By Rob Slane
Modern totalitarianism offers subjective substitutes for objective reality, and then insists that everyone accept those substitutes, or else. There are many examples of this. For instance, there is the idea that there really are no differences between men and women, and that either sex can perform all tasks equally. There is the idea that marriage is something that can take place between two men or two women. There is the idea that a person who was born biologically male can transition to become female, and vice versa.
Transgenderism offers a good example. Take the recent Gender Identity Guidance issued by the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination. According to Eugene Volokh, writing in the Washington Post
Under Massachusetts law, refusing to use a transgender person’s preferred pronoun would be punishable discrimination. (At least this is true of “he” or “she”—I saw nothing in the document about “ze” and other newly made up pronouns.) The Massachusetts document … makes that clear in the employment context, and it also makes clear that the antidiscrimination law rules apply to places of public accommodations (including churches, in “secular events” “open to the public”) just as much as to employment.
Now, let’s notice the sleight of hand that has taken place in the whole transgender issue. Take the imaginary case of Bob, who is transitioning to become Carol. He is objectively male, right? That is his objective biological sex. By that I mean that at some point in the past, the midwife present at his birth pronounced him to be a boy, and we can assume that she made this assessment on the basis of objective data, rather than on a personal whim. Indeed, had she pronounced Bob to be a girl, or even non-gender specific, despite the clear evidence to the contrary, Bob’s parents would no doubt have corrected her and, had she still insisted on ignoring the evidence, made a complaint.
But at some point after that, Bob came to believe that the objective data was wrong, so he chose to undergo a process of bodily mutilation. Note, however, that the objective data was not wrong. How could it be? It is objective, including physically provable characteristics and XY chromosomes. As a recent report from the American College of Pediatricians puts it:
Human sexuality is an objective biological binary trait: “XY” and “XX” are genetic markers of male and female, respectively–not genetic markers of disorder.
They go on to say that:
No one is born with a gender. Everyone is born with a biological sex. Gender (an awareness of oneself as male or female) is a sociological and psychological concept; not an objective biological one.
So we can state with absolute certainty that since biological sex is a demonstrably objective reality, Bob’s decision to transition away from this must be a subjective one. Indeed, the very fact that Bob needs surgery to make the transition rather proves the point. (As an aside, those arguing for transgenderism need to answer the question of why the body, which is objectively one thing or the other, should be made to conform to a subjective decision of the mind, rather than the other way around.)
But having made this demonstrably subjective decision, what happens next? Having taken a decision which is contrary to objective reality, Bob now not only identifies as a sex which is opposite to his objective biological one, but now expects everyone else to accept his decision as objective reality.
Do you see what has happened? We’ve gone through four stages:
- Objective reality.
- Denial of objective reality.
- The creation of a new subjective reality.
- The insistence that this new reality is now objective truth to be assented to and obeyed by everyone.
Oh, and there is now a fifth stage, which is that if we don’t consent to go along with the new reality, we get a label pinned to us—hater, transphobe, bigot, etc.—and possibly are accused of a “hate crime.”
Here are a couple of questions that we should be asking those who insist on this:
- If someone acts contrary to objective reality, what grounds do they then have for insisting that everyone else treat their subjective reality as objectively true?
- If someone chooses to make their identity a matter of subjectivity, what grounds do they have for saying that the rest of us cannot also make it a matter of subjectivity and call them “him” or “her” depending on how we feel?
The answer to both these questions is that they have no grounds whatsoever. Having denied objective reality in favor of subjective feelings, they have no grounds to then demand that we all accept their subjective decision as being objective. Secondly, having insisted on their own subjective reality as being the ultimate authority, they have no grounds for denying anyone else the same right to exercise their subjective feelings on the subject.
So if someone believes Bob to be a box of breakfast cereal, for instance, I can say that they are wrong, and I can do so on the basis that the objective data shows clearly that Bob is not a box of breakfast cereal, but rather a human being. However, if Bob tries to deny someone the right to believe and openly state that he is a box of breakfast cereal, this flies in the face of the logic he used in the first place to proclaim against his own objective biological sex. Who knows? Perhaps denying people their subjective rights to call other people boxes of breakfast cereal might even be a new hate crime. Bransphobia?
And yet despite having no grounds to insist on these things, they are insisting on it in increasingly vitriolic tones, and with the threat of the law behind them. This is how the new totalitarianism works. It tears up objective reality, then imposes a new subjective reality in its place. But it doesn’t stop there. It then insists that society embraces that subjective belief as now being objectively true, and punishes those who refuse to play ball.
Another way of stating this is to say that the Cultural Marxists who have created these new realities see themselves as the final arbiters of what is real and what is true. Not only this, but they are prepared to censure, shout down, and even prosecute those who defy their new reality.
The bad news is that things may not get better anytime soon. Those who are busy creating these new realities have invested too much in them to give them up. They aren’t suddenly going to say, “Hey, I guess it is really rather stupid to insist that there are no differences between men and women, or that two men can marry.” No, they will double down and triple down on it for the foreseeable future. And as they do, there will come more assaults on objective reality, more attempts to create alternate realities, and more efforts to get us all to put our stamp of approval on this folly. Those who dissent will be stigmatized, penalized, and coerced into silence. This is what the modern totalitarians do.
But the good news? It is not the Cultural Marxists, but the Triune God of Heaven and Earth Who is actually the final Arbiter of what is real and what is true, and He will not allow this situation to go on indefinitely. It’s His world and His reality, and He will at some point overthrow those who attempt to overthrow His order. Time and time throughout history, He has risen up to overthrow His enemies and deliver His people. And He will do so again. However, these deliverances ordinarily come when His people truly “cry out to the Lord.”
So let me finish up by asking a very searching question. I recently held a discussion group with some Christian friends, where I covered a little of the history of how we ended up with transgenderism, same-sex marriage, no-fault divorce, family breakdown, tolerance and diversity, sex education, egalitarianism, feminism, “homophobia,” and “hate” crimes. Having gone through it all, and having unanimously agreed that it was all quite mad and more than a little disquieting, I then said, “Raise your hand if you are praying fervently to the Triune God on a regular basis to come and save us and our culture from this mess.”
How about you?
Rob Slane lives with his wife and six home-educated children in Salisbury, England. He is the author of The God Reality: A Critique of Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion, contributes to the Canadian magazine Reformed Perspective, and blogs on cultural issues from a Biblical perspective at www.theblogmire.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @theblogmire.