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Michael Knowles speaks at the 2023 CPAC on March 4, 2023, in Washington, D.C.YouTube/Screenshot

(LifeSiteNews) — Conservative author and commentator Michael Knowles caused an uproar at the 2023 CPAC when he made the correct and yet incredibly controversial assertion that “transgenderism” should be eradicated from the public square.

Media outlets and even the White House recently freaked out while misrepresenting his words. And while I can’t say for sure, it’s likely that GOP consultants cringed worrying about how their politicians would react when asked about the type of assertions Knowles made in his CPAC speech.

READ: Michael Knowles at CPAC: ‘Transgenderism must be eradicated from public life entirely’

It’s important to note, however, that Knowles isn’t just morally correct. In a more general sense, vehement opposition is the only viable path for conservatives encountering such an incoherent and destructive ideology as “transgenderism.”

The “transgender” movement has not only pushed radical interventions from a shaky scientific basis but has left a victim toll that will likely explode as the ideology gains traction in communities.

This is clear in a number of ways but statements like that of Knowles have offended the sensibilities of those who claim to be conservative while abandoning key ground on sexual morality. In doing so, he’s exposed just how harmful that brand of “conservatism” can be.

Writing in Newsweek, libertarian Brad Polumbo argued that Knowles was extreme and even went so far as to suggest that not supporting “transitions” or left-wing bathroom policies violated conservative principles. Where is he getting such a warped notion of conservatism? It’s unclear, but it’s probably from the same worldview that makes him feel justified in calling his podcast “Based Politics.”

The irony seemed to be lost on the “based” Polumbo as he effectively suggested conservatives abandon centuries-old common sense about gender and sex in order to placate socio-political discomfort with purportedly “authoritarian” views like Knowles’.

Being “based,” in common parlance, means stating obvious truths despite their wildly offensive meaning to prevailing cultural forces. In other words, Knowles’s CPAC speech was “based.”

READ: Bolsonaro defends pro-life policies, opposition to gender ideology at CPAC 2023

“Transgenderism,” which promotes false ideas about nature and God, is not. Nor is it “based” for a so-called “trans woman” (whom Polumbo touted) to pose with a gun and bikini to “own the libs.”

Within “transgenderism” lies a tangled mess of deceptions, much of which has been exposed  by the Twitter account LibsofTikTok and Knowles’ fellow Daily Wire host Matt Walsh in his documentary “What is a Woman?”

The ground on which “transgenderism” stands is unstable, more so than other left-wing stances on morality. It relies on not just false notions about God and nature, but daily reinforces those with outright distortions that are plain for the average citizen to see.

“Trans” people not only verbally espouse contradictions, they visibly embody them through horrific medical interventions that disfigure and corrupt biological systems. Why, for example, do “trans” people need to pack their genitals or undergo several rounds of plastic surgery to live as their “authentic selves?” Why does a “trans” person’s body have such visceral negative reactions to hormone drugs that are supposed to make them healthier?

Polumbo asserts that Knowles’ brand of conservatism is a losing version because it prevents people from living “the way that makes them happiest.” “There is nothing in line with traditional conservative principles of limited government and individual liberty that entails trying to outlaw lifestyles different than your own or forcing your way of life onto others,” he says.

Again, it’s unclear which principles he’s referring to but it’s likely not those that undergird the American form of limited government, which is by no means tied to Polumbo’s abstract, gnostic vision of happiness. That is plainly incompatible with the vision for a country that, until relatively recently, allowed states to ban sodomy.

READ: Sarah Huckabee Sanders signs new law effectively banning transgender mutilation of children

Knowles’ vision, meanwhile, not only tracks more closely with authentic conservatism, but it is more compassionate than Polumbo’s surrender to an evil ideology plaguing the very people he wants to help.

Polumbo is right, however, to weigh conservatives’ political success at least in part against “trans” people’s happiness and our “born this way” culture’s concern for that. What he’s overlooking, of course, is that gender ideology itself is disrupting those projections of happiness, and the political implications that come with it.

True happiness isn’t guaranteed, and in fact is counteracted, by ideologically driven lifestyles that are unique in their reliance on so much medical quackery. It’s worth considering, for example, why a study conducted in the more socially liberal country of Sweden showed post-op “transsexuals” had 19 times the rate of suicide compared to a control group.

If anything, Knowles’ message is timely while Polumbo’s is more outdated – reflecting a mindset lacking the perspective of revelations about so-called gender identity services. Sweeping literature reviews had already made it clear that the science of “transitions” was murky but more recent developments are arguably making 2023 the year of reckoning for gender insanity.

More and more, “detransitioners” like Chloe Cole are gaining notoriety as part of an inevitable exposure of “transgenderism’s” harmful consequences. Another “detransitioner,” Keira Bell, reportedly influenced a landmark report that’s prompting the closure of the U.K.-sponsored Gender Identity Development Service this year.

The horrors of that service have recently been exposed in a book published by BBC reporter Hannah Barnes. Last month, Missouri’s attorney general also acknowledged he was investigating allegations of inappropriate hormone “therapy” at The Washington University Transgender Center at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. That same hospital saw Jamie Reed, a self-described Bernie Sanders supporter and former employee, alleging the American medical system as a whole was “permanently harming” patients struggling with gender identity.

As with Polumbo, reading Barnes and Reed one gets the idea that society should merely separate false ideas about gender from purported misapplications of them. But as Knowles notes, gender ideology in itself is the problem – regardless of whether it’s applied to adult or minor bodies.

READ: ‘A spiritual war’: James O’Keefe points to Sacred Heart of Jesus in fiery CPAC speech

Among the many heartbreaking stories from “detransitioners” is that of an Ontario woman who removed her uterus and recently said: “[T]he pain of what I’ve done to myself is overwhelming. I cry and I can’t stop.” Michelle Zacchinga started considering “transitioning” at 21 and received support from an online community.

My own reporting in Idaho has shown how K-12 library books not only discount traditional perspectives on gender but encourage children to explore “chosen” families and online communities to receive the type of support they may not get from parents.

Barnes’ book, meanwhile, has indicated that activist groups pressured medical professionals to push “transitions” onto minors despite them needing, at the very least, to receive treatment for problems like obsessive-compulsive disorder.

One of Barnes’ anecdotes describes a boy who experienced extreme distress during the process of “transition.” Although his mother favored delaying the process, the boy was reportedly told by an older online user that, in Barnes’ summation, “everything would be fine once he had all his surgeries.”

These are the types of influences that should be “eradicated” through lawful means. They’re extremely harmful and subvert the communal forces that would typically serve as checks against such radical insanity.

When more people join Zacchinga and turn away from ideologically driven medical advice, they and their communities shouldn’t have a Polumbo-esque GOP to resent. Instead, they should have one that, in line with Knowles’ vision, tries to not only warn them about evil medical practices but offers a holistic vision of nature for them to pursue after leaving the trappings of “transgenderism.”