The five-year-old boy who transitions to identify as a girl has taken a major step on a road that may lead to treatment with cross-sex hormones, castration, and infertility. Most five-year-old boys who say they are girls will not persist: fifteen years later, in the great majority of cases, that boy will say he is a man, not a woman. But the American Academy of Pediatrics is now on record prioritizing the opinion of a five-year-old over the considered judgment of the child’s parents.
Pillar: Politics & Law
The third pillar of a decent society is a just system of politics and law. Such a government does not bind all persons, families, institutions of civil society, and actors in the marketplace to itself as subservient features of an all-pervading authority. Instead, it honors and protects the inherent equal dignity of all persons, safeguards the family as the primary school of virtue, and seeks justice through the rule of law.
Although many are dissatisfied with the Vatican’s efforts to mediate Venezuela’s political crisis, Venezuela’s Catholic Church is the one institution that has retained its integrity throughout two decades of a leftist-populist tyranny. What might this mean for a post-dictatorship Venezuela?
Far from being an exercise of self-expressive freedom, as some suggest, pornography binds internally, its addictive properties consuming its consumer under a tyranny of license both brutal and total. It denies our humanity as well as our liberty by moving us away from human speech and toward bestial voice.
It’s an error for conservatives to see the American Founding’s emphasis on natural rights as necessarily fostering extreme individualism in contemporary America. Eighteenth-century Americans would have viewed the notion that rights could be exercised contrary to natural law as ridiculous.
If the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade it might set back the movement for an international right to abortion several decades. It might even defeat it once and for all.
Can we hold to the truths of the Declaration of Independence—that we are endowed by our Creator with natural rights and that government derives its just powers from the consent of the governed—without undermining respect for those natural duties and natural relationships that do not depend on our consent?
The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act provides a scientifically sound, medically accurate, and respectful approach to ensure that the innocent human being who survives an attempted abortion will be treated with the same human dignity and respect that similarly aged human beings receive in the course of good neonatal medical care. It also ensures that human beings with disabilities are not targeted for intentional killing at the moment of birth.
To remain prosperous, America needs more immigrants.
Why does Orthodox Judaism center so intensely upon law, when the modalities of poetry and philosophy are available? Is it possible that, for most members of the culture, study of the law develops the areas of the soul that elsewhere are nurtured by poetry and philosophy?
If the status quo is the end game for conservatives, then there can never be hope for a long-term political victory, only momentary setbacks to the progressive agenda. The victories of social progressivism have less to do with the ideology of the founding than the moral failure of men and women in every generation to stop evil from progressing.
Is an infant, marked for abortion but delivered alive, even in tragic circumstances, a person whom the law ought to protect?
On February 4th, 2019, U.S. Senator Josh Hawley delivered the following remarks in support of the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act.
Women visiting Iran for international sports and game tournaments should not have to wear an Islamic headcover to be eligible to compete. US athletes should not have to wear a political symbol to play soccer. Everyone should have the freedom to compete without garment coercion.
In politics, charity requires that we not assume the worst of those we disagree with politically, at least not without substantial proof. Charity is not some fuzzy feeling; it is the principle that motivates people to seek all of the facts about a situation prior to judgment.
Most journalists strive for objectivity, but some bias is inevitable. New research indicates that media personnel are most likely to attribute crimes to hate when the victims are sexual minorities and least likely to do so when the victims are Christians.
If we are to correct the wayward course of contemporary democratic societies, we must preserve what is true and good and mitigate what is false and harmful in both liberalism and nationalism. We would do well to embrace core principles of the Anglo-American constitutional tradition—principles grounded in and sustained by the virtue of prudence.
All people should be protected from harassment and harm, no matter how they identify. But we as a society must be allowed to reasonably act on the basis of sex when medical treatment, privacy, and safety are at stake. If “gender identity” becomes a protected class, women and children are the ones who will suffer most.
Thomas More’s Utopia suggests that a defense of property emphasizing material productivity, though valid, is inadequate. By probing classical reasons for and against private property, More goes deeper, addressing the objective needs of the human soul.
To faithfully apply the original public meaning of liberty protected by the Constitution—that is to say, to be a faithful originalist—one must acknowledge that both a contractarian view of individual liberty and a Whig view of the liberty to make laws were held by the founding generation.
Indifference to human life in the prenatal phase is the original sin of the multilateral system, enshrined in its constituent agreements and diligently propagated throughout its institutions. Nothing short of a revolution in international policy will do if the human rights project is to be truly reclaimed.
In conservation biology, a complex ecosystem whose health was slowly compromised over time can be revivified through a cascade of positive changes set in motion by reintroducing one of that system’s previous components. That’s exactly what today’s civil society needs, and conservative policymakers can help. We mustn’t shy away from using policy to achieve important ends—not just freedom, but the lessons, beliefs, and norms that make a free society succeed.
The alternative to the ideology of radical self-sufficiency is not reliance on the state, but the kind of community-based brotherly love and mutual aid that could be found even during midwestern American farmers’ darkest days. In the end, neither individuals nor governments, but communities, are the real vehicles for peace, harmony, and human flourishing.
This Friday, the Court will decide whether to review a case about an Indiana law that prohibits abortions performed solely because the unborn child has Down Syndrome or another disability. Regardless of our nation’s polarized views on the policy and politics of abortion, it is clear that our Constitution does not include a right to abort children merely because of disfavored characteristics.
In the midst of a Church sex abuse scandal, many serious questions arise about the Church’s relationship to civil authorities. Any question of the state’s role or the freedom of the Church is obviously secondary to the moral urgency of ensuring that children are kept safe. Now is the time for the Church to contend deeply and thoroughly with its sins and to build structures consistent with the call to holiness.
Public Discourse is launching two new features: short book notes and long form essays. They'll run occasionally, on Saturdays and Sundays. Today is our first longform essay. Enjoy.
Permission to own slaves and suppress false religions was taught by the Old Testament, never denounced by the New Testament, and accepted in word and deed for very long periods by popes, bishops, and saints. And yet the Church eventually repudiated such permission. So, too, with intentional killing in capital punishment. The fact that death is deserved and proportionate does not license the state or any human being to intend to impose it.