Imagine a young female student walking into a college campus restroom for women. What meets her is a tall, bearded man. She is startled and shrieks: “Hey! This is the ladies’ room! You don’t belong in here!” The man turns to her and smugly replies with a deep, dark, booming voice: “I belong here just as much as you do, dear! I identify as a woman!”
As late as in the 1990s, this could have been a funny sketch in a sitcom. Not anymore. Now it is a reality, and no one is laughing. The troubling end to this story could very well be that this young woman ends up expelled from college for being “transphobic.” Saying that someone needs to have a vagina to be a woman can now easily be labeled “hate speech.” Worst case, you could lose your job for that.
Until very recently, transgenderism was defined as a mental disorder. Transgenderism is similar to other forms of self-identification errors. People exist who self-identify as an amputee, even if all their limbs are intact. In some cases, the urge to become what they identify as has led patients to willfully amputate one of their legs. Most people have no problem understanding that both of these mental issues are pathological.
However, transgendered people are unique in that their disorder has been granted cultural acceptance and in some cases political rights. In some countries, you can now specify your gender, irrespective of your biological sex. Even if you are biologically male, you can demand to be legally treated as if you were a woman.
Consider what the equivalent right for people who identify as an amputee would be: even if you have both legs and both arms, you would be able to be legally recognized as handicapped for the sole reason that you identify as an amputee.
If you think that sounds somewhat disturbing, wait until you hear the legal ramifications of such recognition. As a self-identified amputee, you should obviously then have the right to use the handicapped toilets, even if you have all your limbs intact and are perfectly able. You should also have the right to use parking spaces reserved for the disabled. In some cases, governments have special disability programs. You would be entitled to gain access to those programs too.
But why stop there? If a transgendered man can be legally recognized as a woman based on his whim, why then not as a mother? It does not matter that he has never actually given birth to a child. The important thing is that he self-identifies as a mother. In some countries, this status would entitle him to paid maternity leave. He would also be entitled to child support from the person he self-identifies as the father of his imaginary children.
What if he self-identifies as black? He could then be eligible for affirmative action, even though he is biologically white. And what if he self-identifies as a Canadian? Obviously then he should be granted Canadian citizenship. Surely he could also self-identify as the president of the United States. This would grant him access to the nuclear codes and Air Force One, right?
These examples may seem like a parody, but they are merely identity politics taken to their logic conclusion. The examples are unfortunately more realistic than they may appear. Consider one final example. What if someone self-identifies as the victim of a crime? He will then be able to demand the power of the state to punish his alleged perpetrator. It may sound like yet another hypothetical absurdity but is, in fact, a reality today in some areas of the law. Hate speech is a prominent example. If people hate what you say, they can label your statement as hate speech, and you could be convicted in a court of law for violating their right not to be offended.
There are no objective criteria for hate speech. The only requirement is that some alleged victim self-identifies a statement as hate speech. Think about that. Today someone already has the legal power to put people in jail based purely on self-identified victimhood.
It should be clear by now that granting political rights based on self-identification leads to disaster when taken to their logical conclusion. The result would be the complete negation of a civilized, cooperative society. Even in the relatively modest cases of transgender toilets and hate speech, identity politics has already stirred up fear, hate, and chaos. Imagine then what would happen if it were allowed to spread to other areas of the law.
Identity politics is a horrible idea. Subjective laws lead to polarization, conflict and ultimately civil war. Laws must be based on what everyone can mutually agree upon, irrespective of feelings and self-identifications. Therefore, there is no place for identity politics in a peaceful society.