Scotland, once renowned as the home of the philosophy of common sense, is slowly going bonkers.
Exhibit 1: to the dismay of rape victims and Scottish feminists, the Edinburgh Rape Crisis Centre, an organisation which helps female victims of sexual assault, has appointed a transwoman (ie, a natal male) as its chief executive.
Mridul Wadhwa hit back by saying her critics should be “challenged on their prejudices”. Speaking to The Guilty Feminist podcast, Wadhwa said: “Sexual violence happens to bigoted people as well. But these spaces are also for you. But if you bring beliefs that are discriminatory in nature, we will begin to work with you on your journey of recovery from trauma.”
Critics point out that Wadhwa, who has since retreated from the comments, has no gender recognition certificate and has not undergone gender reassignment and therefore is not legally entitled to be classed as a woman.
Should Scottish women traumatised by sexual assault be retraumatised by the presence of a biological male professing to be a woman? They almost certainly are aware that female-identifying prisoners have assaulted women in supposedly all-women jails.
It was to his Scottish friend Boswell that Dr Johnson famously remarked that patriotism was the last refuge of a scoundrel. Nowadays the first refuge of a scoundrel may be a women’s refuge.
Exhibit 2: Scottish feminist campaigner Marion Miller has been charged with hate crimes after posting allegedly “homophobic and transphobic” tweets. In an appalling assault on free speech, Scotland has passed a little-noticed law against “hate crime” that not only covers public statements but remarks made in private. In practice, of course, it will chiefly protect those minorities most likely to complain about what they see as offences against them. Far from eradicating “hate” in Scotland, they have simply created a new aristocracy that must on no account be offended.
Exhibit 3: As if that were not bad enough, Scotland will allow four-year-olds to change their name and gender at school without their parents’ consent. According to the government’s new inclusivity guidelines, it is possible to “come out” as transgender “at any age” and the views of young people should be respected if they do not want their parents to be informed.
Exhibit 4: The Scottish government has also asked its 8,000 public servants to “take a pronoun pledge” and add their pronouns to their email signatures. An internal survey showed that 60 percent of them did not want to.
Scotland’s common sense philosophers must be turning in their graves. Gender is a purely personal category constructed by the individual; in real life nobody can change sex — they can only change their pronouns.
Most people judge by their senses as to whether an individual is male or female – and the fact that there are two sexes is one of the very few facts of life that a four-year-old is able to grasp – but in Scotland people are being told to ignore common sense and obey government diktats.
Unsurprisingly, many are calling for a “return to common sense”. But in a society which seems to have lost its senses – a society afflicted by an ever-increasing number of senseless killings through abortion, a society which allows children who cannot decide between two sorts of sweets to choose their own gender – how will we recognise common sense when we see it?