This news from Maryland, and the courtoom of Judge Paul Grimm (above), is a shocking sign of the times:
A judge on Thursday dismissed a complaint against the Montgomery County school board by parents who alleged that the system’s student gender-identity guidelines violated their state and constitutional rights.
Three parents, who filed anonymously in 2020 against the Montgomery County Board of Education (MCBE), argued that the guidelines curtailed their ability “to direct the care, custody, education, and control of their minor children,” under the Fourteenth Amendment, according to a memorandum opinion.
The parents said that the Montgomery County Public School “2020-2021 Guidelines for Student Gender Identity” were designed to work around parental involvement “in a pivotal decision” in their children’s lives and that the guidelines enable school personnel to allow children “to transition socially to a different gender identity at school” without parents’ notice or consent.
In the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Judge Paul W. Grimm sided with the MCBE’s argument that the guidelines advance the state’s goal of protecting students’ safety and privacy, according to the memo.
“MCBE certainly has a legitimate interest in providing a safe and supportive environment for all MCPS students, including those who are transgender and gender nonconforming,” Grimm said in the memo. “And the Guidelines are certainly rationally related to achieving that result.”
Do you get it now? Do you? We have here a federal judge -- an Obama appointee -- ruling that the State has the right to deceive parents about whether or not their children are choosing to live as the opposite sex. The State -- in the form of the local school board -- has the right to deceive parents about this fundamental aspect of their child's life.
Under Communism, the State usurped the family. It was like that from the beginning. Here is Alexandra Kollontai, a leading Bolshevik revolutionary, explaining why in a 1920 essay. Excerpt:
All this goes to show that the responsibility for the child is passing from the family to the collective. ...
Communist society considers the social education of the rising generation to be one of the fundamental aspects of the new life. The old family, narrow and petty, where the parents quarrel and are only interested in their own offspring, is not capable of educating the “new person”. The playgrounds, gardens, homes and other amenities where the child will spend the greater part of the day under the supervision of qualified educators will, on the other hand, offer an environment in which the child can grow up a conscious communist who recognises the need for solidarity, comradeship, mutual help and loyalty to the collective. ...
The woman who takes up the struggle for the liberation of the working class must learn to understand that there is no more room for the old proprietary attitude which says: “These are my children, I owe them all my maternal solicitude and affection; those are your children, they are no concern of mine and I don’t care if they go hungry and cold – I have no time for other children.” The worker-mother must learn not to differentiate between yours and mine; she must remember that there are only our children, the children of Russia’s communist workers.
This is all in Live Not By Lies -- the warnings that people who grew up under Communism are sounding to us in the West today! In France over the weekend, I spoke to a young American woman who recently graduated from one of the most elite Western universities. She talked about the Chinese students in her college, all of whom diligently filled out weekly reports for the Communist government about what they were seeing in the college, who they met, what they were hearing, and so forth. The amazing thing, she said, is that none of them gave the slightest indication that they were doing so under duress. They thought this was good and right. When they would be challenged on this or that point of Chinese history or politics, they would calmly explain that they could only accept as true what had been taught to them by the Party.
From Live Not By Lies:
In his 2019 book, We Have Been Harmonized—China’s term for neutralizing citizens as a threat to the social and political order—veteran journalist Kai Strittmatter, who spent years in Beijing reporting for a German daily, reveals the techno-dystopia that modern China has become. He interviews a Chinese teacher who gives his name as “David,” and who despairs of his country’s future.
“People born in the 1980s and afterwards are hopelessly lost,” David says. He continues:
The brainwashing starts in nursery school. It was different for us. They called us a lost generation because schools and colleges were closed back then, and many of us were denied an education. But in reality, we were probably the lucky ones. We fell through the cracks. The brainwashing didn’t get us. Mao was dead, and everyone was desperate for China to open up, for reform, freedom.
The state’s information-control apparatus has demolished the ability of young Chinese to learn facts about their nation’s history in ways that contradict the Communist Party’s narrative. The 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, for example, has been memory-holed. This is something that we will almost certainly not have to endure in the West.
But the condition of the youth in consumerist China is more Huxley than Orwell. As the American media critic Neil Postman once said, Orwell feared a world in which people would be forbidden to read books. Huxley, by contrast, feared a world in which no one would have to ban books, because no one would want to read them in the first place. This, says David, is China today. Even though a great deal of information remains available to students, they don’t care about it.
“My students say they haven’t got time. They’re distracted by a thousand other things,” David tells Strittmatter. “And although I’m only ten years older than them, they don’t understand me. They live in a completely different world. They’ve been perfectly manipulated by their education and the Party’s propaganda: my students devote their lives to consumerism and ignore everything else. They ignore reality; it’s been made easy for them.”
American people, wake up: this is us! The brainwashing on gender and sexuality starts now in kindergarten in many places. Children are being raised by schools, and by news and entertainment media, to believe these insane lies about their bodies and their gender, and to believe that parents are the enemy, that the State is their friend and ally. Major hospitals are mutilating the minds and bodies of children. And we have here a federal judge declaring that the State is quite rightly allied with the sex-and-gender revolution against families, who, to borrow a phrase from Kollontai, "offer an environment in which a child can grow up a conscious communist," or whatever the New American Man is supposed to be.
How much more explicit does it have to be, people? We are ruled by a malignant class that wants to destroy the family and capture the souls of our children. It really is as simple as that. We have to fight these people as hard as we can with the tools left to us as citizens of a democracy, but we ALSO have to start developing now strategies to protect the souls of our children, to defend the truth, and to help people who are resisting this evil, no matter what. This is what my books The Benedict Option and Live Not By Lies are about. A lot of people have dismissed the books as alarmist, but let me tell you, if you fail to be alarmed by Judge Grimm's ruling -- and you can be sure his won't be the last like it -- you are hopelessly in denial.
Again: the State -- the schools, this federal judge -- believes your children belong to it, and that you, as a mother or a father, are a danger to your child if you disagree with gender ideology, and that you have no right to expect the public schools to tell you the truth.
This. Is. Totalitarian. Straight up. To my mind, there is almost nothing more important, politically, than protecting children from the State. At the very least we had better start voting for politicians who are openly and uncompromisingly on the side of families, not the state, in these matters -- while we still can. The day is coming when the young people propagandized by these schools and the media become the voting majority. If we have not forestalled this day, and prepared for it, we will have no means of resistance.
Don't you know what time it is? The revolutionary Judge Grimm does. Why don't you?
UPDATE: If you don't subscribe to Wes Yang's Substack, Year Zero, you really should. He's strongly gender-critical, and has a good sense for the broader meaning of this revolution. Here is a quote from a subscriber-only interview with Leon Sapir, a Manhattan Institute fellow and scholar of the administrative state. Sapir tells Yang that he devotes himself to understanding the workings of the government through the state's promulgation and enforcement of Title IX and now regulations governing transgenderism. Excerpts:
You know, one of the consistent features of administrative government is that the higher up you go, the more abstract and platitudinous the directives are. And that makes sense if you think about incentives, because from President Biden's perspective, he wants to say things like, you know, the Secretary shall take care to make sure that we have policies that quote, support LGBTQIA youth. Well, who's going to argue with that? Isn't the whole question, in a nutshell, what policies are supportive and what policies are destructive? So in effect, he's delegating to the different agencies of government the task of figuring out the details, and the devil here is obviously going to be in the details. So the further down you go, the hierarchy of the bureaucracy, the more concrete the decisions and the more trade-offs you start to see. And the more dubious the rationales become. But that essentially allows–the more you go up the scale of government, the more you can see public officials shirking responsibility and say, no, no, I didn't mean that particular policy. I just said, you have to be inclusive. I just said, you have to be supportive. I didn't mean that you have to require all therapists in the states to affirm, affirm, affirm and immediately prescribe puberty blockers. Right, so those specifics don't appear in the executive order and that's not a coincidence. That's not an accident. This is how our administrative government works nowadays.
I do want to emphasize one thing in regards to the topic–because I think it's really important and worth emphasizing–and that is the central importance of institutions, and the role that they have played in the transgender revolution. There's an understandable tendency to focus on culture, cultural arguments, philosophical ideas, and those are extremely important–I've written on them a lot, don't get me wrong, very important–but the idea that politics is always downstream of culture strikes me as misguided. And I think the transgender revolution really demonstrates why that's the case.
Talk to them. I have, when I used to have office hours when I taught in college, and I have spoken to students, I've spoken to colleagues, to friends, family members on the left–you talk to them, you spend five minutes investigating their ideas about, you know, we all have this internal sense of gender, all these bizarre, kooky metaphysics, and within a nanosecond that gives way to therapeutic cliches. They have no philosophical defense of these ideas, it just immediately gives way to this full relativism of – everybody should do what they feel makes sense, and makes them feel good about themselves, and who am I to judge? And if we don't agree with them, that they're going to experience subjective distress, and they're gonna want to kill themselves.
So, you know, again, it's not that gender ideology doesn't play an important role here, it really does. But when you scratch below the surface, when you push back a little bit, it's incredible how quickly all of this gives way to this unhinged compassion, and empathy, and concern for feelings of suffering. And so I think that's important because it also gives us a plan of action for how to push back against it…recognizing what's driving this thing, that it really is compassion, empathy, unhinged from any form of rational introspection and assessment of the evidence, is really key to unlocking how we can move in the direction of other countries here.
I'm telling you, it's worth it to subscribe to Wes's Substack even for just one month, to read the transcript of this interview, and learn how the revolution advances through captured institutions. We are so far down this rabbit hole I don't know how we can recover, but I tell you this: I don't care who the next Republican nominee is, even if it's Donald Trump: I am voting against this totalitarian evil, and this corrupt ruling class.
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UPDATE: Here's another terrifically instructive passage from the Yang-Sapir discussion. Please subscribe to Yang's Year Zero Substack!
Wesley Yang: I hear what you're saying in terms of the way things are now, but when you have a generation of kids who are raised from infancy on the belief that gender ideology, or their gender identity, is just a matter of subjective identification, and that no one else can see it, some secret that's hidden inside of you, that you have access to, and that others cannot see. Which is, you know, I think it's foundational to the form that gender ideology takes, that's now being taught–it's going to lay the foundation for a vast expansion of other–those who have been primed since early childhood to be taken in by gender identity, and, you know, for themselves and for others…
Leor Sapir: So that's true, but just to push back a little bit, talk to these kids, Wesley. Talk to them. I have, when I used to have office hours when I taught in college, and I have spoken to students, I've spoken to colleagues, to friends, family members on the left–you talk to them, you spend five minutes investigating their ideas about, you know, we all have this internal sense of gender, all the, kind of, these bizarre, kooky metaphysics, and within a nanosecond that gives way to therapeutic cliches. They don't–they have no philosophical defense of these ideas, it just immediately gives way to, kind of, this full relativism of–everybody should do what they feel makes sense, makes them feel good about themselves, and who am I to judge? And if we don't agree with them, that they're going to experience subjective distress, and they're gonna want to kill themselves.
So, you know, again, it's not that gender ideology doesn't play an important role here, it really does. But when you scratch below the surface, when you push back a little bit, it's incredible how quickly all of this gives way to this unhinged compassion, and empathy, and concern for feelings of suffering. And so I think that's important because it also gives us a plan of action for how to push back against it, which is, no, the compassionate thing to do is to look at studies about suicidality, to see that there is in fact no connection between affirming and reducing suicidality. And there's actually one new study that shows weak evidence–I want to emphasize, it's evidence, but it's weak evidence–that affirming with puberty blockers may actually increase suicidality. That social transition–meaning using a person's preferred pronouns and names–is not just the nice, kind, compassionate thing to do, but it may actually lock in a temporary state of distress that would have relieved itself over time if you just leave it alone. So again, recognizing what's driving this thing, that it really is compassion, empathy, unhinged from any form of rational introspection and assessment of the evidence, is really key to unlocking how we can move in the direction of other countries here.
Wesley Yang: So there's also like, two key, sort of, inflection points that I see, both when it comes to our conception of rights and then our conception of therapy. Because there was an idea that you had, you know, you will have the individual adjust himself to a world that existed beyond the limits of his will and his subjectivity. Right. And now, there's the contrary idea that, no, you must remake the world, you must mandate the world participate in the patient's–you know, some would call it delusions or– their strongly held subjective beliefs. And then also the idea that, not just that I have a right to believe what I want, but that my right to believe what I want is not fulfilled unless others affirm. And that, to me, seems a major and significant step in the progress of rights. It evolves kind of naturally out of it, I guess, but it also turns the whole concept on its head at the same time.
Leor Sapir: Yeah, I think that's right. And this is a problem, I think, inherent in the American style of relativism, that we wanted to say, you know, to use Justice Kennedy, in that Planned Parenthood v. Casey case–we all have the right to define our meaning of existence. But of course, the existence that we want to define is not just purely our own subjective understanding of the world, we want it to be objectively true. We all want our belief to be grounded in something more than just a spurious feeling. We want the confidence that our feelings are grounded in something more real, more permanent. And so it's important to us that others recognize our subjective understanding, to meet our own meaning of existence. And that's where subjectivism slides easily into a kind of a totalitarianism, where we recognize no limits to our will, no limits to our desires. And, you know, the classical liberal formulation for this problem is tolerance–to recognize that to live in a society means to live alongside people who, you know, in the old formulation, are condemned to burn in hell, and to corrupt your kids, right. I mean, these are people who are deeply misguided, theologically, morally, but that you let them live in their false beliefs. We've moved beyond that. I think that's clear. The question now is, can we gain a little bit of that back, and I think the transgender moment or movement or whatever you want to call it is so significant for so many people because it is a kind of a test case for whether we can hold on to this classical liberal understanding of rights, or whether it's going to give way to this kind of boundless self-expression, with the ensuing demand that everybody agree with my every feeling and judgment inconsistently, because I'm not willing to agree with theirs, right. So it creates this war of all against all where necessarily the strongest will survives.
And I'll say one more thing. I find it deeply ironic that the subjective, so to speak, lived experiences that are most dominant in our culture today, that have the backing of the party, and power of the corporations, of the federal courts, is the one that claims to be most victimized and marginalized. I mean, that surely is an irony. If you were an alien arriving from outer space, and you had to kind of do a sociological survey of American society, I think you you would conclude that there is no group more powerful in America today than transgender people, because they are a fraction of 1% of the population and yet even to criticize their ideas, sends people into a state of absolute paranoia. So, again, you know, there's this kind of irony that the more you perceive yourself to be marginalized, weak and victimized, the stronger you are and the more power you have.
The totalitarianism of the therapeutic. We are living it.