What’s happening? Why did so many major corporate brands decide to go all-in on promoting an aggressive, radical LGBT agenda that just a few years ago would have been considered totally unacceptable in civil society? Is this a psy-op? Is it real? What happens next?
The short answer to these questions is that we’ve entered a new phase of the culture war, and in some ways have transcended “the culture war” completely. What we’re in now is better described as a religious war — one that’s been launched by corporate America against all of us, and therefore demands we all choose sides.
Choosing sides in a religious war means you have to choose your religion. And in this particular religious war, there are only two sides. On one side is what C.S. Lewis called the Tao, which was his ecumenical shorthand for objective moral truth. “The Tao, which others may call Natural Law or Traditional Morality or the First Principles of Practical Reason or the First Platitudes, is not one among a series of possible systems of value,” Lewis wrote in The Abolition of Man. “It is the sole source of all value judgments. If it is rejected, all value is rejected. If any value is retained, it is retained.”
In America and in the West generally, the side of the Tao is the side of faithful Christians and Jews, as well as those atheists who, for practical reasons, cling to Judeo-Christian morality as the survivors of a shipwreck might cling to a lifeboat. It is the side that sees Target’s transing of kids as an intolerable moral evil, affirms the givenness of our nature and the created order, and recognizes not only that man isn’t God, but that man’s destiny is communion with God in a redeemed creation.
On the other side is what the writer Paul Kingsnorth, among others, has called the Machine, which at its root is a Nietzschean rebellion against God that turns out also to be “a rebellion against everything: roots, culture, community, families, biology itself.” Like the Tao, the religion of the Machine, of progress and technology and will to power, has a very long pedigree. It goes back to the Garden of Eden, where the serpent assured Eve, “You will not surely die,” that if she ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, she would become like God.
That was the first rebellion; we have been reenacting it ever since. It is perhaps easier to see in our own time how every rebellion against God, from the Garden to now, is also an attempt to overthrow Him, to become like God. Indeed, the desire to play God is the dark heart of both transgenderism and its close cousin, transhumanism. Like other evils of our age — abortion and euthanasia, to name the obvious ones — these are, at their roots, extremely candid manifestations of pride, the source of all sin.
The Machine is a religion that makes a claim over and against reality and the created order, which are denied and disfigured in man’s attempt to arrogate the power to recreate himself according to his own desires. In our day, he seeks to do so using new technologies, but that he would desire to do so is merely the latest iteration of the rebellion that began in the Garden. This is what J.R.R. Tolkien meant when he said “all stories are ultimately about the fall.” Tolkien also referred to the Machine at times when discussing his legendarium, often describing it as the urge to amass power and dominate, “bulldozing the real world, or coercing other wills” — a tyranny exercised over creation with the object of overcoming mortality.
This is just what we see in the twin trans movements: a desire to overcome sex and a desire to overcome death. The transhumanists are as explicit about their desire to cheat death and attain godlike immortality as transgenders are about their desire to become the opposite sex. The latter appear to believe, like rebellious pagans of past ages, that children have an important role to play in the achievement of this desire. The Machine devoured children by fire on the altars of Moloch and Baal; it devours them now in the black mirrors of the internet and social media.
The temptation here is to dismiss this reading of our situation as hyperbole. Surely it isn’t as bad as all that, we want to say. But it really is. What’s happening now isn’t about corporate brands embracing “pride month,” as The New York Times recently framed it, or even about promoting tolerance in a diverse society. If Target were just selling T-shirts that said “fabulous” in rainbow letters no one would care. This is about transing kids. Everyone knows it, but no one wants to say so out loud. Corporations are the tip of the spear, pushing this stuff out and then letting the media turn around and accuse the right of being violent bigots for objecting.
We err, too, in thinking of all this as just a really bad case of “the culture war” that breaks along the familiar lines of left and right, blue and red. It’s partly that, but at its deepest level it’s a religious war, a spiritual struggle between light and darkness, good and evil, the Tao and the Machine.
All of which is to say that as this war develops, we should try not to get too caught up in how much Target stocks plummet or how low the price of Bud Light gets ($0, as of this writing). “Go woke, go broke” is — pardon the rhyme — a cope. That’s not to say we shouldn’t boycott these companies, even if it means financial hardship or inconvenience. Boycotting them is part of what we have to do in this religious war, but it’s not sufficient.
Corporate America is not going to stop, even if some corporations do go broke. What will be required of those who resist them is a deep religious commitment, a radical new way of living in the modern, digital age. If you’re a Jew, be deeply serious about your Judaism. If you’re a Christian, make the practice of your faith the central organizing fact of your life, not just something you do on Sundays. If you’re an atheist, pray that God gives you faith.
For adherents of the Tao, fighting this religious war is going to mean not just boycotting corporate brands but reorganizing your personal and professional life. It might mean quitting your job, or moving, or giving up certain things. It will require sacrifice. Perhaps great sacrifice.
And rest assured that every person in America is going to have to pick a side. If you don’t pick a side then your side will by default be that of the Machine, which dominates the heights of our post-Christian culture and economy. Whatever your opinion of transgenderism or identity politics, the Machine will suck you in and ensnare you unless you make a conscious choice to stand against it. So choose, and choose wisely. Your country — and, more importantly, your soul — depends on it.