I am frequently amused by the mental gymnastics that progressives perform on a regular basis. There is an element of pity too: it must be a tortured mental existence to put one’s order of thought into such contortions. All the worse for it being put on display as the latest gem of brilliance. There are as many examples of this as to fill a book and in fact they have. As brevity is wanted in this manner of forum I’ll limit the discussion to one small serving from this buffet.
One of the most sacred of causes for progressives in recent times has been LGBT issues in general, transgender issues specifically. On it’s face I take no issue with the broader intent behind this crusade. If we truly believe in the liberty that we espouse then surely the right of the individual to be comfortable in their own skin must be included. Let’s not delude ourselves, however, to the meaning of liberty. Liberty is the state in which the individual may exercise an unencumbered freedom of conscience, whatever that may entail. We accept certain limitations upon this, of course. As an example let us say that if one’s freedom of conscience inspires acts of arson or other forms of mayhem that may lead to the harm of innocents then there is a healthy consensus of opinion that this is not to be permitted.
Absent any sensible restraints designed to preserve public safety this freedom of conscience should be protected, something I believe the US Constitution was clearly intended to provide. Nowhere within it’s social compact does the Constitution specifically enumerate or even imply that along with this freedom of conscience one is equally entitled by law to the acceptance or approval of one’s fellow citizen. Where it does not impinge upon the rights of others one person’s freedom of conscience does not carry more weight under the law than any other persons exercise of the same freedom. It may seem a bit facile here, but there is a line from a source as unlikely as The GI Joe Movie that encapsulates this idea quite succinctly: “We all go home or no one goes home”. No one says that you have to like it, but folks this is how liberty is supposed to work.
There could be endless debate on the part of those who harbor their own moral reservations around transgenderism. Those may wish to make arguments as to the validity of any science behind the phenomenon. They are free to do so, but it is futile to argue science with morality. One may view either through the lens of the other, but the two can not be equated. Scientifically transgenderism is legitimate, it is a reality. One can dispute this, but that does not alter the science. Where this issue enters a public discourse it becomes removed from cold and sterile clinical examination. This is where we find the proverbial sticky wicket of the “bathroom equality” issue.
Those who advocate for the plight of the transgendered have, at least in some instances, done a reasonably good job of trying to clarify just what being transgendered means. These explanations are immediately clouded by the fact that the language is incorrect. Sex and gender, though they are inarguably related terms, do not mean the same thing. Sex is a biological term; gender is a term of identity. The sex of an individual is determined by their biological characteristics. It is one thing or it is another. There is a criteria which leaves no room for any ambiguity. Gender, however, is not an objective term. It is subjective and thus not as simply defined. The fact that an improper use of the terms has generally been accepted only serves to further confuse what is already a complicated issue.
The transgender advocacy groups will explain that although an individual may physically present as one gender (the correct term in this instance being sex), their condition has left them with a gender identity (here the term gender is properly applied) that is the opposite of their physical characteristics. This is the basic premise. Some people can get their minds around this and others can not, but it is as simple an explanation as one will find. What this advocacy asks of the public is that we should accept the person for their gender identity despite their bearing sexual characteristics to the contrary. Now what they mean to do, I believe, is to argue for that individual to have the same right of freedom of conscience, the right to be who they are. What comes across quite often is what seems to be a demand not only to accord an equal right of conscience, but to further make acceptance compulsory under the law. This is where they find the resistance, which whether one agrees or not must, to be honest about it, be expected. These advocates compound their error by almost instantaneously equating the lack of acceptance to denial of equal rights.
The highest profile of this dispute on the national stage has been the controversial North Carolina “bathroom law”. One of the justifications for this piece of legislation was to protect the public from those who might attempt to abuse transgender accomodation by assuming the condition falsely in order to engage in acts of voyeurism or exhibitionism. As a point of law this may be a valid concern. The number of cases where such a thing might occur probably do outnumber the instances of a true, clinically defined case of transgenderism. By the best measure available the trangendered represent less than one percent of the population. Though it’s intent may have been more benign the law does have a problem. Whether intended or not the law does result in a targeting of individuals who are guilty of nothing more than having a condition not of their own choice. There are already statutes that prohibit under penalty such behaviors. Assuming that those statutes were properly crafted they would apply equally to all, regardless of sex and/or gender identity. The only thing that this law is guilty of is redundancy. It is more symbolic, like “hate crime” provisions, which ironically I suspect most transgender advocates would approve of. It certainly does not warrant such punitive measures as the economic boycotts that these same advocacy groups and their political allies have attempted to foment against the state.
The ironies reach farther than this. Transgender advocates admonish not to discriminate against an individual on the basis of their sexual characteristics. The sexual characteristic, like race, is incidental. We are not to discriminate on this basis. The individual is to be treated under the law on the merits of their character and their individual identity irrespective of those factors of race and sex, as matters of fact, creed or religion as matters of choice. The transgendered are to be accorded the same freedom of conscience on the basis of their individual identity the same as any other citizen. This is a good principle, one I find no quarrel with.
Now let’s try applying this principle uniformly. To be sure not each and every transgender advocate is going to be solidly allied with all other progressives or all of their political positions. It is fair, however, to say that a clear majority of them would be. It is from this field of political voices that the chorus has been raised calling out the racism and bigotry of the angry white male responsible for placing Donald Trump in the white house and republicans in a majority of both houses of congress. They presume that the very condition of race and sex are to be used as the criteria for judging the conscience and motive of the majority of the electorate. The fact that this electorate has soundly refuted a progressive agenda is “blamed” on the white race and the male sex. Ergo, white males are racists, bigots, homophobes, etc. Van Jones on election night characterized a republican victory as a “whitelash”. Any opposition to open borders, climate change orthodoxy, gay marriage, transgender rights, firearms restrictions, abortion on demand or any other tenet of the progressive creed is automatically rooted in racism. Apparently our individual identity, unlike the individual identity of the transgendered, is not to be judged on just that. It is perfectly fine to impugn our judgement and motive on the basis of sex, gender, race, age and religion. We oppose the progressive agenda only because we wish to preserve the perceived privilege of being old, white, male and christian. Because of those factors alone we are reactionary, resistant to the demogaphic tide and lacking the powers of discernment to properly appreciate their enlightened vision for our society. They can presume that our judgements are made solely on the basis of the exclusive benefit to our own demographic group. It would never occur to these people that perhaps what we judge to be good for ourselves might just as easily be good for all.
Our objections to illegal and unrestrained immigration into our country are predicated not upon race. They are rooted in the same considerations that progressives insist that we must accord to the transgendered. They insist that we judge them not based on their sex, rather on who they are, their individual identity. This asks that we make our judgement based upon such things as character, ability, skills, how that person lives their life and how they may treat others or interact as a part of society. When we remove race from any consideration and weigh only those factors, as we are told we should, we can conclude fairly and rationally that flooding our society with low or unskilled people who do not speak our language and will not assimilate into our existing culture does not translate to the best interests of our nation. Our aim is not to preserve a “white” America. Our aim is to preserve a healthy consitutional republic that is to the benefit of all who inhabit it, regardless of the demographic composition. We wish to share in what we have enjoyed, not suffer under what progressives have envisioned for us.