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Maggie Gallagher on the ‘Human-Rights Explosion’


My colleague Maggie Gallagher has a great column on “human rights” inflation. An excerpt:

I thought at first it was a joke. “The European Union has declared travelling a human right, and is launching a scheme to subsidize vacations with taxpayers’ dollars” for the poor, the elderly, for young people ages 18 to 25, for the disabled and others with undefined social distresses, the press reported. . . .

But before we laugh too hard at our brothers across the pond, consider a more American iteration of the same impulse to expand human rights: “gender expression.”

The Maine Human Rights Commission announced plans to give every person in Maine the right to express his or her gender at will, eliminating the right of schools or colleges to establish some standard for who counts as a transgendered person.

Transsexual is so last century. Why insist on surgical reassignment of gender? Why not just embrace the new gender fluidity? In Maine, basic human rights include the right to get up in the morning and decide what gender you feel like expressing that day. Government, in this view, has no business keeping the boys out of the girls’ bathroom, or even the showers in the girls’ locker rooms.


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