Binaries are Harmful, Not Just Bad

As a quick aside, a question to the reader: is there a God? Judeo-Christian, Zoroastrian, Islamic, it doesn’t matter. The point is there is no yes or no answer. Why is this such a controversial opinion in politics then? Using gender as a bridge to explain my ideas and their compatibility, this should help re-examine the way you look at politics as a whole, utilising occasional personal experiences I might add; and before you ask, no, I am not here to abuse women in public bathrooms, that’s— not a thing that happens.

Simone de Beauvoir pointed out in her seminal text ‘The Second Sex’, that one becomes – as opposed to being born – a woman. Inadvertently, de Beauvoir has pointed out the basic fundamental flaw in how we think about gender (and politics). Gender is a spectrum, and I found myself trying to cram myself into a single box of the two given to me, one being male, the other female; it’s a hard conclusion to come to (which in itself is perverse as anybody who seriously questions their identity is almost certainly not what they are questioning in the first place) but it’s the idea of ‘acting your gender’ that made it harder for me to find answers. Political philosophy can also be broken down into these specific categories. Conservatism, Liberalism and Socialism to name a few, but our discussion of political ideas needs to focus on the spectrum of individual ideas rather than the individual ideas on a spectrum. In case it was not already clear, I dislike the idea of a ‘political spectrum’ as it implies that each ideology starts off as a kind of neutral and then adds or subtracts different amounts in terms of policy making, when this is not even remotely true. 

A little while back, Eva Smith wrote an article for this magazine (which I urge you to read) exploring how people find it impossible to choose between one party and the other, which is true, but I think the crux of the issue revolves around how we see problems arise and choose to deal with them. Party politics isn’t the cause, it’s the symptom. We choose to have parties because they broadly represent a set of individuals or groups in society. They’re a shorthand for exploring ideas, and this is the problem. We force ourselves to struggle onwards with our beliefs as to what is right, and when things work we want to copy them with the same results. Whether or not you agree with Margaret Thatcher, it is impossible to deny that she was effective, but her effectiveness arose from a situation where her brand of neoconservatism was called for – people hold onto this belief in her ideas today because it’s what they have known to work, even when it was only necessary contemporaneously.

Today, if parties truly represented the turn of political thought, what we really should have are New Labour attitudes to markets and Old Labour attitudes towards domestic policy on one side, with broadly Libertarian ideas on the other, this is the binary our society clamours for, these are the answers most people seek. However, like being transgender/non-binary, this kind of box we’re forcing ourselves into doesn’t allow for any exploration of the spectrum of beliefs. Perhaps it’s better this way. Perhaps all people want to be 50% happy rather than some at 90% and others at 10%; but by locking ourselves out of the conversation, we’re allowing the mere concept of binaries to overtake us. These political binaries serve as default options, so our natural tendency is to believe one of the options must be true because that is what is presented to us. I am sure I do not need to explain why that is a flawed belief. 

Perhaps answers have to be binary, because that displays resolution. As biological beings, we have to come up with a concrete answer for all things, even when the required answer is more fluid than initially thought. A third way. A synthesis, maybe? Frankie Arren thinks so. He wrote a great article that I also encourage you to read, exploring how in reference to individualism and collectivism the idea that we should be having this conversation denies the validity of both. Yet I’m not 100% sure that the synthesis works. To my mind, the synthesis still works within the parameters of the binary and still invalidates other ideas – preferring instead to take it as the word of law that because both established ideas work to some degree, the combination of both must lead to a successful idea to a much greater degree. That seems dangerous, even if it is formed on the basis of pragmatism, there is nothing to say that it will actually be a success.

Regardless, I classify myself as transgender because I need an answer, and I’m happier because of it; now I have a community to belong to, one that supports me and one that I support, the options aren’t always bad but I ask you to consider if the concept of binaries are in fact more dangerous than just being unideal. Decisions constantly have to be made on a personal and political front, and honestly I am not sure the answer can be found in a simple yes/no answer. Thinking it would may result in politicians deciding to trust the public with a life-changing referendum on the constitutional basis of the UK’s international relationships – lucky for us, politicians are smart and they would never let that happen.

15 thoughts on “Binaries are Harmful, Not Just Bad

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  1. Well I must say that this rather cloudy piece of juvenile journalism reflects just how foggy politics amongst our is in the UK today.

    I really could go on and on with this piece, which is in essence a gold mine of inequality and upmost immorality and is undoubtedly classic toxic liberal tosh, which by the way is an a oxymoron in its itself, as liberalism is a politics that is supposed to be about freedom not a ‘do what I want’, selfish, immoral and divided society. Just the following statement says it all..

    “I classify myself as transgender because I need an answer, and I’m happier because of it; now I have a community to belong to, one that supports me and one that I support”.

    This statement Sums up the truly bogus, pretentious ideals of which LGBT fight for, a group who’s aims of so called equality are in fact driving a ‘them versus us culture’, and crushing the most precious gift; The sanctity of marriage, and sticking two finger up at a community of which is theirs, all because of pretentious babies have victimhood and consequently furthering social inequality. Stop creating disunity and serve your country as a citizen of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland. I say exactly the same to the immoral heterosexual couples of the world, who also crush the morals and ideals of which are wright, true and just, as this is not about an attack on the gay community but on the ant-democratic institutions that have camouflaged themselves as democracy and social justice.

    I say only this, drop the divisive flags, stop marching and parading around like pillocks and accept who you are instead of victimising yourselves like babies crying over spilled milk. Most of all, stop intoxicating politics with a fony war on real traditional, noble men and women of this country, who want to get on with their lives and who do not care about sexuality but about the conditions of their lives and their communities about their families and who live in an already divided society.

    Respect goes to the true men and women who see the human being not the sexuality. Real citizens don’t start wars with their communities over sexuality. You see sexuality is as bigger issue as you make it. Start a so called revolution, bare the brunt of the inequality you create.

    “You reap what you sow”.

    Sowing seeds, sowing seeds, of Anti-Democracy, sowing seeds, sowing seeds all day long.

    It most definitely needs to stop!

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    1. A few things to clarify first:
      1. I’m not a liberal.
      2. Liberalism absolutely is about a ‘do-what-I-want’ attitude. It’s literally the principle of Thatcher’s economic policy.
      3. Your definition of liberalism is based in the classical understanding of it, yet your use of the term is in reflection of modern liberalism.
      4. I apologise if I misinterpreted anything you said, your unreasonable diatribe was full of spelling and grammatical errors.

      I’m surprised you managed to garner all of that from my piece. Nowhere did I say that I was anti-democracy, the entire purpose of this piece is to explore why people follow binaries and how by doing so, they are locking themselves out of a conversation we should all be having. The point is to take that further and show how this is a detriment to society, i.e. the exact opposite to what you’re suggesting my piece was about.

      The purpose of the sentiment declaring myself happy to have found a community was a recognition of how binaries do serve a purpose to some degree, granting personal fulfilment while at the same time recognising that the same sense of personal fulfilment can be gained through exploring different ideas. I don’t understand how you managed to connect social justice to ‘anti-democracy’, you just do, without presenting any evidence.

      I’m sorry you seemed to think that I was victimising myself, I don’t actually see that at all. Maybe I’m biased I don’t know, but the entire point of adhering to authority, to stop complaining just because others don’t is ridiculous. What’s the reason? So that we can all suffer equally? In silence? I say all this as if it has anything to do with what I’ve written, my focus on gender identity was to provide a parallel example for both myself and the reader to ensure they didn’t get lost, all I can say is that I clearly failed on that front and need to try harder next time.

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  2. Firstly i never said you were a liberal, plus you clearly are not, as with all due respect, you don’t have a clue what freedom is. Secondly, Well I must say you definitely got one thing wright in that delusional understanding of my comments: yes you are indeed wrong, however gracious in misunderstanding, which is refreshing from such people.

    When I mentioned ‘a do what you want society’, that does not refer to harm principle, where one does anything they want as long as it does not harm others. Instead I was constituting that your reflection of rejecting society by finding this magical new community, which does not exist, is in fact creating a break down in society, as society is further disunited when one strays from it.

    Also, when you stated that my basis of Liberalism was based on a classical understanding of it, that is not true, however, I express classical liberal values when regarding liberalism because duly that is the only liberalism, as in fact modern liberalism currently i being destroyed by immoral people, such as yourself, who clearly have no regard for society.

    Also, the fact that you believe that I am suggesting that you all suffer equally, is absurdity, as to tell the truth, you are not suffering at all. The people who are suffering the most are the people who are not homophobic, who do not care about sexual orientation but simply don’t want to walk into town to find masses of people with rainbow flags aloft like some sort of Nazi rally. Please answer me this, why do you need to have a flag waved from the roof tops, stamped on coffee cups, on pin badges, engraved in company Logos, just to tell people your gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender.

    Ps I’m lik to wave ny flag too…..

    THE BRITISH FLAG!

    Because I support my country!

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    1. Freedom is an abstract concept, you can claim only you have true freedom in the same way I can claim that only I have true freedom, we’re not working to the same definitions here. You can’t create an umbrella term and call it ‘freedom’ when within this term there are all sorts of contradictory ideals; additionally you say that you believe in freedom yet try to deny my freedom to wave a rainbow flag (which I don’t) and have the audacity to compare that to the Third Reich. Homosexuality is not out to kill people, we only seek recognition – it’s still technically legal to kill me in 48 American states, I get verbally abused every time I leave the house and I’ve been told to leave certain areas because I’m ‘a disturbance’. Society actively choosing not to cater to me even if I have done nothing wrong is a form of oppression.

      Again you say you didn’t call me a liberal but then you say I’m destroying modern liberalism? This entire section is confusing, what are you saying? Am I a threat to all forms of liberalism and have managed to completely dismantle an entire ideology with my secret conspirator friends who are secretly out to overthrow western civilisation and democracy? Sodomy, crossdressing and civil rights protests, all things that have never happened in the UK. We wave our flags as a community because we tale pride in who we are, in the same way you’re allowed to wave your British flag because you take pride in being a UK national – there is no difference.

      Now that’s cleared up, your actual argument (as I understand it), is that by rejecting presented binary solutions on a political front I am completely breaking down society because the solution I’m looking for does not exist. Correct me if I got that wrong. First of all, there is no logical jump between ‘Searching for a new answer’ and ‘the collapse of Western civilisation’; this piece is actually rather a-political, I don’t come down on either party’s side, I only suggest that maybe we are ruling ourselves out of a debate because of equivalency bias. Secondly, your point that this solution doesn’t exist is potentially valid, and if you re-read my piece, you will notice at the end that I acknowledge this in the quote that you used to start your argument against me: “I classify myself as transgender because I need an answer, and I’m happier because of it; now I have a community to belong to, one that supports me and one that I support”. However that doesn’t mean we should just give up on trying, I’m not saying I have the answers, I’m just trying to highlight problems in the way we view society today.

      P.S.
      I also like to wave the British flag, because I can take pride in my country while at the same time acknowledging that it can do wrong. Any criticisms I have of the UK come from a place of love and that I want to see it improve itself – acknowledging the mistakes and trying harder next time. Is that not the quintessential British spirit?

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  3. No the quintessential British spirit is the protection of our island at all costs,of which you in your floccinaucinihilipilification of my answer clearly do not support. You are a disgrace to this flag and you do not represent the values of democracy and meritocracy of which this great nation was founded upon.

    You recall that I was arguing against you; “I acknowledge this in the quote that you used to start your argument against me”, I was not. You see when adults have a political debate they argue points, and do so democratically. They are also usually intelligent enough to read ones answer and maybe acknowledge that they are wright. You yourself are very easily confused, which in in particularly shown in your misinterpretation of my arguments regarding liberalism. You seem to believe that one can do what they want with rule of law not applying to you because of course your LGBTQ. We could not possibly question LGBTQ, because that would be hate crime….. Cue the shut down of debate. (LGBTQ ARE RATHER GOOD AT THAT!)

    you cant hide behind a flag, sexuality a new gender (which changes every week).

    Certainly, freedom is abstract concept, which applies to citizens, NOT MISOGYNISTIC CRIMINALS!

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    1. Seriously, you don’t make yourself look smarter by using an extremely rare and redundant word whilst at the same time using the wrong “right” repeatedly, attacking my character is uncalled for, never have I tried to shut down the debate simply because I’m LGBTQ+, that’s a gross misrepresentation, my gender doesn’t “change every week”, and your assertion that I’m a misogynistic criminal is baffling. In case you didn’t know, I plan on going into the services, so it’s not like I’m not going to be defending my country; as a result, I actually take offence to your repeated denigration of my patriotism.

      I’m sorry you don’t consider me adult enough to debate with you, I acknowledge that there is a possibility you are right, it’s just impossible for me to work out what your argument actually is. You say I’m destroying society, how? How am I bringing about the collapse of democracy? Unless it’s simply because I’m LGBTQ+ and it actually has nothing to do with what I’ve written but it’s merely you targeting your predisposed beliefs at me, I don’t know what constitutes myself to be a ‘criminal’. I live for discussing ideas, I just have no idea what yours are, I tried interpreting them as best as I could, but with all due respect – it’s impossible to extricate your argument from your abuse. You waffle, what you’re saying completely lacks substance and as much as I tried to interpret your argument, you haven’t given me a clear way of determining what it is.

      I’ve neatly gone through and dissected as much as I can based on how it makes sense grammatically; this is perfectly shown in your liberalism argument. I’m beginning to think you don’t know what liberalism is, I’m sorry I misrepresented them. Perhaps now is the time to clear that up? Alternatively, you’re just upset because you’re using the term and when I began to ask questions about what you meant by that term you decided to default to me misrepresenting you as a get out of gaol free. Now unless you perfectly clear up your arguments, I see no point in continuing this, as it seems to just be an excuse for you to rant about my gender identity and how that means I am a traitor instead of properly debating the points made in my article. If you don’t get a response, you’ll know what it means. Have a good day.

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  4. Ok I will scribe my message in easy, junior language so that you can understand.

    1 Attacking my spelling, of which I am typing quickly on a laptop is slightly low.

    2. LGBTQ cant possibly be classed as a force for good. Plus you are destroying democracy because nobody else has free speech when you indoctrinate society with the believe that criticizing LGBTQ is bad. Which is why the term hate crime is redundant, because people don’t like to hear the truth.

    3. Attacking the fact that I am literate enough to use a word no on else could is low.

    4. I do understand what liberalism is, as am a party member and am close to many MP’s. Also, my poinbt was that the youth are hijacking liberalism and interpreting it as a means to crush all order and values and in LGBTQS case the church that is called(cue another very big word for you to understand), antidisestablishmentarianism.

    5. you miss the point on all fronts, as you think only of your so called ‘community’. LGBTQ are a minority for a reason, that is because in order for the world to begin and then grow it started with a man and a woman and still does to this day. (oh and please don’t mention IVF because that it the most height of immorality, that was literally the day when man thought you know what stuff biology lets make our own. yay lets play God, because that turns out well for us, look what happened last time). Also if you don’t like me quoting the bible then tough because its the only legitimate word around and I quote it not as a Christian, but as an historian.

    6. you mention going into the forces. In the forces they want disciplined individuals, not Extremists. Yes I said it, LGBTQ are extremists. They create a hostile environment, whereby others have to watch on while flags are waved in the air to show everyone that their gay, lesbian trans or whatever new thing has been invented or what ever they fancy that week. Question, do you think society is improved by telling everyone your gay oir trtsns or lesibian or this or that?

    Ps I think I will be a Dinosaur next week, or how about a fairy.

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    1. So I said I wasn’t going to reply, but I’m having too much fun. Let’s talk about what you’ve said:

      1 & 3. I’m sorry you’re typing quickly on a laptop, you’re not under any pressure here, take your time and spell check things and that’s not something I can change. I was not deliberately mocking you for using bad grammar and spelling, just that the way you phrase your responses make it impossible to understand what your point is. Additionally, using ‘huge, adult’ words for no reason other than to appear intellectually superior is not only low, but also impractical.

      2. First, I’m not destroying free speech by being LGBTQ, and even if I was, there is no such thing as freedom of speech anyway. In the UK there are laws against hate speech, and you restrict your speech based on the presence of others anyway. You won’t exactly use a racial slur in the presence of a person who would be offended by it unless you yourself are racist. It’s impolite among many other worse things, however I hope to win you over by appealing to your sense of British-ness. Basically, you don’t have free speech because of hate speech laws and societal pressures. People are trying to ‘indoctrinate’ you (using your language) because they want you to understand that these people have been oppressed and the only way to fix that is to fix society, and there is no link between that and ant-democracy.

      4. Okay fine, you know MPs. You’re a party member. And? Is this supposed to impress me? That doesn’t make you any more informed in political philosophy than me. The young aren’t “hijacking” liberalism as you say – there is a difference between classical liberalism and modern liberalism as I’m sure you know. I don’t know which “young” you’re referring to, but presumably they’re either modern liberals who are trying to improve society through light welfare and social programmes for social progress, they’re classical liberals who don’t see LGBTQ movements as infringing on the lives of others and so don’t care, or they’re not liberals at all. You then go on to say that LGBTQ movements are crushing (among other things) the church, and explain that this is antidisestablishmentarianism. Well, first of all your use of that term is wrong because antidisestablishmentarianism is a conservative belief, not a revolutionary one, I’m all for disestablishmentarianism, so is the Liberal Democrat Party, I don’t see why you’re fighting me on this issue.

      5. If you’re Christian that’s fine with me. However, the Bible is not historical fact. There are no historians who take everything in the Bible to be the word of God, if they did they would be a rather confusing hodgepodge of conflicting beliefs; but that’s besides the point. You can interpret the Bible however you want so long as you don’t harm anyone, and nobody is going to come after you for it. If they do then you’re in the right and they’re in the wrong. I take no issue with you being a Christian, I merely take issue with you using the Bible as the only legitimate source of historical fact.

      6. In answer to your question, I do, actually. I think there is a lot of stigma surrounding being LGBTQ, and talking about it alleviates a lot of that stigma, here’s some evidence:
      – The Council to Homeless Persons ran a forum in Melbourne on Wednesday in an attempt to encourage service providers to bridge the gap in supporting LGBTI people, who it says are 250% more likely to experience homelessness.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suicide_among_LGBT_youth
      I’m sorry you think I’m an extremist who creates a hostile environment for you, I’ve tried to be civil enough. I admit I was bratty when we first started but that’s because I was defensive. I actually take a lot of issue with pride parades, I think there are better ways to show pride and I don’t take part in them – however I don’t think they’re actively dangerous or damaging to society.

      P.S. That’s… not how it works. But fine, if you like laughing at the little internet joke, you do you.

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  5. kimberly eckersley; I must say that I’m actually refreshed to hear that you don’t exactly agree with gay pride marches. Look I believe its like this, you have classically misunderstood me, which I admit is easy to do. Therefore, seen as I believe you accept my point about gay pride marches being unnecessary, then that’s th end of the matter, because I want to be clear, I’m not a homophobe, and I couldn’t because I have family members and friends who are have informed me that they are lesbian or gay and so forth. I want to understand why the youth of today are going the way are. I believe it can not be denied that, weather you say it is for good or for bad, the youth of today are being heavily influenced by LGBTQ.

    As for Cameron Powell, don’t be rude and butt into a debate. Your friend and I were having a debate, not trolling each other. Furthermore, as you can probably gather, I wont be challenging you to a debate, as you put it, as I am slightly busier then that. I simply continued this debate because I am intrigued at the honourable ladies points.

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