Reminders & Comment

Your quality of life improves when you set clear standards for how you live.

Respect those you disagree with

1) Seek to re-express your opponent’s position so clearly, vividly and fairly, o List any points of agreement.

2) Mention anything you have learned from your opponent.

3) Only then are you allowing yourself to say so much as a word of rebuttal or criticism.

  • Employ Occam’s Razor: The idea is straightforward: don’t concoct a complicated, extravagant theory if you’ve got a simpler one.
  • Don’t Waste Your Time on False Info: This is Sturgeon’s law and it is often expressed as over 90% of proffered information is untrustworthy.
  • Don’t Procrastinate: But don’t keep putting off without cause or not completing.

What do you think of the following ?

Taught to be Stupid  – by James Bartholomew trained as a banker in the City of London before moving into journalism with the Financial Times

People talk of a culture of entitlement among those on benefits. But the elite has its own entitlement culture.

Enough! Enough! For months, the so- called liberal elite has been writing articles, having radio and TV discus­sions, giving sermons (literally) and mak­ing speeches in which it has struggled to understand those strange creatures: ordi­nary people.

The elite is bemused by what drives these people to make perverse decisions about Brexit and Trump. Are they racist, narrow-­minded or just stupid? Whatever the reason, ordinary people have frankly been a disap­pointment.

Time, ladies and gentlemen, please! Instead, let’s do the opposite. Let’s try to explain to ordinary people what drives the liberal elite.  The elite persists with some very strange and disturbing views. Are its members brainwashed, snobbish or just so remote from real life that they do not under­stand how things work? What is the pathol­ogy of liberal eliteness?

Why would anyone support Hillary Clin­ton — a ruthless, charmless Washington insider with socialist tendencies? Why do lawyers, churchmen, the BBC and, indeed, most educated people support the EU — an organisation as saturated with smug self- righteousness as it is with corruption; one which created the Euro, which in turn has caused millions of people to be unemployed: an organisation which combines a yawning democratic deficit with incompetence over immigration and economic growth?

The elite are supposed to be educated. So why are they so silly?

Ah! There is a clue. That word ‘educat­ed’. What does ‘educated’ mean today? It doesn’t mean they know a lot about the world. It means they have been injected with the views and assumptions of their teach­ers. They have been taught by people who themselves have little experience of the real world. They have been indoctrinated with certain ideas. Here are some key ones.

They have been taught that capitalism is inherently bad. It is something to be con­trolled at every turn by an altruistic gov­ernment or else reduced to a minimum.

Meanwhile the pursuit of equality is good. These are truly astonishing things for edu­cated people to believe when the past 100 years have been a brutal lesson instructing us that the opposite is the case. The pursuit of equality brought the world terror and tens of millions of deaths along with terrible eco­nomic failure. In the past 30 years, by con­trast, since China and India adopted more pro-capitalist policies, capitalism has caused the biggest reduction in poverty the world has ever known. You may know that, but it is not taught in schools. Schools actually teach that Stalin’s five-year plans were a qualified success! The academic world is overwhelm­ingly left-wing and the textbooks spin to the left. They distort the facts or omit them.

What the elite have been led to believe is governments make things better. ‘Mar­ket failure’ is taught; ‘public-sector failure’ is not. In my own area, they are taught that everything was awful in 19th-century Brit­ain until governments came along to save the day with an ever-bigger welfare state. The importance of friendly societies, vol­untary hospitals and so on is omitted. It is rubbish — left-wing propaganda. But mis­leading education of this and other kinds rubs off even on those who are not study­ing history or politics. It comes through in the Times, the Guardian or, in America, the Washington Post or New York Times. In Britain, BBC Radio 4 is the continuation of university propaganda by other means.

Meanwhile, from early on, environment­alism and recycling are taught as doctrine, rather than as subjects for discussion. My children had to report to their school whether they had arrived bv public trans­port (good), bicycle (excellent ) or car (evil). Children don’t escape the propaganda even, when they study languages. My daughter studies French and has had to write essays on how marvellous recycling is. There is no analysis of counter-arguments. In fact, no data is offered on which a counter-argument could be based. This is not education. It is not teaching children to challenge ideas and think for themselves. This is anti-education: teaching them what they must think. It is as prescriptive as education in the Soviet Union. At least in the Soviet Union, many understood that they should not trust what they were being told. Here, because the propaganda is less obvious, students do not have their guard up.

One of the most important things schools and universities teach is that the stu­dents must never, under any circumstances, be suspected of racism. It is not enough to treat people of all races with respect. You must be even more above suspicion than Caesar’s wife. That is part of why the elite was against Brexit. They could not bear that someone might think they supported it for racist reasons. That, in the minds of the liberal elite, would be too awful. By extension, they also would hate to be thought of as insular or inward-looking. Yes, I know that many on the Brexit side were particularly global and outward-looking, but Remainers assumed that Brexit must equal insularity. It offended their view of themselves as internationalists.

Another central tenet of the dogma is that women have been oppressed, are oppressed and, for the future, there is no limit to what we must do to ensure they get to be in the same situation as men — having as many directorships and military medals and anything else one can think of. Femi­nist doctrine has so permeated the elite that its members assumed that all women in the USA would vote against Trump after his vulgar, arrogant remarks about touch­ing women were leaked. The elite thought that was ‘game over’ for Trump. Ordinary women took a different view. A majority of white women voted for Trump.

Ordinary people have been subjected to the same kind of indoctrination as the elite. They have just had less of it. They were in the hands of the propagandists for a shorter time and have been in the real world for longer. They do not read the ‘qual­ity’ papers or listen to Radio 4. They watch Sky Sports and Strictly Come Dancing. For their understanding of the world, they rely more on what they see for themselves and experience.

The elite’s fuller education in the key beliefs explains why it was for Remain and Clinton. They voted for Remain because, in doing so, they demonstrated they were not racist but tolerant internationalists. They were not put off by the incompetence of the EU, because they have been taught an irrational respect for government — even EU government. They also perceived the EU as more likely to pursue environmen­talism than an elected British government. You could say they were trained to vote Remain. Clinton, too, ticked every box. Members of the elite could effortlessly show how feminist they were by wanting her to win. She was also the embodiment of the other key tenets: more equality, more gov­ernment and anti-racism.

You may think, ‘Can’t they think for themselves?’ Unfortunately, formal educa­tion, while requiring thought, does tend to discourage too much independent thinking,  especially on the key parts of the faith. If a member of the elite, for example, finds him or herself reflecting that it is usually quite difficult to interest little girls in train sets and guns, they must squash that thought. Some rebels do hold on to an ability to think, but it’s noticeable that quite a lot of the most original minds, such as George Orwell and Pascal, never went to university.

Let’s try to understand why members of the elite get so cross when others don’t take the same view of Brexit and Clinton as they do. It’s partly a sense of entitlement. Peo­ple talk of a culture of entitlement among those who live on benefits. But the elite has its own entitlement culture. They think that because they studied English literature at Durham they understand the world bet­ter than a plumber in Croydon. They think they are superior and therefore their view should prevail. They also think they are mor­ally superior because they hold to the views which they were told were virtuous. Anyone who appears not to subscribe to these views must, of necessity, be a sinner or else appall­ingly misled by the Daily Mail or some other evil force. It is outrageous to the elite that the work of the Devil should prevail.

In Defence of Gender

By Melanie Phillips

Once upon a time,‘binary’ was a mathematical term. Now it is an insult on a par with ‘racist’, ‘sexist’ or ‘homophobic’, to be deployed as a weapon in our culture wars. The enemy on this particular battleground is anyone who maintains that there are men and there are women, and that the difference between them is fundamental.

This ‘binary’ distinction is accepted as a given by the vast majority of the human race. No matter. It is now being categorised as a form of bigotry. Utter­ly bizarre? Scoff at your peril. It’s fast becoming an enforceable orthodoxy, with children and young people par­ticularly in the frame for attitude reas­signment.

Many didn’t know whether to be amused or bemused when the feminist ideologue Germaine Greer was attacked by other pro­gressives for claiming that transgender men who became women after medical treat­ment were still men. What started as a baf­fling skirmish on the wilder shores of victim culture has now turned into something more menacing.

The Commons Women and Equalities Select Committee has produced a report saying transgender people are being failed. The issue is not just whether they really do change their sex. The crime being committed by society is to insist on any objective evi­dence for this at all. According to the com­mittee, people should be able to change their gender at will merely by filling in a form. Instead of requiring evidence of sex-change treatment, Britain should adopt the ‘self-dec­laration’ model now used in Ireland, Malta, Argentina and Denmark. To paraphrase Descartes, ‘I think I am a man/woman/of no sex, therefore I am.’

The committee’s chairwoman, the Tory MP Maria Miller, says there’s no need for gender categories on passports, drivers’ licences or other official forms because gender is irrelevant. ‘We should be look­ing at ways of trying to strip back talking about gender,’ she says. But it’s people like her and her committee who have made it a frontline issue.

In 2004, Parliament passed the Gender Recognition Act; in 2010, the Equality Act made gender reassignment a protected characteristic; in 2011, the government pub­lished its ‘Advancing transgender equality’ action plan.

The NHS has a National Clinical Refer­ence Group for Gender Identity Services. The National Police Chiefs’ Council has a National Policing Lead on Transgender. Last November, the Department for Educa­tion flew the transgender flag to mark the Transgender Day of Remembrance.

In short, the political class is obsessed by gender issues. I trust you are, too. Surely you can reel off the differences between trans, intersex, polygender, asexual, gender- neutral and genderqueer? Do keep up. We’re all gender fluid now, no?

No. Gender is not fluid. What is fluid, however, is the language.

The notion that gender can be decon­structed in accordance with ideology started in the 1970s when (ironically, in view of the Greer row) it was promoted by feminists for whom gender was not a biological fact but a social construct. But it’s not. Gender derives from a complex relationship between bio­logical sex and behaviour. And nature and nurture are not easily separable. Some unfortunates feel they are trapped in the wrong gender. Surgery may or may not resolve this confusion. Many who change sex still don’t feel comfortable; tragically, some even commit suicide.

Crucially, however, such people are desperate to make that change. That’s because for trans people gender is certainly not irrelevant but is of all- consuming importance. Yet Miller and her committee would deprive them of the ability to announce their new sexu­al identity on passports or other official documents.

Is this not, by Miller’s own logic, cruelty to trans people? But of course logic doesn’t come into this. Gender politics is all about subjective feelings. It has nothing to do with fairness or equality. It embodies instead an extreme egalitarian­ism which holds that any evidence of differ­ence is a form of prejudice.

If people want to identify with either gender or none, no one is allowed to gain­say it. Objective reality crumbles under the supremacy of subjective desire. Those who demur are damned as heartless.

In fact, gender fluidity itself creates vic­tims. Professor Paul McHugh is the former chief psychiatrist at Johns Hopkins hospital in the US. In the 1960s this pioneered sex- reassignment surgery — but subsequently abandoned it because of the problems it left in its wake.

Most young boys and girls who seek sex reassignment, McHugh has written, have psychosocial issues and presume that such treatment will resolve them. ‘The grim fact is that most of these youngsters do not find therapists willing to assess and guide them in ways that permit them to work out their conflicts and correct their assumptions. Rather, they and their families find only “gender counsellors” who encourage them in their sexual misassumptions.’

In two states, any doctor who looked into the psychological history of a ‘transgender­ed’ boy or girl in search of a resolvable prob­lem could lose his or her licence to practise medicine.

In line with such suppression of medical freedom, Miller’s committee also wants to dump McHugh’s ‘medicalised approach’

The MPs claim it ‘pathologises trans iden­tities’ and runs ‘contrary to the dignity and personal autonomy’ of trans people. They note that a UK survey found about half of young and a third of adult transgender peo­ple said they had attempted suicide. The committee does not suggest this is most likely because of the unbearable mental conflict over their sexual identity. Instead, it blames ‘transphobia’ for driving them to this despair.

Thus Miller and her colleagues do two things: display callous denial of the tragic condition of such unfortunates, and set up the basis for state-mandated coercion.

Their prime target, of course, will be children, whose young minds can be so eas­ily manipulated. Trans and gender issues, says the committee, should be taught in schools as part of personal, social and health education.

We can all predict what will happen. Gender fluidity will be actively pro­moted as just another lifestyle choice. Under the commendable guise of stopping the min­ute number of transgender children being bullied, the rest of the class will be bullied into accepting the prescribed orthodoxy — that gender is mutable, and any differentia­tion in value between behaviour or attitudes is bigoted and prohibited.

The intention is to break down chil­dren’s sense of what sex they are and also wipe from their minds any notion of gender norms. In American schools, last Novem­ber’s Transgender Awareness Month was a festival of such indoctrination. Children were handed out ‘pronoun buttons’, badges which identified their own preferred person­al pronouns as specific to any gender they chose or none.

Brighton College, one of Britain’s lead­ing private schools, has abolished distinc­tions between boys’ and girls’ uniforms. All can now choose between wearing a blazer, trousers and tie or skirt and bolero jacket. The school’s head, Richard Cairns, says he only wants to make his transgender pupils happy. But inviting boys to wear skirts is a dangerous frivolity. Promoting gender fluid­ity is likely to make children confused or dis­tressed. If a girl prefers to climb trees rather than play with dolls or a boy likes ballet, will the}’ now wonder if they’re really not a girl or a boy at all?

Worse still, something most children grow out of may cause them to become — to use the Miller committee’s own boo-word — pathologised. According to Professor McHugh, prepubescent children who begin imitating the opposite sex are being treated by misguided doctors with puberty-delaying hormones to render later sex-change surgery less onerous — even though such drugs stunt children’s growth and risk caus­ing sterility. These are the very drugs that the Miller committee wants the specialist

Tavistock gender clinic to prescribe to chil­dren with less delay.

These MPs are turning gender confusion from a health issue into a political statement to be enforced. So of course they also want to turn denying or questioning gender fluid­ity into a hate crime. Certainly, anyone who attacks or threatens people on account of their gender should be prosecuted. But the committee wants ‘stirring up hatred’ against trans people to become a crime — which would include insulting them by saying they belong to the sex they deny.

The Law Commission didn’t support that, observing that ‘criminalisation might also inhibit discussion of disability and transgender issues and of social attitudes relating to them’.

You bet. The Miller committee wants ‘mandatory national transphobic hate-crime training for police officers and the promotion of third-party reporting’.

Heaven help us — Caroline Dinenage, a junior minister at the Ministry of Justice, meekly agreed to this sinister proposal and confessed the government was ‘very much on a journey’.

Indeed, you could say the West is very much on a journey. From divorce and lone parenthood to gay marriage, what was once regarded as a source of disadvantage or cat­egory error has been transformed into a human right. In the process, compassion has turned into oppression.

The Miller committee writes about one of its witnesses who talked about the gov­ernment’s Advancing Transgender Equal­ity plan: ‘Christie Elan-Cane told us that the plan was, from per [sic] point of view as a non-gendered person, “all plan and no action, because nothing resulted from it”.’

Yes, I also stumbled over what I thought was a typing error; but no, a footnote tells us: ‘Christie Elan-Cane asked us to use the non-gendered pronoun “per”.’ Such supine surrender to this hijack of language, the signature motif of totalitarian political systems, tells you more than anything else what’s in store for us.

Gender cannot be at real risk because it is anchored in an immutable reality. What is on the cards is oppression, social­ly engineered dysfunction and the loss of individual freedom. And it is so-called Con­servative politicians who are helping wave the red flag of revolution.