What a tangled web

Apr 2, 2022 by

by Carl Trueman, First Things:

Confusion over what it means to be human continues to dog public life in the West. Soon after Anneliese Dodds, the Labour party shadow secretary for women, revealed that she does not know what a woman is, U.S. Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson deferred the same question to biologists. That move was odd: It was obviously an attempt to play to the progressive trans lobby, but it actually revealed Jackson’s lack of understanding of the current debates surrounding gender. Jackson implied that she sees the issue as one of biological essentialism. Contra de Beauvoir, it would appear that she believes one is born a woman; one does not become one.

It is easy to poke fun at the confusion that ensues when reality is denied in the service of the latest political fads and fakeries. Yet while we laugh at the silliness, we may forget that the real confusion here is not over the political excesses of gender theory and the supine surrender of our leaders in the face of its obfuscations. The deeper issue is the confusion over what constitutes a human person. And that has tragic consequences for the most vulnerable in our society…

…The West no longer has any consensus on what it means to be a woman or even a person. And thus the ethical codes that assume such a consensus are falling apart with dramatic consequences for all sorts of areas, from Ivy League sports to the safety of our society’s most vulnerable—the very young and the very old who rely on others to care for them. We have no shared moral vision and hence we default to the experts—the biologists and the medical professionals—abdicating our responsibility to their technical expertise. Yet this approach does not give us an adequate view of reality.

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