Weekend Read: Soul Dysphoria [A Trans and GenZ Disaster] thumbnail

Weekend Read: Soul Dysphoria [A Trans and GenZ Disaster]

By Spencer Klavan

Understanding the “trans” phenomenon means recognizing it’s about more than gender.

In 2013 the DSM-V, an authoritative diagnostic manual for therapists and clinicians published by the American Psychiatric Association, defined gender dysphoria as “the distress that may accompany the incongruence between one’s experienced or expressed gender and one’s assigned gender,” where “gender” refers not to one’s biology but to “the public (and usually legally recognized) lived role as boy or girl, man or woman.”

The psychologist John Money popularized this way of speaking in the mid-20th century—it is the lasting legacy of his highly disreputable career. The word “gender” draws a stark—some might say Platonic—dividing line between “sex,” meaning one’s biological characteristics as male or female, and “gender,” meaning the ways in which one behaves, feels, and is perceived. The runaway success of the philosopher Judith Butler’s Gender Trouble in 1990 helped sunder these two ideas more starkly among the leftist intellectual class. Butler was wrestling with French poststructuralists like Michel de Foucault and post-Freudian feminists like Simone de Beauvoir, who had famously written that “one is not born, but rather becomes, a woman.” Pushing Beauvoir’s idea further, Butler suggested that “sex does not cause gender, and gender cannot be understood to reflect or express sex.”

But then, still more radically, Butler proposed that sex too is an invented idea applied to the body, so that even the most basic facts of our physical selves are subject to transformation and reinterpretation: “gender is not to culture as sex is to nature; gender is also the discursive/cultural means by which ‘sexed nature’ or a ‘natural sex’ is produced.” Gender is a performance; binary sex is a social construct; our bodies are objects of hostile interpretations fabricated by the powerful. At the time these were explosive statements. Today, they are practically commonplace.

With this new vocabulary came new awareness of a painful split between body and soul. By all accounts, dysphoria is agony—a jagged perceived mismatch between flesh and spirit. In 2016, Buzzfeed asked gender dysphoric people to depict what it was like to feel as they did. Women drew their breasts as balls and chains shackled to their legs; men imagined unzipping their own skin and emerging, newly female, from their old unwanted exoskeleton. In children with gender dysphoria, puberty can be a time of acute distress when the maleness or femaleness of the body suddenly asserts itself in a dramatic way. The thoughts of gender dysphoric adolescents often turn to suicide, which is why many parents are willing to do anything—including irreversible surgery and hormonal intervention—to help alleviate the discomfort.

But it is telling to read in the DSM-V that gender dysphoria occurs in just 0.005 percent to 0.014 percent of natal males, and 0.002 percent to 0.003 percent of natal females. In 2013, those numbers were current. They are already wildly out of date. Girls, especially, are developing gender dysphoria at an alarming pace: between 2006 and 2016, the number of referrals to London’s Charing Cross “Gender Identity Clinic” nearly quadrupled. Between 2008 and 2015, another such clinic in Nottingham saw its referral numbers jump from 30 to 850. A Gallup report in 2020 found that 1.8 percent of Gen-Z kids in the United States (born between 1997 and 2002) identified as transgender. By 2021, it was up to 2.1 percent. A shocking uptick in gender dysphoria, especially among girls, has blown the DSM-V’s figures out of the water. We are simply more uncomfortable in our bodies than we were before.

Perhaps some of this is because gender dysphoric people are more comfortable sharing their feelings as it becomes commonplace, not to say required, to accept and validate transgender people in American culture and society. But it is just as likely, if not more so, that causation goes the other way: maybe boys and girls feel more uncomfortable about their bodies as they are increasingly taught by adults and peers to view their physical sex as something detachable from their gender. Brown University health researcher Lisa Littman caused enormous controversy when she surveyed 250 families with dysphoric children and observed that 80 percent of the kids were female. What Littman called “rapid-onset gender dysphoria” is a new phenomenon, a sudden self-identification as trans in girls who never showed signs of bodily discomfort before. Littman was attacked because her results suggested that our massive dysphoria epidemic might not be entirely spontaneous.

More and more public schools have adopted the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s “gender snowperson,” or other similar infographics✎ EditSign, to teach that sex, sexuality, and gender are unmoored from one another. But this kind of messaging goes beyond classrooms. One 2020 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found evidence that in areas where kids are exposed to more media coverage of transgender-related issues, gender therapy clinics receive more referrals. Kids increasingly shape their political beliefs and values (including their sense of gender identity) in conversation with one another in online forums. “Online engagement is not just isolated,” said Tumblr’s director of outreach Liba Rubenstein, “it really is attached to people’s offline identities.”

Typically, this kind of peer-to-peer discussion is represented as a victory for liberation and inclusion. But online life is not just allowing kids to vent their discomfort with their bodies: it’s also creating that discomfort where previously there was none. In this broader context the rise in transgender identification and gender dysphoria seems less like an authentic phenomenon in and of itself, and more like one symptom of an ancient conflict between body and soul, kicked into hyperdrive by the experience of internet life.

Abigail Shrier, a journalist who documents the rise of gender dysphoria in young girls in her book Irreversible Damage, interviewed one teenager whose anorexia morphed naturally into gender dysphoria as if the two sprang from the same source: “My goal went from diet pills to testosterone…. From fantasies about slicing off my thigh fat to slicing off my breasts. I bound them with duct tape. I couldn’t breathe. It made me panic, but I felt brave.” Buck Angel, a transsexual internet celebrity, speculated to Shrier about the association between widespread gender dysphoria and a disgust at the body more generally among teens, who are having less sex than previous generations and seem more comfortable in virtual than physical space. Shrier concludes that adolescent transgenderism “very often seems to be a sad cult of asexuality, like the hand-painted sign in an antique shop reading ‘Please Do Not Touch.’”

Persona Creata

Given the explosion of gender dysphoria among adolescent girls, this phase of the body crisis suggests a particular horror at the idea of womanhood. “Perhaps forever,” writes Shrier, “but at least since Shakespeare’s Viola arrived shipwrecked in Illyria and decided to pass herself off as a man, it has occurred to young women: it’s so much easier to be a boy.” The feminist injunction for women to “lean in”—to hunt out positions of power and dominance in traditionally male industries and pursuits—comes freighted with the implication that traditionally female pursuits are weak, contemptible, and dull. “I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas, but what I decided to do was fulfill my profession,” sniffed Hillary Clinton, in a classic summation of this idea, during her husband Bill’s first presidential campaign.

Both implicitly and explicitly, our ruling classes express contempt for homemaking and motherhood. But this closes off the most primal path to resolving the body crisis. Women, by creating new life, bear witness to the possibility that body and soul can in fact be reconciled: in childbirth, human flesh becomes the medium of the divine. Poets have expressed this as the “eternal feminine,” the strangely luminous power of women like Dante’s Beatrice or Faust’s Margarete to act as physical conduits for the life-giving power of God. “Woman, eternal, beckons us on,” wrote Johann Wolfgang von Goethe in the closing lines of his Faust. This is the meaning of the Virgin Mary’s consent to bring God into the world: her body will become the medium to deliver divine life, God made flesh.

Not that pregnancy and labor are some sort of cakewalk that we should regard with misty-eyed sentiment. Ever since Adam and Eve left Eden, creating life has also meant facing pain. The delicate challenge of growing from girl to woman involves coming to terms with the blood and the sorrow of what it means to have a body in a fallen world. Now, though, that hard task is made harder by the constant social implication that to be a mother is to be brainwashed and oppressed. Small wonder girls are fleeing womanhood, and small wonder this has intensified our sense that the human body is nothing more than a dead weight. Childbirth is not the only way to be fulfilled, nor the only way out of the body crisis. But if our bodies are not at least potentially a source of life as well as death, of blessing as well as discomfort, then they are simply a burden. Shucking off that burden means turning women into mere body parts that can be removed, reconfigured, or appropriated at will, reducing the female body to its functions and recasting women themselves as “menstruaters,” “chest feeders,” and “birthing people.”

Thus trans activism increasingly comes along with the implication that the body has no inherent integrity; that its meaning is entirely at the whim of its inhabitant. “Here’s the thing about chest surgery,” said Dr. Joanna Olson-Kennedy, a trans youth specialist and director of the Center for Transyouth Health and Development at the Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles: “If you want breasts at a later point in your life you can go and get them.” Reacting with alarm to Olson-Kennedy’s statement, British journalist Douglas Murray, asked: “Are people like blocks of Lego onto which new pieces can be stuck, taken off and replaced again at will?”

Not yet, but perhaps that is the longing upon which trans extremism plays. Increasingly the objective is to abolish the boundaries of the body altogether, to liberate the human spirit and let it mold the flesh as it chooses. This is what critic Mary Harrington calls “biolibertarianism”: the aspiration to remove bodily constraints, to turn our physical form into a set of customizable parts that can be interchanged or reshaped. Harrington notes an anonymous 2018 paper, Gender Acceleration, which argues that surgical transition from male to female “breaks [a] lucky few free from the horrid curse of being human.” A woman who goes by the handle “whorecress” expressed a very similar attitude in a video that went viral on TikTok: “I’m not body-positive,” she declared, “I’m not body-neutral. I’m body-negative. I wanna be vapor. Or like, a plume of blue smoke. Or mist. Or a rumor—I’d be a rumor… ’cause like, gender? Humiliating. An ache, a pain? Needing to sit down? Spatial awareness? The vulgarity…. Every day I wake up and I’m subject to the burden of embodiment. How dare I be a shape? Disgusting.”

Obviously this monologue was delivered with a certain irony. But like all successful humor, it articulated a real sentiment that the online audience connected with. Whorecress’s cri de coeur against embodiment featured on a Reddit discussion thread called r/voidpunk, which “is a subculture for those who often feel rejected or disconnected from humanity” and prefer to associate themselves with a more spectral or robotic form of life. r/voidpunk has 21,600 subscribers as of this writing, but the trend is much bigger than that: “transhumanism” is a growing movement among technologists, many of whom imagine a future where gene editing, virtual reality, and bionic enhancement render us free from the limitations of physical existence. This is the modern culmination of our extreme body crisis.

The connection between transgenderism and transhumanism is made explicit by transgender activist and scientist Martine Rothblatt. Rothblatt’s book, From Transgender to Transhuman: A Manifesto on the Freedom of Form, argues expressly that gender transition is just the beginning:

I am convinced that laws classifying people as either male or female, and laws prohibiting people’s freedom based on their genitals, will become as obsolete in the twenty-first century as the religious edicts of the Middle Ages seem absurd in America today…. Over the next few decades we will witness the uploading of human minds into software and computer systems, and the birth of brand new human minds as information technology. As we see our selves and our loved ones in these transhuman beings, and they make us laugh and cry, we will not hesitate long to recognize their humanity with citizenship and their common cause with us in a new common species, Persona creatus (the “created person”).

And so the most cutting-edge current expression of the body crisis is not the hormone injection but the digital avatar: pick and choose how you will move through imagined digital space. The movement that began with “gender neutral” pronouns has now produced an enormous constellation of totally invented identities, going far beyond ze and zer to include neologisms like “pupself” and “demonself,” for those who identify spiritually as animals or demons. What’s going on here is bigger than gender: we are dreaming not simply of making men into women, and vice versa, but making ourselves into anything, at a whim.

Desire and Happiness

“Gender? Humiliating.” Whorecress was on to something. “How dare I be a shape? Disgusting.” There is the body crisis in a nutshell.

And yet we can’t escape the body except at a great and terrible cost. Much like virtual reality and online life, transhumanism holds out glittering promises on which it is singularly ill-equipped to deliver. It’s not just that sex-change technology currently comes with gruesome risks and lifelong complications. Even if we imagine that rearranging or reconstructing body parts becomes painlessly easy, will it make us happy? What will “happy” even mean? Already Andrea Long Chu, a major transgender writer, has emphasized that happiness is not the point: “My new vagina won’t make me happy,” Chu wrote in the New York Times, “and it shouldn’t have to.” This is because “desire and happiness are independent agents.” Really? If our desires have no governing aim, such as happiness or virtue, what is the use of them—or us—at all? Surely we follow our desires because they point us toward something desirable—if not, we are just aimless hunks of flesh pulled randomly in all directions by wants that have no connection to goodness or joy. This total dissolution of purpose would be one of the real wages of transhumanism, were it ever to become reality.

If we become fully free from the constraints of physical form, if we even develop the technology to “feel” whatever we want, then we really will become nothing more than the chemistry sets that the crudest materialists imagine us to be: joy will be an electro-chemical occurrence, unrelated to any objective excellence or achievement. In our effort to liberate our spirits from our bodies, we will make our spirits and our very consciousness into the mere mechanical illusion that machinists already imagine it to be. Dissolve the boundaries of your body and you dissolve the boundaries of yourself. If you feel an instinctive disgust at this dystopian futuristic prospect, it is because you have a felt intuition of what we really are.

We can have compassion for gender dysphoric people without making them the central ideal of all our aspirations. Without a trace of malice toward them, we may observe that the measures they take to transform their bodies are not steps in a direction we find particularly attractive or healthy. Treating the body like an endlessly permeable and cumbersome appendage is just as degrading as ignoring it in favor of constant online entertainment, and for the same reasons. Both are means of seeking escape from our physical forms, and both promise liberation while actually leaving us sick, remorseful, and listless. We have indulged for too long in the vague fantasy that if these kinds of life are pushed to the extreme, they will suddenly become fulfilling—that if we just proceed down this path that is currently making us sick and miserable, we will eventually be happy and free. This, as always, is a dubious proposition.

*****
This article was published by The American Mind and is reproduced with permission.

Study Shows Government’s Family Leave Mandates Have Thwarted Women’s Wage Gains thumbnail

Study Shows Government’s Family Leave Mandates Have Thwarted Women’s Wage Gains

By Rachel Greszler

Men and women alike should be able to take time off from work for family and medical needs without the risk of losing their jobs. Unfortunately, when policymakers turn something that should be voluntarily offered by employers into a rigid legal mandate, unintended consequences ensue.

In the case of family and medical leave laws in the U.S., a recent economic study found that those laws have led to lower relative wages for women and thwarted the convergence of women’s wages relative to men’s.

In the decade prior to the passage of the Family Medical Leave Act in 1993—a federal law that guarantees 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected family or medical leave to workers in companies with 50 or more employees—white women’s wages had been converging relative to white men’s at a rate of 0.70 percentage points per year.

In the decade after passage of the FMLA, the rate of convergence fell to 0.03 percentage points. The rate of convergence for black women to white men fell from 0.30 percentage points per year prior to passage of the FMLA to 0.05 percentage points after.

It’s important to note that the raw, so-called gender wage gap—which claims that women made only 82 cents on the dollar compared to men in 2021—is not a scientific metric because it simply compares the wages of all full-time women to all full-time men. After factoring in observable characteristics like occupation, experience, and education, the so-called gap shrinks considerably.

After accounting for changes in such observable characteristics, however, the study authors found that “the introduction of [family leave laws] can explain 94% of the reduction in the rate of gender wage convergence that is unaccounted for after controlling for changes in observable characteristics of workers.”

The authors estimated that “if gender wage convergence had continued at the pre-family leave rate, wage parity between white women and white men would have been achieved as early as 2017.”

These findings were based not only on the introduction of the federal FMLA, but more precisely by comparing wage convergences in 12 states that enacted family leave laws prior to the federal FMLA to convergences in states that did not enact such laws.

This study confirms the basic economic principle that there is no such thing as a free lunch, meaning that with any supposed government-created benefit, there are trade-offs. And it demonstrates the impossibility of providing flexibility to employees and their employers via one-size-fits-all government mandates.

That’s an important lesson for policymakers who, understandably, want to help more Americans benefit from access to paid family and medical leave. If laws that mandate access for some workers to unpaid family and medical leave end up hurting women’s wages, how many more unintended consequences could ensue from laws that impose paid leave mandates or create new government entitlements?

Fortunately, inertia—more aptly, the free market working as it should to reflect workers’ desires—is on our side. Between 2016 and 2021, the percentage of private sector workers who have access to paid family and medical leave increased 77%.

That figure will undoubtedly continue to grow, but government mandates could thwart its rise and cause many other unintended consequences.

Employer-provided paid family leave programs can always be more flexible and responsive to the needs of employees than one-size-fits-all government programs that must establish strict rules, rigid eligibility criteria, and immovable benefits.

And while the vast majority of employers know the value their workers contribute and see them as fellow humans who need time off for personal family and medical reasons, government programs managed by bureaucrats can only know applicants as claimant numbers with leave requests expressed through leave codes.

Additionally, state government-run paid family leave programs—which impose taxes on workers and/or employers to fund government benefits—also crowd out more flexible employer-provided programs because employers who may otherwise have implemented a program are unlikely to add one if they or their workers are already forced to pay into a government plan.

Further, as has already happened in states that have government paid-leave programs, employers that do provide their own programs will typically require their workers to first jump through hoops to get what they can from the government program before they can receive their employer’s benefits.

That could include waiting weeks or months to find out if a worker is eligible to take leave, requiring employees to submit loads of paperwork and receive doctors’ sign-offs, not allowing employees to take unexpected leave, and workers having to pay back government benefits they received if they answer an email or respond to a pressing work need while on leave.

Despite their intent, government-paid family leave programs are regressive. They tax everyone but predominantly benefit middle- and upper-income families. In California, for example, fewer than 4% of claims went to workers in the lowest-income bracket while nearly 21% went to workers in the highest-income bracket.

And government programs are costly. A Congressional Budget Office analysis of Democrats’ proposed Family and Medical Leave Insurance Act found that it would create yet another unfunded entitlement program, with costs exploding to 240% of the program’s revenues within just six years and necessitating about $700 a year in new taxes for the median household. And that’s for a program that would cover only 42% of workers’ paid family leave needs.

Paid family leave is something Americans want, but not with the costs and consequences that federal programs and mandates entail.

Instead, policymakers should help expand access to paid family leave through policies that make it easier and more economically feasible for private employers to offer their own programs. They can do that by passing legislation such as the Working Families Flexibility Act, by enacting Universal Savings Accounts, and by removing costly and unnecessary regulations so that employers have more resources to provide paid family leave that’s better tailored to their businesses and to their employees’ needs.

*****
This article was published by The Daily Signal and is reproduced with permission.

WEF Is Partnered with 47 CCP-Controlled Entities (Rogue Review) thumbnail

WEF Is Partnered with 47 CCP-Controlled Entities (Rogue Review)

By Catherine Salgado

The World Economic Forum, which plans a world where you “own nothing, have no privacy” and enjoy it, is officially partnered with at least 47 Chinese entities, with five of those officially owned by the CCP and at least three others directly tied to the CCP. Since all companies in China are directly answerable to the genocidal, authoritarian Chinese Communist Party (CCP), however, that means that WEF is partnered with the CCP even as it runs its tyrannical, murderous regime. I guess that’s why Chinese state propaganda was so excited to make more “friends” at WEF’s Davos 2023 conference (Jan. 16-20) and uphold the “dazzling” “Davos Spirit.”

The CCP is the greatest mass murderer in history. It also runs a terrible censorship regime, keeps its people in poverty, runs internment and forced labor camps, committed a Tiananmen 2.0 massacre against the recent anti-regime protestors, and is still committing ethnic-based genocide.

In China, all companies are directly answerable to the Chinese government and the major ones have government employees planted in their buildings. Furthermore, as I reported for Media Research Center, “China practices ‘civil-military fusion,’ where everything in the economic and tech spheres is accessible to the Chinese military.” That means any company in China, whether it is officially state-owned or not, is required to give any information to the CCP—and the CCP military—at any time.

The main point is that when WEF partners with Chinese companies, particularly with state-owned companies, it is knowingly partnering with branches or satellites of the worst genocidal, tyrannical regime in world history.

WEF’s Chinese partners include China Huaneng Group (which is explicitly listed as “state-owned”), Bank of China (“wholly state-owned”), China Merchants Group (CMG—also state-owned), Guangzhou Automobile Group (“state-owned”), State Grid Corporation of China (“a pilot state holding company”), Tencent Holdings (has many and deep ties to the CCP), TikTok (owned by ByteDance, in which the CCP has a board seat and financial stake), and Hong Kong Airport Authority (under the authority of the Hong Kong Government, which is totally controlled by the CCP).

What benefit is WEF getting from the mass murdering CCP that makes it so committed to its 47 CCP-controlled partners?

*****
This article was published by Pro Deo et Libertate and is reproduced with permission.

SHEILA NAZARIAN: It’s Time For Jews To Take Advantage Of The Second Amendment thumbnail

SHEILA NAZARIAN: It’s Time For Jews To Take Advantage Of The Second Amendment

By Sheila Nazarian

If you are Jewish and live in America, now is the time to carry a firearm. Thanks to a recent National Rifle Association victory in NYSRPA v. Bruen, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment protects our right, any law-abiding American’s right, a Jew’s right to carry a handgun for self-defense outside our homes.

God willing, we will never have to use our guns. But just in case, we should be armed.

A few years ago, I was sitting in a lecture hall, watching a Holocaust survivor tell her heartbreaking story. I vividly remember one thing she told the audience.

“Arm yourselves,” she said, making eye contact with us. “In Germany, they took away our guns. It was the first step. Get as many guns and as much ammunition as you can.”

I wasn’t a gun owner. I hadn’t ever considered it. We were in America, which, at the time, seemed much safer than my homeland, Iran. I had to escape Iran after the Revolution. Iranian border guards shot at our getaway vehicle as we crossed the border into Pakistan, and I will never forget feeling so defenseless.

I thought I would be safe in Los Angeles. But that all changed once I experienced the crime crisis over the past few years. I started receiving death threats on social media because I posted my political opinions and am very publicly a proud Jewish woman. People don’t like me for being outspoken, and there are a lot of antisemites online. I thought I escaped that when I left Iran, but antisemitism is a societal disease that will never disappear.

Once the Tree of Life massacre and other shootings in Jewish communities happened, and I saw graffiti in Beverly Hills during protests saying “Kill the rich,” I knew that I couldn’t rely on the government to protect me.

I decided to take my self-defense into my own hands. I purchased a firearm, received training from an NRA Certified Firearm Instructor, and applied for a concealed carry weapons license (CCW) in California. This license will allow me to defend myself, my family, and my community.

“An estimated 6 million American adults carried a loaded handgun with them daily in 2019, double the number who said they carried a gun every day in 2015,” The Guardian reported, citing an American Journal of Public Health study.

Antisemitism is coming at us from all sides. “The Jews” and “Jewish people” are constantly trending on Twitter. The hateful rhetoric is disgusting. The worst appears on message boards like 4chan and 8chan, which spread conspiracy theories, lies from “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” and vile memes of our people.

Antisemites aren’t just posting conspiracies. They believe them. Some even act violently against us and want us dead – like the Tree of Life murderer. I will not go into a synagogue unless it has armed security. Evil monsters target Jews and innocent people of all religions. We are seen as weak. To them, we are easy targets as we are in our place of worship.

According to a 2020 Pew Research Center study, 71% of U.S. Jews lean toward the Democratic Party, which tends to support restrictive gun policy. So it makes sense that Jews have the lowest rate of gun ownership among all religious groups. But if we in the Jewish community know we are frequent targets, why do we support politicians and laws that make it harder to defend ourselves?

After the Holocaust, we knew that “Never Again” meant not only remembering what happened to the Jews who were murdered but also making sure that we had a strong homeland and military in Israel. We had to ensure that a haven would be available when needed. The times of assimilating in the diaspora and thinking we would be okay are gone. We have to be strong and outspoken, as that is the only thing have gone well for us. The Jewish community in America needs to take a cue from Israel.

In our country, I’d like to think we have protection, but at the current rate, the current crime crisis has no end. Our country and cities have revolving-door criminal justice systems, no cash bail, and increased resistance to law enforcement. We need to look out for ourselves. That means exercising responsible gun ownership and fighting for our right to defend ourselves.

There are certainly going to be dark days ahead with this antisemitic trend. But we don’t have to be vulnerable, quiet, and afraid. Not anymore.

This article originally appeared in the Daily Caller.

Anti-Semitism Worst Among Blacks and Young Adults in Poll Released Ahead of MLK Day thumbnail

Anti-Semitism Worst Among Blacks and Young Adults in Poll Released Ahead of MLK Day

By Madeleine Hubbard

The two groups were far more likely than Republicans or conservatives to believe negative stereotypes about Jews.

Anti-Semitism is worst among black Americans and young adults aged 18-29, according to a new poll.

Three out of ten blacks agreed that “Jews still talk too much about what happened to them in the Holocaust,” compared to 15% of white Americans who agreed with the statement, according to a UMass Amherst Poll released Friday ahead of Martin Luther King Day.

Black Americans were the most likely demographic to agree with anti-Semitic stereotypes overall despite the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.’s tireless work fighting in support of the Jews.

When asked whether “Jews have too much power in the business world,” 31% of black Americans agreed. Additionally, 29% of black Americans agreed that “Jews think they are better than other people.”

Democrats were slightly more likely than Republicans to harbor anti-Semitic views as well. While both groups were virtually tied on statements about the Holocaust and Jews in business, 17% of Democrats agreed that Jews think they are better compared to 15% of Republicans…..

*****

Continue reading at Just the News.

‘Cripple Children’: Parents Protest Against Gov. Katie Hobbs’ Move To Scrap Key School Choice Program thumbnail

‘Cripple Children’: Parents Protest Against Gov. Katie Hobbs’ Move To Scrap Key School Choice Program

By Reagan Reese

With signs reading “education for all” and “support for all students,” a coalition of about 150 parents protested Tuesday over newly-elected Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs’ plan to dismantle the nation’s largest school choice program, parents told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Hobbs’ executive budget released Jan. 13 called on state legislators to roll back the state’s expansion of its school choice program which currently makes Arizona K-12 students eligible to receive taxpayer-funded scholarships if they choose to leave or are already outside of the public education system. Education for All, a group of parents backing the state’s current school choice program, rallied against Hobbs’ announcement at the state capitol, voicing their concern that ending the program would strip their children of opportunities, parents told the DCNF.

“It would rip away essentially thousands of dollars that we as taxpayers already pay into the system, that is for our children already,” Stacey Brown, the organizer of the rally, told the DCNF. “It would mean that it would cripple some homeschoolers, it would cripple children who wouldn’t have had the opportunity otherwise to possibly go to a private school and to receive extra aid in areas that they need aid. It really, really, really, really would hinder Arizona as a whole and the leg up that we have compared to other states to provide and to produce excellent educated children. We truly want education for every child in Arizona, whatever that might be to fit their needs.”

Former Republican Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey created the nation’s largest school choice program in July, making more than 1.1 million Arizona students in public and charter schools eligible to receive up to $7,000 in order to transfer schools.

Hobbs’ plan includes returning to the state’s previous school choice program which only provided taxpayer-funded vouchers to disabled children, students living on American Indian reservations and students attending low-performing public schools, Fox 10 reported. Under the previous program, just one-third of Arizona students were eligible, with about 11,800 students utilizing the vouchers, according to the AZ Mirror.

Since expanding the school choice program more than 45,000 students are currently enrolled, according to the Arizona Department of Education.

Bella Viner, an organizer of the rally and Arizona parent, has worked with Latino, African American and Hispanic students within the state’s school choice program to place them at the school that will best benefit them, she told the DCNF.

“Through this program, they are able to choose a better education and school that will concentrate on their needs, especially special-needs children,” Viner told the DCNF. “So they take away this program, they are going to take away the opportunity to have a better education in the future, to have a professional job and to be able to fulfill the dream that their family has come to this country for. Because we come to the United States for the American dream and we can not get out of poverty without a proper education.”

Due to a “high volume” of applications when the program opened, users received error messages, the Arizona Free News reported.

Save Our Schools Arizona, an organization that advocates for public schools, petitioned to put Ducey’s expansion of the school choice program on the general election ballot. The effort against the school choice program failed in September after the organization failed to collect enough signatures.

“For decades, Arizona’s public schools have gone chronically underfunded by our state leaders,” Save Our Schools Arizona said in a statement. “We applaud Hobbs for sweeping universal voucher funds and harmful results-based funding to add $198 million in addition base-level support. School districts will be able to use these desperately-needed funds to raise teacher pay and provide critical resources and extracurriculars for all 1.1 million Arizona students.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Kevin Gemeroy, an Arizona parent and member of Education for All, was able to take his son out of a remote learning environment and enter him into an education that best addressed his dyslexia, Gemeroy told the DCNF. Since, Gemeroy has advocated for the school choice movement to help students who did not have the same opportunities his son had.

“I’m so grateful for what happened to us but I’m so sad for the families that don’t have the ability to buy their way out of it,” Gemeroy told the DCNF. “And ever since I’ve been advocating for school choice. There’s too much at stake for the kids.”

Hobbs’ office did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

*****
This article was published by The Daily Caller and is reproduced with permission.

How to Stop School Shootings thumbnail

How to Stop School Shootings

By Lee Williams

My heart sinks every time I see breaking-news graphics announce another school shooting. It’s like a gut-punch – the lost lives, the suffering of the wounded, the horrors the First Responders must encounter, and the families that will never again be whole.

The blame and blood-dancing usually start before the bodies are even recovered. The talking heads call to ban or further regulate firearms, magazines or accessories in common usage, as if the contents of my gun safe located thousands of miles from the crime scene somehow played a role in the killings.

Politicians will gleefully announce new infringements, none of which could have prevented the mass murder, but that is never their intent. They were eagerly awaiting another opportunity to do something that will score points with their base and their donors, as well as disarm law-abiding Americans.

Keep in mind that more than three-times as many people die each year from excessive alcohol use than from firearms, yet no one is calling to ban bourbon or vodka, because the booze-ban industry died on Dec. 5, 1933, while the gun-ban industry sputters on. Their misguided efforts have no chance of ever stopping mass murders because they are solely fixated on banning an inanimate object, while ignoring the person pulling the trigger and those who help facilitate the crime.

In my humble opinion, if we truly want to stop school shootings we should harden the staff, not just the buildings, and we should focus on the other bad actors, too, not just the trigger-pullers. It’s time to start holding parents, law enforcement and the legacy media strictly accountable – criminally, morally and very publicly – for aiding and abetting these preventable deaths.

Parents

I guarantee more parents will take an interest in the websites their children frequent or the videos they’re downloading the first time they see other parents charged with accessory to murder. They will ensure their firearms are safely stored when they see other parents arrested for aiding and abetting. They will take a sudden interest in the video games their children are playing, or pay attention to significant changes in their behavior once police start making arrests for what is the ultimate in criminal neglect –allowing a child to commit mass murder.

Nowadays, children are bombarded by stimuli completely undreamed of by previous generations. Some are good, but many are very bad, if not pure evil. As a result, parenting requires more vigilance than ever before. This is a fact, but it’s not an excuse. Today, if a parent ignores obvious signs their child needs help, allows unauthorized access to weapons and lives are lost, they should pay for their mistakes in prison.

Law enforcement

How many mass murderers have been known to the FBI or local law enforcement? Most of them. These killers usually have a long history of indicator crimes, which often go completely ignored.

Law enforcement needs to improve how they track potential mass murderers.

Years ago, a few forward-thinking police departments formed career criminal squads. It was their job to follow and hound to death the truly bad hombres who were responsible for a majority of the crime. These units were effective. The civil libertarians hated them, but the bad guys soon tired of the frequent contacts with law enforcement and straightened up or moved on. It’s time to resurrect this model.

Officers today need to understand if they encounter a potential mass shooter or even suspect someone might fit the profile, their responsibility for the safety of the public doesn’t stop when their shift ends.

That’s exactly what happened with the Parkland murderer, whose name does not merit mention.

Law enforcement had 39 contacts with this soulless demon in just seven years. Each officer took a report and moved on. No one took any responsibility, including the FBI.

After this mass murderer posted on social media his goal was to become a “professional school shooter,” an FBI agent asked him a couple questions – over the phone – and that was it. The FBI’s investigation ended. So much for Fidelity, Bravery and Integrity, the much-ballyhooed essence of the FBI.

In a perfect world, agents would have interviewed this hellion in his home, searched his room and seized his computer, phone, journals and, of course, any weapons he had access to. The feds should have made him their top priority. He threatened to shoot up a school! Instead, he was hardly a blip on their radar. This pattern of ineptitude has happened over and over again at every level – federal, state and local.

Everyone with a badge in their billfold who encounters a potential mass shooter should be fired if lives are ever lost because they failed to act. That is how serious law enforcement should take these individuals. This reprioritization should be inculcated throughout the entire department. If an officer can’t handle the added responsibility, they should quit. The stakes are too high to allow anyone to fail.

The same standard should apply if law enforcement fails to act during a mass shooting. Parkland and Uvalde taught us the high price that’s paid when cowards don a badge and gun. Police are issued tactical gear for a reason, and it’s not to loiter around a school hallway playing games on their phones while children are being murdered a few doors down. Unfortunately, there’s no way to identify or screen for cowardice until it’s too late.

Strict accountability is the only way to ensure law enforcement takes every encounter with a potential mass shooter seriously. A lack of time, resources or manpower can no longer serve as an excuse. After all, how could any other law enforcement mission be more important than tracking suspects who could potentially murder kids?

Legacy media

How many times have you heard cable TV news actors speculating about a possible motive after a mass killing?

These murderers are crazy. That’s the answer. They don’t have a real motive. Their actions are incomprehensible. There’s no way for a rational mind to truly understand the actions of an irrational one. Unfortunately, this doesn’t stop the legacy media from mindlessly speculating, since mindless speculating is what they do.

The media often defaults to bullying as the cause of the carnage – as if every kid who’s ever bullied picks up a gun. Unfortunately, once it’s repeated too many times, some children start identifying with these mass murderers, especially if they’ve been bullied or have other problems fitting in.

Combine this with 24/7 coverage – including the murderer’s favorite websites, games and even music – and the media has successfully given the killers a near cult-like following, which is exactly what they wanted, and the deadly cycle is bound to repeat itself.

If the legacy media had never named the Columbine killers, much less described how they dressed, what they wrote in their journals, and who they listened to while plotting their murderous assault, they could never have inspired other troubled teens to commit similar barbaric acts. Countless lives would have been spared and hundreds of families would not be grieving today. There’s no debating that.

This is not a call for censorship. The last thing we need is more government intrusion into our lives. Instead, it’s time for some self-restraint by the legacy media.

It’s very easy to hold the legacy media accountable for overblown coverage of a terrible tragedy. Simply change the channel. If enough of us do, they’ll get the message, eventually. It will take time. They’re somewhat of a thickheaded bunch.

Armed staff

Nowadays, school administrators have focused on hardening their facilities, not their staff. Regardless of how secure a school campus is, Uvalde taught us that a determined maniac can always get in. Legislation that would allow teachers, staff and other volunteers to arm themselves – regardless of their state of residence – would save lives.

Another option that is operating with great success in Florida is the School Guardian Program. School Guardians are not police. They’re not School Resource Officers. They don’t teach classes. They’re not responsible for discipline or counseling. They don’t have office hours or other distractions. They’re only responsibility is to shoot bad guys who want to harm kids.

Many of Florida’s School Guardians are combat veterans. They’ve proven they can use deadly force when it’s required. They’re issued a plate carrier, a handgun and a carbine, and are trained (certified) by local sheriffs. They take their jobs extremely seriously, and they’re easy to spot. They patrol outside the school in the morning as kids are dropped off, and in the afternoon when they’re picked up. So far, no school with a Guardian has been attacked.

Gun-free zones have always been magnets for mayhem. It’s time to end this, put politics aside and protect our kids.

*****
This article was published by Second Amendment Foundation and is reproduced with permission.

Impossible Freedom thumbnail

Impossible Freedom

By Katya Sedgwick

I blame Free to Be…You And Me. The children’s book and song collection, which many upper middle-class Gen Xers absorbed with their mother’s milk—or formula, I don’t take sides in mommy wars—recently celebrated its 50th anniversary. The well-intentioned, feel-good compilation taught children that they can be anything they want to be, provided that they reject sex and racial stereotypes.

Now seen as a mainstream if slightly outdated educational tool, Free to Be was recently celebrated by the New York Times columnist Pamela Paul. “For a certain generation, ‘Free to Be’ was childhood,” she explained, adding:


You believed that you lived in a land where the children were free, where it didn’t matter whether you were a boy or a girl because neither could limit your choices — not when you were a kid, not when you grew up. You believed it was perfectly fine for William to want a doll and if you were a girl, you might have been perfectly happy for him to take yours.

She continued arguing that the hard-won freedom from sex stereotypes is now jeopardized by the trans agenda:

In lieu of liberating children from gender, some educators have doubled down, offering children a smorgasbord of labels — gender identity, gender role, gender performance and gender expression — to affix to themselves from a young age. […] The effect of all this is that today we are defining people — especially children — by gender more than ever before, rather than trying to free both sexes from gender stereotypes.

But what if Free to Be actually paved the way to our trans moment?

Let us start with the fact the album is highly didactic. Unlike, for instance, Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, which shows a rebellious boy at play, Free to Be doesn’t as much celebrate freedom as it tells children to be “free”—and by “free” it means rejecting sex (and racial) stereotypes. And it puts a premium on acting in ways that are not expected of one’s biological sex.

What Free to Be did was make sexual characteristics conspicuous. Having arrived in the United States at the age of seventeen, I found it odd that so many local girls were uncomfortable with femininity and mindful to project masculine qualities—like the pop star Joan Jett, who was one of the models of the over-the-top, tough chick persona for Generation X. Don’t get me wrong, I like Jett very much and it’s an amusing shtick she chose for herself: I just don’t want to be her.

A conscious rejection of stereotypes doesn’t change the fact that most men are masculine and most women are feminine. To be truly free is to be a man or a woman one chooses to be, not to present a socially sanctioned amalgam of masculine and feminine qualities. It is one thing to tell a mother that if her daughter wants to be a mechanic when she grows up, support her. It is something quite different to keep steering children toward playing with the other sex’s toys. To a child, it indicates parental intent to sway her innocent ideals. Since children are eager to please, she learns to go against her instinct and constructs a novel “gender-neutral” personality.

For Gen X women, femininity became not a normal state of being but an object that could only be treated ironically. In the 1990s, with the arrival of the third-wave “sex positive” feminism, right-thinking young women decided to make themselves attractive to men. That gave birth to the “pink is the new black” trend, or women dressing in over-the-top feminine garbs. For the time, it worked out perfectly: gentlemen got chicks in rose-colored stilettos and ladies signaled to each other that femininity is a spectacle.

But the idea behind “pink is the new black” is not so very different from those that animate drag and trans. In fact, the ’90s feminists were very much aware of the ironic femininity of drag. Rhinestones were affixed, tongue-in-cheek, to every formal dress, and RuPaul sold us Mac cosmetics. We performed womanface long before the mainstreaming of transgender identity; it’s just that we were natural and cute, while Dylan Mulvaney is a bad actor. In both cases femininity is not something carriers of XX chromosomes embody in themselves but an identity to be performed. Women were taught to use it with reserve and now today men can have a free hand.

Otherizing femininity was all fun and games to women in their 20s, but looking at all the single 40-something American girls raised on promises, I see a lot of alienation today. No, she can’t be anything she wants to be. People are limited by their abilities, and that has a lot to do with one’s sex. No, women can’t serve in the frontlines without jeopardizing the effectiveness of our fighting force and, all things being equal, men will outperform us in STEM.

Middle-class American women often talk of family as performative womanhood. They won’t tell you “my children will be my legacy.” Instead, they say, “I want to experience childbirth,” and then make parturition the focal point of their feminism. It shouldn’t be difficult for the Gen X woman to admit to herself she wanted kids, except that it requires getting in touch with the long repressed authentic femininity. An elaborate justification becomes necessary to validate the very human desire for family.

On the other hand, middle-class Gen X men grew up largely indifferent to the pressure to behave in a gender-neutral manner. Free ranged boys still got into fights and weren’t inclined to cry like sissies. They were, however, made aware that women do more housework, which is unfair when she, too, is employed outside the home. And American men value fairness. Middle-class American women shaped a generation of very marriageable men, but they are Free to Be too neurotic to get them.

*****

This article was published by The American Conservative and is reproduced with permission.

Only Spiritual Brotherhood Can Save Men In The Job Crisis thumbnail

Only Spiritual Brotherhood Can Save Men In The Job Crisis

By Mark Warren

There’s a strange thing happening in the American economy right now — what we read in the newspaper or see on TV doesn’t match what we’re witnessing with our own eyes. Job numbers reported in the media seem wonderful. Amazingly low unemployment that hasn’t been witnessed in 50 years! Hundreds of thousands of new jobs created monthly. Yet for all these rosy numbers, when we look at the real world, we see critically understaffed businesses, long waits for repairs, and customer service in the gutter.

America’s young men are in crisis, and the answer to this problem is spiritual, not economic or political. While the media continues to trumpet good news about the economy, the reason your real-life experiences don’t match such optimism is because these reports typically only give you part of the picture. What corporate media doesn’t tell you is that about 11 million jobs remain unfilled right now.

That’s why service is lousy everywhere and you can’t get a plumber. Those jobs go unfilled because millions of young American men between the ages of 25 and 54 aren’t working. At all. As Bloomberg reports, they’ve been left behind, with a lower percentage of men between those ages working than in 1970 — a statistic that emerged before the economic disaster brought by coronavirus lockdowns.

Millions of Young Men Doing Nothing All Day

So, how can millions of men be out of work when unemployment is extremely low? Easy, if you don’t count them.

Yes, the unemployment rate hovers at a record low figure, but this number doesn’t count all unemployed people. It only includes those who don’t have a job and are actively seeking one. This cheery (and erroneous) unemployment rate doesn’t count the millions of young men who aren’t looking for a job. Young males fitting this description are often referred to as “NEETs,” an acronym originating in the U.K. that stands for “Not in Employment, Education or Training.” These fellows aren’t working and, worse, aren’t interested in work.

Of course, this was already a growing problem in the last decade. But unemployment went full supernova during the coronavirus lockdown — and finally smart people are paying attention to it. Mike Rowe of “Dirty Jobs” fame recently hosted a podcast discussion on the crisis of young men not working.

To further understand the problem’s depth, Rowe interviewed economist Nicholas Eberstadt, who wrote “Men Without Work.” It explains the seriousness of this issue, documenting how the unemployment crisis goes far beyond simply not having a job. Too many men in their prime have fallen into a hollow existence. And their parents — and our tax dollars — subsidize such incredible waste.

What do such men do with their copious amounts of leisure? According to Eberstadt, they aren’t only not working. They aren’t going to church. They typically aren’t dating. They aren’t engaging in charity work or civic activities either, or even helping with housework.

Instead, they play video games, binge watch TV and movies, and, perhaps most concerningly, abuse drugs. So many young men are not only lost to our economy, but lost to their families as well. They are at risk of becoming another gloomy statistic in the opioid epidemic.

Social and Spiritual Solutions

So, what is the answer? Unsurprisingly, it depends on who you ask. Eberstadt, the expert on young men dropping out of the economy, believes in secular and market-driven solutions to this crisis. He explains to Rowe on the podcast that we could use shame as a powerful motivator, much like our nation has shamed smokers to give up the habit.

But a campaign to shame men is already widespread in America — and not particularly helpful. In recent years, so many expressions of traditional male values have been labeled “toxic masculinity.” Combine this message with readily available drugs ranging from prescription opioids and fentanyl to legal marijuana in many states, and it almost feels like society is encouraging young men to disconnect from the real world and play “Call of Duty” all day.

We therefore believe the real solution to this crisis is spiritual. And we don’t mean just dragging young men away from the TV and into church. When Eberstadt’s book was first published in 2016, The New York Times highlighted it with an op-ed that made an eye-opening point about the root cause of the problem.

In the article, the journalist explored the issue via an interview with a young man who lost his job in the oil industry. He told the interviewer he feels as if America doesn’t care about him. He says he feels as if he’s “considered nothing.” This is a tragedy that likely resonates with millions of other young men not working. No shaming campaign will solve this. It will only worsen things.

Instead, these men would do well to unite. We suggest they form small groups with other men to help each other and provide non-judgmental spaces to work through life’s problems.

Form a Small Band of Brothers

I did this with several brothers a couple of decades ago — and continue to do to this day. Recently, I recounted what drove me to create such fellowship and how it’s transformed my life and so many others in the new book “Power of 4: How Christian Men Create Purposeful Lives By Not Going It Alone.”

If young men feel isolated and valueless, the answer is to bring them together in brotherhood to help them understand their worth. “Power of 4” emphasizes how much more powerful men can be when they don’t try to go it alone. When a man has three brothers to meet with regularly to work through life’s challenges, he is much better off than trying to handle his problems on his own.

Consider a hypothetical Power of 4 group comprised of men not in the workforce. They could work together to build each other up, for instance, by engaging in charity work while also collaborating on resumes and professional networking. (Simply having regular face-to-face contact with other men who are not keen on blaming themselves for their station in life will do worlds of good for young men in crisis).

An even more powerful approach to a Power of 4 group might be to mix together men with established careers with those not in the workforce. Young men who feel lost and without purpose could get unimaginable benefits from spending time with men who are on solid footing in their profession. Such successful men might even assist their Power of 4 brother by arranging an internship or introductory position.

What’s more, men currently working know just how nearly every employer is screaming out for quality employees now. That means a resume with some gaps in it won’t necessarily hold back a man who wants to better his situation. Undoubtedly, our young men in crisis can transform their lives once they realize they do have value — and even the potential for greatness. All it takes is a determination to relinquish those behaviors holding them back — whether it be drugs and alcohol or Netflix and PlayStation (or all of the above!).

Ultimately, we are deeply concerned by the crisis of young men dropping out of society. Despite so much bad news, we see many positives in the future. If men come together to support each other, this problem can and will correct itself.

With the right support system, young men can achieve tremendous personal growth. Every human has value, a fact lost on so many men for far too long. With the help of three brothers, our blueprint for the Power of 4, and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, American men will return to a society that so desperately needs them.

*****

This article was published by The Federalist and is reproduced with permission.

Study Finds 4.5x Higher Psychiatric Illness Rate for Transgenders thumbnail

Study Finds 4.5x Higher Psychiatric Illness Rate for Transgenders

By Catherine Salgado

The medical journal Transgender Health recently published a study that revealed transgenders are 4.5 times more likely to have psychiatric illnesses. Of course, the journal tried to claim this is because of discrimination and all that nonsense, but the reality is that it is extremely difficult to be in business or the public square and be anti-transgenderism. The government, the education system, big corporations, Big Tech, Hollywood, the arts, sports, even some churches—practically every major sector of society constantly praises and pushes LGBTQ ideology. And yet “transgenders” continue to have serious mental health issues. It wouldn’t be because “transgenders” act in unnatural ways and mutilate their own bodies to try and be someone they are not biologically, would it?

Not at all, according to Transgender Health, which obviously has no vested interest in promoting transgenderism despite the evidence, right? In fact, the journal decided kids should transition to “transgender” at even younger ages (the transgender surgery industry is estimated to be worth $5 billion by 2030, so there’s a clear financial incentive). That way young people can hate their bodies and regret double mastectomies at even younger ages. Even the New York Times recently published an in-depth piece admitting that puberty blockers can have severe long-term effects on kids, including their bones and brains.


“[PJ Media] In the least surprising clinical conclusion in world history, research published in the medical journal Transgender Health revealed the sizable mental health disparity between transgender and cisgender subjects:

We performed a cross-sectional analysis of the prevalence of psychiatric diagnoses among transgender patients in clinical care using an all-payer electronic health record database. Of 10,270 transgender patients identified, 58% (n=5940) had at least one psychiatric diagnosis compared with 13.6% (n=7,311,780) in the control patient population (p<0.0005). Transgender patients had a statistically significant increase in prevalence for all psychiatric diagnoses queried, with major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder being the most common diagnoses’

The researchers found ‘increased rates of bipolar disorder, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and substance use disorders’ in the transgender population, among other negative disparities like schizoaffective disorder, panic disorder, and agoraphobia.

The study examined the records of 53,449,400 patients, so it was a huge sample size.”

Don’t expect the party of “Science” to stop pushing transgenderism in light of the evidence, though.

*****

This article was published by Pro Deo et Libertate and is reproduced with permission.

AmericaFest 2022 thumbnail

AmericaFest 2022

By Ellie Fromm

AmericaFest was an event hosted by Turning Point USA in Phoenix, Arizona on December 17-20, 2022. Attendees of AmericaFest totaled 10,800 people, making this event the largest multi-day conservative event in history. Live conservative media productions were presented outside the main exhibit hall in which the speeches occurred. Shows and platforms such as ‘The Charlie Kirk Show’ and ‘The War Room’ were a few of the many to produce episodes at AmericaFest.

Speakers included prominent voices in the conservative movement, such as  Charlie Kirk, Steve Bannon, Tucker Carlson, Kari Lake, Dennis Prager, Kaleigh McEnany, Owens, Michael Knowles, Matt Walsh, Mike Lindell, Harmeet Dhillon, Donald Trump Jr., Kimberly Guilfoyle, and Jack Posobiec. On some nights, concerts also occurred with performances from RaeLynn, Chase Rice and other performers.

One of the themes of AmericaFest was the much-needed American takedown and blocking of Chinese Communist Party (CCP) activities and influence at many levels of American life, society, and the economy. The CCP has been interfering in our government and the private sector for many years. Recently, they have been buying farmland in midwest America. A foreign nation which seeks to destroy America and everything we hold dear now owns food producing agricultural land in our country. Some of these Chinese owned properties are located strategically close to military bases and infrastructure. This was recognized as a clear threat to the nation at AmericaFest, though many American politicians have chosen to turn a blind eye to these developments.

Another vital theme presented and discussed at AmericaFest was marriage. Americans are increasingly opting to marry later in life, or not at all. In 2022, the average marriage age of women was 28.2 years, and for men, it was 30.1 years. Thirty years earlier, in 1992, the average marriage age of women was 24.4 years and for men was 26.5 years. In 2020 the marriage rate per 1,000 population was 6.5, while in 1992 the marriage rate per 1,000 population was 9.3. Marriage rates in America have been steadily decreasing while marriage ages have been increasing.

Conservative values are based on the nuclear family and finding value and purpose within that unit. An overwhelming majority of speakers were passionate about the issue of marriage in America and encouraged America’s youth to get married and, if they meet the correct person, to do it young.

Speakers also stressed that, although marriage is not easy, nothing worth doing ever is, and marriage will add to your happiness immensely. As Dennis Prager pointed out, “wanting to be a spouse, husband or wife, is better than being a CEO”. He stressed that although success in the workplace is important, nothing will compare to the joy of having a family of your own.

Lastly, speakers and attendees alike recognized that we are amid a spiritual battle in this country. Good and evil are at war right now and we must take a side, ultimately fighting for God and country. Our national motto, “In God we trust”, must be an individual commitment and carried forward by conservative youth.

Being Christian does not mean rolling over, it means doing good in the Lord’s name and for His purpose. John 15:5 states “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing”. We must win back the soul of this nation and the only way to accomplish that is with God. Bible study, prayer, and action must come together in the coming years in this spiritual war to win back our nation.

AmericaFest was encouraging and invigorating. Seeing other proud patriots, unafraid to stand up for themselves and their rights, was inspiring. We must fight today so our children and grandchildren will have the chance to grow up in a better America. They are depending upon us. Conservatives, especially young conservatives, must now fight for the soul of our beloved nation.

How an Occupied Twitter Ruined Countless Lives thumbnail

How an Occupied Twitter Ruined Countless Lives

By Jeffrey Tucker

From the beginning of the Covid panic, it felt that something was very wrong. Never had a pandemic, much less a seasonal pathogenic wave, been treated as a quasi-military emergency requiring the upending of all freedoms and rights.

What made it more bizarre was how alone those of us who objected felt until very recently when Elon Musk finally bought the platform Twitter, fired all the embedded federal agents, and has started to release the files.

As Elon said, every conspiracy theory about Twitter was true and then some. And what applies at Twitter pertains equally to Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, and all platforms associated with those companies (YouTube, Instagram, Messenger, WhatsApp).

The proof is all there. These platforms colluded with the federal government’s administrative arm to craft a particular Covid narrative, throttling and censoring dissidents and boosting any credentialled expert who was willing to toe the line.

At this point, it is wise to trust no one and nothing but those who fought against this nonsense. As the crisis began, I was blessed with an unusually large reach on most platforms. But I sat by and watched it dwindle to nothingness as the months went on. Yes, I had posts pulled but I was never banned. It’s just that my channels of communication shrunk dramatically by the months and weeks.

This was tragic for me simply because I watched the population gradually fall into a medieval-style disease panic that tore families apart, kept loved ones from traveling, wrecked businesses and churches, and even violated the sanctity of the homes. This “invisible enemy” about which everyone in government was going on about shredded the whole social fabric.

I had been writing about pandemics and interventions for 16 years, warning repeatedly that this was possible. Knowing about this history, and having a platform to speak, I felt a very strong moral obligation to share my knowledge if only to make some contribution to calm people down and perhaps relax some of the impositions on liberty. But at that very moment, my voice was nearly silenced. And I was hardly alone. Hundreds and thousands of others were in the same position but we had a very difficult time even finding each other.

There was one exception early on. I wrote a piece on Woodstock and the 1968-69 flu season. A fact-checker rated it as true and the Facebook algorithms really screwed up. Facebook pushed it out for about two weeks before someone figured out what was happening and then throttled it back heavily. Or perhaps there was one employee there who made it so. I really do not know. In the meantime, this one article garnered millions of views and shares.

It was my first experience with the astounding power of these venues to shape the public mind. People innocently use all these tools without the slightest understanding that there is a reason why they are seeing what they are seeing. Every word or picture you see on your apps is there for a reason, a choice of this or that, and the driving force here is what powerful people what you to see and not see.

We know now that the stream of information is carefully curated by algorithms and human intervention, not to fit with your interests as they once claimed, but to fit with regime interests.

In other words, what people used to say about the CCP role in the management of TikTok applies fully in the US today with all the main tech companies. And please keep in mind, we only know this because of the dump of Twitter files. All of this is still happening at Google, Meta, and LinkedIn. The latter removes posts by Brownstone often. And the rest throttle our reach.

This has been going on for years, but Covid intensified it all. Even from the beginning, something was very off. For example, on March 19 – the day after the Fauci/Birx/Trump press conference and the day before CISA seized control of all labor markets – an obscure digital education entrepreneur named Thomas Pueyo came out with an implausibly documented and comprehensively argued piece called The Hammer and the Dance.

It was an elaborate argument for locking down to flatten the curve, complete with fancy graphs and pseudo-scientific blather of every sort. The author was essentially unknown but within 24 hours, the piece was garnering many millions of shares and being spread everywhere by all the big tech platforms, as if it were some kind of canonical treatise. I doubt seriously that he wrote it – no way in one day; it had to be planned for weeks – but rather that he volunteered his name to be attached to it. It became the most important framing of the lockdown that appeared that month.

Watching that one preposterous article take over so aggressively, even as dissidents’ writings slipped into nothingness, including my own, was quite a bit of digital magic to behold. But we know now it was not magic. It was a policy. It was an intention. It was a propaganda ploy. Again, we must understand that this is still going on right now, with the only real exception among the larger players being Twitter.

There is one solace. We know now that we were not all going crazy. It was all deliberate. Matt Taibbi puts it well:

Sometime in the last decade, many people — I was one — began to feel robbed of their sense of normalcy by something we couldn’t define. Increasingly glued to our phones, we saw that the version of the world that was spat out at us from them seemed distorted. The public’s reactions to various news events seemed off-kilter, being either way too intense, not intense enough, or simply unbelievable. You’d read that seemingly everyone in the world was in agreement that a certain thing was true, except it seemed ridiculous to you, which put you in an awkward place with friends, family, others. Should you say something? Are you the crazy one?

I can’t have been the only person to have struggled psychologically during this time. This is why these Twitter files have been such a balm. This is the reality they stole from us! It’s repulsive, horrifying, and dystopian, a gruesome history of a world run by anti-people, but I’ll take it any day over the vile and insulting facsimile of truth they’ve been selling. Personally, once I saw that these lurid files could be used as a road map back to something like reality — I wasn’t sure until this week — I relaxed for the first time in probably seven or eight years.

So far, thanks to the great work of David Zweig, who has somehow managed to elude the censors all along (he was in attendance at the original Great Barrington Declaration event, god bless him), we have a better accounting of what happened. Names we all recognize as friends are listed, including Martin Kulldorff and Andrew Bostom, but there are thousands more. There is no question in my mind that my own accounts were targeted.

This is about much more than free speech and the operation of media channels without government intervention. The Covid controls utterly smashed American liberty and social functioning, resulting in mass suffering, educational losses, shattered communities, and a precipitous collapse in public health that has shaved off years in life expectancy and caused an explosion of excess deaths.

It might have been stopped or at least lessened in duration with some open discussion. This is not just of interest to tech and legal geeks. The closing down of opinion and debate resulted in unspeakable human carnage. And even as I write, the largest sources of the mainstream media are still refusing to report on this.

Ask yourself: why might this be? I think we all know the answer.

As a final note, I can assure you that this is only the beginning. The full story ropes in the whole of the administrative state, FTX, huge nonprofit organizations, and many back channels of power, money, and truly evil collaboration. We may never get the full story, and justice as always will be elusive, but we cannot let this moment in history slip by without as much accountability as we can provide.

*****

This article was published by Brownstone Institute and is reproduced with permission.

Gratitude thumbnail

Gratitude

By Bruce Bialosky

Many Americans believe that Thanksgiving is the time to express gratitude.Families go around the Thanksgiving table and talk about what they are grateful for at that particular time. Gratitude is something that should be expressed all year long. And, during the “holiday season,” even a little more.

I am truly fortunate to have realized long ago that gratitude is the most important aspect of life. You cannot be genuinely happy without first being grateful. One is most likely unhappy without gratitude. Simple as that.

You do not have to be a religiously observant person to understand the importance of gratitude. But I have found that one is more likely to be a religiously observant person if you understand the importance of gratitude.

That is part of the reason in our country the “merchants of ungratefulness” are having their day. They tell people that they are taken advantage of by our society, and they divide people into groups – you know all of them. Then they tell the people over and over again that they cannot be happy because of their gender or skin color. This serves to feed only the merchants of ungratefulness as they feed their coffers and build their ranks with disillusioned.

I believe gratitude starts with the micro and expands out to the macro.

I am grateful I wake up every day full of energy without aches and pains. I told that to one friend and he said he was just grateful to wake up every day. That made me more grateful for the other part. I am grateful I can exercise and watch a wonderful movie on my treadmill.

I am grateful for my music. I listen to a broad array of music. Most know that between Thanksgiving and Christmas, it is Christmas music only. No matter how challenged I am feeling at the time, listening to my music makes me happy and for that I am grateful.

I am grateful someone invented baseball and basketball and football and tennis and more. What a wonderful way to enjoy your life even if your favorite team does not win all the time.

I am grateful for all those people who write the books I read and the movies I watch. They enrich my life and make me a more knowledgeable and better person.

I am grateful for The Beautiful Wife every day. I am grateful there has never been a day where she did not want to see me or talk to me. Everything we do we share with each other. We have our separate activities, but then we share those with each other. What a gift we have been given.

I am grateful for my children, Sam and Hannah. They have never made me feel shame at being their father. Through every life stage from being an infant through their current adult lives they are an undeniable blessing.

Our doggies. All of them, including the ones who have gone to doggie heaven, has been such a joy. Thank you, God, for filling the world with dogs.

I am grateful for the rest of my family, my brother, and his family. My other relatives. It reminds me how wonderful and important family is beyond the immediate few.

I am grateful for all my friends. They sustain me and support me. They give me joy and share good times and challenging times with me. And they tell me they love me. To be able to have lunch with a friend and engage in a heated debate then get up and hug each other is something one just must be grateful for.

I am grateful for my clients and how so many have been with me for decades. I am grateful I have them as part of my life and that I can help them with their challenges.

I am grateful that I say on a regular basis “Yes, this is the United States of America and I get to say that.” Nothing like freedom and particularly freedom of speech.

I am grateful for the fact that my relatives moved to the United States a long time ago. It is amazingly special to live in a place where people from two hundred countries have come here to stake their fortunes. People of all creeds and religions. And we get along together like nowhere else on earth ever has. Sure, there are a few nudniks, but with over 330 million people from every corner of the earth, there is bound to be. As Americans, we can be working with someone from Indonesia and then talking to someone of Danish heritage. I am so grateful to have spent my life in this magical fairyland of a country. What a blessing.

This is just my list of some of the things that keep me grateful daily. I hope that it prodded you to reflect in thought about those things that make you grateful. And if you have not focused on the importance of gratitude in your life then I hope this helps to push you in that direction and puts a smile on your face and love in your heart.

God Bless.

Why So Many Families Are Uprooting and Fleeing to Freer States thumbnail

Why So Many Families Are Uprooting and Fleeing to Freer States

By Kerry McDonald

Emily Burns had every intention of staying in Massachusetts. A longtime Boston resident, she, her husband, and three children left the city to settle in the upscale suburb of Newton in January 2020.

What followed were two years of ongoing disruption and frustration. Prolonged school closures and continued coronavirus policies such as mask mandates angered Burns. Initially, this mom chose fight over flight.

She announced a conservative run for US Congress, representing Massachusetts’s 4th district, a long-shot attempt in a staunchly Democratic area. Her primary issue was pushing back against COVID policies, particularly those that impacted school children. Her message resonated and Burns collected more than $100,000 in donations for her campaign in just one quarter. She was an outspoken advocate for children and families and called out the Massachusetts politicians who continue to double-down on coronavirus mandates even as elected officials elsewhere eliminate them.

Burns was recently featured in a popular article, “Revenge of the Covid Moms” on Bari Weiss’s Substack, that spotlighted mothers who are fed up with endless virus restrictions and are taking action to end them.

Ultimately, Burns had enough of fighting. This week, she terminated her political campaign and explained that she and her family are fleeing to Texas where her husband has an opportunity to open a new company office.

“My leaving is entirely predicated on what is best for my family,” Burns wrote. “My trust in the political and cultural leadership of this state is totally broken. The past two years have shown me that I cannot protect my children from the ill effects of that leadership. Given the chance to escape those malign forces, I had to take it.”

Fight or flight is a choice that more Americans are facing, especially those who live in parts of the country with continued coronavirus restrictions and the constant threat that, even if ended, those restrictions could re-emerge at any time by political decree.

Indeed, this is the topic of this week’s LiberatED podcast: Should You Move?

In the episode, I talk to homeschooling mom, Bretigne Shaffer, who left California last month for more freedom elsewhere. Like Burns, Shaffer initially tried to fight, to push back against extended COVID policies and build community with like-minded people in her area. Also like Burns, she finally got tired of fighting.

This is a national trend, as US Census Bureau data released in December showed that restrictive states such as California, Illinois, New York, and Massachusetts lost population between July 2020 and July 2021, while states with less-restrictive virus policies like Texas, Arizona, and Florida gained population during that time. Writing about these population trends for FEE, economist Peter Jacobsen explained: “Lockdowns, documentation mandates, school closings, and other COVID regulations are likely just too cumbersome for some to tolerate.”

Fight or flight is a tough choice for families, but at least it’s a choice that Americans can enjoy thanks to federalism and the ability to vote with our feet. We can choose to live in a different city or state, and select different state and local governance, due to the decentralization of power envisioned by our Founding Fathers.

As more people move to states they see as offering greater freedom and opportunity, there is some concern about political change in their new states. Could newcomers bring with them policies and perspectives that could threaten the very freedom they are seeking? FEE’s Fresh Start States project helps to prevent this through outreach and information promoting the principles of personal and economic freedom to those settling in new areas.

What if You Can’t Move?

Still, for a whole host of reasons, many families can’t or don’t want to move somewhere else. In that case, they can keep fighting. Burns has some advice for families staying put.

“Start talking about your concerns publicly–and don’t pull punches,” she told me in an interview this week. “Don’t vacillate and say things work when you think they don’t. That’s how we got stuck here. You will find more people agree with you than you think. Then, if you can, run for something, and run on these issues–lean into them. These issues shouldn’t be Republican or Democrat, so run however you feel comfortable. Talk about the things that concern you–not whatever the party line is supposed to be. Being public about it will help you find the people in your area who are sympathetic, and who will form the base of your support,” she said.

It’s a dynamic moment in the US, and many individuals and families who never before considered uprooting their life for a new one elsewhere are giving it serious thought. Perhaps you are one of them.

Listen to this week’s LiberatED podcast for more insights on this topic. You can listen here, on AppleSpotifyGoogle, or wherever you get your podcasts.

*****

This article was published by FEE and is reproduced with permission.

A Midterm Reality Check thumbnail

A Midterm Reality Check

By Paul Gottfried

The Nov. 8 midterm election, which was preceded by early voting that invariably favors the Democrats, has come and gone. On the basis of what we now know, the Republicans have a small majority in the House of Representatives and—since their misfortune increased Tuesday through Hershel Walker’s loss to Sen. Rachael Warnock in Georgia’s runoff—a 49–51 minority in the Senate.

Save for a few bright spots like Florida, the non-coastal regions of California, and Long Island, the midterms represented a remarkable achievement for the Democratic Party. Despite failing grades in all polls on inflation, crime, foreign policy, and immigration, and a mostly senile president who keeps putting his foot in his mouth whenever he tries to speak, President Joe Biden’s party more than held its own.

Unlike President Barack Obama and other earlier chief executives, Biden did not sustain the huge losses in his party that one would expect. In fact, the Democrats made significant electoral gains, as in my state of Pennsylvania, where a perceptibly brain-damaged representative of the eccentric far left, John Fetterman, coasted to victory against centrist Republican Mehmet Oz.

Such a turn of events cannot be reasonably attributed to a single cause, whether National Review’s fixation on blaming every Republican setback on its bête noire, Donald Trump, or even dishonest vote counts (which may have occurred in some states). I also don’t question that lots of college students turned out for the Democrats, imagining that Joe would cancel their student loan debts, but because of America’s still-in-force “separation of powers,” it is not the president but Congress that is permitted to take such an unwise step.

Curiously, after the Democrats incited mass protests against the Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade in June, abortion rights became a less electorally charged issue during the following months. By fall, abortion even sank to third or fourth place in polling behind inflation, crime, and, according to some pollsters, immigration. Abortion rights, however, remained a critical issue that Democrats kept alive throughout the election season, although most Republican campaigns, like Oz’s in Pennsylvania and gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin’s in New York, tried to run away from it.

Democrats typically exaggerated the devotion of Republican candidates to the pro-life cause and attributed to them, usually counterfactually, an unconditional opposition to abortion (including for victims of rape and incest). The Democrats pounced on this divisive question and wouldn’t let it go, because, like the so-called Jan. 6 insurrection and the so-called Republican threat to democracy, it resonated well with their base. Given the Democrats’ lack of popularity on most other issues, hammering on abortion rights, even in states where such rights were fastidiously protected, was a convenient tactic to fall back on.

Abortion, as we now know, was far more central to election outcomes than the polls suggested or than I had previously thought. But it was not an isolated social issue in determining votes. Unrestricted abortion rights, which many voters, particularly single women, seem fixed on, is part of a larger package of woke positions. Democratic candidates like Fetterman, Sen. Warnock in Georgia, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in Michigan, and Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes in Wisconsin have embraced a wide range of woke causes, from LGBT rights and critical race theory to sexual reassignment, the elimination of bail for violent criminals, and open borders.

Those who voted for Democrats were getting behind a lot more stuff than unrestricted abortion rights. They were endorsing a far-reaching woke agenda, which Democratic candidates had backed for years. Democratic voters, I would submit, were voting for Democratic candidates at least partly because they agreed with their cultural radicalism. Despite rampant crime, galloping inflation, deliberately kept-open borders, and other evidence of a disastrous Democratic administration, those who voted for radical left candidates were placing woke politics, and not only abortion, above bread-and-butter and safety issues.

It seems almost childish to pretend that the Republicans brought this on themselves by not nominating the proper candidates. Next to the Democrats they opposed, Republicans like gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake and senatorial candidate Blake Masters in Arizona, Zeldin in New York, senatorial candidate General Donald Bolduc in New Hampshire, and gubernatorial candidate Tudor Dixon in Michigan were brilliant, inspirational political warriors.

Did the Democrats really offer anything more impressive than these Republicans in Fetterman, Whitmer, or Sen. Mark Kelly and Governor-Elect Katie Hobbs in Arizona? In my state, the Democrats won handily with an incoherent stroke victim who backs state-subsidized heroin dens and wants to release from captivity violent criminals, up to second-degree murderers. Fetterman’s campaign won decisively because it appealed to socially and culturally radicalized demographics.

Therefore, blaming Republican defeats on Donald Trump’s endorsement of bad candidates, who in most cases were actually able campaigners, is a questionable explanation for what just took place. One can reach this conclusion even without backing Trump’s further presidential ambitions. Noting Trump’s very limited responsibility for Republican defeats and looking for causes elsewhere is, contrary to the opinion of The National Review, Fox News anchor Bret Baier, and Daily Wire commentator Ben Shapiro, by no means an endorsement of the former president’s candidacy.

Republicans lost key electoral contests for many reasons, but a critical one became clear to me while reflecting on the election results. Republicans have not been radical enough on social issues to appeal to those who voted for the Democrats. Moreover, the Democratic vote in favor of unrestricted abortion rights was not an isolated social stance. The same voters would likely be mobilized if the issue of gay marriage were returned to the states. This of course won’t happen because Republicans are joining Democrats in the Senate to nationalize that right (the Constitution be damned!).

This cultural radicalization was at first gradual but then turned viral after the meteoric rise of former president Obama to quasi-divine status. As president, this gushingly lionized celebrity was supposed to help us transcend our racist (and presumably sexist and homophobic) past.

Obama and his cult have helped us overcome nothing more than the remnants of our constitutional republic. They have also been governmental icebreakers for the cultural left. Even before Biden, these revolutionaries started weaponizing the permanent state, particularly the clandestine services and military, against the so-called radical right, white nationalist threat to democracy. The Biden administration has mobilized the same forces against those who reject their leftist programs, and judging by their most recent election, our radicalized Democrats continue to make headway.

But the left has not been alone in leading us astray. Long after the woke left had marched through all our major institutions, gurus from Conservative Inc. were still assuring us that America remains a firmly conservative country. They were woefully wrong and even delusional. The recently concluded election may not have been a fluke but an accurate indication of where we are as a country.

*****

This article was published by Chronicles and is reproduced with permission.

There’s No Natural ‘Carrying Capacity’ for the Human Population: An Essay Inspired by the Happy News that the Human Population Has Reached Eight Billion thumbnail

There’s No Natural ‘Carrying Capacity’ for the Human Population: An Essay Inspired by the Happy News that the Human Population Has Reached Eight Billion

By Donald J. Boudreaux

The late, great Julian SimonJulian Simon spent decades battling intellectually against biologists and zoologists who were convinced that human population growth, if governments did not hold it in check with draconian measures, would spell doom for multitudes of humans. (I might as well have used the present tense above, because many of the scientists with whom Simon did battle, including the most prominent, Paul Ehrlich, are still alive.) These students of animal development and behavior insist that every species inhabits an environment with a natural “carrying capacity.” If the population of a species grows in number beyond the limits of its environment’s carrying capacity, the death rate of members of that species will rise, while its members’ birth rate falls, because species members will confront unusual difficulty gaining access to food, water, and shelter. The species’ population is thus confined to the limits of its environment’s carrying capacity by the brutality of uncaring nature.

Simon argued that humans, at least those of us who live in free societies, are a categorically different sort of species. He observed that to the extent to which we, members of the human species, inhabit a social environment characterized by free and innovative markets, our species does not inhabit a natural environment with a finite carrying capacity. Simon’s argument starts with the fact that we humans are uniquely enterprising and innovative. When this fact combines with the further reality that market prices are signals about which specific resources are becoming more scarce relative to other resources, human entrepreneurship and creativity are incited to discover ways both to make currently known stocks of scarce resources go further and, more importantly, to discover either new sources of those resources or more abundant substitutes. When we succeed in these endeavors, as we now normally do, we literally produce more resources.

Simon’s explanation is revolutionary. Contrary to what most people seem to believe, we don’t obtain resources from an existing stock created for us by nature, leaving fewer resources available for use tomorrow each time we withdraw some amount for our use today. Instead, resources are ultimately fruits of the human mind and effort. And so we produce more petroleum, more tungsten, more copper, more bauxite in the same way that, when our demand for apple pies or Apple laptops increases, we produce more apple pies and Apple laptops.

For humans in market economies, therefore, the environment has no natural ‘carrying capacity.’

As Simon tirelessly documented, his account of humans’ relationship with the natural environment is amply confirmed by history, especially by modern history. Over the past few centuries the human population has grown remarkably – earlier this month it hit eight billion. At the same time there’s also been astounding growth in humans’ standard of living. Were there a natural carrying capacity on earth for the human population, history offers no evidence of it. Quite the contrary.

Despite the economic soundness of his argument and its consistency with the data – and despite his famous victory in a 1980 wager with Ehrlich on whether or not a bundle of five natural resources would become more scarce over the course of a decade – Simon’s argument left many biologists and zoologists unconvinced. And biologists and zoologists aren’t alone. Pick at random a professor, student, news reporter, or blogger and ask him if we humans are today threatening our long-term survival by overusing resources. Chances are high that the answer you’ll get is an unhesitating yes. You’ll likely be further told that our only hope of avoiding the terrible fate of billions of us being done in by natural forces is for us, especially those of us in rich countries, to dramatically reduce our consumption.

There is, I suppose, something gratifying in counseling personal sacrifice. Sacrifice often is admirable and worthwhile, as when you sacrifice your time to help a neighbor in distress, or sacrifice your comfort today in order to undergo painful medical treatments that will better ensure that you’ll survive past tomorrow. But sacrifice for sacrifice’s sake is, at best, pointless. Costs are incurred in exchange for no benefits. (I understand that practicing at sacrificing can help to build character. To the extent that such character-building is real, it’s a benefit that potentially makes practicing at sacrificing worthwhile. Such sacrifice, however, isn’t sacrifice for its own sake.)

If Simon is correct, green-inspired efforts to encourage or compel those of us in market economies to reduce our consumption today yield no benefits. Such efforts conserve no resources; they simply result in our producing fewer resources, an outcome that is utterly useless. The uselessness of this outcome lies in the reality that whenever we “need” new resources, we can produce these.

Was Simon naively pollyannaish? Has history’s apparent confirmation of his thesis simply been a matter of good luck? No.

Consider a recent essay in the Wall Street Journal – an essay whose title speaks volumes: “One Man’s Trash Is Another’s Clean Fuel.” The authors, Nick Stork and Joe Malchow, report very Simonesque news:

In a lesson about how the energy transition is likely to play out, landfill operators’ ability to make use of excess gas has exploded in recent years. New facilities are being created to convert trash into renewable natural gas, molecularly identical to the gas that heats homes. The process cuts down greenhouse-gas emissions while creating a low-carbon energy source…

The potential has spurred major sanitation and energy companies to break into this new market. This year Houston’s Waste Management Corp. announced an $825 million investment to boost renewable natural-gas capture. In October the British company BP agreed to acquire Archaea Energy (which one of us founded and the other invested in), a company that designs, builds and operates RNG plants in the U.S. to convert waste emissions. Archaea produces 6,000 oil-equivalent barrels a day through 13 RNG facilities with plans to construct 88 more to serve rising demand. Our only input is trash.

Quiet, private innovation in gas processing made this possible. Archaea sells largely to voluntary buyers who wish to lock in clean gas at fair prices. RNG still comes at a premium compared with other fuel sources, but driving down the cost of producing RNG will mean more of it is available to buyers on attractive terms. We are working to lower the price of RNG by creating standardized and modular production facilities with decreased operating costs, higher processing efficiency, and uptime rates that start above 90 percent.

Energy – indeed, low-carbon energy – from trash!

If turning trash into energy that’s transmissible over long distances nevertheless sounds either fanciful or likely insignificant in its long-term impact, imagine yourself as a native American roaming 600 years ago through the woodlands of what is today western Pennsylvania. You’re thirsty and bend down to enjoy a drink of water from a brook, only to discover that the water at that spot is undrinkable because it’s polluted with a smelly, oily, noxious substance oozing out a few feet upstream. How plausible would this You of 600 years ago have found a prediction that the icky stuff that pollutes your drinking water would, in just a few centuries, be a much-sought-after ‘natural’ resource that powers much of humanity’s activities?

Julian Simon died almost twenty-five years ago, just shy of his 66th birthday. Were he still alive today, he would surely celebrate our population of eight billion and remind anyone who would listen that, far from pushing humans closer to the earth’s carrying capacity, the creative potential of those eight billion human minds will further expand our access to resources. We need only to allow this creativity to operate freely.

*****

This article was published at American Institute for Economic Research and is reproduced with permission.

Post Roe v. Wade: The States Choose Death thumbnail

Post Roe v. Wade: The States Choose Death

By Carmel Richardson

What happened on Tuesday was not, by any measure, terribly shocking. The ambitious red wave was a much more realistic red ripple; Republicans will win the House while the Senate will likely be split; the narrow races are yet to be decided (this is apparently now the norm in American politics, vindicating an election prediction from 2020); and once again, the first Tuesday in November marked a slight shift, rather than an about-face, from the condition of electoral politics the year prior.

But while the electoral results will apparently take days—weeks, even, in the case of Georgia—there was one question on the ballot that has already been clearly decided. Abortion, and all its sundry offshoots, will retain protected status in the United States.

Five key ballot proposals on abortion were decided Tuesday night. California, Vermont, Montana, Kentucky, and Michigan all weighed in favor of fewer limits on abortion, with even red Kentucky knocking down a proposal to specify that the state constitution does not protect a right to abortion. Montana narrowly declined to recognize the rights, including the right to medical care, of a child born from a partial or botched abortion. Vermont’s Prop. 5 made it the first state in the Union to enshrine a fundamental right to an abortion in its state constitution, beating California only by a few hours. The constitution of the state of California, too, will now read that “the state shall not deny or interfere with an individual’s reproductive freedom…which includes their fundamental right to choose to have an abortion.” But Michigan’s proposal may just be the most extreme.

Proposal 3, as previously reported, goes beyond enshrining a right to abortion in the state constitution, though it certainly does that. In addition to establishing rights to all manner of “reproductive freedom,” including sterilization, the bill also does away with parental consent for minors in any such reproductive decisions. That opens the door to some very bleak possibilities, like the underage rape victim being coerced to abort her baby to provide cover for her abuser; or the teenaged, gender-confused girl being given hormone therapy behind her parents’ backs, at the permanent cost of her fertility. The proposal was passed by a margin of 13 percentage points at the time of this writing, and would require three-fourths of both chambers of the Michigan state legislature, which just flipped blue, to vote to overturn it. Or, of course, another ballot proposal. Or a federal abortion ban.

Earlier this week, the Los Angeles Times published a piece describing the Michigan proposal and how it was shaping the gubernatorial contest between Gretchen Whitmer and Tudor Dixon. (I made a similar observation a few weeks back.) The Times opening interviewee, a woman whose yard was pockmarked with campaign signs for Republican names all the way down the ballot, told the reporter she would vote in favor of Prop. 3, despite her Republican bona fides, because “I’m my own person.”

Clearly, she was not alone. More people, about 100,000 more, voted for the losing Republican candidate, Dixon, than against the proposal. Even more telling were the results in Kentucky, which spans both the Rust Belt and the Bible Belt, and where the measure to restrict abortion failed by 6 percentage points. This is the same state that went for Trump by 62 percent to Biden’s 36 percent in 2020. In many ways, places like Kentucky are the heart of the new right and its voter base—they produced J.D. Vance, after all. But we should not misunderstand what this means.

As commentator Aaron Renn pointed out in his newsletter on Wednesday, the majority of the voting public seems to want abortion to be legal. This is especially true for working class Americans, who comprise a large swath of voters in both Michigan and Kentucky. I am not the first to point out, of course, how many of these blue collar Democrats now vote Republican—in part due to Trump, but also as a result of the leftward shift of the Democratic Party. The voters haven’t moved much, but the parties have.

That means Republicans who prioritize working class concerns are winning again (see: Vance), but it also means that the Evangelical vote, which has never been as significant as folks want to believe, is less relevant than ever. Many Evangelicals have gone left in recent decades, perceiving empathy in the progressive agenda. Those who have stuck with the right often tend to emphasize genuine, if secondary, political concerns (election fraud, Covid policies, critical race theory) over religious ones (the sanctity of life).

It used to be that you could not run in a red state without being loudly opposed to abortion, because they were so reliably pro-life. This is still true in some states, such as my home state of Tennessee. But for many of the winning Republicans on Tuesday, opposition to abortion was not the deciding factor. In some cases, it may even have been a hindrance. Meanwhile, the libertarian tendency of the working class voter led him to prefer fewer restrictions on abortion, purely for the sake of keeping the government out of as much of his personal life as possible—the state is for roads, healthcare, jobs, not morality.

Republicans have secured the working class vote, but it is not the culturally Christian one. The waning influence of the pro-life movement in the Republican party is evidence of this: success at the judicial level seems to have coincided rather ironically with the failure of the popular movement. This may be the fault of the movement’s organizers, or it may just be a reflection on much broader cultural changes in America, tectonic shifts that no organization could have reasonably stopped.

But the culture war without Christianity is a rudderless ship. The success of politicians like Ron DeSantis in Florida means little if in the same breath the American people have said they will abide infanticide, or would rather keep their options open than commit to protecting innocent lives. The Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade to send the decision on life back to the states, and the states chose death.

*****

This article was published by The American Conservative and is reproduced with permission.

Hillsdale Imprimis: Education as a Battleground thumbnail

Hillsdale Imprimis: Education as a Battleground

By Larry P. Arnn

The following is adapted from remarks delivered on November 3, 2022, at a Hillsdale College reception in Santa Clara, California.

If you want to see the problem with American education, look at a chart illustrating the comparative growth in the number of students, teachers, and district administrators in our public schools in the period between 2000 and 2019. (See the chart below.) The number of district administrators grew by a whopping 87.6 percent during these years, far outstripping the growth in the number of students (7.6 percent) and teachers (8.7 percent).

In illustrating the difference in these rates of growth, the chart also illustrates a fundamental change that has come over our nation as a whole during this period—a change in how we govern ourselves and how we live. To say a change is fundamental means that it concerns the foundation of things. If the foundation changes, then the things built on it are changed. Education is fundamental, and it has changed radically. This has changed everything else.

One way of describing the change in education today is that it provides a different answer than we have ever known to the question: who owns American children? Of course, no one actually owns the children. They are human beings, and insofar as they are owned, they own themselves. But by nature, they require a long time to grow up—much longer than most creatures—and someone must act on their behalf until they mature. Who is to do that?

Not many people raise this question explicitly, but implicitly it is everywhere. For example, it is contained in the question: who gets to decide what children learn? It is contained more catastrophically in the question: who decides what we tell children about sex?

Are these decisions the province of professional educators, who claim to be experts? Or are they the province of parents, who rely on common sense and love to guide them? In other words, is the title to govern children established by expertise or by nature as exhibited in parenthood? The first is available to a professionally educated few. The second is available to any human being who will take the trouble.

The natural answer to this question is contained in the way human beings come to be. Prior to recent scientific “advances,” every child has been the result of a natural process to which people have a natural attraction. “Natural” here does not mean what every single person wants or does—it means the way things work unless we humans intervene.

In its essence, “nature” means the process of begetting and growth by which a mature, living thing comes to be. Not quite every human being is attracted to the natural process of human reproduction, but nearly all are—and when the process works to produce a baby, it works that way and no other way.

This process of human reproduction and growth works for two reasons. The first is that human beings, when mature, are capable of so much more than other creatures. Almost from birth we learn to talk, a rational function that indicates decisive differences from other creatures. Because of reason and speech we are moral beings, capable of distinguishing among kinds of things and therefore of knowing and doing right and wrong. Also because of them we are social beings, able to understand and explain things to one another that other creatures do not understand and cannot discuss. This draws us closer together than even herd or swarm animals.

We are unique in possessing these capacities, and it is in this specific respect that our nation’s founders declared that “all men are created equal.” This equality has nothing to do with the color of anyone. Its source is the unique, immaterial, rational soul of the human being. One of my teachers used to respond to the claims of animal rights advocates that one must not be cruel to any creature, but that only those who can talk are entitled to vote.

The second reason in nature that makes human reproduction unique is our especially long period of maturation. For months, human babies are simply helpless; without constant attention they will starve. For years afterwards they must develop the skills and knowledge that are uniquely available to the human being. Both the skills and the knowledge are natural, meaning all human beings can obtain them, but both take time. Each child does the work of obtaining them, but each child needs help. Modern educators often mistake the work of helping them to learn for actually doing the learning for them. The second is impossible.

The skills of reading, writing, and arithmetic are direct exercises of the rational faculty. They are in principle the same thing as talking, and in principle every child will learn much of them unassisted. Just watch a child grow up to the age of two. He or she begins very early to respond to things with comprehension. Words soon follow. Children copy adults for the use of words, but they are doing all the work of learning. Little wonder that human beings take a long time to mature: they have so much to learn.

Raising a child has always been difficult and expensive. With rare exceptions, it has always been true that the parents who conceive the child raise him the best. And throughout American history, it has been thought that the family is the cradle of good citizenship and therefore of free and just politics. Public education is as old as our nation—but only lately has it adopted the purpose of supplanting the family and controlling parents.

***

The political successes of Governor Ron DeSantis in Florida, Governor Glenn Youngkin in Virginia, and many other politicians in other states have largely been won on this battleground of education. One can look in history or in literature to see the danger of where the idea of supplanting the family might lead. Study the education practices that existed in the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany and that exist today in Communist China. Or read the terrifying account in Orwell’s 1984. They tell us that children, by distorting their natural desire to grow up and end their dependence, can be recruited to the purposes of despotic regimes, even to the extent of denouncing their parents to the state.

We do not yet have this in America. But we do have children being turned against their country by being indoctrinated to look on its past—of which all parents, of course, are in some way a part—as a shameful time of irredeemable injustice. We also increasingly have children being encouraged to speak of their sexual proclivities at an age when they can hardly think of them.

To cite just one example, Christopher Rufo has discovered, on the website of the Michigan Department of Education, detailed instructions for how teachers should open the question with students of their sexual orientation—or maybe I should say sexual direction, since “orientation” implies something constant, whereas children are now being taught that sexuality is “fluid” and can take them anywhere.

Also on the website are detailed instructions on how to keep this activity from the parents. And as we learned last year, when parents get angry and complain of things like this, the FBI is likely to become interested.

Who “owns” the child, then? The choice is between the parents, who have taken the trouble to have and raise the child—and who, in almost all cases, will give their lives to support the child for as long as it takes and longer—or the educational bureaucracy, which is more likely than a parent to look upon the child as an asset in a social engineering project to rearrange government and society.

***

The revolutionary force behind this social engineering project is a set of ideas installed in just about every university today. Its smiting arm is the administrative state, an element of America’s ruling class. The administrative state has something over 20 million employees, many of them at the federal but most at the state level. Directly and indirectly, they make rules about half the economy, which means they affect all of it.

Most of the bureaucrats who staff the administrative state have permanent jobs. The idea behind this was that if they do not fear dismissal and have excellent pay and benefits that can’t be reduced, then they will be politically neutral. Today, of course, the public employee unions that represent this administrative state are the largest contributors in politics and give overwhelmingly to one side. They are the very definition of partisanship.

The fiction is that these bureaucrats are highly trained, dispassionate, nonpartisan, and professional, and that therefore they can do a better job, of almost anything, than somebody outside the system can do. They proceed by rules that over time have become ever more hopelessly complex. Only they can read these rules—and, for the most part, they read them as they please.

Judges have up to now, for the most part, given deference to the bureaucrats’ reading of their own rules. It is a rare happy fact that this judicial practice is under challenge in the courts. If it should ever become settled doctrine that the bureaucracy is constrained by the strict letter of the laws made by elected legislators and enforced by elected executives, that will exercise some restraint upon the administrative state. That explains why, after decades of defending judicial supremacy, progressives are beginning to question the authority of the courts and speak openly about packing the Supreme Court.

***

Public education is an important component of the prevailing administrative system. The roots of the system are in Washington, D.C., and the tendrils reach into every town and hamlet that has a public school. These tendrils retain some measure of freedom, especially in red states where legislatures do not go along automatically. In some red states, the growth of administrators has been somewhat slower than average. But this growth has been rapid and large everywhere. In every state, the result has been to remove authority and money away from the schools where the students learn. In every state, the authority and money drained from the schools have flowed toward the bureaucracy.

The political battle over this issue is fraught with dishonesty. Any criticism of public education is immediately styled as a criticism of teachers. But as the numbers show, the public education system works to the detriment of teachers and for the benefit of bureaucrats. The teachers unions themselves, some of the largest of the public employee unions, claim to be defending teachers and children. That cannot be more than half true, given that they are defending an administrative system that has grown by leaps and bounds while the number of teachers has grown very little.

Worse even than this is the tendency the system sets in all of us. Bureaucracy is a set of processes, a series of prescribed steps not unlike instructions for assembling a toy. First this happens, then that happens, and then the next thing. The processes proceed according to rules. It is a profession unto itself to gain competence in navigating these rules, but nobody is really competent. Today we tend too much to think that this kind of process is the only thing that can give legitimacy to something. A history curriculum is adopted, not because it gives a true account of the unchangeable things that have already happened, but because it has survived a process. The process is dominated by “stakeholders”—mostly people who have a financial or political interest in what is taught. They are mostly not teachers or scholars but advocates. And so we adopt our textbooks, our lesson plans, and our state standardized tests with a view to future political outcomes once the kids grow up.

I have said and written many times that the political contest between parents and people who make an independent living, on the one hand, and the administrative state and all its mighty forces on the other, is the key political contest of our time. Today that seems truer than ever. The lines are clearly formed.

***

As long as our representative institutions work in response to the public will, there is thankfully no need for violence. As the Declaration of Independence says, “Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes.”

The Declaration guides us in our peaceful pursuits, too. In naming the causes of the American Revolution, it gives a guide to maintaining free and responsible government. The long middle section of the Declaration accuses the King of interfering with representative government, violating the separation of powers, undermining the independence of the judiciary, and failing to suppress violence.

And in an apposite phrase, it says of the King: “He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.”

So it is today. And so it is our duty to defend our American way of life.

*****

Larry P. Arnn is the twelfth president of Hillsdale College. He received his B.A. from Arkansas State University and his M.A. and Ph.D. in government from the Claremont Graduate School. From 1977 to 1980, he also studied at the London School of Economics and at Worcester College, Oxford University, where he served as director of research for Martin Gilbert, the official biographer of Winston Churchill. From 1985 until his appointment as president of Hillsdale College in 2000, he was president of the Claremont Institute for the Study of Statesmanship and Political Philosophy. From October 2020 to January 2021, he served as co-chair of the President’s Advisory 1776 Commission. He is the author of several books, including The Founders’ Key: The Divine and Natural Connection Between the Declaration and the Constitution and Churchill’s Trial: Winston Churchill and the Salvation of Free Government.

The Other Thanksgiving Story thumbnail

The Other Thanksgiving Story

By Neland Nobel

It really is about being grateful, which is something too few of our spoiled citizens appreciate.  But since the holiday is being weaponized by “woke culture”, there are some other elements of the story to think about.

The short version, the way it is taught today, is that greedy Pilgrims landed in Plymouth Bay.  Half of the Pilgrims died from disease and starvation the first winter. Befriended by kind Indians, they barely survived and gave thanks to the Almighty.  Then, the Pilgrims went on to colonize the natives.  Today, one of the Indian tribes most closely associated with the Pilgrims regrets they gave them help.

Thus like Columbus Day, much of the meaning of Thanksgiving gets lost in the culture wars of today.  It has been turned into a story about the evils of colonizing and European culture, and an elevation of the indigenous to almost mythical levels.

It really is about being grateful, which is something too few of our spoiled citizens appreciate.  But since the holiday is being weaponized by “woke culture”, there are some other elements of the story to think about.

What are the sheer odds of things coming together the way they did?  If not a product of Devine Providence, the story is remarkable by the extremely low odds things could unfold the way they did.

One of the first is being blown off course and landing precisely at a spot where native people had been wiped out by a plague.  If one had to land in cold Massachusetts, they by chance found a good spot.  They found depopulated villages, mass graves, and a Wampanoag society devasted well before the Pilgrims arrived.  They did not seize native land, it was abandoned.

As to the help they received, the story of Squanto is remarkable just for its improbability.  Taken likely by English sailors fishing the region, he was sold into slavery, wound up in Spain, learned European languages, was befriended by religious monks, and remarkably then returned to his people who had been wiped out. He did not die in slavery, did not succumb to European diseases, and was likely one of the only English-speaking natives in the whole region.  And, he showed up just in the nick of time and preferred to live his life among the English until his death.  What are the odds of that?

His introduction was just as improbable.  Another Indian, who had learned some English named Samoset contacted the Pilgrims.  His first words were reported to be “do you have any beer”, a question that can be appreciated today as well.  It was through this colorful introduction that Squanto met the Pilgrims and helped them learn planting procedures.

Then there is the strategic alliance formed between the Wampanoag and the Pilgrims. 

The Indians of North America had not reached the level of sophistication of their fellow tribesmen in South America.  They did not have the wheel, work metals, a recorded language, or writing.  They were stone age people set on a collision course with a more technologically advanced “alien” civilization.  Wherever that occurred, in Mexico, Peru, New Zealand, or Australia, the outcome would not be good for the natives.

The leader of the Wampanoag, Massasoit, knew his plague-weakened tribe was in serious trouble.  But the threat was not the Pilgrims. An aggressive and more powerful tribe, the Narragansetts, would likely subjugate his people.  It was not uncommon among North American tribes to kill and torture their rivals, seize their land, enslave their women and children, and on occasion, eat them.

Lost by most is the diplomatic maneuvering that occurred.  Massasoit sought out the Pilgrims for a military alliance against another tribe.  The Pilgrims entered into a peace treaty with them.  The treaty provisions basically said that none of Massasoit’s men would harm the Pilgrims, and if they did, they would be sent to the Pilgrims for punishment and if anyone went to war with Massasoit, the Pilgrims and their flintlocks would come to their aid.  Does that sound like colonizing to you?

To be sure, unjust things to native Americans occurred later, but why blame the Pilgrims?

Further, several years later, Massasoit became gravely ill and went blind.  The Pilgrims were sent out to visit him and were told he was dead.

But, they found Massasoit alive but near death, and one Edward Winslow gave him medicine, scraped his throat, and gave him chicken soup (no kidding). The chief regained his eyesight, began to eat once again, and recovered.  

Grateful for the care, Massasoit revealed a plot by other Indians to wipe out the Pilgrims.  Armed with this vital intelligence, Miles Standish, with the help of Massasoit’s men, defeated the plot before it could materialize.  Massasoit remained a friend of the Pilgrims until his death. Does that sound like colonizing to you?

What are the odds that the primitive medicine practiced by the Pilgrims could work such miracles on Massasoit, and that he in turn would reveal a plot by other Indians to destroy the Pilgrims?

Isn’t it interesting that those today who hate the idea of migrants from Europe landing in North America are the ones in favor of migrants displacing the people in Texas and Arizona?

And as to the Indian leaders today who take to the Washington Post to voice their regrets about helping the Pilgrims, both the Post and the Indian leaders are guilty of “presentism”, or view all historical events through the prism of today’s woke ideology.

Both sides cooperated with each other for good reason.  They needed each other for survival. It might not be too much to say that descendants today of the Wampanoag might not be around to criticize the Pilgrims were it not for the alliance formed between Massasoit and the Europeans.

Finally, in the diary of William Bradford, we learn about another challenge the Pilgrims beat.  This is one of their own makings.  It was socialism.

At first, all production was to be shared, regardless of one’s effort.  Individuals farmed collective land.  As a result, production dropped and starvation stalked the land.  There was no incentive to work.  Basically, it was “universal basic income”. Bradford reversed course, allowing private plots and making individuals responsible for themselves.  The Pilgrims were not only saved by Squanto, but by capitalism.

So there is a lot of interesting history in the back story to Thanksgiving to reflect upon if you can get through the distortions so frequently pedaled today.  Even the nature of history itself is a subject of the Thanksgiving experience.  It is said that history is written by the victors.  Today, it is written by the victors on behalf of the losers. 

The Pilgrims put much of their history down in writing.  The natives used oral history.  The quality of the two is not equivalent.  It is hard enough to get the facts straight and interpreted fairly from original written documents. But oral history has no objective tether to the facts.  Just listening to the yarns of relatives should prove that to you.  Ever notice how events you were party to get changed over the years, embellished sometimes beyond recognition?

Try to have an accurate depiction of events passed on down from 400 years ago.  It is just not possible.  This truth is likely painful to those that revere “oral history.”

No, the Pilgrims were not perfect, but they were not devils either.  The treaty with the Wampanoag, initiated by Massasoit is evidence of that, as was their medical care of him.

It is not a good thing for a nation to have every element of its history turned into an evil crime.  A strong civilization should be able to critique itself, but constant exaggeration and selective negative history can undermine belief in one’s country and civilization.  Why defend it, if that is the case?

A nation’s history is not solely defined by its shortcomings, nor is its destiny. The Pilgrims conducted themselves pretty well given the time in which they lived.

Those who want to undermine America use distortions of history for their own purposes.

Thanksgiving is actually a remarkable and improbable story.  It either was divine intervention or one of the most implausible sets of circumstances one can imagine.

Those actually participating in the events were religious and saw their salvation in religious terms.  Their survival hung on a miraculous set of events.

Today, we can look back at the development of a wonderful country that has its warts to be sure, but still remains a beacon to those who want to find a better life.

We have not been wiped out by war, disease, socialism, or starvation.  Lots of people have had that fate.  We haven’t.  Be thankful for that.

Facebook Works to Deliver Us From Truth thumbnail

Facebook Works to Deliver Us From Truth

By Thorsteinn Siglaugsson

This morning, a friend published a short post on Facebook, drawing attention to how it seemed to him the company was not even bothering any more to refer to the so-called “independent fact-checkers” to justify their censorship. He had re-posted a clip where Fox reporter Tucker Carlson discussed the negative effectiveness of the Covid-19 vaccines, referring to peer-reviewed studies. The clip is available here.

No reference to the twenty-something undergrads at the censorship agencies, just this label:

How on earth can peer-reviewed results constitute “misinformation”? The peer review process isn’t perfect, far from it, but after all it is the accepted standard. The first conclusion therefore is that the word “misinformation” does not refer to misinformation any more, it simply refers to any information the censor wants suppressed. The word has become meaningless.

The action, then, is suppression of a certain kind of information, but what about the reason? The reason for suppressing uncomfortable information about Covid-19 vaccines is that seeing this information may “make some people feel unsafe”. What does this mean precisely?

There are at least two possibilities, and here I’m talking only about those who believe in the narrative. The first is that people may feel unsafe seeing evidence that contradicts what they’ve been told by the authorities, the mainstream media and the social media giants; the “safe and effective” mantra. Watching Tucker Carlson’s review of the evidence might make people feel unsafe, uncertain, sceptical towards the propaganda relentlessly pushed towards them; this is what happens when you discover you’ve been deceived by someone you trusted. You feel unsafe for you don’t know who to trust any more.

Secondly, people may feel unsafe because their worldview is being threatened, while they still cling to it with all their might. They still believe the lies; they have no doubts, but discovering how some other people do not share their view of the world makes them frightened. Perhaps they’ve taken part in ostracising others, ridiculing them, wishing them harm, fearing for themselves if the truth comes out. Perhaps they suspect, deep down, that they are being deceived, but fear the consequences of the full realisation.

They may even have been so thoroughly brainwashed that they actually believe young and healthy people, an age-group with a demonstrated Covid mortality rate on par with the flu, will drop like flies in case they get infected, like this unfortunate young woman, willing to risk her life to protect her ill-advised belief.

Notice the wording in Facebook’s label. It does not say the alleged “misinformation” will make people unsafe, it says it will make them feel unsafe. When your view of the world is threatened you may certainly feel unsafe, but that doesn’t mean you are any less safe than you were before.

If someone points out to you the bridge you cross every day, and have been assured is well built and robust, is rusting away and may collapse any day, you may feel unsafe in the way you will doubt some other things you’ve been led to believe by the same people who assured you of the safety of the bridge, but avoiding that bridge will surely make you safer in the future.

If you find out that a medication you’ve been led to believe is safe and effective actually isn’t, you may feel unsafe in the same way. But avoiding that medication will surely make you safer in the future.

Having to think may make you feel unsafe, but it will not make you unsafe. A true belief is the result of thinking; to arrive at the truth we must have all the relevant information we can come by, evaluate it and in the end come to an informed conclusion. It may not hold forever, new evidence may present itself, we may have to reconsider our conclusion.

This is the essence of science, the prerequisite of progress, and also the prequisite of making the best and safest decisions for ourselves.

Facebook’s aim is not to make their users safe. Their aim is to make them feel they are safe, to prevent them from discovering challenging information, prevent them from thinking. They are the apostles of a new god, and his followers do not ask him to deliver them from evil, they ask him to deliver them from truth.

*****

This article was published by Brownstone Institute and is reproduced with permission.