Gender and the co-opting of language

You know, I was sitting thinking about the 87 “gender” thing, and the “I F*cking Love Science™” crowd.

It hit me that once again, a word is being co-opted by the sophists.  A word that means one thing, and they pretend it means another — simultaneously coasting on the actual meaning … social reputation … of the word and denying that very meaning.

You know, I could grant them the word “sexuality”.  Maybe there are eleventy jillion “sexualities”.  The vast majority of them a result of nurture (or lack thereof) rather than nature.

But there are only two genders, scientifically, in nature.  Oh, sure, sometimes nature screws up and produces a person here or there who has some physical attributes of both genders.  And that’s certainly no reflection on those people any more than being born deaf or blind or with three arms is.  It is not “normal”.  It is what it is.  A good term would be “neither, but we’ll try to fit you in as best we can.”

But hijacking the word “gender” (which is, in fact, a scientific term) to essentially mean “sexual preference(s)” or “self-identification” is intentionally dishonest.  Pretending you’re still talking about science while using this word is a special kind of stupid dishonesty.

The progressives did the same thing with “liberal”, and myriad other words.

We shouldn’t let them get away with it.  Causes all sorts of problems.

The Genie

This needs to be preserved. Because it’s just too brilliant.  The cartoon, not my piddly words.

I brought it up again in an argument over illegal immigrants.  And watching people argue endlessly over the taxes they do or don’t pay.  Kind of like Charlie Gard.  It wasn’t a medical issue.  It was a moral one.

Similarly, here, this is not an economic issue. You either do or you don’t believe that a nation has the right to determine who joins it and who can enter it and under what conditions.

If you don’t, you don’t really believe in nations and you should just be honest and say so in our open conversation.

If you do, then follow this nation’s rules, including its rules about how it makes rules about such things. If you believe in rules and the natural rights they’re based on, how about we follow them?

If not…

Genie No Rules

Alt-Retards

Pas d’ennemis a droit, but Jesus, guys, you aren’t doing yourselves any favors with baloney like this.  There are more flagrant lies about the Confederacy in an article defending the Confederacy from flagrant lies.  Let’s count ’em:

Yes, admittedly there was some damning rhetoric from some Confederate leaders supporting slavery in the 1860’s

If by “some” leaders you mean “pretty much ALL leaders,” then this isn’t a lie.  Otherwise, no.  Several ordinances of secession specifically cite slavery as a reason for leaving the Union.  The Confederate Constitution specifically prohibits abolition (Article I, section 9, 4: “No bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law denying or impairing the right of property in negro slaves shall be passed”).  No serious historian would maintain that slavery was the only cause of the Civil War — nothing in life has only one cause, friends — but he would not deny that slavery was the proximate cause of the war, because it was, as every single American, North and South, acknowledged at the time.

95% of Confederate soldiers did not own slaves

The commonly accepted figure for slave ownership in the Old South was 25%.  Were slaveholders under-represented in the Confederate army, do you think?  From the definitive study of the Army of Northern Virginia:

Among the enlistees in 1861, slightly more than one in ten owned slaves personally. This compared favorably to the Confederacy as a whole, in which one in every twenty white persons owned slaves. Yet more than one in every four volunteers that first year lived with parents who were slaveholders. Combining those soldiers who owned slaves with those soldiers who lived with slaveholding family members, the proportion rose to 36 percent. That contrasted starkly with the 24.9 percent, or one in every four households, that owned slaves in the South, based on the 1860 census. Thus, volunteers in 1861 were 42 percent more likely to own slaves themselves or to live with family members who owned slaves than the general population.*

You’ll notice, I hope, that even if we restrict it to those soldiers who personally owned slaves, “slightly more than 1 in 10” is 10%, which is more than 5%.  Twice as big, actually.

compared to a negligible amount of black soldiers on both sides

Black soldiers made up about 10% of Union forces, which is hardly negligible.  It’s about the same proportion as draftees into the Union army, and no serious historian would argue that the North could’ve won the war without the draft.

here are some quotes from the battle flag’s top general, Robert E. Lee himself

Quotes damning slavery follow.  But like fellow Virginian Thomas Jefferson, Lee could make eloquent anti-slavery remarks while holding slaves himself.  Lots of them.  While Lee did free the slaves at Arlington in 1862, it was because he was required to by his father-in-law’s will, not any personal sentiment of his own (Lee was widely known as a tough taskmaster).

All the evidence clearly points out the Confederacy was peacefully following principles laid out by the founding fathers, the declaration of independence, and the 12 amendments of the U.S. constitution which were in place as of 1861. “Patriots” the Confederates may or may not have been. But “traitors” definitely not.

Absurd.  Taking up arms against your countrymen is, by definition, treason.

“The Confederates were Terrorists.”

This is supposed to be a lie?  Victims of Quantrill’s Raiders, John Hunt Morgan’s guerrillas, etc. would vehemently disagree.  Confederate irregulars, especially in the border states, were infamous for their brutality.  That the North too practiced the hard hand of war doesn’t let their enemies off the hook.  And let’s not forget the widespread terrorism of the ex-Confederates in the original Klan.

It is undeniable and unfortunate that the Confederate government (not Lee’s army) fought for the maintenance of slavery as one of it’s core objectives

Again, absurd.  A national army fights, by definition, for the core objectives of its nation — one of which was, as we’ve seen, the maintenance of slavery.  This is like claiming Patton’s 5th Armored fought for the US government, but not for the defeat of Nazi Germany.

So that’s, what, five flagrant lies about the Confederacy in an article titled “Four Flagrant Lies about the American Confederacy”?  The retard is strong in this one.  Look, if you want to maintain that the CSA got a bad rap, and that Lincoln was America’s worst tyrant, you’ll get no argument from me.  But before you start, please get your basic facts straight.

 

 

*Yes yes, quoted in The Atlantic, one of the biggest piece-of-shit liberal publications around, but the quote is accurate, and the study’s author is one of the biggest names in Civil War military history.

 

On Teenagerhood

Stacy McCain has another wonderful takedown of a shrill, fat feminist (her own words.  “Fat,” I mean — “shrill” is redundant, but some half-remembered rule of composition made me put it in there.  By the way, did you know that the collective noun for a group of liberals is “shriek”?  A murder of crows, a shriek of liberals.  But I digress).  Anyway, he’s said it all about her, much better than I can.  I just want to add a tangential comment:

This is what happens when you eliminate adolescence.

Mrzx. Toal writes

It’s hard because when you grow up fat, you grow up believing that you’re not ever going to be attractive to anyone. You don’t even do this on purpose — the world does it for you. For me, they did it through fat jokes on Friends, fat jokes on Will & Grace, fat jokes on every single sitcom, ever, headlines on my mother’s Cosmo and Self telling me (I wasn’t supposed to be looking at them, but whatever) both that my sexuality only mattered as long as it was relevant to men and that being fat automatically made my sexuality irrelevant to men, “No Fat Chicks” bumper stickers, bullying in school, and rampant self-hatred and body-shaming in my family. I don’t think I ever had any agency in deciding whether or not I thought I was attractive until college. I just sort of knew, because the world knew, that I wasn’t. I was fat. How could I be?

Kiddo, I hate to break it to you, but this is normal.  Yes, when you’re 15, being sexually attractive to the opposite sex pretty much is the only thing that matters, because — pay attention, this is important — you lack the maturity, the understanding, the very conceptual toolkit to evaluate people any other way.

I was 15 long ago and far away, but I’m pretty sure that if you’d asked me back then where I would be now, in middle age, I’d say something like “getting ready to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, but needing to put on the ugly jacket in space, because I’d be deep into my second career as an astronaut.”  That’s normal, too, as are the ever-shifting identities — each of them The REAL You — you put on and off as easily as their characteristic uniforms.  Again, this was back in the Jurassic, but I’m pretty sure I was at least six different things my sophomore year: A jock, a nerd, a preppie, a burnout, a goth, and a skater.  I’m probably forgetting a few.

It’s only modern times where we think everyone must have everything figured out by the time xhzhe hits 14.  It’s awful, because it eliminates the possibility of change.  As McCain points out, all this gal needed to do was one simple exercise: The pushaway.  As in, push your ass away from the dinner table before taking seconds.  But that would entail personal responsibility, and when you’ve been made what you are by 14 — and nothing can ever change, not ever, until Society itself changes — what’s the point?

On the Trannie Ban in the Military

I really don’t see what Liberals are so worked up about.  Trump consulted with all the Experts, and they have a Consensus.  Sure, sure, you might find a rogue here or there who questions the data, but it’s clear that the Science is Settled(TM).

Are the Experts somehow wrong?  How can that be?  Or are you saying we should go against the Consensus?

And here I thought y’all fucking loved science.

The Five-Hour B.A.

Here’s a fun game to play if you’re bored and suicidal.  In case you don’t want to wade through that, Vox Day has randomized all the phrases in an award-winning work of modern “literature.” As they all make equal sense — zero — you’re invited to guess as to which one made it to the published page.

You can do the same thing with academic “literature,” too.  Jonah Goldberg used to quote PoMos like Judith Butler a lot:

The move from a structuralist account in which capital is understood to structure social relations in relatively homologous ways to a view of hegemony in which power relations are subject to repetition, convergence, and rearticulation brought the question of temporality into the thinking of structure, and marked a shift from a form of Althusserian theory that takes structural totalities as theoretical objects to one in which the insights into the contingent possibility of structure inaugurate a renewed conception of hegemony as bound up with the contingent sites and strategies of the rearticulation of power.

Here, too, feel free to randomize the phrases and recombine them, Dada-style.*  It makes just as much sense, I promise.  As Goldberg points out at length, communication has nothing to do with this; all those big words are supposed to beat you down, so that you meekly go along with the author’s political platform (“vote Hillary.”  Yes, even back then).

The reason professors do this kind of thing is, of course, capitalism — you’ll never make tenure if you don’t publish, and since Shakespeare ain’t writing no more sonnets, the only way to say something new is to expand the definition of “literature” (or whatever) past the point of meaninglessness.  This is true of all the Humanities save History** — it has all been said before, no later than the 19th century in most cases and always far, far better.  In fact, if you want the equivalent education to a modern BA, you can do it in about five hours.  Ready?

Read Nietzsche — pretty much anything will do, but I recommend Beyond Good and Evil — and James Joyce (again, pretty much anything will do.  If you want to slog through Ulysses or, God save us, Finnegan’s Wake, be my guest, but A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man will get you there, and it’s actually sorta comprehensible).  Modern academics, you see, believe in only two things: Words and Power.  Whether Words create Power, or vice versa, determines what flavor of egghead you are, but the basic idea is the same.  They got this from Derrida, who got it from Foucault, who got it from Nietzsche, who wrote crystal-clear prose.  To make themselves sound all deep and original, they had to take ol’ Fred’s basic insight and gussy it up past the point of incomprehensibility….

….which works, because if there is nothing but Words and Power, then it follows that only the form of the Words matter.  Which is literary Modernism, which is Joyce.

Give it a whirl.  Submit your final exams in the comments.

 

*Back when that was new and edgy, Dadaist “writers” actually did that — they wrote a story, then cut the individual sentences out of the page, scrambled them, and pasted them onto a new page.  Because “art is dead” or something.

** And only there because new evidence can always come to light.

The Sad Plight of the Unmoved Mover

St. Thomas Aquinas famously had five proofs for the existence of God.  Of these, by far the best known is the “argument from motion,” otherwise known as the “Unmoved Mover.”  It’s pretty basic:  All effects have a cause.  Motion is a simple, commonplace effect, and everyone knows that an object in motion must have been put in motion by another (think of pool balls scattering off a break).  But that leads to an infinite regress — X was moved by X1, which was moved by X2, which was moved by X3, ad infinitum… unless there is something that set them all in motion, that is not itself in motion.  This is the Unmoved Mover, aka God.

The Unmoved Mover has some interesting consequences.  For instance, Thomas deduces (I forget just how) that the Unmoved Mover wasn’t an isolated event, like the Big Bang, but is in fact sustaining us even now.  We, the universe, and everything else would wink out of existence should God stop willing it.  Note, not “God can destroy the universe at any time,” but “the universe would cease to exist if ‘making the world exist’ slipped His mind, even for a split second.”

This means that our individual wills are really just instances of God’s Will, which, if you think about it, accounts for all our little individual motions, too.  The arm is moved by muscles; the muscles are moved by tendons; the tendons are moved by nerves; the nerves are moved by electrical impulses; the electrical impulses are moved by chemical reactions; the reactions are moved by the electron shells of atoms; the electrons are moved by… well, I dunno, I didn’t get that far in high school chemistry, but no matter how far back down the chain of causation you go, the fact remains that something — you — willed your arm to extend.  You — your soul — is your body’s unmoved mover, and it is sustained in being by the first Unmoved Mover.

Simple, right?  Probem is, it can’t be correct.  If it were, then some ignorant medieval churchman, who spent his off hours chanting ooga-boogas to scare away witches, has answered every important ontological question in the history of philosophy.  And to be fair, the Scholastics (Thomas’s intellectual heirs) did get fairly ridiculous about what you can prove with syllogisms.  When Early Modern critics of Scholasticism like Hobbes asked “how many angels can dance on the head of a pin,” they were joking, but they weren’t kidding; Scholastics got up to stuff like that.*

So the Unmoved Mover hypothesis can’t be right.  Which, unfortunately, dooms us to materialism, which, a few world wars later, becomes the kind of shit-flinging nihilism that fucking loves science.  How did the Big Bang happen?  Dunno, it just did, and how dare you question it, God-botherer.  Why can’t we ever see the source of nerve impulses in our fMRIs?  Shut up, bigot, and wait for the technology to get better.

Which leads to SJWism.  With no Unmoved Mover, there’s nothing says the universe must be the way it is.  Hell, how are we to know that it is the way it is, or at least appears to be?  David Hume argued (again, I forget how) that there’s no necessary relationship between cause and effect; they just tend to correlate.  From there, Karl Popper (ditto) said there’s no way to “prove” anything in science, because only propositions that are “falsifiable” are scientific, and science doesn’t work like that.  No amount of white swans, say, will prove the statement “all swans are white;” it can only be disproved by finding a black swan.  So there’s no proof that witches don’t exist, that unicorns aren’t real, that voodoo doesn’t work, or all the other Feyerabendian nonsense that passes for “philosophy of science” nowadays.  And from there, I hope it’s easy to see that it’s child’s play to claim there are 57 (or whatever) genders, that there’s no such thing as race, that two men can be married, et cetera ad nauseam.

Pity the poor Unmoved Mover, eh?  All he was trying to do was make the world comprehensible for the beings He loved, hoping they’d love Him back… and knowing they wouldn’t.  What a chump.  He should’ve taken that one gender studies class; that’d set Him straight!

 

 

*Note that Thomism is updated Aristotelianism, which itself was an attempt to deal with this kind of thing.  Parmenides, for instance, held that, since something cannot be created out of nothing, there is no “nothing” — no “void” for things to move into.  And since two things can’t occupy the same space simultaneously, there is no motion.  Similarly, Zeno** held that, if you give a tortoise a one foot head start in a race against Achilles, the turtle will always win.  To overtake the tortoise, Achilles has to close the gap between them.  So he cuts the gap in half with his first step…. his second step cuts the new gap in half, the third step cuts that gap in half, ad infinitum, and the turtle ambles across the finish line while Achilles is still bridging almost infinitely small gaps.  The syllogisms work, but the conclusions are insane; hence Aristotle’s Four Causes and all that.

**of Elea, not Zeno the founder of Stoicism.

Charlie Gard

Good friend of mine posts, “Have you heard of Charlie Gard”?

I reply, “Yes. Very sad story. A story of a death panel.”

Another person jumps in and derides the response:

Yes. Poor baby. No cure for his horrible genetic disease. It’s best to let him die peacefully.
In this country, he could very well become a ward a the state and the same decision be made on his behalf. So stop already about death panels. What the Republicans are proposing is death panels at the hands of insurance companies CEOs.

Remember when Mrs. Palin said she didn’t want some death panel deciding whether her son lives or dies? (Trig was born with a genetic condition as well … who gets to decide whether his quality of life is sufficient to fight for?) she was derided and laughed at. Oh, that dumb hick! (how non-judgmental and tolerant!). The words “death panel” do not appear anywhere in the document! Ha ha! Ho ho! (Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon … where did I read that? Hmmm).

They spent a LOT of energy on that one.

That would never happen, they said. You’re just fear-mongering. LIES!

So in one of their most vaunted examples of Medical Utopia™, exactly what Mrs. Palin was talking about actually happens, the response is “stop talking about it”. “Shut Up!”

As Mr. Klavan pointed out years ago, “Shut Up” is typically the central thesis of their argument when anyone argues back.

They have lots of different ways of saying “shut up”, though in this case, one of the commenters here basically just came out and said it point blank.

But racist, sexist, intolerant, whatever-o-phobe, ignorant, hick … my experts are smarter than yours, yours are just greedy money-grubbers at best.

These are all different things they use to say “shut up”.

And through it all, it was almost lost that what they’re really exposing here — when you read between the lines– is not so much that they thought Mrs. Palin was wrong. No.

It’s that they were OK with the death panels from the beginning.

Bring Back Imperialism!

This is another effective way to deal with a Non-STEM Smart Guy:

Before [WWI] you were either a gentleman or not a gentleman, and if you were a gentleman you struggled to behave as such, whatever your income might be…. People in this class owned no land, but they felt that they were landowners in the sight of God and kept up a semi-aristocratic outlook by going into the professions and the fighting services rather than into trade. Small boys used to count the plum stones on their plates and foretell their destiny by chanting, ‘Army, Navy, Church, Medicine, Law’…. To belong to this class when you were at the L400 a year level was a queer business, for it meant that your gentility was almost purely theoretical. You lived, so to speak, at two levels simultaneously. Theoretically you knew all about servants and how to tip them, although in practice you had one, at most, two resident servants. Theoretically you knew how to wear your clothes and how to order a dinner, although in practice you could never afford to go to a decent tailor or a decent restaurant. Theoretically you knew how to shoot and ride, although in practice you had no horses to ride and not an inch of ground to shoot over. It was this that explained the attraction of India (more recently Kenya, Nigeria, etc.) for the lower-upper-middle class. The people who went there as soldiers and officials did not go there to make money… they went there because in India, with cheap horses, free shooting, and hordes of black servants, it was so easy to play at being a gentleman.*

You can read every academic study written on the British Empire in the last 60 years, but all of them together don’t contain as much wisdom as this.  Guys whose blood wasn’t blue enough to be aristocrats, but who weren’t vulgar enough (in their own eyes) to buy their way in through success in business, went out to the Empire to live in the style to which they were sure they were entitled.

Every nasty thing everyone, Orwell included, ever said about the Empire and the men who ran it, is true.  The whole thing was a racket, and those who thought it wasn’t were either too stupid, too jingoistic, or both — if there’s really a difference — to see it.  (The smart, cynical ones would admit as much, and frequently did, off the record and with a few gin and tonics under their hoods).  But these are the men who created the richest, freest, most prosperous society anyone had ever known — especially the people over whom they ruled.

Worth thinking about.

 

*Orwell, The Road to Wigan Pier

Eggheadization

At Z Man’s I speculated on the trajectory of moviemaking.  The deciding factor is always money, of course, and there’s so much money in Transformers vs. Thor XVII: Iron Man’s Revenge that Hollywood may well be egghead-proof.  But I suspect that, like all other popular art forms, movies will eventually be destroyed by the ivory tower.

The example I used at Z Man’s was poetry, which along with plastic arts like painting and sculpture is the worst case scenario.  There’s zero barrier to entry with poetry — the rules for writing sonnets are right there, and not even the American educational system has so far managed to destroy literacy completely.  If you want to go mano-a-mano with Shakespeare, your word processing program even comes with a dictionary and a thesaurus.  There are 350+ million people in America today; Elizabethan England had maybe 3 million.  Just as a matter of simple probability, there should be some world-class sonnet-writers around right now…

… but, of course, there aren’t, because sometime in the later 19th century our universities started awarding degrees in English Literature.  You’ve got to justify all those years in grad school somehow, and so by the 1950s you had J. Evans Pritchard, PhD, laying down mathematical formulae for judging a poem’s excellence.  And now only Diversity Pokemon write poetry.  Seriously, can you even name a 20th century poet, let alone quote him?

Prose is very little better — see the neverending “Sad / Rabid Puppies” kerfuffle for details.  If you don’t want to wade through that — and I do not blame you — science fiction is going through now what LitFic went through back in the 80s.  John Derbyshire speculated somewhere that The Bonfire of the Vanities was the last “middlebrow” novel ever written, and who can argue with that?  Again, have you ever heard of any of these poseurs?  It’s all MFA wank, all the way down the line — even the one (maybe?) white guy “explores race — blackness and whiteness, the politics of passing, interracial marriage — in a way that is no less serious for all its playfulness and sharp wit.”

I suspect that movies will go the way of novels — just as writers like Stephenie [sic] Meyer and John Grisham make all the money while being savaged by the critics (who only praise fellow MFAs), so Batman vs. Aquaman XIX will make all the cash in the world, but you’ll be written off as an incorrigible prole if you ever go see it.  Meanwhile, a whole bunch of eggheads will keep awarding themselves PhDs in “film studies” etc.