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Transgenderism: the Latest Denial of Nature in the Name of the Sovereign Self

Nov. 30 2016

Katherine Kersten examines the increasingly common idea that individuals should be free to choose their “gender” and the concomitant trend toward encouraging young children to switch sexes with the help of medical intervention. She writes:

How can our nation, so proud of its allegiance to science, have fallen prey to an ideology founded on the false claim that a human being is free to choose whether to be a man or a woman? The transgender crusade is closely linked to the recent crusade for same-sex marriage. Both spring from the same philosophical source—a decisive shift in our society’s idea of the nature of the human person.

The Judeo-Christian vision . . . holds that God created man—body and soul—with purpose and meaning in an ordered universe. But the post-Christian worldview fast replacing it has no place for God, and perceives no purpose in nature. Christian man has become “psychological man” and the soul has become the self, in the words of Philip Rieff. The free-floating self—unconstrained by reality—is now believed to forge its own “identity” through a creative assertion of will.

Post-Christian man views his body as a tabula rasa—a canvas on which to express his identity and exert his will. In fact, the more contrary to nature one’s new self is, the more “authentic” it can claim to be. The recent mania for tattoos and piercings is a case in point. . . .

Today’s transgender crusade can be seen as the latest manifestation of this denial [of nature]. It is inherently authoritarian, . . . because it has to be. . . . Soviet authorities silenced dissenters with late-night knocks on the door. In the U.S., the tool of choice is weaponized civil rights. Critics of transgender ideology are denounced as bigots—guilty of the only sin left in our post-Christian world.

Read more at First Things

More about: Christianity, History & Ideas, Judaism, Nature, Sex

Toward an Iran Policy That Looks at the Big Picture

On Monday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered a speech outlining a new U.S. approach to the Islamic Republic. Ray Takeyh and Mark Dubowitz explain why it constitutes an important and much-needed rejection of past errors:

For too long, a peculiar consensus has suggested that it is possible to isolate the nuclear issue from all other areas of contention and resolve it in a satisfactory manner. The subsidiary [assumption] embedded in this logic is that despite the bluster of Iran’s rulers, it is governed by cautious men, who if offered sufficient incentives and soothing language would respond with pragmatism. No one embraced this notion more ardently than the former secretary of state, John Kerry, who crafted an accord whose deficiencies are apparent to all but the most hardened partisans. . . .

A regime as dangerous as the Iranian one requires no less than a comprehensive strategy to counter it. This means exploiting all of its vulnerabilities, increasing the costs of its foreign adventures, draining its economy, and aiding our allies. Most importantly, the United States must find a way of connecting itself to domestic opposition that continuously haunts the mullahs.

Washington should no longer settle for an arms-control agreement that paves Iran’s path to a bomb but rather a restrictive accord that ends its nuclear aspirations. The United States should not implore its allies to share the Middle East with Iran, as Barack Obama did, but partner with them in defeating the clerical imperialists. And most importantly, the United States should never forget that its most indispensable ally is the Iranian people.

Read more at Foreign Policy

More about: Iran, Iran nuclear program, Mike Pompeo, U.S. Foreign policy