On George Floyd: There is NOTHING to Protest

With the mayhem following the last Monday death of arrestee George Floyd, many have pointed out that protesting is fine, but rioting is not. While obviously true, something equally so is left unsaid:

There is nothing to protest.

It’s not as with the murder of Justine Damond, where it took eight months to arrest the guilty Minneapolis police officer, Mohamed Noor.

It’s not as with the killing of Virginian John Geer, where it took 23 months to arrest the cop who killed him and later pled down to involuntary manslaughter, Adam Torres.

Of course, Damond and Geer were both white. So not only were there no protests, riots, looting or burning; the incidents weren’t even covered nationally. Nothing to see here — move along.

In contrast, it took mere days for the officer in the Floyd case, Derek Chauvin, to be fired, arrested and charged with 3rd degree murder and manslaughter, and the other three cops involved have also been axed. So what would satisfy the protesters? A summary execution? (In some cases, yes.)

Oh, but there’s the big picture, many say? There sure is, and it’s this:

Far more white than black suspects are shot every year by cops.

This isn’t merely due to whites being far more numerous, either. After all, research finds that police are actually more likely to shoot whites relative to the races’ different homicide rates and the rates at which they feloniously shoot police.

study also showed that cops are, in reality, more willing to shoot white suspects than black ones.

Black suspects are as likely to shoot at police as to be shot at.

According to FBI statistics, 46 percent of those who murder police officers are black.

White police officers are actually less likely than non-white officers to shoot and kill non-white suspects.

Police shootings of black suspects have declined 75 percent in recent decades.

Note also that approximately 90 percent of black homicide victims are killed by other black people — and, here’s what most don’t know, most of the rest are likely killed by Hispanics. (Hispanics are generally included in the “white” category in crime statistics.) Non-Hispanic white-on-black murder is relatively rare.

So, again, what’s there to protest?

Of course, media propaganda ensures that not only won’t most people know the above truths, but that they’ll live in an inverted world of unreality in which they think the truth is precisely the opposite. This is why the mainstream media are largely responsible for the rioting, destruction and death currently plaguing our country.

Actually, though, there is something to protest: the lockdowns, which, despite being revealed as a cure far worse than the disease, are perpetuated by ignorant, corrupt politicians who know an admission of error indicts their judgment.

Speaking of which, if the shut-down businesses’ owners created mayhem the way the miscreants destroying some of their businesses currently are, would they get the kind of sympathy the establishment Left shows the rioters? Actually, the ignorant, corrupt politicians would probably enjoy rolling over them with a tank — and would be cheered on by their talking-monkey public-relations team (a.k.a. the media).

In reality, it’s likely that many rioters couldn’t even tell you the name of the guy who died in police custody last Monday, and many couldn’t care less about him. They’re driven by their own twisted passions (and there’s astroturfing at work here, too), and should be brought to heel with extreme prejudice.

Instead, all the feckless Minneapolis authorities could do was declare “racism” a national emergency to justify the violence.

Our real national emergency is widespread lack of virtue, with, in particular, the virtues of honesty, courage and justice in terribly short supply.

Contact Selwyn Duke, follow him on Gab (preferably) or Twitter, or log on to SelwynDuke.com.

©All rights reserved.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Four Cops Were Shot During a George Floyd Protest in St. Louis, But They’re Not The Only Victims

The Death of George Floyd Should Have Been a Moment of Unified Outrage, Then Someone Threw a Molotov Cocktail 

That White Nationalists Causing George Floyd Riot Chaos Talking Point Took Another Devastating Blow

Twitter Is on the Side of the Rioters

VIDEO: CIA’s Brad Johnson Covid 19 Report

My assessment of the Covid crisis, where are now, and the “political theatre” nature of the reaction to the virus.

©All rights reserved.

PODCAST: Everything You Know Is Wrong

Years ago, the Firesign Theater comedy troupe recorded an album entitled “Everything You Know is Wrong” (Yes, I am a fan and still have the original LP). This particular album was a satire of New Age beliefs whereby they contend everything we have learned is absolutely wrong and we are all being intentionally misled. Large or small, everything we know is wrong; e.g., that the south won the Civil War, that the Aztecs invented the vacation, etc. It’s a very entertaining album which Firesign fans know well.

As I grow older I get the uneasy feeling everything I’ve learned to date is wrong. It’s hard to describe, but it is a very frustrating feeling and leaves you somewhat bewildered. Let me give you some examples…

I was brought up to believe if you worked hard, and kept your nose clean, everything would work out for you; that your company would keep your best interests at heart and, in the long run, you’ll do just fine. As we all know, there is no such thing as corporate loyalty anymore and, in this dog-eat-dog world, trouble somehow seems to find us, regardless of how honest and forthright we try to lead our lives. Further, it seems unscrupulous cheating and dishonesty is rewarded as opposed to punished. “Quick and dirty” solutions also seem to be preferred over craftsmanship and quality. Instead of getting to the root of a problem, we only address its symptoms for the sake of brevity. In other words, facade is preferred over substance.

I was also taught you should pay your bills on time, and avoid incurring debt which would be difficult to pay back. Now it seems “take the money and run” is the modus operandi of a lot of people, businesses, and government. Between our lenient bankruptcy laws and our inclination to spend, people are taught not to pay their bills. After all, someone else will take care of it for you, right? This also gives me the uneasy feeling that perhaps my money is not my own, even though I worked hard to earn it.

As I was growing up I was taught everyone should be treated fairly; to give each person the benefit of a doubt until proven otherwise; that it was also important to be responsible, and your word was your bond. However, it seems morality is not currently in vogue and notions such as honor and principles are politically incorrect.

Finally, in grade school I was taught the United States was a great country we should all take pride in, and that government was a servant of the people, not the other way around. Boy, I guess I really got this one wrong.

It’s a bit disheartening to realize what you thought was right is wrong, and vice versa. That two plus two no longer equals four anymore. It’s all very confusing. Then again, perhaps it’s not my age that caused this epiphany, but maybe I’m sensing nothing more than changes in our culture. If, in fact, everything I learned is wrong, I sure hope I come down with a bad case of Alzheimer’s Disease soon so I can blot all of this out.

It is disturbing to discover the world described in Firesign Theater’s album makes more sense than the real world.

Keep the Faith!

P.S. – Also, I have a NEW book, “Before You Vote: Know How Your Government Works”, What American youth should know about government, available in Printed, PDF and eBook form. DON’T FORGET GRADUATION DAY. This is the perfect gift!

EDITORS NOTE: This Bryce is Right podcast is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved. All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Trump: ‘Angry Mob’ Must Not Drown Out ‘Righteous Cries of Peaceful Protesters’


President Donald Trump announced the deployment of the military to help quell the violent riots in Washington, D.C., and said he would send federal troops to states to restore order if governors didn’t act.

“What happened in this city last night was a total disgrace,” Trump announced Monday evening in the Rose Garden, referring to the weekend riots in the nation’s capital. “As we speak, I am dispatching thousands and thousands of heavily armed soldiers, military personnel, and law enforcement officers to stop the rioting, looting, vandalism, assaults, and the wanton destruction of property.”

The president also spoke about the need for justice after the police killing of George Floyd, 46, during his arrest in Minneapolis on Memorial Day evening.

In response to Floyd’s death, peaceful protests in Minneapolis turned to violent riots, which spread across the United States, even as peaceful protests also continued.


In these trying times, we must turn to the greatest document in the history of the world to promise freedom and opportunity to its citizens for guidance. Find out more now >>


“All Americans were rightly sickened and revolted by the brutal death of George Floyd,” said Trump, who spoke last week with Floyd’s family members. “My administration is committed that for George Floyd and his family, justice will be served. He will not have died in vain.”

However, he emphasized that violent riots did not honor Floyd’s memory.

“We cannot allow the righteous cries of peaceful protesters to be drowned out by an angry mob,” Trump said.

Last week, Trump said the Justice Department initiated a federal investigation into the death of Floyd, who died after Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin put his knee on Floyd’s neck for nine minutes.  Chauvin, fired Tuesday, was charged Friday with third-degree murder and manslaughter.

Shortly after the remarks in the Rose Garden, Trump walked to St. John’s Episcopal Church, a historic church near the White House that was partially burned during riots over the weekend.

“We are ending the riots and lawlessness that has spread throughout our country. We will end it now,” Trump said before departing the White House for the church. “I have strongly recommended to every governor to deploy the National Guard in sufficient numbers that we dominate the streets.”

He later added: “If a city or state refuses to take the actions that are necessary to defend the life and property of their residents, then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them.”

Using the military for domestic order is rare. But a president can use the power under the Insurrection Act of 1807 to send federal troops to respond to domestic emergencies even against the wishes of a state’s government.

“The biggest victims of the rioting are peace-loving citizens in our poorest communities,” Trump said. “As your president, I will fight to keep them safe. I will fight to protect you. I’m your president of law and order and an ally of all peaceful protesters.”

He continued:

But, in recent days, our nation has been gripped by professional anarchists, violent mobs, arsonists, looters, criminals, rioters, Antifa, and others. …

Innocent people have been left savagely beaten, like the young man in Dallas, Texas, who was left dying on the street, or the woman in upstate New York, viciously attacked by dangerous thugs. Small business owners have seen their dreams utterly destroyed. New York’s finest have been hit in the face with bricks. Brave nurses who have battled the [coronavirus] are afraid to leave their homes.

A police precinct has been overrun. Here in the nation’s capital, the Lincoln Memorial and the World War II Memorial have been vandalized. One of our most historic churches was set ablaze. A federal officer in California—an African American enforcement hero—was shot and killed. These are not acts of peaceful protests. These are acts of domestic terror.

Trump stressed that rioters would face consequences.

“I want the organizers of this terror to be on notice that you will face severe criminal penalties and lengthy sentences in jail,” Trump said. “This includes Antifa and others who are leading instigators of this violence.”

COLUMN BY

Fred Lucas

Fred Lucas is the White House correspondent for The Daily Signal and co-host of “The Right Side of History” podcast. Lucas is also the author of “Tainted by Suspicion: The Secret Deals and Electoral Chaos of Disputed Presidential Elections.” Send an email to Fred. Twitter: @FredLucasWH.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Biden Campaign Won’t Say If It Has Addressed Staffers Who Donated To Pay Bail For Rioters, Looters

It’s Time for an Honest Conversation About Race in America

‘Not Us vs. Them’: Police March in Unity With Peaceful Protesters

George Floyd’s Family Calls for End to Violence


A Note for our Readers:

This is a critical year in the history of our country. With the country polarized and divided on a number of issues and with roughly half of the country clamoring for increased government control—over health care, socialism, increased regulations, and open borders—we must turn to America’s founding for the answers on how best to proceed into the future.

The Heritage Foundation has compiled input from more than 100 constitutional scholars and legal experts into the country’s most thorough and compelling review of the freedoms promised to us within the United States Constitution into a free digital guide called Heritage’s Guide to the Constitution.

They’re making this guide available to all readers of The Daily Signal for free today!

GET ACCESS NOW! >>


EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

PODCAST: Riots in America — Why is the Fuse So Short?

As most Americans look on in horror as their cities burn and police, regular civilians and business owners are attacked during riots, we must ask: Why is the fuse so short in America?

Listen to Clarion Project’s editor Meira Svirsky try to make sense of the situation and offer suggestions of what each of us can do to try to turn it around:

Clarion Podcasts · 2020 Riots In America

Extremists in America (and outside the country) — from Antifa to white supremacists to Islamist radicals — thrive on the chaos created by every new upheaval. This time it’s the riots which are driving extremist groups to foster chaos. Even the mullahs in Iran are watching the situation closely and planning to capitalize on the
riots.

Already a number of months ago, Hassan Rahimpour Azghadi, a member of Iran’s Supreme Council for Cultural Revolution, said,

“We have to make our presence felt in the conflicts in America that involve blacks and people of color. There is fertile ground for this … America is the kind of country that will disintegrate quickly … There are layers of hatred, alienation and estrangement there … We need to send out several thousands of surplus people [to do this].

Watch Clarion Project’s national security analyst and Shillman Fellow Ryan Mauro peg the “War of the Extremes” and find out how what you can do to counter extremist ideologies:

RELATED ARTICLES:

Left Vs. Right: Fueling Us to the Brink of Destruction

AOC, Omar Increasingly Giving Nod to Political Violence

Will the Death of Nuance Lead to a Civil War?

EDITORS NOTE: This Clarion Project podcast is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

The Real Reason Why They Hate Him: Donald Trump is a Heretic from the Left’s Secular Religion

My latest at PJ Media:

Donald Trump is a heretic. He is persecuted by the Church.

No, not any of the Christian Churches. For them, although few realize or will admit it, Donald Trump, the famous playboy womanizer, is the most pro-Christian President in recent memory. Trump is a heretic from the Leftist church, the secular religion of today’s political and media elites, and as such he must be treated as heretics were in the old days of the Spanish Inquisition: he must be burned at the stake. Actually, that’s inaccurate, as archaism is frowned upon by this religion’s clergy. He need not be burned at the stake, but by whatever means, he must be destroyed.

Although most people in the United States today still identify themselves as Christians, the dominant religion of those who have dominated the political arena, own the establishment media, and set the cultural tone for the nation is not Christianity, but Leftism.

Leftism is a religion without a being who is identified as god as such, except insofar as the atomized individual is exalted to deity status and its every whim canonized as tantamount to divine writ, but it is as rigidly dogmatic, as fervently held, and as fanatically divorced from rationality as the worst and most destructive religious manifestations in human history. It is also extremely influential and all-pervasive. Every President since Franklin D. Roosevelt, with two notable exceptions, has held to this religion to varying degrees, and in some way paid obeisance to its gods and made offerings at its altars.

There is much more. Read the rest here.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Hamas-linked CAIR demands that Twitter suspend accounts of White House and President Trump

Islamic Republic of Iran: Brother torches house, kills his 18-year-old sister for marrying a man he disliked

Here’s a Relief: Corpus Christi Jihad Attack Condemned by…Catholic Bishop

Minneapolis: Hijab-wearing women join in the looting of a Target store

Edip Yuksel’s “Manifesto for Islamic Reform”: A Disguised Apology for an Idealized Islam

Muslim “reformer” at Clarion’s Preventing Violent Extremism program outraged at violent rioters being called “evil”

EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Don’t Gaslight Us on #BelieveWomen

Many of us were startled to open The New York Times last week and find ourselves accused of hijacking and weaponizing the phrase “believe all women.”

According to journalist Susan Faludi, the phrase always has been “believe women,” and never has been associated with a demand for automatic and unquestioned belief that those who allege sexual assault are telling the truth.

The “believe all women” line, in Faludi’s telling, is a false narrative perpetuated by what she calls the right wing.

Apparently, the problems long pointed out with the premise of believing all women were, well, problems we—the “right wing”—created as a trap for an otherwise unblemished and unproblematic movement.


In these trying times, we must turn to the greatest document in the history of the world to promise freedom and opportunity to its citizens for guidance. Find out more now >>


This was particularly shocking to me. I remember the arguments for literally believing all women without question to be so strong that I wrote an article addressing them. Bari Weiss, who hardly could be called a right-winger, also understood this as a primary message of the movement, and was so concerned about its consequences that she publicly pushed back against it.

Could our memories have been so wrong? Could we have misunderstood the basic premise of an entire social movement? Could it be that we trolled ourselves into knocking down a straw man?

No. We’re being gaslighted. And we have the receipts to prove it.

To give credit to Faludi, some feminist voices have warned that #BelieveWomen ought not to mean more than simply taking women seriously instead of immediately dismissing accusations.

But to suggest that the broader #MeToo movement did not ever meaningfully encompass a demand to believe all women, in all accusations? Now that’s just pure revisionism.

Let’s start with the phrase itself. While it was certainly never as popular as the shorter #BelieveWomen, it was embraced unironically by many groups, people, and outlets that are about as far from “right wing” as I am from a communist.

National Public Radio, for example, would have been shocked to discover that “believe all women” was not, in fact, the legitimate “mantra” of the #MeToo movement, as it presumed.

Writers at outlets such as JezebelThe Guardian, and Bloomberg at various times made clear that “believe all women” was an important underlying norm of #MeToo. One Daily Beast article went so far as to refer to these years as “the era of believe all women.”

Faludi taunts: “Good luck finding any feminist who thinks we should believe everything all women say—even what they say about sexual assault.” But here is an editor at Bustle demanding just that.

You also can find the hashtag #BelieveAllWomen endorsed by a variety of liberal “Blue Checks” on Twitter, including Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y.; the ERA Coalition; comedian Greg Proops; singer Tara Slone; and former Pepsico President Brad Jakeman.

“Believe all women” was, in fact, such an important norm that society forced a prominent comedian to apologize for suggesting it was bad to turn “listen to women” into “believe all women.”

The New York Times itself thought the phrase was so inextricably linked with #MeToo that it suggested the following discussion question in its series on how to teach about the movement: “Should we always ‘believe all women?’ What are the benefits and drawbacks of doing so?”

But let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that no one outside of right-wing circles ever mentioned the phrase “believe all women” and that it was always, without exceptions, “believe women.” Is this fundamentally any different in its practical effect?

“Believe women” is a categorical, unqualified statement. What else could you reasonably expect it to mean besides “believe all women”?

Moreover, “Believe Women” was used interchangeably with mottos such as “Believe Survivors” and “Believe All Survivors,” which inherently presume that all women who make accusations are survivors, and are, ipso facto, to be believed.

So you’ll have to forgive all of the prominent non-right-wing-hacks who found themselves completely confused and thinking that “believe women” meant “believe all women who make accusations are victims, simply because they made accusations.”

The organizers of the Women’s March clearly believed this was the case, retweeting “We believe women” with an underlying tweet implying that a woman’s words of accusation alone should be sufficient evidence that she is to be believed.

And as Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., explained regarding accusations of sexual misconduct leveled at former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg: “I believe the women, and that means he isn’t telling the truth.”

In other words, she thought the essence of “believing women” was that women who make accusations must be believed, and any defense put forward by the accused must be discredited. Full stop.

This line of argument also was clearly seen in a Vox article about the “Republican response” to sexual assault allegations leveled at Donald Trump. Many of these allegedly “sad” responses were simply that the lawmakers hadn’t yet looked into the allegations.

One of the apparently unacceptable responses, from Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, was precisely the response Faludi now says always has been the epitome of “believe women”—that the accusation should be taken seriously, but vetted.

But to Vox, apparently, it was “predictable and sad” that politicians did not immediately believe the accusations, but rather wanted to look into the facts and assess credibility before forming an opinion.

Finally, whatever moderating influences may have initially fought to separate #BelieveWomen from #BelieveAllWomen, the Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh destroyed any lingering pretense that automatic, unwavering belief was not accepted practice within the movement. Here, actions spoke louder than any words.

From the very beginning, prominent Democrats made clear that the accusation alone was enough. Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, went so far as to state, prior to any hearing of the facts, that not only did she believe Kavanaugh accuser Christine Blasey Ford, but that men should “just shut up” and believe her, too.

Even afterward, when Kavanaugh was hit with allegations of sexual misconduct at Yale by Deborah Ramirez, many prominent Senate Democrats demanded his impeachment based on Ramirez’s accusation alone.

“Believe all women” was never a right-wing trap. It always has been a very real part of the #MeToo movement, even though dissenters—conservative and liberal alike—have cautioned against such an untenable and reductionist approach.

The question isn’t whether the right hijacked a phrase to create unreasonable standards. It didn’t.

The question isn’t even whether the left will continue to abide by the standards it largely accepted and imposed on others when those standards no longer are politically expedient. It won’t—those standards already have been subjected to quick and near-total abandonment for recent accusations against liberal politicians.

The only remaining question is whether this newfound love of due process and fair-mindedness will continue for the next college student, celebrity, or conservative politician accused of misconduct.

One can only hope.

Unfortunately, it’s more than likely that when the pendulum swings back, the past will prove remarkably alterable: “We must ‘believe all women.’ We’ve always said ‘believe all women.’”

COMMENTARY BY

Amy Swearer is a senior legal policy analyst at the Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation. Twitter: .

RELATED ARTICLE: #BelieveWomen


A Note for our Readers:

This is a critical year in the history of our country. With the country polarized and divided on a number of issues and with roughly half of the country clamoring for increased government control—over health care, socialism, increased regulations, and open borders—we must turn to America’s founding for the answers on how best to proceed into the future.

The Heritage Foundation has compiled input from more than 100 constitutional scholars and legal experts into the country’s most thorough and compelling review of the freedoms promised to us within the United States Constitution into a free digital guide called Heritage’s Guide to the Constitution.

They’re making this guide available to all readers of The Daily Signal for free today!

GET ACCESS NOW! >>


EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Interrogating the Transgender Agenda

A psychiatrist questions the scientific and medical basis for current treatments of gender dysphoria.


Dr Paul McHugh is one of America’s leading psychiatrists. The article below is his testimony to the US Supreme Court in the case of R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes Inc. v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

An employee of the funeral home, Aimee Stephens, decided to transition from a man to a woman in 2013. Her employer sacked her. Stephens sued. The case rose steadily through the courts. Although Stephens died of kidney disease last month at the age of 59, her estate is carrying on the lawsuit.

This is a very significant case. At stake is whether bans on sex discrimination in the United States also include discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Dr McHugh’s expertise is helpful in questioning a so-called scientific imperative for gender affirmation. (Footnotes and references have been removed and the text has been slightly abridged.)


Sex refers to the two halves of humanity, male and female. It is well defined based on the binary roles that males and females play in reproduction. “In biology, an organism is male or female if it is structured to perform one of the respective roles in reproduction. This definition does not require any arbitrary measurable or quantifiable physical characteristics or behaviors, it requires understanding the reproductive system and the reproduction process.”

The structural difference for the purpose of reproduction is the only “widely accepted” way of classifying the two sexes. “This conceptual basis for sex roles is binary and stable, and allows us to distinguish males from females on the grounds of their reproductive systems, even when these individuals exhibit behaviors that are not typical of males or females.”

Sex is not and cannot be “assigned at birth,” despite the assertions of the American Medical Association (AMA), the American Psychiatric Association (APA), and Respondents. The language of “assigned at birth” is purposefully misleading and would be identical to an assertion that blood type is assigned at birth. Yes, a doctor can check your blood type and list it. But blood type, like sex, is objectively recognizable, not assigned. In fact, the sex of a child can be ascertained well before birth.

“Gender identity” has no bearing on a male’s or a female’s sex. Stephens [legal team] maintains that, although in every biological and physiological way a man, Stephens is really a woman. Stephens felt a deep affinity towards things that are culturally and stereotypically associated with girls. But Stephens was not, and is not, a girl no matter how many of the stereotypes about girls Stephens adopts and no matter how deeply Stephens believes that affinity for those stereotypes about females transforms Stephens into a female.

A boy mind in a girl body?

The “popular notion regarding gender identity” that says a person has a “boy mind in a girl body” or vice versa is merely an idiom used by a person seeking to describe some type of distress to others. Just as we have seen before during the height of the discredited multiple personality disorder era, such testimonials are not truth, even if one asserts it as a truth claim. Such a “view implies that gender identity is a persistent and innate feature of human psychology.” But based on “the neurobiological and genetic research on the origins of gender identity, there is little evidence that the phenomenon of transgender identity has a biological basis.” There are problems with the methodological limitations of any imaging study that assesses “girl brain” and “boy brain” theories:

[I]t is now widely recognized among psychiatrists and neuroscientists who engage in brain imaging research that there are inherent and ineradicable methodological limitations of any neuroimaging study that simply associates a particular trait, such as a certain behavior, with a particular brain morphology. (And when the trait in question is not a concrete behavior but something as elusive and vague as “gender identity,” these methodological problems are even more serious).

[Therefore] there are no studies that demonstrate that any of the biological differences being examined have predictive power, and so all interpretations, usually in popular outlets, claiming or suggesting that a statistically significant difference between the brains of people who are transgender and those who are not is the cause of being transgendered or not — that is to say, that the biological differences determine the differences in gender identity — are unwarranted. In short, the current studies on associations between brain structure and transgender identity are small, methodologically limited, inconclusive, and sometimes contradictory.

In short, science does not support the notion that gender identity is an innate, immutable physical property of human beings. One’s sense of self and one’s desire to present to others as a member of the opposite sex have no bearing whatsoever upon the objective biological reality that one is male or female.

Even if evidence existed that brain studies showed differences, which they do not, it would not tell us whether the brain differences are the cause of transgender identity or a result of identifying and acting upon their own stereotypes about the opposite sex, through what is known as “neuroplasticity.”

Regardless of the extent transgender identities and aspects of the brain could correlate in some way, none of this speaks to the question of biological sex. Even if there was a biological basis for people to think they’re the opposite sex, that does not make them so.

No matter how difficult the condition of gender dysphoria may be, nothing about it affects the objective reality that those suffering from it remain the male or female persons that they were in the womb, at birth, and thereafter – any more than an anorexic’s belief that she is overweight changes the fact that she is, in reality, slender.

Gender identity is not immutable, but is based on persons’ beliefs associating themselves with whatever stereotypes they have about people of the opposite sex. It is a subjective perception not limited to the two sexes, but expands to categories other than male or female. Contrarily, sex is not a belief. It is an objective and scientifically demonstrable reality.

Stephens, as well as the APA and AMA, asserts that “everyone has a gender identity, which is ‘one’s internal, deeply held sense of gender.’” The APA’s and the AMA’s proffered descriptions of gender identity operate, in all essentials, analogous to a religious belief system. But neither the sincerity of a religious belief nor the sincerity of a person’s beliefs about gender identity determine reality. Even the Sixth Circuit noted that gender identity has an “internal genesis that lacks a fixed external referent,” and much like religion, should be “authenticat[ed]” through professions of identity rather than “medical diagnoses.” But because it is more like a belief system, it does a great disservice to everyone, those suffering with gender dysphoria and others who are affected, to treat gender identity like sex. A person is either a man or a woman, regardless of what anyone — including that person — happens to believe.

Sex is not a social construct

Some of the errors described above may have led to the Sixth Circuit’s mistaken conclusion that employers that have sex-specific policies based on their employees’ sex instead of their gender identity “necessarily” rely on “stereotypical notions of how sexual organs and gender identity ought to align.” However, the exact opposite is true. Gender identity is a social construct that stands in contradistinction to sex. The biological reality of sex is not a stereotype or social construct.

The irony of course is that labeling sex itself as an illicit stereotype turns everything on its head and actually elevates stereotypes as a reason to treat members of the same sex differently. An employer that has sex-specific policies would be treating all employees equally based on their sex. But, an employer who instead, had “gender identity-specific” policies, would by definition be treating employees of the same sex differently, and basing the different treatment on socially constructed sex stereotypes.

Sex matters in various contexts. Getting the definition wrong affects those areas. If the definition of “sex” is rewritten to mean “gender identity,” doing so both deconstructs the meaning of “sex” and undermines the ability to account for those situations where the distinctions between the two halves of humanity matter.

In addition to bodily privacy in locker rooms, restrooms, and changing facilities (where sex distinctions are crucial based on the bodily differences between the sexes, which accounts for separate facilities in the first place) or the ability to maintain competitive athletic environments for females (again due to bodily differences), we must maintain both the language and the legal construct to recognize sex in other settings such as where strip searches must occur. An inability to do so will put those being searched — including children — in situations where a person of the opposite sex (who identifies with their sex) conducts the search.

Similarly, if we are to disconnect sex from our anatomical differences, other unreasonable demands will be made of persons, such as beauticians in the business of waxing being asked to wax the genitals of a man who identifies as a woman. Even our understanding of sexual orientation is based on sex, not gender identity. Because distinctions based on sex matter in myriad contexts (many of which may only be discovered as the consequences of this experiment unfold), this Court should be slow to muddle the definitions of sex and gender identity.

Treating gender dysphoria

While this case involves the question of whether the term “sex” in federal law means gender identity or includes gender identity, the AMA asks the Court to consider the policy implications, namely the notion that protections under Title VII are necessary to advance the treatment goals of those with gender dysphoria. It claims that science shows that transgender individuals benefit from being affirmed in their beliefs about their sex, from social transition, from hormonal interventions, and from surgeries.

However, these professional associations rely on mere testimonials rather than evidence-based medicine. They treat the supposed benefits of gender affirmation as fact, rather than a clinical judgment call. And we ought not make policy decisions in the name of science when the kind of evidence necessary to support these “treatments” simply does not exist. Instead, those who are affirmed in their gender beliefs progress from social transition to surgical interventions at their peril. Indeed, if the evidence shows us anything, it indicates that those who progress all the way through surgery fare poorly.

Gender affirmation and social transition

The AMA suggests that the many difficulties that are sadly experienced by those who identify with the opposite sex are caused by social stigma. What is necessary, they claim, is that those with gender dysphoria be affirmed in their beliefs. From there, the protocol calls for three phases: (1) social transition, (2) hormone therapy, and (3) surgical interventions.

However, subjecting gender dysphoric persons to this protocol is risky because there is little evidence that social transition is the panacea that the AMA makes it out to be. Often it is a self (or therapist) fulfilling prophecy. Worse, gender affirmation does not end with social transition, but leads to medical and surgical interventions. Even the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) itself admits that “no controlled clinical trials of any feminizing/masculinizing hormone regimen have been conducted to evaluate safety or efficacy in producing physical transition.”

Moreover, some patients wish to detransition, and “the potential that patients undergoing medical and surgical sex reassignment may want to return to a gender identity consistent with their biological sex suggests that reassignment carries considerable psychological and physical risk.” This also “suggests that patients’ pre-treatment beliefs about an ideal post-treatment life may sometimes go unrealized.”

This protocol begins with the notion that gender affirmation is necessary in order to avoid social stigma. And while we should all agree that all persons should be treated with respect, blame should not be laid at the feet of friends, relatives, or co-workers who believe that social transition may not be in a person’s best interest. In fact, even in environments that are fully supportive of transition, “a large number of people who have the surgery . . . remain traumatized — often to the point of committing suicide.”

The most thorough follow-up of sex reassigned people — extending over thirty years and conducted in Sweden, where the culture is strongly supportive . . . documents their lifelong mental unrest. Ten to 15 years after surgical reassignment, the suicide rate of those who had undergone sex- reassignment surgery rose to 20 times that of comparable peers. Clearly poor outcomes cannot be blamed on lack of acceptance.

Contrary to what the AMA proposes, there is insufficient evidence that any phase of treatment is helpful. Instead, some studies suggest that not following the protocol may have more positive results. It is unacceptable to have lower standards of care for a group already at a far greater risk for psychological problems and suicide. Doctor Susan Bewley told the BBC in a Newsnight special that “We must not miss the opportunity to do good research now, helping . . . concerned clinicians actually deal with the uncertainty of what they’re doing.”18

Failing to address root issues

Previous editions of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, as recent as 2013, listed “gender identity disorder” rather than “gender dysphoria.” And until recently, clinical distress was not a part of the diagnosis criteria, indicating professional concern for anyone who manifests an incongruence between biological sex and gender identity — not just those who experience distress.

People who identify as transgender “suffer a disorder of ‘assumption’ like those in other disorders familiar to psychiatrists.” “The ‘disordered assumption’ of those who identify as the opposite sex . . . is similar to the faulty assumption of those who suffer from anorexia nervosa, who believe themselves to be overweight when in fact they are dangerously thin.”

Dr Anne Lawrence, who is transgender, has argued that body integrity disorder, which involves a person who identifies as disabled and feels trapped by a fully functional body, draws parallels to gender dysphoria. Dr. Josephson describes this type of phenomenon as a “delusion . . . [to] a fixed, false belief which is held despite clear evidence to the contrary.”

To illustrate in another way, someone with anorexia may feel overweight and know that they are not. As a result, they struggle with their feelings until they come to believe that they are fat. Similarly, someone with gender dysphoria begins by feeling like they are the opposite sex but know they are not. They then struggle with those feelings until they come to believe they are the opposite sex and try to act accordingly.

Yet, just as you would not treat an anorexic person’s delusion by helping that person to lose weight, it is unwise to treat a gender dysphoric person’s delusion by encouraging them to indulge in that falsehood. When false beliefs about reality are not addressed by helping people come to accept reality, their false beliefs “are not merely emotionally distressing . . . but also life-threatening.” Treatment should “assess and guide them in ways that permit them to work out their conflicts and correct their assumptions.”

Instead, some in the scientific community want gender dysphoric individuals to “find only gender counselors who encourage them in their sexual misassumptions.” Indeed, there are no other health issues where doctors modify healthy bodies to align with a mind’s misperception or where they would call a healthy body a “birth defect” rather than working with the mind to accept bodily reality.

A more appropriate treatment would be to show gender dysphoric individuals that feelings are not the same as reality. “Psychiatrists obviously must challenge the solipsistic concept that what is in the mind cannot be questioned.”

“Disorders of consciousness, after all, represent psychiatry’s domain; declaring them off- limits would eliminate the field.” Indeed, when treatment is focused on helping patients align their subjective gender identity with their objective biological sex by use of normal counseling methods such as talk therapy, gender dysphoria has proven to be significantly reduced.

Given the harms of the next two phases of the WPATH protocol, social transition should not be encouraged. Not only does it not address the root issues causing clinical distress, it also makes it more likely for patients to forge ahead into hormone therapy and physical alteration of their body.

The harm of hormone therapy

Hormone therapy has not been proven to improve the overall quality of life or reduce psychological symptoms or other negative outcomes. At best, the scientific data is inconclusive. At worst, it is harmful.

Hayes Inc., a company which focuses on “unbiased” “evidence-based assessments of health technologies and clinical programs to determine their impact on patient safety,” gave the quality of evidence for hormone treatment its lowest possible rating. The Hayes Directory explains that some groups advocate for hormonal treatments as “medically necessary treatments.” However, these treatments do “not readily fit traditional concepts of medical necessity since research to date has not established anatomical or physiological anomalies associated with [gender dysphoria].”

After reviewing 21 studies, the Hayes Directory concluded that the studies “were inconsistent with respect to a relationship between hormone therapy and general psychological health, substance abuse, suicide attempts, and sexual function and satisfaction.” For quality of life, “[d]ifferences between treated and untreated study participants were very small or of unknown magnitude,” suggesting little evidence of effectiveness.

Alarmingly, and contrary to the AMA’s and the APA’s narrative, the Hayes Directory reports that the studies show the prevalence of suicide attempts was not affected by hormone therapy.

Additionally, hormone therapy increased risk of cardiovascular disease, cerebrovascular and thromboembolic events, osteoporosis, and cancer. No proof of improved mortality, suicide rates, or death from illicit drug use was observed.

Similarly, in 2010, Mohammad Hassan Murad of the Mayo Clinic studied the body of research involving the outcomes of hormonal therapies used in advance of sex reassignment procedures. He found there to be “very low quality evidence” that hormonal interventions “likely improve gender dysphoria, psychological functioning and comorbidities, sexual function and overall quality of life.”

Without well-designed studies that provide conclusive results that treatments designed to block natural maturation of the body are helpful, public policy should not be used to mandate the kind of gender affirmation that result in such treatments.

The harm of sex reassignment surgery

Scientific support for sex reassignment surgery is equally lacking. After one of the first studies addressing the efficacy of surgical transition occurred in 1979, Johns Hopkins Medical Center discontinued surgical intervention. A study performed by Jon K. Meyer and Donna J. Reter found that when individuals who underwent sex reassignment surgery reported improvement, it did not rise to the level of statistical significance, but those who opted not to undergo sex reassignment surgery showed statistically significant improvement. Those authors concluded that “sex reassignment surgery confers no objective advantage . . . .”

Other studies have shown negative consequences. In a study performed by Cecilia Dhejne with the Karolinska Institute and Gothenburg University in Sweden, it was found that “transsexual individuals had an approximately three times higher risk for psychiatric hospitalization than the control groups, even after adjusting for prior psychiatric treatment.” “[M]ost alarmingly, sex reassigned individuals were 4.9 times more likely to attempt suicide and 19.1 times more likely to die by suicide compared to controls.”

In 2009, a longitudinal study performed by Annette Kuhn in Switzerland found that over a 15-year period the quality of life for 55 sex-reassigned individuals was “considerably lower” than females who had pelvic surgery for other reasons. Moreover, “none of the studies included the bias-limiting measures of randomization . . . and only three of the studies included control groups.” While the Mayo Clinic report indicated that 80% of sex reassigned patients reported improvement in gender dysphoria, 78% improvement in psychological symptoms, and 80% improvement in quality of life, none of the studies included the bias-limiting measure of randomization or control groups. Thus, the claim that improvement occurred after surgical transition is merely comprised of testimonials.

Another Hayes Directory report, this time addressing surgical interventions, concluded that there is not good scientific evidence to support surgical modifications. It concluded that the “evidence was too sparse to allow any conclusion regarding the comparative benefits of different [sex reassignment surgery] procedures.”The “very low” quality of evidence was “due to limitations of individual studies, including small sample sizes, studies lacking evaluating any one outcome, retrospective data, lack of randomization, failure to “blind outcome,” lack of a control or comparator group, and other problems. Unbiased assessment of the claims leads to the following conclusion:

The scientific evidence summarized suggests we take a skeptical view toward the claim that sex reassignment procedures provide the hoped-for benefits or resolve the underlying issues that contribute to elevated mental health risks among the transgender population. While we work to stop maltreatment and misunderstanding, we should also work to study and understand whatever factors may contribute to the high rates of suicide and other psychological and behavioral health problems among the transgender population, and to think more clearly about the treatment options that are available.

There is no good evidence that this dramatic surgery produces the benefits espoused by the AMA. There is, however, evidence that surgical modification poses health risks.20 Moreover, one unalterable consequence is that anyone who goes through with “sex change” surgery will be sterilized. Without firm scientific evidence, the medical and psychiatric community should not follow the WPATH protocol to progress from social transition, to medical interventions, and ultimately to surgery, which therefore calls into question the AMA’s claim that government policy should require persons to affirm others’ beliefs that they are the opposite sex.

Other procedures

Another Hayes Directory report reviewed all the relevant literature on ancillary procedures and services for the treatment of gender dysphoria, such as voice training, facial modifications, reduction of the Adam’s apple, and other cosmetic surgeries to feminize or masculinize features. These too do “not readily fit traditional concepts of medical necessity since research to date has not established anatomical or physiological anomalies associated with [gender dysphoria].”

As with its conclusion on hormone therapies as well as surgical modifications, the Hayes Directory gave the scientific support for these treatments its lowest possible rating. The studies not only had limitations such as small sample sizes, separating procedures by category, and a lack of control or comparator group, they also measured “technical success and patient satisfaction” while ignoring “overall measure of well-being.” In fact, the Hayes Directory found that the “overall individual well- being is unknown.”

In conclusion, relevant to the Court’s present concern, the AMA’s suggestion that gender identity should be read into sex protections in furtherance of treatments goals for those suffering from gender dysphoria is misplaced. Given that the stated goal of transitioning people with gender dysphoria to their identified gender is to improve their overall well- being, altering a person’s body, sometimes permanently, should not be done without solid scientific evidence of its benefits. Since the known studies only measure self-reported satisfaction with the aesthetic result, and not improved quality of life, mental state, or overall well-being, these procedures should not be recommended treatment.

How about children?

… If this Court, for policy reasons, were to redefine sex to mean gender identity, that definition will impact children in educational settings. Indeed, such an interpretation has been used to force some schools to open privacy facilities to the opposite sex. Such an approach not only subjects students to sexual harassment through the systematic loss of bodily privacy, but such treatment is actually contraindicated for those children who suffer from gender dysphoria.

Gender dysphoric children subjectively feel they are the opposite sex based on what they think it is like to be the opposite sex. Other than in this area, children who have persistent beliefs that do not conform with reality are not encouraged to persist in those beliefs. In the same way, counselors should assess and guide those with gender dysphoria in ways that permit them to work out their conflicts and correct their false assumptions.

Until recently when ideological imperatives took the place of scientific evidence, this is precisely what was done for gender dysphoric children. Dr. Kenneth Zucker, a leading authority on gender dysphoria, successfully helped children through psychosocial treatments like talk therapy, organized play dates, and family counseling. A follow-up study revealed that only 3 of 25 female children continued to struggle with gender dysphoria.

In contrast to the belief that we and our children are best served by observing and cooperating with our observable biological reality, the AMA and the APA say that children who suffer from gender dysphoria can relieve that dysphoria through social transition, puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and eventually surgically altering sex-based anatomy to look like that of the opposite sex. This progression, however, is unhelpful since children who identify with the opposite sex but who are allowed to go through puberty without puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones cease identifying with the opposite sex 70% to 98% of the time for males and 50% to 88% of the time for females.

Conversely, when children are encouraged to progress through social transition to puberty blockers, they tend to persist with their dysphoria. Yet no longitudinal, controlled studies support gender-affirming treatments for gender dysphoria. The problem is that while some persons who go through all these stages may report satisfaction with an eventual surgery, they may still suffer the same morbidities and experience startlingly high rates of suicide and attempted suicide.

Not only does the progression from affirmation to surgery result in increased psychological problems, but the evidence is insufficient to suggest that each step along the way is safe and efficacious. While affirming a child’s gender identity may appear a compassionate way to help a child during a painful and confusing experience, it is not.

There is an obvious self-fulfilling nature to encouraging young [gender dysphoric] children to impersonate the opposite sex and then institute pubertal suppression. . . . All of his same-sex peers develop into young men, his opposite sex friends develop into young women, but he remains a pre-pubertal boy. He will be left psycho-socially isolated and alone.

Repetition affects the structure and function of the brain through what is called neuroplasticity. Thus, children who are encouraged to live as the opposite sex may be increasingly unable to live as their own sex. As a result, some children who would otherwise overcome their gender dysphoria may be unable to do so.

Puberty blockers pose other health risks. For example, they impair bone growth, decrease bone accretion, interfere with brain development, and impair fertility.

Rather than encouraging the progression through these stages, children would be better served at the very first stage by not encouraging their belief that they are the opposite sex. If they are allowed to progress through puberty, the issues of gender dysphoria naturally resolves the vast majority of the time. Therefore, a more cautious approach, supplemented by individual or family psychotherapy would be most compassionate. In short, the notion that science requires gender affirmation, and thus for policy reasons gender identity should be read into the word “sex” is misplaced.

Activism, not medicine

We should treat everyone with dignity and respect, but there is significant disagreement in the particulars of what is helpful to those identifying as transgender and what should be asked of others in the process. Though some research has been conducted regarding treatment of those who identify as transgender, when “research touches on controversial themes, it is particularly important to be clear about precisely what science has and has not shown.”

As discussed above, the existing studies on treatment of and outcomes for transgender persons are poor support for gender affirmation or the progression to medication or surgery, yet the large medical associations like the AMA and APA ardently endorse these practices. Unfortunately, ideology rather than science is driving the support. And since dissent is systematically eliminated and those who disagree are loudly condemned, the kind of research necessary to inform the public debate is not occurring.

“Consensus” in the scientific community is more contrived than scientific. “Mainstream clinicians and scientists who consider gender discordance to be a mental disorder have been deliberately excluded in the makeup of the steering committees of academic and medical professional societies which are promulgating guidelines that were previously unheard of.” Id. For instance, when the Endocrine Society created its guidelines, “the panel selected included only those who supported the emerging practices and attempts by many of the endocrinologists present to raise concerns were muted.”

The American Psychiatric Association, in the most recent edition of DSM, removed gender identity disorder and replaced it with gender dysphoria.

“Changes in diagnostic nomenclature in this area were not initiated through the result of scientific information but rather the result of cultural changes fueling political interest groups within professional organizations.” Naturally, considering identity with the opposite sex to be a mental disorder is incompatible with social affirmation. Therefore, the nomenclature was changed so that only the anxiety caused by the incongruity between sex and identification is considered to be a disorder.

Yet, since we would neither affirm a person who believed themselves disabled when they have a fully functional body nor suggest surgeries to disable such persons to conform their bodies to their beliefs, we should carefully consider the approach we take concerning persons’ subjective beliefs about their sex.

Indeed, if something conflicts with our understanding of biological facts, is inconsistently applied, and defies common sense, we should demand more evidence to suggest that these factors are all pointing the wrong direction. The support for gender affirmation, medications, and surgery come from testimonials, but that is not evidence. It would be akin to asking consumers if they are satisfied with their vehicles, and publishing those testimonies, claiming it to be evidence of quality or reliability. It is not as if we do not know how to get good data, such as with control studies, but we refuse to conduct good science or follow the science — and that has everything to do with activism and ideology — not good medicine.

As confirmation of the power of activism over science, those who follow the science are often shut down. Consider Lisa Littman, Assistant Professor of the Practice of Behavioral and Social Sciences at Brown University, who coined the phrase “rapid onset gender dysphoria.” She made the observation based on various parental reports that those who identify as transgender during or after puberty appear to have underlying and preexisting psychiatric conditions, and she called for more research. After members of the transgender community criticized the research, Brown quickly distanced itself. And ultimately, she lost a consulting job due to the research.

Jeffrey S. Flier, M.D., former dean of Harvard Medical School, wrote, “I have never once seen a comparable reaction from a journal within days of publishing a paper that the journal already had subjected to peer review, accepted and published. One can only assume that the response was in large measure due to the intense lobbying the journal received. . . .”

Similarly, Dr. Kenneth Zucker, a leading expert on gender dysphoria in children, who headed the Child Youth and Family Gender Identity Clinic in Toronto, was removed from his clinic on baseless charges and the clinic shut down. Zucker helped to write the “standards of care” guidelines for the WPATH and led the group that developed criteria for gender dysphoria used in DSM-5. But as others increasingly pushed gender affirmation and social transition, Zucker’s clinic continued to be cautious, suggesting that it was better to “help children feel comfortable in their own bodies,” since it recognized the malleable nature of gender identity in children and the likelihood that it will resolve. Activists saw this as a rejection of children’s gender identities.

As a result, the parent organization running the gender identity clinic interviewed activists and clinicians critical of the clinic and fired Zucker and shut down the clinic based on false claims. Yet for the many families who benefited from Zucker’s work and others who would benefit, “a sustained campaign of political pressure” took away their options to find help feeling comfortable with their own bodies.

This, of course, was not the first time science took the back seat in the practice of medicine. Trendy diagnoses and treatments have lead us astray in the past. The practices of eliciting alternative personalities from patients as well as lobotomy  had many testimonials about their benefits to patients, but testimonials do not form the substance of evidence- based medicine. Thus we should be especially cautious when activism or ideology has the upper hand over science.

Ultimately, poor science exacerbated the suffering of those treated by lobotomy or diagnosed with multiple-personality disorders in the past, and appears to be doing the same with those suffering from gender dysphoria today.

As a matter of science, sex and gender identity are so distinct that gender identity cannot properly be read into or replace sex. And with regard to the underlying policy question, there is no reliable evidence that gender affirmation — understood as asking or requiring persons to affirm others’ beliefs that they are the opposite sex — is efficacious.

The original text of Dr McHugh’s essay may be consulted HERE.

COLUMN BY

Paul McHugh

Dr. Paul McHugh, M.D. is the University Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. From 1975 until 2001, Dr. McHugh was the Henry Phipps Professor… More by Paul McHugh

RELATED ARTICLE: Transgenderism: a pathogenic meme

EDITORS NOTE: This MercatorNet column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Evidence Suggests Kids Are Extremely Low Risk For Coronavirus

While much still remains unknown about the coronavirus, a consensus has emerged that the virus presents an extremely minimal risk for children.

As the Summer months arrive, debate has emerged over whether or not it’s safe for schools to reopen. Most colleges throughout the U.S. have already stated their intentions to reopen their campuses this Fall, and two-thirds of college students feel safe returning even without a vaccine, according to a recent poll. However, managing to return younger students to school could prove more complicated.

President Donald Trump recently clashed with White House coronavirus task force member Dr. Anthony Fauci over the possibility of K-12 schools reopening in the Fall, noting that the virus presents an extremely low risk to children. On the surface, the president is indisputably correct. A study published in late April estimated that roughly 1/3 of children ages 6-10 who had the coronavirus were asymptomatic, and concluded “the role of children in transmission is unclear, but it seems likely they do not play a significant role.”

As of mid-May, in the coronavirus epicenter of New York, just nine children under the age of 18 had died with the virus, accounting for a total of 0.06% of the state’s deaths. On the flip side, nearly three-quarters of coronavirus deaths in the state came among those 65-years-old and older.

Fox Sports commentator Clay Travis noted that the odds of people under the age of 24 dying from the coronavirus are statistically lower than them getting struck by lightning. The odds of someone under the age of 24 dying of the coronavirus is roughly one in 1 million, while the odds of someone in that age group getting struck by lightning is roughly one in 700,000.

It is for these reasons that college campuses appear almost certain to open up, and major revenue generators, such as college football, appear likely to begin their season on time. Colleges will be easier to reopen than K-12 schools, as college campuses also serve as living spaces and thus can be insulated if necessary. However, K-12 schools do not have those advantages and will likely face more roadblocks to reopening as a result. While the kids are extremely low-risk, extra concern will have to be paid to older teachers, and kids with live-in relatives who are older or have pre-existing respiratory conditions. A USA Today poll published last week found that 20% of teachers said they would be “unlikely” to return to school in the Fall, even if they are allowed to.

Parents worried about their children returning to school in the Fall can rest easy, as evidence overwhelmingly shows that kids are low risk for the coronavirus. However, reopening schools and daycare facilities will present more roadblocks than just securing the health and safety of young children.

COLUMN BY

WILLIAM DAVIS

Repoprter

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EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Caller column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

VIDEO: ‘A Year’s Worth of Suicide Attempts in Four Weeks’ — The Unintended Consequences of COVID-19 Lockdowns

Stay-at-home orders come with a host of unintended consequences that we have not yet even begun to measure or understand.


he costs of the government responses to the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic have been severe. New evidence suggests they could be even worse than we imagined.

An ABC affiliate in California reports that doctors at John Muir Medical Center tell them they have seen more deaths by suicide than COVID-19 during the quarantine.

“The numbers are unprecedented,” said Dr. Michael deBoisblanc, referring to the spike in suicides.

“We’ve never seen numbers like this, in such a short period of time,” deBoisblanc added. “I mean we’ve seen a year’s worth of suicide attempts in the last four weeks.”

Kacey Hansen, a trauma nurse who has spent 33 years at the hospital, said she has never witnessed self-inflicted attacks on such a scale.

“What I have seen recently, I have never seen before,” Hansen said. “I have never seen so much intentional injury.”

To date, there is little evidence that lockdowns have reduced the spread of COVID-19. But even if there were compelling evidence that lockdowns were saving lives, it would be a mistake to ignore the manifold unintended consequences of stay-at-home orders.

As economist Antony Davies and political scientist James Harrigan explain, “every human action has both intended and unintended consequences. Human beings react to every rule, regulation, and order governments impose, and their reactions result in outcomes that can be quite different than the outcomes lawmakers intended.”

The problem with negative unintended consequences is two-fold.

First, as Ludwig von Mises, observed, every government intervention in markets creates unintended consequences, which often lead to more calls for government interventions which have more unintended consequences, and so on. Second, as Frédéric Bastiat pointed out, we tend to focus our attention more on the intended consequences than the unintended ones. (Think of government assistance and the poverty trap.)

The unintended consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic have been severe. Most of the attention, however, has been focused on the economic consequences. Forty million US jobs lost. A looming recession. Hundreds of thousands of businesses wiped out and retirements destroyed.

The psychological and physiological unintended consequences of stay-at-home orders have received less attention. Media have been largely transfixed on COVID-19, reporting daily death tolls and rising case numbers in states easing lockdown restrictions (while failing to note that COVID cases are rising because of expanded testing).

To be sure, measuring the impact on mental health is trickier than measuring COVID-19 fatalities or job losses. But that is no reason to discount the psychological and physical impact of lockdowns, especially when evidence suggests the toll is severe.

A recent Wall Street Journal report shows a surge in the number of people taking drugs for anxiety and insomnia, prompting physicians to warn about the long-term risks of increased prescriptions, which include drug addiction and abuse.

Stay-at-home orders may seem relatively benign, but they are not. Science shows that human beings struggle mightily in isolation from one another.

As The New York Times reported in 2016, social isolation isn’t just harmful, it’s quite deadly:

A wave of new research suggests social separation is bad for us. Individuals with less social connection have disrupted sleep patterns, altered immune systems, more inflammation and higher levels of stress hormonesOne recent study found that isolation increases the risk of heart disease by 29 percent and stroke by 32 percent.

Another analysis that pooled data from 70 studies and 3.4 million people found that socially isolated individuals had a 30 percent higher risk of dying in the next seven years, and that this effect was largest in middle age.

Loneliness can accelerate cognitive decline in older adults, and isolated individuals are twice as likely to die prematurely as those with more robust social interactions. These effects start early: Socially isolated children have significantly poorer health 20 years later, even after controlling for other factors. All told, loneliness is as important a risk factor for early death as obesity and smoking.

Anecdotal evidence, like the testimony of doctors at John Muir Medical Center and reported surges in calls to suicide hotlines around the country, suggest the mental toll of lockdowns could be as great as the material costs. (Indeed, they likely go hand-in-hand.)

We’ll have months if not years to debate whether the lockdowns were effective or the right thing to do. What’s important to remember is the stay-at-home orders come with a host of unintended consequences that we have not yet even begun to measure or understand.

For his part, Dr. DeBoisblanc has seen enough to convince him that it’s time to lift stay-at-home orders and let people return to their communities.

“Personally, I think it’s time,” he said. “I think, originally, this was put in place to flatten the curve and to make sure hospitals have the resources to take care of COVID patients. We have the current resources to do that, and our other community health is suffering.”

COLUMN BY

Jon Miltimore

Jonathan Miltimore is the Managing Editor of FEE.org. His writing/reporting has been the subject of articles in TIME magazine, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, Forbes, Fox News, and the Star Tribune. Bylines: The Washington Times, MSN.com, The Washington Examiner, The Daily Caller, The Federalist, the Epoch Times.

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EDITORS NOTE: This FEE column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Trump On George Floyd Riots: ‘I Will Not Allow Angry Mobs To Dominate’

President Donald Trump criticized George Floyd protesters who have turned to rioting across the country Saturday, saying he would not allow them to “dominate.”

Trump made the comments at Kennedy Space Center in Florida soon after NASA and SpaceX launched American astronauts into space from American soil for the first time since 2011. While Trump critiqued the “angry mobs,” he said he stands with those who are peacefully protesting against Floyd’s death.

“We support the right of peaceful protests and we hear their pleas, but what we are now seeing on the streets of our cities has nothing to do with the memory of George Floyd. The violence and vandalism is being led by antifa and other radical left-wing groups who are terrorizing the innocent, destroying jobs, hurting businesses and burning down buildings,” Trump said.

“I will not allow angry mobs to dominate. It’s not going to happen,” he added.

Trump soon turned his speech back to the return of  Americans to spaceflight, however. He announced that as he was speaking, astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley had arrived safely in low-Earth orbit. Their final destination is the International Space Station.

Trump went on to praise SpaceX founder Elon Musk, calling him a “great brain.” NASA and SpaceX plan to continue their partnership to bring American astronauts back to the moon and eventually be the first to land on Mars.

COLUMN BY

ANDERS HAGSTROM

White House Correspondent.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Caller column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

‘Incredible’: President Trump Hails NASA, SpaceX For Successful Launch

President Donald Trump praised NASA and SpaceX for a successful launch minutes after he watched the Falcon 9 rocket take flight in Florida on Saturday.

The Demo-2 mission came as a partnership between public sector NASA and private sector SpaceX and launched American astronauts into space from U.S. soil for the first time since 2011.

“I’m so proud of the people, of NASA, public and private. When you see a sight like that, it’s incredible,” Trump said. “When you hear that sound — the roar — you can imagine how dangerous it is.”

Trump also had praise for SpaceX founder Elon Musk, calling him a “great brain.” He also said the launch could be a symbol of recovery for Americans suffering through the COVID-19 pandemic as lockdown measures ease across the country.

“I think this is such a great inspiration for our country. Our country is doing well … We suffered something that was terrible. It should have never happened — it should have never come out of China,” Trump said. “That’s one of the reasons why I wanted to be here today and I think any one of you would say that was an inspiration to see what we just saw.”

The SpaceX rocket will take astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the International Space Station, but the company and NASA also plan on returning American astronauts to the moon and being the first to reach Mars.

Musk has found common ground with Trump throughout the pandemic, as both have emphasized the need to reopen world economies and criticized local and state leaders who have been slow to do so.

Musk threatened to move his Tesla automaker plant out of California due to the state’s social distancing rules, leading to tweets from Trump supporting the move, according to Fox News.

COLUMN BY

ANDERS HAGSTROM

White House Correspondent

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Exploiting George Floyd’s Death

99.9% of our American family is saddened and outraged over the wrongful death of George Floyd. We want the responsible police officer prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

And yet, rather than bringing our nation together, fake news media and Democrats are excitedly throwing gasoline on the flames of racial hate and division. Their message is America is still a hellhole of racism in which blacks are routinely murdered by whites and police. Blacks must continue voting for Democrats to keep racist white America at bay.

As expected, Democrats and fake news media are absurdly blaming Trump for Floyd’s death. These vile human beings in the media will say anyone wearing a MAGA hat is a racist complicit in Floyd’s death. Minneapolis rioters chanted, “Kill the white folks.”

The mayor of Minneapolis absurdly said the riots and looting in response to Floyd’s death are justifiable because they represent 400 years of pent-up black rage. That is such a crock of pandering leftist nonsense. The rioters are nothing more than paid domestic terrorists and ghetto-trash exploiting the incident to go on an illegal shopping spree.

The vast majority of the rioters wreaking havoc have never experienced an ounce of racism in their entire lives. Americans have been trained to know they better kiss blacks’ derrieres at every opportunity or suffer crucifixion by Democrats and fake news media. For crying out loud, beginning in kindergarten, leftist controlled public schools teach white students that they were born racist scum. Therefore, all whites must feel forever guilty, apologetic, and accommodating to blacks.

The dirty little secret is Democrats love creating race-based crisis because it allows them an opportunity to demand more sure-to-fail Ga-zillion dollar government-fix-it-programs which end up fattening Democrat pockets. Along with selling their lie that America sucks, Democrats believe spreading racial hate and division wins them votes.

When I speak of ghetto trash I am not referring to poor people. I was raised in an all-black 11 story high-rise government project in Baltimore Maryland. Grateful residents kept their apartments immaculate. Other residents were trifling ghetto trash with zero respect for the brand new building, taking every opportunity to destroy it. I was around 9 years old. Everyone told me everything wrong was always the white man’s fault. I said, “How can we stop mean white people from sneaking into our building at night; breaking the elevators, smashing liquor bottles, breaking light blobs, and urinating in the stairwells?”

Democrats are all over TV exploiting Floyd’s death to falsely claim that blacks are routinely persecuted today the way they were in the 1950s. Democrats and fake news media are behaving as if 8 years of America’s first black president never happened.

Sadly, the behavior of one bad cop, helps Democrats and fake news media demonize all cops. Data confirms that cops are the greatest defenders of black lives

In truth, the greatest threat to black lives is other blacks. Democrats and fake news media remain dead silent about 30 to 40 blacks murdering each other every weekend in urban Democrat hellholes like Baltimore, Chicago, and Washington DC. Shouldn’t those black lives matter? Where are the outrage and anger?

Democrats and fake news media only care about black lives when it furthers their socialist/communist political agenda.

Democrats and fake news media literally worship Planned Parenthood which targets blacks for abortion. Black women make up only 14% of the country’s childbearing population. And yet, 36% of all aborted babies are black. Democrats and fake news media actually celebrate the death of aborted black babies. Clearly, they are saying black baby lives do not matter.

As a proud grateful American who happens to be black, it is appalling to witness Democrats and fake news media exploiting the tragic death of Mr. Floyd. They are stirring the pot of racial hate to instigate violence while disrespecting blacks as useful idiots.

Blacks have experienced unprecedented prosperity and historic low unemployment under Trump. To separate black voters from Trump, insidiously evil Democrats will use Floyd’s death to outrageously say reelecting Trump will mean open season for police to murder blacks. As baseless and stupid as that sounds, it reflects Democrats’ low opinion of blacks. It is the sort of emotional brain-dead lie Democrats believe will win over easily deceived black voters.

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Make a Difference: Start a Community Impact Team


CLICK HERE TO START A COMMUNITY ACTION TEAM


If ever there were a time for Christians to recognize the need to pull together and impact our communities, our states, and our nation, that moment is now. Thankfully, FRC has been on the front lines, providing direction and structure to help churches and other organizations really begin to have a serious and effective impact. The structure is the development of the Community Impact initiative, and it’s making a difference.

What exactly is a Community Impact Team? It’s men and women who bring together their gifts and abilities for the purpose of four key things, or as they are known, the pillars of Community Impact: to inform, to equip, to alert, and to mobilize. Whether it’s your church or your community organization with a number of members, those people need a team of leaders who will work to bring those people together to really make an impact on their communities.

We’ve seen this work in the arena of disaster relief, when people needed help and support provided as they weathered the crisis they were facing. We have seen this work in the arena of influencing government for good, when issues facing a school board would dramatically change the course of that which was being taught to our children. In either instance people needed to be informed, equipped, alerted, and mobilized to action. Community Impact Teams are able to do this effectively.

How do you get something like this going in your church or organization? It starts with the proper tools and the proper training. Both of those can be found at the Community Impact website. In fact, I encourage you to visit the site to find these tools today. FRC has produced a Community Impact Resource Manual that you can simply download. In it you will find steps to take in beginning this initiative, the people you need to form a team, and how to develop your mission statement for your own team. The Resource Manual also has more than half of its pages filled with ideas of service projects and other ministry opportunities that will truly impact your community. We know that it’s true that people really don’t care how much we know, until they know how much we care. We earn credibility when we serve the people of our community, and this is when we are most effective at then speaking into their hearts about the issues we face in our day.

But while the Resource Manual provides the tools you need, without the training, we’ve noticed that many groups never get off the ground. This is why Leader Training is crucial, and on that website you can click on the Resources Tab, and then click on Training Videos. Here, you will find five video sessions: A Biblical Basis for Community Impact; Forming A Team; Communication with your Pastor and Congregation; Participation in the Electoral Process; and Influencing Your Community, State, and Nation.

With so much being faced in America today, it’s past time for Christians to step up and not only see the emergency we are facing, but it’s time to rely on God’s power, and become instruments in His hands to make the impact He desires for us to make. At FRC, we believe standing together, praying together, serving Him together, and shaping one community at a time will bring the results we are longing to see.

COLUMN BY

Dr. Mark Harris

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The Folly of Twitter’s Fact Check

No American, not even the president, has an inherent right to a social media account. Tech companies are free to ban any user they see fit.

They’re free to fact-check anyone they want, to create a framework of acceptable speech, and to enforce their policies either consistently or capriciously. They’re free to accuse Donald Trump—and only Trump, if they see fit—of being a liar. They’re free to do all of these things.

Even if they shouldn’t.

Yesterday, after years of pressure from media and Democrats, Twitter labeled two of Trump’s tweets—in which he had claimed that the use of mail-in ballots for large numbers of people would be “substantially fraudulent” and result in a “rigged election”—as “potentially misleading.”


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It’s a mistake for any platform to drop its neutral stance and take on fact-checking duties, a task that’s going to be impossible to accomplish either objectively or effectively. It’s going to corrode trust in the brand, but it won’t change a single mind.

Once Twitter begins tagging some tweets and not others with “what you need to know,” it will be staking out partisan positions. The Trump tweets that precipitated its first fact check are a good example of this.

It would have been far more reasonable for the social media giant to label Trump’s ugly and slanderous tweets about Joe Scarborough as misleading. Instead, Twitter decided to inaugurate its policy by alleging that Trump had dishonestly claimed that mail-in ballots would lead to “a Rigged Election.”

Even if this contention were entirely baseless, it would be as untrue as saying Russia rigged the election—a claim that politicians such as Adam Schiff and Nancy Pelosi, along with most major media outlets, have been making for years.

But while the president’s rhetoric about voting is debatable, it is also well within the normal parameters of contemporary political discourse.

It’s not exactly “unsubstantiated” to assert that more mail-in ballots “would lead to voter fraud,” as Twitter holds. There are dozens of instances of potential voter fraud investigated every year. The Heritage Foundation has cataloged 1,285 prosecuted cases.

Which is to say that contending that “voter fraud” is a problem is no more misleading than contending tax cuts will hurt the poor or that repealing net neutrality rules will destroy the internet.

In practice, “voter fraud” is no more a conspiracy theory than is “voter suppression.” Both happen on occasion, yet there is no evidence that either has toppled the outcome of any modern election.

The problem is that only one of these two issues will earn a “more information” tag from Twitter, because only one of these two issues offends the sensibilities of the liberals whose concerns Twitter ultimately cares about.

In another tweet, Trump claimed that everyone in California will be mailed a ballot. This is factually untrue. But so is the pinned tweet of former Vice President Joe Biden: “I can’t believe I have to say this, but please don’t drink bleach.”

The president never instructed anyone to drink bleach, yet Biden repeats this incessantly, along with numerous other misleading statements about his record and GOP policies.

Which brings us to the problem: Who will Twitter designate as its judge? Its fact-checking page redirects users to debunkings by CNN, The Washington Post, Vox, HuffPost, and other outlets that often deceive their audiences with far more sophistication than the president. These outlets like to appeal to the authority of experts, but not experts whose conclusions contradict their own.

There is a reason we debate issues rather than appoint “truth magistrates” to hand down verdicts: For the most part, politics is a dispute not over facts but values.

As is often the case, Trump immediately ceded the high ground by threatening to “strongly regulate” or shut down social media platforms. Such threats are nothing new for this president, who has often menaced media with regulations and legal action, although one cannot help but notice a paradox.

Trump never follows through on his destructive threats to inhibit speech but does follow through on his promise to cram the courts full of judges who have deference for the First Amendment, while those who talk in the loftiest terms about the press tend to pressure tech companies to constrain interactions, to ban accounts, and to “fact check” their partisan foes.

The distress over social media is predicated on the idea that average Americans are too dim to grapple with the messiness of unfettered speech. Many leftists—those who wanted to institute Fairness Doctrines or overturn Citizens United—admit this openly when they suggest that unregulated speech is corroding “democracy.”

Trump is the first president to take advantage of direct, instantaneous access to millions of Americans. Whether this is helpful to his cause is debatable. Certainly, we are blessed that the president’s policies and rhetoric are often disconnected. Whatever the case, though, we have an entire industry that stands ready to challenge the veracity of his statements.

We don’t need Twitter to join in the fact-checking game. Silicon Valley doesn’t have the resources, knowledge, or people to do it correctly.

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COMMENTARY BY

David Harsanyi is a senior writer at National Review and the author of “First Freedom: A Ride through America’s Enduring History With the Gun, From the Revolution to Today.” Twitter: .


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This is a critical year in the history of our country. With the country polarized and divided on a number of issues and with roughly half of the country clamoring for increased government control—over health care, socialism, increased regulations, and open borders—we must turn to America’s founding for the answers on how best to proceed into the future.

The Heritage Foundation has compiled input from more than 100 constitutional scholars and legal experts into the country’s most thorough and compelling review of the freedoms promised to us within the United States Constitution into a free digital guide called Heritage’s Guide to the Constitution.

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