Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The Once and Future Liberal

So, I just now finished Mark Lilla's new book, in which he laments how identity politics has dissolved liberal solidarity. What is his suggested antidote to the fissiparous disaster that he holds identity politics to be (all the while going out of his way to praise its various gains, lest his own students scalp him)? An appeal to our common humanity? Nope. Although he does not say this, I suspect that as a good liberal Dr. Lilla would think that such an appeal requires too many metaphysical assumptions to be effective. Besides, he wants American Solidarity. An appeal to a common humanity might make people realize how evil America is (given how much America has done in recent decades to screw up the common humanity in the rest of the world) and thereby lead to a souring on Project America, and that's the opposite of what Dr. Lilla wants.

So, he doesn't even mention our common humanity. Instead he pokes around for something else that will unite all us Americans despite the differences between black and white, gay and straight, cis and trans, gun-lovers and gun-controllers, pro-choice and pro-life, etc., and his answer is (drum roll, please) an awareness that we are all citizens with equal rights and corresponding duties. But he never quite says what the purpose of these duties are, except to suggest that this purpose was quite obvious when we all fought the good war against the global fascists in the '40s. And, there we have it, folks. War clarifies a nation's purpose. Freunde und Feinde. Carl Schmitt, call your office. Geez.

The Second Coming

Falconer: Hello

Falcon: What?

Falconer: I said Hello!

Falcon: What? What?

Falconer: HELLO, YOU DUMB MOTHERFUCKER, HELLO!

Falcon: Oh, fuck it. I'm off, you wanker.



Sunday, August 27, 2017

Ethical John


(A short skit inspired by Not a Job, Not a Choice by Janice G. Raymond)

[Scene: a room with freshly painted walls, a plastic chair, and a bed with one fitted sheet and no cover and no pillow. Two people walk in, a man pushing fifty and a girl who can't be any older than sixteen.]

Girl: We get started now, no? You take pants off, I suck your big, wonderful cock, no?

Man: Oh, sweetie, yes, but wait. (he fumbles around in his pockets) Damn, where is that fucking pamphlet? (reaches into his back pants pocket) Oh, here we go. (Takes out a booklet with the title "How to be an ethical john" and waves it in front of the girl's face) See, here, I must ask you a few questions from this pamphlet I got at the beer hall. You understand, don't you?

Girl: (falls back on the bed as if on cue and rolls her eyes) Okay, but, please, go quick, there are seven other--(really loud knock is heard)--er, no, I want the big cock in my mouth soon. (Raises her voice as she looks over her shoulder to door) Very soon, okay?

Man: What was that loud knock?

Girl: My heart thumps loudly for your big cock, no?

Man: Oh, okay. (paging through the booklet) So, here we go. "We here at the New Moral order understand that you men have needs, and that a brothel visit can be a fulfilling and rewarding experience. But it can be even more fulfilling if you do your business with a clean conscience." (another loud knock)

Girl: Hurry, please.

Man: Okay, I guess we can skip that part. Okay, here are the questions that it says I am ethically obligated to ask you. Ready?

Girl: (rolls eyes again) Yes, you big picture of throbbing manhood.

Man: How old are you?

Girl: I am fif-- (loud knock again). I am fucking. I mean I want to fucking now. Please!

Man: How old are you?

Girl: I am-- (loud knock) I am eighteen. Young, fresh, and legal.

Man: Okay, that's great. Okay, just a few more questions. Do you have any large debts that have indentured you to work for unscrupulous gangsters?

Girl: What means this "indentured"? (Very loud knock) No, no! I am no indentured. I am very, very dentured. And I am very dentured for your big cock.

Man: Oh, that's very, very good. Okay, just one more question, and then we can (in an embarrassingly excited, squealing voice) begin!

Girl: I can no wait.

Man: Do you find sex work to be an exciting career choice with abundant opportunities for upward mobility?

Girl: (Several loud knocks) My heart thumps loud yeses to whatever you asked. You can hear it, no?

Man: Okay, great! (Takes off his pants and drawers) Now, get down on your knees and suck my cock, bitch!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Liberalism and Identity Politics

As much as Dr. Lilla laments how identity politics have fractured our common humanity, he seems to be blissfully unaware of one of the classic critiques of modern Liberalism, that it atomizes the individual into an isolated, consumerist cipher.

This is inevitable, according to this critique, because Liberalism is premised upon the freedom from any comprehensive doctrine that would dictate to the individual how ze should express hir individuality, but without any comprehensive doctrines, there can be no essentialist anthropology by which a common humanity can make any sense at all.

The only thing left is commerce, which makes human worth a number on a ledger. This is, of course, a recipe for slitting one's wrists. So, of course, liberals had to poke around for something more meaningful. But they could not look to religion. That's the very thing AGAINST which Liberalism defines itself. And, of course, they cannot look to an Aristotelean Teleology because of Darwin and, moreover, because Teleology presupposes essences which impede individual freedom, and that would just vitiate the whole point of Liberalism.

So, if Liberalism was to find anything more meaningful than the maxim "Ze who dies with the most toys wins", it could only do so from its own resources. But the only resource it has is individual subjectivity, and the only thing that can be done with this resource is Sartrean Decisionism. Everyone has to make hir own meaning. And, thus, everyone has to choose hir own essence, and, violĂ , you have modern identity politics!


Friday, August 11, 2017

Belaboring the point

The accommodation of trans persons requires the replacement of sex with the incorrigibly mystical concept of 'gender identity'. The two concepts cannot exist side by side. Otherwise, that would justify differential treatment of the cis and the trans. Thus, the law can acknowledge only one concept as the basis of man- and womanhood, and since the acknowledgement of sex is transphobic and directly responsible for thirty deadly assaults against trans people and even more suicides per diem, the law must declare that 'gender identity' is the only thing that makes a man a man and a woman a woman. But 'gender identity' simply cannot be defined. All definitions are either circular or hopelessly subjective. Therefore, the acknowledgement of trans rights entails the recognition that we are all amoebas.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

And yet another unpublished letter to the Post-Dispatch

Dear Editor,

In your paper’s Q&A about gender identity, you report that gender is a social construct but 'gender identity' is innate. If gender is a social construct, then it is imposed from without and is, thus, not internal to the individual. But gender identity is innate and, therefore, is internal to the individual. So, how can gender be a social construct but one’s own identification of gender be inborn? Why isn’t that a glaring violation of the rule of non-contradiction? Would you, please, explain this to me? Pretty, pretty please. I'm trying so hard not to be a transphobic bigot, but basic logic gets in the way. Help me, please. I don't wanna be a bigot. I don't wanna be a bigot. Waaa!!!

Sincerely,

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Even logic is 'hate speech'.

A person who used to be one of my closest and dearest friends now thinks me a mentally ill right-wing extremist bigot for so much as daring to question the claims put forward by the transgender movement. Even for pointing out that the Massachusetts definition of 'gender identity' ("'Gender identity' shall mean a person's gender-related identity, appearance or behavior, whether or not that gender-related identity, appearance or behavior is different from that traditionally associated with the person's physiology or assigned sex at birth.") has what is to be defined on both sides of the copula and, therefore, constitutes a classic tautology. Logical observations are now irrational hatreds--in the eyes of my former friend, at least.   I wish I could say that she is a stupid, uneducated twit, easily swayed by faddish causes, but she's not.  She is one of the five smartest, most articulate, and most well-read people I have ever met or shall ever hope to meet, and yet she now must have a safe space to shield her from basic logic.  This is really scary.