Occam’s Razor: HB2 and NC’s history

Published 10:00 pm Tuesday, May 3, 2016

To the editor:

First, it’s a theory that came from a medieval English friar named William of Occam. In Latin it’s called lex parsimoniae, the law of parsimony, but you probably know it as “Keep it simple, stupid!”

Once you shave away all the assumptions and diversionary arguments surrounding a hypothesis, you probably arrive at a larger, underlying truth. Now let’s apply Occam’s razor to North Carolina’s HB2, the one about bathrooms and transgenders.

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To begin with, don’t confuse HB2 with reality. You can troll the attorney general’s website or elsewhere for crime statistics, and you won’t find any instances of transgenders entering public restrooms to assault anyone. None. Regardless of any scenario, no real events have occurred. Yet that’s informative but irrelevant.

More realistically you will find data on hate crimes against transsexuals in almost any public place, a bathroom, bar, or street corner. Or of coaches, priests, teachers, family members, camp counselors, ministers, and, yes, even elected representatives assaulting children in bathrooms and elsewhere.

You can shave away any assumptions about security, false goodness, or of hypocrisy implicit in HB2. Still, they provide a passionate basis for righteous or factual arguments on any number of points, all entertaining and diversionary but part of the dissimilitude of HB2.

You can also ignore the recent billboard on Hwy. 108 in Lynn about how North Carolina has gone back into its dark past with the passage of HB2. Except for a few, brief flirtations with Terry Sanford, Harvey Gantt, and Jim Hunt, North Carolina has always been a reactionary Southern state. Always. Only outsiders think otherwise, and many of them probably live in Tryon.

Remember that North Carolina bled more than any Southern state in defending slavery in the Civil War; that it waited 50 years before ratifying the 19th Amendment, the one passed in 1920 that gave women the right to vote; that it had more KKK members in the 1960s than all the other Southern states combined; that our iconic Senator Sam Irvin likely should be given personal credit for killing the ERA Amendment in the 1970s; that North Carolina approved Proposition 1 against gay marriage by a 2-1 margin in 2012; and that it unfailingly elected Jesse Helms, probably the most publicly homophobic senator of our time, to office for 30 years.

Now let’s turn to the Bible. North Carolinians always do when there’s a civil rights issue, LGBT being the latest.

Biblical justifications dot civil rights issues. Ending slavery and segregation? Start with the curse of Ham or Jeremiah. The submissiveness of women? Think Paul here. Against homosexuality? You’ll find legitimatization in both the Old and New Testaments. Religious freedom versus apostasy? Don’t get me started. Yet don’t let religious wrappings, no matter your beliefs, gratify your desire to be “right” or “righteous” on HB2. They can be multiplied beyond necessity.

Look closely at the other parts of HB2 to discover its essence. They prohibit local governments from passing anything above the mandated minimum wage of $7.25 nor can they pass any anti-discrimination measure like Charlotte did for LGBTs, and, most important, ends the ability of North Carolinians to sue for discrimination in the workplace.

Crafted by rural legislators like Phil Berger from Eden and Tim Moore from King’s Mountain, HB2 perfectly expresses a gerrymandered and artificial hatred for cities like Charlotte and Asheville and, yes, a death struggle between rural and urban North Carolina over the state’s future. How best to prevent children from small towns and communities rushing to cesspools of vice and corruption like Asheville and Charlotte that lure them through high wages? How best to return to an idyllic North Carolina dominated by white males where everyone knew their place, one that never existed? Conjure up a few hobgoblins like LGBTs, pass a new law that creates a false public concern, especially in a presidential election year, and you might be able to ward off the inevitability of demographics and modernity for a few more years.

Otherwise, Mt. Airy horrifyingly might become Asheville and Andy Griffith, Caitlin Jenner.

Milton Ready
Tryon, N.C.