The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity
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Kindle Notes & Highlights
Read between November 17 - December 14, 2019
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Although the newest of the rights questions also affects by far the fewest number of people, it is nevertheless fought over with an almost unequalled ferocity and rage.
3%
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As anyone who has lived under totalitarianism can attest, there is something demeaning and eventually soul-destroying about being expected to go along with claims you do not believe to be true and cannot hold to be true.
5%
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Pink News and others who celebrate their victory in chasing Voices of the Silenced a mile down the road one February night seem very ready to wield such power over a private event. In doing so they contradict the claims made by gay rights activists from the start of the battle for gay equality, which is that it should be no business of anyone else what consenting adults get up to in private. If that goes for the rights of gay groups then surely it ought to apply to the rights of Christian fundamentalists and other groups too.
7%
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When Piers Morgan demanded of his guest, ‘How can you think that nobody’s born gay?’ the answer is that plenty of people think that, and they may be right or right in part. Nobody is yet certain. And whether or not anyone is born gay, or whether everyone who is gay is born gay, it does not follow at all that being gay is a one-way street.
11%
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as if they actually exist like a racial or religious community. It is a form of absurdity.
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it is worth bearing these internal frictions and contradictions in mind when people talk about the LGBT community, or try to co-opt it for any political purpose. It barely exists even within each letter of its constituent parts.
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Just like straight people, gays can live in houses with nice picket fences, can marry, have monogamous relationships and eventually produce and raise children like everybody else.
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Those who push the ‘queer’ view of gay do tend to present being gay as a full-time occupation. Those who are gay tend not to like them.
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Amid all the talk of ‘equality’ there isn’t anything like certainty that most gays actually want to be completely equal. Many would appear to want to be precisely equal but with a little gay bonus.
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equality was not enough, because gays were in some sense ‘better’ than straight people.
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allegations of abuse are indeed always to be taken seriously, unless the victim is a man or the accused is a professor of feminist literary theory. In all matters, such contradictions merely have to be got over.
20%
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So long as people were willing to claim that we live in a patriarchal society, a ‘rape-culture’, a homophobic, transphobic and racist culture; so long as they indict their own society and scatter in a smattering of admiration for any other society (from an approved list), then almost anything can be said. So long as the pyramid of oppression is believed in and propagated to others, almost anything can find its way into the canon of unreadable and largely uncited academic work.
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the societal self-delusion over biological reality is just one in a whole series of such self-delusions that our societies have decided to engage in.
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we have begun trying to reorder our societies not in line with facts we know from science but based on political falsehoods pushed by activists in the social sciences.
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example of people deliberately and lazily adopting simplified misrepresentations of what other people are saying in order to avoid the difficult discussion that would otherwise have to take place.
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The belief that it is possible to be sexy without being sexualized is just one of the contradictory settlements that we have landed on.
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the current accepted way of regarding women is: the same as men, but different where it’s useful or flattering.
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here is the first conundrum of the current presumption on the position of women as opposed to men in our societies. Women are exactly the same as men – as capable, as able, as suited to the same array of tasks. And also better.
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there is a great need for ‘confident women’ there is also a need for ‘less confident men’. As though by these means the sexes might in time meet somewhere in the middle.
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privilege as an issue is repeatedly raised because it is assumed to be something that other people have.
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the success of feminist arguments began to depend on claims being distorted and hyped. Gradually the most extreme claims took over as the norm.
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Exaggeration and catastrophism became the regular currency in which feminists were encouraged to deal.
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example of ‘male privilege’. But nobody knows what the preponderance of male suicides (according to the Samaritans, British men are three times more likely to commit suicide than women), deaths in dangerous occupations, homelessness and much more might mean. Is this a sign of the opposite of male privilege? Do they even each other out? If not, what are the systems, metrics or timespan for doing so? Nobody seems to know.
32%
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What are the circumstances under which a man can be said to be talking down to a woman because she is a woman as opposed to a man talking down to a woman because she is talking down to him? At present there is no mechanism to work any of these things out, merely a projectile that can be launched at any stage by a woman.
33%
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when asked what words popped into respondents’ heads first when they heard the word ‘feminist’, the single most popular word that came to them – indeed to more than a quarter of respondents – was ‘bitchy’.
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the whole attempt to turn hardware into software has caused – and is continuing to cause – more pain than almost any other issue for men and women alike. It is at the foundation of the current madness.
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we are being not just asked, but expected, to radically alter our lives and societies on the basis of claims that our instincts all tell us cannot possibly be true.
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the internet has allowed new forms of activism and bullying in the guise of social activism to become the tenor of the time.
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sacrifices truth in the pursuit of a political goal.
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just as racial differences were diminishing they suddenly became siloed in special-interest sections of their own: ‘black literature’, like ‘gay literature’ and ‘women’s literature’, now got a section of its own in bookshops and libraries.
43%
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Almost any student of history is familiar with the truth summed up in the opening line of L. P. Hartley’s novel The Go-Between: ‘The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.’
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It requires a level of naivety to imagine that a piece from a magazine published in 1916 would meet the precise social criteria of 2018.
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Anyone who is unbothered is ignored. In an age of shouting for attention on social media the mechanism rewards outrage over sanguinity.
54%
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This retreat from ‘the facts are wrong’ to ‘the facts are unhelpful’ has become the signature retreat of opinion in the face of the growing literature
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To her audience in Boston she also explained how white people who see people as individuals rather than by their skin colour are in fact ‘dangerous’.70 Meaning that it took only half a century for Martin Luther King’s vision to be exactly inverted.
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Part of forgiveness is the ability to forget. And yet the internet will never forget.
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we have created a world in which forgiveness has become almost impossible,
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News of an increase in the number of children claiming to be gender-dysphoric, and the growing evidence of a ‘cluster effect’ when such claims begin to be made (that is, that once a number of children in a school claim to be in the wrong body similar claims expand exponentially), means that parents and others are not wrong to be wondering and worrying about where this is all leading.
64%
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James went on oestrogen, which included daily doses as well as injections. Accounts from him and from others about the nature of this process hits – among much else – right at the heart of claims that there are no essential differences between the sexes.
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why is it the case that suicide rates don’t change between pre- and post-op trans?
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Only a very free society would permit – and even encourage – such endless claims about its own iniquities.
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It has been estimated that roughly 80 per cent of children diagnosed with what is now called gender dysphoria will find that this problem resolves itself during puberty.
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Is a fat white person equal to a skinny person of colour? Or are there different scales of oppression which everyone should know even if no one has explained the rules because the rules are made not by rational people but by mob stampedes.
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It has been illegal to pay women less for performing the same task as a man since 1970 in the UK,
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‘Feminist ideology has never dealt honestly with the role of the mother in human life. Its portrayal of history as male oppression and female victimage is a gross distortion of the facts.’24
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Few people think that a country cannot be improved on, but to present it as riddled with bigotry, hatred and oppression is at best a partial and at worst a nakedly hostile prism through which to view society.
80%
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Politics may be an important aspect of our lives, but as a source of personal meaning it is disastrous.
81%
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minimizing difference is not the same as pretending difference does not exist. To assume that sex, sexuality and skin colour mean nothing would be ridiculous. But to assume that they mean everything will be fatal.