THE COLUMN: First, Posit a Counter-Factual...
One of the hallmarks of Leftist methodology is to assert blatant falsehoods as real and then act on them—with the fierce urgency of now!—as if they were true. At first dismissed as too absurd to take seriously, this approach has proven highly successful. The triumph of relativism and the concomitant loss of belief in even the most fundamental verities has resulted in the complete emasculation of the culture —and don't expect newly defeminized women to take up the slack. The Left's squadrons of vicious, shameless lawyers take as their operating principle: "we can make the argument that...," the argument being wholly imaginary. But who's to call them on it? They may win some and lose some, but every win goes in the permanent win column and every loss can always be relitigated later.
And they're getting bolder. You have to admire the sheer audacity of trying to convince the public that there are more than two sexes, rather than two sexes and various aberrations, which is one reason they long ago replaced the word "sex" (which to the Left solely means sexual intercourse of some exotic variety or another, not an intrinsic aspect of being) with the grammatical term "gender." Voila! There really are three genders—masculine, feminine, and neuter. Problem solved: since the notion of binary sexes was merely arbitrary, why not three or four? Or more?
Case in point: over the weekend, college dropout Chuck Todd conducted the following exchange on Meet the Press with presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy (video at the link):
VIVEK RAMASWAMY: But below the age of 18, I think it's perfectly legitimate to say that we won’t allow genital mutilation or chemical castration through puberty blockers.
CHUCK TODD: You’re calling it that, but how do you know it’s that? Again, how do you know? Are you confident that you know that gender is as binary as you're describing it? Are you confident?
RAMASWAMY: I am.
TODD: That there isn’t a spectrum?
RAMASWAMY: I am.
TODD: Do you know this as a scientist?
RAMASWAMY: Well, there’s two X chromosomes if you're a woman, and an X and a Y that means you’re a man—
TODD: There is a lot of scientific research that says gender is a spectrum.
RAMASWAMY: Chuck, I respectfully disagree. Gender Dysphoria for most of our history all the way through the DSM-5 has been characterized as a mental health disorder and I don't think it's compassionate to affirm that. I think that’s cruelty. When a kid is crying out for help, what they’re asking for is—you’ve got to ask the question of what else is going wrong at home. What else is going wrong at school let's be compassionate and get to the heart of that rather than playing this game as though we’re actually changing our medical understanding for the last hundred years.
TODD: I go back to this if a parent is dealing with a child that has these—that may have these issues, trust me, the parent—the last thing they want to do is consider something like this, but if that is what they think could help their child pursue happiness or not to kill themselves, I—why take away that option? Again, why shouldn't it be up to the parent?
RAMASWAMY: So—part of why parents now suddenly feel that way. Let’s ask ourselves that Chuck—is we've created a culture that teaches parents that they're being bigoted or that they’re bad people if they don't actually take those steps. So part of what I think is—listen, Gender Dysphoria for the rare few people who’ve suffered it, is a condition of suffering. My question is why on Earth are we going out of our way to create even more of it? And there's no doubt that the cultural movement in the country, even education is creating more gender dysphoria if it's a condition of suffering, let's not create more of it. That’s what we’re doing.
Can you believe we're even having this discussion? About chemical castration and sexual mutilation as positive good things? This is how far down the cultural-Marxist road we've traveled.
Meanwhile, the transgressive attacks on everything you thought you knew continue apace. For example, did you know that the early Church father Augustine of Hippo was black? After all, he came from North Africa and as we all know Africa = black, so Q.E.D. This, at least, is the opinion of one Tia Noelle Pratt writing in U.S. Catholic magazine, who's apparently ignorant of history, genetics. and geography but whose imagination was fired by a new painting of the saint depicting him as George Floyd's cousin in Roman drag:
St. Augustine was an African man. For many years, I didn’t appreciate the magnitude of this because his African identity was usually muted in favor of describing him as a North African citizen of the Roman Empire with a distinct emphasis on “North” and “Empire.” Currently, the United States Census classifies individuals of Middle East and North African (MENA) descent as white. Consequently, emphasizing that St. Augustine was North African allows him, especially in the United States, to be racially coded as white. At the very least, it allows for deemphasizing his Amazigh origins—the endonymic term for the people of North Africa.
By depicting St. Augustine as an unabashedly African man, the painting invites all those who engage his writings including students, scholars, and members of the religious order that bears his name, to reconsider how we have thought about him. It also invites us to learn more about the Amazigh people—an ancient, diverse, culturally rich community found across the entirety of North Africa. Depicting St. Augustine as a Black man actively decenters whiteness and demands that we all recognize what it means for the church, the academy, and the world to acknowledge the depth and breadth of the intellectual and cultural gifts Africa has given the world. Centuries of slavery and colonialism not only robbed the African continent of so many of its treasures, but also robbed Africa of credit for those treasures. By racially coding St. Augustine as white, he became one of those treasures for which Africa was not given due credit. This painting compels us to think of St. Augustine as an African man and render to Africa that which is Africa’s.
Right. The problem is that Augustine was a Berber, and Berbers aren't black. (Neither was the Macedonian Greek Ptolemaic queen of Egypt, Cleopatra, despite what Netflix thinks.) In the interests of historicity, I appended a comment to the story:
This is utterly false. Augustine was a Berber, non-Arabic and non-sub-Saharan black. The name "Africa" was given by the Romans to their province in and around Carthage, which was a Phoenician city; it was later applied to the entire continent. The Berbers lived in Numidia. During the reign of Augustus, Cleopatra Selene (the daughter of the Roman Mark Antony and the Macedonian Greek Ptolemaic queen of Egypt, Cleopatra) was married off by the imperial family to King Juba II, who similarly was neither black nor Arabic. (The Arab conquest of the Mahgreb didn't occur until the late 7th and early 8th centuries.) By assuming incorrectly that "African = black" you're putting the cart way before the horse. U.S. Catholic magazine should retract this piece immediately.
But of course they won't. Finally, the New York Times —the fons et origo of Leftist thought in America—took note of this utterly predictable development since the introduction of women into the work force on a massive scale, and found it to be, well, both sexist and racist:
Menopause costs American women an estimated $1.8 billion in lost working time per year, according to a Mayo Clinic study published this week. The paper examined how hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings and the myriad other symptoms associated with this time of life affect women in the workplace. It’s the largest study of its kind to have been done in the United States... Though a majority of survey participants were white, the researchers found that menopause can have a greater effect on Black and Hispanic working women, Dr. Kling said. “Black women tended to have more menopausal symptoms,” she said. “And higher percentages of Black women and Hispanic women reported adverse work outcomes related to menopausal symptoms compared to white women.”
The Times, of course, has been cheering on women's empowerment for five decades, no matter how many families it destroyed, how many women it made miserable, how many lawsuits of the "hostile environment" variety it costs businesses that previously had none, how many abortions it indirectly triggered, or how many women contracted toxoplasmosis gondii from going home to their cats every evening after work. But it was all for the greater good: you can't make the New Socialist Omelet without breaking millions of egg-producing hearts, minds, and bodies.
Girls can be boys and boys can be girls; Berbers can be black; and women need to abandon all the trappings of womanhood in order to compete in the brave new world of Bud Light, to infinity and beyond. How's that for a counter-factual, fully acted upon?