The Restroom Issue: Ethics in Absurdity

Santa Clarita Signal • Ethically Speaking Column • For May 21 Weekender, 2016

Ethics and Absurdity 

(Note: The seventh and eighth paragraphs in this article have been added by the author to the column originally published in The Signal as noted above.)

David W. Hegg

In the academic world the field of ethics falls in the area of philosophy, and deals with human behavior in regard to its legitimacy. Practically, ethics is the study of right and wrong, and the standards by which individuals and society may best determine the rightness and wrongness of the things we humans think and do.

Ethical standards derive from convictions, which are, in turn, formed by beliefs grounded on truth. If these truths turn out to be false, then it is clear the beliefs, convictions, and ethical standards built on them need to be changed. But, where allegiance to the ethical standards largely identifies a person or group, they may find themselves championing absurd ethical behavior out of loyalty to their tribe.

That is exactly what is happening in our society today in regard to this “restroom” issue we hear about at every hand. At issue is whether or not a person has the right to use whichever restroom they choose based on the gender with which they personally self identify.

The absurdity begins to emerge when we compare two battlefields dealing with gender and sexual preference. In the past few years, those demanding homosexuality be recognized as an acceptable lifestyle did so on the basis that sexual preference was not a choice, but grounded in their essential humanity, in their DNA.

But now we are hearing the same voices shout long and loud that each individual has the right to self-identify according to the gender and sexual preference they choose for themselves. They demand we understand gender, and its consequential issues, as “flexible and fluid.” No matter what your DNA says, you can choose to change!

So which is it? Are we stuck, or can we choose to change? Can they really be saying DNA makes the homosexual a homosexual, but doesn’t enforce gender, and do it with a straight face?

The facts are clear. There is no scientific evidence that certain DNA elements guarantee homosexuality. On the other hand, the DNA evidence is clear no one can actually change their gender. You can take all the child birthing components out of a woman, and she is still a woman. You can stuff a man full of female hormones, mutilate his genitals, and you will have a man full of hormones with mutilated genitals.

Yet, despite all the facts, a small, powerful, politically driven minority insist homosexuality is driven by one’s DNA, and hence, not a choice, while gender, which is grounded in DNA, is fluid, and up to a person’s own wishes.

Here we see the absurdity of those who have a radical allegiance to tearing down society’s fundamental truths. They are willing to hold mutually exclusive arguments at the same time, all the while remaining ignorant of the monumental absurdities of both their “truth” and the ethical standards that flow from them.

And there is one more component in this absurd formula. The voices of those attributing a majority of our society’s ills to mental illness seem to be ignoring the fact that a desire to alter one’s gender has long been understood as flowing from a dysfunctional mental state.

Dr. Paul R. McHugh, the former psychiatrist-in-chief for Johns Hopkins Hospital, and its current Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry, says trangenderism is a “mental disorder” that deserves to be treated, and that sex change is “biologically impossible,” and that those promoting such sexual reassignent surgery are collaborating with and promoting a mental disorder.

If we add all this together we find the transgender restroom issue isn’t based on medical science but on allegiance to a political viewpoint that, while actually harmful to the individuals involved and society at large, is out to garner votes by appearing gracious.

What we’re really getting is an absurd ethic based on selfish ambition that is willing to rewrite the book on our most essential human characteristics for the purpose of political power. And sadly, we the people are standing idly by watching as government re-imagines and re-defines the most fundamental truth about us: who we are!

 My advice is simple. Don’t fall for it. Don’t confuse being blind with being kind. Understand we’re all in this together, even those among us confused about our core identity. But the answer is not to whitewash the confusion with absurdity. Rather, we must find our way back to the fundamental truth that every life was created for a grand purpose that can only be understood and achieved as we engage authentically with the One who made us in the first place.