anguage is rooted in our common experience of the world. As every toddler quickly learns, each thing has a name, and every object within the range of the child’s eye and pointing finger has a word by which it can be called. After a time, the same vocabulary that clothes the visible world with language is used to dress the otherwise invisible world of thought: a “stance” can be taken, a point can be “seen,” and an observation may be found “striking.” In this way, language reaches things higher than the world; and, in the same way, it may be turned to the highest things of all: we use the Latin word for breath to speak of the “spirit,” and the Greek word for butterfly to speak of the “psyche” or soul.
In our secular age, this last kind of language has been all but censored. All religion is only a resilient myth to be outgrown, and the spirit and soul are comforting illusions to be set aside. The secular world argues that this contraction is really an expansion. Because visible, literal truth is the only kind of truth, nothing is lost when we speak of the human person without reference to the immortal soul or immaterial spirit.
But something very strange happens when all language about the highest things is banned: paradoxically, the visible world slowly loses all the names it had. “Marriage” becomes a two-person partnership which any pair can form, and “man” and “woman,” likewise, become arbitrary markers. If culture is just a social construct and all gender norms are mere conventions, the fixed world slips away, and things lose the names that they have always had. When truth can come only from the self, language can no longer be rooted in common experience.
And so, when an elderly or disabled person complains that her life has become a burden and that the only option she sees is suicide, we become unable to identify geriatric depression by one of its most common symptoms and must, instead, interpret a psychological sickness as a statement about identity. So too, when a man complains that he feels uncomfortable in his own body, we are similarly unable to diagnose a symptom. This complaint becomes a statement of self-identity, and the only acceptable assistance that can be offered is the injection of hormones, the amputation of sex organs, and loud choruses of enthusiastic affirmation.
The secular experiment is quickly becoming its own reductio ad absurdum. As the censorship of spiritual things leads to a loss of common sense itself, we must remind our fellow citizens and cultural elites of truths that every child knows intuitively: it is not the case that some “women” have penises and some “men” have vaginas; nor are the categories of “male” and “female” the mere invention of a repressive past. Repression, rather, is coming from a dangerous ideology of gender that must reshape bodies, our language, and our laws to accord with its contentious and dogmatic postulates. The distinction between male and female is immutable as that of falsehood and truth, both of which now require our vigorous defence.