This short post helps to explain the source of the conflict.
Are we going to let ideology shape the facts? Or do we let the facts of the real world shape our ideology?
Generally, conservatives say – or should say – no to the first question and yes to the second one. Liberals switch it and say yes to the first one and generally no to the second one.
The Family Policy Institute of Washington sent out staffer Joseph Backholm, who interviewed students at the University of Washington to find out where they draw the line between a wild claim of self-identity on the one hand and reality on the other.
What if the interviewer claimed he was a six-foot, five-inch Chinese woman? What if he claimed he was seven years old? Should he be allowed to enroll in the first grade?
Would the students tell him no and correct his self-identity when it obviously contradicts the facts?
Here’s the short video of interviews:
Pair those troubling answers with the recent, bold stand of the American College of Pediatricians, who say that “facts – not ideology – determine reality” in their press release titled “Gender Ideology Harms Children.” They go on to name many biological, sexual facts that explain their statement.
Wow! That’s exactly it. Facts trump, or should trump, ideology.
In the bigger picture, we are in a battle – and always have been in one – between the ideology-based left and the reality-based right. This post could apply to politicized climate change; same-sex “marriage”; killing preborn babies, who are believed to not be babies; and reinterpretations of the Constitution unmoored from its original context, for example.
It all goes back to a philosophy that has seeped into the “cultural water” we drink. Specifically, it originates with Kant, who says we can’t know the “thing-in-itself” without our mind filtering it. And Nietzsche advocated perspectivism.
Everything is Interpretation: … Against those who say “There are only facts,” I say, “No, facts are precisely what there is not, only interpretations.” We cannot establish any fact in itself. Perhaps it is folly to want to do such a thing. (Quoted in Louis P. Pojman, Classics of Philosophy, Oxford UP, 1998, pp. 1015-16, emphasis original)
Hyper-skepticism, embodied nowadays in postmodernism, is not a very hopeful philosophy if all that remains is our interpretation of facts and not the facts themselves. Ideology defeats the facts.
So in this battle between reality itself and human interpretation of reality (if there is such a thing as reality), how long will the American College of Pediatricians’ courageous position last? Will they cave to the LGBT onslaught that is bound to come, once their statement becomes more widely known, much as social scientists folded forty years ago to accept other sexual nonconformists as normal?
Will we ever say no to transgendered males who insist on barging into women’s public spaces that should be reserved only for them, like restrooms?
Let’s hope the pediatricians don’t give in and withdraw or rewrite their statement, but they let the facts triumph over ideological interpretations.