Russia Today and The Harvard Crimson, among many other sources, report on the latest development at an organization where I have worked for 6 years.
The statue of four lies: Harvard was not founded in 1638, the man depicted by the statue isn't John Harvard but a model, John Harvard wasn't the founder, anyway, and he wasn't he but ze. ;-)
Sweden has been the "most progressive" country that has introduced the mandatory pronoun "hen" for everyone. If you've changed your sex and you pretend to be something else than you are, you may feel happy when you're referred to as poultry. And because of this comfort of yours, everyone else has to be poultry, too.
In the U.S., the usage of the transsexually politically correct pronouns has been limited to a few third-class schools so far. At the University of Tennessee, they introduced "ze" but the change was criticized by tons of alumni etc., including Congressman John Duncan who has blasted this PC insanity, so they quickly removed it.
This fad simply had to arrive to one of the two or three most famous universities in the U.S., the most left-wing one among the two or three, namely Harvard. And given the PC fanaticism of the people who have power at at that place, I am afraid that this policy won't be rejected so easily. On the contrary, I predict that it will be getting more brutal.
What did they introduce so far? During registration, students may choose to be either "he" or "she" or "ze" or "e" or "they". So far about 1% of new students have chosen pronouns different than "he" or "she" but this number is guaranteed to grow, especially if at least some students have a sense of humor and will make fun of this craziness (I surely would).
The second part is that the instructors are obliged to use the pronouns that each student has chosen. If Mrms (or whatever is the right acronym) Smith decides to be "they", you have to learn it and refer to hirms as "them".
I am just imagining what I would be doing in such a situation if I hadn't escaped the school. To make it "right", I would have to employ 50% of my brain, and it couldn't be right, anyway. For "ze" (which was sometimes spelled as "zie"), I read that the words corresponding to "hers" and "herself" and "hir" and "hirself". It's nearly impossible to learn this whole new pile of utterly unphysical stuff. Moreover, I honestly have no idea how I should pronounce "hir". Is it like "here" or "her" or "hire" or something else but I just don't know what it could possibly be?
Do they also expect instructors who are not native speakers to say things like
...said Alice, and ze told hir sister, as well as ze could remember them, all these strange Adventures of hirs that...Einstein, among others, couldn't have done it, especially because the sound "ze" is already reserved for "the" [followed by a vowel] in the way how Einstein spoke, e.g. "ze English language".
Do you know some arguments by which the proponents of similar things are defending this artificial bastardization of the English language and the human relationships? In the article, I read that it's awkward when students are called or referred to by a different pronoun than their gender – they don't really mean their actual gender but the gender that the students "want to be".
Sure, it may be awkward. At least in the kindergarten, I must have been called a girl at least a few times. Perhaps due to the long eyelashes or the beauty in general. Obviously, I considered that a compliment. On the other hand, it's straightforward to dress or decorate yourself so that you look like your biological sex. Or, if you really wish, you may decorate yourself to look like the opposite sex. Or if you want to look asexual, you may dress yourself as a robot or something like that.
You may also ignore all these things and look like a person of uncertain sex. In that case, people will use different pronouns for you and you probably won't care. You won't care because that's how this paragraph started. If you do care, you shouldn't have ignored the issue!
In some cases, it may be hard and you still look like a man even though you want to be a woman, or something like that. They call you "he" and you want to be "she". Well, that may sound embarrassing. But it sounds embarrassing because you actually are embarrassing – so the standard language perfectly describes the reality once again. You are completely denying reality.
If you have the same disgusting big muscles like some people in the fitness clubs, lots of body hair, and you generally look like a normal ugly man but you want to be a woman, a sexy gorgeous babe, good luck. Didn't you want to be an elephant or a truck, too? It must be expected that people call you in different ways than those that you who would prefer and there may be awkward moments. But it is you, not them, who is the cause of the awkward moments. People can distinguish sexes and other patterns – but you have made deliberate steps to make it hard or confusing for them.
When the feminist bitches started to attack Larry Summers in 2005, he may have chosen to be a "she" or a "ze" and this would have probably helped him. He didn't do such a thing. First, it would turn himself into a clown in his own optics. Second, the feminist and transsexual bitches would say that he was only doing fun of their progressive causes, anyway.
This returns me to the pranks. 1% is a very high number. Much fewer than 1% of the people I have met in my life had any sort of "questionable gender". (The people born with XXY are the most frequent group with anomalous sex chromosomes that reaches adulthood, I believe, they are 0.1%-0.2% and look like rather ordinary men although they are sterile.) Doesn't it more or less prove that most of the people who register as something else are really making fun? I am not sure whether the proof works but I am sure that in my country, most of the people (an overwhelming majority, I would say) who would register as a "ze" or "e" or "they" would be pranksters. It couldn't be otherwise. This is a provoking policy that literally begs to be mocked.
But maybe the idea of the champions of "ze" is that the sense of humor will be banned, in order to protect "zem"? Even if they banned it, and it would already be pretty bad, how do they want to distinguish it? A prankster may emulate a really convinced "ze" as accurately as he or she wants. Policies in which you may call yourself "anything" without any observable evidence unavoidably make pranksters indistinguishable from the "real minorities", whatever the latter exactly means.
In the classrooms, the students who are neither "he" nor "she" automatically turn themselves into some exceptions, very special people who get a special treatment. I think that it inevitably creates a new source of tension or arguments e.g. about grades. Such a "ze" may get a better grade out of compassion of a sort. And if there's no compassion, "ze" may complain about a possible discrimination, and so on. It is a totally new, huge, and unnecessary can of worms.
These attempts to institutionally help various minorities seem mindless, illogical, and almost universally counterproductive to me. The protection as I see it would follow these rules:
- It is important to distinguish whether some unusual feature is something that the person was born with, or not. A human being deserves some minimum dignity whatever he got from Mother Nature regardless of the feature or features – because "ze" can't change it or them.
- If the person turned "hirself" into something special, it was "hir" act and "ze" should be responsible for that act. If that act is considered either criminal or immature by others, they have the right to make it clear that this is how they see it.
- Also, one must realize whether "hir" special feature has anything to do with the education, science, or another business. If there is no relationship, the business should be blind towards this feature. It should be neither "punishing" nor "favoring" such a special feature.
On the other hand, there are lots of "abnormal" things that make most Czechs – including myself – conclude that someone is either stupid or immature or psychologically twisted in some way. When a boy wears earrings, it is already pretty bad. If he transformed himself into a "hir", that would be a totally new level of abnormality. In our culture, people would never try to force instructors to learn new rules of the grammar. The words "something weird" were already known to the Czech language for many centuries and they would be enough for the people to describe the situation.
After all, "ze" must know that people consider its unusual gender weird, anyway, right? So this whole movement is a movement to increase the hypocrisy, to make people say different things than they believe to be true. And it's just wrong, wrong, wrong. It only changes the issues on the surface. "Ze" may be called "ze" by an instructor but "ze" still knows that the instructor considers "hir" weird, doesn't "ze"? And he probably does. Almost everyone does. Just some people are better at hypocrisy than others.
Concerning the perceived "different sexuality", its defenders may agree that the person was biologically born as XY or XX. But they may argue that the person was also born with the desire to be something else than the actual genetic composition indicates. So the society has to respect this desire just like it respects the reality about the chromosomes and just like it respects different races etc. The sexual orientation (homosexuals) are the most important context where this argument may be applied.
My answer is: Fine, it is possible that some people are born with abnormal desires but this simply doesn't mean or shouldn't mean that the society is obliged to consider all desires to be as good and healthy as all others. Such an extreme attitude would clearly lead to the collapse of the rule of law, of the fabric of the society.
For example, it is almost certain that some people have a stronger genetic predisposition to steal or lie or do other things. There are heritable traits like that. Whether a crime occurs depends both on these traits as well as particular decisions that the potential or real criminal does at a given moment. But in general, it can't be clearly stated which of the two was the cause. Even the "shares" can't be quantified in general.
Because the crimes have some unquantified but nonzero contribution of genetic traits, should the society be obliged to treat thieves just like certain societies treat gays? Shouldn't we legalize the thief marriage in which the two thieves, a bride and a groom during the wedding, may steal everything from everyone in their city because this is how they feel and how they were born? I don't think so. Sane societies don't legalize such things because thieves are harmful whether or not they were born with a heritable trait to steal.
The rule is that a sane society ultimately encourages or discourages certain behavior not according to its being heritable; but according to its being beneficial or harmful to the society! So what matters for the status of some act (good or bad) isn't its cause but its consequences. Whether the act is good or bad decides on whether the society encourages it or discourages it. Only once it's known whether it's good or bad, the society may look for ways to encourage or discourage it. If someone can prove that the act occurred thanks to a biological anomaly he couldn't do anything about, he may be considered innocent in the court. But the society may still make preventive steps that make these acts less likely in the future.
On the other hand, if some good or bad acts are known to be (largely or completely) uncorrelated with some characteristics of the people who committed them, the society should rationally learn not to pay attention to these characteristics, not to link them with the acts. But the decoupling should be done on both sides. You may be a transsexual but it is your personal hobby, not a game that the university instructors are obliged to play with you by learning some crazy new jargon. The job of the instructors should be something entirely different than to be dragged to similar bizarre games.
There are many ideas and principles her and many mistakes that people and societies can make. The Czechs are among those who would consider anyone demanding to be "ze" or "e" or "they" even though he or she has either XX or XY genetic setup to be a painful or immature exhibitionist or a person deliberately trying to divorce himself or herself from the reality.
Not to allow the people to look at these acts in this way is already a clear violation of the human freedom. But to force the Harvard instructors to learn new crazy pronouns that a certain subset of students invents for themselves, eirselves, hirselves, zerselves, and so on, is a higher level of unfairness. Such a decision really turns these nuts into the center of the instructors' attention. It's a policy that forces the instructors to spend a much greater fraction of their time with these deviants. And this is simply not fair. It contradicts the principles of equality of the students.
It is pathological and it is also largely unsustainable. Well, the only way to sustain these insane policies is to strip the instructors – and everyone else – from their totally basic freedoms and from their independent thinking. The article in The Crimson ends by these sentences:
...Blecher-Cohen said students and Harvard staff alike still will need to be educated more on the use of gender pronouns, but that offering different options is a promising start for including students.These policies may spur the conversation – I am only afraid that one possible way to participate in the conversation, namely to remain sane and to point out that these policies are insane – will be institutionally discouraged.
“It’s not a panacea; it doesn't fix everything, but hopefully it spurs the conversation so folks are actively thinking about it for the first time,” he said.