London — William F. Buckley famously said that he “would rather be governed by the first two thousand names in the Boston telephone directory than in a society governed by the two thousand faculty members of Harvard University.”
Myself and other populist-curious conservatives rightly appeal to this thinking, recognizing the grave idiocy often found in minds commonly described as “expert.”
But it now appears that the decline of our politicians and intellectuals has been so colossal that I think I would sooner be governed by a lottery of random schoolchildren than the legions of great thinkers that coalesce in government, media, and the law.
The reason for my newfound faith in the political instincts of the youth comes from the courts, where a 14-year-old schoolgirl has successfully defeated Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) after it introduced hate-crime guidance to schools in January and threatened to sue them if they did not allow transgender children to use their preferred changing rooms or toilets.
The CPS, hijacked by activists, has gone above and beyond the already-absurd law in Britain on LGBT issues to introduce measures that would erode girls’ rights. And now, thanks to a brave schoolgirl, their near-ceaseless march has been momentarily halted.
Children are brilliantly insightful precisely because they do not complicate matters. They have a natural grasp over right and wrong, good and bad. Which is why, unlike their overseers — who have performed the extraordinary mental gymnastics and endured the political conditioning required to serve in the British state — they know immediately that biological boys and girls should not be using the same bathroom.
Many are by now aware of the political power that children hold, especially on Twitter, where the latest leading light of the liberal left will gushingly share with us that their six-year-old daughter interrupted a news bulletin from MSNBC to announce that the “symbiotic relationship between the market and state power has brainwashed millions into supporting the remorseless scythe of Capital.” It will receive thousands of retweets. It will always be a lie.
But this latest case is no lie at all. The instinct for justice and decency found in this brave, anonymous girl — known only as “Miss A” — has had a profound effect on British policy and the ever-extending reach of the state.
This instance reflects a broader and most welcome trend: a slowdown in the incessant, unwearying march of gender activism.
This anonymous schoolgirl’s defeat of the CPS has come soon after another example of the trans parade being forced to pause: Last month, the government announced that it would introduce new curbs on gender-reassignment surgery to protect children from “irreversible” decisions.
Liz Truss, who juggles the ministerial duties of trade and women and equalities, said: “Grown adults should be able to make decisions, to have agency to live life as they see fit. But before the age of 18, when people are still developing their decision-making capabilities, they should be protected from making decisions that are irreversible about their bodies that they could possibly regret in the future.” (The average age at which children start such treatment is 14, but some start at twelve.)
This intervention is welcome news. Many lives will benefit from it; instances of deep regret and lifelong suffering will be prevented.
But many conservatives in Britain were shocked to discover that — after over a decade of feverishly doing precisely the opposite — the Tories had decided to implement this socially conservative measure. Since David Cameron’s surprise coronation in 2005, the party’s focus on winning the economic war has been met with a total surrender on the social, cultural flank. The losses have been great. Support from its own members and parliamentarians has been limited. And, in news that surprises precisely nobody, the left-wingers Cameron and Co. sought to appease still find them detestable.
The decision of Truss is especially surprising, as the minister has often been connected with the Whiggish wing of the party. In a speech to one of the country’s most influential think tanks in 2018, she said: “In the merits of capitalism, Beyoncé said it best: ‘All the honeys, who making money, throw your hands up at me.’” Earlier that year, she described Britain’s young people as “Uber-riding, Airbnb-ing, deliveroo-eating freedom fighters.” This libertarian language is not typically associated with conservatives fighting the culture war.
But if even Truss is on our side, then perhaps the as-yet overwhelming tide of baffling gender policy might finally fail to sweep away every last conservative concern in its path. A schoolgirl has stood up to the state, the gender activists, and their boundless cultural support and won. Conservatives must take heed from this. With the right arsenal, the little guy, or girl, can defeat even the most powerful foe.