Freedom is the Freedom to Say ‘Bruce Jenner.’ If That is Granted, All Else Follows
My title takes off from a famous passage in Orwell’s 1984, “Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two makes four. If that is granted, all else follows.” Winston Smith doesn’t say it out loud, of course. He scribbles it in his journal. And makes sure that the telescreen which monitors his apartment cannot see him.
But of course, the Inner Party finds out his secret. In fact, when he’s caught and tortured, his inquisitor O’Brien makes it a point to force Winston to deny precisely this point. O’Brien tortures Winston until he’s willing to say that two plus two makes five. But that isn’t enough. An old-fashioned tyrant might settle for that, for mere compliance.
The totalitarian wants more. In fact, he needs it. He needs those whom he dominates to really believe the lies he has fostered. Of which he has first convinced himself. That’s because modern ideologies are something much more and worse than tribal bigotries or misguided political systems. As Eric Voegelin, a refugee from the Nazis, taught us, they are “ersatz religions.” To prosper, they must make the same kinds of demands as real creeds.
They must demand more. Religious faith based on sincere belief in the supernatural taps into profound, deep-seated impulses built into man. We are made, it seems, to believe in and order our lives by something both higher and older than nature. That’s true even of creeds that you and I know to be false, such as Islam. Even they evoke a kind of faith that works in harmony with our natures. It’s simply misdirected. Such faiths are food, but not balanced or healthy ones. It’s like living on Domino’s pizza. You’ll live … though probably not to 90.
Dinner Time with Rev. Jim Jones or L. Ron Hubbard
Ideologies, by contrast, demand that we subsist on plastic spoons and Styrofoam cups. Imagine some vicious cult where members were trapped, and forced to do that. (Victims of Jim Jones in the Jonestown compound or on L. Ron Hubbard’s Scientology “Sea Org” boats endured comparable horrors.) Would meal times be ordinary, sociable affairs?
No, they couldn’t be. The zealots and petty tyrants in charge of feeding the helots would be watching every mouthful. They’d have clipboards, and charts, and little pencils on strings. They’d take notes on who nodded and smiled, who patted his belly joyously and even begged for seconds. Much more, they would scrutinize those who ate only small portions, who left their pile of plastic and Styrofoam almost untouched. Those people’s names would end up on lists. They’d find themselves, eventually, singled out for re-education.
As Winston Smith was, of course. We all know that novel’s ending. After a prolonged course of complex torture, the broken shell that once contained “Winston Smith” sips his Victory Gin. He muses on the mystery that is politicized mathematics, where two plus two can equal five. And he really does “love” Big Brother. What’s left of Winston Smith, and his capacity for love, commits itself to a delusion. And he is “happy.”
We Must Believe Because It Is Absurd
This, my friends, is the future the Left has in mind for us. Whether individual leftists realize it or not. And this is what lies behind the sudden and absolute demands of the Transgender movement. No, I don’t mean that it’s what motivates people who mutilate and poison themselves in pursuit of “gender reassignment.” Those people are mentally ill, as psychiatrists admitted until five minutes ago.
The truth is much more sinister. The left has taken up Transgender ideology not just despite the fact that it’s absurd and contrary to nature. They’ve chosen it because of that. Saying and meaning phrases like “female penis” and “pregnant men” is the absolute equivalent of asserting that two plus two make five — or whatever other number The Atlantic, the Harvard faculty, and the EEOC have most recently said that it makes. They don’t just want you to repeat that, of course. Like O’Brien, they need you to believe it.
The Ingsoc Party in 1984 demands the power to adjust objective reality to suit its political whims. Such power is absolute — and Orwell showed deep insight in perceiving that ideologies always seek it. They need it to live. The reason? They aren’t simply modes of interpreting reality.
How to Impose a Fantasy World on Hundreds of Millions of People
Instead, they’re techniques for producing “secondary realities.” Alternative worlds, if you will, where people can pretend that the rules of the objective world simply don’t apply. There are plenty such secondary realities on offer now. The most popular among elites is Intersectionalism, but if that doesn’t fit your needs more niche products are out there. Radical environmentalism or animal rights might suit you just fine. Or, if you need a more explicitly Christian heresy, try Integralism or the Tradinista Collective.
So if you’re eaten up with anger, resentment, or frustration at the limits of earthly life, or the dictates of Natural Law, you’re a prime candidate for ideologues. You’re the kind of person they’re looking for. They will teach you how to block out the real world comprehensively, and replace it wholesale with the fiction they have created.
The Imitation of Che Guevara
But you’ll have to sweat to do it. It isn’t easy, denying the evidence of your eyes. Or the verdict of simple reason. Convincing yourself that it’s fine to let a newborn baby die if his mother wants that … that takes dedication. Insisting that Mexico and the Congo have the right to keep national borders, but the United States doesn’t … it requires a spiritual discipline. It’s a kind of bizarre asceticism, in service not of God but a Gnostic fantasy. Worldwide Communist parties and the Nazi SS knew all about this, and produced their own share of almost otherworldly “martyrs” and “saints.” In America, the butchered faces and figures of “transgender” people serve that role. We’re told that they are heroes.
Those who weren’t willing to go along with the fantasy? In past regimes, they got their books burned, and often ended up in concentration camps. That’s the totalitarian answer, finally, to everything.
The process starts, of course, with “unpersoning” and silencing people. You know, as the State of Colorado tried to do to Christian baker Jack Phillips. As the British government is doing to Tommy Robinson. (His important book on Islam was recently banned by Amazon.) Those who speak the simple truth about human sex and gender in Britain already face harassment, firing, and possible prosecution.
The Reign of Whims
Leftists long ago abandoned as too restrictive any notion of Natural Law. That is, a structure and purpose and code of right and wrong encoded in human nature. Without such a law, we live not just unanchored. We’re more like a ship at sea that doesn’t even have a rudder. We simply drift from one place to another, based on the shifting winds of political power and intellectual fashions. We are ruled not by Reason but Will — the whims, in fact, of the cognitive elite, the bureaucracies they dominate, and the corporations they control.
If they say, “Jump!” you better ask, “How high?”
Or else, if you want to follow Alexander Solzhenitsyn and refuse to live by lies … you can steel yourself and resist. You can insist on asking the foundational questions which Gnostics forbid. Don’t grant the delusional premises of any of their arguments. Concede them nothing, not an inch. Fight them every step of the way, make them justify the crackpot claims they foist on people by handwaving, emotional manipulation or bullying.
It all starts with two little words. Come on, say them with me. You’re not being cruel, just telling the truth. You’re talking about a man who chose to make his condition public, even do a reality show that shoved his problems in our faces.
I know you’ve the courage to do it. Let’s say them together, and make sure to say them publicly every day. We should be marching and chanting them in the streets, with the courage of France’s Yellow Vests. Because in time, we’ll provoke the same kind of crackdown.
Bruce. Jenner. His name is Bruce Jenner.