On Feb. 22, the Trump administration reversed the Obama-era policy which requires public schools to allow transgender students to use whatever bathrooms and locker rooms they say corresponds with their professed gender identity, or risk the loss of federal funding.
The response from Trump’s detractors is predictable:
I’m broadly supportive of transgender people living however they like, the only exceptions which immediately come to mind are children and athletics.
I nonetheless think President Trump’s decision was correct.
Ben Shapiro over at The Daily Wire had a few thoughts to share I felt worth considering.
1. This Is Not The Federal Government’s Job. The federal government has no role in redefining sex for an entire country, particularly not under laws like the Civil Rights Act specifically designed to protect biological women from biological men in many cases. This is an issue for states and localities, if it is an issue for government at all – which it isn’t, since assaults are already prosecuted, and transgender people have equal access to protection from the police.
This is the easiest point of agreement for me and the main reason I support this reversal.
When the Obama policy first came down, I couldn’t shake the thought of “what if this were a policy I wouldn’t have liked that was rammed through this way?”
Well, the progressive-left now finds themselves on the wrong end of a presidential administration that wields enormous power.
Whether you agree with the policy or not, it’s worth considering that when both the left and the right freak out about what each other’s respective opposition will do once in power, it’s probably time to peel back at executive authority, even if that means giving up terrifying powers of the state which you might exploit to get what you want — as well as the other way around.
The past two years have been an interesting political journey for me after quitting left-wing politics and reconsidering everything I’ve ever believed in.
Some trips have been shorter than others, but the idea of limited government has appealed to me more than I ever considered before.
Though I haven’t been a fan of Obama for a long time, I do remember sections of the right behaving in ludicrous ways, such as claiming that Obama is a “mole for the Muslim Brotherhood“.
Now the left is so hysterically scared of Trump, they’ve become like the very people they laugh at in what one person cautions against as the “Alex Jonesification of the Left“.
Shapiro makes another point which needs to be discussed:
3. Sex Is Not Malleable. Nobody is arguing that transgender people shouldn’t be allowed to think whatever they want about themselves. They have the right to dress how they want, act how they want, and identify however they want. But their right to wave their fist – just like everybody else’s right – ends when they hit a nose. And mandating that everybody arbitrarily shift the definition of biological sex to self-identification – and threatening to punish those who don’t – is an imposition on the entire society. Society cannot simply begin undermining crucial truths like sex because some people are susceptible to more mental health problems due to that truth. That would be an argument for doing away with truth generally.
Yet the left refuses to acknowledge any of these ideas. They want a new civil rights movement, and that means government action, even without Constitutional or legal mandate or even biological support.
This is the point I struggle the most with.
Again, I’m broadly supportive of transgender people living how they please, but the notion that someone can issue an executive order that enacts radical, sweeping, unilateral changes regarding fundamental truths such as redefining sex for an entire country is more than slightly unnerving.
This is especially so considering that there are people who make demonstratively untrue claims such as “biological sex is a social construct” as though chromosomes don’t exist.
It’s not just dramatically untrue, but an assault on objective truth itself.
There are underlying fundamental questions about this issue that can’t be asked or discussed because the progressive-left took an issue that is as poorly understood as transgenderism and decided to be extraordinarily aggressive about it, proclaiming as if from on high that it’s “the next civil rights frontier” and smearing dissenters or anyone who questions it as bigots.
A troubling development related to this are the rise of confected, alphabet-soup pronouns and endlessly-multiplying fabricated genders.
Writing those into laws against discrimination or hate speech is a recipe for madness, as evidenced by — if you’ll pardon the language — some really strange shit coming out of universities these days:
As a side note, there’s a pretty good chance this stuff is publicly funded, like the study to determine whether glaciers are sexist for which the taxpayers were stung with a $709,000 bill.
There’s a soft authoritarianism underlying the notion of writing subjective perceptions of self into law.
It’s a kind of authoritarianism that doesn’t come wrapped in a flag or thumping a bible.
It doesn’t stomp around in jackboots or bear the menacing scowl of a die hard party ideologue who snarls through gritted teeth that you must comply “because the party says so”.
It’s a therapeutic authoritarianism wrapped in the language of “diversity and inclusion”, “human rights” and “multiculturalism” — dissent construed or criminalized as “hate speech” and “bigotry” — which demands that you dismiss fundamental truths and believe that there are five lights when you know there are only four.
It’s an authoritarianism with a kind-seeming face, bearing a smile that doesn’t quite reach the eyes but hides a knife behind the back of a “diversity commissar” who is all too ready to strike anyone who gets someone’s “preferred pronoun” wrong.
There are plenty of valid questions to ask about this issue, but it’s impossible to have any constructive conversations about it when any discussion outside progressive-left orthodoxy is met with incandescent hostility and even violence.
Canada is a country in which comedians are hauled in front of human rights tribunals for telling jokes, and its parliament recently passed Bill C-16, which writes into law protections of gender identity and expression without bothering to define what exactly that means.
Above all, the Obama-era transgender bathroom policy should serve as a stark warning as to the expansion of government power and what could be written into law and policy for the sake of being “on the right side of history”:
Clarification/Correction: Bill C-16 was passed by the Canadian House of Commons, but has not yet been approved by their Senate.
According to Dr. Peterson, who has followed this extensively, Bill C-16 passed second reading on Mar. 2: