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Biden Administration to Give Bonuses to Doctors Who ‘Implement an Anti-Racism Plan’

The Democrats have destroyed our once unfailing trust in our medical institutions by destroying them.

COVID lockdowns and ineffective vaccines broke the trust. This is the death blow.

Biden Administration to Give Bonuses to Doctors Who “Implement an Anti-Racism Plan”

Biden Administration Offers Bonuses to Doctors Who Implement ‘Anti-Racism Plans’

New Medicare rules also reward ‘trauma-informed care’

By: Aaron Sibarium • Free Beacon  December 16, 2021:

The Biden administration will offer bonuses to doctors who “create and implement an anti-racism plan” under new rules from the Department of Health and Human Services, a move meant to update Medicare payments to “reflect changes in medical practice.”

Effective Jan. 1, Medicare doctors can boost their reimbursement rates by conducting “a clinic-wide review” of their practice’s “commitment to anti-racism.” The plan should cover “value statements” and “clinical practice guidelines,” according to HHS, and define race as “a political and social construct, not a physiological one”—a dichotomy many doctors say will discourage genetic testing and worsen racial health disparities.

The “rationale” for the bonus, the new rules read, is that “it is important to acknowledge systemic racism as a root cause for differences in health outcomes between socially-defined racial groups.”

Such premises have found a receptive ear in the Oval Office, which has taken steps to institutionalize them throughout the federal bureaucracy. Hours after his inauguration, President Joe Biden signed an executive order launching a “whole-of-government equity agenda,” one plank of which was the “equitable delivery of government benefits.”

The new bonus scheme, HHS stresses, is “consistent with” this order. It follows a series of steps by the Biden administration to integrate “anti-racism” into government policy: in November, for example, the Department of Homeland Security listed “diversity, equity, and inclusion” as one of its top two priorities, ahead of “cybersecurity.”

HHS did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The new rules update Medicare’s Merit-Based Incentive Payment System, a scoring rubric that determines eligible doctors’ reimbursement rates. Congress set up that system in 2015 to reward clinicians for high-quality, cost-effective medical care—and to penalize them for providing unnecessary, costly services.

Doctors had been billing Medicare for services “regardless of how necessary they were,” said Chris Pope, a scholar at the Manhattan Institute who worked on the legislation as a Hill fellow. Sold as a way of controlling costs, the payment reform passed with broad bipartisan support.

“Republicans who voted for [the scoring system] weren’t voting for this,” Pope explained. “The idea that this would be used as a tool of racial policy never came up.”

But the scoring system did reward “improvement activities” that advance “health equity,” creating a mechanism for HHS to inject ideology into medical compensation. The new rules add “anti-racism” plans to the list of such activities, which are broken up into “medium” and “high-weighted” categories. “Anti-racism” plans will fall into the second weighting, giving doctors extra incentive to implement them. Under the complicated scoring system, the highest possible bonus is 1.79 percent of a doctor’s Medicare reimbursements.

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Powerful Backlash Building Against Woke Anti-Americanism as World Marks 30th Anniversary of Disintegration of USSR

But can the global left be stopped?

Powerful Backlash Building Against Woke Anti-Americanism as World Marks 30th Anniversary of Disintegration of USSR

By Conrad Black, Special to the Sun | December 19, 2021

December 26 will mark the 30th anniversary of the disintegration of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and with it, the collapse of international communism. Political scientist Francis Fukuyama spoke for many when he said that we were “at the end of history” and that there would be no political evolution beyond what appeared to be the total triumph of liberal democracy.

This can clearly be seen now as a hopeful view inflated by triumphalism. China has risen to take the place of the Soviet Union, which itself replaced the Nazi German Third Reich as the principal rival to western democracy. One could easily imagine, looking at the feeble and inadequate regime now in office in Washington and imagine that the West, haltingly led by the United States and infested by appeasers and defeatists, was once again under severe challenge by a transoceanic, totalitarian power.

Showing unsuspected powers of improvisation, the international left that was completely defeated in the Cold War vanished into the undergrowth, but almost spontaneously returned as champions of environmentalism. If capitalism could not be defeated by a competitive economic system, Marxism, it shortly found itself in mortal combat with the old left now in alliance with the authentic, if often tedious, conservationists in a holy assault on capitalism as an environmental threat to the future of the planet itself.

We appear to be in a more dangerous confrontation with China and other countries conniving with it — especially Russia, Iran and North Korea — than we really are. China is aggressively posturing and claiming international waters as its own and threatening to accelerate reunification with Taiwan. Russia, having lost nearly half its population in the fall of the Soviet Union, is openly threatening to annex at least the predominantly Russian parts of Ukraine.

The enfeeblement of the American administration invites the inference that America is in irreversible decline. In fact, while China has enjoyed astonishing success as a development story, bootstrapping itself up from the socioeconomic depths, its institutions are untrustworthy, its government still maintains a high degree of control over the economy and the country’s largest businesses, and it is run by an odious and corrupt dictatorship. It is a country with few natural resources and an aging population due to its long-standing previous one-child policy.

All this obscures the fact that the Cold War and the dissolution of the U.S.S.R. were the greatest and most bloodless strategic victories in the history of the world. The greatest consequence of them is the triumph of capitalism in the world, in particular in China and Russia. It is the best system because it is the only one that is aligned with the almost universal human ambition to have more.

Because it incentivizes competition, it inevitably leads to an overheated and potentially self-destructive economic frenzy, but since the Second World War, capitalism has demonstrated its ability to lift countries out of poverty and make advanced economies more prosperous, including formerly communist China, formerly fascist Spain, almost all of central and western Europe, South Korea, Israel, Chile, Singapore and much of Latin America. India is making unprecedented progress.

This is the triumph of capitalism: the peace dividend at the end of the Cold War and the demonstration of the absolute superiority of the American over the Soviet system as the Americans outdistanced the Soviet Union militarily while spending far less on military matters. The triumph of capitalism was earned, even if pure capitalism is not for everybody.

The waffling generated by a sharp change in prevailing currents of public policy in the United States should not be mistaken for a reversal in the fortunes of capitalism, whose benefits are sweeping over almost all the world.

The United States is in the midst of a complicated process of renovation. Six years ago, Donald Trump was practically the only prominent American who saw how disillusioned people were over being mired in fruitless Middle Eastern wars, seeing the steady exportation of American jobs to cheap labour markets and the importation of the resulting unemployment, and the fact that those in the middle class had seen virtually no increase in the purchasing power of their incomes for decades.

Mr. Trump led an assault on the complacent bipartisan governing political class. Despite being harassed by false allegations of colluding with Russia to rig the 2016 election and a spurious impeachment trial over an unexceptionable conversation with the president of Ukraine, he effectively eliminated unemployment, increased domestic oil production while reducing foreign imports and cracked down on illegal immigration.

Only the coronavirus gave the Democrats the opportunity they needed to terrorize the population and deprive Trump of what appeared to be his probable re-election.

The Biden administration has made an almost complete shambles of every policy area: immigration, inflation, Covid, crime, and the unprecedented and shameful debacle in Afghanistan. It is increasingly obvious that either Mr. Trump or a candidate supported by him and endorsing most of his policies will be elected in 2024, and the renovation of America will resume.

There will be a new and more purposeful political elite and a powerful backlash against woke anti-Americanism in the schools and universities, the self-serving hypocrisy of limousine liberals on Wall Street and in Silicon Valley, and the narcissistic hypocrisy of Hollywood and Big Sport. In these circumstances, the status of the United States as the world’s most important and influential country will be re-established.

China is fundamentally not remotely as strong a country as the United States. Its institutions are not credible and are universally mistrusted; it has the political instability of dictatorships where succession is always uncertain. Russia has a smaller GDP than Canada and is desperately trying to regain shards of its former empire after the sudden secession of nearly half the Soviet population.

The West can accommodate Russian ambitions up to a point. The key is to avoid driving a truncated and demoralized Russia into the arms of China and effectively giving the Chinese the right to develop the vast territory of Russian Siberia. As long as this can be avoided, the resumption of American national renovation will re-establish the unambiguous superiority of American influence in the world, and particularly its economic model. Capitalism is imperfect, but it is invincible, as was demonstrated 30 years ago.

RELATED ARTICLE: Retired Generals plotting to use the military against US citizens

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

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PODCAST: 2021 Year-end Wrap-up

This is my last column for the year as I prepare to enjoy the holidays and rest up for 2022. As has become customary, I’m using this opportunity to review my top essays from the past year.

As you know, I write on a variety of subjects, such as management, systems, technology, social issues, politics, and observations of our changing world. Sometimes my work is instructional and informative, other times it is controversial or humorous. I certainly hope it isn’t boring. By the number of subscribers I have, their comments, and the hits I have on my web sites, I do not believe this is the case.

This has been another fiery political year and, as such, my political columns did very well. Nonetheless, what follows is based on my “hits” on my web pages.

Interestingly, my readership has expanded beyond Florida. Currently, the following countries follow my work: USA, Ireland, Ecuador, Germany, France, Italy, Nigeria, Philippines, Thailand, Norway, United Kingdom. This is based on circulation.

This was a difficult year for me personally. I lost my mother in the Spring, and I discovered I had liver cancer in Autumn, something which I have written about recently. On the plus side, I am now the proud Papa of my first grandchild, who has become the apple of my eye. I have also met a wonderful woman who has been very supportive during these troubling times. As such, I count my blessings as opposed to problems. I must remember to write about romance in our senior years. It’s rather enchanting.

Writing has always been an important outlet for me. It helps me maintain my sanity. As my illustrator buddy said, “If they were to make you stop writing, and have me stop drawing, they might as well give us a Viking funeral here and now and put us out of our misery. It’s what we do and who we are.”

MY TOP COLUMNS FOR THE YEAR INCLUDE:

1. THE CATCH-22 IN NONPROFITS – Jan 05, 2021 – This really didn’t surprise me as it was published at the beginning of the new year as nonprofit organizations are just beginning a new fiscal year. It questions the competency of the leaders of such groups. This is why I wrote the book, “How to Run a Nonprofit: It doesn’t Require Rocket Science.”

2. TRYING TO KICK TRUMP UNDER THE BUS – Jan 19, 2021 – Number 2 and Number 3 discussed the “Stop the Steal” Protest in Washington, DC on January 6th. So their rankings didn’t surprise me. People want to know the truth about what happened that day, and so far they haven’t received it. It disturbs me greatly that protestors are still locked up without a speedy trial twelve months later. This is simply outrageous.

3. WHAT REALLY HAPPENED AT THE “STOP THE STEAL PROTEST” – Jan 9, 2021

4. TIM’S FIGHT WITH CANCER, PART I – Nov 16, 2021 – Number 4 and Number 5 are also closely related as I described my approach to conquering my liver cancer problem. It is my hope these writings can start a dialog among cancer patients and give the general public a glimpse into our thinking process.

5. TIM’S FIGHT WITH CANCER, PART II – Dec 07, 2021

6. REPUBLICAN CLUBS FALTER – May 27, 2021 – This grabbed the attention of Republicans where I essentially made the observation, “The emperor has no clothes.” Something that didn’t sit well with the GOP hierarchy. However, the grass roots people loved it as I spoke on their behalf.

7. FLORIDA PARENTS’ BILL OF RIGHTS – Aug 24, 2021 – this was a new bill within the State of Florida. Other states have also tried this. It ultimately is a reminder that parents should have more control over their children’s educational rights, as opposed to local government. This has spurred attendance at local School Board meetings.

8. “INHERITANCE AFTERMATH” – May 6, 2021 – Following the loss of my Mother, I prepared a punch list of items to consider when shutting down an estate. I hope a lot of people will heed my advice.

9. REPUBLICAN VALUES – June 15, 2021 – I discussed the core values of Republicans, something the general public simply doesn’t understand.

10. FOR THE LOVE OF WHITE CASTLES – May 4, 2021 – In early May, White Castle Restaurants finally opened a store in the Orlando area. This was enthusiastically greeted by displaced Yankees now living in Florida. Here I discussed what it means to them.

I also provide an audio version of most of my columns for those people on the go, courtesy of YouTube. I would like to believe people listen to me at the gym or beach, but more realistically, people tend to tune in while they are traveling or at work. Interestingly, the popularity of my audio segments is not the same as my written columns.

AUDIO SEGMENTS ON YOUTUBE:

1. REMOVING PALMETTO PALMS – Thu, June 10, 2021 – This was far and away my post popular audio segment, which surprised me as I was describing only the removal of Palmetto Palms on my property. I guess a lot of people hate them as much as I do.

2. WHY IS EVERYONE HIRING? – Tue, June 8, 2021 – During the summer, I spotted several “Hiring!” signs. People would rather take government stimulus money as opposed to working. How can they look at themselves in the mirror?

3. “HOW TO BECOME A TYRANT” – MUST SEE TV – Tue, July 20, 2021 – This was based on a mini-series on Netflix which described the characteristics of Dictators over the years. A lot of what was described can be seen today in the political world.

4. BIDEN’S FIRST 100 DAYS – Thu, Jan 21, 2021 – my predictions of what Joe Biden would implement in the first 100 days of his administration.

5. WHO ARE THE DOMESTIC TERRORISTS? – Tue, Feb 9, 2021 – Well, according to Congress, it’s not Antifa of BLM, but parents voicing their displeasure at school board meetings.

6. FACE-MASKS ARE HERE TO STAY – Tue, Mar 2, 2021 – Regretfully so.

7. THE JIM CROW SHTICK – Tue, Apr 20, 2021 – I produced this as a means to educate people about Jim Crow laws. I’m amazed how many people do not understand their origin.

8. WHY TRUMP IS STILL A FORCE TO BE RECKONED WITH – Thu, Mar 4, 2021 – It is now rather obvious that our 45th President is still the figure-head of the Republican Party.

9. THEY ARE KILLING THE GAME – Tue, Apr 27, 2021 – This was an unusual piece where I discussed how MLB is changing the game of baseball through rule changes.

10. IS JOE GOING TO MAKE IT? – Thu, July 29, 2021 – I discussed the president’s mental acuity, something people are finally questioning.

I will be on sabbatical for awhile until I am ready to get back in the saddle for the new year. Until then, Merry Christmas to all, and to all, Good Night!

Keep the Faith!

P.S. – For a listing of my books, click HERE.

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.

Hey, UPenn “Trans” Swimmer “Lia” Thomas, I’m on YOUR Side!

“Lia” Thomas, the “transgender” University of Pennsylvania swimmer who has become famous, and infamous, for making women in the pool seem like manatees racing a barracuda, recently said that he just tries to tune out the negativity directed his way. After all, not only do many people say it’s unfair he’s competing with females, but his recent boast that winning was “so easy, I was cruising” truly raised hackles. But even though he’s not really a damsel in distress, I’m here to help as his knight in shining armor.

No, as my above paragraph indicates, Mr. Thomas, I won’t play the pronoun game. I won’t stop mentioning that your birth name is “Will.” I also can’t in good conscience call you “transgender” as opposed to the more accurate acronym I originated, MUSS (Made-up Sexual Status). No, those things I can’t, or won’t, do. But there’s something I will, Will.

I understand how, contrary to your bad press, you weren’t being braggadocious and rubbing salt in the wound when boasting of beating the girls; rather, you were rightfully proud. But you do need to learn how to articulate why. So I’m here to help put what must be your feelings into words.

When, Mr. Thomas, you’re asked about your celebratory remarks, simply say (I realize you may alter my terminology a tad):

I always knew I’d have my work cut out for me if I were going to compete with the gals. When I was little, I learned from the feminists, those sage purveyors of bubble-bursting reality, that as ex-vice president Joe Biden put it a while back, “There’s not a single thing a man can do that a woman can’t do as well or better — not a single thing.” I watched movie after movie and show after show in which, art imitating life, 125-pound ladies would toss around 250-pound men like rag dolls. These facts of life in question were, of course, reinforced in school with various “girl power” messages, though for the life of me I could never figure out why they had to rub in females’ superiority. Wasn’t it enough just being better?

So I didn’t know if I could ever compete as a “woman” given my inherent male disadvantages. I realized that, if I could even qualify for a women’s swim team, I risked complete and utter humiliation. That’s why I’m so proud that — through hard work, determination and blood, sweat and tears — I’ve overcome those disadvantages to triumph over my more naturally gifted competitors. I mean, it’s just like David slaying Goliath.

Of course, I understand the girls’ feelings, the bruised egos resulting from losing, consistently and publicly, to the weaker sex. But with all due respect, I think they just need to suck it up and work harder. If I can climb my mountain, they can, with their inherent advantages, leapfrog the speed bump that is an innately inferior male in the pool.

And, Mr. Thomas, when it’s pointed out that your swimming times in years past on UPenn’s men’s team were “women’s records,” set ‘em straight. To wit:

I hear irrelevant points like that repeatedly. We all know that time is relative and that it is, as Albert Einstein put it even with his inferior male brain, “a handy illusion.” So I don’t think it’s right to apply our white-supremacist and white-male-linear-logic fancies here. I prefer feminist thinking: Just because the guys’ times are lower doesn’t mean they’re better.

Anyway, that’s my “truth.” Don’t impose your values on me.

Remember, Mr. Thomas, you proved that where there’s a Will there’s a way — and you shouldn’t be denied your voice just because you’re a man in a woman’s world. You go, boy!

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

©Selwyn Duke. All rights reserved.

Don’t Blame Biden ‘The Prince of Fools’ — Do Blame The Fools Who Elected Him President

“You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.” – Abraham Lincoln

“It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.” – Mark Twain


Americans are coming to realize that the real danger to America is not merely Joseph Biden, but it’s the citizenry capable of entrusting a man like him with the presidency of these United States of America.

As American activist Randall Terry wrote,

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

During the 2020 presidential election enough Americans were fooled into thinking that Biden would actually Build America Back Better to get his into the White House. However, today this same electorate understands that what Biden, and the fools who elected him, are bent on doing is tearing down America bit by bit. Biden and his minions have made nothing better for American families, workers or the nation.

On December 20th, 2021 after the results of a NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll were released and Mychael Schnell from The Hill reported:

President Biden’s approval rating is at a historic low in a new poll, which coincides with a national surge in COVID-19 cases, rising consumer prices and struggles to advance his legislative agenda on Capitol Hill.

The new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll found that Biden’s approval rating has sunk to 41 percent, a historic low for the president in polls conducted by the groups. Fifty-five percent of adults in the U.S. disapprove of the job Biden is doing as president.

When broken down by party, 29 percent of independents polled said they strongly approve or approve of the job Biden is doing, while 66 percent said they strong[ly] disapprove or disapprove.

What Biden, and his administration, want is to Make America Worse than on the day he took office, nothing has gotten better since Biden’s inauguration (e.g. border security, the economy, inflation, consumer confidence). We have gone from Make America Great Again (MAGA) to Making America Worse Again (MAWA) in under one year and he and his administration have not even gotten started to pushing his agenda and mandates upon we the people.

Question: Who’s to blame for MAWA?

Answer: The Depraved Electorate!

How do we know this? Because in the NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll tells us that,

“Eighty-seven percent of Democrats gave the president positive marks for the job he is doing.”

America’s Depraved Electorate

The depraved are the 87% of Democrats who give Biden and his administration, “positive marks for the job he is doing.” We call this group the “depraved electorate” who are willfully ignorant of what is really happening around them.

It will be far easier to limit and undo the follies of a Biden presidency that to restore the necessary common sense and good judgement of this depraved electorate willing to have such a man for their leader.

The problem is much deeper and far more serious than Mr. Biden, who is a mere symptom of what ails America. Blaming the prince of fools should not blind anyone to the vast confederacy of fools that made him their prince.

The republic can survive a Biden, who is after all, merely a fool.

It is less likely to survive a multitude of fools, such as those who made and now defend him as their president!

Let’s look at some of the depraved electorate who defend, encourage and support Biden, the prince of fools.

Building Back Worse

It seems that not a moment goes by before either Biden, one of his handlers, the White House, Democrats, liberals and the media, both legacy and social, come up with an idea that is patently absurd. Then they, using doublethink, twist it until it becomes a critically needed public policy.

It is now clear that Biden, his administration and Democrats, with the support of RINO Republicans, are doublethinkers par excellence.

The Biden administration has a malignant case of doublethink. For example, Biden says his Build Back Better agenda will cost $0 but in fact it has already cost $ trillions, e.g. Democrats infrastructure Bill. Watch as Joe Biden stands firm over debunked zero-cost, 3.5T BBB spending plan. Of course it takes a reporter from Communist Vietnam to explain it to us.

This is doublethink, coupled with circular reasoning, at its best. Biden begins with a fallacy that his agenda costs nothing, when logic says it must cost something. Biden’s Orwellian pragmatic defect.

Build Back Better is actually Build Back Worse!

What we are witnessing daily is Democrat doublethink. Doublethink is a process of indoctrination whereby the subject is expected to simultaneously accept two mutually contradictory beliefs as correct, often in contravention to one’s own memories or sense of reality.

The Bottom Line – Biden is Hitler?

President John F. Kennedy said,

“The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic.”

An Office of Strategic Studies (now the CIA) report titled “A Psychological Analysis of Adolf Hitler: His Life and Legend” Walter C. Langer stated:

His [Hitler’s] primary rules were: never allow the public to cool off; never admit a fault or wrong; never concede that there may be some good in your enemy; never leave room for alternatives; never accept blame; concentrate on one enemy at a time and blame him for everything that goes wrong; people will believe a big lie sooner than a little one; and if you repeat it frequently enough people will sooner or later believe it.

Nikki Haley said at the Margaret Thatcher Freedom Lecture, “Last year, I said 2020 was the year socialism went mainstream. 2021 is the year socialism took control.”

Watch:

Does this sound familiar? Are these rules used by Biden, the Democrat Party, politicians and the legacy and social media in America today? Is truth being replaced by both big lies and also by big myths?

The depraved electorate believe in myths, e.g. government can control the climate (weather) by simply legislating, taxing and spending more and more and more.

The mid-term elections will be a battle between the depraved electorate (embodied by the Democrat Party and RINO republicans) versus supporters of our Constitutional Republican form of government.

The Democrat Party believes that it is the role of government to protect their health. While it is the Constitutionalists who believe it is the role of government to protect we the peoples’ unalienable rights under the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

Who will win will determine the future of our nation. Let there be no doubt.

Will we continue to be lead by fools or  be patriots? That is the question.

©Dr. Rich Swier. All rights reserved.

A brilliant philosopher explains why the world is going absolutely bonkers

The transgender revolution is just one facet of the larger revolution of the self in the Western world.


The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self: Cultural Amnesia, Expressive Individualism, and the Road to Sexual Revolution
By Carl R. Trueman. Crossway Books, 2020. 432 pages

Carl R. Trueman is a church historian, professor of biblical and religious studies at a conservative Christian College in Pennsylvania and an established writer. Trueman presents the genesis of this book very simply in the book’s opening line: “The origins of this book lie in my curiosity about how and why a particular statement has come to be regarded as coherent and meaningful: ‘I am a woman trapped in a man’s body.’”

Only a short time ago very few people would have been greatly perplexed by such a statement, and yet it has become normalised. Trueman seeks to show how it is that society has arrived at a point where such a statement can be taken seriously. It is common knowledge that the proximate origins of transgenderism lie in the sexual revolution of the 1960s, but Trueman is of the conviction that the sexual revolution of the 1960s alone is insufficient to explain our cultural malaise. Rather, “the sexual revolution is simply one manifestation of the larger revolution of the self that has taken place in the West.”

And it is only by understanding the causes of the “revolution of the self” that we will “understand the dynamics of the sexual politics that now dominate our culture”. This leads him to trace its genesis much further back, to our culture’s pathological turn towards “inwardness” beginning in the Enlightenment with Rousseau, and from there through the Romantics, Freud and the New Left.

Architecture of the Revolution

The work is divided into four sections. In the first section of the book, “Architecture of the Revolution”, Trueman presents key concepts from the work of three recent or contemporary philosophers who shape a great deal of his own thought. These core concepts are tools which allow Trueman to analyse and understand the “architecture” of the sexual revolution.

In the first place there is the Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor, author of Sources of the Self (1989) and A Secular Age (2007). He has worked on the concept of “the social imaginary”: the largely unconscious set of intuitions and practices which shape a society’s understanding of the world, and so of what a society imagines the world to be. Trueman wishes to explore how the social imaginary of contemporary society has been shaped by the philosophers and the overall culture since the Enlightenment. He also uses Taylor’s distinction between a mimetic culture (one which broadly speaking sees creatures, and in particular man, as having a defined and objective nature), and a poietic culture (in which man’s creativity is taken to trump any intrinsic nature).

Another key idea which he takes from Taylor’s work, is that of “expressive individualism”. This is the view that the Enlightenment and its successor movement Romanticism have bequeathed us the linked aspirations to radical autonomy on the one hand and (perhaps paradoxically) an expressive unity with nature and society on the other. In the LGBTQ+ movement this “expressive individualism” translates into the premium placed on one’s right on the one hand, to define one’s own identity and on the other hand to embrace a wider moral structure which extols victimhood. For Trueman, Taylor’s contributions on the nature of self and the “the social imaginary,” “allow for answers to the question of why certain identities (e.g., LGBTQ+) enjoy great cachet today while others (e.g. religious conservatives) are increasingly marginalized”.

The second philosopher he draws from is Philip Rieff, who I have to admit I’d never heard of before, much less read. Rieff (1922-2006) was an American sociologist and cultural critic, whose concepts such as the triumph of the therapeutic, psychological man, the anti-culture, and deathworks are used extensively by Trueman. For Rieff we are living in a “Third World” by which he means a culture which rejects the traditional sacred foundations of social order and moral imperatives and adopts instead only self-referential foundations. (Sacred foundations are found in the “First World” of antiquity, and in the “Second World” – primarily the Christian West).

In this Third World the only criterion for ethical action is whether an act conduces to the feeling of well-being. This over-riding need for well-being of necessity produces a therapeutic culture.

For Trueman, “The triumph of the therapeutic represents the advent of the expressive individual as the normative type of human being and of the relativizing of all meaning and truth to personal taste.”

The third philosopher he uses is the Scot Alasdair MacIntyre, whose critique of emotivist ethics contained in his influential 1981 work After Virtue ties in very well with the findings of Taylor and Rieff.

MacIntyre convincingly shows that modern ethical discourse is in relativist chaos because it has rejected the two concepts without which there can be no ethics: virtue and tradition. As a consequence, “the language of morality as now used is really nothing more than the language of personal preference based on nothing more rational or objective than sentiments and feelings.”

And so, when push comes to shove, something is wrong because that’s the way I feel about it. For Trueman, “These insights are extremely helpful in understanding both the fruitless nature and the extreme polarizing rhetoric of many of the great moral debates of our time, not least those surrounding matters of sex and identity.”

Foundations of the Revolution

The second section of the book –“Foundations of the Revolution” – takes the reader through the thought of influential theorists and writers of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, beginning with the strange radical Enlightenment figure Jean-Jacques Rousseau. His focus on the inward psychological life and the baneful influence of society and culture on the self has become a commonplace today. “It should … be clear that some such construction of freedom and selfhood as that offered by Rousseau is at work in the modern transgender movement.”

Unexpectedly – for me at least – the Romantics Wordsworth, Shelley and Blake turn out also to be highly influential in the fashioning of the Western notion of the self. Where they fit in is through their expressivism and in this they are faithful followers of Rousseau: the problem is civilisation and the solution is nature. It is the job of the artist to transform society, releasing it from the shackles of social conventions in general and sexual social conventions in particular.

Top of the target list is the normative status of lifelong, monogamous marriage. “While he would no doubt have retched at the thought, William Wordsworth stands near the head of a path that leads to Hugh Hefner and Kim Kardashian.”

Finally we come to the “emergence of plastic people” – the idea that “man can make and remake personal identity at will”, eliminating the traditional conception of a human nature which authoritatively defines what we are. This of course is something we have become all too familiar with in the 21st Century, but are we aware of the origins of this Promethean view in Nietzsche, Marx, Freud and Darwin?

Nietzsche was the one who ingeniously exposed polite bourgeois Enlightenment morality for a murder of God. He always took this murder to the logical conclusion that man’s task is self-creation. Similarly for Marx, human nature is a plastic thing, moulded in his view by the economic structure of society.

Finally, Darwin’s contribution to the 19th Century’s destruction of the idea of human nature was to remove the concept of teleology from nature and replace it with a process of blind and accidental adaptations over vast periods of time. The upshot of these theories is that: “the world in itself has no meaning; meaning and significance can thus be given to it only by the actions of human beings…”.

This is Taylor’s movement from mimesis to poiesis: “If society/culture is merely a construct, and if nature possesses no intrinsic meaning or purpose, then what meaning there is must be created by human beings themselves.”

Sexualization of the Revolution

Part 3, “Sexualization of the Revolution” explores Sigmund Freud’s pivotal role in sexualising psychology and how this sexualised psychology was in turn politicised in a Marxist direction by Wilhelm Reich and Herbert Marcuse. Freud, says Trueman, is “arguably the key figure in the narrative of this book”. His influence went way beyond the realm of psychoanalysis, and into other areas such as art, literature and advertising.

Freud’s great myth is that man’s quest for happiness is of necessity a quest for sexual satisfaction: “The purpose of life, and the content of the good life, is personal sexual fulfilment.” Civilisation with its restrictive moral codes – in a Rousseauian fashion – stands in the way of his fulfilled sexual desires, and so the individual must make a trade off: allowing some of their individual desires to go unfulfilled in exchange for socially organised security.

The curbing of sexual desire is what makes society possible, though at the expense of a certain degree of individual discontentment; other non-sexual avenues such as religion or art are pursued to redress the non-fulfilment of sexual desires. For Freud the two great problems in education were the “retardation of sexual development and premature religious experience” reflecting not only his sexualised concept of the person but also his deep animus towards religion.

Trueman follows this with a discussion of “the shotgun wedding of Marx and Freud”: that is the Marxist spin put on Freud’s sexualising of psychology. The two most important thinkers in this regard are the eccentric Wilhelm Reich and Herbert Marcuse.

For Reich, writing in the 1930s and 1940s, “sexual codes are part of the ideology of the governing class, designed to maintain the status quo so as to benefit those in power”, namely the authoritarian patriarchy and the sex-negating church. The primary political enemy is the patriarchal family, and the sexuality of children is the means to undermine the family.

Marcuse was a product of the Frankfurt School and his writings in the 1950s and 1960s were standard fare for the student revolutionaries of 1968. For Marcuse sexual codes are foundational to the structure of society, and so “Sex focused on procreation and family is the repressive weapon of bourgeois capitalist society. And free love and untrammeled sexual experimentation are a central part of the revolutionary liberation of society.” Incidentally in Marcuse we find a remarkable justification for the imposition of “rigid restrictions” on free speech, and in this he is certainly a precursor of the contemporary cancel culture.

Trueman also considers the role played by Simone de Beauvoir’s radical feminism in reducing sex to a social construct, and biology to a tyranny.

Triumphs of the Revolution

In the fourth and final part of the book, “Triumphs of the Revolution”, Trueman now goes on to show how our modern Western culture is to a large degree the child of the of the philosophical currents outlined in the previous two parts of the book. He looks at how these currents of thought have triumphed in three areas: the erotic, the therapeutic and transgender.

Firstly, he shows how art – especially (following the thought of philosopher Augusto Del Noce) the surrealist movement – became eroticised; and how mainstream culture has been gradually pornified since the early 1970s. The consequences of pornography have been profound: “Pornography and the pornification of pop culture has been critical to the destruction of sexual norms, to the reinforcement of an expressive individualist view of selfhood, and to the transformation of the West.”

Secondly the therapeutic view of man is reflected in the legal changes (in the US) regarding the definition of marriage, and abortion rights – both of which are articulations of expressive individualism where it is the right of persons “to define their own concept of existence” (in the infamous words of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy).

Its clearest exponent today is perhaps the Princeton philosopher Peter Singer. He rejects traditional liberal arguments for abortion as unsound. He refuses to use notions based on human essence or human exceptionalism. Instead, he grounds all moral debate entirely on psychological well-being, and in this he is emblematic of the triumph of the therapeutic.

This same therapeutic mentality is to be found also on the university campus in its greatly altered evaluation of the past: where once academia viewed the past as a source of wisdom now it is a tale of oppression: “Denying free speech on campus is simply an extension of seeing all history as a hegemonic discourse designed to keep the powerful in power and to marginalize and silence the weak.”

Thirdly there is the triumph of transgenderism. Trueman first of all discusses the forced nature of the LGBTQ+ alliance, showing how great social, economic, biological and philosophical differences separate lesbians and gays in particular. Despite this, it was a shared sense of victimhood – a key Marxist category – which finally united these disparate groups.

The transgender dimension fits here as another victim of the socially and politically enforced heterosexual normativity so inimical to a sense of psychological well-being. At the same time the LGBTQ+ movement is built on a fundamental incoherence, for “If gender is a construct, then so are all those categories based on it – heterosexuality, homosexuality, and bisexuality.” Nevertheless, what we see in this movement is the most extreme form to date of the triumph of poiesis over mimesis – the triumph of the will over reality.

In conclusion, Trueman sums up by saying that the anti-culture which has been created is “the result of a world that has accepted the challenge of Nietzsche’s madman, to remake value and meaning in the wake of the death – indeed, the killing – of the Christian God, or, indeed, of any god.”

Though the LGBTQ+ movement does seek to emphasize the dignity of the individual, it does so on the basis of expressive individualism rather than on any divine or sacred foundation. Furthermore, Trueman warns against defending traditional sexual mores without regard to the overall cultural question. Abortion, divorce, sexual licence, pornography etc are all manifestations of the pathological expressive individualism at the core of the anti-culture.

Trueman suggests that “the church” (by which he means Christians in general) will manage to resist and overcome the anti-culture if it is attentive to three things. Firstly it must be aware that this anti-culture has made huge strides because increasingly people are swung by images, emotions, sympathy and empathy rather than ideas and doctrine. Christians must assert her doctrine but they must do so attractively.

Secondly the church must give witness to genuine community in the face of so many ersatz communities. And thirdly, as Trueman says, “Protestants need to recover both natural law and a high view of the physical body.” We have, he says, a precedent for our current malaise in the plight of persecuted Christians of the 2nd Century. How did they do it? “By existing as a close-knit, doctrinally bounded community that required her members to act consistently with their faith and to be good citizens of the earthly city…”


My only quibble with the book is that Trueman explicitly directs it at Christians. I wonder was this necessary given that perhaps he is inadvertently and unnecessarily shrinking his readership. The arguments in the book are always philosophical, sociological and historical. Faith is not a prerequisite to accepting his arguments. Perhaps the author simply feels (perhaps correctly) that outside of the Christian community he will simply not receive a hearing for arguments which run so counter to current sexual mores.

However, the book scores very highly under number of headings. In the first place the question the book sets out to answer is a question any thinking person must be asking themselves in the face of the worldwide triumph of the LGBTQ+ movement: How did we get here, and so quickly?

Secondly, Trueman’s conviction that the “acceptance of gay marriage and transgenderism are simply the latest outworking, the most recent symptoms, of deep and long-established cultural pathologies” is a very wise. It strikes me that many of those involved in the so-called “culture wars” do so with at best a very superficial knowledge of the cultural roots of woke ideology, and as a result they take on the appearance of reactionaries. Trueman considers “that giving an accurate account of one’s opponents’ views, however obnoxious one may consider them to be, is vital, and never more so than in our age of cheap Twitter insults and casual slanders.…There is nothing to be gained from refuting a straw man.”

Thirdly, Trueman’s choice of intellectual tools in the insights of Rieff, Taylor and MacIntyre is well made. He adeptly uses the complex intellectual keys they have fashioned in order to understand the intellectual forces which have created the modern notion of the self.

Fourthly, the book completely avoids falling into the kind of lamentation which dominates much conservative and Christian polemic against modernity. This book is, in the words of Rod Dreher, “a sophisticated survey and analysis of cultural history by a sophisticated teacher”.

Fifthly, his prose style is completely lucid throughout, and he very ably synthesises and explains complex philosophical arguments, especially those of Philip Rieff, Charles Taylor, and Alasdair MacIntyre. Trueman does the reader a great service in distilling their insights into comprehensible prose and so making their invaluable insights quite accessible.

Finally, though Trueman is a member of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church he is in no way sectarian and is quite happy to make substantial use of very Catholic thinkers such as Thomas Aquinas and even John Paul II. (He calls John Paul II’s Man and Woman He Created Them: A Theology of the Body the best work on the body from a Christian perspective.)

So if, like Trueman, you find yourself asking how is it that our culture accepts as credible that a person can be trapped in the body of the opposite sex, then this book is for you. Incidentally in February 2022, Crossway will publish a shorter, and more accessible work by Trueman on the same topic: Strange New World: How Thinkers and Activists Redefined Identity and Sparked the Sexual Revolution.

COLUMN BY

Fr Gavan Jennings

Rev. Gavan Jennings studied philosophy at University College Dublin, Ireland and the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Rome. He is co-editor of the monthly journal Position Papers. He teaches occasional… More by Fr Gavan Jennings

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

The turning tide of intellectual atheism

A growing number of leading serious intellectuals are recognising the need for Christianity’s resurrection but can’t quite bring the faith to life in themselves.


Recently, I spent some time on the phone with Niall Ferguson, the Scottish historian and Milbank Family Senior Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, for a review I was writing of his latest book, Doom: The Politics of Catastrophe. In the first chapter, Ferguson refers several times to religion as “magical thinking,” and I asked him if he had his own metaphysical framework for understanding events, or, if he did not, which one he preferred people to have. His response was fascinating.

“I was brought up an atheist—I didn’t become one,” he said. “I regard atheism as the religious faith I happened to be brought up in. It is, of course, as much a faith as Christianity or Islam—and I have the Calvinist brand, because my parents left the Church of Scotland. I was brought up, essentially, in a Calvinist ethical framework but with no God. This had its benefits—I was encouraged to think in a very critical way about religion and also about science, but I’ve come to see as a historian that you can’t base a society on that. Indeed, atheism, particularly in its militant forms, is really a very dangerous metaphysical framework for a society.”

“I know I can’t achieve religious faith,” he went on, “but I do think we should go to church. We don’t have, I don’t think, an evolved ethical system. I don’t buy the idea that evolution alone gets us to be moral. It can modify behaviour, but there’s just too much evidence that in the raw, when the constraints of civilisation fall away, we behave in the most savage way to one another. I’m a big believer that with the inherited wisdom of a two-millennia old religion, we’ve got a pretty good framework to work with.”

For one of the most prominent historians in the world—himself an agnostic—to say that we should go to church is rather startling, but Ferguson’s sentiments also appear to be part of a growing trend. The late philosopher Sir Roger Scruton began attending church himself despite struggling with belief, regularly playing the organ at All Saints’ in Garsdon. His secular friends say his faith remained cultural; other friends were not so sure. What we do know is that he thought Christianity was in many ways the soul of Western civilisation, and that the uniquely Christian concept of forgiveness was utterly indispensable to its survival.

Scruton’s friend Douglas Murray, the conservative writer who was raised in the Church before leaving it as an adult, has occasionally referred to himself as a “Christian atheist.” In a recent discussion with theologian N.T. Wright, he described himself as “an uncomfortable agnostic who recognises the virtues and the values the Christian faith has brought,” and noted that he is actually irritated by the way the Church of England is fleeing from its inheritance, “giving up its jewels” such as “the King James Bible and The Book of Common Prayer” in exchange for progressive pieties.

“My fear is that the Church is not doing what so many of us on the outside want it to do, which is preaching its gospel, asserting its truths and its claims,” he said. “When one sees it falling into all the latest tropes one thinks well, that’s another thing gone, just like absolutely everything else in the era. I’m a disappointed non-adherent.”

Murray believes that Christianity is essential because secularists have been thus far totally incapable of creating an ethic of equality that matches the concept that all human beings are created in the image of God. In a column in The Spectator, he noted that post-Christian society has three options. The first is to abandon the idea that all human life is precious. “Another is to work furiously to nail down an atheist version of the sanctity of the individual.” And if that doesn’t work? “Then there is only one other place to go. Which is back to faith, whether we like it or not.”

On a recent podcast, he was more blunt: “The sanctity of human life is a Judeo-Christian notion which might very easily not survive [the disappearance of] Judeo-Christian civilisation.”

The American social scientist and agnostic Charles Murray, too, told me in an interview that he believes the American republic is unlikely to survive without a resurgence of Christianity. Echoing John Adams, he noted that the Constitution of the United States and the liberties it upholds can only govern a religious people.

Historian Tom Holland’s magnificent Dominion: How the Christian Revolution Remade the World, published in 2019, makes a similar case. For years, Holland—an agnostic—wrote compelling histories of the ancient Greeks and Romans, but he observed that their societies were rife with casual, socially-accepted cruelty towards the weak, rape, and sexual abuse towards the massive slave class as an unquestioned way of life, and the mass extermination of enemies as a matter of course. These peoples and their ethics, Hollands writes, seemed utterly foreign to him.

It was Christianity, Holland concluded, that changed all that in a revolution so complete that even critiques of Christianity must borrow precepts from Christianity to do so. (Without Christianity, he writes, “no one would have gotten woke.”) He defended this thesis brilliantly in a debate on the subject “Did Christianity give us our human values?” with atheist philosopher A.C. Grayling, who seemed actively irritated by the idea. Not so long ago, unbelievers like the late Christopher Hitchens claimed that “religion poisons everything”—a sentiment that appears to be retreating as we advance further into the post-Christian era.

Hitchens frequently claimed to be not an atheist, but an “anti-theist”—he didn’t believe in God, and he was glad that he did not. It is fascinating to see intellectuals come forward with precisely the opposite sentiment—they do not believe, but they somehow want to believe. The psychologist Jordan Peterson, who speaks about Christianity often, is a good example of this. Discussing the historicity of the Christian story with Jonathan Pageau, he said, fighting back tears: “I probably believe that, but I’m amazed at my own belief and I don’t understand that.”

He went on:

[I]n some sense, I believe it’s undeniable. You know, we have narrative sense of the world. For me that’s been the world of morality, that’s the world that tells us how to act. It’s real, we treat it like it’s real. It’s not the objective world, but the narrative and the objective world touch. And the ultimate example of that in principle is supposed to be Christ. But I don’t know what to do with that – it seems to me to be oddly plausible. But I still don’t know what to make of it. Partly because it’s too terrifying a reality to fully believe. I don’t even know what would happen to you if you fully believed it.

Not so long ago, the atheists who retreated to their Darwinian towers and bricked themselves up to fire arrows at the faithful wanted to be there. Their intellectual silos were a refuge from faith because they didn’t want Christianity to be true. They hated it and thought we’d be better off without it. Like Hitchens, they were thrilled to find arguments that permitted them to reject it. Increasingly, some intellectuals from across the disciplines—history, literature, psychology, philosophy—are gazing out of what was once a refuge and wishing that, some how, they could believe it. They have understood that Christianity is both indispensable and beautiful, but their intellectual constraints prevent many of them from embracing it as true.

Viewing Western civilisation with its Christian soul cut out, many are now willing to say: “We need Christ.” What they are unable, thus far, to say, is: “I need Christ.” But the political must become personal. Peterson appears to understand that—and is awestruck by the reality of it.

For now, historians like Niall Ferguson recognise that Christianity is a fundamental bulwark of the fragile civilisation we inhabit.

“I think the notion that we can deal with these arrows of outrageous fortune without some kind of established and time-honoured set of consolations is almost certainly wrong,” he told me. “I’m one of these people who didn’t come to atheism by choice, and I’ve almost come out of it on the basis of historical study. The biggest disasters that we likely face are actually related to totalitarianism, because that’s the lesson of the 20th century. Pandemics killed a lot of people in the 20th century, but totalitarianism killed more.”

“It disturbs me that in so many ways, totalitarianism is gaining ground today,” Ferguson said. “Totalitarianism was bad for many reasons, and one of the manifestations of its badness was its attack on religion. When I see totalitarianism gaining ground not only in China but in subtle ways in our own society, that seems to be the disaster we really need to ward off. Why am I a conservative and not just a classical liberal? Because classical liberalism won’t stop wokeism and totalitarianism. It’s not strong enough. Ultimately, we need the inherited ideas of a civilisation and defences against that particular form of disaster.”

The survival of Christianity is essential for the survival of the West. The bad news is that this realisation comes when the day is far spent. The Good News is simpler. “Christendom has had a series of revolutions and in each of them Christianity has died,” G.K. Chesterton wrote in The Everlasting Man. “Christianity has died many times and risen again; for it had a God who knew the way out of the grave.”

Originally published at Convivium. Republished with permission.

COLUMN BY

Jonathon Van Maren

Jonathon Van Maren is a freelance writer and communications director for the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform. His work has appeared in National Review, The Federalist, National Post, and elsewhere…. More by Jonathon Van Maren

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

Who needs the Stasi? We’ve already got Google

The cancelling of Gina Carano foreshadows more sinister developments.


The Force is no longer with Gina Carano, one of the stars of The Mandalorian, the wildly popular spin-off from the Star Wars films. She has been cancelled. Twitter erupted with #FireGinaCarano and Lucasfilm dutifully complied.

Carano, a 38-year-old mixed-martial arts expert who has moved into acting, became so popular after playing Cara Dune, a battle-hardened mercenary and marshal, that at one point she was being considered for her own show. But last year’s election brought about her downfall. She was allegedly transphobic, supported anti-vaxxers, spread “misinformation” about Covid-19 and supported Trump. Lucasfilm was probably hungry for an excuse to erase this scabrous blot of political incorrectness.

Carano obliged. In a recent Instagram post she wrote:

“Jews were beaten in the streets, not by Nazi soldiers but by their neighbours… even by children. Because history is edited, most people today don’t realise that to get to the point where Nazi soldiers could easily round up thousands of Jews, the government first made their own neighbours hate them simply for being Jews. How is that any different from hating someone for their political views.”

There are two ways of interpreting this. Lucasfilm chose the negative one: “her social media posts denigrating people based on their cultural and religious identities are abhorrent and unacceptable.” Apparently Lucasfilm believes that Carano was equating the suffering of Republicans under Biden with the suffering of Jews under Hitler. This is preposterous.

The positive interpretation is that ordinary folks can become haters and bigots if their prejudices are whipped up by government-controlled media.

And that is what happened in the 1930s. In the words of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum: “Individual citizens chose to be involved when, out of a sense of duty, or prejudice, or some opportunity for business or other personal gain, they voluntarily denounced their co-workers and neighbors to the police because of their alleged wrongdoings as Jews, anti-Hitlerites, or gays.”

Isn’t something similar is happening in the United States today? Anonymous accusers are denouncing incorrect attitudes to the “authorities”. Gina Carano is right, although she was dumb to compare the situation with Nazi Germany. More apposite is East Germany under the Communists.

From 1950 to 1990 the Ministry for State Security, better known as the Stasi, enforced political correctness through police spying and a vast network of informers. The Oscar-winning film The Secret Lives of Others portrays the dehumanising world in which East Germans had to live. But it still failed to convey the enormity of the totalitarian surveillance. The Stasi even collected jars of the body odour of people it had under observation.

To deal with trouble-makers the Stasi had a policy called, in German, Zersetzung. It’s a difficult word to translate. Originally it meant “decomposition”. But in the context of the East German police state, it meant destroying dissidents. “The goal,” according to German historian Hubertus Knabe, “was to destroy secretly the self-confidence of people, for example by damaging their reputation, by organizing failures in their work, and by destroying their personal relationships.” Sound familiar?

A striking feature of Stasi control was how cooperative ordinary citizens were. In 1989, in a population of about 16 million, the Stasi employed about 200,000 informers. Between 1950 and 1989, about 620,000 people are believed to have been informers at some stage or other. It appears that young men between 25 and 40 were over-represented. So much for the idealism of youth.

It doesn’t take much imagination to appreciate that in the age of internet shaming, deplatforming, cancelling and Google monitoring we are recapitulating the surveillance state of East Germany.

Consider what happened after the Capitol Hill riot. The videos which have been screened in President Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate are horrifying. The frenzied mob violence was terrifying. There can be no doubt that hundreds of people deserve to face criminal charges.

Everyone wanted to know who these barbarians were.

An army of “online sleuths” went to work to identify and profile the rioters. The FBI appealed for digital information about the day’s tragic events. “This kind of crowdsourcing is not the same thing as a formal investigation. It’s certainly not a replacement for the investigations done by the judicial system,” says John Scott-Railton, from Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto. But “it’s an excellent mechanism for surfacing clues.”

One result of this internet detective work was an impressive feature in the New York Times which aggregated data about 175 rioters who had been charged, along with his or her photo, and a brief profile. It was a jaw-dropping revelation of how easy it is for pyjama-clad detectives to nab criminals. A number of these people were summarily fired by their employers after this information became public.

Spadework done by other organisations shows the power of online sleuthing. Bellingcat, “an independent international collective of researchers, investigators and citizen journalists using open source and social media investigation to probe a variety of subjects” created an impressively researched profile of Ashli Babbitt, the 35-year-old woman who was shot and killed by Capitol Police, based upon her social media posts.

In the age of Google, criminal profiling by ordinary citizens almost seems like a patriotic duty. But actors with fewer scruples can do this as well.

Consider the website of Rose City Antifa, which contributed to the detective work. Its mission is collecting information about “fascists” – pictures, addresses, cars and licence plates, physical features like height, build, hair/eye/skin colour, hair length, tattoos and piercings – so that it can doxx them.

Doxxing is the practice of publishing private information about a person to discredit and shame them. “It’s only when their privately held hate is made public that they face repercussions,” according to the website. “As it turns out, a lot of people don’t want to work with or live near a nazi. Go figure!”

It’s not difficult to imagine how destructive the work of online sleuths can be for people who don’t deserve to be called Nazis.

Which is something that retired Chicago firefighter David Quintavalle discovered after the riots. One of the army of online sleuths matched his face with the face of the suspect who hurled a fire extinguisher at a Capitol policeman who later died. He was bombarded with hundreds of tweets calling him a cop killer and with phone messages like this: “Hey Dave you’re a murderer and a traitor. And I can’t believe you killed a cop and your son is a cop. Wow. Good luck in Prison.” He needed police protection. But Quintavalle had been at home all the time.

But only ignorant scumbags would do stuff like this, right?

Wrong. New York Times reporters are being paid to do something similar, as independent journalist Glenn Greenwald pointed out in a recent column. “The tech reporters of The New York Times (Mike Isaac, Kevin Roose, Sheera Frenkel) — devote the bulk of their ‘journalism’ to searching for online spaces where they believe speech and conduct rules are being violated, flagging them, and then pleading that punitive action be taken (banning, censorship, content regulation, after-school detention),” he wrote.

No doubt these reporters are more scrupulous about checking their sources than those ignorant scumbags. But they’re more devious and dangerous. They search out private communications and betray them to the raving mobs of Twitter. It’s both “infantile and despotic”, says Greenwald.

Greenwald is not a rustbucket MAGA zealot. He worked for The Guardian; he is a free speech advocate, an animal rights supporter, a supporter of Julian Assange, and a human rights activist. He is openly gay and is married to a Brazilian congressman. But he writes in his column:

“The overarching rule of liberal media circles and liberal politics is that you are free to accuse anyone who deviates from liberal orthodoxy of any kind of bigotry that casually crosses your mind — just smear them as a racist, misogynist, homophobe, transphobe, etc. without the slightest need for evidence — and it will be regarded as completely acceptable.”

Which brings us back to the Stasi.

Thanks to the internet, the United States is moving dangerously close to East Germany’s surveillance society. It may be open source, decentralised, and anarchic — but high tech Zersetzung crushes people like Gina Carano just as effectively as the Stasi’s blackmail. Greenwald calls the online sleuths “tattletales”, “voluntary hall monitors” and “speech police”. Or perhaps the truth is even more sinister. In the Newspeak lingo of the Stasi, they are inoffizieller Mitarbeiter, unofficial colleagues, informants.

A true democracy respects privacy, confidentiality and intimacy. But social media are hollowing out those values. Gina Carano’s cancelling should remind us that the tyranny depicted in The Secret Lives of Others took place in the German Democratic Republic.

COLUMN BY

Michael Cook

Michael Cook is the editor of MercatorNet. More by Michael Cook

EDITORS NOTE: This MercatorNet column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved. This content is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International license.

This transgender ‘folly’ is going to collapse, just as Eugenics did

“This very, very complex thing is being over-simplified,” says a world expert on the transgender phenomenon.


Dr. Paul R. McHugh is University Distinguished Service Professor in the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where he served as Director of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Psychiatrist-in-Chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital from 1975 to 2001.

In a distinguished career that began with his training at Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Dr. McHugh has taught at Cornell, the University of Oregon, and since 1975 at Johns Hopkins. He was the co-creator of the Mini Mental States Examination, one of the most widely used tests of cognitive function, and he sponsored the work that resulted in The 36-Hour Day, a bestselling guide for families and caregivers of patients with Alzheimer’s and other dementia conditions.

In the 1980s and 1990s, Dr. McHugh and Dr. Phillip R. Slavney published The Perspectives of Psychiatry and Psychiatric Polarities, which may be said to have embodied the tenets of the influential “Hopkins School” of the discipline. For the wider public, Dr. McHugh has published on psychiatry — both its findings and its failings — in The American Scholar, First Things, Commentary, Public Discourse, the Weekly Standard, and The New Atlantis. His books for general readers are The Mind Has Mountains (2006), a collection of his essays, and Try to Remember (2008), which concerns his role in debunking the “recovered memory” fad in psychotherapy. In 2015, the Paul McHugh Program for Human Flourishing was established in the Johns Hopkins Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.

I note that Dr. McHugh is not Professor Emeritus at Johns Hopkins, which is worth remarking upon because this week he turns ninety years old. He is still a full-time faculty member in the university’s school of medicine — teaching, mentoring psychiatry students, and caring for patients. We spoke on Monday after he had spent the morning in the psychiatry department’s weekly grand rounds.

Matthew Franck: In Psychiatric Polarities, you and Phillip Slavney wrote that “mental life is dependent on the brain. … Yet mind and brain are not identical. Indeed, they are so different that the nature of their relationship is the fundamental mystery in psychiatry and the source of many of its conflicts.” Would it be fair to say that the successes of modern psychiatry stem from work that recognises this mysterious relationship of mind and brain, while its failures stem largely from therapeutic interventions that ignore this mystery or try to explain it away?

Paul McHugh: I think that mystery remains a great mystery, but is perhaps best resolved at the moment by seeing mental life as an emergent property of the brain. It emerges from it, but it doesn’t emerge as smoke; it remains an interactive process.

There are some aspects of human disorders and human mental life that depend upon the brain for their sustaining, but they don’t depend upon the brain for their generation — things like grief, and maybe post-traumatic stress disorder, and things of that sort. They depend upon an appreciation of the person, of what was there and was lost (for grief), or what was there and was frightening (for PTSD). The brain follows the mind in that way.

So the fact is that the narrative capacity of the human mental experience can be the source of various forms of psychiatric distress that psychiatrists try to help the patient both understand and perhaps re-script in a way that makes living with it more easy. And none of that actually depends upon the psychiatrist directly tinkering with the brain’s substance or the material itself.

So when we were, in the Polarities, saying that this is the issue, these two things, we didn’t mean to say that everything that the psychiatrist could successfully do would depend upon his working with the brain. He could make lots of mistakes there, as the frontal lobotomy experience demonstrated better than any, and then some abuse of medications today demonstrates.

But he could also make mistakes in the narrative by presuming things that were not there in actuality but were put in by him, or her, the psychiatrist, because they made a better story. I don’t think all the mistakes that psychiatrists make are related either to the area of the brain they work in or the area of mental life and its trajectory. They can make mistakes in both places.

MF: I know that you and your colleagues at Hopkins have really merged these questions in neuropsychiatry so that you’re attending to both brain and mind. But there have been schools of thought in psychiatry that emphasise one overwhelmingly at the expense of the other.

PM: Yes indeed, and that is the thing that we’re trying to avoid by making it clear that there are different methods that employ one or the other, or sometimes both together in a coherent way. But you know, I did train in neurology as well as psychiatry. My teachers made sure that at least I was exposed to the ideas on both sides of that very interesting emergent property.

MF: In one of your essays in The Mind Has Mountains, you observe “the power of cultural fashions to lead psychiatric thought and practice off in false, even disastrous, directions.” Two such fashions that captivated psychology and psychiatry in recent decades were “multiple personality disorder,” also known as “dissociative identity disorder,” and the idea of “repressed sexual memories” from childhood that adults can “recover” under therapy. What accounts for such therapeutic fevers gripping the mental health professions?

PM: That’s a very good question. I’m not sure I understand why we’re so vulnerable to this. It may well be in part that we are a discipline that cannot often use bodily material, like an autopsy or something, to prove ourselves right or wrong.

We have to use the power of persuasion to persuade patients and others to thinking the way we want them to think. And although that’s the fundamental principle of psychotherapy — psychotherapy is a persuasive enterprise, after all, that’s what it is, it’s nothing else but persuasion — persuasion, not only in psychiatry but maybe even in a democracy, its great vulnerability, as Tocqueville said, is the tyranny of popular sentiments.

The tyranny of popular opinion can hold in thrall a whole population, after all, for a while. I think psychiatry is vulnerable to that because it works with phenomena of mental life and problems of mental behaviour, and therefore is liable, without another kind of tradition or another source of knowledge, to be carried away. It happens about every ten or fifteen years.

MF: I recall your saying as well in that book that psychiatrists don’t have the sort of grounded reality of specialising in the skin or the eye or something about which there cannot be endless arguments once the evidence comes in.

PM: That’s right. The material evidence of the physical body has a great salutary effect on people who have strong opinions about things, as William Osler said long ago. He said, you know the great thing about the consultant is, he comes in and does the rectal that you forgot to do. The great thing about doctoring is that it’s a fundamental business; you stand on the bottom of life, and it’s one of the joys of it.

Why, though, psychiatry gets swept by these fantasies is still a further question. In part, I used to just think it was the Freudian commitment to suspicion of other people and of society and everything — it was one of the schools of suspicion —

MF: Sure, that there’s a dark id everywhere you look.

PM: That’s right, that somehow or other we’re always under the control of somebody else. Nietzsche and Marx and Freud were all of the same kind of calibre. I used to think that. I also think there’s a love on the part of psychiatrists for being men of the secret and having their own magical secret.

If somebody comes along and tells you “Here’s a wonderful magical secret that will open to you the nature of the world and the nature of humankind,” it’s usually silly in the long run. That’s usually picked up by people who have no traditional background of their own. After all, it’s a kind of golden calf; you come down from the mountain and really try to bring them something, and what do you find them doing? Dancing around the golden calf.

MF: The appeal is to make some idol of a solution to some big problem.

PM: That’s right. And although Moses thought it was only his people, his people were — are, of course — all of us.

MF: In 2016, you and Dr. Lawrence Mayer published a 143-page monograph in the pages of The New Atlantis titled “Sexuality and Gender: Findings from the Biological, Psychological, and Social Sciences.” This publication generated a good deal of controversy, coming not long after the Supreme Court’s creation of a constitutional right for same-sex couples to marry, and just as the issue of “transgenderism” was beginning to heat up. What prompted you and Dr. Mayer to undertake this project, and what should we take away from it?

PM: I was prompted by the idea that I ought to at least say something in this matter, because so many ideas were floating around, and if I couldn’t speak, who could? And when I looked at the scientific evidence of these things, the very idea that these things were immutable, and discrete, and people were “born that way,” it didn’t work from the science point of view, and they might, in our society, not be such good ideas, not good things for people to believe. So I thought, “Well, if I can’t speak at my stage and my development, nobody can speak, and I’ll see what happens.” So, it was very interesting. I found it extremely interesting.

It caused a ruckus, and that didn’t surprise me. But what did surprise me was how many people would say, well, you know, “This is just wrong,” but would never show me any evidence. Dean Hamer, whom I have admired and thought of as a very coherent geneticist and student of homosexuality down in NIH, said “This has all just been disproven, it’s bad science,” but he never pointed out anything or said, “Here’s the article that proves it.”

He was saying, “Look, this is the way we read the science today,” and he spent a lot of time talking about how this wasn’t a peer-reviewed article. Of course it wasn’t a peer-reviewed article. It wasn’t intended to be put out into the science literature. It was to try to evaluate what we thought the science literature taught to the ordinary public, like somebody would write in the New Yorker. And the useful way to refute such a thing is not to say “Those guys are stinkers!” or something. They should say “He’s overlooked something, and here’s the thing that he’s overlooked.”

It turned out that afterwards — long afterwards — people would say, “Well, you know, he’s right, but he shouldn’t have said it.” What it came down to was “He should have kept his mouth shut.” The reason they keep saying it is the usual explanation for not wanting to get all the truth out — that somehow it’ll encourage people to abuse other folks. Of course, we didn’t want that, and we don’t think that the truth is going to lead to anything other than further truth, as things go on.

MF: And better treatment of people. It’s interesting to me that you brought up that critique of peer review, because I had a follow-up on that front. I heard that a lot too when that long piece came out, that The New Atlantis is not a peer-reviewed journal, or that the work you and Dr. Mayer did was not peer-reviewed. And my first thought on hearing that was, well, of course not, what you and he did was the peer review. That is, you two, very knowledgeable in your field, did a comprehensive survey of studies in the field that had been peer reviewed in order to draw conclusions for a wider public about what we know and don’t know about sexual orientation and gender identity.

PM: It seemed to me they just didn’t want the conversation to go on. This way of calling it not peer-reviewed was to say that I was saying something that was supposed to be a new discovery. I wasn’t saying anything new, I was saying “This is how I read the literature.”

MF: People who dispute the way you and Dr. Mayer read the literature should not just say, “Well, that’s bunk.” After all, you were not reporting your own research but that of many, many others. They should point to these and those studies that you draw conclusions from and either show why they’re wrong or why you’re drawing the wrong conclusions from them.

PM: That’s right, and that’s what we said at the end of our article. We knew it was going to cause a fuss. Okay, go at it, and tell us what’s wrong.

MF: The bottom line of the monograph, it seemed to me, was that we still don’t know a great deal about the provenance of homosexuality and transgender or gender dysphoria. We have no particular reason to believe that either phenomenon is innate or biologically based or immutable.

PM: That’s right. Especially not immutable. That’s the most important thing.

MF: In a later piece in The New Atlantis, in 2017, you and Dr. Mayer were joined by Dr. Paul Hruz, a pediatric endocrinologist, in cautioning medical professionals against using puberty-suppressing drugs with children who present with gender dysphoria. Given the increasing incidence of patients presenting such psychological symptoms since that time, especially adolescent girls who wish to transition to “being” boys, as Abigail Shrier has written, this looks like it was a very timely intervention on your part. What is the concern, exactly, with these puberty-suppressing drugs?

PM: They come at a time when the person, the child, is not prepared to think about what their life would be like. Remember, puberty occurs between nine and fourteen when you’re a girl, and between eleven and fourteen when you’re a boy. These are children.

Anyone who’s had a ten-year-old girl or boy around knows that he or she is under your protective wing, in the sense not only of making sure he or she eats and is not abused today, but that he or she doesn’t make a mistake in their own decisions that will reverberate forever for them. We don’t let them get tattooed, we don’t — I wouldn’t let my daughter have her ears pierced until she turned sixteen. So these are very young children.

Secondly, this is a very complex process, puberty. Puberty is one of the great transforming neuro-endocrine events in anybody’s life. And we know only some parts of it; we do not know, for example, what triggers puberty. Back in 2005, the journal Science published its, I think, 125th anniversary issue, and they said, here are 125 big problems that remain for science. One of them was “What triggers puberty?” It’s a big mystery.

But one of the things we do know is that the human being is very different from the ordinary animal. With the animal, if they successfully go through puberty — and they go through it rather young — at the end of that, fundamentally, they are the complete being that they’re going to be. With human beings, some of the most interesting individuating characteristics of themselves occur only after puberty, probably with a combination of the intellectual powers and the energy that sexual development brings.

So I don’t think any child — and any parent, for that matter — can make an informed consent to permit the blocking of puberty and the transmission of another sex. That’s the first thing: you don’t have an idea what you’re doing. So how can you have an informed consent about it? Because nobody knows.

As important, and a reason for thinking that judgment is affected, is that children, young people, who believe that they belong in the opposite sex, if permitted to go through puberty normally, 85 to 95 percent of them will at the end of that time say “No, I am who I am.”

But if you give them the puberty blockers at age nine or ten, only 5 or 10 percent at the end of that time will say “I don’t want to go on further.” They always want to go on further. Something has changed in them. One of the things that change must be the way their brain is shaped when this triggering comes along for puberty. It gets thwarted. And the idea that it’s all reversible, that’s still very debatable.

Finally, the most important point is that scientists have one great vulnerability. They can be dealing with the most complex issue and try to oversimplify it and make it seem like a simple issue. In this case, we want to make a boy look like a girl — okay, so we’re going to do it with these hormones. Wait a minute: you don’t know this is a complex issue of the brain, neuro-endocrine relationships, hormones and — things that Paul Hruz knows even better than I. This very, very complex thing is being over-simplified.

MF: And there are real physical detriments that can come about in terms of bone mass, fertility, growth to mature height, all sorts of things.

PM: And who, at age eleven, knows? You might lose your fertility at age eleven; well, okay, you don’t know quite what that is. You might not know, given the other kinds of pressures that come into play. We don’t know all the pressures that are behind this gender dysphoria epidemic that we’re having, but we do have a lot of reasons for believing that social pressures on vulnerable and suggestible young people are at play there.

MF: In your own career, you’ve been standing athwart this for a very long time. In 1979, a few years after you came to Johns Hopkins, you directed the closing of the university hospital’s gender identity unit, responsible at that time for what we then called “sex-change operations,” and now it’s fashionable to call “gender-affirming surgeries,” after finding that such surgical transitions did not improve the overall mental health of patients. For this alone, you have been on the “enemies list” of transgender advocates for a long time. (Such surgeries were resumed at Hopkins in 2017.)

You have likened our “transgender moment,” as Ryan Anderson calls it, to other psychiatric fashions that ultimately collapsed under the weight of evidence against them — or due to the dearth of evidence for them. Transgenderism seems to be at peak strength today, in medicine, law, and public policy. Are you still sanguine about its ultimate collapse, like that of other culturally based phenomena in mental health sciences?

PM: I’m amazed at the amount of power and weaponry that it’s gotten behind it now, with the government and law and even medical organisations getting behind it, but I’m absolutely convinced that this is folly and it’s going to collapse, just as the eugenics folly collapsed.

Eugenics was quite as powerful, after all. I’m reassured that we psychiatrists have been everywhere before. Fortunately, Adolf Meyer, my predecessor at Johns Hopkins, was one of the few psychiatrists in the world, really, who said “I don’t think we can go this way with the eugenics movement.” And so I feel I’m in good company by saying this is going to collapse.

It’s going to collapse, particularly, in relationship to the injury to children, because these people are already beginning to build up evidence for the misdirection they were sent on. In Britain, the Keira Bell case that has just been handed down from their High Court is recognising the very inadequate psychiatric approach that was taken to leading this girl to now be a very damaged person. So it’s coming. And what’s going to happen in my opinion, at least with the young, the people under the age of twenty-one, will be that there will be huge lawsuits.

I can tell you exactly how the suits are going to play out. You know that person is going to wake up at age twenty-five and realise that that she’s got a five o’clock shadow, she’s had various mutilations in the body, she’s infertile, and she’s going to say, “How did you let this happen?” And then parents are going to say, “Well, the doctor said…” So they’re going to say “Let’s sue the doctors.”

They’re going to go to the doctors and say “What did you do this for?!” They’ll say, “That was a standard treatment for transgendered,” and the person is going to say, “But you see, I wasn’t transgendered, I was a child!” And they’re going to say “Holy smoke, you’re right, we can’t tell who’s transgendered, in truth.” And then the insurance companies are going to bail out, and a lot of people are going to be injured in reputation. But we’re going to be left with a number of much more injured patients. I’m very sure this is going to happen.

MF: In one respect, it almost seems as though psychiatry has confessed its lack of any answer to the problem of gender dysphoria and farmed out the solution to the endocrinologists and the cosmetic surgeons. They’re inviting those specialists in other fields to tinker with the body to conform to a dysphoria in the mind, rather than treating the dysphoria in the mind, which is the province of psychiatry.

PM: Exactly. And by the way, when I did actively close down the psychiatric role in permitting the gender surgery — after all, I couldn’t stop the plastic surgeons from doing it if they wanted — I just was saying that we in the department of psychiatry were no longer going to endow it with our permission. One of the plastic surgeons came up to me and did say, “Oh, thank goodness. How would you like it to get up in the morning, Paul, and face the day slashing away at perfectly normal organs, because you guys don’t know what’s the matter.”

MF: That’s interesting! So what you had the power to put a stop to was the referral to the surgeons.

PM: That’s right.

MF: And the surgeons would not proceed without it.

PM: That’s right. And the reversal [in 2017] was that the plastic surgeons came and said we’re going to take this up again. They didn’t wait for our permission to open a clinic at Johns Hopkins. In psychiatry, I was no longer the director, and our department didn’t fuss about it.

MF: So the resumption in 2017 was not owing to a decision in psychiatry but a decision over in surgery.

PM: That’s it, a decision over in plastic surgery. The nice thing is, the director of plastic surgery came and told me he was going to do it. But it was their decision, not ours.

MF: A slight change of topic here. As someone who has been a faithful Catholic his whole life, you have sometimes been characterised — I would say uncharitably — as a man whose professional outlook is unduly influenced by his religion. But the Catholic Church teaches, as you and I both know, that there is nothing science discovers that contradicts the faith. So what is really going on when this charge is aimed at you?

PM: I’m always surprised by that. I’m told that my views about repressed memory, that that was going to protect Catholic priests from being punished for abusing people. I never said that the truth wasn’t the truth with those men. I’m always very surprised by this charge.

I do say that I am an orthodox Catholic guy. Thank goodness I was raised with it, because of the wonderful Catholic realism that places you solidly on the ground in relationship to human nature and the human condition. But I never thought that in this area, it was my religion that was determining how I would think about it.

I suppose I have to say that when I was first fascinated by psychiatry when I was at the Medical School at Harvard, it might have been the relentless attacks by the Freudians on the nuclear family that shocked me, because I felt that the nuclear family was the source of all kinds of wonderful reflections on each other that permitted one to go out into the world. Instead, the suspicious Freudians saw it as a place of dominance and the like.

That may well have had something to do with my devotion to both my family and to the Holy Family that I had grown up thinking of as models. I would have thought if somebody wanted to say, “Look, his religion shielded him or protected him in this way, or blinded him in this way,” that would be an interesting conversation to have. But what does a tradition, a Judeo-Christian tradition, in particular, that honours the father and mother — how does it come at a discipline in medicine that begins to say that that’s the source of all your mental troubles?

But in these other matters, no-one can say what aspects of oneself affect how you think about a problem. Obviously, we’re creatures ourselves, and a lot comes out of where we are and who we are, and we don’t always completely know. But I believe that my positions on these matters, on these matters in particular, relate to the science and the psychiatry that matters. And that anybody of any persuasion or no persuasion at all will eventually come to agree with me.

MF: Yeah, “He’s a Catholic psychiatrist, therefore… ” seems to me to be a deflection from the discrete issues that should be directly tackled on the evidence and the arguments. Of course, there are many people in your profession, who are Jewish or Protestant or have no particular faith, who agree with you on the fundamental questions you’ve worked on in your career. But what you’re saying is that your Catholicism has actually made you in some respects a stronger, better scientist.

PM: I’ve always thought so. I think Christianity was the foundation of science. After all, “In the beginning was the Word” — the Logos. Well, that means something, to make science reasonable. That’s what I’ve always thought. But you know, I’ve been amazed, because I’ve been attacked this way now, even at Hopkins — which is a wonderful institution, by the way, and it has for the most part protected me. And I didn’t have these kinds of things said about me, at least right out, since I was in high school. So it was a big surprise. Although I’m sure that anyone would say that, as you go through life, you don’t know what other people are thinking about you.

I had a very funny one: when I was admitted to Harvard Medical School, I had to have an examination by one of the doctors there — a physical exam to make sure I was well and all. They did that for every medical student. And about ten years later I happen to come across my record that had been written by this chap, one of the doctors in Boston who said, “rosy-cheeked Irish boy who’s done well to come as far as he has.”

MF: I think we’ve found the title for our interview: “Rosy-cheeked Irish Boy Who’s Come a Long Way.”

PM: That was pretty funny. I mean, it does show you the climate that you’re in that you didn’t realise. I had no idea this was crossing his mind.

MF: One last question. Tell us, please, about the work of the now six-year-old McHugh Program for Human Flourishing. What do you hope that it will contribute to the future of psychiatry and to public understanding?

PM: I hope it’s going to be a rich contribution at the end of my career at Hopkins. My aim is to point out, and to help young psychiatrists, and all doctors for that matter, to understand that after you get somebody over a condition, often they have still a ways to go to be the kinds of people that they were intended to be when they were started off.

What began, for me, as a kind of public health hygiene, mental hygiene for the patient — saying “Look, this is the kind of thing you’ve got to do, you’ve got to think in terms of family life, work life, educational life, and community, and particularly often religious life, to be what you want to be” — has now transformed itself into an understanding of where the education of doctors tends to fall down. It tends to fall down in the very areas of the humanities and the understanding of human capacities that doctoring used to be founded on, before the sciences could really take it up and make it go.

So I’m hoping that people will see that an understanding of what human beings really can be emerges out of helping them through their physical as well as their mental illnesses, but then requires a continuing prescription for how they can continue in that way. And this way, I think, it will enrich the education of doctors in general, just like I think our Perspectives of Psychiatry has helped enrich an understanding of medicine in relationship to the conditions that afflict people mentally. So we’ve had a wonderful experience with it.

MF: Human flourishing is not a typical phrase in the vocabulary of medical professionals.

PM: It was a term that seemed to me to be the appropriate term. By the way, several people in my department thought it was a very Catholic term, I was surprised to see.

MF: If they think that Aristotle belongs to the Catholics, I guess we’ll take him.

PM: Right, that’s what I said to them, I thought it goes back to Aristotle.

MF: It’s a humanistic enterprise.

PM: It’s a fundamentally humanistic enterprise. Medicine is a humanistic discipline that uses science to accomplish what all human beings would like to see for themselves, in their capacity to sustain themselves. But ultimately it is to aim for a person who could be what God intended him to be. And, of course, it’s illuminating for me, like anything else in teaching. Once you start off on this, then you discover all the things that become important for yourself to learn.

MF: One really final question, for the record: Dr. Paul McHugh has no current plans to retire, correct?

PM: No plans to retire, no! Not me. I’m pressing on. I’m not retiring. I can’t carry on quite as much as I could before, but for the duties that I’m doing within the department, which are full-time for me, I’m going to continue as long as I can.

Republished with permission from The Public Discourse.

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

Matthew J. Franck

Matthew J. Franck is Contributing Editor of Public Discourse. He is also Associate Director of the James Madison Program and Lecturer in Politics at Princeton University, Senior Fellow at the Witherspoon… More by Matthew J. Franck

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

THE GIFTS OF THE MAJI: Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh

“When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.” –  Matthew 2:10 KJV

“And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh.” –  Matthew 2:11 KJV


Jesus Christ’s birth in Bethlehem so many centuries ago is told in Matthew 1:18-25.  We celebrate his birth every December 25th and we rejoice that He came as the pure sinless lamb of God to shed His blood and bear our sins on Himself.  To those who understand the love of our One True God, Jesus was the greatest gift to all mankind.

The Three Wise Men

In Matthew 2:11, it states, “Into the house…the young child.” These words need not indicate that the wise men came sometime after the birth of Christ.  The family would naturally have moved into a home as quickly as possible after Jesus was born, and “young child” can mean a newborn (John 16:21).  We also do not know how many wise men there were, but they came bearing gifts to the child, guided by the star in the East. When they reached the place of Christ’s birth, the star lingered above the newborn King.

Gold, frankincense and myrrh were gifts worthy of a king, and they were given as an act of worship.  These valuable gifts were clearly intended to honor Jesus, but they carried deeper theological significance as well.

The early church Fathers understood the gold to be symbolic of Christ’s deity as King, the frankincense of His purity and priestly role, and the myrrh a prefiguring of His death (since it was used for embalming).

The Book of Isaiah, when describing Jerusalem’s glorious restoration, tells of nations and kings who will come and “bring gold and frankincense and shall proclaim the praise of the Lord.” (Isaiah 60:6).

Gold

Gold is a precious metal, always has been.  It is mentioned 417 times in the Bible and belonged to both religious and secular men as wealth and a currency.  Today’s equivalent to King Solomon’s gold is likely more than $60 trillion.  Gold represented kingdoms in both Daniel 2 and Zechariah 6.

Giving the gift of gold to the baby Jesus was symbolic of His kingship and blatantly stated by the Magi.  The gift of gold means Messiah Jesus was the King of Kings.  In Matthew 2:1-2 the Bible states, “Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east and are come to worship him.”

(Herod told them to find Him because he too wanted to worship Him, but that was a lie.  Herod was an evil man and had even had members of his own family murdered.)

Because of its scarcity and immense value, gold was particularly associated with royalty and nobility, as is seen in 1 Kings 10 when the Queen of Sheba visits King Solomon bearing great quantities of gold as a gift. By bringing a gift of gold, the wise men showed that they did indeed consider Jesus a king.

Their gift of gold may have foreshadowed another aspect of Jesus’ ministry. Under the Old Covenant, the Most Holy Place (the Holy of Holies) was an inner sanctuary within the Temple where the priest would encounter the presence of God and offer a sacrifice of atonement for the sins of the people. Likewise, the incarnation of Jesus heralded the presence of God, Immanuel, and the sacrifice of atonement he would make on behalf of his people when he went to the cross. (Immanuel not only means “God with us,” but it is a Hebrew name that appears in the Book of Isaiah as a sign that God will protect the House of David.) The wise men may have had this connection in mind because, as described in 1 Kings 6:20-22, the walls of the Most Holy Place and the altar within it were completely overlaid with gold.

Frankincense

Frankincense has a distinct and lovely aroma.  It comes from a tree, grown in desert climates and those trees will actually grow out of cracks in rocks.  Frankincense grows naturally at the southern end of the Arabian Peninsula, and almost nowhere else.

Known as Boswellia in scientific literature, frankincense boasts a unique, rich history throughout the Middle East. Its legacy even spans into modern times, and into every corner of the globe. Beyond its elegant, low-flowing branches and bright, perky flowers, the frankincense tree produces a powerful resinous sap.  Frankincense resin is valued for its uses in everything from religious incense and perfume, to decorative jewelry, toothpaste, deodorant, and even folk medicine.  We keep frankincense and myrrh as anointing oils.

The sap of frankincense has been a prized treasure throughout much of the world for thousands of years. At one time it was valued more highly than gold; frankincense is viewed by many as one of nature’s special blessings.

Incisions (“wounds”) are cut into the Boswellia tree, it is actually “pierced.” The tear-shaped droplets of sap that escape is carefully scraped off and dried. These “tears” solidify into an alluring mass of silver, golden, and amber colors that, in and of itself, are a sight to behold. They are beautiful. There are a multitude of uses, not just for scent, but for health purposes as well.  Studies show it even helps deter viruses.

The frankincense tree and its fragrant resin really is one of nature’s treasure with sacred significance, and shouldn’t be ignored, but it must be left to heal after it is pierced for sap or the tree will not recover.

As with gold, frankincense may also have an implied connection with the Temple worship of the Old Covenant. Burning incense at the altar was a key part of the sacrificial system prescribed by God for use in the Tabernacle and, later, in the Temple itself. According to Exodus 30, however, not just any incense would do. A specific recipe of spices mixed with “pure frankincense” (v. 34) was to be consecrated as “pure and holy” (v.35) and was the only incense permitted at the altar. A speculative parallel can be drawn between this and Jesus’ life as a pure and holy offering to the Lord.

Myrrh

Myrrh is extruded from the gum of the Commiphora myrrh plant and was less expensive than frankincense, but was still highly valued and is referred to seventeen times in the Bible. It is first mentioned in Genesis 37:25, where it was being carried by camels in a caravan. Myrrh was used for a variety of purposes in biblical times as a perfume (Song of Solomon 1:13; 3:6; 4:6, 14; 5:1, 5, 13), an anesthetic, for burial embalming (John 19:39), as an ingredient in anointing oil (Exodus 30:23-25), and to deodorize clothes. According to Esther 2:12, it was also used for purification and in a cosmetic for women.

Perhaps the wise men intended this gift as an indication of Jesus’ humanity and the manner in which he would save his people—namely, that he would die for them (Isaiah 53:5).

We don’t know what Mary and Joseph did with the gifts brought to the newborn King, but we do know that an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream and told him to take Mary and Jesus and flee to Egypt. (Matthew 2:13)  Herod’s rage overwhelmed him with an unfounded fear that Jesus would take over his throne.  He wanted to seek the young child and destroy him.

The journey to Egypt was long and it would take funds to escape, so the gifts to the child may well have served to travel to Egypt and save his early life .

Conclusion

It’s Christmas!  It’s a holy time, a time of celebration for the birth of our Messiah.  It’s a time with family and friends, a time for joy, peace, love, sharing and giving.  We offer up gifts to those we love and care about and to those less fortunate; giving gifts freely because of the gift given to us by the Holy One of Israel.

May your Christmas celebration be filled with love, peace and thanksgiving.

Merry Christmas! And may the joy of His birth be with you throughout the new year.

©Kelleigh Nelson. All rights reserved.

THE MEDIA BALANCED NEWSLETTER: We cover COVID to Climate, as well as Energy to Elections

Welcome! We cover COVID to Climate, as well as Energy to Elections.

Here is the link for this issue, so please share it on social media.

Lots of really interesting material in this issue, but particularly note the red items below.


— This Newsletter’s Articles, by Topic —


COVID-19 — Repeated Important Information:

My webpage (C19Science.info) with dozens of Science-based COVID-19 reports

World Council of Health: Early COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines

COVID-19 — Therapies:

*** Now we know why the establishment has always opposed early treatment

*** Dr. McCullough Describes ‘Sinister Ways’ Doctors Worldwide Are Restricted From Treating COVID Patients

*** Brazilian City Cuts Hospitalizations, Mortality In Half After Implementing Ivermectin To Everyone Pre-Vaccine

NY Times Reports that Merck COVID-19 Drug Can Mutate DNA, Cause Birth Defects and Male Infertility

Report Update: The FDA COVID-19 Drug Approval Process: Remdesivir vs Ivermectin

Ivermectin Fans Have a New Champion to Root for – 3CL Protease Inhibitor Tollovid

COVID-19 — Injections for Children:

*** 16,000 Physicians and Scientists Agree Kids Shouldn’t Get COVID Vaccine

*** Over 15,000 Physicians and Scientists Reach Consensus on Vaccinating Children and Natural Immunity

Dr. Robert Malone, Advises All Parents Strongly Against Vaccinating Children with COVID Injections

Israeli Public Emergency Council Position Paper: COVID-19 Vaccine for Children

COVID-19 — Injections vs Acquired Immunity:

*** 137 Research Studies Affirm Naturally Acquired Immunity to COVID-19: Documented, Linked, and Quoted

*** Rep Jordan Urges CDC To Do A Natural Immunity/Vaccine Study

Study: Acquired immunity is superior to injection immunity (also here)

Study: Vaccinated people have 600% higher risk of COVID-19 infection compared to those with natural immunity

COVID-19 — Injections (Other):

*** Pfizer COVID-19 Inoculations: “More Harm Than Good”

*** Japan Places Warning on COVID ‘Vaccines’

CDC now recommends avoiding Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine

160,000 Adverse Reactions from Early Pfizer COVID Vaccine Rollout

90% of all “COVID” deaths since August occurred in fully vaccinated

Study: Increased risk for COVID-19 breakthrough infection in fully vaccinated patients with substance use disorders

Study: COVID-19 vaccines drop below zero efficacy on spread by about 200 days

Study: The Pfizer mRNA vaccine: pharmacokinetics and toxicity

Study: COVID vaccination and age-stratified all-cause mortality risk

Could Immune System Erosion be Connected to the Injection?

Dr. Sucharit Bhakdi – The COVID vaccines were designed to fail

COVID-19 — Injection Mandatess:

*** Powerful, short video about an acclaimed nurse being terminated

*** 37 Studies on Vaccine Efficacy that Raise Doubts on Vaccine Mandates

*** Forcing People Into COVID Vaccines Ignores Important Scientific Information

*** The Supreme Court’s New York State vax mandate ruling: A missed opportunity

Americans increasingly refuse to obey mandates in the name of fighting COVID

Defeat The Mandates DC March: January 23rd

NYS Bill Proposing Covid Concentration Camps

Mandatory vaccination spells the violent end of European liberalism

US Mega-Corporations Rush to Abandon Illegal Vax Mandates

As Many as 123,000 UK Healthcare Staff May Resign Rather Than Take the Jab

COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates Fail the Jacobson Test

Supreme Court Declines Emergency Relief for NY Health Care Workers

Austrians age 14 and over who refuse Covid vaccines will be fined £1,000 per month

Military Members Seek New Injunction Against COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates

UK Gov’t admits there are 23.5 Million unvaccinated people in England

COVID-19 — Models and Data:

*** The Science and Ethics Regarding the Risk Posed by Non-Vaccinated Individuals

*** CDC Admits That “Fully Vaccinated” Americans Are Super-Spreaders Carrying Deadly Variants And High Viral Loads

Virologist: Fully vaccinated are a major source of COVID virus transmission

Scotland: Vaccinated account for 9 in every 10 Covid-19 Deaths over the past 4 months

Some recent Pfizer Documents

COVID-19 — Omicron:

*** CDC: Most Reported US Omicron Cases Have been with the Fully Vaccinated

*** CDC Admits Omicron Spread Almost Entirely By The Vaccinated

*** Dr. Campbell: Optimize your immune system for Omicron!

Dr. Campbell: Omicron Predictions

Dr. Cambell: First Omicron Science

Danish Report on Omicron (see table 4)

COVID-19 — Misc:

*** Dr. Ben Carson: Pandemic Could Be Solved Quickly If Politics Thrown Out

*** The Medical Profession Implodes

*** Dr. Meyer’s COVID-19 Preparation Toolkit

*** Robert Kennedy Jr.: US Intelligence Agencies and Military Were Involved With The Wuhan Lab Research

*** The pandemic will end when the digital monetary system is in place

Emails Expose How Dr Fauci And Mark Zuckerberg Colluded To Impose Control Over Pandemic Narrative

As International Trials Begin Against the Globalists Will a Return to Public Executions be Necessary?

Report: SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern and variants under investigation in England

Efficacy, Effectiveness and Efficiency in the Health Care: The Need for an Agreement to Clarify its Meaning

‘Follow the Science’ a Potent Source of Authority for Politicians

Oregon Coming Through Exactly as Predicted — and It’s Bad for All of Us

Maskerade: Some Facts about Masks

Greed Energy Economics:

Industrial Wind Turbines Once Again are Up to Their Old Tricks

California To Slash Rooftop Solar Subsidies, Add New Fees

Wind & Solar Energy:

Green Energy Push Is Contributing To Forced Labor, Slavery

Offshore wind project go-ahead ‘will be disastrous’ for already-struggling seabirds

Nuclear Energy:

Is nuclear energy green? France and Germany lead opposing camps.

Fossil Fuel Energy:

*** Report: Fossil fuels for China, Decarbonization for everyone else

Biden’s New “Regressive” Methane Tax Will Raise Average American’s Gas Bill By 17%

Kawasaki to build industrial scale H2-capable gas turbines in Germany

California imported crude oil ranks as a major emissions generator

Global Coal Power Demand On Track For Record As Green Energy Transition Crumbles

Misc Energy:

Rush to green hydrogen masks mammoth plans to wood-chip the forests

Electric Batteries Are Not Emissions Free

Manmade Global Warming — Recent US Tornadoes:

Tornados Ravaged the South and Liberal America’s Reaction was Insanely Predictable

Short video: Kentucky Tornadoes, Climate Change and Pressure Systems

Meteorologist responds with data after Biden blames climate change for tornados

Tornado Tall Tales Being Spun Off Tragedy by Biden

Manmade Global Warming — Misc:

*** Russia opposes linking climate and security issues at the UN (kudos to them!)

Does the CCP (China) control Extinction Rebellion?

Climate Dogma Killed Biden’s “Build Back Better”

Fossil fuels are not to blame for world’s climate issues

The East Slams the West’s Climate ‘Colonialism’

The Real Climate Crisis Isn’t What We’re Told; It’s Worse!

US Election:

Election-Integrity.info (10 major election reports by our team of experts, plus much more!)

*** Heritage: Election Integrity Scorecard

*** The Big Truth: Election 2020 Really Was Rigged

Sinema pops Democrats’ filibuster trial balloon on voting rights

Senator Rubio Introduces Bill to Prohibit Foreign Citizens from Voting

New IRS Disclosures Confirm Flood of Private Money to Elections Offices from Zuckerberg Grantee

Legal Policy Focus: The Voting Rights Act

US Election — State Issues:

Whistleblower Claims 35,000 Votes Were Added To Democrat Totals In Pima County’s (Arizona) 2020 Election

PIMA County (Arizona) Election Integrity Hearing

US Politics and Socialism:

Whose fault is it that America is descending into Third World status?

Drifting Toward a Catastrophic American Defeat

The anti-American agenda of President Biden’s nominees

Other US Politics and Related:

Joe Manchin in talks with Republicans on filibuster reforms

How Government Bureaucracy and Media Wokeness Led to January 6

How the States Can Reform Health Care

DC Bar Restores Convicted FBI Russiagate Forger to ‘Good Standing’

Religion Related:

Anti-Christian hate crimes in Germany increased by nearly 150% in 2020

Education Related:

Three Ways to Teach Students How – Not What – to Think

Universities Have Forgotten Their Purpose: Pursuing the Contemplative Life

Harvard waives ACT, SAT admission requirement for graduating classes through 2030

The malicious, historically illiterate 1619 Project keeps rolling on

Science and Misc Matters:

*** Short video: The Government Just Took Away YOUR FREEDOM

All-Out Defense of “Chinese-Style Democracy” Exposes Cracks in Xi Jinping’s Armor

Video: Digital Book Burning and the Degradation of the Scientific Culture


Please use social media, etc. to pass on this Newsletter to other open-minded citizens…

If at any time you’d like to be added to (or taken off) the distribution of our popular,  free Media Balance Newsletter, simply send me an email saying that.


Note 1: We recommend reading the Newsletter on your computer, not your phone, as some documents (e.g. PDFs) are much easier to read on a large computer screen… We’ve tried to use common fonts, etc. to minimize display issues.

Note 2: For recent past Newsletter issues see 2020 Archives & 2021 Archives. To accommodate numerous requests received about prior articles over the twelve plus years of the Newsletter, we’ve put together archives since the beginning of the Newsletter — where you can search by year. For a detailed background about the Newsletter, please read this.

Note 3: See this extensive list of reasonable books on climate change. As a parallel effort, we have also put together a list of some good books related to industrial wind energy. Both topics are also extensively covered on my website: WiseEnergy.org.

Note 4: I am not an attorney or a physician, so no material appearing in any of the Newsletters (or any of my websites) should be construed as giving legal or medical advice. My recommendation has always been: consult a competent, licensed attorney when you are involved with legal issues, and consult a competent physician regarding medical matters.

Copyright © 2021; Alliance for Wise Energy Decisions (see WiseEnergy.org).

Florida Job Growth Outpaces National Rate Six-fold

Non-stop DeSantis.

Florida job growth outpaces national rate six-fold

By: Caden DeLisa, The Capitolist, December 19, 2021:

Florida’s job growth outpaced the national metric six-fold in November, gaining 51,000 new jobs while the nation as a whole accrued 210,000, according to a recent economic analysis.

The state’s labor force increased by 6.1% over 2021 compared to the national labor force increase of 0.9% over the same time frame. Florida added 470,000 private sector jobs over the year, increasing by 6.4 percent and exceeding the national private sector job growth by 2.0 percentage points. Florida also added 470,000 private sector jobs over the year, increasing by 6.4% and exceeding the national private sector job growth by 2.0 percentage points.

“Our job growth rate is six times faster than the rest of the nation because we’ve worked hard to keep Florida open and protect the jobs of individual Floridians,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “Because we have protected their livelihoods, Floridians are confident in finding work and operating their own businesses. We will continue to focus on our state’s foundation of freedom to ensure that Florida remains a leader in economic growth and Floridians are able to succeed.”

For the fifth consecutive year, Florida ranked 4th among all 50 states in the 2022 State Business Tax Climate Index that is published by the Tax Foundation, and ranks highest in all high population states, outpacing states like New York (48th) and California (49th).

Florida lost over 1,200,000 jobs from February to April 2020 due the COVID-19 pandemic and has since gained back 91.2 percent of lost jobs, according to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

Private-sector industries that gained the most jobs include leisure and hospitality (13.5 percent growth), professional and business services (6.7 percent growth), trade and transportation (4.9 percent growth), and education and health services (4 percent growth).

In November, Monroe County held the state’s lowest local unemployment clip at 2.2 percent, while Putnam County had the highest at 5.4 percent.

“Governor DeSantis continues to make strong investments and create policies that drive confidence in Floridians and businesses,” said Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Secretary Dane Eagle. “Ensuring the economic success and prosperity of our state and residents is our number one priority, and we stand with Governor DeSantis as he continues empowering Florida businesses and Floridians to create and find meaningful employment.”

Florida’s urban centers experienced considerable growth in over-the-year job gains, with the Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford area experiencing a 7.7 percent growth, Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater showing 5.3 percent improvement, and Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall rising 6.2 percent.

RELATED ARTICLES:

‘Over My Dead Body’: Palin Says She Refuses To Get Vaccinated

RESIST! Companies BACK DOWN -Boeing joins General Electric, HCA Healthcare, Spirit AeroSystems, Amtrak etc that SUSPEND their vaccine requirements.

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

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CNN Host: Holding Elections Threatens Democracy

Elections are the key for the Democrat party of treason. Everything else — inflation, COVID, Afghanistan, migrant invasion, illegal immigration, crushing taxes, critical race theory, leftist supremacism, jihad, antisemitism, gas prices, onerous regulation, etc. etc. – pale in comparison. Without free and fair elections, game over.

Don’t take your eye off the ball. The Democrats will wage war to institute and enshrine election fraud.

This is the next big fight. Ask your congressperson what they are doing to ensure free and fair elections? What actions are they taking towards election reform?

CNN Host Makes Outrageous Claim That Holding Elections Threatens Democracy

By Ben Johnson • Dec 15, 2021 •

A CNN host is concerned that letting Americans vote for a state-wide office threatens democracy, and is flogging Republicans for suggesting that the office be elected after it spent years ignoring George Soros’ attempt to control it.

Filling in Tuesday night for the recently fired Chris Cuomo on the abruptly renamed “CNN Prime Time,” guest host twice warned that Trump voters in his home state have launched a dark conspiracy to overturn elections by having a statewide officeholder elected by the people instead of appointed by the governor.

And despite his concern over Republicans running for the office of secretary of state, which oversees election laws in each respective state, CNN apparently never mentioned the most concerted effort to capture this office: George Soros’ “Secretary of State Project.”

Michael Smerconish brought the subject up during the now-abbreviated handoff with Don Lemon at 10 p.m., after Lemon said he questioned the integrity of people who support election integrity. “I’m not sure if that really matters if they want to believe [in voter fraud] or they actually do believe it,” he said.

“Well, they are taking action on it,” replied Smerconish. He said the fact that a sizable percentage of Republicans’ constituents harbor doubts about the 2020 election “gives them the power to go in a state like Pennsylvania and say, ‘You know that secretary of state position? Let’s make it an elected gig, instead of an appointed job.’”

Smerconish did not explain how holding more elections would thwart the democratic process. He had raised the topic earlier in the show with David Leonhardt of The New York Times. Leonhardt warned that Republicans are seeking ways “to make it easier … for them to overturn an election result after it happens.”

“For example, my home state, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, there’s a move afoot to make the Secretary of State, an elected official,” said Smerconish. “That’s what you’re talking about?”

“Yes,“ replied Leonhardt, although he immediately walked his statement back, noting “the mere fact of making the Secretary of State an elected position is not in itself threatening to democracy. There are many places where it is an elected position.”

Voters democratically elect the secretary of state in 35 states, including California, Massachusetts, and Vermont.

Leonhardt also said that limiting mail-in balloting is not a “radical” stance, and that assuring ballot integrity by passing voter ID laws is “a legitimate thing for the government to do.”

Despite the CNN host’s concern over the partisan leanings of state election officials, the network seems to have dedicated no coverage whatever to George Soros’ campaign to elect Democrat-friendly candidates as secretary of state in swing states.

After the narrow 2000 and 2004 presidential elections, a coalition of left-wing donors known as the Democracy Alliance, including George Soros, began a 527 group called the Secretary of State Project (or SoS Project) aimed at electing progressives as the top election officials in states the Republican candidate won by less than 120,000 votes.

“Democrats have built an administrative firewall designed to protect their electoral interests in five of the most important battleground states,” reported Politico in a story about the SoS Project just before the 2008 election. “The bulwark consists of control of secretary of state offices in five key states — Iowa, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico and Ohio.”

“With a Democrat now in charge of the offices, which oversee and administer their state’s elections, the party is better positioned than in the previous elections to advance traditional Democratic interests … rather than Republican priorities such as stamping out voter fraud,” Politico noted.

Despite the group’s financial might and stated intention of controlling election law in swing states for partisan advantage, CNN appears not to have covered the Secretary of State Project a single time.

A comprehensive search of the network’s transcripts, and a Google search of its website, for stories on the topic yielded no results.

The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

The Daily Wire is one of America’s fastest-growing conservative media companies and counter-cultural outlets for news, opinion, and entertainment. Get inside access to The Daily Wire by becoming a member.

RELATED ARTICLE: Biden Nominee Thinks U.S. Elections Are Anti-Democratic

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

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IT’S OFFICIAL: More Americans Have Died From Coronavirus Under Biden Than Trump

Despite Biden’s Pledge To ‘Shut Down The Virus’.


President Joe Biden promised to shut down the virus. He failed. Joe Biden is the worst POTUS of our lifetime. And it’s not even close.

It’s Official: More Americans Have Died From Coronavirus Under Biden Than Trump Despite Biden Pledge To ‘Shut Down The Virus’

By Daily Wire, December 18, 2021

More Americans have now died from the coronavirus under the leadership of Democrat President Joe Biden than died under former President Donald Trump, according to CDC data published late this week.

The development comes as Biden’s approval rating continues to remain low as more and more Americans are disapproving of his handling of the pandemic than at any other point during his first year in office. The number of Americans who say that Biden is doing a “bad job” in responding to the pandemic has doubled from 23% during Biden’s first month in office to 46% as of last month.

The CDC reported back in January that on January 20, 2021, at 1:16PM, there were 400,306 deaths recorded in the U.S. from the coronavirus. Biden officially became president of the United States at noon on that day.

Since then, the number of people who have died from coronavirus under Biden’s watch is now greater than 400,306.

According to the most recent CDC data published at the time this report was published, 800,939 Americans have died from the coronavirus, which means that at least 400,633 Americans have died under Biden’s leadership. Other entities like The New York Times, however, currently report the U.S. has 803,964 deaths from the coronavirus, a number that continues to climb daily with no end in sight.

Biden’s disastrous handling of the coronavirus pandemic is even worse when considering the fact that he had highly effective vaccines at his disposal from his very first day in office to get the pandemic under control.

Biden repeatedly promised while on the campaign trail that he was going to “shut down the virus,” and while its true that new variants have emerged, the fact remains that he has not “shut down the virus” and more Americans have now died under his leadership than under Trump.

When asked at the start of the month about what happened to his plan to “shut down the virus,” Biden smirked and walked away.

When confronted this week about his “responsibility” for the Americans that have died under his watch, Biden again smirked, threw his hand up at the reporter and walked away.

Biden claimed during the 2020 campaign that Trump was essentially responsible for every American that died during the pandemic, a claim that was quickly debunked by mainstream fact-checkers.

“If the president had done his job, had done his job from the beginning, all the people would still be alive,” Biden falsely claimed. “All the people—I’m not making this up. Just look at the data. Look at the data.”

RELATED ARTICLE: Covid Concentration Camps Coming to New York State

RELATED TWEET:

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

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