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This poses an interesting question

Nicola Sturgeon’s approval rating plunges in wake of trans row
New poll suggests her SNP is also haemorrhaging support due to Ms Sturgeon’s controversial positions on transgender rights

OK, so there’s democracy. What the demos beieves and what the demos wants to happen. A good thing, democracy.

If democracy thinks that prop forwards in lipstick aren’t women – except for those prop forwards who are actually women – then perhaps that’s that?

Or, we all also agree that democracy isn’t the only thing. Barring BiS at least we all agree that there are some things that supersede the wishes of the mob. Civil rights for example. No, we don’t bang up anyone accused of rape, we try them first and we do so fairly.

Hmm, OK. So at times democracy and those rights – or other things we agree supersede it – are in conflict. Remainers will argue that whatever the damn peasantry decided they should have free movement to Tuscany for example.

OK. And clearly this trans-rights thing is one of those times when at least claims of supersession are being made. Folk are willing to go only so far – have a dress in whatever size you want but not, until you’ve been chopped at least, into the women’s changing rooms perhaps – while the rights folk insist there’s a right there that cannot be abridged by those wishes of the mob.


But what interest me most about this is that structure of the claims. Rights vs demos and all that. For there are those who insist that – say – we should have a truly democratic economy. Who owns what, when, is something entirely up to the demos to vote upon. Instead of there being any trivia like property rights which shall not be abridged. Or that all money belongs to the State as the state creates it. Therefore any and all taxation is justified. There are also those who would insist that there are some natural rights here which should not be abridged whatever the proles vote to decide.

The grand interest being that those arguing for the wider forms of trans rights are, commonly enough, those who would stoutly deny that there are any property rights. Or economic rights which supersede that economic demos.

The even grander being that they’d stoutly deny that the similarity even exists. Yet it is all the same question. What are the limits to democracy? Those to rights? Do the demos get to decide male or female, nadgers or not, or is that something above all that politics – and do the demos get to decide property, or is there some part of it above all that?

7 thoughts on “This poses an interesting question”

  1. As you say, an interesting question. Confused even further by the question of what we mean by “rights” anyway. I’m with Hobbes on this one, believing that rights only exist within a legal framework and are never absolute, but I suspect the trans rights activists would start using terms like “inalienable” or even “God given” about rights and insist they’re absolute. At which point insisting ones right to swing ones fist is absolute becomes very tempting.

  2. Bloke in North Dorset

    Slightly OT.

    I’m old enough to remember when we were being lectured by the likes the Guardian that the world would be a much better, nicer, place if only everywhere was run by the likes of Jacinda, Mutti and Nicola.

    And now all have left, or are leaving, their countries in a mess. I don’t suppose the Guardian will be commenting, even if they’ve noticed.

  3. I think your piece neatly encapsulates why there are no things as rights, except in the strictly legal sense. There are only obligations.
    The men-in-in frocks insist they have a “right” to admittance to the facilities previously restricted to the general frock wearing community. But a significant part that community feels it has no obligation to share those facilities with the M-I-F’s. However, the providers of said facilities, in some cases, believe they do have an obligation to admit the M-I-F’s, which over-rides their obligations to the general frock wearers, which had previously been custom & practise.
    Note the word “right”has been used only once there. By the plaintiff. But it adequately describes the actual situation.
    Now you can pass a law that gives the M-I-F’s that admittance. That would compel an obligation on the other two parties. And that is all laws do. They compel obligations. Some voluntarily, some not. Somebody always has to give up their freedom. So legal rights don’t grant freedoms, they remove them. In this case, some would say, the freedom of the previous frock wearers to safely use the facilities.

  4. The term “rights” has a built-in contradiction. I think I have a right not to be beaten up by the local thug; he probably thinks he has a right to beat up someone who has spilt his pint. The position is regulated by laws made by other peeople. Rights are what other people allow you to have so not rights at all.

  5. T’will be interesting to see whether Trump’s policy of de-legalising the MIF’s will get him into power again. We could then see how this one works out in practice.

  6. I don’t think God that had anything to do with Dr John Money and his experiment on the Reimer twins, a detail that the trans lobby likes to overlook.

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