Semantic Gymnastics and the Buttigieg Matriarchy
It may seem tiresome to keep repeating truths in opposition to these lies, but we cannot afford to give up and give in. That would be canceling ourselves, and that way madness lies.
I have been reading I Shall Bear Witness, Victor Klemperer’s diaries from 1933-45. Klemperer was a professor of philology and French literature in Dresden, Germany, until he was dismissed because of his Jewish heritage, even though he was a Christian. What saved him from the camps was the fact that his wife was a non-Jewish Christian. Therefore, he lived to tell the tale.
In a very granular way, his daily entries allow us to experience the seeping semantic infiltration through which the Nazis gradually succeeded in establishing a complete state of unreality, not only on the ground but in people’s minds. A day-to-day record of how this was done speaks to our own time. Klemperer’s post war book, titled The Language of the Third Reich, is about how the perversion of language perverted society – from the top down, exactly as it is happening here.
First, some broader context about the meaning of language is necessary. Aristotle said that words indicate the essences of the things they name. There is no difference between the name of a thing and the thing it names. There is an intrinsic connection between words and reality. Thomas Aquinas reaffirmed this relationship, using Genesis to do so. “Man named the animals,” he wrote, “But names should be adapted to the nature of things. Therefore, Adam knew the animals’ natures.” Naming is knowing.
All this changed when modern man decided that things no longer have essences; they are without natures. What, then, are names in relation to them? They are simply constructs that man impresses on natureless reality. There is no longer an intrinsic connection between words and the world. Reality becomes whatever we say it is. Naming is not knowing, but determining. In other words, since reality is nothing in itself, we get to make it up according to our druthers. We even get to make up ourselves. To give a metaphysical basis for this project, Jean-Paul Sartre insisted that existence precedes essence. We somehow are without being what we are. We are what-less creatures. What we become is the result of our will. Or to put it in current parlance, we self-identify as… (fill in the blank).
Does this sound familiar? It should, not only from the semantic gymnastics of the Nazis, but from our very own LGBTQ and transgender ideologies. Dave Chappelle, a comedian of whom I had never heard until the recent brouhaha over his Netflix special, said, “I know that trans people make up words to win arguments…This is a real thing.” Indeed, it is. The challenge from the trans folk seems to come straight out of the Marx Brothers movie Duck Soup, in which Chico is caught red-handed lying, and responds: “Who are you going to believe, me, or your lying eyes?” The trans version of this is: “Who are you going to believe, me, or my lying chromosomes?: The whole alphabet movement is a charade of made-up words. The word “homosexual”, for instance, was invented in the late nineteenth century precisely to promote the acceptance of sodomy. It took a while, but it worked.
We are the victims of semantic infiltration every bit as much as the Germans were during the Nazi period, although things have not quite progressed to that point yet. We can still resist. However, anyone who thinks that the denial of reality today is any less profound than it was in 1935 Germany is kidding themselves. Success for the LGBTQ-trans dream requires the obliteration of the real and the removal of those who continue to insist on the nature of reality. Does this statement sound too extreme? Then try this: publicly state that surgically disfiguring yourself so that you can pretend you are a person of the opposite sex is both futile and wrong; or proclaim that giving an underage child hormone blockers to skew their sexual orientation is child abuse and immoral – and see how long it takes for you to be canceled.
The purpose of semantic suppression and linguistic jujitsu is to transform reality, or rather to create an ersatz reality, in order to accommodate certain preferred disorders. We don’t want what we do wrong to be wrong in reality. In fact, it’s what we convince ourselves of when we freely do it. Very often, we recover with contrition, but not if we openly celebrate our transgressions. Then, we are lost. And then we must convince others that our wrong is right – in fact, make them accede to this inversion of reality. In response, the very least we ought to do is refuse to celebrate the harm they do to themselves.
Whether then or now, the strategy of attrition is the same: wear down through the repetition of the big lie or lies. It may seem tiresome to keep repeating truths in opposition to these lies, but we cannot afford to give up and give in. That would be canceling ourselves, and that way madness lies. We must insist on the integrity of language and its intrinsic relationship to reality, over and over again.
Let’s look at a recent example of current semantic absurdities, particularly in terms of the misappropriation of parental language.
Earlier this month, Politico reported that Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg had been on paid paternity leave since mid-August, an eight-week stretch. He and his “husband” James Glezman announced, “We are delighted to welcome Penelope Rose and Joseph August Buttigieg to our family.” The first thing to notice is that the last names of the infants indicate that the “family” is a matriarchy. Otherwise, why wouldn’t the children have the last name of their “father”?
Next comes the question as to how Buttigieg could be taking “paternity” leave since the dictionary definition of paternity is “the state of being someone’s father.” Yet since he is the “wife” in his relationship with Glezman, he must be the children’s “mother.” Therefore, strictly speaking, he should be on maternity leave, not paternity leave. The black-and-white photo officially introducing the couple’s new babies on social media shows Buttigieg and his “husband” lying in a hospital bed, each cradling one of the newborns. The optics of being photographed in a hospital bed is perfect for encouraging the delusion that one of them gave birth. However, as Dave Chappelle was so indelicate as to mention, “Every human being… on Earth had to pass through the legs of a woman to be on Earth. This is a fact.”
Which raises the subject of the missing person. Throughout all this, the real mother of the twins goes unmentioned. Did she get any maternity leave? Only by excluding the actual mother – by, so to speak, canceling her – can this pretend family displace the reality of motherhood so that Buttigieg can take it on himself. Who will explain to the twins as they are growing up where their mother is and through what ruse they were taken from her?
When criticized for being missing in action from his cabinet position for two months, Buttigieg became defensive: “Look, paid family leave is important. It’s important as a matter of family values. It’s important to our economy.” I’m scratching my head over how not working and still getting paid is important to the economy. That must be part of Bidenonmics, the $3.5 trillion budget that doesn’t cost anything. There is nothing wrong with stay-at-home moms, so long as they are not receiving government pay at the level of a cabinet officer, like the Secretary of Transportation, which is reportedly $221,400. Not bad work if you can get it.
Babies are cute and one’s sympathy naturally goes out to those who care for them. Buttigieg is counting on this misplaced compassion to get away with his hijacking of what families really are. He takes all this as being “pro-family.” The reason he’s been able to go AWOL for two months is that “what we have right now is an administration that’s actually pro-family.” If you are having trouble decoding this, simply remember that everything is actually its opposite.
To preserve our sanity, we need to keep in mind the magnitude of what has been lost in the great act of forgetting which our current culture is. The 1885 Murphy v. Ramsey Supreme Court ruling expressed what was once considered the “pro-family” common sense of mankind. It affirmed that
the basis of the idea of the family, as consisting in and springing from the union for life of one man and one woman in the holy estate of matrimony; the sure foundation of all that is stable and noble in our civilization; the best guarantee of that reverent morality which is the source of all beneficent progress in social and political improvement.
We will need our own Walter Klemperer to parse all the semantic nonsense when this is over, so that we can understand how we got from Murphy to Buttigieg, and so that our words adhere to reality once again.
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About Robert R. Reilly 16 ArticlesRobert R. Reilly was Senior Advisor for Information Strategy (2002-2006) for the US Secretary of Defense, after which he taught at National Defense University. He was the director of the Voice of America (2001-2002) and served in the White House as a Special Assistant to the President (1983-1985). A graduate of Georgetown University and the Claremont Graduate University, his books include The Closing of the Muslim Mind, Making Gay Okay, and Surprised by Beauty: A Listener’s Guide to the Recovery of Modern Music. His most recent book, America on Trial: A Defense of the Founding, is published by Ignatius Press.