals you’re looking so that the “GBC” is immediately visible to all, with legal obligation to provide it and criminal penalties in case of lying about it to the authorities?

    As I said, your instincts are good for the savanna. We’re 10,000 years removed from that and, barring a world-ending event that wipes humanity, with billions of years in front of us. Our standard biological framework will become a small chapter in the story of humanity. The “origins” chapter, referring to the first 0.1% of it, back before things became actually interesting.

  143. one foundational operation in the modern iteration of the culture wars is the calling down of the Internet Lynch Mob

    Quite a dangerous weapon for the short transitional period while it lasted. But that time is passed: its effectiveness ended with LambdaConf, if not before. It is still a scary club, but every time it fails or outright backfires it becomes less scary and people are more willing to ignore it.

    If someone is exhibiting behavior that in the past has reliably warned of future violence toward you, what’s the reaction?

    Preparation. Running your own meme war at full speed (you are running your own memetics, right? …..riiiight?). Making it very clear that the moment they cross the line you will retaliate. Essentially the same steps someone takes if they live in a high crime neighborhood and carry. What did you think the response should be? Tacnukes?

    Witness the Battle of Berkley. The pro-free speech people involved in it showed remarkable and mostly proper restraint considering the lunatics they were faced with. More humiliation would have been beneficial, but whatever. Now the antifa fools think they need to arm up, but the good guys have already demonstrated that they aren’t afraid anymore. So when antifa does escalate they will do some (more) damage, and be promptly bitch-slapped back to the crib they slithered out of.

  144. Who’d a thunk Russ Cage would spout SJW “word are actual violence” nonsense? Hey, Russ, your words here have been an assault on Amy. Turn yourself in at the nearest police station for arrest and prosecution.

  145. > > First, I would want the default to be that we treat such people kindly. Beating them up,
    > > accusing them of sin, or denying them the same rights as the rest of us is not acceptable.

    > Insisting that we accept such delusions as fact is psychological abuse that should be
    > rejected out of hand and punished if not ceased permanently on request.

    Tolerance, acceptance and advocacy are three different things.

    A modern pluralistic society requires that we *tolerate* a certain degree of things we personally may deem distasteful, unwise, illogical, at odds with the observable universe, or just plain stupid.

    But this doesn’t mean we need to *accept* these things, and we should actively punch back when required to add our voices to the advocacy.

  146. Do you use condoms? Do you approve of women who use the pill, DIU and other such methods? Then you already overcame your “survival-critical” reactions and are forfeiting the survivability of your genetic code.

    I have and do, but regulation of reproduction is part and parcel of K-selection.  We only got where we are by escaping the Malthusian trap that all r-selected societies wind up in sooner or later.

    The solution for K-selected societies being out-bred by r-selected invaders is to send the invaders back.

    Being polite and kind towards people with differing brain structures doesn’t reduce your survivability

    Bullshit.  Insisting that I accept someone else’s delusion that my absolutely normal brain structures and scientific fact both say is WRONG is naked aggression.  They start by being far worse than merely impolite, and that terminates any obligations I might have had toward them.

    what will you do once CRISPR advances enough so as to be able to switch the Y chromosome in every single cell of a male-born human body into an X chromosome, and surgery advances enough to give a male-to-female transsexual a body that matches the physical structure of her brain in every detail, up to and including a fertile uterus?

    Then I will say that the advertising is no longer false, and one major piece of “Steel Beach” is no longer fiction.

    Of course, the more likely outcome is that errors in brain development which cause such mis-matches are simply not allowed to occur any more.

  147. > If transsexuals like Amy want out of the line of fire in the culture war, the most effective thing they can do is insist that the Left stop mascotizing them.

    It’s possible it could be useful. But maybe not — look what happened to Rebecca Tuvel. These people eat their own for breakfast.

    Honestly, if someone just wants to be left alone, it’s not their job to tell one set of dangerously crazy people to stop tweaking another set of dangerously crazy people. That’s more like a job for the rest of us.

    • >But maybe not — look what happened to Rebecca Tuvel. These people eat their own for breakfast.

      That’s not a bug, that’s a feature. We should encourage that sort of autophagy.

  148. @Russ Cage:

    > Verbal assault is assault. It is a crime.

    Sure, but you’re conflating verbal assault with words on the internet. As Rob K points out, that’s bullshit of the highest calibre, right out of the SJW playbook.

  149. @Patrick Maupin – I think you’ve hit the nail on the head here. When Russ says:

    “Insisting that we accept such delusions as fact is psychological abuse that should be rejected out of hand and punished if not ceased permanently on request.”

    Who “insist[s] that we accept such delusions as fact”? Is it the “PC enforcers,” as ESR claims? Or is it trans people in general, as his later quote (“You want to FORCE your delusion on me”) would seem to indicate? If the latter, then you’re darned right I’ve got every reason to be “twitchy.” (And then he tops it off with insults direct, implying that I’m suicidal. Nothing of the sort! I’m a lot happier as Amy, and people who’ve seen me have noticed.)

    @ESR – “If transsexuals like Amy want out of the line of fire in the culture war, the most effective thing they can do is insist that the Left stop mascotizing them.”

    That would be nice. I’m no more someone’s mascot than I am their punching bag. What I really, really want is that people would treat me with the courtesy normally extended to those of my gender, but otherwise leave me be and let me live my own life, just as I have no interest in interfering in theirs! The only thing that motivates me to speak up is either against a clear and present threat–and Russ’ comments seem to me to qualify–or to help educate other people, as in, “See, we aren’t really that much unlike you!” Most of the work I do in the community is either focused on helping fellow trans women and men, as with my work with the Gender Identity Center of Colorado, or on fundraising for various worthy causes, some LGBT-related, some not.

    Transgender is not contagious, for $DEITY’s sake. I won’t even try to verbally persuade someone into crossdressing. You’ve got to feel the need to express the other gender, deep down, or else it’s just not going to work for you. Either you do or you don’t, basically, and, if you don’t, there’s not only no point trying to convince you any different, it would be immoral and possibly hazardous.

    • >Who “insist[s] that we accept such delusions as fact”? Is it the “PC enforcers,” as ESR claims? Or is it trans people in general, as his later quote (“You want to FORCE your delusion on me”) would seem to indicate?

      It could be either. But let’s talk about what’s meant by “force” here.

      Lately I’ve several times come near writing a blog post titled “Why I Now Regret Supporting Gay Marriage.” One-sentence version: gay activists lost me when they scalped Brendan Eich and began using the force of law to persecute bakers and pizza shops.

      The entirely reasonable fear of people like Russ Cage is that, soon, they may be punished by force of law for refusing to endorse transgenderism in their speech and behavior. Transgender people “insisting” is not threatening; there are too few of you. PC enforcers who have co-opted the force of law are, on the other hand, very threatening.

      I sympathize with this fear. There is a creeping meta-level totalitarianism about all these object-level demands for “tolerance”; it builds on the original corruption of “public-accommodation” laws that progressively shrink the private sphere in which individual choice and private property are not interfered with. It’s “tolerance or we’ll jail you for hatecrime”, with the definition of hatecrime becoming ever more malleable and expansive and ever more abused as a political cudgel.

      In my view not much fault for this attaches to transsexuals per se. You’ve been mascotized as part of a continuing attack on liberty and its sustaining institutions; you’ll be discarded as soon as your interests conflict with a later phase of the attack, as gays are now being discarded in favor of Muslims. I don’t actually blame gays, either; the real villains are the Gramscians using sexual and racial minorities to totalitarianize our society, to make everything political.

      Left to themselves, conservatives like Russ would probably settle for a truce: if you keep your laws off my private life and my business and my speech, I will shun transsexuals and other people I think are icky but not do actual violence to them. More and more people speak of “culture war” now because it is clearer by the month that the Gramscians don’t mean to leave anyone that live-and-let-live option. Me, I figured that out during the Eich flap; since then, the only real question has been who the mascots for the next turn of the repressive screw were going to be.

      Congratulations, transsexuals. It’s your turn. Anybody want to open a pool on who the next mascot group will be? Before they became inconvenient during the attack on Milo Yiannopolous, I was getting some strong hints from SJW-land that it might be pedophiles. Now? Who knows – bestialists, maybe? Necrophiles?

  150. > We should encourage that sort of autophagy.

    Yeah, I’m all for that, but it’s also a sign to start asking seriously what Martin Niemöller would suggest we do.

  151. Eric, there’s another advantage to the Left when they take up the “transsexual” cause. (I use sneer quotes, because in fact “Claire” is no more a transsexual than I am. He is a transvestite). Specifically, it enables leftist males to hide behind their faux femininity when they use violence.

    For my own part, I intend to kill–you read that right–any Leftist who attacks me. If it appears to be a woman, I will assume it to be a transsexual male.

    • >Specifically, it enables leftist males to hide behind their faux femininity when they use violence.

      I don’t think there’s any evidence that they’re actually attempting this. The Black Bloc certainly isn’t very femme.

  152. Witness the Battle of Berkley. The pro-free speech people involved in it showed remarkable and mostly proper restraint considering the lunatics they were faced with.

    Actually, I thought that they missed an opportunity. Like Gen. George Meade at Gettysburg, they won a crucial battle that may very well turn out to be seen as decisive when the war is over; but also like Gen. Meade, they failed to pursue and wipe out the enemy.

  153. > I don’t think there’s any evidence that they’re actually attempting this. The Black Bloc certainly isn’t very femme.

    If anything, those leftist women who get involved with antifa violence seem to look conspicuously less feminine than usual.

  154. If anything, those leftist women who get involved with antifa violence seem to look conspicuously less feminine than usual.

    Which would make perfect sense if they were actually men.

    • >Which would make perfect sense if they were actually men.

      You’re being silly. It’s quite a bit more likely that they’re lesbians with androgenized brains. Recruiting women for street thuggery would select for this.

      Anyway, the distribution means for upper body strength in males and females are so wildly different that Olympic-grade adult female athletes recently got schooled by 15-year-old boys and nobody with a clue was surprised. See also “Moldylock’s” pathetic fail against the dude from Evropa at the Battle of Berkeley. Thus, posing as female would collapse pretty fast in a streetfight.

  155. I had read “Insisting that we accept” as “or else they’ll team with their allies and create law that forces us to accept”, but I can see how it could have been interpreted as “asking very firmly and pointedly”.

    I’ll point out that Google says “insist” means “demand something forcefully, not accepting refusal”. I’m no language prescriptivist, but if one side gets one definition and another side gets another…

    Ambiguity in written language is causing a lot of the problems throughout these types of issues, for me at least.

  156. Okay, ESR, I can understand your sentiment. I’ve long believed that the solution to bakers, pizza shops, etc. that don’t want to serve LGBT people is to go and find someone else that will, and tell people why you did so. If enough people do that, the businesses expressing bigotry will founder, and the ones that don’t will prosper.

    (Which in turn strongly implies that any business refusing service to a paying customer just because their lifestyle offends the owners is shooting itself in the foot by doing so. Most small businesses can’t afford to turn away business.)

    If Russ were to treat me in a proper fashion for a lady, I’d have no problem with him no matter what he may think about me. On his own time, in private, he can snarl at me all he likes. He can stick pins into a voodoo doll of me if he wants. He can get together with all his conservative buddies and gripe about “those damn trannies” all he wants.

    But if he starts giving me the side-eye, I certainly won’t want to have anything to do with him. If he starts being rude to me, he shouldn’t be surprised if I lob it right back into his teeth by calling him a “Bible-thumping Neanderthal” or similar. And, if he moves to attack me physically, I will use whatever force is necessary to stop him from doing so…up to and including deadly force, because the sheer number of trans women that have been murdered for no other “crime” than being who and what they are gives me ample reason to fear for my life in any physical confrontation.

    But I’m not going to go after him for “wrongthink.” Too many of my sisters would be inclined to go after me for “wrongthink,” given that I believe things like:

    – Socialized medicine is never a good idea.

    – People seeking to come to this country should do so legally. Those that have entered this country in violation of its laws have to go back. If you have no borders, you have no nation.

    – The science is far from “settled” on global climate change. Certainly nowhere near “settled” enough to essentially gamble the entire economy of the planet that we can “solve” it.

    – Islam is fundamentally incompatible with modern civilization. It must be either reformed, quarantined, or destroyed.

    And this summarizes the horns of the dilemma I find myself upon. I might actually agree with Russ on many issues…but, if he wants to see me essentially removed from existence because he can’t stand the fact that I’m trans, then we have a problem. Likewise, the “other side” wants me to swallow their entire agenda along with the fact of accepting me for who and what i am…but I can’t force myself to choke it all down.

    If you, ESR, think I’m “icky,” I won’t force you to spend time around me. I’d rather be with people that appreciate me for what I am anyway…a set that includes almost all of the people that actually surround me in my daily life.

    • >If you, ESR, think I’m “icky,” I won’t force you to spend time around me.

      I didn’t say that. I’m trying to argue in a mode that keeps my ick feelings, or lack of them, irrelevant.

      The point I’m trying to get across to you is that Russ is only your enemy to the extent that he feels cornered by the Gramscians. I think. He might correct me.

  157. Gramscians

    Who even are the actual Gramscians these days? I admit, it does all sound like a conspiracy theory, but supposing it’s true: if so, who are they? Who’s still operating the war machine? Is it intentional? Or do you mean that it doesn’t have to be? And if that’s true, do they even deserve blame? Are you just fighting a fire with no arsonist around anymore?

    (Btw, another ambiguity: the definition of “prospiracy” being used here is still not the first one that pops up in a search. I know yours, and it’s been buried. Neither is in extremely wide use.)

    • >Are you just fighting a fire with no arsonist around anymore?

      I think that’s actually a good metaphor. Most of the Gramscians are not even conscious Marxists anymore, though they remain easily manipulable by conscious Marxists and consscious Marxists find it easy to gain leadership in their networks.

      The Soviets constructed a kind of mind virus that survived their empire, a thing like a religion. You can tell it’s contiguous with their propaganda because it has the same tropes sticking out of it – a big one, for example, is the obsession with power dynamics as an explanatory mechanism to the exclusion of any other generative theory about even literature or art.

      Once you know to look, you can spot all kinds of features of Soviet Marxism/Leninism that have been stripped of their original context but remain part of the virus. Here’s another one: there is never any enemy to the left. And another: the U.S. never has any legitimate national interests at all, can act rightly under when there is some kind of “humanitarian” justification, and the rightness is judged ex post facto by how much blood and treasure it sacrifices for how little gain.

      Look up the Baran-Wallerstein “world system” thesis. Once you understand what it is and how it was a response to the original, failed Marxian theory of the immiseration of the proletariat – look around you. It’s utterly contradicted by facts – far from being immiserated, J. Random Thirld Worlder is wealthier and less immiserated than at any time in history. Yet recognizable variants of Baran-Wallerstein haunt every thought the Gramscian infectee has about global politics.

      I think I need to write a long blog post about this.

  158. “I don’t think there’s any evidence that they’re actually attempting this. The Black Bloc certainly isn’t very femme.”

    maybe not, but moldylocks and her supporters certainly tried to play the “he hit back at a girl!” card.

  159. @Ken

    they failed to pursue and wipe out the enemy.

    I should have been more clear: the restraint I was praising was that of the good guys to not break every bone in the body of every antifa they could catch. A tempting option after seeing how antifa would drag people into their side of the crowd and whale on them.

    For what you said I agree, see my previous statement: ” More humiliation would have been beneficial, but whatever.”

  160. Ian Bruene:

    I don’t see restraint as praiseworthy. Granted, there are times when you need to restrain yourself; but every time you do, it takes a little out of you. When a Leftist sucker punches you, no one says, “This proves Leftists are thugs.” They say, “Look, the conservative pussy got his ass kicked.”

    This is one thing that has been sticking in my craw for a while. We on the Right (and sorry, ESR, I am including you as Right–yeah, I know it’s not technically accurate) need to start WINNING these conflagrations. Winning elections does no good if the enemy controls the street.

    And that, for most people means being emotionally ready not to “win”–winning is for baseball players–but to KILL. You need to see the enemy as not having a life worth sparing.

    Nothing irritates me more on the Right than the “mopey old men” who are just so HORRIFIED that the Left would use VIOLENCE!!!! Thank God we Civilized Men (TM) don’t do something like that! An example is Ben Stein, from the American Spectator, who back during the 2000 election, was saying that the Bush brothers were such nice boys, and that it saddened him that they would almost certainly lose to the tough guys in the Democrat Party. Another example was James Pinkerton, who after the 1998 midterms–in which the GOP lost seats in the House–said that, well, the Democrats would always have an edge because they were the rebels against their parents, and the GOP were the good little boys (my words, not his) who did what their parents told them to do.

    The fact is: if we are to defeat them, there will have to be blood shed. Their blood.

  161. And note: I did acknowledge the need OCCASIONALLY for restraint. Just like a military force needs not to rush into a trap. But if a military force is ALWAYS retreating, it will become demoralized.

  162. @esr: “I agree. The element of threat there is pretty much irreducible, given (a) a person with a penis in the ladies’ room is pre-sorted for some sort of sexual deviance, and (b) you can’t know what kind of deviance until it may be too late to avoid sexual assault.”

    I think you don’t actually agree. It’s a *terminal preference*. It isn’t based upon something else, such as chance for deviance. It may be associated with deviance in people’s minds, but that association is not a full explanation of why women don’t like it.

    @at: “How are they going to know? Cis women do not run around exposing their genitals to other people in the ladies’ room.”

    People have preferences about things that they can’t observe, so women prefer not having people with penises in the women’s room regardless of whether they know that the penis is there. If you are a certain type of utilitarian, you might not, but most people are not those.

    • >I think you don’t actually agree. It’s a *terminal preference*

      Terminal preferences have explanations too. We’re evolved survival machines; we don’t have preferences hanging in midair without any connection to reproductive fitness. I’m just analyzing a level deeper, is all.

  163. Maupin:

    look what happened to Rebecca Tuvel. These people eat their own for breakfast.

    Heckler’s veto by proxy?  Their behavior is not MY responsibility.

    you’re conflating verbal assault with words on the internet.

    Projection (and bullshit).  The word “yell” was quite deliberately used here.  Yelling is done with one’s voice, not one’s keyboard, and here in my own house I can yell to my heart’s content and nobody but my nearest neighbor would ever know.  (Maybe they’d think it was just attempted rap.)

    If someone says “bullshit, now get lost” and your response is to yell at them (has to be in person, of course), that is assault.  If you assemble a mob to yell at an individual or even just glare, that is assault, intimidation and disparate force.  It also appears to meet the definition of stalking under my state law.

  164. (Note:  some comments are going to moderation and may make their first appearance other than at the bottom of the thread.)

    And I need to hit this again:

    Because it’s letting your hindbrain pre-empt the judgment that your forebrain ought to make. You’re a human being and presumably a full sophont.

    But you’re not applying this to the feels-like-a-woman-in-a-man’s-body, who ought to be able to just “pre-empt” that hindbrain judgement too, right?  Who would definitely be happier and more functional if they “simply” did that, right?

    You’re giving Amy a pussy-less pass.

    • >But you’re not applying this to the feels-like-a-woman-in-a-man’s-body, who ought to be able to just “pre-empt” that hindbrain judgement too, right?

      Pay attention. I’ve actually said in this thread, and a previous post, that I hold open the possibility that Amy and others like her are epistemically indistinguishable from BIID sufferers – that is, mislabeled mental cases. You could be right that she’s plain nuts and her feelings don’t correspond to reality.

      But I don’t know that with high enough confidence to treat Amy like shit. She might be a non-crazy intersex. She might be something I don’t understand etiologically at all. So I behave with civility and gather data. It’s not like that choice is costing me anything.

  165. What I really, really want is that people would treat me with the courtesy normally extended to those of my gender, but otherwise leave me be and let me live my own life, just as I have no interest in interfering in theirs!

    That’s just it.  You’re demanding treatment accorded to a gender that isn’t truly yours (no matter what your feelz are), and interfering in other people’s lives to the extent that you do it against their own better (normal) judgement.

    Transgender is not contagious, for $DEITY’s sake.

    It isn’t?  What, then, is causing this flood of “transgender children”, some of whom aren’t even verbal yet?

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/10/21/boy-7-removed-from-mothers-care-following-concerns-she-was-forci/
    https://spectator.org/transgenderism-and-the-power-of-a-parent/

    Yes, yes, I know, it’s child abuse, Munschausen syndrome by proxy, AND offensive and disgusting.  And it would not be possible without the demands for “acceptance” by and on behalf of people like you.  The Gramscians behind it don’t care, you’re just tools to destroy civilization.

  166. For my own part, I intend to kill–you read that right–any Leftist who attacks me.

    For the record, I carry.  I’ve never dropped the hammer on anyone, but I’ve had to draw once and have been ready to on two other occasions.  You fuck with me at risk of your life.

  167. If he starts being rude to me, he shouldn’t be surprised if I lob it right back into his teeth by calling him a “Bible-thumping Neanderthal” or similar.

    Oh, that’s hilarious.  I’ve been an atheist for 4 decades and counting now, and the only humanoids WITHOUT Neanderthal DNA are sub-saharan Africans… who are, with the exception of Australian abos, literally the dumbest people on earth.

    http://www.npiamerica.org/research/category/racial-differences-in-intelligence-personality-and-behavior

  168. if he moves to attack me physically

    Wish-fulfillment fantasy?  I have never said I want ANYTHING to do with you.  I’ve known several “transgender” people.  So far they’ve mostly been somewhere between harmless and pathetic (one was a psychopath, who I won’t name).  But Eric has it right:  the same people who put Christian bakers and florists out of business are after me (a pro-choice atheist! just because I’m a heterosexual White male) too, and you’re a convenient cats-paw.  I’ve just decided that I’m not going to be quiet about it.

    Eric:

    Russ is only your enemy to the extent that he feels cornered by the Gramscians.

    You got that right.

    Are…. you Milo’s trans sister?

    Oh, dear, it’s a totally unexpected tragedy of our technological revolution.  Humans are being trans-sisterized!

  169. @Russ Cage:

    Insisting that I accept someone else’s delusion that my absolutely normal brain structures and scientific fact both say is WRONG is naked aggression.

    You clearly don’t know the science you proclaim as sustaining your assertions. Follow the link I’ve provided before and read it: Causes of transsexuality.

    By the way: after several similar debates on the subject, I’m by now used to conservatives usually refusing to read that link. They keep debating, and debating, and debating, and debating, all the while outright avoiding to gain any knowledge on the matter that might compromise whatever their gut instincts tell them. This, I confess, is odd, because on all other areas of knowledge it’s usual for conservatives to know more about the subject matter than their progressive counterparts, not less. Sex however, and everything related to it, tends to be the glaring exception.

    the more likely outcome is that errors in brain development which cause such mis-matches are simply not allowed to occur any more.

    Maybe, but I’d bet on people using these tools to increase their fitness by expanding their range of possibilities rather than to reduce it by reducing them. Having such a strong attachment to one’s baseline bodily structure in a future space-faring civilization would hinder individuals rather than empower them.

    My own expectation is that people will select for full adaptability insofar as bodily shape, function and features are concerned: higher IQ; higher Dunbar number; higher Kohlbergian and Fowlerian stages accessibility; less cognitive biases etc. I most definitely don’t expect them to opt for a stricter adherence to much less flexible alternatives.

    In that regards, therefore, I think transsexuality will be overcome as much as cissexuality, ditto for the heterosexuality vs. homosexuality duality. All of those are restrictive. If anything, future human beings will be pansexual. It’s the optimal configuration for a state of affairs in which individuals, rather than species, are the focus.

  170. @Ian Bruene – “Are…. you Milo’s trans sister?”

    Milo who? Milo Minderbinder from Catch-22? Milo from Monster Hunter International?

    @Russ Cage – Sorry, I was using “you” as a stand-in for “all the right-wingers who hate trans people,” just because of your rhetoric here. You yourself may have no ill will towards me. I’m willing to grant that. You might be off my list of people I’d want to have dinner with, but meh.

    @ESR – “Russ is only your enemy to the extent that he feels cornered by the Gramscians.”

    Well, I’m not sure of what “Gramscians” means in this context, but I don’t think I’m one of them. He doesn’t have to believe I’m a “real woman”; I know what I am, and his beliefs aren’t going to change that.

    @Alexander Gieg – I’m not an expert on why people are trans or not. I’ve sometimes wondered if I should have had my chromosomes analyzed, or my hormone levels (pre-HRT) checked, or something else that might identify why I’m the way I am. But then I remember the words I read from an older trans woman to a younger one that had these same questions: “Why? Are you looking for something to blame?”

    • >Milo who? Milo Minderbinder from Catch-22? Milo from Monster Hunter International?

      LOL. Milo Yiannopulous. Anti-PC provocateur. Has a lot of fans among my regulars.

      >Well, I’m not sure of what “Gramscians” means in this context, but I don’t think I’m one of them.

      No, you rather obviously are not, and that fact has been surprising the hell out of my regulars.

      Go read this: Gramscian Damage. The “Gramscians” as referred to here are are memebots running a psyops program that outlasted its Soviet masters – which is to say, every SJW and almost all of the self-identified “Left”. Russ understands this and confirms that he finds you threatening only to the degree he feels cornered by the Gramscians – his exact words were “You got that right”.

  171. Get out of your cave and meet some others with complicated identities. You use Rachel Dolezal as an example because it is clearly a black and white issue, and Rachel is so easy to diss. Meet a 75% black woman who looks 90% white and see her suffering as she witnesses what other members of her family suffer from. Who are you to tell her that she can’t identify black?

    Btw, genotype != phenotype and whites can tan too.

    • >Meet a 75% black woman who looks 90% white and see her suffering as she witnesses what other members of her family suffer from. Who are you to tell her that she can’t identify black?

      It’s rather funny when people make assumptions this stupid at me.

      One of the ex-girlfriends I remember most fondly is an interracial woman – Afro-American mother, Irish father. Identified as black. I’d make a bet she knows more about having a complicated identity than you do.

      She was bright as hell, and quite self-aware. We talked a lot.

      Out of the absurd number of women I’ve been with, she was one of the small handful I might have married, knowing that if we had kids their racial identity would be…even more complicated.

      Don’t presume to tell me what I do or don’t know,

  172. @esr:

    The Soviets constructed a kind of mind virus that survived their empire, a thing like a religion.

    It’s more than that. They built a culture.

    You can think about it as the difference between “the West” vs. “the Church”. The former was built around the later, either positively by its direct influence, or negatively by means of all the kinds of opposition directed towards it that emerged from within the cultural landscape shaped by it.

    When one joins “the left”, be it either consciously or by means of imitation from their peers and authority figures, one assumes for oneself tons of things that are culturally “leftwing-y” without necessarily knowing where they come from or why they happen to be the way they are. This ranges from concepts and ideas to modes of speech, ways to signal their pertaining, what they find humorous or not, a basic implicit shared worldview, and so on and so fort. So, for them it’s just “how everyone else acts”.

    As for Marxism, it’d be the “the Church” aspect of the thing. A few progressives are full on Marxists (or any of the differing “branches” that were born from it), similarly to how a few Westerners are Priests (or high level member of diverging branches, including Atheist preachers, who culturally share many basic agreements with Priests while saying the exact opposite they say). The majority however live way outside that level of knowledge on the inner workings of their cultural landscape.

    This is why “the left” can be so pervasive. It isn’t merely a set of ideas. It isn’t merely a set of organic intellectuals in the Gramscian “branch” actively trying to embed Marxist twists into everything they touch. It’s wider and deeper than that. For those in left, it’s simply “reality”.

    I think I need to write a long blog post about this.

    Please do. :-)

    • >It’s more than that. They built a culture.

      That’s an inadequate description. Cultures are not usually weapons designed for specific objectives. Eh. I need to write that blog post.

  173. Here in the USA, we are now in our fourth generation of extraordinary affluence and it has wrought a rapid anti-evolutionary decline in our overall fitness and robustness. Whereas our ancestors once fought to stay alive and reproduce in a world of extreme hardship and daily mortal threat; we now manufacture a desperate struggle over hurt feelings in the transgender community. We sorely miss that primordial gauntlet and opportunity to test and measure ourselves. Surely we can find better challenges that befit our heritage.

  174. @Amy Tapie:

    I’m not an expert on why people are trans or not. I’ve sometimes wondered if I should have had my chromosomes analyzed, or my hormone levels (pre-HRT) checked, or something else that might identify why I’m the way I am.

    It’d be more expensive than a blood test could tell. Currently it requires a brain scan to look at areas that diverge between cis men and women. Heterosexual transgender individuals have those areas with characteristics very similar to those of the cis gender they identify with, which suggests their brains are, literally, of the opposite gender. Such scans are done in academic studies, but not, as far as I know at least, for individuals that aren’t part of such studies. Maybe in the future such scans will be available for the general public. IMHO that’d be particularly useful for parents to know whether their children are transgendered or not an thus as a means for them to better fulfill the children needs.

    As for homossexual transgender individuals, their scans imply a more complicated case, or maybe lack of resolution in the current scans (or lack of enough areas scanned). Their brain scans tend to fall somewhere in the middle of the different scales.

    But then I remember the words I read from an older trans woman to a younger one that had these same questions: “Why? Are you looking for something to blame?”

    No, not blame. It provides for a strong assurance that there is nothing delusional about being transgendered, but quite the opposite, a transgender individual is simply someone who has a good self-perception about their own body, specifically, about their own brains.

    Also, it provides a good counter-argument for naturalistic ideas about how it’s a “choice”, how a transexual should “learn to accept their body” etc.

    And finally, because more information is as a rule a good thing. It opens possibilities, while lack of knowledge always closes them.

    • >Heterosexual transgender individuals have those areas with characteristics very similar to those of the cis gender they identify with, which suggests their brains are, literally, of the opposite gender.

      I have personal reason to think this is underdetermined, though.

      I have strong reason to believe that my brain has at least two major female-typical features: weak lateralization and a corpus callosum functional into adulthood (in most men it shrinks and becomes almost inactive; in women it doesn’t). This is from a neuropsychologist in the 1970s after he ran a test battery on me; the technology for direct imaging to confirm it didn’t then exist.

      But I am gendersolid like a rock. Never had even the slightest sense of not being fully male and happy with it.

      This makes me skeptical about the female-brain-in-male-body thing, at least as far as gross morphology that you can capture on an MRI goes. Of course I get it about fetal androgenization or lack thereof, but the important parts of that are probably neural-network pruning that we can’t see.

  175. @Russ Cage:

    > Heckler’s veto by proxy? Their behavior is not MY responsibility.

    Quite the opposite of a hecker’s veto. I was explaining that they’re not Amy’s responsibility, either. OTOH, if their behavior is so problematic you might have to eventually kill them, it might behoove you to help the rest of us figure out how to defang them instead.

    > The word “yell” was quite deliberately used here.

    Yes, and if you look at it in context, it wasn’t necessarily about the kind of yelling that rises to the level of a physical threat.

  176. @esr:

    No, you rather obviously are not, and that fact has been surprising the hell out of my regulars.

    I know several transsexuals. Not enough to derive a statistics from this, but even though it’s at best anecdotal, only a third of them buy the SJW mindset. Another third are your standard moderate liberal. And the remaining third adamantly dislike SJWs, a few of these being libertarian, a few not caring about politics.

    From this last group, an interesting case was a close friend of mine, a 60-years-old male-to-female transsexual (in a 30-years-old stable polyamorous marriage, no less), who didn’t know what a SJW was. Someone called her that, and she was confused and asked around what it meant. When people explained it to her she was horrified, and felt actually offended someone would think that of her.

    I suspect that’s more common than we think. The problem is, as always, that SJWs are a loud bunch, and since they coopted the transsexual “cause” that gives the incorrect impression all transsexuals are SJWs, what most definitely isn’t the case.

    By the way, an example of a powerful libertarian transsexual is Mara Pérez, diversity coordinator in the also libertarian Argentinian government. If you read Spanish here’s an article on her. If not, the paragraph below I translated provides some useful details:

    “She describes herself as Catholic and Libertarian. And before anything else, as a firm defender of gender equality. She has fought so hard for this equality — including in her profession as a social communicator — that a little over a year ago, still a parliamentary assistant of then representative Bullrich in Congress, she opposed a Kirchnerist bill that would provide universal subsidies to all transsexual citizens: ‘This subsidy ends work culture and entails a dissimulated form of discrimination. It is very stigmatizing and it also angers those who have so much difficulty finding a job and making meets end’, she claimed before the microphones of popular journalist Nelson Castro.”

    Needless to say, SJW Argentinians weren’t happy with her then, and aren’t happy with her now, calling her a “traitor” of the transsexual “cause” etc. So, yeah. :-)

    That’s an inadequate description. Cultures are not usually weapons designed for specific objectives.

    Maybe, but given the older example of Islam in its original form, as practiced by Muhammad himself, I’d say sometimes they are. Also, consider that if a culture has “Revolution” as a prime value, the one around which and from which its founding myths are constructed — just see how all their heroes have the “Revolutionary” title attached to them implicitly and many times explicitly –, and it isn’t so much that it was build as a weapon, but that doing things that from an external perspective look like weaponization acquires the aspect of a social duty. In other words, as a Marxist you prove your “conservatism” among your peers by how much you fight for the cause, and as a non-fighter you do the same by how much you “support our troops” etc. So the parallels are most definitely there.

  177. @esr:

    This makes me skeptical about the female-brain-in-male-body thing, at least as far as gross morphology that you can capture on an MRI goes.

    As with most everything in nature, this works in a Bell or Bell-like curve. The thing however is, there are very strong correlations between the brain areas currently scanned in details and transgenderism, so while a few features aren’t predictive of transgenderism, others are. Also, the technology to locate these differences has advanced a lot since the 1970’s. Current technology can measure details that back then would amount to less than rounding errors.

  178. >Before they became inconvenient during the attack on Milo Yiannopolous, I was getting some strong hints from SJW-land that it might be pedophiles.

    You are assuming a logical consistency on the part of the left that is not actually in evidence. They’re perfectly capable of demonizing an individual or group on one day, then worshiping that same person or group the next.

    Notice how James Comey has suddenly become a hero to the same people who were calling for his head a few short days ago.

    Their thought leaders sometimes even use it as a loyalty test. If you can persuade your followers to assent to something completely absurd, you know your power over them is absolute.

    The “We have always been at war with Eastasia” bit came from Orwell’s own experience dealing with Communists, after all.

    >Tell me: what will you do once CRISPR advances enough so as to be able to switch the Y chromosome in every single cell of a male-born human body into an X chromosome, and surgery advances enough to give a male-to-female transsexual a body that matches the physical structure of her brain in every detail, up to and including a fertile uterus?

    In that situation, the transexual will still be ethically obligated to tell the prospective partner about it well before any actual sex occurs. It’s only common courtesy, even in situations considerably less squick-prone than gender-swapping. For example, when I was dating a somewhat-religious Jewish woman, I made sure to let her know that I a) wasn’t circumcised and b) was not going to become circumcised under any…um…circumstances (barring cancer or something of that nature). As it turned out, it didn’t bother her, but it might have, so I told her.

    • >[SJW] thought leaders sometimes even use it as a loyalty test. If you can persuade your followers to assent to something completely absurd, you know your power over them is absolute.

      Of course this is true. It is, in fact, one of the clearest tells that the Gramscians are components of a machine designed to replicate Soviet-style totalitarianism. It gives away their meta-level objectives.

      *sigh* More people should read Orwell.

  179. Amy Tapie:

    If you, ESR, think I’m “icky,” I won’t force you to spend time around me.

    I suspect a misunderstanding has taken place. Eric wrote:

    Left to themselves, conservatives like Russ would probably settle for a truce: if you keep your laws off my private life and my business and my speech, I will shun transsexuals and other people I think are icky but not do actual violence to them.

    My interpretation is that what comes after “truce:” is what our host believes “conservatives like Russ” would say if “left to themselves”, rather than something he was saying as himself. So – if I’m right – it was metalanguage, but he failed to indicate that by putting the passage between quotation marks. Thus, the “icky” part wasn’t an expression of his own feelings.

    While we’re at it: I apologize if my earlier remarks offended you. Your libertarian stances prove that the concept of gender identity isn’t inextricably bound to postmodernism or totalitarian political correctness. I should have known better, since I already believed that certain causes associated with the Left (such as animal rights) are compatible with a libertarian, or even conservative, worldview.

    Thank you for broadening my perspective.

    • >Thus, the “icky” part wasn’t an expression of his own feelings.

      That is correct.

      One of the important respects in which I am not like conservatives is that my “ick” reaction does not couple strongly to my value judgments. So even supposing that I had an “ick” reaction to Amy, it wouldn’t disturb my thought processes much.

  180. @ Winter “I am all for it. Lenders should be forced to evaluate risks before they lend. But it is not the law of the world outside the USA. I think this is one reason there are more startups in the US. In Europe, your first bankruptcy tends to be your last.”

    Which is interesting, when I view the various attempts at implementing a “right to be forgotten” on the other side of the Pond; that it is a form without function, whereas the robust bankruptcy protections in the US give you a practical right to have your financial misdeeds legally forgotten.

    The bit in Monty Python’s Holy Grail about how the ruler of the Castle in the Swamp built however many castles (that fell down, or burned, then fell down), it’s a bit of a giggle to American audiences, because it’s a bit over the top, but only a bit. That archetype? He’s an American memetic folk hero, because he didn’t give up in the face of adversity, but persevered to the point of providing an inheritance. (For a wastrel offspring, which is also an american folk meme). But it feels like to me that in the context of the movie, he’s supposed to be an utter fool. Always seemed a bit odd to me, until I started writing this.

    @ ESR: Even if you are right, and the mass of “transgendered people” are unsafely delusional, how can we apply that to an individual (Amy, in these comments, you apparently grudgingly admit is not unsafely delusional)? Where does it end? Do we go back to trying to “cure” homosexuality?

    • >(Amy, in these comments, you apparently grudgingly admit is not unsafely delusional)?

      I haven’t expressed a final judgment about that. Not enough information, and I’m not sure I’ll get enough.

  181. @Doctor Locketopus:

    In that situation, the transexual will still be ethically obligated to tell the prospective partner about it well before any actual sex occurs. It’s only common courtesy (…)

    Agreed.

    But note I was referring to another layer of the discussion, the one about transgender individuals having brains of the opposite gender. As in, the usual position among those who don’t know the studies about brain structure and assume there’s no such thing at play, is that transgenderism is a matter of will, or a mental disease, and this that if there’s a dichotomy between mind (not brain, mind) and body, the mind must bow before the body, paralleling the notion of subjectivity submitting to objectivity.

    When one does know about those structural differences and thus how the “subjectivity” in a transgender individual’s self perception isn’t, it’s actually objective, the discourse changes subtly but meaningfully to one of having to chose between which bodily organ is the most important, the one that should ultimately determine what you essentially are: your brain (not mind, brain), or your genitals?

    Looked from that perspective, the conservative position then becomes an odd one: your genitals are the most important aspect of you. Your brain, all of its complexity, is secondary and should be made to fit your genitals, the end all, be all of personal identity.

    That position is what asking about CRISPR and related technologies put into question. If one’s genitals are what matters most, and those genitals are now fully converted to the opposite gender, then that person now is of the opposite gender, right?

    A self-consistent intellectual, conservative or not, would have to answer yes to that. Or, if his answer is still no, to find out what, precisely, is the actual key factor that determines his answer.

    Dating and having sex is a related topic, but not exactly the same.

    • >Looked from that perspective, the conservative position then becomes an odd one: your genitals are the most important aspect of you. Your brain, all of its complexity, is secondary and should be made to fit your genitals, the end all, be all of personal identity.

      By contrast, I have already stipulated that I think brain sex is in most circumstances more important than genital sex.

      Where I still demur from your position is that I am far less confident of our ability to actually audit the sex differentation of a brain. The “trans have opposite-sex brains” model smells just a bit of facile oversimplification and political fad science to me.

  182. @esr:

    Where I still demur from your position is that I am far less confident of our ability to actually audit the sex differentation of a brain.

    Well, I’d like to suggest, once more, the Wikipedia article on the matter. Several of the peer reviewed articles linked there are open access or can be found in their preprint versions and can be easily read. Some have been repeated with their findings confirmed. And new studies have built upon previous ones by scanning the same areas over the years in higher resolution and checking for additional details. The results seem to me to be pretty conclusive, although I’m not a neurologist and thus cannot vow for that with certainty.

  183. Where I still demur from your position is that I am far less confident of our ability to actually audit the sex differentation of a brain.

    The same goes for your position, in reverse. Here there be snarks and boojums, and we’ve no handy railway shares. Yes, there are people who are causing harm under cover of “transsexual liberation.” Why should that matter any more than that there are firearms owners who cause harm with their firearms, to the vast majority of law-abiding firearms owners. (Or, for that matter, that the bare majority of firearms deaths are suicides, another point alleged against transgenders, that their suicide risk is higher. Suicide is a tragedy, sure. But is it enough of a tragedy to interfere with liberty?)

    And it seems to me that your distaste of the mascotism of the gramscian left is bleeding over to one set of mascots (and more, if your repudiation of support of gay marriage, above, is an indication). It’s all very well and good to say “well, you shouldn’t let yourself be mascotted.” But, how can they do that, and still maintain a quiet life? Especially when there are quite genuine bigots out there. Not everyone is suited for the activist lifestyle, even of the “climbing down from the flagstaff” variety.

    There are Bad Eggs in every group of humans. Let’s not judge Amy by Claire’s actions?

    • >And it seems to me that your distaste of the mascotism of the gramscian left is bleeding over to one set of mascots (and more, if your repudiation of support of gay marriage, above, is an indication)

      Did you miss the part where I said “In my view not much fault for this attaches to transsexuals per se.” and “. I don’t actually blame gays, either”?

  184. >>Milo who? Milo Minderbinder from Catch-22? Milo from Monster Hunter International?
    >LOL. Milo Yiannopulous. Anti-PC provocateur. Has a lot of fans among my regulars.

    I prefer Milo, the protagonist of The Phantom Tollbooth, a kid who finds everything boring. I feel like him sometimes.

  185. @esr: a corpus callosum functional into adulthood (in most men it shrinks and becomes almost inactive; in women it doesn’t)

    Do you have a reference for this? I have read that there is some shrinkage (but without loss of activity) in elderly males, but what you are saying is a lot more drastic than that.

    • >Do you have a reference for this?

      No. It was the neuropsychologist, sometime around 1978. If your information is more recent, it might be better.

  186. I suspect that society would become a very uniform (not to mention boring) place after the SJWs and Gramscians get done converting (or driving off) all the bigots, racists, and non-conformists. In the extremis, it would, in fact, mean the end of thought diversity. Orwell’s fiction is becoming today’s reality; and sadly, I am not well suited to be a member of the hive. When will my tribe (The Individualists) get our turn in the victimology spotlight?

  187. @Alexander Geig:

    You clearly don’t know the science you proclaim as sustaining your assertions.

    What the fuck is wrong with you?  Can’t you read?  It doesn’t matter what the causes are, or if there’s no cause.  The disgust reactions of the vast majority of healthy males are equally real if not more so; understanding is irrelevant.  Demanding that the majority suppress their natural reactions or be punished to favor a tiny minority ought to be abhorrent even to you.

    I’m not a utopian.  I may be the closest thing there is to a Calvinist atheist.  The world is “fallen”; it will never sit down together and sing kumbaya.  That’s why we need separate spaces for different types of people:  to prevent them from killing each other over their incompatibilities.

    I’d bet on people using these tools to increase their fitness by expanding their range of possibilities rather than to reduce it by reducing them.

    So a fat corpus collosum is good for some sets of traits, and a minimal one is good for a bunch of others.  You can develop the brain one way or the other.  You can’t change it once it’s complete.

    My own expectation is that people will select for full adaptability insofar as bodily shape, function and features are concerned

    Uploading makes that a moot point.

    @JBD:

    Get out of your cave and meet some others with complicated identities.

    I have problems of my own, and your insistence that normals take on the burdens of others that they had nothing to do with creating is something that is going to explode sooner rather than later.

    You’re putting yourself in other people’s sights as a source of nuisance, oppression and misery.  Do you want to be there when their fucks-left-to-give meter hits “E”?  McVeigh holds the record with Breivik the runner-up, but even a Dylann Roof can ruin your whole day.

    When one joins “the left”, be it either consciously or by means of imitation from their peers and authority figures, one assumes for oneself tons of things that are culturally “leftwing-y” without necessarily knowing where they come from or why they happen to be the way they are.

    This is why the left is going to drive mainstream America into a blind rage that will not end before the left is crushed.  They have no brakes, no way to step outside their insane paradigm and see its flaws, limits and side effects.  All is subjugated to the purity spiral.

  188. Stuff is just vanishing tonight.

    @ESR:

    I hold open the possibility that Amy and others like her are epistemically indistinguishable from BIID sufferers – that is, mislabeled mental cases.

    Is it cruel to tell them “do your thing somewhere else, because you make me want to gag”?  Asking for a friend.

    @Patrick Maupin:

    if their behavior is so problematic you might have to eventually kill them, it might behoove you to help the rest of us figure out how to defang them instead.

    If they’re running a mental program which creates pathological behavior and is epistemologically closed so there is no cure via reason, they’re as close to zombies as we’re going to find in reality.  And you know what has to be done with zombies.

    • >Is it cruel to tell them “do your thing somewhere else, because you make me want to gag”?

      Cruel? Probably. But that doesn’t concern me as much as, for example, whether you are trying to jawbone them off land that they own. Or whether, if they refuse your demand to “go elsewhere” in a public space, you plan to enforce it with violence. Even BIID cases have a right not to be coerced.

  189. > I suspect that society would become a very uniform (not to mention boring) place after the SJWs and Gramscians get done converting (or driving off) all the bigots, racists, and non-conformists.

    Oh, I think it will get plenty exciting when they start loading the unpersons on cattle cars. Just not in a good way.

    And that is exactly what they will do if they’re not stopped. It’s what they always do.

    What most of them don’t understand is that they are as likely as not to find themselves on the first load.

  190. @Ken Arromdee:

    I think there’s a different problem here: it’s just that women have a terminal preference for not having people with penises in the bathroom.

    Except the women I know claim they don’t care, and a lot of the guys I know claim the women care. Anyway, look at all the women in the men’s room at sporting events.

    But, to the extent that women do care, some of the women -> men transgenders are very masculine, and laws that force them into women’s bathrooms aren’t good for anybody.

    In any case, locker rooms aren’t much further down the slippery slope, and I can well believe there might be a different story about who cares when the penises aren’t hidden.

    So I have no idea whose ox is being gored, but I suspect the right answer is to let business owners and local management decide who they want where, if it becomes a problem.

  191. @Russ Cage:

    > And you know what has to be done with zombies.

    Until you have a lot of agreement they are really zombies, you’ll still wind up incarcerated.

  192. Apropos of this discussion, there’s a series of stories, known as the Erinyes stories, from authors working in the Whateley Academy universe. The premise is that the British tried to create a genetic engineering technology that would make supersoldiers. It did, but with a rather drastic side effect: those women it didn’t kill outright were driven insane, while men were transformed into women – fully, genetically female, right down to the DNA, able to conceive and bear children. Obviously, the SAS had no use for such a thing, but one private police company did: they took men with gender dysphoria and turned them into some of the most badass women on the planet, putting them to work as cops.

    There are no secrets here. The Erinyes, as they are known (the police company, THEMIS, names its divisions from Greek mythology), are well known as being transgendered. Obviously, there’s some squick factor there, but there are plenty of contenders for the Erinyes’ affections anyway, and no shortage of applicants. One story, Chain of Custody, revolves around one guy’s reaction to the whole transgender thing…and how he gets his comeuppance. It’s also funny as hell.

    Now, assume that that process is possible in the real world: the perfect solution to gender dysphoria. How does that change the calculus?

  193. “Insisting that we accept such delusions as fact is psychological abuse that should be rejected out of hand and punished if not ceased permanently on request.”

    Are you one of these people who tell parents that their children are ugly and stupid? That their wife/girlfriend is ugly and their husband/boyfriend is a loser?

    Because transgenders are not asking for more than the curtesy of letting them live in their “illusion” that they are who they want to be. Just like you live in the shared illusion that all you need to be treated as a real man is a penis. An illusion that is, I have been told, not shared by quite a number of women.

  194. Everytime I see another argument over identity I think of adoption and re-marriage.

    To quote a recent movie:
    “He may have been your father boy, but he wasn’t your daddy.” [stepfather says to son]

  195. @esr:
    > I have strong reason to believe that my brain has at least two major female-typical features: weak lateralization and a corpus callosum functional into adulthood (in most men it shrinks and becomes almost inactive; in women it doesn’t).

    *snip*

    >But I am gendersolid like a rock.

    Interestingly enough, I’m almost the opposite. I show signs of a hyper-male brain at the hardware/firmware level (great directional sense, always running with pretty much all interrupts masked, with the attendant dismal multitasking skills, etc), but at the software level, I’m much less stereotypically male than you are (I’m much more timid and less aggressive, for one thing), and while I’m plenty gender-solid now, I was marginal in my early teens, and I think that for most possible upbringings I could have had other than my actual upbringing, there’s a high likelihood I would have turned out transgendered.

  196. In many men I’d say it’s more a case of the big head doesn’t know what the little head is doing.

  197. “Did you miss the part where I said “In my view not much fault for this attaches to transsexuals per se.” and “. I don’t actually blame gays, either”?

    You don’t blame them, but you don’t wish to support their personal freedoms either?

    “Lately I’ve several times come near writing a blog post titled “Why I Now Regret Supporting Gay Marriage.” One-sentence version: gay activists lost me when they scalped Brendan Eich and began using the force of law to persecute bakers and pizza shops.”

    The second part is fine and dandy – go right ahead and shun the kind of activists who persecute. But if you’re not going to blame the average gay person for that, why don’t you want to see them have legal protections that straight people take for granted?

    The whole “Gay/Trans rights” kerfuffle really puts me in mind of the gun control argument, that because of the actions of a highly-visible anti-social subgroup, we need to restrict behavior “for the good of all.” The argument of “I don’t blame gays/trans, but” reminds me way too much of “I don’t blame firearms owners, but.”

    The causes both have people who are metaphorically waving things that don’t need to be waved in other people faces. I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t ever dream of writing a blog post where the central premise was that “Carry Activists lost me when they used the force of law to persecute businesses that post No Guns Allowed. I regret supporting the Shall Issue Movement.”

    • >But if you’re not going to blame the average gay person for that, why don’t you want to see them have legal protections that straight people take for granted?

      You put your finger on why I hadn’t actually written the post. I don’t have an ethical resolution for a situation in which opposing gay marriage seemed wrong on principle, but supporting it turned out to be consequentially bad in practice.

    • >I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t ever dream of writing a blog post where the central premise was that “Carry Activists lost me when they used the force of law to persecute businesses that post No Guns Allowed. I regret supporting the Shall Issue Movement.”

      Actually, I can readily imagine writing that minus the last sentence.

      • >Where you lose me is when you imply that because of certain individual outliers behaving badly (Claire and Rachael Dolza) and by a deliberate reduction ad absurdium (claim to be the “Queen of England”) that any/every claim of “Transsexuality” is both absurd and illegitimate in the majority of contexts.

        Nope. Didn’t make that claim in the OP, haven’t in the comments either. In fact I have said things that specifically contradict it.

  198. I didn’t mean to imply that you would support Carry Activists using the force of law to persecute businesses; I’ve read enough of your writing to know better. The point I was trying to make (perhaps poorly) was that you wouldn’t think to juxtapose the Activists with the Activity in a firearms rights context, even as far as needing to reject the juxtaposition on ethical grounds. You would simply and directly take the activists on directly and with care in targeting.

    I agree with the title of your post, that Identity is not the sole choice of the identifies. Where you lose me is when you imply that because of certain individual outliers behaving badly (Claire and Rachael Dolza) and by a deliberate reduction ad absurdium (claim to be the “Queen of England”) that any/every claim of “Transsexuality” is both absurd and illegitimate in the majority of contexts. To me, that’s rhetorically equivalent to saying “because the Sandy Hook Shooter was mentally ill, all firearm owners should be persecuted and made to conform to non-firearms-owning norms of conduct.” (At the extreme, firearms ownership is considered to be on its own evidence of paranoia, “compensation, etc, after all).

  199. @ESR – “She might be a non-crazy intersex. She might be something I don’t understand etiologically at all.”

    Well, I can explain a few of the things that I am, and maybe that might give you more data.

    I am a professional software engineer, who makes less than six figures, albeit not much less. I am in a stable relationship with a (cis) woman; we have a registered domestic partnership that I may convert to a marriage license after I’ve legally changed my name and gender marker. I run a support group for crossdressers and transgender people at the Gender Identity Center of Colorado, and I also serve on its Board of Trustees. I am also a drag performance entertainer (not really a traditional “drag queen,” although I get along well with more classical queens) who raises money for charity, and, in fact, I am a past crowned pageant titleholder. As far as being transgender is, I’m one of those who came to the realization late, although I was crossdressing from the time I was a teenager; for the longest time, I thought it was “just a fetish” until I started learning differently about ten years or so ago. I was also diagnosed with mild autism when I was in high school (what would have been called “Asperger’s” or “ASD” if those terms had existed at the time), and worked with therapists in college to help me deal with it. I have a therapist now, in addition to my HRT doctor, and I’ve done well with both thusfar. As Amy, I am accepted by my family members and most of my friends that know so far; I can think of only one significant exception. Many of my coworkers know and are accepting as well, and our head of HR has appointed one of her team to be my liaison for the transition process.

    As for my presentation…I offer the opinion of one of my close friends, who runs a local transformation studio where she makes up men as women. She contrasts me with one of my other friends (and please understand that I love this other friend to death, but I think the assessment here is accurate), who she says, no matter how many hormones she takes, will always be “a boy in a dress.” Whereas she saw that I was a lady practically from the first time we met, long before I applied my first estradiol patch or swallowed my first spironolactone tablet. Now, this woman has seen many, many examples of men presenting as women over the years, so I can be confident of her opinion.

    Hopefully this gives you some more data to figure into your estimate. It still might not be enough for you to judge whether I’m “unsafely delusional” or not, but at least I’m being forthcoming.

    I looked at your list of memes in the post you linked to, and I disagree with all of them. I guess that does make me a non-Gramscian. I certainly don’t feel like anyone’s idea of a “victim.” (If I lived in North Carolina or some other trans-hostile state, I might, but, in those cases, the “victims” are only “victims” through the deliberate actions of government to make them so.) I am routinely treated with respect in public places, and referred to as “ma’am” or “Miss,” even over drive-through speakers (my Amy-voice is that good). Yes, there are some areas of the city I won’t go as a woman, but, by and large, I wouldn’t go there as a male, either. I feel like I am losing very little in making the transition…and I am gaining a good deal of personal happiness, as well as the ability to fit into society better than I did before. (Honestly, my story is so atypically drama-free for a trans woman, I may wind up writing a book about my experiences…it might have to be titled Transition Without Tears.)

    And I don’t know too much about Milo Y…other than he seems to have worn out his welcome to a certain extent. Not the kind of person I’d care to emulate…

    @Alexander Gieg – “I know several transsexuals. Not enough to derive a statistics from this, but even though it’s at best anecdotal, only a third of them buy the SJW mindset. Another third are your standard moderate liberal. And the remaining third adamantly dislike SJWs, a few of these being libertarian, a few not caring about politics.”

    I’m actually a member of a Facebook group, “Trans on the Right,” for trans people with more conservative views. It has 70-some odd members at this point. There are more of us out there than one might think at first glance, and a lot of us feel cowed into silence by our more SJW-leaning sisters and brothers. (@Jorge Dujan, you may also be pleased to see the above.)

    @Russ Cage – “Is it cruel to tell them ‘do your thing somewhere else, because you make me want to gag’?”

    What I hear when you say that is “Can you please exclude yourself from society, because I can’t stand to even see you walking down the street?” To my mind, that’s unacceptable under any circumstances.

    @Patrick Maupin – “In any case, locker rooms aren’t much further down the slippery slope, and I can well believe there might be a different story about who cares when the penises aren’t hidden.”

    For me, locker rooms are a different story. I’d be rather embarrassed to have to change in front of a bunch of strange women in a locker room. Having GCS might change that, as at least there’d be fewer obvious physiological differences between me and the other women. (I’m presently undecided about GCS…the prospect of it makes me a bit squeamish, but, then again, so does the prospect of having LASIK performed on my eyes.)

    • >Argh! “Cowed into silence.” Yes, I speak Typonese. :)

      I fixed your typo so it won’t distract any reader from your post content, but I’m leaving this here because it’s funny.

  200. @ESR: “Nope. Didn’t make that claim in the OP, haven’t in the comments either. In fact I have said things that specifically contradict it.”

    Then why open with “high-profile cases of transsexuality (notably the athlete now named Caitlyn Jenner)” and then not discuss Caitlyn Jenner further, and take several more paragraphs to get to the actual identity presentation mismatch (Claire), which has little to do with the “mainstream” trans community as a whole, and a lot to do with one individual’s personal issues.

    Also: “Can I choose to be pregnant and bear children?

    Can I choose to be 6’7??

    Your “identity” is indeed partly choice, but it’s constrained by facts. I can’t choose to be 6’7? or become pregnant and bear children, so any identity assertions I make contrary to those facts will necessarily be rejected.”

    There are genetically and morphologically XX women who cannot choose to become pregnant and bear children. And while adding 9 inches to my own height would be problematic, almost anyone can add a couple of inches to their height-as-presented with the right shoes. Or are high heels or a non-functional set of reproductive organs a “deceit” worthy of being intentionally rude (as using a name or pronoun for someone against their wishes)?

    Being transgendered matters for reproduction, and, if pre-op, likely matters for sexual matters. (Which is why Claire’s shenanigans matter). But I’m still not entirely sure why it is not intentionally rude to not accept someone’s presentation as their identity in ordinary life interactions; on the level of rudely continuing to call someone “Dick” after they’ve asked you to call them “Richard,” and their nametag says “Hello, I am: Richard.”

    People remake themselves all the time, deliberately and not – as long as they are not claiming a capability they can not or will not provide, or doing so for some kind of “unfair” advantage (and, yes, I know that’s pretty weasel-worded), why not let them? Presenting as a woman is not necessarily a claim to being able to “become pregnant and bear children,” or even to “be willing to engage in vaginal sex.” There’s a pretty clear dividing line and a wide distance between Claire’s behavior and Amy’s.

    At one level, I agree with you in the OP; but I think you’re taking it way too far by reducing social identity to biology. And why bring up a community to castigate the behavior of one member?

    • >At one level, I agree with you in the OP; but I think you’re taking it way too far by reducing social identity to biology. And why bring up a community to castigate the behavior of one member?

      You seem to have gotten my priorities reversed. I didn’t propose a theory of identity in order to utter a critique of transgenderism or transracialism. I brought up recent high-profile cases of those in order to provide context and motivation for a transactional analysis of identity. Beyond that was a goal of undercutting the toxic assumptions of identity politics.

      Since one of the examples I proposed was “computer programmer”, I think we can pretty much dismiss any idea that I’m intent on reducing social identity to biology.

      >And why bring up a community to castigate the behavior of one member?

      If you’re speaking of Claire, it’s because she exemplifies the kind of person who needs to learn that an “identity” is only an offer, and you have no right to require that other people accept it.

  201. @esr

    But I am gendersolid like a rock. Never had even the slightest sense of not being fully male and happy with it.

    Would you know if you did, if you, at some deep level, believe that it’s not possible?

  202. > But if you’re not going to blame the average gay person for that, why don’t you want to see them have legal protections that straight people take for granted?

    You put your finger on why I hadn’t actually written the post. I don’t have an ethical resolution for a situation in which opposing gay marriage seemed wrong on principle, but supporting it turned out to be consequentially bad in practice.

    I suspect something that is going unexamined here is that you may also take the legal protections that straight people have for granted. Not many people seem to want to discriminate against people for being (straight) married, or to deny straight couples the privileges* that come with it. If someone is coerced to do something they would have done anyway, it’s like a tree falling in a forest with no-one around. And you don’t, in general, see people who are opposed to marriage in general, or to extending any of those benefits to straight people’s partners, so you don’t see them being coerced to do so.

    But “I don’t support any marriage [in the sense of a legal relationship that coerces other people to recognize it], but gay marriage is the only one I can get anyone else to stand with me to oppose” is probably a very uncomfortable position to be in.

    It also puts a hole in one of the underpinnings of Libertarian ideology, which rests on the assumption that there can’t be any group that a significant section of society wishes harm to as a terminal preference, and that the market therefore cannot protect. Acknowledging what would happen to gay people if there were no anti-discrimination laws opens the door to all the carefully constructed arguments about why we don’t really need them for race/gender/etc to fall apart.

    *I don’t mean this in the SJW-theory sense, but rather in terms of specific things like hospital visitation rights, coverage on employer-provided insurance, etc.

    • >It also puts a hole in one of the underpinnings of Libertarian ideology, which rests on the assumption that there can’t be any group that a significant section of society wishes harm to as a terminal preference, and that the market therefore cannot protect.

      You’re off into the weeds, now. In historical cases that approximate such a terminal preference – like Jews or Gypsies in Eastern Europe – governments are worse than markets. They not only in general fail to protect the despised minority, they usually amplify the amount of coercion directed at them in a way markets do not. The same is true even now of homosexuals in the Islamic world and sub-Saharan Africa.

  203. One thing that worries me about the transgender movement is that I’m not sure that a lot of people that feel that they are a male/female in a female/male body don’t feel that way because they are normal beta male/female types that were raised in an alpha-heavy environment and are uncomfortable with, and unable to compete in, the monkey-brain/reptile-brain status and mating games of their biological gender, but have bought into the alpha image of what a “real” man/woman is. I will further speculate that this is why being on the autism spectrum correlates with gender variance, as mentioned upthread: the social deficits of autism handicap one’s ability to play their gender’s alpha status games.

    This is why I believe I likely would have ended up transgendered with a different upbringing: I am very much a beta, but given my actual upbringing, in which I was in a heavily beta environment and taught that a lot of alpha mating behaviors are flat-out wrong, I never bought into the idea that I had to be an alpha male to be a male at all. I think that most other ways I could have been brought up would have caused me to buy into that to a greater degree.

    And that’s why the transgender movement makes me nervous, it’s telling people “since you can’t pay the alpha male/female status games, you need to flip genders to fit in”, when what I think they really need to hear is “Screw the alphas! Who are they to tell you what a man/woman is?”

  204. @AG: “This is why ‘the left’ can be so pervasive. It isn’t merely a set of ideas. It isn’t merely a set of organic intellectuals in the Gramscian ‘branch’ actively trying to embed Marxist twists into everything they touch. It’s wider and deeper than that. For those in left, it’s simply ‘reality’.”

    For a Christian, reality is defined through one’s relationship with Jesus Christ, His Father, the Holy Spirit, and their Creation. (Aside: for many centuries, this worldview was highly adaptive. Belief in a single triune God whose perfect character was expressed in Nature underlies much of what we today call the scientific method. Without the underlying belief that Creation is consistent over space and time, I don’t understand how we get to an epistemology where observational data always trumps theory.)

    Marxists/Leftists/Gramscians (MLGs) offer an alternative reality, in which theory trumps observational data. And they’re quite intentional about forcing people into line. Just as criminal organizations require recruits to commit felonies before induction, MLGs require explicit, vocal consent to assertions diametrically opposed to the axiom that Creation is consistent over space and time.

    It’s almost as if the MLG reality was designed by and for malignant narcissists to gaslight, brainwash, control, victimize and exploit as many “normals” as possible.

  205. @Jon Brase – I can kind of see your point. I certainly wasn’t very comfortable in the male role when growing up; the two relationships I’ve had, it was because the women in question approached me, rather than the other way round. I wasn’t particularly raised in an “alpha-heavy” environment, though; my father wasn’t the “jock” sort, he was in city government.

    But there are two things that don’t seem to apply here. First, the formative years of which I speak were in the late 1970’s through early 1990’s, when there wasn’t a real “transgender movement.” Yes, Christine Jorgensen and Renee Richards existed, but there was no real movement associated with them. Second, even assuming that I was little more than an uncomfortable male, what would account for me going into my mother’s closet and putting on her dresses, without it ever being suggested that I should do so? Curiosity, I suppose, might account for the first time, but what kept me coming back? (Maybe sexual feelings…which would account for me being sidetracked into thinking this was all “just a fetish” for many years.)

    And if your idea on the correlation between ASD and gender variance is correct, what accounts for the fact that I seem to cope with the feminine role better? If ASD had that kind of effect, it should handicap my ability to play the female gender status game as much as the male, I would think.

    Just thinking out loud here…

  206. Jon Brase:

    I have often wondered the same thing. In my case, I seem to be strongly alpha by nature, but with an extremely beta upbringing. Specifically, I was brought up in a very religious Protestant household, and if you have the idea that those are alpha, you obviously have never been in one.

    I have often wondered why I didn’t end up gay. In my childhood there were years when I would literally get beaten up every single day. Women would ask me out as a prank just to humiliate me. If I had declared myself gay, I wouldn’t have been treated any worse–particularly if I had just decided it on my own and not told anyone else. I wouldn’t have hated myself so much if I had just convinced myself that I wasn’t really a man at all.

    But as I eventually realized, it was my guilt-based upbringing that put me at a disadvantage. IMHO, shame-based cultures tend to produce stronger men. Thus the military, to give one example, doesn’t emphasise the theoretical morality of one’s action, but it comes down hard on those who have disgraced their unit.

    Honestly, I think that I was far more “male” in my brain than my parents intended me to be.

  207. @ ESR: “Since one of re examples I proposed was “computer programmer”, I think we can pretty much dismiss any idea that I’m intent on reducing social identity to biology.”

    I apologize – I should have said “capability” or “functionality.” Which Claire was misrepresenting, inasmuch as she was offering the capability of having heterosexual sex without having the functionality. And upon re-reading I appear to have misinterpreted at least some of what you were getting at in comments (though I still stand by my comments in re your “pregnant or 6’7″” comments – one is not a necessary property of femalehood, and the other is to a certain extent alterable in presentation). If someone is not offering functionality or capability as part of the transaction, it’s rude to not take them at their word for their identity.

    I would submit that using someone claiming to be a Nigerian Price in need of aid laundering money, or a Spanish Prisoner, or even Emperor Norton I, might have brought less baggage to the conversation.

  208. @esr: “Terminal preferences have explanations too. We’re evolved survival machines; we don’t have preferences hanging in midair without any connection to reproductive fitness. I’m just analyzing a level deeper, is all.”

    http://lesswrong.com/lw/l0/adaptationexecuters_not_fitnessmaximizers/

    Terminal preferences may have explanations, but these explanations are historical. You might explain an aversion to penises in terms of X, but it would be a mistake to think that if you can prevent X, people will stop having those preferences. Despite the origin of the preferences, they are now standalone.

    @ian: “But it feels like to me that in the context of the movie, he’s supposed to be an utter fool. ”

    Because building a castle this way is extremely inefficient compared to 1) building one someplace other than a swamp, or 2) building it in a swamp, but filling the swamp in with three loads of dirt and rocks rather than three previously collapsed castles. So inefficient that it becomes foolish.

  209. @ESR “Anybody want to open a pool on who the next mascot group will be? Before they became inconvenient during the attack on Milo Yiannopolous, I was getting some strong hints from SJW-land that it might be pedophiles.”

    When has inconsistency ever gotten in the way of SJWs? How else could they condemn homophobia and Islamophobia in the same breath?

  210. @Amy

    If you don’t mind, I’ve had this question for a while and since you seem open to answering some questions, figured I might ask you. Given you seem to be of the “use the facility of your preference” with respect to bathrooms (but perhaps not locker rooms), have you found that the recent (last couple years) increase in trans rights discussion and particularly the attention focused on bathrooms (e.g. the NC bathroom law) has made things better or worse for you? That is, have you found that overall there is more acceptance and welcoming to your presence and position and the current strife unfortunate but necessary. Or do you find that this was more often than not solved with a general DADT policy when one is able to pass, and that the increased attention has actually made it more difficult because people who previously wouldn’t have noticed are now hyper vigilant? Is this more a case of “please stop helping me?”

    My own experiences with out groups and their sudden rises in the popular consciousness generally fall under the “please stop helping me” side of things, and I’ve wondered if trans people are finding the same thing now that it’s become something of a cause célèbre.

  211. Jon Brase on 2017-05-12 at 04:22:16 said: …that for most possible upbringings I could have had other than my actual upbringing, there’s a high likelihood I would have turned out transgendered.

    That’s not how it works, AIUI. If your brain gender is miswired, you’re transgender and you know it. If you don’t, you’re not. A great deal of damage is done to children by trendy parents who mistake gender-atypical preferences in toys or play for actual gender confusion, because it allows them to signal virtue by embracing the child’s presumed transgenderness. The parents push the child to cross-dress, and otherwise mess with the kid’s head; some cases include destructive psychiatric, hormonal, and surgical interventions.

  212. @TM – That’s a polite question, so I’ll do what I can to give you an answer.

    Being in Colorado, where our rights as trans people to use the gender-segregated facilities consistent with how we present ourselves are protected (under the rules set by the Colorado Civil Rights Commission), the conversation about bathrooms hasn’t affected me as much as it has sisters elsewhere. (One girl I know from Dallas has spent a couple of weeks at the state capitol there in Texas protesting certain anti-LGBT mesures currently under consideration there, including, yes, a “bathroom bill.”) Most of the focus here has been on liberalizing laws about changing birth certificates, but that’s another topic entirely.

    For me, personally, I have never encountered problems when using ladies’ rooms here, and I’ve used them in bars, restaurants, hotels, grocery stores, shopping malls (which were rather crowded!), a concert theater, hospitals, and a convention center where a jewelry show was being held. On the other hand, I have what many of us call “passing privilege” (a term I don’t exactly like, as “privilege” has become such a politically-loaded word), in that I present in a very convincing fashion. I don’t have the personal experience of being less-passing and trying to do the same thing, because I was already quite presentable the first time I stepped through the door marked “LADIES.”

    Does the attention from all the news about “bathroom bills” in other states help or hinder me? On the whole, it doesn’t affect me personally, since I would likely be OK under the “general DADT policy” you mention. However, some of my sisters might not be, and I try to be mindful of them. I’m pleased by such things as the #I’llGoWithYou movement (in which cis women pledge to accompany trans women to the restroom to keep from being hassled while in there), but that’s not particularly necessary for me, personally. I suspect my experience might be similar to those other of my sisters who are on the path to transition, or have already gotten there. While it’s possible that certain people might be more hyper-vigilant, and maybe more likely to tag me in a game of “spot the tranny” in the restroom, in practice, it hasn’t happened.

    (Also note: My comments with respect to locker rooms reflect my personal feelings only, and shouldn’t be used to draw conclusions about what other trans women should or shouldn’t do. It’s possible that I might be more OK with the idea if I were forced to use one by circumstances, but you may take it as read that I would do my best to keep my “differences” from being noticed, including the fact that I wear breast forms since my natural breasts have not yet grown enough.)

    I hope that answers your question; sorry, I tend to ramble sometimes. :)

    @Rich Rostrom – You have the understanding pretty correct. The diagnostic criteria for gender dysphoria in children state that the child should be “persistent, consistent, and insistent” in their belief that their gender does not match that of their body. Mere gender-atypical preferences for toys or play wouldn’t make the nut here. In any event, the usual treatment for gender-dysphoric pre-pubescent children would be to allow them to transition socially and administer puberty blocking drugs, which keeps them from going through the “wrong” puberty and buys time for further observation to make sure that this is the right choice. If the child turns out not to have been transgender, the puberty blockers can be ceased and normal puberty will then follow. Only in the teenage years would cross-gender HRT be administered, and any surgical intervention would wait until they turn 18 at least.

  213. >Anybody want to open a pool on who the next mascot group will be? Before they became inconvenient during the attack on Milo Yiannopolous, I was getting some strong hints from SJW-land that it might be pedophiles. Now? Who knows – bestialists, maybe? Necrophiles?

    Rapists.

    It gets out in front of a lot of problems the Gramscians are going to run into regarding certain important future mascot groups.

    And feminists, oddly, have already shown they can roll with that, both here 20-some years back, and in Europe now.

    And in Europe it’s working great already. It’s a classic, marvelous tool of subjugation.

  214. >A lot of people, perhaps projecting from their own behavior, don’t seem to be able to grasp the concept that one might point at truth one is unhappy with simply because one believes not knowing the truth is more dangerous.

    Or that the truth is more important than feelings.

    When did our entire culture reenter toddlerhood?

  215. Just like people are reacting to SJWs, SJWs are a reaction as well. I do agree that the language games are broadly out of wack, but so what? It happens. Gaining freedom is different from maintaining it. Are we really at the redline of required mass self-criticism?

    I do notice that the most radical elements of the “identity” crew were birthed in response to actual violence against said group. Of course, physically assaulting anyone should be deemed wrong, but when these groups organized and radicalized (to varying degrees admittedly and at varying times) there was a hysteria about the mainstream indifference.

    Show me someone that was playing by the rules, sought justice for an egregious violation of their rights but met indifference and I’ll show you someone that wants to see things burn.

    Does it make them right? No it doesn’t. Are they irrational. Yes! They are radicalized and it is infectious. That’s why there are members or sympathizers that have never experienced the violence and indifference first hand but are just as entrenched.

    Is there someone to blame? Who knows and I am not sure how that would help. We are so far down the rabbit hole at this point. The proselytizing and language policing is ALL bad in my view. Make no mistake. Given that, it does look like most of the anti-SJW movement is becoming what they seem to detest most. Around and around we go. [mutters something about fixing a problem at the same level it was created]

    So while the OP is a well reasoned and reasonable argument, what does it accomplish? Taking time to announce to hysterical people you don’t care about their hysteria must be a form of entertainment, no?

    Huh, just noticed that with a few find-replaces this could easily almost be about terrorism. Funny that.

    • > Given that, it does look like most of the anti-SJW movement is becoming what they seem to detest most.

      No. It it is easy for me to tell this isn’t so, because the anti-SJWs do not try to police my speech.

  216. Greg:

    When did our entire culture reenter toddlerhood?

    I blame the Internet. And the return of swing music.

  217. @Russ Cage:

    Slightly reordering your points for ease of answer:

    Demanding that the majority suppress their natural reactions or be punished to favor a tiny minority ought to be abhorrent even to you.

    It is, but nowhere I defended either thing. I have the impression you’re projecting upon me opinions I don’t have.

    On the other hand, demanding politeness is actually valid, if for no other reason than that politeness is an actual conservative value. But never to the point of making it legally obligatory, otherwise it just becomes PC speech with an inverted signal.

    As for disgusts, I think it’s advisable for individuals to overcome the ones they have that have no actual effect on their survivability. And that too is a conservative value. Show me an army that allows its troops to refuse doing something that needs done because they feel oh so disgusted by doing such an icky thing, and I’ll show you a losing army.

    By the way, this reminds me of an anecdote I heard about, I don’t know whether true or not but at the very least verisimilar, of a guy who, when in jail, learned the jail’s cook was gay. They guy was so extremely disgusted by homosexuals that, whenever he tried to eat the food that cook had touched, he puked it all out. In the end the jailers had to begin bringing him food cooked elsewhere lest he died from an involuntary hunger strike. So, yeah, it can indeed be a very serious weakness.

    (…) we need separate spaces for different types of people: to prevent them from killing each other over their incompatibilities.

    That’s a very American outlook on the matter. I mean, the habit you indirectly refer to of, when in disagreement with one’s birthplace’s practices, taking up one’s belongings, moving West and founding a new community, rinse, repeat, until the whole country was inhabited and all early disagreements geographically isolated.

    That indeed works, provided, evidently, there is an empty West to move to and through while building new settlements. When there isn’t, resolutions to superimposed incompatibilities tends to look a lot more like how the Old World did it, meaning, at its worst moments, war, but also, at its best moments, highly skilled diplomacy.

    This is why the left is going to drive mainstream America into a blind rage that will not end before the left is crushed.

    War it won’t be, as there aren’t enough teens for that. If conservatives and libertarians were having enough children, then maybe it might be, but they aren’t, so it won’t. Hence the solution will have to be a diplomatic one.

    (…) normals take on the burdens of others that they had nothing to do with creating is something that is going to explode sooner rather than later.

    That’s what Republics are for. They are predicated on the notion that small groups do matter and must hold enough power so as to not be easily ignored by the majority. That’s been the case in the Roman Republic, in all the small Republics that existed since its fall, and it’s also been the case in the American Republic.

    IMHO, it’s odd to see conservatives disliking Republican principles so much as to prefer, in its place, the bane of all reasonable political thinkers: democracy, the rule by majority.

    Uploading makes that a moot point.

    I’d appreciate it if it were possible. I don’t think it’ll be though, as it’s possible QM effects are somehow involved. Time will tell though. Be as it may, before we get there we’ll pass through the “designer bodies” phase, and thus also through the “adapting brains so as to make them suitable to such new bodies” one. That’ll be an interesting middle game on its own, even if uploading comes afterwards. Or end game, if uploading never happens.

    Interesting times ahead.

    • > If conservatives and libertarians were having enough children, then maybe it might be, but they aren’t, so it won’t

      Don’t be too sure of that. Demographically, every faction of the left other than nonwhite immigrant groups is doing itself in faster – and those immigrants are not very attached. Historically immigrants tended to shift conservative as they assimilated more.

      Remember the Democratic “coalition of the ascendant”? It was pretty much a bust in the 2016 elections outside bicoastal enclaves. Learn from this…

  218. @ Doctor Locketopus: “Troutwaxer’s tactic is the same one used by evil control freaks since the beginning of time.”

    Actually, I was bringing it up because Eric seemed interested in why people saw him as a right-winger when in fact he is not, but I’ve dropped it since he seems to be taking it adversariously. I’m always happy to argue with Eric, but for “why do people see me as right wing” I was simply trying to provide information.

    I think in this case he made the top post because he hadn’t really figured out what he wanted to talk about, which I think was “The way gender and racial concerns tie in with the Gramscian problems that interest him.”

  219. In bluer areas liberals maybe have one designer kid, maybe not. Two is shocking. Closeted conservatives and libertarians have 2. Maybe a third if they’re feeling ambitious.

    Come to the Midwest, or at least my slice if it, and 3 is a small family.

    The *only* non-immigrant population still breeding sufficient for growth is religious conservatives.

    And the President’s approval numbers among Hispanics continues to *improve* as time goes on.

    http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/hispanics-give-trump-higher-approval-rating-than-rest-of-us/article/2622041

  220. esr> Demographically, every faction of the left other than nonwhite immigrant groups is doing itself in faster

    Yes. Mormons, in particular, are well-known for their fecundity. SJWs, not so much.

    See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_and_territories_by_fertility_rate

    Compare the map at the top with the outcome of the 2016 election.

    Every state with a total fertility rate > 2.0 is a red state. Every state but one (New Mexico) with a total fertility rate between 1.9 and 2.0 is a red state.

    As they say, the future belongs to those who show up for it.

  221. > Defecating on the Map will not change the Territory, regardless of how many laxatives you took.

    This is not always completely true: defecating on the map does put shit on one small speck of of the territory (assuming the map covers that territory).

    Even if the spot shat upon is not on that particular map, it is still on other maps, and the result is still foul.

  222. @ Russ Cage: “If you think that “gayness” is inborn and not curable, you must accept disgust also. Even Ed Brayton has found himself feeling it strongly enough to write about it.”

    “Disgust” at the thought of homosexuality doesn’t prove you’re right. It proves you’re heterosexual. (Gay men have frequently reported feelings of disgust towards vaginas. That merely proves that they are Gay.)

  223. @ esr: “…the real villains are the Gramscians using sexual and racial minorities to totalitarianize our society, to make everything political.

    I think you have to go one level further down. The real villains are those who treat minorities unjustly, making our society vulnerable to those who wish to exploit our society’s fractures. The Gramscian attack gains no traction in a just society.

    Gramscian features in identity politics are the symptom, not the disease.

    • > The real villains are those who treat minorities unjustly,

      No, Troutwaxer, that’s wrong. The bigots are scum, to be sure. But their scumminess pales in comparison to the radical evil for which the the Gramscians are greasing the skids. A boot stamping on a human face, forever, with “diversity” and “tolerance” spelled out in the studs on the boot sole.

  224. @ Amy Tapie: “I’ve long believed that the solution to bakers, pizza shops, etc. that don’t want to serve LGBT people is to go and find someone else that will, and tell people why you did so.”

    This is going to seem a little strange, but I would argue that the bakery owners did not get sued for their anti-Gay beliefs. Instead they got sued for their poor social skills. The right small-business answer when you don’t want to serve a ________ client is “I’m afraid I’m really busy that week, there’s a bakery on 5th and Main and they’re great and they’ll be happy to take care of you. Have a nice day.”

  225. @ esr: “…that I hold open the possibility that Amy and others like her are epistemically indistinguishable from BIID sufferers – that is, mislabeled mental cases.”

    Or we all can go up a level, understand that people like Amy have some differences in brain structure which affect their view of their own bodies and that there are solutions to this problem. That none of those solutions require that we accuse such people of sin or threaten to shoot them, or compare them to Rachel Dolezal. But that would mean getting over ourselves and our worries about Stalinist plots, and actually being nice to other people who have not done anything to hurt us, and I don’t think that’s a river the right can cross.

    • >Or we all can go up a level, understand that people like Amy have some differences in brain structure which affect their view of their own bodies and that there are solutions to this problem.

      Troutwaxer, you are virtue-signaling so busily that you have slid right past the real problem here. Forget Russ Cage’s visceral ick reaction; I don’t share it. The real problem is that I could write this:

      “Or we all can go up a level, understand that people with BIID have some differences in brain structure which affect their view of their own bodies and that there are solutions to this problem.”

      We treat a BIID sufferer’s desire to lop off his limbs as pathological, but fashionable opinions wants to treat a gender dysmoprphic’s decision to mutilate his or her genitals as a form of self-realization.

      I have a lot of trouble with this, not on a moral level but on an epistemological one. Because the body’s kinesic maps correspond to identifiable structures in the brain it is just about certain you could tell a differences in brain structure” story about BIID, too. If we consider the BIID case’s desire pathological, why do we not make the same judgment about the gender dysphoric? Why do we treat these differently in any way at all?

      I’m still trying to suspend judgment waiting for more facts, but is hard for me to avoid the conclusion that the answer is “politics and fashion”, and that a lot of people who are having bits lopped off should be getting therapy instead. “Brain structures” or no.

  226. @ Russ Cage: “The disgust reactions of the vast majority of healthy males are equally real if not more so; understanding is irrelevant.

    So our world should be ruled by the disgust reactions of males? I find you completely appalling, and I’d make a joke about how the Gramiscans are right, but somebody might misunderstand and a right winger would come after me with a gun. Because he was disgusted by a joke he didn’t even notice.

    Please Russ, crawl back under your rock!

  227. @ Full Tilt: “When has inconsistency ever gotten in the way of SJWs? How else could they condemn homophobia and Islamophobia in the same breath?”

    That’s easy. There’s an unspoken thing happening here which you’re not decoding.

    We on the left (I’m not an SJW) are happy to condemn Islamists who are religious fanatics and actually kill people. But casual Islamophobia isn’t about Osama bin Laden or ISIS. It’s about people who don’t understand that there is an actual theological and attitudinal difference between the Muslim down the street and Osama bin Laden. By the same token, I’m happy to condemn Gay people who kill others even though I have close Gay and Trans relatives.

    The issue really isn’t homo-or-Islamophobia, but the failure mode in believing that all Gays are AIDs-spreading child molesters is the same as the failure mode of believing that all Muslims want to kill Westerners. We’re really condemning the failure mode as much as we’re condemning anything else. We don’t need the unspoken part because that understanding is part of the Leftist culture. I suppose that it’s poor communications, probably because talking about “intellectual failure modes” doesn’t get you a sound bite. (Too many syllables.)

  228. @Troutwaxer “…being nice to other people who have not done anything to hurt us, and I don’t think that’s a river the right can cross.”

    If “being nice” == lying in public about what we believe to be right, wrong, and best for society, then damn skippy you’re correct.

    If “being nice” == teaching you to use tools of self defense, capable of killing anyone who tries to beat you up for being different, then you’re insultingly wrong.

  229. @ esr: “…their scumminess pales in comparison to the radical evil for which the the Gramscians are greasing the skids.”

    Once again, people who aren’t being oppressed don’t get involved with identity politics. The identity politics creates a weakness the Gramscians can exploit. Czechoslovakians aren’t oppressed in the U.S. Therefore there is no Czechoslovakian Liberation Front. Therefore there is no Gramscian activity involving Czechoslovakians. This should be obvious.

    Of course, from my point of view you might as well be ranting about your “precious bodily fluids.”

  230. @ esr “Or we all can go up a level, understand that people with BIID have some differences in brain structure which affect their view of their own bodies and that there are solutions to this problem.”

    Ah, I understand your problem. I probably should have written “Or we all can go up a level, understand that people like Amy have some differences in brain structure which affect their view of their own bodies and that there are solutions to this problem, but they don’t come close to being perfect.”

    And that’s where the whole thing crashes. There are no perfect solutions. Essentially, it comes down to either fixing the brain or fixing the body. Fixing the brain is an ethical nightmare – who gets to define how a masculine or feminine brain functions? (Would you let a right-wing fundamentalist doctor “fix” the masculinity/feminity issues with your brain even if you considered yourself insane?) Worse, given the issues with testosterone uptake mentioned in the Wikipedia article fixing the brain may not be enough to solve the problem if the body has done a poor job of testosterone uptake during fetal development. We’re really talking about a requirement for singularity-level nano-medicine.

    Fixing the body is similarly imperfect, which is why some trans-people don’t do bottom surgery. (Your concerns with hacking bits off are shared.) The problem of giving someone genitals which work and are connected to all the right bits, wherein all the nerves function properly, orgasm is possible, aesthetics are satisfied, etc., is not remotely close to being solved. Someone who insists that “fixing” a trans person must include bottom surgery is at about the same ethical level as someone who insists the females be “fixed” through clitorectomy, (at least until we have Varley-level body modification.)

    So how do you handle a situation which can’t be made perfect? Even if I accept an essentially negative model for the problem being transgendered is not nearly so horrible a thing as being sociopathic, schizophrenic, or paranoid. It doesn’t require hospitalization unless other psych issues are involved, and it is easily manageable as long as the people around the trans person are capable of being decent human beings. Essentially, it is a non-issue for anyone except the trans-person involved, particularly if we can get the Claires of this world to grow up a little. (I suspect she’s an outlier.)

    (On the other hand, I have a lot less ethical trouble “fixing” the brain of a BIID sufferer. I suspect that there are far fewer issues of identity at stake.)

    • >And that’s where the whole thing crashes. There are no perfect solutions.

      It’s worse than that. Reassignment surgery does not significantly change the rate of attempted suicides. It doesn’t actually seem to be a “solution” at all.

      Yes, trannsexuals sometime report that they feel like it was a solution. But BIID cases express tremendous relief when they can get their offending limps lopped off, too. Again: why pathologize one and valorize the other?

  231. @Troutwaxer
    It is tough to be reasonable.

    @Others
    The illusion that one subculture can outgrow “their enemy” by fecundity has been harbored by strategists at least since the days of Galton in the 19th century.

    It never worked, because the offspring never fought for the case of their ancestors. They often even switched sides.

  232. > and I’d make a joke about how the Gramiscans are right, but somebody might misunderstand and a right winger would come after me with a gun.

    Your cartoon stereotype of purges committed by “right-wingers with guns” is wildly at variance with the actual history of mass political murder, which throughout the last hundred years has been exclusively the province of one type of socialist or another.

    But sure, let’s all worry about “right-wingers”, whatever that means. You and yours appear to lump anyone who isn’t a card-carrying Marxist under that label. Libertarians, monarchists, distributists… doesn’t matter. They’re all “right-wingers”.

    I do wish you guys would stop calling Nazis “right-wingers”, though. From their party platform, they were quite clearly socialists. Besides, it’s right there in their name.

  233. @ Parallel “If “being nice” == lying in public about what we believe to be right, wrong, and best for society, then damn skippy you’re correct.

    This is part of the problem. The right is nowhere close to having a clear, scientific understanding of any problem and this negatively affects your ability to behave decently. If the right followed real evidence and believed that transgendered people had physical brain issues instead of being mired in sin (or whatever it is you guys think) the problem would pretty much solve itself.

    Unfortunately, the modern right is a fear-parasite, essentially peddling the idea that someone is out to get you, and the only way to safety is gun-ownership and correct doctrine. (Eric’s worries about Gramscians is laughable in the face of just how awful the modern right’s tactics, behaviors, and concerns really are. Fear parasitism and grifting don’t begin to cover it!)

  234. >The right is nowhere close to having a clear, scientific understanding of any problem and this negatively affects your ability to behave decently.

    Marxists have murdered 100 million people in the past century. That’s an odd definition of “behaving decently”, to be sure.

  235. > No. It it is easy for me to tell this isn’t so, because the anti-SJWs do not try to police my speech.

    Ok. Hopefully your sample proves out. I’ll happily be wrong.

  236. @Locktopusy
    ” the last hundred years has been exclusively the province of one type of socialist or another.”

    If you conveniently forget the mass murders in Indonesia (1960s, general Suharto murders a million communists), the various South American military juntas killing tens of thousand communists, the thousands of indigenous people murdered in the Amazon by right winf militias, and the various muslim extremist massacres by the Taliban and IS. Oh, and the massacres by war lords and Japanese in East Asia in the first half of the 20th century.

    Oh, and the fact that you label any mass murdering regime as communist the moment it comes up.

  237. > If we consider the BIID case’s desire pathological, why do we not make the same judgment about the gender dysphoric? Why do we treat these differently in any way at all?

    Being born a woman isn’t considered an unfortunate and pathological condition, at least not in the same way as being born without arms.

    In the case of people born without arms, why do we not consider it pathological if they desire to obtain arms, whether via prosthetics, surgical grafting, or some sort of futuristic regeneration therapy?

  238. @Troutwaxer “The right is nowhere close to having a clear, scientific understanding of any problem and this negatively affects your ability to behave decently. If the right followed real evidence and believed that transgendered people had physical brain issues instead of being mired in sin (or whatever it is you guys think) the problem would pretty much solve itself.”

    Check your privilege, you sophomoric asshole. You’re the sort of arrogant ideologue that Thomas Sowell writes about in _Intellectuals and Society_. A wanna-be thought police hypocrite, intolerant of dissent, lusting to thuggishly silence any who would dare challenge your arrogant self-righteous self image. You simultaneously insist that others not say anything that might hurt your feelings, while claiming your position is based solely on flawless evidence and reason.

    Begone with your contemptible self, and don’t come back until you truly understand and accept the natural human rights of freedom of thought, religion, speech, association, and peaceable assembly.

  239. Eric: “a lot of people who are having bits lopped off should be getting therapy instead.”

    The problem is that psychiatric intervention has as much success at “curing” transsexuals as it does at curing gay men and women: zero.

    Come up with an intervention that works, and we have a different conversation. As things currently stand, though, to tell the transgendered that they cannot transition to their perceived gender, with all that that implies, is to tell them they must remain permanently, profoundly broken.

    Troutwaxer: “Unfortunately, the modern right is a fear-parasite, essentially peddling the idea that someone is out to get you,”

    You’re not paranoid if they really are out to get you…and the Left wants to get rid of people like me.

    Winter: The mass murders of communists and other leftists you cite don’t rise above the level of noise. They’re not within two orders of magnitude of the number of people killed in the name of socialism.

    • >The problem is that psychiatric intervention has as much success at “curing” transsexuals as it does at curing gay men and women: zero.

      But, as I keep having to point out, reassignment surgery doesn’t “cure” either, not if we trust the evidence about suicide rates. When I spoke of therapy I was attempting to imply palliative care, not a cure.

      I suspect the day is going to come when reassignment surgery will be regarded as a nightmare fad born of medical arrogance, like the 20-century vogue for lobotomies.

  240. @Doctor Locketopus

    How well it works is partially a function of whether the parents are decent people or not; one of the sources of SJW footsoldiers (I don’t know how large this source is) is people who were raised to be evangelical footsoldiers by hyper-authoritarian parents. Then the children “escaped”, and changed the curtains on their power fantasies.

    @Whoever expressed concern that all of Them Damn Kids were crazy (thought it was Jorge, but I can’t find it)

    Don’t be too sure: while the millennials (which I technically am) have a lot of crazy in them, what you are hearing are the most vocal nutters. Just like most young people were not hippies in the 60s. And the generation immediately after the millennials is growing up to be extremely anti-SJW.

  241. @esr: “We treat a BIID sufferer’s desire to lop off his limbs as pathological, but fashionable opinions wants to treat a gender dysmoprphic’s decision to mutilate his or her genitals as a form of self-realization.”

    The difference is a BIID sufferer wants to make himself abnormal. Normal people have 2 hands, 2 feet, etc. The gender dysmorphic doesn’t want to “mutilate” his/her genitals, the gender dysmorphic wants cosmetic surgery to make his/her genitals look normal. Nobody thinks a woman with abnormally small breasts is crazy to want augmentation to be a B or C cup, nor for a woman with EEE breasts to get a reduction. Nobody thinks it odd for someone born with an abnormally large nose to get rhinoplasty to make it more normal.

  242. >As things currently stand, though, to tell the transgendered that they cannot transition to their perceived gender, with all that that implies, is to tell them they must remain permanently, profoundly broken.

    They remain profoundly broken even after transitioning. Well if suicide rates reflect brokenness.

    Which suggests something to me. They’re just inherently profoundly broken.

    Good people should be kind to the profoundly broken, as much as possible. But that doesn’t make the broken normal or healthy, and especially doesn’t make them especially virtuous, or role models to be imitated, or mascots.

  243. Ian Bruene:

    @Whoever expressed concern that all of Them Damn Kids were crazy (thought it was Jorge, but I can’t find it)

    I didn’t. Greg said “When did our entire culture reenter toddlerhood?” and I lightheartedly replied by quoting Mel Gibson’s penultimate line from the Simpsons episode in which he guest-starred as himself.

    As a belated reply to your earlier comment (the one that begins with “It might help to know that many Conservatives…”): I didn’t claim that Eric is a conservative; I just pointed out that he’d be classified as a right-winger in Latin America, where the “right wing” label is associated not only with social conservatism, but also with economic liberalism (in the original, laissez-faire sense). Furthermore, he advocates widespread ownership of firearms as a means of self-defense, which goes against the leftist views on crime. And he opposes postmodernism to boot. :-)

  244. >It never worked, because the offspring never fought for the case of their ancestors. They often even switched sides.

    It has a very good history of working, with all of history as one giant proof.

  245. >We on the left (I’m not an SJW) are happy to condemn Islamists who are religious fanatics and actually kill people.

    I won’t say you’re *lying* exactly, because you may be truthful speaking about yourself.

    But this is visibly false regarding the rest of the left. ‘Workplace violence’. LOL.

  246. @esr:

    Don’t be too sure of that. Demographically, every faction of the left other than nonwhite immigrant groups is doing itself in faster – and those immigrants are not very attached. Historically immigrants tended to shift conservative as they assimilated more.

    I guess I should be used to people not clicking the links I provide, then by not having read those interpreting either metaphorically when I’m being literal, or literally when I’m being metaphorical. :-)

    Okay, to sum it up, that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about war. Real war, not metaphorical war. Literal, honest to goodness civil war.

    The link I provided is to an answer by an army big data analyst on the data-driven preconditions for a revolution/civil war to happen. Figuring this out was part os his assignment in Iraq as his superiors wanted an objective metric for when to consider the level of violence in Iraq had decreased to “normal”, and hence for when they’d be able to declare the war won and Iraq ready for the withdrawal of US troops. After months of analysis his team’s conclusion was that, I quote: “(…) the most significant factor was the number of individuals aged 13–19 relative to the number of individuals aged over 35. If the teenage group ever exceeded the over 35 group, violence increased to the point there was a very high chance of civil war. Furthermore, the opposite was true. If the 35+ yr olds outnumbered the teenagers, there was no chance of civil war.”

    He then goes on to show this isn’t the case in the US and to conclude that no, civil war isn’t in sight in the US, nor will it ever be. Hence my comment. As long as no one in the US starts breeding so much that the 13-19 yo bracket exceeds the huge 35+ yo bracket across the entire population, there’ll be at most a few riots here, angry speeches there, a few minor street confrontations, maybe even a few homemade terrorist attacks, and that’ll be it. But no war.

    Sure, it may happen for one side to grow enough to outdo the other in elections, but that’s all there will ever be. Angry elections. Nothing else. There aren’t enough teens for anything else to happen.

    We treat a BIID sufferer’s desire to lop off his limbs as pathological, but fashionable opinions wants to treat a gender dysmorphic’s decision to mutilate his or her genitals as a form of self-realization.

    I think the comparison to BIID sufferers exaggerates the issue. Transsexuals who want to go through sex reassignment surgery don’t want to cut parts of their bodies out, they want to keep all or most of those parts, only changing their appearance and relative positions.

    Seriously, look on Google how a SRS is made. It’s a cosmetic surgery, not an amputation. Most of the parts remain, only in slightly different places. For a male-to-female transsexual for example, the penis isn’t removed, it’s turned into a clitoris, with the scrotum becoming the walls of the vagina, other parts becoming the labia etc. The only parts that are actually removed are the testicles, but that isn’t very different in practice from a cis man going through a vasectomy.

    Also, and, this is an interesting aspect, many, maybe most, MtF SRS patients become able to experience the female orgasm. All men have the ability to experience it, it’s difficult under normal conditions but doable. So by doing the surgery they really aren’t losing anything significant as far as bodily capabilities go.

    In contrast, BIID sufferers who actually go through an amputation lose a ton of functionality. They might become happy afterwards, but they are then objectively, physically damaged. SRS patients aren’t.

    The two situations are thus not directly comparable. There are a few superficial similarities that provide for analogies, sure, but it stops there.

  247. @Jorge

    As I said, I couldn’t find it. I may even be misremembering the entire post.

    I didn’t claim that Eric is a conservative

    Didn’t think you did, but you are from Europe so the political categories can be difficult to understand across that barrier.

  248. @Greg
    “But this is visibly false regarding the rest of the left. ‘Workplace violence’. LOL.”

    In Europe, every left wing party and politician will condemn violence from any religious side.

  249. @Jay
    “Winter: The mass murders of communists and other leftists you cite don’t rise above the level of noise. They’re not within two orders of magnitude of the number of people killed in the name of socialism.”

    Which is based on the stupid myth that Hitler was a socialist. See for extensive debunking in the links below.

    In short, when you asked the original Nazis, their victims, their sympathisers, be it the Catholic church, American industrialists like Henry Ford, the alied forces, or anyone else in contemporary Europe, the answer would be laughter and unbelieve. If you ask modern day neo-nazis and historians, the respone would be the same. The only people who claim this are USA right wing politicians who want to whitewash the right from all misdeeds and blame them on the left. Along the lines that Obama is a mass murdering genocideal dictator because he is on the same side as Hitler.

    But why would I rely on badly informed Americans when I have talked to people who actually experienced the Nazis first hand and have studied what happened?

    More in depth debunking:
    Why is Nazism considered far-right in political terms?
    https://www.quora.com/Why-is-Nazism-considered-far-right-in-political-terms?redirected_qid=1122068

    Hitler, Nazis, Socialism, and Rightwing Propaganda
    http://www.csun.edu/~vcmth00m/NazismSocialism.html

    Myth: Hitler was a leftist.
    Fact: Nearly all of Hitler’s beliefs placed him on the far right.
    http://www.huppi.com/kangaroo/L-hitler.htm

    • >Which is based on the stupid myth that Hitler was a socialist.

      Myth? Let’s see:

      Virulent hostility against free markets and capitalism? Check.

      Doctrine of the inevitability of world transformation derived from Hegelian idealism? Check.

      Elaborate marches with uniformed workers calling one another “comrade”? Check.

      Systematic Jew-hatred and propaganda against “rootless cosmopolitans”? Check.

      “Socialism” in the name? Check.

      Squabbling with other socialists over power? Check.

      Indeed, if you were an American Communist during the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, you were required to believe that Naziism was socialism and that Hitler and Stalin were marching arm-in-arm towards the glorious future. This only changed when Operation Barbarossa launched, at which point the Soviet propaganda machine began broadcasting the most successful Big Lie in its history.

  250. @esr:

    Reassignment surgery does not significantly change the rate of attempted suicides. It doesn’t actually seem to be a “solution” at all.

    This depends on what, exactly, are your expectations. SRS is an effective solution for the specific illness of gender dysphoria, with very expressive successes in that:

    “We identified 28 eligible studies. These studies enrolled 1833 participants with GID (1093 male-to-female, 801 female-to-male) who underwent sex reassignment that included hormonal therapies. All the studies were observational and most lacked controls. Pooling across studies shows that after sex reassignment, 80% of individuals with GID reported significant improvement in gender dysphoria (95% CI = 68–89%; 8 studies; I² = 82%); 78% reported significant improvement in psychological symptoms (95% CI = 56–94%; 7 studies; I² = 86%); 80% reported significant improvement in quality of life (95% CI = 72–88%; 16 studies; I² = 78%); and 72% reported significant improvement in sexual function (95% CI = 60–81%; 15 studies; I² = 78%).”

    SRS isn’t a cure for suicidal ideation, which is a symptom of several mental illnesses, many of which also carried by gender dysphoric individuals. Those require specific treatments of their own.

    SRS, as currently practiced, helps reduce the intensity of these specific symptoms from “marked/strong/significant” to “weak/none”, and nothing else:

    “A. A marked incongruence between one’s experienced/expressed gender and assigned gender, of at least 6 months’ duration, as manifested by at least two of the following:

    1. A marked incongruence between one’s experienced/expressed gender and primary and/or secondary sex characteristics (or in young adolescents, the anticipated secondary sex characteristics).

    2. A strong desire to be rid of one’s primary and/or secondary sex characteristics because of a marked incongruence with one’s experienced/expressed gender (or in young adolescents, a desire to prevent the development of the anticipated secondary sex characteristics).

    3. A strong desire for the primary and/or secondary sex characteristics of the other gender.

    4. A strong desire to be of the other gender (or some alternative gender different from one’s assigned gender).

    5. A strong desire to be treated as the other gender (or some alternative gender dif­ferent from one’s assigned gender).

    6. A strong conviction that one has the typical feelings and reactions of the other gen­der (or some alternative gender different from one’s assigned gender).

    B. The condition is associated with clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational or other important areas of functioning.”

    That said, there are isolated cases in which a SRS helps reduce suicide attempts, one of which, anecdotally, is that 60 yo friend of mine I mentioned before, who had attempted suicide before her SRS but not afterwards. There are other cases in which it might increase it though, so there’s no direct correlation.

    Therefore, while it is true that SRS per se doesn’t have a noticeable statistical effect in terms of reduction in suicide ideation, suicide attempts and actual suicides, I don’t see how this is relevant. It’d be relevant if SRS was being proposed as a cure for suicide ideation, but I’m not aware of this being the case, and if it has been the case on occasion, that was done either in error, or as an earlier hope that didn’t materialize.

    Expecting SRS do more than to reduce the specific symptoms of gender dysphoria is therefore unwarranted, and criticizing it for not achieving a goal it doesn’t have is incurring in a straw man fallacy.

    • You left out the part where the meta-study’s abstract says “Very low quality evidence”. Even without that admission, I wouldn’t have trusted it much. Meta-studies like that are notoriously susceptible to incommensurability of categories in the component studies. Often your “conclusions” are just sampling noise.

      >Therefore, while it is true that SRS per se doesn’t have a noticeable statistical effect in terms of reduction in suicide ideation, suicide attempts and actual suicides, I don’t see how this is relevant.

      It’s certainly relevant if gender dysmorphia symptoms are supposed to be a cause of suicide. Do I really need to write out the Bayesian formula for this?

      I’m disappointed. You’ve given me the form of a rational argument, but only very weak substance. I was expecting better before I chased your links.

  251. >In Europe, every left wing party and politician will condemn violence from any religious side.

    But will they condemn it as *religious violence*?

    Which is rather the point you choose to miss.

    Did you understand my reference? I was referring to the rather well known case of Nidal Hasan the perpetrator of the Ft Hood shooting in 2009.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2009_Fort_Hood_shooting

    Which was, truly, condemned by the left here, but as, wait for it, *workplace violence*.

    This is not unusual. Religious violence in the form of Islamist jihad is always described as something else. Anything else. Domestic violence. Workplace violence. Or just ‘we’ll never know’.

    https://pjmedia.com/news-and-politics/2017/04/18/police-chief-man-yelled-allahu-akbar-at-end-of-shooting-rampage/

    That last has become kind of a darkly humorous joke on the right…. After some act of murderous jihad, “we’ll never know their real motivation”.

  252. >The only parts that are actually removed are the testicles, but that isn’t very different in practice from a cis man going through a vasectomy.

    Sorry, I’m having a little trouble controlling my laughter here.

  253. @esr
    “Reassignment surgery does not significantly change the rate of attempted suicides. It doesn’t actually seem to be a “solution” at all.”

    But no surgery has no effect either. See my earlier link. Surgery has also no effect on discrimination and harrassment.

    This whole discussion about suicide is just used as an excuse for discrimination and exclusion.

    • >But no surgery has no effect either.

      Sophistry. If a medical procedure is ineffective at improving outcomes, the correct ethical choice is to not do it.

      >This whole discussion about suicide is just used as an excuse for discrimination and exclusion.

      This is lazy, sloppy thinking. It doesn’t explain why some of the surgeons and institutions that pioneered SRS have made an outcomes-based decision to stop doing it.

  254. @esr
    “Myth? Let’s see”

    Murdering everyone mentioning Marx or Lenin? Check.
    Against internationalisation of workers? Check.
    Capitalist ownership of industry? Check.
    Against class struggle? Check.
    Racist? Check.
    Popular with the Vatican? Check.
    Popular with American industry? Check.

    Indeed, no communism.

    About the name, the German Democratic Republic was neither. Pro life is mostly pro death penalty, etc… You are called Eric, but not a ruler, so what?

    • >Indeed, no communism.

      Heresies often deny their origins. There is no more difference between Naziism and Communism than, say, the Roman and Aryan versions of Catholicism.

  255. “Oh, and the fact that you label any mass murdering regime as communist the moment it comes up.”

    I’m not “labeling” them anything. I’m using their own labels.

    National SOCIALIST German WORKER’S Party
    COMMUNIST Party of the Soviet Union
    COMMUNIST Party of China
    COMMUNIST Party of North Korea
    Khmer ROUGE

    All of the ones you mentioned are basically rounding errors compared to the megamurders perpetrated by these regimes.

  256. “Which is based on the stupid myth that Hitler was a socialist.”

    National. SOCIALIST. German. Workers. Party.

    Twit.

    “Myth: Hitler was a leftist.
    Fact: Nearly all of Hitler’s beliefs placed him on the far right.”

    Fact: Hitler was a socialist in word and deed. Take out the Jew-hatred and the Nazi Party platform is indistinguishable from a Bernie Sanders speech.

    You just won’t admit it because you’ve been indoctrinated by Soviet propaganda that “socialism = good” and “Hitler = bad” .

    Fact #2: neither you, nor anyone else, who uses the idiotic term “far-right” has any coherent definition of that term. At all. In fact, using that term at all is a reliable marker that the person has no clue what he’s talking about.

  257. Troutwaxer and Winter:

    Please give us a coherent definition of the term “far-right”, clear enough that a person can reliably be placed in that category or excluded from it.

    Please make sure that your definition a) includes Nazis, libertarians, and traditional European monarchists and b) isn’t just a thinly-veiled way of saying “not Marxist”.

    I’ll be awaiting your response with interest.

    • >I’ll be awaiting your response with interest.

      I’m calling a halt to this now. The thread has been high-quality and mostly on topic; wer’re going to keep it that way. Attempts to jack it will be deleted.

  258. @Greg
    “But will they condemn it as *religious violence*?”

    The word is “sectarial violence”. That is used often.

  259. “I suspect the day is going to come when reassignment surgery will be regarded as a nightmare fad born of medical arrogance, like the 20-century vogue for lobotomies.”

    See also: allegedly prophylactic tonsillectomies, appendectomies, etc. There was even a short-lived vogue for unnecessary total colectomy.

  260. @esr
    “You left out the part where the meta-study’s abstract says “Very low quality evidence”. Even without that admission, I wouldn’t have trusted it much. Meta-studies like that are notoriously susceptible to incommensurability of categories in the component studies. Often your “conclusions” are just sampling noise.”

    Is this a way to say that you do not have a clue but will not admit it?

  261. @Troutwaxer

    There’s an unspoken thing being missed, alright, but not by me. The point of my post was regarding opinions toward gays held by average Muslims worldwide. Terrorism had nothing to do with it.

    If liberals actually gave a shit about the principles they claim to hold dear, they would be screeching from rooftops to halt any and all Muslim immigration.

  262. >The word is “sectarial violence”. That is used often.

    That’s not only the wrong term, you’re using it wrong.

    It’s sectarian violence, which would be violence between sects of the same religion.

    Sunni on Shia violence is sectarian.

    Sunnis murdering Copts is not.

    And in any case it’s part of the family of weasel words that has come into vogue to downplay things you’re not supposed to pay much attention to.

    Please excuse me if this counts as additional hijacking.

  263. @Alexander Gieg “He then goes on to show this isn’t the case in the US and to conclude that no, civil war isn’t in sight in the US, nor will it ever be.”

    I read that piece a while back and thought it made some interesting observations, but a couple things gave me pause:

    First, he seemed to overfit the data. He used the American Civil War as an example of a civil war with a corresponding youth bulge. But that was a war between states, with publicly-funded professional armies on both sides. It was not the endemic neighbor-against-neighbor violence that the term “civil war” usually denotes, exceptions in the western theater notwithstanding. This is a relatively minor point, but that kind of sloppy analysis raises my hackles when it come from the big-data-and-grand-claims types.

    Second, he only looks at national demographics. Factions in civil wars tend to be extremely localized in their origins, only forming larger coalitions as the conflict becomes general (just look at all the one-block brigades in Syria). Overall balance of demographics might not matter if their are sufficient youth bulges at specific flashpoints.

    Nevertheless, I think the author is on to something interesting that points to a useful line of inquiry. My next question would be how internet networking affects the significance of the youth bulge, perhaps raising the effective concentration of youth.

  264. Ian Bruene:

    Didn’t think you did, but you are from Europe…

    Argentina, actually. Never been to Europe, alas.

    esr:

    …the Roman and Aryan versions of Catholicism.

    Did you mean “Arian”?

    • >Did you mean “Arian”

      I did. Though perhaps my typo will be more pardonable if you realise that Arianism was adopted enthusiastically by the Goths… :-)

  265. @esr:

    Meta-studies like that are notoriously susceptible to incommensurability of categories in the component studies.

    There is a good quantity of studies on Google Scholar if you search for “sex reassignment surgery” coupled with other terms. These individual studies, some of which long term, show improvements in several categories; neither improvement nor deterioration in other categories; and a few deterioration in some other categories. This meta-study seems consistent with that.

    If you take the standard Bayesian practice of beginning with an odds ratio of 50% for two unknown hypothesis, isn’t it evident that, even though you haven’t slided to multiple nines, you still slided to >50% on the evidence that SRS is positive to those who go through it? If not, what are your priors?

    It’s certainly relevant if gender dysmorphia symptoms are supposed to be a cause of suicide.

    There’s certainly a correlation between suffering from gender dysphoria and suffering from comorbidities which in turn include as symptoms suicide ideation. There are however gender dysphoric individuals that don’t suffer from those comorbidities, so the causality isn’t evident. And there are other factors correlated with all of the these. For example, while transsexuals are the group with most suicide ideation within LGBTs, the LGB slice also has higher suicide rates than heterossexuals. Is the conclusion one should derive from this that non-heterossexuality as such is the problem, with transsexuality the worst of the set? Or is there something that affects non-heterossexuals more than it affects heterossexuals, and that drives their suicide rates up, with transsexuals being affected the most, hence their suicide rates being the highest?

    This all becomes very simple IIF we oversimplify the whole thing. That’s not however how one should proceed with complex phenomena.

    If you’d like to write the full Bayesian formula that takes all of those possibilities in account I’d like to see it. I’m not so well versed in Bayesian calculation so as to be able to do it myself. Seeing it spelled out in full by someone with more skill would be quite instructive.

    It doesn’t explain why some of the surgeons and institutions that pioneered SRS have made an outcomes-based decision to stop doing it.

    One explanation for that is that they were expecting different outcomes than the ones they got. It doesn’t mean the outcomes they got weren’t positive under a more limited scope. For example, if they wanted to reduce suicide rates, but instead got “only” improved quality of life, that might prompt them to stop.

    Something similar to that seems to be the indeed the case. As Paul McHugh from Johns Hopkins University explains in this well known article on the reasons he stopped supporting SRSs (emphasis mine):

    “(…) I wanted to test the claim that men who had undergone sex-change surgery found resolution for their many general psychological problems. (…) The psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Jon Meyer was already developing a means of following up with adults who received sex-change operations at Hopkins in order to see how much the surgery had helped them. He found that most of the patients he tracked down some years after their surgery were contented with what they had done and that only a few regretted it. But in every other respect, they were little changed in their psychological condition. They had much the same problems with relationships, work, and emotions as before. The hope that they would emerge now from their emotional difficulties to flourish psychologically had not been fulfilled.

    We saw the results as demonstrating that just as these men enjoyed cross-dressing as women before the operation so they enjoyed cross-living after it. But they were no better in their psychological integration or any easier to live with.”

    He doesn’t say whether his Christian faith and general opposition to homosexuality as an incorrect desire influenced him in this conclusion. I suppose it did, as his affiliation with the Christian-based ACPeds instead of the APA later on, as well as some other positions he holds, suggest. Be as it may, it fits within my model of “the result I hoped for wasn’t achieved, therefore the result I actually got doesn’t count”.

    • >If you’d like to write the full Bayesian formula that takes all of those possibilities in account I’d like to see it

      You broadened the scope a lot, there; I’d have to go back to the books to write one with that complex a structure of antecedents. I might try it as an exercise later, but there’s a much simpler argument that will do for now.

      Given: SRS does not affect the rate of attempted suicides. Then, it must be the case that either (a) SRS doesn’t help, or (b) getting SRS is anti-correlated with other factors affecting attempted in a way that to within measurement error cancels the effect of SRS alone.

      This way of analyzing higher wakes the higher base rate for the LBG/LGBT population irrelevant. Note that it applies no matter which way SRS might be moving the needle.

      In the absence of actual data on anticorrelations and a generative theory of them, what is the way to bet? My, I think any supposition that those other factors are randomly varying in exactly the right way to mask an effect from SRS needs a serious shave with Occam’s Razor.

      >Be as it may, it fits within my model of “the result I hoped for wasn’t achieved, therefore the result I actually got doesn’t count”.

      You’re dancing pretty hard, there. I think that McHugh quote means what it says: that post-SRS cases generally reported non-regret but the objective indicators of psychological dysfunction (including the attempted-suicide rate) didn’t change. MchHugh’s expectations are not really relevant to the second observation.

  266. “I’m calling a halt to this now. The thread has been high-quality and mostly on topic”

    Your blog, your rules. Apologies.

    It does seem to me, though, that this is all of a piece. Insisting that Nazis were not socialists (when they quite clearly were) is pretty similar to insisting that someone is black who quite clearly is not black, or insisting that someone with a penis is a woman, or…

  267. @Troutwaxer – “The right small-business answer when you don’t want to serve a ________ client is ‘I’m afraid I’m really busy that week, there’s a bakery on 5th and Main and they’re great and they’ll be happy to take care of you. Have a nice day.'”

    True. However, I still think that a small-business owner that deliberately turns away valuable business, for any reason or none, won’t be in business long. No ideology implied here, just practical economics.

    @ESR – “[…] a lot of people who are having bits lopped off should be getting therapy instead.”

    Leelah Alcorn’s parents tried that, with the best of intentions. The result was that Leelah walked out onto a freeway and let a truck run over her.

    @Alexander Gieg – One thing I’ve read that might account for the issues seen by post-operative transsexuals is that, for the longest time, they as individuals have been focused on their transition, as many of them have had to be for it to happen at all. After the surgery, they say to themselves, “OK. I’m now as fully transitioned as I’m ever going to be. What do I do now?” They’ve been so hyper-focused on the transition process that they don’t give any thought to what comes after that. A loss of focus in their lives may account for the lack of decrease in suicide rates. This can be countered by transitioning individuals understanding that the end of their transition is just the beginning of their life in their true gender. For my part, I believe that I will still be learning the nuances of being a woman from now until the day I die, whether I undergo GCS or not.

    • >Leelah Alcorn’s parents tried that, with the best of intentions. The result was that Leelah walked out onto a freeway and let a truck run over her.

      This is going to sound unfeeling, I’m sure – but what’s your evidence of causation?

  268. esr wrote, “You put your finger on why I hadn’t actually written the post. I don’t have an ethical resolution for a situation in which opposing gay marriage seemed wrong on principle, but supporting it turned out to be consequentially bad in practice.”

    Is this a case of “law” being used in an inappropriate situation, i.e. marriage? Marriage laws have grown far beyond merely governing who has visitation access to comatose spouses and have been used as mentioned in-thread to dictate who private businesses are FORCED to associate with at gunpoint via the force of law.

    There appear to be areas of society which are not fit for law, such as non-violent interaction between Russ Cage and Amy Tapie. If Russ does not want to interact with Amy, then any law FORCING Russ to do so would itself be illegal/void if Russ and Amy both have a self-evident right to life.

    Taxation seems near to the heart of the matter of marriage laws and the clamor for the Sexuality Alphabet to be included within the definition of marriage. There is (or was) a tax benefit to filing as married, there are tax-sheltered benefits available to the officially-married spouse of a worker, and so on.

    Thus, would it be accurate to claim that by supporting “gay marriage” when marriage has been appropriated by a violent state, you ultimately supported the growth of an entity which routinely initiates violence against others, even though your intentions were pure?

  269. @ESR – “what’s your evidence of causation?”

    How about Leelah Alcorn’s final words themselves?

    When I was 14, I learned what transgender meant and cried of happiness. After 10 years of confusion I finally understood who I was. I immediately told my mom, and she reacted extremely negatively, telling me that it was a phase, that I would never truly be a girl, that God doesn’t make mistakes, that I am wrong. […]

    My mom started taking me to a therapist, but would only take me to Christian therapists, (who were all very biased) so I never actually got the therapy I needed to cure me of my depression. I only got more Christians telling me that I was selfish and wrong and that I should look to God for help.

    […]

    After a summer of having almost no friends plus the weight of having to think about college, save money for moving out, keep my grades up, go to church each week and feel like shit because everyone there is against everything I live for, I have decided I’ve had enough. I’m never going to transition successfully, even when I move out. I’m never going to be happy with the way I look or sound. […]

    That’s the gist of it, that’s why I feel like killing myself. Sorry if that’s not a good enough reason for you, it’s good enough for me. […] The only way I will rest in peace is if one day transgender people aren’t treated the way I was, they’re treated like humans, with valid feelings and human rights. Gender needs to be taught about in schools, the earlier the better. My death needs to mean something. My death needs to be counted in the number of transgender people who commit suicide this year. I want someone to look at that number and say “that’s fucked up” and fix it. Fix society. Please.

    She wrote this in a Tumblr post that she had scheduled to go live in the event of her death. It was later deleted from Tumblr, but not before it was captured and preserved. Yes, she might have been mistaken about not being able to successfully transition if she started later, but, when you’re that age, waiting that long can seem like an eternity.

    Ipse dixit and Q.E.D.

    • >Ipse dixit and Q.E.D.

      Interesting. I notice a couple of things particularly.

      1. Leelah writes “I never actually got the therapy I needed to cure me of my depression.” as though she believed such a cure was possible and it as the specific incompetence of Christian therapists that was the problem.

      2. I see no signs that Leelah was bullied or rejected by her peer group for presenting as gay or trans. This increases the skepticism I already held about “trans people are mentally-ill/suicidal because society is oppressive towards them”. Leelah didn’t have a problem with “society”; she had a religion-induced problem with her parents and incompetent counselors.

      (From her account, I’m guessing I caught more crap for having visible spastic palsy as a child than she did for her problems. I actually was bullied mercilessly for being the pink monkey. This is a reason I have less patience than most for call-the-waaahmbulance cries of oppression. It happens to lots of people. You cope.)

      The part you really won’t like is that I’m not actually sure Leelah’s report of her mental state tells me anything I can trust. Suppose a report like this included this sentence:

      “When I was 14, the voices in my head told me what I had to do and I cried with happiness.”

      It’s the epistemic problem again. If I am to believe someone’s report that they feel like their body has the wrong genitals, on what grounds do I reject a report about voices in the head, or that a BIID case has limbs that don’t belong on him and should be chopped off?

      I’ve been presented with a lot of theory, most notably by Alexander Gleig. My problem is that the evidence of this theory cashing out to an objective improvement in clinical outcomes seems equivocal at best. Until that changes, my skepticism won’t either.

  270. “Leelah Alcorn’s parents tried that, with the best of intentions. The result was that Leelah walked out onto a freeway and let a truck run over her.”

    The singular of data, is not anecdote.

  271. Troutwaxer on 2017-05-14 at 00:23:28 said:
    > @ Russ Cage: “The disgust reactions of the vast majority of healthy males are equally real if not more so; understanding is irrelevant.”

    > So our world should be ruled by the disgust reactions of males? I find you completely
    > appalling, and I’d make a joke about how the Gramiscans are right, but somebody might

    So it is a MORAL IMPERATIVE that we make massive and rapid changes to our social structure because of the *feelings* (e.g. “internal mental states”) of about .1 percent (1 out of 1000) of the people, but taking into account the feelings of roughly 30 to 50 percent of the population (males who feel “disgust” at homosexuality or think it’s icky[1]) is wrong?

    Really?

    I would argue that seriously oppressive laws (and prohibiting them from getting a piece of paper from the county court house is NOT seriously oppressive) would be wrong, but if it’s “right” to leverage the force of law and medical science to help one the .1 percent, one should at least not shit on the 30 to 50% from a great height.

    > misunderstand and a right winger would come after me with a gun. Because he was
    > disgusted by a joke he didn’t even notice.

    There are fewer conservatives who’ve gone after people with guns for this sort of thing than there are the number of pages filled with left wingers who’ve resorted to violence over political issues THIS DECADE.

  272. Alexander Gieg on 2017-05-14 at 10:51:22 said:
    > Okay, to sum it up, that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about war. Real war,
    > not metaphorical war. Literal, honest to goodness civil war.

    > The link I provided is to an answer by an army big data analyst on the data-driven
    > preconditions for a revolution/civil war to happen. Figuring this out was part os his
    > assignment in Iraq as his superiors wanted an objective metric for when to consider the level of […]
    > conclusion was that, I quote: “(…) the most significant factor was the number of
    > individuals aged 13–19 relative to the number of individuals aged over 35. If the teenage
    > group ever exceeded the over 35 group, violence increased to the point there was a very
    > high chance of civil war. Furthermore, the opposite was true. If the 35+ yr olds
    > outnumbered the teenagers, there was no chance of civil war.”

    I suspect that while his data may have been good for that part of the world, it’s validity when applied to our culture is questionable (and yes, I read the link. I’ve also *been* to Iraq and worked with US army data analysts. They aren’t bad at their job, but I bet they didn’t predict Trump would win either.).

    We have a very youth oriented culture in this country–we (as a culture) don’t WANT to grow the f*k up and behave like adults.

    The flip side of that is that in the US we are pretty much ‘post scarcity’, and getting shot in a revolution is about the WORST way to not get the next iPhone.

  273. @Amy Tapie – I went ahead and looked up that case. A), it was in the Phillippines, under Phillippines law, so not relevant in any way to American jurisprudence. B), the perp was convicted of homicide anyway. (Although the six to twelve he got is lower than the average sentence from the Phillippines judge, which I would agree is not a compliment to the legal system in the Phillippines.)

  274. > I don’t generally expect incisive thought from anyone sufficiently ignorant or ahistorical to think “on the right” describes me accurately.

    This is interesting because grouping you with the right correctly predicts your opinion on every topic you take a public stand on: gun control, Obamacare, voter fraud, the mainstream media, third-wave feminism, social justice movements, “cultural Marxism”, the left in general, the academic humanities, Trayvon Martin, “Islamofascism”, meritocracy, “hate speech”, prejudice in the open-source community, codes of conduct, Adria Richards, Brendan Eich, the GPL, mainstream empiricist economics, climate change, race and intelligence, etc..

    Imagine you walked up to a hundred or so random Americans and asked them how they would label the political identity of a person who hated Obamacare, didn’t believe in climate change, strongly distrusted gender studies types and the social science orthodoxy, passionately argued for less restrictive gun laws, defended the idea that black people are genetically predisposed to low IQ with great confidence and vigor, and referred to transgender persons using the word “tranny”. The modal answer would be either “right” or “hard right”.

    Countercheck, if you walked up to a few hundred random Americans and asked them to list some positions they considered “right” or “hard right”, they would, between them, offer every single position you forcefully argue for, and little else. There would be zero ambiguity. Could be that nobody brings up the Contributor Covenant if there aren’t enough coders in your sample, but on the other hand *nobody* is going to assert that your position on the Contributor Covenant is characteristic of *leftists*.

    You argue that identity labels should be treated like scientific theses: they are meaningful and valid if they have predictive power. By this proposition, calling you “on the right” is justified. Barring extreme epistemological contortions, it is a true statement of empirical fact.

    It follows that describing you as “not on the right” would simply be false.

    Trying to work around this by redefining what “on the right” means would be, to use your turn of phrase, “damaging the tool”. It would have no aim other than muddying the waters; obstructing debate by concealing valid conclusions.

    Would you be willing to explain why being seen as “on the right” would bother you?

    • >Would you be willing to explain why being seen as “on the right” would bother you?

      Sure. Superficially, because I have a lot of non-Right positions you’re not noticing. I’m extremely hostile to claims of religious authority and have nothing but contempt for creationists. I’m pro-choice and pro-drug-legalization. I hang with Wiccans and polyamorists and all kinds of other marginaux. I was pro-gay-marriage before the gay activists strapped on their jackboots. I could go on like that for a while, but I’d rather get to substructure.

      I don’t think like a conservative or have conservative instincts. I’m novelty-seeking rather than novelty-avoiding. My moral sentiments are not heavily tied into disgust reactions, and I naturally push against authority rather than wanting to identify with and valorize it. I never appeal to tradition in political arguments.

      I don’t generally like being around conservatives because they are too often narrow, canalized people who are not only bad at questioning their assumptions but don’t see why they ought to get any better at it.

  275. Mountain Goat: As Eric points out, there are plenty of things where his stances disagree with mine. (I have no problem being considered a conservative, though my own opinions do not always align with the right, especially not the far right or alt-right whatever other epithet you choose to apply.) He’s highlighted several, but I’m going to point out one other: You are incorrect that being considered “on the right” predicts his stance on the GPL. It does predict that he is opposed to it, but his reasoning is far from what you would expect from a conservative. A conservative would oppose it because of its politics and its naive take on what being in business is about; Eric’s opposition to it is on its being based in politics in the first place and its being unnecessary to prevent the actions it tries to stop. (Eric, feel free to correct me.)

    Eric: Not all conservatives are novelty-avoiding; indeed, there are plenty of conservative hackers, a group you’re pointed out in the past is highly novelty-seeking. Not all conservatives’ morals are tied to disgust reactions, either. And I hope your last paragraph doesn’t apply to me.

    • >Eric’s opposition to it is on its being based in politics in the first place and its being unnecessary to prevent the actions it tries to stop. (Eric, feel free to correct me.)

      No, that’s correct.

      >Eric: Not all conservatives are novelty-avoiding [etc.]

      The brightest ones, no. Tough to find a hacker who doesn’t qualify as one of that right-tail cohort.

  276. @esr “Superficially, because I have a lot of non-Right positions you’re not noticing. ”

    Why are those positions relevant to the right-left axis?

    I think this is where distilling everything into a single-axis political spectrum falls apart. I think a lot of people model politics as at least a two-dimensional graph, with both libertarian positions and authoritarian-conservative positions on the “right”, on opposite ends of the other axis. The Nolan chart is more or less such a chart tipped up 45 degrees to put libertarianism at the top, transparent propaganda to present it as the ‘most enlightened’ position.

    “Leelah didn’t have a problem with “society”; she had a religion-induced problem with her parents and incompetent counselors.”

    I have to wonder what definition of “problem with society” you could be using that doesn’t assign a high weight to the actions of the ‘legitimate’ authority figures in someone’s life as representatives of “society”.

    • >Why are those positions relevant to the right-left axis?

      Because they map to “left” in the way people usually think about it.

      >The Nolan chart is more or less such a chart tipped up 45 degrees to put libertarianism at the top, transparent propaganda to present it as the ‘most enlightened’ position.

      Yes, but there’s another purpose: to suggest that if you *do* collapse it onto the naive left-right axis it libertarianism maps to centrism, not the “right”. This is true of my own history; I moved from being pretty much at the center of the chart in the 1970s to the upper vertex.

      >I think this is where distilling everything into a single-axis political spectrum falls apart.

      I completely agree. This is one of thereasons I don’t like being described as “right”.

      >I have to wonder what definition of “problem with society” you could be using that doesn’t assign a high weight to the actions of the ‘legitimate’ authority figures in someone’s life as representatives of “society”.

      Oh, come on. There can be lots of ways for that equivalence to fail. An obvious one that applies in this case is that the authority figures are themselves in opposition to what they know is a secularist social norm. That is, you can god-shout all you want but when your kid has depression you send the kid to a doctor, not a “Christian counselor”.

      When “society” is against you, you get much worse shit than this. You get regularly beaten up and abused and authority figures look the other way. You don’t just get told your problems aren’t real by some jerkass “Christian counselor”, you have problems for there isn’t even precise language because they don’t fit the dominant world-view.

      As a narrative of oppression, Leelah’s is pretty weak tea. I’ve known worse. It is possible (though difficult to tell, bad stuff might have been left out) that I’ve lived worse.

  277. @Mountain Goat: “Trying to work around this by redefining what ‘on the right’ means would be, to use your turn of phrase, ‘damaging the tool’. It would have no aim other than muddying the waters; obstructing debate by concealing valid conclusions.”

    Sorry, I refuse to accept the rhetorical framing of my political opponents. Specifically, I reject their defamatory rhetoric alleging the only reason I oppose the “progressive”, statist agenda is because I’m too stupid/evil/reactionary/racist/bigoted to accept wholesale the “vision of the anointed” (c.f. Thomas Sowell).

    Yes, there was a time when many Christians in the United States wanted to enforce biblical morality via the coercive machinery of government. Those days are long gone; the rhetoric from leading religious thinkers today is much more defensive in nature. “Leave us alone to live our lives by our own freely chosen principles” has replaced “God will curse this unrepentant country.”

  278. I’m coming in late, but does anyone else have an identity that might be getting changed for them?

    I’ve spent my conscious life identifying as white and Jewish, and assuming that anyone who said I wasn’t white was my enemy.

    Lately, I’ve had people tell me forcifully that I’m not white, I’m poc. (Person of color, and most of you can see where this is heading.) These aren’t anti-semites, they’re saying that I don’t have white privilege.They are trying to let me off the hook.`Some of them are Jewish.

    I can agree with an SJW who describes Jews as provisionally white.

    Anyway, I think of people who tell me I’m wrong about my identity as really presumptuous. On the other hand, Eric is correct that group identities are in other people’s heads more than in one’s own. Perhaps I will be like one of those Europeans who find themselves citizens of different countries because borders shifted even though they personally didn’t move.

    • >Perhaps I will be like one of those Europeans who find themselves citizens of different countries because borders shifted even though they personally didn’t move.

      You don’t have to go back very far in history to find a time when Jews were considered “non-white” by a lot of people who weren’t crazed Nazi racial theorists. About a hundred years ago, a good-guy character in one of John Buchan’s novels described a friend of his – someone he really liked – as “the whitest Jew since the Apostle Paul”.

      I’ve been fascinated by that line since I first learned of it. It harmonizes with my observation in Reading Racism into Pulp Fiction that in the early 20th century “white” was a culturist label rather than a racist one. I think it reflects a transitional time in which Jews were becoming “white”.

      Nancy, I think it’s pretty obvious that you’ve lived your life in a society where Jews were considered white because they are culturally recognizable as being like the gentile majority – and indeed producers of a lot of “white” culture. The attempt to re-identify you as a POC is a move in re-racializing politics.

  279. One of the consequences of living through a long term interval of extraordinary affluence is that we have the luxury of elevating minor problems into artificial existential crises. We do this because we lack real existential trials in our everyday life, and this leaves us with an innate sense of unease. We perceive a need to exercise our hereditary survival muscles and build up our robustness, but our civilized environment offers us precious few opportunities to do so.

    It is a poor substitute for this training to battle over feelings versus tangible danger. As regards the OP, ideally evolution would make transsexuals tougher over time, not whinier for more power exercised through government force.

  280. I’ve seen people argue that Rachel Dolezal’s claim to be black should be taken more seriously if she turned out to have black ancestry. And other people claim that it shouldn’t, but a lot of people do take genetic ancestry very seriously.

    https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/05/12/us/cleon-brown-black-lawsuit.html

    A white police officer found out he;s 18% black. He’s filed a lawsuit because he’s getting teased/harassed about it. He’s also become more sympathetic to black people.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/23/us/dna-ancestry-race-identity.html?_r=0

    `

  281. @esr: “2. I see no signs that Leelah was bullied or rejected by her peer group for presenting as gay or trans.”

    Leelah: “After a summer of having almost no friends…”

    She experienced intense rejection and hectoring by her family (the most important social interaction there is) and isolation from peers. From what studies I’ve seen, gay and trans people with supportive families and close friends commit suicide no more often than “normals”, and like “normal people”, are more likely to commit suicide if they are socially isolated and lonely.

    • >Leelah: “After a summer of having almost no friends…”

      No, reread carefully. Leelah also says she was not rejected by her peers for for her sexual presentation.

      That is one of the most interesting things about the account. Leelah could have claimed that her peers were hostile and this drove her to suicide. She doesn’t do this; she’s more specific about who crapped on her, and even seems to be inviting the reader to the theory that “having no friends” was a consequence of her depression as much as a cause.

  282. I think my being considered white is at least as much about my light skin color as it is about expectations of behavior.

    Speaking vaguely of, who here has random strangers ask you where you’re from? This does happen to me fairly often and I wrote it off as mundanes being weird and boring, but having been somewhat marinated in SJW, I now wonder if I’m being tagged as a stranger.

    • >I think my being considered white is at least as much about my light skin color as it is about expectations of behavior.

      Well, sure. The way I would analyze that is it lowers the barrier to being perceive as culturally white.

  283. “Perhaps I will be like one of those Europeans who find themselves citizens of different countries because borders shifted even though they personally didn’t move.”

    As Jerry Pournelle once said (roughly, this isn’t an exact quote): “When I was young, they called me a commie for thinking the law should be color-blind. Now I get called a fascist for thinking the same way.”

  284. @ESR

    >other people

    Your approach is, don’t know what is the right word to use here, non-selfish? No, that is not accurate, there are plenty of very good reason to advertise the kinds of transactions you want to engage in, in fact, pretty much ALL of the reasons I can think of are selfish. So how do you call this clever kind of selfishness when one is actually willing to to invest time doing things for other people because he knows it pays off? Non-solipsistic? Small ego? Selfish but not egocentric? Not self-adsorbed? I mean, it is the literal opposite of the type who decides to identify as a xe, xur, xerself and then demands that other should respect this.

    Anyway, it should be clear what you describe is a form of psychological health and basically the wrongly formed identities aren’t simply mistakes but come from some kind of self-adsorped solipsism, that borders on perhaps mental illness.

    I am sure psychological science has a lot to say about this but I just cannot find that sort of information. I actually picked up the idea from buddhists who kept telling people “things don’t always happen with you, without you, against you or for you, you are not that important ,you are mostly an extra character in the movies of the lives of most other people, dial down that self importance and be glad – not mattering also means most people don’t even bother to judge you so do what you want really”.

    Then I heard he concept again that it has something to do with development from childhood to adulthood. And now I get to see this in practice, our 3 year old still kind of thinks “I want” is an ultimate argument, and it is right about this age that she is slowly learning that it is not because other people matter too. Maybe it is a development issue, a newborn is 100% solipsistic and it is supposed to steadily reduce every year.

    Question. About what age did you figure out that markets tend to make people sort of less self absorped, less solipsistic, better at being “empathically selfish” i.e. “I care about what you want because giving you that you will give me what I want”, developing this “transactional empathy”? Was this a major reason you converted to libertarianism? I guess you picked up this anti-solipsism mentality from Zen, was there a point when you figured transactions tend to train this, and political lootery tends not to?

    The issue is there is not even a clear terminology about this stuff, I am using vague words. “Transactional empathy” is a good term though, IMHO, it sort of summarizes “if you want to get what you want from others start thinking really hard about what they can want from you in return”.

    • >So how do you call this clever kind of selfishness when one is actually willing to to invest time doing things for other people because he knows it pays off?

      I call it “ethics”.

      >the wrongly formed identities aren’t simply mistakes but come from some kind of self-adsorped solipsism, that borders on perhaps mental illness.

      Indeed, with “Claire” as a conspicuous example.

      >Question. About what age did you figure out that markets tend to make people sort of less self absorped, less solipsistic, better at being “empathically selfish” i.e. “I care about what you want because giving you that you will give me what I want”, developing this “transactional empathy”?

      In the late 1970s; I was in my early twenties.

      >Was this a major reason you converted to libertarianism

      I’m not sure which way the causality ran. That is, it might be that libertarians showed me how ethics actually works (self-interest and long planning horizons combining to produce pseudo-altruistic behavior) and I joined them because I got the point.

      >I guess you picked up this anti-solipsism mentality from Zen, was there a point when you figured transactions tend to train this, and political lootery tends not to?

      No. I was aware of Zen but considered it as a method for awareness and getting epistemologically clean. I didn’t pay much attention to Buddhist ethics at all, and for that matter still don’t (though I’m more aware of it now).

      My antipathy for political lootery came from a different place. I studied the Nazi revolution early, read Socialist and Communist theory, and paid attention to what was going on around me. One of the questions that puzzled me most in my late childhood and teens was how this massive evil could be hanging over the world threatening to wipe out everything good in it and yet be almost ignored by everybody around me. I plain could not understand why the few people willing to speak obvious truths about that evil were dismissed as fringy paranoids.

      >Transactional empathy” is a good term though, IMHO, it sort of summarizes “if you want to get what you want from others start thinking really hard about what they can want from you in return”.

      I agree, it’s a good term.

  285. @parallel:

    “Leave us alone to live our lives by our own freely chosen principles”

    I call bullshit. The elephant in the room is, as always, abortion politics.

  286. The original Nolan Chart was a straight square similar to all those memeified four-quadrant charts that are all over Tumblr. The 45-degree tilt to put libertarians on top was a later innovation (I think by the Advocates for Self-Government).

  287. @esr: “No, reread carefully.”

    I did. I’m going to guess you’ve never felt intense, long-term social isolation and loneliness. Holidays are the time of year with the highest suicide rate for a reason. My contention wasn’t really about her friends rejecting her for being trans, it was that she was socially isolated.

    >’Leelah could have claimed that her peers were hostile and this drove her to suicide.’
    No, she instead claims that her friends really weren’t her friends at all, which may even be worse.

    “They were extremely excited to see me and talk to me, but only at first. Eventually they realized they didn’t actually give a shit about me, _and_ _I_ _felt_ _even_ _lonelier_ _than_ _I_ _did_ _before_. The only friends I thought I had only liked me because they saw me five times a week.” (from the complete text at Amy’s link)

    When she was able to re-establish connection with peers after 5 months of parentally enforced isolation, her peers rejected her. Their motivation is essentially irrelevant. What’s relevant is that she was socially isolated, and the only people she interacted with regularly gave her nothing but harsh, unloving condemnation.

    Her gender dysphoria may have been the root cause for her social isolation, but it was the social isolation that killed her.

    • >”The only friends I thought I had only liked me because they saw me five times a week”

      Right. And this has exactly what to do with gender dysphoria?

      I see very little reason to believe the dysphoria was the root of Leelah’s social isolation. The suicide note was written as though she was just not good at maintaining peer relationships – didn’t understand the brown-monkey scripts. Early in this thread the co-morbidity of gender dysphoria an autism was noted; I would be completely unsurprised if Leelah were an undiagnosed case of mild autism.

  288. @Nancy Lebovitz

    Speaking vaguely of, who here has random strangers ask you where you’re from?

    This used to happen all the time when I was a child. In this case the “stranger tag” was caused by a lot of listening to audiobooks read by a Shakespearian actor, as well as old British TV. Also minimal contact with the usual sources of “socialization”.

    @Doctor Locketopus

    Due to the pose I keep seeing your avatar as a gangster with tommy gun. I find the image of Churchill as an old time gangster unreasonably amusing.

    @TheDividualist

    It is also called “enlightened self-interest”.

    @Any

    A good example of the difference between Conservative and Libertarian thought processes that doesn’t end up in the moralism weeds is Snowden (don’t get triggered Jay, I’m only bringing him up as an example):

    A libertarian is nearly guaranteed to be in favor of Snowden, weighing the security breach as of trivial importance relative to the embarrassment received by the government and the confirmation of their spying.

    A Conservative is likely (it varies quite a bit) to consider Snowden a traitor, after all he broke security and then ran when the sledgehammer came down.

    TL;DR: Conservatives really like their Lawful Good, Libertarians their Chaotic Good.

    @TomA

    We get it. You Vape.

  289. > Right. And this has exactly what to do with gender dysphoria?

    Trans people don’t commit suicide because of gender dysphoria. They commit suicide because of social isolation. SRS has little to do with the suicide rate because SRS does little, if anything, about the social isolation, nor is it intended to. So why do you keep linking the two? You, and others, have time and again throughout this thread, linked the rate of suicide among trans people with SRS.

    • >Trans people don’t commit suicide because of gender dysphoria. They commit suicide because of social isolation.

      Assumes facts not in evidence.

      We know, in this case, that Leelah was depressive. Depressives are quite suicide-prone even when not isolated and not gender-dysphoric.

      >You, and others, have time and again throughout this thread, linked the rate of suicide among trans people with SRS.

      This is exactly what I have not done. I have repeatedly pointed out that SRS does not seem to appreciably change attempted-suicide rates. Try again.

  290. A libertarian is nearly guaranteed to be in favor of Snowden, weighing the security breach as of trivial importance relative to the embarrassment received by the government and the confirmation of their spying.

    Snowden broke his contract with the company that employed him AND his contract with the government. His actions in breaking this contract went *way* beyond what was necessary to demonstrate the issue he was allegedly pissed off about (USG spying on Citizens). In doing so he put *many* lives at risk and cost the organization with whom he was contracted a *considerable* amount of money.

    The only reason a Libertarian would “like” this result is that it gave an enemy (the government) a black eye. Those that do not consider him a traitor are either (a) “left libertarians” who are ontologically so inverted that they are chewing on yesterday’s lunch or they’re the post-nationalism types who have other problems.

    Many conservatives (though nowhere near enough) are ALSO upset about the NSA spying issue. They are less likely than libertarians to give him a pass because they still believe in the nation-state as their tribe. Also their models about the actions of nation states tend to produce more accurate predictions than the Libertarians.

  291. Rob K on 2017-05-15 at 13:33:33 said:
    > > Right. And this has exactly what to do with gender dysphoria?

    > Trans people don’t commit suicide because of gender dysphoria. They commit suicide
    > because of social isolation. SRS has little to do with the suicide rate because SRS does little,
    > if anything, about the social isolation, nor is it intended to. So why do you keep linking the two?

    It has been established that there is an overlap between “Autism” and “Gender Dysphoria”. Given that the operating assumption is that *both* are due to anomalous brain structure of some sort, what is the possibility that the sort of mis-wiring that leads to biochemical depression are *also* present?

    • >Given that the operating assumption is that *both* are due to anomalous brain structure of some sort, what is the possibility that the sort of mis-wiring that leads to biochemical depression are *also* present?

      Very high, I think.

      The alternate theory is that LGBT is highly co-morbid with depression and suicide because bigots. I’ve always been skeptical about this because there’s no evidence that co-morbidity lessens in gay meccas like San Francisco where gay men can walk down the street naked without even censure.

      Really there’s a kind of kafkatrap often deployed here. “LGBTs are fucked up because bigots, and if you question this you are automatically a bigot and part of the problem”. Related: “Urban black culture is fucked up because bigots, and if you question this you are automatically a bigot and part of the problem”. I’m getting less patient with thought-stoppers like this as I get older.

  292. >This is exactly what I have not done. I have repeatedly pointed out that SRS does not seem to appreciably change attempted-suicide rates. Try again.

    It seems implicit because “SRS increases suicide rates” (which is something others have certainly claimed even if you have not) is a lot stronger argument against it than “SRS has no effect on suicide rates and I will not bother considering other ways in which it might produce positive outcomes for the population that don’t end up committing suicide” (which seems to be your actual argument), and your overall position seems to be against it.

    It is fair to say you are “linking” them because you appear to consider a reduction in suicide rates (which does not materialize, therefore your overall position is against it) to be the only possible thing in favor of allowing/encouraging people to have SRS.

  293. > The way I would analyze that is it lowers the barrier to being perceive as culturally white.

    And insisting on calling the phenomenon “culturally white” rather than, say, “culturally American”, raises that barrier for people whose skin is darker (or have other ethnic markers – given the same skin tone near the margins of the category, someone with curly hair is seen as less “white” than someone with straight hair) for no particularly good reason.

    • >And insisting on calling the phenomenon “culturally white” rather than, say, “culturally American”

      Sorry, I was using the terms of my old post on pulp fiction. It’s not a phrase I would use outside of that context today without qualification.

      “Culturally American” doesn’t cover it, though. The early 20th-century loading of “white” as a cultural thing definitely included most Europeans.

  294. “Culturally Angevin,” I suppose I might call it. The union of the sets of the Anglosphere (including the New World elements thereof) and the French Empire/Republic. Germany and Scandinavia were close kin, and the northern Mediterranean further cousins.

  295. “The alternate theory is that LGBT is highly co-morbid with depression and suicide because bigots. I’ve always been skeptical about this because there’s no evidence that co-morbidity lessens in gay meccas like San Francisco where gay men can walk down the street naked without even censure.”

    Has anyone checked on the geographical distribution?

    What proportion of the LGBT people in San Franciso moved there from somewhere else where they *were* stigmatized?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suicide_among_LGBT_youth

  296. @esr: This is exactly what I have not done. I have repeatedly pointed out that SRS does not seem to appreciably change attempted-suicide rates. Try again.

    But that’s exactly what I mean by “linked”. I mean that you have implied there /should/ be some correlation (as here: http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=7524&cpage=1#comment-1826800), that you have implied “gender dysphorics commit suicide because of the gender dysphoria and thus SRS should be a solution but isn’t.”

    It’s as though you’re arguing that cancer patients with the flu shouldn’t be given flu medicine because it won’t cure the cancer. (“Obviously the flu medicine doesn’t work; the patient still died!”)

    Gender dysphorics DO NOT commit suicide because of the gender dysphoria thus, SRS will have no effect either way and you should have no expectation that it would.

    • >But that’s exactly what I mean by “linked”.

      Sorry, I can’t even follow your argument any more, it’s become so tortured. Nothing you’re claiming about my position is even making internal logical sense, let alone describing what I think.

  297. The thing is, I don’t know who decides which research gets done.

    I do believe that Social Justice wants to keep its people frightened and angry all the time, so they don’t support collecting information which says that some places are better and other places are worse.

  298. Here’s my read on Leelah’s situation.

    Her social isolation was ultimately caused by her parents forcibly isolating her from her peers. Prior to that, she had come out as gay to her peers, which she probably figured was safer than coming out as trans. Her friends were generally supportive of this; her parents, however, were “pissed. They felt like I was attacking their image, and that I was an embarrassment to them. They wanted me to be their perfect little straight Christian boy, and that’s obviously not what I wanted.”

    After five months of isolation, she had dropped off her friends’ radar, pretty much. “The only friends I thought I had only liked me because they saw me five times a week.” They probably figured that she would soon “go away” again, because her parents would find out and crack down on her even harder.

    So: five months of being isolated from everyone except people telling you that you are wrong and you are going “against God.” I doubt there are many grown adults that could stand up under that strain, let alone a 16-year-old kid.

    I lay the blame for Leelah’s death squarely at the feet of her bigoted, narrow-minded parents. If she had gotten help when she first tried to come out to them–real help, not the fundamentalist Christian horse manure she was subjected to–she might be a living, breathing, young woman today. Instead, she is dead, and her parents continue to misgender her even in death!

    If there is a Hell at all, her parents belong there, and they deserve to fry for a million years, and die every second of it.

    Rest In Power, Leelah.

    • >I lay the blame for Leelah’s death squarely at the feet of her bigoted, narrow-minded parents.

      So do I. Regardless of any judgment about whether Leelah was delusional or not, what her parents did was cruel and horrible and wrong.

  299. >I don’t generally like being around conservatives because they are too often narrow, canalized people who are not only bad at questioning their assumptions but don’t see why they ought to get any better at it.

    Are you sure you’re talking about conservatives here?

    Not a conservative either, but in my experience you are much more accurately describing the left. Conservatives are much more self-aware, self-critical, and open to inquiry. Which is really saying a great deal, because conservatives are not very strong in those areas, the ‘much more’ is strictly by comparison, not absolute.

    One of the primary benefits of leftism is to escape the need for self-awareness.

    • >Are you sure you’re talking about conservatives here?

      Yes. Lefties may be equally bad at actually updating their beliefs, but they have more tendency to at least pay lip service to the idea that they ought to.

  300. Contrast the Leelah Alcorn story with the experience of “gendermom”/”Marlo Mack,” as chronicled on her blog and in this video. She had a child who was assigned male at birth, but then:

    My son was barely three years old when he informed me that I’d got it wrong. Silly me: I’d been fooled, as so many of us are, by the whole penis/vagina thing. My child set me straight:

    “Mom, I think something went wrong when I was in your tummy, because I was supposed to be born a girl, but I was born a boy instead.” He wanted me to put him back in the womb to right the wrong. He was sobbing.

    […]

    For the first year, I hesitated, letting my child grow her hair long and wear dresses everyday, but pushing back when she wanted to switch pronouns and change her name. I tried hard to present alternative scenarios: I bought her a cool T-shirt that said “Boys Can Wear Pink.” I showed her paintings on the Internet of Medieval nobles dressed in tights and lace. I told her that pink had actually been seen as a BOY color until really really recently, while blue was for girls (true!). I bought her the cool new children’s book, My Princess Boy, about a little boy who loves “girl stuff” and his parents love him anyway. Man, I tried. But the kid was unmoved.

    I finally gave in when I realized I was the only one still clinging to the idea that I had a boy. Everyone else – grandparents, neighbors, preschool teachers, our friends, her father – had all welcomed her with open arms into the girl world, and I was the last hold-out. I realized what a betrayal that was, for her Mom – the person who was supposed to be her biggest supporter and protector – to not get on board. So… I let my little boy go. It was really hard at the time, and I grieved. I missed my baby boy. I’m not quite sure why. She had barely left her toddler years, so it’s not like we’d had years of boyhood behind us. In what way had this androgynous baby ever really been a boy except as a creation of my own mind? And yet, I grieved the loss of that creation. Apparently that’s a standard part of the process for us parents with kids like this: grieving the boy or the girl who is gone but still there, differently.

    I don’t grieve anymore. My child, M., now lives full-time as a girl (she calls herself “a girl with a penis”), and she is happy and confident. Unless she’s naked, you’d never guess she’s got what my dad calls “boy plumbing.”

    M. was able to articulate her true gender identity at age three. She’s now eight, and still happy being who she really is. And notice that “gendermom,” too, was a holdout in accepting her daughter’s gender identity, until she finally came around. But come around she did. And that makes all the difference.

    (My own parents are still alive, and they are just as supportive of my own decision to transition. I was welcomed at my younger brother’s wedding last September as a daughter and a sister. This is what “acceptance” looks like.)

  301. > I find the image of Churchill as an old time gangster unreasonably amusing.

    Winnie loved guns. There are several other pictures of him with the Tommy gun besides the one I use. I’ve also seen pictures of him firing a STEN gun.

  302. >Winnie loved guns. There are several other pictures of him with the Tommy gun besides the one I use. I’ve also seen pictures of him firing a STEN gun.

    I recall reading stories of him as a younger man, having adventures and employing a broom handle Mauser to great effect.

    His positive experiences with the nuts and bolts of war in his youth, tended to lead him astray later on. Times and tools had changed, and he had a terrible tendency to think of himself as more of a tactician than he was. That certainly didn’t *help* with his tendency to micromanage events in the field.

    So no, not even Churchill got to choose his identity, at least w.r.t. him self-identifying as a tactician. ;)

  303. Amy: “If she had gotten help when she first tried to come out to them–real help, not the fundamentalist Christian horse manure she was subjected to–she might be a living, breathing, young woman today. Instead, she is dead, and her parents continue to misgender her even in death!

    I won’t disagree for a moment that the blame for Leela’s death can be laid at her parents’ feet. They failed to get her effective help, and cut her off from her support structure. I have little doubt those materially contributed, if not led outright, to her depression, and her suicide.

    And while I must condemn their actions, they have a right as parents to raise their child in accordance with their religious beliefs. My real hope is that one day they will see how those beliefs led to their actions, and what those actions led to. Only then will they understand, and begin to atone – and, perhaps, help others to see the damage they do by acting in the same way.

    As for “misgendering her even in death!”, there are three comments I have to make: 1) “Misgendering” is yet another SJW neologism and yet another SJW atrocity on the language, and should be eradicated. 2) For her parents, this is almost certainly a coping mechanism, and a harmless one, because – and most importantly – 3) Leelah is beyond caring. To borrow a tired line: At this point, what difference does it make?

  304. @Jay Maynard – Admittedly, the fact that Leelah’s parents still refer to her as “their son” and use her “boy name” to refer to her is kind of along the lines of “adding insult to injury.”

    It would cost them nothing at this point to acknowledge their daughter for who she truly was, and, at the same time, admit they made a terrible, horrible mistake, and their daughter is now dead because of it. As it stands, it appears as if they’d rather have a dead son than a live daughter. And that is and has been the problem all along.

    I made another comment that discussed another case that offers a contrast to Leelah and her parents, but it appears to be held up in moderation.

    • >It would cost them nothing at this point to acknowledge their daughter for who she truly was

      But they think they already know what she truly was. From their point of view, doing what you want would be complicity in perversion.

      I’m not excusing their cruel, stupid behavior. But the above is also a fact.

  305. Regardless of what happened afterwards there is already clear evidence that Leelah was fucked in the head, and to the extent that they were the cause of this the parents utterly failed in their duty.

    At 16 Leelah knows there is something…. amiss. There is absolutely no gorram way he/she couldn’t have known that it would be a serious problem with the parents. And yet decides to come out while still under their control anyway.

    Smart. Really fucking smart. And to the extent that the parents could influence this they utterly failed by raising a child who apparently couldn’t think through the situation and figure it out.

  306. Sorry, Foo, but that really is blaming the victim. You can do better than that. Whatever Leelah did, she did not deserve what her parents did to her.

    And, Amy, as I said: for the parents, it’s likely a coping mechanism that serves to save them from having to confront their actions. Throwing away that coping mechanism would not be free of cost; indeed, it may cost them everything they are. That is not a price anyone can demand they pay, no matter how offended they get.

  307. @Doctor Locketopus

    On closer examination he is holding a gun…. *facepalm*

    @Jay

    And while I must condemn their actions, they have a right as parents to raise their child in accordance with their religious beliefs.

    Lumping 16 year olds in with toddlers is part of the reason our society is having problems. They are hardly full adults, but keeping people out of the real world prevents them from ever really growing up to be adults even decades later.

    As an aside, I wonder what kind of logic made the parents think this would work? Even from within their own system there is no way in hell that would work…. Given that they took that path, and the way these things typically play out, the chances of them ever regretting their actions is slim to none.

    @Foo

    Yikes! Triggered much?

  308. >Yes. Lefties may be equally bad at actually updating their beliefs, but they have more tendency to at least pay lip service to the idea that they ought to.

    That belief requires updating. ;)

  309. esr on 2017-05-15 at 18:29:58 said:

    Nothing you’re claiming about my position is even making internal logical sense, let alone describing what I think.

    I think Rob K. is trying to argue that no-one ever said SRS was supposed to stop them offing themselves, just to make them slightly happier until they get round to doing so; and that the gender dysphoria is such a dominant driver of suicide rates that it screens off any effect from the ‘other psychological factors’ that SRS is supposed to improve. Evaluating the plausibility of these claims is left as an exercise for the reader.

  310. On another front, is there a way I can weaponize this for my own purposes without any effort? Declare an identity of “traditionally-attrictive male” and use a claim of discrimination to get laid by hot co-eds?

  311. @ Ian Bruene – “We get it. You Vape.”

    Actually, I model. I’m guessing that you’re new here and unaware of my prior comments.

    H. sapiens social evolution is being actively modeled using a variant of Game Theory principles, a self-learning AI engine, and real-time data harvesting. I love coming here because Eric seems to intuit a lot of what the model trends reveal.

  312. @ esr: “She doesn’t do this; she’s more specific about who crapped on her….”

    Having your parents crap on you is about as bad as it gets, when this happens in combination with your religion crapping on you, that’s really ugly. If the “therapists” involved had licenses from the state we’re also talking about some very, very serious malpractice here – permanent loss of licensing, multi-million-dollar settlements, etc., not to mention that therapists can’t bill insurance companies for anti-LGBT services, so I wouldn’t be surprised if her parents spent her college money on “saving her from sin.”

    This is not nearly so minor as you imagine it to be, and about as fucked up as a life can get without actual violence.

    • >This is not nearly so minor as you imagine it to be, and about as fucked up as a life can get without actual violence.

      I didn’t think it was “minor” at all. I was pushing against the notion that “society” at some sort amorphous large was to blame here.

  313. Completely O/T — I had to defecate on a co-worker’s inaccurate map today to get him to look up and actually focus on the territory.

    Some previous products had been internally big-endian. We are switching to a little-endian processor, and changing things around to make them work — well, let’s just say that consensus on how reality works was a lot harder to achieve than I expected.

    It turns out that the root of the problem was that from the POV of this co-worker, 32 bits was a basic unit of data — simply because the processor has a 32 bit bus. According to his map, a little-endian processor reading 32 bits at address ‘x’ would see the same 32 bits as a big-endian processor reading those same 32 bits at address ‘x’, and endianness problems were what happened when you decomposed 32 bits into 16 or 8, rather than what happened when you compose multiple 8 bit values together to get 16 or 32 bits.

    It took hours today to make him understand that, if we hypothetically connected a little-endian processor and a big-endian processor to the same bus, and the big-endian processor wrote 0xAA to address 0x1000, the little-endian processor would see 0xAA at address 0x1000 rather than address 0x1003.

    This craziness has been going on for weeks and has cost me days.

  314. @esr: “I see very little reason to believe the dysphoria was the root of Leelah’s social isolation.”

    I agree. Poorly treated dysphoria was the root of Leelah’s social isolation. Depression did the rest, because one of the really horrible things about depression is that you lie to yourself and tell yourself that the good things about your life don’t really exist.

  315. @esr: “Related: “Urban black culture is fucked up because bigots, and if you question this you are automatically a bigot and part of the problem”.”

    And what would black culture be like without bigots? There are enough bigots around that finding a black person who has not been adversely affected by a bigot is very difficult, and this goes back to well-before the Civil War.

  316. @Troutwaxer:

    There are enough bigots around that finding a black person who has not been adversely affected by a bigot is very difficult…

    Funnily enough, the two times I was beat up in junior high school was by blacks. They were bussed in, obviously didn’t really want to be there, and I was a convenient target. So if I, as a child, was made into a bigot, arguably it was done by your most liberal friends.

    In any case, people who are continuously offended for, and apologizing on behalf of, others, are tiresome.

  317. @TomA

    Actually, I model. I’m guessing that you’re new here and unaware of my prior comments.

    Actually I’ve lurked for a very long time, that is how I know that you have been making the same post with a few words changed according to topic over and over again for several years. In fact the other day I read a post from several years ago and you had one of the comments on it.

    That doesn’t mean you are wrong, merely that each repeated post is less interesting than the last.

  318. @ Foo Quuxman: “There is absolutely no gorram way he/she couldn’t have known that it would be a serious problem with the parents.”

    And how do the parents know that their behavior is a serious problem for the child unless the child tells them? There are plenty of parents who can get over that particular obstacle, just as there are plenty of churches which are more relaxed about homosexuality.

  319. “And what would black culture be like without bigots? ”

    I don’t know. What would Jewish, Korean, Japanese, or Chinese culture be like without bigots?

    If you try to pretend that those cultures haven’t experienced bigotry, I’m going to have to laugh in your face.

  320. > If you try to pretend that those cultures haven’t experienced bigotry

    Cue No True Scotsman in 3, 2, 1…

  321. Garrett on 2017-05-15 at 22:38:41 said:

    On another front, is there a way I can weaponize this for my own purposes without any effort? Declare an identity of “traditionally-attrictive male” and use a claim of discrimination to get laid by hot co-eds?

    Doesn’t work unless you ARE traditionally attractive. The sort of “hot co-eds” that would bed someone because of traditional attractiveness are not deep enough to grok the whole declared identity thing.

    OTOH, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0OMAQiMOJ68

  322. Eric:

    > Superficially, because I have a lot of non-Right positions you’re not noticing. I’m extremely hostile to claims of religious authority and have nothing but contempt for creationists. I’m pro-choice and pro-drug-legalization. I hang with Wiccans and polyamorists and all kinds of other marginaux. I was pro-gay-marriage before the gay activists strapped on their jackboots. I could go in like that for a while,

    I was aware of these positions; I don’t think they change anything.

    First, they aren’t salient on the amplitude level. You spend a lot of time writing about SJWs, race relations, and HBD science. You used to spend a lot of time writing about Islam and the wisdom of invading Iraq. These are your stakes in the ground. These are the opinions you tell us you want to be known for. This is where you deliberately expend social capital and financial opportunity. Drugs and abortion? Not really.

    Second, they don’t predict very much. “ESR hangs with Wiccans.” OK, would that be feminist goddess-worshippers or völkisch white supremacists? “ESR advocates for unrepressed sex lives without any neurotic Victorian shit.” Great, does that make him a free-love hippie or a PUA redpiller? “ESR is pro gay marriage.” Good for him; is he friends with the Y Combinator set or with Queer Theory snowflakes who hate The Corporations?

    None of the positions you cite tell me anything about how you think, where your loyalties lie, how you react to people who look and sound like me, how comfortable we would be with each other e.g. as neighbors or coworkers.

    Contrast the points I cited in my previous post. Most of them predict most others, and therefore everything: nobody who hates Islam doesn’t also hate SJWs; nobody who hates SJWs trusts any sociologists farther than he can throw them; very few people who think the social sciences are worthless don’t think that so are climatology and the NYT; nobody who hates the NYT wants to work on a Github project with diversity boilerplate in the readme; and so on; and so forth.

    It’s a tightly connected graph of near-infallibly concomitant attitudes and signals. In other words, an identity.

    > I don’t think like a conservative or have conservative instincts. I’m novelty-seeking rather than novelty-avoiding. My moral sentiments are not heavily tied into disgust reactions, and I naturally push against authority rather than wanting to identify with and valorize it. I never appeal to tradition in political arguments.

    The evidence for a link between novelty seeking and ideology is extremely weak. Settle et al. (2010) find that, among people with the 7R variant of the dopamine receptor D4 gene, having many friends correlates with being liberal. They hypothesize that this could be evidence of a link between novelty seeking and liberalism because DRD4-7R has been linked to novelty seeking and one might surmise that novelty seekers should tend to have more friends. Cool, only two problems: (1) even if they’re right, there is no such correlation among people without DRD4-7R; (2) it’s literally one single paper, never replicated, in a polsci journal. (Ebstein et al. (2015) report that having two copies of the 4R allele makes you more conservative, but only if you’re an Asian female who grew up in an authoritarian environment, and correlation with novelty seeking was not tested for.)

    Seven years later, the link between 7R and novelty seeking remains tenuous. Munafo et al. (2008) and Rousses et al. (2009) deny the link exists. Also see for example Sheese et al. (2012); to paraphrase: “we can’t tell because the subscales disagree but don’t overthink it because our sample size is a joke anyway.”

    There is a better-than-even chance the whole thing is bullshit.

    > My moral sentiments are not heavily tied into disgust reactions,

    I assume you’re referring to Ahn et al. (2014). Again, a single paper, never replicated. More importantly, even if they are right, you’re reading them wrong. “Disgusting images [] generate neural responses that are highly predictive of political orientation even though these neural predictors do not agree with participants’ conscious rating of the stimuli.” In other words, you cannot draw any conclusions from how you feel about your disgust reactions. The correlation only shows up on the MRI, not in your conscious mind.

    > and I naturally push against authority rather than wanting to identify with and valorize it. I never appeal to tradition in political arguments.

    Everybody thinks they “naturally push against authority”, even hard leftists. Wait, especially hard leftists. It’s really just another way of saying you believe you’re an independent, critical thinker. Seriously, who doesn’t.

    And the fact that you don’t appeal to tradition doesn’t make you not right, at best it makes you not tradcon. The alt right doesn’t appeal to tradition either, they invoke HBD science, Mises, and Hayek. Their heroes are Evola, a revolutionary and esotericist who hated reactionaries, and Houellebecq, who is basically what 4chan would look like if it was a French paperback. The iron pill guy is a Neopagan, not a Southern Baptist.

    • >I was aware of these positions; I don’t think they change anything.

      Of course if you choose to dismiss all data contrary to your hypothesis nothing is going to disconfirm it. That’s not my problem.

      >OK, would that be feminist goddess-worshippers or völkisch white supremacists?

      Dear Goddess you are ignorant. There aren’t any “volkisch” Wiccans – that nastiness is over in the Asatru corner. (The few Asatru I used to know wanted nothing to do with it.)

      I chose this to pick on because it nearly illustrates how poorly I fit any of the binary categories you want to stuff me into. I’m not a feminist Wiccan either – we call them “Dianics”. The category for the kind of Wiccan I am am doesn’t exist on your map.

      >Everybody thinks they “naturally push against authority”, even hard leftists.

      This suggests that you don’t know any actual conservatives, which would neatly explain a lot of the bilge you’re spouting. Conservatives as as a group are emotionally prone to cop-worship (even the ones who intellectually think of themselves as having libertarian tendencies). That reflects a lizard-brain love of hierarchy and order that I don’t share.

  323. Here is what I don’t get about being trans, and it is not a poetical question, I am really curious about an answer if there is one. Feminists and other progressives are telling us female gender roles are nothing but bullshit constructed socially to oppress women. Why do then trans women want to imitate (or implement, or live, whatever is the term) perfectly? There is something weird about the the idea that the feminist – and yet cis – woman sees the female gender roles as a prison to break out from, and the trans woman wants to break *in* that prison. What gives? Does anyone have any idea?

    The best approximate answer I can find is that feminity and masculinity can be interpreted and submissive and dominant characteristics in a quasi-BDSM sense, this by no means does exhaust these gender roles (for example motherhood is hugely important and absolutely not a submissive thing), but it is an important aspect of them. Likely this is one aspect of testosterone. The “red pilled in the PUA sense” stuff tends to mean “assume the average sexually aroused woman is somewhat masochistic”. Once I realized that things “clicked” for me, like when my girlfriends wanted more passionate sex it meant generally more dominant sex. So from that on I saw BDSM not as a special subculture but something more akin to the exaggeration and fetishization of something that exists in entirely normal, vanilla, non-fetish relationships as well in a moderate way!

    So in this model the trans woman is a submissive, masochistic man, who would like to serve sexually a stronger partner. Clearly this is not exhaustive, there are plenty of masochistic men who are full cis (that is why so many prostitutes offer domina services and the funny part is their clients tend to be highly succesful, powerful men). But there is probably some element of this.

    This would suggest the feminist woman who wants to break out from gender roles she feels as prisons, is probably not entirely cis as she lacks that bit of masochism that is an important part of the female experience. Perhaps, the growing number of feminist, leftist women identifying as nonbinary or genderqueer is a good thing. That sounds like honest advertising in ESR’s model, they are telling people to not expect them to enjoy being submissive. Which somewhat curiously does reinforce the traditional model that women who 100% identify as women do have a submissive streak. I actually like this solution. Very often I look at obese feminists with short hair and they don’t even look like what I expect women to look like. So if they choose to identify as non-binary gender that sounds like a seriously good thing as instead of stretching the category “woman” they simply leave it and thus that category can be defined yet again a bit tighter.

    I really wish all the pajama-boy nu-males would also identify as non-binary instead of as men, because then we could plain simply exclude them from the concept of masculinity without any drama and thus define masculinity yet again a bit more narrowly and traditionally.

    I think this solution would suit all.

  324. Mountain Goat: “Everybody thinks they “naturally push against authority”, even hard leftists.”

    Of course hard leftists think they naturally push against authority. Stick it to the man! They see no incongruity at all in their desire to replace the eeeeevil corporatist right-wing state with their own. And have you looked at the actual positions Black Lives Matter takes? They may not have started out this way, but now they’re just another bunch of left-wing radicals spouting the same old tired Communist propaganda.

    Eric: “Conservatives as as a group are emotionally prone to cop-worship (even the ones who intellectually think of themselves as having libertarian tendencies). That reflects a lizard-brain love of hierarchy and order that I don’t share.”

    I think this overstates the case. There’s a long way between thinking of the police as the thin blue line between civilization and savagery and worshipping them. To me, cops do a tough, dangerous job among people who fundamentally don’t want them to be there. I’ve known plenty of them in 17 years working on the street as an active volunteer paramedic. Yes, there are bad ones, but the overwhelming majority of them are good men and women who genuinely want to help their fellow citizens. They deserve not to be second-guessed by folks who weren’t there, don’t have all of the facts, hate their guts, and take months to parse out decisions they had to make in fractions of a second.

    Even David Friedman, as I understand The Machinery of Freedom, acknowledges the need for police (though he argues that they need not – and should not be – agents of the state).

    Are there bad cops? Of course there are, just as there are in all of life’s endeavors. They should be dealt with as harshly as any other citizen, and there’s a case to be made that they deserve even more for abusing the public’s trust. But the identity-politics Left assumes that all cops are bad and works forward from that false premise.

    I don’t think this is cop-worshipping, and I don’t think conservatives in general engage in it.

  325. @ESR

    I’m assuming that the different “tribes” of Wiccans name themselves after the diety gelstat they try to embody?

    @Mountain Goat

    >This suggests that you don’t know any actual conservatives

    Another window into the differing psychologies: Conservatives can easily slip into Founder worship. Not to the literal degree of bowing and praying to statues of the Founders like in Bioshock Infinite, but in the sense that they will often (the degree of course varies from person to person) accept the thought chain “The Founders said / did X” > “The Founders were Wise” > “Anyone who disagrees with X is a commie mutant traitor”.

    Liberals are of course more than happy to fill the other side of the scale and consider the Founders as Literally Hitler (old white males y’know). And Libertarians are all over the map, but the view that seems to be the most common and isn’t just the left-libertarians being noisy seems to be some variant of “The Founders meant well and did what they could to secure freedom, but ultimately underestimated how easy it is to route around checks and balances”.

    Side note: Isn’t it funny how people who claim that The Ancestors N generations removed were perfect perfectness, never seem to catch on to one tiny detail:

    The Ancestors couldn’t have been that amazingly awesome if they gave rise to their inferior descendants.

    • >I’m assuming that the different “tribes” of Wiccans name themselves after the diety gelstat they try to embody?

      No, it’s nowhere near that neat, Or well-defined. And i’s way off topic for this thread.

  326. >This suggests that you don’t know any actual conservatives, which would neatly explain a lot of the bilge you’re spouting. Conservatives as as a group are emotionally prone to cop-worship (even the ones who intellectually think of themselves as having libertarian tendencies). That reflects a lizard-brain love of hierarchy and order that I don’t share.

    OK, I’ll stop hinting and come out and say it.

    Your outdated stereotypes directly conflict with my real world experience.

    The bootlickers I see are progs. They are obsessed with hierarchy and status, are fawning up and bullies down, and *never* contradict the will of the herd.

    Conservatives are difficult and contrary, always contentious, and lack power mainly because you can’t get them all pointed in the same direction. They are always willing to disagree with any group that is wrong, especially if it’s their own.

    Placing value on order is a quality of life issue, tied in with property rights and the deeply intuitive understanding of and importance they place on, social trust.

    Actual successful middle class liberals are very much the same way, *in their own personal lives*.

  327. Jay, “And while I must condemn their actions, they have a right as parents to raise their child in accordance with their religious beliefs.”

    In the US, parents have a limited right to raise their children in accordance with their religious beliefs– clear cases of abuse can be stopped and/or punished. Did you mean that the right should be unlimited?

    I’m bemused at the discussion of whether Leelah’s parents can repent of the mistake they made. It’s not an unreasonable question, but I’m more interested in whether this story will discourage other parents from going down the same road.

  328. >It’s all about your lived experience, then?

    And careful observation.

    I mean, what am I supposed to believe, you or my lying eyes? :)

  329. @Patrick Maupin – your co-worker’s model is not impossible, though it was probably factually untrue of the specific situation you were working with. It’s called “word-invariant” endianness [or BE32 in an ARM context], and is true of ARMv4-5, and memory pages can be mapped in this way on SPARC64 (according to Wikipedia, this is sometimes done for PCI bus devices) – whereas “address invariant” / “byte-invariant” / BE8 endianness, which basically matches your model, is used in ARMv6 and, as far as I can find, PPC (I did find some confusing Apple documentation about PCI buses on PPC macs, which I think suggests that PCI itself is word-invariant, and extra work is done inside the PCI bridge to make it appear byte-invariant little-endian to the big-endian CPU)

    Of course, other things like disks and network protocols tend to be byte-invariant anyway, with whatever needs to be done to make this happen layered somewhere between the medium and the CPU. But you did bring up “two processors on the same bus”, and switching the mode of an ARM or PPC processor is probably the closest real-world equivalent.

  330. Jay Maynard wrote: (I have no problem being considered a conservative, though my own opinions do not always align with the right, especially not the far right or alt-right whatever other epithet you choose to apply.)

    Pfft. Over the years, what I’ve seen of Jay’s views parts ways with conservatives on pretty much every point where the libertarians do, with the one exception of collective defense – for which I think there exists a defensible libertarian argument.

    Making Jay a CINO, but more importantly, a LIMO (Libertarian In Meaning Only). Which, I guess, makes him ultimately a LIMONCINO. To the cheesecake with you!

  331. >The Ancestors couldn’t have been that amazingly awesome if they gave rise to their inferior descendants.

    I will wager that you are childless.

  332. > Of course if you choose to dismiss all data contrary to your hypothesis nothing is going to disconfirm it. That’s not my problem.

    The fact that you apparently don’t actually care nearly as much about your non-“rightish” positions, to spill nearly as much metaphorical ink for them, as for the “rightish” ones, is not a dismissal, it is an observable fact that the quantity of data for one side is much less than the quantity of data for the other side.

    At best, it shows that find it more important (or more achievable) to argue with progressives than conservatives about the particular issues you disagree with them on. I think it’s at least forgivable to assume this means you care more about the issues themselves, even if it’s incorrect.

    This can all be boiled down to a paraphrasing of your very own position in this article: Your identity (as a non-rightist) is not your choice.

  333. @Random832:

    Yes, I know that a lot of people have done a lot of work to get around these problems in different contexts, and 32 or 64 bit registers are a big driving force in this (e.g. exactly what we are facing). And, yes, ARM has a lot of the market. And most of ARM’s problems were caused by their own response to their own problems in initially choosing the wrong endianness. (A problem which, for legacy reasons, my company shares.)

    But they don’t get to rename the ordinary meaning of “big endian” and AFAIK, didn’t actually try, except to the extent they abbreviated the normal big-endian as BE-8.

    But you did bring up “two processors on the same bus”, and switching the mode of an ARM or PPC processor is probably the closest real-world equivalent.

    Yeah, in my case, that was done as a hypothetical. In the real world cases you describe, that is done for a peripheral bus, e.g. for registers. It’s not something you would want to do for in-memory strings, for example.

    If a general purpose memory is byte-addressable, and you have two devices that can access that memory, you’re just asking for long-term trouble if a C program that is bumping through memory parsing a byte string on one of them needs to be coded differently than a C program bumping through memory on the other one.

    If there is no shared byte-addressable memory, then you don’t have this problem.

    When some things are byte addressable and others aren’t — that’s where people go off in the weeds looking for compromises that will kill them later. This really hurts when registers are 16 or 32 bits, but can also be addressed a byte at a time. If you use BE-32, and access a subset of the register, the two different hypothetical processors need to use DIFFERENT addresses for the same data.

    Fortunately, we are in a position where we don’t need to support mixed endianness, so I am pushing hard for doing the opposite of ARM — we need to lance the boil now. If we need special workarounds (e.g. instructions or whatever) for performance reasons, that’s one thing, but those will, by definition, be marked as doing something special.

  334. @Jay Maynard

    Are there bad cops? Of course there are, just as there are in all of life’s endeavors. They should be dealt with as harshly as any other citizen, and there’s a case to be made that they deserve even more for abusing the public’s trust.

    But they’re not. Why aren’t they? Is it really so indefensible to believe that the answer may be “because all/most other cops are, at least, guilty of protecting the ‘really’ bad ones”?

  335. Eric wrote: No, [Wiccan identity is] nowhere near that neat, Or well-defined. And it’s way off topic for this thread.

    Shoot. …you sure? The OT is about how identity works, after all. (I’d long considered trying to map Wiccan subgroups to be largely useless – so few of them relative to everyone else, and intent enough on being individualistic that they’d all shift by the time I got anywhere with it. A primer would be interesting, including some of the basic terms, but I won’t push hard for one.)

    Conservatives as as a group are emotionally prone to cop-worship (even the ones who intellectually think of themselves as having libertarian tendencies). That reflects a lizard-brain love of hierarchy and order that I don’t share.

    The ones I see tend to see cops as citizens who’ve chosen to specialize in civic defense. Think “thin blue line”. Also, think “sheepdog”. Supplementing this is the small-town effect – conservatives like the cops they know personally. If they don’t know the cop, trust drops, but conservatives will often assume someone knows and trusts that cop, so they’ll interpret that cop in that light. They’ll side with the cop in a threat situation, but be more aloof in a peace situation. They’re less trustful of cops who look like they’re far from the blue line (clerks, detectives, chiefs of forces large enough that the chief himself doesn’t have to go on patrol, etc.). Again, they’re like specialized citizens.

    • > A primer would be interesting, including some of the basic terms, but I won’t push hard for one.)

      OK, I’ll bend that far. But please everybody don’t turn this into a huge distracting subthread.

      Wiccans don’t divvy up into tribes. They divvy up by traditions – lineages, basically, tracing practices and ideas to a founder. The largest lineage calls itself “Gardnerian” after Gerald Gardner, who launched the Wiccan revival in the 1930s. I myself was initiated into the Alexandrian lineage, but that was pro forma because I had in effect founded my own lineage a few years earlier after having primary mystical experiences. (This is unusual, but expected to happen occasionally.)

      There are a few supra-lineage terms that are generally recognized as classifiers. One is “religious” vs.”magical”. Religious Wiccans have belief systems resembling conventional theism; for magical ones like me it’s all depth psychology and neuroprogramming – it is not uncommon for us to be materialist atheists in conventional terms. The reason the religious and magical Wiccans don’t fight like cats in a sack is because Wicca is orthopractic rather than orthodox – what you do and experience matters, not what you believe. We all work the Craft together.

      Also, Wiccans to some extent identify with whatever recovered mythology they use as the symbology in their rituals. Thus there are Celtic Wiccans, Italo-Hellenic Wiccans, and would be Norse Wiccans except that niche is taken up by people who call themselves Asatru rather than witches. Asatru ritual form only differ from Wiccan ones in minor ways, though. Same goes for Druids (but care is called for here as there are self-identified Druids of completely different kinds.)

      Then there’s “Dianic”. Leaning to or exclusively Goddess worshiping. This term doesn’t really have an opposite as there aren’t any exclusive worshipers of the Horned God as far as I know. However, the Dianics are probably a minority – all the Wiccan trads I’ve run into have both priess and priestesses and worship both central dieties.

      Finally, “fluffy bunny”. This one, though common, is pejorative and the people it describes usually don’t know it. Think “flake case”,”woo-woo”, and “absurdly large pentagrams”. Sometimes they grow out of it.

  336. The fact that you apparently don’t actually care nearly as much about your non-“rightish” positions, to spill nearly as much metaphorical ink for them, as for the “rightish” ones, is not a dismissal, it is an observable fact that the quantity of data for one side is much less than the quantity of data for the other side.

    This is actually pretty explainable as Eric hanging around the blue tribe more than around red. It explains why I tend to argue with the left more than the right. Case in point: I was talking to my arch-conservative mother last weekend, and the conversation turned to politics. I had an immediate urge to raise all sorts of counterpoints to her views. (I elected not to; it was Mother’s Day, after all.)

    I’ve hung around my old neighborhood in Texas long enough to know that if I started expressing my political views, I’d start to sound like a “city boy”.

    It also explains why the left would see Eric as being on the right. They don’t see him when he’s interacting with the right, because the left and right rarely hang around together (much to both’s detriment, IMCO).

    This can all be boiled down to a paraphrasing of your very own position in this article: Your identity (as a non-rightist) is not your choice.

    An astute point. Suppose what I hypothesized above were true, and the left were made aware of their blind spot. What would they conclude then about Eric’s identity?

    • >This is actually pretty explainable as Eric hanging around the blue tribe more than around red.

      That’s exactly it. My audience, and people in general, don’t need to hear “Yay for you for having correct beliefs!” Much more important to challenge the incorrect ones. Especially if you think you’re one of the relative few with the standing to be taken seriously though even though saying unpopular things.

  337. I perceive a common ground in this thread. There is real sympathy for the tragic circumstances that led to Leelah’s death, and the archetype of gender dysmorphia does not diminish that sad outcome. None of us get to pick our parents, our genetics, or the inherent mental functioning that derives from our earliest formative years. We all have to play the hand that we’ve been dealt, whether that’s aces or a shit sandwich.

    I think we are all better off when we expend our energy trying to improve ourselves rather than attempt to “fix” those around us.

  338. @Greg

    I will wager that you are childless.

    You would win that bet, but it doesn’t get you what you think. I got the observation from my dad who, unless something really weird happened, has had a child.

  339. @esr

    Sorry, I can’t even follow your argument any more, it’s become so tortured. Nothing you’re claiming about my position is even making internal logical sense, let alone describing what I think.

    tl;dr: Why do you think it is important/relevant that SRS does not have an impact on suicide rates?

    • >tl;dr: Why do you think it is important/relevant that SRS does not have an impact on suicide rates?

      Because that fact casts serious doubt on (a) the effectiveness of SRS as a means of improving outcomes, an (b) by implication, on the diagnostic doctrine and theory behind SRS.

  340. >You would win that bet, but it doesn’t get you what you think. I got the observation from my dad who, unless something really weird happened, has had a child.

    I like that. :) Interesting. Because there is nothing like having children to give you a deep down, visceral understanding of *entropy*.

    And the awareness that each new generation is a wonderful thing and a blessing (that’s coming from a very skeptical agnostic), but also a barbarian invasion. And those little barbarians aren’t going to civilize themselves.

    Having the idea that wise enlightened men can breed, some generations down, debased decadent morons is quite reasonable to anyone aware of the perils, difficulties and risks of parenting. (Or who has an extended family. Heh.)

    It’s the ‘lost Golden Age’ crowd with their automatic ‘older means better’ mental programming who are delusional, who I mock at any opportunity. (Microcosm of the interplay between conservative-leaning and libertarian-leaning folks is Garand threads on gun forums.)

  341. @Paul Brinkley
    > An astute point. Suppose what I hypothesized above were true, and the left were made aware of their blind spot. What would they conclude then about Eric’s identity?

    How do you differentiate an attempt to “make someone aware of their blind spot” from “Gaslighting. Brainwashing. […] psychological abuse. […] insisting that you say you see three lights when there are four.”?

    Maybe the reaction wouldn’t be that extreme, since most people of any political position are not like Russ Cage, but I think we just found a non-kafkatrapping place for epithets like “concern troll” to come from.

  342. >Pfft. Over the years, what I’ve seen of Jay’s views parts ways with conservatives on pretty much every point where the libertarians do, with the one exception of collective defense – for which I think there exists a defensible libertarian argument.

    Are you conflating ‘ancap’ and ‘libertarian’?

  343. @TheDividualist – I’m trying to wrap my head around what you’re saying. I’m not sure I completely understand, and I’m one of the people affected by what you’re saying.

    The best I can tell you is that I seem to fit in better in society as a woman than I ever did trying to be a “man.” I’ll give just one example. I was never comfortable being the initiator in relationships. The two women I have been involved with in my life–my ex-wife and now my present partner–both approached me, a decided reversal of the ordinary pattern. If they hadn’t, it’s doubtful I would have ever had a relationship.

    As for any connection to D/S patterns…I have never personally been very sexually adventurous, so you’re out of luck there. I’m not unfamiliar with that scene, working as closely as I do with the gay community, but it’s never held any appeal for me. (I even get along with “pups,” gay men who pretend to be dogs. It’s bizarre by any rational standards, yes, but seems fairly harmless, and may even be doing people some good…)

    @ESR – ” Regardless of any judgment about whether Leelah was delusional or not, what her parents did was cruel and horrible and wrong.”

    We can agree on something. There is hope. (I’ll mention briefly that I’ve exchanged correspondence with another “right wing” blogger who originally started out believing much as you do, but his experience with me and another trans woman has “forced [him] to admit that the phenomenon might not be hallucinatory in its entirety.” I quote from the afterword of one of the stories he’s written recently that feature trans women characters.)

  344. > Because that fact casts serious doubt on (a) the effectiveness of SRS as a means of improving outcomes, an (b) by implication, on the diagnostic doctrine and theory behind SRS.

    I don’t understand why, particularly under the hypothesis that it’s not gender dysphoria per se that is causing the suicides (which hypothesis you seemed to accept in your comment dated 5-15 14:40:28), why you think this is the case – why you think that it means no positive outcome has been produced for those who report being happier but statistically would not have committed suicide anyway.

    • >I don’t understand why

      It’s not really complicated. If somebody came up with an elaborate theory and a set of claims about helping LGBTs by, say, sacrificing a chicken while invoking Baal, and a lot of these sacrifices got performed, and suicide rates didn’t budge, what would you conclude about the theory?

  345. @TheDividualist:

    Feminists and other progressives are telling us female gender roles are nothing but bullshit constructed socially to oppress women. Why do then trans women want to imitate (or implement, or live, whatever is the term) perfectly?

    That’s easy to explain. There are three main moments in feminist thought, they’re called “waves”.

    The first wave was original feminism, the one about equality of opportunity etc. This is what nowadays everyone takes, most conservatives included, as the way things should be: women with the right to vote, to work and follow a career without needing first authorization from their husbands, to be able to walk down the street without an accompanying man etc. This is so entrenched that when conservative women say they don’t need feminism they rarely mean they want to go back to how women were treated in the 19th century. What they do mean is that the first wave conquests are enough.

    The second wave began when, so to speak, feminism met Marxism hard. The first wave had been so successful that there was almost no further need of (original) feminist activity, so a new generation of feminists arose full of novel ideas such as genders absolutely not existing at all and being nothing but social constructs, the “Patriarchy” as an enemy modeled after the bourgeoise vs. proletarian class