I have two related thoughts that I think explain why the left and the youngs are the way they are.
An idea that penetrated from the heights of American culture down to elementary schools around the turn of the century was the idea that being judgmental was a vice rather than a virtue. This is contradictory because it is a moral judgment itself. It is the ethos of puritanical nihilism: the only morally correct way to live is not to acknowledge that right and wrong exist.
Maybe they couldn’t win the moral arguments, so they decided to call the whole idea of morality backward. This is what laid the groundwork for the gay rights movement and now the trans movement. It was just “I think this is wrong!” versus “Don’t judge! That’s mean! Don’t think about right or wrong!” As far as gay marriage is concerned, I don’t have a strong opinion, but I resent having to have a strong opinion. Lately I have become extremely defensive of the people who were opposed to it, refused to change their views just because those views were unpopular, and are now broadly slandered as bigots.
But that case is lost. Maybe it’s for the best, but this whole trans thing is a whole other can of worms. The left, in their desire to be inclusive, seems unlikely to acknowledge that not all girls who like short hair need hormone injections at age 12. I fear they will be successful if they can frame it as another fight against judgmentalism. No one has pointed out that if you believe in right and wrong, you are exercising judgment and could be called judgmental. The negative connotation is undeserved. I do not know where it came from, but it is the fundamental notion (‘twould be generous to call it an idea) that explains why charges of homophobia and transphobia and xenophobia and fatphobia are effective, to varying degrees. In the latter case, the fact that it is even a word printed in newspapers is cause enough for alarm.
These ain’t phobias, Jack. This is my second point. Phobias are psychological conditions: claustrophobia, arachnophobia, etc. The newly invented, incoherent* compound words were not created by psychologists, but they sound like irrational mental disorders that should be dismissed out of hand. Xenophobic arguments about border enforcement shouldn’t be taken any more seriously than arachnophobic arguments about the looming threat of giant spiders.
The previous sentence would be true if xenophobia were being used to describe people who had a psychological condition that made them irrationally afraid of outsiders, but it is not. None of these hot new words are phobias, properly understood, which is to say that they don’t exist. Not only is a belief in traditional marriage not homophobia, there’s really no such thing as homophobia. This word and those like it were invented to slander people who hold unpopular opinions. Actually, it’s even worse than that. When the word started popping up, it was used to slander people who held the popular opinion and bully the rest into changing their minds. None of the diversity-equity-inclusion stuff would have caught on to the degree it has without the foundation of anti-judgmentalism.
I should clarify my homophobia denialism. Belief in traditional marriage is not based on hate or fear. One can believe that marriage should be reserved for one man and one woman and still treat gay and lesbian folks with respect. Some people don’t treat gays and lesbians well. Maybe those people are jerks, but I don’t think that makes it a fear-based psychological condition. Even if you want to say it does, lumping these two groups together is awful.
One additional layer of contradiction is that, by making dissenting opinions sound like mental disorders and simultaneously showing disdain and loathing for people who voice those opinions, progressives stigmatize mental illness. How very reactionary.
*Homophobia should mean fear of the same. Transphobia should mean fear of change. They added a Greek suffix to words with a Latin prefix and completely dropped the base word: sexual. I guess the sex is implied.Published in