By David Tulis
National economy is suffering a bout of identity confusion. It’s as if it were laboring under the tribulations that beset a transsexual, a person who is a woman one day but next intends to be a man. How in national economy do we know we are there? When will our money be worth more? Can we ever satisfy the claims against us by banks and government? When will things balance out?
The question haunts us just as “gender identity” haunts the woman in a story in the local newspaper Sunday. Anna Leach, identified as a man, Andy, is in the process of becoming a man by taking drugs and, eventually, having surgery for alternate organs. “Living in between,” the headline reads. “Transgenders fight for acceptance from both society and family.”
National economy and Anna Leach are striving for new identities. Miss Leach, 22, troubled in soul, is attempting transsexuality. Hers is a distinctly post-modern problem, where dissatisfaction with the world God made lets her impose her own terms upon reality and the physical world. National economy, troubled in soul, is promising prosperity despite a structure of debt. Overseen by the state, it is burning itself out, trying to become secure, solid and sure when it is burdened by IOUs unpayable, vast regulation and alienation in the heartland. Whereas Anna Leach seeks to recreate herself into the other sex, national economy seeks to become that which it is not. It pretends intimacy, neighborliness and artisanal connectivity while its scale is gigantic, corporate and dehumanized.
No rare jewel of Christian contentment
We read the story of Miss Leach with great empathy. She hasn’t F$100,000 to pay for surgery to sculpt her body into one resembling a man’s. “Leach doesn’t believe he’ll ever be able to afford all the surgeries,” the story says. “Regardless, he says, he will live his life as a man.” Miss Leach, an Amazon employee, is said to be in transition between female and male after having decided at college to become the sex for which she has personal affinity. She receives encouragement from books and connections among homosexuals in Chattanooga.
The story goes out of its way to define transgender, transvestite and gay. “Transgender is a situation in which one’s self-identified gender does not match their birth-assigned gender and, even if one can’t have the surgeries or chooses not to have the surgeries, they are still transgender,” transsexual author Rizi Timane tells the Chattanooga Times Free Press.
The vocabulary lesson is a muddle. Gender is a term of grammar, a reference to words being masculine, feminine or neuter. Gender is linguistic. Sex refers to male or female, in people or animals, describing physical beings based on reproductive organs and bodily form. Secondly, reporter Karen Nazor Hill is full of empathy for her subject. She consents to bill Miss Leach a man, and refers to her that way even though Miss Leach is only at the very beginning of a transition from woman to man and has not had “medical needs” addressed in surgery. Is such usage objective journalism? Here, a person’s wish to be a man makes her one. The riches of life as a woman elude Miss Leach; she must attain the riches of life as a man in her time of discontent. A journalist plays along.
Christianity plays into the report because families oppose transsexualism from a biblical and culturally conservative framework. And Dr. Timane has a Christian interest as a counselor. Not deserving place in the story is the tough question: Why not accept whom God has made you, and work through personal problems? Puritan author Jeremiah Burroughs proposes the “rare jewel of Christian contentment.” He says in a book by that name, “Christian contentment is that sweet, inward, quiet, gracious frame of spirit, which freely submits to and delights in God’s wise and fatherly disposal in every condition.” The way to contentment, he says, is “not by adding more to his condition, but by subtracting from his desires. *** Here lies the bottom and root of all contentment, when there is an evenness and proportion between our hearts and our circumstances.”
Transsexualism is a program of denying creation and the ordering of humanity into sexes, and overturning reality of genetics that makes humankind male or female. Homosexuality, like it, damns God’s categories in the hand of creation. All is clay; all is malleable for man. Transsexualism or “gender dysphoria” seems to account for the human body, but only to revolt against its limit. Each person is free to remake himself if he is willing to count the costs. Miss Leach is living out a form of existentialism, the theory of Jean-Paul Sartre that worships at the altar of human will. For Sartre, an act of pure will (no matter how immoral or violent) is how a person attains full humanity. Miss Leach’s program takes her to the root of her being as a woman to violently overturn. It is a form of suicide disguised as a redesign.
Transsexual economy: Converting debt into wealth
Her pride and, if you will, courage are shared by national economy.
It, too, strives against reality while quietly working within its constraints, one day at a time. The financial press bears witness of the growth of federal government debt, the massive debts absorbed and created by the Federal Reserve System, and high levels of borrowing among students, companies and families. Indications are that inflation is being socked away by banks holding F$2.47 trillion in reserves at the Fed and that this credit will flow into the economy once interest rates rise. A spendthrift Uncle faces another debt ceiling crisis in which legal tinkering papers over pending collapse. The U.S. and insurance cartels are reaping profits from Obamacare, with many Americans suffering from higher costs and fewer choices of medical provider.
A fundamental problem is an unstable means of exchange. A dollar is merely an idea, a custom, a construct with no legal significance. Paper money, in other words, violates rules of equity and fair play and hurts most the people who understand it least, namely, the working man. The caretakers of this means of exchange, the Fed and the U.S., will drive it to the ground as they try to save their political and economic establishment. A fluctuating medium of exchange, the founders thought, was extinguished in the constitution. But, lo, it has controlled the U.S. for 100 years.
Is it possible to attain wealth in the current system? Yes, short-term gains are to be had for some. But Americans have outsourced their cooking to corporations, as Michael Pollan says. They outsource investing to corporations, who deal in “other people’s money” under prudent-man and fiduciary rules that fail to account for inflation and a cartelized economy. In national economy, winners certainly emerge. But it seems that for us commoners prospects for national economy are poor. They are as remote for you and me as the prospects are for Anna Leach becoming a man contented with his lot and not having to fight for acceptance in society and family.
Hence our interest in local economy, where not every person is equated to a financial transaction or a number, where human relationships matter and contentment has a more secure basis. Not everything that can be counted counts, Einstein said, and not everything that counts can be counted. I hope to continue my explorations of local economy in Chattanooga and beyond, though I am long discouraged.