Friday, October 27, 2017

Seth Barron, "What's In A Pronoun?"

   Don't forget: both NYC and CA have laws that force you to use made-up pronouns on demand, on pain of massive fines and/or jail time... (I read somewhere that DC has one, too.)
It seems fair and just to refer to people as they present themselves and wish to be addressed. It would be rude to call a transman “Miss” just to make a point, and within reason, going along with whatever benign fiction people might have cooked up about themselves is simply good manners. “Preferred-pronoun” usage, however, is a bridge too far, and not just because it’s impossible to expect everyone to memorize lists of declensions of made-up words. The pronoun debate is also an effort to force us to change the way we talk about people who are not actually present: when we speak of “he” or “she,” we are almost always talking about someone who is not there. When speaking face-to-face, the only pronoun we commonly use is “you.” It’s considered improper to use third-person pronouns in the presence of their subjects; hence the old saying, “‘She’ is the cat’s mother,” meant to admonish against using the pronominal form instead of the individual’s proper name, if he or she is present. Insisting that we refer to absent people according to made-up vocabulary words upon threat of punishment is to interpose political ideology into conversation under force of law. It deputizes all listeners or interlocutors as surveillance agents in the name of gender equality.
   I guess the first sentence is a sop to Cerberus...but it isn't true...or isn't very true. You don't have to pretend that I'm six-foot-five just because I want you to--and it's not "fair and just" of me to ask you to do so. It would be messed up to, say, spend great time and energy to puzzle out someone's sex--probably don't do that. But I'm not all that interested in figuring out all the niceties of this ridiculousness. Anyway, the rest of that paragraph, and the rest of the post, is good. (And I've said much of this stuff before myself.) 
   Much of this isn't even about transgenderism per se, it's about left's totalitarianism, its love of controlling others, and, in particular, its penchant for controlling language and (it hopes), consequently, thought. It discovered 30 years ago that, if it screams prejudice loudly and shrilly enough, people will acquiesce to changing the way they speak. And its basically never looked back. The pronoun nonsense is a gold mine, because it also forces people to pay lip service (and, hence, endorse) its social constructionist metaphysics.
   Bah...I've said that all before. Nothing's changed.


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