Rationality is like a muscle that needs constant flexing

In the 1964 film My Fair Lady after Colonel Pickering has secured the help of an old friend to pull strings at the Home Office (plus ça change) in the hope of finding the absconded Eliza Doolittle, Professor Higgins snaps: Why is thinking something women never do? And why is logic never even tried? Straightening up their hair is all they ever do. Why don’t they straighten up the mess that’s     inside? Today the sex and gender wars are more nuanced than that, at least in public, but the charge of stupidity and unthinkingness has found many other targets: anti-vaxxers, Brexiteers, conspiracy theorists, climate- change activists on the M25,