Two items that have flopped over my transom in the past day.
1. I heard from someone who works in the public school system in a major American city. She says that in the past five years, she has noticed an incredible change coming over the high schoolers. “I have watched genders flow into each other,” she says.
She talked about one teenage girl in particular who approached her and asked, “Remember me?” She did not. It turns out the girl was in fact a boy. She asked him to tell her his story. It started with the fact that his father never understood him, and proceeded from there.
The woman says that this kind of thing was all but invisible five years ago, but is now much more common. “The school counselors are pushing it,” she said. “It’s unbelievable, and I don’t know where it ends.”
2. Another reader, N., an older Millennial, e-mails to talk about a disturbing trend among N.’s urban elite friends. N. sent me text from one of them, someone nationally known, with no small amount of influence. N. has known him for a long time. He had put this out on Facebook among his wide circle of friends, but the reader asked me not to quote from it. N. is not sure how public he intended it to be, and just wanted me to see the kind of thinking that is becoming common in N.’s circles (thinking that N. rejects). N. gave me permission to summarize it. I will call its author X. I’ve slightly edited what’s below to protect privacy.
X’s post laments Brexit, pointing in particular to the fact that the young overwhelmingly voted to Remain, and the old voted overwhelmingly to leave. X. said this shows that democracy does not work well when old people have to vote. The old have been on the wrong side of every civil rights issue, and we should start considering taking away their vote after a certain age. There is in the post a barely-concealed sense that after a certain age, life is not worth living, and should not be tolerated by the young.
Says the reader who sent this to me:
Seeing the shocking number of people who liked this, the people who shared this, I know this is going to spread. And it worries me. Euthanasia, trans-everything: the internet takes radical ideas and mainstreams the unthinkable.
Again, I know the identity of X. He is very far from a nobody on the Internet. N. says that over the years, N. has come to rely on X as a bellwether for social trends. Says N., “When I start seeing a theme in his writing, I know within months I’ll start seeing it pop up everywhere.”
N. goes on:
[X.] has the ear of writers, tv show creators, government employees, journalists, and other creatives. There is a distinct group for whom his word is gospel. His ideas catch and spread, and it terrifies me. It’s SJW McCarthyism with the technocratic veneer of respectability.
On the other hand, earlier today, I heard a terrific speech by Russell Moore, given to a large Christian group at a private gathering. He talked about the radical importance of immersing ourselves in Scripture and discipleship, to prepare for the world we are living in and the world to come. He talked about how faithful orthodox Christians must prepare ourselves to suffer, and to suffer joyfully. It was a sobering, prophetic address, and incredibly inspiring in both its hopefulness and its realism (as opposed to false optimism). I will try to find him and ask him if I can quote it in this space.