Sunday, January 10, 2021

An exercise in political science

 Here's an exercise for people. Provide definitions of liberalism and conservatism, or definitions of socialism and capitalism, in such a way that no one will be able to tell after you are done what position on these matters you yourself hold. And while you're at it, do the same thing for pro-life and pro-choice.

18 comments:

Kevin said...

I think this could be done fairly easily, but getting into details is where the bias would emerge.

Ask someone to not only identify the beliefs of both sides, but then also explain the reasons why they hold those beliefs. Then see if you can identify which side of the aisle they are on. Probably would not be difficult to guess correctly.

oozzielionel said...

Liberal and Conservative are labels that change in meaning depending upon who is using the label. They are badges of honor for a description of oneself or allies. The labels are derogatory when applied to those whom you oppose. The use of the label is useful when one is seeking to avoid discussion and resolution of specific issues.

Hal said...

I think oozziellionel makes a very good point - political labels are usually more harmful than helpful, especially in the online discussions I've seen and participated in.

Having said that, I think this summary of gender issues that I saw posted on twitter is rather good especially considering how concise it is:

The patriarchal position: Sex exists, sex determines gender
The feminist position: Sex exists, sex does not determine gender, gender is a construct
Trans position: Gender identity exists, sex does not exist, gender identity determines sex.

Kevin said...

The patriarchal position

That's a giveaway right there.

I'm nothing like a modern feminist activist, but of your three positions I agree with theirs over the other two. Sex is male or female, which is biology, while gender is masculine or feminine, which is relative to the local culture. So you can have a feminine man, but you cannot have a female man.

Language is shifting toward the progressive paradigm though, so at some point I will have to stop using the words man and woman since they will have lost all meaning.

One Brow said...

The liberal positions of the 1930s became the conservative positions of the 1970s, many of which went back to being liberal positions in the 2000s.

One Brow said...

Hal,

For reasons both similar to and different from Kevin, I also disagree with that formulation. I would differentiate not just masculine/feminine from male/female, but also man/woman from adult male/female.

The real problem is that we need these categories in society, but for many people, they just do not describe them. We should not be using the categories as the source of truth, we need to let human experience be the source of truth, and adapt our language to our experience. Clearly-defined words that suppress others are worse than words with no clear meaning.

Hal said...

One Brow,
The real problem is that we need these categories in society, but for many people, they just do not describe them.

Not sure I understand this. Who is not being described?

What do you think about this statement from a trans activist:

"That is to say: Stop using “male” and “female” to refer to men and women. In fact, stop using sex-based words to refer to people at all. They’re words for bodies, not for people with hearts and souls and minds."


That quote is from a NYTimes Opinion Piece written by Devin Michelle Bunten on June 23, 2020.

oozzielionel said...

RE:"They’re words for bodies, not for people with hearts and souls and minds."
Here is a clash of worldviews. This worldview differentiates the person (perhaps spirit) from their physical person (body). A classic Christian worldview and more Western approach is to equate the person with both body and spirit. I defend the more traditional approach that our body informs our identity. Identity is not purely spiritual (or psychological); identity includes the physiological. It is dysfunctional to ignore the reality of the physical. If dysfunctional is too severe, it is at least a denial of reality.

Kevin said...

That is to say: Stop using “male” and “female” to refer to men and women

Women have fought for decades to not be defined by gender roles.

So, if man and woman do not refer to biology, and they do not refer to gender roles, then what precisely is the difference between a man and a woman that they are so adamant about redefining?

One Brow said...

Hal,
What do you think about this statement from a trans activist:

"That is to say: Stop using “male” and “female” to refer to men and women. In fact, stop using sex-based words to refer to people at all. They’re words for bodies, not for people with hearts and souls and minds."


To me, that sounds like a person who feels that being called male or female, man or woman is hiding their personal truth, rather than revealing it.

One Brow said...

oozzielionel,
This worldview differentiates the person (perhaps spirit) from their physical person (body).

W#hile I don't know who that particular author is, I've read similar sentiments from authors who don't believe in any person besides the physical person.

It is dysfunctional to ignore the reality of the physical. If dysfunctional is too severe, it is at least a denial of reality.

It is dysfunctional to over-simplify reality in order to support a binary gender modality, or do you consider that functional?

One Brow said...

Kevin,
Women have fought for decades to not be defined by gender roles.

So, if man and woman do not refer to biology, and they do not refer to gender roles, then what precisely is the difference between a man and a woman that they are so adamant about redefining?


Some would say that mainstream feminism has been fighting to expand what their gender is allowed to do, so that a female fire-fighter is considered every bit as much a woman as a female nurse. Certainly, that seem to be the position among TERFs.

The presence of third genders in some societies should be enough to show that gender is not biological. So why should we use it to limit our gender participation?

Kevin said...

Some would say that mainstream feminism has been fighting to expand what their gender is allowed to do, so that a female fire-fighter is considered every bit as much a woman as a female nurse.

I personally know two female firefighters, two female mechanics (one overlap there), and one female soldier. My mother likes guns, wears flannel, doesn't care about makeup or dresses, dabbles in carpentry, even hauls a chainsaw around.

All of them would be surprised to hear that they weren't women because of these things.

The presence of third genders in some societies should be enough to show that gender is not biological.

Yes, which to me shows that "man" and "woman" should continue to be synonymous with "human male" and "human female", while gender should refer to something as masculine or feminine, which is relative to a given culture. Many things and people commonly exist or fluctuate between traditionally masculine or feminine things, so "gender fluid" makes perfect sense in that regard.

So to that end you can have men who are masculine or feminine or both or neither, and you can have women who are masculine or feminine or both or neither. No one would ever confuse Sylvester Stallone with Justin Bieber, but everyone (most) would agree both are men.

I personally don't watch sports, I don't hunt or fish, I have never been in a fight, I am not competitive, I don't try to sleep with women as an end in of itself, I hate working on cars, I don't swear, I never drink alcohol, and I'm good with caring for infants and small children to the point I was offered a job at pediatric therapy daycare despite lack of formal education. But though I'm not overly masculine, and I'm certainly not overly feminine, I'm a man. Yet there is now a movement trying to tell me that I'm not a man or a woman, but in between somewhere because of gender roles?

That's where the conflict begins arising. Those on my side of the issue see no reason to decouple man and woman from male and female, because that is how those words have been used our entire lives. A movement that shows up and begins calling us bigots for not immediately using words how they see fit is not a viable strategy for change.

Personally, if "man" officially becomes the noun form of "masculine", then it and woman will become words I no longer use in normal conversation,, because they will have lost any useful meaning.

One Brow said...

Kevin,
All of them would be surprised to hear that they weren't women because of these things.

Yet, I heard many people say things like that over the decades. Times have changed, though. If they are young, perhaps they never heard it.

Yes, which to me shows that "man" and "woman" should continue to be synonymous with "human male" and "human female", while gender should refer to something as masculine or feminine, which is relative to a given culture. Many things and people commonly exist or fluctuate between traditionally masculine or feminine things, so "gender fluid" makes perfect sense in that regard.

If "man" is strictly biological, like "male", what's the noun for a masculine person who is not male? Why force "man" and "male" into highly similar meanings, and leave that large void?

'This is a male's world'. Something missing there, I think. There is something about being a man that being male just doesn't convey.

But though I'm not overly masculine, and I'm certainly not overly feminine, I'm a man. Yet there is now a movement trying to tell me that I'm not a man or a woman, but in between somewhere because of gender roles?

Frankly, that all sounded fairly masculine to me, and progressives are not the ones trying to tell you who belongs to which gender, rather, they are asking that you allow other people the freedom to define themselves, as you just stated your freedom to define yourself.

A movement that shows up and begins calling us bigots for not immediately using words how they see fit is not a viable strategy for change.

Perhaps, but do you understand that these are people who are in pain, and some have been for decades?

Personally, if "man" officially becomes the noun form of "masculine", then it and woman will become words I no longer use in normal conversation,, because they will have lost any useful meaning.

What's the alternative words you suggest?

Kevin said...

Perhaps, but do you understand that these are people who are in pain, and some have been for decades

Which is why I hate the way the left is using them as a blunt weapon to attack people as being hateful, rather than accepting that man and woman in English have been synonymous with male and female for hundreds of years and that demanding people to immediately change their ways is unrealistic, not to mention that most of those who decline to change on demand are not doing so out of so-called transphobia or hate of any kind. All that strategy does is, at best, make people tune them out. At worst it generates hatred for the very people the strategy is supposed to help.

If "man" is strictly biological, like "male", what's the noun for a masculine person who is not male?

Used to be tomboy. But I'm not sure every adjective needs a noun, and this would be one of them in my opinion.

For example, let's say you have a male who identifies as a woman, does not get any reassignment surgery or hormone therapy, but likes culturally masculine things in public and culturally feminine things at home. Man or woman? If we simply go by what a person says they are, then why does masculine or feminine matter at all? See how mind numbingly confusing it gets when whether or not someone is masculine or feminine is elevated to the same status as sex, race, age, and other objective biological criteria, and we have to somehow fit all the infinite possibilities into two words, man and woman?

And if, as you mentioned, each of us defines what a man is, and it leads to a range of results that includes exact opposites, then man is a meaningless term and should not be a legal status. I don't think the law should be involved in matters regarding whether someone is masculine or feminine if everyone's opinion is different and equally valid.

One Brow said...

Kevin,

For the most part, these transgendered people are the ones in the left trying to drive ther4 change in how language is used. If it were up to just black cis people, or gay cis people, or female cis people, there wouldn't be such a strong movement because they are unaffected by the issue. Thus, "the left" you refer to are (or are driven by) the "people who are in pain" to whom I refer, and I'm not sure why you think it's the latter using the former, as opposed to the other way around.

Tomboys are children.

And if, as you mentioned, each of us defines what a man is, and it leads to a range of results that includes exact opposites, then man is a meaningless term and should not be a legal status. I don't think the law should be involved in matters regarding whether someone is masculine or feminine if everyone's opinion is different and equally valid.

Outside of prisons, is there now a legal status of "man" or "woman"? While the terms still seem relevant to me socially, I'm not sure I want there to be such a legal status. What would it be used for?

Kevin said...

Thus, "the left" you refer to are (or are driven by) the "people who are in pain" to whom I refer, and I'm not sure why you think it's the latter using the former, as opposed to the other way around.

Quite frankly, I don't think the population of trans people is large enough to account for the mass outrage that gets generated in cases of so-called "transphobia". Then again, social media is social media, so that won't be the hill I die on.

Outside of prisons, is there now a legal status of "man" or "woman"?

Title VII is now understood to also apply to gender identity, not just sex. Am I correct in my understanding that you believe man and woman refer to gender identity and not sex?

One Brow said...

Kevin,

I'll agree that most people who call out "transphobia" are not themselves trans. That's why I included "are driven by". Have you ever read a blog or listed to a podcast series by a trans person discussing trans issues?

Did you mean Title IX (I had forgotten about that)? Title VII is about *not* treating people differently based on (among other things) sex, including (under the recent ruling) not treating them differently for being (that is, playing the social role of) a man even if they have the sex of a woman, or vice-versa.

Still, it's true enough Title IX refers to terms like boy/girl in it's language, so I was wrong on that count.