It is a sign of these arguments’ moral seriousness that they are lately being taken up in unexpected quarters — not only in National Review Online, where columnist J. J. McCullough declared last May that “ostentatiously calling people by pronouns they don’t want” is “boorish and petty,” but on the many occasions in which fellow Christians have informed me that “inclusive pronouns” are a means by which I can show God’s love.

To seriously consider such claims is proper and good. So is sincere reflection on the possibility that referring to one’s neighbor as he wishes stands in accordance with prized American notions of tolerance and fellow feeling. Yet ultimately to endorse such thinking is rank foolishness. Like nearly all of the contentions that undergird transgender ideology, the arguments in favor of transgender pronouns — defined here as the incorrect application of “he” and “she” as well as absurd neologisms like “ze” and “zir” — are, in the end, shortsighted. Though compelling on their own limited terms, they fail to take into account that further capitulation where language is concerned can only give aid and comfort to a movement whose success is inevitably attended by the sexualization of children, the sanctioning of brutality, and the dramatic curtailment of freedom of speech and thought.