Identity Politics and Paraphilias: Scope, Conflict & Cross-Dressing (etc.)

This is the latest in a series.

Focus on the problems related to “identity politics” is growing. Note the headline of these two recent op eds by two conservative big guns:

The End Of Identity Politics

Identity Politics: Up from the GRAVE

The first is by Victor Davis Hanson, the second by John C. Goodman. Before getting to our paraphilia of the day, here are a few short excerpts from each article — first up, VDH.

Hanson writes that America “is one of the few successful multiracial societies in history”:

America has survived slavery, civil war, the Japanese-American internment, and Jim Crow—and largely because it has upheld three principles for unifying, rather than dividing, individuals.

The first concerns the Declaration of Independence and the American Constitution, which were unique documents for their time and proved transcendent across time and space. Both documents enshrined the ideal that all people were created equal and were human first, with inalienable rights from God that were protected by government. These founding principles would eventually trump innate tribal biases and prejudices to grant all citizens their basic rights.

Equal and human — over-riding “tribal biases.”

The second principle, he writes, was based on the fact that the U.S. enjoyed a “two-ocean buffer,” so “the United States could control its own demographic destiny.” Hanson’s third principle is that “the United States is the most individualistic and capitalistic of the Western democracies.” Thus a rising standard of living and liberty as a unifying force.

In the late 1960s, however, these three principles took a hit. The federal government lost confidence in the notion that civil rights legislation, the melting pot, and a growing economy could unite Americans and move society in the direction of Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision—“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

. . .

A half-century later, affirmative action and identity politics have created a huge diversity industry, in which millions in government, universities, and the private sector are entrusted with teaching the values of the Other and administering de facto quotas in hiring and admissions.

Hanson asks, “What is the future of diversity politics after the 2016 election? Uncertain at best—and for a variety of reasons.” He cites “intermarriage and integration.” Unfortunately, while Hanson is correct on that point, as we know from this series, “identity politics” goes far beyond race and enthnicity.

In his article, John C. Goodman writes: “America is a divided nation, we are told. But what divides us?” Citing a recent book which notes the division is two sides that “talk past each other”: “Republicans talk about issues and Democrats talk about the ways groups perceive themselves.”

Goodman writes:

Welcome to the world of identity politics, which I am going to describe by the acronym GRAVE: Grievance, Retaliation, Action, Validation and Empathy. If you are a Republican and you are used to thinking that politics is about real issues, all of this may be quite new to you.

. . .

The opposite of identity politics is a melting pot, where differences tend to become unimportant. You might think that as discrimination against women, gays, blacks and other minorities evaporates, there would be fewer grievances. And there are. But identity politics needs conflict — unending conflict — if for no other reason than to remind people that there are grievances that need to be redressed.

Goodman points out that:

Identity politics takes itself very seriously. Because it’s so off the wall, it provides a rich smorgasbord of temptations for almost any comic. Laughing at the politics of identity, however, is an unforgivable sin.

He closes with this:

Why is any of this important? David Henderson, channeling Robin Hanson, thinks “politics is not usually about policy.” . . . Certainly, none of what I am describing here is about rational policies that economists care about and study. But what I am describing definitely affects what happens to you and me at work, at school, in our social circles and even in Washington, D.C.

Quickly to our next paraphilia. I included an “etc.” in the headline above because the cross-dressing thing gets a bit more complicated then you might think. Evidently clothing makes several appearances on the list of paraphilias. Below are just four of them. Yes, just four of them…there are more. Just so you don’t think I’m making this up, follow the links to the Wikipedia pages, and then for fun, follow the links within each of those articles. (Is it just me or does it seem even Wikipedia is having trouble keeping all of this straight? Click here, then here to see what I mean.)

Cross-dressing is the act of wearing items of clothing and other accoutrements commonly associated with the opposite sex within a particular society. Cross-dressing has been used for purposes of disguise, comfort, and self-discovery in modern times and throughout history.

Transvestic fetishism is a psychiatric diagnosis applied to those who are thought to have an excessive sexual or erotic interest in cross-dressing; this interest is often expressed in autoerotic behavior. It differs from cross-dressing for entertainment or other purposes that do not involve sexual arousal, and is categorized as a paraphilia in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association. (Sexual arousal in response to donning sex-typical clothing is homeovestism.)

Transvestism (also called transvestitism) is the practice of dressing and acting in a style or manner traditionally associated with the opposite sex.

Homeovestism is a concept identified by George Zavitzianos and further developed by Louise Kaplan, to refer to the arousal of a person by wearing clothing appropriate to their gender, in comparison with the more widely recognized practices of transvestic fetishism, in which one is aroused by wearing clothing of a different gender.

Now to our closing question. You might remember when “Michael Sam was selected by the St. Louis Rams in the 2014 NFL Draft, and became the first publicly gay player drafted in the league.” The liberal media went crazy with joy. But this can get complicated for the NFL. Are they ready to draft someone who is a cross-dresser but not technically into transvestic fetishism? Lest the NFL discriminate, it had better honor the first loud and proud homeovestism-iac (?) when their time comes. If they don’t, they’re bigots.