The ‘Trans’ movement is causing as much disorder in our time as the various ‘Zero’ movements. But there is a difference between them. The ‘Zero’ movements, as Jordan Peterson puts it, depend on ‘lies, damn lies, statistics, and computer models’. In a word, on evidence: or, rather, on ‘evidence’. The ‘Trans’ movement depends on logic: or, rather, on ‘logic’. (Inverted commas are a useful distancing device here.)
The Daily Sceptic has many more articles on the subjects of COVID and CLIMATE, than it has on the various species of WOKERY. This is because it is easier to be sceptical about scientific claims than identitarian claims. It is easier to be sceptical about evidence than it is about logic. This is because the sceptic can always find evidence against the original evidence: so that all the evidence and counter-evidence can be brought together to battle it out within the same framework of logic. It is harder to be sceptical about logic itself, because what we have is entire frameworks coming into contradiction. This is especially true of what happens when we try to think about ‘Trans’.
The ‘Trans’ movement bases its claims not on evidence but on logic. This is to say that it prefers to appeal to a false or dubious a priori, rather than to a false or dubious a posteriori. We are not in the world of ‘evidence-based’ science. Everyone knows that the ‘Trans’ movement is completely indifferent to evidence. It depends on logic. This logic is not a very good logic, but, no matter what you think of it, it is a logic, and it has a coherence of its own. Let us call it TRANSLOGIC.
Although this logic is not our logic, many of us (or at least those of us who call ourselves liberals) find that we get tangled up in TRANSLOGIC, whether we want to or not. It is easy to get tangled up in TRANSLOGIC: and this is why I propose a way out of confusion by distinguishing this form of logic from two older forms of logic.
Before I sketch the logics, it is important to draw attention to the importance of history in all of this. TRANSLOGIC is a logic about a difficult and dangerous subject which, for not much more than a century, we have classified under the category of ‘sex’. But it is very important to note that ‘sex’ is a modern thing. There was no clear ancient or medieval word for what we mean by ‘sex’. For thousands of years there was marital love on the one hand, and porneia or ‘fornication’ and unnatural acts on the other: one good, and one evil. What we have come to call ‘sex’ was, of course, usually related to and also subordinated to another something else – namely, love. It was about our duties to others rather than about our rights against others.