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Chelsea Manning Showed Us the Consequences of War, and We Threw Her in Prison

Whistleblower who helped make WikiLeaks famous freed after seven years.

Chelsea ManningChelsea ManningPvt. Chelsea Manning was freed from military prison this morning, having served seven years of a 35-year sentence for leaking hundreds of thousands of military documents and diplomatic cables in 2010 to WikiLeaks.

She'd probably still be there if President Barack Obama had not extended mercy right before leaving office and commuted her sentence. Obama's 11th hour kindness comes at the end of an administration that viciously went after leakers.

It's been so long since Manning's leaks and so much has happened since then that it's easy to forget what exactly it is she released. Probably the significant leak that most people still might remember was what was known as the "collateral murder" video, which showed American military helicopters firing on a group of civilians in Baghdad. Two of them were reporters for Reuters, and apparently the helicopter pilots mistook their cameras for guns. The reporters (and others) died, and Reuters struggled to get information about what actually happened.

Manning exposed a lot more of the serious consequences of post 9/11 military interventions and even other important issues of government corruption—not just from the United States either. Multiple media outlets (including The New York Times and The Guardian) reported the contents of many of these documents. A lengthy list of information governments were keeping secret (and really shouldn't have been) exposed by Manning can be read through here, compiled by Greg Mitchell, who wrote a book on Manning's case and trial with Kevin Gosztola.

Over at The New York Times, Charlie Savage notes that Manning essentially pioneered what would become a small trend of mass document dump leaks. She's the reason why we know what WikiLeaks is, honestly. And it's worth wondering if we even would have had an Edward Snowden without the precedent Manning's willingness to release this information at great risk to herself. Also an important reminder: Yes she was convicted of several espionage-related crimes, but she was acquitted of charges of "aiding the enemy."

Manning will apparently be keeping a low profile for a little while. She was notably treated terribly in custody, both before she was even convicted and afterward. After her conviction she announced her gender transition and name change from Bradley to Chelsea. She complained that the military wasn't very accommodating of her transition and even attempted suicide. There's obviously going to be a bit of an adjustment period. But she did tweet/Instagram out a picture of her first steps after release.

Here's an interesting reminder from 2013—Ron Paul said Manning was more deserving of the Nobel Peace Prize than Obama was:

"While President Obama was starting and expanding unconstitutional wars overseas, Bradley Manning, whose actions have caused exactly zero deaths, was shining light on the truth behind these wars," the former Republican presidential contender told U.S. News. "It's clear which individual has done more to promote peace."

It's worth paying attention to the importance of whistleblowers as the Justice Department announces new efforts to find and prosecute the leakers within President Donald Trump's administration. Given the extremely frequent occurrences of leaks within the White House and the administration as a whole, one wonders if there will be anybody left there if the DOJ succeeds.

Photo Credit: Chelsea Manning

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  • timbo||

    You mean Bradley? Does it still have its tackle?

  • Scott S.||

    [Types into Google "How do I legally change my name?"]

  • timbo||

    point being; why call her she? If people weren't such PC wimps, especially at reason, it would be refreshing for reason to refrain from she just to make a point. and it would stir the hornet's nest of outrage which is always entertaining.

    If I get into a tragic smelting accident and lose my unit, I am still a man. I can call myself sally but I am still biologically a man.

    Unless it now gestates, has a natural tendency for larger mammary than male humans, and likes to force men to go on picknicks rather than fishing, it is a man. A man that has some psychological issues. I feel sympathy for that person and have no issue with them changing their personality to fit their comfort. Just an issue with acting like they are the opposite sex when I know they are not. It is worthy of way more ridicule for the absurd and we are now afraid to call it what it is.

  • Jerryskids||

    If I get into a tragic smelting accident

    I, tragic, smelting accident. One of those three terms doesn't belong with the other two.

  • ||

    why call her she?

    Why not?

  • FreeRadical||

    Because the destruction of language is very disturbing. Maybe it's because I have too recently read 1984, where one of the primary things the state wanted control of was the meaning of words and ideas. Maybe it's because I'm an engineer and I want things to have definitive, knowable meanings.

  • FreeRadical||

    Your throw-away nullity of a comment has nothing to do with my comment. Easy to insult, harder to engage.

  • FreeRadical||

    I'm not a conservative. And I'm not concerned with his name, as that is arbitrary, but with a pronoun which is not.

  • HeteroPatriarch||

    Then why did you start with his former name?

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    Then why did you start with his former name?

    Ooooh, the burn!

  • FreeRadical||

    I didn't start with his former name.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Nice straw man you constructed there.

  • ||

    Maybe it's because I have too recently read 1984, where one of the primary things the state wanted control of was the meaning of words and ideas.

    But you're doing the same thing - it's a two-way street.

    Should you be compelled by law to call Manning "she?" No.

    Should you compel others by law to call Manning "he?" No.

    Referring to someone in the manner in which they prefer to be referred to doesn't need to be you losing some kind of battle - it's just common courtesy.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    Language is what WE make it. It evolves as WE use it. If it is understood, it is as correct as it need be.

    You could learn a thing or two from King Canute.

  • BYODB||

    Man and Women illustrates the inherent biological fact that we have two sexes, period, and it's a central facet of language itself. Less so in English than it would be in Latin influenced countries, but basic none the less.

    If you want to start referring to everyone as what their gender identity is, create new words or GTFO.

    This isn't rocket surgery, but if you change Man and Woman into words that effectively mean nothing whatsoever why even use them in the first place? No meaning is transferred when you say them.

  • ||

    What about languages like German, that have three genders? What about languages like Farsi that don't recognize gender at all?

  • damikesc||

    How is that a concern for English, which has words for 2 sexes specifically and basic biology, which only recognizes two sexes?

  • ||

    How is that a concern for English

    It isn't. That's what I'm arguing. "English" is going to be okay, no matter what pronouns we choose to use.

  • BYODB||

    The three grammatical genders in German, after two seconds of research, are the exact same one's in English. Masculine, feminine, and neutral. Farsi I have no idea, but so what? Go learn Farsi, or use Farsi words for transgender people?

    I think you have woefully misunderstood all of what I've said thus far and confuse my grammar arguments for some kind of moral arguments. I don't care about the moral arguments, I care about language continuing to describe things and idea's accurately and understandably.

    Sorry if it offends a transgender person that reality doesn't conform to their worldview. Making language impossible to understand is not a solution to their mental problems, and that's what this whole idiot adventure is on about.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Yep. Homosexuality is still paraphilia, and transgenderism just a form of severe body dysmorphia. All the wishing and politics in the world will not change those realities. If these people and their friends want to play make believe with each other, that is their business. However, they can fuck off if they expect society to bend to their fantasy role play.

  • timbo||

    Clearly in this world and especially in the united states, language is indeed what people chose it to be almost daily. To abandon intelligent norms of international language is a further move towards stupidity of the masses.
    Ebonics and other nonsense is simply nonsense weather is it understood or not. I get it that languages evolve but people sound like absolute morons when they say like before every word or epic or woke or lit or anything else that is on the constant quest to come up with the new tag phrase. No one really cares but you cannot say that it sounds smart when listening to slang.

    If you have seen idiocracy, that is a rather poignant example of where we are headed by dismissing our decline as just the way things go. We are becoming dumber by the minute.

  • damikesc||

    Because it is not more accurate than calling him a unicorn.

  • ||

    Really? You don't see any range of accuracy there at all?

  • damikesc||

    Literally none.

    Bradley is a man. Wanting REALLY HARD to be a woman doesn't make him a woman. Even if he cuts his dick off and gets fake tits...he's still a man who just cut his dick off and got fake tits.

    Women are MORE than just sexual characteristics, you know.

    Bradley is as much a unicorn as he is a woman.

  • ||

    You're equivocating.

    If you're arguing that changing the word used to describe Manning doesn't change anything about Manning's biological identity, then why do you care what word people use?

  • BYODB||

    Because the word used is a word that distinguishes people's sex. It's amusing that someone named Square = Circle is making these arguments.

    If I call a square a circle, does that change the shape of the square? You appear to making the argument that calling them a different word changes the shape of their physical characteristics. It's enough to make me think you're just playing devil's advocate, which I can appreciate.

  • ||

    It's enough to make me think you're just playing devil's advocate

    It's a thing that I do do, and I certainly mean no disrespect - you and I have agreed on more things than we've disagreed on.

    But no, calling a square a circle doesn't change the square into a circle. In fact, my handle is intended to evoke the old conundrum that there is literally nothing that can turn a square into a circle with equal area, and this is why, given that mathematics itself contains this level of imprecision, we shouldn't have very high expectations of language.

    By the same token, whether you call Manning "he" or "she" doesn't actually matter, no?

    Keep in mind no one here is advocating compulsory changes to the language. People here are arguing against compulsory adoption of a particular usage that a particular sector of the population has decided is the Once-and-Eternal-True-Word for the thing.

    You can use whatever pronouns you want. So can I. I just don't see what the big deal is - words change meaning constantly from the slight voluntary variations in shading that words are always subject to in ever-shifting contexts. That's how language works - you can't stop that.

  • FreeRadical||

    You got me curious about the "squaring the circle" problem and I found out it has been solved.

    Look up Tarski's circle-squaring problem on wikipedia

  • ||

    "Solved" is a strong term, especially as regards what I'm talking about.

    You'll note that the "solution" involves using no existing circles or squares.

  • ||

    And actually, looking at that Wikipedia page I stumble across the following:

    Squaring the circle, a different problem: the task (which has been proven to be impossible) of constructing, for a given circle, a square of equal area with straightedge and compass alone.
  • FreeRadical||

    Ok, that's interesting too. Regardless, both cases are examples of the precision of mathematics and not the imprecision as you asserted.

  • ||

    You and BYODB seem to have a problem with the middles in between poles.

    I didn't say that mathematics is imprecise. I said not even mathematics can achieve perfect precision, much less language, which doesn't have even comparable pretentions to precision.

    Demanding that language behave like math is a dead-end road, and this has been demonstrated. Please look into Bertrand Russell and his attempts to settle this "language has absolute meaning" question, and please look at Ludwig Wittgenstein's responses.

  • FreeRadical||

    Well, the article says it has been "proved" which is as a strong a term as there is in theoretical mathematics. That counts as "solved" in my book.

    The solution involves cutting the circle into 10^50 pieces, but that doesn't make it any less solved.

  • ||

    Well, the article says it has been "proved" which is as a strong a term as there is in theoretical mathematics. That counts as "solved" in my book.

    It's a non-constructive proof, meaning that it's a proof that can't show any existing examples of what it proves. Additionally, it's not a proof regarding what we're actually talking about - it's a different conceptual problem that's being addressed.

    I'm not tossing it out the window - it's obviously an interesting and important development in our mathematical abilities, but it doesn't change anything about the underlying philosophical question involved with the ability of mathematics to describe existing things.

  • Fuck you, Shikha (Nunya)||

    I think the real issue is that while youmay have a more laissez faire perspective on pronouns, the writing is on the wall that those of us that choose to call "her" by the original pronoun assigned to "him" are going to be berated, excoriated, and derided in the very short future. So much so, that I am waiting for it to become something akin to a "hate crime".

    And as always with this pronoun discussion, I recall the Monty python skit where he wants to be called Loretta. " You haven't got a womb!"

  • timbo||

    I think that's the point. Talking in circles means....

  • ||

    Talking in circles means....

    . . . that apparently I'm confusing you very badly.

  • damikesc||

    I care about factual reality dramatically more than the feelings of a mentally ill individual.

  • ||

    I care about factual reality dramatically more than the feelings of a mentally ill individual.

    Well, doesn't that make you the noble one.

  • BYODB||

    Nobility isn't the question, it's a question of if you believe language should be a reflection of objective truth or become a morass of subjectivity that is incapable of describing or communicating meaning.

  • ||

    it's a question of if you believe language should be a reflection of objective truth or become a morass of subjectivity that is incapable of describing or communicating meaning.

    If only it were that simple.

    Language always and forever exists between the two poles of "objective truth" and "a morass of subjectivity." That's how meaning is possible.

    And to really dig into the weeds if that's what you want to do, there is no such thing as "objective truth." "Truth" is a property of statements, and all statements are subjective by nature. There is no "objective perspective" - at least not one that you or I can access.

    You perceive elsewhere in this thread that there is a difference between biological sex and social gender. You even say you have no problem with the concept when it's framed that way.

    You also argue that it's okay to refer to a ship as a "she" because of the context making it okay for the pronoun to describe the relationship rather than some essential attribute of the object.

    So where is the rule that governs what pronoun I have to use to refer to Manning? If Manning is presenting socially in every way as a female, and if in all social relations Manning is cast in the "female" role, then why does "objective reality" demand that we not use female pronouns?

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Presented without comment.........

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tSmaDPw6U5A

  • Inigo Montoya||

    Point being: why do you care even a little bit how Manning is referred to? Way to miss the point.

    To me, Manning's actions qualify as libertarian heroism. Anything that weakens, even a tiny bit, the massively bloated, disgustingly gluttonous, Mr. Creosote-like government is a good thing. I could give a shit less what is between the legs of the person who took Uncle Creosote Sam down a peg.

    I suspect you never met a transgendered person in real life. As a city dweller, I've known a few. Every single one was, from what I can tell, sort of "in between" genders well in advance of beginning to change. And I don't mean in the way of an effeminate-acting gay guy or a butch lesbian -- I mean people who seemed like they had some serious hormonal imbalances BEFORE they started any hormone therapy. (Think "Pat" from the old SNL sketches.) I'm not saying that this applies to every single trans out there. I realize that Bruce Jenner had once been a male Olympic athlete who did not seem particularly un-masculine, but my own direct but limited experience does bear out that these people have medical and not only psychological stuff going on.

    To me, what is far more worthy of ridicule for absurdity are things like the federal budget, the wars on drugs and terror, the last several presidential administrations, the hysterical media and every more hysterical political partisans, and so on. And yet, very few people point and laugh at these things.

  • BYODB||

    I agree with your first paragraph while disagreeing with the rest. I mean, they are two completely different issues after all.

    It's also notable that 'leaks' like Manning and Snowden provided evidence of malfeasance whereas for some reason since Trump took office the 'leaks' haven't provided diddly and yet Congress has been spinning far more wheels 'getting to the bottom' of the baseless allegations than they ever did regarding the proven allegations of the above two individuals.

    So, yeah, I'm a little jaded that even the sacrifices of these two people have amounted to not a whole hell of a lot and I'd rather focus on the issue that should have an easy solution: what sex is this person?

  • timbo||

    I did not miss the point. I think he did a great thing as well. Thank goodness to him and snowden and assange. if I met him, I would call him Chelsea but I would probably not be able to hold in a chuckle for long. He is clearly a disturbed guy mentally as well are all others that think they are an entirely different physical human than they are naturally. I feel genuine sympathy for those folks. The world is a tough place.
    I do not find it healthy for society to just dismiss all of these folks as just good old normal every day people. Celebrate your difference if you want and you have the right to. It should not, however, be a subject of such vitriol and sensitivity on a national scale, that people can be fired or ostracized for making a rational comment about he absurdity of it all. For that to be justified, you would have to produce some concrete examples of these great injustices and segregations of trans people actually happening. Where are these happenings anyway. You cannot transform into another form of the human body any more than one can transform into a unicorn. Many people apparently think the opposite.

    I find it hilarious however that a vastly large number of americans think the Bradley manning is a women.

    That says so very much about the level of intelligence of the American population.

  • Crusty Juggler aka "Chad"||

    why call her she?

    Because that's what she wants.

  • FreeRadical||

    Does everybody get to be called what they want? I suppose so, if they can convince enough people to do it.

    Serious question: If a bunch of lefty victim mongers demand that the government, at great expense, add "ze" and "zer" to all forms, would you support that?

    What if people start claiming that contracts they entered into as a man are no longer valid because they are now a woman?

    Yeah, that's a hypothetical. But the way people so casually jettison the meanings of words at the slightest pressure from SJWs is scary to me.

  • FreeRadical||

    There's a difference between a label or a name vs a pronoun which has a definitive meaning.

    Names are arbitrary, other words are not.

    Again, it must be that I'm a software engineer that causes me to have these concerns. Languages are mathematical.

  • FreeRadical||

    I kind of agree with you about software guys. I prefer "developer" over engineer. My credential says Aerospace Engineer, if that passes muster. Non real engineers also include Industrial Engineers aka Imaginary Engineers.

    I should have said "somewhat mathematical" or "similar" or some such other qualifier. But language is a set of symbols that have meaning and are subject to a set of rules. Casually dismissing or changing the meaning of words should be resisted in my opinion.

    Of course language is very messy compared to straight math.

  • FreeRadical||

    Chipper, very good paragraph on language. I wish I had had time more time to study languages. They are fascinating to me.

    I try to have very disciplined thinking that avoids fuzziness as much as possible. I think it is important for peaceful coexistence. It is one of the foundations of the enlightenment and of the rule of law.

    I have always thought that precise thinking often leads to a libertarian political outlook.

  • HeteroPatriarch||

    Names are arbitrary, yet you refuse to use Chelsea's legal and preferred name?

  • FreeRadical||

    HeteroPatriarch, I never said anything about his name. Chelsea it is.

  • damikesc||

    Am I OBLIGATED to call Bradley by the name he wants to be called by?

    I don't know him. He seems like a bit of a lunatic.

    Bradley fits him fine.

  • ||

    The relationship between a word and its meaning is fundamentally arbitrary. This is why there are different languages in the world. Many languages do not even have gendered pronouns (Farsi, as an example).

    Languages are resoundingly not mathematical. See: Wittgenstein v. Russell.

  • BYODB||

    The relationship between a word and it's meaning might be arbitrary but if it's not consistent than it is not language.

  • ||

    The relationship between a word and it's meaning might be arbitrary but if it's not consistent than it is not language.

    Then should we stop referring to boats and countries as "she?"

  • BYODB||


    Then should we stop referring to boats and countries as "she?"

    What meaning do you infer when someone does this? Do you assume the boat is a human female? Or do you assume they have a relationship with that object as if it were a human female?

    It would seem that you misunderstand what 'consistent meaning' itself means. Is this purposeful irony, or a willful misunderstanding?

  • ||

    Or do you assume they have a relationship with that object as if it were a human female?

    So is it about objective biology, or is it about the relationship?

    In a gay relationship, should the "top" refer to the "bottom" as "she?"

    Would that be "consistent meaning" per your strict definition?

  • BYODB||

    When speaking in terms of a thing with a sex, biology.

    When referring to a sexless object, relationship.

    Hard to understand for you? Apparently. This is an actual case of reading comprehension skills and is based on basic grammar taught to children. That isn't meant to insult you necessarily, it's to say that you're willfully misunderstanding a basic tenant of communications.

    Lets try an example. If you are introduced to a cute person, who you are told is a woman, would you be upset to find out that their sex is male after you date them for six years and get married with the intention of having children? (Without asking 'what was between your legs at birth', obviously, as that is rude.)

    How would you differentiate, if not for pronouns, since there is no obvious morphological context to base your distinction on?

    Either a word means something, or it does not and should never be used unless you believe the purpose of language is obfuscation of the truth.

  • ||

    Hard to understand for you? Apparently. This is an actual case of reading comprehension skills and is based on basic grammar taught to children.

    There's another possible explanation, one that involves my having a doctoral degree in English and having taught the subject at the college level. It could be that there are elements of the general situation you haven't considered as carefully as, well, me, to be frank.

    You'll find that as you go down this rabbit hole, you're going to need to make more and more distinctions like "well, the one case is an inanimate object, so there you have it" until you finally realize that the linguistic distinctions have no basis except in linguistic distinctions - I.e. fundamental arbitrariness.

    How would you differentiate, if not for pronouns, since there is no obvious morphological context to base your distinction on?

    You really don't know? I suspect that you do, and that you're disingenuously ignoring that the thrust of your point is that the pronoun doesn't matter.

  • BYODB||

    So, an appeal to authority argument without substance? I'll admit I had hoped for better. I think we're done here.

  • BYODB||

    No hard feelings though Square, the 'retard' comment far below was mostly out of frustration that someone who claims to have a doctorate in English apparently not understanding the gendered grammar framework of the English language. I think you might have taken your devils advocate position a bit too far =P

  • ||

    Not an appeal to authority - just pointing out that if you're not understanding what someone is saying, automatically assuming their ignorance may not be the explanation. In no way do I ever expect someone to accept an argument because I've cited a credential.

    My substance was that your counterargument was to draw a basically arbitrary line and then declare yourself done defining the absolute and totally non-arbitrary limits of meaning.

    I was pointing out that if you continue that exercise to its logical conclusions, you'll find that your just drawing lines and admiring the pretty patterns that they make. You're not making statements about ontological reality.

    You have yet to present an argument as to why I should feel compelled to call Manning "him." You can point no grammatical, ontological, or logically-based reason, yet you seem to feel that you've "blown me out of the water" with your argumentation. I'm not seeing it.

  • damikesc||

    Then should we stop referring to boats and countries as "she?"

    Feel free.

  • ||

    Feel free.

    Why, thank you, oh Minister of Pronoun Abuse!

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    There's a difference between a label or a name vs a pronoun which has a definitive meaning.

    Names are arbitrary, other words are not.

    Again you are betrayed by your first post:

    You mean Bradley?

    Fuck off, slaver.

  • FreeRadical||

    You guys need better reading comprehension. I never called Chelsea Bradley.

  • Crusty Juggler aka "Chad"||

    You guys need better reading comprehension. I never called Chelsea Bradley.

    You should call her a "she" as well. As Square says, the government should not compel you to refer to her as a she, but if she wants to be called a she, why wouldn't you do that?

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    You guys need better reading comprehension. I never called Chelsea Bradley.

    You need better writing comprehension or better short term memory. I just shoed you doing it.
    Fuck off, lying slaver.

  • FreeRadical||

    Sigh. Scarecrow, it was timbo that used "Bradley". I never even mentioned his name. Chelsea it is.

  • ||

    You need better writing comprehension or better short term memory. I just shoed you doing it.

    In fairness, the original comment was timbo, not FreeRadical.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    I type corrected, or I would if there were an Edit button, on using the old name.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Who is this Chelsea Bradley? And why haven't you called?

  • damikesc||

    My friends don't ask me to call them things that blatantly false.

    Fortunately, my friends aren't insane.

  • Fuck you, Shikha (Nunya)||

    Depends on when I want to irritate or piss them off. The sure enough way to have me call you something is to tell me you don't like it, however, I do it only in jest.

  • Crusty Juggler aka "Chad"||

    Does everybody get to be called what they want?

    There is no reason not to call someone what they want.

  • ||

    Does everybody get to be called what they want? I suppose so, if they can convince enough people to do it.

    Yes - exactly.

    Serious question: If a bunch of lefty victim mongers demand that the government, at great expense, add "ze" and "zer" to all forms, would you support that?

    No. But if they got enough votes, they could make it happen, and I can't see any reason rooted in libertarianism or the NAP to object.

    What if people start claiming that contracts they entered into as a man are no longer valid because they are now a woman?

    They would be wrong.

  • Fuck you, Shikha (Nunya)||

    Wrong? I think that depends on what judge and on what basis you argue as we continue down this quagmire of gender identity.

  • timbo||

    free radical has a great point about the coming legal ramifications of this ridiculous subject. There will be examples, in short order, of people trying to play this game to either get out of trouble or to win legal battles and then, just like everything else with government support, the unintended consequences of the tranny madness debate of 2016 will show up. That is why is best to leave nature to its one true meaning.

  • ||

    That is why is best to leave nature to its one true meaning.

    And what is Nature's One True Meaning, pray tell?

    But legislators have already said changing legal codes to reflect more than two genders is a non-starter.

    What I think is the more interesting prospect is that there will be a generalized conversation about how those two genders are treated highly unequally by the law.

  • Marty Feldman's Eyes||

    weren't such PC wimps, especially at reason, it would be refreshing for reason to refrain from she just to make a point. and it would stir the hornet's nest of outrage which is always entertaining.

    Funny you seem to think courage has anything to do with this. I, and I imagine Reason, will call her Chelsea because we want to, not because I'm afraid or wimpy. That's absurd. How about you suffer half the crap society gives trans people, then we'll see who's the wimp.

    It is [b]worthy of way more ridicule[/b] for the absurd and we are now afraid to call it what it is.

    It's also telling of your character that you find it entertaining to ridicule people who are different, and that you think people who would defend someone from your bullying are mock worthy. Mocking people because you find it amusing- you're behaving no better than a schoolyard bully.

    I get the feeling you were the kid in school that goaded everybody into beating up on the "different" kid. Stay classy.

  • Careless||

    You may not be able to change your sex, but you can change your name. His name is Chelsea.

  • HeteroPatriarch||

    How was your point about which pronoun to use? You used his/her proper name, which has been legally changed to Chelsea. You didn't say anything about the male/female question.

  • BYODB||

    I'm reminded of a Calvin and Hobbes quote:

    "With effort, we can make language a complete impediment to understanding!"

    When you make a word like 'man' or 'woman' effectively meaningless, you have done language itself a grave disservice.

    The proper word is 'it', or use their sex related term since 'he' or 'she' is related to their sex not their gender (obviously. I mean, super obviously). Why would using the correct nomenclature offend someone? Because they want to subvert the meaning of language itself (as to the 'why' I can't say, who knows why crazy people do crazy things?).

    If anything, it would make more sense to come up with a new word to describe these individuals since they effectively put their sex and gender in a blender (sometimes literally?), but still have the same sex no matter what. Why not use the term that applies universally?

    While I think the above statements are ludicrous, if we're going to be retarded lets be retarded correctly Scott.

  • ||

    When you make a word like 'man' or 'woman' effectively meaningless, you have done language itself a grave disservice.

    Why?

    Did you know that the Old English word "mon," the ancestor of the modern word "man," was un-gendered?

    Has the arbitrary gendering of the word "man" been a "grave disservice" to the language? If not, why not? Is it only when a gendered word loses its gender that the language has been ill-served?

  • damikesc||

    Did you know that the Old English word "mon," the ancestor of the modern word "man," was un-gendered?

    So.

    The.

    Fuck.

    What?

    We aren't speaking Old English.

  • ||

    There was a question asked at the end there. Did you understand what it was?

  • FreeRadical||

    To this day, "man" is still sometimes used to refer to all of humanity. But it is falling out of favor because SJWs have mental breakdowns if they encounter that usage.

    But context matters. Referring to an individual, "him" and "man" have very specific and definitive meanings. They carry concrete information. I also think it is a disservice to destroy meaning in this way.

  • ||

    But context matters.

    Indeed - and it's constantly shifting context that changes meaning in languages.

    I've known a number of transgender people. Some you would never know - you would assume "woman" right up until the person told you and then had to do some convincing to get you to believe. Context would have you using "she" without thinking about it, and you might even hesitate to change based on what the person "really" is.

    Some never will "pass," but you insisting on calling these people "male" and "him" isn't going to change them. Yes you can insist on it, and make them feel uncomfortable and attacked for no cause, but I can't see any reason other than assuaging what appear to be your own gender insecurities. Otherwise, seriously - why do you give such a shit? What do you think you personally are losing if your pronouns slip? Will you not be able to identify people's gender anymore? And why would that be such a big deal anyway?

    "Man" has already changed meaning, and the language survived. And if you map out meanings, you'll find that the meaning of "man" is not as specific and definitive as you may be hoping, and "him" is just a functionary - a place marker. There's no reason in the world for pronouns to be gendered in the first place.

    Whether or not a language has gendered pronouns has never been shown to make a difference in anything whatsoever.

  • FreeRadical||

    In the light of our current discussion, your handle makes me smile.

  • timbo||

    "There's no reason in the world for pronouns to be gendered in the first place."

    But why do we have gender specific pronouns in the first place? Should we revert to grunts?

    If I see a person over there with long hair, earrings, boobs, and a vagina hanging out and I don't know its name and that person is standing next to a person with a balls and a pecker hanging out, would it be a waste of time to say look at her with the vagina hanging out?

    And then we were to look at Chelsea from a distance, where she could not hear us, and just out of curiosity you said, I wonder if she is a woman. Would it be impolite to say no, he is a guy?

  • ||

    But why do we have gender specific pronouns in the first place?

    Why not? The fact that there are languages that don't have them proves they are not essential. Some languages developed them, some didn't. There needn't be anything more to it than that.

    If I see a person over there with long hair, earrings, boobs, and a vagina hanging out and I don't know its name and that person is standing next to a person with a balls and a pecker hanging out, would it be a waste of time to say look at her with the vagina hanging out?

    I don't even understand this question.

    And then we were to look at Chelsea from a distance, where she could not hear us, and just out of curiosity you said, I wonder if she is a woman. Would it be impolite to say no, he is a guy?

    I don't think you're having the same conversation everyone else is having.

  • BYODB||

    They aren't the same word, so your example fails. If 'mon' is genderless then go ahead and use that word to describe a transsexual rather than the modern English 'it'. That is exactly what I say to do, in fact.

    'Man' and 'Woman' have discreet, sex related meanings or there would be no opposite version of the word in the first place. Obviously. Why do you think those bullshit words like 'xe' exist in the first place? It's because they're doing it the right way, even if I think it's a stupid reason.

  • BYODB||

    And to be super clear the reason why this whole argument is such complete bullshit is because social scientists want to divorce gender and sex which, previously for the last 2000-4000 years, meant the same thing.

    Why didn't they come up with a new word other than 'gender' when creating an entirely new category of thing? Who knows, but that fallacy is the source of much woe for everyone involved. If they had simply said 'social role' the whole thing would make sense to a layman, yet that is precisely what they did not do.

  • ||

    If they had simply said 'social role' the whole thing would make sense to a layman, yet that is precisely what they did not do.

    No - that is precisely what "They" did do, if by "They" you mean the gender theorists who first proposed a difference between biological "sex" and social "gender."

  • BYODB||

    You misunderstand, they changed the definition of 'gender' which confuses the hell out of anyone who went by the classic definition of gender (feminine, masculine, neuter, common).

    It's a cooption of an already existing word to mean something entirely different, and it has done nothing except confuse the subject for decades. One can only assume from the way they treat language that this is an intention confusion on their part.

    Gender is, and was, a synonym for sex you retard. Literally. And yet it is not. Hence, language has no meaning and nothing means anything which is where we stand at this very moment.

  • ||

    Who is "They?"

    It's a cooption of an already existing word to mean something entirely different

    No, it isn't. It's extended by analogy.

    Does a trans-female like Manning want to be called "she" just completely arbitrarily, or is there something about the way that person socially presents that might make the pronoun "she" more fitting than "he?"

    "Gender" was proposed as a different category from "sex" precisely because they are in fact two different words with somewhat different connotations.

    If it's okay to call a ship "she" because of its "feminine" role vis-à-vis whomever, then why is it that when it comes to Manning we ignore the social role and want to start conducting genetic tests?

    Hence, language has no meaning and nothing means anything which is where we stand at this very moment.

    Really? That seems a little hyperbolic, don't you think? I mean, we're having a pretty long and distinction-heavy conversation right now, and I don't feel like I'm having much trouble understanding you.

  • ||

    'Man' and 'Woman' have discreet, sex related meanings

    Is the word "mankind" gendered? Can a woman be a chairman of a board?

    My basic question here which you, FreeRadical and damikesc are dodging is:

    The word "man" already changed meaning from being non-gendered to being gendered.

    You guys seem to be saying that changing the gender reference of a word is an unacceptable level of linguistic destruction, even if people are doing it voluntarily.

    Yet, this has already happened, and we do not find ourselves crippled in our ability to understand one another.

    Why is this?

  • FreeRadical||

    I guess I don't think the etymology of the word man going as far back as Old English has much bearing on the current usage or even counts as the word "man" having changed meaning. Especially if it took generations to change. (And it's not fully changed anyway since man is sometimes still used in a genderless way).

    Sometimes words are their own antonyms. But context determines the meaning. The fact that a word means something in one context does not alter the meaning in the other.

    The reason I find this important is because without precision in language, the risk of strife goes up. And yes, governments gain power in this way. Look how the Constitution has lost almost all its bite because of slippery use of language.

    The fact that this change has happened so quickly and at the behest of loud and power hungry victim group is concerning to me.

  • ||

    You can't do anything about language being slippery and imprecise - language will never be mathematics.

    My point about the change in etymology doesn't have anything to do with how recently the change happened - just that it happened. It happened, and it happened without impacting the structure of the language in any way, and without compromising anyone's ability to make meaning in any way.

    People who argue we need to add new pronouns to the language and give them legal force are morons, and I suspect that this issue is getting tied in here.

    But the only thing I'm talking about is my personal choice to refer to Manning as "she," because Manning wants to be referred to as "she," and I'm having trouble seeing why that's such a big deal to people.

    And it's not the "sacredness of the language" or it's "ability to reflect objective reality," because no one gets this excited over whether or not to call "high fructose corn syrup" by the name "sugar."

    People's feelings about gender get bound up in this, but if gender is so absolute and objectively real, then why get so excited about the pronouns when they won't change anything that's "real?"

  • FreeRadical||

    The main reason it's a big deal to me is what I stated above - there can be negative consequences like the Constitution being destroyed for all intents and purposes.

    The fact that language is imprecise does not mean that one shouldn't strive for precision. It is one of the foundations of the rule of law.

  • ||

    I think we have different issues we're getting at here.

    I agree that once this runs up against legal distinctions between "man" and "woman" we have an issue, and we're already facing this.

    For me, I just can't get worked up about calling Manning "she" and see it as the start of some slippery slope where we lose all ability to communicate and the Constitution loses all meaning. Languages and concepts just don't change that fast, even with people working actively at it.

    And I want to clarify, again, that I'm not advocating that you be forced to use a pronoun you think is improper, I'm advocating against you forcing other people to use the pronouns you think they should.

    But we're already facing the question of whether Manning should have been in a women's prison or a men's prison, or whether trans-women should be allowed to compete in women's sports, etc., etc. These are real issues, and I don't think people's pronoun choices make any difference - these are going to be fought out in the legal courts and in the court of public opinion. You insisting on calling Manning "him" is not going to settle these questions in advance.

  • BYODB||

    The fact you use an actual example of us clearly not understanding each other because of the words used to say that we still have the ability to understand one another based on the words that we use is not only ironic, but nearing the level of performance art.

  • Mickey Rat||

    It is so backward that conservativez insist on on a fixed meaning to a word within the same conversation. That might convey meaning rather tgham faciltate the progressive con game.

  • Chip Your Pets||

    His name was Bradley when he did the things mentioned in the article.

  • Half-Virtue, Half-Vice||

    Lots of opinions here.... words have failed us... let it be settled by Right of Arms.

  • ||

    It's the only clear path to victory.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Damn, that comment could use some work!

  • timbo||

    It is absurd though right?

    I am white. If I got a megaphone and said to everyone that I am now black, painted my face with shoe polish, and said that I deserved reparations for slavery, what would be the honest first impression to the passer by?

    1. This is a noble black person worthy of respect and legitimately eligible for said distribution if paid.
    OR
    2. This guy is a little off his rocker.

  • ||

    My dad's name is Terry. Should he change it something more manly, just to avoid confusion?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Have you seen Terry Crews? Wait, your dad's not Terry Crews, is he?

  • ||

    No, but I know someone named Teri Cruz. Does that count?

  • Crusty Juggler aka "Chad"||

    His father is Terry Bradsaw.

  • timbo||

    Is he biologically a man? Than he should have no issues.

    If the next time he sees you and he says he has transformed into a woman and no longer a male human being than I would say he was a sorcerer or magician or some kind of miracle worker.
    Short of that he is a dude.

  • Mockamodo||

    Yes he does. And one would expect journalists, who one would kind of expect to be English majors, to know how to use proper pronouns instead of politically correct disinformation. I expect any day now to hear that a woman raped a woman and a pregnancy was the result, with the sex of the child to be selected at a future date.

  • Ryan Frank||

    leaking hundreds of thousands of military documents and diplomatic cables

    Well good thing he/she/it didn't let the Russians know that ISIS wants to blow up airplanes. I mean that would make him/her/them some kind of monster.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Ka. Boom.

  • timbo||

    True.
    Actually cause for a pardon for Bradley manning since he does not exist anymore.

  • Frank Thorn||

    ...he does not exist at the present time. FIFY

  • timbo||

    According to American zombie group think, the being that was once Bradley manning no longer exists. In its place is now a physical female human that is not a man.

    Bradley manning was a man. That man is dead I guess?

  • BearOdinson||

    So Bradley Manning (as he was known at the time) was drafted against his will as a child into the most intolerant and evil military force the world has ever known. And he (again at the time) was so shaken by the evil's perpetrated that he bravely leaked documents which showed how evil this force is. And the government that leads this evil military force is so evil that they summarily shot him, disappeared him, conducted a legal court martial, convicted of several espionage-related crimes and sentenced him to 35 years in prison. And then was released after 7 years. All the while never giving him/her access to the press so that no one would know how bad he/she had it in that gulag.
    I guess if that is world Scott lives in, then his Spock has a beard.

  • HeteroPatriarch||

    You have surrounded yourself with so many straw men, I'm starting to think you may have some repressed feelings. NTTAWWT.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Obama's 11th hour kindness comes at the end of an administration that viciously went after leakers.

    That right there is Nobel Prize material. Kill a bunch of people, then stop.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    I save a large number of lives every day. When I grant clemency and don't personally execute all the idiots around me. Iremind myself that idiots abound.

  • Mickey Rat||

    So are you saying that the all documents Manning released should not have been classified or that there should not be classified dicuments at all?

    If there are to classified information, I am not sure how that works if you give emotionally troubled Privates the ability to release such data with impunity.

  • FreeRadical||

    That damn pesky style guide. I forces Shackford and ENB to use "she" and "her" when referring to a man.

    Come on Reason writers, make a stand! RESIST the oppression of the style guides!

  • I can't even||

    Bradley Manning was an soldier in the U.S. Army who committed an act of Espionage, arguably Treason, against his won country.

    Soldiers have been shot for less. Clayton Lonetree did 9 years at Leavenworth for similar activities - James Hall III did over 20 years.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    To me, seven years seems right for this. I temper my displeasure for military secrets-leakers with the fact of the Army's lax security protocols and its classifying information that shouldn't be classified.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    Treason my ass.

    Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort.

    Either treason is very hard to commit, or everyone who criticizes the government has engaged in it.

  • Mickey Rat||

    There is a lot of space between criticizing the government and deliberately violating the rules of your job when you are a soldier.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    There is a lot of space between criticizing the government and deliberately violating the rules of your job when you are a soldier.

    So every soldier who misses roll call has committed treason?

  • Mickey Rat||

    Depending on the circumstances, it could be, or just desertion.

  • ||

    So Ron Paul himself says this person is more deserving of Nobel Peace Prize than Obama, but nothing concerning her can be possibly good enough for you conservatives? (other than fantasizing about her death, of course). I wonder why...

  • ||

    Who are you talking to?

  • ||

    To those who insist on calling her "him" and insist that "he" is a traitor. Traitor to whom? To their own gender insecurities, or to their murderous government that keeps evidence of its own wrongdoing as classified information?

  • timbo||

    Tater salad!

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    The traitor, Manning, walks free among us while the hero Snowden is exiled.

    About par for the course.

    Manning wasn't a whistleblower, Scott. There was no intent to expose wrongdoing. There was a data-dump by an aggrieved employee. Nothing more than vengeance against his employer. I'm a bit disappointed you cannot draw a distinction.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    I am speaking for myself.

    Collateral murder... HUMPH!

    I saw the classified video of that strike long before it was made public. I never questioned the kill. Had I been the shooter in that scenario I'd have dropped the hammer too. I'd have been wrong, but the actions of the JFAC and the shooter were completely justifiable. The equipment they were carrying were easily mistakable for weapons and they were peeking around corners as if they had nefarious intentions. Hindsight is 20/20.

    Just what do you think happens in war? Do you think soldiers walk up to apparently armed individuals and ask for ID prior to engaging them? Reality check, my friend.

    Manning had no intention of exposing wrongdoing. That video, which has been seen by the vast majority of combat veterans, just happened to be on there.

  • timbo||

    Whether he was a whistleblower or just an asshole pussy, knowing what our government does, and especially when it is wrong, is a good thing.
    In the long run, if shit like this helps us somehow get down the road of stopping foreign intervention and reducing debt that future generations of men, women, and morphed humanoids don't have to shoulder, then that is a good thing.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    knowing what our government does, and especially when it is wrong, is a good thing.

    I don't disagree.

    Classified doesn't exist for hiding government wrongdoing.

    But if you have specific instances you can certainly expose those instances without a data-dump that includes legitimate classified.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    A lot of posters here expect that there should somehow be zero collateral damage in a battle.

  • HeteroPatriarch||

    With your astonishing insight into peoples' motivation, you should be leading the department of PreCrime.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Yeah, because everyone intent upon exposing an individual act of wrongdoing does a data-dump to do so.

    Please!

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    May be that is all Chelsea Manning was able to do.

    Horseshit! He was an Intell troop. He had access to that specific video anytime he wanted it. Hell, I could have downloaded that specific video on any given day to a memory stick and sent it to whomever.

    Has the leak endangered anyone's life and do you have specific proof of that?

    That's impossible to tell. There was certainly potential to. Classified is classified not only to prevent unmasking of sensitive sources BUT ALSO to keep opponents in the dark to our true capabilities and tactics. Revealing either has potential to put people in harm's way or at a disadvantage.

    That is the question you need to answer to justify your un-libertarian position.

    He was under contractual obligation as a condition of his employment (UCMJ) to not reveal said information. There was no noble cause, as in the case of Snowden, to justify breaking said contract.

  • ||

    I completely agree with FdA here - whatever good may or may not have resulted from Manning's leaks, Manning is no Snowden.

    Snowden saw something specifically fucked up that he knew was wrong and that he knew he needed to risk his life and livelihood to expose, and he bravely did so.

    Manning just dumped a bunch of classified stuff onto the internet when she didn't even know what she was exposing or whether there was good reason to.

    Snowden = hero; Manning = not heroine.

  • Chip Your Pets||

    OK, Reason has to be fucking with us at this point. It's been mere hours since they were hyperventilating at the horror of Trump allegedly mentioning some bit of intelligence, which may or may not be classified, and which he regardless has legal authority to share, to Russian officials who are fighting against the same threat we are in that region.

    Then they turn around and continue to praise this person who indiscriminately dumped thousands of classified diplomatic cables onto the Internet.

  • WakaWaka||

    To be fair Shack wasn't necessarily hyperventilating yesterday.

    I would like to see a nice fluff piece on Julian Assange, but we know that's not going to happen from Reason. The Left loves Manning now so they'll fawn over him/her. Assange, though, is critical of Clinton so he's literally Hitler.

    I'm really not sure what is gained from reading Reason anymore (with some exceptions) when they have just been providing reheated stories from major media with essentially the same perspective.

  • ||

    What Trump allegedly did, was OK, if he did it, because he had the right to do it and, as you said, the U.S. is fighting the same threat in the region. What Manning did is OK too, even though she ddn´t have the legal right to do it, because it exposed the government´s wrongdoing and there is no actual evidence it harmed any innocent person.

  • damikesc||

    We threw HIM in prison.

    You can't change your biological sex with feelings, son.

  • ||

    You can with surgery and hormones, though, And don´t act like it´s all about chromosomes, because even social conservatives aren´t consistent about this. If the chromosomes of an intersex individual aren´t XX or XY, once again their concern is whether their genitals and other physical characteristic look more "male" or "female".

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    No. You love government and all the 'wonderful' things it does. Unless a non-communist is in charge of it.

  • MWG||

    At article about a controversial figure being let out of prison after 7 years by having the sentence commuted by Obama and 90% of the comments from the commentariat are about what to call him/her!?

    The fucking yolkatarians really have taken over.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    i think Bradley Manning got off way too easy. The government shouldn't pay shit for him.

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