Rex Murphy: ‘I’m Not a Biologist’: The Strange and Fantastical World of Being Willingly Blind to Reality

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The nomination of the latest U.S. Supreme Court judge is over and successful, but it will be some time before any reasonable person will be able to digest the most sublime moment of the hearings which preceded the elevation. That was when the first black female ever to be nominated was asked if she—the pronoun should be noted—could define a “woman.” Forgive a literary reference but the moment summoned to mind Francis Bacon’s famous opening of his essay “On Truth,” one of the greatest sentences ever to escape from a quill:

“What is truth? said jesting Pilate, and would not stay for an answer.”

In the case of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, it was not so much a refusal to stay as an astonishing confession of being unqualified to offer a reply. “No, I can’t,” was the then-nominee’s declaration, tagged by an explanatory balloon that she’s “not a biologist.”

All her years of—to call up the current cant tautology—“lived experience” with her status as a woman were evidently not sufficient for her to even venture an opinion. On a point which even a 2-year old, of either sex, is demonstrably clear, and hence the fluency with mom and dad in that age group, a fully adult person seeking elevation to a post that calls for the highest intellectual skills declared herself uncertain and at sea. It is as if she were asked to define a “chair” and declined due to not being a carpenter.

It was a moment deeply interesting in itself, but far more exhilarating as a parable—a parable exposing the strange moment so much of western society finds itself in, when the most basic understanding of the most basic and incontrovertible facts is either being denied, suppressed, or, by the Pharisees of puritan wokery, hailed as sexist, racist, or some other of the many fashionable “ist-isms” of our demented time.

May we agree that “What is a woman?” is not a subtle or trick question, that it does not call for strenuous or profound mental capacity when posed. And given the consideration that from the time that “personkind” (I owe Justin Trudeau for the novelty term) descended from the trees and learned to walk the African plains, it has presented no challenge to the understanding—and has had a universally recognized and ready answer—that the knowledge that one sex is different from the other has been as familiar as the distinction between night and day.

And yet, here in the high moments of the most advanced civilization since that descent from the trees, in a scientifically hyper-advanced society gifted with great institutions of learning and information resources beyond the dreams of even a generation ago, an expression of doubt on “what is a woman”—instead of arousing the deepest puzzlement and perhaps even scorn at such ignorance—now passes for a badge of progressivism, even of a kind of moral enlightenment.

Of course the good judge knows what a woman is. Outside the strange politics of the moment there’d be no hesitation, no denial.

By Rex Murphy

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