Tag Archive for: free speech

Ten Topics You Rarely Hear Discussed Openly and Rationally on Mainstream Media

Many of us are familiar with the ideological and political biases of mainstream media, in particular the media’s uncritical embrace of leftist commitments on issues like inclusive language, hate speech, transgenderism, abortion, same-sex marriage, immigration, the Christian faith, education, and pandemic policies.

It’s par for the course.

Much of the mainstream media does not simply defend its favoured positions; it also refuses, all too often, to give a fair hearing to opposing viewpoints. The silencing, censoring, and exclusion of opinions that newspaper, radio, and TV editors deem politically incorrect impoverishes our public square by making open and candid discussion of a wide range of issues practically impossible.

This would not necessarily be the case in an ideologically and politically diverse media system, because the one-sided and exclusionary editorial policies of one media organ could be checked and balanced by the diverse biases and editorial policies of another. However, in practice, many mainstream media do in fact speak with one voice on lots of important issues, including issues that are by no means settled in the general population.

Sometimes the silencing of dissenting viewpoints is achieved through overt censorship – as we saw when Facebook suppressed arguments that entertained the Wuhan lab leak hypothesis, or when Twitter censored pretty much any assertion that could be construed as even slightly unfavourable to Covid vaccines. But more often than not, it is achieved by refusing to give any airtime to arguments from “the other side.”

In many ways, this is more sinister than overt censorship, because it is subtle and may easily go completely unnoticed.

I have had personal experience of this “from the inside,” so to speak. I used to write occasionally for a prominent national newspaper in Ireland, as well as a regional newspaper in Spain. Soon after I began to seriously question Covid measures or the science behind lockdowns, my contributions at both newspapers ceased to be published, quite abruptly. There was simply no editorial interest in questioning the fundamentals of the national response to the virus.

The average newspaper reader or TV viewer knows nothing of this filtering process. They just pick up the newspaper or switch on the TV and assume that there are “serious” people and experts who will be given a platform to express themselves. They will naturally assume that if no credible voice defends this or that position, it must be because the position is weak or indefensible. It will not occur to the average reader or viewer that the reason there are no “credible voices” on the other side is because they have been filtered out in advance.

Mine is one of those voices. There are many others.

It is not that mainstream media never discuss contentious issues. Rather, media “debate” on contentious issues is often bland and uninspiring, due to its near total exclusion of reasonable voices from the other side. Officially sanctioned positions are echoed uncritically by talking heads on TV and radio, and the “other side” is dismissed as a bunch of crazies or “extremists” in op-eds and on chat shows, even though moderate dissenting voices are refused airtime or never invited to participate in the debate in the first place.

This is bad for citizenship and bad for democracy, because citizens are exposed to one set of pat answers on the issues of the day, and not taught to process complexity and nuance. Citizens who should be learning to think for themselves are instead encouraged to passively imbibe a set of one-sided slogans, slogans that most journalists do not even think to interrogate or put to the test, like “I’m personally against X, but would never impose my opinion on someone else,” or “I am spiritual but have no time for organised religion,” or “Populists are a looming danger to democracy,” or “We must do everything possible to combat misinformation and hate speech,” or “The unvaccinated are granny-killers.”

The top ten

Here are ten topics that most mainstream media cover from a broadly leftist-progressive perspective, with almost no consideration of dissenting arguments, no matter how evidence-based and no matter how qualified or credentialed their author happens to be. In other words, ten topics that most mainstream media cannot or will not discuss openly and rationally:

  1. The birth shortfall across a large part of the Western world and its contribution to the ageing of our populations – barely mentioned, let alone debated.
  2. The ethics of administering transgender hormone therapy to children and adolescents – seems to be taboo for many editors.
  3. Religious faith as a personal commitment and way of life – almost invariably, this is either ignored, treated superficially, or discussed as a wholly subjective “lifestyle option,” rather than a serious truth claim.
  4. The ethics of abortion and techniques of assisted reproduction and their impact on women’s lives – the pro-life perspective is almost never given a fair hearing.
  5. The difficulties and challenges surrounding the accommodation and integration of refugees – anyone questioning refugee policies is dismissed out of hand as “anti-immigration” or bigoted or racist.
  6. The evidential basis and ethical merits of Covid policies like lockdowns, mandatory masking and mandatory vaccination – government advisors were essentially given a free pass to say whatever they wanted, while dissenters were either silenced or dismissed as enemies of public health.
  7. The steep increases in excess mortality in 2021 and 2022, and its possible underlying causes – it has been reported on, but strikingly, not discussed to even a fraction of the extent that Covid deaths were.
  8. The claim that reducing our “carbon footprint” can reverse global warming, and that this will avert a global catastrophe – you will rarely if ever hear this topic treated in a rational, critical and scientific manner, just uncritical repetition of a set of pre-packaged climate crisis mantras.
  9. Populist and anti-establishment political movements – instead of engaging rationally with their claims, these movements are generally dismissed as “alt right,” “hard right,” or “demagogic” and anti-democratic.
  10. The perspective of stay-at-home mothers or women who choose to sacrifice their careers or accept more modest careers, in order to be more available to their children – apparently, most mainstream journalists are unable or unwilling to discuss such a choice sympathetically.

This article has been republished from David Thunder’s Substack, The Freedom Blog.

AUTHOR

David Thunder

David Thunder is a researcher and lecturer at the University of Navarra’s Institute for Culture and Society. More by David Thunder

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

The Opponents of Free Speech Are Gaining Ground. Here’s How We Can Fight Back

When we break down the core institution of free speech, we lose a lot of what made America so successful in the first place.


Free speech used to be held up as one of the core American institutions. It was enshrined in the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights for a reason: while other countries have also adopted free speech, it is a fundamentally American tradition.

More than that, free speech is essential on its own terms. It is the single best way for humans to make progress. None of us are perfect, and none of us know the full truth. Therefore we all need to engage in the marketplace of ideas in order to find the truth and develop the best path forward.

But free speech has been under attack for decades.

One of the earliest—and most influential—critics was Herbert Marcuse, a college professor and the father of the New Left. In an essay called Repressive Tolerance published in 1969, Marcuse recommended removing rights (including the right to free speech) from conservatives. Marcuse didn’t see the world in terms of human beings who all have equal worth; he saw the world in terms of power. Those with power should be forcibly silenced (at least, the ones he disagreed with) so that those at the bottom could have more freedom. For Marcuse, if a majority is being repressed, what is needed is “repression and indoctrination” of the powerful so that the weak get the power they deserve.

In recent years, Marcuse-style attacks on free speech have filtered down from academic institutions into the mainstream.

Ilya Shapiro, adjunct law professor at George Washington University and the University of Mississippi, provides a case study on the new rules around who can speak and what they can say. Early in 2022 Georgetown Law School hired him to teach. When President Biden said he would only nominate a black woman to the Supreme Court, Shapiro expressed dismay at this form of blatant affirmative action. At the voicing of this heterodox view, the sky fell down on him.

Georgetown swiftly placed Shapiro on administrative leave, where he languished for months without knowing whether or not he’d be fired. An administrative investigation into the offending Tweets lasted 122 days.

Georgetown finally reinstated Shapiro, but only on the technicality that he hadn’t officially started at Georgetown at the time he sent his tweets. The Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity and Affirmative Action (IDEAA) said that his comments were “objectively offensive” and that saying something similar in future may be enough to get him fired.

Even more disturbingly, the IDEAA adopted a blatantly subjective standard for deciding whether or not speech by faculty would be punishable. “The University’s anti-harassment policy does not require that a respondent intend to denigrate,” according to the report. “Instead, the Policy requires consideration of the ‘purpose or effect’ of a respondent’s conduct.”

As Shapiro puts it: “That people were offended, or claim to have been, is enough for me to have broken the rules.”

This punishment of heterodox speech isn’t an isolated incident. A 2017 survey by the Cato Institute and YouGov found that over a third of Democratic responders said that a business executive should be fired if they “believe psychological differences explain why there are more male engineers.” A substantial number of respondents thus advocated stripping someone of their job for the crime of saying what many psychologists know to be true.

The new cultural norms around free speech aren’t just a problem for right-wingers. In an in-depth explainer on cancel culture, Julian explains the scope of the problem:

“Heterodox Academy surveyed 445 academics about the state of free inquiry on campus, asking them, ‘Imagine expressing your views about a controversial issue while at work, at a time when faculty, staff, and/or other colleagues were present. To what extent would you worry about the following consequences?’

One of the hypothetical consequences Heterodox Academy listed was, ‘my career would be hurt.’ How many academics said they would be ‘very concerned’ or ‘extremely concerned’ about this consequence? 53.43%.

To put it another way: over half of academics on campus worried that expressing non-orthodox opinions on controversial topics could be dangerous to their careers.

We see the same self-censoring phenomenon among college students. In 2021, College Pulse surveyed 37,000 students at 159 colleges. They found that 80% of students self-censor to at least some degree. 48% of undergraduates reported feeling, ‘somewhat uncomfortable’ or ‘very uncomfortable’ expressing their views on a controversial topic in the classroom.

In a panel on free speech and cancel culture, former ACLU president Nadine Strossen said, ‘I constantly encounter students who are so fearful of being subjected to the Twitter mob that they are engaging in self-censorship.'”

It’s not just students and professors. In an article titled “America Has A Free Speech Problem,” the New York Times editorial board noted that 55 percent of Americans have held their tongue in the past year because they were concerned about “retaliation or harsh criticism.”

Extremists on both sides of the aisle increasingly wield their power to shame or shun Americans who speak their minds or have the temerity to voice their opinions in public. This problem is most prominent on social media, but is spilling into offline conversations as well. Citizens of a free country should not live in fear that a woke or far-right mob will come for them because they express an idea that isn’t sufficiently in vogue.

The very concept of free speech is increasingly associated with violence. When former vice president Mike Pence planned to speak at the University of Virginia, the student newspaper Cavalier Daily published a furious editorial saying that Pence shouldn’t be allowed to speak. Why not? “Speech that threatens the lives of those on Grounds is unjustifiable.” It takes a lot of mental contusions to conclude that letting Pence give his opinion could threaten anyone’s life.

It’s not just students. Psychologist Lisa Feldman Barrett published an op-ed in the New York Times titled, “When is speech violence?

According to Barrett, “If words can cause stress, and if prolonged stress can cause physical harm, then it seems that speech—at least certain types of speech—can be a form of violence.”

She continued: “That’s why it’s reasonable, scientifically speaking, not to allow a provocateur and hatemonger like Milo Yiannopoulos to speak at your school. He is part of something noxious, a campaign of abuse. There is nothing to be gained from debating him, for debate is not what he is offering.”

The fact that psychologists are lending the veneer of science to the idea that speech is violence should be deeply troubling to every American.

When we break down the core institution of free speech, we lose a lot of what made America so successful in the first place. Robust norms of free speech helped people build the emotional and mental resilience to cope with ideas they disagreed with. It helped us build bonds with people who believed different things, because we were able to listen to and understand their position.

Free speech also enabled multiple parties to argue from competing worldviews and find a solution that was better than what any party had formulated going into the discussion.

The silver lining is this: Americans increasingly recognize that free speech is a value whose preservation is essential. The New York Times editorial board notes that “84 percent of adults said it is a, ‘very serious’ or ‘somewhat serious’ problem that some Americans do not speak freely in everyday situations because of fear of retaliation or harsh criticism.”

As a strong and integrous person, what can you do to limit the impact of the degradation of free speech on your own life?

First, speak up about what you know to be true—even if no-one else is speaking up, even if there are risks to you. Develop the courage to call a spade a spade. If you see insanity—in your workplace, in politics, in your home—call it out openly and honestly. You’ll sleep better at night. You’ll also become stronger through the act of speaking out. Speaking takes courage, but it also creates courage.

Second, seek out people who disagree with you. Listen to them. Go further; try to be persuaded by them. Skewer your sacred cows and let go of your ideology. Neither one is serving you.

Third, banish forever (if you haven’t yet) the infantile notion that words are violence. This notion is profoundly damaging, because it makes you weak. If mere disagreement can hurt you, after all, then so can everything else in life. So will everything else in your life. Instead, embrace the adage of the Stoics: other people are responsible for their actions, you are responsible for your response. Once you embrace the idea that mere words—whether vicious or merely heterodox—cannot hurt you, you are on the path to emotional strength and groundedness.

Fourth, don’t let yourself become a “tribe of one.” It’s easy, in this environment of chilled speech, to always feel scared to speak up. Find a group of friends who encourage you to speak your truth, and who speak their truth in return to you. Find people who aren’t afraid to share heterodox ideas and to challenge your sacred cows, nor to have their own challenged in return.

Find a group you’d trust to have your back in a firefight, and who will love you and expect you to have theirs in turn.

This article was republished with permission from The Undaunted Man.

AUTHORS

Julian Adorney

Julian is a former political op-ed writer and current nonprofit marketer. His work has been featured in FEE, National Review, Playboy, and Lawrence Reed’s economics anthology Excuse Me, Professor.

Mark Johnson

Mark is an executive coach and men’s coach at The Undaunted Man.

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

Gov. Newsom Claims State That Bans Cars and Speech Offers ‘Freedom For All’

You can do anything in California except open a business, walk down the street, or buy a home.


Gov. Gavin Newsom, the democratic choice of the enlightened ballot harvesters of California, desperately wants to be president. Despite pledging not to run against Biden, he’s continuing to posture by announcing an “anti-Jan 6” march (whatever the hell that is) for his inauguration. The one-party governor of one of the most corrupt states in America then spent his speech ranting about Republicans in other states.

California’s unelected governor wants to reframe freedom to mean mandatory masks and car bans. Not to mention state censorship of online speech.

Freedom is slavery, slavery is freedom.

Gavin Newsom triumphantly marched toward California’s statehouse to deliver an inaugural speech that celebrated California’s freedoms and the state’s resistance to forces that “want to take the nation backward.”

“More than any people, in any place, California has bridged the historical expanse between freedom for some, and freedom for all,” he said under cloudy but dry skies for the first time in days.

“Freedom is our essence, our brand name – the abiding idea that right here anyone from anywhere can accomplish anything.”

Except work freelance, drive a truck, buy a car, get disposable utensils, buy a fur coat, install a gas stove or any of the tens of thousands of things that the Democrat one-party system has banned in some or all of the state.

You can do anything in California except open a business, walk down the street, gas up your car or buy a home. It’s the land of dreams, the hotel you check into and then escape through the back window.

California is so incredibly free that, like North Korea, Cuba and Venezuela, everyone is running away.

Gov. Newsom has the unique honor of presiding over a population loss every year in office.

“California’s population continues to dwindle. The state’s population declined by 114,000 people from about 39,143,000 in 2021 to 39,029,000 in 2020, new estimates by the U.S. Census Bureau show. It marks the third straight year that California has reported a loss.”

While Texas and Florida, the states he’s attacking, are gaining people, the only folks California is gaining are coming illegally over the border.

That and sex predators.

Unlike other states, Newsom said, California safeguards freedoms like “the freedom for teachers to teach, freedom from litmus tests about their political party or the person they love.”

California safeguards the right of teachers to “love” the kids of their choice. Republican teachers however get fired.

“They make it harder to vote and easier to buy illegal guns. They silence speech, fire teachers, kidnap migrants, subjugate women, attack the Special Olympics, and even demonize Mickey Mouse,” he said about conservative leaders like DeSantis. “All camouflaged under a hijacking of the word ‘freedom.’”

Whereas in California, Mickey Mouse can expose himself to children. Freedom!

In California, public school teachers, whose insane salaries are subsidized by property taxes no new residents can afford to pay unless they’re millionaires, can groom 9-year-olds. Freedom!

In California, vagrants and junkies have a right to camp in front of your home, but you have to wait 3 years to get a permit to have any work done. Freedom!

In California, a race riot is a civil right while trying to defend yourself against them is a crime. Freedom!

In California, shoplifting is legal, but opening a business isn’t. Freedom!

Wait, why is everyone fleeing the land of the fee and the home of the slave? Wait for the reparations. Stay for the car ban. Or the mandatory ethnic studies. And the race riots. And the tax hikes.

Big population drops in L.A., San Francisco transform state – Los Angeles Times

Why are you leaving the home of freedom? Why?

Do you have something against systemic racism, child abuse, mentally ill vagrants smoking crack, high taxes, and no legal rights whatsoever, you reactionary bigot. You’re taking the nation “backward”.

And California is going backward. Instead of, Go West, Young Man, it’s now Go East.

AUTHOR

RELATED ARTICLE: U.S. National Transportation Safety Board Official Warns of Risks Posed by Heavy Electric Vehicles

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

Political and Scientific Censorship Short-circuits the Quest for Truth

Those who seek to streamline online discourse, according to “official standards”, end up impoverishing public debate.


Over the course of the past decade, numerous regulatory authorities, both public and private, have increasingly positioned themselves as guardians of the integrity of our public sphere, standing watch over the content of information, and flagging or suppressing information deemed to be harmful, misleading, or offensive.

The zeal with which these gatekeepers defend their power over the public sphere became evident when billionaire Elon Musk promised to undo Twitter’s policy of censoring anything that contradicted leftist ideology or questioned the safety of Covid vaccines. There was an uproar, a wringing of hands, and lamentations, as “experts worried” that Twitter would collapse into a den of “far right” extremists and misinformers.

Sound and fury

Threats by the EU Commission to fine Twitter or even completely ban the app in Europe, if it did not enforce EU regulations on hate speech and misinformation, show that the hand-wringing over Twitter’s potential embrace of free speech is much more than empty rhetoric: the European Commission has declared its intention to force Twitter to revert to its old censorship policies if it does not play ball. According to Euronews,

The European Commission has warned Elon Musk that Twitter must do much more to protect users from hate speech, misinformation and other harmful content, or risk a fine and even a ban under strict new EU content moderation rules.

Thierry Breton, the EU’s commissioner for digital policy, told the billionaire Tesla CEO that the social media platform will have to significantly increase efforts to comply with the new rules, known as the Digital Services Act, set to take effect next year.

Censorship has recently occurred principally on two fronts: Covid “misinformation” and “hate speech.” Some forms of censorship are applied by agencies of the State, such as courts and police officers; others by private companies, such as TwitterLinkedIn and Google-YouTube. The net effect is the same in both cases: an increasingly controlled and filtered public sphere, and a shrinking of liberty of discussion around a range of topics deemed too sensitive or “dangerous” to be discussed openly and freely.

Censorship, whether public or private, has proliferated in recent years:

  • First, there was Canada’s bizarre claim that people had an enforceable human right to be referred to by their preferred pronouns
  • Next, UK police were investigating citizens for using language the police deemed “offensive”
  • Then, we saw Big Tech giants, in particular Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, censoring perspectives that dissented from their version of scientific and moral orthodoxy on issues such as transgender rights, vaccine safety, effective Covid treatment protocols, and the origins of SARS-CoV-2.

Now, advocates of censorship have argued that it is all to the good that vile, hateful and discriminatory opinions, as well as every conceivable form of medical and scientific “misinformation,” are shut out of our public sphere. After all, this makes the public sphere a “safe” place for citizens to exchange information and opinions. On this view, we need to purge the public sphere of voices that are toxic, hateful, harmful, and “misleading” on issues like electoral politics, public health policies, and minority rights.

Thin ice

While there is a strong case to be made for censorship of certain forms of manifestly dangerous speech, such as exhortations to suicide or direct incitement to violence, the hand of the censor must be firmly tied behind his back, so that he cannot easily decide for everyone else what is true or false, just or unjust, “accurate” or “misleading”, innocent or offensive.

For once you hand broad, discretionary powers to someone to decide which sorts of speech are offensive, erroneous, misleading, or hate-inducing, they will start to purge the public sphere of views they happen to find ideologically, philosophically, or theologically disagreeable. And there is certainly no reason to assume that their judgement calls on what counts as true or false, innocent or toxic speech will be correct.

The fundamental mistake behind the argument for aggressive censorship policies is the notion that there is a set of Truths out there on contested political and scientific questions that are crystal clear or can be validated by the “right experts”; and that anyone who contradicts these a priori Truths must be either malicious or ignorant. If this were true, the point of public discussion would just be to clarify and unpack what the “experts” agree are the Truths of science and morality.

But there is no such set of pristine Truths that can be validated by human beings independently of a free and open discussion, especially on difficult and complex matters such as infection control, justice, climate change, and economic policy. Rather, the truth must be discovered gradually, through the vibrant back-and-forth of dialoguedebate, refutation, and counter-refutation. In short, public deliberation is fundamentally a discovery process. The truth is not known in advance, but uncovered gradually, as an array of evidence is examined and put to the test, and as rival views clash and hold each other accountable.

If we empower a censor to quash opinions that are deemed by powerful actors to be offensive, false, or misleading, we are effectively short-circuiting that discovery process. When we put our faith in a censor to keep us on the straight and narrow, we are assuming that the censor can stand above the stream of conflicting arguments, and from a position of epistemic and/or moral superiority, pick out the winning positions in advance.

We are assuming that some people are so smart, or wise, or virtuous, that they do not actually need to get their hands dirty and participate in a messy argument with their adversaries, or get their views challenged in public. We are assuming that some people are more expert and well-informed than anyone else, including other recognised experts, and may therefore decide, for everyone else, which opinions are true and which are false, which are intrinsically offensive and which are “civil,” and which are “facts” and which are “fake news.”

Needless to say, this is an extraordinarly naïve and childish illusion, that no realistic grasp of human nature and cognition could possibly support. But it is a naive and childish illusion that has been enthusiastically embraced and propagated by Big Tech companies such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn in their rules of content moderation, and it is a view that is increasingly finding its way into the political discourse and legislative programmes of Western countries that were once champions of freedom of expression.

It is imperative that the advocates of heavy-handed censorship do not win the day, because if they do, then the public sphere will become a hall of mirrors, in which the lazy, self-serving mantras of a few powerful actors bounce, virtually unchallenged, from one platform to another, while dissenting voices are consigned to the shadows and dismissed as the rantings of crazy people.

In a heavily censored public sphere, scientifically weak and morally vacuous views of the world will gain public legitimacy, not because they have earned people’s trust in an open and honest exchange of arguments, but because they have been imposed by the arbitrary will of a few powerful actors.

This article has been republished from David Thunder’s Substack, The Freedom Blog.

AUTHOR

David Thunder

David Thunder is a researcher and lecturer at the University of Navarra’s Institute for Culture and Society. More by David Thunder

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

Apple Crushes Dissent in America and China

Suppressing protests in China and censoring Twitter in America.


The largest lockdown uprising in China took place at facilities run by Apple’s Foxconn supplier where workers had previously jumped to their deaths. After thousands fled the Apple gulag, making their way through the woods and rural areas to freedom, other employees battled with Communist authorities over abusive conditions and treatment in the iGulag.

Apple had nothing to say about the rights of those workers who thought differently enough to break free and fight back. If they were foolish enough to have iPhones, there’s little doubt the company would have eagerly helped authorities track them down to be imprisoned or killed.

“Think Different”, Apple’s slogan, actually means collaborating with a Communist dictatorship where thinking differently is a crime. And it also means suppressing free speech in America.

That’s why Apple is threatening free speech on Twitter just as it’s threatening it in Shanghai.

But that is what the company has always been behind the reality distortion field of its ads. “Think Different” has never meant anything other than, “Shut up and do what the visionaries tell you.”

In the 90s, to celebrate the return of its co-founder, Apple launched an ad campaign with the slogan, “Think Different.”  The campaign with its images of Einstein, MLK, Lennon, Edison and Picasso was meant to suggest that Apple was a unique creative company for aspiring geniuses.

And soon Steve Jobs joined the pantheon of those geniuses. But behind the ad campaign meant to appeal to narcissistic hipsters with disposable incomes was a harder truth.

Jobs, the talented marketer who had positioned Apple as the company fighting totalitarianism with its 1984 ad, was aggressively offshoring the company’s labor to Communist China.

What China had to offer was mass production under a ruthlessly totalitarian system that would, when Jobs decided to revamp the iPhone a month before launch, wake up 8,000 workers at midnight for a 12 hour shift.

At an Obama dinner, Jobs bluntly confirmed, “Those jobs aren’t coming back.”

“What U.S. plant can find 3,000 people overnight and convince them to live in dorms?” Apple’s supply manager asked.

The dorms, where 12 workers live to a tiny room, everyone is monitored and so many have committed suicide that nets were put up to catch the bodies, were the real “Think Different”.

Steve Jobs loved China and the Communist dictatorship loved him back. His famous black turtleneck appeared to echo the Mao suit. There are golden busts of Jobs in China looking like a Communist dictator.When Jobs died, there was hysterical mourning in China. There was no mourning for the deaths of workers at the Foxconn plants where Apple products were made.

A year before Jobs died, fourteen men and women jumped from buildings at Apple’s Foxconn Chinese contractors. Their deaths occasioned much less interest than the outpouring of grief for the author of their misery.

In a notion that could have only come from a satirical story by Kafka and Philip K. Dick or a real life Communist dystopia, workers were forced to sign contracts promising not to kill themselves.

Afterward nets were hung up to catch the falling bodies.

Think Different.

After Jobs’ death, his widow took the money to build the Emerson Collective, pushing social justice in the fine tradition of atoning for evil with more evil, while CEO Tim Cook developed an even more incestuous relationship with Communist China that included signing a secret $275 billion pact to help Communist China develop “the most advanced manufacturing technologies” and vowed to use even more Chinese technology in Apple’s products.

When the Hong Kong protests began, the streets filled with young men and women, most of whom not only owned Apple products, but believed the hype that it was a noble company that didn’t just make gadgets, but aspired to harness human creativity for a better world.

Instead, Apple quickly moved to suppress the protests by removing an app used by the protesters to avoid police. Apple sanctimoniously declared that the protests were endangering “law enforcement and residents in Hong Kong” and claimed that it was responding to “concerned customers” worried that the popular protests threatened “public safety”.

That statement could have been and may have been written by the Communist regime. It should have been enough to finally expose the myth that Apple is animated by a creative spirit, rather than power, greed, and a willing collaboration with Communist mass murderers.

But with protests breaking out against Zero COVID tyranny breaking out in China, people were once again surprised when Apple rushed to aid Communist China’s crackdown by preventing protesters from using AirDrop to communicate and coordinate their activities.

The company wasn’t just once again collaborating with a Communist dictatorship responsible for the murder of countless millions, but it was screwing its own users, the naive students who had paid premium prices for its slave labor products because they believed in Apple.

They believed, like so many Americans and Europeans, that Apple stood for something.

And Apple does. It stands for tyranny.

That’s why Apple is threatening Twitter’s place in its app store because under Elon Musk the platform has begun to offer the very thing Apple is helping China stamp out: freedom.

It’s a mistake to believe that Apple is just doing what it’s told. That’s a fundamental misunderstanding of the company as unfortunate as the one by the protesters risking their lives while believing that Apple wouldn’t kick the chair out from under its users and their movement.

Apple isn’t a great American company, it’s a great Chinese company. Its fundamental worldview  is Maoist. Its simplicity of control isn’t just about manipulating interfaces, but people. Its ad campaigns, from ‘1984’ to ‘Think Different’, have always been regime propaganda. Jobs, unlike his genuinely talented co-founder, Steve Wozniak, held people in contempt. His vision of technology was essentially Communist: depriving people of control for their own good.

China had always understood Steve Jobs, with his Maoist turtleneck, his minimalist aesthetics, ruthlessness and conviction of his own genius, far better than we ever did. The real message of “Think Different” wasn’t that everyone ought to think differently, but that geniuses are a superior group who ought to have the unlimited power to rigorously implement their vision. That is what China offered Jobs. And what Apple offers the Communist elite is the power behind their vision.

Americans haven’t cared very much about Chinese workers hurriedly assembling smartwatches in freezing temperatures or children laboring in mines, but Apple’s tyranny doesn’t stay in China.

Apple’s vision for America isn’t any different than for China. In both countries, Apple helps a leftist elite implement its collectivist vision by offering customers a poisoned chalice of convenience in exchange for data harvesting and control. The company doesn’t empower its customers, it tricks them into giving up control so that they can be better controlled.

That is why it’s coming for Twitter and threatening it over its newfound free speech.

“We have created, for the first time in all history, a garden of pure ideology,” a Big Brother analogue intoned in Apple’s famous 1984 commercial, “secure from the pests purveying contradictory thoughts.”

Jobs was a fan of Orwell’s book. Unfortunately he viewed it as a manual.

Apple has used its illegal app store monopoly to create a walled garden of apps along a pure ideology, secure from contradictory thoughts. Now, much as China is purging political opposition, the company that helped define its new age, is doing the same thing here.

Jobs, who once claimed that PCs were totalitarian and Apple was “the only force that can ensure their future freedom” helped build an oppressive operating system tethered to an app store calculated to deprive users of their freedom. That integrated hardware and software monopoly is one of the great threats to freedom in America and China.

As we approach a 2024 election, more legislators are waking up and fighting back against Apple’s walled app store of ideology. And if the Communist collaborating company comes after Twitter, it may discover that the whirling sledgehammer from its 1984 ad is coming its way.

AUTHOR

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

Amazon Fascists Ban Another Book That Leftists Hate

The battle for the freedom of speech is heating up this week, with Elon Musk chasing out the Twitter fascists and beginning to open up the platform for free discussion and dissent (amid howls of rage from the Left), but the other social media giants are showing no signs of retreating from their fascism. New English Review Press announced Sunday that a book it published back in 2017, The Islam in Islamic Terrorism: The Importance of Beliefs, Ideas, and Ideology by the renowned ex-Muslim scholar Ibn Warraq, has been pulled for sale from Amazon without explanation or the possibility of appeal.

It’s a strange move. I have the privilege and honor of having known Ibn Warraq for many years and calling him my friend. I’ve also read The Islam in Islamic TerrorismBefore I met him, his groundbreaking and courageous work Why I Am Not A Muslim was a powerful influence on me in the 1990s and had a great deal to do with my beginning to write about jihad violence and Sharia oppression of women myself. Ibn Warraq is a gentle soul, a careful scholar, a superb writer, and a profound and original thinker. The Islam in Islamic Terrorism is not some flame-throwing hate screed but a carefully documented exploration of the elements of Islam that jihad terrorists use in order to justify violence and make recruits among peaceful Muslims.

Amazon, however, is run by Leftists, and for Leftists, any criticism of Islam, including any hint that it may have some connection to Islamic terrorism, is “Islamophobic” and thus to be rejected out of hand without any discussion of the actual evidence. For years now, the notorious far-Left smear machine, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), has defamed opponents of jihad violence and Sharia oppression as “hate group leaders,” and Amazon has banned counter-jihad 501c3 charitable organizations from its Amazon Smile charity program on the basis of the SPLC’s “hate” listings.

Amazon has also shown a readiness to ban books that counter the Left’s nonsense. A few years back, the Leftist behemoth banned Ryan Anderson’s When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment. It has also banned other books that jihadis and their allies would find offensive, such as Peter McLoughlin’s Easy Meat: Inside Britain’s Grooming Gang Scandal, and Mohammed’s Koran by McLoughlin and British activist Tommy Robinson.

There is more. Read the rest here.

AUTHOR

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

Credentialism, Crisis and Censorship: How the Left Eliminated Debate

Everything that progressive fascists believe is now an official fact.


“The Big Truth: Upholding Democracy in the Age of the Big Lie,” authored by a CBS reporter and a political activist, is the latest effort by leftists to wrap themselves in the banner of truth.

Media bias has shed its protective coloration of neutrality and blares that its side, leftists, represent the truth and conservatives the ‘lie’. The title of the “The Big Truth”, an otherwise forgettable exercise in virtue signaling, is interesting only because it so perfectly encompasses a media feed that is a mad libs game of “X Republican lied, Y Democrat hopes truth will win out.”

The problem is that this isn’t just propaganda distilled to its raw essence so that every media headline now reads like the title of Al Franken’s “Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them”.

The problem is that the leftists created the infrastructure of a new truth using the three Cs, credentialism, crisis and censorship, to eliminate debate and the marketplace of ideas.

Credentialism has experts, activists, academics, members of leftist think-tanks and non-profits, wrongly described as non-partisan, and other interested figures with degrees, declaring that a leftist narrative, global warming, systemic racism, transgenderism in children, or election results is a fact backed by studies and research. A crisis is declared accompanied by dire warnings that questioning their manufactured truth will cost more lives. In the final stage, censorship, internet monopolies, allied with the media and politicians, suppress disagreement as misinformation.

Before, in between and after the media serves as the connective tissue, promoting partisan hacks as experts, hammering home the crisis and pressuring tech firms to censor dissent.

While pandemic lockdowns will quickly come to mind, the model was operating before then and has come to be used on virtually any issue from refugees to questioning elections (won by the media party) to crime and school sexualization. Everything the Left believes is now a fact and a crisis, disagreeing with it is disinformation, treason and terrorism. The crackdown swiftly follows.

Facts, we are often told, cannot be debated. And since everything the Left believes is a fact, there is no longer any room for debate. Reasonable and intelligent people of good faith, the media tells us, would never disagree with these facts. Only bigot, trolls and extremists peddling disinformation, dissent. And since they disagree with the truth and the facts, they’re liars.

And censoring “extremists” and “liars” has become the new civic duty of internet monopolies. This is the ubiquitous progressive fascism of cancel culture, censorship and endless battles against misinformation that have come to define what used to be the marketplace of ideas.

Questioning the credentials of the experts is an attack on science, facts and the very idea of truth. Civil society, the experts tell us, can’t exist unless we trust them. Anyone who disagrees is out to undermine society and tear apart the official artificial truth that is meant to bind us in the digital Mordor being built by mighty tech monopolies one server farm and fact check at a time.

Add on the second C, crisis, and there isn’t even any time or space to debate the ethics of silencing political dissent while people are dying from cow flatulence, law enforcement or an inability to speedily sexually mutilate children. Censorship becomes more urgent than ever.

Declaring that their opinions are “truth” and that any disagreement is a “lie” is a crucial element.

The media’s narrative is more than just propaganda. The rhetoric you used to hear from Franken, Stewart and Colbert has become a crucial part of a massive censorship scheme. But by focusing on the negative, the censorship of dissent, it’s easy to miss what has actually happened, which is a manufactured consensus tying together the government, the media, think-tanks and non-profits, academia and internet monopolies in one totalitarian system.

Progressive fascism suppresses disagreement in order to unilaterally impose its official “truths”.

At the heart of the debate is the question of what truth is and how we arrive at it. Media bias and debates over what objective journalism is run up against the “new truths” every time.

A simple bit of factual objective reporting might be that Bob X shot Jack Y in the head in the middle of Main Street. Caught on camera, what went on down is the indisputable truth. The new truth, the one that increasingly shows up in media coverage, is that systemic racism, income inequality and the lack of gun control laws led to a shooting on Main Street. Bob and Jack, like all individuals, are mere bit players in the larger leftist sociopolitical dramas of class and race.

The school shooter is an afterthought in the scramble to call for new gun control laws, the rapist is just a figment of abortion laws and misogyny, hurricane victims have to make way for reports about global warming. The traditional leftist belief that people are just pawns of the academic phenomena pervades the media because it represents the new truth.

The new truth treats a worldview as a fact. Individuals in the media have become types, irrelevant as people, vital only in that they convey the larger leftist worldview. A school shooting victim who advocates for gun control can easily gain a national profile, but one who calls for locking up criminals never will.

Journalists used to think that truths were personal, not political. The new truth has reversed everything with the ultimate truths being political and personal truths relegated to the anecdotal.

Who, What, When, Where, and Why has been reduced to only the last W. Only the ‘Why’ matters and the answers are always political. The ‘Why’ is systemic racism, global warming, a lack of gun control laws, the patriarchy, capitalism, homophobia, colonialism, and the rest of the attacks on civilization. The other four Ws are just there to provide examples to illustrate the fifth.

The media wraps itself in the banner of the truth because it’s retreating from the facts. Its fact checks, a crucial tool for both credentialism and crisis, will often deem things that are true to be false because they lack context. And given enough of the right context, things that are factually false can be made to seem true and things that are factually true can appear false.

Credentialism makes narratives seem to resemble facts. But the narrative is a belief system that contends that leftist ideas are absolutely true in some higher sense, despite failing to work in real life. It’s the ‘truthiness’ that Colbert made his career mocking, with activists in expert drag to make it seem as if it’s the product of objective research rather than feelings.

The Left is not a movement of facts, no movement is. People are not passionately driven to fight and die, to uproot lives and transform society by objective facts and research studies. They fight out of love and hate, a desire for independence, tribalism, greed, ego, idealism and a search for meaning and a thousand other intangibles that are part of human nature, not for facts.

Emerging in an era where scientific discoveries were changing the world, the Left has always garbed its prejudices, biases, drives and malice in the veneer of academic theory. Its genius has been to bridge the lower realm of the peasant revolt with the intellectualism of the salon, the mind and the heart, claiming the sanction of both reason and empathy when it has neither.

The new truth is more of the same. Its truth is the conviction that the holistic leftist worldview is factually accurate in all of its details. The expert credentialism deployed to create facts and then fact checks is just apologia for an ideological movement. What used to be propaganda, activists in expert drag, has morphed into full progressive fascism that is out to impose its truth on you.

And to silence everyone who disagrees.

AUTHOR

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REPORT: Musk Plans To End Lifetime Twitter Bans

Twitter CEO Elon Musk intends to end the practice of permanently banning users from the platform, according to a report by Bloomberg.

Musk, whose months long bid to buy Twitter involved several attempts to escape a deal first brokered in April, apparently does not believe in permanently banning users for their speech, Bloomberg reported Friday, citing an anonymous source familiar with the matter. People who had previously been banned, such as former U.S. President Donald Trump, might be allowed to return under this new policy.

“Twitter will be forming a content moderation council with widely diverse viewpoints,” Musk announced Friday afternoon, hours after the report broke. “No major content decisions or account reinstatements will happen before that council convenes.”

The report comes one day after Musk promised advertisers that, despite his commitment to turn Twitter into a “digital town square, where a wide range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy manner,” that “Twitter obviously cannot become a free-for-all hellscape,” in a Thursday morning tweet. Twitter would attempt to show ads that are as targeted as possible to users, since the more relevant the ad is, the more engaging it becomes, Musk said.

“Fundamentally, Twitter aspires to be the most respected advertising platform in the world,” said Musk Thursday. Some advertisers are reportedly planning to suspend advertising on the platform should Trump’s ban be reversed, according to The Wall Street Journal.

One Twitter user, who has over 853,000 followers at time of writing, alleged in a Thursday evening tweet that they remain “[s]hadowbanned, ghostbanned, searchbanned” on the platform, referring to a variety of alleged moderation techniques that surreptitiously reduce a user’s online presence, and that the platform was removing their followers. Musk promised in a Friday morning tweet that he was “digging in more today.”

Musk became the sole owner of the social media giant following the closure of a $44 billion takeover attempt that concluded on Thursday, with one of Musk’s first actions reportedly being to fire several top Twitter executives. At the moment, Musk has taken over as CEO, but may give the role up in the future, Bloomberg reported.

Twitter did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

AUTHOR

JOHN HUGH DEMASTRI

Contributor.

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The Fascists at The New Republic Say Free Speech Will ‘Help Ruin America’

“Why Elon Musk’s Idea of ‘Free Speech’ Will Help Ruin America”

Saying the quiet part out loud.

The New Republic, pre-takeover, was liberal and believed in things like free speech and America.

Post-takeover by a Facebook billionaire and then assorted other leftists, it hates free speech. Literally.

“Why Elon Musk’s Idea of “Free Speech” Will Help Ruin America,” is the hot take headline.

You know this is going to be stunning when the leading argument is…

The pro-Musk arguments are complete nonsense, and there are innumerable historical and modern examples of why social media platforms with nearly unlimited freedom of speech produce horrors. The Supreme Court decided free speech isn’t absolute long ago, when Chief Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes noted that you can’t shout “Fire!” in a crowded theater, for obvious reasons.

The “obvious reason” was a Socialist criticizing the WWI draft. That was the actual case in question.

No one at The New Republic predictably knows this. Certainly, the author, Mr. “Brynn” Tannehill, a RAND analyst and transgender advocate, has any idea that the dumb legal meme long ago joined the dustbin of history alongside segregation and slavery.

Tannehill squeals about “disinformation” while spreading it. The New Republic article is vintage hot take disinformation. Had anyone from the right written it, it would be pointed to as evidence that unfettered free speech spreads misinformation. But the Left doesn’t want a better marketplace of ideas, but a monopoly on bad hot takes and idiotic propaganda.

Any suggestion that the sort of “free speech” they envision can have highly undesirable consequences is met with howls of “Libs hate free speech” or other accusations of fascism. Similarly, warnings that unfettered free speech results in dangerous misinformation spreading are derided with “Sunlight is the best disinfectant” and the libertarian belief that in the marketplace of ideas, the best will always win out.

Only fascists want free speech.

Free speech doesn’t necessarily mean that the right ideas or the best ones, good ones or even decent ones will win out. It’s just the alternative to a totalitarian system in which the worst ones will be mandated by the government.

Fascists and other bad guys, including Communists and assorted leftists do exploit free speech (that’s why the ACLU came into being before it decided that it had enough power to get rid of free speech) and they shut it down in a New York minute when they take power.

The whole point of a marketplace of ideas is not that it rewards good speech, but that it prevents any one group from having a monopoly on speech. And that monopoly is exactly what the Left wants. It claims that only fascists benefit from free speech while defining, Soviet style, anyone who disagrees with it as fascists. That’s what progressive fascists do.

AUTHOR

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Elon Musk Finally Takes Over Twitter, Fires Top Executives

After a months long legal battle, SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk officially reached a deal with Twitter on Thursday to become the sole owner of the social media giant in a historic shakeup of the tech industry, according to multiple sources.

The deal, initially agreed upon in April, takes Twitter private at $54.20 per share, a roughly $44 billion transaction that the tech mogul has previously attempted to escape over claims that he was misled about the number of spam or “bot” accounts on the platform. As one of his first moves, Musk reportedly fired several top executives, including CEO Parag Agrawal, chief financial officer Ned Segal, and Vijaya Gadde, head of legal policy, trust, and safety, The Washington Post reported.

Gadde oversaw many content moderation decisions, drawing criticism from conservatives and Republicans for a censorship-heavy approach, and was heavily involved in the decision to kick off former President Donald Trump following the Jan. 6 Capitol riots.

While Musk’s exact plans for the platform are not yet known at time of writing, he has made several public comments, primarily on Twitter itself, stressing the importance of the medium as a forum that protects “free speech,” according to The Washington Post. However, Musk has clearly stated that he intends to reverse the ban on former President Donald Trump’s Twitter account, a decision he characterized as “flat out stupid,” at an event hosted by the Financial Times.

“For Twitter to deserve public trust, it must be politically neutral,” Musk tweeted on April 27, weeks after the initial deal was made. “which effectively means upsetting the far right and the far left equally.”

Musk has also reportedly told investors supporting his bid to purchase the company that he intends to lay off roughly 75% of the tech giant’s staff, cutting the company to just 2,000 workers, The Washington Post reported. Musk has publicly commented that he believes the company is overstaffed, but former Twitter employees and tech analysts have criticized the move as being too drastic, potentially exposing the company to security and moderation issues.

Musk has been vocal about his intention to use Twitter as a stepping stone to create an app known as X, which he describes as “the everything app.” When a Twitter user claimed that it would have been less difficult to simply build X from scratch, Musk countered that the purchase would shave 3 to 5 years of development time, although he hedged the claim by admitting “I could be wrong.”

Critics have argued that a Musk takeover will cause the platform to be more prone to spreading misinformation and incentivize or encourage dangerous practices that will harm women and people of color on the platform, The Hill reported. Angelo Carusone, president of left-wing media watchdog Media Matters, compared Musk’s attempted acquisition to the formation of Fox News, an organization he characterized as having a “distorting effect” on U.S. media, in an interview with The Hill.

“Elon Musk is about to rip open Pandora’s box and flood the internet once again with hate, misogyny, racism and conspiracy theories,” said Bridget Todd, communications director of feminist advocacy organization UltraViolet in an Oct. 4 statement. “We should all be terrified.”

AUTHOR

JOHN HUGH DEMASTRI

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Federal Government Targeted Dissenting News Organizations & Got Them Censored on Social Media

They claimed to be going after “misinformation.” Of course. Do you think that the notorious fascist regimes of the past did anything other than claim that their censorship was protecting the public from “lies”?

Enemies list? Fed-backed censorship machine targeted 20 news sites

by Greg Piper, Just the News, October 1, 2022:

The private consortium that reported election “misinformation” to tech platforms during the 2020 election season, in “consultation” with federal agencies, targeted several news organizations in its dragnet.

Websites for Just the News, New York Post, Fox News, Washington Examiner, Washington Times, Epoch Times and Breitbart were identified among the 20 “most prominent domains across election integrity incidents” that were cited in tweets flagged by the Election Integrity Partnership and its collaborators.

The Washington Post, New York Times and CNN also appeared on the list, though the consortium’s after-action report emphasizes most of the mainstream media reports “were referenced as fact-checks” that played a “corrective role” against “misleading narratives.”

The report also identified the 21 “most prominent repeat spreaders [of misinformation] on Twitter,” all of them politically classified as “right.” Actor James Woods led that group, followed by The Gateway Pundit blog, Donald Trump Jr. and President Trump himself. The report emphasized 15 were verified by Twitter.

The Stanford Internet Observatory, University of Washington’s Center for an Informed Public, think tank Atlantic Council, and social media analytics firm Graphika claimed their consortium had a 35% success rate getting flagged content removed, throttled or labeled.

The Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, the State Department, and liberal groups such as the Democratic National Committee, also flagged purported misinformation through the consortium.

“No news organization should be subjected to an enemies/censorship list for reporting newsworthy facts” Just the News Editor in Chief John Solomon said in a statement. “It’s even more egregious that this censorship machinery was prodded, aided and sanctioned by the federal government.”

Individuals and organizations named on the lists told Just the News they put no stock in the designations.

“Gateway Pundit is reviewing its legal options,” General Counsel John Burns wrote in an email, calling the “fascist, public-private partnership … a very simple nexus or entwinement case, with deep Supreme Court precedent.”

“How is this any different from what happens in Communist Party-controlled China?” publisher Jim Hoft said. “The scary thing is, the EIP is only a single office within the greater government-wide Ministry of Truth.”

“We noticed a massive drop off on and around the 2020 elections. It got really bad after [Jan. 6, 2021],” paired with apparent “increased leftwing bot activity,” Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk wrote in a text message.

“Compared to my engagement on every other platform, there’s no question that this new revelation fits with our lived experience on Twitter,” he said. “That tax payer dollars are being spent to censor half the country is a travesty and whoever is behind this must be held accountable.”

“The definition of ‘disinformation’ is now any reported facts that go against the world view of the political establishment,” Breitbart News Editor in Chief Alexander Marlow wrote in an email.

The consortium “relies on innuendo and insinuation to imply we are not trustworthy and thus should be censored” rather than accusing Breitbart “of publishing inaccurate stories,” he said. The company is being targeted for “having a massively powerful platform that leads the political conversation every single day.”

“We’re in the middle of what I would call the ‘Great Suppression,’” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton told Just the News. He was suspended by Twitter for several months for comments on hydroxychloroquine.

“Censorship is a civil rights issue,” he wrote in a text message. “Not only do we have the right to speak, but we have the right to petition the government and be free from retaliation.”

“This is the destruction of American liberty right before our eyes,” conservative activist Pamela Geller wrote in an email. She called it “more than just campaign rhetoric … This is a fascist regime aiming to criminalize political dissent.”

Human Events senior editor Jack Posobiec said “the crooked scumbags that run the regime target me so often” because they are “terrified” of him.

“We are not going to stop fighting for freedom until their entire edifice [is] torn down,” he vowed….

AUTHOR

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$30K a year, and my kid can’t tell the difference between a boy and a girl

Parents must hold their local school systems accountable for what is taught to their children.


Everything has a price.

Like every American family, our family runs a constant cost/benefit analysis on our lives. There are the small decisions: is it worth the time to drive to Target for the cheaper diapers? Or should I just get the pricier ones at the grocery store? And there are the bigger ones: like, should I live in the suburbs and pay lower taxes but more for car expenses and gas? Or flip that decision?

For our family, one of the toughest decisions was where to send our kids to school. We could send them across the street to the poorly performing public school for free. They’d meet a wide variety of kids and learn some valuable self-advocacy skills, but they would not be academically challenged. For $30k, I could send them to the nearby private school, where they’d benefit from engaged teachers, kids, and families. We’d have to drop the music lessons and fancy trips, but hey — I don’t like Disneyland anyway.

So, with some scholarships, sacrifices, and family assistance, we made the choice to send our kids to a fancy private school. The benefits have been great: warm, caring, patient teachers; outstanding academics; beautiful buildings; even a pretty good lunch. But there’s been a hidden cost, beyond the incredibly painful tuition bills: my kids can’t tell the difference between a boy and a girl.

This seems shocking, I know. How can a concept so obvious, so instinctual that nearly every 2-year-old on the planet can master it, be an idea that my very expensively-educated children don’t understand?

Simple-minded educators

Because some teachers don’t understand it. Because some administrators don’t understand it. And this is where I have to remind myself of something true: half the world is dumber than average.

I know this sounds incredibly snobby. I know this sounds judgmental and awful, but this is true. And this fact helps me take a breath, find some compassion, and slow down.

These teachers are good people. They are kind. They like kids, and want the best for children. They believe that education can make the world a better place. And additionally, they were hired for their people skills: they are empathetic, good communicators, patient, and open-minded. Those are exactly the skills my tuition dollars are paying for.

But these teachers are not well-trained critical thinkers. They were not hired for their ability to analyse complex research studies, nor to follow the various paths of different complex scenarios. They are not philosophers, ethicists, or religious scholars. They are not lawyers or developmental psychologists. They are not endocrinologists or pediatricians. They are experts at connecting to kids and explaining the types of K-12 content that kids should learn. Thank god for teachers and their talents and skills. Our society needs them. But they are not the experts here. They are just trying to do their jobs.

So when faced with the concept of “gender identity” — the idea that “people have an innate feeling of being female or male,” the typical teacher will say “Sure — that makes sense. I’m female, I know it. That’s not a controversial idea.”

When faced with the diagnostic definition of “gender dysphoria”, the idea that “some people have great distress with their biological sex, and wish they were the opposite sex,” these teachers say, “Sure — I know about Jazz Jennings and Caitlyn Jenner. That’s a real thing.”

When faced with the fact of “Disorders of Sexual Development” (formerly known as Intersex conditions), the scientifically observed and natural phenomena of various biological sexual characteristics and markers, teachers say, “Yep — I learned about that once.”

And when urged to consider the negative impacts of the difficulty of being an outlier, and the impacts of social isolation and/or ostracism, the teachers say, “Not on my watch. My cousin was gay and poorly treated. I won’t let any of my kids be bullied or left out.”

So when teachers combine all these ideas and impressions and blend them into their natural “be nice” personalities and “open-minded” natures, they are primed to become believers and advocates of transgender ideology. If Johnny likes skirts and thinks he’s really a girl inside, who are we to judge? We really can’t blame the teachers. They were born this way.

So our society has laid yet another burden of expectation on teachers. They must educate kids, they must socialise kids, they must address and resolve the emotional and behavioural dysfunctions of these kids. And now they must be responsible for nurturing, protecting, and advocating for the “internal feeling of being female or male” for a kid, otherwise they’ll be held responsible for the kid’s ostracism.

This is nuts. These teachers don’t stand a chance.

To the top

So we can’t fight the teachers. We’ve got to get the administrators and school boards to stop, listen, and think. These people were hired to be critical thinkers, to balance different opinions, to consider the different consequences of different choices. They still aren’t likely to read the studies or think through the ethical or philosophical consequences of different complex scenarios, but they are primed to consider one thing above all: legal threats.

Right now, principals and school boards are hiding behind the guidelines that WPATH (an activist-led organisation), the American Psychological Association, the National Association of School Psychologists, and the National Association of Secondary School Principals have created. These organisations have good intentions, but they are also human and flawed (and remember — half their members are below average). Even the ACLU seems to have lost its mind on this topic.

I suggest American parents adopt the “Maya Forstater Approach.” This strategy, based on the case in England, relies on fundamental and constitutional American legal rights: free speech and free religion. I don’t care if you haven’t been to church ever. This is what you say to your school board:

“For scientific, religious, and social reasons, I do not believe that you can change your sex, and I do not want my children to be taught “gender identity”, the belief that you have a gendered soul, and that your gender soul feelings trump your biology. How is your school protecting my family’s religious beliefs and our right to be free from compelled speech?”

Ask your school’s principal this question every Fall. Send it as a statement to your kids’ teachers every fall. Tell them to inform you of any lesson on gender identity before it happens so that your children can have a substitute lesson. Ask them what their policy on requesting pronouns is, so that your child does not feel compelled to use certain speech. Ask them how they balance different opinions on this topic in the community.

I can guarantee you they do not see this as a religious issue, but as a social justice issue. Say the magic words “freedom of religion/freedom from religion” and “freedom of speech” and see if that works. We’ve got a long history of protecting underdogs in this country, and right now the culture glorifies the status of victim. Use this knowledge wisely.

And here’s the thing: this is going to cost you. Be ready. Do the cost/benefit analysis. Whether your kids are getting a free public education or an expensive private one, when you ruffle the feathers of the principal, the winds blow. Then again, if you remain silent, your kid may not understand that sex never changes. Be prepared. Everything has a cost.

This article has been republished from Parents with Inconvenient Truths about Trans (PITT).

BY

Anonymous author

In exceptional circumstances, MercatorNet allows contributors to publish articles anonymously. Sometimes the author’s privacy or safety might be at risk. More by Anonymous author.

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Psychologist Explains the Unhealthy Incentives Behind ‘Cancel Culture’

Jonathan Haidt, author of ‘The Righteous Mind,’ says one of the marks of an open and civil society is that individuals are not afraid to share opinions.


If there was a video documenting every second of my life, you can bet it would contain some pretty stupid comments I’ve made over the years. I would also probably be reminded of some opinions I no longer believe. If you’re being honest with yourself, yours likely would be equally cringe.

The things we have said in the past may not have been outrageously offensive, but we have all made comments, or held opinions, we later regret. We are, after all, inherently flawed creatures.

But imagine if one instance of poor judgment or one “fringe” opinion stuck with you forever. This is the problem our society is now facing with the prevalence of cancel culture.

In 2016, then-high school freshman Mimi Groves posted a video to Snapchat in which she used a racial slur. The video later circulated around her school, though it wasn’t met with controversy at the time.

Fellow classmate Jimmy Galligan hadn’t seen the footage until last year when the two were seniors—four years after it first made the rounds at Heritage High School. By this time, Groves had moved on to focus on her role as varsity cheer captain with big dreams of attending the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, a school known for its nationally ranked cheer squad.

For Groves, summer 2020 had been a time of celebration as she found out she had been accepted to the university’s cheer team. But her joy was short-lived when the death of George Floyd rightly outraged the nation, sparking a resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Like many teens, Groves used her social media platforms to urge people to protest, donate, and sign petitions in support of ending police brutality. It was then that her unfortunate video came back to haunt her.

“You have the audacity to post this, after saying the N-word,” one commenter, unknown to the teen, posted on her Instagram.

That’s when her phone began ringing nonstop.

Galligan had held onto the video made four years earlier and had chosen to celebrate Groves’ admission to UT by blasting the footage to every major social media platform.

As the video began going viral, public outrage ensued, calling for the university to rescind her acceptance.

Capitulating to the mob, UT removed her from their cheer team, a decision that resulted in Groves withdrawing from the school because of what she perceived as pressure from the school’s admissions office.

Make no mistake, making racial slurs of any kind is demeaning and inappropriate behavior. But is one comment made four years prior enough to ruin the future of a teen who hadn’t even entered adulthood yet?

The court of public opinion said yes, without giving Groves any chance at redemption.

Groves’ story is just one of many.

Cancel culture has become more widespread over the last several years than anyone could have imagined. When I penned this article on the topic two years ago, I had no idea the problem would escalate to the level it has reached today.

But cancel culture isn’t reserved only for those who have made distasteful comments in the past.

Today, those espousing any opinion that goes against “woke” rhetoric are ridiculed online, fired from their jobs, and some are banned from using popular social media platforms altogether.

One University of North Carolina Wilmington professor, Mike Adams, even took his own life after tweets construed as offensive pushed him into early retirement after years of service to the institution.

Jonathan Haidt, author of The Righteous Mind and co-author of The Coddling of the American Mindhas been an outspoken critic of the cancel culture phenomenon for some time.

“Part of a call-out culture is you get credit based on what someone else said if you ‘call it out,'” he said in a 2018 interview.

This virtue signaling, which is really just a means of proving to society how “good” and “moral” your views are, is only half of the equation, however. Cancel culture is also about personal destruction, which is obvious in Groves’ situation, since Galligan didn’t use this ammunition against her until the time was ripe for maximum harm.

“It(cancel culture) has reached a level of personal vindictiveness, where people go out of their way to find ways the things other people say could be construed as insensitive,” Haidt said.

Slurs and inappropriate comments aside, cancel culture has made people scared to share their opinions lest they be condemned for thinking “incorrectly” about any given issue.

We now live in an era where people are constantly looking over their shoulders, or computer screens, worried that whatever opinion they post might make them victims of cancel culture.

There is no opportunity to change one’s mind, nor is there room to defend opinions you genuinely believe. And this is a huge problem for any civil society.

Haidt spoke of the importance of protecting open dialogue so that we may live in a society filled with varying opinions from which to choose.

“One of the most important [aspects] is that people are not afraid to share their opinions – they’re not afraid that they’re going to be shamed socially for disagreeing with the dominant opinion,” Haidt said.

The odds are high that your opinions about certain issues will change over time. However, some may not, and you shouldn’t live in fear that your beliefs will be met with social condemnation and isolation.

We are no longer given the room to share our opinions today because we are no longer able to disagree with each other respectfully.

You’re not always going to agree with everything other people say — not your professors, your classmates, or your parents. In fact, you might even find that your own views change as you learn new things and grow as a person and adult.

But having the freedom to consider all opinions and decide what you genuinely believe is vital to the human experience and civil discourse.

There is a market of choice in all things, from what clothes you wear, products you buy, and what ideas you subscribe to.

When you go shopping, you might not like the first outfit you try. You might not even like the second or third. But trying on different looks, or opinions, allows you to think for yourself and figure out what it is you want, or believe.

To be truly open-minded, you must be able to consider all opinions, instead of condemning any thought contrary to your own. The free exchange of ideas pushes individuals to share unique ideas and allows for opinions to evolve.

Dissent is what makes democracy strong. Our Constitution has outlasted so many others because the Founders disagreed and debated with each other until they crafted a document that fostered “a more perfect union” than had ever been seen before. We would be wise not to forget the example they set.

Put simply, shaming others doesn’t work. It’s purely punitive, and self-aggrandizing. It also rarely changes a person’s mind and often further radicalizes their beliefs, widening the divide already growing in our country.

To foster a world where ideas can be freely expressed, Pacific Legal Foundation will be hosting an event this Friday featuring Haidt that will examine the many ways free speech serves as a central tenet of innovation, community, and civil society, and how we can preserve and protect this fundamental value that makes our society so extraordinary.

Without the ability to speak freely and consider all opinions, civil discourse cannot occur. In its absence, society as we know it will cease to exist and the divides between us will continue to grow.

AUTHOR

Brittany Hunter

Brittany is a writer for the Pacific Legal Foundation. She is a co-host of “The Way The World Works,” a Tuttle Twins podcast for families.

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

AG Who Tried to Sic FBI on Parents Speaking Out at School Board Meetings Warns of ‘Threat to Democracy’

If it hadn’t been obvious before, it’s long since become a basic reality that those shouting loudest about “threats to democracy” are the threat.

Attorney General Merrick Garland warned about threats to democracy in the U.S. and abroad in a commencement speech at Harvard University on Sunday.

“Threats to democracy in the U.S. and abroad” is a convenient way to connect external and internal opposition, and thus use counterintelligence and other tools meant to be deployed against foreign adversaries against Republicans.

We know this is true because this is what Obama/Biden has done. And we’re not just talking Trump Russiagate.

Not all that long ago, AG Garland sicced the FBI on parents speaking out at school board meetings. And that was the second draft. This was the first draft.

Early demands from the National School Boards Association to the White House included calling for the deployment of the Army National Guard and the military police to monitor school board meetings, according to an early draft letter the organization’s independent review released Friday.

I can’t think of a more basic community level form of democracy than school boards.

But here’s AG Garland going on about “threats to democracy”.

Garland, who is a Harvard alumnus, pointed to efforts to undermine the right to vote, violence against particular groups of people, the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol and the Russian invasion of Ukraine abroad as the “many ways in which democracy is under threat.”

There we go. Conflate Russia with the Capitol riot with state voting regulations, treat them all as a military/intel threat that must be crushed. And that’s how you end up with the Biden admin flirting with the idea of sending the National Guard to school board meetings.

Threats to democracy? Look in the mirror.

AUTHOR

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

DHS: ‘Domestic violent extremists’ are ‘infiltrating’ the abortion debate

What would we do without the Department of Homeland Security? Those intrepid defenders of our liberties are showing these days how richly they deserve our taxpayer billions, as DHS officials, ever on the watch, warned on Monday that “domestic violent extremists” are “infiltrating” the national debate over abortion, with nefarious plans to “incite violence amongst their supporters.”

Now, I must admit, I’m not as sharp as the all the knives in the drawer over at the DHS, and I don’t have my finger on the pulse of threats to “our democracy,” which Leftists are constantly telling us is in imminent peril from people who believe in the U.S. Constitution and the basic goodness of the American experiment. So I hope that Alejandro Mayorkas and his henchmen, that is, colleagues, at the DHS will forgive me for not realizing that domestic violent extremists have only recently infiltrated the abortion debate. I had the crazy idea that domestic violent extremists had actually infiltrated the abortion debate decades ago; in fact, I thought they had been there from the very beginning. After all, there are people out there who think that those who dismember babies in the womb are performing a decent and righteous act; if that’s not domestic violent extremism, what is?

But that is, of course, not the kind of domestic violent extremism that the DHS has in mind. To be sure, our intrepid defenders didn’t specify exactly what kind of domestic violent extremism they did have in mind. ABC News reported that the DHS official who disclosed this warning “did not specify which side, if any, the extremists were taking.” However, it’s not hard to figure out which side the DHS has in mind. The FBI, as well as DHS officials, have quite frequently repeated the claim that “white supremacists” are the most formidable “domestic extremist” threat that the nation faces today.

This is an administration that has likened parents who have protested at school board meetings against Communist indoctrination and transgender propaganda in public schools to terrorists, while not saying a thing about genuine Antifa violence and thuggery, so when the DHS warns that “domestic violent extremists” are infiltrating the abortion debate, it’s absolutely certain that the people they are tarring with this label are pro-lifers. And while there have been a handful of pro-lifers who were violent in the past, it’s far more likely that DHS is equating dissenting words with violence.

Why do I say that? Because it has happened to me. Last year, the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT), an organization created by Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, and YouTube to police terrorism on the Internet, bizarrely designated my organization Jihad Watch a “violent extremist” group, despite the fact that pretty much all we do is type and report on jihad activity in the U.S. and around the world. In response to a letter from my attorney demanding a retraction, the GIFCT refused to back down. Those who designated Jihad Watch as a “violent extremist” group explained that we reported on violent activity — terrorist bombings, murders, etc. — and that this in some way “dehumanized” Muslims.

How we did this was left unexplained; it would have been impossible to explain, as it was absurd on its face. If reporting news that puts some group in a bad light is “dehumanizing,” the GIFCT and DHS should go after the establishment media for “dehumanizing” Trump and his supporters. The response to my attorney’s letter was essentially the increasingly common Leftist argument that speech that dissents from its party line is violence, and hence must be shut down.

DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, fresh from defending his sinister and Orwellian new Disinformation Governance Board, promises that his department is right on top of this alleged “domestic violent extremist” threat: “Over the past year, we in the Department of Homeland Security have improved and strengthened our approach to combating this dynamic, evolving threat.”

How reassuring. Meanwhile, Leftist pro-abortion ideologues have been demonstrating at the homes of the Supreme Court Justices who are likely to vote to overturn Roe v. Wade in a naked attempt to intimidate them into changing their vote. Despite the fact that it is a felony to demonstrate at private homes, the Biden administration has applauded these protests. The government is presently in the hands of thugs who believe that bullying and frightening people into submission is an acceptable political tactic. Can the DHS, in such an environment, spare even a few agents to try to head off any possible Leftist violence regarding a possible overturning of Roe? After all, Leftists are much, much more likely to be violent than pro-lifers. This is true both historically and recently and is indicated by the nature of what they’re so avidly defending.

AUTHOR

Robert Spencer

Senior Fellow.

EDITORS NOTE: This Center for Security Policy column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.