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McCloskey: Yeah, came out in 99.
Gillespie: Yeah, you discuss your experience with gender reassignment surgery and a host of related issue.
Gillespie: Actually, the surgery, in many ways, is the least of it, although it's all fascinating. What do you think about the ways in which questions of sexual identity, of personal identity, of gender, how have they played out since the publication of Crossing? Is it better, is it worse?
McCloskey: Well, not because of anything I've said or done, but because of the general liberal drift of the society in matters of personal, say sexual choice or gender choice or lots of other choices. I mean, after all, we're starting at last to legalize marijuana and my view is that the right to present in whatever gender you want, or no gender at all, is just a species of freedom that we've been with great waves, back and forth, but gradually improving since the 18th century. We freed slaves, we freed women, we freed gays, we freed colonial people, we freed people of color, we freed handicapped people, we freed ... I had, by the way, I had opinions on all of these. I was on the right side every time. I was a liberal, but I didn't do anything about it. Then, in 1995, God tapped me. My Episcopal God tapped me on the shoulder and said, "Okay, dear. This is your last chance," so I was public about it. It's a little hard to change gender in private anyway. I regarded it as a ... Actually, I didn't immediately so, I realized that it was an expression of my libertarianism as well.
Gillespie: Are you optimistic about the next 50 years? I guess another way of saying that, is Donald Trump, is Le Pen, is Corbin, or whatever, are they the end of something or are they the beginning of a kind of new chapter of awfulness?
McCloskey: I think they're the end. I'm an optimist. You don't change gender unless you're an optimist, but we got to be on our guard. We've got to do things, like have conversations like this and get people to listen to them because it's a danger. Young people, as I've said, have this tendency to socialism. Old people have this tendency to fascism. If you put the two together, you've nationalism, socialism, national socialism, and it's happened before. It's very dangerous. It's always present. We need to work against it. I'm going to go to Hungary for a few days in a couple of months and I'm so sad about Hungary and then, Poland seems to be going the same way, that they glory the politicians in Hungary, glory in being a liberal. They say it. They say, "We're going to do a liberal democracy," by which they mean fixed elections.
Gillespie: Well, we will leave it there. Thank you, Deirdre, so much for talking.
McCloskey: Thank you very much. I enjoyed it.
Gillespie: We have been talking with Deirdre McCloskey. She is an Emeritus Professor of Economics, History, English and Communication. I'm disappointed that you're not in several more departments.
McCloskey: I am, I was in Philosophy and Classics at.
Gillespie: Art history, maybe textiles.
McCloskey: No, but I've actually taught art history.
Gillespie: Yeah, at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She's the author of most recently, Bourgeois Equality: How Ideas, Not Capital or Institutions, Enriched the World. She's also a recent columnist. Again, thanks.
McCloskey: Thank you, dear.
Gillespie: For Reason, I'm Nick Gillespie.