The Travails of Lieutenant Marty

December 02, 2016

by Carl Trueman

One of the standard techniques in political propaganda, left and right, is to present ideas or events as discrete units, to be taken in isolation and detached from any larger historical or philosophical narrative. This technique is useful for relativizing the significance of scandals. Thus, to the faithful left, Clinton’s emails are a minor aberration—as are Trump’s comments about women, to the faithful right. On a more sinister level, this technique is also a means of bringing about huge social change by making every hill seem so small that none can be worth dying on. Thus, for example, transgender bathroom policy is about nothing more than, well, who uses which bathroom (and people like Rod Dreher are therefore just reactionary cranks).

But transgenderism is not about who uses which loo. That question is the trivial point of a very long and sharp spear, useful for belittling the concerns of those who believe that there is a profound connection between biology and gender. Transgenderism is set to change everything—our understanding of sex, of identity, of relationships, of the significance of the body. And it does this because it demands a revised metaphysics of personhood, a project with profound and comprehensive social and political implications. School bathroom policy is a good example: It has already prioritized government rights over those of parents. There’s the rub.

Another example is provided by a document buried deep on The Department of Defense’s website, Transgender Service in the U.S. Military: An Implementation Handbook. Psychological Man (and Woman, and Gender Non-Conforming), Uncle Sam needs you!

The handbook opens with the axiomatic distinction between biological sex and gender (page 9). I say “axiomatic” because the handbook presents the distinction as inarguable, reflecting the current political climate in which to have a dissenting opinion on this point, or even to ask for some form of justification of the axiom, is outlawed, on both intellectual and moral grounds. . . .

. . .continue reading at First Things.

Carl Trueman

Dr. Trueman (PhD, Aberdeen) is professor of church history at WTS.

Next Post...

The Coin in the Fish’s Mouth

November 29, 2016

by Vern Poythress