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The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self: Cultural Amnesia, Expressive Individualism, and the Road to Sexual Revolution Hardcover – November 10, 2020
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From the Publisher
Christianity Confronted with New Ideas of Identity: Q&A with Carl R. Trueman
Reformation historian Carl Trueman says traditional Christianity and the very idea of being made in the image of God is besieged today in the West. In his new book, The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self, Cultural Amnesia, Expressive Individualism, and the Road to Sexual Revolution (Crossway, November), he writes, “The framework for identity in wider society is deep rooted, powerful, and fundamentally antithetical to the kind of identity promoted as basic in the Bible... Any return to a society built on a broad religious, or even a mere metaphysical, consensus is extremely unlikely.”
But the author, a professor of Biblical and Religious Studies at Grove City College (Grove City, Penn.) and frequent contributor to conservative Christian sites such as The Gospel Coalition and First Things, neither rages nor wails about what he calls a spiritual, theological and cultural crisis. Instead, he calmly examines forces in history, philosophy, psychology and art he says propelled a radical social shift from Scripture’s vision of “male and female He created them.”
PW asked Trueman about where Christianity is headed and why the hottest topic in identity politics today – transgender identity – is so fraught for the faithful.
(This conversation has been edited for length and clarity)
What do you mean by “expressive individualism?
As a Christian, I would say we are made in the image of God and this is my God-given identity. My book traces the transformation of human identity into a primarily psychological understanding of personal identity as a state of mind or a state of feelings. What happens if I believe my mind says one thing and my body says another? Expressive individualism would say God got it wrong. But I would ask, what if God got your body right and your mind is what is wrong?
How does the idea of a transgender identity encapsulate your argument that the Biblical worldview is in danger?
It represents a radical shift in how to understand self and identity. There are fundamental differences in the way the gay debate is set up and the way transgenderism discussion is set up. Although the debates are politically connected, the idea of being gay is still based in a binary understanding – male and female roles. Transgenderism says gender is negotiable, not tethered to biology, not absolute.
Why is this more troubling to many Christians than even gay marriage?
Most of us have gay friends, gay neighbors. The battle over gay marriage is over. The L, G, B part of the acronym doesn’t affect how we live our life on day-to-day basis. But the T in LGBT is important; the normalization of transgenderism is the point in the sexual revolution that affects everybody and creates challenges and conflicts in many directions. Think of school sports or bathroom policies tor the definition of “privacy.” We all have a stake in the outcome.
Rod Dreher’s foreword to your book charges that “erasing the boundaries between male and female” has led to “a general spirit of demonic destruction that denies the sacredness of human life.” But you don't offer any "polemics or a laments.” Why not?
Arguing about “natural law” is contentious. And shouting Bible verses at young people isn’t going to persuade them that the Christian way is the best way. I want to look objectively, thoughtfully at how we got here and where we’re heading. I don’t see a peaceful resolution. One side will lose and I suspect it will be the religious side that will lose. We have already conceded the vocabulary – allowing sexuality and gender to be determinates of identity. And once you tear identity away from physical embodiment and to root it entirely in the psychological world you are operating on the same trajectory as transgenderism.
You write that Christians can find a model for the future in Second Century “when the church was a marginal sect within a dominant pluralist society.” Why would that work?
Human beings need to belong, to be recognized, to have a community. So we need new communities, small communities of faithful Christian citizens, living by moral principles, trying to be the church and to build relationships.
“The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self is perhaps the most significant analysis and evaluation of Western culture written by a Protestant during the past fifty years. If you want to understand the social, cultural, and political convulsions we are now experiencing, buy this book, and read it for all it is worth. Highly recommended.”
―Bruce Riley Ashford, Professor of Theology and Culture, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary; coauthor, The Gospel of Our King
“Carl Trueman has a rare gift for fusing the deep social insights of a Philip Rieff, a Christopher Lasch, or an Augusto Del Noce with a vital Christian faith and marvelously engaging style. Psalm 8 names the central question of every age, including our own: ‘What is man?’ In explaining the development of the modern self and the challenges it poses to human identity and happiness, Trueman makes sense of a fragmenting world. This book is essential reading for anyone concerned for sustaining the Christian faith in a rapidly changing culture.”
―Charles J. Chaput, Archbishop Emeritus of Philadelphia
“This is a characteristically brilliant book by Carl Trueman, helping the church understand why people believe that sexual difference is a matter of psychological choice. Indeed, Trueman shows how the story we tell ourselves about normalized LGBTQ+ values is false and foolish. With wisdom and clarity, Trueman guides readers through the work of Charles Taylor, Philip Rieff, British Romantic poets, and Continental philosophers to trace the history of expressive individualism from the eighteenth century to the present. The rejection of mimesis (finding excellence by imitating something greater than yourself) for poiesis (finding authenticity by inventing yourself on your own terms), in addition to the Romantic movement’s welding of sexual expression as a building block of political liberation, ushers in the modern LGBTQ+ movement as if on cue. This book reveals how important it is for thinking Christians to distinguish virtue from virtue signaling. The former makes you brave; the latter renders you a man pleaser, which is a hard line to toe in a world where there are so few real men left to please.”
―Rosaria Butterfield, Former Professor of English, Syracuse University; author, The Gospel Comes with a House Key
“Moderns, especially Christian moderns, wonder how our society arrived at this strange moment when nearly everything about the self and sexuality that our grandparents believed is ridiculed. This genealogy of culture, clearly and elegantly written, will help all of us understand how we got to where we are, so that we can plot our own futures with more clarity and confidence. This book is a must-read for Christians and all others who are disturbed by the dictatorship of relativism that surrounds us.”
―Gerald R. McDermott, Former Anglican Chair of Divinity, Beeson Divinity School
“Carl Trueman is a superb teacher. Sharp, perceptive, and lucid, this book is the worthy fruit of learnedness and insight. But more than a teacher, Trueman also has the voice of a prophet. He speaks truth masterfully, with power. In bringing clarity on how we got to our present desert wilderness as a culture, Trueman helps us understand our crooked ways―and situates us to make straight the way of the Lord.”
―Adeline A. Allen, Associate Professor of Law, Trinity Law School
“This is an amazing piece of work. Blending social commentary with an insightful history of ideas as well as keen philosophical and theological analyses, Carl Trueman has given us what is undoubtedly the most accessible and informed account of the modern self and how it has shaped and informed the cultural battles of the first quarter of the twenty-first century. It is a fair-minded, carefully wrought diagnosis of what ails our present age. This book is essential reading for all serious religious believers who rightly sense that the ground is shifting underneath their feet, that the missionaries for the modern self are not content with simply allowing believers to practice their faith in peace but see these believers and their institutions as targets for colonization and involuntary assimilation. For this reason, every president of a faith-based college or university should read The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self more than once.”
―Francis J. Beckwith, Professor of Philosophy and Church-State Studies and Associate Director of the Graduate Program in Philosophy, Baylor University
“Those looking for a light read that provides escape from the cares of the world will not find The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self their book of choice. But this volume will richly reward readers who don’t mind thinking hard about important (though sometimes unpleasant) topics. Christians have been taken off guard by how rapidly cultural mores have changed around them, but Carl Trueman demonstrates that radical thinkers have long been laying a foundation for these developments. Readers should press on to the end―the final paragraphs are among the best.”
―David VanDrunen, Robert B. Strimple Professor of Systematic Theology and Christian Ethics, Westminster Seminary California
“Carl Trueman’s gifts as an intellectual historian shine in this profound and lucid book. The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self needs to be read by anyone who wants to understand our current cultural distempers.”
―R. R. Reno, Editor, First Things
“Carl Trueman has written an excellent book: ambitious in its scope yet circumspect in its claims and temperate, even gentlemanly, in its tone. The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self will prove indispensable in moving beyond the superficiality of moralistic and liberationist interpretations to a deeper understanding and should be required reading for all who truly wish to understand the times we live in or are concerned about the human future. I very much hope it receives the wide readership it deserves.”
―Michael Hanby, Associate Professor of Religion and Philosophy of Science, Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family at the Catholic University of America
“Our culture did not simply wake up one morning and decide to reject sexual mores that have held civilization together for millennia. The sexual revolution that has overthrown basic human and teleological assumptions over the past sixty years has a history. With the adroit skill of an intellectual historian, the patience and humility of a master teacher, and the charity and conviction of a Christian pastor, Carl Trueman offers us this necessary book. We cannot respond appropriately to our times unless we understand how and why our times are defined such as they are. Trueman’s work is a great gift to us in our continuing struggle to live in the world but be not of the world.”
―John D. Wilsey, Associate Professor of Church History and Philosophy, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; author, God’s Cold Warrior and American Exceptionalism and Civil Religion
“I don’t think there will be a better-researched or more fascinating book in all of 2020.”
―Tim Challies, blogger, Challies.com
About the Author
Carl R. Trueman (PhD, University of Aberdeen) is professor of biblical and religious studies at Grove City College. He is an esteemed church historian and previously served as the William E. Simon Fellow in Religion and Public Life at Princeton University. Trueman has authored or edited more than a dozen books, including The Creedal Imperative; Luther on the Christian Life; and Histories and Fallacies. Trueman is a member of The Orthodox Presbyterian Church.
- Item Weight : 1.59 pounds
- Hardcover : 432 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1433556332
- ISBN-13 : 978-1433556333
- Dimensions : 6 x 1.38 x 9 inches
- Publisher : Crossway (November 10, 2020)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #2,642 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Trueman: Rod Dreher and Justin Taylor both suggested back in 2015 I write something to introduce the work of Philip Rieff to the broader Christian public. That was the original plan but, as I read Rieff, I decided a more interesting and useful project would be to apply his thought to the contemporary issues. I also wanted to help people understand why the world is changing so fast, particularly with reference to sexual codes and notions of identity. And then there is just my perennial curiosity: I wanted to know how and why the notion of being a man trapped in a woman’s body has come to grip our social and political imagination.
Moore: I assume (knowing you and your work) that you started thinking about some of these ideas while at Cambridge as an undergraduate, perhaps even before that time. Not so much that you were making the many connections you make in the book because some of the challenges had not yet come to the fore, but certainly paying attention to the challenges posed against the Christian faith by the likes of Wordsworth, Shelley, Nietzsche, et al. Is that a correct assumption?
Trueman: To some extent. I discovered Nietzsche and the Romantic poets while at grammar school but I read them more for sheer pleasure than with an eye to any greater philosophy of life. At Cambridge, my history supervisor exposed me to Marxist theory for the first time and I have maintained an interest in it as a useful foil for my own thinking ever since. But the specific issue I deal with in the book – the notion of the self – is something about which I have only been thinking in the last decade.
Moore: One of your regular refrains is that our present culture’s move away from the Christian view of sexuality and personhood did not happen overnight. It has a longer, much longer history, than many Christians assume. Why is that crucial to keep before us Christians living in America today?
Trueman: This is important for many reasons but perhaps the two most obvious are these. First, as the sexual revolution and the identity politics of which it is a part are symptomatic of the broader phenomenon of expressive individualism, all of us –Christians especially – need to realize we are complicit in this. We need to repent too. And second, as this is so pervasive a phenomenon, we need to realize that it isn’t going to be fixed by a Supreme Court judgment or an election victory. It is here to stay, and we need to understand that. Change, if it comes at all, will come slowly and must start at a local level, with Christians acting like Christians in our neighborhoods and towns.
Moore: Speaking of good old America, I would think your book would be relevant to Europeans, Australians, and Canadians. Are there any other places in the world where we might be surprised to finds its relevance and resonance?
Trueman: Given the interconnectedness of the world today, I suspect the ideas I examine will find some resonance in most developed countries. Where there is growing democracy, American pop culture and the expressive individualism it preaches, will find a foothold. And even a place like China, for example, may be totalitarian in overall structure but its economy is built on consumerism. That is fertile soil for the notion of the self I outline in the book.
Moore: Would you give us a brief idea of who Percy B. Shelley was and why you spend significant time unpacking his influence? I am also curious if there was a contemporary of Shelley’s who offered a cogent critique of his work? It does not have to be a Christian, but it would be terrific if that was the case.
Trueman: Shelley was a firebrand poet who used his mastery of the genre to promote radical ideas, particularly in the realm of sex and family. He also understood that aesthetics shape the way people think more than argument. He had critics in his day – he was sent down from Oxford for a pamphlet he and a friend wrote on atheism. But the most pungent critique came from his friend, the satirist, Thomas Love Peacock, who was dismissive of poetry as a useless exercise. That called forth Shelley’s response, ‘In Defense of Poetry’, an essay defending the art and making the case for the influence of aesthetics in ethics. Shelley for the win on that one.
Moore: Shelley believed Christianity was not only irrelevant, but evil. Shelley wanted to eliminate anything that inhibited or restrained his “freedom” to pursue pleasure. Would it be fair to interpret Shelley’s animus towards Christianity as a sort of left-handed compliment? In other words, was he agitated by Christianity because he tacitly knew it had the power to influence people? If there is any truth to my conjecture, how would it affect our response to Shelley’s attacks on the Christian faith?
Trueman: Shelley saw Christianity as the foundation of an oppressive political establishment, powerful largely because of its policing of sex through the institution of marriage. It is a reminder to us that Christianity was not simply rendered implausible by Enlightenment science but also distasteful by Enlightenment and post-Enlightenment ethics. How would that shape our response? Well, let us not get too obsessed with epistemology. The reasons for unbelief are often more to do with a desire for moral autonomy than a deep grasp of philosophy from Descartes onwards.
Moore: It would be easy to make this entire interview revolve around the influence of Jean Jacques Rousseau, but I will restrain myself. He looms large in your account. You had much familiarity with Rousseau before writing this book, so was there anything new you learned about him that was surprising?
Trueman: I had read much of his work but never looked much at his life. That he could send all five of his children to an orphanage (and thus to certain death) shortly after they were born gave him a monstrous quality I had never noticed before.
Moore: Your book includes extremely helpful insights on the so-called “masters of suspicion.” Even though most of us have not read Nietzsche, Freud, and Marx along with the likes of Darwin, would you briefly describe how we are swimming in their ponds, er oceans of influence?
Trueman: There is so much to say here but I will focus on just one important thing they have in common: each of them, in his different way, demolishes the idea that human nature has some exceptional, transcendent moral structure to which we are all supposed to conform. That provides much of the background to the modern intuition that we can be or act in any way we so choose.
Moore: This and the next question are wrap up questions of a sort. The word “fracture” is being used quite a bit these days to describe what is happening in America. The political theorist, Yuval Levin, and the eminent historian, Daniel Rogers of Princeton, use the word in some of their seminal works. We are fracturing into many tribes that are bent on destroying anyone else who will not get in line with their agenda. I do not need to remind you that the Christian church is hardly immune to such fracturing.
How can concerned Christians seek to be advocates of a unity based on the truth while being “shrewd as serpents” so the gospel is not accommodated, and thus retains its integrity?
Trueman: Friendships across party lines are important here. The old ecumenism that was top down and relativized key doctrines for the sake of a good public statement or whatever was an elite waste of time that had no impact on the church as a whole. Friendships between Christians at the local or ground level are much more significant. I have good friends across the Christian spectrum and the fact that we are friends means that we can stand shoulder to shoulder on key issues without ignoring or relativizing our differences. I would see my friendship with Rod Dreher as one example.
Moore: I am going to abandon convention, so I have dumped my typical closing question. This question, I believe, is the most difficult to answer, but it is the one I am most interested in. Towards the end of your book you write “To address the symptoms adequately, we need to think long and hard about the causes, their wider ramifications, and our relationship as Christians to them.” Many American Christians are not interested in thinking deeply about their faith. As you well know, J.I. Packer said that Christian education or catechesis, is the pressing need of the church today. How can we persuade fellow Christians to do the kind of study you are advocating here when many of us would rather hunker down in our own private spaces?
Trueman: There is no magic bullet or one-size-fits-all here. But being in church on a Sunday, being part of a worshiping community, is the place where it must start. And having Christian friends to encourage us – and whom we can encourage in turn – to think deeply is vital. As Dr Packer said to me when I interviewed him, we should all read well and read deeply. Let’s just do it, to borrow a consumerist phrase.
Regardless of your views on how sexual identity should take form, I still believe this book is worth your time because it helps us identify areas of our thinking that are being influenced historically, culturally, emotionally, psychologically, and politically. And ironically, in a culture where the individual is king, our personal thinking is heavily influenced, rather- manipulated, by the masses. I don't know about you, but I'd like to do my own thinking and Trueman's book will at the very least help you become more aware of the potential 'why' you think the things you do.
I'd say one of the main points of the book is this: <i> "The rise of the sexual revolution was predicated on fundamental changes in how the self is understood. The self must first be psychologized; psychology must then be sexualized; and sex must be politicized." </i> And this is the path his book takes, following figures such as Augustine, Charles Taylor, Paul Rieff, Marx, Rousseau, Freud, Nietzsche, Charles Darwin etc.
It follows: The uninfluenced self is inherently good and society is what corrupts a person or impedes their ability to be their pure selves (driven by feelings) by imposing their traditions, ethics, or the like. Sexual gratification and fulfillment is central to pleasure and what it means to be human. Religious constructs that limit sexual freedom cause repression of people's true identities. The traditional family unit is oppressive. Oppression is less about economics and legal standing and more about psychological victimhood- hate speech, microaggressions, etc which is more subjective.
The sexual revolution he is referring to is <i> "the radical and ongoing transformation of sexual attitudes and behaviors that has occurred in the West since the early 1960s." </i> For example: the normalizing of homosexuality, sex outside of marriage, pornography, and transgenderism.
Why is this important? Well, first and foremost, as Christians, it matters to us because sexual immorality has no place in a life devoted to the Lord and the things listed above go against what the Bible teaches us about sex, self, and natural law. Secondly, it matters because the politicization of normalizing these behaviors has spurred the heavy policing of language and the labeling of dissenters as irrational, hateful bigots- and if it hasn't affected your life yet, it will soon. It could affect your ability to do business or find a job, or infringe on your rights to free speech (could not using the 'proper' gender pronoun be considered a hate crime?). We've seen this just recently as Target removed from its shelves "Irreversible Damage," a book discussing the trend of transgenderism in young girls, because a few people said they were offended by it. It was not a hateful book, but we're seeing more and more the 'canceling' of anything contrary to the highly politicized narrative pushed in our culture today.
Even though Trueman is a Christian, this book is not a study in theology on the issue and isn't even necessarily a persuasion against homosexuality or transgenderism. Per the title, it's tracing the rise and acceptance of how we view the self which directly affects the role of 'sexual identity' within that construct. The very last chapter of this long book addresses Christians, but most of the book is an objective, academic, and historical discourse. And frankly, he does not give Christians a 'pass' on all things sexual- he is very critical of the no-fault divorce law, pornography, and sexual promiscuity that Christians are not immune from.
So what does it mean to be a 'self'? Trueman states that it involves the purpose or meaning of your life and <i> "what constitutes the good life" </i> as well as how you understand yourself in relation to others around you. Today, where does one derive the meaning and happiness from their life?
To answer this question, Trueman references Charles Taylor and his term expressive individualism, meaning <i> "that each of us finds our meaning by giving expression to our own feelings and desires." </i> There has been a shift to making our feelings the ultimate authority. There has been a divorcing of morality and identity from a moral structure/authority- or historically speaking what Trueman calls a 'sacred order.' This creates the view that institutions, religions, culture, and even parents are inhibiting people's ability to be their "authentic" selves: <i> "That which hinders my outward expression of my inner feelings—that which challenges or attempts to falsify my psychological beliefs about myself and thus to disturb my sense of inner wellbeing—is by definition harmful and to be rejected. And that means that traditional institutions must be transformed to conform to the psychological self, not vice versa." </i> The term 'therapeutic morality' applies here. Do whatever feels right; live your own truth, what's true for you isn't true for someone else etc. He also talks about the philosophy of Nietzsche that says we are to create ourselves and invent our own meaning.
Sex is another thing that has become centralized to 'self.' He writes: <i> "While sex may be presented today as little more than a recreational activity, sexuality is presented as that which lies at the very heart of what it means to be an authentic person. </i>" This can be traced back to Freud, even though much of his work is largely discredited, this ideology has still woven it's way through the years into our culture.
I found interesting his point that recognition is also an integral point of identity. It is not enough to just know in our minds who we are- we desire to be publicly recognized in the way we see ourselves. He applies this to the LGBTQ+ movement in their seeking for full equality under the law and full recognition to the extent that, for example, they must be able to not just buy a wedding cake from somewhere, but they must be able to buy a wedding cake at every possible baker in order to feel like their identity is fully legitimized. It was also interesting to recognize that the LGBTQ movement as a whole can't reconcile with the ideology of feminism.
Issues of identity are wrapped up in ideas of authenticity, language, recognition, value, and belonging- which are inextricably linked to one's interaction with the community around them. There is much to be unpacked within each of these concepts and Trueman acknowledges that a lot of this discussion goes beyond the scope of his book, but I think he does an excellent job giving a somewhat bird's eye view of this historical context of the modern self.
I hope you read it for yourself. Trueman makes some really interesting connections. If you choose to dive it, I would highly recommend reading the kindle version. There is a lot of jargon and I was very thankful I had it on kindle so I could highlight words and get the definitions of words I didn't know (i.e. Social imaginary, individual expressivism, emotivism, metaphysical, polemic, poiesis, mimesis, etc.) The downside of the kindle version was navigating through all the footnotes. I was reading an advanced reader's copy so I would assume the formatting would be corrected in the published version but for me the footnotes were printed within the text, usually even interrupting mid-sentence. And it was only printed in a slightly smaller font size so it was really tough differentiating where the footnotes stopped. Hopefully the published version makes the footnote numbers hyperlinks to the footnote at the end of the book because there are A LOT of them- it was a highly researched book. Another note on reading it- I mentioned before that it's pretty dense and sometimes I found myself skipping sections because I wasn't willing to concentrate hard enough to figure out what point he was trying to make. Don't read while you're tired! But to his credit, he does include a 'conclusion' at the end of each chapter that sums up what he just covered and those were easier to follow. And though I highly encourage you read it all, if you just absolutely can't handle it, at the very least, just skip ahead to the last 30% or so. The writing gets a bit more accessible.
Because another review included some quotes (some out of context) I'd like to also share some snippets from the book. There is a lot to mull over here:
<i> "Few, if any of us, are likely to argue that our own moral views are simply based on our emotional preferences. But... seems today to offer a good way of understanding how most people actually live their lives. “It just feels right,”...and... once the basis for such discussion lacks any agreed metaphysical or metanarratival framework, it is doomed to degenerate into nothing more than the assertion of incommensurable opinions and preferences...When it comes to moral arguments, the tendency of the present age is to assert our moral convictions as normative and correct by rejecting those with which we disagree as irrational prejudice rooted in personal, emotional preference. That is precisely what underlies the ever-increasing number of words ending in -phobia... " </i>
<i> "we need to understand that our sense of selfhood, of who we are, is both intuitive and deeply intertwined with the expectations, ethical and otherwise, of the society in which we are placed. The desire to be recognized, to be accepted, to belong is a deep and perennial human need, and no individual sets the terms of that recognition or belonging all by himself. To be a self is to be in a dialogical relationship with other selves and thus with the wider social context." </i>
<i> "The intuitive moral structure of our modern social imaginary prioritizes victimhood, sees selfhood in psychological terms, regards traditional sexual codes as oppressive and life denying, and places a premium on the individual’s right to define his or her own existence." <i>
<i> "This is an important point: culture directs individuals outward. It is greater than, prior to, and formative of the individual. We learn who we are by learning how to conform ourselves to the purposes of the larger community to which we belong." </i>
<i> "That it is the inner voice, freed from any and all external influences—even from chromosomes and the primary sexual characteristics of the physical body—that shapes identity for the transgender person is a position consistent with Rousseau’s idea that personal authenticity is rooted in the notion that nature, free from heteronomous cultural constraints, and selfhood, conceived of as inner psychological conviction, are the real guides to true identity." </i>
<i> "the refusal by any individual to recognize an identity that society at large recognizes as legitimate is [deemed] a moral offense, not simply a matter of indifference. The question of identity in the modern world is a question of dignity." </i>
<i> "...dignity is itself an inference from the Christian teaching that all human beings are made in the image of God. But in our current climate, this universal dignity has come to be psychologized, and the granting of dignity has come to be equated with the affirmation of those psychologized identities that enjoy special status in our culture." </i>
<i> "[Reich's definition of abuse] is a psychological one, specifically one rooted in a highly sexualized psychology. Freud has here been used to transform the classic understanding of oppression, one understood in material terms regarding the well-being of the body, to one that really focuses on the well-being of the mind. And once oppression becomes primarily psychological, it also becomes somewhat arbitrary and subjective...This affects everything, from reasoning in Supreme Court cases to ethics to campus politics and beyond." </i>
<i> "Sexual identity politics might be a good example, whereby sex outside the ideal of monogamous heterosexual marriage has always occurred but has only recently become much easier to transact... The way this occurred is fairly simple to discern: first, there was the promiscuous behavior; then there was the technology to facilitate it, in the form of contraception and antibiotics; and, as technology enabled the sexually promiscuous to avoid the natural consequences of their actions (unwanted pregnancies, disease), so those rationales that justified the behavior became more plausible (and arguments against it became less so), and therefore the behavior itself became more acceptable." </i>
<i> "the sexual revolution ultimately has one great goal, the destruction of the family. It makes sense, of course, for the family is the primary means by which values are transmitted from generation to generation. " </i>
<i> "Setting aside the question of its origins and “sourcing,” we should also note that pornography has deeper social significance. From this perspective, the question whether depicted in pornographic pictures and films have consented to such things is irrelevant to the message that is being communicated. Fantasy worlds left unchecked have a habit of impinging on reality and remaking it in their own image. And that applies as much, if not more, in the realm of sexuality as it does in any other area. " </i>
<i> "Raymond’s feminist concern here is that transgenderism essentially depoliticizes the matter of being a woman.41 Being a woman is now something that can be produced by a technique—literally prescribed by a doctor. The pain, the struggle, and the history of oppression that shape what it means to be a woman in society are thus trivialized and rendered irrelevant. More to the point, this depoliticization is clear from the fact that transgenderism still operates within the gender stereotypes generated by patriarchal society." </i>
<i> "What might seem to be a unified community (LGBTQ) to those on the outside is actually a phenomenon that is the product more of its various constituent elements sharing common ideological and political enemies than of any strong internal coherence. It is also clear that its drive to inclusion ironically involves significant elements of exclusion—for example, those who affirm the normative nature of heterosexuality and those feminists who consider the female body to be decisive for their identity." </i>
Worth the investment. A timely apologetic on identity.