Have they thought it through?

A guy called Will Roberts has written a post disputing the article by Sophie Allen, Jane Clare Jones, Holly Lawford-Smith, Mary Leng, Rebecca Reilly-Cooper, and Kathleen Stock on bad arguments against gender critical feminism. The first item snagged my attention.

Section one: fallacious arguments

  1. ‘Your position has been historically associated with far right-wing thought, and hence fails’.

The authors write: “Associating our intellectual position with a far right-wing one, because some far right-wing thinkers would agree with us in some of our conclusions, and insinuating that our position is all the worse because of it, is an ad hominem. Ad hominems are widely recognised as inappropriate in philosophy.”

Political arguments are different from purely philosophical arguments. The fact that one group of political advocates makes the same, or similar, arguments as another – politically dangerous and loathsome – group is not irrelevant to the political assessment of those arguments. It is true that “the fact that person shares a conclusion with a far right-wing person could never show, on its own, that the conclusion was false.” However, when people claim “that women, by definition, are adult human females,” and conclude, on this basis, that “no trans woman is correctly categorised as a woman,” this is not like happening to agree with a far right wing person about what day of the week it is.

The “gender critical” position is a reactionary political position – in the sense that it is a “backlash” position, reacting to trans people’s progress towards social and political liberation…

That last bit is what snagged my attention. The trans movement, or the gender uncritical position, is not about social and political liberation. It’s about universal compelled agreement that people can change sex (and gender) by self-declaration. It’s not about wanting the same rights everyone else has, it’s about wanting new, peculiar rights, that are in tension with existing rights that other people have. Its fans want it to be like the previous liberation movements, but it isn’t. Roberts doesn’t get to make it that just by saying the words.

Isn’t this where we came in?

There’s a choice bit later on that Jane Clare Jones pointed out on Twitter, which must not be missed.

But, the authors assure us, the “gender critical” position is not “that trans women don’t have full moral personhood. We emphatically and repeatedly assert that they do, emphasising their full human rights.” “The question is not whether they are human,” the authors continue, “but whether they are female, and on the basis of being female should be able to access spaces designed to protect the comparatively greater vulnerability of female people.” “No one thinks a man is denied his full and equal humanity merely because women-only spaces exist, and the same reasoning applies to trans women. Not giving people everything that they desire is not a denial of their humanity.”

Wow. I don’t think the authors have thought through what having your full and equal humanity denied might actually look like.

Emphasis added. This is a man, disputing an article by several women.

You couldn’t make it up.

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