From the comments, more on LBGT as deserving of respect

by on June 16, 2014 at 6:18 am in Current Affairs, Education, Medicine, Philosophy, Science, Uncategorized | Permalink

Mr. Econotarian wrote:

Actual science is that your brain can be gendered during development in a different fashion than your sex chromosomes. And that gender is not something that hormones alone can “fix”.

For example, the forceps minor (part of the corpus callosum, a mass of fibers that connect the brain’s two hemispheres) – among nontranssexuals, the forceps minor of males contains parallel nerve fibers of higher density than in females. But the density in female-to-male transsexuals is equivalent to that in typical males.

As another example, the hypothalamus, a hormone-producing part of the brain, is activated in nontranssexual men by the scent of estrogen, but in women—and male-to-female transsexuals—by the scent of androgens, male-associated hormones.

I would stress a social point.  If it turns out you are born “different” in these ways (I’m not even sure what are the right words to use to cover all the relevant cases), what is the chance that your social structure will be supportive?  Or will you feel tortured, mocked, and out of place?  Might you even face forced institutionalization, as McCloskey was threatened with?  Most likely things will not go so well for you, even in an America of 2014 which is far more tolerant overall than in times past, including on gay issues.  Current attitudes toward transsexuals and other related groups remain a great shame.  A simple question is how many teenagers have been miserable or even committed suicide or have had parts of their lives ruined because they were born different in these ways and did not find the right support structures early on or perhaps ever.  And if you are mocking individuals for their differences in this regard, as some of you did in the comments thread, I will agree with Barkley Rosser’s response: “Some of you people really need to rethink who you are.  Seriously.”

Some of you people really need to rethink who you are. Seriously. – See more at: http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2014/06/what-do-i-think-of-david-brat.html#comments

It’s not just the libertarian argument that you have — to put it bluntly — the “right to cut off your dick” (though you do).  It’s that there are some very particular circles of humanity, revolving around transsexuality, cross-gender, and related notions, which deserve a culture of respect, above and beyond mere legal tolerance.

India is not the paradise for cross- and multiple-gender individuals that it is sometimes made out to be, but still we could learn a good deal from them on these issues.  If nothing else, the argument from ignorance ought to weigh heavily here: there is plenty about these categories which we as a scientific community do not understand, and which you and I as individuals probably understand even less.  So in the meantime should we not extend maximum tolerance for individuals whose lives are in some manner different?

No, I do not know what are the appropriate set of public policies for when children should receive treatment, if they consistently express a desire to change, and what are the relative limits of family and state in these matters.  But if we start with tolerance and acceptance, and encourage a culture of respect for transsexualism, we are more likely to come up with the right policy answers, and also to minimize the damage if in the meantime we cannot quite figure out when to do what.

P June 16, 2014 at 6:32 am

How well replicated are these associations between brain physiology and transsexualism? There are lots of woo and bad statistics in neuroscience: http://faculty.vassar.edu/abbaird/about/publications/pdfs/bennett_salmon.pdf

Steve Sailer June 16, 2014 at 11:49 am

Once again, this 2007 New York Times article about Dr. McCloskey’s campaign to silence and ruin the careers of leading scientists needs to be read by anybody wishing to hold an informed opinion:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/21/health/psychology/21gender.html?pagewanted=all

Zephyrus June 16, 2014 at 11:54 am

An informed opinion on what? Whether transexuals and members of the LGBT community are human beings worthy of respect?

Steve Sailer June 16, 2014 at 12:01 pm

An informed opinion of Dr. McCloskey’s character as a scholar, intellectual and opponent of academic freedom for other scholars and intellectuals.

Steve Sailer June 16, 2014 at 12:08 pm

Gender dysphoria is a tragic type of mental illness and deserves our sympathy. It’s a sad affliction, but that shouldn’t keep us from remembering that it’s not a good idea to put the mentally ill in charge of ruining the careers of sane scientists. A decade ago, a number of high IQ sufferers from gender dysphoria such and McCloskey and Lynn Conway, along with the money-grubbing SPLC came close to doing that, but scholars like Alice Degler and a reporter for the New York Times stood up for science.

Today, unfortunately, that kind of courage is in even shorter supply.

Steve Sailer June 16, 2014 at 12:16 pm

McCloskey should be encouraged by professional colleagues to repair McCloskey’s public reputation by publicly apologizing to the scientists whose careers McCloskey tried to ruin and silence out personal pique.

Art Deco June 16, 2014 at 12:32 pm

Did it have any effect on his public reputation? What counts as an offense (and as not and offense) in academic departments can be bloody weird.

GiT June 16, 2014 at 1:07 pm

Again with the question begging. How, exactly, is reifying an ad-hoc typology based on prejudicially founded categorizations through cherry picking and anecdotal evidence, science? Why is gender dysphoria a “tragic type of mental illness,” rather than, “a tragic failure of social relationships?” Foucault’s a bit passe nowadays but normation, normalization, &etc are pretty basic concepts. Time to catch up and get past naturalizing your own stupid prejudices.

Samuel H June 16, 2014 at 1:25 pm

Steve, your words above me are really the ‘pot calling the kettle black’ in terms of public reputation management. Its fair to have an ounce of agnosticism due to the earliness of the science, but to call trans a sad affliction and mental illness really puts you on the wrong side of history, not the mention the facts.

Art Deco June 16, 2014 at 1:48 pm

but to call trans a sad affliction and mental illness really puts you on the wrong side of history, not the mention the facts.

I take it that’s meant ironically.

Lee A. Arnold June 17, 2014 at 10:56 am

Another reading of the NYTimes article linked, is that McCloskey did the right thing. Based on reports that the interviewees were not informed that their responses were to be part of a study, she objected strenuously. That is the correct objection for a outside scientific researcher to make. If it turns out that the interviewees misrepresented that circumstance (which is subsequently alleged, but the truth of it is unclear from the article) then McCloskey owes an apology, on that part. The rest of the events related in that NYTimes article are not about McCloskey, and do NOT speak to her “character as a scholar, intellectual and opponent of academic freedom for other scholars and intellectuals.”

bmcburney June 16, 2014 at 12:49 pm

Zephyrus,

Among other things, the 2007 NYT article goes directly to Professor Cowen’s original comment that a society’s treatment of transsexuals is the best measure of that society’s overall level of tolerance. This might be correct if transsexuals were universally viewed as the “lowest of the low” but it would clearly be incorrect if the society, or any important sub-groups in the society, were very tolerant of transsexuals but very intolerant of others. There is strong evidence that such groups exist in the USA. That Professor Cowen is evidently unaware of, or perhaps just unconcerned by, the intolerance displayed by his own social group is not surprising. It seems to me that humans generally have a difficult time with this issue but academics seem to be particularly susceptible to the problem.

Steve Sailer June 16, 2014 at 12:52 pm

In 2014, the transgendered are the hot new victim group whom America looks to champion in World War T now that World War G is successfully winding down.

Dennis Dale June 17, 2014 at 3:57 pm

Among other things, the 2007 NYT article goes directly to Professor Cowen’s original comment that a society’s treatment of transsexuals is the best measure of that society’s overall level of tolerance…

Obviously once someone like Mr Cowen declares the “best measure” of society’s justice how it treats a given group he’s created a powerful entity–even if their historical grievance is just. And in the rush to establish that measure of justice Cowen et al–to the extent they are successful and WWT is a stunning success thus far–slam the door on any further inquiry in to the nature of the identity. Just for me to suggest here that we don’t fully understand is heresy. Of course McCloskey et al are going to explain and the decent people await, hushed.
So, ironically, the true measure of an enlightened society is now it’s polite lack of curiosity, doubt, skepticism, really; isn’t it time we updated that term?
What’s truly stupid about it all is that there’s never been a better time for gender-confused kids (are we even allowed to speak in such terms any more?) regarding tolerance. At least in white society. Until you’ve all corrected the disgrace that is their majority status, the LGBT are safe.

But nobody’s giving any more thought to the possibility we’re encouraging what we would–without WWT–otherwise classify as mental illness sometimes culminating in self-mutilation. If we’re going to cite all the presumptive teen suicides that happen due to “intolerance”, taking advocates entirely at their word, it is then perfectly legitimate to consider, just for starters, the cases of resentful post-ops who are unhappy. What is the net in misery or happiness? Do you really trust McCloskey to have an unbiased opinion, one not moderated by personal resentment, ambition and, yes, prejudice? The real problem with the whole concept of marginalized identity groups is only they get to define themselves. I ask the liberal: of the various critiques of, say, whiteness, masculinity, class, religion, etc, do they not increase our understanding of these things? Why does the perception of victim-hood change that? Why do you ignore the potential for abuse in this reality you create?

But is McCloskey’s aggressive advocacy going to result in a far greater net misery? Is McCloskey, in her zeal and ambition, creating an identity group which she can lead, with disregard for the individual members of that group? If our greatest measure is how “well” we treat this presumed class of people who we are not allowed to identify; who have a unique proprietary right to their “identity” (but you know, it isn’t really the aggregate voice of all them, but McCloskey and the few other best and most ambitious who define it, with the blunt thug tactics they deployed against Bailey and with the kitsch that is all the rest of WWT solidarity).
This is not tolerance. This is power.
Life is so much more fun and interesting once you give up the ghost of false morality.

Steve Sailer June 17, 2014 at 6:51 pm

Thanks.

It’s important to note that Dr. McCloskey has not suffered noticeably from any discrimination by society at large. McCloskey’s complaint is more that his ex-wife and children are angry at him for what he did. His double bankshot reasoning is that he blames Society for his loved ones’ very personal feelings toward his action, and therefore society must be re-engineered to validate his choice, in particular, by silencing scientists who dissent from the standard talking points.

Lee A. Arnold June 17, 2014 at 9:48 pm

Oh for god’s sake. 1. It is your right to initiate a scientific investigation. 2. It is McCloskey’s right to criticize your research. 3. Bailey’s book on Amazon gets more good reviews than bad. 4. Once someone like Mr Cowen declares the “best measure” of society’s justice is how it treats a given group, he has NOT created a powerful entity. (Not quite how he put it, by the way.) However, 5. jackpot! Combining the phony theory of new interest-group power with the supposition that pain and suffering are also to be increased, is a very good example of “concern-trolling”. Congrats! 6. The whole white-male victimization shtick is getting a little stale, though.

Dennis Dale June 18, 2014 at 8:09 pm

1. It is your right to initiate a scientific investigation.
No, someone published a book. That was the imagined injury. The rest was, as you concede, bs.
2. It is McCloskey’s right to criticize your research.
A rather expansive definition of criticism; do note McCloskey et al said nothing about anyone’s “right”–their argument is, succinctly: he had no right to publish that book.
So it’s “no harm no foul”, despite the fact people deliberately set out to strip someone of their livelihood for speech. McCloskey owes an apology the same way an unsuccessful lynch mob owes an apology. “Yeah man, about that whole trying-to-string-you-up thing…”
Being a marginalized (privileged) class means never having to say you’re sorry, don’t you know? Case in point–McCloskey not only did not apologize, she has suffered no loss of face or influence. It may be that she gained some nonetheless, just by being out there driving the narrative. Tyler there doesn’t seem to have lost any faith in her.

Don’t like the due-date on my white male “schtick”? No, not quite as fresh as all this conspicuous outrage over transexual rights, but yes, you’re right–slandering “white males” for gain is long past its due date. Somehow I don’t think they’re going to take it off the shelves any time soon though.

Lee A. Arnold June 20, 2014 at 11:17 am

If it is a book, not scientific research, your complaint is even less defensible. And according to Wikipedia, McCloskey was part of a complaint that Bailey was practicing without a license, which was dismissed by the state on the technicality that he did not receive money. If Bailey lost “influence”, you cannot read it in the majority of comments on his book at Amazon. Too bad that white males should be compelled to think about what they are saying (see nearly-endless comments below).

AppSocRes June 17, 2014 at 10:24 am

It is a fundamental value of OUR culture that any human being — even one who sincerely believes that he is an elephant, wants to be treated as an elephant, and is willing to pay for surgical trunk and tail surgery — deserves to be treated with “respect”. But both you and I have left out the details of how “respect” should be defined in this instance.

Is it truly respect to treat delusional behavior as anything other than what it is? Isn’t this in a sense similar to the treatment of dwarfs in the old, Hapsburg, Spanish court, who were given an exceptional, but mocking deference? One is not doing delusional persons a favor by failing to address the misapprehensions that are distorting their lives.

Past, current, and on-going scientific research demonstrates that differences between those with an XX or an XY chromosome complement are present and operating at the sub-cellular level from the moment sperm and egg fuse and are an existential reality implicating even the organism’s most basic biological processes from then until death. It is possible that abnormal and/or pathological conditions may affect this. But this does not inevitably lead to the conclusion that no attempt should be made to correct the resulting physical and/or mental illness. To just encourage such a perversion of the underlying biological reality seems to me a great moral evil and one that fundamental disrespects the person whose pathology is being encouraged rather than ameliorated.

Zephyrus June 17, 2014 at 2:46 pm

A lot of essentialist assertions, on top of condescension and ignorance.

Your deep delusions about sex and gender are the result of a diseased mind. Your perversion is pathological, and your saying this is a great moral evil that needs to be ameliorated by whatever means possible.

(See, I can be just as respectful as you!)

Steve Sailer June 16, 2014 at 12:37 pm

The key question is: Who are the real victims? Are they the scientists Bailey and Blanchard whom McCloskey wanted to have crushed and even arrested for publishing a scientific theory McCloseky found inconvenient in private life.

Or is McCloskey automatically the victim due to McCloskey’s transgender status?

A decade ago, responsible opinion came down narrowly on the side of academic freedom. Today, with the Leninist philosophy that the essential question is always “Who? Whom?” riding high, it’s hard to imagine the principle of scientific freedom could withstand another such assault by the triumphant McCloskeys.

Zephyrus June 16, 2014 at 2:26 pm

You’re the only person trying to make this a question about McCloskey’s interactions with Bailey and Blanchard: it’s a small, marginal question that no one will care about in a decade. Or, to be honest, now.

The actual key question is: should trans individuals be treated with dignity and respect, or not?

Art Deco June 16, 2014 at 2:33 pm

‘Dignity and respect’ for what status or achievement? Can anyone get on this ‘dignity and respect’ gravy train?

Zephyrus June 16, 2014 at 2:37 pm

See, this is the key difference between you and Steve, Art.

Steve asks awkward, obnoxious questions and enjoys poking his finger into the eye of the PC establishment. But I doubt he ever denies that every person is worthy of dignity and respect.

You, on the other hand, amount to significantly less than a model of class.

ogunsiron June 16, 2014 at 5:27 pm

Zephyrus June 16, 2014 at 2:26 pm
You’re the only person trying to make this a question about McCloskey’s interactions with Bailey and Blanchard: it’s a small, marginal question that no one will care about in a decade. Or, to be honest, now.
—–
You don’t care much that several academics had their lives almost completely ruined for merely daring to publish work that irritated some other academics.

But you care a whole lot about someone like Art Deco not actually doing anything to ruin the lives of the lgbt but merely leaving comments expressing his annoyance at “all trans, all the time”.

Weird morality.

Steve Sailer June 16, 2014 at 5:45 pm

“You’re the only person trying to make this a question about McCloskey’s interactions with Bailey and Blanchard: it’s a small, marginal question that no one will care about in a decade. Or, to be honest, now. The actual key question is: should trans individuals be treated with dignity and respect, or not?”

I think the actual key question is whether scientists have freedom to investigate no matter what powerful groups feel.

Zephyrus June 16, 2014 at 5:47 pm

ogunsiron, you well know that Art Deco was doing a bit more than complaining about “all trans, all the time.” He called them “delusional,” “sickos,” “dysfunctional,” demeaned people in gay marriages as “roommates with a habit of sodomy,” and said that LGBT rights “are social fictions written into positive law in countries with a bad case of the stupids.”

But, I get it: you’re looking for some distraction, so you bring up McCloskey’s interactions with Bailey and Blanchard. Whatever–Bailey may have raped someone in the 90s, but you don’t see me bringing that up. Because who cares? It’s irrelevant to the question at hand.

The topic of this post is, should trans individuals be treated with dignity or respect, or not?

Answer that, and if the answer is yes tell me if you think he speaks of them with dignity and respect. Then we can start debating the price of tulips or moon landing hoaxes or whatever off-topic derail you’re interested in.

Art Deco June 16, 2014 at 6:49 pm

He called them “delusional,” “sickos,” “dysfunctional,” demeaned people in gay marriages as “roommates with a habit of sodomy,” and said that LGBT rights “are social fictions written into positive law in countries with a bad case of the stupids.”

Over a large run of remarks on various matters. However, I generally confine my pejoratives to no more than two per sentence. In the interests of precision, I said we need offer no deference to Donald McCloskey’s delusions and dysfunctions. He fancies he’s a female and he blew up his family life. Don’t know what other terms to use for that sort of behavior. Yes, I was dismissive of homosexual couplings; they’re not of importance to social relations outside of themselves and are often silly and unsanitary. And yes, I do not think one’s status as a sexual deviant confers upon one enforceable entitlements; whenever you say ‘rights’, it means a franchise to hire a lawyer and piss on someone else.

Zephyrus is incensed that I thumb my nose at his mascots; he cannot change the subject about it. And yet, I’m no one of consequence. (I am an affiliate of one or another subset of humanity that gets insulted routinely in public discourse, FWIW, not that there’s anything wrong with that).

Art Deco June 16, 2014 at 6:54 pm

The topic of this post is, should trans individuals be treated with dignity or respect, or not?

As property holders, or as citizens, or as vulnerable human beings in select circumstances? Yes. You’re all not asking for that for Dr. McCloskey or any of these other characters. You’re insisting other people put their stamp of approval on what these characters have done with their life. They’re not entitled to that. (While we are at it, neither you nor Dr. Rosser speak ex cathedra, your pretensions to the contrary).

Zephyrus June 16, 2014 at 6:54 pm

Art Deco, it’s impossible to have a real conversation about trans issues when a substantial minority of people have difficulty agreeing to the statement that “trans people are human beings worthy of dignity and respect.”

Once there’s a consensus on that, we can talk about whether one particular scholar who happens to be trans inappropriately attacked another scholar.

Art Deco June 16, 2014 at 7:14 pm

No, it is merely a challenge to have it on the territory you’d like to have it. Recall also the moderator’s proffered conception of how ‘regarded with dignity and respect’ might be delineated:

It’s that there are some very particular circles of humanity, revolving around transsexuality, cross-gender, and related notions, which deserve a culture of respect, above and beyond mere legal tolerance.

Not buying it. It’s not like you characters are even trying to sell it. We have here an elderly professor from one of the Virginia state colleges whose commentary is notable for a refusal to respond to a single contention or question bar references to ancillary matters not addressed to him. Not that he doesn’t have anything to say. Cannot help but note he has spent his life talking to students he can tell to shut up.

Zephyrus June 16, 2014 at 7:20 pm

The fact that you think that “transexuals are human beings worthy of dignity and respect” is my “territory” is an indictment of, well, you.

Steve Sailer June 16, 2014 at 7:59 pm

It’s seems like the absolute key question for those of us interested in the advance of the human sciences: can interested parties use their assertions of Victim Status to crush scientists?

Zephyrus June 16, 2014 at 8:16 pm

Steve, for someone who thinks that trans issues are irrelevant, you do seem to have a bit of a fixation on McCloskey’s interactions with Bailey and Blanchard.

For instance: on the past thread on Brat, you made 24 comments. Of those, 23 of them referenced McCloskey directly and didn’t touch on Brat at all. The one that didn’t was somewhat decontextualized non-sequitur, “Paging Brendan Eich…” Which, I’m guessing, is still in the vein of critiquing McCloskey, but decided to be generous and consider it not about her.

On this current one, 11/12 have been entirely about McCloskey, and only 1 vaguely addressed the topic of Tyler’s post before segueing back into McCloskey mode.

Hijacking a thread is one thing, but what improves effectiveness is if the topic is not a snore-fest.

Steve Sailer June 17, 2014 at 8:56 pm

“You’re the only person trying to make this a question about McCloskey’s interactions with Bailey and Blanchard: it’s a small, marginal question that no one will care about in a decade. Or, to be honest, now.”

That _is_ my concern: that these witch hunts of scientists will become noncontroversial and Just the Way Things Are. We certainly seem to be getting there …

AKAHorace June 16, 2014 at 4:22 pm

Steve, I am one of your fans, but you cannot blame the Lenin, Stalin or any of the Soviets for the current hysteria about transexual rights.

Those guys may have been ruthless mass murderers but they would never have involved themselves in anything so self evidently ridiculous.

BTW how long do you think it will take before “the Life of Brian” is considered hateful and triggering because it’s transphobic remarks ?

Sam Haysom June 16, 2014 at 7:43 pm

He’s not blaming Lenin he is using Lenin’s who/ whom maxim to demonstrate how ethics in out age is decided not appeals to objective standards of behavior but by who is doing what to whom. If a favored minority wants to act like a Stalinist commissar in order to (and this is very important) make the eventual reconciliation with his spurned family easier, then that’s ok.

Matt Flipago June 20, 2014 at 1:04 am

Yeah a lot of brain differences are actually very weak with a lot of overlap. They are more like weight. Sure women on average weigh less, but for most people, if you only their weight, you wouldn’t have a high chance of guessing their gender.

JK June 16, 2014 at 6:33 am

Speaking of cutting off dicks, I recommend “The final member” (2012), a fascinating documentary about an an icelandic collector of animal penises and his quest to complete his museum with a human specimen.

So Much for Subtlety June 16, 2014 at 6:38 am

I would stress a social point. If it turns out you are born “different” in these ways (I’m not even sure what are the right words to use to cover all the relevant cases), what is the chance that your social structure will be supportive? Or will you feel tortured, mocked, and out of place? Might you even face forced institutionalization, as McCloskey was threatened with?

Sorry but this is a false analogy. After all, people who institutionalized people like McCloskey were being supportive. They did, genuinely, think that some people were ill and they needed treatment. They needed to be cured. Those people did not think that because they were evil but because they were caring and trying to be supportive.

Which suggests that we should be very careful about what we say or do given it is entirely possible for one generation to think the previous generations’ compassion made them Nazis.

A simple question is how many teenagers have been miserable or even committed suicide or have had parts of their lives ruined because they were born different in these ways and did not find the right support structures early on or perhaps ever.

Roughly none I would say. This is part of the “self-harming” moral black mail of the some people – do what I say or I will hurt myself and it will be all your fault. There is very little evidence that teenagers are made miserable much less are committing suicide is large numbers because they are different. It is just a deeply held article of faith that gets people upset when it is questioned. Like the Virgin Birth used to.

And if you are mocking individuals for their differences in this regard, as some of you did in the comments thread,

Let us all agree it is wrong to mock people who suffer a terrible affliction. But isn’t this wanting to have it both ways? Transsexuality is not a terrible affliction, it is perfectly normal, but you all are evil for treating it as if it was a normal character flaw instead of some horrible disease beyond anyone’s control?

It’s not just the libertarian argument that you have — to put it bluntly — the “right to cut off your dick” (though you do).

But that is not the issue. We can all agree you have the right to cut off whatever body part you like. If you feel that you were born with too many legs, you have a perfect right to remove one of them. Although not if you live in California where the government will throw your doctor in jail. But in Scotland, you can get the amputation on the NHS. The question is whether you have a right to remove one and insist that everyone has to agree that you were always meant just to have one and that anyone who says otherwise ought to be fired. And if they question your mental health, jailed.

It’s that there are some very particular circles of humanity, revolving around transsexuality, cross-gender, and related notions, which deserve a culture of respect, above and beyond mere legal tolerance.

I am not sure what that means. However I think that cutting off your penis is not so different from being rude to transsexuals. People shouldn’t do it, it is not nice, but they have a right to do so if they like.

India is not the paradise for cross- and multiple-gender individuals that it is sometimes made out to be, but still we could learn a good deal from them on these issues.

You look at a country where strange fruit hangs from the trees and you think we have something to learn from them about gender?

So in the meantime should we not extend maximum tolerance for individuals whose lives are in some manner different?

By all means. As long as people like McCloskey stops trying to get people fired and thrown in jail for holding a scientific opinion McCloskey does not like. It has to be a two-way street. And there has been precious little tolerance or respect extended to anyone who diverges so much as a millimeter from the PC line on this subject.

But if we start with tolerance and acceptance, and encourage a culture of respect for transsexualism, we are more likely to come up with the right policy answers, and also to minimize the damage if in the meantime we cannot quite figure out when to do what.

That is not really what we are doing though. Nor is it likely to be true. If we are dealing with a form of body dysmorphia, and sex changes do not produce a great deal in the way of “cures”, then extending respect simply endorses the delusion. If someone thinks their leg is wrong and should go, you can cut one off, but it is unlikely to solve their problems because the leg is not the problem. If someone thinks they are a mushroom, you do not help them by insisting, on pain of being fired, that everyone acknowledges they are mushrooms.

No, people should not be treated rudely. But also no, we should not start by begging the question by basically prohibiting anyone taking any sort of contrarian stance to the orthodoxy.

Rich Berger June 16, 2014 at 7:01 am

This was a very weak post by Tyler and you have dissected it rather well.

Timmy June 16, 2014 at 8:48 am

Really? Most of SMFS’s post relies upon flimsy analogies and strange premises. Gender identity can be distinguished from the biological category. It doesn’t strain the brain to use one word for different purposes. The mushroom analogy is a non sequitur unless a mushroom similarly allows for multiple definitions along a similar vein.

Additionally, if a teenager kills himself, I do not automatically assume that he did so to elicit my sympathy. That is because I am not a narcissist. It seems like the rational response is to acknowledge that there are various potential causes for a given conclusion, rather than to jump to a manipulation narrative.

Did you also find SMFS’s “point” about India to be illuminating? India exhibits problems therefore they exhibit nothing positive. That logic would hold that America’s means that we have nothing to offer with respect to . It’s just a typical comment that may sound good in your head, but looks silly when written.

So Much for Subtlety June 16, 2014 at 7:00 pm

Timmy June 16, 2014 at 8:48 am

Really? Most of SMFS’s post relies upon flimsy analogies and strange premises.

That would be amusing if you showed any signs you understood anything I said. As you don’t, your judgement on this is questionable.

But let’s start with your strongest point:

Gender identity can be distinguished from the biological category.

No it can’t, or at least that is the issue at hand. We do not know. You are simply doing the usual thing and assuming what you need to be proving. Even if it was true, it does not follow that in these cases it is a correct distinction. You need to show that too. Gender-reassignment, as it is amusingly called, does not actually appear to help anyone. That should give you pause to re-think your basic premises.

It doesn’t strain the brain to use one word for different purposes.

No it doesn’t but it is also not the issue. It does stick in the craw to be forced to use words that you do not fundamentally agree with on pain of being bullied, fired or even jailed. That is the issue which you, of course, ignore completely. Fundamentally, whether someone has been made happier by cutting off his testicles is not the important issue. Whether someone like McCloskey has the right to have someone like Bailey jailed because he holds a scientific view McCloskey does not like is.

The mushroom analogy is a non sequitur unless a mushroom similarly allows for multiple definitions along a similar vein.

You simply have not understood the analogy.

Additionally, if a teenager kills himself, I do not automatically assume that he did so to elicit my sympathy. That is because I am not a narcissist.

Nor do I. Again you have failed to understand the point. We do not know if large numbers of Gay teens are killing themselves. The evidence seems to be that they are not. As I said. The point is that the Gay lobby uses the *claim* that Gay teens are killing themselves as a way of bullying everyone else into silence. Someone who says you have to do what I want or I will hurt myself is not actually hurting themselves.

It seems like the rational response is to acknowledge that there are various potential causes for a given conclusion, rather than to jump to a manipulation narrative.

As I did, and you did not.

Did you also find SMFS’s “point” about India to be illuminating? India exhibits problems therefore they exhibit nothing positive. That logic would hold that America’s means that we have nothing to offer with respect to . It’s just a typical comment that may sound good in your head, but looks silly when written.

FFS. This is pathetic. Seriously. Go back and read it again. The fact that India has trees full of young women who actually have killed themselves (and not just claimed it) means that we should be very careful when it comes to issues relating to those young women. Issues of gender for instance. Perhaps India has a lot to teach us about fractals and celestial mechanics. But they have nothing to teach us about tolerance and respect relating to gender issues.

As is perfectly obvious from what I said and which any halfway honest and competent reading of what I said would have shown.

Zephyrus June 16, 2014 at 7:17 pm

> Gender-reassignment, as it is amusingly called, does not actually appear to help anyone.

Just a factual correction: this is inaccurate, as transitioning improves health outcomes as compared to transgendered individuals who do not transition. Please refer to the relevant professional scientific societies:

American Psychological Association: “transgender and gender variant people frequently experience prejudice and discrimination and psychologists can, through their professional actions, address these problems at both an individual and a societal level… discrimination and prejudice against people based on their actual or perceived gender identity or expression detrimentally affects psychological, physical, social, and economic well-being… APA opposes all public and private discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived gender identity and expression and urges the repeal of discriminatory laws and policies…APA recognizes the efficacy, benefit and medical necessity of gender transition treatments for appropriately evaluated individuals and calls upon public and private insurers to cover these medically necessary treatments”
http://www.apa.org/about/policy/transgender.aspx

American Medical Association: “The American Medical Association opposes discrimination on the basis of gender identity… An established body of medical research demonstrates the effectiveness and medical necessity of mental health care, hormone therapy and sex reassignment surgery as forms of therapeutic treatment for many people diagnosed with GID… The denial of these otherwise covered benefits for patients suffering from GID represents discrimination based solely on a patient’s gender identity”
http://www.gires.org.uk/assets/Medpro-Assets/AMA122.pdf

> Fundamentally, whether someone has been made happier by cutting off his testicles is not the important issue. Whether someone like McCloskey has the right to have someone like Bailey jailed because he holds a scientific view McCloskey does not like is.

Are you insane? That is the topic of neither post, and it seems to be the diversion of choice.

The question that everyone needs to answer is, are transexuals human beings worthy of dignity and respect? The particularly behavior of one academics who happens to be trans a decade ago is more or less irrelevant. Maybe 3,023,781th on the list of relevant issues to discuss when analyzing trans*.

So Much for Subtlety June 17, 2014 at 3:37 am

I posted a lengthy reply to this but it either did not go through or was deleted for some other reason. So let me just re-state the important but utterly inoffensive point:

Just a factual correction: this is inaccurate, as transitioning improves health outcomes as compared to transgendered individuals who do not transition. Please refer to the relevant professional scientific societies

No it does not. Or at least the evidence is mixed. The British paper the Guardian commissioned the University of Birmingham to investigate this. They did a meta-study of over 100 studies. And found no benefit to gender reassignment. Here:

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2004/jul/30/health.mentalhealth

There is no conclusive evidence that sex change operations improve the lives of transsexuals, with many people remaining severely distressed and even suicidal after the operation, according to a medical review conducted exclusively for Guardian Weekend tomorrow.

The review of more than 100 international medical studies of post-operative transsexuals by the University of Birmingham’s aggressive research intelligence facility (Arif) found no robust scientific evidence that gender reassignment surgery is clinically effective.
….
Arif, which advises the NHS in the West Midlands about the evidence base of healthcare treatments, found that most of the medical research on gender reassignment was poorly designed, which skewed the results to suggest that sex change operations are beneficial.

So you keep insisting that reassignment works. But it appears not. Or at best for your case, the evidence is mixed. And the fact that some political bodies have been bullied, through threats of violence in some cases, to say otherwise changes nothing.

Zephyrus June 17, 2014 at 2:50 pm

Check out the date on your article. It’s over a decade old.

It’s true that the evidence in 2004 was relatively low quality. It shows very strong positive effects of gender-reassignment, but many people drop out, which definitely skews the results. However, they have radically improved since then, with most recent studies explicitly accounting for and tracking patients much more assiduously. They continue to show the positive results suggested by the initial studies.

You simply cannot wish away the considered opinions of the American Medical Association and (to a lesser extent) the APA, just because they conflict with your ideological preferences. If you disagree with them, refer to the studies they used and synthesized, instead of fabricating claims about death threats forcing the to adopt the resolution.

So Much for Subtlety June 17, 2014 at 5:46 pm

Zephyrus June 17, 2014 at 2:50 pm

Check out the date on your article. It’s over a decade old.

Indeed. But from two very left wing groups. If in 2004 they thought there was no evidence, there is no evidence.

It’s true that the evidence in 2004 was relatively low quality. It shows very strong positive effects of gender-reassignment, but many people drop out, which definitely skews the results.

I had a look at some of the studies you cited. They too worked with very low numbers of subjects. The few that I bothered to check also seemed to have high drop out rates. This seems to be a systemic problem that has not gone away. If someone in the Netherlands can only find 100 trans people to follow, either they are not trying very hard or a lot of people do not want to be studied.

Either way, there are no grounds to consider the finding in 2004 is wrong. Especially as most of the science done in this field is highly political.

You simply cannot wish away the considered opinions of the American Medical Association and (to a lesser extent) the APA, just because they conflict with your ideological preferences.

I agree. And I am not. I am pointing out that political bodies make political decisions. What you cannot do is point to the slow march of the bullies and soft Fascists through the institutions as proof of the Rightness of your point of view. It doesn’t work that way.

If you disagree with them, refer to the studies they used and synthesized, instead of fabricating claims about death threats forcing the to adopt the resolution.

Death threats is your claim – and a dishonest one at that. That Gay activists did use violence to force the APA to remove homosexuality from its lists of diseases is a documented historical fact. You can accept that or not. It won’t change the facts either way.

In the meantime we are stuck with you asserting what you know is not true – that the evidence shows conclusively that reassignment works. It best it is mixed – and you know it. At worst it fails to help. You know that too. You continue to assert otherwise.

Zephyrus June 17, 2014 at 6:15 pm

So, you continue raving about homosexual conspiracies to violently assault the AMA as a reason to dismiss its expertise and actual ability to conduct and think about the studies mentioned. Gotcha.

At least provide a reference to whatever insane site is propounding this theory, so it can be adequately refuted.

So Much for Subtlety June 17, 2014 at 6:39 pm

Zephyrus June 17, 2014 at 6:15 pm

So, you continue raving about homosexual conspiracies to violently assault the AMA as a reason to dismiss its expertise and actual ability to conduct and think about the studies mentioned. Gotcha.

You know Zeph, if I screwed up as much as you have in this thread, I would be trying to change the subject too. Although you should not misrepresent what I said – as you have twice now. That is petty and dishonest.

At least provide a reference to whatever insane site is propounding this theory, so it can be adequately refuted.

Umm, that would be Wikipedia for a start:

As described by Ronald Bayer, a psychiatrist and gay rights activist, specific protests by gay rights activists against the APA began in 1970, when the organization held its convention in San Francisco. The activists disrupted the conference by interrupting speakers and shouting down and ridiculing psychiatrists who viewed homosexuality as a mental disorder. In 1971, gay rights activist Frank Kameny worked with the Gay Liberation Front collective to demonstrate against the APA’s convention. At the 1971 conference, Kameny grabbed the microphone and yelled, “Psychiatry is the enemy incarnate. Psychiatry has waged a relentless war of extermination against us. You may take this as a declaration of war against you.”

They cite Ronald Bayer Homosexuality and American Psychiatry: The Politics of Diagnosis (1981).

It is a well documented – and well known – fact that the APA removed homosexuality from the DSM after threats and violence. Even though most members, when polled, said they viewed homosexuality as a mental disorder.

Zephyrus June 17, 2014 at 6:43 pm

Still waiting for that violence, dude.

And once you’ve gotten some random incident of that down, please show how it resulted in the APA removing homosexuality from the DSM.

So Much for Subtlety June 17, 2014 at 7:20 pm

Zephyrus June 17, 2014 at 6:43 pm

Still waiting for that violence, dude.

And once you’ve gotten some random incident of that down, please show how it resulted in the APA removing homosexuality from the DSM.

Seriously? You’re going with the “I don’t know what the big deal about the Cultural Revolution was” defense? You really do not see how a crowd of angry and violent protesters pushing elderly academics, shouting at them and issuing threats isn’t a problem?

Read the book dude.

Although physical violence at these sort of meetings was common in the 1970s. It is really a mark of pride. In the Social Sciences, you probably weren’t doing real science unless someone tried to assault you at a conference. Think of E. O. Wilson.

JSC June 16, 2014 at 7:49 am

“Roughly none I would say. This is part of the “self-harming” moral black mail of the some people”

Suicide is the second-leading cause of death among teens in the US. What’s your evidence that these suicides are randomly distributed across all teens and not disproportionately high among those who are born different and who lack support structures for their differences?

“Let us all agree it is wrong to mock people who suffer a terrible affliction.”

It’s wrong to mock people for plenty of things that aren’t terrible afflictions, like race and gender, and even things that aren’t terrible afflictions and which could be construed as choices made entirely of one’s free will, like one’s favorite color or one’s favorite font, because it’s wrong to decrease someone’s quality of life for a choice they make that has no impact on you.

Lee A. Arnold June 16, 2014 at 9:51 am

Too Much for Subtlety: “Roughly none I would say.”

Ignorant and stupid: the original combination in the meaning of “fatuous”, although that word does not include the degree of malignancy. You should be ashamed of yourself. You don’t even need statistics. Go out and talk to gay kids arriving homeless in big cities. Then imagine all the kids who did not escape what faced them. Don’t bother responding; it won’t be worth reading.

So Much for Subtlety June 16, 2014 at 7:04 pm

I am sorry you’re not going to read this Lee, but, you know, isn’t this proof of exactly what I said? You are not interested in the facts or the figures. You are not interested in a debate. You simply hold up as an example people you imagine are miserable and blame me for it?

Lee A. Arnold June 16, 2014 at 9:41 pm

The intellectual “objectivity” is unconvincing. This is bodily fear.

So Much for Subtlety June 17, 2014 at 3:39 am

So Lee, again, no substantive point. Just an attack on my mental health.

Interesting. But do you think this is going to help your argument?

Lee A. Arnold June 17, 2014 at 9:29 am

You made no argument to refute. I pointed to your ignorant and stupid assertion:

Tyler wrote, “A simple question is how many teenagers have been miserable or even committed suicide or have had parts of their lives ruined because they were born different in these ways and did not find the right support structures early on or perhaps ever.”

You wrote, “Roughly none I would say.”

So Much for Subtlety June 17, 2014 at 5:48 pm

Actually Lee that was an argument. As I have pointed out, there is no evidence of Gay teens killing themselves in large numbers. You have none. Zeph has none. No one has any.

That is an argument. And you continue to make content-free insult-rich replies.

Zephyrus June 17, 2014 at 6:22 pm

Content-free, insult rich replies? Says the guy who claims that gays are “soft Fascists” who used “violence” to “force the APA to remove homosexuality”? For someone claiming trans people are mentally ill, you certainly seem to need some treatment yourself.

Plenty of studies show that gay teens experience depression at a far higher rate than the general population; that they try to commit suicide more often; that they are subject to legal and economic discrimination more often. The AMA and APA both recognize that gay teens are at a higher risk of suicide than others; no matter how much you willfully try to distract and obsfuscate, that’s the simple reality. You don’t even bother to provide the skeleton of an argument of how a population at documented higher risk of suicide attempts, depression, violence, and discrimination wouldn’t also be at higher risk of suicide; you just choose one particular metric, implausibly pick a laughable argument, and declare victory.

That’s not how science works. If you can’t conduct it yourself, I advise you listen to professional societies like the AMA, who have actual experience in stats and epidemiology and who try to resolve tricky issues like “how do you measure suicide rates of gay teens when orientation isn’t listed on death certificates.”

Lee A. Arnold June 17, 2014 at 6:38 pm

Do not bother trying to wiggle out of this.

“large numbers” is NOT “roughly none”

“killing themselves” is NOT “miserable or even committed suicide or have had parts of their lives ruined”

You don’t think before you write. If some young gay person comes by here and reads what you write, he or she might believe that the fault is theirs. That makes what you have written here, not only fatuous, but malignant.

So Much for Subtlety June 17, 2014 at 6:48 pm

Zephyrus June 17, 2014 at 6:22 pm

Content-free, insult rich replies? Says the guy who claims that gays are “soft Fascists” who used “violence” to “force the APA to remove homosexuality”? For someone claiming trans people are mentally ill, you certainly seem to need some treatment yourself.

Why do you have such a compulsive need to lie about what I say? It is weird. You have such a strong case and the Zeitgeist is strongly on your side to the point you can be sure that virtually no one here supports me. And yet you still need to lie about what I said. I did not call Gays soft Fascists. Nor have I claimed trans people are mentally ill although I think it is highly likely so I can’t really complain about that.

And yes, Gay Rights groups used violence to force the APA to remove homosexuality from the DSM. They boast about it. Continue to deny the truth all you like, it is not going to go away.

Plenty of studies show that gay teens experience depression at a far higher rate than the general population; that they try to commit suicide more often; that they are subject to legal and economic discrimination more often.

Umm, no. Plenty of studies report people who later identify as Gay retrospectively report depression and attempts at suicide. As I said. A number of times already. That is not the same as Gay teens committing suicide more often. As it is hard to measure how many dead teens were Gay.

The AMA and APA both recognize that gay teens are at a higher risk of suicide than others; no matter how much you willfully try to distract and obsfuscate, that’s the simple reality.

A reality that I have reported. If you actually read what I said. But risk is a way of saying there is no evidence, but many people claim that they are killing themselves at a higher rate. Not that it matters as this is a political issue about which neither body can be honest.

Lee A. Arnold June 17, 2014 at 6:38 pm

Do not bother trying to wiggle out of this.

Wriggle out of what? Your insults? Your lack of substantive response? Your concern trolling? Bring it on.

“large numbers” is NOT “roughly none”

I agree.

“killing themselves” is NOT “miserable or even committed suicide or have had parts of their lives ruined”

I agree. You have a point?

You don’t think before you write. If some young gay person comes by here and reads what you write, he or she might believe that the fault is theirs. That makes what you have written here, not only fatuous, but malignant.

See? This is the sort of threats of self-harming I mean. Is there any evidence that anyone might read what I write and feel bad? No. Is there a good reason to think so? No. Does it matter if they did? No. But you are holding up specious threats of self-harm as a reason for me to keep quiet. It is lame.

Zephyrus June 17, 2014 at 6:53 pm

And yet you still provide to have a cite for gay activists using violence to force the AMA and APA to recognize that homosexuality is not an illness. No, protests in 1970 don’t count.

>Plenty of studies report people who later identify as Gay retrospectively report depression and attempts at suicide. As I said. A number of times already. That is not the same as Gay teens committing suicide more often.

Do you even listen to yourself?

So Much for Subtlety June 17, 2014 at 7:23 pm

Zephyrus June 17, 2014 at 6:53 pm

And yet you still provide to have a cite for gay activists using violence to force the AMA and APA to recognize that homosexuality is not an illness. No, protests in 1970 don’t count.

I did not claim the AMA did. Although I wouldn’t be surprised. The APA meeting is well documented. I have cited it and you are ignoring it. Not my problem.

Do you even listen to yourself?

You mean, are my claims narrow, tightly focused and nothing like the parody you want to believe despite all the evidence to the contrary? Why yes, I suppose I do.

Lee A. Arnold June 18, 2014 at 12:29 pm

Tyler Cowen wrote, “A simple question is how many teenagers have been miserable or even committed suicide or have had parts of their lives ruined because they were born different in these ways and did not find the right support structures early on or perhaps ever.”

You wrote, “Roughly none I would say.”

I wrote, that is ignorant, stupid.

You now “agree”, just above, that you were wrong. You bury that lede, because you don’t like to admit it, but there it is.

Yet instead of apologizing, NOW your excuse is that harm — self-harm, and harm from others — will not be inflicted upon someone, by what you write. AFTER YOU WROTE, far above, “we should be very careful about what we say or do.”

Because now, in pursuit of saving your face, we are to accept that those who are at risk on a “hot topic , or those concerned about friends or family at risk, do NOT read one of the top English-language economics blogs in the world to find good information about what is going on — and most especially when it is under the posted title, “From the Comments, More on LBGT as Deserving of Respect”.

You: “Is there any evidence that anyone might read what I write and feel bad? No. Is there a good reason to think so? No. Does it matter if they did? No.”

Speaks for itself, and, in a nutshell.

Yet somehow it is still important for you to tell us that THEY (who are not reading this) do not have the right to “insist that everyone has to agree”, because tolerance (Cowen) is really “not the issue” here (you, again). Instead, you are afraid that someone so values your opinion about their mental health that you will be jailed for questioning it.

Well I don’t think you are going to have to worry about that, though perhaps not for the reason you think.

Elsewhere, on the topic of who might read this, I would accept a clownish argument that most young kids who are in risky situations because of what others might do to them or what they might do to themselves — because of what they are, but are TOLD NOT TO BE — may not have the age or education or intellect enough to read this blog in their blind search for guidance or succor. I would grant that some of those kids don’t even have a computer, and some of them cannot read well, or are able to read well but do not choose to “consume” information in written symbolic forms, etc. And grant that sadly, some or indeed many of the at-risk kids are born into fundamentalist biblicist households where they may never get the chance to think, at all: they may never find out what is happening to them.

And I also well imagine that you think that the massive and repeated anecdotal evidence given to any of us who know people who are gay and learn of the sometimes frightening and horrifying circumstances they escaped from — if they deign to talk about it, at all — is simply invalid in lieu of whatever statistics you are promulgating or denying today.

That would be another bad set of explanations from you, and it would further demonstrate that you have no idea what people do in despair and anguish, and why it sometimes doesn’t show up in statistics, but it would, at least, have some nominal logic to it.

But then, it would still leave the question of what you think you are doing here. You wrote, “Roughly none I would say.” “I WOULD SAY”? To whom, exactly? To another disinterested and aimless dunce, just blathering nonsense into the ether, upon whatever topic happens to wander under your purview? Without any possible effect on the concerned parties, but it doesn’t matter if they were to claim otherwise? What?!!

So Much for Subtlety June 16, 2014 at 7:26 pm

JSC, why would I need to prove anything? I am not the one making the claim. And a very strong claim it is too. Requiring, it seems, massive social changes to rectify. Based on what? Not the evidence.

I do not need to prove that suicide is concentrated among Gay teens. I am not making the claim. I am pointing out we do not know. It is very hard to measure how many dead teens were actually Gay. They tend not to self-identify until later in life. What we have are claims that Gays are more likely to kill themselves. The people making those claims need to produce the evidence. Of which they have none.

It is not wrong to mock people for their own choices. It is wrong to mock people for the things they have no control over. So a color is fine – and people do. All the time. Otherwise Saturday Night Live would be out of business. As for this issue, actually it has a massive impact on everyone else’s life. Because apart from Middle American regularly being called bigots for being, well, White, male and Middle Class, the solution, it seems, is a massive public re-education campaign where everyone is forced to engage in public self-criticism and confess before re-canting. On pain of being bullied, fired and even jailed. That is a massive problem for those of us who do not think the Cultural Revolution was fun the first time around.

Zephyrus June 17, 2014 at 6:25 pm

Fact: gay teens are at a far higher risk of suicide attempts than pretty much every other demographic.

Fact: gay teens are at a far higher risk of depression than other teens.

Fact: gay teens have lower self-reported happiness levels than other teens.

Fact: gay teens are exposed to bullying and social exclusion more than other teens.

These are all well-documented facts; many people have provided likely estimates of teen suicide rates, which you are totally unwilling to engage with, because they contradict your radical ideology that labels gays as somehow defective.

But if you want to cover your ears and close your eyes and yell really loudly, we can’t stop you, so continue, Governor.

So Much for Subtlety June 17, 2014 at 6:51 pm

It is nice to see your newly discovered respect for the truth Zeph. But none of this is relevant. No one is denying any of this. That is not what TC said. That is not what I objected to.

And it is also likely not to be true. So much of this relies on self reporting it is probably not reliable anyway. But that is neither here nor there. You are just concern trolling again – and getting close to the threats of self harm I mentioned.

Zephyrus June 17, 2014 at 6:56 pm

You’ve concocted an absolutely ridiculous standard–pretty much requiring a gay teen to write their own formal death certificate, declare they’re gay, and mail it to the CDC before they commit suicide. Fine, whatever. But you’re obviously digging for any excuse at all to ignore the import of all these studies that directly contradict what you want to imply.

They’re solid. If your ideology can’t deal with that, maybe it’s reasons to drop it.

So Much for Subtlety June 17, 2014 at 7:26 pm

Zephyrus June 17, 2014 at 6:56 pm

You’ve concocted an absolutely ridiculous standard–pretty much requiring a gay teen to write their own formal death certificate, declare they’re gay, and mail it to the CDC before they commit suicide. Fine, whatever. But you’re obviously digging for any excuse at all to ignore the import of all these studies that directly contradict what you want to imply.

No, I am asking for evidence. I am not even doing that – I am pointing out the lack of evidence. People should not make claims that lack evidence. I don’t mind if you say it is probable that Gay teens commit suicide at a higher rate than non-Gay teens, but you cannot claim it as a fact.

I have even pointed out, several times, why we have no evidence.

They’re solid. If your ideology can’t deal with that, maybe it’s reasons to drop it.

Projection indeed.

Sarah June 16, 2014 at 8:04 am

I look like a woman. I have lived the majority of my adult life as a woman. I have a fairly good life. I know other people like me. I would say “sex changes”, as you call them, do help the lives of people. Do you have any experience of being trans?
The problem is that people like me are invisible. The trans women you notice are the 50+ year old ones who have lived their entire adult life as male, probably have a wife and kids, and as a result are a concentrate of all possible psychiatric illnesses, to the point that one can barely believe so many illnesses can coexist in the same person. It is understandable that people may have doubts on the efficacy of “sex changes” (that’s not a thing btw, there are a number of complementary procedures involved, not a single “sex change op”) and wonder whether we’re just people who need a lot of psychiatric treatment when all they see are the basket cases.
Unfortunately people, including those who make the laws, do not have much experience on the subject, and often end up passing laws that do a lot of harm. My country does not allow me to change my legal name or gender. As a result, not only my privacy is constantly violated (does my bank need to know about the circumstances of my birth? What about the cashier at the supermarket?) but I’m often accused of fraud as people do not believe my ID is actually mine (“I’m sorry ma’am, but you can’t travel with someone else’s card, I will have to fine you…”). Of course I no longer live in my country of birth, having relocated to somewhere where I could live my life in peace. Where I am now, people leave me alone, and I don’t see the society around me collapsing because of that, in fact they seem to do much better overall than my country of birth.

Rahul June 16, 2014 at 9:00 am

Great to hear from someone actually having lived through this. Not sure if this invades your privacy, but could we know what country turned out much better for you?

The Dude June 16, 2014 at 8:56 am

Reviews of youth suicide rates show higher incidences amongst LGBT. The CDC discusses a few studies regarding suicide attempts and reported bullying relative to the overall age cohort. A quick google search similarly supports the thesis that LGBT youth represent higher suicide risks. What study(ies) are you refering to when you say “There is very little evidence that teenagers are made miserable much less are committing suicide is large numbers because they are different.”?

Art Deco June 16, 2014 at 9:10 am

And therefore what? Homosexuality is correlated with one or another thing that leaves people distressed in their world, or the alienation incorporated within it is a source of distress. You cannot have a society where nobody is alienated to some degree. You can reconfigure the sources of recognition and value-scales (within some limits), but in doing that you alienate somebody else. The bourgeois population has a mass of people who fancy themselves the tribunes of homosexual men; the burden of their chatter is that their client group are a light unto the world and the antagonists of their client group are benighted and repulsive. The whole shtick is obtuse.

Rahul June 16, 2014 at 10:18 am

Why does reconfiguration have to be a zero sum game?

GiT June 16, 2014 at 1:12 pm

…because Art Deco is benighted and repulsive.

JSC June 16, 2014 at 2:12 pm

Are you afraid that if we tolerate LGBT individuals more that people will start killing themselves because they can’t say mean things to gay people?

Art Deco June 16, 2014 at 2:33 pm

No.

So Much for Subtlety June 16, 2014 at 7:11 pm

No they do not. Studies that come from advocacy groups claim higher rates. But not usually of suicide, but of suicide attempts. Especially if the teen comes from a high-conflict home. But that is not proof of anything. Of course teens who fight with their parents are going to claim they have attempted suicide.

Competent people usually say Gay teens are a higher risk. That is a way of saying that we are not sure. We know that Native American teenagers pose the highest risk of suicide. Because we can measure being Native American. It is much harder to measure Gayness in teens. Especially if the teen has died. We just don’t know.

There just isn’t a lot of evidence. But of course there are Interest Groups.

William Wright June 16, 2014 at 5:24 pm

Roughly none I would say.

I find that hard to believe. Even in my high school of about 650 students, there was one guy who died in a single-car crash who was suspected of doing it intentionally because he was different (though I’m not sure exactly how he was different).

So Much for Subtlety June 16, 2014 at 7:14 pm

Thank you William for that anecdote. Which proves my point exactly. Did he commit suicide? We do not know. Was he Gay? We do not know. But nonetheless you conclude that his gayness caused him to kill himself.

As I said, not a lot of evidence either way.

Matt Flipago June 20, 2014 at 1:08 am

Guessing more than none have committed suicide.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suicide_among_LGBT_youth

leftistconservative June 16, 2014 at 6:42 am

GAYS GAYS GAYS!!!!
24/7 24/7 24/7 24/7

GAYS GAYS GAYS!!!!
24/7 24/7 24/7 24/7

GAYS GAYS GAYS!!!!
24/7 24/7 24/7 24/7

gotta keep that activist focus on social issues that won’t hurt the wallets of the rich, and keep activist energies focused on ….

GAYS GAYS GAYS!!!!
24/7 24/7 24/7 24/7

GAYS GAYS GAYS!!!!
24/7 24/7 24/7 24/7

and that won’t hurt fat wallets at all….but it’s all just a coincidence…everything’s a coincidence…

anon June 16, 2014 at 8:55 am

+1

Just the squirrel du jour.

There is no particular group that deserves respect or special handling.

All human beings deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. That’s not PC crap, just basic Christian teaching.

Lee A. Arnold June 16, 2014 at 9:55 am

Exactly. Plus: Anyone who worries about the influence of LBGT must feel it in themselves: closet LBGT’s who feel it in themselves, and are in panicked self-denial. Because NOBODY ELSE GIVES A SHIT.

anon June 16, 2014 at 6:44 am

“HELPED are those who love and actively support the diversity of life; they shall be secure in their differentness.” http://www.fantasymaps.com/stuff/shug.html

The Anti-Gnostic June 16, 2014 at 6:48 am

It’s not just the libertarian argument that you have — to put it bluntly — the “right to cut off your dick” (though you do). It’s that there are some very particular circles of humanity, revolving around transsexuality, cross-gender, and related notions, which deserve a culture of respect, above and beyond mere legal tolerance.

Why do they deserve it, other than your personal moral sense? This is such a marginal group we’re talking about. I can’t think of a single biological or economic benefit for accommodating such behavior. Immigration and, apparently, transsexuality are the two areas where gimlet-eyed economists become handwringing Kantians.

Elite pronouncements on sexual deviancy are frankly just pure hot air. And sexual deviancy in general can only ever carve out a niche in the normative, heterosexual society from which it must recruit.

Axa June 16, 2014 at 7:15 am

If Jonathan Swift were alive I’m sure the Modest Proposal would be about LGBT ;) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Modest_Proposal

The marginal group accounts for 3.5% of population. To get an idea what this % means, this summer in a 777 crossing the Atlantic you’ll have at least 14 LGBT people. If you consider the average disposable income of the marginal group is higher……..you can write a letter to United or Delta that it makes no economic sense to accommodate such aberrant behavior.

P June 16, 2014 at 7:20 am

“If you consider the average disposable income of the marginal group is higher”

Is that actually the case?

Dave Anthony June 16, 2014 at 8:35 am

No… well probably not. There was a recent freakonomics podcast about this and there is a stereo type of DINK gays living in the city in their swag condos, but the problem is how many gays lie on surveys and aren’t actually identified when they try and do these studies. The better off ones are more likely to be honest. 3.5% is actually a low estimate, and it is possibly as high as 8% but lots of people choose to live a life in the majority rather than suffer being marginalized by their sexuality their whole lives.

Matt Flipago June 20, 2014 at 1:14 am

Well the bi population is a big swing vote and the number could be higher than 8%.Kinsey had the exclusively gay population(not bi) at 10%, I think that numbers too high.

The other issue with gays, is they tend to have higher education, but actually lower income per education on average. This could also be an issue that many gays are/were afraid of STEM fields.

The Anti-Gnostic June 16, 2014 at 7:27 am

Transgenders are .3% of the population. And I can’t think of a social benefit to accommodating sodomy either. You may have heard about this expensive epidemic that started shortly after we told homosexual men they were free to do what they wanted.

Axa June 16, 2014 at 8:59 am

If cold pink dollars are not attractive enough, that’s perfectly fine. You have other passions. Some people is disgusted by blood, no one is forced to be a surgeon. Some people is disgusted by money, not everyone has to be a banker or work in a gays-only cruise. Don’t worry, you are not forced to make business with them, just don’t get in the way of the people who do want.

Pensans June 16, 2014 at 9:11 am

What free country do you live in? In the U.S., we are forced to do business with homosexuals.

GiT June 16, 2014 at 1:13 pm

And black people too! The horror!

Zephyrus June 16, 2014 at 1:24 pm

And women! And black gay women!

Everyone except the poors, it’s terrible.

The Dude June 16, 2014 at 9:04 am

That argument seems to permit the selective use of slavery when it can benefit the existing society. Separately, one of the less coherent views about non-heterosexual behavior (not necessarily your view) is that heterosexuality, and only heterosexuality, can logically improve birthing outcomes. It’s strange that in this age of complexity theory and emergence that people still think in linear step 1 step 2 processes.

The Anti-Gnostic June 16, 2014 at 9:23 am

On the one hand you’ve got the speculative musings of fringe groups in a relativistic culture that is slowly going extinct. On the other, you’ve got a million years of biological evolution. Want to guess who gets to show up for the future?

Steve J June 16, 2014 at 10:51 am

Anti-Gnostic – sorry I must be dense but are you saying you don’t think homosexuality evolved?

Urstoff June 16, 2014 at 9:51 am

I guess there’s no need to respect individuals when you can arbitrarily paint them as deviants and sodomites.

Tracy W June 16, 2014 at 9:35 am

you can write a letter to United or Delta that it makes no economic sense to accommodate such aberrant behavior.

Having travelled on a number of commercial 777s, I don’t think they accommodate much behaviour at all, regardless of the gender combinations involved. Maybe 1st class is different.

Lee A. Arnold June 16, 2014 at 9:57 am

The Anti-Gnostic: “Why do they deserve it, other than your personal moral sense?”

Since your name means “anti-knowledge”, I suppose you pose these questions a lot. The answer is, “Why do they need to deserve it, OTHER THAN moral sense?”

Mr. Econotarian June 16, 2014 at 1:47 pm

“This is such a marginal group we’re talking about. I can’t think of a single biological or economic benefit for accommodating such behavior.”

Transexual Lana Wachowski was a producer of “The Matrix” ($462M worldwide gross), “The Matrix Reloaded” ($742M) , and “The Matrix Revolutions” ($427M).

How many hundreds of millions of dollars have you generated for the economy?

Art Deco June 16, 2014 at 1:54 pm

You mean whatsit required surgery and hormonal treatments before she could do anything creative?

Lee A. Arnold June 17, 2014 at 11:03 am

And there it is! Just in case any fair-mined person reading through this thread needs any indication of the true level of this so-called debate.

Tarrou June 16, 2014 at 6:48 am

How about some maximum tolerance for people who use scientifically correct, but socially unacceptable personal pronouns? I personally am happy to refer to anyone by whatever pronoun they prefer. What rankles is being told that if I do not, I am somehow morally inferior. Threats do not bespeak a confident ideology.

handle June 16, 2014 at 6:56 am

Are you now, or have you ever been, a bionormative misgenderer?

Tarrou June 16, 2014 at 7:23 am

No, I’m a polyaromatic cisvegetarian double-plus cultural oppressor.

Sarah June 16, 2014 at 7:41 am

Scientifically correct pronouns? You sure know how languages works…
So if someone managed to upload your mind into a computer and destroyed your body you’d become a “it”?

Sarah June 16, 2014 at 8:10 am

Also, there are people who have XY chromosomes and are considered female by everyone, including the law, and have been considered as such since the dawn of times. They are born as female, they live as female, they die as female, and until recently no-one had any idea that there was something “different” about them.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Complete_androgen_insensitivity_syndrome

Sex is much more complex than just XY. And language developed before we had any concept of chromosomes, hormones or genes.

Sonysunshine June 18, 2014 at 10:27 am

Behavior is also much more complex. Transgender supporters think that individual preferences for male or female activities and outward behavior trump biology. If I want to wear dresses, I must have a girl brain. If I like trucks, I have a boy brain. We are back to the female-, Jewish-, Italian-, etc.- innate behaviors. Great. I see nothing positive about society being encouraged to embrace the opposite of diversity — placing people into categories based on cartoon-ish stereotypes.

Sarah July 1, 2014 at 4:36 pm

But they don’t.
I’m a transgender woman and I’m a lesbian and I dress pretty much like a man (trousers, trainers, never wear any makeup, hair is long but always in a ponytail).
You’ll find interests such as computer science are quite common among trans women.
In fact one obstacle trans people often encounter is that the psychologists that we are required to see to access treatment often deny it based on gender stereotypes. Trans people are fighting this!

Randy M June 17, 2014 at 1:53 pm

More like a “was”.

Zephyrus June 16, 2014 at 11:27 am

On the contrary, it seems that the anti-transgender folks are the ones who feel vulnerable about their ideology: if they weren’t, they’d be much less prickly about it when someone calls them out for their purposed disregard for others’ preferred name and pronoun.

ladderff June 16, 2014 at 1:22 pm

Unless it involves pistols or sabres, ‘calling people out’ is gay.

What you mean by call out: obnoxiously declare all but one position on a given issue inherently illegitimate, then pat yourself on the back for avoiding both personal risk (from actually calling someone out) and mental effort (from arguing in good faith).

You’re a whiny bitch.

Zephyrus June 16, 2014 at 1:32 pm

For someone who’s a “gay whiny bitch,” some of you are certainly being driven into a state of apoplexy.

Don’t insult people. Respect them. Regardless of if they’re gay, trans, or straight. That’s all you need to do. Once we’re past that, you’d be surprised how amendable I am to arguments that McCloskey engaged in an unfair academic witchhunt, or that it’s wrong to transition young children.

Dr. Stephen J. Krune III June 16, 2014 at 4:29 pm

no one cares what your opinion is about anything, hysterical nerd

Zephyrus June 16, 2014 at 5:11 pm

And yet, I somehow drive you and ladderff to spittle-flecked indignation.

I would pat myself on the back, but in reality I know it’s not about me: it’s about the topic of trans individuals. Something sets you guys off about them. What does that is an interesting question, and the intersection of gender and the gender-inflected insults says a lot about possible causes.

Dr. Stephen J. Krune III June 30, 2014 at 2:33 am

you’re mentally ill

GiT June 16, 2014 at 1:21 pm

Oh man, “scientifically correct pronouns.” This repeated appeal to scientism is hilarious. Every reactionary social-con seems to have to say this at one point: I’m just being scientifically accurate! This is really about the *truth* of natural scientific kinds. (Of course, conventionalism here is much more plausible). It’s time to get over the scholastic great chain of being divine order nonsense. Sad to say science doesn’t just confirm your prejudices.

Tarrou June 17, 2014 at 7:21 am

Social con! Lulz! Let me give you the short sample of my social conservatism. Pro drug legalization (not just pot), prostitution, gay rights, pornography. Socially conservative enough for ya? Oh, and I’m an atheist and a scientist, so what the hell is “divine order”?. If all that makes me a “reactionary social-con”, you must be so far left you can’t even SEE Lenin any more.

Zephyrus June 17, 2014 at 2:54 pm

The idea that a pronoun can be “scientifically correct” is the height of silliness. It’s a category error. You might as well say “this is scientifically a piece of modernist architecture” or “this is scientifically a good blog.”

It amounts to putting an empirical patina on begging the question.

GiT June 18, 2014 at 12:34 pm

Social cons love to make the assertion but it’s not limited to them. It’s proper to a particular naive understanding of scientific categorization held by folks of all persuasions. Zephyr us has gestures towards the problem.

chip June 16, 2014 at 6:58 am

In my hometown of Vancouver the biggest issue in the schools – apart from the teachers striking again – is whether to let transgendered males use the girls bathroom.

Is it intolerant to let a male who self-declares as a woman use a bathroom in which most of the girls would be decidedly uncomfortable? Or is it intolerant of the transgendered male to impose himself/herself on the girls when he/she could have used the male bathroom without anyone the wiser.

Generally I agree with Tyler that we need to always be broadening our tolerance for others as society changes, but there seems to be a propensity today to hyper-sensitize feelings about sex, gender and race. The goal is often less being able to live freely, than to impose acceptance even if it has no real effect on your life.

If someone doesn’t want to take photos of your gay wedding, move on, just as an oil company would presumably move on if a Greenpeace member refused to photograph their shareholder meeting.

While discrimination is of course a problem,

Brian Donohue June 16, 2014 at 6:59 am

“Current attitudes toward transsexuals and other related groups remain a great shame.”

My dad was born abnormal. He was left-handed, and the nuns fixed him. This was 75 years ago. My left-handedness was left blessedly alone.

Your expectations for people and the pace of social change and your moral posturing around the same are ridiculous. As recently as 2008, the sitting President of the United States came out foursquare against gay marriage. What.a.caveman.

The pace of social change is in fact breathtaking.

The Simpson’s covered this way back in 1996: “Troy, are you gay?” “Gay? I wish!”

Also, I’m not a fan of victimology and the mind-boggling multiplication of victim groups we have seen. Life’s a struggle, for all of us. Deal.

Jon Rodney June 16, 2014 at 8:51 am

I’m not sure what you’re trying to argue here. Your dad was left-handed, so we shouldn’t try to have any empathy for people who are different from us? Do you realize how incoherent that sounds?

anon June 16, 2014 at 8:56 am

-1

Brian Donohue June 16, 2014 at 9:25 am

I agree that your rendering of my easy-to-understand comment is incoherent. Let me help:

We’ve come a long way in an historical blink of an eye. And the faster we move, the louder the howls of “Shame on You” become.

Yancey Ward June 16, 2014 at 9:38 am

+1000

Jan June 16, 2014 at 10:02 am

And yet the Stonewall riots happened 45 years ago. The social change has been very slow indeed. It is the pace of the policy change to follow the social change that has been relatively quick.

If you feel shame, you feel it because something inside you knows there is reason to–not because someone you don’t agree with tells you to. If you do not feel shame, that’s true conviction of one’s beliefs. On this topic, which one is it for most people?

Brian Donohue June 16, 2014 at 10:37 am

Two anecdotes:

1. My cousin, in the 1970s, started showing up to Christmas with his “friend”. This went one for ten years before it occurred to anyone in my immediate family that he might be gay. Forty years later, this sort of naivete is unimaginable but it was quite common then.

2. Another cousin visited my (old school Catholic Democrat, socially conservative) mom a few years ago and was very nervous about the reception of her “coming out” announcement and introducing her partner Louise. Upon hearing the news, my mom’s sounded a note of disappointment, because Louise wasn’t even a little bit Irish.

Art Deco June 16, 2014 at 11:53 am

You might call it ‘naive’, although that doesn’t quite capture it. That sort of thing was exotic or off-stage and not taking up much space in people’s heads.

I was a member of a local liberal advocacy group ca. 1987 and the amount of time we spent discussing the gay lobby’s wish list was nil, in spite of the public health problems at that time and in spite of the … interesting personal history of one of our peripheral members. Not a priority at that time.

Urso June 16, 2014 at 5:11 pm

“And yet the Stonewall riots happened 45 years ago. The social change has been very slow indeed.”
So, in the US, we’ve gone from literally killing homosexuals for no reason whatsoever to the current status in *a single generation.* That strikes you as a “very slow” pace of change? That’s remarkable, astoundingly fast for a social shift of this magnitude.

LCD June 16, 2014 at 5:56 pm

Re the first anecdote — I think this speaks more to the stupidity of the shanty Irish than the general naivety of the American population.

Brian Donohue June 16, 2014 at 6:24 pm

LCD,

You may be right. What are you- an inbred chinless Limey fop or one of them lace curtain Irish going and getting all above himself? I mean, who spells naiveté with a ‘y’ other than an illiterate poseur or decrepit Brit?

Randy M June 17, 2014 at 2:01 pm

I think you are confusing guilt and shame. Shame is social and subjective, guilt is objective.

Lee A. Arnold June 16, 2014 at 10:07 am

They aren’t any louder than they used to be. Maybe ou just don’t like where the howls are coming from.

derek June 16, 2014 at 10:32 am

An eternity ago the current president stated publicly that he didn’t support gay marriage. How long ago is that? Not even 6 years. Now people are hounded out of their job and business for holding opinions that got Obama elected to his first term.

So did he hate then? I’m confused.

Lee A. Arnold June 16, 2014 at 11:01 am

No, the President is a politician. If this confuses you, we may have a problem here.

Jon Rodney June 16, 2014 at 11:48 am

We have come a long way … and that seems pretty irrelevant to me in the context of discussing whether we should be tolerant of social diversity in general (and of transgender culture specifically).

If more people are joining in a chorus of “shame on you” when they encounter intolerance and bigotry, that is a *good* thing. That is the best way to change social norms non-coercively. I’d suggest our sympathies belong less with the people who are being shamed into tolerance and more with the historical targets of social and institutional persecution. Of course I’m assuming that it would be a positive thing for the default social reaction to non-conforming behavior to be curiousity and respect rather than mockery and hatred. Perhaps you disagree?

Brian Donohue June 16, 2014 at 12:20 pm

“I’m assuming that it would be a positive thing for the default social reaction to non-conforming behavior to be curiosity and respect rather than mockery and hatred. Perhaps you disagree?”

I think “default social reaction to non-conforming behavior” is generally negative. By definition, a “default” is not a choice, and the negative reaction to non-conformity is part of how most humans are wired. I don’t know this, and you may believe the opposite, but I think the balance of evidence here is with me, and “blank slaters” with the best of intentions have inflicted lots of horrors on humanity.

Which is not to say there is no hope. The march of civilization can be seen, in part, as an effort to overcome or otherwise minimize some of the less attractive aspects of hard-wired human behavior.

Of course, there is disagreement about what constitutes the “less attractive aspects of human behavior”, and these views change over time.

But yes, generally, approaching new phenomena with an air of curiosity rather than hatred and mockery is, I think, a laudable goal. I try to do this myself, and I think I’m largely successful.

But perhaps some people have difficulty overcoming these biases. For these alone, apparently, shaming, mockery, and hatred are the order of the day, according to some.

Jon Rodney June 16, 2014 at 1:39 pm

I guess I’m more optimistic than you about this aspect of human nature. I think a lot of the angry reactions we see to non-conformity are socialized rather than hard-wired behaviors. Or possibly it’s just that the definition of what constitutes conforming behavior is socialized … it’s hard to separate the two cases.

At any rate, I agree that some people will have a harder time than others with social change, if only because their formative years were during a time when the range of socially acceptable behavior was much narrower. I do have sympathy for that, and I don’t advocate hatred or mockery of anyone. I do advocate calling people out when they feel the need to express bigoted views publicly, and trying to engage them in debate.

Art Deco June 16, 2014 at 1:52 pm

At any rate, I agree that some people will have a harder time than others with social change,

No, they just recognize that ‘change’ and ‘reform’ are not identified.

if only because their formative years were during a time when the range of socially acceptable behavior was much narrower.

Or, rather, the range of socially acceptable behavior did not assign a hypertrophied value to sexual kinks, self-expression, or whimsies.

Jon Rodney June 16, 2014 at 2:08 pm

@Art Deco: I once read somewhere that we should judge not lest we be judged ourselves … that sounded wise to me.

Art Deco June 16, 2014 at 2:30 pm

‘Fraid we’re all evaluated all the time. There is no common life without some common standards.

Jon Rodney June 16, 2014 at 3:46 pm

There have to be some kind of common standards so that we can function peacefully as a community. Those standards mostly have to do with enforcing nonviolence and fair play, such that the community will punish murderers, thieves, etc. Beyond that, when you decide to sit in judgement of behaviors that have no adverse effects on other people in the community, you’re just indulging the unfortunate human impulse to diminish the worth of people around you.

GiT June 16, 2014 at 1:27 pm

Or the louder the howls of shame on you become, the faster we move, in the short/medium run.

Brian Donohue June 16, 2014 at 1:43 pm

Indeed, a dollop of deluded self-congratulation to round out the moral superiority. The tales we tell ourselves!

And I understand that your shame blunderbuss is firing at random, but what specific howls of shame are you directing at me that advance your preening and my edification?

GiT June 16, 2014 at 2:14 pm

The claim is simple: disapprobation is internally related to the reduction in behaviors targeted by disapprobation. Do you disagree?

Brian Donohue June 16, 2014 at 2:27 pm

OK, I’ll bite:

For X = 1 to 1,000,000,000,000,000

Print “We disapprove of GiT’s views and insist that he stop advancing them.”

Next X

Let’s see how this plays out.

GiT June 16, 2014 at 2:56 pm
Doug June 16, 2014 at 7:02 am

There exists a real tradeoff between being transgendered tolerant and wrongly misidentifying kids, treating them as the wrong gender and causing real psychological harm. What percent of the population are genuine transgendered, where their brains really are wired to be female when they’re male? Maybe 1 out of 10,000? Well the problem is the human mind isn’t equipped to reasons at p-values this small because of the availability heuristic and the base rate fallacy.

Being more “trans-tolerant” essentially boils down to training teachers, social workers and school administrators to identify trans-gendered children and socially treating them like a member of the opposite gender (wearing dresses, using the girl bathroom, maybe even hormone therapy). Once a school counselor goes to a diversity session, which boil down to a long list of ambitious symptoms, his easily fooled monkey brains will start seeing the signs in 1% or more of his students. It’s the same reason so many people think they have Ebola after reading WebMD. For every one transgendered kid receiving the appropriate social support, you’ll have a hundred kids who will be f*cked up and humiliated among their peers for lack of a better term

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Base_rate_fallacy
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Availability_heuristic

The Anti-Gnostic June 16, 2014 at 7:10 am

I see a lot of problems with cultural Marxist bureaucrats shepherding the nascent sexuality of hormone-addled pubescents. I remember old, homosexual Gene Robinson talking on NPR about his recruit depot center for “questioning teens.”

Lee A. Arnold June 16, 2014 at 10:34 am

The Anti-Gnostic: “I see a lot of problems with cultural Marxist bureaucrats…”

I see even more problems with free-market no-nothings who don’t understand institutional cost-reduction as one-half of economic growth.

Steve Johnson June 19, 2014 at 12:34 am

Meet your new allies Tyler.

When they rip out your intestines and eat your guts you’ll have richly deserved it for trying to pander to them in hopes for one more minute in the NY Times.

Lee A. Arnold June 20, 2014 at 11:20 am

Oh for heaven sakes. Tyler Cowen is much further along in understanding Coase and the new institutionalists than you.

Beliavsky June 16, 2014 at 8:39 am

Your concerns about wrongly misidentifying children is well-founded. From a recent WSJ op-ed “Transgender Surgery Isn’t the Solution” by Paul McHugh:

‘You won’t hear it from those championing transgender equality, but controlled and follow-up studies reveal fundamental problems with this movement. When children who reported transgender feelings were tracked without medical or surgical treatment at both Vanderbilt University and London’s Portman Clinic, 70%-80% of them spontaneously lost those feelings. Some 25% did have persisting feelings; what differentiates those individuals remains to be discerned.

We at Johns Hopkins University—which in the 1960s was the first American medical center to venture into “sex-reassignment surgery”—launched a study in the 1970s comparing the outcomes of transgendered people who had the surgery with the outcomes of those who did not. Most of the surgically treated patients described themselves as “satisfied” by the results, but their subsequent psycho-social adjustments were no better than those who didn’t have the surgery. And so at Hopkins we stopped doing sex-reassignment surgery, since producing a “satisfied” but still troubled patient seemed an inadequate reason for surgically amputating normal organs.’

Yancey Ward June 16, 2014 at 9:40 am

Did it really take this many comments for this study to be pointed to?

Lee A. Arnold June 16, 2014 at 10:13 am

How did the researchers find out that the kids “spontaneously” lost those feelings? I am sure that many do — but how did the researchers find out? Because if the kids were ASKED by the researchers, that it not “spontaneous”.

Zephyrus June 16, 2014 at 11:01 am

Perhaps because he’s a deeply ideological octogenarian?

How about we turn to scientific societies instead of, you know, a rag that until recently was saying that gays need reparative therapy?

American Psychological Association:
“transgender and gender variant people frequently experience prejudice and discrimination and psychologists can, through their professional actions, address these problems at both an individual and a societal level… discrimination and prejudice against people based on their actual or perceived gender identity or expression detrimentally affects psychological, physical, social, and economic well-being… APA opposes all public and private discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived gender identity and expression and urges the repeal of discriminatory laws and policies…APA recognizes the efficacy, benefit and medical necessity of gender transition treatments for appropriately evaluated individuals and calls upon public and private insurers to cover these medically necessary treatments”

http://www.apa.org/about/policy/transgender.aspx

American Medical Association:
“The American Medical Association opposes discrimination on the basis of gender identity… An established body of medical research demonstrates the effectiveness and medical necessity of mental health care, hormone therapy and sex reassignment surgery as forms of therapeutic treatment for many people diagnosed with GID… The denial of these otherwise covered benefits for patients suffering from GID represents discrimination based solely on a patient’s gender identity”

http://www.gires.org.uk/assets/Medpro-Assets/AMA122.pdf

candid_observer June 16, 2014 at 1:36 pm

Because, as we know, neither the APA nor the AMA is ever influenced by activists with an agenda, and hew only to what science dictates.

Zephyrus June 16, 2014 at 1:51 pm

candid_observer, veering into arationalism and Lysenkoism.

The parent, I’ll remind you, brought up the WSJ. Are you really trying to conjure up a vision of staid empiricists of the WSJ battling the ideological radicals at the APA and AMA?

candid_observer June 16, 2014 at 2:00 pm

Do you have anything in your repetoire besides name calling?

Look, the article from the WSJ cite studies. Are you denying that those studies exist, or that they came to results claimed?

And excuse me if I don’t accept the pronouncements of the AMA and APA — organizations that are as much susceptible to political pressure as any other organization — as definitive on these points. It isn’t as if the underlying science regarding these issues has changed materially — so why has the position of these organizations on these points changed so much? Answer: because of prevailing direction of the political winds.

Zephyrus June 16, 2014 at 2:12 pm

I find it hilarious that you’re citing an op-ed at the WSJ as the oracle of all depoliticized knowledge, and attacking the AMA and the APA as blind tools of evil activists.

He cited two studies: one that he himself conducted in the 1970s, and one from 2011 that doesn’t claim what the author claims it does (it concludes “Even though surgery and hormonal therapy alleviates gender dysphoria, it is apparently not sufficient to remedy the high rates of morbidity and mortality found among transsexual persons,” which is entirely mischaracterized by McHugh’s octogenarian reasoning).

If that and angry Republican tirades are your evidence for writing off the considered opinion of scientific organizations…

candid_observer June 16, 2014 at 2:27 pm

There you go again, Zephyrus, with the name calling. Do you ever, ever stop?

The author of the WSJ article, as well as his studies, can be dismissed because he’s in his 80s, even though he is “University Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry” at Johns Hopkins?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_R._McHugh

Do you have any idea how cracked this sounds to those not already cheerleading this cause?

As I said, the underlying science of these issues has little changed since the time when the APA and AMA took a very different view on transgender issues, with a number of the very articles you cite going back well over a decade or even two — how, apart from politics, might their position so much have changed?

Should we dismiss the articles you cite if we can find that the authors are by ideology aligned to the transgender causes?

The precise problem I was pointing to was that we can never expect, especially at this point, to have studies of these issues that do not reflect an ideological agenda — which is likely true for both sides.

You cite studies that would seem to show one thing; McHugh cites studies that show something quite different. How will these two contrasting alternatives ever be resolved?

Not by listening to hysterical denunciations like your own.

Zephyrus June 16, 2014 at 2:45 pm

“activists with an agenda” “hysterical” “cracked” “cheerleading the cause”

And somehow I’m the name-caller, because I said I found equating the WSJ and the APA/AMA hilarious?

Substantively: you cannot simply equate a one-off op-ed in the WSJ and a study from the Seventies with the current considered opinion of the APA and AMA and dozens of studies. It amounts to throwing your hands in the air and saying “no one knows anything, therefore I’m just going to go with my prejudices,” and call it a day.

And, yes, that’s almost definitional of arationalism.

candid_observer June 16, 2014 at 1:44 pm

If one really had sympathy for those with transgender issues, a careful, impartial scientific study of outcomes both for children with transgender feelings and with adults who undergo transgender treatments, would be paramount.

But of course we will never be allowed to see the results of such studies unless they come to acceptable conclusions.

My guess is that at least a substantial proportion of those who undergo these treatments are people whose problems go a lot deeper than gender dysmorphia — and I expect that that problem might only get worse as some of those with deep problems come to see gender dysmorphia as the diagnosis that might rescue them from their misery.

I could be wrong, of course — but how will anyone ever be allowed to answer these questions honestly from a scientific point of view?

Zephyrus June 16, 2014 at 1:53 pm

Those studies exist. They were linked to in the comment you yourself responded to above. Do you bother to think before mouthing off?

De Cuypere et al., 2005; Kuiper & Cohen-Kettenis, 1988; Lundstrom, et al., 1984; Newfield, et al., 2006; Pfafflin & Junge, 1998; Rehman et al., 1999; Ross & Need, 1989; Smith et al., 2005

candid_observer June 16, 2014 at 2:02 pm

Are you denying that the studies referred to in the WSJ article exist?

Zephyrus June 16, 2014 at 2:19 pm

He mentions two studies: one that he conducted in his forties during the 1970s, and another that he’s entirely mischaracterized (and cleverly fails to provide a cite for, in the hopes that no one would bother to look at it).

Are you claiming that an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal trumps the collective considered opinion from dozens of studies?

GiT June 18, 2014 at 12:39 pm

…if one really had sympathy for those with transgendered issues, one would pathologies them and treat them as the manifestation of an underlying mental illness. Yes, very “sympathetic”.

anon June 16, 2014 at 9:49 am

Once a school counselor goes to a diversity session, which boil down to a long list of ambitious symptoms, his easily fooled monkey brains will start seeing the signs in 1% or more of his students.

“I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.”

Thankfully, my youngest child (graduated from college this year) escaped public high school with her soul and mind intact, not bedeviled by having only one tool in the toolbox.

GiT June 16, 2014 at 1:29 pm

Or maybe you could just stop forcing socially constructed gender identities onto children. Oh wait, it’s naturally determined who ought to wear skirts and play with toy cars. Wouldn’t want to mess that up.

Rich Berger June 16, 2014 at 7:05 am

OTOH, I have to congratulate Tyler for finding a non-Piketty topic that is a spectacular comment magnet.

Careless June 16, 2014 at 10:32 pm

It started about Brat, got tons of comments, and isn’t about immigration. I would not have bet on that.

handle June 16, 2014 at 7:11 am

If people are born that way, perhaps the condition can be detected, prevented, or cured, perhaps in utero. Perhaps along with homosexuality and other forms of innate paraphilia.

Choice and respect and tolerance are all fine and good and commendable. But that’s not all that’s going on, if you haven’t noticed. If someone starts to try researching preventative measures (which don’t implicate those values, and indeed support choice) then they are going to be attacked as if they are genocidal exterminators or something, and have their lives ruined. One will never see even theoretical respect and tolerance for such projects expressed in the same place as respect and tolerance for nonremedial transgendered. I also don’t recall the protests and howls of libertarian outrage when California banned even voluntary gay-to-straight therapy programs.

Support for such research, remedy availability, and parental choice is a good barometer of genuine libertarianism, as well as a desirable policy in its own right. I am not sure it is an issue any GMU economist is likely to be good on or make a priority.

anon June 16, 2014 at 10:27 am

“If people are born that way, perhaps the condition can be detected, prevented, or cured, perhaps in utero.”

If it’s a birth defect, it will start to disappear from the population within 50 years and be gone completely in 150. That’s just where technology is going, and straight parents will either selectively abort or cure in utero. Probably gay parents will too, in large numbers.

If it’s just a choice some physiologically normal people make, it will be more persistent.

Mr. Econotarian June 16, 2014 at 1:55 pm

“If it’s a birth defect, it will start to disappear from the population within 50 years and be gone completely in 150.”

I’m not sure I can agree with this. A birth defect that is not genetically caused will not be affected by evolution. There are plenty of birth defects that are unrelated to genetics.

However it should be noted that there are a number of hypotheses about why homosexuality has survived from an evolutionary viewpoint.

anon June 16, 2014 at 2:51 pm

I’m not saying evolution will take care of it. I’m saying technology will take care of it. Parents, when faced with having a child who will live with homosexuality, will either “cure” the child or abort a large fraction of the time. As soon as this becomes possible the gay population will fall, much like the Down Syndrome population has already fallen. I am just predicting parent behavior here, not trying to suggest it’s the right or wrong thing to do.

Of course, it’s also possible homosexuality has some other cause later in life, say as a side effect of an environmental exposure or germ or something. Or that there isn’t a physical cause and people aren’t born a particular way and it’s really just a choice. I don’t think science is there yet so that we can say with any certainty. But it seems inevitable that we will know, fairly soon.

GiT June 16, 2014 at 4:50 pm

“. Parents, when faced with having a child who will live with homosexuality, will either “cure” the child or abort a large fraction of the time”

Like they would do with their sinister children? Whether or not homosexuality is something which your average moral failure thinks warrants abortion isn’t really given a priori.

derek June 16, 2014 at 10:35 am

Or aborted.

The most disgusting outbreak of dare I say hate was towards Palin’s child. Usually those kids are aborted.

GiT June 16, 2014 at 1:30 pm

Nice question begging. If people are born that way… nothing follows about whether it ought to be detected, prevented, or cured.

anon June 16, 2014 at 2:55 pm

Don’t know many parents or many gay people? “Ought” has nothing to do with it. Parents will want to protect their children from the tough road that is homosexuality. They will behave the same way people currently behave with Down Syndrome diagnosis, except they’ll have better technology available to them. They will know sooner, and they may be able to cure. Assuming this is the way homosexuality turns out to be caused, and we really don’t know that today.

GiT June 16, 2014 at 4:52 pm

Whether or not homosexuality is a “tough road” is environmentally determined, it’s not an intrinsic property of homosexuality.

There is no necessity behind behaving as parents “currently” “will” behave with Down Syndrome.

So Much for Subtlety June 17, 2014 at 3:50 am

GiT June 16, 2014 at 4:52 pm

Whether or not homosexuality is a “tough road” is environmentally determined, it’s not an intrinsic property of homosexuality.

I am unconvinced by this. I have seen any number of reports from Thai Lady boys that explicitly state that life for what we would call a trans-sexual in Thai is inevitably tragic. Thailand is not perfect but it has a pretty high standard for tolerance for difference. And yet it is a general assumption that katoey will grow old, will no longer be sexually desirable and will die, old, poor and alone. As is often said, sotto voice, in the West. It looks to be a pretty general assumption even if it is not true in every case.

I would not assume that outcomes are going to be the same.

It may be true in the future that everyone will be different and won’t care about the orientation of their children. I think we are a long way from that now. If a test for homosexuality existed, do you really think that most of the people who actually have children in the US at the present time wouldn’t use it to selective abort non-heterosexual children?

ogunsiron June 16, 2014 at 5:56 pm

When it becomes possible to predict likely political orientation, articles will be written on how it’s “unethical” to let future conservatives or traditionalists be born. GiT and its crowd will feel like “awesome, decent human beings” for not taking chances and ruthlessly aborting future little “bigots”.

Ryan June 16, 2014 at 7:18 am

RE: India. Perhaps we should also look to Samoa and other Polynesian cultures?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fa'afafine

Rahul June 16, 2014 at 7:25 am

Tyler:

I totally agree with you about the issue of tolerance & most of what you wrote in this post. What I’m still wondering about is what exactly you’d want to learn from India about this?

Forget being a paradise we seem quite a bit worse than the west. Our courts have very recently affirmed that homosexuality is (essentially) criminal.

Anon June 16, 2014 at 11:04 am

Perhaps this: http://www.thestar.com/news/world/2014/04/15/in_india_landmark_supreme_court_ruling_recognizes_transgender_as_third_gender.html

The Homosexuality ruling has been widely criticized and it is not improbable for the archaic law to be amended in th next few years.

freethinker June 16, 2014 at 12:22 pm

The Indian “courts” have NOT “very recently affirmed that homosexuality is (essentially) criminal”. First, the Delhi high court’s verdict was against section 377 , the law which criminalizes gay sex in India. It was the Supreme Court which ruled that it is not the court but the parliament which should decide on this section. Of course, we expected the the apex court to take a bolder stand, legalizing gay sex , but it would be erroneous to say the court criminalized gay sex as such. And the current Finance Minister of India, very close confidante of the prime Minister, explicitly expressed his support for the Delhi high court verdict decriminalizing gay sex, as did many ministers in the previous government and the editorials in all the major English dailies. The very fact that gay rights are now discussed threadbare on all the English TV channels in India is a good sign fr a otherwise largely traditional society

Rahul June 16, 2014 at 1:12 pm

That’s true. I ought to blame the Parliament not the Courts.

In any case, fact remains that the law which criminalizes gay sex still stands. Which is part of the reason why I cannot see what Tyler sees in India to look up to (in the LGBT context) The west seems light years ahead.

Brian Donohue June 16, 2014 at 7:26 am

Suppose a man decides, at age 50, to throw over his family in favor of a young hottie. Turns out, he was always attracted to young hotties and needs to be true to himself or live out his life in misery. True tolerance, of course, means we celebrate and defend this moment of clarity and honesty from poor little ‘born this way’, right?

Someone from the other side June 16, 2014 at 7:36 am

I knew it, the blogger who shalt not be named on this site was pushing for diversity, all along!

ivar June 16, 2014 at 7:54 am

It is in fact part of the modern day liberal intolerance that we should stigmatize behavior that is more consistent with the desires of the majority of heterosexual males, while otherwise opening the door to more and more outlandish behaviors all in the name of liberty. And as others have already noted above, this toleration is a one way street. We’ve rapidly gone from being told that gays should not be beaten and mocked to being told that disapproval of gays even in private contractual arrangements or in personal religious belief is both unacceptable and deserving of opprobrium. People are shamed for even voicing the opinion that engaging in homosexuality is sinful. Frankly, having seen how we’ve slipped down many slippery slopes over the last half decade, I can more and more see a case for older conservative positions that said, better to err on the side of caution and even cruel intolerance than watch one’s social views pounded into the dust in both law and culture by giving an inch to liberals and libertarians on social goals. Certainly if I were a conservative, Christian, Jew, or Muslim, I would see no reason to accept any sort of half house liberalism knowing full well that the goal is the marginalization of one’s views at all costs. I’ll take the sins and hypocrisies of the 1960s over the 2010s any day.

Axa June 16, 2014 at 8:42 am

We do celebrate it or when did sugar daddy become a pejorative term? Pictured here: tolerance =) https://www.seekingarrangement.com/

GiT June 16, 2014 at 1:32 pm

What, exactly, is the utility in preserving dysfunctional marriages?

Art Deco June 16, 2014 at 1:57 pm

1. The one consistent element in all your dissatisfying relationships is you.

2. Couples are not islands, but nestled in social networks.

3. There’s today. There’s also yesterday and tomorrow.

Brian Donohue June 16, 2014 at 2:10 pm

Yeah you’re right, this is a binary issue. Either everything is perfect or a marriage is dysfunctional.

GiT June 16, 2014 at 2:15 pm

Yeah, you’re right, this is a binary issue. Either families are optimal and intact or sub-optimal and unintact.

Brian Donohue June 16, 2014 at 2:36 pm

So, in the last hour, you have gone from “Foucault is passe” to “I know you are, but what am I?”

This is not progress.

Jan June 16, 2014 at 7:38 am

It’s amazing how threatened people are by the prospect of having to treat different people as equals.

“Of course different people deserve respect, but really this is quite a problematic character flaw, is it not? Society simply isn’t ready to accommodate LGBT issue. And why should I open myself up to being accused of discrimination if I’m not on board? And do we really want to create more victims by encouraging this RATHER STRANGE behavior?”

The Anti-Gnostic June 16, 2014 at 7:45 am

There are plenty of categories we treat unequally. A person in a manic episode can go on at some length why you should invest money in some scheme rattling around in their scrambled brain. It doesn’t mean we accommodate their delusion.

Evolutionary dead-ends should be discouraged, not encouraged.

Jan June 16, 2014 at 8:51 am

That’s a false equivalence. We don’t have to accommodate their delusion, but we let them live their lives if they aren’t harming anyone. With the LGBT issues here the only “delusion” to be accommodated is the one that treating these folks equally is harmful to you.

Your second statement implies you think we should not allow many people with dangerous genetic disorders to breed. I guess it’s a point of view.

The Anti-Gnostic June 16, 2014 at 9:12 am

Your second statement implies you think we should not allow many people with dangerous genetic disorders to breed. I guess it’s a point of view.

Or, as it’s also called, evolution.

Frances Coppola June 16, 2014 at 1:59 pm

“Or, as it’s also called, evolution”

No, it’s called eugenics.

The Anti-Gnostic June 16, 2014 at 2:17 pm

Okay – eugenics it is. Which people practice whenever they select a breeding partner based on desirable traits.

The Anti-Gnostic June 16, 2014 at 9:38 am

Let them live their lives. That doesn’t mean I have to hire them, sell my house to them or let them near my children.

Urstoff June 16, 2014 at 9:54 am

Your children might catch the trans!

nl7 June 16, 2014 at 11:27 am

Do we only serve to perpetuate genes? That doesn’t make sense. Why bother to perpetuate and advance a species if nobody is enjoying it in the interim? If you endorse a non-theistic purpose of life or society then at some point it needs to value the human experience rather than just human instrumentality.

Steve J June 16, 2014 at 11:33 am

I am confused why you believe homosexuality is an evolutionary dead-end. Why do you assume it is a defect rather than a feature?

FC June 16, 2014 at 11:47 am

You see Stevey, when a man loves a man very much…

Steve J June 16, 2014 at 12:24 pm

There are evolutionary advantages to homosexuality – why else would it still be around after all this time? Talking with you guys is similar to talking with religious fundamentalists. It is very hard to figure out if you actually believe what you say. At times there is economic value in ignorance so it is multi-level game.

Zoltan June 16, 2014 at 1:56 pm

There are evolutionary advantages to cleft palate – why else would it still be around after all this time?

Steve J June 16, 2014 at 2:17 pm

Take away the “why else is it still around” there are still some fairly obvious reasons why homosexuality may be advantageous to a group. Are you guys truly worried homosexuality is going to disrupt heterosexual reproduction? Like I mentioned before this is very similar to debating religion. Each side is almost incomprehensible to the other so you truly have to explain every inch of your argument.

So Much for Subtlety June 17, 2014 at 3:57 am

Steve J

There are evolutionary advantages to homosexuality – why else would it still be around after all this time?

There are? What are they? Name three. There have been ideas put forward about theoretical advantages of homosexuality but nothing has been proven. They are not all that credible either. Why else would it be around after all this time? Has it been around for long? Homosexuality dates back to the mid-19th century. When men having sex with men ceased to be viewed as an individual sin and became viewed as a disease. Then it gradually became an identity. There are still places in the world where people may have sex with men but do not think of themselves as homosexual.

Take away the “why else is it still around” there are still some fairly obvious reasons why homosexuality may be advantageous to a group. Are you guys truly worried homosexuality is going to disrupt heterosexual reproduction?

The key word is “may”. For homosexuality to be genetic and to have survived, some percentage of men would have to have the gene and yet produce as many children (or twice as many nephews etc) as the heterosexuals. If they had even 1 in 10,000 fewer children, the gene would have disappeared by now. Which suggests that there is no genetic cause for homosexuality. Or it is the by-product of something useful in the same way sickle cell is.

GiT June 16, 2014 at 1:36 pm

Why, exactly, ought we equivocate between naturalistic trends and moral teleology?

Tom West June 16, 2014 at 1:56 pm

Evolutionary dead-ends should be discouraged, not encouraged.

Why?

Evolution is simply a physical, mechanistic process. It is no more worthy of your worship than gravity. There are no winners in evolution, any more than there is a winner in the patterns made by the wind in the sand. There is an outcome, but neither the sand, nor evolution, care.

I really don’t understand the fetishization of evolution. It simply is.

GiT June 16, 2014 at 2:19 pm

It’s just a cover for the same old great chain of being, natural divine order Christian theological hogwash. Appropriating the aura of evolution to gussy up the same old apologia for whatever the status quo is.

Lee A. Arnold June 16, 2014 at 10:20 am

ANYBODY who worries about this issue is either: 1) A closeted LBGT in self-denial, or else 2) a person in pain, despair, or consciousness of sin who is seeking salvation via a theological propadeutic which prohibits LBGT’s. Because nobody else cares, and nobody else feels threatened.

whome June 16, 2014 at 12:15 pm

ANYBODY who worries about this issue is either: 1) A closeted LBGT in self-denial, or else 2) a person in pain, despair, or consciousness of sin who is seeking salvation via a theological propadeutic which prohibits LBGT’s.

You seem very worried about this issue. Are you 1) or 2)?

Lee A. Arnold June 16, 2014 at 7:34 pm

LGBT’s do not worry me in the least, Whoyou.

David Harris June 16, 2014 at 7:52 am

From the above I conclude:

margRevComments = quantitavePatina(largeVocabulary(dailyMailComments))

mark b June 16, 2014 at 12:03 pm

nice!

Andromeda June 16, 2014 at 8:08 am

I appreciate this post. Most of the discourse spaces I am in are knowledgeable about LGBT issues, and have prominent LGBT members; it’s been getting harder for me to read MR, as the likelihood of glibly vituperative attacks on my friends goes up. But there’s a lot I value about MR – not least that it tends to use very different intellectual frames than my other discourse spaces ;) – and I do want to keep reading it. It’s good to know I don’t need to hold your commenters against you.

(And sad, too. The comments used to be one of the valuable parts of MR for me – I was impressed at the quality of the comments section and wondered how you had fostered it. But I’ve got no use for commenters who insult my friends’ dignity, and give no evidence of ever having sat down and talked with the actual people behind the acronyms – and with depressingly predictable, cliched partisan arguments to boot! I think I’ll have to file MR under “don’t read the comments”, but I’m glad to keep it around in my RSS…)

Peter M June 16, 2014 at 9:08 am

I agree that the commenting section on the blog has deteriorated. For example, Tyler’s latest piece on war and the economy (which the NYT headline editor tagged with an incorrect headline) was really a very deep discursive on the broken window fallacy, which was made clear in the concluding paragraphs. From the comments I viewed, not many read beyond the headline and he first few paragraphs of the story.

Here, I am seeing a lot of thinly disguised hate speech on the LGBT issue by the commenters. This used to be one of the best blogs for discussion, but it is fast becoming like all the rest. By the way, the adverse social effects on LGBT are well documented. I’m not going to bother telling you where the research is. It’s easy to find. It also helps if you know someone who is a member of the LGBT community, but frankly, from some of the comments here, I doubt an LGBT person would become a friend, so obvious is the hostility.

Craig June 16, 2014 at 9:56 am

“I am seeing a lot of thinly disguised hate speech on the LGBT issue by the commenters.”

One tends to find what one looks for.

whome June 16, 2014 at 10:18 am

Here, I am seeing a lot of thinly disguised hate speech on the LGBT issue by the commenters.

What I’m seeing is a diversity of opinion which you obviously are not used to.

Lee A. Arnold June 16, 2014 at 10:23 am

A hundred years ago these people would’ve been against the dreaded Negroe. (Or not so long ago.) It is all out of fear of “contamination” by LBGT. It appears to be mostly self-denial of their own inner tendencies. Because an increasing majority of people do not worry about it at all.

The Anti-Gnostic June 16, 2014 at 11:24 am

A hundred years on, and people, including liberal Democrats, still pay $100K or more for white neighbors.

Lee A. Arnold June 16, 2014 at 11:30 am

More nonsense. Any bigots among them will find white neighbors are going for a LOT cheaper than that.

mark b June 16, 2014 at 12:06 pm

Thanks. I’ve been thinking the same thing for a while. Comments in MR not worth reading. Very different from, say 3 years ago.

LCD June 16, 2014 at 8:10 am

McCloskey is free to do as she pleases. However, McCloskey attacked another academic for coming to the ‘wrong conclusions’ on transgender women.

On LGBT issues generally —

As a gay man who underwent the sham of reparative therapy (ah — now there are some stories I could tell!), I remain very much opposed to attempts to ban such therapy. I think homeopathy and chiropractic are also the realm of frauds and morons, but I don’t think their defenders are subhuman monsters and think a moral crusade to have them banned would be ludicrous.

Efforts to punish those, like Brendan Eich, who have the ‘temerity’ to disagree with the reigning orthodoxy are similarly disgraceful. I am all for civility, but when the civility is couched as a threat to agree or face the consequences, don’t be surprised when you run into resistance (and 200+ comments on Marginal Revolution).

Still, good way to get the comment section hopping Tyler!

Art Deco June 16, 2014 at 9:01 am

I think homeopathy and chiropractic are also the realm of frauds and morons

Tell that to the orthopaedists who give referrals for the latter.

Anon June 16, 2014 at 10:11 am

My father is an orthopedist and he recommends chiropractors only when there is nothing actually wrong with the patient.

Art Deco June 16, 2014 at 10:44 am

His other suggestions were physical therapy, analgesics, and cortisone shots. It take it your father recommends those too when there’s nothing wrong with the patient.

Lee A. Arnold June 16, 2014 at 10:26 am

Tell it to the “first principles” free-marketeers. Now THERE is an intellectual fraud.

Lee A. Arnold June 16, 2014 at 10:25 am

LCD: “McCloskey attacked another academic for coming to the ‘wrong conclusions’ on transgender women.”

Is she the only one who attacked the research?

DJF June 16, 2014 at 8:12 am

I am confused, the same people who tell me that there is no significant difference between Men and Women are also telling me that the brains of some people are so different that they have to have major surgery to match up their male/female brains and their female/male bodies?

Zephyrus June 16, 2014 at 11:08 am

You’ll find that there’s actually a very significant divide among feminists about how to think of transexuals, and that’s one of the reasons at the heart of it. Older trends anti-trans, younger tends pro-trans.

Tyler Cowen June 16, 2014 at 8:25 am

A few of these comments are very good, but most are terrible.

ConcernedReader June 16, 2014 at 9:43 am

I don’t know how often you read your comment’s section, but this is the case more often than not lately. Somehow you have attracted the worst commentatorship in the econosphere. Bigots of all kinds reign supreme along with at least one poster who appears to be some sort of disgruntled GMU employee spinning conspiracy theories, and one who consistently promotes sex tourism to the Philippines.

prior_approval June 16, 2014 at 11:25 am

former GMU employee – and not disgruntled except for the time I worked in the GMU PR dept.

But it was fun revealing the reality behind MRU’s founding myth of how a couple of professors started an online presence with a $4 app and youtube – not much has changed in decades of how certain GMU associated enterprises work in presenting themselves.

Lee A. Arnold June 16, 2014 at 10:31 am

Tyler, as someone you would probably think of as being on the “left” who admires you as an honest broker I am so sorry for you. Your comments are being overrun by closeted bigots and some others who appear to be closeted LBGT’s in self-denial.

Art Deco June 16, 2014 at 10:45 am

Just out of curiosity Dr. Cowan, do Lee A. Arnold’s remarks meet your definition of ‘terrible’?

Lee A. Arnold June 16, 2014 at 11:03 am

Oh don’t bother hooking Tyler on that. I’ll tell you right now: he finds me charmingly reprehensible.

dbg June 16, 2014 at 4:57 pm

pretty sure you’re in the “most are terrible” camp

Dan Weber June 16, 2014 at 11:01 am

I get people who worry about the teenage boy wanting to use the girl’s locker room now that he self-identifies as female.

I don’t get the people having a fit because someone went through life as Donald and now wants to be called Deirdre. What possible reason can you have to want to die on that hill?

Trans* will always cause some of drama, even for strict leftists, because a changing gender identity runs up against certain tenets of feminism (can a man switch to female identity and get to live in the women’s dorm?) and gay rights (is it any of your business if the person you are dating was born male?). But there seems no reason to create extra drama for the sake of drama.

Also, Tyler, I don’t know if I believe this link 100%, or if the trade-offs he talks about are worth it, but it’s probably worth reading, even if just to decide you have a good reason to dismiss its arguments. http://dashes.com/anil/2011/07/if-your-websites-full-of-assholes-its-your-fault.html

whome June 16, 2014 at 12:06 pm

I don’t get the people having a fit because someone went through life as Donald and now wants to be called Deirdre.

Please point me to a comment on this thread where the poster is “having a fit.”

whome June 16, 2014 at 12:08 pm

The only person who seems to be letting his emotions get the better of him is Lee A. Arnold. And he bats for your team.

Zephyrus June 16, 2014 at 1:35 pm

From the other thread, which somehow managed to be worse than this one: “And [LGBT rights] should be neglected. Those ‘rights’ are social fictions written into positive law in countries with a bad case of the stupids. As for McCloskey, no one should give succor to his dysfunctions and delusions.”

There are literally dozens of comments like that one. And those are the ones remaining after Tyler went through and deleted the even more offensive ones.

Art Deco June 16, 2014 at 3:38 pm

That’s not an emotional statement, Zephyrus. I do not think Dr. Cowan has deleted any of my remarks.

You need to talk more with people who do not think like you.

Zephyrus June 16, 2014 at 4:07 pm

I will concur he deleted none of yours, to my knowledge. The top one for awhile was something truly vile from “Constitutional Liberty.”

Lee A. Arnold June 16, 2014 at 8:26 pm

Whome: “The only person who seems to be letting his emotions get the better of him is Lee A. Arnold. And he bats for your team.”

I am not emotional here at all and so you ought to check your perceptual apparatus. And I’m a switch-hitter because I will bat against anybody who spews nonsense and bigotry.

Thomas June 17, 2014 at 1:56 am

Zephyr us, you are conveniently leaving out the part of the story where you Initially approached the thread to repeatedly denigrate “the libertarians” for their failure to adequately quash Art Deco’s posts. After you were satisfied that you had scored enough points against people who don’t agree with your preferred degree and scope of governance you finally began to discuss transgederism as an independent matter. What I’ve gathered is that aside from the political gamesmanship surrounding public discussion of transgederism, the arguments “in favor”, for lack of a better word, are a hodgepodge of contradictory notions of convenient origin. Whether they are victims or strong, normal or not, biologically hardwired or mentally affected depends: whichever one is more beneficial at the time — to transgendered and the political opponents of their self-appointed defenders. After all, David Brat’s historic achievement is worth less to you, a self identifying proponent of equality, than one instance of unexplained deviation from the politically correct naming convention of a notably rare transgendered academic. Suffice it to say that neither I, nor anyone who isn’t a zealous advocate of your cause, believes you would take similar offense or action in response to a less than polite citation of a white male heterosexual. In case it’s not clear, I am calling out your dishonest claim of pursuing equality, your unprincipled position, and your use of social conflict to score points against political opponents.

Zephyrus June 17, 2014 at 12:43 pm

Yes, Thomas. I’m sure you think Art Deco spewing hatred and bigotry to general acclaim speaks well of libertarians. I started no threads on transexuals: it was entirely the commentators here who were doing it. And, yes, there is no right in the U.S. Constitution to “freedom from criticism,” despite how much you whine about it.

Tyler is *embarrassed* of his comment section, for the exact reason I pointed out. Other blogs get a bit of a giggle out of it–I know I’ve seen Cosma Shalizi link to the comments here mocking their statistical analysis of race. Tyler’s trying to fix that for the sake of an inclusive libertarian movement, and I’m giving him an assist by calling out anti-gay, anti-trans views as the bigotry they are.

As big a shitshow as these comments are, I guarantee you: outside observers not living in a fetid shit-hole of anti-LGBT views think more highly of them now than they would if I said nothing. That’s an accomplishment.

Art Deco June 17, 2014 at 3:04 pm

I’m sure you think Art Deco spewing hatred and bigotry to general acclaim

I actually did neither, and my statements have been of much interest to aught but four posters, two in an apoplectic fury and two who elect to pepper me (and some others) with insults. Other than that, accurate statement.

Zephyrus June 17, 2014 at 3:24 pm

Oh, of course you did, Art. I know you get pissy whenever I quote you, but it’s inevitable when you deny your plain words.

LGBT “‘rights’ are social fictions written into positive law in countries with a bad case of the stupids”

“benighted and repulsive”

“As for McCloskey, no one should give succor to his dysfunctions and delusions”

“refusing to play along with McCloskey’s grotesque silliness”

“the problem is that he commissioned a series of mutilating and irreversible procedures”

“a pity and grotesquely amusing”

“revealed ‘raging egomania’”

“men who walk around in women’s clothing and commission unscrupulous doctors to shoot them full of hormones and amputate important body arts are abnormally will-full, addle-pated, and generally sicko”

mark b June 16, 2014 at 12:09 pm

Tyler, the link to the “scientific” commentary appears to be broken. And the scientific commentary is extremely weak. I agree with your post, but get better science. How about a reference to at least a review article? Your standards for economics are high, why just refernce off-the-cuff commentary on scientific issues? poor form.

John J. Johnson June 16, 2014 at 1:33 pm

Cry about it.

Millian June 16, 2014 at 2:43 pm

What’s wrong with your blog that its comments are mainly from these terrible people? Have you considered closing all comments or moderating them more heavily, rather than serving as free publisher for far-right gadflies who are mostly terrible?

Thomas June 17, 2014 at 2:13 am

Conveniently, purely in the interest of ‘better comments’, Millian has determined that simply censoring the viewpoints she doesn’t like will achieve the goal. I’m not sure if taking her comment as an unironic judgment of her ideologies unequivocal moral superiority, or a Machiavellian power play, is more comforting. What I do know is that her request for censorship is nothing new for the advocates of whomever are currently fighting the white male heterosexual boogeyman.

Now I should go finish my report on white male privilege, a required assignment in a required course at my university, because equality.

C. Van Carter June 16, 2014 at 6:26 pm

A few of your blog posts are mediocre, but most are terrible.

Percy Gryce June 16, 2014 at 8:37 pm

+1

Percy Gryce June 16, 2014 at 8:44 pm

That’s rather inhospitable, Professor.

And I say that as someone who pays an inordinate share of Virginia state income tax, IYKWIMAITYD.

Beliavsky June 16, 2014 at 8:27 am

It is doubtful that sex change operations help people (see below), and I don’t want to pay for them through taxes or insurance mandates.

http://online.wsj.com/articles/paul-mchugh-transgender-surgery-isnt-the-solution-1402615120
Transgender Surgery Isn’t the Solution
A drastic physical change doesn’t address underlying psycho-social troubles.
By PAUL MCHUGH
Wall Street Journal
June 12, 2014 7:19 p.m. ET

excerpted at
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/3167264/posts

Rahul June 16, 2014 at 8:35 am

McCloskey paid from her own pocket, I’d guess.

Art Deco June 16, 2014 at 9:00 am

It is doubtful that sex change operations help people (see below)

Dr. Paul McHugh during his tenure at Johns Hopkins managed to persuade his colleagues to stop performing these surgeries on just those grounds (the personal dissatisfactions and distress that these people suffered were about what they were, before and after). His pithiest observation: “we don’t give liposuction to anorectics”.

Lee A. Arnold June 16, 2014 at 10:37 am

Considering the other things McHugh has said and done, he is not your best approach, here.

Art Deco June 16, 2014 at 10:53 am

Naah. The chief of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins don’t know nuttin’ about his own institution or patients.

Lee A. Arnold June 16, 2014 at 11:13 am

Oh for god’s sake. People with his credentials advocated lobotomies not too long ago. Some of them even now are denying that climate change poses a severe threat to the global food supply and national security. University professors and heads of depts. have taken all sorts of stances, particularly under concomitant religious beliefs (McHugh, again) or under quasi-religious gibberish (free-marketeers, again). Economics professors ALONE have composed an encyclopedia of blabber. Give us a break, dude!

Art Deco June 16, 2014 at 11:29 am

You made reference to what he’s ‘said and done’. What he’s said and done is work at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

It seems to be the going line (I’ve seen it before) among gay lobby partisans to make vague and cheap references to impugn his motives or integrity.

Lee A. Arnold June 16, 2014 at 11:33 am

Go disprove it with them, then. Because based on any evidence available here, I am not required to take your word for it.

Zephyrus June 16, 2014 at 3:53 pm

Just for Art Deco’s sake, I’ll mention some of the things he’s done.

He’s argued that the pedophile scandal in the Catholic Church is entirely because they’re too soft on “homosexual predation.”

He’s said that homosexuality is an “erroneous desire.”

He filed an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in favor of denying equal marriage rights to gay people.

He’s equated homosexuality with abortion and murder.

He’s said gays and lesbians are “all part and parcel of the pandemonium that the permissive movement has brought. We have just licensed all kinds of behavior.”

This kind of retrograde bigotry is not something you can pretend is acceptable in the 21st century.

Art Deco June 16, 2014 at 4:27 pm

In other words, he opposes certain au courant causes and suggests their wish list not be imposed by judicial decree, has a negative evaluation of sodomy and its antecedents, made a sociological assessment that you find irritating, and pointed out the obvious re disciplinary problems and misbehavior in the Catholic clergy . As for your fourth point, I do not imagine your reading comprehension is any improved when you’re scanning Dr. McHugh’s words than when you’re scanning mine.

Oh, and he’s ‘unacceptible’ in the ’21st century’.

Percy Gryce June 16, 2014 at 8:40 pm

@ Zephyrus “I’ll mention some of the things he’s done.”

Wow, I knew he was a good guy, but I didn’t know he was that good. Thanks!

Zephyrus June 16, 2014 at 8:44 pm

Okay, Percy, we get it. You share McHugh’s homophobia and support social and legal sanctions against gays because they make you feel ick. Got it.

Zephyrus June 16, 2014 at 11:13 am

Why don’t you post an actual scientific study instead of, you know, an op-ed from an octogenarian in a rag that’s denied climate change, evolution, and argued that gays need reparative therapy, all in the last decade?

Instead, I suggest you look to professional scientific societies:

American Psychological Association: “transgender and gender variant people frequently experience prejudice and discrimination and psychologists can, through their professional actions, address these problems at both an individual and a societal level… discrimination and prejudice against people based on their actual or perceived gender identity or expression detrimentally affects psychological, physical, social, and economic well-being… APA opposes all public and private discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived gender identity and expression and urges the repeal of discriminatory laws and policies…APA recognizes the efficacy, benefit and medical necessity of gender transition treatments for appropriately evaluated individuals and calls upon public and private insurers to cover these medically necessary treatments”

http://www.apa.org/about/policy/transgender.aspx

American Medical Association: “The American Medical Association opposes discrimination on the basis of gender identity… An established body of medical research demonstrates the effectiveness and medical necessity of mental health care, hormone therapy and sex reassignment surgery as forms of therapeutic treatment for many people diagnosed with GID… The denial of these otherwise covered benefits for patients suffering from GID represents discrimination based solely on a patient’s gender identity”

http://www.gires.org.uk/assets/Medpro-Assets/AMA122.pdf

Anon June 16, 2014 at 8:36 am

To be honest. When I was younger, I was part of scenes where mocking gays was common. It’s only when I have got a bit older I realized how stupid that is. And it wasn’t just because it was fun way to banter with other men, but because I felt genuine disgust at this. Practicing tolerance and not judgement makes you a better person. Many problems today exist because of sexual shame. Women and men feel sexual shame about different things. Men are shamed for being “gay”, being virgin etc. Women are shamed for being “sluts” etc. The product of all this shaming leads to all kinds of unhealthy behaviour. Transsexuals are easy target. When you are pissed off from work, stress, whatever, it’s so easy to bond with other men by mocking some low-status group. And don’t get me even started on religion’s influence.

Here is a good article about this: http://markmanson.net/sexual-shame

I’m not really happy to read these comments. It would make sense if this was some tabloid comment page, but surely MR Readers can do better than this.

The Anti-Gnostic June 16, 2014 at 8:47 am

Does it occur to you there may be very sound, biological reasons for discouraging certain sexual behaviors?

When we encourage people to have as much sex as they want, however they want it, we get antibiotic-resistant STD’s, cratering birth rates, and angry, marginalized young men.

LCD June 16, 2014 at 9:23 am

What is the connection between angry, marginalized young men and an over-sexed culture?

STDs, cratering birth rates, agreed, but if anything, young men are happier today, and women less happy (probably for the obvious reason that young people are having as much sex as they want).

The Anti-Gnostic June 16, 2014 at 9:28 am

In a promiscuous environment, a majority of women sleep with a minority of men, leaving a lot of less sexually aggressive or desirable men outside the pale. And, as you correctly point out, sexual promiscuity for women means a slut-race to the bottom for them, which is why they consume gobs of psychiatric meds.

LCD June 16, 2014 at 9:57 am

Straying far afield from the original topic, but I do agree that promiscuity is damaging (especially for women).

However, I find it hard to believe desirable men (even if they are ‘less desirable’) are left out in the cold.

We are pushing back age of first marriage and child-birth after its mid-century dip into the early 20s, but the men who aren’t getting any now probably wouldn’t have been getting any in 1950…or 1750, if they even made it past infancy in the latter. There is always a terminal class of bachelor uncles and spinster aunts, and I think that some of the blather on blogs about angry, disenfranchised young men revolutions alpha male blah blah blah must be taken as the collected prejudices of introverted, disagreeable neurotics who would be alone in any time period.

Having gone to an engineering school and worked in software development, not places for the sexually aggressive, I can safely say that most of my former classmates and co-workers had steady girlfriends during school and ended up marrying their boring, but worthy, wives, in the late 20s.

ogunsiron June 16, 2014 at 6:18 pm

“In a promiscuous environment, a majority of women sleep with a minority of men, leaving a lot of less sexually aggressive or desirable men outside the pale”
—-
I think the official progressive “awesome, decent human being” response to that is to tell those undesirable males that they shouldn’t feel “entitled” to women’s bodies and that they’re really creepy.

Eric Rasmusen June 17, 2014 at 10:09 am

Well phrased, Anti-Gnostic!

Brian Donohue June 16, 2014 at 9:00 am

Yes, as Tyler notes, the shamers should be ashamed of themselves.

Peter M June 16, 2014 at 9:10 am

I agree wholeheartedly. Many of the commenters should be ashamed of themselves.

Percy Gryce June 17, 2014 at 12:19 am

Agreed. The coordinated promotion of perversion and the attack on the natural family are indeed shameful.

Lee A. Arnold June 17, 2014 at 11:58 am

Percy, nobody is attacking the “natural family”. Except maybe to reassure gay kids who are told by their own fundamentalist parents that they should be killed because they have arrived from hell. These kids should learn UNEQUIVOCALLY to get the hell OUT of that situation, and to say, “I’m on the right track, baby, I was born this way.”

Eric S. June 16, 2014 at 8:40 am

Use the terms “cisgender” or “cissexual” instead of “nontransgender” or “nontransexual.” Especially if you’re going to stand on a soapbox.

C. Van Carter June 16, 2014 at 6:09 pm

I find the terms ““cisgender” and “cissexual” offensive. Using them is an is an attack on my identity as a “normal heterosexual” and a form of othering which privileges a particular point of view.

Alan June 16, 2014 at 8:49 am

Bravo, Tyler!

Art Deco June 16, 2014 at 8:56 am

Current attitudes toward transsexuals and other related groups remain a great shame. A simple question is how many teenagers have been miserable or even committed suicide or have had parts of their lives ruined because they were born different in these ways and did not find the right support structures early on or perhaps ever. And if you are mocking individuals for their differences in this regard, as some of you did in the comments thread, I will agree with Barkley Rosser’s response: “Some of you people really need to rethink who you are. Seriously.”

What counts as ‘current attitudes’? What is shameful? Donald McCloskey is not a man with an esoteric problem he puts up with, or someone whose feet of clay were made public without his consent. He’s a cauldron of willfullness and exhibitionism. He makes himself a freakshow attraction and runs roughshod over the people around him and your conception of the problem here (and Rosser’s conception) is that here other people point out he did just that and that’s not good. The two of you are adept at making the case that academics are sufficiently disoriented that they should have very little influence in society.

There’s a whole lot of ruin in the world – in human beings, in families, and in institutions. There’s a great deal of variation in what people can and cannot achieve. Nothing you can do about that but articulate optimal standards, hope people eat the costs of getting through life, and rely on such quanta of guilt and shame as render the common life tolerable.

I would stress a social point. If it turns out you are born “different” in these ways (I’m not even sure what are the right words to use to cover all the relevant cases), what is the chance that your social structure will be supportive? Or will you feel tortured, mocked, and out of place?

And whose job is it to be ‘supportive’ and of what? People acquire the rewards there are to be had in this world, or they do not. They achieve recognition, or they do not. They are honored or they are not. They stand at the apex and center or they stand at the margin. This is characteristic of social life. There is not any actually existing world (bar a completely homogeneous one) where everyone is ‘included’ and no one is scorned, nor can there be. There are inherent tensions between freedom and community.

What you and Rosser end up arguing is that the imperatives drawn from McCloskey’s esoteric sexual disorders trump every other obligation he has and that it is shameful for anyone else to say otherwise. Rinse and repeat that sentiment 50 times and you get our friend Zephyrus’ take on it. Why it is that academics and lawyers are continually inventing new clientele and then pestering the man in the street to pay tribute is an interesting question here. (Not that the two of you could answer it).

Lee A. Arnold June 16, 2014 at 10:43 am

Art Deco: “Nothing you can do about that but articulate optimal standards, hope people eat the costs of getting through life, and rely on such quanta of guilt and shame as render the common life tolerable.”

This is nonsense. I would admit that it is very old nonsense, basically the tenets of plenitude, continuity, and gradation from the ancient Great Chain of Being as transmuted into the pre-romantic political philosophy in the 18th century, but it is still nonsense.

Art Deco June 16, 2014 at 10:52 am

Put the bong down.

Lee A. Arnold June 16, 2014 at 11:15 am

Read Lovejoy and get up to speed.

Zephyrus June 16, 2014 at 10:44 am

Oh, you drama queen you. Since you explicitly mention me to putting words into my mouth, I’ll just point out the rancid bile of yours I was actually objecting to:

“And [LGBT rights] should be neglected. Those ‘rights’ are social fictions written into positive law in countries with a bad case of the stupids. As for McCloskey, no one should give succor to his dysfunctions and delusions.”

“refusing to play along with McCloskey’s grotesque silliness”

“the problem is that he commissioned a series of mutilating and irreversible procedures”

“a pity and grotesquely amusing”

“revealed ‘raging egomania’”

Sailer was the only person really on the case about his family, and guess what: I barely interacted with him.

Art Deco June 16, 2014 at 10:50 am

I do not know that it does any good to offer unsolicited advice to you (or anyone), but some free tips:

1. An argument is not improved by repitition.

2. It is useful, in conversing with someone, to actually read and digest what they say and understand the connotations as well.

3. In communicating with someone, it is helpful to use terms conventionally rather than idiosyncratically.

4. Just tossing epithets about does not address the question even on the surface.

5. I’m Joe Blow off the sidewalks of Upstate New York. No point in being fixated on my statements.

Zephyrus June 16, 2014 at 11:17 am

A. I would suggest you learn not to spew bigoted, homophobic bile. It would make you more convincing.

B. If you’re going to call out someone by name half a dozen times in unrelated comment threads, you’re revealing a bit of a disturbing obsession.

C. Repeatedly asserting that transexuals are diseased does not an argument make.

D. Respond to critiques, and realize that it’s possible that you are not right about everything in the world, no matter what your church told you as a six year old.

E. Yeah, cut it off with the hateful invective.

Art Deco June 16, 2014 at 11:45 am

If you’re going to call out someone by name half a dozen times in unrelated comment threads, you’re revealing a bit of a disturbing obsession.

Actually, once in passing, in this comment thread.

As for any other exchanges we’ve had, if you do not like replies, you can always keep your peace.

Lee A. Arnold June 17, 2014 at 12:00 pm

No, you don’t get off the hook with “once a thread”. If you are going to be a jerk, then you are a jerk all the way.

Beliavsky June 16, 2014 at 9:03 am

People have evolved feelings of disgust for what is non-procreative or dysgenic. That is how disgust for incest evolved. I don’t think the disgust many people feel towards homosexuality or transgenderism should be expressed as violence or even epithets hurled at people in the street, but I also think this disgust serves a useful function of keeping people away from what is bad for them and for shielding their children from bad influences.

Todd June 16, 2014 at 9:14 am

Most guys think two hot chicks having sex is disgusting? That’s news to me.

The Anti-Gnostic June 16, 2014 at 9:36 am

Obviously, two hot chicks having sex will arouse a heterosexual man. Two men, not so much.

It’s funny how atheists turn into Flat Earth-Creationists when the topic is brains or sex.

Todd June 16, 2014 at 10:29 am

Why obviously? I thought we evolved to view anything no procreative as disgusting. That’s why everyone hates blow jobs. The logic is unassailable.

Lee A. Arnold June 16, 2014 at 10:47 am

It is not only unassailable, it is ASTOUNDINGLY unassailable.

Dan Weber June 16, 2014 at 11:19 am

For all X, if X exists, there are people who will get off on X.

The consequent can even hold when X doesn’t exist.

The Anti-Gnostic June 16, 2014 at 12:24 pm

I thought we evolved to view anything no procreative as disgusting.

Except that’s not what was said. You can find individuals who want to have sex with corpses and animals. Fortunately (or, unfortunately, depending on your perspective) most people find such practices repulsive, and they are the ones most likely to have grandkids.

Tom West June 16, 2014 at 10:09 am

People have evolved feelings of disgust for what is non-procreative or dysgenic.

Perhaps. But

(1) You’ll never disentangle evolutionary instincts from culturally-instilled beliefs. Nine times out of ten, evolution is simply used as an excuse for feeling some way.
(2) There’s pretty much a 100% belief that acting upon all one’s evolutionary instincts is a terrible thing to do. Using evolution as an excuse is simply cherry-picking things certain behaviors you approve of.

We all have a bunch of things we’re uncomfortable with, not limited to religion, appearance, language, sexuality, politics, food choices, clothing, etc..

Modern civilization is the ability to put a lid on those things so that we can deal respectfully with all manner of human beings.

HL June 16, 2014 at 12:56 pm

“Modern civilization is the ability to put a lid on those things”

This is the key attitude difference. That is not a safe assumption to make. We’re not as civilized as we think we are, or can ever be,

Tom West June 16, 2014 at 1:59 pm

Agreed. But we can try. We can be proud of our successes and ashamed by our failures.

GiT June 16, 2014 at 2:05 pm

Why are you assuming that what is non-procreative is bad for people and their children?

Urstoff June 16, 2014 at 10:12 am

The “appeal to nature” fallacy is alive and well, i see.

Eric Rasmusen June 17, 2014 at 10:17 am

There is a nice little return-to-beginning here. Person 1 says he is born with the urge to do X, and so he should be allowed to do X. Person 2 says he is born with the urge to be disgusted by people doing X, and so *he* should be allowed to do so, and furthermore, since almost everybody is like person 2 and not like person 1, doing X should be prohibited.

X could be self-castration, or X could be rape; the situations are analogous.

I suggest that the “I was born that way” argument is self-defeating.

Zephyrus June 17, 2014 at 2:59 pm

“Born this way” is a bit ill-posed as a concept, I agree.

The issue is more about malleability: when a transexual asserts that they were just born that way, they’re asserting that no environmental pressures short of transitioning can end their gender dysphoria. When you say you’re born being disgusted by transexuals, you mean nothing that I say or do can change that.

Going by an analogy with LGBT rights, most people “born” to hate homosexuals end up accepting them once it’s no longer socially acceptable to hate them. The same can’t be said of transexuals.

Eric Rasmusen June 18, 2014 at 12:03 am

I disagree on the second paragraph. Most people pretend to accept them if there’s a cost not to pretend, and if they have enough contact, they get used to them, but I wonder about how many really believe in it. We’ll see, if there’s a homosexuality gene and parents can select for or against it.
On the other hand, transexuals have long accepted their gender roles because that was the only thing possible to do in our society (in some societies, men could dress as women and act like them, to be sure). Whether they’ve been as happy doing that as they would have been with a sex change operation is an empirical question.

Pat June 16, 2014 at 10:37 am

I worry that the current medical approaches for correcting these issues just introduce new problems. I don’t mean this as any disrespect. My opposition to gender reassignment comes from not believing that it works.

Lee A. Arnold June 16, 2014 at 10:55 am

It works for some, apparently. The thing here is that sometimes tragedy ensues either way: with it, or without it Given the imperfection of psychological screening vs. the small demand for reassignment (0.03% ? of the population), it would appear that various sorts of self-ordained moralists, relying selectively on anecdote, bad science, their own feelings, and readings of ancient texts out of their own spiritual needs, have decided that their own viewpoint is the “true” one, and that it should be kept out of sight. Well guess what: they don’t count, against the people who are directly involved in the questions. Meanwhile the rest of us prefer to learn what is going on.

Zephyrus June 16, 2014 at 11:39 am

It’s an important tradeoff worthy of consideration, but the APA and AMA both have concluded that the psychological wins–lessened gender dysphoria, lower depression, lower suicide rates–outweigh the risks of complications from surgery.

B.B. June 16, 2014 at 11:21 am

It is one thing for a man to want surgery to change his appearance, to look more like a woman. It is another thing for a doctor to assist such behavior.

One might say that a man has a right to commit suicide, but it is world of difference to say a doctor should assist him. Same with so-called sex change operations. (One cannot change one’s sex; one can only alter one’s appearance.) Doctors would be wise to not assist such cosmetic surgery.

I remember a case in the 1970s in which a famous tennis player had so-called sex change surgery. He / she then wanted to compete in championship women’s tennis. Nice tolerant feminists gave him the cold shoulder. Even after his surgery, he still had a man’s height, bones, muscles, arm length, reflexes. Women tennis players did not want him / her competing with them. Should we condemn them now for intolerance, or concede that they had valid points? This is not ancient history. You may presume that this will become a civil rights issue very soon, with federal courts being asked to render a decision, and those in opposition will be called “transphobic.”

Art Deco June 16, 2014 at 11:39 am

His name was Richard Raskind and he wasn’t famous for his athletics. He was an eye doctor who dabbled in professional tennis (and he’s still alive). He did get a trial court in New York to decree that the U.S. Tennis Association had to admit him to women’s play. Don’t know what the appellate courts did with that.

andrew' June 16, 2014 at 5:49 pm

Courts are wrong all the time. I’m starting to wonder if and why they would ever be right.

Steve J June 16, 2014 at 12:06 pm

“Doctors would be wise to not assist such cosmetic surgery.”

Markets in everything?

FC June 16, 2014 at 11:57 am

This excellent bit of self-trolling should have been titled “Vagina Markets in Everything.”

Li June 16, 2014 at 11:58 am

I am trying to get my mind around T.C’s claim that an individual has a “right” to self-mutilation. Sorry, it just ain’t so.
-=-
I challenge T.C. to identify one individual who is NOT “different”. Apparently, clarity of thought is no longer needed on M.R.
-=-
I know little of India, unlike T.C. Seems to me a society that encourages rape isn’t one we are going to learn much useful about gender relations from.
-=-
Yes, T.C. you have identified one flaw in your “right to self-mutilation” meme. Parents do indeed still have the legal right to determine what “appropriate treatment” is. It should be obvious that ANY generic solution is going to have Type I and Type II errors. Seems to me a good starting point is “First, do no harm.”
There are two basic flawed assumptions that T.C. seems to make 1. Life is, or should be, “fair”. This argument is just “equivalence of outcome” recast.
2. An individual is a coherent consistent thing from which, if we know enough about its present ‘state’, we can be “extremely certain” that we can predict what changes we make will result in an improved long-term out-come.
(refer to IPCC 4 or 5 for a definition of ‘extreme certainty).
3.”Current attitudes toward transsexuals and other related groups remain a great shame.” I am NOT ashamed by YOUR “attitudes”. I only occassionally am able to string together the words for a coherent thought, so should be the last to criticise others, especially those more gifted than myself. But it seems to me that anyone who feels shame for the acts of others is destined to live either a very unhappy or very ignorant life. If you meant “shame” instead of “pity”, “challenge” or “problem”, then I suggest you seriously rethink who you are. Being embarassed by other’s behaviour is proof that you have over-invested your own expectations in them. That isn’t very healthy.
-=-
Your simple question is indeed simple. Even most of the Social Science community would immediately recognize the incoherence that such a question is founded on. That there can be any meaningful definition, given the phrase “A did B because C” of what A, B and C are, in the context of individual social dynamics, is risible. There are going to be ten thousand thousand “reasons”. Reductionism to absurdity. Should we fund such a study? Or spend the same amount to fund a study of interventions?

Chris S June 16, 2014 at 2:10 pm

I kind of like the dash-equals-dash thing you have going on, even though I have never seen it before – its different.

Steve Sailer June 16, 2014 at 11:58 am

And here is the archive of the late Seth Roberts on Dr. McCloskey’s attempts to shut him up as a side war of McCloskey’s war on Bailey and Blanchard:

http://blog.sethroberts.net/2013/09/07/deidre-mccloskey-and-me/

Art Deco June 16, 2014 at 12:23 pm

Dunno. The e-mail exchange delineated in Archives of Sexual Behavior does not strike me as containing an example of ‘masculine aggression’. More like standard issue gamesmanship that the lesser sort of academic employs in campus controversies. I’ve seen examples of it that were more deft than that, and from rank-and-file hackulty, not someone with McCloskey’s reputation as a researcher. I suspect McCloskey is less adept as an institutional politician than Roberts seemed to believe.

Z June 16, 2014 at 11:50 pm

This kind of obsession can’t be coming from a healthy place. This is what post #35 or 40 Deidre is the span of a few days?

Maybe see a therapist to work out your issues? Or a trans sex worker if that’d be quicker.

Steve Johnson June 19, 2014 at 1:00 am

Ha!

Great zinger!

Everyone knows that trannies are disgusting and implying that Steve Sailer should have sex with one? Brilliant!

You’ve totally proven the case that Steve Sailer is icky and that transsexuals are totally normal.

Jan June 16, 2014 at 12:45 pm

Guys, did you see this? Just received the below alert from Politico. RELEASE THE FURY!!!!!!
—–
President Barack Obama will sign an executive order that would prohibit federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, a White House official said Monday.

“The action would build upon existing protections, which generally prohibit federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating in employment decisions on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin. This is consistent with the president’s views that all Americans, LGBT or not, should be treated with dignity and respect,” the official said.

The White House did not offer a timeframe for the completion of the order or when Obama will sign it.

Eric Rasmusen June 16, 2014 at 12:48 pm

It’s not clear what the studies of the hypothalamus, etc. are supposed to imply. It’s quite believable that, for example, a man might have a brain that is sexually stimulated by other men, even tho his chromosomes are male. But the physiology of his brain is affected by his environment and his habits, isn’t it? Certainly, we can’t say that because a woman has big muscles, she must have been born to be like a man— she might have taken lots of steroids *because* she wants to look like a man. And if she stops taking the steroids, her muscles will get small again.

Steve Sailer June 16, 2014 at 12:50 pm

Tyler writes: “If it turns out you are born “different” in these ways (I’m not even sure what are the right words to use to cover all the relevant cases), what is the chance that your social structure will be supportive? Or will you feel tortured, mocked, and out of place?”

It’s worth noting the McCloskey was co-captain of his high school football team and went on to play football at Harvard. He has admitted that most of the talking points about transexuals always feeling like a girl on the inside never applied to him. Changing sex for this married father of three was a hobby to him, like your wanting to be a lawyer or French, as he wrote in The New Republic last year.

But he worked hard with the SPLC to crush Bailey and Blanchard for publishing a more accurate picture of his motivations, since, he felt, the truth would make it harder for his loved ones to forgive him for blowing up his family.

What makes McCloskey’s campaign against freedom of science so shameful is that he has a first rate intelligence well-educated in the classics of liberty.

Beliavsky June 16, 2014 at 1:18 pm

Donald/Deirdre has gone on to publish books entitled

“The Bourgeois Virtues: Ethics for an Age of Commerce”
“Bourgeois Dignity: Why Economics Can’t Explain the Modern World”

A bourgeois virtue is not devastating your family.

Zephyrus June 16, 2014 at 1:38 pm

Surely, then, we should work to build a world where people feel comfortable transitioning before they get married, or even at the onset of puberty?

Steve Sailer June 16, 2014 at 1:48 pm

Where’s the evidence that these most of these guys wanted to trans until they were getting on in years? Think of gender dysphoria as a mental illness like depression that can strike at different points in life.

It’s not society’s fault that McCloskey chose to ruin his family to follow his whim.

GiT June 16, 2014 at 2:10 pm

“Think of gender dysphoria as a mental illness like depression that can strike at different points in life”

In other words, assume my conclusion.

Jan June 17, 2014 at 7:17 am

This is really small potatoes compared to the thousands of men who walk out on their families every day without any further contact.

Art Deco June 16, 2014 at 2:03 pm

, or even at the onset of puberty?

You said that. Not anyone else here.

Zephyrus June 16, 2014 at 2:23 pm

Surely you would agree that it’s better for someone to transition before they get married and have kids, instead of after?

Steve Sailer June 16, 2014 at 1:45 pm

This is a classic test case: Under the old conception of scholars being responsible for promoting standards of fair play and open inquiry, McCloskey’s behavior v. Bailey and Blanchard was a disgrace.

Under the new 100% Victimist conception, McCloskey qualifies as the Victim of the Moment even though there is little evidence of discrimination when he was being chosen captain of his high school football team or getting married or have several children. But, he has declared himself trans and that gives him the right to trample all over the rights of real scientists.

John J. Johnson June 16, 2014 at 1:30 pm

Yeah no, there is nothing noble about tolerating a bunch of weirdo mutants.

FredR June 16, 2014 at 2:00 pm

Anyone else curious about Tyrone’s take?

Chris S June 16, 2014 at 2:07 pm

Attempting to follow this thread and the other one have proven to be a pretty big waste of my time. There sure seems to be a lot of bleating going on.

I am reminded of two literary scenes, both from the same book:

“No one believes more firmly than Comrade Napoleon that all animals are equal. He would be only too happy to let you make your decisions for yourselves. But sometimes you might make the wrong decisions, comrades, and then where should we be?”
― George Orwell, Animal Farm
(aka everyone is entitled to respect and dignity, of course, except for those deviants)

“Four legs good, two legs bad.” Followed by…
“Four legs good, two legs better! All Animals Are Equal. But Some Animals Are More Equal Than Others.”
― George Orwell, Animal Farm
(aka my position evolved over time)

Chris S June 16, 2014 at 2:12 pm

I’ve also tried to put this thread in my word processor and replace all references to “gays” with “blacks” and “transgender” with “whites who marry blacks.” It remains as internally consistent and informative as the original.

The Anti-Gnostic June 16, 2014 at 2:21 pm

Another phenomenon that remains stubbornly marginal.

Peter June 16, 2014 at 2:30 pm

For all the people espousing scientism and insisting on a chromosomal definition of gender as being the “correct” approach, I have a thorny puzzle for you: I once knew a Thai transexual who was a genetic chimaera, which is to say that she had a twin in the womb who was absorbed into her in utero. The end result was that she had a hodgepodge of cells, some XY and some XX. She was born with male gonads (later removed) and a female psyche (still going strong). So what would you say about her, now that you don’t have your convenient chromosomal definition?

andrew' June 16, 2014 at 5:45 pm

Okay, who am I? A doctor? Therapist? Medical researcher?

FC June 17, 2014 at 2:23 am

Where is the female psyche located, and how is it differentially diagnosed?

(Those are questions men have been asking for aeons.)

Eric Rasmusen June 17, 2014 at 10:25 am

Not a tough question— The Thai is neither male nor female, or is both, depending on exactly how the scientism-guy phrases his definition.
A definition doesn’t have to be perfect, just useful.

I agree with your basic point, though, that a precise and scientific-sounding definition is not always the best one. A tomato is a vegetable, not a fruit, as any child will tell you at the dinner table.

Dave June 16, 2014 at 2:56 pm

What would you do about a case like this?

Can a man who intentionally cut off his own hand, then refused to let a doctor reattach it, sue the doctor and hospital for following his instructions? Passmore says he was psychotic when he cut off the hand, thinking it was possessed by the devil. He says he was psychotic when he refused reattachment surgery. Therefore, he says, he was not competent to make informed decisions, and the doctors should have known that.

I’m very hesitant towards irreversible surgeries. There are cases like the following suggesting the reducing the prominence of gender roles may reduce the felt need for sex-reassignment surgery:

If I were growing up now, the way things are, I would never have had surgery because it wouldn’t be necessary. But I thought it was necessary then.

If you look at the history of something like pinkification, it seems to be a relatively recent phenomenon coinciding with the birth of modern psychology:

Paoletti says our great-great-great grandparents and their ancestors were more concerned about distinguishing children and babies from adults than boys from girls. “Pink and blue were suggested as interchangeable, gender-neutral nursery colors,’ appearing together in many of the clothes and furnishings found in the baby’s room”–similar to the hats hospitals often give to newborn. By the late 19th century, however–and especially as Freud and other psychologists’ theories of childhood development gained hold–parents began to differentiate their offspring’s sex earlier on.

ibaien June 16, 2014 at 3:25 pm

reading this comment section makes me feel like a northerner invited to an antebellum plantation salon. the conversation may seem high-minded (in French, even!) but the company is reprehensible.

peacetreefrog June 16, 2014 at 3:38 pm

I think now would be a good time to mention the hide certain MR commentators tool that someone developed a while back. I tried searching for it and can’t find it, anyone have the link?

Aaron June 17, 2014 at 2:29 am

I got bored and made a thing. https://github.com/fluxrad/hide_mr_commenters

Hopefully it’ll be ready for proper release in a couple of days. You can install the .crx from “raw” if you’re feeling adventurous. Feature requests are welcome.

Sweet merciful Christ, the comments section for this post is awful.

peacetreefrog June 17, 2014 at 9:50 am

nice!

Zephyrus June 17, 2014 at 3:28 pm

omg the globals

;)

Aaron June 17, 2014 at 3:33 pm

It’s a Chrome plugin I wrote in like an hour, for God’s sake.

Also, the last thing I am is a competent JS programmer. SO YOU’LL INSTALL IT AND LIKE IT!

Barkley Rosser June 16, 2014 at 3:38 pm

I agree with Tyler that this comment thread is even worse than the original one. Some of you are not even closeted in your bigotry.

I am here only to make one further point and will post no further on this already way too long thread. it is about the claim repeated a lot and so far not disputed that homosexuality is an “evolutionary dead end.” This presumes that gay people do not reproduce, but in fact they have and they do, although in the past a seriously gay man was unlikely to. But a lesbian could easily be forced to by rape, even if that was inside of marriage.

Needless to say, with today’s technologies of artificial insemination, it is not at all hard for gay people to reproduce, and many are doing so. I even know some very closely who have done so using such methods and otherwise. Just because a woman is a lesbian does not mean that she may not have a strong maternal instinct/desire and have that old biological clock clanging in her head that only becoming a mother resolves.

Quite aside from outright reproduction, there is a literature on how gay males who do not reproduce may engage in activities that aid in the survival and reproduction of close relatives who are not gay. So, this whole “anti-evolution” line of argument is, well, unscientific, to put it mildly.

Art Deco June 16, 2014 at 3:47 pm

I agree with Tyler that this comment thread is even worse than the original one. Some of you are not even closeted in your bigotry.

Should I be charitable, Dr. Rosser, and assume you’re referring to the fellow whose remarks have consisted of drive-by insults, or perhaps the fellow who mixes drive-by insults with ad hominem attacks, or perhaps the apparently disturbed fellow who has made dozens of comments on both threads which consist of tossing around epithets and making repetitive quotations of one particular participant’s remarks conjoined to a mess of petulent belly-aching?

Lee A. Arnold June 16, 2014 at 10:28 pm

Don’t bother trying to hook Barkley on that, either. He is far too honorable to point out that drive-by insults are the proper level of response to bigotry that feigns intellectual objectivity.

J1 June 16, 2014 at 4:46 pm

“This presumes that gay people do not reproduce, but in fact they have and they do”

That doesn’t conflict with the dead-end hypothesis if you believe homosexuality is genetic.

Turkey Vulture June 16, 2014 at 5:30 pm

Seems more likely that sexuality is just a continuum rather than a duality, so just as you have some very anxious and some very absent minded peple, you have some purely same sex attracted and purely opposite sex attracted people. The rest of us are on a continuum between these poles, but unlike with anxiety the distribution’s mean is biased towards the straight side. Maybe the continued existence of that continuum has some survival advantages, or maybe it is just the consequence of the intersection of a bunch of other more important traits.

As a simple thought experiment, imagine we could stick ten thousand men on an island with no way off, and also eliminate or nearly eliminate any opprobrium towards homosexual conduct. I bet the percentage of that island’s population that would dabble in homosexual relations would far exceed even the highest estimates of the “percentage of the population that is gay.”

Of course, I am on the super straight side of the contiinuum. Barring life imprisonment.

Jeffrey S. June 16, 2014 at 6:23 pm

Probably the best theory I’ve come across lately regarding homosexuality is that it is a virus:

http://westhunt.wordpress.com/2013/04/18/not-final/

I wonder how that plays into people who consider themselves transsexual?

Barkley Rosser June 16, 2014 at 6:08 pm

Let me provide one addendum.

So, it is not just humans, but we observe lots and lots of homosexual conduct among animals in many other species, including our close relatives, the bonobo chimpanzees. Obviously there has to be at least some amount of heterosexual activity in all these species for them to reproduce and continue to be naturally selected. But obviously these are not necessarily mutually exclusive.

This carries over to human societies, and we have seen quite a few that were not at all against homosexual conduct, indeed sometimes praised it, although clearly needing to have heterosexual activity for reproduction, think ancient Greece.

One human group that forbade sexual activity of any type was the American Protestant sect known as the Shakers. I remember that about half a century ago or so they were down to six members, all women, with five of them quite old and one last much younger convert (the only way they survived). I am not sure if that last member remains, but they have pretty much failed to survive as a group, although they used to make some mighty fine wooden furniture.

To Art Deco: I actually feel sorry for you.

C. Van Carter June 16, 2014 at 6:16 pm

You probably don’t want people to think to much about homosexuality and ancient Greece.

Barkley Rosser June 16, 2014 at 6:17 pm

I just checked. The Shakers still have three adherents, all living in Sabbathday, Maine, their last active community. At their peak in the mid-1800s they got as high as 6.000 members. They created a lot of good music as well as furniture. In any case, it may be too soon to call an end to them. They are still hanging on, just barely…

Art Deco June 16, 2014 at 6:32 pm

To Art Deco: I actually feel sorry for you.

1. I don’t care.

2. Let go of my leg.

WT June 16, 2014 at 6:14 pm

Barkley, no one has ever said that gay people never reproduce at all, but it cannot be denied that gay people will reproduce less often than heterosexual people. Given that every characteristic that differentiates us humans from bacteria has been selected and preserved because it led to better survival or reproduction, evolution must be awfully sensitive to any differences in the propensity to reproduce.

The fact that it hasn’t ruthlessly eliminated homosexuality — which is far more detrimental to reproduction than just about anything except outright sterility — is very very hard to explain, and the just-so stories concocted about “gay uncles” don’t really suffice to convince anyone except the true believer.

Eric Rasmusen June 17, 2014 at 10:34 am

“I agree with Tyler that this comment thread is even worse than the original one. Some of you are not even closeted in your bigotry.”

This thread is interesting in so many ways, and this is one of them. It illustrates so well how liberals have adopted the “Victorian lady” notion that it is improper to even think about certain views; ladylike thing to do is to faint, or leave the room. The attitude naturally tends to instill a certain fixity of opinion in its holders. Professor McCloskey’s actions in the Bailey case are another example, though perhaps more along the lines of the knight in shining armor coming to slay the dragon by fair means or foul.

Zephyrus June 17, 2014 at 3:45 pm

It’s unclear if there’s anything to your comment beyond a way to call other commentators “Victorian ladies,” despite your opinion being much closer to Victorian opinion than anyone else’s.

So, what’s your point? Do you believe it’s wrong for people to criticize things they disagree with? If so, do you realize that collapses into incoherency when you criticize the criticizers, right?

Eric Rasmusen June 18, 2014 at 12:07 am

The point is that Victorian ladies and the modern politically correct both shudder when they hear dissenting opinions and say “How awful” rather than engaging with them. I of course relish the similarity. It is not a matter of criticizing people one thinks are wrong, but of how one does it.

Petar June 16, 2014 at 3:42 pm

This comments thread and the post is a sad sign of the pitiful state the western world has come to through the corrupting influence of left-wing degenerates. I wish every single one of you a slow and painful death.

ibaien June 16, 2014 at 3:52 pm

step up and claim your prize, sir.

J1 June 16, 2014 at 4:32 pm

“there are some very particular circles of humanity, revolving around transsexuality, cross-gender, and related notions, which deserve a culture of respect, above and beyond mere legal tolerance”

Baloney. No circle of humanity is entitled to anything beyond tolerance.

GiT June 16, 2014 at 6:03 pm

What do you think you’re saying here? There are no greater moral obligations to others other than tolerance? And one should care about your morally minimalist contemptuousness why?

J1 June 16, 2014 at 8:06 pm

Are you the judge of what is or isn’t a moral obligation? I do have contempt for that level of arrogance, but I tolerate it. If you have no exposure to people who pursue moral obligations you disapprove of, you live a very, very sheltered life.

GiT June 16, 2014 at 8:21 pm

We’re all judges of what is or isn’t a moral obligation. Some judgments seem better than others. All the question begging appeals to nature, normality, and reactionary disgust appear pretty terrible.

Zephyrus June 16, 2014 at 8:28 pm

It’s amusing how conservatives/libertarians have become the radical relativists that they decried of the postmodern Left in the 80s and 90s.

“What is truth? Who can say what’s right or wrong? It’s all just opinion, man.

Except when you critique what I say. Then you’re evil. The only real moral absolute in the world is against criticizing me. Duh, it’s totally an obvious implication of the categorical imperative.”

Eric Rasmusen June 17, 2014 at 10:41 am

Touche! Good point. We conservatives ought to be willing to call things evil too. The discussion would then turn to why one says a thing is evil, the foundations of morality, to God and Kant. We would discuss which of three positions is correct:
1. Nobody should be allowed to criticize sex change operations.
2. Nobody should be allowed to argue for sex change operations.
3. Both criticism and support for sex change operations should be allowed.

Zephyrus June 17, 2014 at 3:31 pm

Pretty much everyone would say they support 3.

There seems to be a 4th position, though, that says “criticism and support for sex change operations should be allowed, but criticism of nasty language should not be.” Which deserves nothing but a giant eye roll. If someone’s going to go around spouting off insults and disrespect, they need to have a thicker skin to deal when people call them out on it.

Brian Donohue June 17, 2014 at 4:02 pm

Hey now!

When you refer to “outside observers not living in a fetid shit-hole of anti-LGBT views” I can just feel the dignity and respect coming through.

Seriously, though, respect is a bridge too far. Respect is a currency one possesses that shouldn’t by cheapened by flinging it around willy-nilly, IMO.

I think simple decency toward others is a more reasonable standard. Even then, perhaps we all fall short here from time to time, often in the heat of argument, like almost everyone in this conversation.

Thomas June 17, 2014 at 2:43 am

Herein lies the conflict. While equality under the law seems (to me) to be an indisputably desirable condition, in no way do I believe that the political movements advertised as equality movements have any intention of stopping there. See: affirmative action, reparations, disparate Impact studies, diversity training, gender studies, 70 cents on the dollar, family court, rape culture, prison + prison rape, hetero normative, white privilege, male privilege, ACA female subsidy, childbirth, etcetera. Each of these policies, phenomenon, or courses of study is an open and unapologetic assault on white heterosexual men: the last acceptable discrimination. Of course, high status white males often join the assault turning a fight against current elites in to a fight against marginal white men. The impoverished white hetero men are holding down Deirdre McCloskey, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and the well-heeled, well-educated, and worldly white men like Git. He’ll be here to mock this white male victimization shortly.

Art Deco June 17, 2014 at 9:33 am

Agreed.

Lee A. Arnold June 17, 2014 at 10:47 am

Absolute nonsense. This is Hirshman’s “jeopardy” tenet of the Rhetoric of Reaction, raised to the level of an explanatory principle. White males aren’t special and they aren’t in jeopardy. Get over yourself. Join the human race.

Thomas June 17, 2014 at 6:53 pm

High status white hetero male Lee A. Arnold is here to demonstrate the point: white hetero males cannot be victimized because [ ]. Got it, thanks, Lee.

Lee A. Arnold June 18, 2014 at 12:38 pm

You are welcome, Thomas. Be careful, you are in a minefield out there!

GiT June 17, 2014 at 10:50 am

I’m sorry, all I’m getting from you is the usual predictable mewling. Are you under the delusion it merits any response?

Thomas June 17, 2014 at 6:51 pm

White hetero males cannot be victimized because [ ]. Got it, GiT, thanks.

GiT June 18, 2014 at 12:47 pm

Nice strawman. The actual argument would be “white heterosexual makes are not victimized by the silly things Thomas whines about.”

Claritas June 18, 2014 at 10:04 am

I’m fine with tolerance, acceptance, respect where deserved, but I reserve the right to be stingy with admiration.

andrew' June 16, 2014 at 5:04 pm

Do you guys feel better?

Anyway the speculative science is how I think about disorders like psychopathy.

I am not saying these things are like psychopathy. I’m saying noone knows what is going on.

andrew' June 16, 2014 at 5:09 pm

As in, but not limited to, transgendering may not be the best “treatment” as it is a recent progress.

As I think to paraphrase Dr drew, it is mostly bad except for the outcomes.

Claudia June 16, 2014 at 6:24 pm

“I’m saying noone knows what is going on.” … Andrew’ that’s true of a lot of things and regardless we should treat others with basic dignity, right? It is fine to question or disagree or even fear but to not to dehumanize.

Claudia June 16, 2014 at 6:50 pm

(Andrew’ to be clear that was me reflecting on what you said … not a comment directed at you in particular. I think you raised a valid point.)

Ed June 16, 2014 at 5:45 pm

I’m under no obligation to tolerate or go out of my way to make these people feel comfortable.

Zephyrus June 16, 2014 at 5:52 pm

Sure. But by that same token, I’m equally under no obligation to humor anyone’s delusional bigotry.

andrew' June 16, 2014 at 6:05 pm

Well, I think you are obligated to stop doing some things I dont think I ever did in the first place.

But that is true of a lot of people I’ve failed to convince of more obvious and less marginal things.

GiT June 16, 2014 at 6:15 pm

Are you under the delusion that people think you are obligated to make “these people” feel comfortable? All these social cons seem awfully concerned that they are being obligated to fulfill these entitlements because of the repressive zeitgeist that’s out to get them.

Just using the word obligation and entitlement doesn’t turn rather straighforward requests for respect, politeness, and understanding, or more simply the basic “demand” to not be a close-minded ass, into a violent apparatus of repression, crushing your freedom and liberty.

Art Deco June 16, 2014 at 6:59 pm

All these social cons seem awfully concerned that they are being obligated to fulfill these entitlements because of the repressive zeitgeist that’s out to get them.

Not the ‘repressive zeitgeist’. The legal profession, with an assist from the media and academe.

GiT June 16, 2014 at 8:24 pm

Well, I certainly believe you have paranoid fantasies about lawyers, journalists, and professors stealing your freedom. “The Cathedral” is out go get you, after all. But the things you think don’t have much to do with the actual state of the world, so I’m not sure why others should pay much heed.

Thomas June 17, 2014 at 2:53 am

Herein GiT mocks the possibility that one group may be victimized in his campaign to demonstrate and alleviate the victimization of another group. The explanation for such hypocritical bigotry surely begins by redefining ‘equality’, ‘racism’, ‘discrimination’, and all such terms, to exclude white hetero males. And for your information, no, such redefining does not suggest any sort of concerted effort. Further more affirmative action isn’t discrimination because it discriminates against white hetero males, which isn’t discrimination, don’t you see?

GiT June 17, 2014 at 10:56 am

Not every instance of a set back of interests is an example of victimization. Stop going into hysterics.

Thomas June 17, 2014 at 6:55 pm

“Not every instance of a set back of interests is an example of victimization. Stop going into hysterics.”

You wouldn’t say this to any non-white, non-hetero, or non-male person. Your hypocritical bigotry is duly noted.

Zephyrus June 17, 2014 at 6:56 pm

Somehow, Thomas, I doubt you’ll have any evidence of systemic discrimination about straight white men anytime soon.

Thomas June 17, 2014 at 7:53 pm

Systemic:
1. of or relating to a system, especially as opposed to a particular part.

Discrimination:
1. An act or instance of discriminating, or of making a distinction.
2. Treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing belongs rather than on individual merit: racial and religious intolerance and discrimination.

Systemic Discrimination:
Systemic discrimination refers to patterns of behavior, policies or practices that are part of the structures of an organization, and which create or perpetuate disadvantage for racialized persons. http://definitions.uslegal.com/s/systemic-discrimination/

“Affirmative action generally means giving preferential treatment to minorities in admission to universities or employment in government & businesses.” http://www.balancedpolitics.org/affirmative_action.htm

Affirmative action is systematic discrimination on the basis of race, sex, and sometimes sexuality or other categories. The policy primarily benefits women and minorities at the direct expense of white men who compete against one another by granting “points” or credit for “desired” candidates. Unless you redefine “discrimination” to intentionally exclude white male heteros, or in other words, unless you “assume your conclusion”, it is impossible to conclude that a system of discrimination against white male heteros is not a system of discrimination of white male heteros. To quote Justice Roberts, “The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.”

Thomas June 17, 2014 at 8:29 pm

You doubted I could find “any evidence” of systemic discrimination against straight white males (SWM). Earlier, I provided an entire list of examples for GiT, which he summarily dismissed because [no reasoning offered]. I don’t believe that you can deny that GiT, yourself, and the rest of the “equality crew” are interested in equality, per se, but in raising the status of all groups relative to straight white males. How else can you explain your apparent lack of awareness that affirmative action is systemic discrimination against SWMs? Or that males are vastly overrepresented in prisons relative to % crimes committed? Or that 6 figure amounts of rape occurs in prison, nearly exclusively to males, yet everything rape is painted as a female victimization? Or that family courts systemically discriminate against men? Or that the selective service is a systemic discrimination against men, by law? The only explanations are that your concern for equality is a lie, or that for some reason you discount any discrimination which isn’t against your preferred victims.

Feel free to show some reasoning which doesn’t include a redefinition of terms or assumption of your conclusion. If you prefer to claim that I’m an irredeemable bigot, “because”, you won’t have reduced the previous quality of your arguments.

GiT June 18, 2014 at 12:52 pm

Actually, there are plenty of circumstances where I’d say that to a minority. Stop confabulating.

C June 16, 2014 at 5:55 pm

And I thought the climate change threads were depressing.

andrew' June 16, 2014 at 6:06 pm

This is well on its way into my book on dysfunctional discourse, along with carbon.

Lee A. Arnold June 16, 2014 at 10:42 pm

Don’t forget to add the ridiculous opinions within the economics profession that helped to stop a stronger fiscal response to the financial crash. That dysfunctional discourse led to many tens of millions of people falling behind, quite needlessly. Still going on!

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: