Thursday, February 2, 2023
HomeAll Ch00 Ch00 NewsThe Glass Delusion and Transgenderism:

The Glass Delusion and Transgenderism:

Or, what it means to be human in the Renaissance and the twenty-first century

Thank You Brother, Hunter

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eports of the secularization of our society have been greatly exaggerated. We moderns of the WEIRD world (Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic) enjoy pointing to the social contagions of the past and congratulating ourselves on how far humanity has come since witch hunts, trepanation, lynchings, lobotomies, or other barbaric treatments for social or personal afflictions ran riot. But those of us who live in the modern West are still living in an enchanted world.

Transgenderism is an utterly novel concept that has spread via social media to become the first Internet-enabled social contagion. Many are wondering why this factitious idea—the notion that men can literally be women, or that women can literally be men, or that any child could ever be “born in the wrong body”—has spread so far and penetrated the modern West so quickly. This is because transgenderism has attached itself to heroic progressive causes like the Black and Chicano Civil Rights movements, Red Power, women’s rights, and gay rights, portraying itself like the natural successor to these heroic movements. Progressive Americans are hard-wired to accept rights claims as revealed truth and to see “the moral arc of the universe bend[ing] towards justice” as time’s arrow, the clear logic of history. The American Left has been in search of a new oppressed identity category to liberate since the stunning victory of the gay rights movement with the Obergefell decision in 2015.

In the U.S., all civil rights movements engage in a search to find themselves history, and to portray their victory as a part of the heroic American story of the expansion of life, liberty, and justice to include us all. Activists engage in this rewriting of history to include them, and then after their victories, American universities institutionalize these new fields. Now many activists are mistakenly looking for evidence of transgenderism in the American and global past, posthumously transing masculine women like Joan of Arc, Anne Lister, and George Sand. While sex non-conforming people have been found throughout human history, transgenderism’s history is less than two decades old because is a concept fundamentally dependent on and spread by twentieth-century medical and digital technologies: cosmetic surgery, synthetic hormones, and the Internet.

Nevertheless, the past is still full of useful examples and rich lessons about human nature that we can use to understand our current era.

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