Transgender insanity: Another big battle in the war on common sense
I'm guessing you have already noticed that there is a war on common sense going on all around us, but have you heard about this recent assault in that war? It's a doozy. A women's shelter is being sued for turning away a man dressed in a nightgown. Really.
According to the reports, a very large and very inebriated man dressed in a nightgown showed up at a women's shelter in downtown Anchorage, Alaska seeking entry. He was not admitted to stay the night.
As a result, the shelter is now embroiled in a legal battle. The Anchorage Equal Rights Commission (AERC), an administrative agency within the municipality of Anchorage, has brought a discrimination case against the shelter. Because the person who was turned away, one Jessica Doe, claims to identify as a female, the shelter is charged with discriminating against Doe on the basis of "sex and gender identity." The strange phrase "identifies as a female" simply means that Doe, despite being male, claims to be female.
This story is a perfect example of the war on common sense.
On one side, we have plain common sense. The facility is, after all, a women's shelter, where the women sleep in one large room with many beds. The woman in charge of the shelter said this about the discrimination charge: "At first I didn't even think of legal stuff. I thought, Oh my, all I have to do is explain this. Because it was so clear."
On the other side, we have an administrative agency using the power of government to impose the dictates of political correctness — and making it starkly clear that political correctness is the sworn enemy of common sense. The Hope Center is a Christian charity. Its noble purpose of helping women, many of whom are fleeing men who have abused them, is being sacrificed on the altar of political correctness. According to the dictates of political correctness and the AERC, the "gender identity" Doe claims trumps biological reality. Moreover, that claim by this one individual also overrides the very purpose of the shelter — to provide shelter for women in need.
Whether the Jessica Doe case is a put-up job by some leftist group or whether Doe is acting on his own initiative, the bottom line is the same: only the crazy dictates of political correctness backed by the coercive power of the administrative state make travesties like this one possible. Agencies of federal, state, and local government are using "administrative law" to attack common sense and force citizens, charities, and businesses to yield to the demands of political correctness.
Anchorage is making a notable effort in this case, but bureaucrats in New York City have already progressed beyond merely using administrative law to force Americans to yield to the demands of males who claim to be female. In 2016, New York City released a list of 31 "genders" approved by the city's Commission on Human Rights. The 31 genders listed include "drag king," "drag queen," "butch," "femme queen," "gender fluid," "gender blender," "gender gifted," "gender bender," and "femme person of transgender experience." The ruling imposed fines of up to $250,000 for businesses that fail to address one of these folks by their preferred pronouns. In addition, people in New York City may use the bathroom or locker room of their choice — based on their "gender identity" — without having to show any kind of documentation or proof of their gender identities.
The chasm between the common sense of regular Americans on the one hand and the political correctness of America's progressive elite and their followers on the other goes a long way toward explaining the strange, polarized politics we have in our country today. Once upon a time, elite Americans and ordinary Americans shared a commonsense understanding of the nature of reality and an unwillingness to use political will to force Americans to knuckle under to bizarre ideas from beyond the fringe of society.
The gap between ordinary Americans and the progressives may help us understand Trump's election. Trump ran as a "common sense conservative." Perhaps voters longing for the return of common sense to American life helped make Trump's surprising victory possible.
Robert Curry serves on the Board of Directors of the Claremont Institute. He is the author of Common Sense Nation: Unlocking the Forgotten Power of the American Idea and Reclaiming Common Sense: Finding Truth in a Post-Truth World, due out in September. Both are from Encounter Books.