Gender Ideology – If People Vote For It Well, That’s Democracy

Democracy is not the system in which everything you like gets done and nothing you don’t does. Rather, it’s the system in which the people have their say over what does get done. This rather vital distinction gets missed all to often. So it is with this diatribe against gender ideology.

What was even more remarkable than his sudden electoral surge was that Alvarado had managed to make the election in Central America’s most stable democracy hinge on an abstract – some would say specious – concept: “gender ideology”.

The phrase is neither a legitimate academic term, nor a political movement.

It is a theory drummed up by hard-right religious activists, who present it as a gay- and feminist-led movement out to upend the traditional family and the natural order of society. It’s a catchall phrase to sell a false narrative and justify discrimination against women and LGBT people. And it is winning elections.

OK, it’s not a legitimate academic term. But then nor is Brexit or ever closer European union. They’re not even things which are within academe’s remit, they’re expressions of political will about how the world should be. Yet it is quite obviously a political movement – political movements being the things which influence politics.

Which is the point at issue here for me. Not whether gender ideology has any value as an idea, but that things which win elections are, inevitably, political ideas. The importance of this being the following startling claim:

Ultimately, what’s being targeted is the infrastructure of democracy.

The people getting to decide whether they like gender ideology or not is, as with Brexit, not a denial of democracy nor an undermining of it, it is that thing, it is the very point and function of democracy. Oi! You oiks! What is it you want?

What is getting confused here is the difference between civil rights and democracy. The two are not the same thing. Civil rights means that there’s some class of things which are not subject to that democracy. Say, execution. Or jailing without trial. Or the ability to have an abortion. Or protection against domestic violence. Sure, we’ll all have different ideas about what should be in that protected class but it’s only capricious and totalitarian states that don’t make the distinction at all.

It’s an important distinction for us to make too. For much of what we’re told about the world in economic terms is said to be subject to that democracy only. The rich should pay higher taxes is a reasonable political demand, a democratic one even. That the rich should be dispossessed isn’t – that runs into that brick wall of the civil right to property. We can and many do equally argue that there’s a right to abortion which elections cannot be used to overturn. That is, to insist that it’s a civil right. OK, but that is insisting that there are some things to which democracy doesn’t apply. All we’re arguing now is over which those are, not the existence of the concept itself.

Which is why this difference is important to note. Not everything is subject to the vote of the people, to those democratic decisions. We do indeed agree that some things are above that, need to be kept away from the whims of the mob. OK, great, which are they? For you cannot have it both ways and insist that the populace is sovereign and then insist that they’re not now, can you?

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Hallowed Be
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Hallowed Be

So rather than go into the meat of the issue (as tim does) Gillian’s article seems to be all about the emergence of a name. Those people over there have a name for us people over here’s ideas to change their societies and laws.

Martin
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Martin

http://acorneroffrance.blogspot.com/2018/03/extracting-urine.html
’60-year-old former male argentinian worker in the tax office in that country . (S)he has taken advantage of the law that says a person can identify as being of either gender, apparently without the need for surgical intervention or much other justification, and can insist on being treated as being of their chosen gender.

Sergio has become Sergia, and (s)he has just retired at 60 instead of the 65 ‘

Spike
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Steve
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Steve

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but progressives like to simultaneously attack you and gaslight you. E.g.: Men and women are exactly equal and interchangable, bigot! It’s 2018! (And by the way, girls now outperform boys at school and university the future is female lol) OMG I can’t believe you’re so ignorant as to think that mass immigration is in any way a bad thing what’s wrong with you??? (Btw your race is dying you’ll be a minority soon lol) And now: It is a theory drummed up by hard-right religious activists, who present it as a gay-… Read more »

Hallowed Be
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Hallowed Be

I once read a pendant write in private eye that as both Arab and Israelite were semetic the term anti-semetic is strangely unhelpful, then again some people are anti-semantic.

Quentin Vole
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Quentin Vole

Arabs and Israelis are both Semitic peoples speaking Semitic languages (which are mutually intelligible when spoken, I believe, though the orthography is quite different). But the word ‘antisemitism’ only applies to Jews, for historical reasons (and because there are no conspiracy theories about secretive Arab-led organisations taking over the world).

Spike
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“Make America Great Again” was not a legitimate academic term and we are still baffled whether means erasing internal hindrances or erecting new barriers. But it was a winning political movement, set against Hillary’s one-worldish view that the government should pursue fashions like Paris and TPP no matter whether they served the electors. PS – The American Founders were explicit about this: The people don’t “have their say over what does get done.” They elect some legislators democratically (now: all legislators, and the College between us and the Presidency is no longer deliberative) and those leaders are bound by their… Read more »

Quentin Vole
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Quentin Vole

True, but I note that referendums are quite popular, at least in some states. Has there ever been a national US one (if so, it passed me by)?

Spike
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Referendum is a provision of the state constitution of certain states. Right now, there is a movement out of California to get every state to codify certain rights of victims. “Marsy’s Law” is to be passed by referendum using tugs at heartstrings; in contrast, legislators contain lawyers, who complain that it is vague, verbose, and might be tugged in many different directions. Now, in New Hampshire, there is no referendum, though the voters must ratify amendments to the state constitution. So that is how it is styled: Put a ponderous statement of court procedure right in the constitution, where it… Read more »

Quentin Vole
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Quentin Vole

Thanks, Spike.

Spike
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You’re welcome! I didn’t tie that last bit together: Washington may pre-empt states in regulating an endeavor or industry, but it cannot order states to regulate or tax; nor, therefore, tell ’em what to put on their ballots. Q.E.D.

NiV
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NiV

“We do indeed agree that some things are above that, need to be kept away from the whims of the mob. OK, great, which are they?”

I think J S Mill wrote a whole essay on that question.
http://www.bartleby.com/130/