Technological innovations have brought us many new words. We need new words not only to identify new things, but also to rename some of the old things in order to avoid confusion. For example, people have been playing the guitar for centuries without calling it “acoustic” until the electric guitar entered the stage; that’s when the old guitar was retroactively renamed into acoustic. Traditional clocks with a face and rotating hands were retroactively renamed “analog” to distinguish them from “digital,” along with displays, signals, recordings, and so on. The new words for such retro-naming are called retronyms.
Innovations in social engineering affect our language in much the same way.
When Karl Marx laid out his blueprint for communism and socialist ideas began to engulf Europe, the normal way of doing business was retroactively renamed “capitalism.” Rational behavior became “oppressive” and people who preferred normalcy to “isms” became apologists for a reactionary socio-economic ideology. The advent of communist propaganda caused any non-communist discourse (e.g., Adam Smith) to be retroactively known as “capitalist propaganda.”
In the U.S., the advent of progressivism in the 1930s caused a retroactive renaming of mainstream believers in the American Revolution into “conservatives.” When the progressives decided to call themselves “liberals,” the real liberals renamed themselves “classical liberals.”
The general rule is that when new things become mainstream, the existing things have to give way and move to the margins, sometimes under new names. This is a natural order of things. But here’s the kicker: what if this change can be induced artificially, with a trick of the eye, by pretending there is a vibrant new mainstream when there really isn’t? Can we retro-name and marginalize the undesirable people and things ahead of time, pending a viable alternative? Can we popularize a futuristic media illusion that there is a better progressive reality, and retro-name the existing reality into something old-fashioned and not worth saving? Yes we can!
This wouldn’t be a fraud because, thanks to Marx’s blueprint, we are experts in knowing the future. We know it’s inevitable. We know what’s on the right side of history and what isn’t. We know where its arc bends. We have seen the future and it works. So there’s nothing wrong with a little futuristic retro-naming to speed up the process. Marxist morality teaches us that “good” is anything that advances our cause and “evil” is anything that stands in its way. Whatever we do, we can never go wrong. So there.
An example of such futuristic retro-naming is “fossil fuels.” Previously known as simply “fuels,” they received a stigmatizing retronym when we expected a massive arrival of renewable alternatives to replace the “fossils.” Decades later, the use of renewables remains marginal and “fossils” take center stage. People still burn the same fuels, only now they feel guilty about it. Which is just as well, since a guilty electorate is a pliable electorate, and the heavier the guilt, the more willingly they donate to progressive causes.
A similar, more recent example is “cis-gendered.”
In Latin, the prefix “cis-” is the opposite of “trans-” in identifying direction, as in Trans-Jordan (that side of Jordan) versus Cis-Jordan (this side of Jordan). Since the word “trans-gendered” implied “on the other side of the norm,” the academic community fought back with the word “cis-gendered” to imply that “this side” and “that side” are only a matter of perspective and the norm doesn’t really exist. If there’s no norm, there’s no deviancy. With the “cis” and “trans” groups having equal status, both sides also have equal rights to call one another weirdos. The only difference is that the “trans” people have at least questioned their identity and made a conscious decision to change it, whereas the “cis” people have cowardly succumbed to societal pressure, which in the book of trans-virtues makes them freaks.
In academic usage “cis-gendered” is a strategic putdown to troll the general population who have accepted their gender roles based solely on the visual assessment of their genitals. This goes way beyond the traditional “gay agenda,” as “cis-gendered” describes not only heterosexuals, but also gays who identify as men and lesbians who identify as women.
This isn’t your grandfather’s Marxism either, even though the word is loaded with Marxist presumptions.
Presumption 1. Cis-gendered people are “fossils” who found it easier to submit to the pressure from the archaic bourgeois society and accept the gender role imposed on them at birth, rather than prove to one’s family and friends that just because you were born with a penis or a vagina, that doesn’t give them a right to assume your pronoun.
Presumption 2. The human mind is a social construct: there is no such thing as immutable human nature, and everything we know, feel, and believe is acquired through social conditioning. Neo-Marxists believe that gender is an archaic illusion imposed on us by the oppressive bourgeois society, and that once this pressure is removed, people will no longer commit to the rigid binary gender roles and instead will choose one or more from the unimaginable variety of genders discovered by progressive science.
Presumption 3. The society of the future will be brimming with multi-gendered or non-gender-committed people picking their diverse sexual roles and preferences at will. Those sticking to the old binary gender system without questioning their identities will be moved to the margins. Those misfits never had a collective name because they used to be the norm; now they’ll have to be retroactively labeled to distinguish them from the new norm. This new group label is “cis-gendered.”
Presumption 4. We can expedite the arrival of this imaginary world if we convince enough people that it already exists. We will work to create a media illusion where the mainstream culture already consists of cool gender-fluid people, and where the gender-rigid radicals known as “cis-gendered” exist on the societal margins, wallowing in their dying, narrow-minded culture. As a minimum, it will make the majority feel guilty about being cis-gendered fruitcakes, which should make them more submissive and willing to give to progressive causes.
In fact, this “cis-” prefix has so much potential that the progressive movement shouldn’t just stop at gender. We can retroactively rename everything that is normal around us and usher in social progress by replicating the above model.
If it’s not what you are but how you were conditioned that matters, then the prog-science would do well to hurry up and introduce more cis-terms to encourage the rebellion and stigmatize the potentially dangerous non-rebels. Below is a short list of possibilities.
- Cis-gendered: those who have unquestionably accepted their assigned gender.
- Cis-racial: those who have unquestionably accepted their assigned race.
- Cis-planetary: those who have unquestionably accepted their assigned planet.
- Cis-species: those who have unquestionably accepted their assigned species.
- Cis-temporal: those who have unquestionably accepted their assigned historical period.
The real revolutionaries are those who always question their cis-status. Become one and your life will be full of surprises. You may wake up being a 50-year-old Hispanic lesbian professor trapped inside a 20-year-old Papua warrior inside a pregnant 40-year-old Palestinian mother of 12 children inside a promiscuous 19th-century Russian ballerina inside a gay German Shepherd inside a drunken Babylonian hillbilly inside an ageless queen of Vulcan – and so on – all living in different historical eras, continents, and even planets, existing as one academically impeccable intersectional nesting unit.
The more new identities you take on, the less likely you will miss the one you have lost. In a way, it’s the opposite of phantom pain: instead of spasms in a missing limb, you will lose all sensation and any interest in a limb which you still have and could very well use.
Soviet Marxists put a lot of faith in social conditioning. They believed that capitalism and private property conditioned people to engage in crime and violence, and that in the absence of capitalist exploitation and without private property, all crime and violence would cease to exist. They also believed that the conditioning of Soviet children through a common-core-type public education would produce the New Man – the ultimate multi-talented altruist who is dedicated to social justice and is fit to live in a futuristic communist society.
That worked out pretty well; the formerly Soviet territories are swarming with completely selfless, honest, and non-violent geniuses who are ready to do anything for a little social justice. It’s now our turn to do the same for America and condition the cis out of its conservative culture.
EDITORS NOTE: This column was first published in FrontPage Magazine.