Kelley Kidd May 8, 2021
George Orwell in 1984 depicts a totalitarian regime in which all the citizens are required to learn the habit of believing two inconsistent ideas about reality at the same moment. He called that Doublethink. Our lives in fact are often determined by the dominance of that kind of thinking, an approach to thought which detaches professed reality from the physical universe, asserting that the truth to be believed is actually not THE truth, but that which we want it to be.
Orwell’s classic examples of Doublethink included “two plus two equals four unless the party requires the sum to be five or three”! Common examples of Doublethink in current life include the following: Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship composed of non-alcoholics if they have a problem caused by using ANY mood-changing substance, and only new members are expected to remain anonymous! Political stances on issues are conservative as long as the leader says they are, regardless of whether those stances resonate with any philosophy that conserves anything other than the power of the leader! Salvation is an absolutely free gift from God, and it must be earned by believing that a particular first century Jew was also God! The winner of the World Series is the championship team for the entire world, and only the same 30 teams–all from the same continent and all units in the same cartel–are ever allowed to compete! Certain government supported monopoly corporations are examples of private and free enterprises! You surely get the idea. Doublethink is a sad and somewhat frightening example of the dominant players power to impose on the others the very thoughts the others are allowed to voice without the condemnation of the dominant players, regardless of whether the required thoughts make sense.
Lately the abuse of the trans woman identity strikes me as a perfect illustration and demonstration of Doublethink. Men have always been the dominant group. And they still are. Even the egalitarianism of the enlightenment never seriously embraced the notion that women were to be treated a s equal to men. Perhaps the slogan “all men are created equal” can be turned by argument into “all people are created equal”. But, if so, it is clear that some are still more equal than others! The assertion that all women must treat “trans women” as though they really are women amounts to the following: All men must be treated by men as though each man is entitled to any gender the man would like, and all women must also treat all men as though they were any gender the man would like. Since all people must treat any man as a woman if he so demands, we are all equally entitled to do exactly what men want us to do. We are therefore all equal. This level of sexual totalitarianism is asserted by the advocates of this position in government policy to be the only fair and unbiased outcome possible. Any dissenter is to be called a bigot and treated accordingly. A special insult category called TERFs is the cancel label for any woman who dares to deny that boys who “identify” as girls should be trusted in spaces formerly reserved for girls.
The point I am making is not that discrimination against men is justified in the sale or rental of housing or credit or employment because of their sexual or gender identification or identity. But I do believe that people who are biologically female should be allowed by law and custom to have their own private spaces and activities that exclude men–regardless of how those men choose to identify themselves. I don’t approve pf putting male sexual offenders in close living quarters with females, and forcing women to accept the results.
I don’t believe that Doublethink on this or any other issue is less tyrannical because it is espoused by Democrats or self-professed liberals. I recall that the liberal Clintons and Joe Biden were once at the forefront of pushing the anti-recidivist legislation that led to “mass incarceration” and unprecedented prosecutorial power. Liberals also championed the free trade legislation that greased the skids for sliding the industrial jobs of American workers into Mexico, China and South Asia. LBJ was the liberal president who led us into the Vietnam War and leading progressives counseled against rearmament in the 1930s and for constant intervention in the Middle East. Even Orwell’s totalitarians were first revolutionaries against tyranny before using their new found power to crush the dissent of anyone who disagreed with them. Doublethink is the creative invention of a great anarchist, but its warning should remain a shield against hastily judging others for making distinctions about social customs and mores. Trans-women are usually real men, and we ought to stay aware of that no matter how much we value kindness and tolerance. One of the kindest and most tolerant women I know has brought this issue to my attention.