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Today is a FREE taste of an Insight Politics article by writer John Black.
Freedom Is the Freedom to Say There Are Two Human Sexes
Apologies for starting this column with a tweet, the bathroom graffiti of our age, double apologies for it containing a profanity, albeit with an asterisk fig leaf, and triple apologies for it belonging to a Labour MP.
“If I tweet something along the lines of, ‘Oh do f*ck off’ would all my lovely friends understand why?”
Deborah Russell, parliamentary representative for the good people of New Lynn, found time to share this piece of wisdom with the Twitterverse during select committee submissions on the self-identification bill. While many of us are currently prevented from earning a living thanks to her government’s lockdown policies, she was bemoaning having to do her job and listen to citizens express their views. It will come as no surprise that she supports the bill, which will make Arthurs able to magically transform into Marthas (and vice versa) with a simple statutory declaration. At present it requires medical certificate evidence of a sex change operation – ample testament, I’m sure you’ll agree, to a certain commitment. This bill could have severe implications for, among others, the safety of women in spaces like bathrooms and refuges – as argued by the feminist group, Speak Up For Women.
What’s most disturbing about this unguarded admission of disdain for her constituents is not the anti-democratic arrogance of it; being part of a government that is currently ramming through the ‘Three Waters’ reform despite local body opposition makes this unsurprising. Nor is it the appeal to her clique of ‘lovely friends’ who no doubt think the same as she does (including of course a commitment to diversity – oh the irony). The concept of retaining an open mind on matters on which you are not an expert and a willingness to be persuaded, seems to have gone the way of the video cassette. What’s truly galling is the assumption that the people arguing against the bill can – without any political cost – be so blithely dismissed; that the traditional and scientific view of binary human sexes is now so politically and morally passé.
In that, I’m afraid she is in accord with progressive opinion internationally.
In the US, on the anniversary of the death of former supreme court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the American Civil Liberties Union decided to pay her a tribute by tweeting out some of her words – with some not-so-subtle amendments. “The decision whether or not to bear a child is central to a woman’s life, to her well-being and dignity,” were her original words in defence of abortion rights. After being run through the Civil Liberties’ political car wash they became: ‘The decision whether or not to bear a child is central to a person’s life, to their well-being and dignity.’ To recognise that only women have babies would of course discriminate against the small number of ‘trans-men’ who while dispensing with lipstick and high heels feel it useful to retain a womb. America now has a civil liberties union apparently unprepared to stand up for the liberty to tell simple biological truths.
At their annual conference last week, the leader of the UK’s opposition Labour party, Keir Starmer, scolded one of his female MPs for saying that “only women have a cervix”, telling her that it was “something that shouldn’t be said’ and ‘it isn’t right.”
Except she is right. And she’d bloody know, you’d think, being a woman. And Starmer being a man (if a rather pathetic one) wouldn’t. I’m not an expert on the internal female anatomy myself (my studies have been confined to the external female anatomy) but I checked and men definitely don’t have cervixes. And you can’t grow them in a vat or stick them on like a Mr Potato Head accessory either. But here we are in 2021, with a man disputing the facts of female biology with a woman, and much of the Left cheering him on.
Back in America the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), currently urging recalcitrant Americans to get the Covid-19 vaccination, has issued guidelines for ‘pregnant people’.
And here is the obvious downside to these trivial language games: how can you expect the ‘vaccine hesitant’ to be any less so when the same scientific authority telling them to get the shot is denying what even a five-year-old knows – that babies come from ‘mummies’ tummies’? ‘Trust the science’ has been a mantra of the Left since the pandemic began but it is their own ideological commitments that are making a mockery of it.
Sex in humans is binary. Any deviations from this are exactly that – deviations – from hermaphrodites to trans people who ‘feel’ they are the opposite sex. Just like everyone they should be able to go about their business free from discrimination or abuse. But they don’t get to alter fundamental biological and social truths accepted and valued by the rest of us.
Besides, the drive to do this has nothing to do with compassion for society’s fringe-dwellers; it is wholly concerned with power. In Orwell’s 1984 Winston Smith writes in his diary “Freedom is the freedom to say two plus two is four”. In the novel’s climatic torture scene (surely one of the most harrowing committed to paper) the torturer O’Brien forces him to admit that the answer to such basic arithmetic could be anything ‘the party’ decides it is. Orwell took this from real Soviet propaganda – posters proclaiming 2+2=5 referring to Stalin’s desire to complete his 5-year industrializing plan in four years.
The woke Left want you, me, JK Rowling and Speak Up For Women to know that they control what’s true because they control the language that we speak and think with.
Well, perhaps they don’t quite yet. As long as we can still say to people like Deborah Russell, in her own words: ‘‘Oh do f*ck off.”
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