Nonsense Jacob, nonsense

Saying he would receive far more abuse if he were female, he added: “This is something we should take really seriously. The abuse of women online for sharing their views is a disgrace.”

Saying the large internet companies like Twitter and Facebook must be held accountable, and brought under the same publishing laws as the UK press, Mr Rees-Mogg said: “It is a real digrace of modern society and will discourage women policians from going into it if they are treated the way Jess is.

“It is deeply outrageous.”

The abuse, sure. But the idea that platforms should be publishers, no way. That’s a truly vile idea, like making BT responsible for what is said down a phone line, Royal Mail for the contents of a letter.

66 thoughts on “Nonsense Jacob, nonsense”

  1. Without making too much of a typically courteous remark from JRM towards an opponent, your analogies are flawed. Telephone conversations and letters are private whereas posts are public. Some sites even say “publish” your comment.

  2. Philip Scott Thomas

    The arguable point about the analogy with the Royal Mail aside, the Moggster larger point was that it wasn’t for him to define himself as a feminist. For him to done otherwise would have been worse than foolish.

    “Feminism” and “feminist” are nebulous words. If the Moggster were to say he is a feminist then it’s more than possible that what he meant and what the audience thought he meant would be two quite different things.

    Does anyone, can anyone, in this age believe women should not have the same political rights as men? That they should be paid less for the same ability and work? But that straightforward form of feminism has long since been left behind by modern feminism.

    It was actually rather clever response from him to say, “You may think that. I couldn’t possibly comment.”

  3. Mike

    Interesting. What about Speaker’s Corner (of old). Clearly public. Is that a comparable for Twatter et al?

    Of course, with the ghastly Harriet (I think?) and the repulsive 2003 Act, we now have:

    section 127 of the Communications Act 2003, which makes it illegal to intentionally “cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety to another”

    and hence:

    http://www.breitbart.com/london/2017/10/14/british-police-arrest-at-least-3395-people-for-offensive-online-comments-one-year/

  4. @Mike Fowle: Spot on. The whole point of these platforms is that they allow the broadcasting of personal views. What you say is at your own risk. It should also be at the risk of those who give you that ability.

  5. Bloke in North Dorset

    Some brilliant trolling here:

    In an unexpected twist during the live event, Mr Rees-Mogg was also taken to task by Ms Phillips’ father, who was sitting in the audience and claimed the microphone to ask him whether he believed his Conservative polities would allow him to fit “through the eye of a needle”.

    In a show of cross-party friendship, Mr Rees-Mogg asked the audience to applaud Ms phillips’ father for bringing up such a “splendid” daughter.

    Mr Rees-Mogg was also challenged on how he far he lived a “normal” life. “I bought my lunch from Greggs yesterday,” he said. “They have very nice cream buns.”

  6. “he would receive far more abuse if he were female”

    I don’t think that would be possible, given the amount he receives. There are only so many hours in the day.

  7. It would have been more accurate to state that Phillips would receive an order of magnitude more abuse if she was a Tory.

  8. I had to check if this was in fact Jess “Thick as a whale steak” Phillips – it is.

    The abuse she receives is not because she is a thick woman – just that she is think in general.

  9. “Spot on. The whole point of these platforms is that they allow the broadcasting of personal views. What you say is at your own risk. It should also be at the risk of those who give you that ability.”

    The principle at issue here is that you shouldn’t be able to be prosecuted for somebody else’s crime.

    If person A sells a kitchen knife to person B, and person B stabs somebody with it, should person A be prosecuted for having “given them that ability”? Should the steelworks who provided the steel be prosecuted for making the shopkeeper’s crime possible? How far back up the supply chain do you want to go?

    People are responsible for their own actions, and for those of people for who they hold explicit legal responsibility, like their own children. (Children cannot be prosecuted for crimes because their parents take on the responsibility for them, and for that reason have the right to control or limit their actions. The parent gets prosecuted instead.)

    What the social media giants ought to do is simply shut off Facebook and Twitter to every person in Britain, and charge a £1000/year “Orwellian Monitoring Tax Imposed By Your Totalitarian Government” on their customers to be reconnected, to pay for all the people they’ll need to monitor, vet, and censor everything they say.

    It’s an attempt by the government to set up a panopticon electronic police state and not have to pay for it themselves.

    If they want to police people’s speech, they can employ their own people to read through all the tweets and youtube videos posted, and use the standard complaints system to get them taken down. They don’t want to, because they know how insanely expensive that would be. But they’ve got no problem spending other people’s money to impose their own beliefs on other people.

    That said, abusing and threatening them only pours fuel into the engines pushing us towards an electronic police state. (Don’t imagine for a moment it couldn’t happen again.) It might be more useful to educate people on why they need to use their freedom wisely, assuming they want to keep it.

  10. It must be sense week on the blog as now NiV is talking it.

    Alex–there should be no risk to expressing your views on any media. No legal risk anyway. Those who think there should be are the ones in need of (heavy) punishment.

    BiND–“Ms Phillips’ father, who was sitting in the audience and claimed the microphone to ask him whether he believed his Conservative polities would allow him to fit “through the eye of a needle”.

    The fool actually asked that did he?

    Breathe-Smogg missed a trick. I would have said : “And do you think that your own and your daughter’s support for and advocacy of socialism–a death cult that has murdered 150 million human beings–so far–will lead to the two of you strolling casually through the Pearly Gates?”

    Only if they are on their way back out again having been told to fuck off at the front desk.

  11. The problem is that anyone with half a brain should have realised that offering the great unwashed a way of allowing their unfiltered views on anything and everything to be broadcast to a global audience was only ever going to end in tears. Because its all online, its depersonalised, so people just pour out the contents of their heads in a way they wouldn’t face to face, not least because they’d get their heads kicked in quite regularly if they did. Real life has a monitoring system all of its own.

    There’s two ways this can go, either shut the whole lot down, no real time posting of everything everybody thinks (not very likely or practical now the genie is out of the bottle technology-wise) or just accept that online is not real, and if you partake you have to accept you’re in a sewer, and deal with the consequences. Trying to make it ‘safe’ is never going to work any more than trying to make a sewer smell of roses. It is what it is, and its not going to be changed.

  12. NiV,
    The Chinese government manages to afford a comprehensive electronic surveillance system, and presumably it doesn’t cost that much (they still have money left over for bullet trains and shiny new cities). But that would take skill and effort, two things which our government sorely lacks.

    Far easier to haphazardly enforce the law – letting a handful of very visible people fall foul of the law – thus cowering everyone else into submission. The Scottish bloke who made the Nazi pug video is facing a year’s prison; he’ll get no legal aid; and of course he lost his job while the trial is pending. The process is the punishment.

  13. Bloke no Longer in Austria

    I think personally NiV is using the wrong analogy, but unfortunately my knowledge of the law isn’t good enough to answer my own point. In the first instance, this isn’t really an issue of criminal action, but one of civil duty of care.

    If one owns a noticeboard on private land and allows any one to write or stick up a flyer on it, regardless of its content, what responsibility does the owner have ? Does he have a duty to ensure that the notices on the board are not obscene, racist, libellous etc etc

    Also if one owns a plot of land in an otherwise public space and allow people to stand on soapboxes and pronounce through a loudhailer, what duty does the owner of the land have ?

    Remember also that these organisations are commercial operations and make money ( indirectly through adverstising ) from people sticking posters on their notice board.

    My personal belief is that Twatter, Faecesbook et al are analogous to Friday Ad or similar publications rather than the Daily Mail.

  14. mike fowle, thankyou.

    Mr Ecks, I talk sense every week. You just don’t always agre with it!

    “Because its all online, its depersonalised, so people just pour out the contents of their heads in a way they wouldn’t face to face, not least because they’d get their heads kicked in quite regularly if they did. Real life has a monitoring system all of its own.”

    Assault and battery, yes? Say the wrong thing to me, and you end up in hospital? It means that the only people with free speech are the violent psychos. It fully justifies the SJWs kicking heads in at their anti-free-speech protests. Is that really where you want to go?

    Free speech is free speech. Anything else isn’t. When thinking about any instrument of social control, think about what happens when your enemies get hold of it and apply it to you. Always. Every time. Because one day they will.

    “The Chinese government manages to afford a comprehensive electronic surveillance system, and presumably it doesn’t cost that much”

    That’s like saying that the British government operates a free-at-the-point-of-service health care system and comprehensive welfare state, so presumably that doesn’t cost that much.

    Totalitarian states are poorer than free ones, partly because of all the security expenses of keeping the population down. Look at the typical wealth-per-person in China, versus Britain, and you’ll see that it’s not so clear that they’re not paying a high price. (Besides the price in personal freedom, that is.)

    “Far easier to haphazardly enforce the law – letting a handful of very visible people fall foul of the law – thus cowering everyone else into submission.”

    I first saw this tactic explained by Solzhenitsyn in ‘Gulag Archipelago’ – although plenty of other people have said the same (Ayn Rand went on at length about it). They make rules with the specific aim of making it virtually impossible not to break them, and then apply them or not at their own whim. That makes everyone feels guilty, which takes most of the fight out of them. And it motivates people to cooperate with their judges in the hopes of mercy. They use the morality of good people against them.

    “If one owns a noticeboard on private land and allows any one to write or stick up a flyer on it, regardless of its content, what responsibility does the owner have?”

    If you stand on a public street owned by the state, does the state thereby have a duty (and hence a right to police) what you say while you are standing on their property? Do you have a duty/responsibility to police what people *say* in your own house? In case it’s racist, sexist, free-market, or otherwise politically incorrect?

    Can they turn us into one another’s secret police informers?

  15. @Ecks: “Alex–there should be no risk to expressing your views on any media. No legal risk anyway. Those who think there should be are the ones in need of (heavy) punishment.”

    Not for your political views perhaps. But for our comments about others online each of us has a duty of care to ensure that what we say is not libellous. If we want to say something defamatory, it had better be true, or we should assume the worst.

  16. I don’t agree that Facebook and Twitter hold no responsibility for content on their platforms. It is a tricky matter because they are not publishers in quite the same way as Penguin or the Daily Mail, yet they are still publishers.

    Of course both Twitter and Facebook effectively ceded the argument to those who claim they are publishers like any other the moment they began to take down content they didn’t like.

    This issue would be less vexed if we ditched the whole nonsense of ‘hate speech’. Every person should be free to say whatever they like unless it is a direct threat or defamatory.

  17. “This issue would be less vexed if we ditched the whole nonsense of ‘hate speech’.”

    They would argue, it would be less vexed if we all stopped using “hate speech”.

    “Every person should be free to say whatever they like unless it is a direct threat or defamatory.”

    The argument is that society only has a justification for restricting individual liberty to prevent actual harm. So if you order somebody else to use violence, knowing you’ll be obeyed, your words are the cause of the violence done, and that’s “incitement”. If you destroy somebody’s reputation falsely in such a way as to cost them money, that’s harm too. That’s defamation. But hurt feelings and annoyance definitely don’t count. And it’s kinda arguable about empty threats designed to make someone nervous.

    Technically, making threats is “assault” (carrying them out is “battery”) and already illegal, and I don’t have so much of a problem with that. The principle reason for protecting free speech is to allow other viewpoints to be able to make their case, and be argued out, so society doesn’t fall victim to dogma. Threats don’t help with that, and if credible impose costs on the victim, even if not carried out. (They also expose the threatener to false accusations. They are, in effect, a signed confession.) And there’s a fine line between obvious hyperbole and credible threat that it is better to stay away from.

    But I’m in two minds about that. Free speech is such an important freedom, and under such persistent an determined attack, there ought to be the highest possible bar on the exceptions to it.

  18. Solid Steve 2: Squirrels of The Patriots

    PF – required under the Equality Act

    Stuff like this is why I can’t get as worked up as some about the spooky spectre of a Corbyn regime. The Tories have had nearly a full decade in office to get rid of Harriet Harman’s Fuck You, Normal People Act.

    Why should I care if we’re boiled quickly or slowly? A bit of toilet paper rationing and winter blackouts might be good for us.

  19. “There’s two ways this can go, either shut the whole lot down, no real time posting of everything everybody thinks (not very likely or practical now the genie is out of the bottle technology-wise) or just accept that online is not real, and if you partake you have to accept you’re in a sewer, and deal with the consequences. Trying to make it ‘safe’ is never going to work any more than trying to make a sewer smell of roses. It is what it is, and its not going to be changed.”

    The real problem is these fucking complainers. I’m a member of a few smaller forums, and we get no bad behaviour. But that has costs. Either someone is spending their time moderating (mostly for free) or they charge membership, or it’s done on an invite system.

    If Twitter charged £5 to join, which you lost if you behaved like a cunt and had to pay £5 again to join, they’d stop all of the trouble. But I guarantee you, even if you charged people £1, most would leave Twitter. They’d move to a different free service.

  20. “The Tories have had nearly a full decade in office to get rid of Harriet Harman’s Fuck You, Normal People Act.”

    That’s because “Normal People” have shifted opinions and now support the Equality Act.

    That’s the problem with the Moral Majority… it keeps on shifting with each generation, so what was once “normal” becomes “aberrant”, and vice versa. Society’s like that. Ask the ghost of Mary Whitehouse if you don’t believe me.

  21. Wrong NiV–it doesn’t affect most cos they take no notice and haven’t been ratted out. and hurt by it as their friends etc don’t give a shit for leftist SJW bullshit either.

    Indifference is not saying “Fuck yeah”.

    Anymore than most people give a rat’s arse about your trannie mates.

  22. Mr Ecks – and why are they indifferent? Because they do not concern themselves with the issue like you do.
    By all means have your hobbies, your focus, your dreams. Just do not expect everyone else to share them.

  23. Solid Steve 2: Squirrels of The Patriots

    That’s because “Normal People” have shifted opinions and now support the Equality Act.

    No offence, mate, but when I want to know what normal people think, my first thought isn’t to ask a guy who thinks there are 57 genders.

    Anyhoo, nope, the Act is not popular and its continued existence has nothing to do with popularity. The Tories do lots of stupid, unpopular things their base hates, because they’re cowards who crave the odd grudging pat on the head from the Guardian.

    Keeping Labour’s malicious legislation is just another of those things.

  24. NiV brought the issue up and repeated one of his old chestnuts that SJW bullshit is now the view held by almost everybody.

    I couldn’t care less what the troubled believe. When such folk become –or allow themselves to used–as a weapon by the scum of the left–who I DO concern myself with–I intend to do my best to see that leftist propaganda such as NiV spreads (even tho’ his interests only run with the left as far as bleeding-heartery) is not accepted as truth.

  25. Solid Steve 2: Squirrels of The Patriots

    NiV brought the issue up and repeated one of his old chestnuts that SJW bullshit is now the view held by almost everybody.

    I sense a lengthy mini-essay about how John Stuart Mill and All True Libertarians ACKSHUALLY support living in an overbearing politically correct police state.

    Like in Demolition Man, but with uglier, angrier people.

  26. “That’s because “Normal People” have shifted opinions and now support the Equality Act.”

    No, they haven’t.

    People have been silenced and have no champions. It’s going to take a “new UKIP” to sort it out.

    I thought the fall of Cameron might be the moment when the Conservatives rose up and Angry of Tunbridge Wells started kicking shit, all those small businessmen started backing free markets. Then I joined the party and discovered that nearly all of local party types, the activists are pro-Ruth Davidson Remain milquetoasts.

  27. “NiV brought the issue up and repeated one of his old chestnuts that SJW bullshit is now the view held by almost everybody.”

    Nope. Most people think prejudice against transgender is “almost always wrong”, but most people (for the time being) think that people who don’t think so have a right to their opinions. Thew SJWs are the minority who think that they *don’t* have a right to hold such opinions.

    They’re two distinct issues, and it’s best not to confuse them. Most people support transgender equality, but not SJWs. If you want to persuade them that the SJWs are right about you, and ought to be allowed their way, carry on.

    It’s really about enforcing conformity to social norms. The ‘Morality Police’ enforcing conformity to their rigid gender norms are on the same side as the ‘Social Justice Warriors’ enforcing conformity to their rigid anti-discrimination norms in this regard. The British public are on the side of neither.

  28. NIV,

    Yes. Fair point.

    If people want to dress up as women or cut off their cocks, I don’t mind. OK, I’d rather not see these embarrassing attempts at men trying to look like women, but not enough that I think the state should stop them if they really must be out there. And yes, I think most of the public feel the same.

    The odd thing about the current push on transgender politics is how much it feels like a straw man. Like “we should be treated fairly” and everyone is looking around like “and who isn’t?” This isn’t like gay rights where there was a push against the system.

  29. Apart from trying to crash women’s toilets I don’t care what trannies get up to.

    It is what the left are trying to get up to –supposedly in the name of trannies–that concerns me.

  30. “The odd thing about the current push on transgender politics is how much it feels like a straw man.”

    It is. The SJWs are constantly looking around for sympathy groups to hide their demands for control over society behind. They did it with the poor first, of course, but have applied it to women, blacks, the disabled, gays, foreigners, and even baby polar bears and tree frogs. The trick is to realise that responding by attacking the baby polar bears doesn’t endear you to the public.

    “Apart from trying to crash women’s toilets I don’t care what trannies get up to.”

    Most of the women disagree with you (72% of them, to be precise). But you’re entitled to your opinion, and to express it, so long as it doesn’t spill over into violence.

  31. @BonM4
    “Then I joined the party and discovered that nearly all of local party types, the activists are pro-Ruth Davidson Remain milquetoasts.”

    From many years membership here in rural N Hants, the party membership splits in two: the locally politically active councillors who are predominantly Remainer and the other active supporters/leafletters, social members who like to sound off at their MP but wouldn’t actually stand for office. They tend to be various shades of Eurosceptic/Brexiteer. YMMV

  32. It’s an attempt by the government to set up a panopticon electronic police state and not have to pay for it themselves.

    Almost. It’s more a case of governments not being able to restrict speech themselves (without being taken to court) so instead lean on tech giants to restrict speech for them and claim – with an innocent face – this is a matter of private companies’ policies.

    I think it was IanB on here who used to bang on about the British government handing over film censorship to the BBC and then applauding themselves for not censoring films.

  33. Solid Steve 2: Squirrels of The Patriots

    Bloke on M4 / Alex – why do you reckon that is?

    Careerists took over the local parties and dumbly echo whatever they think is prestigious Received Opinionation from Sodom-on-the-Thames?

    Xenoestrogens in the water supply?

    Some sort of Body Snatchers scenario, but with insufferably thick local estate agents?

  34. Apart from trying to crash women’s toilets I don’t care what trannies get up to.

    The problem is that we aren’t merely being asked to live-and-let-live. We’re compelled to actively celebrate kids chopping off their balls in the name of progressivism. The BBC is perhaps the loudest cheerleader, but they’re all at it. It’s bollocks nuts nonsense.

    Freedom of speech means being able to say “hang on a minute, are you sure these kids wouldn’t benefit more from more talking therapy?” But we can’t say that without being accused of transphobia. Same goes if you dare suggest that perhaps diversity isn’t our strength, and that importing angry young men from rapeystan isn’t a wise idea.

    Circling back to Rees-Mogg, the internet is one of the few places where people can express such views without having the self-righteous come down on them like a ton of bricks.

  35. Steve – It’s the old “nobody gets fired for buying IBM” excuse. In politics, longevity means not sticking your head above the parapets. Jeremy Corbyn is the perfect example – a career politician since the mid ’70s, yet nobody had heard of him until a couple of years ago.

    Mentioning anything outside the Overton Window is political suicide, at least in mainstream parties. Hence why a candidate like Trump was only able to emerge from outside the party.

  36. “Freedom of speech means being able to say “hang on a minute, are you sure these kids wouldn’t benefit more from more talking therapy?” But we can’t say that without being accused of transphobia.”

    As far as I’m concerned, you’re welcome to ask the questions. (The answers to which are “Yes we’re sure. No they wouldn’t”.) You can’t address misunderstandings if nobody is allowed to express them, and as a strategy, banning opinions instead of refuting them has so many things wrong with it I don’t know where to begin. If we can have a civilised discussion about it, that’s a very good start.

    But “being accused of transphobia” is free speech, too. Are you arguing that they should be somehow forbidden from doing so? What penalty do you propose we apply to them for offending you and hurting your feelings that way?

  37. “But “being accused of transphobia” is free speech, too. Are you arguing that they should be somehow forbidden from doing so? What penalty do you propose we apply to them for offending you and hurting your feelings that way?”

    They can flap their leftist gums until Hell freezes over. It is the lawdogs and bluebottles being mobilised to turn bullshit leftist cant into tyrannical law that is the issue.

  38. NiV,
    I wouldn’t give a rat’s arse about being accused of transphobia, if it didn’t have consequences. But that label is then used to ban either the speaker or their words, on the grounds that transphobic comments offend others. The end result is that whole swathes of opinions are off-limits.

  39. @Andrew M

    “The problem is that we aren’t merely being asked to live-and-let-live. We’re compelled to actively celebrate kids chopping off their balls in the name of progressivism. The BBC is perhaps the loudest cheerleader, but they’re all at it”

    Funny (but absolutely true) anecdote. We take in a neighbour’s kid in the mornings, as his adopted mum is a sole parent, and she works.

    This lad has decided (at the age of 6) he wants to go to school as a girl. Has a whole female persona, apparently.

    This hasn’t previously been known to me, but his mum was talking about it with a couple of other mums at the park on Saturday, when I was there watching my youngest play football.

    20 years ago, there would have been uproar if a parent *wasn’t* putting their foot down and sending little Steve into school in trousers and signing him up for youth rugby in these circumstances. Nowadays, it’s the opposite.

    I’ll bet that every other parent really wanted to say something like the above to this mum, but no one fancied the label of transphobe

  40. “The Tories have had nearly a full decade in office to get rid of Harriet Harman’s Fuck You, Normal People Act.”

    Well after witnessing the mad black tranny on this week being openly racist against white people, and the police’s response being its a matter for Ofcom, maybe it should be rephrased as::

    Harriet Harman’s Fuck You, White People Act.”

  41. “I wouldn’t give a rat’s arse about being accused of transphobia, if it didn’t have consequences.”

    Quite so. And it’s the consequences that are the issue.

    That the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant. He cannot rightfully be compelled to do or forbear because it will be better for him to do so, because it will make him happier, because, in the opinions of others, to do so would be wise, or even right. These are good reasons for remonstrating with him, or reasoning with him, or persuading him, or entreating him, but not for compelling him, or visiting him with any evil in case he do otherwise. To justify that, the conduct from which it is desired to deter him, must be calculated to produce evil to some one else. The only part of the conduct of any one, for which he is amenable to society, is that which concerns others. In the part which merely concerns himself, his independence is, of right, absolute. Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.

    The same, of course, applies to all the consequences that follow from being ‘outed’ as homosexual or transgender – when people lose their jobs, or can’t get them, when they can’t rent a home, when they can’t get served in shops, when they’re assaulted or threatened. It’s the consequences that the anti-discrimination legislation was originally meant to address. It goes too far, having been hijacked by the SJWs for their own purposes, but that’s the idea.

    My point is that you can’t consistently object to consequences in the one case without objecting to them in all the others. My objection to the legislation is that it picks a special category of groups that get protected, and leaves everyone else out. As far as I’m concerned, the principle has to be made general, and applied to every issue impartially. It’s no good blocking persecution of one sort of minority while leaving open the option to persecute everyone else, because they’ll just shift targets.

    I’m all in favour of preventing persecution and discrimination against transphobes and homophobes – but the rules have to apply to protecting homosexuals and transgender, too. Don’t impose any restriction on them you wouldn’t be willing to have applied to you.

    “20 years ago, there would have been uproar if a parent *wasn’t* putting their foot down and sending little Steve into school in trousers and signing him up for youth rugby in these circumstances. Nowadays, it’s the opposite.”

    Yes, exactly. If you was a parent who thought it was OK for ‘Steve’ to become ‘Stephanie’, you had to keep damn quiet about it because nobody fancied the label of “pervert” (and all the consequences of that label – like the inevitable merciless bullying of ‘Steve’/’Stephanie’ at school), which is what would have happened. It’s the same thing.

    We shouldn’t bully people for having one opinion any more than we should bully them for the other. But we can hardly object to being bullied for one unless we object to bullying over the other.

  42. Solid Steve 2,

    I was only a member for about a year. I don’t know. I do wonder if there’s a lot more whipping from central office. My experience was slightly different from Alex – the leafletters tended to be more milquetoast remain.

    I realised I’m not going to change them from within. There isn’t a rabble to rouse. They all love the state and hate markets. Some sort of new UKIP is required. A party of building lots of houses, closing down the BBC, reigning in immigration and drastically shrinking government is required.

  43. NiV
    “Freedom of speech means being able to say “hang on a minute, are you sure these kids wouldn’t benefit more from more talking therapy?” But we can’t say that without being accused of transphobia.”

    As far as I’m concerned, you’re welcome to ask the questions. (The answers to which are “Yes we’re sure. No they wouldn’t”.)

    Why am I feeling that this is a case of ‘settled science’. Are we sure always that those are the answers?

    http://quillette.com/2017/10/06/misunderstanding-new-kind-gender-dysphoria/

    With this sort of thing, and with young trans wanting to go back (cases are starting to come to the surface, aren’t they?), plus the only case I personally know, the young woman has so many issues, that being trans is one hell of a let out. She/he can’t get up in the morning and can’t hold down a MacJob. High achieving older siblings, gave up at school. Sometimes identifies as a women (no idea when or why)… She is a mess and are her ‘supportive’ parents really what she needs?

    I get the feeling we are a long, long way from understanding what is going on.

  44. Solid Steve 2: Squirrels of The Patriots

    Andrew – sure, I understand cowardice. Not everyone has the iron balls Margaret Thatcher (pbuh) had. In fact, very few politicians do.

    It’s the local members I wonder about. I’m not a member of a political party myself, because I’ve got better things to do. But I’d like to think there are retired farmers and policemen giving their local MP a well-deserved bollocking for being wimps.

    Sounds like those guys can’t be arsed either.

    Ian – the traditional British school bully served a more important role in our society than anyone appreciated when he was hiding in the toilets in fear.

    I can’t help but think that a lot of these kids could be saved through the strategic intervention of a bull-necked future PE teacher known in the playground as “Chopper” or “Dangerous Dave”.

    Maybe it’s one of those things, like morris dancing, that needs Arts funding to sustain. And a web video campaign on the art of coming up with insulting nicknames for swots, smegheads and spackers, hosted by Sir Vinnie Jones.

    Johnnydub – they (for various values of “they”) reckon they smell weakness among wypipo, and are eagerly pushing their hands deeper into our pockets.

    Not long ago it was Labour demanding companies sack more white men from their boards. The latest government inequality report prompted Al Jazeera (lol) to publish this two minutes hatepiece complaining that white British people are “privileged” in their own country, which they and their ancestors built and bled for over the centuries:

    http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/10/ways-white-people-privileged-uk-171011124754885.html

    You can see where this is heading, and it isn’t towards a smiley, happy, multiculti Coca Cola advert. At least the annual Ramadan murderthon is over till next May – barring any off-season Yuletide atrocities.

    And hopefully we’ll be rid of May by May.

  45. @mike fowle, October 15, 2017 at 8:43 am

    Without making too much of a typically courteous remark from JRM towards an opponent, your analogies are flawed. Telephone conversations and letters are private whereas posts are public. Some sites even say “publish” your comment.

    Tim Worstall is correct.

    The keywords you posted are: “publish” your.

    With newspapers, books etc the Publisher is legally responsible, not the printer or distributor; with TV, Film etc it is the the broadcast media company, not the transmitter eg Arqiva

    Social media firms are akin to the printer & distributor of others’ publications.

  46. “Why am I feeling that this is a case of ‘settled science’. Are we sure always that those are the answers?”

    That’s what the evidence currently available says. That’s always subject to revision, but you’ll have to turn up with some real scientific evidence to change minds, not just vague prejudices and opinions.

    Regarding the quillette piece, the issue of lazy doctors prescribing without following the proper diagnostic process is not confined to gender issues. I’d complain about that.

    The standard process involves two years of counseling before they even consider treatment. Everyone I know who’s been through it got that.

    “and with young trans wanting to go back (cases are starting to come to the surface, aren’t they?)”

    Makes sense. As more get treated, the small fraction who change their minds gets larger.

    “She/he can’t get up in the morning and can’t hold down a MacJob.”

    That counts as an ‘issue’?! Sounds like a typical teenager, to me.

    What does she need a ‘let out’ for? It’s her life, her choice. Is the problem pushy parents? Why would anyone expect one sibling to be the same as the others? Sounds a bit odd, to me.

  47. NiV,

    My objection to the legislation is that it picks a special category of groups that get protected, and leaves everyone else out.

    Yep, agreed.

    Steve, Bloke on M4,

    They all love the state and hate markets.

    Yep, this. Very few people go into politics with the ambition of giving themselves less power. Even Tony Blair regretted his Freedom of Information Act, which yielded but a tiny sliver of power to the people. A party which promises to reduce the power of the state simply wouldn’t get off the ground because nobody would put in the effort.

  48. Not pushy parents. The opposite.

    I don’t know how she got there, and when I say can’t get up and can’t hold down a job, it is defintely not like a typical teenager. Can’t do anything.

    For me she is ill and supportive parents mean someone saying yes dear to everything and I do not think it helps. She is not, in my opinion capable of choice.

    I do not link to Quillette as science. Simply, as this is something that interests me and is contrary, I pick up on it. Needs following.

    Not sure the science (leaving social science out, which is anything but science) says too much yet about trans.

    I am bemused, interested and extremely sceptical. And one of my favourite economists is trans…

  49. “I don’t know how she got there, and when I say can’t get up and can’t hold down a job, it is defintely not like a typical teenager. Can’t do anything.”

    Well, in that case it might be major depression or adjustment disorder. But I’m not going to try to diagnose at third hand over the internet.

    Yes, she probably needs to see a doctor about it – in fact, if she’s been through gender-related treatment, the psychological counseling damn well ought to have picked something like that up. But no, you can’t force treatment on people against their will. That often makes things worse.

  50. Solid Steve,

    “It’s the local members I wonder about. I’m not a member of a political party myself, because I’ve got better things to do. But I’d like to think there are retired farmers and policemen giving their local MP a well-deserved bollocking for being wimps.

    Sounds like those guys can’t be arsed either.”

    I think a lot just don’t get it. It took me a while, but it’s important to understand that Thatcher was an exception, not the norm. The Conservative Party in parliament are mostly cowards and careerists. They’ll go with the least boat-rocking option they can.

    I mean, look at this shit: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/oct/15/fiercest-of-enemies-best-of-friends-cross-party-pals-parliament-mps.

    “Mercer, however, remembers long bus journeys during their travels where she patiently filled in the gaps in his political education. “I really enjoy history lessons from Ruth about the Labour party and the Tory party of the past, because I don’t know too much about it.” He has been, he says, taken aback by “how visceral the dislike of the Conservative party is from the Labour side” in general.”

    That’s the state of the Conservative parliamentary party. A Conservative MP who has no idea about political history getting schooled by a Labour MP about the Conservatives. What a fucking state.

    The only way you’ll get Thatcherites is outside now. Start organising libertarian party stuff and start putting up candidates in marginals and destroying their majorities. That’s what UKIP did and it turned out pretty well.

  51. @SSteve, BonM4, AndrewM

    I have been member for a little longer than BonM4. About 26 years longer and I have been a member of a councillor candidate selection committee.

    Until a few years ago, the EU wasn’t a big issue in candidate selection, but I guess BonM4’s observation comes down to Remained being to theft of the party.

    The biggest issue in selecting council candidates is that they shouldn’t break away from the group. The committee selecting the candidates will look for people who can do the job and toe the party line because a break away faction could cause the party to lose control.

    Experience shows that splits are most likely to come from the ends of the Bell curve. It follows that by picking candidates whose views are close to the centre they are likely to end up with a council that doesn’t fall apart.

    There is an assumption that at that level voters don’t really care about the precise views of individual candidates and vote by party.

    To answer Steve:s other question about MPs being held to account: that certainly happens here. Our MP says that his most hostile meeting is always the question and answer session at the annual dinner, where several substantial donors and local bigwigs tear into the performance of the government/front bench

  52. How does a transgender man know that he feels like he ought to be a woman? How does he know what a woman feels? I don’t know what it feels like to be anyone but me. I don’t know how it feels to be any other man let alone a woman. I can’t. I know I don’t want to have my cock cut off and hope that if I did someone would tie me to a bed until the feeling passed.

    Suppose I felt like a penguin and wanted my arms cut off and replaced by flippers?

  53. NiV:“What does she need a ‘let out’ for? It’s her life, her choice. “ and ” But no, you can’t force treatment on people against their will.”

    Yet he isn’t paying for it (it being the ‘treatment’), and I’m forced to. You seem OK with that.

  54. @AndrewC: Best advice is don’t let it trouble you. If we spent all our time worrying about what is going on in other people’s minds we would never get anything done.

  55. @JuliaM: “Yet he isn’t paying for it (it being the ‘treatment’), and I’m forced to. ”

    Pedant point. He is paying for it as much as any of us are.

    While I understand your annoyance, it may be the lesser of two evils. Better to pay for his treatment now than a lifetime of psychiatric care.

  56. future PE teacher known in the playground as “Chopper” or “Dangerous Dave”.

    Heh! I actually know a PE teacher (ex Royal Marine officer) whose nickname is Dangerous Dave.

  57. “How does a transgender man know that he feels like he ought to be a woman? How does he know what a woman feels?”

    Good question!

    How does a person know whether they are an introvert or an extrovert? Whichever they are, they have never experienced life as the other. So if everyone says they’re supposed to be an extrovert (They have red hair! Everyone in society knows people with red hair are all extroverts!) but they don’t feel like the other extroverts obviously do – they don’t like doing the same things, they don’t react the same way to experiences – then why can’t they say “I may have red hair on the outside, but I feel like an introvert on the inside.”?

    Suppose society was crazy enough to classify people into three groups: geeky, sporty, and arty based on body type. Geeks like maths and science. Arty types love music and literature. Sporty types like to run around outside. Short-sighted people wearing glasses are obviously all geeks. So if Sid is short-sighted, he must be a geek. Except he says he says he hates science and maths, and wants to go out and play cricket with the other sporty boys! What’s wrong with this sicko? How can he possibly know what it’s like to live as a normal-sighted sporty boy, when he’s worn glasses all his life? Is he deluded? Is he mentally ill? Does he need electric shock torture treatment, to instill an aversion to this unnatural sporty behaviour, and a love of maths? Does he need his head kicked in by the other sporty boys, for trying to join them in the changing rooms? Short-sighted geeks playing sports?! Whatever next?

    Outsiders can see a person’s personality in their external actions and reactions, in their likes and dislikes, and they can see which group’s personality matches their own, and identify themselves with that group.

    Masculine/feminine personalities are like introvert/extrovert personalities, or geeky/sporty/arty personalities. It’s obvious to the person themselves from introspection, and it’s clear from their external behaviour (at least, when they’re not scared of getting their head kicked in for behaving “wrong”) which they are, and people can easily identify which group they belong to.

    The problem is when society develops rigid beliefs that a certain personality type always goes with a certain body type (just because it does 99% of the time), and enforces that classification with violence. Imagine the misery that arises when you take a sporty kid and trap him in an eternal maths lesson, while he watches the other kids playing ball on the field outside the classroom, when the bullies, parents, teachers, and other authority figures figures are united in enforcing those rules – when beatings are dealt out when a shame-faced kid is caught sneaking a ball from his brother’s room and secretly bouncing it off the walls in the back yard when he thinks he’s alone… Imagine the hell of forcing an introverted kid up on stage to entertain the audience, every day of the rest of their life…

    My friends likened the feeling to that of living as a wartime spy behind enemy lines. The constant stress of having to live a double life, to hide what you are, to act a role, to lie and lie and lie every minute of every day, in constant gut-wrenching terror of the consequences of getting caught… And to do that continually from the age of five or six up, which is when most TG kids realise they’re different, and often when they learn just how bad an idea it is to let anyone ever find out. Can you imagine what it’s like for a six-year old, alone in the world, with no support? No understanding of what’s wrong, or how to fix it? Only the understanding gleaned from society that they’re disgusting; a filthy, unnatural aberration who deserves to be beaten to death? A sick pervert?

    That’s what it used to be like. Things are a little better these days, but it’s still not good.

    “I know I don’t want to have my cock cut off and hope that if I did someone would tie me to a bed until the feeling passed.”

    Why? How do you know you want a cock, if you’ve never experienced life without one? If, as you seem to be suggesting, people are “blank slates” who adapt to whatever body they find themselves in, then surely on losing your cock you would just become a happy and well-adjusted woman instead – a situation most women seem perfectly happy with. Why would you imagine that you wouldn’t, unless it’s possible for body and mind to be in disagreement? If you lost your cock and had female genitals instead, wouldn’t you be in exactly the same position as a FtM TG? Would the similarity between your states of unhappiness perhaps be understandable?

    And what if it’s forty years later and it still hasn’t passed yet?

    “Suppose I felt like a penguin and wanted my arms cut off and replaced by flippers?”

    Brains are designed to develop along male or female patterns, with all the ‘code’ for building both available in anyone and just waiting to be activated, and sometimes the switches turning it on and off go wrong. There’s no DNA in you to make penguins, so it’s pretty unlikely to happen, and if it does it’s probably ‘software’, rather than ‘hardware’.

    “Yet he isn’t paying for it (it being the ‘treatment’), and I’m forced to. You seem OK with that.”

    I have exactly the same arguments against any socialised medicine. If you’re arguing that we should stop paying for maternity care and sports injuries too (neither of which I’ll ever benefit from, either), then fine. If you’re arguing that everyone should be allowed to opt out of paying for other people’s treatment in return for them paying for their own, then fine. But I’ll not accept making a distinction, where some life-threatening conditions are treated for ‘free’ and others not, depending on whether society approves of the victims. They’re treated to alleviate their suicidal misery, just like kids with facial disfigurement.

    If we *all* have to pay, we *all* get treated. No exceptions.

  58. @NiV, October 16, 2017 at 10:37 pm

    My friends likened the feeling to that of living as a wartime spy behind enemy lines. The constant stress of having to live a double life, to hide what you are, to act a role, to lie and lie and lie every minute of every day, in constant gut-wrenching terror of the consequences of getting caught… And to do that continually from the age of five or six up, which is when most TG kids realise they’re different, and often when they learn just how bad an idea it is to let anyone ever find out. Can you imagine what it’s like for a six-year old, alone in the world, with no support? No understanding of what’s wrong, or how to fix it? Only the understanding gleaned from society that they’re disgusting; a filthy, unnatural aberration who deserves to be beaten to death? A sick pervert?

    +1

    Exactly what any I know from my generation – born ~1960-1990 – say. Spot on with age 6 as example and “pervert”.

    However, it’s now gone too far with some being pressurised to transition – see Bath Spa Uni chap.

  59. Pcar, thanks!

    “However, it’s now gone too far with some being pressurised to transition”

    Agreed. Nobody should be pressured to transition, or not transition. It’s about ensuring that people know what their options are, and understand the consequences and potential consequences of each of them. It’s about making sure they’ve thought it through, thoroughly. It’s about experimenting with partial transition in controlled circumstances, and then helping them deal with the emotional and practical fallout from those experiences. It’s about having someone you can talk to about it, without having to hide things, or lie constantly to put up the facade society requires.

    No psychological counselor (or any other medical paractitioner, for that matter) should ever be telling a patient what to do.

    I’m not sure what you mean by the bath spa uni chap though – I assume you mean the guy who got his application to research detransitioning rejected?

    People may decide to detransition without ever having been put under pressure to transition. The consequences of transitioning are profound, and often very difficult to imagine or predict. What if you transition and suddenly find you can’t get a job? Get rejected by family and friends? Get treated by your community as a pariah? What if you think the medical and social problems are worth the price, but when you actually experience them for years on end, eventually decide they’re not? It’s possible.

    People get tattoos, and then some of them get painful laser treatment to try to reverse the process. Amputees get artificial limbs, and then later give them up as too difficult, returning to the wheelchair. Cancer patients opt for chemotherapy and radiotherapy, and later change their mind and decide they’d rather live what little life they have left without the side-effects. You never really know until you’re actually there.

    There should be no problem in principle in researching how to do it. But the existence of people wanting tattoos removed doesn’t make tattooing wrong, or justify a ban on it. And given that there are still many imperfections with the transition process, it’s not totally unreasonable for people interested in transitioning to consider detransitioning research a lower priority, and to worry about how people will use it politically.

    I definitely disagree with a university blocking valid research purely because they’re scared of the Twitter mob. But it’s also a fact of life, and it’s easy to mock their ‘cowardice’, to call on them to be courageous and stand up for intellectual freedom, until you’ve seen the horrific real life consequences of doing so. The same way I can understand a lot of TGs wanting to stay in the closet, for fear of facing the ‘mob’ on the street.

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