BY EFFIE DEANS
A woman studying at Abertay University has been disciplined for saying that women were born with female genitals and that it was a fact that women were generally less strong than men. This means that she has been disciplined for telling the truth.
It would be interesting to find out about the political views of those who complained and those who judged that this woman has done something wrong. They would of course be on the Left. Nearly everyone at university is. But this being Scotland and in particular this being Dundee it is difficult to imagine that they were not Scottish nationalists either of the SNP variety or the Green variety.
Environmentalism does not obviously have any connection either with independence or with pronouns, but then large numbers of Scottish Green voters are quite happy to remain in the UK, they just want it to care for the planet a bit more. So too there is no obvious reason to suppose that SNP voters care very much about transgender, cis gender or non-binary pronouns. They just want independence. But they get the woke stuff as part of the package whether they want it or not.
Most people don’t care that much about pronouns. If you worked in an average job and tried to make your colleagues call you “they” rather than he or she, you might find the level of compliance rather disappointing. It would be fine if you worked in a university or a law office, but otherwise if you look like a man people will call you, “he”, if you look like a woman, they will call you “she”, and if they can’t tell they will avoid saying anything out of embarrassment.
Vanishingly few Scots think that a person with male genitalia can be a woman. Wearing a wig and a dress does not change this. I have never met someone who thinks that a man can give birth.
Scottish nationalism may be woke and obsessed with policing pronouns and disciplining us for saying things that are self-evidently true, but in this respect it has left the voters behind. The SNP may succeed in re-educating its supporters to conform with transgender ideology, but only insofar as it doesn’t affect these people’s lives.
If your little girl ends up in a swimming pool changing room with male genitalia, you are going to begin to look for a different party no matter what you think about independence. If you get kicked off your course or lose your job for telling the truth as you were taught as a child, you will begin to rethink voting for the SNP. If woke was a vote loser in Hartlepool, it will eventually become a vote loser in Scotland too.
The SNP have a great emotional argument about independence, which most frequently fails to answer even basic questions about what an independent Scotland would be like. It doesn’t need to because the emotional argument is so powerful. But if at the heart of Scottish nationalist ideology there is also a transgender ideology which likewise fails even a basic logical test, it begins to look as if Scottish nationalism is mere irrationalism. Why should we trust the Scottish Greens about the environment if they think men can be women? It’s like trusting a party that believes squares can be round. Why should we believe SNP claims about an independent Scotland if they think that women are not born with female genitalia? It’s like trusting a party that thinks cows don’t have udders.
The problem that the SNP and Abertay University have is how to define the word “woman” if it is not someone who is born with female genitals. They end up being unable to define what a woman is. How do we learn words? We learn from our parents and then wider society. Words are not made up by each of us and they are not defined by inner feelings. Rather we learn the word “red” by pointing to post-boxes and we learn the word “green” by pointing to grass. If we make a mistake we are corrected. Each of us is called a boy or a girl based on our external appearance. This makes it meaningless to suppose that a person can define being a man or a woman on his own initiative. It’s like thinking you can define what red is or what a cup is. It is simply a mistake to suppose that the meaning of words including the word “woman” is defined inwardly. It has absolutely nothing to do with an inner feeling. We are defined by the linguistic community in which we live. Every word we speak is learned and controlled by the community of language users we are a part of.
To suppose that someone who grew up as a boy might feel that he is really a woman is to simply misunderstand what makes someone a woman. If I am a woman, I have no more idea of what it would be to feel like a man, than I have an idea of what it would feel like to be a cat. I have a female body, if being a woman is different from having a female body, I have no idea what this being might be. I might as well say that I feel like a Martian.
Suppose a man says I feel like a woman. How would he know that he really felt that way? What would make such a statement true? What would make it false? If we are not allowed to refer to the person’s body or appearance, we are left with nothing with which to determine if someone really does feel like a woman or is mistaken. But if that is the case, we are not talking about truth at all.
A few days ago, I read about a singer that I had never heard of before who claimed that she was now non-binary and wanted to be called “they” and “them”. But how did this singer determine she was neither he nor she, but rather they? Why not it? How did she verify the claim that she was not a she and neither was she a he? What physical characteristic led her to this conclusion? If there was no physical characteristic which mental or emotional characteristic told her that the whole world must now call her “they”? But how did she know that this characteristic truly told her this rather than falsely misled her? There is no criterion of truth of what is going on inside my head. What would count as being mistaken, when there is nothing outside of me to do the judging. This is like buying six copies of the same newspaper to check that it tells the truth. But if there is no standard by which to judge the truth or falsity of my inward claims, we are simply not dealing with a factual matter. There is no truth here, because there is no possibility of falsity.
If being a woman is not a matter of her physical appearance then being a woman ceases to be a matter of fact. There ceases to be any truth or falsity in claims to be a woman. This is where Abertay and the SNP are leading us. But if there is no truth or falsity about being a woman and that it is purely subjective, this will have implications about other subjects. If being a woman is not about physical appearance, there is no reason to suppose that being black is a matter of skin colour or being a tiger is a matter of having stripy fur. But this will mean that Abertay University will very quickly have very little left to study. If being a woman is no longer an objective matter of fact verifiable externally, then I should be free to deny the existence of atoms and electrons because I cannot see them and judge Darwin to be wrong because he didn’t account for how evolution allowed men to become women. Quite soon being a black hole may quickly be a matter of self-definition, subjectivity and black hole rights, which will leave physics rather stranded.
Transgenderism and the whole woke ideology destroys truth as we have understood it since the world began. It puts subjectivity at the heart of thinking rather than logic and reason. This destroys Higher Education and makes it pointless. You may as well employ witch doctors and sack lecturers. Worse if irrationality is at the heart of the SNP we have to face the fact that we are being ruled by witch doctors in which case watch out in case your head ends up in the stew.
The excellent Effie Deans writes at Lily of St. Leonard’s here.