Is not escaping the circumstances of our birth and remaking ourselves in our own self-styled image the very essence of the American Dream?
If you attended American schools or consumed its media you probably grew up believing that the greatness of this nation was that anybody could become anything they wanted to be if they were willing to make the effort. However it was almost always also implicitly implied that this opportunity for mobility could be measured in socio-economic status. The poor can become rich.
Today that kind of mobility seems far less achievable. It is not impossible, but for a variety of reasons it is not as easy to pull yourself up by the bootstraps as it was while we were still a developing, then dominant, nation. At the same time, that sort of tunnel vision towards wealth is less attractive than it once was. New values are arising which transcend consumer culture and capitalist virtues. However the pressing urge for mobility is still very much a part of our national identity.
Before moving on, I would like to make a few things clear. I am absolutely and without a doubt not in support of nation states. It is an obsolete concept that triggers humanity’s most destructive habitual impulses. However we cannot discount that there is a unique American culture or ideology that can be referred to without validating or promoting nation states.
Secondly, almost any critique of the trans phenomena is going to include an indictment against ‘identity politics’. The fact is, there is no politics without identity. Every political group is based on a shared identity. That is the core adhesive of any political structure, and thus there are no politics free of identity, leaving these criticisms empty of any meaning. What is really implied is a rejection of the evolution of that identity by traditionalists who are opposed to the one thing you cannot fight – change.
Now that I have relieved reactive types of some of their ammo, let’s move on.
If financial mobility is no longer as possible or desired, but the will towards mobility is still present, would not the trans movement be a reasonable new expression of the ol’ American Dream?
How free are we if we cannot adjust our gender or sexual identity without being shouted down by angry traditionalists? How could there be any mobility if the goal is to relive the past indefinitely?
The barely veiled bigots who heap their disapproval and disgust on the trans movement and its members are not champions of the American Dream, as they claim, but are in fact enemies of its logic that in America you can become whatever or whoever you want to despite the circumstances of your birthright.
This hypocrisy runs deeply through every strand of American conservativism. The attachment to historical WASP worldviews and values puts conservatives in direct opposition with the most fundamental principles which this nations narrative was predicated upon. They have remade America in the image of the historical authoritarian European nation states their ancestors came here to escape.
Conservativism is the ultimate anti-American authoritarianism in that its logic dictates that we must conform to traditions. It is predicated on faulty reasoning, such as induction, which is to defy logic while pretending to be its champion. It is a mass gaslighting of those who are in tune with the fundamental truth that the world is an ever changing place in which anything is possible; while denying the mobility and opportunities of those who are more well suited to adapt along with it.
Today’s self made man isn’t the poor farm boy who got rich on real estate, but a little girl who chaffed against her assigned identity and had the courage and gumption to do something about it. If you don’t like that maybe you should get out and go join some radical traditionalist cult like ISIS who similarly believe in conformity to the past at any cost; because that is what you are essentially doing no matter how much you tell yourself you are some kind of beacon of reason. You’re not. End of story.