In the old days, people would die for their convictions. Protestants and Catholics alike suffered themselves to be racked, torn with irons, and burned alive to uphold the truth as they perceived it. You can still see scorch marks on the door of Balliol College from the burning of Latimer, Cranmer, and Ridley.
Brendan O’Neill, in National Review, describes how the confrontation between Heresy and Orthodoxy plays out in our own time. No scorch marks for Ian McEwan!
For a worldview that claims to be all about freedom and choice and â€œbeing oneself,â€ transgenderism sure is tetchy and intolerant. Consider what has just happened to the celebrated British novelist Ian McEwan. Last week, during a speech at the Royal Institution in London, McEwan took a genteel swipe at the politics of identity. He said identity politics is becoming increasingly consumerist, where we now pluck a ready-made â€œselfâ€ from â€œthe shelves of a personal-identity supermarket.â€ The making up of oneâ€™s identity has gone so far that â€œsome men in full possession of a penis are identifying as women and demanding entry to women-only colleges,â€ he said. Then came his killer line: â€œCall me old-fashioned, but I tend to think of people with penises as men.â€
Can you guess what happened next? Yes, McEwan was subjected to a Twitch hunt, to that 21st-century bloodsport in which anyone who expresses an unpopular view or makes a less than PC utterance or simply misspeaks a little will be â€œcalled outâ€ (shamed) by the bedroom-bound, Twitter-living, self-styled guardians of correct thinking. Twits went berserk over his apparently perverse linking of penises with maleness. They branded him a bigot, weird, a transphobe. Trans-rights activists put the boot in, too. Stonewall, the LGBT activist group, slammed McEwan for being â€œuninformedâ€ and said his weird worldview doesnâ€™t only â€œdenigrate the trans experience, it denies its very existence.â€ Paris Lees, a trans woman and journalist, scolded McEwan, telling him his â€œideas about penises are outdated.â€ He should apologize, the mob said.
And he did. All the virtual tomato-throwing at this heretic who dared to say that people with penises are men had the desired effect. It elicited a public backtrack. In an open letter in the Guardian, McEwan accused some of his critics of being â€œrighteous and cross,â€ yet he then bowed and scraped before the trans religion. Transgenderism â€œshould be respected,â€ he said. Then, most strikingly, he obediently expressed the key tenet of the trans ideology: â€œBiology is not always destiny.â€ Remarkable. In the space of a few days, he went from raising interesting, awkward questions about trans identity to repeating in a national newspaper the trans mantra that â€œbiology is not destiny.â€ For those of us who believe in freedom of thought, it was an ugly sight, reminiscent of those poor souls dragged before the Inquisition and set free only when they dutifully bought into their inquisitorsâ€™ belief system and publicly declared: â€œI believe in Jesus Christ.â€
Read the whole thing.