Bioethics @ TIU

For Want of a Letter…

Posted February 13th, 2017 by Tom Garigan

If one were seeking to transform our culture, he would aim for approving proclamations from officials to codify his desired belief system. The example that comes easily to mind is the President, which would then mean, of course, the Executive Branch of the federal government. Next, perhaps, would be the judicial system. Even more demonstrative of transformation would be the official policy of the US military, which lives or dies on whether it has a clear-eyed view of the world. Add to that the medical profession, which acts as a “Bureau of Standards” for the physical and psychological states of man. If the topic at hand is the redefining of gender identity, then today we have a fait accompli.

Recently, however, I witnessed a more striking albeit less public marker. At a recent conference I heard someone give a brief testimony of her daughter’s transition from female to male, and in describing her daughter, the speaker used the word, “he.”

What on earth, I thought, could make a mother speak so, a mother who carried the kicking fetus, sonographically identified as female, then birthed the child among witnesses who declared her identity, then nursed, clothed, fed, taught, loved, all with a knowledge of her identity so certain that to question it would have been too ludicrous to even come to mind?

The answer came shortly, as the speaker told of her daughter’s subsequent suicide attempt. The mother’s loss of her child–a story told countless times in print, on stage, and in film, is the greatest of tragedies. So tragic that a mother would give anything to prevent it–her own life, or her own concept of her child’s gender.

The suicidality itself is revealing, in that the rejection of self that finds its ultimate expression in suicide is preceded by the attempt to destroy one’s identity. But don’t wait for the medical profession to explain it. Gender reassignment is made increasingly with little more than a request, as a result of prompt referrals to those quite willing to facilitate the changes. It is a tragedy in itself that the profession abandons difficult inquiry in favor of declaring that the fault lies in organs that can simply be removed.

One writer who grasped the enormity of modern cultural transformation was Whittaker Chambers (1901-1961). Although the enemy he faced was Communism, make no mistake about it–Communism and this transformation of the meaning of gender are but two branches of the same philosophical vine. Chambers’ unique experience and talent made him powerfully insightful and articulate about the state of modern Western civilization. He quoted the German psychiatrist Karl Jaspers (1883-1969): “Quietly, something enormous has happened in the reality of Western man: a destruction of all authority, a radical disillusionment in an over-confident reason, and a dissolution of bonds that makes anything, absolutely anything, seem possible . . . “

A mother drops a single letter in describing her child. It might as well have been an earthquake. Yet the significance will slip past us, we who are too busy trying to keep our frenzied lives together to recognize the fragmentation of the very cultural foundation upon which we stand. As Chambers said, “I am constantly baffled because so few seem to grasp the enormity of our situation, which is defined by the certainty that there is no way out of it that can possibly be simple, easy, familiar, usual, in terms of anything we have known before. ” Chambers saw us as, “a civilization foredoomed first of all by its reluctance to face the fact that the crisis exists or to face it with the force and clarity necessary to overcome it.” (Witness, p. 155. Regnery Publishing)

And why?

“It is the first century since life began when a decisive part of the most articulate section of mankind has not merely ceased to believe in God, but has deliberately rejected God. And it is the century in which this religious rejection has taken a specifically political form, so that the characteristic experience of the mind in this age is a political experience. At every point, religion and politics interlace, and must do so more acutely as the conflict between the two great camps of men— those who reject and those who worship God— becomes irrepressible. Those camps are not only outside, but also within nations.” (Witness, p. 386)

Man declares himself the Creator. Or perhaps the “Re-creator.” He exercises all political authority to achieve social conquest. But as this case reveals, the transformation of gender identity is far more than the simple exercise of personal liberty. It is the destruction of human identity itself. Small wonder that gender identity transformation too often precedes suicidality. Unless we make a stand, our civilization may be close behind.

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