Outsourcing the morals

On the other hand, Justin Weinberg of Daily Nous also reports on Kathleen’s resignation, and to my surprise the comments are mostly not “she had it coming.” Quite the reverse. And the approval rate for the comments is high too.

The warmest comment:

Kathleen will no doubt thrive outside of academia. Any serious philosopher, however, should feel deep embarrassment and shame at how Kathleen has been treated by the profession, if I may speak with such generality. Her decision comes after many years of personal abuse, ostracisation, attempted blacklisting, wilful misrepresentation, and defamation, and that is just from philosophers, never mind the ‘protesters’.

Three factors stand out. First, a good deal of male philosophers appear to have outsourced their morals and good sense to what the local feminist philosopher thinks. She, so the male thinks, claims that being a woman is something to do with self-identity; she won’t tell you what that means, but if you question it, you are a bigot who is literally killing people. Little wonder most stay quiet.

Secondly, there have been many public denouncements from philosophers and others for all the foul things Kathleen has said. I can’t discover what these things are, although I am sure she has regrets. She is, at any rate, free to call people idiots and trample over sensitivities. Don’t invite her to your next party, but you don’t need to organise against her.

Thirdly, the whole background to this sorry saga is the thought that philosophy needs to be more inclusive. Unfortunately, that does not extend to class. Kathleen has consistently put underprivileged women and girls at the forefront of her thinking, to which the relevant sections of the Equality Act, pertaining to sex-based exemptions, relate (for US readers, the UK has complex legislature concerning sex and gender; Kathleen has always defended the legal status quo, which protects ‘gender reassignment’). It is no surprise that the painfully middle-class academics who have hounded Kathleen have been so puddled. They can’t see beyond their class privilege even when a woman is being stamped on in front of them. If I may be excused a joke: a liberal feminist philosopher once saved Kathleen’s life. She came across her in a ca[r] park being set upon. She shouted out: ‘I think she has had enough boys’.

Daily Nous did better than the Guardian at least.

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