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Those Who Can Make You Believe in Gender Identity Can Make You Commit Atrocities
We should have heeded Voltaire’s warning
Shortly after I returned to the Gender Wars in mid-2021 following a year-long hiatus, I had a chat with Benjamin Boyce on his Calmversations podcast and he asked me why this was all so important to me. The answer that immediately popped into my head was that I valued truth and wanted to fight against lies. He then asked me why truth was so important, and I thought of the quote, attributed to Voltaire, “those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”
While this is not a direct quote, it does capture the spirit of Voltaire’s warning. The line comes from a passage in Questions sur les miracles, a series of pamphlets Voltaire began publishing in 1765. The quote seems to be a loose translation of the line italicized below, but it also succinctly summarizes the message of the entire paragraph it is found in:
Formerly there were those who said: You believe things that are incomprehensible, inconsistent, impossible because we have commanded you to believe them; go then and do what is unjust because we command it. Such people show admirable reasoning. Truly, whoever is able to make you absurd is able to make you unjust. If the God-given understanding of your mind does not resist a demand to believe what is impossible, then you will not resist a demand to do wrong to that God-given sense of justice in your heart. As soon as one faculty of your soul has been dominated, other faculties will follow as well. And from this derives all those crimes of religion which have overrun the world.
The absurdity of gender ideology, first and foremost, is the idea of gender identity. From that stem additional absurdities such as the idea that gender identity is more significant or even more real than sex itself. The most extreme ideologues will argue that sex is a spectrum and you can’t know whether someone is male or female, but that gender identity is so important and fixed even a toddler can have such a strong and correct sense of it that we must be ready to prevent their puberty, give them cross-sex hormones, and perform surgery on their genitals.
It gets even more absurd when you try to figure out what “gender identity” actually is. Since Canada has done so much to advance the cause of gender ideology, let’s use the definition of “gender identity” provided by the Canadian government:
Gender identity is each person’s internal and individual experience of gender. It is their sense of being a woman, a man, both, neither, or anywhere along the gender spectrum.
I’ve seen versions of this definition used by gender ideologues from all places and all walks of life. I’ve even seen it used by Dr. Greta Bauer in her testimony against Amy Hamm, a nurse who might lose her license for maintaining that sex is real.
But this definition and the very idea of gender identity, no matter how it is defined, is absurd. Being a man or a woman is something you are. It is only something you experience internally in as far as you literally are a man or a woman, but it is not possible to have a “sense” of being the opposite sex.
Body dysmorphia makes sense. Wishing to be the other sex makes sense. Even considering yourself to be more masculine or feminine than the typical member of your sex makes sense. But it does not make sense to feel like the other sex or to somehow literally be the other sex because of some ethereal “sense” despite the anatomy of your body.
Gender ideology provides one of our best modern examples of how believing absurdities leads to atrocities.
Because of this idea of “gender identity,” we are allowing men who say they feel like women into women’s washrooms, changing rooms, sports, rape shelters, and prisons. We have conveniently forgotten that the reasons women have single-sex spaces and provisions are rooted in the material world, and we have wiped them all out just because some men have this immaterial “sense.” It is atrocious that women’s privacy and safety no longer matter when a man’s “gender identity” is invoked.
“Gender identity” is also the reason we are sterilizing a generation of children. The logical outcome of such an absurd idea that gender identity is more important than sex has made people accept the atrocities of “gender-affirming care,” which destroys a child’s fertility, steals their future sexual function, and turns them into a lifelong medical patient.
As Voltaire says: if you do not resist the demand to believe what is impossible, then you will not resist the demand to do wrong. Those who have made you accept the absurd will now have no trouble making you commit the atrocious.
I have watched as, over just the course of a few years, those who insisted that minors were not being medically transitioned and should not be medically transitioned changed their tune to insist that medical minor transition is not only good but “life-saving.” I have myself been accused of lying and fear-mongering about men in women’s prisons only to now be commanded to use she/her pronouns for male rapists, murderers, and pedophiles terrorizing women behind bars.
It isn’t “kind” or “no big deal” to nod along with the incomprehensible and inconsistent idea of gender identity. There is no escaping the repercussions of valuing a lie over the truth. When you accept the absurd, you give away your power to rebuke the atrocious.
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