You Broke It, You Bought It

“You broke it, you bought it.”

It’s called the Pottery Barn Rule.

If you you pick up a piece of store merchandise and you break it, then you have to pay for it. What’s left of it, anyway. It’s not much good to anyone.

The same applies to ideas. For example:

“Trans women are women.”

No one with a sense of self-preservation would dispute the Revealed Truth that “trans women are women.” But it’s hard to know what it means, because it breaks the idea of being a woman.

In order for “trans women are women” to say anything significant, the second occurrence of the word “woman” has to use the word with its original meaning:

“An adult human female” (Oxford English Dictionary, 2004)

And the original meaning of “female:”

“Denoting the sex that can bear offspring or produce eggs” (Oxford English Dictionary, 2004)

The whole point of saying “trans women are women” is that women as originally defined have no characteristics that trans women lack. Otherwise, all we’re saying is that “trans women are trans women,” which is uninformative and tautological.

But using the original meaning is no longer allowed. We are now required to think that words like “woman” refer not to sex but to “gender,” a grammatical term that has been re-purposed to confuse people about biological sex.

The word “gender” is used to mean one or more of these things about people:

  • Their biological sex (male or female)
  • Their belief that they are male or female
  • Their subjective feeling of being male or female
  • Their proclamation that they are male or female
  • Their style of dress (traditionally male or traditionally female)
  • Their mannerisms and affectations (traditionally masculine or traditionally feminine)
  • Their sexual orientation (homosexual, heterosexual, or somewhere in between)

Feminist author Hilary Lips writes that “we view gender not as a category that someone simply biologically ‘is’ but as something that individuals do or act out.”

So when we say (as we all should) that “trans women are women,” we mean that trans women satisfy at least one of these criteria:

  • They believe that they are female.
  • They subjectively feel that they are female.
  • They proclaim that they are female.
  • They dress as females in their society have traditionally dressed.
  • They have feminine mannerisms and emotional reactions.
  • They have sexual desires characteristic of biological females.

Of course, what’s not on the list is actually being female. That’s because if a trans woman were female, then she couldn’t be “trans.” But then what’s the point?

When we say that trans women are women, there’s no avoiding the fact that we mean:

Trans women either believe they’re female, feel female, say they’re female, dress as females, have feminine mannerisms, or have feminine sexual desires, but they’re not actually female.

When you think about that statement instead of just intoning it reverently as part of the woke catechism, it sounds a little too much like “they believe that they’re women but they really aren’t.”

And nobody wants to go there, except perhaps for some female women who are tired of losing athletic competitions to men with ponytails.

The bottom line is that:

  • “Trans women are women” doesn’t mean much unless it says that trans women are actual females.
  • But if they’re actual females, then they’re not “trans.” So it specifically does not say they are females.
  • Therefore, if they are “trans,” then they’re not women in the way that the statement tries to imply.
  • So the statement uses two different meanings of “woman” that contradict each other. It cancels itself.

We should not require religious truths to make sense in the same way as ordinary beliefs about the world, such as “the apple is red.” The fact that “trans women are women” makes no logical sense marks it as a religious truth of great importance. As Voltaire said, “Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”

About N.S. Palmer

N.S. Palmer is an American mathematician.
This entry was posted in Psychology, Society and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to You Broke It, You Bought It

  1. J P says:

    I have read of some feminists/female athletes who have tried to argue that the transgender movement does violence to the concept of being a woman. They have not been well received among those with whom they have traditionally had common cause.

    Another conflict often papered over is the conflict between the gay and trans views of the human person. One says “I was born this way and unchangably defined by it” while the other says “I was born this way but must change so I am not defined by it.”

    No matter what one thinks of either view of the person, there seems to be an unavoidable conflict between them.


    • N.S. Palmer says:

      Most people do not form their own opinions about such things. They simply follow whatever they’re told by people who have high status in their group. Most of the high-status people are equally clueless. Our main problem in America is not that we have elites, but that our elites are ignorant, amoral, and self-serving. They’ve never heard of (and probably wouldn’t agree with) the idea of noblesse oblige.

      Among the small number of people who know what they’re doing, attacking traditional concepts and social roles serves two purposes. First, it tears down a society’s existing mores, institutions, and social structures. Second, it divides the society’s people against each other in foolish arguments that neither side can win. If the goal is to ruin and destroy the society, those are effective tactics, as we can see.

      The bright side, if there is one, is that since most people are followers, removal of the puppet masters would go a long way toward preventing further damage and allowing repair of the society.


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