Throughout history, the use of language has been developed to facilitate human communication through the use of words in a structured and conventional way. Language is what allows us to communicate simple and complex concepts, appreciate each other’s thoughts and opinions, express reality and imagination and otherwise paint a picture of the world around us, and the world we might envision in the future. As many have noted, words have meaning, and being able to depend on the common meaning of words we use is central to our ability to communicate with each other. When words lose their meaning our communication naturally becomes less meaningful, and society suffers as a result.
Likewise, language allows us to apply logic – the process of reasoning conducted according to strict principles of validity. By applying logic to situations, we can assess the likelihood of those situations reflecting truth. But in recent years, we have experienced a cultural corruption of both language and logic, a corruption that pushes us onto a path requiring the willing suspension of disbelief to navigate.
Let’s look at an example.
Throughout the history of the world, the word “gender” has meant a person’s sex, male or female. It is the lived experience of the human condition that gender is a binary matter. A person is male or female. Those are the only options in the natural world. But in today’s popular culture, activists are working overtime to redefine the word “gender.” They insist that gender is not based on biology – contrary to the lived experience of humankind throughout history – but instead is based on “identity.” If a person “identifies” as a particular sex, then that is their gender regardless of their bodily reality. Thus, activists insist we don’t have two genders, but dozens of them, because identity cannot be constrained. This is why Facebook currently recognizes over 71 “genders.” A few years ago, they only recognized 58 genders so apparently gender is multiplying.
Thus, we have genders such as “trans male” and “trans female,” to pick just two on the list. This is an affront to both language and logic. You see, a “trans male” is a woman and a “trans female” is a male. From a logic perspective, all men have penises while no women have penises. Thus, a person with a penis is logically a male. But this bit of logic and this use of language is unacceptable in today’s popular culture, say the activists. Worse, it is bigoted, hateful, hurtful and discriminatory. Those who adopt these attitudes must be punished and shamed until they apologize, repent and pay penance. This is the Cancel Culture.
This corruption of the meaning of gender is intentional. It is part of an intense effort by radical secularists to strip society of gendered roles that they deem to be “patriarchal.” It is also part of stripping God from modern society. Scripture tells us that God created people male and female, but today’s gender ideology asserts that people are effectively their own god since they can create themselves according to their own desires.
Once the concept of gender is redefined, then naturally other understandings are swept away as well. Increasingly, the concept of “woman” is being erased. Major institutions such as the American Cancer Society have taken to referring to women as “individuals with a cervix.” In a 2019 debate, a leading Democrat presidential candidate demanded that abortion be guaranteed as a right for “trans females.” This, said former Housing Secretary Julian Castro, was essential to establish “reproductive justice.” Moreover, he pledged a health care plan that would pay for abortion on demand for trans females.
The trouble with this in the real world, of course, is that “trans females” are biological men who, despite the pleas of popular culture, are simply incapable of becoming pregnant.
Let’s move on.
Activists like to talk a lot about science. They embrace science as being about objective truth that cannot be challenged by political opinion, especially conservative political opinion. Thus, the issue of climate change has become a leading issue for progressives. Every Democrat running for president this cycle, including nominee Joe Biden, tells us that climate change is an “existential threat.” That literally means that unless we elect Democrats like Biden who are pledged to fight climate change, humanity will soon cease to exist. Leading Democrats such as Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and Bernie Sanders claim that we have little more than a decade left before humanity is extinguished. This notion is used to justify the most radical, extreme agenda ever envisioned – the so-called “Green New Deal” that would remake society, savage our economy and fundamentally transform our way of life.
Seriously? Science demonstrates that humanity will be extinguished 11 years from now unless we elect Democrats to save the planet? Count me among he skeptical. The climate has been changing for billions of years. For at least the last 200,000 years homo sapiens (humans) have not only survived, but thrived despite constant climate change. Now, we’re supposed to accept that in just over a decade we will all be gone. These are some of the same scientific experts who cannot tell us with any confidence which way a developing hurricane off the coast of Florida will travel as it unfolds in real time right in front of their eyes, but they know with certainty what climate change will do to the planet, and humanity, years from now. Preposterous.
In today’s modern culture where language and logic are corrupted, the mere expression of ideas and opinions are considered harmful if said ideas or opinions conflict with progressive ideology. Young people are said to be “triggered” by the expression of various concepts advanced by conservatives, especially on college and university campuses. They are said to be victims of “microaggressions.” Any expression that triggers another individual is considered hateful. Thus, it is improper to suggest that America’s borders be secured from illegal immigration, that marriage is the union of a man and a woman, that life in the womb is entitled to protection, that gender is determined by biology and not feelings, etc. Students are entitled to “safe spaces” where they can escape being triggered and campuses must be cleansed of conservatives who express these offensive viewpoints.
All of these changes demanded by popular culture are more than just a concern for our mutual discourse. They bring with them the threat of action, including potential legal action. People have lost their jobs, lost their businesses, been banned from communicating on social media, been hauled before tribunals and courts, fined and even jailed simply for advancing ideas that run contrary to the popular orthodoxy. If Democrats regain power in Washington, soon laws like the misnamed “Equality Act” will make the exercise of opinion to be illegal discrimination under federal law.
Naturally, conservatives have long objected to the corruption of language and logic and to the resulting Cancel Culture. But recently, some prominent liberals have added their own voices of condemnation. The comedian Bill Maher recoils at the Cancel Culture and the embrace by Democrats of politically correct culture. He says, “The most important thing that the Democrats can do to win the next election is to broom this element out of their party and stand up to the Twitter mob and the ultrawoke.” Similarly, liberal feminist author J.K. Rowling, who has been targeted by the “ultrawoke” as a ‘TERF’ – a “trans-exclusionary radical feminist” has strongly pushed back against the activists. Reacting to a news headline that used the phrase, “people who menstruate,” Rowling caustically commented on Twitter: “’People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?” When her comments provoked an immediate hostile backlash from the woke Twitter mob, Rowling doubled down. “If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased…[E]rasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives. It isn’t hate to speak the truth.”
It is gratifying to see liberals like Maher and Rowling take on the Cancel Culture and the woke mob. Society needs much more of this to counter the impact of activists who have so successfully captured the culture and corrupted both language and logic. Far too many people of good will – conservatives and common-sense liberals alike – have decided to just keep their head down to avoid any confrontations or repercussions. This cultural surrender has allowed the woke activists to capture much turf.
Too much is at stake for our future to keep our heads down. We must stand up, speak out and challenge the mob in their corruption of language, in their defiance of logic and in their insistence on our surrender. Otherwise, well before climate change will supposedly “extinguish” the human race, not only are we likely to lose all the issues we care so much about, we will effectively lose even our right to raise and debate those issues.