The Other McCain

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

His and/or Her Equal Rights

Posted on | April 20, 2011 | 10 Comments

One of my favorite subjects is the inexorable logic of “social justice.” I have suffered many slings and arrows (hello, Little Miss Attila) for arguing that once you embrace equality as a principle, this principle must inevitably lead you places you had not originally intended to go:

Lyralisa Stevens, who was born male but lives as a female, is serving 50 years to life in a California prison for killing a San Bernardino County woman with a shotgun in a dispute over clothes.
Stevens is one of more than 300 inmates in the state prison system diagnosed with Gender Identity Disorder, a psychiatric condition addressed in free society with hormone replacement therapy and, in some cases, sex reassignment surgery.
Prison officials have provided female hormones for Stevens since her incarceration in 2003. But now she is asking the 1st District Court of Appeal in San Francisco to require the state to pay for a sex-change operation. . . .
A ruling in Stevens’ favor would make California the first place in the country required to provide reassignment surgery for an inmate, according to lawyers for the receiver appointed to oversee California’s troubled prison health system. They argue that the state should be required to provide only “minimally adequate care,” not sex-change operations that cost $15,000 to $50,000.

(Hat-tip: Weasel Zippers.) To believe that a convicted murderer has a right to sex-change treatment at taxpayer expense, you must have first traveled a long way down the slippery slope of egalitarian social-justice logic. But having traveled this far (and let’s face it, California has been sliding in that direction for decades), how can you refuse to grant this latest demand? Once this demand is granted, something further will be demanded, because until you reach the Utopia of perfect equality, there will always be some injustice to form the basis of new grievances.

And so there is never an end to it because, as F.A. Hayek explained, “social justice” is a mirage.


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