Monday, April 18, 2016

The Empire's New Genders

What follows is a thought experiment,
based on Hans Christian Anderson's The Emperor's New Clothes.
Feel free to review the original,
and then check out how many parallels seem to fit our current situation....

There once was an empire so enamored of sex that it spent most of its time and energy on the topic. Those in power talked little about poverty, concern for the most vulnerable, or promoting the common good. They had a revolutionary sexual topic available for every hour of the day, and instead of saying that their business was holding fast to the self-evident truths of their constitution, they preferred to describe themselves as transitioning into a new vision of the human person.

In this land, life was all about freedom and equality.  One year, however, sex and gender bullies rose up throughout the land in the form of social and cultural elites--influential entertainers and athletes, powerful corporations and institutions, as well as the university intelligentsia. They presented themselves as experts on sex and gender, and they said that they could create the most magnificent array of sexes and genders ever known to the human race.  

"Our multiplicity of sexes and genders will liberate people from the binary constrictions of 'male' and 'female'," claimed these power brokers. They asked, "Who could be opposed to such freedom and equality?" Moreover, they convinced the leaders of the land that these new sexes and genders had a wonderful quality of being recognizable only by those who were worthy of their current station in life, and establishing whether or not a person is intelligent.

The political leaders realized that these new claims about sex and gender would help distract the people of the empire from the fact that so many of their fellow citizens were being neglected, disenfranchised, and marginalized. They also said to themselves, "If we impose these new sexes and genders in our land, we will be able to tell who is worthy of their current social and economic standing, and we will be able to tell those who are intelligent from those who are ignorant."

So the empire's political leaders re-branded the sex and gender bullies as "Freedom Enforcers," or FEs, and encouraged them to get to work at once imposing new sexes and genders throughout the land. These FEs recruited doctors and lawyers and social scientists to the cause, and they pretended to be researching incredible new discoveries. They began to use the schools and public institutions as laboratories for their expanding lists of sexes and genders.  

In response to those who disagreed with their truth claims, they threatened boycotts and branded their opponents bigots for maintaining that the human race exists in only two sexes. They droned on about equality and civil liberties whenever someone mentioned the physiological and chromosonal differences between men and women, let alone the sociological importance of both mothers and fathers.

"We would like to ask when the work of the FEs will be finished," the empire's political leaders thought to themselves after some time had passed. But they hesitated to inquire since they remembered that the new multiplicity of sexes and genders had the power to reveal whether people were worthy of their station in life--and whether they were intelligent or ignorant. So they decided to send representatives to ask whether the transitioning program was almost complete.

"We will send our child-welfare providers, since they are honest and sensible, and they will be able to tell us whether the work of the FEs is nearing its completion," they said to themselves. These concerned leaders went to the FEs and asked whether they were almost finished with their exciting project.  

The FEs showed them the array of laws yet to be rewritten, the customs yet to be reinvented, the festivals and forms yet to be revised, and the public facilities yet to be fully reintegrated. "Oh dear," thought the concerned child-welfare providers, "We never imagined this sex and gender interventions going that far." But they did not say so.

In fact, the FEs asked them whether they understood how much more work needed to be done, and whether they realized that new sexes and genders were being created with each passing week. The kindly child-welfare providers asked themselves: "Are we totally ignorant? Are we unworthy of our important position in life? How can it be that we could not see how much more work there is to be done?"

"Of course, we understand exactly what you mean," they said to the FEs. "We will tell the political leaders of the empire how complex the work is, how complicated the future plans are, and how many obstacles you have yet to overcome."

"We are pleased to hear that," said the FEs, as they proceeded to announce a new shaming initiative, replete with protests and the orchestrated cancelling of corporate sponsorships.

After some more time had passed, the empire's political leaders sent another delegation of trustworthy folk to check on the FEs--good-hearted people of various religious persuasions, with sincere social-service convictions. The same thing happened to them as had happened to the first group. They saw no end in sight, and thought to themselves, "We know we are not ignorant, so we must not be worthy to serve in our humble roles, but we must not let anyone know."

"How amazing that these new realities continue to unfold," they exclaimed. To the leaders of the empire, they reported, "Thankfully, there is so much more re-conditioning and re-programming to be accomplished; these FEs are eminently enlightened!"

The whole land was talking about the splendid array of new sexes, and the ongoing generation of genders. When the political leaders finally felt that the empire had devoted enough time and energy to the indoctrination initiative, they decided to congratulate the FEs. In a public ceremony simulcast on social media, the leaders thanked the FEs for bringing their plans to a completion.  

The FEs responded by saying, "But don't you see, this plan is spiral not linear, and it has no end. You sanctioned the beginning when you so wisely redefined the human person, but there can be no conclusion to such an amorphous process." The already duped crowed roared its approval, and the cyber world light up in support, with #NoEndInSight trending to new heights.

"What ignoramuses we must be," thought the political leaders, "for not being able to see that their work must be an endless process." They immediately announced a holiday throughout the land devoted to enshrine the new infinite regression; nothing could make them admit that they couldn't see the reasons or the meaning behind the ongoing and exhaustive work of the FEs.

The political leaders also declared that, henceforth, human beings were to be seen not only as poly-sexed and multi-gendered, but also as simultaneously sexless and genderless. No one would admit to the senselessness of such unbounded definitions, for fear of being considered unfit for citizenship or, worse, ignorant bigots.

"But why would men and women say such things?" said an immigrant child who had not yet been subjected to the program of social and cultural reconditioning. "It's just non-sense, dear," replied the child's mother and father. And those in the crowd who had inoculated themselves against the indoctrination remembered the words of the one who called himself the Son of Man, "Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female'?" 

An emboldened group near the child and his parents looked to the FEs, who suddenly seemed much less intimidating, and they cried aloud, "Why would men and women say such things?"

The empire's political leaders, meanwhile, suspected that the child had reminded the people of an original innocence and a more beautiful path, but they thought to themselves, "We have already come so far, and the march to freedom must continue on--into this brave new world."