Ian McEwan crosses the line

The prominent novelist Ian McEwan is generally among the bien pensants, though he has previously betrayed a vulnerability to guilty thoughts. He is actually a repeat offender when it comes to violating the proliferating orthodoxies enforced in the circles to which he belongs.

Today McEwan presents as a case study. McEwan demonstrates how easy it is to transgress against the rapidly evolving orthodoxies of the increasingly fascist left. Spiked editor Brendan O’Neill introduces the case study this way in a column at NR:

For a worldview that claims to be all about freedom and choice and “being oneself,” transgenderism sure is tetchy and intolerant. Consider what has just happened to the celebrated British novelist Ian McEwan. Last week, during a speech at the Royal Institution in London, McEwan took a genteel swipe at the politics of identity. He said identity politics is becoming increasingly consumerist, where we now pluck a ready-made “self” from “the shelves of a personal-identity supermarket.” The making up of one’s identity has gone so far that “some men in full possession of a penis are identifying as women and demanding entry to women-only colleges,” he said. Then came his killer line: “Call me old-fashioned, but I tend to think of people with penises as men.”

Well, this cannot stand, so to speak. You can probably guess the rest of the story. Plot spoiler: McEwan has refined his view as stated. As O’Neill puts it, McEwan has “bowed and scraped before the trans religion” in an open letter to the Guardian. O’Neill stands up for the freedom to transgress against the trans religion and other left-wing orthodoxies from which dissent will not be brooked.


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