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Why the centrists changed their trans tune Truth was sacrificed for status

'Take TV presenter and quintessential Sensible Kirstie Allsopp' (Credit: Jeff Spicer/WireImage/Getty)

'Take TV presenter and quintessential Sensible Kirstie Allsopp' (Credit: Jeff Spicer/WireImage/Getty)


April 16, 2024   6 mins

How does a public consensus come into being? The Sensible Centrists like to imagine that this is a careful, deliberative process. Ideas are debated, among people of good faith, and assessed dispassionately, on their merits, in an ongoing collective striving for truth.

But this is nonsense. As we’ve seen in the wake of the Cass Report, what actually happens is a mixture of magical thinking, conformism and moral grandstanding coalesces under a thin veneer of rational objectivity — and everyone except the most stubbornly reality-oriented falls obediently into line. And amid the chaos of frantic back-pedalling and rewriting of history, this consensus can form and re-form in real time without its basic structure ever changing, or lessons ever being learned.

Most egregiously of all, Ruth Hunt, former CEO of Stonewall, denied to the Times that on her watch Stonewall fostered a stifling climate of “no debate” on gender ideology. On the contrary, she said: “I’m absolutely someone who has always been working in the middle ground, trying to build consensus.”

Let’s leave aside the fact that, as the Times points out, under Hunt’s leadership Stonewall called for schools to “shred” the only schools guidance on gender even remotely in line with Cass recommendations. Let’s ignore the testimony of veteran gay rights activist and one-time Stonewall spokeswoman Anya Palmer, who reports that Hunt promised her Stonewall would never embrace trans activism, before pivoting to focus on almost nothing else. Let’s instead consider, for a moment, what it actually means to “build consensus”, in the Hunt sense.

Perhaps the most succinct literary anatomy of Huntish “consensus” was written more than two centuries before Hunt assumed leadership of Stonewall. In the first sentence of Pride and Prejudice (1813), Jane Austen informs us that “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”

It’s a one-line joke, that juxtaposes two distinct, and very differently coded “ways of knowing”. In the process, too, it reveals that far from being distinct, these two ways of thinking actually operate in lockstep.

“It is a truth universally acknowledged” stakes a claim to objectivity: the kind of fact that, as “classical liberals” such as Ben Shapiro like to put it, doesn’t care about your feelings. This mode of knowing, central to the Enlightenment privileging of reason and objectivity, was (and still is) masculine-coded. It gains its power from asserting that its truths will remain true whether or not you acknowledge them as such.

Austen ironises this, by exposing the process of consensus-formation that lies beneath many such claims: a dynamic less concerned with facts than social, contextual meaning and desirable behaviour, captured in “a good fortune” and “must be in want of a wife”. These phrases are loaded not with objectivity but context: an intricate and intimately feminine world of 18th-century social hierarchies and sex roles, afforded narrative urgency by the real privations that faced unmarried “gentlewomen” excluded by social custom from paid employment.

The punchline lies in the implication that what lurks under the bonnet of “truth universally acknowledged” is often not truth but this feminine-coded matrix of embedded meanings. Any effort at detached objectivity will be leavened by status-signalling and aspirational manoeuvring.

Meanwhile, what holds this together is less the fact of its “truth” but that it’s “universally acknowledged”. That is, we’re reading a normative statement disguised as an objective one. And not just normative but prescriptive: “universal” has a faintly threatening undertone, suggesting that anyone who matters acknowledges this truth, and by extension you probably should if you don’t want to be shunned.

Austen’s one-liner is the gently ironic opener to one of the greatest modern love stories. But it points to a truth that today seems more pertinent than ever: that many modern truth-claims follow this structure, and are enforced through very similar social mechanisms.

Perhaps the most totalising recent instance of this was Covid consensus-formation. It’s dizzying now to read press reports from just before the Great Covid Panic took hold. Before this happened, Ian Bremmer approvingly describes experts doing “an impressive job of calmly and professionally setting out the factual framework behind the government’s coronavirus strategy”, while Boris Johnson accepts the moderate expert advice provided by Chris Witty to wash hands, protect the elderly but otherwise carry on with “business as usual”.

It’s yet more extraordinary to remember that in the 20 days after this article was published on March 3, we witnessed a screeching media 180 from encouraging “business as usual” to near-universal calls for lockdown.

Over the period that followed, competing Covid claims and counter-claims were all larded with “experts” and “evidence”. Reviewing these now makes one thing clear: Austen’s assessment of TUA remains true. Moral consensus precedes rationalisation. The Covid vibe shift may have been presented as scientific and factual; but what powered it was a chaotic tangle of magical thinking, fear, and the threat of social ostracism. The statement made by epidemiologist Sir Mark Woolhouse to the Covid enquiry captures the social pressures boiling beneath the claimed objectivity: “The emphasis on consensus and clear messaging,” he said, “plus a sense of not wanting to ‘rock the boat’, made it difficult to discuss these issues openly at the time.”

No one likes being ignored, scorned, or shunned. No wonder so many Sensibles fall obediently into line on every TUA. Take TV presenter and quintessential Sensible Kirstie Allsopp, who last year waded vigorously into the what she called “the trans moral panic” on the Stonewall side. Her reward was a pat on the back from the Daily Stormer of gender woo, Pink News, for opinions “backed up by science and facts”. It’s more accurate, though, to describe her opinions as (at the time) robustly supported by the moral hive-mind that determines and then enforces the Truth Universally Acknowledged.

Here, again, the comparison with Austen is instructive. In Austen’s day, genteel moral consensus-formation happened within a social world of dinners, balls, picnics and other social events. Today, though, it’s been professionalised, via what author Matt Goodwin calls a “New Elite” comprising an “epistemic class” which dominates institutions such as TV, journalism, museums, charities and academia, and uses their influence to shape the public conversation in line with approved opinions.

And yet, in some respects, nothing has changed. For many of these elite women who, in Austen’s time, would be eyeing one another over their fans at Lady So and So’s, now work in New Elite industries, many of which are markedly female-dominated. Allsopp is a case in point: her parents are Lady and Baron Hindlip, and she is a Hon., though doesn’t usually use the title. She has parlayed old-elite status into National Telly Treasure status, whence she holds forth on moral issues with an unwavering moral certainty Austen would have recognised, and probably lampooned.

“Now the winds have changed, we find Kirstie Allsopp back-pedalling.”

So, now the winds have changed, we find Allsopp also back-pedalling. It was never true, she asserts, that there was “no debate” on the issue of medical experiments on gender-confused children. Puberty blockers, Kirstie informs us, were bad all along. But we could always talk about it: “it is, and always has been possible to debate these things and those saying there was no debate are wrong”. All the people (mostly women) unfairly fired or bullied out of jobs, all the grannies punched in Hyde Park by men with special identities, the no-platforming, the intimidation, the threats, and the censorship — that wasn’t actually a thing.

Allsopp is the clearest indicator yet that at least where child gender vivisection is concerned, at least some of the grandes dames of Truth Universally Acknowledged may have paused broadcasting a TUA in order to convince themselves, in the light of a new emerging groupthink, that the new consensus is what they believed all along. And because moral consensus precedes its “expert” rationalisation, so we also find that those who purport to stand for science and reason are also curiously quiet.

On Sunday, for example, Sex Matters founder Maya Forstater (herself notoriously a victim of the “No Debate” consensus Kirstie Allsopp says never existed) called on science communicator and Humanists UK president Adam Rutherford to defend systematic scientific reviews, against the trans activists spreading misinformation about the Cass Review. Did he come out swinging for science and reason over gender ideology? Reader, he flunked it: “It’s not something I know much about.”

Last November, Humanists UK welcomed a Private Members’ Bill banning “conversion therapy” — in a formulation that would, in effect, ban anything but the “affirmation” approach to gender identity, recently decried by the Cass Review as unsupported by evidence and potentially harmful to children whose sense of self is still developing. Perhaps Rutherford is waiting, as many commentators did during Covid, until it becomes obvious which Truth Universally Acknowledged was always obviously supported by the evidence.

We can hardly blame him. I don’t doubt his vaunted commitment to even uncomfortable scientific truth. But if Covid taught us anything, it’s that scientific truth can be — with the best of intentions — somewhat ductile, especially weighed against the risk of ostracism by every desirable dinner-party hostess in medialand. But should those hostesses resume broadcasting their TUA, having agreed that they always believed puberty blockers were bad, perhaps the Rutherfords of our public discourse will feel able to hop back in the trenches on behalf of science, objectivity, and Dr Hilary Cass.

Overall, though, no lessons will be learned. None was learned from Covid, for all that Woolhouse described the lockdown policy bluntly as a “failure”. Not even a recent report showing the appalling and preventable harm lockdowns did to a generation of children seems to have prompted much soul-searching among those who advocated loudest for such measures.

And this is because the unhappy inference is that we’re still stuck in the same paradigm: the chattering-class two-step of moral groupthink masquerading as science. Just like Johnson in 2020, we’re still looking to “experts” as a means of outsourcing moral judgement — and as someone to blame when things go wrong. Even Hunt, on whose watch Stonewall helped entrench gender ideology in public health, is now busy describing her “regret” at having naively “trusted the experts”.

In truth, though, “experts” are a front for the TUA: the chattering-class moral consensus. And this is manufactured by people who care less about being right than looking virtuous. Career moral entrepreneurs such as Hunt; vacuous grandes dames such as Allsopp; “communicators” such as Rutherford whose job is to make consensus look sciency. Downstream of their posturing, children were irreversibly harmed. They didn’t care; they wanted to look kinder than you. They should not be allowed to forget how wrong they got it.


Mary Harrington is a contributing editor at UnHerd.

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Arkadian Arkadian
Arkadian Arkadian
29 days ago

Well, bravo!!
Managing to make a cogent argument comprising Austen and Hunt is quite a feat.
The TUA is going to be my new… Truth Universally Acknowledged. 😀

Joking apart, it is SO true we have learnt nothing from what happened in the last 5 years or so. You would expect us/leaders/mankind to make the same mistakes over and over again, but not in such quick succession.

Mike Downing
Mike Downing
29 days ago

Super skewer from Mary here; this is like the post-Holocaust denial mechanisms; ‘nobody knew what was happening ‘,’we didn’t really think he was serious’,’I did my best to stand up to it’,’some of my best friends are….’ .etc etc etc

It’s the breakneck speed that’s modern, however; it used to take years for people to slide from one position to the opposite, but now with the Internet, it can take place in seconds. They’ll all be busily cleansing their twitter and email accounts as we speak.

It was far funnier in the old days; when Indira Gandhi was about to be arrested for corruption, she was obliged to grandstand for the TV cameras at the the front door of the official residence while servants shredded government documents in the kitchen with cheese graters.

Tony Taylor
Tony Taylor
29 days ago

In lieu of any tangible achievements, the mediocre and malicious have seen an opportunity for coin and cachet in competitive caring. I wonder what next season will bring.

Tom Lewis
Tom Lewis
29 days ago
Reply to  Tony Taylor

I wonder (and Mary did seem to ‘allude’ to this in her essay) how much of this TUA can be attributed to the increasing feminisation (competitive caring) of public life, or is another TUA, that men and women think, and rationalise, in exactly the same way ?

Jimmy Snooks
Jimmy Snooks
29 days ago
Reply to  Tom Lewis

It’s an important point, usually overlooked. University-educated, middle-class women are far more prone to push for policies which have ‘compassion’ as their primary motivation. And university-educated, middle-class men, eager to display their feminist credentials, will generally fall into step with their female co-cohorts.

Mike Downing
Mike Downing
29 days ago
Reply to  Jimmy Snooks

I remember some prediction years ago that ‘The Future is Feminine ‘ and everyone was overjoyed at closing the door on all that ‘toxic masculinity’.

But as the Buddhists say, we always have 42 problems; they’re just different problems now.

Never mind the fact that Putin, Xi Jinping and the radical Islamists are unaccountably far less inclined to feminise themselves.

David Morley
David Morley
28 days ago
Reply to  Jimmy Snooks

There’s truth in this – but on many issues compassion could be claimed by both sides. It’s more about taking the side of those most easily portrayed as victims – indeed as group victims.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
28 days ago
Reply to  Jimmy Snooks

Very few women want to do dirty and dangerous engineering- mining, oil, construction, agriculture, etc so are unaware of the qualities needed to overcome obstacles. Being battered by waves or having to escape collapsing excavations appeals to very few women.

Dr E C
Dr E C
29 days ago
Reply to  Tony Taylor

We already know: they’ve coopted the cause of a genocidal people wanting to end the only Jewish state in the world as their ‘Free Tibet’ moment. (As if there were any comparison between Palestinians and the peaceful Tibetans)

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
29 days ago

Excellent, well written essay!!! How I have come to hate the phrases “follow the science” and “science denier.” They are worthless words used to beat people across the head and crush all debate. The cry bullies who use these words will never be held to account.

Norfolk Sceptic
Norfolk Sceptic
29 days ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

The whole point is that ‘following the Science’ isn’t Science: memorising facts, recipes, isn’t Science.

It isn’t Engineering either! 🙂

Amy Harris
Amy Harris
29 days ago

Exactly! You don’t “follow” science, you DO science. Following is for cults. You “follow” cults. The Covid Cult, the Transhuman Cult, the Climate Crisis Cult. The CRT Cult.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
28 days ago
Reply to  Amy Harris

Yes. But do not forget the antivaxx cult, the zinc-and-vitamin-D cult, the ‘it -is-all-a-conspiracy-for-the-great-replacement’ cult etc. There are the same mechanisms all over. The point is that some of these ‘cults’ fit pretty well with the actual science (like the climate crisis one) and others do not.

BTW, why are Cathode Ray Tubes subject of a cult? 😉

Jane Awdry
Jane Awdry
28 days ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Totally agree. People are surely more complex than just fitting into one box. I was unsure about Brexit, but I think that we humans very probably are having a deleterious effect on the climate. I was sceptical about lockdowns & found the govt’s fear campaign appalling, I think that both Palestine and Israel are as bad as each other in this continual hatred of each other, whoever ‘started’ it, and I am on neither side in the current conflict – just horrified at the destruction and human suffering. And I reject as completely anti-reality the notion of self-id & that humans can change sex.
Not everyone fits the clearly defined political strictures of ‘right’ & ‘left’. We are large, we contain multitudes.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
28 days ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

This is the problem exactly. What is the anti-vaxx cult? By creating this label, you are effectively refusing to acknowledge dissenting opinions. The vast majority of people were not opposed to vaccines, they were opposed to forcing people to take the vaccines, especially young, healthy people. I don’t recall anyone saying vitamin D would prevent covid, yet we should have all been taking it because vitamin D boosts your natural immune system.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
28 days ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

I do recall people (on Unherd) claiming that you did not need vaccines, let alone lockdown or masks, because natural immunity, with extra Zinc, vitamin D and possibly with Ivermectin was amply enough to keep anyone safe. I also recall people having (what I would call) an exaggerated fear of vaccine side effects, built on (what I would call) some very thin and biased analysis of any data that came to hand, and an unrealistically low expectation of vaccine advantages. Remember, all the ‘this is not a vaccine, this is an untested drug’ people?

The ‘anti-vaxx cult’ is certainly no less real than the ‘COVID Cult’ or the ‘Climate Crisis Cult’ that Amy Harris talks about. And that I accepted, for the sake of argument. I’ll accept that a lot of opinions are made *before* you start analysing the arguments, on both sides of the divides. If you are willing to face up to how much you do not know, and make a realistic analysis of the known data, your opinions are fine. If you start out being certain you are right and cherry-picking data to suit you will never be more than a cult.

Jane Hewland
Jane Hewland
28 days ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Didn’t most of that turn out to be true in the end? Wasn’t Covid an illness that was only dangerous for the elderly and the unwell? Weren’t masks proved to be pointless? Wasn’t the vaccine proved incapable of slowing the spread of the virus? Didn’t cost of us get it once way or another, sometimes more than once in the end, whether “vaccinated” or not? Wasn’t natural immunity after suffering the illness proved to be as effective if not better than vaccine-induced antibody production? Aren’t there now many unanswered (and maybe unanswerable) questions about the possible link between the gene therapy shots and the rise in cancers, heart problems and excess deaths in different societies? We’ll probably never know the exact truth

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
28 days ago
Reply to  Jane Hewland

There is a lot of things we do not know. But there are also a lot of holes in what you say.
If you have a reliable way of determining whether any rise in excess deaths (once it has been proven) is due to people having COVID, getting vaccinated, or the NHS not screening properly for a while, you need to apply for a very large research grant.
Nobody ever proposed that vaccination gave *better* immunity than getting the disease; the point was that vaccination reduced the risk of dying or getting damaged the first time you got it, and slowed down the spread so people got it later. Remember ‘flattening the curve’?
And, just for completeness, your talking about ‘gene therapy’ is exactly the same trick that the trans people use when talking about ‘pregnant men’ etc.

There is more, but this will do. I do not claim that we know particularly clearly what happened, let alone what would have happened. If you know of reliable evidence, please point us to it. If not, you are free to promote any opinion you like, but could you please stop assuming that your bubble opinion is by definition right?

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
28 days ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

“ Nobody ever proposed that vaccination gave *better* immunity than getting the disease; the point was that vaccination reduced the risk of dying or getting damaged the first time you got it, and slowed down the spread so people got it later. Remember ‘flattening the curve’?”

No offence, but almost all of this untrue. We were explicitly told the vax was better than natural immunity. We were also told vaccines were the only way to achieve herd immunity, first with 60% vax rates, then 70% and 80%. They said this knowing that Pfizer never even tested for transmission.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
27 days ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

I do not remember that claim – and it is so outlandish that I surely would have noticed it. I suppose it depends on what you mean by ‘natural immunity’. If you mean that being vaccinated protects you better from future disease than having had the disease, it is not quite impossible but highly unlikely (and would need a lot of evidence). If by ‘natural immunity’ people mean ‘I never had COVID, but my immune system is so strong (and I take so much vitamin D) that I am inherently protected’ then, absolutely, vaccination is a lot better.

Do you have a link, so we know which claim we are discussing?

As for ‘herd immunity’ that (as I guess you know) means that the vulnerable are safe because just about everybody is immune and unable to pass the disease on. Regrettably that seems to be impossible for COVID, because the immunity fades too quickly no matter how you got it. But again, if the goal is to prevent people from getting sick, a strategy that relies on everybody getting the disease sounds rather counterproductive, compared with vaccination.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
27 days ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

You don’t remember people being forced to get vaccines even though they already had Covid? That the vaccine provided better protection than the natural immunity acquired by having the illness? This was a major issue for 18 months.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
27 days ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

I do not, actually. Does not mean it could not have happened. It does sound a little strange. Could you give a link, or maybe some details of place and context, that I could use to find one? I could try to come up with explanations for what might have been behind it, but it would be easier if I understood more precisely what the context was.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
26 days ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Do an internet search for Dr. Fauci explains why COVID-19 vaccines work much better than natural immunity to protect you from the coronavirus

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
25 days ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Ah! It is not a question of vaccination providing better protection than previous disease – which would be quite unexpected, even if it could be true in some special cases. It is a question of previous disease plus vaccination, providing better protection than previous disease alone. Which is really much like saying that vaccination plus a later booster shot gives better protection than vaccination without a later booster shot. Nothing strange there at all – and certainly not about vaccination giving ‘*better* immunity than getting the disease‘. Sorry – I have been a bit thick here, I should have understood that from the wording of your posts.

Thanks for the info, btw.

Without being into the details of COVID immune responses it seems pretty clear that whether you get it from disease or from vaccination, protection is less than 100% and dies away over time. That is not the case for most of the diseases we vaccinate against, at least not to nearly the same extent – which probably distorts our thinking. So vaccinating even those who have had the disease already should, yes, improve their immunity and their protection. Whether the benefit is worth the cost of more vaccinations is of course a legitimate question, but if you think, like me, that vaccination is a normal, low-risk thing that is highly unlikely to be worse to you than catching COVID, the downside of getting vaccinated really should not be that significant.

So, coming back to Jane Hewlands original point, I fully accept that the immunity you get from just getting sick – while partial and temporary – will almost always be better than the immunity you get from just vaccination. It is just that if the goal is to keep you from getting sick, using disease to get immunity kind of defeats the object.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
25 days ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

But Dr. Fauci’s statement was amplified into you have to get the vaccine anyway, even if you had Covid. Natural immunity is not good enough.

My point is vaccines were good. Mandates were bad. And the justifications for forcing young, healthy people to get vaxxed were absurd and even dishonest.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
25 days ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Well, having had COVID does not make you immune (whether you call it ‘natural immunity’ or not). And getting an additional vaccination gives improved protection. But the important point here is that vaccination not only protects your own health, but also reduces the risk to others by transmission. Neither effect is perfect, but both are there. So there are two discussions here: One is how the magnitude of the improvement (to yourself or in the risk to others) compares to the cost and risk – whether it is worth it, in short. That is a matter of facts and trade-offs, which could be argued relatively calmly. The other question is philosophical: whether you think it is right to demand that people get vaccinated (or change their behaviour) not to benefit themselves, but to benefit others. Or whether people have an absolute right to determine their own behaviour, whatever the cost to others might be.

N Forster
N Forster
28 days ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

I’m afraid many of your points have rather large holes in them. If you were willing to do a little more research you may not feel quite so dogmatic about this.
The Daily Sceptic has a vast archive of material and references from people who have done the work. Who are qualified to have an opinion worth considering. Who do have a different opinion from those who you’re listening to.
As for your claim that no one ever proposed the vaccine offered better protection than getting the illness, I suggest again, you do a little more research. You are in effect doing a bit of “Kirsty” here. You’re making Mary Harringtons’ point for her.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
27 days ago
Reply to  N Forster

Sorry, but if you know of some good and convincing arguments, link me to the best of them, and I shall try to find the time to look and evaluate them. Instructing me to do a vast amount of research just suggests that you do not have anything convincing to hand. I am not going to do enough research for a bl**dy masters thesis just to check whether a group of people that I have no reason to trust just might have some good evidence.

N Forster
N Forster
27 days ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

I’m not your researcher son. Spend some time on the site I mentioned, maybe half an hour. See if you find anything that makes you question your dogmatic position. Or listen to a long form podcast with a well known skeptic. One where you actually get to hear there views, rather than one where you get to here the views of those who you normally listen to. Pick a well known name, a well known skeptic. You may find yourself wanting to read or listen more. You may not. But at least you’ll have tried.
Then at the very least you might be able to articulate the views of those you disagree with rather than just trying to use them as a means to elevate yourself.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
27 days ago
Reply to  N Forster

You cannot be bothered to argue for your position, so you expect me to do all the work required to prove that you are right. Sounds like “Why I have stopped talking to white people about race” – granddad. Not biting, sorry.

Amy Harris
Amy Harris
28 days ago
Reply to  Jane Hewland

Go to the top of the class, Jane!

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
28 days ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

There were a lot of opinions out there for sure. Some people I respect questioned the safety of vaccines, but this was only a small strand of people. The vast majority of heretical thinkers were opposed to the mandates, not the vaccines themselves. Even people who questioned the safety of vaccines still believed they helped elderly people and those with compromised health.

Amy Harris
Amy Harris
28 days ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Widen your Overton window, Jim. The truth lies outside the space you’re currently looking in!

Amy Harris
Amy Harris
28 days ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Of course vitamin D Prevents you getting Coronavirus!! It supports the immune system. And plenty of people were absolutely against the toxic untested drugs marketed as “Covid vaccines”. Sorry if you got conned into taking one.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
28 days ago
Reply to  Amy Harris

Vitamin D doesn’t prevent you from getting Covid. It boosts your immune system. I take 2500 units a day and it doesn’t prevent me from getting a cold. I got the double vax because I was 58 years old with heart issues in the family. I wasn’t conned. I made a choice with the information available to me at the time. My 22 year old son didn’t get the vax and I supported that decision even though he was living at home at the time.

Amy Harris
Amy Harris
28 days ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Hurrah! Another troll outted. The antivaxxers are the new anti-smokers – soon to be proved absolutely right. Future generations will look at the practice of “vaccination” with the same horror that we look at “blood letting” or lobotomy with. Electric shock “therapy” anyone?!

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
28 days ago
Reply to  Amy Harris

It must be nice to know the future – I am unfortunately limited to the present. But you are welcome to join me under my bridge for a cup of river water.

Mark Cornish
Mark Cornish
28 days ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

As soon as someone uses the word ‘denier’ in relation to any topic, I know that they have been captured by ‘groupthink’.

Mark Osiel
Mark Osiel
28 days ago
Reply to  Mark Cornish

Like Holocaust denier?

Andrew D
Andrew D
28 days ago
Reply to  Mark Osiel

Holocaust denial was the original denial, and because it was demonstrably false, it inspired others to attach the word ‘denier’ to anyone who questioned their pet theory, however unverified.

Tom K
Tom K
28 days ago
Reply to  Andrew D

The suffix ‘-phobia’ (used now in ways that bear no relation to its meaning in Greek of ‘fear’ or ‘panic’) is likewise used to smear all sorts of other sentiment through linking them to the ur-phobia, ‘homophobia’. (Which unlike holocaust denial was a dubious concept at best in the first place).
So now we have ludicrous and widely disparate and sometimes frankly stupid usages such as ‘Israelophobia’ (for everything from people who hate Jews and want to sweep them into the Med, down to anyone not 100% in agreement with all Israel policy, ever), ‘transphobia’ (basically people who are skeptical of gender-woo), and Islamophobia (often applied to those angered by blatant and ever-expanding censorship of public discussion or criticism of the less savoury aspects of Islam, though to be fair it’s arguably the only genuine fear among these new coinages – who wouldn’t be fearful of religious zealots carrying a rusty combat knife, or indeed of a baying mob backed by actual terrorists forcing you out of a job for showing a few cartoons?).

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
24 days ago
Reply to  Tom K

You are right on the usage of -phobia, but I think you are wrong on the history of the word. I guess the established modern use was in the meaning of ‘visceral, irrational fear of’, as in claustrophobia, or arachnophobia, which are arguably objective medical conditions. The first extension I can think of would be ‘xenophobia’. That is supposed to be an exaggerated dislike and repulsion without rational justification, but no one is suggesting that people freeze in panic when they see a foreigner. Homophobia, I’d say, came after that, and the new meaning is any dislike or negative reaction which the speaker thinks is wrong and wants to delegitimise.

Helen Nevitt
Helen Nevitt
28 days ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

I don’t want to let Allsop and the rest off the hook on this one.

Christopher Peter
Christopher Peter
28 days ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

“Educate yourself” and “the right side of history” are two other phrases (usually delivered with impregnable self-righteousness) that I’d gladly never hear again as long as I live.

Santiago Excilio
Santiago Excilio
28 days ago

I find the latter phrase intensely irritating; as if history is somehow imbued with a sense of moral purpose. Also “my lived experience” – is there any other type? and “personal truth” – yet another. It is the language of the anencephalate illiterati.

LeeKC C
LeeKC C
29 days ago

Yes, may those of us ‘ordinary’ plebs (low social hierarchical standing by comparison) of society who always believed this was an abomination and was ostracized for it – take great delight in watching these ‘elites’ squirm. Nasty, I know, but great never-the-less…… Unfortunately, that glow of delight is marred by a genuine grief at what has been collectively done to so many children. It’s the children I grieve for. That they look to adults for advice and direction, to be so ravaged by a false, dangerous and sadistic violation of human body integrity, to the deranged adult desires of such a few – still beggars belief. I do hope that the doctors who supported and promoted this atrocity get come-comeuppance with being sued by de-transitioners. Noting all the while, that no amount of money can or could compensate for the frankenstien horror of what was willing done to them.
It has been a cruel lesson indeed. It definitely exposed collective apathy and reticence in the face of such horror.
Beautifully written. Again.

Martin M
Martin M
29 days ago
Reply to  LeeKC C

I take a slightly different position. I am in no sense a “trans activist”, and am at heart largely ambivalent on the topic. However, I sometimes find myself ostensibly agreeing with their position, because I know it annoys the Christians.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
29 days ago
Reply to  Martin M

The enemy of your enemy is your friend?

David Iain Craig
David Iain Craig
29 days ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

History shows this to bea disastrous policy.

Martin M
Martin M
27 days ago

I am happy for history to judge me on it.

Martin M
Martin M
28 days ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

It’s more a “sport” kind of thing. Annoying the smug and sanctimonious is my hobby. To provide balance, I also annoy the Green Left about climate change.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
24 days ago
Reply to  Martin M

Are you under 16?

Studio Largo
Studio Largo
24 days ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

More like under 12.

Jack Robertson
Jack Robertson
29 days ago
Reply to  Martin M

Hmmm…not so sure it always does, Martin. There’s an awful lot of overlap between the aims and motivations of the anti-‘TERF’ bigots and the aims and motivations of the worst of the religious bigots. Both tend to be profoundly misogynist/anti-feminist.

El Uro
El Uro
28 days ago
Reply to  Jack Robertson

They are actually anti-human. Potential mass murderers.
Beings ready to become side by side with Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot

Martin M
Martin M
28 days ago
Reply to  El Uro

You forgot to include Putin.

Martin M
Martin M
28 days ago
Reply to  Jack Robertson

Possibly, but I dislike the latter more than the former. Plus, the latter have been around for far longer.

Helen Nevitt
Helen Nevitt
28 days ago
Reply to  Martin M

Hunt is a committed Christians. I am about to get off a bus and walk past a church festooned with trans flags. Open your eyes and grow up.

Helen Nevitt
Helen Nevitt
28 days ago
Reply to  Helen Nevitt

As. Christian I embarrassed we were more bothered about being trendy and accepted than speaking up for the vulnerable.

Martin M
Martin M
28 days ago
Reply to  Helen Nevitt

Remind me when your lot last “spoke up for the vulnerable”.

Martin M
Martin M
28 days ago
Reply to  Helen Nevitt

Not a Catholic Church, I imagine?

J Hop
J Hop
28 days ago
Reply to  Martin M

Soooo…you’re OK with mutilating kids because it annoys Christians? Christians are also pretty against pedophelia, so….

Martin M
Martin M
28 days ago
Reply to  J Hop

The term “mutilating kids” is pejorative. It ranks with “murdering babies” when discussing abortion (Hint: I am pro-abortion). If Christians are against paedophilia, why do so many clergymen in Christian churches practise it?

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
24 days ago
Reply to  Martin M

Hospitals are against killing people but sometimes it happens.
Churches are composed of thousands or tens of thousands of individuals some will inevitably do bad things – it doesn’t mean they aren’t against paedophilia.

Martin M
Martin M
22 days ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Why does the Catholic Church do its level best to cover up the activities of its paedophile priests then?

David Morley
David Morley
28 days ago
Reply to  Martin M

Haha – it’s not a great reason – but an understandable one. And to be honest, it can be a stimulus to thought, so can be useful even if badly motivated. We need gadflies!

Martin M
Martin M
28 days ago
Reply to  David Morley

Thank you.

Santiago Excilio
Santiago Excilio
28 days ago
Reply to  Martin M

What an odd thing to say. One can hardly pass a CoE church these days whose tower or pulpit is unadorned by some trans flag or rainbow banner. And that ineffable oaf, Welby, seems delighted to prostrate himself at the altar of whichever virtue signalling nonsense is currently the saveur du jour.

Martin M
Martin M
28 days ago

I don’t have a particular problem with the Anglicans for that reason. They seem to have abandoned being a “religion” some time ago. Let me know when the Vatican starts displaying rainbow banners, and I’ll find another hobby.

Tom K
Tom K
28 days ago
Reply to  Martin M

So what you are saying is (to coin a phrase) you know you are a complete plonker, but you enjoy it all the same?

Martin M
Martin M
27 days ago
Reply to  Tom K

Well, the term “plonker” is pejorative. You are of course entitled to think me one, but I (obviously) don’t think myself one. I have always had a hearty dislike for the smug and holier-than-thou, and let’s face it, that description fits a lot of Christians. As I have previously said, I have much the same reaction towards the Green Left, and their Climate Change Cult.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
24 days ago
Reply to  Martin M

To take up a position because it annoys a group you dislike is very childish.

Martin M
Martin M
22 days ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Opinion noted, but as I say, I am entitled to a hobby.

David Brown
David Brown
28 days ago
Reply to  LeeKC C

sadly it will de facto be the taxpayer getting sued for the Tavistock nonsense, not individual doctors

Roddy Campbell
Roddy Campbell
28 days ago
Reply to  LeeKC C

Somebody called Martin M made a response to this post, and I have been blocked from replying to it. Is anybody else experiencing a similar problem?

Martin M commented:

“ I take a slightly different position. I am in no sense a “trans activist”, and am at heart largely ambivalent on the topic. However, I sometimes find myself ostensibly agreeing with their position, because I know it annoys the Christians.”

My response was:

“Are you against Christians or Christianity? Christians are always deeply flawed people trying to follow an ideology of perfection and repeatedly failing. The fact that some blame their stunted view of perfection on their ideal should not detract from the substance or meaning of that ideal.”

Unherd bot replied (in Red!) “Sorry, responses to unapproved comments are not allowed “

Perhaps Unherd needs to employ a more Unherd robot…

Martin M
Martin M
28 days ago
Reply to  Roddy Campbell

Ah. Fair question. I have a beef with individual Christians only when they try to impose their views on me (and I have a similar beef with anyone who tries that, Christian or otherwise). If they can avoid doing that, I am fine with them (and I have any number of friends who are Christians, and both my parents were Christians also). The Church is a different matter (and when I say “the Church”, I guess I am nowadays mostly referring to the Catholic Church).

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
24 days ago
Reply to  Martin M

And how is the Catholic Church trying to impose themselves? Is your mum insisting you go to mass?

Martin M
Martin M
22 days ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Various members of my family have been Christian, but none have been Catholic (not for the last three generations anyway). The Catholic Church opposes abortion. That alone raises my ire.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
24 days ago
Reply to  Roddy Campbell

I think Martin M is a teenager.

Martin M
Martin M
22 days ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

In fact, I am 61 years of age.

Arthur King
Arthur King
29 days ago

I was secretly against trans while I was fanatically supporting it. /sarc

Lancashire Lad
Lancashire Lad
29 days ago
Reply to  Arthur King

It’s transactivism that was the problem, not trans per se.

Edit: Mary Harrington isn’t “anti-trans” and her article doesn’t refer to those who’re genuinely, as adults, transitioners.

Amy Harris
Amy Harris
29 days ago
Reply to  Lancashire Lad

True!

Jane Awdry
Jane Awdry
28 days ago
Reply to  Lancashire Lad

There are no ‘genuine transitioners’. There is only body mutilation and stereotype cross-dressing. No human can have any idea what it is to be the opposite sex. It can only ever be a pale imitation that perhaps assuages a fetishistic idea of ‘being female’. There are worse fetishes, it’s true, but this one has now come out of the bedroom and into schools to indoctrinate and groom children. And it has been found out.
So if a man wants to cross-dress, who cares? Centuries ago men were the peacocks in ‘gaudy plumage’ anyway, and last century Bowie did it fabulously. But he and they never pretended they were women. It always was simply adornment. The difference is now they want to pretend they actually ARE women.

Martin M
Martin M
26 days ago
Reply to  Jane Awdry

Surely the answer to even your last sentence is “Who cares?”

Studio Largo
Studio Largo
24 days ago
Reply to  Martin M

Someone needs to tell Martin’s parents he’s up past his bedtime.

Studio Largo
Studio Largo
24 days ago
Reply to  Jane Awdry

Thank you. If the initial ridiculous fallacy of trangenderism had been rejected, than all of this insanity would have been avoided. And thousands of children would never have been mutilated.

Talia Perkins
Talia Perkins
23 days ago
Reply to  Studio Largo

Jane’s and yours is the only ridiculous fallacy of “transgenderism ” that exists. You are child abusing imbeciles who variously pretend gender does not exist physically, or, that is always magically perfectly congruent to the sex of a person — although the tissues involved develop on th basis of differing hormonal cues at differing times in the duration of a pregnancy.
There are next to no such “mutilated” children, as the false positive rate for people diagnosed per WPATH standards of care for gender affirming care is below 1%.
Why you and Jane want to force any boys to have breasts and periods and to force any girls to have beards and deep voices is the question.

Arthur G
Arthur G
28 days ago
Reply to  Lancashire Lad

If it’s genuine, it’s a genuine mental illness which should be treated, not indulged.

Martin M
Martin M
26 days ago
Reply to  Arthur G

Nah, you have to respect diversity….

J Bryant
J Bryant
29 days ago

Outstanding essay. When Mary Harrington is on form, she’s peerless.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
29 days ago
Reply to  J Bryant

She really does have a gift for the written word.

Robbie K
Robbie K
29 days ago
Reply to  J Bryant

It’s outstandingly written as always, yet totally misguided in her comparisons with covid response. When there is a crisis such as that then a consensus is needed quickly – park for a moment whether the correct decisions were made – if people are dying then there is not the luxury of open debate and enquiry, people had to make tough decisions on the information to hand.
That’s a completely different scenario to the trans debate.

Amy Harris
Amy Harris
29 days ago
Reply to  Robbie K

There was NO crisis!

Norfolk Sceptic
Norfolk Sceptic
29 days ago
Reply to  Amy Harris

And much public money, +pensions and benefits, was spent planning for such an eventuality, and the plans were thrown away so the sheep could panic.

And it happened across many Western countries: what a coincidence!

Amy Harris
Amy Harris
29 days ago

“Climate crisis” is exactly the same playbook.

Robbie K
Robbie K
29 days ago
Reply to  Amy Harris

Don’t be silly Amy, 25 million people died.

Amy Harris
Amy Harris
29 days ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Well now I know you’re a troll! People die. They died of pneumonia. They always do. This wasn’t a “novel” virus. It was discovered in the 1950s and is identical to influenza in every way. I don’t interact with trolls so I will take care not to interact with your account again.

Robbie K
Robbie K
29 days ago
Reply to  Amy Harris

Wow.

Lesley Rudd
Lesley Rudd
27 days ago
Reply to  Robbie K

You deserved that Robbie by descending to calling Amy ‘silly’ and cutting off debate

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
28 days ago
Reply to  Amy Harris

It was novel in that it didn’t exist in nature but was instead deliberately manufactured in a Chinese lab with illegal gain-of-function American tax dollars. The panic was driven by world governments and their media to serve two purposes: control the populace and enrich the powerful.

Commenters like Robbie refuse to believe the fact that the WHO conducted Event 201 in October 2019 to war game the exact scenario, and implemented it in January 2020. All this is known. The people responsible knew it from the very beginning (which is why they only put on their silly masks for the cameras).

I don’t give a rat’s about idiots who still cling to their Covid fantasies, but I DO care that those who perpetrated this global crime have not been made to pay. I want them tried and prosecuted – at the very least.

Robbie K
Robbie K
28 days ago

So what you’re saying is, you have no interest in debate, you’re happy to stifle opposing voices and you subscribe to a truth universally acknowledged. Curious; I was reading an article about that very thing earlier.

Jae
Jae
28 days ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Why debate someone who’s so obviously blind to facts. Like you.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
28 days ago
Reply to  Robbie K

“What you’re saying is”. No. I was very clear that I don’t give a rat’s about the opinions of those who refuse to acknowledge facts. That’s not “stifling voices”. That’s ignoring them.

Campbell P
Campbell P
23 days ago

At last, someone who has grasped the facts and had the courage to state them. Some people commenting on this site are unbelievably naive about the world they live in. And thank you Mary too for outing the selfish and the cowardly. Spot on once again!

Lyn Poole
Lyn Poole
27 days ago
Reply to  Amy Harris

Amy you are a troll yourself! Have you act spoken with anyone suffering with long Covid? You should. It’s rather more than flu. Maybe read something?

tintin lechien
tintin lechien
25 days ago
Reply to  Lyn Poole

Only last month the government / medical council published a new study that there is no such thing as a long Covid! If you have the occasional sneeze or cold it is because the other viruses (include Covid) are still around. Long Covid is an excuse for people not to go back to work. It is also an excuse to claim benefits.

Stephen Follows
Stephen Follows
24 days ago
Reply to  Lyn Poole

They have ME, obviously, not something made up to cover for government failings.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
28 days ago
Reply to  Robbie K

FoI request, 17,000 died of Covid in the UK. People who had a variety of illnesses died as it does with flu. In 1968/69 , 88,000 died of flu.

Robbie K
Robbie K
28 days ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

Fake news Charles. That’s not how death certificates work. But I suspect you do actually know this.

tintin lechien
tintin lechien
25 days ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Now you are talking – dying with or from? In any event, now we know doctors were pressured and some brainwashed into endorsing Covid as the cause of death. These doctors admit it now. Anonymously of course.

Jae
Jae
28 days ago
Reply to  Robbie K

People die all the time. No one with half a brain is unaware they attributed every death to Covid even when it wasn’t. For crying out loud stop excusing this coordinated catastrophe otherwise it will happen again. Maybe you’d support that, who knows.

Santiago Excilio
Santiago Excilio
28 days ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Rubbish. Covid killed 7 million – check the WHO data if you care. Also recording errors could be a high as 50% since in many instances anyone who had covid and later died was recorded as have died of covid, so somewhere between 7m and 3.5m. In other news 60m die every year, 14.5% from infectious diseases (excluding covid) – that’s 8.7m – but there are no lockdowns or generalised hysteria for influenza, pneumonia, typhoid etc.

Tom Hedger
Tom Hedger
28 days ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Mary was writing about YOU Robbie.

Robbie K
Robbie K
28 days ago
Reply to  Tom Hedger

No Tom, unlike others here I am happy to debate.

tintin lechien
tintin lechien
25 days ago
Reply to  Robbie K

According to WHO?

tintin lechien
tintin lechien
25 days ago
Reply to  Amy Harris

Exactly. A war is a crisis. COVID lasted more than 2.5 years!!!

Arkadian Arkadian
Arkadian Arkadian
29 days ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Perhaps for the first 2-3 weeks at the most, not 2-3 YEARS (and I still see some people going around masked).

Robbie K
Robbie K
29 days ago

Yet here we are 5 years later, with the benefit of hindsight and much debate and enquiry, and there still is no consensus.

Helen Nevitt
Helen Nevitt
28 days ago
Reply to  Robbie K

There is. It’s just not mentioned in polite circles because who’s going to admit to being so wrong? Which is kind of the point if the article.

Robbie K
Robbie K
28 days ago
Reply to  Helen Nevitt

Well please go ahead and enlighten us.

laurence scaduto
laurence scaduto
28 days ago
Reply to  Robbie K

“Consensus” is a red herring. There never could be consensus about such a thing. There was no consensus in the US about declaring war on Hitler. Or about Prohibition, or the Inter-State Highways or day-light savings time or the best way to tie a bow-line or feed a baby or…
And, in this case, there wasn’t much debate. The panic-stricken classes made sure of that. Just like the global warming story.

Liakoura
Liakoura
27 days ago

And I still see some people going around, sneezing in crowded trains and buses and rarely a handkerchief in sight.

tintin lechien
tintin lechien
25 days ago

Whenever I see someone wearing a mask OUTDOORS, I feel pity for him/her. The Covid behavioural unit got another victim!

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
29 days ago
Reply to  Robbie K

A thought experiment for you: instead of the Covid pandemic happening in 2020, imagine it had happened in 2000. The feasibility of vast numbers of people working from home would not have been possible, and the entire model of lockdown/WFH if possible/furlough etc would be unworkable, because without sufficient numbers of businesses carrying on, no money would be coming in to support helicopter money drops etc. Had the Covid pandemic happened in 2000, do you think the same consensus would have formed?

Robbie K
Robbie K
29 days ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Good idea. Modern technology clearly made lockdown easier for people to still keep productive and connected. Quarantine is a natural response to such a crisis however and history provides examples going back to the 14th century with government mandates during the bubonic plague. It’s worth noting that whilst quarantine was effective, it was always received negatively by many who considered it a punishment.
One example paper. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22611587/

Nick Wade
Nick Wade
28 days ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Quarantine doesn’t work for airborne respiratory viruses, and never has. That’s why they’ve never been recommended in any pandemic plans. Comparisons with Medieval plagues are meaningless.

Robbie K
Robbie K
28 days ago
Reply to  Nick Wade

People didn’t know what was causing the plague at the time, they knew quarantine worked however. Let’s face it, it’s kind of obvious that not mixing with other people is going to reduce disease spread no matter how it functions. I’m uncertain how one can argue otherwise.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
28 days ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

No. Ditto 1968, when there was a coronavirus epidemic that killed 100,000 people and got barely any media coverage at all, much less the panic-stricken hysteria that accompanied COVID.

0 0
0 0
27 days ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Before answering the above question, check over how China dealt with the pandemic as compared to, say, South Korea.
The Chinese approach is something which could have been applied in 2000 and if there would have been difficulties doing that in the UK that’s for other reasons than infotech. South Korea, on the other hand, exploited Infotech potential in ways that could in principle have been applied in the UK but weren’t . But by the same token, wouldn’t have been much less available in 2000. Even there.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
23 days ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Very good point!

Helen Nevitt
Helen Nevitt
28 days ago
Reply to  Robbie K

But there was plenty of time after the first lockdown was imposed to notice (as Prof David Paton did) that infections had peaked: plenty of time to question whether the response was necessary (as Prof Heneghan did); plenty of time to consider or less harmful alternatives to locking us up. (as Prof Gupta did). There was plenty of time to reflect on how we were turning into small minded, bitter finger pointers for whom the sole point of life is to stay alive. But we didn’t use it. We used it to shout down dissent. Just as Mary describes it.

Robbie K
Robbie K
28 days ago
Reply to  Helen Nevitt

Yet there was wide support for the policies that were chosen, including the political opposition.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
28 days ago
Reply to  Robbie K

To look back on Covid two years later and not acknowledge any govt failures is gobsmacking. The pandemic response lasted more than two years. Surely there was time for debate somewhere within that time frame. Trudeau was ruthless in his response to the truckers protests and refused to meet with them. Yet three months later almost all restrictions in Canada were lifted within three months. In three months we went from truckers killing grandma to the end of restrictions.

Robbie K
Robbie K
28 days ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Ahh you do love creating an entirely new narrative Jim, this one is a beauty, well played.

Chuck Burns
Chuck Burns
28 days ago
Reply to  Robbie K

There is no consensus in the Scientific Method. The facts are repeatable and speak for themselves or they aren’t. This idea of a quick consensus is precisely what the woke Leftists use to force their end justifies the means agenda on the rest of us.

Robbie K
Robbie K
28 days ago
Reply to  Chuck Burns

There is no consensus in the Scientific Method. The facts are repeatable and speak for themselves or they aren’t

Totally agree. At the start of covid however there were no facts, and no data to base the scientific method on, obviously.

Studio Largo
Studio Largo
25 days ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Bullshit. Gain of function research conducted by Eco Health Alliance in the US under the NIH (run by one Dr Anthony Fauci) came to light in 2014. After a period of public outrage to this insanity, the research was quietly outsourced to a lab in Wuhan, where safety protocols where lax, to put it mildly. When COVID-19 broke out worldwide, Fauci and other guilty parties (along with their toadies in the media) pressured and intimidated scientists into discarding the ‘lab leak theory’ substituting the ‘wet market’ narrative to cover their Instrumental role in creating this disaster. And you think these people should have been trusted?

Dr. G Marzanna
Dr. G Marzanna
26 days ago
Reply to  Robbie K

It’s different but it’s still comparable in the way the usual suspects reacted and lined up.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
29 days ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Most importantly she makes us smile? At least for a little bit. Only when we try to join in the conversation ourselves are we unhappy again?

tom j
tom j
28 days ago
Reply to  J Bryant

I’d be very happy to have her take up any cause I believed in.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
28 days ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Seconded. My only quibble is that, in all this discussion, there is not enough acknowledgement that this problem of rigid middle class groupthink originates almost entirely in the universities. My acquaintances who are graduates are overwhelmingly more likely to hold the currently orthodox opinion – unsupported by much in the way of factual knowledge or coherent argument – on any topic than those who are not.

Jane Awdry
Jane Awdry
28 days ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Very good point. I’ve noticed that too.

David Morley
David Morley
28 days ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

It makes you wonder what education is for.

Thomas Wagner
Thomas Wagner
28 days ago
Reply to  David Morley

Enriching the professoriate. Next question.

Michael Cavanaugh
Michael Cavanaugh
24 days ago
Reply to  Thomas Wagner

Enriching some of them, perhaps. Many of them are adjuncts, woefully underemployed and underpaid.

Konstantinos Stavropoulos
Konstantinos Stavropoulos
27 days ago
Reply to  David Morley

Dreadfully true..!

Talia Perkins
Talia Perkins
23 days ago
Reply to  David Morley

Have you seen Cass’ recent statements to the Kite Trust?
https://www.erininthemorning.com/p/dr-cass-backpedals-from-review-hrt
She is recanting her fraud.

David Morley
David Morley
28 days ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

It’s because ideas and moral positions are signs of social status in the way that taste used to be, and expensive goods still are. These ideas are attractive because they are associated with high status. People don’t want to be seen with low status ideas any more than they want to be seen with a cheap handbag.

It’s also why people resist reason and evidence. It’s just perceived as a dig at the genuineness of their symbols of status – like pointing out that their expensive handbag isn’t actually very good quality.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
28 days ago
Reply to  David Morley

Interesting idea. I’m sure you’re right.

N Forster
N Forster
28 days ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

That and no matter what form of thought may be in fashion, the middle class always has been, currently is, and always will be determined to dictate to the rest of us.

LeeKC C
LeeKC C
28 days ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Perhaps we need to continually try engagement of dialogue, to those we care about and are with. Maybe because we see the problem as so big and so widespread that one on one is thought of as futile. I know I do. It can create a kind of apathy if your not careful – the opposite of the extremism we see from the ‘woke’ left extremists. One of my daughters was originally taken with these ideas more so than my other daughter. Through rather ‘rigorous’ conversation several times over, a shift stated to happen. I have personal reasons for being so ‘lets say over enthusiastic’ about this. However, it has changed our relationship for the better. Its actually opened up space. For her as well. Everything runs both ways.

0 0
0 0
27 days ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

The ‘problem’ is much broader than that, as Mary’s Austen quote shows. You don’t need Unis to produce middle class groupthink, it’s endemic to liberal societies and the way they counterpose agency ( the right to choose) and social position (stakes). As much as social situations vary, there’ll be differences in tastes, calling some ‘rigid dogmas’ is just another snobbery, bound up in the same game one purports to criticise.

There are patterns to political taste formation though. As French sociologists and geographapers have long pointed out, the more that people’s life chances are formed by public and commercial Institutions , the more they can see themselves as ‘free’ individuals. To the extent their supports are ignored they can wrongly imagine that society is fundamentally an aggregate of individuals (the Thatcher a d Trans delusion). Whereas those whose chances rely on the more visible supports of family and community generalise those conditions in their notions of ‘self evident truths’ about freedom and responsibility.

While there are bound to be differences of perspective between those thus differently situated, neither can claim to offer an adequate basis for knowledge, let alone governance. Enabling both groups to move beyond projecting their ‘certainties’ , rather than merely asserting one over the other,is the key to achieving viable political hegemony. Viable because it’s sustainable, unlike that which has prevailed in Britain for the last fifteen years.
.

Julian Newman
Julian Newman
24 days ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Hugh Bryant is right in saying that groupthink is (nowadays) transmitted in the universities – but how did this come about? IMHO the fundamental problem is managerialism: the universities are now controlled by a managerial class who encourage half-educated students to undermine those academics who promote critical thinking – and this has spread throughout the western world, nearly destroying the legacy of the enlightenment. Any academic who wants to keep his/her job must be extremely careful not to fall foul of this unspoken conspiracy.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
24 days ago
Reply to  Julian Newman

Most universities aren’t universities – they are expensive FE colleges.

Michael Cavanaugh
Michael Cavanaugh
24 days ago
Reply to  Julian Newman

“Full sheepskin, half education” has become the norm.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
23 days ago
Reply to  Julian Newman

M Muggeridge was the The Guardian reporter in the USSR in the early 1930s. When he reported the famine he was sacked. G B Shaw visited the USSR and said he had never eaten so well.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
24 days ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

That’s because the universities are for the most part the Colleges of FE of the 70s or 80s

William Edward Henry Appleby
William Edward Henry Appleby
28 days ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Jesus Christ! It’s a bloody longwinded way of defining “received wisdom”

Stephen Follows
Stephen Follows
24 days ago
Reply to  J Bryant

An excellent piece of Austen criticism too.

Talia Perkins
Talia Perkins
23 days ago
Reply to  J Bryant

I have no doubt Harrington will be conspicuously silent about Cass’ current statements.

William Shaw
William Shaw
29 days ago

“vacuous grandes dames such as Allsopp”
And yet, the vacuous seem to control the narrative, regardless of how vacuous they are.
“Progressive” women in politics and the media live and breathe in-group consensus and disavow absolute truth.

Gordon Black
Gordon Black
29 days ago
Reply to  William Shaw

Worse still, some of these women you describe actually know the absolute truth and cognitive dissonance makes their lives a misery.

Rob Keeley
Rob Keeley
28 days ago
Reply to  William Shaw

Even on location location location, she had honed to a fine art her ability to patronise the little people. And she was a dab hand at home-made Christmas decorations. She should stick to that.

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
29 days ago

The usual anti-trans hatred that we have come to expect multiple times a day from Unherd. These ceaseless attacks on the most vulnerable members of society are sickening.
And the teenage writing style is utterly turgid. ChatGPT would be better.

Andrew R
Andrew R
29 days ago

The usual handful of informal fallacies and the stroppy “It’s not fair” teenage writing style we have come to expect from the intellectually challenged “Champagne Socialist”.

AC Harper
AC Harper
29 days ago
Reply to  Andrew R

If Champagne Socialist is a troll, as many suspect, they are not very good at it unless their aim is to get as many downvotes as possible with the fewest words.

Lancashire Lad
Lancashire Lad
28 days ago
Reply to  AC Harper

It’s long been speculated that it’s the musings of a member of the Unherd team, intended as clickbait.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak