Transgenderism as a metaphysical belief

From Commentary, and article by Sohrab Ahmari

The trans movement is asking Americans to accept and indeed to make their lives and their perceptions of reality conform to a set of extraordinary ideas based on very little debate. These claims are often put forth in the language of psychiatry and psychology, and they implicate the lives of real people, many of whom suffer genuine, sometimes unbearable anguish. Which good American can say no to the cries of a suffering minority, especially when they are amplified by scientific authority?

The science isn’t there yet, in point of fact. The case for accepting and advancing the cause of transgenderism is, at root, a radical philosophical argument—one that goes to the heart of what it means to be human. Accepting the trans movement’s argument requires us to lend credence to an extreme form of mind-matter dualism, and involves severing the links between bodily sex, gender identity, and erotic desire.

But first: What do the activists claim? If there is one unshakeable tenet, it is that gender identity and expression—a person’s self-concept as a gendered being and how that person outwardly manifests it—are different from the sex organs that have distinguished male from female since the emergence of the species. They argue that while a physician might “assign” a sex to a newborn, that label may well be at odds with the baby’s true gender. As the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) puts it in a guide for journalists, a transgender person is one “whose sex assigned at birth is different from who they know they are on the inside.”…

At the same time, the activists hold—and this is their second major tenet—that gender itself is largely a social construct, since it is society that labels various traits or characteristics “masculine” or “feminine.”…

The third tenet is that gender identity and sexual desire have nothing to do with each other. According to a model school-district transgender policy drawn up by the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network, sexual orientation is “a person’s romantic and/or physical attraction to people of the same or opposite gender or other genders. Transgender and gender nonconforming people may have any sexual orientation.” PFLAG likewise bifurcates gender identity and sexual preference: “It is important to note that gender identity neither relates to, nor determines, sexual orientation…. People who are transgender can also identify as gay, straight, lesbian, bisexual, or queer….

Now we have the necessary elements to put together the vision of the human person offered by the trans movement. Each person has a strong innate sense of gender that, according to the activists, may or may not align with his or her physical sex. When the two don’t align, we are dealing, in essence, with brains or minds that are trapped in bodies with the wrong sex organs.2 It is incumbent on the rest of us, then, to recognize the “true” self that is so trapped and help it break free from the prison of the body.

This is a profoundly metaphysical, even spiritual, vision.

See the rest of the article. As usual, a few minutes of clear thought is enough to skewer the pretensions of folly.

Desinformatsiya and the Russian interference issue

The Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller has brought indictments against a number of Russians who, through aliases, interfered in the US election.


The Russians, assuming the identity of Americans, operated social media pages designed to attract the attention of Americans and foment social and political divisions.

I assume the truth of this. Moreover, I assume the truth of all such accusations about Russian state activity in the service of Russians state interests from the time of the Tsars.

If you need evidence for this tendency, I invite you to read the Marquis of Custine’s description of Tsarist Russia, written in 1839. I quote from his book:

In Russia, whatever be the appearance of things, violence and arbitrary rule is at the bottom of them all. Tyranny rendered calm by the influence of terror is the only kind of happiness which this government is able to afford its people.

This, to be sure, was long before the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. Another snippet from the Marquis, who visited Russia for some months and returned to France with baleful conclusions about the regime of the Tsars:

In Frace, revolutionary tyranny is an evil belonging to a state of transition; in Russia, despotic tyranny is permanent.

Not enough? Well try the book, Red Horizons, written by Lt. Gen.Ion Pacepa (pronounced Pachepa) former head of Rumania’s foreign intelligence service and a defector to the United States in 1978.

Pacepa’s view is that by far the largest activity of the security services of the Communist regime, from Stalin on down, was not intelligence gathering so much as framing the innocent, and generating “disinformation”. For example, disinformation is the process whereby you have come to believe, in all probability, that the firmly anti-Nazi Pope Pius XII was “Hitler’s Pope” and that he did not do enough to help the Jews in World War II. Besmirching the reputation of those who oppose the interests of the rulers of Russia, whether Tsarist, Communist, or the current ex-KGB leader, is what their secret services do.

If the Russian regime can throw doubt on the outcome of the entire US election by the trivial expenditure of some Facebook pages, and the time of some 13, or even 13,000, agents of the FSB, do you think they would not do it? The gains they make by throwing the US system of government into disrepute are enormous; they undercut the legitimacy of the US system for chicken feed.

Is it any wonder then, that Trump tweeted yesterday:

President Donald Trump says Russians are “laughing their asses off in Moscow” for the way Washington has handled the Russia investigations, following the Department of Justice’s charges against Russian nationals last week for allegedly interfering in the 2016 election.

“If it was the GOAL of Russia to create discord, disruption and chaos within the U.S. then, with all of the Committee Hearings, Investigations and Party hatred, they have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. They are laughing their asses off in Moscow. Get smart America!”

As usual, the US mainstream media will be swallowing the tale of Russian interference without blinking an eye, but highlighting the extent to which Trump has downplayed Russian interference in the past. It will avoid considering the degree to which Democrats and the left in general are serving Putin’s ends. It will avoid any look in the mirror. It will avoid considering the nature of the Russian state for the smallest of partisan advantages.

Yet the Mueller indictments may have succeeded, despite the left’s best efforts, in drawing attention to the man who is poisoning the water, Vladimir Putin. Can you blame him for trying to wreck the legitimacy of the US political system? Only in the same way as you can blame a cat for hunting mice.

But for the political opposition to Trump, they can be blamed for the most relentless and obstinate short-sightedness.  And as for Trump, if he has just woken up to the extent to which he has been played by Putin, that will be salutory.




Did Hillary pull off the dirtiest trick in US Presidential history?


Who? Moi?

The question can now be asked. Michael Goodwin now asks it.

There are many more layers of the onion to peel, but here’s where we are now: It increasingly appears that the Clinton machine was the secret, original source of virtually all the allegations about Trump and Russia that led to the FBI investigation.

In addition, the campaign and its associates, including Steele, were behind the explosion of anonymously sourced media reports during the fall of 2016 about that investigation.

Thus, the Democratic nominee paid for and created allegations against her Republican opponent, gave them to law enforcement, then tipped friendly media to the investigation. And it is almost certain FBI agents supporting Clinton were among the anonymous sources.

In fact, the Clinton connections are so fundamental that there probably would not have been an FBI investigation without her involvement.

That makes hers a brazen work of political genius — and perhaps the dirtiest dirty trick ever played in presidential history. Following her manipulation of the party operation to thwart Bernie Sanders in the primary, Clinton is revealed as relentlessly ruthless in her quest to be president.

The only thing that went wrong is that she lost the election. And based on what we know now, her claims about Trump were false.

Of the charges against four men brought by special counsel Robert Mueller, none involves helping Russia interfere with the election.

And neither the FBI nor Mueller has vouched for the truthfulness of the Blumenthal and Shearer claims or the Steele dossier. ­Instead, the dossier faces defamation lawsuits in the US and England from several people named in it.

So, if the facts alleged are true, and it seems likely that the story is true, the Clinton dezinformatsiya seems to have worked – for a time.

John Updike on “Why I am not a dove” or “liberal illusion continues”

I am indebted to Maggie’s Farm, a website collectively put together by a group of sane people, who describe themselves as:

We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn’t pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does “try my best to be just like I am,” and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.

This sums up my attitude as well.


Now: on to Mr. Updike and his essay, cited on Maggie’s farm and published in American Digest. It dates from the period of the Vietnam war. I cite a sample to show that nothing has changed since the 1970s, that the bien-pensants are still with us in force, evincing their moral superiority while condemning those who  defend their ability to sleep at night in comfortable beds.


The protest, from my perspective, was in large part a snobbish dismissal of {President Lyndon} Johnson by the Eastern establishment; Cambridge professors and Manhattan lawyers and their guitar-strumming children thought they could run the country and the world better than this lugubrious bohunk from Texas. These privileged members of a privileged nation believed that their pleasant position could be maintained without anything visibly ugly happening in the world. They were full of aesthetic disdain for their own defenders, the business-suited hirelings drearily pondering geopolitics and its bloody necessities down in Washington. The protesters were spitting on the cops who were trying to keep their property—the USA and its many amenities—intact. A common report in this riotous era was of slum-dwellers throwing rocks and bottles at the firemen come to put out fires; the peace marchers, the upper-middle-class housewives pushing baby carriages along in candlelit processions, seemed to me to be behaving identically, without the excuse of being slum-dwellers.

We may be living in a reprise of the Vietnam War days, with Trump replacing the war as the focal point of outrage. Like Johnson was in his day, Trump is the lugubrious bohunk, this time from Queens instead of depression-era Texas. His crime is to have succeeded that golden child of liberal illusion, Barack Obama, just as Johnson succeeded the anointed one, John F. Kennedy (though I hold that Kennedy was far more honourable and straight than Obama).

A trip to the gun store

Being on vacation in Florida can be a little weird. Many parts of it are no more charming than a six lane boulevard separating shopping malls. At a near corner, huge machines were stripping what little soil remains over the native sand in order to prepare the place for another shopping centre. On the other hand the feeling of a benign climate, one not trying to kill you, is a welcome relief from a tough winter in Canada. Many, many refugees from wintry states and provinces, and even Europe, drive the local economy.

My host and I went to the gun store shooting range. He had always wanted to go and my presence was for him an incentive. After a brief period of entering our life details into the computer and showing identification, we were let into the range, where people were practicing on targets to loud bangs of pistols. No fuss whatever was made about being Canadian, and our firearms acquisition certificates were accepted as proof of training, though I doubt anything would have happened if we had not had them. After choosing our weapons we entered double doors – for sound proofing – and went onto assigned slots on the range. The range officers had pistols in their belts. They were kindly and experienced.

I explained to the range officer that I was a free-range child, that at ten I had wandered about the family farm with an air rifle and later a .22 hitting cans off fence  posts quite unsupervized, after having been taught to shoot by my father. His only rule was not to aim at the house. He did not need to add that I was not to kill anyone. Incredible as it may seem now, I managed not to hit any human being whatever, nor had any kind of accident. The range officer said he had been allowed to wander about his daddy’s land from the time he was six with a rifle.

Shooting is its own catharsis. I had won a ‘crossed rifles and crown’ badge in cadets back in the late Pleistocene for shooting and wondered if I still had the knack. The rifle which I selected was an expensive German .22 with a laser dot range sight. All you had to do was hold the dot on the target (no small task) and squeeze the trigger.

The results are shown below. The distance to the target was 37 feet six inches.  My friend was trying to master a 9 mm. pistol at half the range. The lesson to be drawn is that a pistol is a highly erratic weapon unless it is held in practiced hands. Believe me,  to be facing a man with a pistol is dangerous, but there is a good chance he will miss you and kill your companions, neighbours, and random passers-by. A rifle, on the other hand, is all business. It hits the target when held in firm hands.

Americans are a chatty group and I soon fell into conversation with an older retired staff sergeant from the Army Corps of Engineers. He had moved to Florida from New England ages before. He said he had thirty weapons lying around the house not including the guns in the safe. A nice guy, but I would not want to be caught breaking into his house.

The gun range was packed on the morning after Superbowl. About one person in ten was a woman, maybe more. Guns lend themselves to the infinite expansion of detailed knowledge that men seem to like: range, trajectory, grains of powder in the bullet, caliber, foot-tons of impact, jamming, clearing the action, magazine size: there is no end to it. You may not be a huge success in life, but if you have a gun,  and know how to use one, you have a sense of competence that none can take from you.

I include the picture below for any of my enemies, in case they should be plotting a home invasion. Ten shots, three outside the bullseye.

It is great to be in a place where they have de-criminalized gun ownership.


From the other side of the universe

President Barack Obama, President Bill Clinton, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Samantha Power, NSC Director of Multilateral Affairs, in a scene from THE FINAL YEAR, a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.



Chris Knight reviews a documentary on the subject of the last year of the Obama regime. It makes entertaining reading. By “entertaining” I do not mean that readers of this blog will like the movie. To the contrary, they will marvel at the capacity of a man to be so deceived. The President who was a friend to every enemy of the United States, and indifferent or hostile to most of its friends, the man who hated and disdained half the electorate – the people who elected Trump, the President who kept the United  States’ economy in stasis, the man who feared global warming but who could never allow himself to utter the words “Islamic terrorism”: you will recall President Obama. And we will not even start on the Clinton Foundation’s pay for play scheme to translate the foreign policy of the United States into donations to the Clinton Foundation.

Gently weep, o readers, at the memory of it all.


“A word of warning; more than any other film this year, The Final Year may make you cry. If you feel an almost daily despair at the prospect of a racist, sexist, inarticulate liar holding the highest office in the world, you will despair even more mightily at the memory of a time when none of that was true.

Greg Barker’s documentary follows U.S. President Barack Obama through his last 12 months in office, mostly through the eyes of some of his closest staff: national security advisors Susan Rice and Ben Rhodes; UN ambassador Samantha Power; and former Secretary of State John Kerry, whose great take-away quote in this film, spoken to Russian officials at the United Nations, is: “Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but you are not entitled to your own facts.”

[Yes I am, especially if yours are wrong – Dalwhinnie]

“The Obama administration was flawed. That’s a given; they all are. But we see these people jetting around the world, doing their damndest to leave the planet in a better state than they found it, whether through climate-change agreements, rapprochement with Iran and Cuba, brokering a Syrian ceasefire, or something as simple and moving as organizing the first visit by a sitting U.S. president to Hiroshima.

Barker conducts a few interviews, but the film is strongest when it just leans in to observe. Power attends a swearing-in ceremony for new citizens, speaking through tears about coming to America from Ireland at the age of nine. Rhodes, on his way to an aircraft, mentions to a colleague in passing: “The last thing that this world needs is more walls.” The film introduces the White House Press Secretary, a guy with the almost adorably antiquarian name of Josh Earnest.

And as the final year dwindles to the final days, a new president prepares to take office. His first year concludes on Jan. 20. The story of those 12 months will no doubt make a fascinating documentary one day. It may even make you cry.”

How is this fellow employed at Canada’s supposedly conservative newspaper?


Trump and the reversal of PC

Myron Magnet nails it: Trump is the dawn of the last days of political correctness: the view that it is not just improper, but immoral, and ought soon to be illegal, to advert to any instance of human inequality as if the less fortunate might have some role in their misfortune, their poorer circumstances, their condition. It is not “blaming the victim”; it is not “hate”. It consists of the reference to facts, to which the Left is strongly averse. The Left hates facts because the facts of life are conservative.

Two op-eds in this weekend’s Wall Street Journal and one on this website brilliantly call attention to aspects of the vast political and cultural change, still in its early stages, that is gathering force in this country as inexorably as the spring thaw breaks up a frozen river, first as a trickle and then a torrent. Donald Trump figures in all three stories. He is at once a cause and an effect of the change—the Tea Party movement embodied and in power, and as much a rejection of the existing order of things as the mob that swarmed onto British ships in Boston Harbor 245 years ago and flung overboard their cargo of tea whose tax they refused to pay in a gesture of defiance that declared “No more!” And they meant it.

Freedom of speech is not for ideas of which you approve. It is meant for “hate” and “hatefacts”.