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Home/Rod Dreher/‘Woman,’ Man, And The Fight Against Evil

‘Woman,’ Man, And The Fight Against Evil

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, in her Senate confirmation hearings

The usual media suspects are mocking Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn for asking Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson to define “woman.” Haha, that stupid Republican culture warrior! Judge Brown responded, infamously, “I’m not a biologist” — as if you had to be specially trained as a scientist to say what a woman is. Judge Jackson is a jurist who, if confirmed to the Supreme Court, would be passing judgment on questions like, “What is a woman, under the law?”

This matters. The fact that Ketanji Brown Jackson would not define “woman” in her hearing is, for me, reason enough to reject her — and any other nominee that comes before the Senate seeking confirmation, and who will not commit to a definition of woman. We are facing an existential crisis in the West, one in which our elites — and Jackson is a straight-out-of-central-casting exemplar of our corrupt elites — are tearing down the entire edifice of our civilization. They must be stopped. I don’t care if Judge Jackson is the second coming of King Solomon, if she will not specify what a woman is (and is not), then she has no place on the High Court, any more than a judge who refused to specify what a human being is (more on which in a moment).

Of course she is going to be confirmed, and of course we are going to continue our slide into insanity. You have to take a look at what USA Today had to say about all this in a news story. It will tell you how crazy we have become. Excerpts:

Scientists, gender law scholars and philosophers of biology said Jackson’s response was commendable, though perhaps misleading. It’s useful, they say, that Jackson suggested science could help answer Blackburn’s question, but they note that a competent biologist would not be able to offer a definitive answer either. Scientists agree there is no sufficient way to clearly define what makes someone a woman, and with billions of women on the planet, there is much variation.

More:

But Jordan-Young said she sees Jackson’s answer, particularly the second half, reflecting the necessity of nuance. While traditional notions of sex and gender suggest a simple binary –  if you are born with a penis, you are male and identify as a man and if you are born with a vagina, you are female and identify as a woman –  the reality, gender experts say, is more complex.

“There isn’t one single ‘biological’ answer to the definition of a woman. There’s not even a singular biological answer to the question of ‘what is a female,'” Jordan-Young said.

There are at least six different biological markers of “sex” in the body: genitals, chromosomes, gonads, internal reproductive structures, hormone ratios and secondary sex characteristics. None of the six is strictly dichotomous, Jordan-Young said, and the different markers don’t always align.

Sarah Richardson, a Harvard scholar, historian and philosopher of biology who focuses on the sciences of sex and gender and their policy dimensions, said Jackson’s answer accurately reflects legal practice. While U.S. law remains an unsettled arena for the conceptualization and definition of sex, it frequently grounds sex categorization in biological evidence and reasoning.

But like Jordan-Young, Richardson emphasized that biology does not offer a simple or singular answer to the question of what defines a woman.

“As is so often the case, science cannot settle what are really social questions,” she said. “In any particular case of sex categorization, whether in law or in science, it is necessary to build a definition of sex particular to context.”

Read it all.The “experts” to which USA Today defers are lying to themselves. Twenty years ago — and every year before that — few people would have had trouble with this question, least of all scientists. There are clear genetic markers that distinguish males from females. The social construction of womanhood is a different question — but not a scientific one. Cultural politics have so captured science that now “experts” are talking nonsense, and one of the biggest papers in the country is repeating it as if it were true.

This matters more than many of you think. You are by now accustomed to the rapid acceleration of the culture of inversion, in which everything we thought was true the day before yesterday is now thought to be false, and vice versa. You might simply roll your eyes as a coping mechanism, and sit back waiting for sanity to return. This is a foolish, dangerous strategy. To decouple womanhood and manhood from biology is an extremely perilous move. I remind you that one argument the 19th century abolitionists used to fight slavery was the Darwinian claim that all of us descended from common ancestors, and that whatever our racial characteristics, we are all human beings. Now Western elites, for the sake of “liberating” transgender and genderfluid people, are convincing themselves that actually, science can’t say what a man and a woman are.

Don’t you see what’s coming next? Science is not going to be able to say what a child is — and because we privilege science as a way of knowing, the law will follow. How can we really say when childhood ends? they will ask. I mentioned in this space recently a chilling conversation I had with someone from Britain who has been involved in high-level meetings about educational policy, and who said that the educational establishment is militantly on board with the idea that children are autonomous from their parents, and that the state must defend the autonomy of children. My interlocutor said that he is certain that the next frontier in abolition will be taboos against sex with minors, and then children.

And then science is not going to be able to say what a human being is. The law will follow. Tara Ann Thieke, one of the best people to follow on Twitter, writes:

 

She sees it. She sees what’s being prepared by those in power. We are all being groomed for our exploitation. Our passivity in the face of it ensures our enslavement.

The only more important legal question in 2022, in a time of collapsing standards and definitions, than, “What is a woman?” is “What is a human being?” Rapidly advancing biotechnology is issuing in an age of transhumanism. Judges will have to rule on these matters. If, in the first half of the nineteenth century, when black men and women were held in bondage in half of the United States, would you have thought it silly for a Senator to ask a Supreme Court nominee to define human being? That’s what we are living in right now. Wake up!

We are being sent prophets — and some of the most stirring of them are women.

I rode the train from Amsterdam to Brussels with my friend Eva Vlaardingerbroek, a Dutch activist who was slated to speak at NatCon Brussels. On the journey, I asked her about her speech. She told me that she planned to talk about the coming transhumanism (her explanation of Elon Musk’s Neuralink project chilled me to the bone), and the urgent need for people to stand up against it — and for Christians to stop being afraid to speak openly about God. We really are in a fight for the future of the human race, she said. Now is not the time for timidity. Well, I heard her give the speech, and I can’t wait for it to go up on the NatCon YouTube channel, because it was galvanizing. I love Dutch people, but I have never heard a Dutch person, especially one only 25 years old, give such a rousing Christian address. It was a moment of real hope, from a young woman who has been extremely courageous in her anti-vax activism. I don’t share all her convictions about vaccines, but I have no doubt that she’s brave, and will not be intimidated.

Anyway, Eva’s call to all of us to wake up to the perils facing us inspired me to strengthen my own NatCon speech. I’ll post that video too when it’s available. Here’s a brief clip of her talk:

Another great speech came from Alex Kaschuta, a Romanian of Hungarian descent (again, as soon as her talk is available, I’ll post the video).

Alex Kaschuta

I only recently learned who she is, via my Claremont Institute pal Jeremy Carl, who told me her “Subversive” podcast (available on Spotify) is a must-listen. Alex is terrific — more people should know her. From her NatCon Brussels speech, in which she talked about how late liberalism must destroy the concept of female and male to fulfill its nature. She began by talking about how the leading men’s and women’s magazines acculturate their readers to finding their “authentic selves” and ultimate meaning through consuming a wider variety of sexual experiences. What this does, she points out, is sets up a power hierarchy that dispossesses the “losers” — and to conceal this fact, the powerful use this ideology to train people to distrust their eyes and ears (Orwell, in Nineteen Eighty-Four: “The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.”)

The glaring differences between men and women are an artefact of your lying eyes. Women, like men, like anyone, need a sex bucket list and need tips to manage their threesomes. They are interchangeable producer/consumers first and they are badass at it.

So, to make sure we keep up the appearance that society is composed of a cast of diverse but absolutely equal rational choice machines, every friction caused by the inescapability of nature must be instead caused by society. Every instance of entrenched inequality which a century’s worth of exorbitant interventions hasn’t made one dent in, is more proof that the ills of society are even more pernicious than we thought.

Liberalism cannot stop this ratchet, because it grows out of its founding myth. The one thing that the system cannot admit, the one straining card at the heart of this wobbling edifice, is that people are not equal in the dimensions that liberalism prizes – and they are not utility maximizing rational individuals shopping around freely for the best choice. They are not inherently liberal creatures.

And that some are less liberal than others. The gay careerist is more fit to be a denizen of the liberal order than the mother of three. This is simply a fact. He is less constrained by unchosen bonds, he is more free to produce and consume and contribute to the ratchet toward a society with ever more choices.

The trans woman, a relatively new addition, is a supremely liberal specimen – what a shedder of unchosen bonds! Especially the newly minted ladies who disproportionately populate C-suite roles and the military, they are liberalism’s avant garde. Even their most basic identity is affirmed through an act of consumption and smashing of unchosen bonds with the added benefit of breaking open spaces which were formerly off limits to the rational chooser beneath the petticoat.

For now, it doesn’t get more liberal than that. The next frontier is very likely the liberation of the rational agent in children. The machine is already in motion for that.

Here’s Alex’s point, summarized by someone who was a guest for a great recent episode of Alex’s podcast:

You, reader, should understand that figures like Ketanji Brown Jackson — and again, she is utterly typical of her class — exist to impress upon the rest of us, via the exercise of raw power veiled by legal and scientific sophistries, their core value structure. Among those values: women can have penises, and men can have vaginas. And: people should be punished or rewarded on the basis of race.

I see this morning that Sen. Joe Manchin, the conservative Democrat, has signaled his intention to vote for Judge Jackson’s nomination. No surprise there. I expect most Republican senators to vote for her too. She’s a radical who is now a perfectly ordinary member of her class — because of how far to the Left the norms have moved. There is no real opposition to the Machine from Republicans, or organized conservatism. In my own case, I have been trying hard to cling to some form of classical liberalism, not only because I want to live in a society that values free speech, free expression, and freedom of religion, but I also believe that liberalism is the only way that a radically pluralistic society like ours can live in peace.

But I am at the end of these efforts, because I don’t think it’s possible to live in peace with people who believe these things — nor do they believe it’s possible to live with us. We are facing something that is truly evil. I mean spiritually evil — and I’m not talking about metaphorically either. (By the way, Alex Kaschuta says now that she was once a hardcore atheist, but now that she has become a mother, she believes that there is something real to the demonic claims.) Last weekend I had dinner in Budapest with a visiting American who said he abandoned his lifelong liberalism five years ago because he saw how impotent liberalism was to resist wokeness. Now the near-vertical slippery slope about our culture, he told me, is driving him toward religion. It seems to him (he told me) that there simply has to be some deep, dark, destructive intelligence behind what’s happening.

The destruction of the gender binary, which is so fundamental to civilization, is a sign. The contempt for generativity — the giving of biological life — is a sign. Look at this wicked woman who is celebrating the extraction of the organs through which she was meant to produce life:

This is evil. It shouldn’t even be up for debate. If we can’t articulate this forcefully enough in purely secular terms, then fine, as Eva says, let’s not be ashamed to say God, and to mean it. Clarity of mind is the rarest thing these days — that, and courage to speak the truth. We have to understand — we have to get it very clear in our heads — that wokeness is a pseudo-religion, and that we are in a religious war. Judge Jackson and her cohort are on one side of it. She pretends to neutrality, but she is not neutral. There is no neutrality anymore. In my case, I have reached the point where I will not debate whether or not men are men and women are women, or whether or not children should be experimented on medically to purportedly change his or her sex. I will not debate whether or not people should be treated differently on the basis of race. I will not debate whether or not it should be legal for Christians to proclaim their faith in the public square. These are the red lines. These are basic values that are not up for debate.

You may have seen the Baphomet statue produced in the US by the Satanic temple:

They like to pretend that they don’t really mean it, that they’re just trolling right-wing Christians, but I don’t buy it. They do mean it. This philosophy is being mainstreamed now by powerful people who would probably just roll their eyes at this statue.

The original Baphomet was a creation of 19th century occultists:

Notice its transsexual qualities: the breasts, plus the phallic symbol in its lap. The words on its inner forearms are “Solution” and “Coagulate” — meaning that you break things down to their smaller parts, and reassemble them into something you prefer. This is exactly what transgenderism does to the human person. No wonder that the Baphomet has been adopted as a trans symbol by some. This comes from (where else) Tumblr:

 

We are in a religious war, even though most of those on the woke Left would deny it — and probably with total honesty, as they don’t recognize that they actually believe in an ideology that gives them meaning, purpose, and solidarity, and proffers dogmas that cannot be questioned. In this religious war, traditional Christianity is blasphemous, and if it can’t be tamed (see the ridiculous German Cardinal Reinhard Marx at a recent queer mass in Munich), then it must be eliminated:

Europe is a bit ahead of us. We still have the First Amendment to protect us Americans, but in Europe, traditional Christians and other social conservatives are in real trouble. We will discover next week if the Finnish member of Parliament Päivi Räsänen is guilty of hate crimes for stating publicly her conviction, as a Lutheran laywoman, her belief that homosexuality is immoral, and that gay marriage is wrong. Meanwhile, the European Union is now considering legislation that will raise hate speech and hate crimes to trans-European criminal status, meaning that they are considered to be so serious that they are not reserved to local rule, but trans-European standards. Only the worst crimes become trans-European. Here is a document from the European Commission explaining what it’s up to:

I talked to a couple of lawyers in Brussels, who explained to me that if the EU Parliament goes through with this, then an EU citizen in, say, France can file hate speech charges against an EU citizen in Hungary. You see what’s happening? A gay French transgender activist could file hate speech charges against a Hungarian pastor, who would be considered a criminal on the same level as a terrorist, arms trafficker, mafioso, or pimp.

This is not a joke. This is happening. Here is a link to the EU document explaining it. Excerpt:

Indeed, any form of discrimination – be it based on sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation, as laid down in Article 19 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (‘TFEU’) – is prohibited. At the same time, freedom of expression is one of the pillars of a democratic and pluralist society and must be strongly protected. Furthermore, as set out in Article 67 of the TFEU, the EU must constitute an area of freedom, security and justice with respect for fundamental right. Through measures, it must ensure a high level of security to prevent and combat crime, racism and xenophobia. Hate speech and hate crime affect not only the individual victims and their communities, causing them sufferance and limiting their fundamental rights and freedoms, but also society at large. Hate undermines the very foundations of our society. It weakens mutual understanding and respect for diversity on which pluralistic and democratic societies are built.

It is hard to see how any form of religion that stigmatizes homosexuality or transgenderism would be able to survive these new blasphemy laws. Europeans would also be intimidated into silence in the face of crimes committed by migrants and members of favored minority groups. This is what liberalism has become: an ideology that dispossess people of their religion, their identity, and their right to decide how to live in their own country.

To return to Judge Jackson’s answer, and the propaganda campaign undertaken by our elites, our media, and our educational institutions: any society in which the definition of “woman” is up for debate is one in which the definition of “human” will soon be up for debate. We are very quickly becoming a satanic order — “satanic” in the sense that all that was once bad is now good, and there is no law other than will to power. If you missed it last year, read the English novelist Paul Kingsnorth’s account of his recent conversion to Christianity, and how it grew out of his environmental activism. Excerpts:

I realized that a crisis of limits is a crisis of culture, and a crisis of culture is a crisis of spirit. Every living culture in history, from the smallest tribe to the largest civilization, has been built around a spiritual core: a central claim about the relationship between human culture, nonhuman nature, and divinity. Every culture that lasts, I suspect, understands that living within limits—limits set by natural law, by cultural tradition, by ecological boundaries—is a cultural necessity and a spiritual imperative. There seems to be only one culture in history that has held none of this to be true, and it happens to be the one we’re living in.

Now I started to dimly see something I ought to have seen years before: that the great spiritual pathways, the teachings of the saints and gurus and mystics, and the vessels built to hold them—vessels we call “religions”—might have been there for a reason. They might even have been telling us something urgent about human nature, and what happens when our reach exceeds our grasp. G. K. Chesterton once declared, contra Marx, that it was irreligion that was the opium of the people. “Wherever the people do not believe in something beyond the world,” he explained, “they will worship the world. But above all, they will worship the strongest thing in the world.” Here we were.

He went through Zen Buddhism, then Wicca, before finally finding Orthodox Christianity, and accepting baptism in January 2021:

In Orthodoxy I had found the answers I had sought, in the one place I never thought to look. I found a Christianity that had retained its ancient heart—a faith with living saints and a central ritual of deep and inexplicable power. I found a faith that, unlike the one I had seen as a boy, was not a dusty moral template but a mystical path, an ancient and rooted thing, pointing to a world in which the divine is not absent but everywhere present, moving in the mountains and the waters. The story I had heard a thousand times turned out to be a story I had never heard at all.

Out in the world, the rebellion against God has become a rebellion against everything: roots, culture, community, families, biology itself. Machine progress—the triumph of the Nietzschean will—­dissolves the glue that once held us. Fires are set around the supporting pillars of the culture by those charged with guarding it, urged on by an ascendant faction determined to erase the past, abuse their ancestors, and dynamite their cultural ­inheritance, the better to build their earthly paradise on terra ­nullius. Massing against them are the new ­Defenders of the West, some calling for a return to the atomized liberalism that got us here in the first place, others defending a remnant Christendom that seems to have precious little to do with Christ and forgets Christopher Lasch’s warning that “God, not culture, is the only appropriate object of unconditional reverence and wonder.” Two profane visions going head-to-head, when what we are surely crying out for is the only thing that can heal us: a return to the sacred center around which any real culture is built.

Read it all.

There is something so telling about Judge Jackson’s refusal to answer the woman question. She is either a liar or a moral lunatic — and again, she is no different from her social class, which is the ruling class in the US and Europe.  No, I don’t think she’s a secret occultist, or anything like that. I think that she, like most others in her social and professional class, are caught in the mouth of a beast that they don’t understand. Realizing that nobody is going to stop her nomination, and nobody is going to stop any of this, and listening to those brave women Eva and Alex at NatCon, and talking to people who work in the EU Parliament, and also European lawyers, about what’s coming down the pike very fast … I have pretty much given up on the last vestiges of liberalism within me. It’s not that I want to be illiberal. It’s just that I can’t pretend anymore that the kind of liberalism that I value exists any more, at least not in a form strong enough to fight the evil that has metastasized on the Left. It is more important to me to stand firm against this evil, and to help those who are fighting it, than it is to be a proper classical liberal.

This is beyond Left and Right. This is spiritual. This is metaphysical. This is about Truth.

What this means for me personally, I don’t know. I am not eager to sign up for an ideology at all, and I see no viable alternative on the Right. Still, we have to fight as hard as we can against this with what we have; we don’t have to have a fully thought out alternative in order to say no to these lies. I am no longer willing to entertain the false hope that anything other than a real revival of the Christian faith will save the West from its suicide. And I am no longer willing to pretend that this is anything other than a religious war, and that what undergirds these battles over the definition of male and female, as well as the attempts by the ruling class to colonize the minds of children, is anything but satanic. There is no negotiating with this stuff.

Which side are you on? You will soon find that neutrality is not an option.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. A veteran of three decades of magazine and newspaper journalism, he has also written three New York Times bestsellers—Live Not By Lies, The Benedict Option, and The Little Way of Ruthie Lemingas well as Crunchy Cons and How Dante Can Save Your Life. Dreher lives in Baton Rouge, La.

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