A couple weeks ago, author Michelle Goldberg wrote an excellent article for Slate about how conservatives uncomfortable over the Transgender bathroom issue are co-opting Left-wing rhetoric to push back … for instance releasing a video of female rape and sexual abuse victims describing how men in bathrooms, trans or not, is an instant “trigger” for re-traumatization.
It’s an irony that even conservatives are now employing “victim mentality” tactics typically used by SJWs and Feminists against them … and in the process highlighting the contradictions of Feminism and Progressivism. To quote Goldberg:
Those contradictions, however, are real. There’s no coherent ideology in which traumatized students have the right to be shielded from material that upsets them—be it Ovid, 9½ Weeks, or the sentiments of Laura Kipnis—but not from undressing in the presence of people with different genitalia. If we’ve decided that people have the right not to feel unsafe—as opposed to the right not to be unsafe—then what’s the standard for refusing that right to conservative sexual abuse victims? Is it simply that we don’t believe them when they describe the way their trauma manifests?
Which underscores the very inherent instability of a strategy relying on the Politics of Fragility … when weakness becomes a corrupted form of strength, then we all suffer for it. Moreover, when our public policy is based more on feelings than logic, then we as a society become paralyzed in making tough decisions, being accountable for our own mistakes, or willingly changing course when needed.
The whole Transgender issue highlights the problem of basing your political platform on such an approach, as Feminists and Progressives and SJWs have done:
Some radical feminists believe that these contradictions should make people on the left reconsider their commitment to trans rights. Certainly, creepy men can and probably will take advantage of trans-friendly bathroom laws to try to prey on women. Shortly after Washington state allowed trans people to use bathrooms and changing rooms that correspond with their gender identity, a man barged into the women’s locker room at a local pool, announcing, “The law has changed, and I have the right to be here”
The point NOT being whether there is any merit to the risk of sexual assault due to allowing Transgender individuals bathroom access opposite their biological sex. That is debatable. Rather, the point here is that the language being used circumvents our ability to make sound policy decisions. It stifles rather than engages rational debate.
In short, it highlights how the tactics of Feminists/Progressives/SJWs undermine our Western Liberal principles. Particularly from a Classical Liberal perspective. In other words, Progressives are NOT liberals.
Another glaring example of the above is Oklahoma’s move last week to pass a bill that requires students in schools to use the bathroom of their assigned biological sex at birth, unless special accommodations are needed for their sincerely held religious beliefs. Clever, really.
You see, right-wing conservatives are now arguing that people should be able to violate legal or societal norms based on their beliefs. Maybe it’s that they believe in a Christian God … or maybe it’s that they believe they are a woman trapped in a man’s body. There is no way to prove the validity of either belief. So if transgenders can use whatever bathroom they want, why shouldn’t, say, Christians be able to refuse to cater gay weddings or pay for birth control? It would be hypocritical to argue otherwise.
The whole transgender issue is problematic for Progressives on the far left … because it exposes the weaknesses of adopting the Politics of Fragility as a platform.
It was interesting to see even President Obama criticize Political Correctness and the fragility of many college students to ideas they disagree with at a commencement speech at Rutgers a couple weeks ago, even though some of the President’s other comments were clearly criticisms aimed at Trump. Nonetheless they highlight the fact that even among mainstream Democrats like Obama, there is some understanding beginning to surface that Progressives and their Politics of Fragility are a real risk to Liberalism and Western Democratic principles.
You can’t simultaneously seek to stifle debate while maintaining that you are merely pushing for more “freedom” … because eventually those same tactics will be turned against you.