America was founded on the principle of equality in creation, and the liberty to live according to our own conscience in the pursuit of happiness. In the opening of our Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson penned the immortal words that “all men are created equal.”
This articulated a self-evident moral truth, yes, but it was more than that; it voiced a promise to generations of Americans yet unborn. Today, that promise is being contorted into a weapon to cleanse our country’s public square of dissent on fundamental questions of reality, morality, and human nature.
Enter the so-called Equality Act. This legislation would do a number of things, from redefining sex as including “gender identity” to classifying objection to abortion as “pregnancy” discrimination. It would force girls to compete against boys in sports; it would force doctors to provide sex change procedures to minors against their will; and it would force battered women’s shelters to allow biological men in alongside traumatized women.
This legislation is not really about equality, rightly understood, but rather about control of, and contempt for, the average American citizen through total disregard for the consent of the governed when they hold the wrong beliefs.
There are institutions and realities that exist prior to government. There are beliefs that no amount of media gaslighting will be able to shake, because they are based on moral codes professed throughout human history and observable realities that cannot simply be swept aside. Those seeking to fundamentally transform a society first seek to transform how it thinks; in that case, such views and institutions tend to get in the way of that goal. And when they cannot be eradicated through public discourse, the threat of government force comes in as a catalyst.
It is because of this contempt for the moral and religious values held by so many in our republic that the appeal for “equality” takes the form of a direct assault on average Americans.
Indeed, this legislation would deploy the federal government as an agent of the cancel culture that has poisoned our public discourse and pummeled many into silence via threats to their livelihood and reputation. We have heard for years that those who disagree with the moral opinions of the cultural elites and the cadre of radical activists who drive them are bigots. We have seen lawsuit after lawsuit, mob after mob, and firing after firing used to carry out this attack. And when the federal government is empowered to tell citizens what biological sex means under penalty of law; it becomes a new sword to force submission.
Some who call for this legislation see it as nothing more than appeal to justice for their fellow citizens. But justice is dependent upon truth. The Equality Act not only ignores objective truth, it would criminalize the truth for any American recognizing the scientific, historic, and traditional definitions of sex and human nature. The irony here, of course, is that it would instead mandate moral relativism to ensure that the only truth having protection under law would be the subjective opinions of the elites.
That isn’t justice, it is ideological cleansing.
The founders of this republic formally recognized the truth that all were created with equal rights in the eyes of God, which meant that we have certain unalienable rights. But that promise does not give human law the power to equalize everything. Though we are equal in certain unalienable rights, it simply is not true that all men are equal in all things, or that all interactions with one another are equal; such ideas are contradicted by basic common sense. Some folks are gifted to science, others to art; some are athletic, and some are not. Some are introverts, and others thrive on human interaction; and, yes, men and women are inherently different.
Likewise, we will inevitably have differing beliefs about important questions of life that stem from our differing, natural ability to reason and debate. Importantly, however, the perspectives that we hold on these matters are protected by the inalienable right to free speech, as recognized by our First Amendment — and for good reason.
In discussing the causes of faction in Federalist 10, James Madison wrote that there were “two methods of removing them: the one, by destroying the liberty which is essential to its existence; the other, by giving to every citizen the same opinions, the same passions, and the same interests.” The first, he said, would be a cure “worse than the disease” while the second was “impracticable as the first would be unwise” because imperfect human reason will naturally create different opinions among the people. Put simply, the Equality Act would seek to do both, and countless Americans would suffer for their beliefs in the process.
The future of our republic — in very real and near terms — fully depends on our willingness to respect the consent of the governed while defending their right to disagree with each other. That consent comes up from the people, filtered through a federal system that allows states and citizens to agree to disagree on important policies and engage in robust debate, rather than empowering a self-anointed enlightened class to demand compliance with a self-defined truth. This means that our path forward for real equality is to give robust debate and fundamental differences their rightful space in a free society, not to stamp them out.
Rep. Chip Roy represents the 21st District of Texas
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller News Foundation.
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