Answering a Troubling Question: Man, Woman, or Whatever?
A friend of mine recently rejoiced because he had finally found a job after being unemployed for a few months. It was an engineering job with a good company comparable to the one he had before. However, there was one thing about the final interview that bothered him. He was asked: “What is your gender?”
My friend is an outdoorsman with a wife and children. It is evident that he is the man he is, so he was understandably offended and embarrassed at the same time. He was perplexed that this query was presented as a serious question that he had to answer for a job that is all about physical observable reality. The fact that it is now part of the standard operating procedure of a reputable engineering firm is a disturbing omen of terrible things to come.
Worse yet, I can imagine that some liberal readers might even look with sympathy upon the question that I view as troubling since they see it as somehow making amends for the centuries of “oppression” suffered by those who think themselves transgendered -- long before the term or notion was invented. Such sympathizers have always prepared the way for the acceptance of absurd trends.
The simple fact is that this question did not just happen. It is the fruit of a long process. It also points to the appearance of future existential questions that will cast doubt on just about anything.
We can take the sexual revolution of the sixties as a point of departure for what we are experiencing. This revolution sought to install a culture that leads people to resent the very idea of restraint and scorn the spiritual, religious, moral, and cultural values that serve to order and keep society in balance. It declared that all morality is a mere “construct” of society that can be and should be “deconstructed” to make room for new levels of freedom.
As a result, the sexual revolution has done much to break down the barriers between the sexes. It has ushered in a wave of promiscuity that has led to the proliferation of divorce, contraception, abortion, pre-marital sex, homosexuality, unmarried couples, and pornography everywhere. All this has contributed to destroying society’s moral fiber and mainstreaming every type of sexual disorder. It has to a large extent succeeded in obtaining this particular goal.
We are suffering the consequences of this revolution in the tragedies of shattered lives, broken families, and empty churches that litter the social landscape and are tearing the nation apart. The “freedom” offered by the sexual revolution has yielded disastrous consequences that weigh heavily upon all society and the public purse.
However, even with the generalizing of promiscuity since the sixties, it proved impossible to be rid of all restraints. Those who pushed forward the sexual agenda had to admit the undeniable physical reality that the male and female categories still exist and carry with them their respective restrictions. They still had to work inside the complex parameters of a male/female world.
Moreover, inside this male/female reality, there always exists the possibility of forming a family and the re-establishment of a morality that would undermine the “gains” of the sexual revolution.
That is why this next phase of the sexual revolution -- the transgender revolution -- is so threatening and bizarre. The agents of this change need no longer be anchored in physical reality, logic, or biological science. Reality becomes what you imagine it to be. In such a fantasy world, one can ignore the obvious and ask: Are you a man? Woman? Something in-between?
That is to say, we have entered the reign of fantasy where concrete reality is forced to conform to delusions. This is not the action of some isolated and confused individuals that want attention and that does not affect the population as a whole. No, the official business establishment is now institutionalizing fantasy and making it part of their reality. It involves schools, universities, and government institutions that are abolishing sexual pronouns, inventing new ones, and penalizing those who make mistakes in their use.
And that is the troubling part of the question. No society can function inside such a framework of fantasy. Modernity is based on a rational foundation and a materialism that needs predictability, statistics, and real-time data to work efficiently. Since fantasy abstracts from logic, it must use force to compel people to adhere to its erratic and irrational rules. When the obvious man can no longer be considered a man, the obvious woman can no longer be considered a woman, fantasy rules. Any new imagining (beyond transgenderism) can become the norm. And that is dangerous, for fantasy is the stuff upon which tyranny is built.
How would you answer the troubling question?
John Horvat II is a scholar, researcher, educator, international speaker, and author of the book Return to Order, as well as the author of hundreds of published articles. He lives in Spring Grove, Pennsylvania where he is the vice president of the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property.