By Michael McKenna – The Washington Post
Objective reality and gender
In his seminal works, “Critique of Pure Reason” (1781) and “Critique of Practical Reason” (1788), the philosopher Immanuel Kant undermined arguments for the basis of understanding the world through both subjective reality and objective reality. It is good, solid academic fun to debate Mr. Kant’s various theories, but in the end, because we all live in a physical world, we all adhere to an objective reality, whatever we might think about that. Objective, measurable reality is the foundation of science, engineering, medicine and pretty much all discoveries of the physical world. Objective, measurable reality, as expressed through the collection and analysis of data, has even infected the realm of the humanities like economics and sociology. Not surprisingly, therefore, much of human society, including the judicial and mental health systems, is built on objective reality. If there is no objective reality — if reality is completely determined by the preferences or beliefs of individuals — then there could be no prisons, no mental health institutions and no practical governance. I mention this because last week, Adm. Rachel Levine and Lia Thomas — both of whom are men in any measurable, objective way — were given awards specifically designated for women and denominated as awards for women. Adm. Levine, an assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, was selected by USA Today as one of its women of the year. Mr. Thomas won the women’s 500-yard freestyle at the NCAA Swimming Championships. Adm. Levine and Mr. Thomas have indicated that they consider themselves women. That is entirely their business. America is a nation with a seemingly endless capacity for tolerance, and it seems likely that we can tolerate people thinking themselves whatever. However, the right to think whatever you want extends only to the moment when you insist that others suspend disbelief, reject objective reality and agree with you. At least one of the men in question (Mr. Thomas), and probably both of them, has the primary sexual organs of a male. They both almost certainly have the secondary sexual organs of a male. Every cell in their bodies identifies them as men. That’s objective reality.