Previous political cycles have emphasized the primacy of national economic health. But what good is a healthy economy if the people of the nation have been physically mutilated and spiritually destroyed? What must have primacy this political cycle is the health and well-being of the American people, especially the health and well-being of the children of our nation.
To that end, Donald Trump just announced a plan for if he is re-elected as president, called the “Plan to Protect Children from Left-Wing Gender Insanity.” His plan includes an executive order overturning Biden’s so-called “gender-affirming care” policies. With this order, Trump intends to halt all federal programs promoting transgender transitioning “at any age,” which he rightly calls “chemical, physical, and emotional mutilation.” Furthermore, Trump will ask Congress to pass federal legislation outlawing child sexual mutilation in all 50 states.
Trump promises to strip hospitals and health care providers of federal funding via Medicare and Medicaid if they participate in such child mutilation. He also promotes striking back at left-wing doctors and Big Pharma by creating avenues to sue doctors who have conducted these procedures on children and ordering the Department of Justice to investigate Big Pharma for possibly covering up known side effects of “gender transitions.”
Trump takes aim at the promotion of radical gender ideology in schools too. He explains that teachers who suggest to children that they might be “trapped in the wrong body” will be liable for civil rights violations and the stripping of federal funding. Trump promises a new credentialing body for teachers that will promote education celebrating the nuclear family, the positive roles of mothers and fathers, and the differences between men and women.
Finally, Trump says he will ask Congress to pass a bill establishing male and female as the only sexes recognized by the U.S. government, fixed at birth. That bill would also clarify that Title IX prevents males from competing in women’s sports.
Prioritizing the cultural fight against left-wing transgender insanity does not mean that the economy is not of great importance: We need an economic climate where fathers can afford to put food on the table for their families. But the performance of the stock market must be secondary to the protection of children from the radical gender ideology that has infiltrated our schools, medical establishments, and public square. It is not the economy but children, families, and the American way of life that must be forefront in our minds this political cycle.
The Law as Teacher
Some might react against Trump’s proposed harsh measures to punish doctors and schools that promote such madness. They might wonder why we cannot just civilly discuss these matters without threatening legal trouble. Every day, adults and children are bombarded by television and movies, TikTok and YouTube, morning talk shows and peer pressure all pointing in the direction of “gender fluidity” and “gender-affirming care.” Rational discussion will not successfully dissuade most from the constant cultural pressure.
Yet there are other, more effective means of shaping people’s idea of the good life: the law being an important one. This has been recognized since the beginning of Western civilization. Plato argues in “Laws” that “the task of the noblest laws” is “to bring about hatred of injustice and desire … for the nature of the just.” In other words, when our laws punish certain actions, it teaches that such actions are wrong. Laws punishing murder teach the populace that murder is wrong. Similarly, when certain deeds are praised publicly, that instructs citizens that such deeds are good and right. We do this when we give honors to military heroes.
So when Trump proposes to punish those who promote gender mutilation, this will, over time, help reshape public opinion to recognize such actions as bad. Likewise, his proposed plan to promote education that celebrates sex differences and the nuclear family will help Americans to see such things as good and right again.
No Neutral Public Square
America used to be a place where there was a broad public consensus about morality and the American way of life, which included devotion to God, family, and country. Americans agreed with one another about what “the good life” looked like. The “neutral” public square was actually built on top of a non-neutral, Christian foundation. That foundation has been eroded, but no nation can exist without some conception of the good life. So today, a new vision of the good life, promoted by the left, is characterized not by virtue and ordered liberty but by licentiousness. The good life is whatever certain individuals desire in the moment. Thus, if you oppose those individuals’ expression of their personal desires, you are opposed to what is good: You become evil.
In other words, the war over culture is in fact a war over what the dominant idea of the good life is going to be. Will it be a conservative or Christian idea, characterized by virtue and human flourishing, and governed by a stable conception of human nature? Or will it be an idea of the good that has abandoned nature as a standard?
Trump’s proposals implicitly acknowledge that we can no longer pretend there is a neutral public square. Rather, there are competing ideas of what is good, and one must emerge the victor. Trump’s proposals point in the direction of a society structured around an idea of the good that includes flourishing children, happy families, and a healthy understanding of male and female.
Whether Trump is re-elected or not, conservatives must seek a national leader willing to use the tools of political power to protect American children. This is a necessary component of any future conservative political platform. At the end of his proposal, Trump rightly stated that no serious country would promote the destruction of its own children. America used to be a serious country. Perhaps it can be again.