written by Michael Robillard
Published on August 4, 2021
… In his now famous “private language argument,” Wittgenstein entertained the conceptual possibility of a completely private language. Since definitions within any language, like rules within a game, require fixity in order for the game to hang together at all, and since a wholly private language would have no such checks and balances to keep definitions fixed and stable (the private language user could just amend definitions in perpetuity with no restrictions), Wittgenstein concluded that a wholly private language was conceptually impossible and that for terms and definitions to have any fixed meaning at all required checks and balances provided by other language users. …
Contra arguments espoused by gender ideology advocates, I argue that, by the starting premises of their own argumentation, the notions of both “gender” and “transgender” are either incoherent or vacuous and therefore cannot be the conceptual grounds by which persons derive actual positive or negative rights claims. On the contrary, such false “rights” claims actually amount to severe rights violations of the vast majority of everyday language-users and citizens and cause irreparable damage to the set of shared social and linguistic practices necessary for coordinating the basic public goods of a free, flourishing, and truth-preserving society.
The social and political consequence of allowing such false rights claims to swell unopposed to the level of positive rights claims, eventually codifying into actual state-compelled law (as is already the case with Canada’s Bill C-16 and soon to be with America’s Equality Act) will be nothing less than the legal sanctioning of a new priest class of magical people who speak all of reality into existence, and then the rest of society who must simply obey.
On the other hand, from Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll:
“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.”
“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master — that’s all.”