Reflecting On My Pro-Human Bias

So puberty is apparently pathological now:

I increasingly hear phrases like “the mask is slipping” and “saying the quiet part out loud” in response to statements like this, and I can’t help but wonder if Satan and his minions are getting careless lately. But I suppose that’s just my bias slipping out. So let’s set aside the presumption that medicine is magic that can indefinitely transmute the human body into any desired state and examine that bias of mine for a moment. Why do I see puberty blockers as more pathological than puberty?

Because unlike the devil, I do not hate human nature.

It’s been a privilege to raise my sons–to both watch them grow up and help them grow up. I often have to remind myself to slow down and cherish these times when they’re young because they’ll never be that age again. Growing up is permanent. I’m sure every parent has had moments when they look into an uncertain future and wish their child could stay this age forever. And although I’m not there yet, I occasionally hear parents of teenagers wish they could have their adorable little children back.

Desires like these are just musings, though. If someone actually offered me a potion that would indefinitely freeze my boys in childhood, I would be horrified. It’s not their nature to remain children forever; it’s their nature to mature. I want them to grow in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man. I want them to build lives of their own. And if God so calls them, I want them to marry and have families of their own so that they themselves can know the joy I now have in them. I want them to grow more and more into who they are. Helping them do so is part of my responsibility as their father.

But as every parent knows, children don’t always want that help. Sometimes novelty is exciting; other times it’s scary. Trying new foods, using a real toilet, getting on a bike for the first time, reading a new book… parents encounter resistance to all these things and more. Sometimes we accept that resistance as a personal quirk, but other times we insist. Why? Because their nature is to grow and mature, which cannot be fulfilled without trying new things. Likewise, there can be resistance when leaving old things behind. Sometimes growing out of baby toys, clothes, diapers, behaviors and so forth is easy; something there is resistance. But oftentimes, it’s a father’s job to insist. It’s their nature to grow and mature, which cannot be fulfilled without leaving some things behind–even permanently.

Puberty is just one more step in that fulfillment of their nature. There is a lot that is new. There is a lot that is left behind. It is suffused with both excitement and trepidation. It can be difficult and confusing. All these things are the warp and the woof of maturity.

Of course, puberty is particularly difficult today for several reasons. Most obviously, our society is one of sexual anarchy. The novelties of sexual maturity often proceed without the normal rules, expectations, and rites of passage which are there to promote healthy growth. Americans basically toss their children to the wolves and expect them to swim. (Yes, I mixed those metaphors on purpose; our customs are flat-out insane.) We shouldn’t be surprised at resistance that goes far beyond the normal uncertainty about new things. We shouldn’t even be surprised when children start hating their bodies which are “forcing” them into this sexual free-for-all.

The other big problem is that adulthood is no longer treated as something to look forward to. What do we hear about adulthood today? Well, many people proclaim college as the best time of their lives. In other words, it’s all downhill after 4 years of that extended playtime with adult freedoms but no adult responsibility. Others tell the youth, “you can do whatever you want when you grow up” and think it’s inspiring. In reality, what most children want is to play–and adulthood inevitably provides fewer opportunities for that. And the greatest blessing of adulthood–marriage and family–is routinely trashed by our culture as something to be avoided. In short, too many Americans failed to grow up properly themselves, and so they cannot present a clear picture of why growing up is in any way desirable.

Well, given all those modern difficulties, wouldn’t it be better if we could control puberty? Wouldn’t it be better if it came at our chosen time and in our chosen way to help navigate?  Absolutely not. We don’t procrastinate to become more adept at a task, but to avoid it. Failing to confront our problems makes them worse, not better. Words like “temporary” and “reversible” give an illusion of control, but it’s nothing of the sort.  With or without puberty blockers, there is not a single moment of our lives that can be undone or rolled back.

Deliberately stunted growth and healthy maturity are fundamentally at odds with one-another. Peter-Panning someone into oblivion will not help them grow up. For humans, happiness comes from embracing human nature and making the most of it–not by desperately trying to avoid it.

It’s amazing how many of the most important things in our lives are completely outside of our control. Our parents are determined for us before we’re even conceived. Our genetics are determined as we’re conceived without any input from us. We’re born into family and nation alike without our consent. We cannot help but need food, water, oxygen, and sleep continually. From beginning to end, life passes one second at a time–a pace which is sometimes frighteningly quick and sometimes frustratingly slow. We start out young and become older no matter what choices we make. And sooner or later, every last one of us will die.

In short, each of us has been made irrevocably human without any option to have been made a dolphin or a flea instead. Likewise, we live in this universe rather than any other kind of universe which might have existed. We have a nature which we can neither choose nor change.

What we can choose is whether we see that nature as a gift or a curse. Did God give us these specifications to provide us with a life we can live and enjoy? Or did He instead give us a prison we must endure until we can break free? Gnosticism is back in fashion as droves of people choose the latter.

The problem is that your nature is not something distinct from you. If you hate your nature, you ipso facto hate yourself. Likewise, wishing to undo your nature is nothing other than wishing suicide. G. K. Chesterton pointed that out over a century ago: “Do not go about as a demagogue, encouraging triangles to break out of the prison of their three sides. If a triangle breaks out of its three sides, its life comes to a lamentable end. Somebody wrote a work called ‘The Loves of the Triangles’; I never read it, but I am sure that if triangles ever were loved, they were loved for being triangular.”

Turban asks whether we consider trans people at all when forming our opinions. A better question is whether Turban considers trans people to be people at all when forming his. Escaping human nature is always suicide–whether quickly with a noose around the neck or slowly with drugs and vivisection (or both as so often happens with trans people.) Likewise, stealing another’s human nature is always murder.

Puberty blockers are fundamentally an attempt to make someone less than human. Those of us with a pro-human bias will always recognize how pathological that is. Self-loathing haters of humanity will not. It’s as simple as that.

About Matt

Software engineer by trade; lay theologian by nature; Lutheran by grace.
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