Laughing Ourselves Mad

Our culture is howling in laughter as we careen off the cliff.

There is a way of using laughter and ridicule that weaponizes it—think Saul Alinksy’s Rules for Radicals. But there’s also a way of laughing and ridiculing that is done out of ignorance. This kind is the most dangerous. It’s a laughter that believes the most ludicrous propositions that our culture continues to push could never be normalized. It’s a laughter that refuses to understand the times.

In November 2019, Dennis Prager joined Bill Maher’s HBO program, Real Time with Bill Maher. The show and its audience are very left-leaning in their political and social views. Conversely, Prager is conservative in both. As the panel discussion focused on the transgender ideology growing in prominence during that time, Prager made some pointed comments. The one that triggered Maher, the panel, and the audience was when Prager said, “To say that men can menstruate is a lie, and that is now what is said.” Maher’s incredulous look of disbelief instantly sent the audience into laughter. “Where did that come from?” Maher asked, as he looked around the panel. Everyone roared in hysterics. It was clear from everyone’s response: Prager was channeling the conservative boogeyman. 

Prager could read the room. He recognized that everyone was laughing at his expense. He was being dead serious, but the panel and audience laughed in disbelief that he could traffic such an extreme, fringe idea. Maher asked, “Who’s saying this? You’re talking about a very small percentage.” Prager added that men claiming to be women were playing sports against women. Maher agreed that this was unfair, and a problem—though three years removed from this panel discussion we see it has gone unchecked as “Lia Thomas,” a man identifying as a woman, won the women’s NCAA swimming championship—yet he dismissed this as a far cry from saying “men can menstruate.”

Prager’s face flushed red, but he went on to give an example of it happening. He demonstrated how far this has already gone by citing that the University of California Berkley has tampons in the men’s restroom. Maher, in patronizing form, dismissed them as simply existing for weak men being sent in to get their girlfriend a tampon. The crowd roared in laughter. Maher said, “That’s a much more logical...” and then trailed off. He then concluded that Dennis used to be “much more reasonable.” In other words, “Wow, Dennis, you’re really out there if this is your argument.” Prager indeed was a voice in the wilderness on that day.

Maher and his audience may have believed it was a far cry, but just recently a “People Have Periods” campaign circulated on social media with a picture of what appeared to be a mixture of trans people, whose biological sex is indiscernible, but who all have white clothing to show evidence of menstruation. This is where we are today. The laughter seems to have faded.

Here’s the issue with the Maher and other non-activist type liberals: they believe at some point the brakes on the train will be pulled before we reach irreversible points of absurdity. At best, this thinking is naive, at worst, it’s willful ignorance. There are no brakes on this train. And when they ridicule conservatives who point it out, they reveal they don’t understand the times. They imagine there is still a commitment to objective reality in those pushing the bounds of the LGBTQ+ revolution. There isn’t. Anything goes. Their laughter only serves to mock themselves when they wake up to realize the thing they deemed a small percentage, a fringe movement, is now orthodoxy.

Here is the greatest problem: the ridiculing laughter often silences the voices in the wilderness. Prager stood his ground, but many do not. It’s amazing how many people are quick to dismiss these movements and their trajectories as fearmongering. Conservatives are accused of trafficking the boogeyman. The result is that many begin to question whether we really are off base. We begin to wonder if there is a self-regulating governor on the engine of the LGBTQ+ movement. So, we shrink back. The ridicule makes us feel like Chicken Little warning that the sky is falling when it isn’t. However, our silence only speeds up our descent into the abyss. 

Our society may be the Titanic at this point. The damage inflicted on our culture by the sexual revolution may be irreversible. Even so, let’s be those on the bow warning of the iceberg ahead, not the band playing music to comfort passengers as we sink.

Erik is the Lead Pastor of The Journey Church in Lebanon. He also founded Knowing Jesus Ministries, a non-profit organization which exists to proclaim timeless truth for everyday life. He is married to Katrina, and has three children: Kaleb (who went to be with the Lord), Kaleigh Grace, and Kyra Piper.

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