A small and slightly disturbing realization I recently had…Perhaps I possibly do, maybe, kinda, believe that an unfettered open border policy is problematic….IN THEORY. Before anti-Trumpy people come out of their lairs to attack me, I realized that I can’t embrace the idea that our borders should categorically be open because of the “values” of diversity, inclusivity, and acceptance. This capitulates to the marxist vision of the classless, raceless, genderless society which rejects the givenness of reality and the subjectitude of man to the [divine] Giver. The ideal of the borderless society negates the necessity of distinct cultures with specific values and nuances by asserting a colonialist globalism that robs a people of their freedom to pursue the fulfillment of their human condition as they see fit. “There’s no truth. There’s nothing objective worth pursuing or defending. So forget the constructs of nation, culture, and borders. We don’t need them anymore. They only confine our ultimate pursuit of progress…”-meaning progress away from objective truth and toward the assertion of each individual’s subjective self-will…which ends up constructing sturdier and more divisive borders than Trump ever will.

Now in real life, I don’t think an actual wall will help anyone. Deporting immigrants without documentation will hardly advance the common good for me and my compatriots…and it would be pretty fair to say that such measures are morally offensive to human dignity. So while I can’t say that I embrace that ideology from which most social liberals’ understanding of an open border policy stems, I must say that in practice I am on the same page with them.

Many Christians and other “traditionalists” (non-progressives) struggle to figure out a way to communicate their theoretical opposition to something that they should support in practice. Most end up capitulating to the “liberal/conservative” binary and blindly accept or reject some of the most complex and nuanced proposals of postmodern secular society. These proposals are more easily understood when they are reduced to an either/or mentality. But such a reductionist approach only ends up further dividing us as a people.

This same model goes for transgenderism and and gender ideology. Many political liberals stand by the “rights” of gender/sexual minorities. These rights consist of….well, I’m not sure what rights are in the first place. The paradigm of rights rhetoric is a vague construct that is derived from the Enlightenment period. I don’t know where rights come from or who determines what they are, but ultimately I would have to say that human dignity constitutes more of a gift than a right. I didn’t exercise my inherent right to choose to be born, my life was given. But anyway, proponents of LGBTQ rights seem to assert that these minorities deserve the right to define marriage as they see fit, to obtain children at will, and to use whichever bathroom they please. This comes from the notion that gender is social construct, and that it is to be morphed by the individual according to their own subjective will. Identity is self-determined, not given.

I can’t say that I agree that a person can determine that they are a female because they feel like it internally. I can’t say that I have the right to choose whichever bathroom accords most with my self-constructed identity. I also can’t say that gender is completely black and white, and that those who don’t fit into either gender neatly are deranged demons.

Gender Identity Disorder is an actual neurological condition that many people face. It’s not a sign of their moral depravity or psychological brokenness per se, but rather is a sign that the human brain can develop in a number of abnormal ways. The “solution” to GID ought neither to allow a pre-adolescent child to transition to the opposite sex the minute zhe perceives the dysphoria, nor is it to force them to conform themselves into their birth gender by acting according to socially constructed gender norms. If a child’s given sex does not match up to the way in which they perceive their identity, why not help them to reconcile that discrepancy? If in their early adulthood that discrepancy hasn’t seemed to budge, why not assist them in finding non-invasive ways to transition to the opposite gender in order to alleviate the tension produced by that discrepancy? [these guys do a much better job of explaining this] 

This response is vastly distinct from the one that asserts that identity is self-determined, that I should dress like a girl “because I feel like one.” But does the fact that I believe that a person should be able to transition to the opposite gender mean I support transgenderism? In practice (I suppose) yes, in theory no.

One more thing that I can’t support on an theoretical level is going to the gym. I rarely exercise, and must admit that I do indeed feel a difference when I have exercised regularly in the past so I went ahead and signed up for membership at a local gym. I’ve found that exercising has in itself become a religion. First of all, the sense of devotion and sacrifice that goes into going to the gym for some is as serious as it may have been for the most austere of medieval monastics. Some people I’ve met carve out the time to make it to the gym up to 5 times a week…not to mention the time spent devising meticulous work out plans that fixate on food preparation and which parts of the body need to be exercised when.

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I barely have the energy to drive myself to the gym at the end of the work day, and yet these devotees are willing to wake themselves up before the crack of dawn to exercise before work. The agony on their faces when deadlifting or doing squats mimics the Passion. The way in which they lay themselves on the ground for planks recalls a priest receiving the sacraments of Holy Orders. The intensity of their lunges model an Orthodox Christian making prostrations. Other times, I look at their exaggerated physical contortions, facial expressions, and grunts as less of a gesture of piety to the Gym Goddess and more of an expression of pure animal instinct. Workout worship is what I would call the least rational form of liturgical worship. It’s totally devoid of human reason and intellect. I often feel like I’m in a jungle with wild animals…it’s a giant animalistic free-for-all orgy hour….a sanctuary where you can strip yourself of your reason and just go all out and work your body like beast in the wild.

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“No pain, no gain…and by gain I didn’t main gaining souls for my kingdom, I meant gaining muscle mass.” -(not) Jesus

Maybe I’m exaggerating, but being a human, I can’t assent to a lifestyle that minimizes the use of my reason, the expression of which leads me closer and closer to the apex of my humanity. And as a Christian, I refuse to bow down to the false Goddess of working out. And yet…I must render unto Caesar what is his. As gratifying as it would be to stop giving my money to the pagan temple that is Retro Fitness, I must recognize that my body is intrinsic to my humanity, and that it does need to be exercised, as much as my intellect and moral conscience do. So, yes, I will continue going to the gym. But I do reject working out in theory (which for the record is extremely difficult not to get swooped up into, especially working in an all-male high school where daily morning workouts take the place of attending daily morning Mass for most).

Idk…It would be easier to straight up oppose everything I’m theoretically opposed to in practice…but ultimately it wouldn’t be practical. It’s easier for Catholics to ignore the nuances and complexities of postmodern secular society. But Catholicism is made up of nuances and complexities of its own….all the reason why being being Catholic in a secular world is all the more fun!! Catholics should spend more time being the voice of the all but too forgotten “both/and” options, rather than joining the herd the is drowning itself in its own drone of the “either/or” option.

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