Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Should Libertarians Defend Bruce (Caitlyn) Jenner’s Gender Change?



by Lee Edward Enochs
"A Libertarian on Fire"


"Girls will be boys and boys will be girls
It's a mixed up muddled up shook up world except for Lola
La-la-la-la Lola."

"Lola"
The Kinks


In the last twenty-four hours, the national airwaves and social media has exploded with discussion over former Olympic star Bruce Jenner’s Vanity Fair pictures that depict Jenner in women’s clothes and as a transgender woman. Moreover, Vanity Fair has relayed the news that Jenner now wants to be referred to as a woman named “Caitlyn.”

My conservative Christian friends argue that if a God created a person male, then that individual will ipso facto always remain male and that no amount of cosmetic surgery and hormonal replacement therapy will change what God has ordained from the beginning. "So God created mankind in his own image; in his own image God created them; he created them male and female" (Genesis 1:27). 
As a conservative with decidedly Libertarian views on the relationship between private citizenry and the State, I understand tension between these polar ideological extremes and have mixed feelings about this matter. On one hand, my conservative Christian heritage tends to view Jenner’s gender change as a massive departure from traditional Judeo-Christian mores concerning gender and sexuality.

My conservative Christian friends argue that if a God created a person male, then that individual will ipso facto always remain male and that no amount of cosmetic surgery and hormonal replacement will change what God has ordained from the beginning. Furthermore, many of my conservative friends view Jenner’s gender change as being salacious in nature and a clear sign of the inherent decrepitude of contemporary American society.
However, at the risk of being a schismatic, I am left wondering how I as a Libertarian who adheres to a form of the late Harvard philosopher Robert Nozick’s minimal state view of political philosophy should view Jenner’s gender change. While on one hand, I am a Christian traditionalist who wants to uphold Christian virtue and morality, I am personally struggling with the notion that I should somehow interfere with what Jenner does with his/her own body. 

I am left wondering what Evangelicals and other social conservative opponents of Jenner's gender change want to enforce a form of sharia law wherein the private choices of Americans are regulated by some sort of theocracy. In other words, the days of Jerry Falwell's Moral Majority are over. It's a brave new world out there and I am not sure if it is the role of the Christian church to attempt to legislate morality for the masses.

As Dr. Nozick contends in his epic book, Anarchy, State and Utopia*, that the state exists along the narrow function of protection against force, theft, fraud, enforcement of contracts and so on. Nozick argues that any more of an extensive state will violate persons’ rights to do certain things and is hence unwarranted (Nozick, ix).

As much as my conservative Christian faith may inform me to disagree with Jenner’s gender choices, I do not want the government or anyone else to intrude upon Jenner’s private choices irrespective of how contrarian they may appear to be.
Yet, something should be said about the politically correct “thought police” who are trying to censure dissent over Jenner’s very public gender change. I believe attempting to squelch public dissent and discourse on this matter is just as bad as someone who tries to interfere with Jenner’s decision to change gender. It is very clear that vocal and public dissent over Jenner’s gender transition is safeguarded by the First Amendment of the US Constitution.





"Girls will be boys and boys will be girls
It's a mixed up muddled up shook up world except for Lola
La-la-la-la Lola."

"Lola"

The Kinks


----------------

Anarchy, State and Utopia by Robert Nozick (Ph.D, Princeton).

No comments:

Post a Comment