Justine Greening’s idiotic gender policy shows it’s time to give up on Toryism
The Conservatives are now so ideologically enfeebled they are quite beyond the point of redemption
I’ve had it with the Conservatives. For me, and I know I’m not the only one, the final straw was the announcement at the weekend that the Equalities Minister Justine Greening wants to change the law so that people are free to specify their gender on their birth certificate regardless of medical opinion. What were they thinking, Greening and the various senior party bods who supported this decision, including, apparently, the Prime Minister? Actually, I think we can guess. They were thinking: ‘Oh, Jeremy Corbyn. His young followers seem to like this LBGBLT — how do the initials go again? — malarkey so perhaps we’d better get with it too.’ And: ‘Nasty party detox. Just like gay marriage did, this will help rid us of all those ghastly reactionary grassroots supporters who are ruining our image.’ And: ‘Compassion. We need to show compassion to oppressed minorities because that’s the kind thing to do.’
If you want to see the ‘kindness’ fallacy kicked into touch, I recommend you google Jordan Peterson, the Canadian psychology professor at the University of Toronto who has become the voice of the resistance to the extreme political end of the trans-gender movement. Have a look, for example, at the debate he had with a fellow Toronto professor, A.W. Peet, over his uncompromising stance on ‘non-binary’ pronouns.
Peet — who would probably prefer to be known by the pronoun ‘zie’, because although he/she/it goes by the name of Amanda, ‘zie’ identifies as ‘non-binary’ — was trying to make the case that of course we should address people by whatever weird pronouns make them feel comfortable. To do otherwise, Peet claimed, wasn’t just laziness on Peterson’s part (why didn’t he keep a list of his friends’ and colleagues’ preferred pronouns in his iPhone, like any decent person would?) but also an act of unkindness.
I felt for Peterson as this charge was laid against him because I’ve experienced it so many times myself — usually on BBC political programmes where the only reason you’ve been invited on is so that the viewers can be shown again just how vilely heartless conservatives are. It’s one of those ‘when did you stop beating your wife?’ questions that’s impossible to refute because the more you deny it the guiltier you look. But Peterson was more than up to the challenge. ‘Kindness is the excuse social justice warriors use when they want to exercise control over what other people think and say,’ he said, before going on to challenge the implied argument that ‘kindness’ is always a good and necessary thing. Sometimes, he pointed out, it’s necessary to be unkind in the shorter term in order to achieve greater, longer-term benefits — as when, for instance, you punish a beloved child in order to encourage better behaviour. He said: ‘The highest possible value is truth. Higher than kindness.’