By Jonathon Van Maren
We are told that the LGBT movement is about love, and tolerance, and freedom. We are being told that this movement is the new civil rights movement of our time, and that we should all join in hoisting the rainbow banner (or else.) And we are supposed to believe that anyone who does not believe those things must have their lives destroyed. Even if children get hurt in the process of punishing a “transphobic” heretic, we are supposed to believe that this sort of collateral damage is acceptable.
Pro-LGBT columnist Janice Turner has penned a scathing rebuke of the trans movement for The Times, detailing the vile abuse directed at anyone who happens to disagree with the fresh new tenets of trans ideology. She also examines the fact that the trans movement is willing to hurt anyone—even orphans—in order to destroy those who oppose their agenda. From “The righteous anger train is out of control”:
Weeks after her long, thoughtful essay setting out her views that supporting trans rights is not incompatible with a belief that biological sex is both real and critical to women’s rights JK Rowling still stands. Denounced by every mediocre child star she enriched, besieged by online threats, vilified by LGBT bodies she generously endowed, Rowling calmly tweets to children about her new Ickabog fairy tale. The trans activists, who post pornography on her timeline to upset parents, are livid about She Who Cannot Be Cancelled. If a statue is too big and heavy to tumble, you must chip at the base. So first, they went for Rowling’s publisher Hachette, but they stayed firm, telling staff who object to her views that they couldn’t refuse to work on her book. Then they came for her literary agency, the Blair Partnership. Four minor LGBT authors — who strangely never objected to it representing Tyson Fury, the boxer who equates homosexuality to bestiality and paedophilia — quit. But Blair also held the line.
So activists searched for a softer target. In 2004, appalled by images of caged infants in Romanian orphanages, JK Rowling created a charity, now called Lumos, which has stopped 20,000 children across the world being admitted to institutions by funding fostering schemes and small community homes. Her co-founder was Lady Nicholson. I’ve no truck with the baroness’s views on gay marriage nor her occasional unpleasant tweets. (She called the trans activist Munroe Bergdorf a “weird creature”.) However, her alleged homophobia did not prevent the gay writers Alan Hollinghurst or Marlon James from winning the Booker.
Lady Nicholson is the type of old fashioned Tory once called a “do-gooder” who sees a problem then uses her energy, wealth and position to address it. For 30 years her charitable foundation has set up schools and health centres in Iraq, latterly helping persecuted Yazidis; she created the Caine Prize for African short story writing of which Ben Okri — another Booker director who signed that letter — remains vice-president.
If she were younger and left-wing, Lady Nicholson might be called an activist. Yet her type of activism is out of style. The political graft of building things — rape crisis centres, domestic violence refuges, Aids hospices, homeless shelters — means walking the hard miles on committees, begging for cash, negotiating with those whom (shock!) you might disagree. Now activism is a charity ribbon, a hashtag, a sad Instagram selfie or, best of all, tearing things down.
After he’d succeeded in cancelling Lady Nicholson, Damian Barr, whose lovely wedding I happened to attend, did a Twitter lap of triumph. “Sometimes change takes years and sometimes it takes days,” he said. “It is never easy.” Actually it’s pretty easy to erase an old lady from her lifetime’s work. (Easier than freeing Romanian babies from cages anyway.) Just harass enough people into fearing they’ll be cancelled too.
Where will the righteous anger train stop next? When will we know that “progress” is finally achieved? When every member of every public body utters the required line? When every associate of JK Rowling is shamed? When every corporation is scared into compliance?
Certainly companies are happy to comply: issuing a woke press release is cost-free. What do they care about freedom of expression? They get to look progressive while not ceding power or paying more taxes, and avoiding that great modern dread, the social media storm.
Twitter pile-ons are horrid. Several times now hundreds of trans activists have informed me what I should suck and how they’d like me to die. But they pass. They are not real. Universities, businesses, celebrities or charities should always remember that only a fifth of Britain — about 14 million people — is on Twitter and 80 per cent of tweets are written by 10 per cent of users. A tiny, intolerant minority is dictating public policy which the vast majority of us abhor. However, institutions like the Booker Prize always panic, and cowards always cave.
Consider carefully what you have just read. Trans activists are willing to post pornography where children will see it, destroy charities that assist and save thousands of children, and ruin the lives and livelihoods of anyone who will not parrot the new Party line. And this is not socially conservative columnist like myself making that point—this is a pro-LGBT, gay wedding-attending, progressive columnist for The Times. Even she is looking with horror at who trans activists are willing to hurt in order to get their way. LGBT activists gunned for Rowling and failed. So they are settling for hurting kids and charities, instead.
The sad thing is that this is all so ridiculous. Rowling and orphans and old ladies are being attacked because some people find themselves unable to believe that men can became women. For that, the trans activists make them suffer in any way that they can. It is cliché these days to quote George Orwell both because he has been so overused and because he is simply too on the nose. But Turner’s column reminded me of Winston Smith’s agonizing conundrum in 1984, and Orwell’s genius is worth quoting here:
It was as though some huge force were pressing down upon you—something that penetrated inside your skull, battering against your brain, frightening you out of your beliefs, persuading you, almost, to deny the evidence of your senses. In the end the Party would announce that two and two made five, and you would have to believe it. It was inevitable that they should make that claim sooner or later: the logic of their position demanded it. Not merely the validity of experience, but the very existence of external reality was tacitly denied by their philosophy. The heresy of heresies was common sense.
“The heresy of heresies is common sense.” That is the slogan of our era, as our elites demand that we look at big, brawny men in drag and obediently call them “women.” We are told to utter phrases such as “her penis” and “his breasts” with straight faces. As Douglas Murray observed in his recent book The Madness of Crowds, one of the key tactics of tyrants is to demoralize people by forcing them to say things they know not to be true. And in the face of the Big Lie and the little tyrants who wish to force us all to play along, the example of Winston Smith is once again fearfully relevant:
The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command. His heart sank as he thought of the enormous power arrayed against him, the ease with which any Party intellectual would overthrow him in debate, the subtle arguments which he would not be able to understand, much less answer. And yet he was in the right! They were wrong and he was right. The obvious, the silly, and the true had got to be defended. Truisms are true, hold on to that! The solid world exists, its laws do not change. Stones are hard, water is wet, objects unsupported fall toward the earth’s center. With the feeling that he was speaking to O’Brien, and also that he was setting forth an important axiom, he wrote:
Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.
Parable and prophecy have become our present. We are all Winston Smith now.