There’s an odd self-defeating narrative that my fellow liberals sometimes espouse. Whether attacking Muslims fighting Islamist narratives, or excusing anti-Semitism, it either seems to be getting worse, or I’m becoming more observant to it.
To be liberal is to champion the rights and the dignity of the individual to make choices free from group coercion. To be oneself, free from expectations & coercion of others is the very essence of liberalism. To be liberal is to consider the agency of the individual inherently a right, over the demands of a group, culture, religion which of course, have no inherent rights. It is the most fundamental principle of liberalism that liberals seems so confused with how to apply.
Take, for example, Caitlyn Jenner. Since coming out as transgender, liberals held her up as a pillar of strength. An inspiration to those struggling with their identity. She was not afraid to be herself, and we liked that. Indeed, individual identity and the freedom to express oneself according to our how we identify ourselves, because we know ourselves greater than others know us, is exactly the liberal proposition. Conservatives decided she was awful, an abomination, she angered the magic sky man invented in 1st Century Palestine that seems to confirm their deeply held prejudices. And a yet a strange flip occurred recently. Jenner – in perhaps a bigger show of individual strength than coming out as transgender – came out as a transgendered Republican Party supporter. Liberals everywhere lost the plot:
– It is deeply unsettling to me that fellow liberals are so quick to embrace bigotry, to be so transphobic, the moment transgendered women think differently to what is expected of them, from ‘liberals’. They have taken on her appearance only. They have decided exactly what thoughts Jenner ought to have, and that if she doesn’t conform to what is expected of her, she is a traitor, deserving of transphobic language. Indeed, some even imply that women in general who do not vote for Democrats, are traitors to women. They do not deal with her arguments (which are weak at best; she implies that Republicans handle the economy better, create jobs, defend the country to a greater degree than Democrats, small government, self-responsibility…. a simple argument that is easily refuted without having to resort to bigotry), they focus on her appearance and a group-mentality they think she should have embraced, thus depriving her of her right to be an individual, as if she the moment she came out as transgendered, her faculties of reason should be replaced by the thoughts of the group, and anything short of that, permits bigotry. It doesn’t. This isn’t liberalism.
Consider this; liberals accept that conservatives have had a detrimental affect on racial issues in the United States in current years. This is our political belief. I suspect Ben Carson disagrees. At that point, would liberals be so quick to start referring to Ben Carson using racist language, or would we focus on his arguments? Would be call him a traitor to his skin tone, or would be analyse his points and form a counter narrative? Is focusing on his skin-tone, rather than the content of his argument in itself not a form of white privilege, given that we with white skin are never expected to be a single voting block? Is the same not true here for Caitlyn Jenner?