Our problems remain epistemological.

Thursday, August 18, 2022



That tragic and intractable phenomenon[1]—castrating men as a condition of their entering the upper echelon of the state’s civil service—which I watched with horror in dramatizations of Chinese history—but which was there, for several millennia, interwoven with the very existence of the imperial Chinese state itself[2]—was abandoned as soon as contact with modernity destroyed the old imperial order. Now, a century after the practice has ended in China, a policy of state-sanctioned castration (and paid for by the state’s health budget!) is coming upon us here—in the Western world—by our own volition and our own neglect. Indeed, it has come. In numerical terms, here in Ireland, a small country of some five million souls, the Irish health service has sent 100s of children for treatment for gender dysphoria to a clinic in another country—in England—a clinic subsequently closed by the local medical authorities.[3] How many of these children were castrated or otherwise sterilized remains to be seen. How does a child consent to that?

Seth Barrett Tillman, ‘Castration,’ New Reform Club (Aug. 18, 2022, 11:32 AM), <https://reformclub.blogspot.com/2022/08/castration.html>

[1] The language and imagery of my text is lifted from: Address to the West Midlands Area Conservative Political Centre (Birmingham, England: Midland Hotel, Apr. 20, 1968). 

[2] The practice of the castration of minors—the so-called castrati—existed in Europe well into the nineteenth century. I have not seen any historical dramatizations of this phenomenon. Had I watched such dramatizations, I expect that I would have been equally horrified. 

[3] Jack Power, ‘How will closure of Tavistock clinic affect trans healthcare in Ireland,’ The Irish Times (Aug. 9, 2022, 19:12 PM), <https://tinyurl.com/2p93mrrm>. 

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