There’s something frustrating about a political body that can’t distinguish between “inclusiveness” and force, between voluntary preference and aggressive hatred, between well-intended sympathy and the child-damaging attempt to warp reality.
And it appears that the government of California is one of those bodies.
In 2017, it became the first state in the US to issue “gender-neutral” birth certificates and driver’s licenses, adding fuel to the fire of the basic question: “Why does government get involved with ‘certifying birth’ and running roads (the latter of which wasn’t the case in the US for generations) – at taxpayer expense?” In March of this year, the CA Board of Education floated the idea of having all public school prisoners chant prayers to the Aztec god of human sacrifice (a darkly appropriate move, given the offerings that parents are forced to make unto the god of the public schools through taxes, and the fact that kids’ futures are sacrificed to the bureaucratic polis that decides what and how they will be “educated.”) And now, the state government will begin forcing retailers to create “gender-neutral” areas to sell kids’ products.
On September 10, Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB-1084, a bill that, as MRCTV readers might know, CA leftists long have pushed, and, as The Associated Press reports via NewsMax, the statute still “allows” (how nice) separate “boys” and “girls” sections for clothes and other items, but that it:
…says large stores must also have a gender neutral section to display ‘a reasonable selection’ of items ‘regardless of whether they have been traditionally marketed for either girls or for boys.’
Ahh, yes. "Reasonable" as defined by the government.
The statute applies to retailers with 500 or more employees, it does not distinguish physical spaces from online spaces (shifting money to interior and web designers that retailers could be utilizing in other ways), and it:
…applies to toys and ‘childcare items,’ which include hygiene and teething products.
Because, God forbid anyone acknowledge a real-world difference between the hygiene needs of girls and boys.
And God forbid anyone embrace the idea that boys and girls generally find different things appealing, that they think differently and those thoughts and approaches to their external reality are not “dictated to them” by some kind of societal assumptions.
John Stossel did a magnificent job exploding that leftist, faux-liberationist myth in his 2005 book “Give Me A Break” in a 2019 video and an hour-long documentary originally broadcast by ABC and, after many years, made available from the network as “The Difference Between Men and Women”.
Stossel noted studies showing that women remember details more than men do, that men have a stronger innate sense of compass direction, and, “Baby boys look longer at objects like tractor parts. Infant girls stare at faces …”
But, even if “society” somehow forced generation upon generation of boys and girls to not only be physically different but also mentally different, and someone wanted to catalyze what he or she thought was a change, why get the government to engage in threats against sellers and customers to make them conform with these great “society-changing” plans?
Perhaps that’s the deeper ethical and economic question. And perhaps, just perhaps, ethical behavior and free markets are connected.
As I reported in March, this new CA statute was proposed by – shocker – two Democrat State Assembly members, Evan Low (Cupertino) and Cristina Garcia (Los Angeles), and, rather than opening their own stores to see what customers might prefer, they appeared driven to “make things fair” – as they define it – through government force.
This insult isn’t just to the U.S. and California constitutions -- the former of which prohibits state politicians from interfering with the fulfillment of private contract, is supposed to prohibit governments from invading private property to “search” unless a judge has issued a warrant, and is supposed to protect free speech for both brick-and-mortar proprietors and online sellers.
And it isn’t solely an insult to those who know that boys and girls are different and that, on the whole, they are attracted to different kinds of clothes, toys, and pastimes - not to mention the fact that physically, their bodies are different, and often require different clothing.
Indeed, it’s more than that. It is about the ethics of freedom, and the positive effects freedom has because it allows markets to cater to what people truly want.
Proprietors adapt to consumer demands. Their decisions are based on what works best to satisfy customers. The very reason shop-owners have organically organized their stocks in ‘Boys’ and ‘Girls’ sections is because, for centuries, customers have shown they prefer such a shopping layout.
And this is not just an economics lesson. It is part of the greater moral and ethical framework of peace, and it offers us one final, political-structural lesson.
For decades, the US has seen a gradual erosion of the sanctity of private property, private contract, and voluntary association. You’ll find an excellent history of the problem in the 2001 book, “Only One Place of Redress,” by David E. Bernstein, which chronicles anti-market licensing statutes and “regulations” imposed on entrepreneurs. These were pernicious statutes to, for example, stop recruiters from helping move freed slaves from low-paying jobs in states like Georgia to other states where labor was in high demand and salary potential was greater.
In 1945, this attack on private contract got worse with the “Marsh v. Alabama” Supreme Court ruling, which claimed that a ship-building company could not stop a trespassing woman from handing out religious leaflets on the company campus. And it got even worse with the “Public Accommodations” portion of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which eliminated the concept of private property in a shop or store, and claimed that anything open for business is, magically, “public.”
So, this move in California reminds us that public property is that which uses tax money. Businesses are private, and the owners have the fundamental right to peacefully sell what they like, arrange the stores as they wish, and benefit or suffer based on their decisions.
Having politicians decide this is, by definition, fascism, and fascism used to be something that “gender” sensitive people disliked.