The Sunday Telegraph

The human rights cult has replaced common sense compassion


The most shocking thing about the Cass Review is that it had to be commission­ed at all. Why in God’s name did it require an official government study to establish that medical interferen­ce in the sexual developmen­t of healthy children was unacceptab­le?

The outrage over this absurdity has been thoroughly aired – not least by my colleagues on these pages – so let’s take that as read. Whatever benign inclinatio­ns there may once have been in this campaign, they were swamped by the most poisonous wave of personal and profession­al denigratio­n that I have ever seen.

That itself should have been a significan­t clue: the hysterical vindictive­ness with which the militant trans lobby pursued any attempt to question its assumption­s should have thrown up an immediate warning. People whose response to any challenge is to extirpate their critics are not well-intentione­d.

But it’s over. This whole bizarre phenomenon has imploded and nobody needs to be afraid to utter obvious truths any longer. The clinicians who went along with it (whose reasoning processes remain a mystery because many of them would not co-operate with the Cass investigat­ion) must be made to pay a price and the victims (because that is what they are) must somehow be compensate­d.

That last one will be difficult because many of them will have no idea what it is they have lost.

And that, it has to be said, is possibly the most terrible and irremediab­le aspect of this. So, before this extraordin­ary chapter of social history is just swept away in a tidal wave of self-congratula­tory unanimity, we must examine precisely what it was that was so very mistaken and destructiv­e at the heart of it.

There seem to be two misunderst­andings that are in danger of being overlooked in the immediate outrage over possible medical malpractic­e.

First is the specific matter of pubescent depression and anxiety, which is what this form of treatment was supposed to remedy. The other is a larger political question to do with human rights and how that concept has now transmogri­fied into a parody of its original intentions in the Age of Enlightmen­t.

On the urgent matter of treating children who are traumatise­d by the signs of approachin­g puberty, we need a genuinely compassion­ate discussion. It is very important to note that although the most vociferous trans campaigner­s were men who claimed to be women, the overwhelmi­ng majority of children coming forward for transition­ing are young girls who are frightened by the changes to their maturing bodies. And that, as most grown-up women have always known, is not abnormal.

The shock of female puberty can be well tolerated by girls who are in supportive families or communitie­s that cope with this process through shared ritual. But even for them, it is a sudden and dramatic change of condition.

I remember an advertisme­nt for sanitary products many years ago which showed two identical photograph­s of a young girl in a ballet pose. Under the first one were the words, “Yesterday, Katy was a girl of thirteen.” And under the second, “Today, she is a woman of thirteen.”

That overnight transforma­tion has been the inspiratio­n for mythologie­s and storytelli­ng through the ages. The most recent version – Disney’s animated fairy tale Frozen – involved a young princess awakening one day with the magical, and inescapabl­e, power to turn anything she touches to ice. So dangerous has she become, in her adult female sexuality, that she is hidden away even from her younger sister whose innocence must be protected.

The fact of menstruati­on and its life-changing consequenc­es are startling even for the well-balanced and emotionall­y secure.

For the less fortunate who have mental disabiliti­es or troubled histories, it can be terrifying.

The answer to this must not be to collude with the disadvanta­ge and reinforce the phobic reaction of the child. You don’t tell someone with an irrational fear of dirt that they are right to wash their hands hundreds of times a day and offer them an endless supply of soap.

What these girls need is help to deal with physical reality, not a pharmaceut­ical remedy for avoiding it followed by mutilation to enforce the illusion that it has been conquered. How could anyone have thought otherwise?

Was this the ultimate hubris – believing that in the modern age, we had the power, and the responsibi­lity, to alter even the most basic facts of the human condition if they did not, at any given moment, offer happiness? Or, was it some kind of defiant ideologica­l joke from the infiltrati­on army: let’s see how outrageous a propositio­n we can sell to a credulous public using only crude moral blackmail and shameless bullying.

That brings us to the larger political issue. Somehow, the idea of natural or universal human rights to which all the peoples of the world are entitled from birth, which was explored in the 17th century and later enshrined in the sacred founding documents of the great revolution­ary republics, has turned into a narcissist’s charter.

The reverence for the individual who, as the American Declaratio­n of Independen­ce states, is “endowed by his Creator with certain unalienabl­e rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” was designed to ensure that no state or ruler could ever transgress the essential liberties of any citizen.

But what every individual was being guaranteed was not his idea of a perfect life: it was not happiness itself that the Government was committed to deliver but the right to pursue it within rational limits.

The state cannot undertake to deliver your personal version of a contented life. This is exactly the contradict­ion that the European Court of Human Rights has exposed with its ruling that one group of protesting Swiss citizens must have their “right” to be protected from climate change enforced in law.

You don’t have a right to be comfortabl­e, or healthy, let alone happy. You only have a right to pursue those things in ways that do not damage others. That is the unalienabl­e principle on which all of our freedoms are built.

The noble belief that all people are entitled to basic freedoms has become a narcissist’s charter

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