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Trump’s announcement that via Twitter that transsexuals will no longer be allowed to serve in the military in any capacity has indeed ruffled some feathers.
For a libertarian, this can seem like government-mandated discrimination against otherwise equal and functional individuals. However a slight change of perspective reveals the deceptive nature of this initial impression. If the goal is to limit government, and therefore maximize freedom, the impact on the sovereignty of individuals by means of the appropriation of their stolen money must be considered.
Additionally, the long term effects of having transsexual individuals serve in high intensity situations, in which the lives of both their brothers at arms as well as the innocent civilians around them are at stake, must be taken into account. These factors change the debate, forcing the liberty minded to abandon their knee-jerk reaction to the banning of certain kinds of individuals and consider the broader implications of allowing trans individuals to operate around guns, bombs, and other assortments of deadly machinery.
First, one thing must be made clear- the military already discriminates. In fact every single organization that hires in any capacity discriminates. They must select individuals who serve the interests of their organization best, individuals who are suited to perform the job at hand, and individuals who have long-term viability. Due to this, the military has standards that cause them to discriminate against all sorts of individuals every day.
Army Regulation 40-501: Standards of Medical Fitness lays out an assortment of reasons to discriminate against people attempting to join the armed forced. This includes mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, depression, and bipolar disorder and former Johns Hopkins Chief of Psychiatry has said that transgenderism is a mental disorder that merits treatment. For the military to add another mental disorder to their banned list, such as transgenderism, should be of no surprise. Given the already high suicide rates the military deals with, permitting a group with a suicide rate 20 times higher that average citizens to join the military is myopic at best.
The military is bound just like any organization, if not more so than most organizations, to select people who can perform in the most difficult of situations. This is not compatible with a group of people already in need of treatment, as it implies that their “breaking point” mentally will be far lower than individuals with a clean bill of mental health. The armed forces already deal with fairly common scandals of soldiers breaking down mentally and killing their fellow soldiers, non-combatants, or themselves. The proximity to dangerous weapons mentally unstable individuals have substantially increases this risk and has the potential to increase both suicide rates, as well as the civilian casualty rates. This is not to say the US should make a law banning trans or even mentally disabled people as a whole from owning weapons, as everyone maintains their 2nd amendment rights, but it is sensible to not actively subsidize their proximity to these dangerous weapons and machines by bringing them into the military, through taxpayer funds.
The final consideration affects the entire populace. The medical procedures trans people in the military have been seeking cost a tremendous amount of stolen taxpayer money, and these procedures do not help the combat abilities of the soldiers in the slightest. Obviously the military spends a remarkably higher amount of taxpayer money on equally frivolous endeavors all the time. The failing of military spending does not give pass to add more failings in this regard. In fact, libertarians should rejoice at the notion of reducing military spending, no matter what form it takes. Spending taxpayer money on trans medical operations not only violates the consciences of many from whom the money was stolen, but spends it without equal marginal utility received toward the military’s goals.
Transsexual people are fundamentally mentally unstable people. This does not mean they should be treated with any sort of aggression or hate, but it does mean that their mental condition has to be taken into account when considering them for positions in an organization built for violent endeavors such as war. It is not hateful to discriminate, as discrimination is inevitable and already occurs. It is not hateful to discriminate against transsexual individuals in the military, as they are one of many groups who pose to high a risk for mental stress war posses. If the military is to be funded by the taxpayers, it should be sculpted to be as lean and effective as possible.
Libertarians should side with Trump in this decision for the sake of the taxpayers, for the sake of the civilians at stake, the sake of reducing military spending, and fundamentally for the sake of the mentally ill trans people.