Monday, July 18, 2016

A Very General Problem: The Left, Moral Condemnation and Non-Moral Questions

   This is a very general problem: the left regards disagreement with lefty orthodoxies about, e.g., transgenderism, race, global warming, and many other things as immoral.
   To take the example I currently find most amazing: if you think Caitlyn (nee Bruce) Jenner is a man, then you are a bigot ("transphobic," in the lingo.) Now, this is simply not even close to being true. In fact, it's lunacy. If you think Jenner should be hassled because he wears dresses and is generally feminine, then you are, indeed, an asshole. That's Jenner's business, not yours. But believing that Jenner is male cannot make you an asshole. It's a purely descriptive belief about Jenner. It also happens to be true...but that's more-or-less beside the point. What matters is that it's held for good reasons. Also: there's nothing bad about being a man. There is simply no way that holding a justified belief about whether or not someone has a non-normative property that does not constitute a defect can make you a bigot.
   The effect of this sort of thing is to suppress dissent. That is, of course, also one of its purposes. It's a tactical, rhetorical device for coercing agreement.
   What's amazing and alarming to me is that liberals in general don't seem inclined to object to this. This is something every reasonable person should oppose. It is the moral and political equivalent of morally condemning homosexuality--it's moral condemnation of something that is not immoral--and it's in the service of enforcing one's mere preferences on others.

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