This Sceptical Doubt…

While taking a three-mile constitutional this afternoon (we of the American Right never, of course, forget the importance of constitutionals), I had a listen to John Derbyshire’s latest Radio Derb podcast. It was a particularly good one, with fine segments on immigration, automation, and social engineering. You can listen to it here, or read it here.

One theme that Mr. Derbyshire touched on was what he calls “The Bathroom Wars” (and which others have called “World War T”). (I’ve hardly written about this one at all, although of course I have opinions about it that are consistent with this website’s overarching editorial themes. It’s all just so fatiguing sometimes.)

Derb had this to say:

I’m still having trouble taking this seriously. How on earth did we get to the point where restroom usage is a major national issue?

This looks to me like another case of Thinking Too Much. A lot of life, including social life, goes much better if you don’t think about it too much.

That used to be — until, I mean, the week before last — that used to be how we coped with public restrooms. If you were a guy, you went to the guys’ room; if a gal, to the gals’ room. If you were honestly confused about your sex, you went to whichever room your presence in would be less likely to cause comment and fuss. The amount of brainpower, of cognitive energy, you put into the matter of bathroom-going was very close to zero.

Obvious guys did not go into the girls’ room, or vice versa, because it would have been gross bad manners to do so. A person who insisted on doing so would cause pointless trouble and ill feeling. If he or she was doggedly persistent, or made a habit of barging into the other sex’s restroom, the authorities might intervene with a prosecution for some catchall misdemeanor like “disturbing the peace” or “causing a public nuisance.” This practically never happened though. Mostly people just minded their manners.

That was a rule-governed society, a society in which there were right and wrong ways to behave. Most people most of the time behaved the right way, out of consideration for others and the desire for a life not daily roiled by unnecessary commotion. The rules came first, and most of us followed them without thinking — from habit, and unspoken social understandings. Laws were just a backstop, for dealing with the occasional antisocial delinquent.

Now that’s all turning around. Rules count for less and less; everything has to be overseen by the federal Department of Justice.

This is the legalistic despotism foreseen by de Tocqueville two hundred years ago, in which federal power, quote, “covers the surface of society with a network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate,” end quote.

Very well said, I think. And readers may recognize the Tocqueville quote, which I’ve cited here myself a few times. Here’s a larger excerpt of that passage, from Chapter VI of Democracy in America:

I think, then, that the species of oppression by which democratic nations are menaced is unlike anything that ever before existed in the world; our contemporaries will find no prototype of it in their memories. I seek in vain for an expression that will accurately convey the whole of the idea I have formed of it; the old words despotism and tyranny are inappropriate: the thing itself is new, and since I cannot name, I must attempt to define it.

I seek to trace the novel features under which despotism may appear in the world. The first thing that strikes the observation is an innumerable multitude of men, all equal and alike, incessantly endeavoring to procure the petty and paltry pleasures with which they glut their lives. Each of them, living apart, is as a stranger to the fate of all the rest; his children and his private friends constitute to him the whole of mankind. As for the rest of his fellow citizens, he is close to them, but he does not see them; he touches them, but he does not feel them; he exists only in himself and for himself alone; and if his kindred still remain to him, he may be said at any rate to have lost his country.

Above this race of men stands an immense and tutelary power, which takes upon itself alone to secure their gratifications and to watch over their fate. That power is absolute, minute, regular, provident, and mild. It would be like the authority of a parent if, like that authority, its object was to prepare men for manhood; but it seeks, on the contrary, to keep them in perpetual childhood: it is well content that the people should rejoice, provided they think of nothing but rejoicing. For their happiness such a government willingly labors, but it chooses to be the sole agent and the only arbiter of that happiness; it provides for their security, foresees and supplies their necessities, facilitates their pleasures, manages their principal concerns, directs their industry, regulates the descent of property, and subdivides their inheritances: what remains, but to spare them all the care of thinking and all the trouble of living?

Thus it every day renders the exercise of the free agency of man less useful and less frequent; it circumscribes the will within a narrower range and gradually robs a man of all the uses of himself. The principle of equality has prepared men for these things;it has predisposed men to endure them and often to look on them as benefits.

After having thus successively taken each member of the community in its powerful grasp and fashioned him at will, the supreme power then extends its arm over the whole community. It covers the surface of society with a network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting. Such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.

I have always thought that servitude of the regular, quiet, and gentle kind which I have just described might be combined more easily than is commonly believed with some of the outward forms of freedom, and that it might even establish itself under the wing of the sovereignty of the people.

In Derb’s transcript is a link to an essay of his from 2003 called The Importance of Not Thinking Too Much, which touches upon another of this blog’s themes: that one of the bequests of the Enlightenment upon the people of the West was the “universal acid” of radical doubt. Derb quotes one of the Enlightenment’s heaviest hitters, David Hume:

This sceptical doubt … is a malady, which can never be radically cur’d, but must return upon us every moment, however we may chace it away … Carelessness and in-attention alone can afford us any remedy. For this reason I rely entirely upon them…

At the time Hume wrote this, his ideas were a drop of acid in an ocean of tradition and common sense. Things are very different now. I don’t think he and his colleagues could really have imagined what they were unleashing upon the world.

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44 Comments

  1. Kevin Kim says

    A three-mile constitutional? Your knee must be doing very well, indeed!

    As for bathrooms, the TL;DR version of my recently blogged opinion is: if you’re OK with unisex bathrooms at home, why not just mush everyone together into unisex restrooms in public? No big deal.

    Posted May 20, 2016 at 12:45 am | Permalink
  2. Kevin,

    I am not sure whether your bathroom opinion is facetious or not. If it is not meant facetiously, then my question is, “Why would one’s behavior in the privacy of one’s home be necessarily OK in public places?”

    If, however, by unisex you mean single occupancy, then it is a matter of logistics in public places — imagine a stadium, seating tens of thousands of people, with just a sprinkling of single-occupancy bathrooms.

    Posted May 20, 2016 at 2:11 am | Permalink
  3. Musey says

    I’m not sure whether you mean bathrooms, restrooms or toilets. If men want to queue up in the ladies instead of whipping it out in the gents and being out of there in no time, I have no problem. If they want to share the showers, I have. We have a language problem. Err, what is a restroom?

    I say this as someone who mistook the signs in a foreign swimming pool and ended up with a couple of naked men wondering what was going on. It wasn’t until I spotted the second one that I realized that I was the one in the wrong place. I can still run quite fast.

    Posted May 20, 2016 at 3:43 am | Permalink
  4. Kevin Kim says

    Henry,

    I don’t know whether you read my fully expressed opinion, but I wasn’t being facetious.

    You’re asking a good question, which leads to another issue: to what extent can private life work as an analogy for public life? I’d agree with you that there are some important disanalogies. We normally don’t have sex in public, for example; we also don’t generally shamble around outside in our underwear (most of us, anyway). But there are analogies, too: at home among family, for example, we (ideally) practice politeness and civility; that doesn’t change when we’re in public. If anything, these are values that we’re expected to continue to adhere to in public.

    So any argument that generally claims “private behavior simply isn’t analogous to public behavior” has to be more specific to be effective. Some types of private behavior are indeed carried over into the public sphere; others aren’t. My own feeling is that, when it comes to using a private, residential bathroom, the unisex nature of that bathroom already primes us for the appearance of unisex restrooms in public. And unisex public restrooms apparently already exist, primarily on college campuses, and no one’s having a cow about it.

    As a Latin-slinging online philosopher likes to say, a thing’s esse implies its posse. If unisex public restrooms already exist, then they must be possible.

    Just my opinion, for what little it’s worth.

    PS: in my blog post (linked above), I endeavor to show why I think my way of thinking is actually consistent with the conservative distaste for over-regulation of behavior. I admit I may have failed in that regard; the post could probably be expanded to a fuller, more formal essay.

    Posted May 20, 2016 at 5:57 am | Permalink
  5. Whitewall says

    I join in admiration of a 3 miler on a fairly new knee. The term “rest room” is among many terms for public toilets or WC or from the old days-the “necessary room”. Many people used to refrain from suggesting that ladies went “in mass” to a place to do whatever was needed or even know which lady had the original idea. There was a rising and the women would go. I have peeked inside some ladies facilities when the door was left open for the mass exit and return to the main area. I have seen chairs, sofas, mirrors and other amenities that helped them rest if needed. We have no such in the men’s rooms. Just stand close, p fast, pull handle haul arse…usually. It is women that are forever taking over the men’s room since they engage in extra activity in their own.

    Posted May 20, 2016 at 10:17 am | Permalink
  6. Whitewall says

    Ground zero for the moment is right here in North Carolina in the bathroom war. It started in our largest city Charlotte where a new town council had taken over with new “progressives” on board to make up a majority. These people wasted no time in passing a new ordinance about transgender use of bathrooms and anything related to them and how they were being discriminated against by not allowing them to use the bathroom that fit how they “self identified”, which is key in today’s world. Never mind he may be born a male, equipped thusly, if he identifies as female then THAT is all that matters and everybody just has to deal with it no matter what. If he is removed from a women’s room, then the person doing the removing is guilty of discrimination and can be prosecuted. Same would hold true with women and how they might identify. The vast majority of the public just has to deal with it. In true Pavlovian reaction, liberals everywhere howled in rage when the state legislature in Raleigh shot down this local ordinance and made it illegal for local governments statewide to do the same. The legislature and Governor are Republican controlled. Perfect. Now it’s on. All the entertainers that could–Bruce Springsteen, Ringo Starr, Cirque de Soleil, etc cancelled performances because of this gross discrimination against the newest subset of victims- the transgendered, bisexual etc. Some companies have cancelled plans to open in the state and so on. The PC world is unloading on us as if we were a threat to their carefully crafted world. So far, our Governor is holding fast and has counter suited the DOJ. In the end, after the ACLU gets in the game, I expect we lose and more culture decay will follow. Then the newest victim groups will be dissected into smaller victim groups and the whole thing starts over. Everything must be mashed own, ground down, and no distinctions will be allowed among anyone at any time for any reason. The force of the State will be brought to bear on anyone or group that attempts to rise above a very low base. A base that may render we the people no better than zoo animals for all intents and purposes. “Our President” has already issued a decree explaining how schools will manage this gross social injustice committed by the people of NC while the DOJ and the Governor await their meeting in court.

    And we thought all was over with just “same sex marriage”. The “progressive disease” looks for every crack and fissure it can find.

    Posted May 20, 2016 at 10:53 am | Permalink
  7. Malcolm says

    Kevin,

    I’ll point out that bathrooms are generally used one-at-a-time in the home — and that’s a place where there is already considerable intimacy, and where nobody’s a stranger. The point when it comes to public bathrooms is that they are usually shared.

    Posted May 20, 2016 at 12:15 pm | Permalink
  8. Kevin Kim says

    Malcolm,

    I’ll freely grant your points re: intimacy and lack of strangers. But one-at-a-time use? Not in my house. On a Saturday morning, we might have one person standing at the sink, brushing his or her teeth, while another person was on the throne, and a third person was in the shower.

    But maybe our family was the exception. I really wouldn’t know. One of my closest friends once told me that, in his household, no one ever saw any other family member naked (I assume he’s talking about when everyone in the family was old enough to have a sense of privacy). I found that utterly bizarre, and not really human.

    Posted May 20, 2016 at 2:09 pm | Permalink
  9. Kevin,

    I think “not really human” is a tad hyperbolical. Many humans would find it somewhat off-putting to be brushing their teeth while another family member was on the throne. There is a range of pleasantness and unpleasantness to various forms of nakedness.

    Posted May 20, 2016 at 2:30 pm | Permalink
  10. Kevin Kim says

    Henry,

    Yes, I was going for humor. But “utterly bizarre” is pretty much what I thought of my friend’s description of his household’s uptight bathroom politics.

    As the parrot in Tom Robbins’s Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates said: “People of zee wurl, relax!”

    Posted May 20, 2016 at 2:57 pm | Permalink
  11. Malcolm says

    Kevin, in my British family the bathroom was generally considered a place of privacy. I don’t think that’s particularly bizarre.

    Posted May 20, 2016 at 3:57 pm | Permalink
  12. Kevin Kim says

    Malcolm,

    True enough, but I bet my family’s chaotic “everyone is privy to the privy” style is far more common, globally speaking. Well… maybe not in places where the toilet is located in a “water closet,” with the “room of the baths” being separate, as often the case in la belle France.

    But even in public restrooms—and as long as we’re not talking about US Army rest facilities for privates in basic training—there’s privacy in the public space: cubicles for sit-down toilets. No one has to witness the paralyzing horror of a differently gendered person dropping the kids off at the pool. Fellow restroomers might have to hear and smell the event, though…

    Posted May 20, 2016 at 5:03 pm | Permalink
  13. Malcolm says

    Kevin,

    …I bet my family’s chaotic “everyone is privy to the privy” style is far more common, globally speaking.

    Right, but this isn’t a global controversy, and the privy customs of, say, the Andaman Islands aren’t relevant to it. This dispute is taking place here in America, which has had since its founding a predominantly and essentially British (and to a lesser extent, broadly European) culture.

    Public-bathroom stalls are not particularly private, and I think I can safely say that the overwhelming majority of Americans would prefer not to have a stranger of the opposite sex occupying an adjacent one as they go about their private biological business.

    Posted May 20, 2016 at 6:10 pm | Permalink
  14. “Fellow restroomers might have to hear and smell the event, though…”

    I don’t mean to belabor this point, Kevin, but I am curious: Does it not bother you at all to hear and smell one of your family member’s “event” while you are brushing your teeth? A related question: Is there anything that can make you gag?

    Posted May 20, 2016 at 7:57 pm | Permalink
  15. Kevin Kim says

    Malcolm,

    Point taken, but this insight will change as America’s demographics change. Maybe it’ll be a slow change, but it’ll also be inevitable as the US becomes collectively browner and less anchored in British culture. As for this:

    “Public-bathroom stalls are not particularly private, and I think I can safely say that the overwhelming majority of Americans would prefer not to have a stranger of the opposite sex occupying an adjacent one…”

    This hypothesis is being tested, and challenged, on the increasing number of college campuses that sport unisex restrooms. We’ll see how it turns out.

    Henry,

    No, I’m not particularly grossed out by my family members’ fragrances. As I mentioned in my blog post, people can get used to anything, and I had years to get used to this state of affairs.

    As for things that make me gag… I admit I have a higher-than-average tolerance for what many would consider disgusting. I’ll chalk this up to my ability to look at things with clinical detachment: I used to want to be a doctor. Excretion-related aromas are nothing to me, just as they’re nothing to farmers who work in a miasma of cow farts and cow-patty land mines. My parents had me taking care of my little brothers at a very young age: I was changing diapers and cleaning up puke from seven onward. Exposure to that sensory assault at a young age probably hardened me.

    This may qualify as “too much information,” so I apologize if this is TMI for you, but the three most disgusting experiences I’ve ever had involved (1) walking past a bloated, gassy deer carcass and smelling that radical decay; (2) biting into a mystery-meat hamburger patty in Korea and crunching into something that felt and tasted like earlobe cartilage; and (3) watching that frightening “2 Girls 1 Cup” Scheißeporn video, which made me want to heave my guts. (I didn’t actively seek that video out: a friend and coworker queued it up and dared me to watch, so I stupidly took the dare.)

    If the point you’re trying to make is that my own constitution makes me something of an outlier, and thus not qualified to speak for the majority of the population, then I suppose I’m guilty as charged. That said, I do sincerely think we can get used to anything; the current sex division in public restrooms is merely a convention, i.e., it exists only in the mind as a system of cultural agreements. What’s done in the mind can be undone in the mind, and as the unisex campus restrooms are proving, cultural change is possible.

    As I also wrote in my blog post, I agree with Derbyshire that this whole thing is a non-issue; I just disagree with Derb as to why. If anything, Derb’s piece gives the lie to his claim that this is a non-issue: he’s obviously got a big problem with the current trend in restroom usage.

    Posted May 20, 2016 at 11:33 pm | Permalink
  16. Kevin Kim says

    All of that said, I feel the real issue is the ideological inconsistency of pushing anti-transgender (not sure that’s the proper term, and I admit it’s probably got a lefty bias to it) restroom legislation. Conservatives often rail—rightly, and for anti-statist reasons—against the addition of new rules and laws that govern personal conduct and the economy, and yet these “bathroom bills” being pushed through various states’ legislatures betray an oppressive and hypocritical statism.

    I’ve often found it strange that conservatives bill themselves as champions of personal freedom except when it comes to matters of the body—reproductive rights,* sexuality, and now, apparently, excretion. Conservatives seem to love freedom in the abstract, but not when freedom should apply to anything corporeal. The quote from Tocqueville in Malcolm’s original post on the subject feeds right into my argument:

    “…a network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate…”

    So why add to that network of small, complicated rules with more utterly unnecessary legislation? Why not adopt Clint Eastwood’s libertarian policy of “Let’s all just leave each other alone”? The privacy-invading problem of restroom odor and noise won’t go away just because transgendered folks will be obliged to choose the restroom that matches their chromosomal makeup: all-male restrooms are funky, and according to the darkest legends and rumors, all-female restrooms are arguably worse.

    The US Army makes its trainees do their business on toilets with no dividing walls. Trainees get used to this, and there’s no anti-Army outcry about that situation. US prisons are much the same, and again, people get used to this situation. All of this is data in support of the idea that we can get used to anything. You might reply that the army and prison are unnaturally coercive environments and thus not relevant to the current debate (which centers on normal-Joe civilian life), but that’s beside my point about what we can come to tolerate. Personally, I’m in favor of toleration and fewer rules, and I think this makes me more conservative than many conservatives. Hier stehe ich; ich kann nicht anders.

    What we really need is legislation to stop gorillas from flinging their poop. Gorillas need to learn proper, gentlemanly conduct.

    __________

    *I don’t mean to give short shrift to principled reasons for being against abortion. I buy into the argument that, if you establish the fetus is a person, then ending its life is murder. But much hinges on the “if.”

    Posted May 20, 2016 at 11:56 pm | Permalink
  17. Musey says

    Whitewall, thanks for that definition. Truly, I have no idea what you mean by your last sentence, but I now know what a rest room is.

    I agree with Derbyshire that it’s a non-issue insofar as it doesn’t really matter. That doesn’t mean that it doesn’t reflect a society that has gone too far. It didn’t stop me from being hugely embarrassed when I went inadvertently went into the wrong changing room. Later on, when I spoke to the hotel staff about the very poor signage he was pretty jovial. “Don’t be worried Madame, it happens always”. It’s really just a question of pointing the arrows the right way. Easily fixed. Fix it.

    The other yuckiness being discussed here is just common sense. No way.

    Posted May 21, 2016 at 12:13 am | Permalink
  18. Kevin,

    Thanks for the elaborate explanation. I am completely convinced that you are indeed not bothered by the sounds and smells of other people’s doody. Nevertheless, you ignored an important proviso of my question — “while you are brushing your teeth”.

    But I think we have all heard enough about this smelly topic (not that there’s anything wrong with it).

    :)

    Posted May 21, 2016 at 3:06 am | Permalink
  19. Kevin Kim says

    Sorry, Henry—I should have said I’m not bothered by any of that, while brushing my teeth or not.

    Posted May 21, 2016 at 4:56 am | Permalink
  20. Whitewall says

    Well, I guess I don’t have much company on this “bathroom wars” narrative. The orchestration of this “discrimination issue”, the response to it and the counter response by the bien pensant and finally the Federal “bringer of wisdom and guidance” arriving to fix this gross discrimination. Maybe I’m just getting old and old fashioned.

    Posted May 21, 2016 at 8:24 am | Permalink
  21. Malcolm says

    Kevin,

    If we’re going to get into a pissing contest about whether the Right or the Left is more concerned with liberty (and of course libertarianism is a very different thing from conservatism), I think the Left loses, hands down. The Left seeks constantly to expand and centralize its power — in education, freedom of assembly, hiring practices, business regulations, environmental restrictions, possession of firearms, expression of opinion, confiscation and redistribution of wealth, imposition of “diversity”, protection of illegal aliens, usurpation of state and local law, disruption of pleasant communities by “disparate-impact” zoning decrees and forced settlement of “refugees”, and by a continuous assault on the autonomy of the civil society, and upon every tradition, custom, convention, and organic social arrangement it can sink its claws into.

    The only exception is anything to do with mankind’s basest urges and appetites, particularly sexual libertinism. (Indeed, the very idea that there can even be such a thing as “sexual libertinism” would, I’m sure, be considered offensive.) The Right long ago gave up any effort to control what consenting adults do in private, but that isn’t enough for the sexually obsessed Left: every sexual quirk or grotesque abnormality, no matter how tiny the minority that practices or instantiates it, must be paraded, flamboyantly, in the public square. Tragic mental disorders such as “transgenderism” are made to seem noble, even heroic. And now mere tolerance or acceptance won’t do; anything short of enthusiastic acclamation marks the recalcitrant citizen as a moral primitive, a “hater”, a heretic to be crushed.

    Look at the language you use here: about how we can “get used to anything”, about what we should “come to tolerate”. Over at your blog, Addofio informs America that all of this should be “no big deal”, while your solution to social controversy is that we simply “make” your own preferences the new rule, “endure the public outcry for a year or so, then watch everything settle into a new normal once the excited flapping and squawking are done.”

    A perfectly reasonable response is: how dare you? Why should an entire civilization almost daily be told, by tiny minorities with big chips on their shoulders, which of its familiar customs — some of which are among humanity’s most sacred, ancient, and universal traditions — must suddenly no longer be a “big deal”? Again and again the ordinary people of the West are warned that if they don’t immediately discard yet another piece of their traditional folkways, they are to be shunned and reviled as bigots, if not prosecuted as criminals.

    At some point, even a generous and tolerant people will surely say “Enough!”. This legislation is not the Right seeking control of people’s lives; it is a line in the sand. I’m sure, Lord knows, that every conservative, and every traditionally minded American, would rather by far that things hadn’t come to this.

    Posted May 21, 2016 at 12:55 pm | Permalink
  22. Whitewall says

    What Malcolm said!

    Posted May 21, 2016 at 1:28 pm | Permalink
  23. “A perfectly reasonable response is: how dare you?”

    I hear that.

    Posted May 21, 2016 at 1:40 pm | Permalink
  24. Kevin Kim says

    Malcolm,

    There’s a lot to agree with in what you’ve written, but I don’t see how not passing legislation is such a horrible thing.

    “The Right long ago gave up any effort to control what consenting adults do in private…”

    Here, I’m afraid, I respectfully disagree. Both sides of the aisle seem to love meddling with our personal lives and conduct, and both for ostensibly moral reasons.

    As for how dare I… how dare I what? Express an opinion consistent with my conscience? You may have mistaken me for someone with the power to turn my opinions into legal reality. I’m nobody in the larger scheme of things.

    Posted May 21, 2016 at 9:15 pm | Permalink
  25. Malcolm says

    Express away, amigo. We’re all nobodies here. I think you know what I meant.

    Posted May 21, 2016 at 9:57 pm | Permalink
  26. Musey says

    Whitewall, you have loads of company. I think people of a similar age are bound to be more circumspect about this total lack of boundaries. Maybe we’re a bit uptight but I prefer that to letting it all hang out, not least, because the young people who don’t wish to join in are made to feel awkward. My daughter attended a course where there were communal bathrooms and she wasn’t comfortable at all with the arrangement…to the extent that she decided to shower very late at night. Of course, someone came in and she was stuck in there for a long while, more vulnerable than ever.

    When we are being considerate of transgender people maybe we should bear in mind that some women/or men are not happy about this free for all and see it as a gross invasion of privacy. I do remember, a million years ago when I was a uni student, a girl who would barge in to the gents and egg others on to go in with her, so it’s not a new thing but she was, in those days, very much on her own, and the men didn’t like it, the women distanced themselves from her antics.

    I have a real problem with this unisex bathroom stuff and that is that the young people don’t get a choice. They put up with it or they get mocked. I’m sure that most couldn’t care less but some do, and they do have some rights as well, or they should.

    Whether or not you think it’s totally normal to wander around naked or share the toilet space because that’s your way, go for it if that’s what you want..don’t try make the rest of us do the same.

    I never saw my parents naked. I don’t think that my sons have ever seen me except briefly by accident, possibly, maybe, but let’s pretend that never happened. If someone thinks that makes me /or them “not quite human” well, it’s their call.

    Public bathrooms are not particularly private which is precisely the reason why most people go nowhere near them except in extremis…which is even more reason not to put everyone in together.

    To me, it’s obvious. Keep public facilities separate. Do not ask students who have to live week to week in college to accept the “new reality” . Which, let’s face it, is women being ogled by men. Which is not to say that I don’t accept your point Whitewall regarding women charging into mens space. I don’t mean to pass it off as high jinx either, but it does cause more of a stir if the men burst into the ladies. Mainly because, if it’s gone that far it will, or potentially could go further.

    Posted May 22, 2016 at 3:05 am | Permalink
  27. djf says

    “At some point, even a generous and tolerant people will surely say ‘Enough!'”

    Based on what the Left has gotten away with imposing on us up to now, I would not bet on it.

    Posted May 22, 2016 at 11:26 am | Permalink
  28. Whitewall says

    In time the pendulum will swing back and not necessarily nicely or to a happy mid point.

    Posted May 22, 2016 at 11:54 am | Permalink
  29. Whitewall says

    It’s not like things are being orchestrated or anything…right? http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/how-bathroom-rights-for-transgender-americans-refueled-the-culture-war/ar-BBtjxrR?li=BBnb7Kz

    Posted May 22, 2016 at 1:02 pm | Permalink
  30. This particular pendulum, Robert, seems to defy gravity. Nevertheless, I always take Big Al and give the points.

    Posted May 22, 2016 at 1:07 pm | Permalink
  31. djf says

    “In time the pendulum will swing back and not necessarily nicely or to a happy mid point.”

    At this point, given the disaster to which we seem to be headed, I would gladly take a timely but nasty swing back in the other direction. But the only swing back I can foresee – given that the Left controls all power-wielding institutions in our society, including the military and law enforcement, and given the utter disengagement, disorganization and irrationality of most of the public that does not already support the Left – is a swing away from social dissolution toward the barbaric version of monotheism that stands ready to pick up the pieces of Western society when it ultimately collapses. I tend to think this is really the conscious plan of our Jonestown-like leadership.

    Posted May 22, 2016 at 3:10 pm | Permalink
  32. I think you may be overly pessimistic about “the barbaric version of monotheism” picking up the pieces, Dan. One or both of the other versions of monotheism may have something to say about it. They both speak Armageddon. In the event, there may not be any pieces of barbarism left to pick anything up.

    Posted May 22, 2016 at 6:12 pm | Permalink
  33. djf says

    Henry, in this country, the human beings who seriously profess the politically relevant non-barbaric version of monotheism seem rather passive, politically inert, divided, confused and outnumbered of late (the original monotheism, which is the one I identify with, has too few followers to matter in this country). I do expect there to be pieces to be picked up when the ultimate collapse comes. I don’t think we’re going to collapse all the way back to hunter-gatherer days. Anyway, I hope it’s far enough in the future that a guy in his 50s like me won’t be around to see it.

    Posted May 22, 2016 at 6:34 pm | Permalink
  34. Yeah, I know. But I was saying no pieces of barbarism will be left to pick through the pieces of Western civilization.

    There is also a non-barbaric monotheistic country in the Middle East, which is itself a card carrying member of Western Civilization. And the majority of its voters are not motherf*cking Leftists. And they love their life, thank you very much. And it’s been reported that they also speak Armageddon.

    Posted May 22, 2016 at 7:04 pm | Permalink
  35. djf says

    Unfortunately, it seems to me that the barbaric entity to which we refer is what will survive the impending (but not yet imminent) general collapse. You seem to be anticipating that some sort of violent reaction by what Nixon once called “The Silent Majority” will take down the Left and its sacred sidekicks. I don’t see this coming, either here or in Europe, no matter how bad things get. The spirit of Lexington and Concord no longer walks the land.

    As for Israel, it will be lucky to save itself, even if the West generally does not collapse. Israel, with approximately the population of New York City if you include its Arab citizens, certainly can’t save the rest of Western Civilization from self-inflicted doom. And, aside from a handful of nuts at the political extremes in that country, Israeli Jews are not interested in Armageddon; they just want to survive, thank you very much.

    Posted May 22, 2016 at 9:02 pm | Permalink
  36. Dan,

    You are not reading me carefully enough. My attempt to moderate your pessimism was limited in scope. I was not predicting that tiny Israel would save Western civilization from its own suicidal binges of insane social-justice engineering.

    All I was implying is that if Western civilization finally commits suicide, it does not follow that the barbaric version of monotheism will pick up the pieces in a cake walk. And I am certainly not saying that Israel has any intention of initiating Armageddon. It would never do that. Israel, unlike its barbaric adversaries who are enthralled with death, loves life.

    But make no mistake. Though it would never initiate Armageddon, Israel would without hesitation (if initiated by its enemies), finish it.

    Posted May 22, 2016 at 10:23 pm | Permalink
  37. djf says

    Well, Henry, one can hope that Western civilization survives in Israel even it commits suicide elsewhere. Ironic, since before relatively recent times there was no “Western Civilization,” just Christendom, which by definition did not include Jews. There may also be hope for Eastern Europe and, if it counts as part of Western Civilization, Russia. Maybe Australia.

    Israel has its own suicidal Leftist establishment, of course, so their making it is not a sure thing, either, even if they can survive without external Western support.

    Posted May 23, 2016 at 12:00 am | Permalink
  38. Dan,

    Yes, there are Leftists in Israel, too. The whole world is crawling with those f*ckers. But in Israel, they are, thankfully, a minority.

    Once again, my point is not that Western civilization can survive its own suicidal policies (though I believe it is not yet a fait accompli). All I am trying to convey to you is that in the event of our civilization’s demise, it would not follow that we (as a society of losers) will be stripped of our ability to annihilate the barbarian vultures at the gates.

    Those of us who survive to that point of collapse will just have to eat the shit the Left will have brought to our table. Maybe the thing to do in preparation for such an eventuality is to stock up on Tabasco sauce.

    Posted May 23, 2016 at 12:51 am | Permalink
  39. djf says

    Henry, you are correct that the Left is a minority in Israel. But it is still the Establishment there, even though not in control of the elected government at present. Not only is Israel’s permanent bureaucracy solidly leftist, the Attorney General – who brings prosecutions and controls the police – is part of the permanent bureaucracy, not an appointee of the elected government. And the Supreme Court, which overrules any democratically enacted law it pleases although it has no written constitution on which to base its rulings, basically chooses its own new members. And the top military brass are mostly on the Left. There have actually been calls recently from supposedly respectable quarters for the generals to depose Netanyahu in a coup. The Israeli Left’s attitude is, we founded the country (which is largely true), so the voters have no right to reject our dictates.

    Posted May 23, 2016 at 2:17 am | Permalink
  40. Okay, Dan, the Left will make all of us, including our friends in Israel, eat shit.

    But if your main concern is still that the barbaric version of monotheism will pick up the pieces of Western civilization, you have completely ignored my principal point in this discussion.

    So now I bid you a good night. Tomorrow morning, I’m going to Costco for a case of Tabasco.

    Posted May 23, 2016 at 3:00 am | Permalink
  41. Musey says

    Whitewall, I notice that your link was in relation to events in North Carolina which,I believe, is where you reside so you are taking a special interest.

    It does seem to me though that here in Australia we have moved much more swiftly and very quietly towards a situation where all the changing rooms are for both sexes. The particular university that I know has adopted this policy is a regional, lower ranking institution on a rather pleasant campus, with environmentally friendly buildings, solar efficient energy and a very progressive attitude to bathroom arrangements. I have no idea how wide spread this state of affairs is but it’s obviously a situation that one of the commenters here has heard of, presumably in the USA. The relatively small number of transsexual students who wish to use the “wrong” bathroom are the unfortunates who will suffer the finger-pointing and “discrimination” and if they’re prepared to put themselves through that maybe we shouldn’t worry too much. Eliminating segregated changing room completely makes it a problem for a much more significant number of students. I think we’re not far away from that: first the university then the schools. It will be interesting to see how the Muslim contingent react to the new normal.

    Somehow the subject changed and became about Israel. Strange. My son was there a few weeks ago arriving the day before the bus bomb. He was on a tour bus of his own and saw the plume of smoke from the explosion. He has an uncanny knack of being in the wrong place at the wrong time having narrowly avoided the Russell Square bombing in London.

    Israel survives, I’m told.

    PS: I think that I was meant to have written “high jinks” in a previous comment but I’m still not sure. It just annoys me to see mistakes when in the company of all you clever people.

    Posted May 23, 2016 at 4:49 am | Permalink
  42. I’m coming a bit late to this party, but I want to make one very important point in response to Kevin Kim. He argues in his comments that the Right is trying to somehow restrict the freedom and liberty of transgender people with their bathroom bills (“Conservatives often rail—rightly, and for anti-statist reasons—against the addition of new rules and laws that govern personal conduct and the economy, and yet these “bathroom bills” being pushed through various states’ legislatures betray an oppressive and hypocritical statism.”) On one level, we (meaning conservatives like me) are indeed restricting the ability of trans-sexual individuals from using the bathroom of their choice (really what this does is prevent men who cannot pass as women from using a woman’s restroom.) But you ignore the flip side of the debate — the oppression that is being driven by the other side that insists that everyone get on-board the ‘tranny’-rights parade and accept whatever these crazy people want. Meaning, if a man who looks like a woman wants to use the woman’s restroom, too bad; businesses and public facilities have to accommodate them. In North Carolina, it was the City of Charlotte that insisted everyone get on-board or be fined — that’s why the state stepped in — to protect the freedom and property rights of business owners and institutions to do what they want (i.e. have whatever policy they think is appropriate — including a policy that welcomes trannies into the ladies restroom.)

    http://thefederalist.com/2016/05/09/the-truth-about-north-carolinas-bathroom-bill/

    As Malcolm explains very well — it is the Left that is trying to remake society and force everyone to comply with their warped morals. The Right would like to enforce on society a particular vision of sexual morality, but we also recognize that not everyone shares our values and we would be willing to live in a federal America that allows the people of New York state to live in sin while the people of Utah or Idaho pass morals laws protecting their families from pornography, abortion, crazy trannies, etc.

    The Left insists on compulsory compliance:

    http://whatswrongwiththeworld.net/2016/05/everything_not_forbidden_is_co.html

    Posted May 23, 2016 at 4:25 pm | Permalink
  43. Jeffrey,

    I might add to your good point, at the risk of beating an already dead horse, that the core of this particular controversy is the following conflict: If we eliminate all those who, in principal, have no dog in this fight, we are left with only two groups for whom there is a genuine conflict of interest. These two groups are the following: those people who want to use the bathroom that they would be more comfortable in (irrespective of their outward-appearing gender); and those men and women who would be offended by encountering in a public facility any person who appears to be of the opposite gender to their own.

    The most pertinent question to ask then (in my opinion) would be, “Which of these two groups is (by far) the more numerous?”

    Posted May 23, 2016 at 5:47 pm | Permalink
  44. P.S.: I, personally, would not be offended if I encountered a person who looked like a female in a public men’s room. But I am certain that there are many males, not to mention most females, who would be offended by the appearance of a person of the opposite gender in the men’s or women’s rooms, respectively.

    So by my own definition, I do not have a dog in this fight.

    Posted May 23, 2016 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

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