They really, really hate us. George Orwell wrote a morning “Two Minutes Hate” session into the daily life of his dystopia in 1984. One blogger notes that 2,000 of Rachel Maddow’s facebook fans wished that Ted Cruz would fall into an open elevator shaft. What would he have made of the hyperventilating hatred that liberals display against conservatives? Over at National Review, Katherine Timpf reports on a hate manifesto published by the chair of University of Michigan’s Department of Communications. Republicans “crafted a political identity that rests on a complete repudiation of the idea that the opposing party and its followers have any legitimacy at all.” wrote Prof. Susan Douglas. “So now we hate them back,” she explains. “And with good reason.”
In fact, they have their reasons to hate us. They are being silly. We know they are being silly, and they know we know, and they can’t stand it. It isn’t quite how we repudiate the idea that the opposing party has any legitimacy at all. But we can’t stop giggling.
“Reductio ad absurdum” does not begin to characterize the utter silliness of liberals, whose governing dogma holds that everyone has a right to invent their own identity. God is dead and everything is permitted, Zarathustra warned; he should have added that everything is silly. When we abhor tradition, we become ridiculous, because we lack the qualifications to replace what generation upon generation of our ancestors built on a belief in revelation and centuries of trial and error. Conservatives know better. G.K. Chesterton said it well: “Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about.”
The antics of the “small and arrogant oligarchy” that controls the temples of liberal orthodoxy have turned into comic material that Monty Python couldn’t have dreamed up a generation ago. There are now dozens of prospective genders, at least according to the gender studies departments at elite universities. What do the feminists of Wellesley College do, for example, when its women become men? The problem is that no-one quite knows what they have become, as a recent New York Times Magazine feature complained:
Some two dozen other matriculating students at Wellesley don’t identify as women. Of those, a half-dozen or so were trans men, people born female who identified as men, some of whom had begun taking testosterone to change their bodies. The rest said they were transgender or genderqueer, rejecting the idea of gender entirely or identifying somewhere between female and male; many, like Timothy, called themselves transmasculine.
Use the wrong terminology and you’re burned for a bigot. There used to be jokes such as: “How many feminists does it take to change a light bulb? Only one, and it’s not funny.” You can’t tell that sort of joke about Wellesley because the LGBTs never will agree on the lightbulb’s gender. There are rare cases of babies born with ambiguous genitalia, to be sure. There also are a few individuals obsessed from early childhood with the idea that they were born in the wrong body. They have difficult lives and deserve sympathy (but not public mandates for sex-change operations). Gender ambiguity in its morphological infinitude as a field of personal self-development, though, has become the laboratory for cutting-edge liberal thinking, the ultimate expression of self-invention. LGTB Studies (or “Queer Studies”) departments have or soon will be established at most of America’s top universities, classifying, advocating and defending an ever-expanding number of newly-categorized gender identities.
Newly-invented identities are as fragile as flower petals, and those unfortunate enough to bear them know it better than anyone else. The Queer Studies crowd is particularly ripe in that regard, but the same applies to all the ethnic-cum-racial identities incubated in American universities. Look at them cross-eyed, and you’re a racist. That accounts for the new Inquisition against covert racism, whose silliest expression is “Micro-Aggression.” Heather Mac Donald at City Journal reports on the witchhunt at UCLA against a professor of impeccable liberal credentials, Val Rust, for such micro-aggressive crimes against “scholars of color” as encouraging them to employ the punctuation and capitalization standards of The Chicago Manual of Style in their PhD. dissertations. “Asking for better grammar is inflammatory in the school,” Mac Donald quotes a teaching assistant. “You have to give an A or you’re a racist.”
For the crime of imperialist punctuation, the unfortunate Prof. Rust was confronted with a “Manifesto” that stated:
The silence on the repeated assailment of our work by white female colleagues, our professor’s failure to acknowledge and assuage the escalating hostility directed at the only Male of Color in this cohort, as well as his own repeated questioning of this male’s intellectual and professional decisions all support a complacency in this hostile and unsafe climate for Scholars of Color.
People who write such rot know they are ridiculous, and demand from the rest of us that we do not giggle. UCLA recalls the scene from Monty Python’s Life of Brian where the centurions try desperately not to laugh at the name of Pontius Pilate’s friend.
All this explains why the cleverest people in the country (one doesn’t get into UCLA without being clever) act like idiots. But our poor intelligence depends on the contributions of scores of generations past. We learn to tackle important problems by reliving the way in which past generations tackled those problems, and our reinvented selves will know no more of wisdom than the Frankenstein monster knew of physics. Even worse, as I argued some years ago in an essay entitled “Why you won’t find the meaning of life”:
If we set out to invent our own identities, then by definition we must abominate the identities of our parents and our teachers. Our children, should we trouble to bring any into the world, also will abominate ours. If self-invention is the path to the meaning of life, it makes the messy job of bearing and raising children a superfluous burden, for we can raise our children by no other means than to teach them contempt for us, both by instruction, and by the example of set in showing contempt to our own parents.
That is why humanity has found no other way to perpetuate itself than by the continuity of tradition. A life that is worthwhile is one that is worthwhile in all its phases, from youth to old age. Of what use are the elderly? In a viable culture they are the transmitters of the accumulated wisdom of the generations. We will take the trouble to have children of our own only when we anticipate that they will respect us in our declining years, not merely because they tolerate us, but because we will have something yet to offer to the young.
In that case, we do not discover the meaning of life. We accept it, rather, as it is handed down to us.
Laugh at a liberal. Ask her/him if you can call her/him “they” in order not to presume where his/her/its gender identity is concerned. Ask what ethnic identity he/she/it professes and how to avoid micro-aggression. Laugh, but don’t touch. The brain-eating alien worm larvae might be transmitted through skin contact.
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