November 13, 2019
It used to be said that the war between the generations was the only war where you eventually switched sides. This is no longer true. The modern craze of transgenderism means switching sides in the battle of the sexes.
Transgenderism has been at the forefront of our sexual revolution since about 2013. The propaganda campaign to normalize transgenderism has both replaced and become an extension of the successful campaign to normalize homosexuality.
The left was not satisfied with their cultural victory on homosexuality and “gay marriage.” With the institutional power to keep their sexual revolution ongoing, their mission creep took them next to transgenderism—and beyond.
How new is “transgenderism”? Some aspects seem truly innovative. For example, I’m not sure any previous society ever insisted, with a straight face, that men could have babies. Transgenderism does have its precedents, however. Believe it or not.
Decades ago the explosion of homosexuality mystified Americans the way transgenderism does today. The longshoreman philosopher Eric Hoffer wrote in the 1950s, “It is strange that the only time that I am aware of the existence of something mysterious is when I read reports of the sudden spread of homosexuality in our present world.”
According to fellow Taki columnist Theodore Dalrymple, “The current madness about transsexualism is traceable to John Money.” Money coined the trendy concepts of “gender roles” and “gender identity” that we hear so much about, but what Dalrymple was specifically referring to here was Money’s handling of a case involving—that’s right—a “botched circumcision.”
It was [Money’s] belief in the unlimited malleability of human sexuality that led him, in his most famous case, to advise the parents of a baby whose penis was nearly cut off during a botched circumcision that he should henceforth be brought up as a girl…. Money continued to describe the case as an unqualified success, and for a long time the scientific and journalistic worlds were fooled….
The subject of Money’s experiment, David Reimer, was born in 1965. This was a year before the Who released what has to be the first rock song with any sort of transsexual themes, “I’m a Boy.” When Reimer turned 14 he was told the truth about what had happened (“he had known all along in inchoate fashion that something was wrong”) and was determined to live as he was born—as a male. He had reconstructive surgery to his reproductive organs, eventually married a woman, and was a stepfather to three children. Money wasn’t keen on sharing that part of the story. Or the sordid fact that Reimer later killed himself. The truth was that Money “was mortified by the case,” and “as a rule did not discuss it.”
It was from this man, John Money, the same doctor who once made a moral distinction between what he termed “affectionate pedophilia” and “sadistic pedophilia,” that modern transgender science was born.
On the subject of transgender children, even the raunchy gay filmmaker John Waters thinks it’s crazy and plays into Trump’s hand.
“That’s why Trump will win. Because of things like babies, where you don’t tell your child what sex they are until they figure it out themselves when they’re 3 years old, and then you give ’em a party and say, ‘You’re a girl.’ These children will be in mental institutions.”
Eminent Victorians celebrated a kind of transgenderism. In the late 19th century there was a profoundly influential gay socialist named Edward Carpenter. He was a founding member of the Fellowship of the New Life, which splintered off into the Fabian Society. The Fabians later founded the British Labour Party. Carpenter believed gay men had their desires because they were female souls trapped in male bodies (and vice versa for lesbians). He borrowed from Karl Heinrich Ulrichs a metaphorical term for these types that he called Urnings (prior to Carpenter the closest word to “homosexual” that existed was the Biblical “Sodomite”). He said Urnings had been given a cosmic role to play in our coming utopia:
Their androgynous temperament gave them insights into the emotional nature of both sexes. “It is probable,” he wrote, “that the superior Urnings will become, in affairs of the heart, to a large extent the teachers of future society.”
For Carpenter, the sexual and the socialist destinies were shared:
Carpenter linked his sexual theorizing to his socialist politics and argued that inverts (homosexuals), far from being merely harmless, were uniquely positioned to lead the transformation of capitalist society into an egalitarian utopia.
Now it seems the gay-socialist utopia is upon us. The Democratic front-runner Elizabeth Warren brought Carpenter’s prophecies to life last week in a tweet:
Thank you, @BlackWomxnFor! Black trans and cis women, gender-nonconforming, and nonbinary people are the backbone of our democracy….
Socialists have finally exchanged the international proletariat for the international nonbinary as the backbone of their politics. Warren even celebrated a 9-year-old girl who claimed to be transgender at a recent town hall.
In post-Christian America, neo-pagan religions such as the Gaia-worshipping forms of environmentalism or transgenderism fill a religious vacuum. Carpenter predicted this as well. He viewed the decline of Christianity as paving the way for the return of the ancient pagan religions:
[Once] the “Civilisation-period has passed away, the old Nature-religion…will come back.” Before Christianity, humans worshipped the powers of generation and the heavens above; in the coming utopia, “the meaning of the old religions will come back to [Man.]”
It’s enough to make me want to watch the original Wicker Man film again.
In some ways these alternative sexualities and genders are a return to the castration cults of the ancient world. The neo-gnostic Theosophists and anthroposophists of the 19th and early 20th century believed that early versions of humanity were hermaphroditic, that the male and female united in every individual. It was a modern version of the theory articulated by Aristophanes in Plato’s Symposium.
Indeed, behind transgenderism is the ancient gnostic idea that your “real body” is different from your physical one. It can’t be a coincidence that the Wachowski brothers, directors of the most successful gnosticism-themed movie of all time (1999’s The Matrix), have since “transitioned” into women and are now the Wachowski sisters. They understood “taking the red pill” to mean comprehending that they were women.
That the sexualities and religions of the classical world are returning to us should not surprise. Ideas do not end up in what Marx called “history’s dustbin.” They go on the shelf.