Day three of Jennerpalooza just ended. Hopefully America had its fill.
After countless hours of television networks plastering that photo of the new Bruce Jenner all over your television screen, several hot takes on the courage of Jenner’s decision and an endless supply of condescending lectures on the “proper” use of pronouns when dealing with the former Kardashian patriarch, we might be seeing daylight.
But, as with all such events, this aggressive media bonanza to push Jenner’s decision as a heroic act has inevitably elicited a reaction from social conservatives and sparked speculation as to what’s motivating this latest development in the culture war.
One of the more interesting responses comes from The Federalist’s Nicole Russell. Russell argues that Jenner isn’t brave for exposing his new self to the world and blames a common conservative bogeyman for propagating the the former Olympian’s alleged heroism: moral relativism.
Here’s how The Federalist writer frames it:
Doesn’t anyone else find it strange that all major news outlets, as if in a giant collaborative effort—ESPN, CNN, Vanity Fair, The New York Times, NPR—applaud and accept this effort? Yet it makes strange sense. These people grew up in a culture and education system immersed in the ideology of moral relativism: man is the measure of all things. Like heartburn after hot wings, this is what happens—and what is widely accepted and celebrated—when moral relativism is taught de jure, when it should at the least be presented de facto.
In Russell’s opinion, this has made truth “relative” and morals “irrelevant.” These are fair points if you consider the culture that glorifies Jenner’s transformation as one that undermines traditional Christian morality.
But while I agree with many of this author’s points, it’s off-the-mark to say that this is moral relativism at play. For one, relativism implies a respect for different values and different cultures. If one believes that no belief or value can be inherently right, then why would you try to impose your values on another person or group?
It also implies a lack of commitment to any set of values or beliefs.
If we were a relativist society, we would accept that not everyone would value Jenner’s photo shoot and we would tolerate those who still think she is a he.
That’s not how Jennerpalooza played out.
When we have reporters creating Twitter bots to go after private citizens for using the “wrong” pronouns for transsexuals, insufferable sermons haranguing the American public to embrace “Caitlyn” and the chief lawyer for the nation’s top civil liberties outfit labeling it an “act of hatred” to call Jenner “Bruce,” it doesn’t seem like this is moral relativism. (RELATED: The Price Of Transgender Acceptance)
Rather, this is Purtitanism imbued with the worldview of a college sociology department.
While the left loves to harp on the Puritans and progressives use the term “Puritanism” to mock sexual prudery, they are the actual inheritors of this Calvinist mindset.
Those who are championing Jenner’s change believe they are promoting the cause of equality and human rights. They think that these values are universal and their particular conception of them should be applied everywhere and to everyone. What constitutes equality and human rights keeps expanding and gets confusing for the average person. What was progressive one day might be labelled racist/sexist/homophobic/transphobic/speciest the next.
That’s why it might seem like relativism, but the feel-good buzzwords underlying the ideology remain and the fiery rage at sinners and dissidents only intensifies with every new cause.
The Old Puritans were defined by their dogmatism, self-righteousness, intolerance of different views, demands for conformity, sense of superiority, desire to rid the world of acts they deemed sinful and love of witch hunts. That same description can equally be applied to today’s social justice warriors.
If someone, somewhere disagrees with the New Puritan point of view, they are not merely ideological opponents but monstrous sinners who deserve to be purged from the public square. A progressive witch hunt can cost someone their reputation or even their job.
These harsh actions can be justified by the same motivation that seeks to impose transsexuality as “the new normal” on the American public. (RELATED: Caitlyn Jenner: ‘I’m The New Normal’)
Thankfully, we live in a country where modern-day Puritans can’t use the legal system to criminalize speech and ideas they don’t like unlike their ancestors back in colonial times. But they can still hurt people and their behavior poisons public discourse.
If we want to live in a society that allows different viewpoints and lifestyles to coexist, then we need to push back against these moral zealots and not allow them to impose their values on every single American.
Not everyone wants to attend the latest social justice festival. It’s time the New Puritans learn that.