Deconstruct reality, but give predators a pass
It's not inconsistency, it's hierarchy
Arresting Lailana Muniz. Image: The Post Millennial
The trans activist Jeffrey Marsh has recorded a video addressed to children, which claims that there’s no such thing as boys or girls. Marsh cites as evidence the fact that there’s some overlap in the common traits of boys and girls, a fact that apparently invalidates sex dimorphism altogether.
For Marsh, the existence of outliers to normative patterns, such as tall girls, and boys who like pink, supposedly means the male/female taxonomy is wholly false. This is a familiar tactic, but it’s not applied consistently. For trans activists will also make a general claim that males who identify as women should be evaluated using the same threat perception as women, and will round angrily on anyone who notices the fact that some at least engage in sexually predatory behaviour that’s vanishingly rare in women but sadly less so in men.
We may, for example, notice the recent case of a convicted sex offender who identified as a woman, was granted access to an Ontario women’s shelter, then allegedly raped another resident. But this shouldn’t be treated as invalidating the general statement ‘trans women are as safe as regular women, around women’. Nor should the case of prominent New York trans activist Lailana Muniz, recently caught in a sting trying to solicit sex with a child, be treated as though it invalidates the general statement ‘trans women are as safe as regular women, around children’.
Notwithstanding the far higher male offending rate, especially across violent and sexual crimes, not to mention the fact that trans women retain male offending patterns, all trans women are perfectly safe for women and children to be around even when sleeping, washing, or dressing. Anyone who suggests otherwise is fomenting hate and moral panic.
I’m not trying to suggest that all or even most trans people are sex offenders. But notice that some outliers (tall girls, boys who like pink, people with disorders of sex development) are treated as though they invalidate a general pattern. Meanwhile others (trans women who are sexual predators) aren’t.
You can’t, you would think, have it both ways.
Except you can. In response to those who complain that different treatment is meted out to those on the Left or the Right for what is essentially the same behaviour, legal scholar Adrian Vermeule is fond of saying ‘It’s not inconsistency, it’s hierarchy’. Some groups, that is, receive more favourable treatment than others because they rank higher. The always perspicacious NS Lyons sums this view up here.
So some groups are preferred over others. What about ideas, though? Why should we be encouraged to deconstruct one generalisation on the basis of a few outliers, but castigated for employing the same critical attitude toward a different generalisation on the basis of outliers? It’s either faulty logic, or there’s an implicit hierarchy that isn’t being spelled out.
I think it’s the latter. And the governing principle isn’t logic but constraint. For the new faithful, ideas aren’t evaluated on the basis of being true, or even reasonable, but on how much they constrain desire. This explains why sex dimorphism is considered ‘outdated’, despite its features being consistent across a great many species, including humans, and (among humans) all but a very small number of outliers. Nonetheless, it must be deconstructed, because the reality of living in a sexed body constrains the things any given individual can desire. We see this in Marsh’s ‘no such thing as boys or girls’ video, which suggests that a few outliers render sex dimorphism meaningless, and concludes triumphantly: “Where does this leave you? Free!”
Conversely, the generalisation “all trans women are safe around women and children” has at least as many outliers as sex dimorphism, proportionally speaking. But granting credence to those outliers, and deconstructing the generalisation based on their existence, would force us to impose constraints on individual identification, and (particularly) to limit the desires of males who identify as women to be accepted as such. So it’s taboo.
Elsewhere, this explains the parallel willingness to ban religious attendance to slow the spread of Covid, and squeamishness about slowing the spread of monkeypox by advising gay men to stop engaging in risky behaviours, such as group sex with strangers. Both are, to at least the same extent, gatherings that increase the risk of spreading an infectious disease. But religious worship constrains desire, while attending an orgy does the opposite.
Once you realise that for this worldview, the enemy is anything that limits the free play of individual desire, it’s easier to understand the internal coherence in a worldview that looks - from the perspective of ‘reason’ enjoyers, not just incoherent but grossly arbitrary. Meanwhile, from the other perspective, it’s constraint which is grossly arbitrary - even if those constraints are being imposed on rapists, carriers of a sexually transmitted disease, or children who might otherwise be memed into irreversible iatrogenic harm.
This heuristic clarifies a few other things as well: for example that if you’re still arguing back based on appeals to reason and logic, you might as well save your breath. No counter-argument of this kind will move the new faithful in the slightest, if it also implies more constraints on desire. There is, in fact, no resolution, save insisting that human life cannot proceed without some constraints, and insisting on their imposition, and weathering the howling fury this will inevitably cause.
Stop making sense Mary!! :-)
All social justice movements are simply power-moves, designed to displace one group, at the top of the hierarchy, with another. The hierarchy remains intact and no justice, fairness or equality occurs. It all about power, and retribution. It's going to get ugly.
I think the point about the worship of desire in itself is very interesting and very important. It made me think of three things: that (as so often) Plato wondered about it - it is the position of Callicles in the Gorgias, that the point of life is to want things and satisfy your wants, and the more radical and extravagant your desires the more you are living; of Eve Tushnet's observation that demons are made of mouths (https://www.patheos.com/blogs/evetushnet/2018/11/death-of-an-edgelord-i-review-a-new-biopic-of-the-founder-of-norwegian-death-metal.html); and a passage in Chesterton's Ballad of the White Horse: "Their gods were sadder than the sea, / Gods of a wandering will, / Who cried for blood like beasts at night, / Sadly, from hill to hill."
This is because one aspect of it is that it's bleak: you don't look at the people living this way and say they seem to be happy and flourishing. It's an endless hunger.