As soon as Bruce Jenner decided he was a woman, the media immediately fell in line. News reports obligingly referred to him as “her,” and commentators agreed that henceforth Mr. Jenner’s name will be “Caitlyn.”
Whether it will become a hate crime to say otherwise remains to be seen. But it has already become problematic to joke about the transition. For example, Spike TV cut out a joke about Jenner made by Clint Eastwood at an award show. When introducing Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson at the 2015 Guys’ Choice Awards, he compared Johnson to former athletes who had turned to acting such as “Jim Brown and Caitlyn somebody…”
Seems fairly mild as jokes go, but in our highly sensitized society it’s better not to take chances, and so the Spike executives spiked the joke. As in the old Soviet Union, politically incorrect jokes are being driven underground. And, as is increasingly the case, almost any thought can be deemed to be incorrect.
The establishment understands that a joke directed at Jenner is also directed at them. The butt of the joke is not just Jenner but also the elites who laud and honor him for his “courage.” So, rather than incur the wrath of the establishment, the executives at Spike, who, after all, are themselves part of the establishment, decided it was not nice for guys to joke around.
A common theme in the underground jokes of the Soviet era was mutual pretense. One joke which circulated widely in factories and collective farms ended with the punch line, “they pretend to pay us and we pretend to work.” In societies where reality is denied, jokes are a way of reasserting reality—a way of saying, “we may pay lip service to the official deception, but we are not fooled by it.”
In totalitarian societies, everyone is expected to play along with the lie. The increasingly totalitarian nature of our own society can be gauged by the number of official lies the citizenry is obliged to consent to. One of the latest and biggest whoppers is that Jenner has pole-vaulted over the gender bar. Jenner is not a woman—not physiologically and not chromosomally—but everyone is expected to collude in the pretense that he is. Looked at one way, a joke about Jenner is a measure of insensitivity. Looked at from another perspective, it’s a way of holding on to reality.
In a PC society, there are some things it’s not safe to joke about—transgenders, same-sex marriage, Muhammad. Uh, no…better spike that last thought. However, one can’t help but notice that there is a curious connection between the Jenner affair and the establishment-mandated make-believe about Islam. As with sexual identity groups, Muslims are considered to be victims—of oppression, bigotry, and Islamophobia—and thus beyond criticism or judgment. And, as with the transgender phenomenon, the establishment requires you to collude in a lie—the lie in this case being that Islam is a religion of peace, no different from any other religion.
In both cases, the lies are dangerous. That may be more obvious in regard to lies about the nature of Islam. The pretense that Islam is something it is not puts lives at risk. The strategic incoherence of the War on Terror and the resulting loss of life is due in large part to a denial of the close link between Islam and radical Islam. Western leaders never understood what was happening because they wore self-imposed blinders. Hence, they were continually caught off-guard—first by Hezbollah, then by al-Qaeda, and then, in no particular order, by al-Shabaab, Abu Sayyaf, Boko Haram, ISIS, and numerous other groups that were simply putting the Islamic doctrine of holy war into practice.
By contrast, the Olympian efforts to normalize the transition of Bruce Jenner would appear to be a minor matter. Apart from whatever danger he may pose to his fellow motorists, in what sense can Jenner be seen as a threat to his fellow citizens? Well, if he were Bruce Jenner the supermarket clerk, there would be little cause for concern. But since he’s Bruce Jenner the celebrity, the media’s poster boy for gender fluidity, there is something to worry about.
It may seem quaint to say so, but the division of the sexes into male and female is still the basis of society. It’s the way societies propagate themselves. And the union of male and female in marriage is the way society ensures that the propagated aren’t left to fend for themselves like baby lizards.
Alternative arrangements have been tried, but no viable substitute has been found. For about the last four decades, the academic, artistic, and media elites have insisted that a flourishing society can be built out of self-actualizing individuals doing their own thing. But, apart from the world of TV sitcoms, it hasn’t worked. When the experiments of the elites are tried in inner-city Baltimore, or in the rust belt, or in the no-longer-thriving mill towns of New England, the result is dysfunction on a mass scale. Prior to the sixties, the illegitimacy rate for the U.S. was about three percent. Now it’s over forty percent and climbing. That means more fatherless children, more overtaxed mothers, more educational failure, more drug addiction, and more unsafe towns and cities. To paraphrase the ad for Chiffon Margarine, “It’s not smart to fool with Mother Nature.”
The idea that one sex can do the work of two in raising a family will one day be seen as a suicidal notion, not unlike the Shaker belief that the best way to preserve Shaker values was to stop having children. The same goes for the idea that sexual identity is an optional lifestyle choice. Because once you start tinkering with sexual identity, you are tinkering with the foundations of society.
You might be able to get away with a little such tinkering in a healthy society with a healthy birth rate and a preponderance of intact families. But after forty years of do-your-own-thing-and-let-others-pick-up-the-pieces, intact families are becoming a rarity. What makes the current fascination with gender experimentation even more suicidal is the existence of an enemy culture which uses its own population growth as a weapon to extinguish rival cultures. Europe, which gave up on vive la différence about half a century ago, has one of the lowest birth rates on the planet. Meanwhile, the Muslims who hope to replace them have one of the highest.
Europe is not yet in its death throes, but, given the mathematics of the situation, that day seems almost inevitable. And when it comes, “death throes” might not be the best way to describe it. At that point, old Europe won’t have enough energy to throw a throe. Europe’s last days will more likely be of the going-quietly-into-the-dark-night variety.
Europe’s experiment with a childless society is now revealed to be about as sophisticated as Dr. Frankenstein’s experiments with electricity and corpses. Sophisticated people have always thought that the Frankenstein story is a cautionary tale about scientists tinkering with forces they cannot control. But it was never intended as an allegory about scientific overreach. In fact, the character of Dr. Frankenstein was modeled on the author’s husband, the poet Percy Shelley. And, although Shelley did conduct amateur experiments with electricity, Dr. Frankenstein’s ghoulish experiments are actually a metaphor for Shelley’s self-centered experiments with free love and sexual liberation. Mary Shelley’s concern was not with the destructive experiments of mad scientists, but with the destructive results of mad philosophies. Frankenstein is a reflection on her husband’s proto-Nietzschean philosophy and on the damage it wrought in the lives of those close to Shelley once it was put into practice.
In America, the experiments continue. And the results are predictable. The celebration of trans will not translate into healthy families or a healthy birthrate. The children of the Jenner generation will be too absorbed in questions of self-identity to do much generating—let alone to raise families. Nor are they likely to notice that a replacement population with very different ideas about self-fulfillment is on the doorstep. And when they do finally notice, it is unlikely that they will be able to resist.
Just as the anything-goes Weimar Republic was unable to resist Nazism and was, in fact, prelude to it, our own self-obsessed society will likely pave the way for its own abolishment. What now seems to be a progress toward total freedom will someday be seen as steps on the road to total control. Whatever temporary successes its proponents may achieve, gender fluidity is not the wave of the future.
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