Chaos as Strategy

How the State will attempt to Monopolise Fertility

“The disorder promoted from power is not even or only a symptom of incapacity, but rather a strategy for destroying democratic institutions through confusion and distraction. Repression will come afterwards.”
— J. E. Corradi

Estimates usually put the number of transgender people at 700,000–1.9 million (figures vary dramatically according to definitions) in the United States, and 200,000–500,000 in the UK. A range of treatments and surgeries are open to them. For transwomen (biological male) these include oestrogen therapy, breast enhancement, tracheal shave, penectomy (removal of penis), orchiectomy (removal of testicles) and vaginoplasty (creation of a vagina). For transmen (biological female), the equivalents are testosterone therapy, mastectomy and reconstruction, hysterectomy (removal of uterus) and phalloplasty (creation of penis).

While the left has been a rather cynical and overweening advocate on their behalf, few would begrudge transgender folk their dignity. Regrettably, however, they have been politicised as pawns in a greater war to destabilise all sexual relations by conflating gender flexibility with dysmorphia. The state, meanwhile, plays anything but an uninterested actor. Painting gender identification as unstable, fluid and within the ken of juveniles (one influential study claimed the majority of gender dysmorphia is established by the age of seven) its facilitation of relative gender chaos forms a large plank in its strategy to co-opt the last major power to sit entirely outside of its remit: reproduction.

If the state can unmoor people from their biology (a sexual foundation) then not only can it manipulate all truths (as only biology can claim to possess an external reference) it can form a monopoly on the expensive treatments that realise the latent or explicit desire to have children in those who are reproductively compromised.

Governments already have history when it comes to exploiting gender issues to suit their own agendas. Iran, for example, cannot tolerate the existence of homosexuals, and so it superficially backs transgender rights in order to reconfigure transwomen as heterosexual women and boast it lacks the homosexual ‘problem’ suffered by the decadent West. In reality, behind its ‘support’ looms the death penalty for homosexuals who fail to sign up for gender reassignment.

It is easy to condemn such antics, but the state in the West has bigger and grimmer ambitions. Seeking to become a reproductive gatekeeper by destabilising sexual relations, its resources (social, economic or medical) are geared to creating reproductive pandemonium. Now that most states worldwide ape or are affected by their western counterparts, the effects on reproduction rates are felt globally.

On the financial front, evidence indicates that while families enjoyed post-war boosts in income, they now reap a cruel fertility harvest in subverting their whole lives to the labour market. More to the point, raising children is expensive. In 2015, the USDA estimated the average family would spend $233,610 in raising a kid to the age of seventeen (therefore not including a university education).

On the societal front, most women prefer to pursue careers, or have children later, both of which result in lower birth rates (and/or issues with birth and offspring). They also tend to be miseducated (typically by omission) about their reproductive windows. More worryingly, a fragmented social fabric means that single parenthood (c. 3 million in the UK for the last decade) incentivises fewer children.

On the environmental front, reproductive problems in males are increasing by one percent per year in Western nations. This statistic includes the rates of declining sperm countsdecreasing testosterone levels and increasing rates of testicular cancer, as well as a rise in the prevalence of erectile dysfunction. On the female side of the equation, miscarriage rates are also increasing by about one percent per year in the US, and so is the rate of gestational surrogacy. Many of these are driven by a common cause: the presence of hormone-altering chemicals (endocrine-disrupting chemicals, or EDCs) which are now ubiquitous in everything from water bottles to food packaging, electronic products to personal care items.

To return to the transgender folk, they mark the most contested terrain because their plight sits where human rights most obviously clash with biological facts. Gender treatments, for instance, all have significant impacts on fertility. While hormone treatment lowers it drastically, surgical treatment makes autologous fertility options impossible. When these realities are paired with the fact reproductive desire remains high among transgender individuals, it forms an open invitation for the state to step in with ever more ingenious and costly ways to retain the person’s reproductive capabilities past their gender switch. Indeed, this is already becoming a mainstream opinion, as this UN document “Reproductive Rights are Human Rights” notes.

Transgender folk aren’t the only chess pieces in the conflict. The LGBT community (as well as wealthy folk who can’t tolerate the travails of pregnancy), for example, typically use surrogate mothers in their fight for reproduction – the most financially sensible options for those in the West (poor women from the fringes of Ukraine) also being the most politically sensitive.

Transgender people are, however, the most iconic in the sense that a metamorphosis is suffered and yet so little function achieved. Take for example the transmale who has part of the forearm removed to make a penis (and plants silicone implants within the labia majora to form testicles) that is almost entirely cosmetic. The operated transmale enjoys no specifically male pleasure, no male orgasm. Indeed, the person’s sexuality is essentially cancelled for the mirage of masculinity. Furthermore, when superficially wise courses of action are taken such as postponing puberty so a youth can decide their gender at a later age, medication often has seriously deleterious effects. Lupron, for instance, affects bone density, joint functionality, urinary retention and so on.

Exposing oneself to a few ‘educational’ Tiktok videos reveals the double intellectual manoeuvre at play. On the one hand, gender assumes the part of Freud’s ID in psychoanalysis: it is disorientating, impulsive and elusive. Yet to give each stance it adopts a patina of objectivity and legitimacy (and enable it to attract a cluster of rights) a host of pseudo-legalistic terms (from real conditions such as intersex to artificial labels such as ‘two-spirited’, ‘cishet’ and ‘omnigendered’) are nailed to it that would have made medieval scholastics wince.

Beneath the showmanship the fundamental change is obvious. While people might once have undergone shifts in attitudes and personalities and yet kept their sense of being an integrated whole intact, now the state seeks to leverage every fraction of doubt and transformation into a reconfiguration of the entire person, which – rather conveniently – only it can manage and execute. A tactic torn from the pages of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), which in its latest edition famously expanded the diagnostic criteria so much that it pathologised almost every form of normal behaviour, itself a position that reifies the longstanding American attitude towards health that frames the patient as a client, a customer whose ailments and insecurities are monetisable. 

Whatever one’s view on the stability or otherwise of gender, it’s time global electorates became wary of the state’s vested interests in matters in which it brazenly claims neutrality. The state isn’t creating a world with an appearance of zero risk, almost no direct or sincere communication outside very small intimate groups (it’s all reduced to signaling), and high levels of self-censorship in a fit of absent-mindedness. The state doesn’t really care about transgender people any more than it cares about migrants – in much the same way it cares less about protecting people against Covid-19 than affirming its grip on social norms. It uses them (and many others) to further its own ends. Goals that promote confusion and distraction, so that we may beg for the executioner, a new constitution in which all the rules are rewritten.

Henry Hopwood-Phillips is a Byzantine historian from London. He writes at

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