Trans activists aren’t interested in truth

Calmly arguing against their irrational ideas feels increasingly futile.

Patrick West
Columnist

The transgender movement will no doubt continue this year to be a source of appeal, irritation and bewilderment. If its detractors appear to have an unhealthy obsession with it, that is because it seems so patently absurd. It strikes people as so irrational that you can change your sex merely by making cosmetic alterations to your body, and beyond ridiculous that one can change one’s sex merely through a performative utterance. The sense of the absurd is compounded by the woke notion that sex is fluid, but cultures are fixed (it’s actually the other way round). Or the belief that an infant has the judgement to start the process of changing his or her sex, but has years to go before he or she is deemed responsible enough to buy cigarettes, alcohol or even have sex. That so many gay and autistic teenagers’ lives are being ruined beyond repair by such procedures only makes it a sick joke.

This year, however, it’s time to admit that trans activists will never be persuaded through reason and science of the delusion of their doctrine. The trans movement is not interested in truth or reality. Trans activists are seeking to establish a new morality, a code of right and wrong behaviour, in which the world is divided into the righteous and heathen. It is seeking to take control and punish the weak.

As David Swift argues in his recent book, A Left for Itself, the left in its modern incarnation is the first ever that isn’t seeking to change the world to improve lives. The left today – wealthy, educated, aloof – sees politics as a hobby, a way of establishing values. And with this pursuit of new values there emerges a new morality and new taboos.

A cultural elite that has become obsessed with lower-caste transgressors and those who say the unsayable is inevitably going to become intolerant. Today’s liberal-left clerisy feels it is entitled and obliged to ‘call out’ and ‘cancel’ people who use the ‘wrong’ pronouns, or so-called ‘transphobes’ like Julie Bindel, Janice Turner, or even JK Rowling, for modern-day heresy.

This is why you find the most slavish adherents to the trans movement inside the pages of the Guardian, that bible of the entitled clerisy that despises the uneducated lower orders – a paper, Bindel says, that has a fear of being on the ‘wrong side of history’. It’s also why the trans-supporting woke class is keen to silence Bindel and her type. It cannot tolerate that which should not be said. It is also why ‘virtue-signalling’ is so intrinsic to our culture: it is the manifestation of the competitive, punitive, panoptical, punching-down, ‘woke’ morality of the 21st century.

That is why I fear that employing science and reason to argue against the trans movement has become a futile exercise. Straight types, many feminists and even many gay people may inveigh against trans ideology, but it’s pointless. At the moment, it is rationalists in pursuit of truth who are on the wrong side of history. The trans activists aren’t interested in truth, but rather in establishing a new code of discipline and punishment.

A new means of approach against them is needed.


Three cheers for Ricky Gervais

Ricky Gervais is not everyone’s cup of tea. He has a shrill, loud giggle (as lampooned by Ben Elton in Upstart Crow). He long has seemed to have a philosophy of offending people for the sake of it. He and Stephen Merchant’s television series Extras seemed a little too self-referential and self-indulgent.

Personally, I have always been a big fan. I think The Office and Extras were two of the greatest comedies of the Noughties. I don’t think his offence-giving is facile or gratuitous. Rather, he has a habit of being rude to precisely the right people. This is never more so than his infamous appearances at the Golden Globes.

On Sunday he did it again, suitably insulting Hollywood types, that pompous class of people who most need taking down from their perch. He mocked the real-life mercenary nature of actors, willing to work for Apple’s new movie and TV-production arm despite the fact that Apple is a ‘company that runs sweatshops in China’. ‘If ISIS started a streaming service, you’d call your agent’, he said.

‘You’re in no position to lecture the public about anything’, he continued. ‘You know nothing about the real world. Most of you spent less time in school than Greta Thunberg… So if you win, come up, accept your little award, thank your agent and your god, and fuck off. Okay?’

The best part, in a country undergoing the customary Twitter convulsions about the BAFTA awards being ‘too white’, was Gervais addressing the matter of there being no female nominees for Best Director (none of the big movies of last year had women directors). He suggested returning to when women weren’t even hired to be directors in the first place. ‘That will solve the problem. You’re welcome.’

The best way to undermine pious woke culture is not through argument, but by insult, mockery and lampoonery.


TV can bring families together

In an address shortly before the New Year broke, in an appeal for a more harmonious family life, the pope urged young people to raise their heads from their smartphones and communicate with those around them. ‘You, in your family, do you know how to communicate or are you like those kids at table, each one with their mobile phone, busy chatting?… We must resume dialogue in the family: fathers, parents, children, grandparents and siblings must communicate with one another.’

I have a better idea: we should encourage families to sit together around television sets. Sure, 30 or 40 years ago there was the fear that TV was making the youth more anti-social, ‘addicted’ as they were to the box. But watching all those programmes over Christmas celebrating the ‘greatest TV comedies’, I was struck by the prevalence of The Royle Family, a programme which is a reminder of how TV used to act as social glue for so many families. These days, the participants in Gogglebox remind us how the television set draws families together.

While smartphone videos are essentially a solitary pursuit, television can be a family affair.

Patrick West is a spiked columnist. His latest book, Get Over Yourself: Nietzsche For Our Times, is published by Societas.

Picture by: Getty

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Comments

ZENOBIA PALMYRA

10th January 2020 at 11:17 am

Patrick West appears to believe that all tg people have identical views. Has Patrick West actually met any tg people to ask them what they think? Clearly, the vast majority of tg people are not ‘activists’ but merely getting on with their lives like the rest of the population.

Ven Oods

10th January 2020 at 12:24 pm

He did specifically refer to trans ‘activists’ which I can’t see in any way means all tg people. A bit odd to slag someone for something he may do in the future, but didn’t do in this article.

ZENOBIA PALMYRA

10th January 2020 at 11:14 am

Patrick West is slightly hysterical. There are very few ‘transsexuals’ in society. In fact, there are probably more mosques in this country than transsexuals (3000 and the number grows year on year). Those mosques pose a far greater threat to social cohesion and freedom than a few ‘trannies’. It is right that people who are gender dysphoric should receive legal protection. It is right that ‘transsexuals’ who seek to resolve their dysphoria through plastic/cosmetic surgery, etc. should receive legal protection and have the legal right to be treated, in most situations, as the gender they feel themselves to be. This is a legal fiction. It recognises the seriousness of the condition and prevents the persistent, irrational and hysterical persecution of a tiny minority of the population. Whether tg people are ‘really’ men or women is less important than recognising the existence of this condition (which is an enduring feature of all human societies) and protecting these people in law. Moreover, we have equality under the law in this country. Moreover, personal freedom should be maximised in a free society and only curtailed where it can be seen to fatally compromise the rights of others. So-called ‘transsexuals’ do not interfere with others’ rights, but this anti-trans hysteria seeks to deny a harmless minority the rights that others claim for themselves, which is sheer hypocrisy.

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Femxle Penis

10th January 2020 at 11:25 am

I hit ‘peak trans’ a while back now, and whilst the article is right you cannot argue with TRA’s using science or reason, YOU CAN lobby and speak to those responsible for laws and policy change, in fact we have to, or GENDER RECOGNITION will come into force and eradicate same-sex spaces, women’s spaces, etc. We also have to appeal to whoever is in charge of the school curriculum to keep gender fascism out of education, there is no need for kids to be questioning their gender, this is being encouraged because of course Trans charities and men in dresses want to feel validated. So forget the tra’s they are fxcking mental, but let’s not let them take over the conversation.

david rawson

10th January 2020 at 10:29 am

My fondest memories of being a kid were when we all rushed in the room to watch Tom & Jerry, Dad’s Army & Porridge.

We were a rather dysfunctional family, and this was a shared pleasant experience.

Gareth Edward KING

10th January 2020 at 10:05 am

‘Shared, family entertainment’? In the 1970s at home if we dared as much as make a comment when the box was on, the response was ‘Shut up! or get out! Those experiences put me off television for life!

Ven Oods

10th January 2020 at 12:25 pm

Same for me when I read out my school report results. Admittedly, they often didn’t make for good reading.

Jane 70

10th January 2020 at 6:40 am

We should also consider the possible long term social, physical and psychological consequences of reassignment: this argument I’ve made before, but , again: every cell in the body expresses the inherited genotype- XX or XY .

The exceptions are recognised and the few individuals affected are offered treatment where appropriate.

If the genotype is suppressed by powerful drugs what are the implications for future healthy functioning?

Why has biological fact been consigned to the bin?

This is reminiscent of Lysenko’s work in the Soviet era.

https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2017/12/trofim-lysenko-soviet-union-russia/548786/

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10th January 2020 at 4:33 am

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