Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Some ostensibly smart people do some very dumb things in defense of the faith

William Kilpatrick
William Kilpatrick seems to be a very smart guy. He has a master's degree in education from Harvard and a doctorate in counseling psychology from Purdue. He was a professor in the education department of Boston College for some 30 years. Why then would he allow his religion to be the arbiter of science? I am reading an essay that he wrote on Monday. It is well written … rubbish titled “The Normalization of Delusional Thinking.”
Take the transgender issue. All of a sudden, a significant percentage of our social and intellectual elites have succumbed to the delusion that a girl can be a boy, and a boy can be a girl, or whatever he, she, ne, ze, zir currently desires to be. This is not merely a rebellion against social convention, it’s a rebellion against reality. It’s a rejection of basic biology.
None of the above is true. Had Kilpatrick bothered to consult with a psychiatrist who specializes in pediatric gender dysphoria he might have learned a thing or two. His piece is published to Crisis, a conservative Catholic outlet, which means that he is going to get plenty of affirmation for preaching to the choir.

There is nothing “all of a sudden” about gender dysphoria. What has happened is that as recently as ten years ago the emphasis was on preventing youth from becoming transgender as a means of mitigating the effects of gender dysphoria. Doing so only delayed the inevitable while making people suffer. It also created future suffering because transitions are more successful earlier in life. Now we are letting children decide with the help of parents and highly trained clinicians. To suggest that this compromises basic biology is nothing more than willful ignorance — a refusal to accept the difference between sex and gender.
The most disturbing aspect of the “gender fluidity” fad is not that there are young and not-so- young (e.g. Bruce Jenner) people who are badly confused about their gender, but that there are legions of professionals—doctors, psychologists, teachers—who stand ready to confirm them in their delusion and even pump them full of puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones.
Kilpatrick is painfully confused. Gender fluidity describes the fact that our sense of gender is a continuum with male and female at the extreme ends and the needle moves a bit. Moreover, where on earth did he get the idea that the incongruence of sex and gender represents a state of confusion? Quite the contrary is true. The very nature of gender dysphoria is the certitude regarding one's gender. It is the certitude which creates the extreme discomfort.

But let us assume for the moment that gender dysphoria is a state of confusion. Has Kilpatrick found any intervention that un-confuses the  confused or is he just confused and confusing?

Had Kilpatrick consulted with one of those clinicians he might have to hear what he doesn't want to hear. He might also absorb the fact that children who are allowed to transition have near-normal levels of anxiety and depression. This, in turn, saves lives because they are much less apt to harm themselves. The very idea that kids need to suffer in order to somehow validate the teachings of the Catholic Church is repugnant to me and to most critical thinkers. Yet critical thinking requires intellectual curiosity. When it comes to gender, Kilpatrick is profoundly incurious.
More sinister still, there are other authorities who want to punish those who fail to honor the delusion. The California Senate recently passed a bill to fine and even imprison nursing home workers who fail to address patients by their preferred pronoun. Meanwhile, the New York City Commission on Human Rights issued a “guidance” to business owners requiring them to use a person’s preferred pronoun or face a fine of $125,000 for “misgendering.”
I am going to guess that Kilpatrick didn't actually read the California bill in question. It is a comprehensive nondiscrimination measure. The violation that he is referring to is “Willfully and repeatedly fail to use a resident’s preferred name or pronouns after being clearly informed of the preferred name or pronouns.” In polite society we address people as they choose to be addressed. I don't know what the custom at Boston College is but I imagine that a student willfully and repeatedly referring to Dr. or Professor Kilpatrick as “Billy” might be subject to some discipline. True, that is not the force of law but the concept is the same. Respect. It is not necessary for sanctimonious people to express their disapproval at every opportunity. The staffer is not going to be imprisoned. Come on. Let's be serious. However, he or she might rightfully be terminated for cause.

Regarding the City of New York, I do not know why the word guidance is within defensive quotes. Misgendering is also in quotes. However the guidance does not include the word or the simpler form of misgender. Again, I question whether Kilpatrick had the intellectual discipline to examine the material. Or did he just accept something from the echo chamber? The guidance is primarily concerned with violence against gender nonconforming people. The guidance indicates no fixed sum for the fine. There are many factors including whether the failure to address people respectfully is deliberate and repetitive. Read the damn document, Billy.
In the old South there used to be laws against miscegenation, but nowadays in sophisticated, modern Manhattan, you can be fined for “misgendering.” Imagine that. If Max, the doorman, wants to be called “Maxine” today, you’d better go along with it, or else risk bankruptcy. And if on Thursday he decides he’s Maximilian I, the Emperor of Mexico, you’d be wise to address him as “your imperial majesty,” just to stay on the right side of the Human Rights Commission. In short, you are at the mercy of Max and his multiple identities.

Again, this is familiar anti-LGBT material. It expresses the notion that gender is trival; male today, female tomorrow, male again next week. Gender doesn't work that way and the guidance applies to employers, not individuals. Kilpatrick retains the First Amendment right to be a boor. Moreover, people do not have “multiple [gender] identities.” This is just a way of further denigrating people that the Church disapproves of. Kilpatrick is being intellectually dishonest unless he really believes his own BS. If that's the case then he has the curiosity of a stale Twinkie.

The dishonest theme of gender-du-jour continues:
Likewise, just as you’re not allowed to call Bruce Jenner “he,” you’re not supposed to say “radical Islamic terror” or “migration invasion” or any other words that might be offensive to Muslims. If you slip up and use “Islamophobic” language, you can expect the same consequences that would follow if you called Maxine, “Max” on the wrong day of the week—namely, ostracism, job loss, and a heavy fine. …
After all, it is just too tedious to try to be polite.
As Matthew Hanley observes in an incisive piece on the subject, such compelled speech is “degrading;” moreover, “making [others] agree to something they know is a lie is a hallmark of totalitarianism.” True enough, some people don’t know it’s a lie. They’ve been conditioned in school and college to believe that boys can be girls, that same-sex “marriage” is the equivalent of heterosexual marriage… The fact that these lies are believed by so many is testimony to the soft totalitarian takeover of our educational system.
Hanley's piece on a conservative Catholic blog is less than stimulating. Being polite and respectful might even be compelled speech. So is that Doctor or Professor honorific. And will they please stop writing crap about the belief that boys can be girls? It is nonsense. A very small segment of the population has gender that is incongruent with sex. Furthermore, same-sex marriage is the legal equivalent of any other marriage. Kilpatrick's approval is unnecessary. So far the First Amendment means something and the Church does not get to dictate public policy. A totalitarian conspiracy theory about tops off my day.

This mess eventually winds up here:
The famous maxim attributed to Chesterton applies here: “The first effect of not believing in God is to believe in anything.” Once you lose sight of the central objective reality in the universe, it’s easy to lose sight of all the other realities, and you end up believing in anything—no matter how counter-factual the “anything” might be. You might believe that same-sex couples are truly married, you might believe that males can become females. You might even believe—heaven help you—that Islam is a religion of peace.
Yeah, in addition to being an anti-LGBT bigot, Kilpatrick is an anti-Islam bigot who is both proud and obnoxious at the same time. Young minds were exposed to Kilpatrick for 30 years or so. That is truly more terrifying than my Muslim neighbor.

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