Jordan Peterson in Hot Water over Pronouns (Again)
God bless Jordan Peterson. "Up yours, woke moralists," Peterson told Twitter in a recent podcast when they suspended his account for tweeting a missive that apparently used incorrect gender pronouns and somehow violated Twitter's ambiguous and purposely vague rules of conduct.
Peterson wrote: "Remember when Pride was a sin? And Ellen Page just had her breasts removed by a criminal physician." Peterson is not bending to the woke mob, and says he'd rather die than delete his tweet. Good for him.
Contrary to woke dogma, gender pronouns are meaningless. Put another way, they are incoherent and indefinable, and when explored with any logic or rigor, they unravel into mush. They violate basic grammar rules and create confusion in both the speaker and listener. Using "they/them" as singular pronouns causes ambiguity and problematizes communication, and destabilizes established cultural and linguistic norms. Further, because modern gender ideology teaches that gender is fluid and not fixed, pronouns can change at any time for any reason.
According to NPR's "A Guide to Gender Identity Terms," a person could identify as "he/they" or "she/they" simultaneously. Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen, deputy executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, who contributed to NPR's guide, elaborates: "That means that the person uses both pronouns, and you can alternate between those when referring to them. So either pronoun would be fine — and ideally mix it up, use both. It just means that they use both pronouns that they're listing."
Huh? "It just means that they use both pronouns that they're listing." I've reread this sentence numerous times, and it still remains incomprehensible. Perhaps this is the point. Gender identity has roots in Queer Theory, where postmodern Marxists aim to problematize language and knowledge in order to disrupt so-called power structures. "Almost every socially significant category has been intentionally complicated and problematized by postmodern Theorists in order to deny such categories any objective validity and disrupt their systems of power that might exists across them," write Helen Pluckrose and James Lindsay in Cynical Theories.
Pronouns, like gender, are fluid and can change at any time for any reason. You can use all pronouns at once or none at all. Loose translation: they're man-made, overengineered mush.
Perhaps if the terms at the heart of gender identity — like "him" and "her," or better still, "man" and "woman" — were actually definable, pronouns might hold some weight and have some merit or meaning. Ironically, the progressive gatekeepers of modern gender ideology cannot adequately define either. Although NPR's "A Guide to Gender Identity Terms" lists 13 definitions, a simple, coherent definition of "man" and "woman" is not included. As Matt Walsh points out so eloquently in his documentary What as a Woman?, these terms are not only left undefined by so-called experts in the field, but are considered off-limits and guarded against any rational, scientific inquiry.
Gender idealogues say that Lia Thomas is a woman, but they cannot tell you what they mean when they say that. What is a woman? Gender theory has made it so that the word "woman" itself, and the word man, have no meaning. Leftists, because of their ideological commitments, cannot define the terms. They say trans women are women. They say that someone can start out life as a male and transition into a woman. But how can I understand any of these claims and declarations if I do not know how they define the word woman? And how can they make any meaningful statements about women if they themselves do not know what they mean by it? So I ask very simply, as I have been asking for years, as I asked on Dr. Phil: what is a woman?
They say that biology has nothing to do with womanhood. Well, then what does have something to do with womanhood? If we cannot define a woman physically, how can we define her? What is a woman? What does the word mean? If you are on the Left, what exactly are you trying to say the word, woman, means? When you say that such and such biological man is a woman, what are you actually trying to convey about that person? What do you mean that Lia Thomas is a woman? What is that supposed to mean?
It means whatever modern gender ideologues say it means, which is the point. It's about politics, power, control, and pushing an agenda. So-called gender pronouns (and gender ideology in general) are like clumps of clay, which can be molded into whatever shapes progressives choose. And the only rule is that progressives, and progressives only, get to decide. In other words, two plus two equals four, but as Winston Smith learned after being reprogrammed in Room 101, two plus two can equal five. It's whatever Big Brother says it is.
This mushy, incoherent swamp recently swallowed Jordan Peterson on Twitter. In response to his suspension, Peterson stated in part:
And how can I describe the fact that someone who was once a woman (and really still is) had her breasts cut off because she/he/her/them had fallen prey to a viciously harmful fad without using the appropriate sex-linked pronoun and the real name of the real person to whom this was really done (with her/his/their voluntary but unfortunate acquiescence)?
And so it was impossible to communicate what had happened to my audience without, apparently, running afoul of the impossible and absurd rules that now hypothetically govern morality itself in the days of the degenerated postmodern and Marxist ethos that we must still, no matter how impossible it is, abide by — or else.
This isn't to say we shouldn't treat our fellow human beings with compassion or respect. Still, our culture's obsession with pronouns is unhealthy and concerning.
Progressive postmodern Marxists who traffic in identity politics want pronouns to matter — too much, and in all the wrong ways. And unfortunately, they will continue to build them into ever more serious, consequential, and ideological entities that they alone can wield and control.