10.14.23 – C&C News

“A Case Against Preferred Pronouns”

By Jeff Childers, practicing attorney and author

Excerpts from this article:


…last week PBS ran a goofy story headlined,
“Michigan Supreme Court orders judges to honor pronouns of parties in court.” The statewide rule requiring judges to refer to parties by their “preferred” pronouns “or other respectful means” was approved 5-2.

Justice Elizabeth Welch explained, “The gender identity of a member of the public is a part of their individual identity, regardless of whether others agree or approve.”

It’s not clear what precisely is the legal significance of “individual identity.”

I’m not sure it’s even clear to Justice Welch.

Justices Brian Zahra and David Viviano opposed the rule. Zahra said, “This is a fluid political debate into which our judicial branch of state government should not wade, let alone dive headfirst and claim to have resolved. Such hubris has no place within the operation of a judicial branch of state government.”

Let me explain the pronoun thing…It’s not about politics at all. It’s not even about respect. It’s about grammar.

In the history of languages, pronouns were a relatively late development. They were invented to make communication more efficient. A “pro-noun” is a shorthand placeholder for a proper noun. For example, it’s too wordy to say something like, “When Mr. Childers filed Mr. Childers’s lawsuit, Mr. Childers alleged in the lawsuit that Mr. Childers was offended.”

Pronouns neatly trim down that messy, difficult sentence.
This is much better: “When Mr. Childers filed his lawsuit, he alleged in it that he was offended.”

But pronouns only work because there are a set of commonly-understood, basic rules that we’ve all agreed on. Like gender.

Gendered pronouns tell you WHICH proper noun a particular pronoun refers to. In the previous example, readers instantly understand “it” refers to the lawsuit and “he” refers to Childers.
But suppose I were non-gender, or a-gender, or gender-fluid-non-binary or maybe I just identify as a potted fern. In other words, my preferred pronoun is “it.”

Here’s how that sentence would read:
“When Mr. Childers filed its lawsuit, it alleged in it that it was offended.”  Ha! Try to understand that.

Or how about Jack and Jill? Let’s say Jack has been watching too much bad stuff on the Internet and now he’s starting to wonder. He thinks he might be “she” and “her.” Translate this: “Jack gave Jill a pail, and she dumped water in it, spilling some on her pretty dress. She rolled her eyes and told her thanks a lot.”

It’s rubbish.
“Preferred pronouns” destroy pronouns’ grammatical utility.

Not only are fluid pronouns unwieldy and difficult to understand, but they place a horrible burden on the speaker to use different pronouns for everybody based on their current elastic selection.

Pronouns are supposed to make things EASIER, not harder.

If this preferred pronoun garbage continues, where we will end up is people will stop using pronouns altogether and revert to using proper nouns all the time, and everything will be wordier and less efficient, collapsing civilization back into language’s Stone Age, which is just how the Neo-marxists like it.

There are five Supreme Court Justices on Michigan’s bench who do not understand basic grammar. Not a good sign, Michigan.