6 Common Media Myths About Gun Control

The latest mass shooting, this time at a Florida high school, was one of the deadliest school shootings since the Columbine massacre in 1999.

So far, there have been 17 confirmed deaths in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and the alleged shooter is in custody.

Americans are understandably searching for answers to stem this terrible epidemic.

Unfortunately, as always, many jump immediately to the conclusion that guns and protection of gun rights are what’s fueling the recurrence of these crimes. Some suggested that any opposition to gun control legislation is outright immoral.

But the often sincere and certainly passionate claims made by those calling for gun control frequently don’t add up.

As columnist David French wrote of the recurring shootings in a brilliant column for National Review, “It’s horrifying, and governmental solutions are hard to find. Twitter’s fondest wishes to the contrary, the unique characteristics of mass shootings mean that they often escape the reach of public policy.”

After the Parkland shooting, a number of old and new myths about the Second Amendment and gun control became media narratives. Here are just a few of the more common ones.

1. There Have Already Been 18 Mass Shootings in 2018

While school shootings are a serious problem, there have been frequent exaggerations about just how common they are.

One story that has gained widespread traction is that the Parkland shooting is the 18th school shooting since the beginning of 2018. This statistic was originally cooked up by Everytown for Gun Safety, a pro-gun control nonprofit.

Yet, as The Daily Wire noted, this statistic is highly misleading.

Several of these “shootings” were individuals committing suicide on campus and many others were of stray bullets passing through classroom walls with no injuries taking place. In only a few cases were people other than the shooter actually harmed.

“[O]f the 17 ‘school shootings’ before Wednesday’s shooting; three students died; roughly 30-35 were injured,” according to The Daily Wire.

Even The Washington Post said the Everytown number was “a horrifying statistic. And it is wrong.”

“Everytown has long inflated its total by including incidents of gunfire that are not really school shootings,” according to The Washington Post.

2. Trump Signed a Bill That Makes It Easier for Mentally Ill People to Get Guns

This story spread rapidly after President Donald Trump tweeted out that the Parkland shooter was “mentally disturbed” and that more vigilance was necessary to stop these people before they engage in mass killings.

However, this stretched the truth.

Last year, Trump and Congress used the Congressional Review Act to overturn an Obama-era regulation that among other things could prevent those who received disability payments from Social Security from purchasing firearms.

The rule brought up serious charges that it was not just a violation of the Second Amendment, but Fourth Amendment due process rights.

“No administrative process and no administrative law judge should be able to take away a constitutional right,” Heritage Foundation senior fellow Hans von Spakovsky said when the rule was repealed. “This should exclusively be a regular court of law to determine if someone is disabled enough to pose a hazard with a gun, not a federal bureaucrat.”

As Reason editor Scott Shackford wrote, the rule did not specifically prevent mentally ill people from getting guns. Instead, it threw a wide, potentially unconstitutional net over people who may be no threat to themselves or others.

“[T]he regulation was opposed not just by National Rifle Association (NRA) but by several mental health and disability groups and by the American Civil Liberties Union,” Shackford wrote.

3. More Guns Means More Crime

One of the most frequent and persistent myths about guns is that the increase of guns in society leads to more crimes or violence in general. However, this hasn’t been the case. Studies demonstrate that gun control laws have not had a noticeable impact in reducing murder rates and violent crime.

I wrote in October:

As numerous studies have shown, gun ownership is not necessarily connected to crime rates, and may make crime go down. A 2016 report from the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action noted that:

As gun ownership has risen to an all-time high, the nation’s total violent crime rate has fallen to a 44-year low and the murder rate has fallen to an all-time low. Since 1991, when violent crime hit an all-time high, the nation’s violent crime rate and its murder rate have decreased by more than half, as Americans have acquired over 170 million new guns, roughly doubling the number of privately owned guns in the United States.

Furthermore, concealed carry permit holders are among the most law-abiding of any demographic group in America.

For these reasons and many others, gun control has fizzled as an issue even as its proponents continue to push the narrative.

There is simply no evidence that gun owners are more likely to commit crimes, violent or otherwise.

4. It’s Easy to Buy a Gun

In 2015, former President Barack Obama caused a stir when he said, “It’s easier for you to buy a handgun and clips than it is for you to buy a fresh vegetable.”

Obama doubled down in 2016, saying, “We flood communities with so many guns that it is easier for a teenager to buy a Glock than get his hands on a computer or even a book.”

Even The Washington Post fact-checkers cast doubt on this wild claim.

Sean Davis at The Federalist explained the wide gap between the effort required to buy simple produce and pretty much any firearm. Davis Wrote:

There are no federal laws requiring onion dealers to register with the federal government prior to selling onions. There are no state laws requiring that you apply for and receive an onion purchase permit, complete with background check, prior to purchasing an onion. There are no onion waiting periods or limits on how many onions you can purchase within a certain period of time. Nor are there, to my knowledge, any state or local laws prohibiting the possession of onions in schools or government buildings.

The fact is, there are numerous hurdles to gun ownership. It’s not something that can be done on an immediate whim.

5. Gun Control Works in Other Countries

A frequent claim by gun control advocates is that other countries have stemmed gun violence through strict gun control laws.

Australia, in particular, is used as an example for the U.S., as Obama did in 2015.

“We know that other countries in response to one mass shooting have managed to craft laws that almost eliminate mass shootings. Friends of ours, allies of ours, Great Britain, Australia, countries like ours,” he said.

Of course, this comparison doesn’t calm the fears of many who believe that so-called moderate, “commonsense” gun control solutions are merely a Trojan horse leading to mass confiscation as happened in Australia.

Even so, the evidence that the law made a huge impact in gun violence is unclear. As a University of Melbourne report concluded in 2008, according to National Review, “There is little evidence to suggest that [the Australian mandatory gun-buyback program] had any significant effects on firearm homicides.”

The report said:

Although gun buybacks appear to be a logical and sensible policy that helps to placate the public’s fears the evidence so far suggests that in the Australian context, the high expenditure incurred to fund the 1996 gun buyback has not translated into any tangible reductions in terms of firearm deaths.

While Australia experienced a dip in firearm deaths after passing the 1996 law, so has the U.S. since the early 1990s, even as we moved in the opposite policy direction.

6. The Second Amendment Is Obsolete and Doesn’t Apply Today

Many gun control advocates acknowledge that the Second Amendment is a serious impediment to heavy-handed restrictions on firearms and confiscations and have advocated a repeal of this part of the Bill of Rights.

Others, however, have insinuated that the Second Amendment doesn’t apply today because the firearms used by the Founding Fathers were muskets, and that they couldn’t possibly have conceived of the devastating effectiveness of modern weaponry.

But the Founders did not design the Constitution to be an ephemeral document that would lose its applicability over time. They were quite aware that technological changes would come long after they were gone. They designed the Second Amendment to preserve the individual right to self-defense, just as they created the First Amendment to protect free expression.

William Blackstone, a British legal theorist whom the Founders often relied on for guidance, wrote, “Self-defense … as it is justly called the primary law of nature, so it is not, neither can it be in fact, taken away by the law of society.”

It was this reasoning that prompted the Founders to include the Second Amendment in the Bill of Rights.

Just as the rise of the internet and new communication technologies do not make the First Amendment invalid, the principles of the Second Amendment apply today, even as firearm technology has advanced.

Many studies show that news coverage and publicity surrounding school shootings only serve to increase their frequency. As Reason’s Robby Soave pointedly asked on Twitter, does this mean that it’s time to crack down on the First Amendment? A form of “news control,” so to speak.

It is reasonable for Americans to be wary of policy proposals that would likely be ineffective, yet would negate our most precious individual rights.

This article has been updated to correct the year in which the Columbine massacre occurred.

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Jarrett Stepman is an editor for The Daily Signal. Send an email to Jarrett. Twitter: .

Race and IQ: A High School Science Fair Project Ignites a Storm

We don’t know the student’s name, but we do know that he hit a nerve — in fact, he hit a whole bunch of them. Identified only as a boy of Asian descent at C.K. McClatchy High School in California, the teen’s recent science-fair project, “Race and IQ,” propounded the thesis that differences in groups’ average intelligence influence their academic performance. He couldn’t win, though, because his project was removed after parents, staff and other students became “upset” and one girl said she felt “unsafe and uneasy.” The irony?

A project on evolution would no doubt have been well received — even though an assumption of racial differences is implicit in evolutionary theory.

In fact, The Sacramento Bee, which hasn’t yet evolved out of the progressive primordial soup, mentioned that the student’s thesis is associated with eugenics (which the Bee casts negatively), the science of improving the human race via selective breeding. The paper is likely unaware, however, that the term “eugenics” itself was coined by Sir Francis Galton — a cousin of famed evolutionist Charles Darwin — and that Galton made clear that in his eugenicist endeavors, he was merely building on his cousin’s work.

Philosopher G.K. Chesterton once noted that if people “were not created equal, they were certainly evolved unequal.” This is easy to understand:

What are the chances that different groups could have “evolved” isolated from one another for eons — subject to different environments, stresses, procreation-influencing cultural imperatives and adaptive realities — and ended up identical in every worldly measure? Why, even if the peoples evolved isolated in identical environments, the separation alone would make the prospects of winding up completely “equal” a virtual statistical impossibility.

Whatever you believe about evolution, it’s clear that equality is not a thing of this world. Do we see it in nature? Some species can dominate others or are more adaptable, which is why the rat is a pest and the dodo is extinct (and, in fact, the rat helped drive the dodo to extinction). Even within species, some members are hardier, smarter, faster or stronger than others. There are alphas and betas, with a silverback gorilla running his troop and a dominant lion leading his pride. And different breeds of dogs have different characteristic traits, with some being more intelligent than others.

As for people, how is it that we can even characterize different groups as “groups”? Since we don’t do it based purely on location (e.g., dividing 10 boys into two groups of five, each on opposite sides of a room), we can only do so because there are differences among them. We can only speak of “men” and “women” because sex differences actually exist. Regarding the races, we know there are distinctions relating to skin color and hair, for example. It’s differences that make groups “groups.”

But are the differences only skin deep? Tay-Sachs disease is most common among Ashkenazi Jews, while sickle cell anemia is almost exclusive to people of Middle Eastern, Indian, Mediterranean and African heritage. Relative to American whites, American blacks generally have longer limbs, more sweat glands (and thus dissipate heat better), narrower pelvises and greater bone density; and black men have higher free testosterone levels than white men do. Not that it’s the focus of this article, but all these characteristics bring advantages and disadvantages.

Now, next question: Are the differences only neck high? If evolution is a reality, would its principles be operational with the body but, somehow, some way, be suspended with the brain? My, believing that would truly take faith.

Of course, whether nature, nurture or both — whether the tests are valid or not — the fact remains that we do see marked IQ differences among groups. Ashkenazi Jews score the highest of all, at 115 (the world average is currently about 88); this may explain why Jews are only 0.2 percent of the world’s population but were 22 percent of the 20th century’s Nobel Prize winners. Hong Kong and Singapore lead the country list with average IQs of 108, while many nations register far, far lower. Note that while good scientists may debate why these differences exist and how meaningful they are, that they exist is not in dispute.

Of course, some may quibble with the numbers I provided or the group differences I cited, but the details aren’t really the point. The point is, again, that evolution and Equality Dogma contradict one another. Embracing both is akin to believing it likely that on two different occasions, you could spin a giant bin with one million numbers in it, remove them randomly and put them in a row, and they would end up in the precise same order each time. Random processes yield variable results.

That is, unless you believe that God guided evolution. Even this belief, however, allows for the inequality that is the world’s apparent norm. How could this be? It’s simple: Equality is our hang-up — not God’s.

Is “equality” emphasized in any great, time-tested religious canon? It’s certainly only mentioned in the Bible in reference to weights and measures. In fact, Christian theology holds that in that perfect, sinless realm of happiness — Heaven — we will not all have equal glory, as St Thérèse of Liseaux once explained.

As for this fold, Hell on Earth is what Equality Dogma helps create. It has spawned perverted scientific priorities that deny Truth and demand ideological determinations. We’ve seen this before. The Soviet equality dogmatists did it with Lysenkoism, insisting that acquired traits could be inherited because Marxist ideology demanded a malleable human nature. The Nazi superiority dogmatists did it with their racial theories, believing in a “master race” that could become all the more masterful through selective breeding. And we’ve combined elements of both, demanding an unnatural and unattainable equality and measuring it by racial, ethnic and sexual representation in worldly endeavor.

In a saner time, Equality Dogma would be considered a vile heresy. The truth here isn’t hard to grasp: There are differences within groups, but there are also differences among groups. We know we mustn’t paint every individual with the same brush. Why would we paint every individual group with the same one?

One group we should paint over with the label “Rejected” is equality dogmatists. The McClatchy student’s scientific methods might very well have been shoddy, but this wasn’t what got his project scuttled. Rather, The Sacramento Bee article quoted individuals who said the it was “shocking” and its creator “closed-minded”; it spoke of how people felt “upset” and “unsafe and uneasy.” What’s notable is that no one quoted said the project’s conclusion was wrong or untrue.

Oh, if asked, the critics would surely bellow, “Well, of course it’s untrue!” But it’s no accident that they didn’t think to say it; in fact, this failure is typical today when fashionable emoters react to unfashionable science. These critics don’t think to call it untrue because the truth of the matter isn’t their focus. Ideology is.

It’s feelings over facts, emotion over education. But science doesn’t exist to make us feel good or bad; its purpose is the discovery of Truth via the scientific method. People who reject this, who subordinate Truth to agenda-driven lies, are dangerous to civilization. They also are hardly progressive — except insofar as they’re progressing toward ignorance.

Contact Selwyn Duke, follow him on Twitter or log on to SelwynDuke.com

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Trump Has a New Plan to Save Money on Food Stamps

The Trump administration unveiled a new plan to revamp how people are receiving food stamps, suggesting that the government give them boxes of nonperishable food instead.

The new suggestion, written in the 2019 budget proposal, would take half of the money people get from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and instead send families a box of hand-picked, nonperishable items called “America’s Harvest Box,” reports Politico.

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Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney called the suggestion similar to the Blue Apron business, which sends prepared food and recipes to people’s doorsteps, adding that the government would be able to save billions of dollars on the America’s Harvest Box initiative.

“[The Department of Agriculture’s] America’s Harvest Box is a bold, innovative approach to providing nutritious food to people who need assistance feeding themselves and their families—and all of it is homegrown by American farmers and producers,” Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said in a statement. “It maintains the same level of food value as SNAP participants currently receive, provides states flexibility in administering the program, and is responsible to the taxpayers.”

According to White House calculations, the government would save roughly $129 billion over the course of 10 years, though it  appears states would be responsible for having to ship and get the food boxes to the SNAP recipients.

“The projected savings does not include shipping door-to-door for all recipients,” USDA spokesman Tim Murtaugh said.

Some groups dedicated to fighting hunger and poverty have come out against the plan, expressing concern that the plan is “radical and risky,” while others said it could potentially “stigmatize” those on welfare.

“It could be something that [SNAP recipients] don’t even know how to make,” Miguelina Diaz, a member of Hunger Free America, told NPR. “We deal with different people of different backgrounds. Limiting them by providing them a staple box would limit the choices of food they can prepare for their families.”

RELATED ARTICLE: Podcast: Should Food Stamps be Partially Replaced With Food Boxes?

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Transgender Ideology Is Riddled With Contradictions. Here Are the Big Ones.

People say that we live in a postmodern age that has rejected metaphysics. That’s not quite true.

We live in a postmodern age that promotes an alternative metaphysics. As I explain in “When Harry Became Sally,” at the heart of the transgender moment are radical ideas about the human person—in particular, that people are what they claim to be, regardless of contrary evidence. A transgender boy is a boy, not merely a girl who identifies as a boy.

It’s understandable why activists make these claims. An argument about transgender identities will be much more persuasive if it concerns who someone is, not merely how someone identifies. And so the rhetoric of the transgender moment drips with ontological assertions: People are the gender they prefer to be. That’s the claim.

Transgender activists don’t admit that this is a metaphysical claim. They don’t want to have the debate on the level of philosophy, so they dress it up as a scientific and medical claim. And they’ve co-opted many professional associations for their cause.

Thus the American Psychological Association, in a pamphlet titled “Answers to Your Questions about Transgender People, Gender Identity, and Gender Expression,” tells us, “Transgender is an umbrella term for persons whose gender identity, gender expression, or behavior does not conform to that typically associated with the sex to which they were assigned at birth.”

Notice the politicized language: A person’s sex is “assigned at birth.” Back in 2005, even the Human Rights Campaign referred instead to “birth sex” and “physical sex.”

The phrase “sex assigned at birth” is now favored because it makes room for “gender identity” as the real basis of a person’s sex.

In an expert declaration to a federal district court in North Carolina concerning H.B. 2, Dr. Deanna Adkins stated, “From a medical perspective, the appropriate determinant of sex is gender identity.” Adkins is a professor at Duke University School of Medicine and the director of the Duke Center for Child and Adolescent Gender Care (which opened in 2015).

Adkins argues that gender identity is not only the preferred basis for determining sex, but “the only medically supported determinant of sex.” Every other method is bad science, she claims: “It is counter to medical science to use chromosomes, hormones, internal reproductive organs, external genitalia, or secondary sex characteristics to override gender identity for purposes of classifying someone as male or female.”

This is a remarkable claim, not least because the argument recently was that gender is only a social construct, while sex is a biological reality. Now, activists claim that gender identity is destiny, while biological sex is the social construct.

Adkins doesn’t say if she would apply this rule to all mammalian species. But why should sex be determined differently in humans than in other mammals? And if medical science holds that gender identity determines sex in humans, what does this mean for the use of medicinal agents that have different effects on males and females? Does the proper dosage of medicine depend on the patient’s sex or gender identity?

But what exactly is this “gender identity” that is supposed to be the true medical determinant of sex? Adkins defines it as “a person’s inner sense of belonging to a particular gender, such as male or female.”

Note that little phrase “such as,” implying that the options are not necessarily limited to male or female. Other activists are more forthcoming in admitting that gender identity need not be restricted to the binary choice of male or female, but can include both or neither. The American Psychological Association, for example, defines “gender identity” as “a person’s internal sense of being male, female, or something else.”

Adkins asserts that being transgender is not a mental disorder, but simply “a normal developmental variation.” And she claims, further, that medical and mental health professionals who specialize in the treatment of gender dysphoria are in agreement with this view.

Transgender Catechism

These notions about sex and gender are now being taught to young children. Activists have created child-friendly graphics for this purpose, such as the “Genderbread Person.” The Genderbread Person teaches that when it comes to sexuality and gender, people have five different characteristics, each of them falling along a spectrum.

There’s “gender identity,” which is “how you, in your head, define your gender, based on how much you align (or don’t align) with what you understand to be the options for gender.” The graphic lists “4 (of infinite)” possibilities for gender identity: “woman-ness,” “man-ness,” “two-spirit,” or “genderqueer.”

The second characteristic is “gender expression,” which is “the way you present gender, through your actions, dress, and demeanor.” In addition to “feminine” or “masculine,” the options are “butch,” “femme,” “androgynous,” or “gender neutral.”

Third is “biological sex,” defined as “the physical sex characteristics you’re born with and develop, including genitalia, body shape, voice pitch, body hair, hormones, chromosomes, etc.”

The final two characteristics concern sexual orientation: “sexually attracted to” and “romantically attracted to.” The options include “Women/Females/Femininity” and “Men/Males/Masculinity.” Which seems rather binary.

The Genderbread Person tries to localize these five characteristics on the body: gender identity in the brain, sexual and romantic attraction in the heart, biological sex in the pelvis, and gender expression everywhere.

The Genderbread Person espouses the latest iteration of transgender ideology. (Photo: Sam Killerman/It’s Prounounced Metrosexual)

The Genderbread Person presented here is version 3.3, incorporating adjustments made in response to criticism of earlier versions. But even this one violates current dogma. Some activists have complained that the Genderbread Person looks overly male.

A more serious fault in the eyes of many activists is the use of the term “biological sex.” Time magazine drew criticism for the same transgression in 2014 after publishing a profile of Laverne Cox, the “first out trans person” to be featured on the cover.

At least the folks at Time got credit for trying to be “good allies, explaining what many see as a complicated issue,” wrote Mey Rude in an article titled “It’s Time for People to Stop Using the Social Construct of ‘Biological Sex’ to Defend Their Transmisogyny.” (It’s hard to keep up with the transgender moment.)

But Time was judged guilty of using “a simplistic and outdated understanding of biology to perpetuate some very dangerous ideas about trans women,” and failing to acknowledge that biological sex “isn’t something we’re actually born with, it’s something that doctors or our parents assign us at birth.”

Today, transgender “allies” in good standing don’t use the Genderbread Person in their classrooms, but opt for the “Gender Unicorn,” which was created by Trans Student Educational Resources. It has a body shape that doesn’t appear either male or female, and instead of a “biological sex” it has a “sex assigned at birth.”

Those are the significant changes to the Genderbread Person, and they were made so that the new graphic would “more accurately portray the distinction between gender, sex assigned at birth, and sexuality.”

According to Trans Student Education Resources, “Biological sex is an ambiguous word that has no scale and no meaning besides that it is related to some sex characteristics. It is also harmful to trans people. Instead, we prefer ‘sex assigned at birth’ which provides a more accurate description of what biological sex may be trying to communicate.”

The Gender Unicorn is the graphic that children are likely to encounter in school. These are the dogmas they are likely to be catechized to profess.

The Gender Unicorn is used to avoid using a male or female body as default. (Photo: Landyn Pan and Anna Moore/Trans Student Educational Resources)

While activists claim that the possibilities for gender identity are rather expansive—man, woman, both, neither—they also insist that gender identity is innate, or established at a very young age, and thereafter immutable.

Dr. George Brown, a professor of psychiatry and a three-time board member of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health, stated in his declaration to the federal court in North Carolina that gender identity “is usually established early in life, by the age of 2 to 3 years old.”

Addressing the same court, Adkins asserted that “evidence strongly suggests that gender identity is innate or fixed at a young age and that gender identity has a strong biological basis.” (At no point in her expert declaration did she cite any sources for any of her claims.)

Transgender Contradictions

If the claims presented in this essay strike you as confusing, you’re not alone. The thinking of transgender activists is inherently confused and filled with internal contradictions. Activists never acknowledge those contradictions. Instead, they opportunistically rely on whichever claim is useful at any given moment.

Here I’m talking about transgender activists. Most people who suffer from gender dysphoria are not activists, and many of them reject the activists’ claims. Many of them may be regarded as victims of the activists, as I show in my book.

Many of those who feel distress over their bodily sex know that they aren’t really the opposite sex, and do not wish to “transition.” They wish to receive help in coming to identify with and accept their bodily self. They don’t think their feelings of gender dysphoria define reality.

But transgender activists do. Regardless of whether they identify as “cisgender” or “transgender,” the activists promote a highly subjective and incoherent worldview.

On the one hand, they claim that the real self is something other than the physical body, in a new form of Gnostic dualism, yet at the same time they embrace a materialist philosophy in which only the material world exists. They say that gender is purely a social construct, while asserting that a person can be “trapped” in the wrong gender.

They say there are no meaningful differences between man and woman, yet they rely on rigid sex stereotypes to argue that “gender identity” is real, while human embodiment is not. They claim that truth is whatever a person says it is, yet they believe there’s a real self to be discovered inside that person.

They promote a radical expressive individualism in which people are free to do whatever they want and define the truth however they wish, yet they try ruthlessly to enforce acceptance of transgender ideology.

It’s hard to see how these contradictory positions can be combined. If you pull too hard on any one thread of transgender ideology, the whole tapestry comes unraveled. But here are some questions we can pose:

If gender is a social construct, how can gender identity be innate and immutable? How can one’s identity with respect to a social construct be determined by biology in the womb? How can one’s identity be unchangeable (immutable) with respect to an ever-changing social construct? And if gender identity is innate, how can it be “fluid”?

The challenge for activists is to offer a plausible definition of gender and gender identity that is independent of bodily sex.

Is there a gender binary or not? Somehow, it both does and does not exist, according to transgender activists. If the categories of “man” and “woman” are objective enough that people can identify as, and bemen and women, how can gender also be a spectrum, where people can identify as, and be, both, or neither, or somewhere in between?

What does it even mean to have an internal sense of gender? What does gender feel like? What meaning can we give to the concept of sex or gender—and thus what internal “sense” can we have of gender—apart from having a body of a particular sex?

Apart from having a male body, what does it “feel like” to be a man? Apart from having a female body, what does it “feel like” to be a woman? What does it feel like to be both a man and a woman, or to be neither?

The challenge for the transgender activist is to explain what these feelings are like, and how someone could know if he or she “feels like” the opposite sex, or neither, or both.

Even if trans activists could answer these questions about feelings, that still wouldn’t address the matter of reality. Why should feeling like a man—whatever that means—make someone a man? Why do our feelings determine reality on the question of sex, but on little else? Our feelings don’t determine our age or our height. And few people buy into Rachel Dolezal’s claim to identify as a black woman, since she is clearly not.

If those who identify as transgender are the sex with which they identify, why doesn’t that apply to other attributes or categories of being? What about people who identify as animals, or able-bodied people who identify as disabled? Do all of these self-professed identities determine reality? If not, why not?

And should these people receive medical treatment to transform their bodies to accord with their minds? Why accept transgender “reality,” but not trans-racial, trans-species, and trans-abled reality?

The challenge for activists is to explain why a person’s “real” sex is determined by an inner “gender identity,” but age and height and race and species are not determined by an inner sense of identity.

Of course, a transgender activist could reply that an “identity” is, by definition, just an inner sense of self. But if that’s the case, gender identity is merely a disclosure of how one feels. Saying that someone is transgender, then, says only that the person has feelings that he or she is the opposite sex.

Gender identity, so understood, has no bearing at all on the meaning of “sex” or anything else. But transgender activists claim that a person’s self-professed “gender identity” is that person’s “sex.”

The challenge for activists is to explain why the mere feeling of being male or female (or both or neither) makes someone male or female (or both or neither).

Gender identity can sound a lot like religious identity, which is determined by beliefs. But those beliefs don’t determine reality. Someone who identifies as a Christian believes that Jesus is the Christ. Someone who identifies as a Muslim believes that Muhammad is the final prophet. But Jesus either is or is not the Christ, and Muhammad either is or is not the final prophet, regardless of what anyone happens to believe.

So, too, a person either is or is not a man, regardless of what anyone—including that person—happens to believe. The challenge for transgender activists is to present an argument for why transgender beliefs determine reality.

Determining reality is the heart of the matter, and here too we find contradictions.

On the one hand, transgender activists want the authority of science as they make metaphysical claims, saying that science reveals gender identity to be innate and unchanging. On the other hand, they deny that biology is destiny, insisting that people are free to be who they want to be.

Which is it? Is our gender identity biologically determined and immutable, or self-created and changeable? If the former, how do we account for people whose gender identity changes over time? Do these people have the wrong sense of gender at some time or other?

And if gender identity is self-created, why must other people accept it as reality? If we should be free to choose our own gender reality, why can some people impose their idea of reality on others just because they identify as transgender?

The challenge for the transgender activist is to articulate some conception of truth as the basis for how we understand the common good and how society should be ordered.

As I document in depth in “When Harry Became Sally,” the claims of transgender activists are confusing because they are philosophically incoherent. Activists rely on contradictory claims as needed to advance their position, but their ideology keeps evolving, so that even allies and LGBT organizations can get left behind as “progress” marches on.

At the core of the ideology is the radical claim that feelings determine reality. From this idea come extreme demands for society to play along with subjective reality claims. Trans ideologues ignore contrary evidence and competing interests, they disparage alternative practices, and they aim to muffle skeptical voices and shut down any disagreement.

The movement has to keep patching and shoring up its beliefs, policing the faithful, coercing the heretics, and punishing apostates, because as soon as its furious efforts flag for a moment or someone successfully stands up to it, the whole charade is exposed. That’s what happens when your dogmas are so contrary to obvious, basic, everyday truths.

A transgender future is not the “right side of history,” yet activists have convinced the most powerful sectors of our society to acquiesce to their demands. While the claims they make are manifestly false, it will take real work to prevent the spread of these harmful ideas.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Ryan T. Anderson

Ryan T. Anderson, Ph.D., is the William E. Simon Senior Research Fellow in American Principles and Public Policy at The Heritage Foundation, where he researches and writes about marriage, bioethics, religious liberty and political philosophy. Anderson is the author of several books and his research has been cited by two U.S. Supreme Court justices in two separate cases. Read his Heritage research. Twitter: .

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85 Years of Physician Assisted Death: From Nazi Germany’s T-4 Program to Washington, D.C.’s ‘Death with Dignity Act’

I came across an October 10, 1933 article titled “Nazi Plan to Kill Incurables to End Pain; German Religious Groups Oppose Move” published in The New York Times. The NYT reported:

The Ministry of Justice … explaining the Nazi aims regarding the German penal code, today announced its intentions to authorize physicians to end the sufferings of the incurable patient … in the interest of true humanity …”

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum describes the “Murder of the Handicapped” program in Nazi Germany known as T-4:

Wartime, Adolf Hitler suggested, “was the best time for the elimination of the incurably ill.”Many Germans did not want to be reminded of individuals who did not measure up to their concept of a “master race.”The physically and mentally handicapped were viewed as “useless” to society, a threat to Aryan genetic purity, and, ultimately, unworthy of life. At the beginning of World War II, individuals who were mentally retarded, physically handicapped, or mentally ill were targeted for murder in what the Nazis called the “T-4,” or “euthanasia,” program.

[ … ]

Despite public protests in 1941, the Nazi leadership continued this program in secret throughout the war. About 200,000 handicapped people were murdered between 1940 and 1945.

The T-4 program became the model for the mass murder of Jews, Roma (Gypsies), and others in camps equipped with gas chambers that the Nazis would open in 1941 and 1942. The program also served as a training ground for SS members who manned these camps. [Emphasis added]

Where did the idea of Euthanasia come from?

According to Encyclopedia.com:

A few proposals to legalize euthanasia were made in the United States and Germany during the latter portion of the nineteenth century. However, it was not until after World War I that euthanasia advocacy began in earnest. In 1920, two highly respected German academics, Karl Binding, a law professor, and Alfred Hoche, a physician, wrote Permission to Destroy Life Unworthy of Life, which advocated euthanasia as a compassionate “healing treatment.” The authors argued that mercy killing should be permitted for three categories of patients upon request of competent patients or the families of the incompetent: the terminally ill or mortally wounded, people who were unconscious, and disabled people—particularly those with cognitive impairments. The book, which may have coined the term “right to die,” also promoted euthanasia of cognitively disabled people as a way of saving societal resources. [Emphasis added]

Fast forward to today.

There are two euthanasia programs that are legal in the United States of America.

The first was the January 22nd, 1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the case of Roe v. Wade which legalized abortion. The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum noted that under the Nazi T-4 program, “Handicapped infants and small children were also killed by injection with a deadly dose of drugs or by starvation. The bodies of the victims were burned in large ovens called crematoria.” In the United States the unborn and born after a failed abortion are killed by doctors using similar procedures and their body parts sold to the highest bidder.

The second and more recent phenomenon is the passage of legalization legalizing physician assisted death or PAD in six states and the District of Columbia.

According to Euthanasia.ProCon.org there are six states and the District of Columbia, the seat of the federal government, that have legalized physician assisted death.

Six States with Legal Physician-Assisted Suicide
State Date Passed How Passed (Yes Vote) Residency Required? Minimum Age # of Months Until Expected Death # of Requests to Physician
1. California Sep. 11, 2015 ABX2-15 End of Life Option Act Yes 18 Six or less Two oral (at least 15 days apart) and one written
2. Colorado Nov. 8, 2016 Proposition 106, End of Life Options Act (65%) Yes 18 Six or less Two oral (at least 15 days apart) and one written
3. DC Oct. 5, 2016 B21-0038 Death with Dignity Act of 2016 (3-2) Yes 18 Six or less Two oral (at least 15 days apart) and one written
4. Montana Dec. 31, 2009 Montana Supreme Court in Baxter v. Montana (5-4) Yes * * *
5. Oregon Nov. 8, 1994
Ballot Measure 16 (51%)
Yes
18
Six or less
Two oral (at least 15 days apart) and one written
6. Vermont May 20, 2013 Act 39 (Bill S.77 “End of Life Choices”) Yes 18 Six or less Two oral (at least 15 days apart) and one written
7. Washington Nov. 4, 2008
Initiative 1000 (58%)
Yes
18
Six or less
Two oral (at least 15 days apart) and one written

QUESTION: How is euthanasia different from Physician Assisted Death? ANSWER: It’s not.

In June, 2017 CNN stated as “fact“:

Physician-assisted suicide differs from euthanasia, which is defined as the act of assisting people with their death in order to end their suffering, but without the backing of a controlling legal authority.

Euthanasia is defined by Merriam-Webster as:

The act or practice of killing or permitting the death of hopelessly sick or injured individuals (such as persons or domestic animals) in a relatively painless way for reasons of mercy.

What is being done today in six states and the District of Columbia is no different than what was done in Nazi Germany. These six states and the District of Columbia have done what Nazi Germany did, legalize the killing of the infirm (euthanasia). The only difference is the industrial scale of those euthanized.

ISideWith.com asked Democrats the question “Should terminally ill patients be allowed to end their lives via assisted suicide?” The results showed that 88% of Democrats polled supported PAD. Google on April 20th, 2016 reported:

Paradoxically, none of the 2016 Republican Presidential frontrunners have taken an official position on the issue. While, the Democratic Platform is silent on euthanasia and assisted suicide, the front runners for the 2016 Democratic Presidential nomination are both pro-euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide.

It is also interesting that the District of Columbia and five of the six states that have legalized PAD were won by Hillary Clinton during the 2016 Presidential election.

Will we end up living in a society where life is so cheap that nobody cares that large numbers of human beings are dying? Are we already there?

RELATED ARTICLES:

The Nazi Plan to Kill the Disabled: What the U.S. Government Knew and When It Knew It

Woman Aborts Child To Help ‘Save’ the Planet

People Are Actually Considering Not Having Kids Because of Global Warming

Some couples and individuals are trying to save the next generation from potential climate change disaster by forgoing reproduction altogether.

A dozen people aged 18 to 43, either raising children or considering having some, are deciding that the future is too uncertain, or certainly too grim, to bring new life into the world as floods, wildfires, and extreme weather grow worse with a warming climate, The New York Times reports.

dcnf-logo

“Animals are disappearing. The oceans are full of plastic. The human population is so numerous, the planet may not be able to support it indefinitely,” Amanda PerryMiller, a mother of two and a Christian youth leader, told the Times. “This doesn’t paint a very pretty picture for people bringing home a brand-new baby from the hospital.”

This way of thinking seems to be more prevalent in those who have traveled abroad and seen firsthand the devastating effects climate change has had on communities.

“I’ve seen how Syrian refugees, who are running from a devastating war, are being treated,” Maram Kaff, who lives in Cairo and monitors news from the Middle East, told the Times in an email. “Imagine how my children will be treated if they have to flee their country due to extreme weather, drought, lack of resources, flooding.”

No research has shown how widespread this trend is. The line of thinking is troubling for anyone worried about the overall decline in the American birthrate, however. The U.S. birthrate hit an all-time low in 2016, with 62 births per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44.

The fate of the planet seems all but sealed as a now 6-month-old report found only a 5 percent chance the Earth will avoid warming by more than 2 degrees Celsius by 2100. A more recent study found a 50 percent chance temperatures rise up to 4 degrees Celsius if action is not taken.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Global Temperatures Drop Back To Pre-El Nino Levels – ‘Temps drop to levels not seen in six years’

Despite Denial, Data Shows Global Temperatures Are Dropping Fast

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The Hidden Agenda Behind ‘Climate Change’

In a remarkably frank admission that laid bare the stealth agenda behind global warming alarmism, Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change, admitted during a February 2015 press conference in Brussels that the UN’s real purpose in creating climate fear is to end capitalism throughout the world:

This is the first time in human history that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally changing [getting rid of] the economic development model that has reigned since the Industrial Revolution.

The economic model to which she referred is free-market capitalism. A year earlier, Figueres revealed what capitalism must be replaced with when she bitterly complained that America’s two-party constitutional system is hampering the UN’s global climate objectives. She went on to cite China’s communist system as the kind of government America must have if the UN is to achieve its objectives. In other words, for the UN to have its way, America must be transformed into a communist nation.

Let that one sink in for a moment.

Figueres is not alone. Another high-level UN Marxist had comments of his own about the hidden agenda behind “climate change.” If you’re among those who believe progressives when they say all they’re trying to do is save the planet, what Dr. Ottmar Edenhofer had to say will leave your jaw on the floor.

In an unguarded statement that found its way into the public domain, Edenhofer, co-chair of the UN IPCC’s Working Group III, made this shocking admission on Nov. 14, 2010:

One must free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. [What we’re doing] has almost nothing to do with the climate. We must state clearly that we use climate policy to redistribute de facto the world’s wealth. 

On the same date, Edenhofer added this:

Climate policy has almost nothing to do anymore with protecting the environment. The next world climate summit in Cancun is actually an economy summit during which [re]distribution of the world’s resources will be negotiated.

Dr. Ottmar Edenhofer, one of the UN’s top climate officials, effectively admitted that the organization’s public position on global warming is a hoax, and another senior UN official, Christiana Figueres, said in an official capacity that the United States must have a communist government for the UN to achieve its objectives.

Let all of that sink in for a moment.

Some wealthy and powerful elites in this country believe it’s not fair that billions of people in the world sleep on the ground in mud huts, while Americans sleep on soft mattresses in air-conditioned comfort. The progressive elites who feel that way also believe that a significantly greater portion of America’s wealth must therefore be “shared” (redistributed) to poor nations. Global wealth redistribution is the foremost tenet of communism, and those who advocate it are, by definition, communists, whether they are open about it or not.

The stunning pronouncements by Figueres and Edenhofer are all the evidence a rational mind needs to conclude that climate alarmism is being used as a Trojan horse to justify the massive new carbon taxes clamored for by powerful progressives like Barack Obama, Al Gore, John Kerry and Hillary Clinton, none of whom have denounced the pro-communist, anti-American sentiments of two of the UN’s top climate officials.

The words of one of those officials revealed that such taxes would be used not for environmental purposes, but to fund the most massive redistribution of wealth in the history of the world, literally trillions of dollars extracted under false pretenses from U.S. taxpayers, and given to the corrupt governments of every undeveloped nation on Earth, all in the guise of “climate aid.”

Progressives in high places are attempting the largest heist in human history, a collusion to exfiltrate unprecedented sums of money from the world’s largest capitalist nation. Why? The answer is obvious—to implement, on a global scale, the mandate set forth in The Communist Manifesto:

From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs. – Karl Marx

Outraged that Trump dealt their plan to redistribute America’s wealth a major setback when he ditched their precious Paris Climate Accords, progressives would have you believe they’re nothing more than environmentally-concerned Americans who would never even dream of participating in an effort to upend their country’s capitalist system.

Trump knows that’s a big lie. And now, so do you.

No intelligent person can fail to recognize that powerful progressives in this country are using “climate change” as a ruse to fundamentally transform the United States of America. But because the human ego is loathe to admit when it’s been duped, many Americans will continue allowing themselves to be led like sheep into the closing noose of the hammer and sickle. By the time they realize what happened, it will be too late. In Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler wrote about a Third Reich propaganda technique called the Big Lie: ‘If you’re going to lie, make it a Big Lie, keep repeating it and people will believe it.’ That’s exactly what he did, and millions of otherwise intelligent Germans believed the Big Lies that were relentlessly repeated. By the time they realized they’d been duped, it was too late.

VIDEO: Can Climate Models Predict Climate Change?

Predicting climate temperatures isn’t science – it’s science fiction. Emeritus Professor of Physics at Princeton University Will Happer explains.

TRANSCRIPT:

Let’s talk about climate models.

Specifically, let’s talk about the climate models that attempt to predict the future temperature of the planet. But before we do, it’s important that you know a little about me.

I’m a physicist.  I taught at Columbia University and then at Princeton for five decades.

I have published over 200 peer-reviewed scientific papers. I have coauthored several books, including one of the first on how carbon dioxide emissions—CO2—affects the climate.

I served as the director of the Office of Energy Research at the US Department of Energy.  And before that, I invented the “sodium guide star,” which is still used on most big astronomical telescopes to measure and correct for atmospheric turbulence—that is, for the unpredictable movement of air and water. This turbulence blurs the images of stars and other space objects.

One more thing: I care deeply about the environment. We live on a beautiful planet. I want to keep it that way. I’ve spent a lot of time working to do just that.

In short, I know a lot about the earth’s atmosphere and climate.  I also know a lot about long-term predictive climate models.

And I know they don’t work. They haven’t worked in the past.  They don’t work now. And it’s hard to imagine when, if ever, they’ll work in the foreseeable future.

There’s a common-sense reason for this.

Aside from the human brain, the climate is the most complex thing on the planet. The number of factors that influence climate—the sun, the earth’s orbital properties, oceans, clouds, and, yes, industrial man—is huge and enormously variable.

Let me try to narrow this down. For the purposes of illustration, let’s just focus our attention on water.

The earth is essentially a water planet. A major aspect of climate involves the complicated interaction between two very turbulent fluids: the atmosphere, which holds large amounts of water (think rain and snow), and the oceans, which cover fully 70% of the earth’s surface.

We can’t predict what effect the atmosphere is going to have on future temperatures because we can’t predict cloud formations.

And the convection of heat, oxygen, salt and other quantities that pass through the oceans, not to mention weather cycles like El Niño in the tropical Pacific, make predicting ocean temperatures an equally difficult business. We can’t predict either side of the atmosphere/ocean equation.

But we can say this with certainty: Water—in all its phases—has huge effects on atmospheric heating and cooling. Compared to water—H20, carbon dioxide—CO2—is a minor contributor to the warming of the earth.

It’s devilishly difficult to predict what a fluid will do. Trying to figure out what two fluids will do in interaction with each other on a planetary scale over long periods of time is close to impossible.

Anyone who followed the forecast of Hurricane Irma’s path in the late summer of 2017 should understand this. First, the models predicted a direct hit on Miami and the east coast of Florida. Then, defying these predictions, the hurricane suddenly veered to the west coast of Florida. In other words, even with massive amounts of real-time data, the models still could not accurately predict Irma’s path two days in advance.

Does any rational person believe that computer models can precisely predict temperatures decades from now?

The answer is, they can’t. That’s why, over the last 30 years, one climate prediction after another –- based on computer models -– has been wrong.

They’re wrong because even the most powerful computers can’t solve all the equations needed to accurately describe climate.

Instead of admitting this, some climate scientists replace the highly complex equations that describe the real-world climate with highly simplified ones—their computer models.

Discarding the unmanageable details, modelers “tune” their simplified equations with lots of adjustable inputs—numbers that can be changed to produce whatever result the modelers want.

So, if they want to show that the earth’s temperature at the end of the century will be two degrees centigrade higher than it is now, they put in the numbers that produce that result.

That’s not science. That’s science fiction.

I’m Will Happer, Emeritus Professor of Physics at Princeton University, for Prager University.

Download a PDF of this Transcript

Bizarre Sleeping Habits of 61 Famous People [Infographic]

By Raj Vardhman

We’re constantly reminded how important getting seven to eight hours of sleep is in order to function normally. Yet, for some of the most successful people on Earth, sleep is a precious commodity. Their sleeping habits often affect how well they perform on the job and they do everything they can not let it get on their way. Sacrificing the sleeping time or cracking an individual sleeping pattern that feels right for them is a common thing for many famous people.

For example, Thomas Edison and Leonardo da Vinci thought sleep is a waste of time and only took power naps during the day. On the other hand, Obama and Schwarzenegger get a six hours solid sleep.

From creating a special atmosphere to establishing a specific positioning manner, this CelebJury infographic illustrates the bizarre sleeping habits of some of the most famous people.

VIDEO: My Keynote Speech at Energy Day in Peru

Last October I gave the keynote speech at Energy Day, the most significant annual energy event in Peru. The event was hosted by the firm Laub & Quijandría, led by Anthony Laub, and a video of it is now available online. You can watch it here.

During the speech I made an analogy I’ve never made before. I thought you might enjoy it.

“The fossil fuel industry is the only industry in history that has figured out how to produce cheap, plentiful, reliable energy for billions of people. Even if there are costs, I think we should be really grateful to the people who’ve done this. I think it’s offensive that we say things like, ‘I hate fossil fuels.’

“I was flying in yesterday on Avianca, and it made me think: what if there had been someone on the plane who had said to the pilot, ‘You know what? I think what you do is evil,’ and they were wearing an ‘I hate pilots’ shirt, and they just spent their whole life denouncing pilots. What would you say to them if you were the pilot? You’d probably say, ‘Get off the damn plane.’ What kind of person takes advantage of this amazing human being that’s allowing him to fly, and then says, ‘I hate you, and I want to destroy you’?

“How is it any different to do that to the pilot than to do it to the person who fuels the plane or the person who created the fuel?

“There’s only one industry that allows us to fly. It’s the fossil fuel industry. We tell the industry, ‘Hey, we want to do the most amazing thing ever. We want to fly, so we can get from point A to point B really fast.’ Only one industry has raised its hand and said, ‘Yeah, we figured out a way to do that.’ Then we say, ‘We hate you. You’re horrible. The earth would be better off without you.’”

Transgender Ideology Hurts Kids

Properly understanding sex, gender, gender identity, and gender dysphoria will continue to be pressing concerns in 2018.

A proper understanding is a prerequisite for properly forming people in the truth and properly ministering to people in need.

As new gender ideologies are promoted throughout America, their lies will impact not only those who suffer from gender dysphoria, but all children who need to mature in their self-understanding as a boy or girl, man or woman, a potential husband or wife, father or mother.

In 2007, Boston Children’s Hospital “became the first major program in the United States to focus on transgender children and adolescents,” as its website brags. A decade later, more than 45 pediatric gender clinics have opened their doors to our nation’s children.

Parents are told that puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones may be the only way to prevent their children from committing suicide.

Never mind that the best studies of gender dysphoria show that between 80 and 95 percent of children who express a discordant gender identity will come to identify with their bodily sex if natural development is allowed to proceed.

Never mind that “transitioning” treatment has not been shown to reduce the extraordinarily high rate of suicide attempts among people who identify as transgender (41 percent, compared with 4.6 percent of the general population).

Never mind that people who have had transition surgery are 19 times more likely to die by suicide.

These statistics should be enough to halt the headlong rush into “transitioning” and prompt us to find more effective ways to prevent these tragic outcomes. Most of all, we shouldn’t be encouraging children to “transition,” or making heroes and role models of those who have done so.

We should be tolerant—indeed, loving—toward those who struggle with their gender identity, but also be aware of the harm done to the common good, particularly to children, when transgender identity is normalized.

Transgender activists are not merely asking for tolerance or kindness. They are demanding affirmation, not just from adults but from children and adolescents who are already challenged by the normal process of sexual development.

In a culture where transgender identities are not only affirmed but celebrated, everyone will be compelled to construct their own gender identity, unaided by a common understanding of sex differences and why they matter.

In my new book “When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment,” I show that the best biology, psychology, and philosophy all support an understanding of sex as a bodily reality, and an understanding of gender as a social manifestation of bodily sex. Biology isn’t bigotry.

A sound understanding of gender rejects sex stereotypes on the one hand and androgyny on the other. The virtuous mean is a view of gender that reveals meaningful sex differences and communicates the difference they make—a view that takes sex differences seriously while upholding the fundamental equality of the sexes as complements to one another.

The most helpful therapies do not try to remake the body to conform with thoughts and feelings—which is impossible—but rather to help people find healthy ways to manage their tension and move toward accepting the reality of their bodily selves.

My book provides a nuanced view of our sexed embodiment, a balanced approach to policy issues involving transgender identity and gender more broadly, and a sober and honest survey of the human costs of getting human nature wrong.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Ryan T. Anderson

Ryan T. Anderson, Ph.D., is the William E. Simon Senior Research Fellow in American Principles and Public Policy at The Heritage Foundation, where he researches and writes about marriage, bioethics, religious liberty and political philosophy. Anderson is the author of several books and his research has been cited by two U.S. Supreme Court justices in two separate cases. Read his Heritage research. Twitter: . For more on how to understand transgender issues, get a copy of Ryan Anderson’s new book “When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment.”

RELATED ARTICLES: 

Planned Transgenderhood

The Ugly Truth About Sex Reassignment the Transgender Lobby Doesn’t Want You to Know [+video]

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Now journalists spread false, negative rumors about President Trump before any evidence is even produced.

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Media Ignorance on Capitalism Hurts Low-Wage American Workers

For whatever reason — ignorance, socialist-leaning worldview or laziness — basic economics of free market capitalism seems all but impossible for most of the mainstream media to grasp. And that is a shame. It means they fall for the emotional appeal of fellow Democrats and others who lack an understanding of capitalism, which ultimately ends up hurting low-wage American workers the most — purportedly the people they are trying to help.

Let’s walk through this. Because it becomes blindingly obvious this is exactly what happens. It’s just that consumers of the legacy media may never understand — and alas, they’re unlikely to read this article.

First, the basics on capitalism. At its most foundational, capitalism functions on supply and demand and the ability of a company to make a profit meeting the demand, and the person creating the demand to have multiple supply options to create competition.

Simple, right?

Let’s say I need a pair of shoes. Bob sells shoes. The shoes cost him $20 to make. With all of his overhead — building, electricity, employees, benefits, etc. — he needs to sell each pair of shoes for $35 to break even. He puts the shoes on display for sale at $40, to make a $5 profit. I go to Bob’s store in my tattered shoes and decide if I am willing to pay $40. If so, we’ve created a market and a transaction. Bob makes $5 profit and I get my shoes for $40. Everyone is satisfied.

At each step in the shoe-production process, and the building where Bob displays them and pays for electricity, there are more markets of demand and supply happening, creating a broader economy. Now let’s say Bob gets greedy — like many liberals tell us corporations are — and tries to sell his shoes for $60 to make a $25 profit. I may go to a different shoe store to find something more affordable. Enough people do this, and Bob is forced eventually to lower his price. This is the role of competition in capitalism, with hundreds of shoe stores vying for my purchase and that of thousands of other consumers.

These capitalism concepts of supply, demand, profit and competition seems to elude most media reports, allowing people like Sen. Bernie Sanders to claim corporations are evil, gouge employees and make outrageous profits. If you are making $9 per hour and working for a company making billions of dollars in profits without any media explanation of the fuller context, this is very enticing to believe.

But it is also largely and demonstrably untrue.

Obviously corporations are not evil. They are legal entities made up of people with vested interests in those entities earning a profit so they can stay in business. Corporations generally pay their employees through the same forces of supply and demand, but for workers not products. They don’t gouge, they make decisions based on their employee needs and their profit needs. This is obviously rational, albeit a little hard to objectively quantify.

What is not hard to quantify is that corporations make outrageous profits. Liberal politicians such as Sanders, and many in the media, always use the anecdote corporation that just made a huge profit, rather than actual data points.

The average corporation’s profit margin is about 7 percent, according to a New York University Stern database. Grocery stores and retailers make much less, about 2.5 percent profit. And your local liberal’s favorite evil corporation, Walmart, squeezes out a paltry 2.1 percent profit. Walmart’s profit margin is less than one-third of what it pays in taxes.

Yet a 2013 Reason-Rupe Poll found that the average American guessed the typical corporate American profit to be 36 percent — more than four times reality. How did Americans get such a wildly inaccurate impression?

The media.

The socialist-leaning, capitalist-ignorant, liberal-sympathetic mainstream media swallowing the nonsense of Sanders and many other Democrats and reiterating it as fair, objective news. This is surprisingly common as media bias and distortion consistently leads media consumers to have opinions that are embarrassingly divorced from reality. For instance, according to a 2011 Gallup poll, Americans estimated that 25 percent of the people in America were homosexual. In 2015, it was 23 percent. The actual number is about 3-5%.

The corporate profits disconnect is a combination of economic ignorance and liberal agenda. The gay disconnect is pure propaganda by the media and Hollywood.

But while the gay agenda has its share of downsides, the economic ignorance and agenda has done material damage to the working poor in America — by the very people claiming to be watching out for the working poor in America. And it would do a lot more if it could.

Let’s take the minimum wage as an example. Compassionate liberals and their media allies constantly strut around such nonsense as seriously intoning that a family cannot live on the minimum wage. Well, no duh! None were ever supposed to. (And FYI, the vast majority of minimum wage workers are young people still living at home and second incomes.)

Let’s look at what happens when the government passes a law to dramatically raise the minimum wage to, say, $15, which has been all the liberal protester/union rage the past few years. And because they have many workers near minimum wage, let’s force that on Walmart.

If Walmart, with a profit margin of 2.1 percent, has to increase the majority of its employees’ pay by 50 to 100 percent, how will they be forced to respond? Remember, the company needs to meet demands while making a profit. Grade school capitalism. It has four options, which it may combine:

1) It can raise prices. Since all of its competitors will be facing a similar problem because of liberal government action, this will almost assuredly happen for some portion of the cost offset. So the price of everything from bread and milk to shoes and shirts will rise — maybe a lot. Who shops at Walmart the most? Low-income workers, including likely everyone trying to support a family on minimum wage. See the problem? If so, you’re ahead of liberals and the media.

2) Cut the number of workers, particularly full-time workers with benefits. Add more part-time workers and employ the use of technology to replace low-skill workers. Who does this hurt? Right. The very people liberals say they want to help.

3) Cut hours. Walmart is open 24 hours, 365 days per year right now. It’s particularly convenient for people working strange hours — which are most often lower-wage workers. If Walmart reduces the number of open hours to 12 or even eight, which would be one shift, that would save money in many areas, including by cutting employees substantially. Who would be hurt? You guessed it!

4) Close the least profitable stores and keep open the most profitable. Closing large numbers of Walmart stores clearly impacts Walmart consumers, the lower end working class.

The ignorant will say, “Walmart makes billions of dollars! It can pay its workers more!” But remember, their margin is only 2.1 percent. The billions comes from scale. Walmart stores just in the United States employ 1.4 million employees. Without some or all of the four adjustments above, Walmart could dole out only about a $3.50-per-hour raise before it erased all of its profits and began losing money.

And no company can do that for long.

But liberals and socialists like Sanders can’t advocate for higher costs, fewer options and reduced employment for low-skill workers. That would be political insanity. Yet that is exactly what would result from a minimum wage hike. It’s also what results from high taxes and too much regulation. But you don’t know any of this if you rely on mainstream media sources such as the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, the networks or your local news and media outlets.

The final, real-life proof in the pudding is that the GOP tax reform package President Trump recently signed has triggered an avalanche of employee bonuses, reinvestments in domestic production, tens of thousands of new hires and, ironically, several companies choosing to voluntarily increase their own minimum wage to between $12 and $15 per hour.

None of this is because of government fiat and control, but because government go out of the way.

Hopefully, it is getting harder and harder for the media to obfuscate that reality.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The Revolutionary Act. Please visit The Revolutionary Act’s YouTube Channel

VIDEO: Want to Make the World a Better Place? First Fix Yourself!

Want to make the world a better place? Start by bettering yourself. Best-selling author and clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson explains how incremental daily changes can lead to a better life and ultimately a more harmonious world.

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Cherry-Picking Statistics: How the Violence Policy Center Manipulates Data to Advance their Cause

Last week, the Violence Policy Center shared their analysis of 2016 fatal injury statistics, which are released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and available for public analysis. VPC’s headline: “U.S. Gun Death Rate Jumps 17 Percent Since 2008 Supreme Court District of Columbia v. Heller Decision Affirming Right to Own a Handgun for Self-Defense.

That appears to suggest causation as if the Heller decision somehow has driven people to commit crime.

The chart in the press release is even more disingenuous than the headline. Take another look.  A casual look at the chart gives the impression that the firearm death rate has skyrocketed – the marker went from near the bottom of the chart in 2014 almost all the way to the top! The axis runs from 10.0 to 12.5; this technique is commonly used to make numbers seem more dramatic. Take a look at the same data point – the overall firearm death rate in the U.S. – on a chart with a more honest axis.

Notice that the sharp increase presented by the Violence Policy Center is flatter when the axis hasn’t been manipulated to suit an agenda. Readers will also notice that this chart is not arbitrarily set to only post-Heller years but goes back to 1990; the longer trend line reveals some truths that the VPC would like to ignore. Total firearms-related death rates were higher through nearly all of the 1990s than they were in 2016.

One should also notice that the total firearms-related homicide rate continued a marginal and pre-existing downward trend after Heller, moving from 4.28 per 100,000 population in 2006 to 3.45 per 100k in 2014. A trend that directly contradicts the misleading headline touted by the Violence Policy Center.

RELATED ARTICLES: 

“Strict Scrutiny” Amendments: Iron Plating for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms

UK: Gun Control Extremists Target Police for Teaching Teen Cadets About Firearms

Stemming the Tide: Violent Crime Decreased in First Six Months of 2017

Once Pot Friendly North California County Bans Marijuana

Last week, Calaveras County’s new Board of Supervisors banned all marijuana cultivation within its boundaries. This rural county the size of Rhode Island has a population of 44,000. Financially challenged, it needed the money the previous Board thought legalizing cultivation would bring.

That Board legalized marijuana cultivation for medical use in 2016 after a devastating fire destroyed more than 500 homes the year before. Owners sold their burned-out property to cash-laden pot growers desperate for farmland in anticipation that Proposition 64 would pass and vastly increase demand for a legal product.

Motivated by being able to tax legal growers, officials expected to receive some 250 growing applications. They got three times that. By last week, about 200 had been approved. About the same number were rejected, and the rest were being processed. Another 1,000 illegal grow sites had flooded the county as well. Last year, authorities cut down some 30,000 plants from just 40 such sites.

Last October, Supervisor Dennis Mills released a hair-raising report, Cultivating Disaster, on the unparalleled damage so many growers have done to the county’s environment. The report is an assessment by local, state, and federal agencies, academic institutions, and journalists’ accounts of the environmental devastation cultivation has brought to the county. Below is a picture from the report showing abandoned containers of fertilizers and other chemicals used at just one site.

Suddenly the $10 million in taxes and fees the county took in from licensed growers last year paled in comparison to the estimated $1.2 billion cost to clean up the environmental mess in Calaveras County.

The backlash was so intense that this month citizens removed four of the five members of the Board of Supervisors who legalized cultivation and replaced them with candidates who had vowed to ban it if elected.

Read ABC News story here. Read/view background report from San Francisco CBS-TV here. Read Committee to Ban Commercial Cultivation in Calaveras County report here. Read Cultivating Disaster: The Effect of Cannabis Cultivation on the Environment of Calaveras here.


Cigarettes and Pot Linked to Teen Psychosis

A new study published in JAMA Psychiatry finds that teenagers who use cigarettes and marijuana have elevated risks for experiencing psychotic episodes.

Researchers studied 3,328 teens living in the Bristol area of the UK. The teens answered questions about their cigarette and marijuana use at six different times between the ages of 14 and 19.

Compared to nonusers, the researchers found that teens who smoked only cigarettes at an early age had a 4.3 percent higher probability of having a psychotic experience by age 18. Teens who used only cannabis at an early age had a lower probability (3.2 percent) for psychosis but a much higher one (11.9 percent) if they started using the drug later.

Next, researchers looked at other factors in the adolescents’ lives such as bullying, alcohol use, social class, family history of schizophrenia, and others. These factors greatly weakened the association between cigarette use and the risk for psychotic episodes, but did not influence the relationship between marijuana and psychosis.

Read CNN account here. Read full text of JAMA Psychiatry study here.


Did My Brother’s Teen Pot Use Lead to His Schizophrenia?

This is a heart-breaking account of what families go through when a member becomes addicted and is unable to see that he or she needs help to enter recovery.

It appears on the website of Moms Strong, a group of mothers who have lost children to addiction or have struggled through its escalation to many drugs that almost always began with marijuana.

The author of this account and her brother wrote a book, pictured above, about their experience.

Read this account on the Moms Strong website here.


From Gummy Bears to Open Doors, Inspections Identify Problems at Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) has conducted 327 inspections of the state’s medical marijuana dispensaries since the first one opened in 2015.

MassLive.com obtained copies of all the deficiency reports and plans for corrections those inspections generated.

This article details some of the reports and presents all those received in table format. The state has 19 medical marijuana dispensaries which DPH says have been responsive to their findings. “As always, DPH’s priority continues to be that patients have safe and reliable access to medical marijuana across the Commonwealth.”

See next story for a different viewpoint.

Read MassLive.com story here.


Contaminated Flower May Be Getting Patients and Employees Sick

A former employee at New England Treatment Access (NETA), a registered medical marijuana dispensary in Massachusetts, quit her job there and filed a complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) claiming she was regularly exposed to mold in marijuana flowers sold there.

She also alleges that the dispensary soaks plant material in hydrogen peroxide to remove the mold the dispensary denies is present in its product. OSHA responded to her claim with a telephone interview, she says. When NETA denied their plants contained mold and presented outside testing evidence they were mold-free, the case was dropped.

No other NETA employees were interviewed, but many say they dealt with mold in plants they trim. One says his supervisor told him to soak moldy plants in hydrogen peroxide on NETA pot to remove the mold. Some employees say they have gone home from work with rashes. There is no ventilation in the workrooms and no one is advised to wear a mask to protect them from breathing in mold.

Last June, the former employee wrote a letter to DPH:

Two months after beginning to consume NETA products, I began to experience the following symptoms: headaches, sore throat and multiple respiratory illnesses. Once the marijuana concentrates (shatter, wax) were released in 2016, I began consuming them. My symptoms progressed to bloating in my abdomen, nausea, cramps in my GI tract and difficulty sleeping.

Neurological symptoms such as neuropathy (numbness in the toes and ball of my foot) and tetany (spasms) in my calves greatly increased in escalating pain intensity and frequency starting November 2016, and I also began to experience fasciculations (twitching) in my calves when seated in the beginning of 2017.

The article does not say whether she has received a reply.

Read DigBoston.com story here.