Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Next (Transgender) Frontier: Changing Birth Certificates

   While I was reading the article, the title was changed from the title I use for this post to "How Easy Is It To Change Your Birth Certificate?"*
   I don't want to sound like a kook,** but this stuff just keeps getting crazier and crazier. We're already being told that we must accept that obvious falsehoods are true (e.g. Caitlyn Jenner is a woman). And we're being told that to deny or even question or even discuss this in any way is "transphobia". Now we're being told something very much like: the past can be changed. If Smith is born male, but decides in adulthood (or childhood?) that he prefers to be thought of (by himself and others) as female, we are now being told that Smith should be able to change public records about his birth. In fact, the European Court of Human Rights has decreed that to deny this is a violation of a person's human rights. Honestly, we've really stepped through the looking-glass at this point. Even if we were to allow such changes, it's utter lunacy to pretend that this is some kind of human right. (Funny how human rights tend to proliferate in accordance with leftist demands, eh? My God, I'm starting to sound like my conservative friends... Could it be that they've been right all along??? The horror...the horror...)
   Of course we currently don't have the technology to change someone's sex. And changing the past is, so far as we can tell, entirely impossible. So this inconsistency has to be resolved in some other way. The demand that birth records be both (i) accurate and (ii) changeable at will is incoherent. This is, in effect, a demand that we cease to keep birth records, and replace them instead with statements of the relevant individuals' beliefs/preferences about his or her characteristics. If the Ministry of Truth tells us that the past has to be mutable with respect to sex, then it would be inconsistent to deny its malleability with respect to all other properties at birth--race, parentage, weight, length, place of birth, and whatever else is recorded.
   One of the culprits here is the term 'gender,' which is used in so many different ways by feminists and gender studies types that it can be used in almost any way they like depending on the context. Since 'gender' is often used as a synonym for 'sex,' they can pretend that what's being changed is gender. Add to this that gender is some super-internal matter of private declaration...and voila! sex is a super-internal matter of private declaration.
   American liberalism is going down a very, very bad road. It's being led into utter incoherence by the illiberal left, and by liberalism's own transformation from a reality-based view that sought to maximize freedom to a feelings-based progressivism that nearly trips over itself to defend and agree with the anti-liberal and anti-reality postpostmodern left. This newest insanity about birth certificates is not exactly the view that we can change the past via feelings...but it's not exactly not that view, either...
   I expect that it will not be possible to talk sense to liberals about this. The cultural left is, I guess, too powerful, and the vanguard of the culture is too influential to turn this all back. The trick is to push these things through while the culture is still off-balance and cowed into silence. But an incoherent metaphysics is strongly implicated in all this. Best-case scenario: that incoherent metaphysics is incoherently contained in this realm. We make up some bullshit story about how sex (oh...sorry!...gender...) is different than everything else. We carve out an unprincipled exception for sex and contain the madness. Worst-case scenario: we are more consistent, and "opinion-makers" start pushing to expand the incoherent metaphysics beyond the realm of sex. We push for consistency by concluding that every feature of every person and every thing is open to change by fiat... More likely than either of those two options is the third option: the left continues to push for a constructionist metaphysics wherever the facts are inconvenient for them. The wacky quasi-metaphysical claims are invoked only on an ad hoc basis, as needed, and only where things can be obfuscated enough to make that crazy view seem plausible. And that will usually mean: with respect to people's declarations about themselves.
   Some day I expect that the scales will fall from people's eyes, and they will look back on all this as we look back on the Satanic Panic, or the Astrology craze... But I'm not sure I'd put much money on that.

* Why the change? Could it be because the original title is...well...a bit too honest about the expansionist goals of this movement?
** Too late...


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