Opinion

Obama’s ‘Gender Identity’ Mandate Would Usher In 21st Century Newspeak

John Arehart (Photo: Shutterstock

Emmett McGroarty and Jane Robbins Director, Senior Fellow, American Principles Project

This may be the first time in history a government project is ahead of schedule. George Orwell wrote in 1984 that the State-created language of Newspeak would be implemented in the nation of Oceana by 2050. But here it is only 2016, and in its effort to erase sex differences in schools, the Obama administration has already made an excellent start in imposing its Newspeak code.

“The purpose of Newspeak,” Orwell wrote, “was not only to provide a medium of expression for the world-view and mental habits proper to the devotees of IngSoc [English socialism], but to make all other modes of thought impossible. It was intended that when Newspeak had been adopted once and for all and Oldspeak forgotten, a heretical thought – that is, a thought diverging from the principles of IngSoc – should be literally unthinkable, at least so far as thought is dependent on words.”

Obama’s Newspeak mandate supports the decree recently issued by the ideologues at the U.S. Department of Education (USED) and Department of Justice that henceforth, despite lack of action by Congress, Title IX’s prohibition of sex discrimination will apply not only to sex but also to confusion about sex. Much has been written about the decree’s requirement that transgender students now be allowed to access restrooms, locker rooms, dormitories, and probably sports teams that have heretofore been reserved for members of the sex these students think they are but really aren’t.

But one aspect of the unlawful mandate that has received less attention is the almost casual reference to approved and disapproved speech. Part of creating a nondiscriminatory environment for transgender students, according to USED, is to address them by their preferred names and pronouns. “Under Title IX, a school must treat students consistent with their gender identity … The Departments have resolved Title IX investigations with agreements committing that school staff and contractors will use pronouns and names consistent with a transgender student’s gender identity.” Failure to do so will create a “hostile environment in violation of Title IX.”

Attached to the unlawful decree was a document entitled “Examples of Policies and Emerging Practices for Supporting Transgender Students,” in which USED also cites with approval school policies extending the Newspeak code to students. So if kindergartner Johnny tells his teacher he’s really Mary, the other 5-year-olds must be instructed to refer to him as a girl. It won’t be easy for kindergarten teachers to persuade their charges that girls are boys and boys are girls. To paraphrase Orwell again, that’s something so absurd that only an intellectual could believe it.

The Obama administration warned several years ago that it will lower the federal boom on schools that don’t completely eliminate “bullying” (very broadly defined). And it is certain that under this decree, a student who refuses to play along with another student’s unfortunate fantasy by adjusting his speech would be considered a bully and should be disciplined accordingly – for fear of federal consequences.

And what will happen to teachers who feel morally unable to follow the speech code, for reasons of either science or religion, or because they fear actually promoting long-term harm to the transgender students?

There are, however, even darker implications of this edict. At the heart of the American experiment is parents’ freedom to form the world-view of their children — to evangelize the next generation and to shape their hearts and minds.

Now, however, the federal government strips that right from parents and, in so doing, degrades them in the eyes of their children. The Newspeak will teach children that any thought that defies its world-view is unthinkable. Children will be trained to ignore, and forbidden to acknowledge, anything that conflicts with the government’s teaching – even science, and certainly parental or religious teachings.

This elevates the State –the State that grades the children and disciplines them with the force of law — as the unassailable moral Judge. It changes the fundamental relationship between the people and government. From the seventh circle of hell, history’s tyrants would undoubtedly cheer.

This is about more than a student’s discomfort in a restroom. People must fight it. States must fight it. At the risk of using an outdated term, it’s time to be men.