Monday, May 09, 2016

NC Sues DoJ Over Bathroom Bill

   I'm not sure what the right policy is. My current hunch is that the least disruptive policy would be to--at least provisionally--let people use whichever restroom they can get away with. I take it that's actually the de facto status quo.
   I can't see NC holding out for very long. The PC left, liberals, the media, etc. seem to be unstoppable on this point, and they've basically decided that whatever the trangender community says must be accepted without question, and that any qualms about it are bigoted and must be crushed.
   Actually, much of the current leftish orthodoxy is completely wrong, and other parts of it are uncertain to say the least. The new orthodoxy has it that people like Caitlyn Jenner are women But that is obviously false, as everyone who is not blinded by politics can see. In fact, I'm far more concerned about the left's wild-eyed insistence that obviously false things are true than I am about any other aspect of the issue. I'm unclear on the practical and policy questions. But there's no doubt that we should be concerned that a powerful and influential segment of the American left is insisting that black is white. We should also be concerned that most of the rest of us seem to be going along with it. A big swath of the left is not only insisting that black is white, it's shrieking that to believe that black is black is bigotry on the level of racism. That's just plain creepy as hell, and it's a very, very big problem.
   One could go on and on about the errors on the pro-trangender left...but I'll confine myself to just one more: the concept "gender identity" is (a) virtually incoherent and (b) utterly irrelevant. "Gender identity" is defined in a large number of different (and incompatible) ways. Sometimes it's defined as the sex you think you are...but that doesn't make any sense, because that's about sex, not gender. At best it would be one's sex identity--or, more accurately, sex self-concept. (The term 'identity' is carefully-chosen, because it's ambiguous as between what you are and what you think you are...) It is sometimes characterized as the gender you think you are...but that doesn't make any sense either. The genders are masculine and feminine (and maybe androgynous). They're behavioral categories, and few people fail to realize where they are on that spectrum--if you act masculine, then you're masculine. If you act feminine, you're feminine. If someone thinks of himself as masculine, then all he has to do is act that way and--voila!--he's masculine. More to the point: restrooms are not segregated by gender, they're segregated by sex. So gender and "gender identity" (even if that latter made any sense) are just irrelevant.
   That's why NC's argument that they're not discriminating is a powerful one: they really are just insisting that people use public restrooms in accordance with the ordinary system that everyone else abides by. The DoJ's insistence that policy should be made on the basis of "gender identity" turns on a novel and confused use of an incoherent concept that has nothing to do with the current system. It is to take a shoddy, politically-motivated term/pseudo-concept from women's and gender studies--perhaps the most disreputable and politically radical sector of academia--and make policy on the base of it. Worse, it is to insist that the policy based on the pseudo-concept is the most obvious common-sense. And that any deviation from it is bigotry.
   Which, again, is not to say that things might not be better all around were the system different. In fact, the system of sex-segregated public restrooms is one of those grubby human institutions that works well, but is hard to justify at the level of principle. But pretending that NC is doing something crazy, violating rights, and discriminating seems utterly false. (Their intentions might be bad...but they might not. I don't know. I do know that the majority of the population is going to be in favor of the NC bill, and that this should be a political question, given that there is no clear discrimination. Different states may choose to deal with all this differently...but it's a matter to be decided by the democratic system.)
   Again, according to my current hunch, the NC bill isn't the greatest idea anyone ever had...but it might be our only hope of putting the brakes on the runaway train of the incoherent new orthodoxy on the left. So it might be worth it even if late we decided for something like a don't ask, don't tell policy anyway.


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