I read an article today, in some British paper with a very tenuous connection to right-wing politics, about the rising number of children referred to gender reassignment therapy. It’s painful for me to even write those words, gender reassignment therapy. They remind me of Maoist euphemisms one might read over a “reeducation” camp door or in a little red book that a man with a gun forces his captives to read. Not only can gender not be reassigned, any attempt to do so could hardly be called therapy. But we all know how the left likes to mangle everyday language.
The article itself is nothing special. Anyone who turns on a television or listens to iTunes knows about the Western trend toward buggery. Transgenderism is a new frontier for Marxists, who are eager for a cause célèbre ever since gay marriage was successfully imposed on America a few years ago. What stood out to me was one comment at the bottom of the article. To be fair to the paper’s readers, it was not highly rated, but the comment stood out to me because of how obnoxiously libertarian it was.
“If the parents are paying for this with their own money, then what business is it of others?”
The old adage is true. It’s not hard to spot a vegan or a libertarian. He’ll usually do the job of announcing himself by contorting every issue to be about the one versus the many, the individual against the collective. It’s especially easy for me to spot one because in my younger, more innocent years, I too was a radical individualist with perhaps some symptoms that could properly be placed on the autism spectrum.
The logic is surly and insistent. If I want to do something, and it isn’t hurting others, then others shouldn’t be able to stop me. It’s clear why a lot of people, especially young men who resent authority, are tempted to define their political beliefs in such simple terms. It’s easy. It’s liberating. It’s also very fallacious.
No one is a pure, unalloyed individual. We share our ideas, our language, our cuisine, and even our genes with others. Society is an oceanic web of interlinking threads where it is impossible to pull on one of those threads without having innumerable others move as a result. Our value as individuals stems directly from our value in society: our words have no meaning without others around to interpret them; our ideas are fantasies without others to help debate them, reject them, or make them real; our DNA is just a droplet of water sizzling on a hot pan, destined to dry out forever, without the opposite sex around. The phrase no man is an island is just as true now as it was in 1624.
I’m not going to say anything as radical as children are the property of the state; nor will I go so far as to say that children are the property of their parents. The problem occurs here because both the Marxist and the libertarian are obsessed with dollars and cents. Ultimately, to a materialist, people are always property and life is about living to accumulate pleasures and to reduce one’s pains before they are all buried in the great void of death. It’s a grim view. Materialism seems joyous and hopeful at first, but the emptiness of its ideas eventually point back at nothing, like a mirror reflecting nothing in the dark. It’s telling that the Marxist who encourages children to revolt against their own bodies, and the libertarian who condones the act in the name of freedom, each care nothing about the children and their welfare. The two care more about upholding an ideological principle.
It’s a situation that deserves some thought. Let’s rule out the youngest kids. Children under the age of twelve are so impressionable that any firm conviction they claim to have about belonging to the other sex was undoubtedly planted there by their parents. (Or perhaps, these days, planted by their school teachers and general practitioners.) There’s no subtlety in a predicament that can be blamed squarely on the child’s upbringing. The teens who haven’t grown up indoctrinated in Marxist gulags are the ones that are the most interesting.
Being a teenager is awkward. There’s an unwelcome surge of hormones that cause mood swings and squeaky voices, a restless sexuality with youthful prudishness. Couple this with the fact that teenagers don’t have enough know-how to be able to handle these challenges gracefully, and it’s clear that few people enjoy their teenage years, except in retrospect. Being a transitional stage in life, it’s uncomfortable by necessity, because if it were too enjoyable we’d never want to grow out of it. It’s where children become adults. It’s the bud before the bloom.
We all devise coping mechanisms to make it through those years. I read Romantic poetry and decided that, like Keats and Byron, I wouldn’t live to see the age of forty. Strangely enough, this comforted me. I felt that all of the humdrum awkwardness of my daily life didn’t matter; all that mattered was my writing. In a hundred years no one would remember my shaggy hair or how my face turned tomato red when I spoke to girls — but they’d remember my odes to a Grecian urn.
These thoughts were silly, of course. But they allowed me to reach twenty without ending my life or running away to join the foreign legion, with nothing more than a few notebooks of dreadful poetry. Now just imagine the mindset of teenagers today.
Imagine that you’re awkward, like all teenagers are. You have lopsided hair, a voice that doesn’t quite inspire, maybe you’re a little too short or a little too tall for others, and most importantly you’re terrified of women because now, unlike before, you’re interested in them. Imagine that your local witch doctor comes along and says in a soothing voice, “It’s not your fault you’re ungainly and unpolished. It’s not your fault that you feel helpless and frustrated. There’s nothing you can do because you were born with incorrect genes. You’re a woman in a boy’s body.”
It clicks suddenly in your teenage mind, “Ah, that explains it.” And like all witch doctors, there must be a cure-all, a panacea known as gender reassignment therapy. The witch doctor then writes a prescription for some pills, all covered by insurance, of course, recommends a few councilor friends who will echo the same diagnosis and recommend the same pills, and finally the doctor hands you a paper with some YouTube links that tell you what a brave person you are for admitting that you’re transgender, that there are meetups and support groups, there’s even a flag for you to wave. And don’t forget that Google, Apple, Delta Airlines, and Harvard are all on your side.
Thus, at a young, impressionable age, you were inducted into a new religion that does irreversible damage to your endocrine system. It stymies your social development and bulldozes your mental health. In one generation, we’ve gone from poetry to buggery.
Conservatives, and especially libertarians, need to recognize the implications of this LGBTQRXYZ religion. It’s comparable to the crack epidemic, but instead of being condemned, it’s roundly encouraged by the upper echelons of our society. It won’t get you arrested, it’ll get you applauded.
Sadly, it’s not enough to raise your kids right anymore. Teenagers are inherently vulnerable, as all good Marxists know, and it’s because of this that they’re being targeted. Now parents have to try to counteract the poison that society is injecting into their children. We have to learn to let teenagers be awkward and ungainly. We have to let them cope and self-medicate. The alternative is unthinkable.
I’ll end this piece with a hat tip to one of my own teenage heroes, John Keats. It’s not a particularly memorable line that I’m providing, certainly nothing as quotable as, “Beauty is truth,” but given the context of this article, it seems oddly relevant today.
Blissfully haven’d both from joy and pain;
Clasp’d like a missal where swart Paynims pray;
Blinded alike from sunshine and from rain,
As though a rose should shut, and be a bud again.