What about “I” empowers me to speak for “we”? What are the limits of the right of “we” to dictate the choices of “him” and “her” and the mortally offended sexually confused?
Consider the trial of Socrates.
The trial of Socrates (399 BC) was held to determine the philosopher’s guilt of two charges: asebeia (impiety) against the pantheon of Athens, and corruption of the youth of the city-state; the accusers cited two impious acts by Socrates: “failing to acknowledge the gods that the city acknowledges” and “introducing new deities”.
The death sentence of Socrates was the legal consequence of asking politico-philosophic questions of his students, from which resulted the two accusations of moral corruption and of impiety. At trial, the majority of the dikasts (male-citizen jurors chosen by lot) voted to convict him of the two charges; then, consistent with common legal practice, voted to determine his punishment, and agreed to a sentence of death to be executed by Socrates’s drinking a poisonous beverage of hemlock. (continued here)
In its inestimable wisdom, the majority ruled that Socrates questions were just too discomfiting to be tolerated. Think about that. How well do you tolerate piercing questions?
Because pride fills each of us, we become offended when someone challenges our opinion, even with a question. The mere fact that someone does something or says something different than “I” offends “me”. Want an example? A rather preposterous, absurd example? Consider the transgendered.
A guy who exhibits the physical characteristics of male decides
“he” is a “she”. “She” then insists that everyone refer to “her” using feminine pronouns. “She” insists even though many cannot see how “her” desires comport with reality. When some refuse, “she” gains sympathy by complaining those mean people hurt “her” feelings. Those mean people bullied “her”. “She” insists that the majority make the minority comply with “her” demands”.
- Does our desired sexual preference actually override our physical sex characteristics. With respect to reality, what does transgendering with surgery and hormone treatment actually accomplish?
- Do we have a right, even if the majority complies, to force others to participate in what they believe is a horrid fantasy?
- At what point does the majority have the right to force the compliance of the minority?
Is this a new issue? If we think we know better than the philosophers of old, it is because we are ignorant of what they taught.
But one factor of liberty is to govern and be governed in turn; for the popular principle of justice is to have equality according to number, not worth, … And one is for a man to live as he likes; for they say that this is the function of liberty, inasmuch as to live not as one likes is the life of a man that is a slave. – Aristotle, Politics 1317b (Book 6, Part II)
The framers of our Constitution would have considered a person who wants to change his or her sex deranged, possessed, vile, and/or most unfortunate. Their “crime” would have been to drive the him who wants to be “her” from their community if “she” insisted upon making a spectacle of “herself” by cross-dressing. Sad? I suppose so. Extreme behavior of any sort tends to become regrettable. In any event, it probably would not have occurred to our forebears that the government needed to make everyone refer to him either as “she” or as a “he”. In that sense, have we exceeded the extremism our forebears? When, for the sake of political correctness, we try to police the words of our neighbors, does that make us any wiser than those who judged Socrates worthy of death?