My wife is so sharp. We were discussing world events recently, along with the tepid response of the Biden administration, watching them dither, equivocating on this, apologizing for that, inclusive here, exclusive there. Regarding Biden, she recalled that a pundit had asked, “Where is the moral outrage?” 

My wife’s response was epic: “Well, you’ve got to have morals before you can have moral outrage.” Nailed. It. 

There is no sense of morality coming from the White House right now. I’m not talking about so-called “inclusivity” or earnest beliefs. I’m talking about morality, the actual ability to differentiate between right and wrong. The ability to know that some decisions or actions, regardless of personal desires, may be immoral if pursued incorrectly. 

I can decide that something is worth doing, yet still be immoral if I steal your money to get it done. I can decide that I think something is important, yet still be immoral if I force you against your will to take part in it. I can decide that I think that kids should know things, yet still be immoral if I force those beliefs over parental wishes. 

This is where we are currently, and the case in point is the Biden administration’s recent surreptitious effort to engage kids in transgender ideology. Posing as one thing, the government became another. 

Do you remember the classic 1968 movie “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”? I loved that movie as a kid, except for the “child catcher,” who really creeped me out. Wearing a long colorful coat and a crumpled black top hat while sporting stringy hair and a long-pointed nose, he skipped and skulked with hands full of candy ringing a little bell and calling for children. He promised delightful treats – just step into his wagon! He was a full-on child trafficker with hands full of sweets, and yes, he was creepy. 

But the child catcher grew creepier when you realized that his deception was sponsored by the government. The king himself employed the child catcher and took pride in stealing people’s children. So let me tell you of today’s subtle child catcher. 

In 1992, Congress enacted the Synar Amendment requiring states to pass legislation prohibiting the sale of tobacco to minors. Over time, all states enacted their own youth tobacco laws, but in a never-ending effort to prove its self-worth, the federal government decided it must further regulate the matter. 

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) began conducting the annual National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS) targeting middle school and high school students, ostensibly to gauge effectiveness. No problem. Just about kids’ views on smoking, right? 

But in recent years, activists masquerading as government bureaucrats realized their golden opportunity. Why not use that existing survey to get to kids on other issues as well? It’s for the greater good, right? 

The problem is that they lacked the moral foundation to do so. 

Government-sponsored activists co-opted the NYTS and began using it to give instructive descriptions with follow-on questions about transgenderism among minors. This deception begins with Form 0920-0621 (the actual designation of the NYTS) starting with the disclaimer: “This survey is about tobacco. We would like to know about you and the things you do that may affect your health. Your answers will be used for programs for young people like yourself.” Sounds innocent enough. 

But according to an article from Just the News, the CDC made a recent “’Non-Substantive change request’ … to ‘update’ existing questions on a variety of topics including 'questions/answer choices on sexual orientation and gender identity (including non-binary).’” 

Changes made to the 2023 survey for middle- and high-schoolers ask students about their thoughts on transgenderism and their own sexual identities. “Some people describe themselves as transgender and/or nonbinary when the way they think or feel about their gender is different from their sex assigned at birth,” the new survey explains, followed by “Do you identify as transgender and/or nonbinary?” 

It gets worse with the next question, which is also NOT about tobacco: “Sexual orientation is a person’s emotional, romantic, and/or sexual attraction to another person. There are many ways a person can describe their sexual orientation and many labels a person can use. Which of these options best describes your sexual orientation?” It then asks 6th graders if they are “straight or heterosexual,” “Gay or lesbian,” “Bisexual, pansexual, or queer” or “Asexual.” 

We have hit the next level in first-world madness. Using one pretext – tobacco use – the government is allowing transgender activism to deceive its way into an otherwise innocuous survey given to kids. If you must lie to get in the door, then you don’t have a moral position in the first place. This is the creepy child catcher in another form. 

Pretending to be virtuous, even congressionally-mandated, the NYTS quickly morphs into something far more sinister, prying not only into the inner thoughts of confused kids, but instructing them – perhaps even confusing them – with an air of government-backed authority. 

“It’s okay, many people believe thus and so can you – we’re from the government, and we’re here to help.” It is the manifestation of the creepy child catcher; that immoral deceiver and prideful kidnapper doing what his government sent him to do. 

Back to the question of moral outrage. My wife was right: you must have actual morals before you can have moral outrage, and what I see from this current administration tells me that they don’t qualify. 

The moral outrage should be on our end.

To contact Phil or request him for a speaking engagement, go to The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of 1819 News. To comment, please send an email with your name and contact information to

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