Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Government protects life and liberty, but the pursuit of happiness? You’re on your own, right? Benjamin Franklin thought so. He said: “The U. S. Constitution doesn’t guarantee happiness, only the pursuit of it. You have to catch up with it yourself.” Until recently.
Found in the second paragraph of the first article of the Declaration of Independence, the inalienable rights to “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness,” underpin government itself. They are not a call for government to provide a taxpayer-funded, 24-hour bodyguard to every citizen who requests one, which would be ridiculous. Safety in our communities comes first and foremost from the beneficial effects of religion, school, and a stable family life. Cops and prosecutors and jails are for when things go wrong. So, if life and liberty are not guaranteed by law, neither is the pursuit of happiness. Until recently.
Lyndon B. Johnson’s 1965 Executive Order 11246 punished discrimination by federal government contractors and subcontractors on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. In 1965, “sex” in this context referred to women. Title IX is a 1972 federal civil rights law that prohibits sex-based discrimination in any school or other education program that receives federal money. Again, in 1972 “sex” meant women. Then, on July 21, 2014, Barack Obama signed Executive Order 13672, “using his pen” to redefine sex as “gender identity,” a subjective brainchild devoid of empirical truth.
Today, New York City’s Commission on Human Rights has determined that intentionally refusing to use an individual’s preferred pronoun—which doesn’t need to correlate with their biology only with what they “feel” they are—could result in civil penalties of up to $125,000. (There are a total of 31 gender categories to keep track of and no limit to the amount of money in compensatory damages the Commission may award.) But this kind of ruling is a states’ rights matter, right? It doesn’t exist on the federal level, right? Wrong.
On May 13, 2016, the Obama Administration sent a “Dear Colleague” letter to U.S. schools providing “guidance” about self-declared transgender students and the bathrooms they prefer to use. Issued jointly by the Department of Justice and the Department of Education, the letter included an implicit threat to withhold federal funds if its directives were not implemented. How can something as benign sounding as a “Dear Colleague” letter carry such weight? Because it comes from what’s known as the administrative state, aka the deep state. Think of it as a gated community of federal agencies staffed by career civil service officials protected from partisan removal by a new administration. Anyone who runs afoul of the wishes of this permanent unelected bureaucracy can face legal liability, find their government contracts cancelled or denied, have funding withheld. What would our country’s founders say? (Well, Hamilton might like it, but then he wanted to give George Washington a crown.)
So now certain presidents and the administrative-state bureaucrats who serve them have decided that Ben Franklin had it wrong, and it is indeed the responsibility of government to guarantee the happiness of transgender people by forcing everyone, by dint of law, to kowtow to what makes them happy—or else. Religious liberty is important, but this isn’t just about being forced to accept a lifestyle that conflicts with one’s faith, it’s about forcing all of us to act as if something is real when we know it isn’t—or else. I believe we have legal standing in this. Legal standing is the ability to bring a lawsuit into court based upon one’s stake in the outcome. To prove standing we must show the court sufficient connection to, and harm from, the law or action. We are connected to transgender government diktats because as citizens we are subject to these novel laws stemming from bizarre deviations from the laws of nature. We are harmed by this because reality matters. Intimidating people into accepting as real something common sense tells them is false is a dangerous mind game. It lulls. Live long enough under such an intellectual dictatorship and objective reality will matter less, as will the ability to engage in critical thinking. It harms us as individuals, and it harms us as a nation. Using government to achieve this is the Orwellian nightmare realized. Where’s the ACLU when you need them?
Transgender is the “T” in LGBT, a political coalition—empowered by ruthless politicians and a psychotic liberal media—that got where it is today by using children. The “born this way” idea is as strategic as it is specious because you don’t need gay genetics to have gay sex. It would have made more sense for the Gay Liberation Movement to argue that people have a constitutional right to live a gay lifestyle as per the Pursuit of Happiness principle. But using the “born this way” mantra brought kids into it, and since everyone cares about children . . . Voila! Instant acceptance for the adults in the movement. The result is that now we not only have supposedly “gay and lesbian” children but “trans” children as well. It’s a logical progression of a selfish strategy.
Today your fifteen-year-old daughter tells you she’s really a boy and wants to sue her school so she can use the boys’ bathroom and locker room. You can either book the operating room for her to undergo bodily mutilation, or you can give her some sensible parental advice. You can tell her that in just three short years she will be of legal age and can do whatever she wants. In the meantime, instead of entangling the family in an expensive lawsuit and disrupting everyone’s life, paraphrase John F. Kennedy and say something like, ask not what your school can do for you but what you can do for your school: Agree to use the girl’s facilities, but, since you claim you’re a boy, don’t loiter or ogle the girls. In other words: Be a gentleman about it. This doesn’t deny your perceived identity, it affirms it in a socially responsible way. Now go do your homework.
Adults are hardwired to coddle children. Interesting historical note: Eunuchs in the Roman Empire became very powerful in government because of their unique voices. A man castrated before puberty did not have a high-pitched squeaky voice; he had the voice of a child, and people automatically trusted him. So a murderous plotter who sounded like little Oliver asking for more porridge had a distinct advantage in backstabbing Rome. Children can be manipulative. Instead of automatically buying into the idea that impulsive kids with poor decision-making skills should run the show because they claim distress, consider that they might just be obnoxious, attention-seeking brats who want the world to revolve around them. And if they are disturbed enough to be talking suicide, parents and pediatricians alike need to reflect on how sex-changing is in itself a type of suicide. It’s an ending of self with a permanent and irreversible solution. This is a child with a complex problem. Surgery won’t solve it.
Today’s administrative state arose from Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, which launched a huge bureaucracy and endowed it with extensive governing authority. The New Deal focused on relief for the unemployed and poor, economic recovery from the Great Depression, and bank reform. It was created in response to a national crisis, and then never went away. At least its goals were pragmatic. Today’s Frankensteinian goals are ridiculous. And dangerous.