Consider a recent tweet from the folks at the ACLU. They took the opportunity of International Women’s Day this week to redefine what a woman is. They believe that a biological man who considers himself a woman is every bit the woman any actual woman is.
It’s assumed they believed this was an intelligent thing to say. But as soon as they tell us what a woman is, they also declare no one should tell anyone what a woman is. Yes, it’s a head-scratcher.
But the ACLU did much more than simply contradict themselves here.
Use to be, the ACLU was about defending all speech, even speech they deemed personally indefensible. Like the case they took up in 1977 to defend Nazis’ right to hold a major rally in Skokie, a Jewish village outside of Chicago which, at the time, was home to hundreds of Holocaust survivors.
Now, at the dutiful service of trans activists, they are calling for the exact opposite: the erasure of speech itself. It’s right here in the clear implications of their tweet.
What is the most important word in “International Woman’s Day”? “International” brings very little to the party. Lots of things are international. Dust is international. “Day” is a negligible word here. Days are nice, but there will be another one tomorrow, and another after that.
Of course, the most powerful word in International Women’s Day is women. It’s what gives the thing its punch.
Women are unspeakably unique and remarkable. And their power is in their uniqueness, that they are not men. Humanity would literally not exist without them. They produce it, nurture it, educate it, empower it, love it, and set it free upon the world to affect change in a zillion amazing ways. Every moment of every day. Name the most consequential people who ever lived. A woman was responsible for their existence.
And women do these things while also doing many of the other things that men do. No one, or no thing, can do what a woman does. And she does it all over the world.
But the ACLU seized upon International Woman’s Day to drain the most important part of it of any objective meaning. That is not an honor, but an attack, an erasure of meaning itself. How do we know?
Simply replace the word in their tweet with any other fundamentally important, consequential descriptor and you easily realize you have neutered your ability to communicate meaningfully about anything.
Their claim is clearly nonsense.
Imagine critics of critical race theory claiming, “No one gets to tell us what it means to be a racist.” The word is fully neutered, leaving it to mean nothing at all. For as soon as you offer a definition, for right or wrong, you get gonged. This is what the ACLU has done with the word woman. And on the very day we are called to recognize and honor the global contributions of women. No one who cares about the virtue of womanhood should take kindly to this. But the ACLU has gone further actually.
The ACLU Erased Communication Itself
Communication is established on the fact that words are laden with specific and precise meaning. Words have objective and real representative meaning. The word “turb” could just as easily serve the purpose that “cat” does, referring to a domestic feline animal that many people keep as pets. The mothers and fathers of our language determined those letters and sounds would refer to this particular thing and not that one. Communication itself requires that there is a very real and objective thing that “cat” refers to that is clear and understood by everyone who hears the word. And that thing is intrinsically different and distinct from a dog, a hamster, or a scooter. That is what words do. They distinguish something from others that are not the thing. The ACLU well knows this. It’s why they make regular use of words.
But the people at Merriam-Webster would certainly find it news that the ACLU believes no one gets to define important words. Even as they offer their own new definition. For ‘woman’ to mean anything, it must be defined. Communication demands this.
And it is clear as day that “trans women” are not women. If they were, there would be no need for the ACLU’s statement. Prior to ten minutes ago, no one was confused as to what a woman is. What we have going on here is a redefinition of the word and its redefiners are being dishonest about this fact. The trans pre-fix itself proves the point. It actually, literally means “Not a female, but feels he is.”
A woman is defined as an adult female human being. Science and the Oxford English Dictionary have no quarrel with this fact. A “trans woman” is an entirely different thing. Trans activists and the ACLU have the right to personally believe transwomen are women. They do not have the right to change that important and fundamental definition for everyone else.
To resist their efforts is called reason. Calling it transphobic is not a counter-argument. It’s just name-calling.