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(LifeSiteNews) — In a recent essay at The Free Press titled “Why the Mental Health of Liberal Girls Sank First and Fastest,” Jonathan Haidt describes how social media created a fragile, depressed, and frequently terrified generation of young people unable to cope with many once-basic aspects of modern life. A key aspect of what was going on, Haidt notes, is that young people were “catastrophizing,” which led to a culture of fragility, which in turn produced mobs of students weaponizing their feelings by demanding that speakers be cancelled or professors fired. 

As Haidt and his co-author of The Coddling of the American Mind Greg Lukianoff noted, “catastrophizing” is a characteristic of cognitive distortions. It is also characteristic of the transgender movement, which despite holding a tremendous amount of cultural power present themselves as perpetual victims at constant risk of being murdered or otherwise victimized. The transgender movement owns Hollywood, academia, one major political party (the one that holds the White House and the Senate, no less), and much of the public education system. Yet their rhetoric insists that they are a persecuted minority. 

Part of this, of course, is political strategy. It is called “cry-bullying” — weaponize your victimization to get what you want. The homosexual movement used these tactics to tremendous effect. But part of it, I believe, is also genuine catastrophizing. I’ve been at enough protests and talked to enough activists to recognize that they have bought into much of their own rhetoric, and many of them, despite their cultural victories and the incredible amount of cultural power they have accrued in a very short amount of time, believe that they are targets. 

Consider the example of “JamesIsSmiling,” a TikTok star who identifies as “non-binary” and recently took to TikTok to warn young people that “queer” people in the United States are facing a genocide. “I’ve always known I wasn’t a boy and I wasn’t a girl,” the long-haired man tells his audience. “When I was growing up, it was really confusing because we didn’t have words to talk about that.” But despite political gains, James says, the times are particularly dark. “You probably talk to your parents about it, or maybe your friends, and I know sometimes you DM me about it and I read them, as many as I can.” 

Those seeking to ban “sex change” surgeries, says James, are angry because they see “our joy and our self-acceptance and our beauty as a threat, because we celebrate who we are.” This joy is the “greatest tool for resistance,” because “as long as we have joy for who we are, they will never win.” James’ video was the follow-up to a warning he had felt compelled to send out to his young followers. Noting the “anti-trans bills” being passed across America, he stated: 

We are in an active trans genocide in our country, and people don’t want to name it that because they’re afraid to use that word People want to extinguish us. Some of our most influential people in the world are calling for the extinguishment of transgender people, which is a genocide.

James then compared GOP opposition to “sex changes” for minors to the Holocaust because they are targeting “trans kids” who have a “right to transition.”  

James isn’t just a random TikTokker, either. He has more than 420,000 followers, uses “she/they” pronouns (grammar doesn’t apply if you’re not heterosexual), and has built up quite a bit of influence. And most importantly: he seems to actually believe that nonsense. A young American man, who believes he is neither male or female and is celebrated for that belief by hundreds of thousands of people as well as most of mainstream culture, genuinely believes that people like him are currently experiencing a genocide akin to the Holocaust. Consider how delusional one has to be to genuinely believe these things. 

And then consider the fact that people just like him are currently in the driver’s seat when it comes to gender policy in the United States of America — in big blue states, and in the White House itself.  

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Jonathon Van Maren is a public speaker, writer, and pro-life activist. His commentary has been translated into more than eight languages and published widely online as well as print newspapers such as the Jewish Independent, the National Post, the Hamilton Spectator and others. He has received an award for combating anti-Semitism in print from the Jewish organization B’nai Brith. His commentary has been featured on CTV Primetime, Global News, EWTN, and the CBC as well as dozens of radio stations and news outlets in Canada and the United States.

He speaks on a wide variety of cultural topics across North America at universities, high schools, churches, and other functions. Some of these topics include abortion, pornography, the Sexual Revolution, and euthanasia. Jonathon holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in history from Simon Fraser University, and is the communications director for the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform.

Jonathon’s first book, The Culture War, was released in 2016.