How do citizens maintain a system of government based on the idea of natural rights when the very idea of nature is under assault?
Our equal rights, according to the Declaration of Independence, are grounded in “the laws of Nature and Nature’s God.” Yet according to many leading intellectuals, nature or reality has no independent existence outside of human will. This postmodern notion—that an intelligible world and universally valid science are mere social constructs—has been orthodox opinion in many university departments for decades. In recent years, however, the repudiation of nature, including human nature, has burst into everyday experience, most strikingly in the controversy over transgender athletes dominating women’s sports. According to many leftist ideologues, even the most basic facts of biology must submit to the dictates of politics. As Planned Parenthood memorably declared in a March 2018 tweet, “Some men have a uterus.”
Because the American regime is founded on a philosophical idea, these developments threaten the health of our civic culture. What started out as academic theorizing and ideological posturing now undermines Americans’ conception of our government and the ground of its legitimacy. Strange as it may seem, to be an American citizen requires sound metaphysics.