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Why You Should Refuse to Call People by Their Personal Pronouns
Don’t cater to narcissistic demands
As I’ve noted before, one of the things liberals particularly LOVE to do is find ways to exploit other people’s human decency for their own benefit. They may not care at all about rules of conduct and treating people they disagree with respectfully, but they’re happy to exploit the fact that YOU do. Granted they’re not as bad as the Palestinians that look at launching rockets from a schoolyard as a win/win because either the Israelis will be too decent to fire back or alternately, will fire back and kill kids, which the Palestinians can then use for a PR campaign, but there’s nothing admirable about what liberals do.
* You want to be polite and respectful to a woman who lost her son in a war? Cool. Then they’ll make Cindy Sheehan their spokeswoman against the war so she can spew any lie she wants while they criticize people for responding to her at all.
* You don’t want to put a child in the middle of a vicious political scrum? Fantastic. Then they’ll make Greta Thunberg their spokeswoman on global warming and claim anyone who refutes the idiocy that comes out of her mouth is beating up on a child.
* You’re a Christian. Great. Then liberal atheists who view everyone who buys into the Bible as a sucker will give you a convoluted explanation of why the Bible says you have to do whatever they want you to do.
* You believe that people have a First Amendment right to protest? Awesome. Rioters will mix in with the #BLM protesters and steal, loot, and burn at will. Then, when the police try to shut it down it’s, “Why are you trying to stop a peaceful protest?”
* Do you think the lives of black Americans matter? Perfect. Then, you can’t also say that “all lives matter” and you have to agree that America is racist and applaud spoiled athletes disrespecting the flag.
Note that liberals don’t actually care about any of these niceties or customs when it’s not convenient for them, nor do they make good faith attempts to abide by them. It’s nothing more than an abusive, dishonest way to take advantage of other people’s human decency.
Do you think people that want to be called by personal pronouns are any different?
Before we get into that, consider how this works normally. Using “sir” or “ma’am” is (except in some job situations) an optional way to be polite, show a certain level of respect, and send a signal about what sort of behavior they can expect from you.
If a police officer pulls you over, “sir” or “ma’am” lets them know that they’re not going to have any trouble with you. If an old woman asks you to help her with something, say getting a can off a top shelf, calling her “ma’am” shows you’re a gentleman who intends to help her out. If you’re talking to a cashier or other worker in a store, using “sir” or “ma’am” shows a little politeness and respect for the fact they’re trying to help you. These are all good things because this kind of politeness is the kind of lubrication that makes a society function a little better.
That being said, in none of these cases is it required, and no one is going to become offended or angry if you don’t say it except perhaps in some job situations. Even in most of those cases, it’s not an issue. I used to run a corporation with 30 part-time employees. None of them called me “sir” or “Mr. Hawkins” and it never even occurred to me to ask them to do that.
You’ll notice that the motivation for “personal pronouns” comes from the opposite direction.
It’s demanded by people with issues who are looking for drama or planning to play the victim by coming up with an imaginary name for themselves that they expect the rest of Planet Earth to learn. Have you ever taken a few moments and thought about how narcissistically bizarre that is? It’s really no different than if I told everyone that they had to refer to me as, “The great and mighty exalted one who stands above all others, John Hawkins.” If you were a friend of mine and I said that you’d probably say something like, “OMG, f*** you, bro! LOL.” If we weren’t friends, you’d be more like, “Wow, this seems like a guy with issues. I should probably steer clear of him.”
It’s not a healthy impulse and it doesn’t come from a healthy place. Freddie DeBoer, who is liberal himself, wrote a column about the tendency of the woke to try to set themselves up outside the rules that they want everyone else to follow. It doesn’t specifically address personal pronouns, but the principles are applicable.
The current reality is Voldemorting - declaring your politics simply off-limits to discussion by insisting that any name we might use for it is inherently bigoted. It’s a mark of weak people who can’t defend their perspectives, but it’s also a vestige of the fact that people who embrace social justice politics think that they are somehow naturally exempt from the ordinary way things work. I get to just live in my own little political fantasy reality, and that’s justice.
But the naming issue is just part of a broader, deeply unhelpful tendency within social justice politics, which is that its proponents are constantly demanding to be freed from all of the regular practices of politics. “Don’t name our movement!” is one thing. Deciding that some people have to stop speaking is another - “it’s time for white men to step back!” But they’re not going to step back. The fact that you might have been able to enforce such a condition in your seminar on the humanities at Columbia does not mean that this is a principle that will survive in the scrum of American politics. Indeed, the only white men you’ll shut up are the ones who are most sensitive to your perspective, which seems strategically perverse to me. But you hear that sh*t absolutely all the time, that according to social justice, you don’t have the right to speak in this instance, so shut up. I’m sorry to inform you that the people who reject social justice also reject that little childish dictate and all the other bizarre rules that people invented on Tumblr and then expected to simply enforce on the rest of the world.
Personal pronouns are part of this same mentality. You created made-up pronouns for yourself and the rest of us have to use them or else? Or else what? You’re going to stomp your little feet, try to milk some pity out of your weird friends, and make a video for TikTok explaining how super important it is to call people by their made-up pronouns? Grow up.
If you need an entire freaking TikTok video to explain to people how to refer to you, there’s something very wrong with your way of thinking.
Granted, this particular brand of narcissism is just one of many on the Left and it’s probably less harmful than many of the others. However, if we want to change the culture, it starts with refusing to cater to bad behavior. So, people can make up personal pronouns if they like, but they should be treated as exactly that -- PERSONAL pronouns that only they are using for themselves. On the other hand, if you’re so inclined to be polite, stick with “sir” or “ma’am” and if you want to be extra nice, don’t use either if you can’t figure out what gender someone is, which sadly seems to be an increasingly common problem in modern America.