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The alternative of classical liberalism is available.

Some good memes are needed though.

I've taken to calling the militant trans movement the "anti-sex movement", since a key idea is the denial of the fact of the biological sex binary.

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Absolutely wonderful article. More people need to see what's happening.

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I think you spotted the hole in a lot of Butler-style thought. It's harder to see it when the language is obscure and dense, but easier to see it in her op-eds that are written in readable English. And it's not a thing that I think she (or thousands of grad students) are doing consciously - I think it might even be unconscious. It's that they basically set up a framework, and then discuss that framework in a way that allows for what I believe are called "floating signifiers" - concepts that are vague and also change throughout the essay. The floating signifier here is fascism. If you read it uncritically, Butler makes perfect sense. But if you read her critical theory critically, you start to see how much "fascism" floats around, sometimes meaning "an organized right-wing opposition to trans rights," and sometimes meaning "a reference to the idea that you can't make everybody equally progressive in terms of gender."

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First of all, the title of your post is brilliant, I laughed for a few minutes before I read the article. Thank you for that.

Now onto the actual content - YES. I agree with Margaret Atwood too. Trans rights, yes. This kind of nonsense "activism" we're seeing right now, nope. And yes, even trans people who speak up and say "this is BS, stop making us look bad" to the "activists" get called TERFs. I don't belong anywhere anymore because, like I keep saying, I'm automatically unwelcome in conservative spaces as a trans guy (and a man-loving one at that), but I don't fit in LGBT spaces where you can't say "maybe we shouldn't be giving 12-year-olds hormones" without being called a TERF or questioning the sudden surge of "non-binary" teenagers without being called truscum and people harassing you and even doxing you, because "safe space" is totally about revealing personal info of a trans person to the public Internet.

I preferred Bernie over Hilary, and Bernie over Biden because I am poor (I don't mean in the way affluent whites think they're poor because they can't go to Tahiti this year, I mean "I shop at Wal-Mart and worry about rent" poor). Harris is VP explicitly because she's a black woman which is considered super-progressive even though she has a very non-progressive track record of sending non-violent offenders to prison (I am 100% opposed to prison sentences for non-violent crimes and think our prison system needs a massive reform, but that's not the point of this post), and if she runs for president in 2024 she's going to lose and we're going to end up with a second term of Trump or possibly even someone worse because only the woke are going to vote for her. Even people on the left like me are going to feel bad about voting for her. If there was a black female candidate who didn't suck, sure.

I also hate the way the word "fascist" is thrown around now these days and applied to "anyone who disagrees with me", which waters the word down.

And Judith Butler's writing style makes my head hurt. LOL.

Great post, thank you again for saying what needs to be said.

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This is a great essay.

The lack of focus on material conditions really makes every problem insurmountable. The arguments around many issues become circular, dense, jargon-filled morasses that I suspect few, if any, of the proponents can actually understand. People can't coherently argue for the ideas. The only possible victory is to bludgeon your opponent into compliance or shame them into silence.

It's particularly frustrating because addressing material conditions could actually address issues, as you point out.

For instance, one could consider the gender and restrooms issue. There is an extremely straight forward material solution for this: get rid of group restrooms.

In the United States, the requirements for restrooms are the purview of the government. For businesses, OSHA dictates the number of toilets required per employee by sex. Employers can choose to meet this requirement in one of two ways: they can build gendered group toilet facilities or they can build individual bathrooms with lockable doors to be occupied by a single employee at a time. Public restrooms in restaurants, retail establishments, and the like are dictated similarly by state or local governments.

Because businesses are given the option to build group toilet facilities with cheap, ineffective partitions, doors that only sort of lock, and to install cheaper urinals instead of a portion of the required toilets for men, many businesses will take that route. If you have a chance to travel or visit many different businesses, though, you'll note: this is never the choice made for executive bathrooms. Many upscale restaurants will also opt for individually locking restrooms. The comfort, privacy, and safety of the people in those locations is too important. It's just not important for anyone else.

Every politician weighing in on the issue of bathrooms in any manner has a solution at their disposal: they could work to strike the language from regulations which allows group toilet facilities. This would make everyone safer overall and offer more comfort and privacy. It would also offer parity in wait times to use toilets, since all toilets are open to everyone.

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I also prefer this solution.

Not to mention it's not just good for trans people, but for situations like 1. a father out with his young daughter or mother out with her young son, where the kids shouldn't be using a public group bathroom unsupervised, 2. a son out with his Alzheimer's mother, or daughter out with her Alzheimer's father (or name relation here) who, again, shouldn't be using a public group bathroom unsupervised. This would benefit a lot of people.

Plus I really hate public group bathrooms anyway because a lot of them are gross; it's easier to maintain an individual restroom. ;D

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A side note: IMO most critiques of "capitalism" can be read as critiques of human greed, and that this is the underlying (unsolvable) issue. Regardless of how the economic system is constituted, a large number of people will attempt to game it to maximize their own benefits.

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This is the central leftist idea in the essay: "I would clarify that these disruptions were identified as a core mechanism of capitalist “revolutionising” by Marx and Engels. That is, what neoliberalism is doing is not new, but rather what Capital always does and must do in order to create new markets and ways of exploiting labor."

Material conditions. Those of us on the left know that concrete material benefits for the whole public are what matter.

Note that Bernie Sanders was criticized for being insensitive because he kept pointing out that categories don't matter. Results, in the form of social programs and redistribution of income, are what matter. People will calm down in the U S of A if they don't feel constantly threatened by the power of money to ruin their lives.

At the one blog / news aggregator that I frequent, there was as commenter who regularly remarked that queer theory and transgender theory had largely been developed by "straight" people in academia to help them get tenure. It's ground-breaking research, isn't it? And as I keep repeating, somehow, though, it is warmed-over radical dualism and rehashed Christian catechism. Separable body, mind, soul? Sheesh. The mind-body problem was solved years ago, leaving Christianity in the lurch.

To antagonize, eerrr, everyone, I am going to throw in Rebecca Solnit. There is a corps of essentialist, scolding, polemical essayists who are highly visible. The problem is that Solnit's essays consist of gear-grindingly bad runs though her obsessions. She was a guest essayist at Harper's Magazine for three or four issues. The essays started with gear grinding, went into Trump Derangement Syndrome, and collapsed into her self-regard. When she wrote one that included her "queer" friends, I truly understood how lttle I need help from writers like her.

To end this: The most important pronoun is "you." The mere idea of announcing one's pronouns of the third person, in other words, referring to oneself in the third person, gives me the willies.

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^This. I've also heard queer theory had infiltrators from the right (think COINTELPRO but for LGBT rights instead of black civil rights) and it seems like wokeness is doing a good enough job destroying the left from within that there might just be something to that conspiracy.

I only care whether or not somebody has a problem with me being trans if they're in a power-over situation, meaning, whether their dislike of me creates a situation where they can do something to directly screw up my life, like for example discrimination in employment and housing, which still happens in the States even though it's technically illegal. If material conditions are improved for *everybody all across the board*, so we don't have disabled poverty, or the working class making slave wages and not able to afford proper health care, and people are fed and housed, I don't have to care whether or not someone is anti-trans. (On a personal level yes, but you just move on and try to make other friends / find other partners / whatever, that's life.)

The so-called "progressive" movement aka the woke are going about this completely ass-backwards. They seem to think if you change people's minds first THEN we will naturally advance towards material change, and it... doesn't work like that in real life. Someone calling themselves a trans ally isn't putting food on my table. And racism is being fueled by "Mexicans are taking muh job" because we treat the working class like garbage in this country; better pay and better conditions for the working class and that "immigrants keeping me down" argument becomes less viable. And, when people are worrying about how to make ends meet it typically makes them more hostile. It's not a coincidence that in European countries where people have a high standard of living, people are more polite and egalitarian in general.

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This is (as I've come to expect from your blog) a very concise and insightful essay that's got me thinking a lot. So thank you

I had heard the idea that Margaret Atwood had said something "TERF-y" thrown around on some of the very few parts of the internet I still frequent, and didn't pay it any attention until I read this essay (note: I still have never met an actual "TERF" in real life). It really helped to actually go and read both articles that Atwood posted and see how unambiguously inoffensive they both were. It is striking that these ridiculous campaigns get picked up by major news sources now; it's no longer just a small fringe of people who freak out about things on the internet. Which I find extremely concerning, for a whole bunch of reasons.

But here's what your article left me with most of all, in regards to what Butler is putting forward. I'll frame it as a question; does the capitalist class/predator class/dominator class have an interest in promoting a very specific brand of hyper-poststructural gender ideology because they think human bodies are legacy systems? As something that is no longer profitable, that is "out-of-date" with comparison to a world where more and more parts of our selves are "online" (and therefore surveilled), as less and less of our experience is direct, immediate, and open to the aliveness of the cosmos?

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"...does the capitalist class/predator class/dominator class have an interest in promoting a very specific brand of hyper-poststructural gender ideology because they think human bodies are legacy systems?"

I wondered the exact same thing. At first glance, I wouldn't see why woke idealogy and 'gender' in particular would interest them. But perhaps there is something to what you said... Silvia Federici writes that bodies present hard limits to capitalist exploitation which capitalists were never quite able to get around. Not that I think 'gendering' is going to actually work in that way, but maybe this is their latest attempt to somehow get around the reality of the body?

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I'm a yoga teacher, so the way I see it (and I think Rhyd would agree with me) is that if they can get us to dismiss physical reality, we will be completely ungrounded, and we will then be easy to manipulate. And since we access physical reality through our bodies, if they can get us to think that our physicality should have no bearing on how we feel, then there will be nothing they can't implant in our minds.

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Some of these transactivists sure do talk a lot about forcibly shoving their dicks down women's throats despite constantly talking about sexual consent and destroying patriarchal sexism.

Reminds me of that saying that goes something like "religions are like dicks; it's perfectly fine to have one, just don't shove it down my throat if I don't want it".

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