When I think back on how prophetic Bob Dole was, I want to flambé a grammar book. You may recall that in the midst of losing the 1996 presidential election, he began referring to himself in the third person, as in: “Make no mistake, Bob Dole is going to be the Republican nominee.” But at least he had the good sense to use his actual name, and didn’t demand that we refer to him with inanities like “Ze,” or “Hir,” or “they.” And when he excused himself to go the men’s room Bob Dole didn’t say, ”Bob Dole has to go to the ladies room.” Dave Carter misses Bob Dole.
All of which is a far cry from Leo Soell, a fifth-grade teacher in Oregon who won a $60,000 lawsuit a few months back over her insistence that she be referred to as, “they.” Yes, you read that correctly. Want to read it again? It’s okay, I’ll wait. Let it sink in for a moment, and then let us pause briefly and pray that Soell doesn’t teach English, otherwise her fifth-graders won’t know the difference between third person plural and third person singularly ridiculous. Here, I disclose that I actually identify as a Lamborghini Owner (please contact Ricochet’s editors for instructions on how you can help accommodate my new identity).
Now comes news that University of Toronto professor is accused of hate speech for declining to address various students using “genderless pronouns.” Not only has Professor Jordan Peterson refused to refer to certain “transgender and black students” in genderless terms, but he delivered a two-part lecture on YouTube explaining his position:
I don’t recognize another person’s right to determine what pronouns I use to address them. I won’t do it. …The pronoun issue is straightforward. I won’t mouth the words of ideologues, because when you do that you become a puppet for their ideology.
The university disagrees however, as do some 250 of his fellow faculty members who joined in signing a letter to the Professor which states that Peterson is in violation of the Ontario Human Rights Code which states that humans in Ontario have no right to free speech. As geography Professor Deborah Cowen explains, “These events have made the campus feel unsafe and unwelcoming for some of the most creative and important members of our community.” Because only sycophantic genuflections to the most hyperbolic sensitivities of budding young utopians will make them feel warm and fuzzy, safe and happy. Don’t forget the warm milk and cookies.
Speaking of ridiculous, have you had a gander at all the new genders in New York City? Not only have the cosmopolitans come up with a list of 31 gender identities, they will fine you to the moon and back if you decline to play along. Now, people are free to make certain assertions to which social decorum suggests polite agreement. Every grandparent, after all, has the most adorable grandkids in the world (and photos to prove it), every parent’s child is above average, and every husband has the most beautiful wife in the land (all of which just happens to be objective truth in my case).
Stretching things a bit further, Hillary Clinton may claim to be honest, Bill Clinton chaste, Donald Trump may announce his general humility (he’d probably say that no one is more humble than him), and Nancy Pelosi might even fancy herself sentient, but the First Amendment immunizes us against any requirement to underwrite such absurdities. At least that was the original intent of the thing, but it’s no longer fashionable to look at the clear meaning of the Constitution. Better to pretend it was written on silly putty, as Hillary’s Supreme Court nominees will prove.
But when someone threatens that either we address them as Gender Bender, Gender Blender, Drag King, Agender, Third Sex, Pangender, Genderqueer, Two Spirit, Gender Fluid, or Gender Gifted, or we will be sued by the law firm of Gender, Bender, and Androgynous, how should we respond? Personally, I’d offer an all-purpose term like “Convertible,” as a compromise. If that didn’t work, I’d settle on the much more inclusive term, “ass-hat.”
The reality, however, is a bit different since the New York City Human Rights Commission decreed that all of that city’s businesses must acknowledge and accommodate each of the 31 genders or incur fines ranging from $125,000 to $250,000. Violations include, “prohibiting an individual from using a particular program or facility because they do not conform to sex stereotypes,” or “intentional or repeated refusal to use an individual’s preferred name, pronoun, or title.”
So if Chester the Molester wants to go into the ladies’ room with your daughter, you’d better stand aside. And if he walks out insisting that he’s Napoleon, you’re better off playing along with the little emperor than watching your business go belly up under the weight of the $250,000 fine you’ll offer up to the Orwellian-named Human Rights Commission (it really would be cheaper to buy me that Lamborghini). Thus do delusions and gender fads trump your First Amendment rights, even as leftists who previously lionized a constitutional right to privacy by insisting that the government, “stay out of the bedroom,” now cheerfully welcome the government into the bathroom with your wife and daughter.
Incapable of distinguishing between a moral improvement and the moral equivalent of the Bubonic Plague, since they both fall under the umbrella of “change,” the progressive proceeds from one calamity to the next, destroying the very societal foundations that support his benighted vanity all while fancying himself the agent of revolutionary bliss. Then again, as G.K. Chesterton observed:
Perhaps there is really no such thing as a Revolution recorded in history. What happened was always a Counter-Revolution. Men were always rebelling against the last rebels, or even repenting of the last rebellion. … Trace even the Puritan mother back through history and she represents a rebellion against the Cavalier laxity of the English Church, which was at first a rebel against the Catholic civilization, which had been a rebel against the Pagan civilization. Nobody but a lunatic could pretend that these things were a progress; for they obviously go first one way and then the other. But whichever is right, one thing is certainly wrong; and that is the modern habit of looking at them only from the modern end. For that is only to see the end of the tale; for they rebel against they know not what, because it arose they know not when; intent only on its ending, they are ignorant of its beginning; and therefore of its very being.
And on it goes. After years in an education system that left them unable to comprehend their own culture, let alone defend it, these coddled little fartlings, used to receiving participation trophies for merely having a pulse, have become so traumatized by opposing points of view that, in lieu of real debate, they’ve decided to wage war on pronouns. So “he” and “she” give way to “ze” and “her,” and the bracing clarity of free expression gives way to totalitarian nescience.
“I understand that for a lot of people, trans visibility is scary because it’s new,” said the aforementioned fifth grade teacher who got $60k when co-workers wouldn’t call her “they.” Actually, ma’am, it’s not the “trans visibility” that is scary, but rather the heavy hand of the state outlawing good sense, good grammar, and free speech in order to kowtow to the hypersensitive affectations of the latest officially sanctioned grievance group.
“I completely understand what it’s like to have things change when you don’t want them to,” Soell continues, “however, change is never an excuse to treat someone poorly.” A Soviet commissar sentencing Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn to the labor camps for his refusal to embrace the “change” inflicted by Stalin couldn’t have said it better. You are of course free to refer to yourself in the third person plural, or for that matter, you can call yourself a ’57 DeSoto, if you like. But don’t come around waving legal threats and demanding my enthusiastic agreement or you might have your pronouns introduced to your digestive processes.
Question: What do you get when you put too much Gender Fluid in the Gender Blender?
Answer: I don’t know, but I won’t be taking commands from it.