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America’s Ideological Hostage Crisis


It’s not that Judge Jackson can’t define what a woman is, it’s that she won’t. And she won’t because she is being held hostage…

On November 4, 1979, a radical, militarized group of Iranian students stormed the American embassy in Tehran and took 52 American diplomats and citizens hostage. The terrorists held the Americans captive for 444 days, resulting in one of the greatest U.S. foreign policy embarrassments in the post-WWII era. It was, without a doubt, one of the biggest failures of the  already lackluster presidency of Jimmy Carter. Ultimately, the hostages were released on January 20, 1981 — just moments after President Ronald Reagan was sworn into office. 

So, 40 years ago, under the failed leadership of President Carter, we had what we now refer to as the Iranian Hostage Crisis. Today, under the failed leadership of President Joe Biden, we have another hostage crisis on our hands — an ideological hostage crisis. Up until this past week, it might not have been quite as obvious as armed Iranians seizing our embassy, but I assure you that the hostage-taking is happening all the same. In fact, during the last 10 days or so, the crisis has finally and fully broken out into the open, now in full view for all to witness its horrors plainly. Let all who have eyes to see, see. 

The most recent, and prominent, hostage of this ideological terrorism is none other than Supreme Court Justice nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. While that might be a surprising and solitary example, make no mistake — she represents millions of others held in fear just the same. 

On Tuesday evening, during her confirmation hearings, Judge Jackson was asked a question that, up until about five minutes ago, historically speaking, would have been viewed as a real softball. The question came from Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., and the now infamous interchange went a little something — really a lot of something — like this:

Blackburn: “And can you provide a definition for the word ‘woman?’” 

Jackson: “No, I can’t.”

Blackburn: “You can’t?”

Jackson: “Not in this context. I’m not a biologist…”

Blackburn: So, you believe the meaning of the word ​’​woman​’​ is so unclear and controversial that you can’t give me a definition?”

Jackson: “Senator, in my work as a judge, what I do is, I address disputes. If there’s a dispute about a definition, people make arguments, and I look at the law and I decide​.” 

Blackburn: “The fact that you can’t give me a straight answer about something as fundamental as what a woman is underscores the dangers of the kind of progressive education that we are hearing about.”

I include the entire interchange because it’s worth reading as many times as it takes to sear it into our collective memories. Despite how the mainstream media tried to downplay it, this was certainly a watershed moment in American politics. The reaction, from Christians, conservatives, Republicans, the right, and the few honest liberals remaining on the left, went a little something — really a lot of something — like this: “I can’t believe she can’t define what a woman is!” I even joined in this chorus with the simple, singular pronouncement: “Disqualifying.” 

But let’s be frank (or if you prefer, Francis): Does anyone really think that Judge Jackson can’t define the word “woman?” After all, she had used the word quite a few times in the hearing already. Ellie Reynolds, writing for The Federalist, notes that “for not knowing what a ‘woman’ is, Jackson loves to use the word” and goes on to document the “14 times she invokes the fairer sex in just the first two days of her confirmation hearings.”

It’s not that she doesn’t know what a woman is. It’s not that she can’t define the word. It’s that she won’t. And she won’t because she is being held hostage by a terrorist — not a flesh and blood figure with its face shrouded in a menacing mask, but an invisible, ideological one. Now, when parading its captive in public, this type of terrorist still gives its hostages a script, and expects them to stick to it. Therefore, if Judge Jackson had defined woman as “an adult female,” she would have dangerously deviated from that approved script and risked repercussions inflicted upon her career by this ideological terrorist’s most aggressive lieutenant: the transgender movement.

Mollie Hemingway, editor-in-chief at The Federalist, put her finger on this very same dynamic in an early morning tweet the day after. She said, “If you lack both the common sense and the education to understand what being a woman is — or you’re too terrified of your political allies to admit you do know — perhaps you should not have a job that affects other people in any substantial way” (emphasis added). 

The irony here runs deep. After all, President Biden announced that he wouldn’t be nominating anyone other than a woman — a black woman, to be specific — for this vacancy created by Justice Stephen Breyer’s retirement. One does have to wonder just how Biden knows he has nominated a woman if his own nominee can’t define what a woman is? But I digress, because again, the point isn’t that she can’t — it’s that she won’t

And the reason she won’t is because we are indeed in the fell clutches of a great ideological hostage crisis. A sweeping, pernicious, acidic, lethal, postmodern ideology has stormed our nation and put a proverbial gun to our collective heads. If we were to force an imperfect but passible name onto this theoretical terrorist, I do think “wokeness” would suffice. It’s more than that, but not less. It also operates under the flag of “woke technocratic tyranny” to borrow a term from an online acquaintance. For now, wokeness will do. 

Wokeness as an ideological terrorist parades a man who has fathered children, but now pretends to be a woman, onto the pages of USA Today to receive recognition as one of their “Women of the Year” with approving nods of his woman-ness from no less than the Surgeon General of the United States. Wokeness tells us that Lia Thomas, formerly William, who spent three years swimming on the men’s team at the University of Pennsylvania, can decide, on a whim, to switch lanes and compete on the women’s team — as a “woman,” despite very obviously still being a man. And after Thomas steamrolls his female competition, we all better celebrate him as rightful heir to the accolades due other civil rights pioneers like Jackie Robinson

And this ideological terrorist that has hijacked our nation’s public square, language, morality, and even the very fabric of reality itself has friends in high places to make sure we all stick to the script — or else. Twitter has proven to be fully onboard with enforcing the terroristic tyranny of wokeness, freezing accounts left and right over the last 10 days of those who dared engage in the wrongspeak of ensuring that the gendered noun they used to refer to individuals such as Levine and Thomas corresponded with reality. As documented by the Standing for Freedom Center, Twitter cracked down on accounts ranging from the Babylon Bee and the Christian Post to Tucker Carlson, Charlie Kirk, and even Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. The beatings — and account freezings — will continue until conformity improves. 

Transgenderism certainly isn’t the only lieutenant serving the ill-fated ends of this ideological insurgency — just look at the reaction to Florida’s efforts to spare seven-year-olds from getting indoctrinated by creepy teachers who want to talk about age-inappropriate concepts like sexual orientation and gender ideology. Sure, Judge Jackson can’t really say what a woman is while under oath, on camera, and in response to a senator, but my goodness, these radical leftists sure want to say much, much more to our children in the classroom, behind closed doors, and without the consent of their parents. 

Or consider how impossible the conversation about racial issues in the United States has grown since the advent of perennial grifters like Black Lives Matters and Ibram X. Kendi. That’s why “you ain’t black” if you don’t vote for Joe Biden, and apparently “you ain’t Asian” if school districts decide they need to lump you in with “whites” rather than “students of color” when it comes to college admissions. None of it makes sense and no one can make it make sense. Yet so many otherwise smart fellow Americans smile politely and nod their heads at these absurdities because they, too, can feel the cold metal barrel of the cancellation-and-social-ostracization gun pressed up against their back by this fiend called wokeness. 

Just as fear reigned during Mao’s Cultural Revolution, so fear reigns now too in America as we suffer inside a nation hijacked by insane ideology. As Victor Davis Hanson explained in a recent piece for the Daily Signal, “The woke revolution in the West was supposed to teach us that the ‘white male’-dominated Western world is toxic. Its origins, ascendence, and current leisure and affluence were supposedly due only to systemic exploitation, racism, and sexism. Elites introduced cancel culture, doxxing, deplatforming, and social ostracism to shame these supposed exploiters and to destroy their lives and careers.”

And that, my fellow hostages and future gulag friends, is why Judge Jackson would not define woman. In Joe Biden’s America, telling the truth about basic biology is perhaps one of the most dangerous acts of rebellion one can possibly undertake. To do so is to wager your life and career. If Judge Jackson had found the courage to reply, “A woman is an adult human female,” would her nomination have suffered due to attacks from the left? Probably. Who knows for sure? But what we can all know for certain is that she obviously thought that it might. Therein the game is given away; the interchange reveals that she is not an independent thinker possessing courage and clarity, but a fearful captive to this ideological reign of terror. 

In his 1987 smash-mouth essay about why he refuses to buy a computer (aptly named “Why I Am Not Going to Buy a Computer”), American agrarian and essayist Wendell Berry ruffled some feathers in the adamantly pro-computer camp. In public correspondence with a variety of critics, Berry had this to say about the way his detractors replied: “I can only conclude that I have scratched the skin of a technological fundamentalism that, like other fundamentalisms, wishes to monopolize a whole society and, therefore, cannot tolerate the smallest difference of opinion. At the slightest hint of a threat to their complacency, they repeat, like a chorus of toads, the notes sounded by their leaders in industry.” 

“Wishes to monopolize a whole society and, therefore, cannot tolerate the smallest difference of opinion.” Sound familiar? This is the woke agenda in one sentence. All of society must be brought to heel — no exceptions granted, no differences allowed. All of us, all 350 million Americans, every last man, woman, and child, have been taken hostage and are being held at gunpoint by a few radical opinions that have rushed into our public sphere, armed to the teeth with the weapons of mass cancellation supplied by their arms dealer, Big Tech.

Well, last I checked, we don’t negotiate with terrorists. And we shouldn’t start now. 

No, in fact, now is the time to fight back. Now is the moment for courage. Let this be a Flight 93 moment for our nation. As former New York Times columnist Bari Weiss pithily put it in her reflections on how to resist the woke revolution, “We got here because of cowardice. We get out with courage.” 

While you don’t need to be a Christian to have or to show this courage, as Christians, we should be the first to stand and the last to fold. What are they going to do? Cancel us? Okay. Because the mob didn’t just cancel our Lord, they crucified Him…and then He rose from the grave, having conquered sin and death. And it’s in His footsteps, those of Jesus Christ, that we follow today. Far from being complacent captives or humiliated hostages, we are those who fight back. We are those who tear down the godless ideologies and help set the prisoners free, as noted in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5:

“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

As Christians, we don’t let thoughts or godless ideologies take us captive — we take them captive. We don’t let ideology rule over us, because we know that would be just another form of secular idolatry. To bend the knee to transgenderism is to bow before the latest in a long line of golden calves that our society tries to tell us is our “god.” We don’t live like hostages of a radical, woke regime, because we aren’t prisoners — we have been set free by the Son “…and if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36). We don’t surrender or negotiate with these terrorists, because the stakes are too high. The truth is too precious. And our blood-bought freedoms are too valuable to just be handed over to wokeness without a fight.

The Iranian Hostage Crisis ended when Reagan came into office. The Iranians knew he wasn’t a man to be messed with. When will our ideological hostage crisis end? When each and every one of us make it clear that we are not to be messed with either. Want to start pushing back today? Then brush up on your biology (and your theology), say a prayer, and then take any chance you get — preferably loudly and publicly — to truthfully define the word “woman.”