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Semantic Gymnastics and the Buttigieg Matriarchy

It may seem tiresome to keep repeating truths in opposition to these lies, but we cannot afford to give up and give in. That would be canceling ourselves, and that way madness lies.

President-elect Joe Biden looks at his watch as former Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., arrives behind him to be announced as his nominee for secretary of transportation during a news conference in Wilmington, Del., Dec. 16, 2020. (CNS photo/Kevin Lamarque, Pool via Reuters)

I have been reading I Shall Bear Witness, Victor Klemperer’s diaries from 1933-45. Klemperer was a professor of philology and French literature in Dresden, Germany, until he was dismissed because of his Jewish heritage, even though he was a Christian. What saved him from the camps was the fact that his wife was a non-Jewish Christian. Therefore, he lived to tell the tale.

In a very granular way, his daily entries allow us to experience the seeping semantic infiltration through which the Nazis gradually succeeded in establishing a complete state of unreality, not only on the ground but in people’s minds. A day-to-day record of how this was done speaks to our own time. Klemperer’s post war book, titled The Language of the Third Reich, is about how the perversion of language perverted society – from the top down, exactly as it is happening here.

First, some broader context about the meaning of language is necessary. Aristotle said that words indicate the essences of the things they name. There is no difference between the name of a thing and the thing it names. There is an intrinsic connection between words and reality. Thomas Aquinas reaffirmed this relationship, using Genesis to do so. “Man named the animals,” he wrote, “But names should be adapted to the nature of things. Therefore, Adam knew the animals’ natures.” Naming is knowing.

All this changed when modern man decided that things no longer have essences; they are without natures. What, then, are names in relation to them? They are simply constructs that man impresses on natureless reality. There is no longer an intrinsic connection between words and the world. Reality becomes whatever we say it is. Naming is not knowing, but determining. In other words, since reality is nothing in itself, we get to make it up according to our druthers. We even get to make up ourselves. To give a metaphysical basis for this project, Jean-Paul Sartre insisted that existence precedes essence. We somehow are without being what we are. We are what-less creatures. What we become is the result of our will. Or to put it in current parlance, we self-identify as… (fill in the blank).

Does this sound familiar? It should, not only from the semantic gymnastics of the Nazis, but from our very own LGBTQ and transgender ideologies. Dave Chappelle, a comedian of whom I had never heard until the recent brouhaha over his Netflix special, said, “I know that trans people make up words to win arguments…This is a real thing.” Indeed, it is. The challenge from the trans folk seems to come straight out of the Marx Brothers movie Duck Soup, in which Chico is caught red-handed lying, and responds: “Who are you going to believe, me, or your lying eyes?” The trans version of this is: “Who are you going to believe, me, or my lying chromosomes?: The whole alphabet movement is a charade of made-up words. The word “homosexual”, for instance, was invented in the late nineteenth century precisely to promote the acceptance of sodomy. It took a while, but it worked.

We are the victims of semantic infiltration every bit as much as the Germans were during the Nazi period, although things have not quite progressed to that point yet. We can still resist. However, anyone who thinks that the denial of reality today is any less profound than it was in 1935 Germany is kidding themselves. Success for the LGBTQ-trans dream requires the obliteration of the real and the removal of those who continue to insist on the nature of reality. Does this statement sound too extreme? Then try this: publicly state that surgically disfiguring yourself so that you can pretend you are a person of the opposite sex is both futile and wrong; or proclaim that giving an underage child hormone blockers to skew their sexual orientation is child abuse and immoral – and see how long it takes for you to be canceled.

The purpose of semantic suppression and linguistic jujitsu is to transform reality, or rather to create an ersatz reality, in order to accommodate certain preferred disorders. We don’t want what we do wrong to be wrong in reality. In fact, it’s what we convince ourselves of when we freely do it. Very often, we recover with contrition, but not if we openly celebrate our transgressions. Then, we are lost. And then we must convince others that our wrong is right – in fact, make them accede to this inversion of reality. In response, the very least we ought to do is refuse to celebrate the harm they do to themselves.

Whether then or now, the strategy of attrition is the same: wear down through the repetition of the big lie or lies. It may seem tiresome to keep repeating truths in opposition to these lies, but we cannot afford to give up and give in. That would be canceling ourselves, and that way madness lies. We must insist on the integrity of language and its intrinsic relationship to reality, over and over again.

Let’s look at a recent example of current semantic absurdities, particularly in terms of the misappropriation of parental language.

Earlier this month, Politico reported that Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg had been on paid paternity leave since mid-August, an eight-week stretch. He and his “husband” James Glezman announced, “We are delighted to welcome Penelope Rose and Joseph August Buttigieg to our family.” The first thing to notice is that the last names of the infants indicate that the “family” is a matriarchy. Otherwise, why wouldn’t the children have the last name of their “father”?

Next comes the question as to how Buttigieg could be taking “paternity” leave since the dictionary definition of paternity is “the state of being someone’s father.” Yet since he is the “wife” in his relationship with Glezman, he must be the children’s “mother.” Therefore, strictly speaking, he should be on maternity leave, not paternity leave. The black-and-white photo officially introducing the couple’s new babies on social media shows Buttigieg and his “husband” lying in a hospital bed, each cradling one of the newborns. The optics of being photographed in a hospital bed is perfect for encouraging the delusion that one of them gave birth. However, as Dave Chappelle was so indelicate as to mention, “Every human being… on Earth had to pass through the legs of a woman to be on Earth. This is a fact.”

Which raises the subject of the missing person. Throughout all this, the real mother of the twins goes unmentioned. Did she get any maternity leave? Only by excluding the actual mother – by, so to speak, canceling her – can this pretend family displace the reality of motherhood so that Buttigieg can take it on himself. Who will explain to the twins as they are growing up where their mother is and through what ruse they were taken from her?

When criticized for being missing in action from his cabinet position for two months, Buttigieg became defensive: “Look, paid family leave is important. It’s important as a matter of family values. It’s important to our economy.” I’m scratching my head over how not working and still getting paid is important to the economy. That must be part of Bidenonmics, the $3.5 trillion budget that doesn’t cost anything. There is nothing wrong with stay-at-home moms, so long as they are not receiving government pay at the level of a cabinet officer, like the Secretary of Transportation, which is reportedly $221,400. Not bad work if you can get it.

Babies are cute and one’s sympathy naturally goes out to those who care for them. Buttigieg is counting on this misplaced compassion to get away with his hijacking of what families really are. He takes all this as being “pro-family.” The reason he’s been able to go AWOL for two months is that “what we have right now is an administration that’s actually pro-family.” If you are having trouble decoding this, simply remember that everything is actually its opposite.

To preserve our sanity, we need to keep in mind the magnitude of what has been lost in the great act of forgetting which our current culture is. The 1885 Murphy v. Ramsey Supreme Court ruling expressed what was once considered the “pro-family” common sense of mankind. It affirmed that

the basis of the idea of the family, as consisting in and springing from the union for life of one man and one woman in the holy estate of matrimony; the sure foundation of all that is stable and noble in our civilization; the best guarantee of that reverent morality which is the source of all beneficent progress in social and political improvement.

We will need our own Walter Klemperer to parse all the semantic nonsense when this is over, so that we can understand how we got from Murphy to Buttigieg, and so that our words adhere to reality once again.

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About Robert R. Reilly 22 Articles
Robert R. Reilly was Senior Advisor for Information Strategy (2002-2006) for the US Secretary of Defense, after which he taught at National Defense University. He was the director of the Voice of America (2001-2002) and served in the White House as a Special Assistant to the President (1983-1985). A graduate of Georgetown University and the Claremont Graduate University, his books include The Closing of the Muslim Mind, Making Gay Okay, and Surprised by Beauty: A Listener's Guide to the Recovery of Modern Music. His most recent book, America on Trial: A Defense of the Founding, is published by Ignatius Press.


  1. “When I used to read fairy tales, I fancied that kind of thing never happened, and now here [we are] in the middle of one!” (Alice in Wonderland)

  2. Some babies are actually born by C-section, which is always performed on a mother; that is, a female with a uterus. What Buttigieg and his “husband” are engaged in is called “sodomy,” which is not life-giving. Families are constructed by a father, a mother, and children produced by that father and mother or adopted into the family with a father and a mother. Same sex “marriage” will never produce human lives without the assistance of a biological mother and father. Producing life in any other way is simply taking the role of God on oneself.

  3. I believe that the Nazis learned how to “socially construct reality” from the commies. Today, in the US and Europe, the sodomite agenda is closely associated with the commies and their friends.

  4. The crux of the matter – “Whether then or now, the strategy of attrition is the same: wear down through the repetition of the big lie or lies. It may seem tiresome to keep repeating truths in opposition to these lies, but we cannot afford to give up and give in. That would be cancelling ourselves, and that way madness lies. We must insist on the integrity of language and it’s intrinsic relationship to reality, over and over again.”

    Well said. The statement “facts are stubborn things” springs to mind here. I heard Ronald Reagan use it on occasion, but he was not the originator.

  5. Not long ago I was reading an article in which a “proud” person denounced the use of the word “homosexual” as hate speech. She said the proper term was “same-sex attraction.” Now it wasn’t that long ago that anyone with an ordinary high school education had been exposed to enough Greek etymology to know that “homosexual” means precisely “same-sex.” Manipulating lexicon is indeed an aggressive tool for taking control of the narrative and controlling people. Especially when said people have learned so pathetically little.

    • The real problem this person had (I assume) was in the way that old words end up sounding negative. Gay people don’t use “homosexual” much, anymore. To us it sounds clinical and it is often used by people who see gay people as sick or sinners. I assume that’s all she meant.

      The fear of the other also facilitates fascism. This proud woman may not have been as cunning as she seemed.

  6. The comparison between today’s culture and that of 1930’s Germany is apt in so many ways, on so many levels.

    As a young man, I used to wonder how the inhabitants of a whole country could have all gone simultaneously insane. I wondered if their grains had spawned some undetected ergot fungus, spreading psychedelic compounds across the populace which had driven the Germans insane.

    But the phenomenon wasn’t so dramatic. Professor Klemperer’s journals give a detailed, day-by-day account of the changes as they took place, as Germany transitioned from a free and open society into a bug-eyed, fascistic madhouse.

    It’s scary, but the process there was much the same as what’s been happening here for the past several years.

    Unauthorized opinions and even thoughts were punished then via social ostracism and workplace sanctions.

    Rights were not assaulted willy-nilly, but were surrendered willingly, one by one, because the changes that were required were incremental, implemented in tiny steps. The populace deemed these small conformities less onerous than suffering the disapproval of their neighbors or even the forfeit of their livelihood.

    The same thing is happening here, as the left levies the same types of social and workplace sanctions against their unwoke, troglodytic enemies.

    Who wants to be known as a racist? A conspiracy
    theory spewing nutcase? Or, even recently, a domestic terrorist?

    Better to shut up and fall in line.

    And so courage, principle, independent thinking, become things of the past. What is left is uniformity — bland, unthinking, political correctness.

    This is what Hannah Ahrendt termed “the banality of evil” when she surveyed the Third Reich. She was talking about pragmatism in the face of injustice. Go along, get along.

    Thanks to the cancel culture, the media, Facebook and Twitter, Americans today are facing the same choices as those Germans were eighty years ago.

    In other words… Vote Democratic.

    Or else.

  7. Always present was choice of the good within our soul, the natural law within, and Darkness. Christ our light made that differential startlingly evident. “The first thing to notice is that the last names of the infants indicate that the family is a matriarchy. Otherwise, why wouldn’t the children have the last name of their father”? (Reilly). Pete Buttigeig chose the female role in his relationship and considers himself the mother. Chasten his significant other the male. Whether their diverse relationship indicates diversity in sexual role exchange is irrelevant in the world of darkness. A world antithetical to the divinely ordained order. We wonder why and how the rationale. A deliberative choice driven by allure of forbidden fruit. It’s an unworldly decision in the strict sense of a divinely ordained nature. Avariciousness always finds attractive what belongs to another. Nowadays the distorted at a premium. Buttigeig’s Mom and Dad were Notre Dame professors. Both smilingly present at their self determined daughter Pete’s Marriage to another man. Is it wonder that active homosexuals are in favor of abortion? Most often stridently. Their journey into darkness intuitively discounts the fruit of real marriage and life. First perhaps to mitigate their own sin the other perhaps hatred of order. Adoption, a remedial option, stealing innocent young lives to augment their own. The drowning grasping whatever at hand. Rejection of divine order spells eternal disorder in its most conflicting form of distortion. We find it in the severely mentally ill [frequently satanic] and the more coherent morally evil who offer rationale for their choice. The Light shone in the Darkness but the Darkness could not overcome it. Thanks be to Christ Our Lord.

    • Amen, and well said, Fr. Peter!

      The satanic left is working to destroy the family. Working to destroy life.

      It’s become so clear.

    • These beliefs you have betray the old days of ignorance of who gay people are and of the guilt and shame that feed a fatalistic Christan worldview. It’s not surprising. Homosexuality has been reviled more than any other sin. What is dangerous is the perpetuation of this cynical and self-serving view, which in its ignorance of how a gay person lives his life, influences people who look to you for guidance.

      • Dan I’ve known priests who are homosexual some by attraction committed to chaste lives others promiscuous causing immense harm. Others struggling and failing, one beaten to death. A kind person and a friend I had compassion for. What I criticize in my comment are the predators both priest and laity. Then there are homosexuals who realize the enormity of their cross and lead saintly lives evident in their confessions. As a boy I was threatened with death by a predator and managed to narrowly escape. So understand I have strong aversion to the disorder. Similarly, I realize some are unaware why they have the disordered attraction and believe that it’s simply the way they are. Your challenge is to recognize your commitment to Christ before all else and refrain from acting out your same sex predilections. Grace is their waiting for you to receive, prayers including mine that you do so.

  8. Speaking of semantics; We need to listen to Jesus Christ and see LGBTQ persons not as persons expressing alternative sexual practices but instead as practitioners of Modern Paganism. Our collective mistake has been to allow the belief that one can be a Christian and LGBTQ – Matt. 18:17, “If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the Church; and if they refuse to listen even to the Church, treat them as you would a pagan.” The LGBTQ are pagans and when they practice their heinous worship to their pagan unnamed god in the name of our loving and forgiving Jesus Christ it is blasphemy against the Holy Spirt. Matt. 12:31-32, All faithful Christians must take this seriously, this modern phenomena of an old pre-Christian evil is a despoiler of soils.

    • But, the worst an honest person could say is that gay people know not what they do. We see nothing wrong with being gay. For some of us, there isn’t even a contradiction with our religion, whether Catnolic or other. All that you say about our lives (at least the part you focus on) is incomprehensible. It just doesn’t make sense to us, no matter how we wrack our brains to try to figure it out.

      • Dan, so many, many apples. God is not deperate, he will pick the most beautiful fruit which are lovely on the outside and perfectly tart and sweet on the inside. He will also pick the not so beatiful on the outside but refreshing on the inside ones as well. But he will not pick the apples which are rotten or eaten by insects – those he will let fall to the ground to be eaten by critters or throw away in the garbage pit. I know of no greater rottening of the soul than the conscious act of homosexuality.

        • gka, thanks for responding. I am looking for a more practical approach for the gay Christian/ Catholic. One that assumes that a gay person must reconcile the supreme contradiction between the fate you describe and the mystery revealed to him in his sexual orientation.

          • There is no Gay Christian as there is no Porno Christian, Nazi Christian or Sex Trade Christian. Dan, you must take up your cross. Adulatory is any sex outside the marriage between a man and a woman who are to become one flesh in their offspring. Even lustful thoughts are a sin, Matt. 5:29. But we are all sinners. Alluding to my previous allegory, for us Catholics there are two beautiful apples both named Mary. The perfect apple in outer beauty of conduct and grace as well as inner beauty of unconditional, love of God in the Virgin Mary and a restored perfection through redemption of the scarred, rotten and neglected soul of Mary Magdalene. Jesus is the great gardener of Eden who can restore to perfection all fruit of the garden meant for God. All you have to do is ask, believe, strive and allow for the Holy Spirit to provide wisdom. Sounds easy but no cross is easy to bear; Matt. 11:29-30 – let Jesus share the burden.

        • gka, this is in response to your second comment to me. Thank you for encouraging me to talk to Jesus and let him help me. What if I remain content with being gay. Are there other works and ways to live the Gospel? Can I sin in one way and follow Jesus in another?

      • There is an easy way to understand what Catholicism says about homosexuality: look at it through the lens of Natural Law.

        Sexual acts have a nature and a purpose, both of which are violated in the performance of homosexual acts.

        Because of this, the desire to perform such acts is disordered (a disorder of sexual attraction: that one is attracted to the wrong thing).

  9. Update from FRC: Administration announces transgender Rachel Levine as the first “female four-star officer” across the “uniformed services.” Indiana congressman Rep. Jim Banks tweeted sarcastically: “The title of the first female four-star officer gets taken by a man.”congressman Rep. Banks had barely hit “post,” when the Left’s social media censors pounced, locking Banks out of Twitter for violating their “hateful conduct” policy.

    • I wanted to comment about the size of L:ven’s hands in the swearing in photo but decided not to post it for the same reason. I just had a 30 day ban on FB for something I still do not know what I wrote. Good article.

      • Congratulations on your FB ban! I was similarly banned many years ago, and I soon came to regard that ban as a badge of honor and pride. Best regards.

  10. But, the worst an honest person could say is that gay people know not what they do. We see nothing wrong with being gay. For some of us, there isn’t even a contradiction with our religion, whether Catnolic or other. All that you say about our lives (at least the part you focus on) is incomprehensible. It just doesn’t make sense to us, no matter how we wrack our brains to try to figure it out.

  11. Dan M, the expression of sexual love – all the intimate kisses and caresses that naturally lead to full arousal and intercourse – are always and only PROPERLY ordered to the relationship between a man and a woman who are joined together as spouses. It’s DISORDERED if they are not joined as husband and wife and we call that disordered expression fornication or adultery.

    The other “types” of love have their own properly ordered expression. Men who have been blessed with a loving friendship will embrace as friends, not as spouses. Mothers and fathers express their love for their children with filial acts even when their children are full-grown adults. Would you agree that it would be wrong for a father to love his son or daughter with the same expression reserved for his spouse?

    I suspect if you and I met face to face we’d likely end up talking past each other rather than communicating, and that’s a sad sign of the times. I’m more convinced than ever that all I can do is pray to God to set right that which has been set wrong.

    • Chris, thanks for your thoughts. I think we would have an understanding that we speak different languages. I don’t think we would talk past each other. I seek understanding more than I seek to change anyone. All the truths have not been revealed to me. I am as humble as I am human!

  12. ? This too allowed for our times , to help us to have compassion for the wounds
    from the envy and fear and bittenress that underlie the issue , ? from a childhood of depravity of what one sensed as was the right of any child , to be in the wramth of genuine faith and its deep trust and sacredness . Those wounds , in turn leading to the ? vindictive desire to deprive the the child as well as the true mother of what is God ordained .

    The insights given us in the Divine Will revelations to hopefully help to bring much healing in many families and persons .—publication-orders.html

    Hope there would be many more who can help The Church to try to bring the truths in same into our times , to help us to trust in His Mercy and Love more – amazing truths such as how our Lord has redone every thought and act of every human, in His Sacred Humanity during His Hidden years of the earthly Life .
    Moses was shown to conform our worship to that of the heavenly worship , of rejoicing in the ever greater glory and goodness in God , more revealed for our times .

    The Church also given the wisdom to discern that much of what has been in pagan faiths and life styles are from the lie of the rebellious spirits as the flood waters of the dragon and need not be approved or lived as worship or life style choices .

    News such as above – may same move many hearts to invoke The Blood and Water , to help to put to death all the death spirits of pride and cowardliness , to gaze with hope and gratitude at the perfect images, from glory to glory that our Lord holds of each of us in the Divine Will and to live in accordance , striving in The Mission to be ever conformed to same .

  13. The so called romantic attractions that persons use to justify carnal slavery –
    ? from the distortions of The Truth that The Lord has redone our acts into a perfect image of His for ecah of us in His Sacred Humanity . Romantic feelings leading to ‘seeing ‘ that perfection in the here and now , in the other and desiring that the other would see same in one self – ? allowed as a transient prelude and blessing for a sacred marriage through His grace , where as same , when misused and abused to lead to more and more depravity and its despair can lead to desiring that others too be similarly misled .
    ‘ Fear Him who can throw body and soul in hell ‘ Mathew 10 :28 – Lord achingly having to let go those who have chosen to serve the agents who hate human life and body , ever set to destroy same , despising heaven and the Perfection The Lord desire to extend to such .
    Sts Simon and St.Jude ,pray for us all , bless our times with holy and blessed
    relatiosnhips and protect in holiness the lives of all who are threatened with any seemingly ‘impossible ‘ situations .

  14. “The purpose of semantic suppression and linguistic jujitsu is to transform reality, or rather to create an ersatz reality, in order to accommodate certain preferred disorders”

    Not so sure. Popular delusions are many and varied. Salem Witches, Climate Change, Nuclear Winter, Malthusian Famines, Homosexual “Rights”, The “Jewish Problem”, whatever you care to imagine; while the nature of the unreality is important to the “useful idiots” who are easily swayed to invest their “convictions” in the cause du jur, it is incidental to the ultimate purpose of promoting it.

    To this reader, the ultimate purpose is, rather, exactly what you identified: to conquer the popular mind and make it subservient to a dictator.

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