Let’s Agree to Compromise on the Human Rights of Matt Yglesias
Society is needlessly polarized. One simple compromise could put us back on track.
I’ll begin this week’s column with a number: We have fourteen months and one week left until November 2024. We have four months and one week left until the year 2023 is over. When it is, we will officially be in the middle of a United States presidential election, and some of us (me, mainly) will have a hell of a time getting people to read about anything else.
I am dreading the approach of 2024 the way you dread an upraised shark fin cruising toward you in deep water. I fear it the way you fear a massive spider crawling along your arm in search of your face. Elections are when we talk about electability, and electability is when we talk about “compromise.” Specifically, we talk about which marginalized groups’ civil rights are worth “compromising” in the name of getting your guy elected. Even more specifically, we talk about how the marginalized group whose civil rights we should compromise on is trans people.
People always mean “trans people” when they say “compromise.” They meant it when Mark Lilla wrote about “identity liberalism” in the wake of the 2016 election. (“American liberalism has slipped into a kind of moral panic about racial, gender and sexual identity that has distorted liberalism’s message and prevented it from becoming a unifying force capable of governing,” wrote Mark Lilla.) They meant it when Bernie Sanders celebrated human transphobia cannon Joe Rogan’s endorsement during his 2020 campaign. (“Rogan is part of our politics… Nothing can change that. You can either have him in the Sanders tent in conversation with people with decent values or you can cast him out into the arms of Trump,” wrote Ryan Grim.) There is probably not a single politician, in any party, who has not at least flirted with the Great Transgender Compromise.
There is one man, however, who has gone past “flirting,” or even dating, and is currently balls-deep in the Great Transgender Compromise, fucking it with all his might in the bridal suite of a Sheraton on a wedding bed made of Substack money. This man is Matt Yglesias, and he has written a blog post about his puzzlement that some people (radicals! Communists…