Leapdragon 2016 - Aron Hsiao Was Here

So many certainties, so little justification.  §

Things that are all said to be true:

  • Masculinity is toxic

  • It's bigoted to talk about 'male' and 'female' or 'man' and 'woman' because it's a fluid spectrum, everyone in the gray area, and masculinity doesn't make a man, nor does femininity make a woman

  • It is right for gender-dysphoric people born male to pursue femininity, which is what it takes to be a woman, and for gender-dysphoric people born female to pursue masculinity, which is what it takes to be a man

  • It's bigoted to talk about 'male' and 'female' or 'man' and 'woman' because it's a fluid spectrum, everyone in the gray area, and masculinity doesn't make a man, nor does femininity make a woman

  • People born girls who identify as male and achieve masculinity are, without question, both heroic and men

  • Masculinity is toxic

Point being: this is a soup of contradictions. It only makes sense if the underlying truth is:

  • People must be affirmed and validated, no matter what

This is a very, very bad position to take.

In fact, we should all exercise our best judgment to affirm and validate people that we judge to be right, and to provide no affirmation or validation for people that we judge to be wrong.

"But judgment is bad!" comes the rejoinder.

To which I can only say, in sarcasm, that obviously then the moral thing is to eliminate all judges from society and stop teaching our kids to exercise judgment of any kind as they grow up.

The terrifying thing is how many people would agree, quite earnestly, with these suggestions.

— § —

Side note after watching the college football national championship game:

I am grateful to Clemson for what they accomplished tonight. Specifically? They did something unexpected. They willed it, people said it was impossible, and they did it.

This is not me saying that "anything is possible." Clearly, it isn't.

But the realm of certainties has unjustifiably expanded in recent years. The world today is beset by a complete lack of intellectual humility. There is an epistemic overconfidence running through late modernity, and in particular the information age, that is destroying our society from the inside out.

There is an unstated belief, held far and wide, that in our time it is both easy to predict the future and a simple matter to know truth from falsehood, right from wrong.

On every side, the activists sneer at anyone who suggests, even for a moment, that life is complicated, that unexpected things happen, that the realm of certainties in life is very small, and that the list of what is "obvious" is a short one. The sneering on all sides has now reached the level of an overwhelming roar, all being certain that they have the answers, today and tomorrow, and that only a fool would deny it.

That the future is an open book and the present is crystal-clear has become such an article of faith that those who might otherwise try to do something new, to write actual pages in the book of history—simply don't.

So thank you to Clemson for doing the unthinkable, the bigoted, the stupid, the disallowed—and demonstrating that everyone doesn't already know everything about everything. That people can be wrong. That will counts for something. That human natality and uncertainty are actually alive and well.

And for a night—suck it, certain people, all of you, across all human endeavors. You are a disease. You know everything, sure. Until you don't.