Welcome to the Great Bathroom War of 2016.
It isn’t about bathrooms of course, we all know that. But what is it about?
As the Attorney General says about the current bathroom war in North Carolina:
This action is about a great deal more than just bathrooms…
… none of us can stand by when a state enters the business of legislating identity and insists that a person pretend to be something they are not, or invents a problem that doesn’t exist as a pretext for discrimination and harassment.
First of all, there is a factual error here, since it was actually the city of Charlotte that invented the problem. There was no need for the city of Charlotte to declare that strange men in dresses have a legal right to take dumps in the ladies room, because transvestites who can reasonably pass as members of the opposite sex have been using the wrong bathroom and getting away with since, well, probably since public restrooms were invented.
It is not a social problem, and de minimis non curat lex.
But we have culture wars to fight and anything, however minimis, which we can use as a cudgel with which to beat the opposition, even if it is Bruce Jenner’s severed penis, will be weaponized.
The problem having been created by Charlotte, the North Carolina legislature exacerbated it like a bunch of hamfisted rednecks when simply abrogating the Charlotte law would have been enough.
The heart of the problem, the philosophical core, is this business about legislating identity. The official position of the feds in this matter is that identity is not a given, but an invention. The truth of course is somewhere in between: some aspects of who we are are givens, and we must accept them, and learn to work with them. Other aspects of our personality are creations, either of the culture or of ourselves. The distinction between what is a given and what is a creation is not at all clear.
But rather than accept the somewhat ambiguous reality of who we are the feds are saying we are (or ought to be) 100% self invented, and anyone who says otherwise is either a member of the KKK or quivering in fear. In the mind of the federal government, you are either of the Jean Paul Sartre school of philosophy, or you are a drooling bigot.
(Yes, bigot. If you don’t believe me, read the rest of the Attorney General’s statement. Being opposed to trannies taking dumps in the ladies room is equated with white supremacy.)
Sex, of course, is a big part of who we are that is determined. Any rational assessment of the situation would conclude that the people who are “pretending to be something they are not” are the guys wearing dresses and going to the ladies room. They may be doing this because of a fetish or because they suffer under delusion. One might humor them in person, be polite, and call them Catlyn when they are around for fear of hurting their feelings. One might even look the other way when they step into the ladies room, but the state has no business participating in their private delusions.
That the state should not legislate identities is obvious, but that is not what North Carolina is doing. North Carolina is attempting to recognize realities. The fact that it is being done in a ham-handed manner is not the problem to the equally hamfisted feds. What the federal government objects to is that North Carolina does not agree with a tenuous (and rather fatuous) philosophical position.
This is ideology run amok.
Proponents of gender ideology always ask questions like “whom does it hurt if a person of ambiguous sex walks into the ladies room?” The answer of course is nobody, which is why there should not be a law. Then the governments declares that gender is a pure act of self-invention and therefore using the ladies room is civil right to which only bigots can possibly object. The newly minted “bigots” then get fired, sued, and marginalized, showing us very quickly who gets hurt.