April 20, 2016

Life in 2016: All Toilet, No Humor.

Grampa, what side were you on in the great pee wars of 2016?

I've started this post a few times and thrown it away, but I think I am the last undecided person in the country on the North Carolina/LGBT/bathroom issue. I need to do some research, I suppose, on the actual Tar Heel State ordinance. But the greater issue is fraught with peril.

I think it is fair to say I have been friendly to gay rights in a hippie, libertarian, laissez-faire manner. I stand by that 100% and celebrate the achievements over the last couple of decades.But gay marriage is not zero-sum. My heterosexual-thank-you-very-much marriage is not diminished by a union with different anatomical collections. What I'd like to see from both sides is an admission that bathroom laws are indeed zero-sum.

Absolute enforcement will cause discomfort from transgendered people. I don't wish to be the cause of that. Good people who mean no harm should be able to use the facilities in which they are comfortable. I certainly don't mind if a female saunters into the "little boys room." I'll live.

But. I have a bunch of other middle aged guys on my Facebook feed who have shared the meme that says "Share This if you don't mind sharing the bathroom." And for the first time, I understand "White Privilege." These people in the least vulnerable group are sanctimoniously advertising their tolerance. It's like hearing Bill Gates saying he'd pay 35¢ more for a hamburger if the cow gets a free massage.

So, lefty buddies, you too have to admit people will be discomfited and harmed. You're giving away the next stall, not only to yourself, but for a bashful ten year old girl or a rape survivor. Are you truly indifferent to their comfort? And, at the margins, it will certainly facilitate predators.

These may well be trades we want to make in a path to a more inclusive society. I'm not prepared to say they are not. But I do not hear this admission from my prog friends.

I don't know what the resolution is. I'm a fan of the status quo ante: a general tolerance and mutual respect to resolve on a case by case basis. Codifying and legislating will likely lead to pain. Long term, I suspect the communal "john" will disappear faster than round doorknobs.and two-prong AC outlets. New buildings will likely switch to having a bank of individual rooms. That wouldn't be bad -- a kind of Steven Pinkeresque progress as we grow wealthier.

Okay, let me have it. But please accept the potential of real harm if your side wins.

Rant Posted by John Kranz at April 20, 2016 4:06 PM

Honestly, I'm not ready to concede that "at the margins, it will certainly facilitate predators." All the new law does is decriminalize entering the "wrong" restroom. Assault and harassment are still crimes as far as I know. What I mean is, predators will predate even if they have to sneak somewhere to do it. It's like adding an extra offense for armed robbery with a 15-round magazine (instead of the more politically-correct 10 round model.) Owning a "high capacity" magazine doesn't innately harm others, nor does peeing standing up in the stall next to my ten year old daughter. But you can bet your abnormal ass I'll be right on that guy/other's tail, watching him/her/it like a hawk if he/she/it follows her into the "ladies" room. After all, that doesn't harm him/her/it either, does it?

Posted by: johngalt at April 20, 2016 5:43 PM

Well, Dad speaks with wickedly-righteous moral authority. Consider me moved two steps toward tolerance.

As warned, I'm uniformed on the NC law that has denied Tarheelers' access to Ringo, the Boss, and Michael Moore's latest flick. I though it prevented local ordinances liberalizing entry rules. The antecedent to "it" in my phrase was "general acceptance of bathroom occupants who do not automatically appear to belong." And my "at the margins" comment was based on the fact that cops would be called on some predators today for just entering -- decriminalizing that will aid them.

Again, I'm thinking of the more vulnerable situations when a parent is not around.

Posted by: jk at April 20, 2016 5:58 PM

We'll see what mom has to say on the matter.

Posted by: johngalt at April 20, 2016 7:01 PM

Just once I would like to see Republican legislators tell outrage-baiting Democrats, "Okay, we'll vote for your bill to let everyone choose what bathroom to use, under one condition - the new signage must read "Unisex - Changed by Democrats."

If they really want it, and if it's really a good change, why would they object?

Stop fighting to the death over trivialities. Please?

Posted by: johngalt at April 20, 2016 7:23 PM

All I know is, if I see some random dude follow my wife into a public restroom, I will guarantee he won't leave it with an attached penis.

I hope you all feel the same about your wives and daughters.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at April 21, 2016 12:26 PM

I rather envisioned our being on the other sides... But now Sen. Cruz and Mister Trump have taken sides. You're hope for substantive debate is off the menu. Again.

On my predator remark, the sometimes excitable Sister Touldja catalogues 11 Target restroom peeping incidents since March 2015 when she suggests the switch was made.

They have a lot of stores, and that may be noise. But it seems that its suddenly being non-reportable is a benefit to the peepers.

Posted by: jk at April 21, 2016 7:05 PM

I think brother JK forgot his primal role:


This is how you win the culture wars, oh my brothers: ask questions:
1. Is this increasing safety for my children? (who are female, btw)
2. If not, is it decreasing? If so, then Kill it!

If not, move on...

Posted by: nanobrewer at April 22, 2016 12:41 AM

Nano's got the right idea; I don't need the government to deal with a pervert harassing my loved ones.

As free men, we need only insist that the government stay out of the way when we deal with it ourselves.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at April 22, 2016 12:22 PM

You guys are going to hate me, but . . .

Did government not have a role in desegregating rest rooms and water fountains -- at least those which were publicly owned?

I started Randy Barnett's new "The Republican Constitution" today. In a spoiler alert to a future Review Corner, it will be called the most important book ever written. "To protect these rights, governments are instituted among men."

That's the whole enchilada (my words, Professor Barnett has not mentioned Mexican cuisine in the first three chapters) and I daresay that fits right in: we have -- I suggest -- a zero sum distribution, and somebody's claimed right will be denied.

It might be frivolous (although anyone who has read a lot of Ann Landers or worked in a large mixed gender office will hesitate to misunderestimate), but I'd suggest it's a rather legitimate purpose of government.

Posted by: jk at April 23, 2016 1:36 PM | What do you think? [9]