Blue State Blues: When Transgenderism Becomes Stalinism

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The New England Journal of Medicine‘s use of the term “pregnant persons” this week to refer to pregnant women marks a Stalinist moment in American medicine, recalling the Soviet dictator’s embrace of the pseudoscience of Trofim Lysenko.

Lyskeno, wrote Martin Amis in Koba the Dread, followed Jean-Baptiste Lamarck’s view that hereditary characteristics could be acquired during an organism’s lifetime and passed on to its offspring. He rejected Gregor Mendel’s theory of genetics.

He would have been unknown had his ideas not reinforced Soviet ideology under Joseph Stalin. Lysenko saw genetics as right-wing; they seemed to imply change was impossible. Lamarck’s theory suggested that nature itself could be transformed.

Stalin found Lysenko’s ideas appealing — and millions died of famine as a result.

Sam Kean recalled in The Atlantic in 2017:

In the late 1920s and early 1930s Joseph Stalin—with Lysenko’s backing—had instituted a catastrophic scheme to “modernize” Soviet agriculture, forcing millions of people to join collective, state-run farms. Widespread crop failure and famine resulted. Stalin refused to change course, however, and ordered Lysenko to remedy the disaster with methods based on his radical new ideas. … Stalin still deserves the bulk of the blame for the famines, which killed at least 7 million people, but Lysenko’s practices prolonged and exacerbated the food shortages. … Scientists who refused to renounce genetics found themselves at the mercy of the secret police. The lucky ones simply got dismissed from their posts and were left destitute. Hundreds if not thousands of others were rounded up and dumped into prisons or psychiatric hospitals. Several got sentenced to death as enemies of the state or, fittingly, starved in their jail cells (most notably the botanist Nikolai Vavilov).

This past Thursday, the Journal published a scientific letter titled, “On Preliminary Findings of mRNA Covid-19 Vaccine Safety in Pregnant Persons.” The phrase “pregnant persons” implies  that biological females who identify as males are males.

This is something quite different than treating female-to-male transgender adults as men to be polite or culturally sensitive.

Contrary to what left-wing dogma often claims, Americans are a tolerant people.

Many Americans are prepared to accept, and embrace, transgender individuals, provided they are adults, and that they do not interfere with the rights and privacy of other people.

Likewise, many are prepared to use other people’s preferred pronouns — perhaps with the exception of “they” or “them” for a single individual. (The writer Joyce Carol Oates recently predicted that the pronoun “they” would never come into general usage for individuals; she later apologized to critics on social media.)

What people are less inclined to accept, however, is the idea that transgender identity should be reinforced at school, or that it can erase underlying biological science.

While a few are prepared to adopt the new social convention of referring to a woman, even a pregnant one, as a man, if she (or he) wishes, fewer are prepared to accept the transgender movement’s insistence that she is actually a man in a medical sense.

The Journal is demanding that its audience of scientists and doctors accept the idea that pregnancy is not exclusive to females. It is Lysenkoism, in that it demands that scientists ignore genetics and regard a person’s chosen gender as biological reality.

It is not clear whether the phrase “pregnant persons” was the choice of the author, or the editors. Either is possible: we know that the Journal has already become politicized, denouncing Donald Trump and wading into topics like climate change.

But if the editors, or even one editor, had opposed the use of the phrase “pregnant persons,” it is unlikely they would have spoken out. The penalties for opposing “woke” ideology in academia fall short of Stalinist gulags, but are nonetheless devastating.

Pretending that men, too, can become pregnant — or that pregnant females can change their biological sex as well as their social gender — will not cause millions to die from famine. But there is reason to worry that the erasure of sexual difference goes hand-in-hand with the end of romance, marriage, and even sex itself.

Americans are sexually liberated, yet are having less sex and fewer children. If we can choose whatever gender we want, we need each other less; we have no use for desire.

Moreover, as the Journal — until recently, the most trusted source in American medicine — appears to allow politics to dictate its scientific conclusions, there will be serious consequences for public health.

As officials struggle to implement vaccine mandates, and lament the reluctance of millions of Americans to trust medical and scientific consensus, they need only look at what a phrase like “pregnant persons” does to suggest that the men and women in lab coats have lost their minds.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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