The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

The Problem With Sexual ‘Rights’

Posted on | September 8, 2012 | 31 Comments

“Seizing on the triumphant narrative of the black civil-rights movement, liberals adopted the habit of framing political debates in terms of minority ‘rights’ versus majority ‘discrimination.’ . . . To disagree with a liberal, to oppose his latest policy proposal, is to invite comparisons to Bull Connor and Orval Faubus, so long as the liberal can make ‘rights’ the basis of his argument.
” ‘Rights talk’ allowed liberals a means of preemptively delegitimizing their opponents and thereby to avoid arguing about policy in terms of necessity, utility and efficacy. If all legal and political conflicts are about ‘rights,’ there is no need to argue about the specific consequences of laws and policies. Merely determine which side of the controversy represents ‘rights’ and the debate ends there.”

Robert Stacy McCain, “Gay Rights, Gay Rage,” The American Spectator, Oct. 17, 2008

Americans have been deliberately miseducated about their own laws and history, and the teaching of logic has been abandoned altogether, so that our arguments about public policy are crowded with distracting falsehoods and emotional appeals to a liberal mythology of “progress.”

Liberalism has no fixed goal. We will never reach a point at which the liberal will say, “enough.” Grant all his demands today, and tomorrow the liberal will return to demand more.

Take for example the federal budget, which is $3,796,000,000,000 for the current year. Could we go to our liberal friends and get them to specify an amount — say, $5 trillion — at which the federal budget would be big enough? If we could ever get liberals to stipulate some final number, some ultimate limit to the remorseless expansion of Washington’s power over us, then we might be able to negotiate a settlement. But what liberals demand is always more, and so it’s like negotiating with a shark about how much of your leg he will eat.

The same principle applies in law and policy. The liberal concept of “progress” fuels a remorseless shark-like hunger for more, until eventually we find ourselves watching an illegal immigrant being celebrated on the stage of the Democratic National Convention with rhetoric suggesting that only hateful bigots can be in favor of enforcing our nation’s immigration laws. (No one bothers to point out that the law Benita Veliz’s parents violated, the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, was the legislative brainchild of Ted Kennedy.)

News From the Frontier of ‘Progress’

How did we get here? And where are we heading next? Let us examine another report from this past week’s convention:

Hundreds of delegates and supporters gathered at the Charlotte Convention Center today for the 2012 Democratic National Convention’s LGBT Caucus, with much reason to celebrate history. This year the Convention plays host to more than 500 LGBT delegates, more than any other Democratic National Convention ever. . . .
The caucus meeting focused on the many advances made in LGBT rights over the past four years, including the legalization of gay marriage in several states and the increased presence of gay and lesbian members in Congress.

In case you didn’t know, LGBT stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, the last category having recently made news elsewhere:

A federal judge on Tuesday ordered state prison officials to provide a taxpayer-funded sex-reassignment surgery to a transgender inmate serving life in prison for murder.
U.S. District Judge Mark Wolf ruled in the case of Michelle Kosilek, who was born as a man but has received hormone treatments and lives as a woman in an all-male prison. Robert Kosilek was convicted of murder in the killing of his wife in 1990.
Wolf is believed to be the first federal judge to order prison officials to provide the surgery for a transgender inmate.
Kosilek first sued the Massachusetts Department of Correction 12 years ago. Two years later, Wolf ruled that Kosilek was entitled to treatment for gender-identity disorder, but stopped short of ordering surgery. Kosilek sued again in 2005, arguing that the surgery is a medical necessity.
In his ruling Tuesday, Wolf found that surgery is the “only adequate treatment” for Kosilek’s “serious medical need.”
“The court finds that there is no less intrusive means to correct the prolonged violation of Kosilek’s Eighth Amendment right to adequate medical care,” Wolf wrote in his 126-page ruling.

The Eight Amendment? If a convicted murderer doesn’t have a vagina, that’s “cruel and unusual punishment”? As strange as this sounds, it is entirely logical if you accept the premise of sexual “rights” as understood by liberals. This was evident four years ago, when gay-rights activists resorted to terroristic intimidation against supporters of Proposition 8:

The gay rage in California can be traced directly to the Supreme Court’s 2003 Lawrence v. Texas decision, which voided a Texas sodomy law because, as Justice Anthony Kennedy declared, “our laws and traditions in the past half century … show an emerging awareness that liberty gives substantial protection to adult persons in deciding how to conduct their private lives in matters pertaining to sex.”
The Lawrence ruling was the culmination of what Justice Antonin Scalia called “a 17-year crusade” to overturn the 1986 Bowers v. Hardwick decision (which had upheld Georgia’s sodomy statute) and, as Scalia noted in his dissent, the Court’s “emerging awareness” argument was a disingenuous way to avoid actually declaring a “fundamental right” to sodomy. The legal effect was the same, however, and Lawrence was repeatedly cited in the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court’s decision five months later mandating the legalization of gay marriage in that state.
If homosexuality is a right, and denying legal recognition to same-sex marriage is a violation of that right, then the rage of gay activists against their opponents is entirely justified.

Likewise, if “gender-identity disorder” is a legitimate diagnosis, and the medical community prescribes sex-change surgery as the only remedy, then denying this treatment to Michelle (neé Robert) Kosilek can indeed be construed as “cruel and unusual punishment.”

And is there anyone who doubts that, should ObamaCare be fully implemented, federal taxpayers will eventually be required to foot the bill to address the “serious medical need” of other such persons? The “right” to a government-provided sex-change may already be effectively a matter of law — sanctioned by court-ordered constitutional protection — unless Judge Wolf’s decision is overturned. If Justice Kennedy’s “emerging awareness” concept has the force of legal precedent, who can predict whither this awareness shall henceforth emerge?

Paved With Weird Intentions

In basing his ruling on science — accepting as valid the diagnosis of “gender-identity disorder” and the prescription of sex-change surgery as the “only adequate treatment” — Judge Wolf abandons our Constitution and the Anglo-American legal tradition in favor of the shifting consensus of contemporary experts.

What a majority of scientists believe about sexuality today is quite different from what they believed during the heyday of Freudianism a half-century ago, and who can predict what “discoveries” or theoretical innovations researchers will make in 10 or 20 years? Never mind that next year’s discovery may disprove this year’s consensus. The basic problem of this scientific approach to jurisprudence is that law is thereby deprived of permanence — judges are no longer applying a fixed and known rule to cases, but rather are permitted to re-write the law from the bench by reference to “rights” as determined by the latest theories of scientists.

To show how such an approach could lead to disastrous outcomes, we need merely examine the latest neurological research into the nature of another kind of “sexual orientation”:

[Canadian psychologist Hubert] Van Gjiseghem says what he and his colleagues mean by sexual orientation is a person’s inborn and unalterable sexual preference, irrespective of whether that preference is harmful to others or not. Currently, there is no significant longitudinal evidence that pedophiles can be made to not be attracted to children, and thus it can be defined as their orientation. And if pedophilia is a sexual orientation, that also means it’s futile to send pedophiles to prison in an effort to alter their attractions. . . .
Dr. James Cantor is the Head of Research in the Sexual Behaviours Clinic at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Canada’s largest mental health and teaching hospital. He’s also an associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Toronto’s school of medicine. He’s been working on better understanding pedophiles for about 12 years now using a variety of methods. . . .

If you’re going to read the whole article at Gawker, be prepared to cope with feelings of outrage at how the “born that way” theory of homosexuality has been extended to pedophilia.

The writer of the article, Cord Jefferson, is at pains to distinguish between the term pedophile and the term child molester and, although few parents will give a damn about such semantics, it is enlightening in this regard: The scientists interviewed by Jefferson are interested in determining how crime can be prevented by persuading pedophiles not to act on their “sexual orientation.”

Yet this possibility — that persons need not act on their idiosyncratic sexual impulses — is entirely rejected by the rights-oriented legal philosophy that inspired Justice Kennedy’s Lawrence decision or Judge  Wolf”s ruling in the Kosilek case. Both Kennedy and Wolf seem to presume that people have a right to satisfy their sexual desires, and there was an entire caucus at the Democrat convention dedicated to defending such rights.

If, however, the safety of citizens requires that certain sexual desires be sternly repressed, the objection of “rights” loses its force, and even such a liberal as Ta-Nehisi Coates is outraged by the tone of moral neutrality with which Cord Jefferson examines the claims of scientists about pedophilia as a sexual orientation.

Noel Sheppard notes that the Gawker writer is a “self-professed progressive,” and it is remarkable how the logic of progressivism inexorably leads to conclusions that even progressives find themselves compelled to reject — at least for now, that is.

Perhaps, as with homosexuality, our academic, legal, scientific and cultural elites can successfully destigmatize pedophilia, upending society’s moral consensus in such a way that our dread of child molesters is replaced by a horror at the benighted bigotry of those who fail to understand the science that proclaims that they’re “born that way,” and that this endows pedophiles with rights which no well-meaning person can oppose or criticize.

Oh, what wonders the “emerging awareness” provides!

(Via Memeorandum; hat-tip: Bob Belvedere on Twitter.)



  • richard mcenroe

    I would have said divorce lawyer instead of shark, but I suspect you’re a nicer person than me. Sharks don’t start out knowing right and wrong…

  • Christy Waters

    Giving Robert “Michelle” Kosilek a sex change operation won’t make him a woman. It’ll make him a man, plagued by insanity, who’s been allowed to mutilate himself at taxpayer expense.

  • melanerpes

    You mention the federal budget. I understand that the federal government hasn’t had a budget since Harry Reid became majority leader. So there literally is no limit to federal spending. And I literally mean literally.

  • Shawny Lee

    Excellent, detailed writing. Never seen it laid out as well. Sodomy has been a crime in many states since even before the Unions inception for a few reasons and not all of them based on religious conviction. The Progressives will take this as far as they can go. We saw the proud walking vagina protests by Code Pink at the DNC convention, supposedly symbolic of womens reproduction rights. Well, ok, lets get busy making up our larger than life asshole costumes (Congress and the courts are already suited up just like the Progressives) and make non consentual sodomy (you know, RAPE) the unhealthy hate or extreme selfishness crime it always has been and quit making personal sexual choices or perversions of any kind subject to rights or taxpayer funding.

  • elaine

    A lot of people focus on the pro-life comments in Cardinal Dolan’s prayer at the DNC on Thursday, but they overlooked this part:

    We praise and thank you for granting us the life and the liberty by which we can pursue happiness. Show us anew that happiness is found only in respecting the laws of nature and of nature’s God. Empower us with your grace so that we might resist the temptation to replace the moral law with idols of our own making, or to remake those institutions you have given us for the nurturing of life and community.

    Clearly, Dolan was taking the democrats to task for many things in his prayer.

  • alanhenderson

    There’s a question regarding “sex change” operations that nobody ever asks, as far as I know: what hapens to the patient’s ability to enjoy sex? Do the replacement parts really work? And even if they do, is the patient, who has always equated climax with one set of physioligical stimuli, psychologically capable of equating it with something radically differnt?

  • Evi L. Bloggerlady

    RSM can really outdo himself sometimes. A well done article.

    While I personally think we have better things to do than make and enforce sodomy laws, to suggest that society does not have a say in behavior, how tax dollars are spent, and civil discourse is wrong. Which means that while I do not care what consenting adults do behind closed doors, I sure as hell have a right to complain about activities that are done openly or impact us as tax payers.

    And Christy Waters is spot on.

  • alanhenderson

    One more thing, “sex change” is in scare quotes because gender – determined by chromosomes – can’t really be changed. Of course, some would argue that I am confusing sex and gender – sex is biological and gender is psychological (that’s what I gather from the couple of blog comments threads where I encountered this meme).

  • Bob Belvedere

    The former Chief Of Psychiatrists at John Hopkins wrote in 2004:

    …The psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Jon Meyer was already developing a means of following up with adults who received sex-change operations at Hopkins in order to see how much the surgery had helped them. He found that most of the patients he tracked down some years after their surgery were contented with what they had done and that only a few regretted it. But in every other respect, they were little changed in their psychological condition. They had much the same problems with relationships, work, and emotions as before. The hope that they would emerge now from their emotional difficulties to flourish psychologically had not been fulfilled.

    We saw the results as demonstrating that just as these men enjoyed cross-dressing as women before the operation so they enjoyed cross-living after it. But they were no better in their psychological integration or any easier to live with. With these facts in hand I concluded that Hopkins was fundamentally cooperating with a mental illness. We psychiatrists, I thought, would do better to concentrate on trying to fix their minds and not their genitalia.

    The whole essay, though long, is well worth a read:–35

  • Bob Belvedere

    -Well done, Stacy, well done.

    …even such a liberal as Ta-Nehisi Coates is outraged by the tone of moral neutrality with which Cord Jefferson examines the claims of scientists about pedophilia as a sexual orientation.

    Noel Sheppard notes that the Gawker writer is a “self-professed progressive,” and it is remarkable how the logic of progressivism inexorably leads to conclusions that even progressives find themselves compelled to reject — at least for now, that is.

    In a few years, people like Coates will be on the bandwagon once they get ‘re-educated’ on this issue.
    Mark me: Coates will be advocating polygamy as a ‘right’ within the next year or two.

  • SDN

    “Liberalism has no fixed goal. We will never reach a point at which the
    liberal will say, “enough.” Grant all his demands today, and tomorrow
    the liberal will return to demand more.”

    Of course, Stacey, you don’t really believe this. Because if you did, you would have to follow it to its’ logical conclusion: As long as committed Leftists are present in society, they will break any law, any commitment, any tradition, in order to achieve their “rights”. Which means that you have absolutely no basis for trusting them, because they don’t regard you as anyone they have to refrain from harming whenever possible.

    The only logical conclusion to that statement is war until the Left is dead or gone.

    (I also invite you to note the similarities with the Islamic attitude towards unbelievers as found in the Koran, as enemies who are always warred upon, no matter what temporary truce is held until Islam has the power to destroy them).

  • Shawny Lee

    p.s. I suspect the vast number of victims of pedophilia, along with those in the majority who abhor the abuse of those weaker or defenseless will settle that upcoming argument no matter what the law says or the courts decide. Yes, even our assholes have constitutional rights backed up by our 2nd amendment rights to protect them. So good luck with those sexual rights you were born with. Only half the population has vaginas to protect but we are a 100 percent asshole society so they can’t win that battle.

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  • WJJ Hoge

    It’s symbolic of his struggle with reality.

  • Charles

    I was going to do a post titled “Federal Judge Orders State to Cut Off Wife Killer’s Penis”.

    Then I thought, that has a certain ring of ironic justice to it, and the operation is probably cheaper than Massachusetts taxpayers paying lawyers to continue fighting it.

    Plus, Elizabeth Warren says she is opposed …

  • Adjoran

    Right under the subhead “Paved with Weird Intentions,” you attribute this ruling to Mr. Justice Kennedy. It is in fact all the work of District Judge Mark Wolf, now the Chief Judge of the Massachusetts District, but who has never been seriously considered for an appellate court appointment in his 27 years on the bench. Now we know why.

  • WJJ Hoge

    The operation is purely cosmetic. The guy will still have a Y-chromosome in his genome.

  • Bob Belvedere

    I forgot to mention that John Hopkins stopped performing Gender Reassignment Surgery in the early 1980’s and has never reinstated the procedure.

  • Bob Belvedere

    He has a bad reputation up here.

    Appointed by President Reagan, I believe he was a Republican who Teddy Kennedy liked – which tells you everything you need to know about his character.

    And, yes, he has been passed-over many times for COA appointments – even by Clinton [don’t know why].

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  • Roxeanne de Luca

    Both Kennedy and Wolf seem to presume that people have a right to satisfy their sexual desires

    This isn’t limited to homosexuality and paedophilia, Stacy. It’s also the basis for the anti-life movement, the destruction of social norms and laws meant to discourage unwed parenting, and the push for premarital and extra-marital sexual activity.

    What has long astonished me is that the same people who say that sex is a right, sexual activity is a right, and sexual urges cannot be ignored are the ones who scream the most about a “culture of rape.” Um, if a young man spends his entire life hearing that sex is a right and that sexual urges can’t be ignored or repressed for the good of society, what kinds of decisions is he going to make when drunk and when his “partner” for the night says no?

  • Evi L. Bloggerlady

    Well said Christy.

    As for Gawker and its article. Sexuality is complex. But let’s make a distinction. Two consenting adults engaging in private activity (regardless of your feelings about homosexuality) is not the same, in any way, shape or form to an adult trying to have sex with children (especially young children).

    Is pedophilia a born into orientation (and I am talking pedophilia, not pederasty and certainly not some 18 year old senior having sex with a 15 year old sophomore)? I doubt it in most cases (some people are born insane). I think they are severely damaged individuals, who were likely abused themselves, and their natural instincts are twisted and warped. That said, they know what they are doing is wrong and they do it anyway. They should be locked up and not let to re-offend.

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  • Bob Belvedere

    Even if they were, indeed, ‘born that way’, the pedophile knows that if he acts on his instinct it is wrong. The same goes for the person who is born with a greater than normal proclivity to commit violence.

  • Bob Belvedere

    That’s the idea!

  • Bob Belvedere

    Dead solid perfect, Roxe.

  • Evi L. Bloggerlady

    That is exactly right. I know that some people are born with a greater than normal proclivity to commit violence. I suspect becoming a pedophile is more a matter of being nurture than nature, but you could argue that the nurture argument (that vicitims of sexual abuse grow to be abusers) warrants some sympathy.

    It does not change a thing. Wrong is wrong. I know such people are profoundly damaged. While they are probably not 100% evil, what they are doing is evil. And it has to stop.

    We used to hang them. If that is no longer considered humane, then lock them up and keep them out of society.

  • Evi L. Bloggerlady

    That is of course correct.

    And in a similar line, marriage “equality” is more about gays trying to feel good about being gay than marriage. Because even if passed in all fifty states, you will find not that many gays (especially gay men) will get married. And they will still be angry and mad about why they are not more adjusted.

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