Belmont Club

The State Vs the State of Nature

The Daily Mail describes a California lesbian couple who’ve persuaded their 8 year adoptive son to begin a sex change process because they feel he is really — and will be happier as — a girl.

A boy who started the process of changing sex at age eight has told how he always knew he was meant to be a girl.

Thomas Lobel, who now calls himself Tammy, is undergoing controversial hormone blocking treatment in Berkeley, California to stop him going through puberty as a boy.

His two lesbian mothers, who adopted him aged two, say that they have been criticized by friends and family, but insist they have not forced their son to become a girl.

They say that one of the first things he told them when he learnt sign language aged three, learned because of a speech impediment, was, ‘I am a girl’.

Tammy, now 11, wears dresses and effectively lives as a girl.

Whoever said the Age of Miracles is over is sadly mistaken. We live in a world where it is possible to borrow your way out of debt; produce trillions of dollars out of thin air; where it is but the work of a few treaties to start the sea levels falling by trading little pieces of paper on a carbon exchange; and where blond, blue eyed people can call themselves black. So why should it be remarkable when 8 years old boys start a sex change process to turn into girls?

The saga of Tammy is not about sexual preference, lesbianism or homosexuality. It is about our Gaia-given right to get anything we want, any damned thing at all. It is about establishing that everyone has a right to an Ipod, affordable housing, a world without nuclear weapons, solar panels which cost three times as much as their competitors yet which should somehow be competitive. It is about our right to live in a world where the BATF can give away guns to Mexican drug dealers, the better to prove that the Second Amendment is evil because it is part of a Constitution that is at least a hundred years old and which no one understands any more; to a universe where things are so because we want them that way without any reference to economics, physics, chemistry, history or bothering to ask anyone.

Everyone knows that that we have to do is ask real, real hard and our wishes will be granted. That if enough Greeks demonstrate in the street then nobody has to pay back anything in the Eurozone, and if the Greeks run out of money we will just lend them some more. This is called Hope. And the result of this process will be Change. Its beautiful, beautiful.

Some would disagree, driven the quaint and now outdated idea that reality may have a vote in the way things turn out. Such skeptics are driven by the fear that instead of the wonderful tomorrow anticipated from all these wishings that we shall instead get what was once called our Just Deserts: bankruptcy, monstrosities, disillusion and madness. Fortunately these skeptics are few. Soon, there will be none at all.

“For the wages of sin is death …” — quick count that in the employment figures! — and make sure you deduct the health care premiums from the wages.


A long term commenter wrote to argue there was another part of the narrative which deserved equal attention. He knows someone who has been messed up by parents who figured they could “fix him” by sending him to a Christian school. That didn’t work and if anything, messed him up some more. Why did that story not make it into my discussion? The simple answer is that posts start from a point, but they cannot cover all points.

My comments in the post below about “black boxes” never formed but a part of the thread. But the point of them was the argument that society needed to have black boxes — privacy space in which we didn’t know what happened — that this was a strong element to a free society.

Privacy literally means ignorance in this case. It means not knowing. Because once things are put in the public space they inevitably force people to take positions. Everyone who has negotiated an outcome or attended a dinner party knows this. Neither negotiations nor dinner parties can proceed unless everyone knows what not to talk about.

Some would call this a form of hypocrisy, yet it is a form of memetic triage. Truces are about leaving cases which have not yet ripened outside of the operating room. Truces are being negotiated and broken down all the time.  The trick is to know which hold and which are invalid. I think that privacy is a mechanism for kicking the right things down the road. Maybe we’ll get to them, maybe not. But not yet, not yet.

Things that become uncontainable in private space jump into the public arena. They break the truce. You can argue that when something becomes a big enough then it shoulders its way to the fore. In the case of this lesbian couple, the issues probably became big enough to talk about. Now it is outside the truce village and we will see what we will see.

That should not obscure the fact  that other things remain in the black boxes of privacy — and ought to — at least until they produce something which breaks the truce. There may be many other lesbian homes in which the issues are not big enough, or things run well and happily enough for us to say, it is none of our business. The idea of ‘limited government’ must have at its heart the idea that the state should intervene only when there is a clear and pressing reason to do so.

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