“The purpose of Newspeak was not only to provide a medium of expression for the world-view and mental habits proper to the devotees of IngSoc, but to make all other modes of thought impossible. Its vocabulary was so constructed as to give exact and often very subtle expression to every meaning that a Party member could properly wish to express, while excluding all other meaning and also the possibility of arriving at them by indirect methods. This was done partly by the invention of new words, but chiefly by eliminating undesirable words and stripping such words as remained of unorthodox meanings, and so far as possible of all secondary meaning whatever.” – George Orwell
One of the abiding fixations of the Left is its obsession with trying to control language and punish thoughtcrime. It loves speech codes. It encourages punishment of people, not only for saying and thinking unapproved ideas, but for saying things that sound like unapproved ideas, as when a bureaucrat a few years back used the word “niggardly” (a word derived from Northern European tongues that means “cheap” or “miserly”) in something he wrote and was set upon by the Racism Gestapo and hounded from his job. It didn’t matter what the word meant. It only mattered how it made ignorami feel. In similar ways, we are currently seeing a crackdown in some academic circles as students afflicted with a bad case of the Feels are silencing all discussion of anything in the world of ideas that they deem to be “triggering”. Rooms full of adults trying to have a conversation are being shushed and silenced in deference to bullies who have figured out a way to make everything All About Them.
The apotheosis of this, it seems to me, is the current cultural ascendancy of Caitlyn Jenner. Only in Millennial America could an incredibly wealthy member of the Kardashian clan sucker a huge number of Americans into playing along with indulgence of his mental illness and persuade us that by bravely facing the applause of our Manufacturers of Culture, he is the new Rosa Parks.
But what is even more amazing to me is the Orwellian language and the layers of hypocrisy and sheer lies that go with this enterprise as the enforcers of the “new normal” go to work.
Steven Greydanus remarked yesterday: “The more I read and think about it, the more I realize that my difficulty with people calling Caitlyn Jenner a woman begins not with disagreement, but with honestly having no idea what they’re saying or what they mean to claim. In this context, I literally don’t understand what is meant by “woman.”
Exactly. The truth is, we simply have no idea what those demanding approval (and threatening reprisal for disapproval) of this rich man’s delusion mean by “woman”. The word has been entirely drained of meaning beyond “Whatever the hell I say it means right now, buster, and you better knuckle under or else.” This is of a piece with the smashingly successful move to make “marriage” mean whatever the Nietzschean will says it means. But, of course, when words come to mean whatever we want them to mean, we kill them as useful words. A word that means anything means nothing.
The next layer of the lie is the amazing doublespeak about the Icon presented for our veneration by Vanity Fair. And Icon it is. Its purpose, like the entire rollout campaign issuing in yet another Kardashian “Reality” Show, is to make that cover go down in history as a watershed moment in western culture. It is an image, an artefact, crafted for our consumption and delectation with *intense* care: a testament to the work of the photographer, the clothing designer, the cosmetologist, the hairdresser, and, above all, the Photoshop artist. It is pure image and nothing but image and it is designed with the highest and most expensive energies of an army of experts to make Caitlyn Jenner look Hawt and to tell the world that this image–this surface, this product of technology–is who she is in her deepest being.
And then, right on the high heels of this loud, in your face demand to accept this image as truth from Sinai, we are told “Stop focusing on her looks!”
It’s the oldest strategy in the world: tempt and accuse. Classic.
Beyond this, of course, is the fundamental incoherence at the heart of the LBGT narrative: the triumph of the will over nature. The core of gay discourse is summed up by Lady Gaga: Born This Way.
Fine. Let’s grant that. I, for one, have no idea what the genesis of homosexual attraction is. If somebody tells me they have always felt same sex attraction, I’m not going to call them a liar. They oughtta know. But then are layered on a lot of dubious propositions that I am commanded to accept. Any appetite I have is natural, therefore good, therefore the world must approve it, because everything “natural” is automatically good.
Still and all, let’s grant the simplistic premise “Born this way=good”. You must never thwart what Nature has done. Fine.
Then how is it that in the next breath we are to fall down in veneration when somebody who was born with the full complement of male equipment and juices tells us “With sufficient will power, drugs, and surgery, I shall thwart what nature has done by trapping me as a lesbian in a man’s body.”
Once again, I return to Steve Greydanus’ mystification about what the word “woman” even means to people threatening punishment and ostracism to those who do not kowtow to this imperial demand of a rich man (and those who are using him) for approval.
What it comes back to, as ever, is not so much that our culture has rejected Christianity completely, but that it only retains bits and pieces of it. The same people who insist that there is no such thing as human nature (which is inherently sexual) are the people who insist that it is folly to simply treat the environment like garbage and expect no consequences. They laugh like the rest of us at this:
They get that nature is not infinitely malleable to our will–when it is non-human nature. But under the influence of a concupiscence they do not believe in–but which still believes in them–they seriously delude themselves into believing the lie that our human nature *is* infinitely malleable. And under that delusion, people do a lot of other things to the bodies God gave them besides pretend they are the opposite sex. They deliberately maim themselves. They claim to be members of other species and alter their bodies to try to look like it. They seek happiness in all manner of tormented ways. And increasingly, because we are too lazy to care, we applaud and let them run down these blind alleys because we are ourselves have no idea what the good is anymore and we therefore cling to one of the few goods we know: neglect (which we call “tolerance”).
Now you and I are never going to meet Bruce/Caitlyn. Indeed, the day to day contact most people have with transgendered people is vanishingly rare. And it always will be. There will be a burst of Transgendered Liberation stories in the news now. But it will not really show an uptick in occurrence, merely an uptick in the press jumping on this story.
But what we will meet more and more of is the loss of an ability to even conceive of a common human nature and common moral vocabulary. And when the ability to communicate is lost because Newspeak has replaced plain language, what humans historically have shown themselves quite able to do is inflict violence. Transgendered and gay people have been on the receiving end of such violence many times. The way to stop that is not to remove the possibility of a common language by draining words of meaning. Nor is it to engage in Orwellian doublespeak calculated to crush dissent. It is to recover what we truly seek: truth, beauty, love, friendship, and the Source of all these, which is God and not our own weakened will, darkened intellect, and disordered appetites.