It is said that hell hath no fury as a Scotswoman scorned. While reading Maddy Kearns, one of the finest recent exports from these gloomy islands to the fairer shores (lightly balancing the trauma of unleashing John Oliver on Americans), on the cancellation of Joanne Kathleen Rowling for asserting women are women, I realized how hapless Englishmen must have had their knees shaking facing Robert the Bruce in Bannockburn.
Long story short, a think tanker lost her job for speaking the simple, factual, biological truth that men and women on God’s green earth are born different and will remain different ‘til the end of times, and no amount of scientific wizardry or willy-nilly genital modification will make that disappear. Just like a cripple doesn’t prove that humans are not by design bipedal, an intersex person doesn’t prove that, in strictly scientific terms it is the males who breed and the females who give birth.
But, since this is 2019, free speech in the United Kingdom isn’t codified in a written constitution, and, most importantly, since British judges are fundamentally so illiberal and activist that they all make Elena Kagan sound like Edmund Burke, this poor woman lost her job from a think tank. The Guardian reports that she was accused of using “offensive and exclusionary” language, for the crime of tweeting “men cannot change into women,” which is apparently protected under some European Union Equality Act.
Then it took a somewhat surprising turn. So far, these type of cancellations have been unanimous. There has been no barking back, so to speak. This time, however, for some reason, the Harry Potter author who hadn’t tweeted since November took to Twitter for a fierce reprimand. The reaction was devastating.
Our resident village gossips at Vox asked if Rowling just destroyed the legacy of Harry Potter with transphobia. Mary Sue, the feminist blog, was apparently shocked. CNN said Rowling was flat-out wrong, as she had no experience about transgenders, like the author of Harry Potter has no idea of imaginative beings. Predictably, both the New York Times and Washington Post found two transgender people to write about how Rowling hates them.
Meanwhile, the LGBT activist lobbies were not silent either. From the American Civil Liberties Union, to Amnesty, to GLAAD, to PinkNews, all the transnational LGBT activist groups were equally vocal in denouncing not just Rowling, but also other prominent women who are against this new movement, including former athletes like Martina Navratilova and Sharron Davies, as well as comedian Ricky Gervais.
Rowling and the other celebs who are slowly speaking out against the creeping trans orthodoxy are a litmus test for these groups. If they succeed, the revolt will spread, and more and more people will see the same slippery slope conservatives have been warning about: if this menace is not confronted, telling the truth about the sexes will lead to not just a loss of honor, but also to losses of jobs, and even jail. This is not a phenomenon solely in the U.K. In Iowa a man was jailed for 16 years for burning a rainbow flag.
Yet, despite Maddy’s considerable bravery speaking up on television and eloquent defence of Rowling, somehow, I don’t feel compelled to congratulate Rowling. Why should we congratulate the same author whose work is a simplistic Manichean struggle against magic Nazis, and has repeatedly caved in to leftist demands thus far, only to see the revolution coming for her at last?
I am old enough to remember the “Dumbledore is suddenly gay” controversy, and the resistance against President Trump named (no marks for creativity) “Dumbledore’s Army.” The woke generation is a product of Rowling’s philosophy, and a bunch of people Rowling repeatedly encouraged on Twitter for every liberal cause she supported.
They are a generation of simpletons, only understanding a grand struggle between good (which means “what I feel good about”) versus evil (“anything I oppose”). It is somewhat fittingly amusing to see the Jacobins coming for the Girondins. The revolution is always hungry for consuming more of its own. There’s no end to purity when everything is dependent on feelings, and all social gods eventually disappoint.
The issue is not just about transgenderism. This overwhelming woke era is essentially just silly outrages for a generation of people who are among the most privileged financially in the Western world. Like everything else, it is a ridiculous utopian fad that will die down in time, like hippies or heroin chic, leaving a trail of destruction and broken and scarred lives. It’s an effect, not the cause.
Consider the history of the late 19th-century Victorian Europe, and you’d see a bunch of wealthy people who believe in all the conventional wisdom of their times, have not seen great power wars for decades, know relative peace in a world where there is enormous free movement and free trade, claim to be rational and scientific and children of the enlightenment, and yet believe in planchets, witchcraft, the healing effects of cocaine and clairvoyance, and skull shapes determining intelligence. Nothing is ever thematically new in this planet. History is cyclical.
However, the difference between our times and the Victorians is that the Victorians knew civilization was more important than individual lives. Of course there were vices in the Victorian age as well. But they were astute enough to understand that normalization of deviance is detrimental to civilization.
The entire history of humanity until then was one to reach and move beyond the original state of nature and savage existence. Manners, stoicism, discipline, public propriety, sense of style, merit, emotional composure, bravery, a belief in the laws of Nature, and most importantly sacrifice for a greater cause, were the marks of an advanced civilization. The Victorians worked to perfect that civilizationally, even at the cost of individual lives and feelings.
The art, adventure, architecture, science, and music of that era harked to some ethereal glory, something to leave behind for posterity to remember. All that has been in an exact reverse since the 1960s sexual revolution, a deliberate attempt by a section of the elites to turn back the contemporary sexual and social ethos in time to a pre-civilised, primitive existence.
While the Victorians aspired to earn respect, the modern society promotes those who demand respect, but because they want to show how vulnerable and weak they are. It creates a paradox, in which the most emotionally fragile narcissists group together like a pack of hyenas to bully others while claiming victimhood.
Liberals think intersectional progressivism and post-modernism is an aberration of liberalism and modernism, whereas conservatives think post-modernism and progressivism is the logical conclusion of modernism and liberalism. The ‘60s liberals gave birth to this monster that now smites them.
Liberalism, from Immanuel Kant and Jeremy Bentham onwards, is based on the modernist and rationalist paradigm. G.W.F. Hegel twisted it, Karl Marx twisted Hegel further, and Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, and Herbert Marcuse twisted Marx. The reason to get this clear is to understand that trans movement ideologues are the ideological children of the same 1960s radical-feminists, sometimes namecalled TERFs, who once proudly wanted to destroy the old order, the hetero-patriarchal society, by destroying its primary unit of family, in their own words, through “promoting polyamory, promiscuity, pornography and prostitution.” Now that they have turned full Cylon, it is somewhat amusing to conservatives. But hey, conservatives warned about this for decades. If only someone listened!
Libby Emmons wrote that the last decade is one of the trans movement. One feels optimistic that the tide is turning. That doesn’t mean all is well, or that things will be easy for conservatives in the future. But extremism of any kind eventually overreaches and cocoons itself from greater society.
That’s because most people are essentially normal, and they don’t want to be a part of nonsensical and unnatural crusades. From the Me Too movement to the transgender movement, everything is the logical culmination of a social revolution that originated 80 years back. And every revolution inevitably invites a disproportionate reaction.
Conservatives should be careful, but they should also take heart that this is mostly an intra-liberal/intra-feminist fight. And nature always takes its course and balances itself.