It all began with the manipulation of language. We should have known – Orwell warned us – but we let it pass.
‘Sex’, the physiological phenomenon which facilitates reproduction, was modulated to ‘gender’, a linguistic function in the construction of grammar. The culprit, it seems, was one John Money, a ‘sexologist’; and it began as recently as 1955. The diseminators (!) were radical feminists and the World Health Organisation.
The new meaning of gender took off in countless reports and memoranda, until it has replaced the earlier term even in common parlance. But the change was not merely a linguistic fad. It had serious intent. It was a potent weapon in social deconstruction.
If the Enlightenment was a revolt against the past in the name of a future as yet unborn, gender-speak was its ideal tool. By blurring the immemorial distinction between the sexes it undermined the family (always a bête noire of the progressive Left). Ultimately, by asserting that gender is a social or even personal construction, it muddied the waters of all social discourse. The notion of ‘gender dysphoria’ is its ugly offspring.
Ours is rapidly becoming a world where there is no truth – where my truth is a good as your truth. Individual feelings are paramount. I feel, therefore I am. A child can ‘feel’ that she is a boy; and an adult can be penalised for saying that she is not. Marriage can as well be between two women or two men, because their feelings are all that matters.
The Church has a vocation in all this to witness to the simple fact that society and its values are not simply a human construct, which can be deconstructed at will. They are grounded in the immutable facts of our terrestrial existence; rooted in that which is given and not made.
Looking back on the twentieth century, which saw the bloodiest attempts at social deconstruction and reconstruction the world has ever known – beside which the guillotine and the Terror pale into insignificance – we can see how pressing that task is.