This article originally appeared on 28 February 2018, but given National Review’s latest foray, it warrants an update.
The conservative case for…Time for a Compromise on Transgenderism
At present, it feels we’re still in the immature, demagogic phase. In some quarters, it remains fashionable to act theatrically repulsed by transgender people, emphasize their weirdness, and make populist appeals to the preposterousness of women asking to be called “him” or surgeons amputating penises and so forth. Yet this seems more cathartic than anything, in the same way that showy judgment of gays did a generation earlier. As with homosexuality in the 1980s and ’90s, the loud revulsion of critics conceals a fading interest in actually attempting to “solve” transgenderism, as even those most offended by it seem to quietly regard purported cures as quackish and authoritarian…
Part one of the compromise will be borne by cultural conservatives and traditionalists. It asks for broad tolerance for the reality that transgender men and women exist, and are entitled to basic human dignity, just like everyone else. This does not mean having to morally endorse behavior many may believe runs contrary to God’s plan for a just and healthy society, but it does imply that acts like ostentatiously calling people by pronouns they don’t want, or belittling their personal struggle, are boorish and petty.
Update to the Update: NRO contra NRO.
Somewhat amusingly, we’re now reliant on progressives to make the conservative case. Pace The ‘gay cake’ fight: why the bakers had a right to refuse this order.
In 2014 Gareth Lee, an LGBT activist, asked Ashers bakery in Belfast to make a cake decorated with images of the Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie, together with the slogan: “Support gay marriage”. Ashers declined the order as the message ran contrary to the owners’ Christian beliefs.
The Equality Commission, to whom Lee took his case, sued Ashers for discrimination. The courts found the bakery to have unlawfully discriminated against Lee on grounds of sexual orientation and religious belief or political opinion. Last week, the supreme court heard Ashers’ appeal against that decision. It’s not expected to deliver its verdict for a few months…
“Although I strongly disagree with Ashers’ opposition to marriage equality,” the veteran LGBT and human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell has observed, “in a free society neither they nor anyone else should be compelled to facilitate a political idea that they oppose.” He is right.
Here, of course, the left will brook no compromise. You must not only bake the cake, but decorate it. It’s as if progressives don’t believe there really are such things as non-progressives, that they are real people, and that their feewings might be hurt (yes, it’s a joke, in anticipation of comments that might be made).
Perhaps we ought to have a search and discover which progressive point has not been adopted by conservatives. I can’t think of one. Can you?
Original article begins here:
Almost exclusively, articles about how to graciously surrender to the left. About how progressive positions can be seen, if viewed in just the right light, as conservative after all. About how if we capitulate the culture wars gracefully, our progressive masters will love us and speak well of us.
Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.
A few recent examples (all emphases mine).
- “The conservative case for a carbon tax in Canada.” Author admits conservatives are “nearly unified in their opposition to the implementation of a carbon tax, or carbon pricing.” But by surrendering to the left, “Conservatives can show that they really are interested in conservation and sustainability, opening up the Conservative brand to a wider range of the voting population, while not being forced to abandon their principles.” Except the principle of avoiding unnecessary and confiscatory taxes.
- “Conservative Case for Gay Marriage“. From a Senior fellow at the Brookings Institute comes the argument that because some (public) conservatives disrespected their own marriages, therefore so-called same-sex marriage “is part and parcel of a re-commitment to family values, not a flight from them.” Thus “Same-sex marriage is socially conservative.” Never mind that sodomy is a sin that cries out to Heaven for justice.
- “The Conservative Case for Women’s Issues.” Author says “The culture war is over and we lost.” Which is why conservatives should support “policies addressing family medical leave, paid parental leave, workplace discrimination, gender wage discrimination, an earned income tax credit, childcare incentives and food tax reform.” Conclusion? “There is nothing to fear and everything to gain for conservatives to pursue the quest for happiness for everyone.”
There are many, many more. “The conservative case for single payer,” “The Conservative Case for Unions,” “The Conservative Case for Overturning Citizens United,” “Paul Ryan and the conservative case for President Trump to keep DACA,” “The conservative case for SSM,” and on and on. Try it yourself.
It isn’t only conservative-case-for keywords that signal retreat. There are many ways of advertising submission. The most common is to feign exhaustion. To claim the tide is so overwhelming that there is no use in fighting. Best to abandon the cause and save our energy for another battle.
A great demonstration of this from a (said-to-be) conservative author is in the article “It’s Time for Legalized Prostitution.” This was in Slate, where the author then played the same role as does David Brooks does now at the New York Times.
This is Lent, so go to Confession, repent of your sins, and if you are not ready to thrown in the spiritual towel, you can click here to finish the fight.