Pluralism Was Once a Liberal Virtue

There has been a great deal of misinformation about this case, especially among LGBT advocates and media. No, he did not refuse to wait on gay customers. He refused to create a same-sex wedding cake.

Pluralism, in terms of accepting and allowing people to act on their own beliefs, faith-based or otherwise, has been replaced by the left’s pseudo “diversity,” which demands lock-step adherence to progressive orthodoxy.

Title VII and whether 2+2=5 because it would be good for social justice if it did

An email from GLAAD (formerly the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) declares that:

Attorney General Jeff Sessions just reversed an Obama administration policy that protects transgender people from workplace discrimination. …

The law in question is Title VII, a 1964 civil rights law which prohibits workplace discrimination on the basis of sex. The Obama administration issued policy guidance to clarify that “sex” includes gender identity, which means that if a trans person experiences discrimination, violence, or harassment at work, they could pursue legal recourse. But now Jeff Sessions has erased that protection with a single memo.

The Trump administration is putting LGBTQ people at risk every day — and every day they’re showing us just how far they’ll go to attack this community.

However, as I posted on Facebook:

The above Washington Times article reports that:

“The Department of Justice cannot expand the law beyond what Congress has provided,” said DOJ spokesman Devin O’Malley. “Unfortunately, the last administration abandoned that fundamental principle, which necessitated today’s action.”

Mr. Sessions’ memo goes on to say that it should not “be construed to condone mistreatment on the basis or gender identity, or to express a policy view on whether Congress should amend Title VII or provide different or additional protection.”

“The Justice Department must and will continue to affirm the dignity of all people, including transgender individuals,” he wrote.

Liberal-leaning and conservative-leaning appellate courts have split on how elastic interpretations of Title VII’s prohibition on sex discrimination can be, and whether the law can be stretched to include sexual orientation and gender identity. Those favoring a more creative approach to interpreting the language of the law will understandably oppose the Trump administration’s position. But characterizing it as a “blatant attack on transgender people,” as GLAAD does, is just more partisan hackery.

In Memoriaum

Playboy has been supportive of GLAAD, at least in the organization’s early days. I suppose GLAAD’s current leadership prefers Harvey Weinstein’s money.

Another view:

And from Camille Paglia:

More. From the religious conservative Calvinist International comes a reflection on Hefner that in many ways mirrors what the feminist-left says regarding objectification of women and all that (e.g., in porn “the body of the other is just a collection of holes within which you can find different forms of stimulation and release”), but adding in a critique of homosexual relations. And the essay notes:

In porn men can escape from the limitations that actual woman place upon the satisfaction of their sexual desire and get sexual release on their own libidinous terms.

Well, yes.

Grievance Collection and Victim Portrayal

He further writes:

Our attention is increasingly being diverted to so-called “intersectional” issues outside the shared realm of essential matters of LGBT equality or community-centric concerns – accompanied by the attendant presumption that sexual orientation conveys proscribed political perspectives. Moreover, this implies there is now a lot less on the “gay agenda” commanding group attention.

We witnessed this dichotomy last summer when “No Justice No Pride” radicals pilloried wholesale the LGBT community and local Pride celebrations in multiple cities for not protesting pipelines, prisons, police, and the lending policies of banks.

And he adds:

If we’re to expand our sights on issues of community concern, we are notably casting our gaze in the wrong direction.

Given that LGBT entrepreneurs and small-to-moderate-size enterprise owners and operators are widely estimated to represent fully 10 percent or more of our demographic cohort, much higher than that of the population as a whole, community leaders might better turn their attention toward issues of concern to those engaged in business.

Progressive Inquisitors

In another case, not quite as clear cut but raising similar issues: Should opposition to marriage equality and a belief that Obama’s bathroom order was an unnecessary overreach of authority disqualify a candidate from leading NASA?

And another:

As someone commented on another forum, “these people [the hold the views that Obama and Clinton held until 4-5 years ago, and that was Michigan law until Obergefell. And, “could a city council that supports the Second Amendment exclude a farmer who bans guns on his farm?”

Scott Shackford blogged about this in June, when East Lansing denied the owners of County Mills Farms access to the farmer’s market. He noted that (1) the farm itself is not within city limits, (2) state law does not cover discrimination on basis of sexual orientation, (3) the farm itself is not violating any laws by refusing to host same-sex marriage, (4) there is no evidence that when they’re at the farmer’s market, they’re violating the city’s antidiscrimination laws in any way.

The Case for Not Compelling Creative Expression

The libertarian Cato Institute filed influential amicus briefs in support of overturning sodomy laws (in Lawrence, cited by Justice Kennedy in his opinion) and in favor of marriage equality (in Obergefell). In keeping with a principled commitment to individual rights and against unnecessary government coercion, Cato has now filed an amicus in favor of a baker who chose not to create a same-sex wedding cake.

The Perils of Identity Politics

I don’t agree with all of Mark Lilla’s positions—he is, after all, an abortion-rights liberal—but his critique of the Democratic party’s fatal rejection of unifying themes in favor of identity politics is spot on.

As Lilla told the New Yorker:

…when we go out on the stump, it makes no sense to call out to various groups, as Hillary Clinton did, and inevitably leave people out. She would list the groups that liberal Democrats care about today: African-Americans, gays and lesbians, women. One out of every four Americans is evangelical. Thirty-seven percent of Americans live in the South. Seventeen percent, as many as there are, of African-Americans in this country live in rural areas. There are different ways in which people think of themselves, right? And those people did not feel called out to. …

When some of the campus craziness happens, it reveals something that is there in the university that doesn’t always take the craziest form. And the way in which we have ended up educating, and in my view miseducating, the liberal élite in this country for political action.

What I see, essentially, is that, to the extent that [college students] are political, their political interest is circumscribed by either how they see their own identity or what they think identity issues are. I’m struck by the lack of interest in military affairs, class structure, economics that’s not economics in order to get into business school. There’s a lack of interest in American religion. All of these subjects that might help you understand the country in a richer way. They’re very much drawn to classes that are about themselves….

And so we end up producing liberal élites who are clueless about the rest of the country, and clueless about all sorts of other themes, especially class. … We end up talking to ourselves and training young people in this limited range of issues that tend to be self-referential, so that when they go out there, and are ready to engage, they’re incapable of talking in large themes.

Judging from many of the negative comments Lilla’s interview received from the left, it looks like many base Democrats are intent on keeping their party limited to wealthy liberals plus minorities, overwhelmingly on the Northeast and West coasts plus Chicago. From the New Yorker comments to their Facebook posts of the interview (it was posted more than once), for example:

White supremacy, not just for the right anymore but also the left!

Giving in to racism isn’t the answer.

Lilla seems to be saying that liberals need to accept people who will not accept them in return.

Lilla’s working definition of “narcissism” is when folks don’t behave as though straight white men are inherently more important than everyone else.

Why is it always the same looking white professor guy who is critiquing identity politics?

Utter illogic. Lilla suggests that liberals’ willingness to embrace diversity and honor difference is an example of snobbery–when it is, in fact, literally the opposite.

Of course, in most of these instances, Lilla said no such thing.

Taxpayer Funding, Adoption and the Kids

The Washington Blade reports:

In Texas, transgender rights supporters thwarted an attempt by state leaders to enact legislation that would have barred transgender people from using the restroom consistent with their gender identity. However, Texas—along with Alabama and South Dakota—enacted laws allowing taxpayer-funded adoption agencies to deny placements in homes based on religious objections, which could result in discrimination against LGBT families.

State transgender bathroom bans are an overreach of state power, imposing state authority into an area where no discernable problem seems to exists. Libertarian-minded people should oppose that sort of intrusion.

The second issue isn’t so clear cut, however. State funding of religiously affiliated social service organizations is now pervasive, placing private religious agencies in a bind. Despite the left’s spin, allowing religious agencies to operate according to their faith principles, even if they receive some state funding, is an arguable point. As Scott Shackford wrote at Reason two years ago (quoting Walter Olson, an IGF cofounder):

Much as with the controversies over bakers and florists, being denied service by one agency does not actually impact a gay couple’s ability to find and adopt children at all. But eliminating Catholic Charities from the pool reduces the number of people able to help place these children. It’s the children who are punished by the politicization of adoption, not Catholic Charities.

This is especially important when dealing with older children or children with special medical needs. … Allowing both sides (and others as well) to play their role as they see fit benefits all children in the system.

As for the concern that some adoption agencies take taxpayer money and then discriminate, Olson points out that it’s much more expensive to the taxpayers to leave children to be raised by the state, not to mention terribly cruel. “If you don’t care about the kids or the families, at least care about the taxpayers,” Olson says. But you should probably care about the kids, too.

The Blade reports that the two Texas legislative developments were a “mixed bag.” Others who are more liberty focused might see it as a wini-win.