Previous month:
July 2022
Next month:
September 2022

The Third Accord

The final part of a three-part memorial for human rights.

Chancellor PalpatineWhat do rights look like after human rights? I do not mean here to talk about robot rights - how silly to worry about rights for robots when there are no longer rights for humans! There is no way back to the Old Republic of human rights any more than there is a path that would return us to the regime of the Rights of Man that preceded it. But this does not mean that rights are lost to us forever... it is entirely possible we can reach a third accord, a new conception of the rightful condition. Yet this remains impossible until the New Empire is dismantled, and most people still have no idea that we have traded the souls of our nations for a false promise of safety and security that will forever lie just beyond our reach...

The problem we have to solve now is how a third accord of rights could be achieved when continuity with the line of thought that gave us both the Rights of Man and the Old Republic of human rights has been entirely severed. Both these regimes were founded upon religious-inspired philosophy combined with an unprecedented breaking with prior tradition. The Rights of Man expressly reconfigured the theology of divine rule to afford a place for divine Man (again, a gender neutral term in its day). Human rights were expressly secular, which is to say, immunised from belonging to any specific religious tradition - but those who founded them were indeed religious. A common thread of universal religious thought ran through both eras, permitting the impossible task of a universality only attributable to God united with a relative judgement tied to the conscience of each individual.

This synthesis of the universal with the particular was the unique achievement that made human rights not only possible, but capable of rendering the notion of God entirely ambiguous, a kind of theological Schrodinger's cat. Human rights permitted each to follow their own conscience, which meant that each person would have their own conception of God's truth. But in allowing for both the universal and the particular, human rights permitted the godless the same privilege as the devout - equality in either the eyes of God, or his absence, whichever happened to apply. This divine cat both exists and does not exist... The trouble is, God served a far greater role in this compact than it first appeared. For once 'the One is not', the question of how to secure truth becomes problematic.

The political 'right' claims that truth is universal, and therefore that particular claims of truth must be judged against that universal truth. Put another way, they deny moral relativism, because their faith in universal moral truth transcends such equivocal allowances. But on this path there can be no human rights any more, because the freedom of conscience that these agreements depended upon has been lost - and the political right seems to have no suitable answer to their own inadequacy in this regard. In truth, the right could easily revert to the old solution - believing in the universal, but acknowledging the necessity that individual conscience must be allowed to approximate that universality. Oddly, they cannot seem do this any more. I confess to finding this comparatively recent shortfall utterly mysterious.

The same issue appears on the political 'left' in reverse. The left goes directly to moral relativism and thus rejects the universal, claiming that nothing can possess the status of absolutely true. But this too leads to a contradiction, for this amounts to claiming that the relative itself possesses universal status - such that we are obligated to accept moral relativity with the same dogmatic certainty that the religious traditions afforded to the universal. Anyone who has not drank from this poison chalice can readily see the utter certainty that now fuels the political left - far from rejecting the universal, they have made its rejection their absolute truth. For this new left, the only universal human right remaining is to be particular, and to this creed we are all expected to swear fealty.

Both sides are tied up in conceptual knots and yet between them they manage to constitute the two ironclad wings of the New Empire. What's more, each is constantly empowering the other by increasing the authority of the institutions they are fighting over. Whichever faction seizes control of this careening, uncontrolled political juggernaut has complete conviction in it. The pronouncements of the Empire's agencies become indisputable truth, even though they change all the time, despite no change in the evidence. We are living through George Orwell's fear: “If the Party could thrust its hand into the past and say of this or that event, it never happened - that, surely, was more terrifying than mere torture and death.”

The left wing of the Empire denies the universal yet still manages to assert it through media narratives of its own choosing - the environmental misdirection of the climate change rhetoric, the persecution of the unvaccinated, the culture war that sets classical women and trans women at each other's throats... Certainty is paradoxically being asserted by those who deny the universal. Does the new left truly believe the mad things they insist are beyond dispute...? Both possible answers are terrifying.

The right wing of the Empire denies the particular yet strangely has now decided to defend it through a renewed commitment to free speech and freedom of thought that previously seemed to scarcely matter to them. In power, such liberty was seditious; in exile, it suddenly becomes necessary. The people who gladly declared essential a literal and figurative war against the poor and racially disadvantaged both at home and abroad now paradoxically assert the ambiguity of what their opponents claim as necessary. Where was that doubt when you were wielding the bloodied sword...?

How can all these incomprehensible contradictions be? It is because the political left and the political right are the fractured remnants of the very ideal that gave us human rights. It is the ideal of the citizen who is bound to a people and belongs with them (the politics of the right), yet is also an individual free to dissent because they are permitted their own conscience (the politics of the left). Each side of the divide is at some point guilty of the sins it accuses its counterpart of perpetuating - if not today, then tomorrow, when the wind changes. Whatever one side takes up as its banner, the other must rally against. Each division is driven into its own madness through its hatred of whatever it currently happens not to be.

And if this is so, if indeed nothing has changed in the human condition except the extent of the dominion that first the right, then the left, seizes through the institutions of power, then the secret of the New Empire is exposed at last: power not only corrupts, but it accumulates. We have made a kind of political perpetual motion machine. So of course, whichever faction holds the sceptre at any given time cannot avoid doing evil, yet as long as they remain in opposition they have some hope of expressing their virtue. In this most uncivil of wars, the power the enemy accumulates is always unjust... but when it changes hands, it still will not be given up. So each Emperor permits more evil than the last.

The third accord can thus follow only from an act of forgiveness that reconciles these two bitter yet oddly interrelated camps, and in so doing restores the integrity of the common image of the human. Only this might allow some possibility of a restoration of human rights, or whatever it is that would follow instead. It is unnecessary for the factions to agree, which is just as well, as this is unthinkable. It is only necessary that they absolve one another of those crimes that have been bitterly remembered. Only then can these affronts come at last to be forgiven, such that all the good hidden in those other ways of being can once more be seen. For we can never be citizens while we are at war with our neighbours.

If you think this awesome reconciliation impossible, I sympathise - but this is the monumental task that falls to those of us who know that the Old Republic of human rights has fallen. The Rights of Man began with bloody revolution against the crown. Human rights agreements required the horrors of the World Wars. And are we not also lying amidst the ruins of a disaster worthy of forging our own new peace...? For if we are not, then know this with grim certainty: only a greater disaster yet to come can open a path to the third accord. I hope and pray that our wisdom may yet prevail against our vengeance.

The Barbed-wire Labyrinth

Part two of a three-part memorial for human rights.

Barbed Wire

Let's play a little game. Read the following text and guess the event being described:

It is almost impossible even now to describe what actually happened... The days before and the days after are separated not like the end of an old and the beginning of a new period, but like the day before and the day after an explosion. Yet this figure of speech is as inaccurate as are all others, because the quiet of sorrow which settles down after a catastrophe has never come to pass. The first explosion seems to have touched off a chain reaction in which we have been caught ever since and which nobody seems to be able to stop... Nothing which was being done, no matter how stupid, no matter how many people knew and foretold the consequences, could be undone or prevented. Every event had the finality of a last judgment, a judgment that was passed neither by God nor by the devil, but looked rather like the expression of some unredeemably stupid fatality.

If you're at all clued up on what's going on in the world at the moment, you might recognise this as a description of the unprecedented disaster we have all been living through. But as you may already have guessed, this is not a description of a contemporary event at all. It is Hannah Arendt's 1951 account of the aftermath of the First World War in Chapter 9 of The Origins of Totalitarianism, "The Decline of the Nation-State and the End of the Rights of Man." Now this title may seem odd. Why in 1951 is Arendt talking about 'the end of the Rights of Man' (meaning 'humanity', for 'Man' used to be a gender neutral term)...? The Universal Declaration of Human Rights had been signed a mere three years before she was writing - so wasn't she at the beginning of human rights...? But what Arendt traces in this stunning piece of historical philosophy is the end of something that preceded the 'Old Republic' of human rights, and which in many ways prepared the way for it.

The idea of the 'Rights of Man' informed among other things the US declaration of independence's assertion that it was "self-evident" that everyone is endowed with "certain unalienable Rights" such as "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." These 'inalienable rights' (as the later grammar has it) were taken to be guaranteed by nations. Precisely the tragedy that Arendt explores within the chapter quoted here is that the destabilising events of the World Wars caused the collapse of many nations, such that those who belonged to these now-inexistent countries were suddenly deprived of both nation and rights:

No statesman, no political figure of any importance could possibly take them seriously; and none of the liberal or radical parties in Europe thought it necessary to incorporate into their program a new declaration of human rights. Neither before nor after the second World War have the victims themselves ever invoked these fundamental rights, which were so evidently denied them, in their many attempts to find a way out of the barbed-wire labyrinth into which events had driven them. On the contrary, the victims shared the disdain and indifference of the powers that be for any attempt of the marginal societies to enforce human rights in any elementary or general sense.

Arendt's 'barbed-wire labyrinth' is a metaphor for the desperation of these refugees with neither home nor nation. They were lost in a figurative maze, because they sought a way out that they could not find, but they were also literally lost behind barbed-wire in the many camps that were set up to hold them. These miserable victims of the destabilising effects of the First World War were treated as "the scum of the earth", and it is from this catastrophe that the Nazi party in Germany was so effectively able to mobilise, while simultaneously destroying the rhetoric of the Rights of Man that would otherwise have made the Holocaust unthinkable:

Those whom the persecutor had singled out as scum of the earth - Jews, Trotskyites, etc.- actually were received as scum of the earth everywhere; those whom persecution had called undesirable became the indésirables of Europe. The official SS newspaper, the Schwarze Korps, stated explicitly in 1938 that if the world was not yet convinced that the Jews were the scum of the earth, it soon would be when unidentifiable beggars, without nationality, without money, and without passports crossed their frontiers. And it is true that this kind of factual propaganda worked better than Goebbels' rhetoric, not only because it established the Jews as scum of the earth, but also because the incredible plight of an ever-growing group of innocent people was like a practical demonstration of the totalitarian movements' cynical claims that no such thing as inalienable human rights existed and that the affirmations of the democracies to the contrary were mere prejudice, hypocrisy, and cowardice in the face of the cruel majesty of a new world. The very phrase "human rights" became for all concerned - victims, persecutors, and onlookers alike - the evidence of hopeless idealism or fumbling feeble-minded hypocrisy.

Here too we see the parallels between the circumstances Arendt talks about in the end of the Rights of Man, and the fall of the Old Republic that now faces us. For her remarks offer today an apt description of the terrible condition recently created for that newest of pariahs, 'the unvaccinated', who have been publicly denounced by numerous esteemed leaders of nations, and blamed for problems they are in no way responsible for. The excuses mounted for demonising the unvaccinated are made all the more vile by the fact that these new 'scum of the earth' have in almost all cases already had a natural infection of the disease they are falsely accused of exacerbating, and thus are in no plausible need of a vaccine against it.

If you have already had chickenpox, you don't need to be vaccinated against it, and the same is true for every infection - how health authorities like the CDC came to deny this basic tenet of immunisation is one of the great mysteries of our own humanitarian catastrophe. It is hard to escape the conclusion that public health agencies gave up their commitment to promoting good health and instead began advocating for the commercial agenda of the pharmaceutical companies in a grotesque inversion of their duty of care. The only other plausible explanations are that these officials distorted scientific fact for wholly political reasons, or that they were grossly incompetent - and frankly, these both seem just as unforgiveable.

To understand how the human rights of the Old Republic unravelled for us, we can learn a great deal from Arendt's account of the collapse of the proceeding regime of the Rights of Man, especially once we appreciate that the philosophical concept of 'inalienable rights' became necessary only once the common religious culture of Europe ceased to be taken for granted:

The proclamation of human rights was also meant to be a much-needed protection in the new era where individuals were no longer secure in the estates to which they were born or sure of their equality before God as Christians. In other words, in the new secularized and emancipated society, men were no longer sure of these social and human rights which until then had been outside the political order and guaranteed not by government and constitution, but by social, spiritual, and religious forces. Therefore throughout the nineteenth century, the consensus of opinion was that human rights had to be invoked whenever individuals needed protection against the new sovereignty of the state and the new arbitrariness of society...

This led to a transition in thought whereby the Rights of Man became caught up in the problem of national emancipation:

As mankind, since the French Revolution, was conceived in the image of a family of nations, it gradually became self-evident that the people, and not the individual, was the image of man... We became aware of the existence of a right to have rights (and that means to live in a framework where one is judged by one’s actions and opinions) and a right to belong to some kind of organized community, only when millions of people emerged who had lost and could not regain these rights because of the new global political situation. The trouble is that this calamity arose not from any lack of civilization, backwardness, or mere tyranny, but on the contrary, that it could not be repaired, because there was no longer any ‘uncivilized’ spot on earth, because whether we like it or not we have really started to live in One World. Only with a completely organized humanity could the loss of home and political status become identical with expulsion from humanity all together.

As then, so now. The refugees created by the Great War were expunged from the World Order because their nations had collapsed, and they entered into the barbed-wire labyrinth where those who no longer belonged were forced to dwell. After the fall of the Old Republic of human rights, you don't even have to be denied a nation to be denied rights. With the outcasts known as the unvaccinated, you can still claim to be a citizen, you are just judged as a lesser kind of being. The root of these two disasters is the same - the confusion of what is right or good with the merely conditional, and from this error emerges a hateful rhetoric that has no basis in scientific or moral truth:

A conception of law which identifies what is right with the notion of what is good for - for the individual, or the family, or the people, or the largest number - becomes inevitable once the absolute and transcendent measurements of religion or the law of nature have lost their authority. And this predicament is by no means solved if the unit to which the "good for" applies is as large as mankind itself. For it is quite conceivable, and even within the realm of practical political possibilities, that one fine day a highly organized and mechanized humanity will conclude quite democratically - namely by majority decision - that for humanity as a whole it would be better to liquidate certain parts thereof.

Arendt feared a base form of democracy that denied human rights and could sanction genocide as 'the will of the majority'. What we have allowed to happen instead manages to sidestep the outrage that would erupt in the face of overt mass murder - the majority decision has been made not to exterminate, but merely to abandon our equality. In our digital age, a virtual construct of exclusion can exist in the same physical space as the illusory freedom of those who co-operate with the dictates of overlords who take the name 'public health' in scandalous vain. Travel, shopping, employment, entertainment... whatever it might be that the powers in charge of the New Empire wish to withdraw from the unvaccinated, the virtual barbed-wire labyrinth rises up from the depths of the internet to deny and imprison. Freedom has become conditional upon compliance, and horrifically we too cheered as the entire edifice of human rights came crashing down around us.

Next: The Third Accord

Fall of the Old Republic

Part one of a three-part memorial for human rights.

How Liberty Dies

As divisive and unpopular as they may be, the Star Wars prequels succeed in dramatically recounting the transition of a Republic of equal citizens into an Empire of power and oppression. It is an epic narrative George Lucas expressly intended as a warning to the United States of America and the United Nations. The 'Old Republic' in Star Wars is thus allegorical for the political realm of equality that sprang out of the bloody wake of World War II. From 1948 until 2011, humanity was protected by a set of promises that were were 'inalienable', meaning 'incapable of being surrendered'. Yet today, human rights are taken to be conditional, and as such, they are no longer rights at all. The era of our own 'Old Republic' of human rights has now definitively ended.

Enlightenment thinkers such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Immanuel Kant, and Mary Wollstonecraft  developed the idea of 'the Rights of Man' and of a rightful condition (Recht in German) that alone could make government legitimate by securing the equality of its citizens. It was the leadership and wisdom of Eleanor Roosevelt in the wake of the second World War that would bring this philosophy to fruition via the drafting and ratification of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. This, together with other documents emerging from the aftermath of the atrocities of World War II, such as the Nuremberg Code the following year, brought about something unprecedented. Kant's vision of a "republicanism of all states together and separately" was made possible by an international commitment to the rightful condition. The 'Old Republic' of human rights had been forged.

Humanity in this era was to be equal, entitled to freedom of speech and thought, to privacy and dignity, and, via the Nuremberg Code, to bodily integrity and the power to decline medical treatment or experimentation. The Old Republic of human rights was constituted upon these foundations, and the very idea of 'democracy' was taken during this period to be intimately bound up with the preservation of rights. It was not enough that a country allowed elections: a democracy in the terms of the Old Republic entailed a nation that had vowed to preserve the rightful condition for everyone. It would have been unthinkable during this time that a person would be denied a fair trial and the presumption of innocence, as codified in Article 11 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It would have been equally unthinkable that a majority of citizens would vote to declare that citizens would have to submit to medical experiments without their express consent, as forbidden by the first principle of the Nuremberg Code.

The fall of the Old Republic began with the erosion of the rightful condition in the country that had worked hardest to bring them about: the United States of America. Within the early years of the 21st century, the presidency of George Bush Jr rode roughshod over our human rights promises. The infamous prison at Guantánamo Bay grossly violated Article 5 of the Universal Declaration, which had vowed that "No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment". But these violations had at least not been committed against citizens of Bush's own nation... the spirit of human rights had been mauled, but the rightful condition of citizens had been just barely maintained.

It was only in 2011, under President Barrack Obama, that the United States gave up its commitment to the rights of its own citizens. On September 30th 2011, the terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki was assassinated by a drone missile strike, along with publisher and activist Samir Khan, both of who were citizens of the United States. In the wake of these unlawful killings, US citizens were no longer entitled to the judicial protections of Article 11, nor indeed Article 3's promises of "the right to life, liberty and security of person." The US government was now entitled to declare terrorists and terrorist sympathisers exceptions to the rightful condition, utterly voiding the terms of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Thus ended the Old Republic.

At first, I had believed that those committed to liberty would not let these atrocities stand. But the loyalist media had successfully sold the idea that the extermination of those accused of terrorism could be understood as 'war', and nobody objected except for a few brave ex-soldiers who could see the manifest injustice of drone assassinations, and the stain on the honour of the US military they constituted. Yet I kept hoping that we could get back to the Old Republic, that these breaches of rightful condition were not enough to prevent us from returning to human rights some day...

But then 2020 and 2021 demonstrated that it wasn't just the United States - nobody upheld the rightful condition any more. Governments throughout the world passed emergency legislation forcing all citizens to comply with a grand medical experiment to determine whether or not a respiratory virus could be stopped by imprisoning people in their homes. (It couldn't.) Both the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Nuremberg Code were broken wide open. Then, as a grisly encore, it was demanded that citizens be stripped of further rights if they did not consent to injection with new medical treatments, whose claimed efficacy was based upon evidence no-one was permitted to review - even when it was revealed that this research had incorporated outright fraud.

We now live in a time when the possible exceptions to the rightful condition are fearfully multiplying. It is not only terrorists, terrorist sympathisers, or anyone else a government wishes to label as 'terrorists' who can be denied rights. Those who will not consent to giving up their bodily autonomy are equally to be excluded. Nations who had previously sworn to uphold human rights continue to persecute the unvaccinated, even while the data on the treatments being mandated veers ever further from the dubious claims of their manufacturers (a vaccine that is truly 95% effective does not require a booster in less than a year). Freedom of conscience and informed consent have been rendered meaningless, and the rightful condition lies in tatters.

The very first articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights had promised that we would all be equal in dignity and rights and that no difference in status of any kind would be sufficient to deny this. Neither the colour of our skin, the particulars of our gender, our political or religious beliefs, nor our vaccination status or medical beliefs were supposed to matter when it came to the rightful condition: "Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind...". The erosion of this ideal was so gradual that we barely noticed it. Indeed, if we squint at the past, it almost seems as if nothing has changed... criminals look like terrorists if we ignore due process; vaccination mandates seem well-established when we ignore the decade of safety data that used to be required. Meanwhile, we have slowly forgotten that we were all to be held equal in the Old Republic of human rights.

Now, nobody is equal and everyone is subject to exemption from their rights according to the whims of those in power. Forget the absurd justification that 'nobody is safe until everyone is safe', which offers nothing but the empty promise that our rights will return tomorrow, when these never-ending and ever-multiplying emergencies have passed... The truth is that nobody has rights unless everybody has rights, even terrorists and the unvaccinated. And so nobody has any rights any more. The Old Republic has fallen.

Next: The Barbed-wire Labyrinth

Why Inclusive Language Offends

Bette-MidlerBette Midler recently found herself at the centre of a Twitter firestorm after tweeting out her support for Pamela Paul's New York Times article, "The Far Right and Far Left Agree on One Thing: Women Don't Count" (text available here without paywall). Midler's tweet read:

WOMEN OF THE WORLD! We are being stripped of our rights over our bodies, our lives and even of our name! They don’t call us "women" anymore; they call us "birthing people" or "menstruators", and even "people with vaginas"! Don’t let them erase you! Every human on earth owes you!

Predictably this did not go down well on Twitter, where 'inclusive language' is beyond de rigueur. Those who do not accept the requisite interpretation of inclusivity are subject to cancellation, harassment, and hatred up to and including death threats. Midler is far from the first woman to have expressed concerns about this new terminology, of course, and she won't be the last. But what is it about this kind of 'inclusive language' that causes offense in so many people...?

To put this together requires us to understand the issue from multiple perspectives. Let's start with the circumstances that led to terms like 'birthing people', 'menstruators', or 'people with vaginas'. As perhaps has become widely known, the idea behind these categories is inclusivity. The logic runs as follows: once you acknowledge the existence of trans men, trans women, and non-binary people, you need terms that will include an acknowledgement of their existence. Since many trans men and certain kinds of non-binary person menstruate, have a vagina, and can give birth, these terms apply to people within these categories as well as women conventionally conceived (now termed 'natal' or 'cis' women, according to your prior political commitments). Hence, inclusive, on the basis that more people are included in the category.

A problem immediately appears, since the campaign to include trans women in the category of 'woman' has its own political slogan - 'trans women are women', about which I have rather cryptically offered my assent by observing likewise that 'dwarf planets are planets' (a claim, I should stress, I passionately support). But can you now spot the problem with 'people with vaginas/menstruators/birthing people'...? To anyone not versed in the small print, it seems as if trans women are women, while natal/cis women are 'people with vaginas'... It is hardly surprising that Bette Midler, Pamela Paul, JK Rowling and - let's not be in denial here - untold numbers of other women are rather annoyed that 'women with penises' are to be called 'women' while they themselves are told they are merely 'people with vaginas'.

It's no good trying to defend this as a matter of medical clarity, since 'people with vaginas' could viably be replaced with 'female' in medical discourse, if this traditional reference to biological sex were not now considered verboten. I do appreciate that someone who has chosen to identify as non-binary does not want to be identified as female or any other classical gender term. Still, it is something of a mystery why, given that circumstance, they would be any happier with being called a 'person with a vagina', since the conventional understanding of that sentence remains logically identical to 'female'. So what we have here is a situation where phrases have been invented not for clarity, but to fulfil a specific interpretation of inclusivity, one in which the assumed political desires of the non-binary and trans communities have been placed above those of women in the classical sense of the term.

The root problem here is that the moral value of diversity, which I spent decades campaigning for in the videogames industry (to absolutely zero impact) has been clumsily supplanted with a rather oddly conceived value of inclusivity. Forget the implied unity of the construction 'Diversity, Equity and Inclusion': these are not three complementary moral values at all. Inclusion, at least in the form currently being practiced, is diametrically opposed to diversity. Diversity is about accepting our myriad ways of being in the world, even those we don't understand. This new form of inclusion is about grouping together, and could not be further from the openness to difference that characterises diversity.

Grouping together denies diversity. When you talk about 'people with vaginas' you are grouping trans men, non-binary people, and classical women into a single group regardless of whether any or all of these people want to be grouped in this way. I think it is abundantly clear that there are plenty of women (including Bette Midler) who are offended at being reduced to their biological functions in this manner, and to suggest that they should just shut up and accept it is inevitably and unavoidably offensive. To deny this is to open yourself up to entirely plausible accusations of misogyny, and at this time we are all being offered an absurd choice between transphobia or misogyny - what a dreadful mess!

Perhaps it will help throw some illumination upon this issue to show why attempts to combine diverse groups under a single category always carries a severe risk of offense. We only have to consider in the first case the ludicrous attempt to combine Latinos and Latinas into 'Latinx', purportedly a 'gender-neutral' way of referring to the Hispanic community. But absolutely nobody considers themselves 'Latinx', which is a product of the inclusivity nonsense that once again is manifestly insulting to the people it is attempting to 'include'. To Spanish-speaking community, 'Latino' was already inclusive, being both male and neuter. No clunky new word was required, and certainly not one forced upon them by arrogant English-speakers who were not in any way open to the actual diversity of Latino experiences.

We can take this absurdity further. Imagine combining atheists and theists into a single category called 'God-opinion-holders', or grouping Muslims and Jews as 'pork-avoiders'. For that matter, imagine suggesting we replace 'human' with an alternative description that is dryly factual but blatantly offensive, like 'anus-havers'. Why would anyone want to be called an 'anus-haver'...? Likewise, why would any woman want to be called a 'person with a vagina' when they could instead be called female or a woman? Communities that are demanding the unprecedented social privilege of choosing their own pronouns are in no position to argue that other people ought to accept membership of categories whose names they detest.

This is the not-so-secret secret of the offensiveness of 'inclusive language'. However noble its motivation might be, it plays out as forcing values upon others against their will, and this cultural violence is papered over by claiming that it's 'inclusive' because it focuses attention upon a minority. Yet how inclusive can it be when the assumed political and emotional needs of the few are being used to overrule those of the many...? This entire rhetoric strains the meaning of inclusivity beyond the point of absurdity! If we cannot come together in the peaceful co-existence made possible by a mutual cultural disarmament, we cannot come together at all. No amount of 'inclusive' language is going to do anything but perpetually block the path to peace.

It cannot be avoided any longer: it is implausible to support diversity and also support inclusivity on these kinds of blunt terms. You must choose which of these values matters to you, for you cannot have both. Is it the freedom of the many to express their manifest uniqueness in terms of their own choosing, or the tyranny of the few who would reconfigure language to forcibly include people within offensive categories they do not wish to belong to? Which is it to be: are we humans living in mutual respect of one another's differences? Or are we just oh-so-many anus-havers...?