It feels these days like a race between 1984 and A Brave New World. I thought Huxley was winning, but some days I’m not so sure.
Consider: Target has just announced that their bathrooms are now transgender friendly. People can use whichever bathroom corresponds to the gender they identify with. Yet, also consider: We have been told that males and whites are privileged and by default oppressive, sexist, racist, because of their whiteness and maleness. That is, because of their biology. But we are also told that biology means nothing when it comes to one’s identity, only what one feels. But if one therefore does not feel privileged, how can one say someone is privileged?
The whole premise is put on the individual’s own self-expression and self-identity. But if this be so, then nobody can confidently say anything at all about anyone else’s evil thoughtcrimes or privilege or whatever. By doing so, you are defining my experience, you are defining my identity, and that is the big no-no.
When I was in high school, distraught by the large number of other Matt’s in my class (25% in a class of 16), I decided one day that I would be henceforth known as “Eddie,” from my middle name “Edward.” I learned a valuable lesson that day, and that is one’s identity cannot freely be formed by one’s own purely individual desires. One’s identity is a complex combination of many factors–family relationships, personal history, biology and the like, with one’s own personal feelings being a fairly small part of it. If I have served time for a violent crime, then that will define certain aspects of my identity regardless of my feelings. And the biological sex and ethnic background I was born into will likewise affect me in certain ways, regardless of my feelings, and in fact, the greater rebellion I have against those realities, the greater a prisoner of them I will be.
I see more and more the great importance of the Fifth Commandment, that we honor our father and mother, which has implications far greater than just how I treat those two individuals. It describes the attitude I ought to have about where I come from, the factors that went into making me who I am.