Tag Archive for: politics

Is Harvard hopelessly woke? What Harvard is really like

Like most things, Harvard is what one makes of it — and this can include experiences rooted in faith and friendship. 

Harvard is often seen as the archetypal American university, offering a model that many others seek to emulate. So, as a new school year and new application season begin, it seems fitting to ask: what is this storied institution really like anyway? Is it home to heroes or heretics? Maker of gods… or the godless? My response is quite simple: neither extreme is accurate. Harvard is not as heavenly as some think; fortunately, it’s not as bad either.

My college decision was practically effortless. Harvard, I was told, offered everything a motivated, book-smart student could want: challenging courses; fabulous research opportunities; world-class professors; and, most importantly, insightful, intrepid, intellectually curious peers.

I envisioned a campus alive with students who genuinely loved learning, who asked big questions and pursued them to their limits, who discussed Dostoyevsky at lunch and astrophysics at dinner, and who would challenge, shape, and inspire me over the course of our college journey.

Needless to say, this vision wasn’t entirely accurate. Arriving on campus last fall, I was surprised to find that many of my peers did not choose Harvard out of a deep, reverent hunger for veritas. Rather, their motives were primarily mercenary: they had enrolled for the degree and the connections. Almost every Harvard student I know really is a smart, accomplished individual; test scores and ambition, however, are not necessarily synonymous with intellectual curiosity.

Lowered standards, heightened biases  

Critics of Harvard tend to focus on academic standards and political bias. In terms of academics, it is telling that Harvard’s two most popular concentrations are economics and government. Read: wealth and power. Students with these two goals are incentivised to take easy courses whenever possible: between grade inflation and the competitive nature of consulting applications, a B from a fabulous but challenging professor just won’t do.

As such, students offset rigorous concentration requirements with “gems,” pleasant, untaxing courses in which A’s are guaranteed and learning is optional. Last fall alone, over 800 students enrolled in a gen-ed course fittingly entitled “Sleep,” though how many attended more than one lecture remains unclear.

Administrators, meanwhile, do little to counter this trend. Notorious gems (“Sleep” excepted) are occasionally identified and restructured, but with tuition-paying customers to please and a reputation to maintain, addressing lowered standards will be essentially impossible.

The real tragedy is not the proliferation of easy A’s but the slow suffocation of liberal arts education. In lieu of a robust core is a smattering of “distributional requirements” easily satisfied by niche, fringe, or downright non-substantive courses. In other words, “Sleep” might be the only science course a Harvard student ever takes.

Thus, it’s possible to graduate from Harvard without challenging one’s prejudices, without genuinely exploring different disciplines, and without ever diverting one’s gaze from the holy trinity of law, finance, and consulting. Alas, the utilitarian ethos prevails; it was never about veritas anyway.

Harvard critics’ true concern, however, is not academic standards but politics — just how radical is the “Kremlin on the Charles”? According to the numbers, very. While 82 percent of Harvard faculty identify as liberal or very liberal, a mere 1 percent identify as conservative, and none identify as very conservative. The student body, luckily, boasts slightly more ideological diversity: conservative or very conservative individuals made up 6 percent of the Class of 2022, and nearly 70 percent were progressive or very progressive.

Can academic freedom, civil discourse, or mere open-mindedness thrive in such an environment? Here are a few illustrative examples that make it tempting to view Harvard as a powerful brainwashing machine:

First, my hallmates and I attended a mandatory, dorm-wide meeting at the start of the academic year to discuss the hookup culture. We were tasked with creating explanatory posters exploring the hookup culture in its various dimensions. One group of students crafted a suitably vague definition of “hookup” for their poster, while another brainstormed adjectives to describe hookups (highlights include “exciting” and “experimental”). Not once were other approaches to sex and dating, let alone inconvenient biological realities (sex not infrequently makes babies), ever mentioned.

Second, this past semester I watched a trembling professor issue a formal apology at the behest of her outraged students and teaching staff. Her crime: reading aloud a passage from Invisible Man — a novel advocating civil rights and equality — that contained a racial epithet. Although this incident had occurred during a discussion section before a small subset of enrollees, critics swiftly and loudly demanded that she ask the entire class for forgiveness. Pressuring a professor to apologise for her language threatens academic freedom. Critics certainly deserve a voice, but not at the expense of their professor’s.

Finally, I saw a formerly well-liked friend ostracised by her residential housemates during her last month at Harvard. This jovial, whip-smart senior was a Latina Democrat; she volunteered regularly at a youth homeless shelter, vocally advocated racial justice, and actively disliked Trump. Just participating in two pro-life rallies, it turns out, was enough to outweigh all of that.

Faith, friendship, and signs of hope

While such everyday occurrences make it tempting to believe that Harvard is a lost cause, there are two important limiting factors that suggest otherwise. First, because Harvard is a very large institution — with twelve graduate and professional schools, fifty concentrations in the undergraduate college, and an extensive array of administrative offices — centralised or consistent strategic communication is next to impossible. Having many supervisors, counterintuitively, leads to little supervision — within this large bureaucratic institution are many conservative niches, ranging from a controversial pseudonymous publication to a philosophical debating society to a growing pro-life presence on campus.

The second limiting factor is Harvard’s inherent elitism. Prestige and influence require class distinctions; in a truly equitable world, Harvard does not exist. Thus, Harvard will continue to champion progressivism — but never enough to endanger its own future. Harvard students of all political stripes perceive this hypocrisy; if anything, they graduate not more liberal but more cynical. So much for the formidable brainwashing machine.

In addition to these two limiting factors, my first year — which was hands-down my happiest in a decade — suggests that Harvard is not a lost cause. I learned to read ancient Greek, solved triple integrals, and wrote an essay on Fredrick Douglass’s conception of the human soul. I kayaked on the Charles, explored Boston’s fabulous art museums, and attended a weeklong seminar in Oxford. I befriended the dining hall workers, learned how to swing dance, and performed Schumann with my chamber ensemble.

Despite the prevalence of secularism and credentialism at Harvard, faith and friendship were central to my joyful first year. In fact, Christianity, particularly Catholicism, is alive at Harvard. Every morning, a dozen students attend daily Mass before eating breakfast together in a nearby dining hall. Weekly talks at the Harvard Catholic Center precede solemn adoration accompanied by a student band. And this past Easter alone, thirty-one members of the Harvard community were fully initiated into the Catholic Church.

Outside of the Catholic and Christian communities, Harvard students are very respectful of religion. Talking openly about my Catholic faith elicits not smirks and grimaces but genuine curiosity and the occasional request to join me at Mass. Although I attended Catholic school all my life, my faith life has never thrived as at Harvard.

Nor have I ever been blessed with such strong, beautiful friendships. Just one week into freshman year, I had already found a group of kind, intelligent friends. Yes, our everyday conversations are less intellectual than anticipated; yes, our educational goals differ significantly. But far more important is character. My friends at Harvard are truly virtuous and generous people.

What’s more, my experience is hardly singular. Personality is an important factor in Harvard’s admissions process — so while many admitted students are indeed ambitious and career-oriented, they are for the most part essentially decent people. This emphasis on personability combined with its unique housing system, active extracurricular life, and countless study abroad and fellowship opportunities means that Harvard intentionally and successfully fosters friendship.

One year into my Harvard career, I can report that no stereotype of the university is entirely accurate. By no means is Harvard an immaculate place: intellectual curiosity often suffers at the expense of utility, classes and administrators can be overly political, and students with unpopular views are often frightened into silence. Still, I have great hope for Harvard.

While it’s true that students can avoid Homer, Shakespeare, or Tolstoy if they wish, it is equally true that those fascinated by such literary giants will encounter first editions of their texts in the rare books library and brilliant professors eager to elucidate them.

Though Harvard students can graduate without having explored questions about God, morality, and the meaning of life, those brave enough to ask can consult prominent theologians and learned priests, travel to Jerusalem on Harvard’s dime, or simply walk down Bow Street to pray in magnificent St. Paul’s.

In the end, Harvard, like most things, is what one makes of it. It can never be perfect; what it can be is a haven for faith, friendship, and the pursuit of veritas.

This article has been republished with permission from The Public Discourse

AUTHOR

Olivia Glunz

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

Don’t Endow The State With Moral Authority

It is one thing to say that you are pro-life or pro-choice. It is another to say that the state should legalize or illegalize abortion.

It is one thing to suggest that we should help the poor financially. It is another to suggest the state does it for us.

It is one thing not to discriminate against people on stupid grounds. It is another to suggest that the state morally polices everyone and punishes those it deems discriminatory.

It is one thing to want educational access for everyone. It is another to get the state to jump into education.

People are welcome to have their stances and opinions. They are welcome to act according to their opinions. They can help the poor financially or pay their employees a higher wage if this is what they want. However, they shouldn’t force others to do the same.

The moment you try to enforce your morality via the hand of the state, you endow the state with moral authority.

You put the state on a pedestal. And this is almost irreversible. Once the state occupies the moral high ground, it never relinquishes it. This is the beginning of a statist civilization. Most countries on Earth today are deeply statist. They look to the state for the matters of right and wrong.

I have my inclinations and stances, but I would never want the state to enforce my stances. Let’s say, for example, I incline towards the pro-life stance, but I won’t want the state to actively seek out women who aborted their babies and imprison them, for this would grant them moral authority. Moral authority is like an addictive drug. Once a man gets it, it fills him with so much pride that he becomes blind to his shortcomings. It rots him to the core. Moral highness is a shortcut to soul sickness.

If we want to bring people to reason and conscience, we must do so via reason and conscience, not via force. We must be more reasonable, talk more reasonably, and awaken the voice of conscience in our fellow beings.

Only a tyrant hopes to bring people in line by force. And we mustn’t feed the tyrant within us by getting the state to enforce our opinions/ideas or we would manifest a tyrant outside us.

Don’t endow the state with moral authority.

©Anand Ujjwal. All rights reserved.

Trump-Endorsed Democrat Wins Nomination In Heated New York Primary

A Trump-endorsed Democrat who helped his party lead the first impeachment effort against the former president won the Democratic nomination to represent New York’s contested 10th district in Tuesday’s packed primary election, NPR reported Wednesday.

Former prosecutor Daniel Goldman won the Democratic nomination over Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou and incumbent Rep. Mondaire Jones to represent New York’s 10th district in Congress on Tuesday.

Goldman won with 25.8% of the vote, NPR reported, citing The Associated Press. Niou finished in second with 23.7%.

Jones, the first openly gay black congressman, came in third place for the nomination after redistricting prompted him to switch from seeking re-election against another incumbent in New York’s 17th district. Trump endorsed Goldman earlier this month.

“Lawyer Dan Goldman is running for Congress, NY-10, and it is my great honor to Strongly Endorse him,” Trump wrote in a TRUTH Social post.

“I do this not because of the fact that he headed up the Impeachment Committee and lost, but because he was honorable, fair, and highly intelligent. While it was my honor to beat him, and beat him badly, Dan Goldman has a wonderful future ahead,” he continued.

The New York Times editorial board also endorsed Goldman, praising his efforts to impeach Trump.

“The Republicans are out for blood and out for revenge,” Goldman told the editorial board. “And so my experience, having led the impeachment investigation and being right in the throes of that kind of complex and high-stakes investigation, will be even more valuable, I think, to the Democratic caucus than reasonably a first-year congress person would be even in the majority without any seniority.”

His runner-ups, Niou and Jones, both prided themselves as more progressive candidates and lambasted Goldman as a “conservative Democrat.” They claimed he opposes Medicare for All and depended on his own wealth to win the seat, according to Spectrum News.

Niou came in second place after losing some support for expressing support for the Boycott Divest and Sanctions movement against Israel in an interview with Jewish Insider.

AUTHOR

JUSTINE BROOKE MURRAY

Contributor.

RELATED VIDEO: New York Primary winner states her socialist intentions out loud. This video explains the connection between the COMINTERN and the Democrat party well, because it is the Democrat Socialists of America speaking at a meeting of the International Communists (COMINTERN) at the EU Parliament.

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The Real Problem with Greta Thunberg Is Not Her Age

Greta Thunberg first came into the public light in 2018 when she started a school strike on climate in front of the Swedish parliament.


March 15th saw enthusiastic worldwide school student protests inspired by passionate appeals from 16-year-old Swedish school girl-turned-global-leader Greta Thunberg. Thunberg first came into the public light last year when she started a school strike on climate in front of the Swedish parliament. She rose to worldwide fame in January when she addressed the audience at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Predictably, a lot of the reactions from those who are skeptical of climate change alarmism seem to focus on Thunberg’s age. Even Bjorn Lomborg seems to have alluded to her in his remark about how the predominant narrative about climate change makes children scared.

I disagree with this perspective. I believe that 16-year-olds have as much intellectual capacity as legal adults to understand the issues related to climate change and the potential measures that could be taken to mitigate it. However, if 16-year-olds desire to seriously contribute to important political debates, they should, like anyone else, do it without engaging in demagoguery and scaremongering.

It is here that Greta Thunberg—in spite of all her genuine sincerity and passion—has failed spectacularly and made the legions of her fans, as well as people who may face the consequences of the panicky measures she advocates, a great disservice.

To get a taste of the content of Thunberg’s preachings, let us consider her recent remarks to European Union President Jean-Claude Juncker:

We have to focus every inch of our being on climate change. Because if we fail to do so then all our achievements and progress have been for nothing. […] According to the IPCC report, we are about 11 years away from being in the position where we set off an irreversible chain reaction beyond human control. To avoid that, unprecedented changes in all aspects of society need to have taken place within this coming decade.

There is no place for nuance here, no trace of uncertainty, no appeal to actual facts or pragmatics of politics—only the demand for total commitment and sacrifice because the absolute urgency of our predicament is supposed to be self-evident since none other than IPCC purportedly said so.

I would wager that it would be pointless to ask Thunberg any serious questions about the actual science underlying the climate change issue—to ask her how much the Earth has warmed so far since 1979 compared to computer model predictions; that the bulk of the recent warming occurred during the El Niño stages of the ENSO climate oscillation; or whether she is aware that the doubling of CO2 can only in itself cause only about 1°C of warming and that to postulate alarmist scenarios one needs to postulate uncertain positive feedbacks, whereas, in reality, the net feedback may be zero or negative; that a lot more people die from cold temperatures than from hot ones and that it is not extreme cold temperatures that are the most deadly; that increased CO2 concentrations are good for plant life, and so on.

Let us focus on an easier issue and ask whether the latest IPCC report even in the (as usual) distorted summary for policymakers says anything remotely similar to Thunberg’s 11-years-left-till-Apocalypse-unless-we-act claim. Unsurprisingly, the summary—biased as it is in favor of alarm—says no such thing. Thunberg seems to be wildly misinterpreting the statement on page 6 of the summary that “global warming is likely to reach 1.5°C between 2030 (till which date 11 years remain) and 2052 if it continues to increase at the current rate.” There is no implication in the summary that this extent of warming may cause catastrophic planetary consequences.

Even if we take what Thunberg claims about the inevitable impacts of an unaddressed climate change at face value, she does not appear to be cognizant that the only viable way of reducing CO2 emissions is switching to nuclear power. Writing for that famous den of climate change deniers, MIT Technology Review, last July, James Temple cited an estimate that if even California, with its abundant sunshine, were to switch to 100 percent renewables, that would make the price per megawatt-hour skyrocket to $1612.

Instead, we hear from her the usual platitudes that massive emissions reductions should be made immediately using renewable energy sources. Added to this are calls to abandon the focus on competition and focus on equity as if that clearly had anything to do with climate change or handling it.

We must also reflect on the fact that Thunberg is considered by many people to be a global hero. She has even been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. But is it really brave or enlightened to advocate a cause that has long enjoyed the status of conventional wisdom? To which one can only sadly hear widely disseminated public objections from the likes of President Trump, who is admittedly as clueless on the issue as the most religious alarmists are and who does not care about the outrage his remarks can cause?

It is sad if this is what is taken for Nobel-worthy heroism these days. Countless Venezuelans, for instance, risk their freedom, health, and lives every day, protesting against the Maduro regime that has lost any semblance of connection to reality and plunged the formerly richest country in Latin America into the literal darkness of the pre-industrial age. It is people like them who should be invited to global fora to tell their tale. Them, not a girl from one of the richest and most comfortable countries on Earth who is in too much of a panic because she cannot make herself actually read up on the actual science about climate change and the real state of the potential solutions.

The real problem with the climate change activist sensation Greta Thunberg is not that she is 16 years old. Rather, it is that she is a clueless fanatic who is considered brave and enlightened for promoting a cause that almost everyone agrees with without any study or reflection. And it is the duty of anyone who does not want clueless fanaticism to determine policies affecting billions to call it out as such.

This article is republished with permission from Medium.

AUTHOR

Daniil Gorbatenko

Daniil Gorbatenko is a free-market economist living in Aix-en-Provence, France. He obtained his PhD in economics from Aix-Marseille University in 2018.

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

UN Deletes Article Titled ‘The Benefits of World Hunger.’ Was It Real or Satire?

The author of the article in question told FEE it was not a parody.


UN Chronicle, the official magazine of the United Nations, recently deleted a 2008 article titled “The Benefits of World Hunger.”

The article, which now leads to an “error page,” was written by George Kent, a now retired University of Hawaii political science professor. In the article, Kent argued that hunger is “fundamental to the working of the world’s economy.”

“Much of the hunger literature talks about how it is important to assure that people are well fed so that they can be more productive,” Kent wrote. “That is nonsense. No one works harder than hungry people. Yes, people who are well nourished have greater capacity for productive physical activity, but well-nourished people are far less willing to do that work.”

UN Chronicle deleted the article after it began to cause a stir on social media. The magazine said Kent’s article should not be taken literally, contending that it was a work of parody.

“This article appeared in the UN Chronicle 14 years ago as an attempt at satire and was never meant to be taken literally. We have been made aware of its failures, even as satire, and have removed it from our site.”

At first glance, there seems to be little reason to doubt the United Nations. As some writers have noted, previous works written by Kent include Ending World Hunger, The Political Economy of Hunger: The Silent Holocaust, and Freedom from Want: The Human Right to Adequate Food.

These titles hardly suggest that Kent sees global hunger as a good thing. In light of this, some contended that he was taking an approach not unlike Jonathan Swift, whose famous essay “A Modest Proposal” cheekily argued that Irish families should alleviate their mean condition by selling excess children to the wealthy for food.

After reading the UN’s tweet, Yahoo’s report, and several other pieces of commentary on the subject, I initially agreed that Kent’s article likely was written as satire. However, closer examination and a brief conversation with Kent revealed that is not the case.

First, it’s important to note that Kent himself denies the article was intended as a form of satire.

“I don’t think the UN would have published it if they thought it was satire or advocacy,” Kent told Climate Depot in a recent phone interview.

In the interview, Kent explains he was not advocating global hunger but was intending to be “provocative” by saying certain individuals and institutions benefit from global hunger.

“No, it is not satire,” Kent told Marc Morano, founder and editor of Climate Depot. “I don’t see anything funny about it. It is not about advocacy of hunger.”

I reached out to Kent and asked if the quotes were accurate, and he told me they were, adding that he intends to publish a paper this fall that will further detail his views.

“Marc understood me very well,” Kent told me in an email. “I hope my current paper on who benefits from hunger helps to make my position clear to everyone involved in this discussion.”

Additionally, the article’s concluding paragraph supports Kent’s claim that the work was not designed as either satire or advocacy. A careful reading of the text suggests Kent is being quite literal when he writes that some people benefit from global hunger.

“For those of us at the high end of the social ladder, ending hunger globally would be a disaster. If there were no hunger in the world, who would plow the fields?” Kent wrote. “Who would harvest our vegetables? Who would work in the rendering plants? Who would clean our toilets? We would have to produce our own food and clean our own toilets. No wonder people at the high end are not rushing to solve the hunger problem. For many of us, hunger is not a problem, but an asset.”

One senses in these words disapproval. The global poor exist because the wealthy require them to exist. Global hunger exists because humans are simply not doing the moral and necessary things to eradicate it.

But what are those things? A glimpse at Kent’s 2011 Ending Hunger Worldwide offers a clue. In the summary of the book, readers are told the keys to tackling global hunger are “building stronger communities” and challenging “dominant market-led solutions.”

In Kent’s view, one gathers, global hunger is not a complex problem that is being addressed by free market capitalism; it’s a moral one that requires empowering intellectuals like Kent to solve it.

It’s also worth noting that reviews of Kent on Rate My Professor—which gives him a rating of 1.9 out of 5—suggest he’s, well, perhaps a bit of an ideologue.

“Avoid this man with your life. Very opinionated and if your opinion differs, you will fail. He’s the worst professor i’ve had,” one reviewer wrote.

“Horrible professor if you are not politically aligned with his values you WILL FAIL,” another contended.

“Very opinionated and unhelpful,” opined another. “Very critical and extremely boring. Unsupportive and irritating.”

Whether Kent is a good professor or not, or whether his article was satire or literal, are questions that ultimately do not matter a whole lot in the larger scheme of things. What does matter are the policies that cause global hunger and the policies that alleviate global hunger.

And on this front, there has been stunning progress in recent decades. As Our World in Data shows, the percentage of undernourished people in developing countries has plummeted in recent years, falling from 35 percent in 1970 to 13 percent in 2015.

How this happened is not a mystery. As economist Bob Murphy noted in FEE.org, the proliferation of free market capitalism has “gone hand-in-hand with rapid and unprecedented increases in human welfare.”

“As the World Bank reports, the global rate of ‘extreme poverty’ (defined as people living on less than $1.90 per day) was cut in half from 1990 to 2010. Back in 1990, 1.85 billion people lived in extreme poverty, but by 2013, the figure had dropped to 767 million—meaning the number of those living on less than $1.90 per day had fallen by more than a billion people.’”

Ironically, no better example of this can be found in recent decades than China, which has achieved nothing short of an economic miracle in recent decades. China saw its percentage of underweight children fall from 19 percent in 1987 to 2.4 percent in 2013. As recently as 1990, 66 percent of Chinese people lived in extreme poverty. By 2015, that figure was less than one percent.

How did China achieve this economic miracle? By pivoting to privatization following the death of Party Chairman Mao Zedong (1893-1976), as I pointed out in 2019.

In 1979, China adopted its “household responsibility system,” giving many farmers ownership of their crop for the first time. This was followed by Communist Party leaders opening China to foreign investment, curbing price controls and protectionism, and implementing mass privatization of its economy.

The “market-led solutions” that Kent has disparaged have worked wonders for hunger alleviation. The same cannot be said for initiatives hatched by the central planners at the United Nations, the organization that published Kent’s controversial article on hunger.

Sri Lanka’s current food crisis stems directly from an effort to shift the country’s agriculture sector to organic farming, which saw the import of fertilizers banned and led the country to become an importer of rice instead of an exporter virtually overnight.

Many writers and thinkers are blaming Sri Lanka’s crisis on the global rise of ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance), which was started in 2004 under the auspices of—you guessed it—the United Nations to encourage “sustainable development.”

And people are right to blame ESG. Writing for the World Economic Forum in 2016, economist Joseph Stiglitz said “Sri Lanka may be able to move directly into… high-productivity organic farming…”

Sri Lanka did. By doing so, the nation earned an ESG score of 98/100—and caused a food crisis that resulted in one president’s resignation and food insecurity for millions of people.

This is a tragedy. And while George Kent is clearly wrong—there are no benefits to world hunger—one begins to understand why his 15-year-old article published by the United Nations is suddenly sparking so much interest

It’s not just Sri Lanka, after all. The NetherlandsCanada, and other countries are all making headlines with food schemes that are likely to goose their ESG score—but cause serious problems at a time when global hunger is on the rise for the first time in decades.

In light of current global policies, anti-population rhetoric, and the track record of twentieth century collectivist food schemes—HolodomorCambodia, and Mao’s Great Leap Forward, which saw tens of millions starve to death because of government policies—George Kent’s “The Benefits of World Hunger” article hit too close to home.

(Editor’s Note: We’ve posted George Kent’s 2008 entire article below since the United Nations removed the article from their site so readers can determine for themselves Kent’s purpose in writing the article.)

We sometimes talk about hunger in the world as if it were a scourge that all of us want to see abolished, viewing it as comparable with the plague or aids. But that naïve view prevents us from coming to grips with what causes and sustains hunger. Hunger has great positive value to many people. Indeed, it is fundamental to the working of the world’s economy. Hungry people are the most productive people, especially where there is a need for manual labour.

We in developed countries sometimes see poor people by the roadside holding up signs saying “Will Work for Food.” Actually, most people work for food. It is mainly because people need food to survive that they work so hard either in producing food for themselves in subsistence-level production, or by selling their services to others in exchange for money. How many of us would sell our services if it were not for the threat of hunger?

More importantly, how many of us would sell our services so cheaply if it were not for the threat of hunger? When we sell our services cheaply, we enrich others, those who own the factories, the machines and the lands, and ultimately own the people who work for them. For those who depend on the availability of cheap labour, hunger is the foundation of their wealth.

The conventional thinking is that hunger is caused by low-paying jobs. For example, an article reports on “Brazil’s ethanol slaves: 200,000 migrant sugar cutters who prop up renewable energy boom”. While it is true that hunger is caused by low-paying jobs, we need to understand that hunger at the same time causes low-paying jobs to be created. Who would have established massive biofuel production operations in Brazil if they did not know there were thousands of hungry people desperate enough to take the awful jobs they would offer? Who would build any sort of factory if they did not know that many people would be available to take the jobs at low-pay rates?

Much of the hunger literature talks about how it is important to assure that people are well fed so that they can be more productive. That is nonsense. No one works harder than hungry people. Yes, people who are well nourished have greater capacity for productive physical activity, but well-nourished people are far less willing to do that work.

The non-governmental organization Free the Slaves defines slaves as people who are not allowed to walk away from their jobs. It estimates that there are about 27 million slaves in the world, including those who are literally locked into workrooms and held as bonded labourers in South Asia. However, they do not include people who might be described as slaves to hunger, that is, those who are free to walk away from their jobs but have nothing better to go to. Maybe most people who work are slaves to hunger?

For those of us at the high end of the social ladder, ending hunger globally would be a disaster. If there were no hunger in the world, who would plow the fields? Who would harvest our vegetables? Who would work in the rendering plants? Who would clean our toilets? We would have to produce our own food and clean our own toilets. No wonder people at the high end are not rushing to solve the hunger problem. For many of us, hunger is not a problem, but an asset.

AUTHOR

Jon Miltimore

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

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

If Climate Change Is a Dire Threat, Why Is No One Talking about Nuclear Power?

A common (legitimate) concern with nuclear is unhealthy radiation, its usage actually emits less radiation than the burning of coal.


There is a deafening silence surrounding nuclear energy. Yet, if you are to believe the current climate alarmism on display, the world’s future is hanging by a thread. Indeed, the forceful climate marches in London last week, the Greta Thunberg-ization of the world’s youth, and David Attenborough’s new Netflix documentary are all symptoms of a growing call to arms. According to them, climate change is real and impending, and, in young Greta’s words, they “want you to panic.”

The situation appears dire. Yet, assuming it is, there seems to be a gap in reasoning. Politicians like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are calling for a “Green New Deal,” which would seek to remove America’s carbon footprint by 2030 by “upgrading” every single one of the 136 million houses in America, completely overhauling the nation’s transport infrastructure (both public and private), and somehow simultaneously guaranteeing universal health care, access to healthy food, and economic security—without any consideration of cost. In other words, a complete pie-in-the-sky scheme that is more concerned with virtue-signaling than with pragmatic reality.

But if these people truly care about the environment and the damage being caused by climate change, why is no one talking about nuclear?

Nuclear is fully carbon-free and therefore a “clean” energy source in carbon terms. This is crucial considering the primary villain of climate change is CO2; switching to nuclear would directly cut out carbon emissions and thus represent a significant step forward, except for the construction phase (which would create a one-off nominal carbon debt about equal to that of solar farms). It has successfully contributed to decarbonizing public transport in countries such as Japan, France, and Sweden.

It is also often overlooked that nuclear is the safest way to generate reliable electricity (and far safer than coal or gas) despite Frankenstein-esque visions of nuclear meltdowns à la Chernobyl, which are ridiculously exaggerated and exceedingly rare.

Nuclear is also incredibly reliable, with an average capacity of 92.3 percent, meaning it is fully operational more than 330 days a year, which is drastically more reliable than both wind and solar—combined.

Finally, whereas a common (legitimate) concern with nuclear is that it creates unhealthy radiation, its usage actually emits less radiation than, for example, the burning of coal. Moreover, the problem posed by waste is more psychological and political nowadays than it is technological. Despite the Simpsons-inspired image of green, murky water, nuclear waste is, in fact, merely a collection of old steel rods; the nuclear waste produced in America over the last 60 years could all fit into a single medium-sized Walmart. Furthermore, it is not only securely stored in concrete-and-steel casks in the middle of deserts, but it also loses radiation over time and can actually be recycled to extend the life of nuclear production by centuries.

There are explicit success stories that attest to the power of nuclear. France and Sweden, which have some of the lowest per capita carbon emissions in the developed world, both rely heavily on nuclear (72 percent and 42 percent, respectively) rather than on wind or solar power. France generated 88 percent of its electricity total from zero-carbon sources, and Sweden got an even more impressive 95 percent. At the same time, these countries have some of the lowest energy prices in Europe, whereas renewable-heavy countries such as Germany and Denmark have the two highest energy prices on the continent—without much carbon reduction to show for it relative to France and Sweden.

So why, if people such as Ms. Ocasio-Cortez care as much about the climate as they claim to, are they seemingly so blindly attracted to over-ambitious, unrealistic proposals? Indeed, a near-utopiazation of renewables fails to take into account many of the issues associated with these while neglecting the advantages of nuclear.

Renewable energy isn’t always reliable, as mentioned (which makes sense when you consider the fact that the sun doesn’t always shine, and the wind doesn’t always blow). When the reliability of these renewables falters (wind turbines only provide energy 34.5 percent of the time, and solar panels an even lower 25.1 percent), expensive and carbon-heavy stop-gap measures act as backup.

There are also ecological problems. Wind and solar farms require tremendous amounts of wildlife-cleared land and are often protested by local conservationists. Electricity from solar panels on individual homes, on the other hand, a plan AOC apparently endorses, is twice as expensive, thus making it unaffordable for many American households. Though the debate rages, there is also a case to be made for the fact that wind turbines represent serious hazards to rare and threatened birds such as eagles and other birds of prey. They also threaten marine wildlife such as porpoises and coral reefs.

When compared more directly with various forms of renewable energy, the narrative also skews in nuclear’s favor. Solar farms require 450 times more land than do nuclear power plants; nuclear plants require far fewer materials for production than solar, wind, hydro, or geothermal; and solar produces up to 300 times more hazardous waste per terawatt-hour of energy than nuclear.

Yet the issues aren’t merely technological and ecological. Indeed, there is an argument that renewables such as solar and wind will become more and more efficient and cheaper over time, which is certainly true (though some experts dispute the net validity of this claim). A different problem, however, is that the context within which they are promoted, such as the “Green New Deal,” often translates into economic madness (the GND would cost up to $90 trillion according to some). It is striking how the Green New Deal encapsulates not only climate change but also health care, jobs, and housing.

Indeed, it goes much further than simply combating the issues facing our environment, incorporating a much wider agenda of socio-economic transformation. And this is why some, such as Michael Shellenberger (president of Environmental Progress—a pro-nuclear, climate change NGO), argue that left-wing politicians in the mold of Ms. Ocasio-Cortez idealize renewables: they provide an environmentalist façade for increased government intervention in areas far beyond the climate.

Of course, nuclear isn’t perfect; it is still very expensive (though this is increasingly solvable through more standardization and long-termism), the risk of Fukushima-like disasters will probably always exist, and the localized environmental impacts are concerns to be addressed. Most importantly, the political will is still lacking.

Despite the fact that the public and private sectors spent a combined $2 trillion between 2007 and 2016 on solar and wind power, solar energy still only accounted for 1.3 percent, and wind power 3.9 percent, of the world’s electricity generation in 2016. Operating at a scale of 94 times more in federal subsidies in America for renewables than for nuclear, this looks like an unsustainable trend. Imagine if it had been invested in nuclear instead.

Rather, the Ocasio-Cortezes of the world, who are by far the most vociferous when it comes to climate change, should put money where their mouths are. Though this article is far from exhaustive and was unable to account for all the nuances and intricacies of environmental and energy policy, it seems that, at the very least, nuclear deserves a spot at the table if we are serious about saving our planet.

AUTHOR

Christopher Barnard

Christopher Barnard is the Head of Campaigning & Events for Students For Liberty UK, as well as a final-year Politics & International Relations student at the University of Kent. He tweets at @ChrisBarnardDL.

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

Why Do People Become Communists, and Why Do They Stick With It?

So if there is no rational case for communism as such, why do people go for this stuff?


For as long as I can remember, I’ve puzzled about why people become communists. I have no doubt about why someone would stop being one. After all, we have a century of evidence of the murder, famine, and general destruction caused by the idea. Ignoring all this takes a special kind of willful blindness to reality.

Even the theory of communism itself is a complete mess. There is really no such thing as common ownership of goods that are obviously scarce in the real world. There must be some solution to the problem of scarcity beyond just wishing reality away. Perhaps ownership and trade? Slogans and dreams are hardly a suitable substitute for a workable program.

But how communism would work in practice is not something they want to talk about. They just imagined that some magical Hegelian shift would take place in the course of history that would work it all out.

So if there is no rational case for communism as such, why do people go for this stuff?

The Red Century

The New York Times has been exploring that issue in a series of remarkable reflections that they have labelled Red Century. I can’t get enough, even the ones that are written by people who are—how shall I say?—suspiciously sympathetic to communism as a cause.

The most recent installment is written by Vivian Gornick. She reflects on how her childhood world was dominated by communists.

The sociology of the progressive world was complex. At its center were full-time organizers for the Communist Party, at the periphery left-wing sympathizers, and at various points in between everything from rank-and-file party card holders to respected fellow travelers….

When these people sat down to talk, Politics sat down with them, Ideas sat down with them; above all, History sat down with them. They spoke and thought within a context that lifted them out of the nameless, faceless obscurity into which they had been born, and gave them the conviction that they had rights as well as obligations. They were not simply the disinherited of the earth, they were proletarians with a founding myth of their own (the Russian Revolution) and a civilizing worldview (Marxism).

While it is true that thousands of people joined the Communist Party in those years because they were members of the hardscrabble working class (garment district Jews, West Virginia miners, California fruit pickers), it was even truer that many more thousands in the educated middle class (teachers, scientists, writers) joined because for them, too, the party was possessed of a moral authority that lent shape and substance, through its passion for structure and the eloquence of its rhetoric, to an urgent sense of social injustice….

The Marxist vision of world solidarity as translated by the Communist Party induced in the most ordinary of men and women a sense of one’s own humanity that ran deep, made life feel large; large and clarified. It was to this clarity of inner being that so many became not only attached, but addicted. No reward of life, no love nor fame nor wealth, could compete with the experience. It was this all-in-allness of world and self that, all too often, made of the Communists true believers who could not face up to the police state corruption at the heart of their faith.

Sounds fascinating, if bonkers (Marxism is hardly a “civilizing worldview”). It sounds less like an intellectual salon of ideas and more like a religious delusion. Those too can be well intentioned. The key here is a dogmatic ideology, which serves as a kind of substitute for religion. It has a vision of hell (workers and peasants exploited by private-capital wielding capitalist elite), a vision of heaven (a world of universal and equal prosperity and peace), and a means of getting from one to the other (revolution from below, as led by the vanguard of the proletariat).

Once you accept such an ideology, anything intellectual becomes possible. Nothing can shake you from it. Okay, that’s not entirely true. One thing can shake you of it: when the leader of the cult repudiates the thing you believe in most strongly.

Khrushchev’s Heresy

She was 20 years old in 1956, when Nikita Khrushchev spoke to the Soviet Communist Party about the crimes of Stalin. Apparently the unrelenting reports of famine, persecution, and mass death, from the early years of Bolshevik rule – and even the revelation of the Hitler-Stalin pact – would have demoralized them earlier. But no:

The 20th Congress report brought with it political devastation for the organized left around the world. Within weeks of its publication, 30,000 people in this country quit the party, and within the year it was as it had been in its 1919 beginnings: a small sect on the American political map.

Amazing.

The Early Reds

And speaking of this small 1919 sect, I’m reminded of one of my favorite movies: Reds (1981). I could watch it another 20 times. It explores the lives of the American communists of the turn of the 20th century, their loves, longings, and aspirations. The focus is on fiery but deluded Jack Reed, but it includes portraits of a passionate Louise Bryant, the gentile Max Eastman, an edgy Eugene O’Neill, and the ever inspiring Emma Goldman.

These people weren’t the Progressives of the mainstream that history credits with having so much influence over policy in those days. These were the real deal: the Communists that were the source of national frenzy during the Red Scare of the 1920s.

The movie portrays them not as monsters but idealists. They were all very talented, artistic, mostly privileged in upbringing, and what drew them to communism was not bloodlust for genocide but some very high ideals.

They felt a passion for justice. They wanted to end war. They opposed exploitation. They longed for universal freedom and maximum civil liberty. They despised the entrenched hierarchies of the old order and hoped for a new society in which everyone had an equal chance.

All of that sounds reasonable until you get to the details. The communists had a curious understanding of each of these concepts. Freedom meant freedom from material want. Justice meant a planned distribution of goods. The end of war meant a new form of war against the capitalists who they believed created war. The hierarchies they wanted to be abolished were not just state-privileged nobles but also the meritocratic elites of industrial capitalism, and even small land owners, no matter how small the plot.

Why be a communist rather than just a solid liberal of the old school? In the way the movie portrays it, the problem was not so much in their goals but in their mistaken means. They hated the state as it existed but imagined that a new “dictatorship of the proletariat” could become a transition mechanism to usher in their classless society. That led them to cheer on the Bolshevik Revolution in its early stages, and work for the same thing to happen in the United States.

The Dream Dies

Watching their one-by-one demoralization is painful. Goldman sees the betrayal immediately. Reed becomes an apologist for genocide. Bryant forgets pretending to be political and believing in free love, marries Reed, and tends to his medical needs before his death. O’Neill just becomes a full-time cynic (and drunk). It took Max Eastman longer to lose the faith but he eventually became an anti-socialist and wrote for FEE.

The initial demoralization of the early American communists came in the 1920s. They came to realize that all the warning against this wicked ideology – having been written about for many centuries prior, even back to the ancient world – were true.

Eastman, for example, realized that he was seeking to liberate people by taking from them the three things people love most in life: their families, their religion, and their property. Instead of creating a new heaven on earth, they had become apologists for a killing machine.

Stunned and embarrassed, they moved on with life.

But the history didn’t end there. There were still more recruits being added to the ranks, generations of them. The same thing happened after 1989. Some people lost the faith, others decided that socialism needs yet another chance to strut its stuff.

It’s still going on today.

As for the Communist Party in America, most left-Progressives of the Antifa school regard the Party as an embarrassing sellout, wholly owned by the capitalist elite. And when we see their spokesmen appear on television every four years, they sound not unlike pundits we see on TV every night.

It would be nice if any article written about communism were purely retrospective. That, sadly, is not the case. There seem to be new brands of Marxian thought codified every few years, and still more versions of its Hegelian roots that take on ever more complex ideological iterations (the alt-right is an example).

Why do people become communists? Because human beings are capable of believing in all sorts of illusions, and we are capable of working long and hard to turn them into nightmares. Once we’ve invested the time and energy into something, however destructive, it can take a very long time to wake us up. It’s hard to think of a grander example of the sunk-cost fallacy.

AUTHOR

Jeffrey A. Tucker

Jeffrey Tucker is a former Director of Content for the Foundation for Economic Education.

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

Green Berets Launch PAC To Put ‘Warrior-Diplomats’ In Congress

Veterans who served in special operations units announced the formation of a new political-action committee (PAC) to elect fellow “warrior-diplomats” to Congress in the wake of last year’s Monday, Fox News reported Monday.

“It is no coincidence that we are launching on Memorial Day, less than a year after we witnessed the Biden administration’s failed leadership contribute to the loss of American lives in Afghanistan,” Jason Bacon, a former Green Beret and previous congressional candidate said, according to Fox News. “It is imperative that we elect real leaders to Congress with the knowledge and experience to prevent this kind of travesty.”

The political action committee was formed in response to the chaotic withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan, during which a bomb attack killed 13 U.S. military personnel, which prompted criticism and calls for the resignations of senior Biden administration military and foreign policy officials, Fox News reported.

Bacon described Green Berets as “warrior-diplomats” who bring an understanding of foreign cultures, language skills and years of experience implementing American foreign policy on the ground, according to Fox News.

“They have a breadth of experience that surpasses that of a typical Congressional candidate,” Bacon said. “We are proud to support these outstanding candidates for Congress.”

The PAC endorsed nine candidates, eight of whom are former Green Berets, including Republican Rep. Michael Waltz of Florida, Joe Kent in Washington state’s 3rd Congressional District and Don Bolduc for the U.S. Senate in New Hampshire in the 2022 election cycle, according to its website. The PAC also endorsed former Navy SEAL Eli Crane in Arizona’s 2nd Congressional District.

Green Berets PAC did not respond to a request for comment from The Daily Caller News Foundation.

AUTHOR

HAROLD HUTCHISON

Reporter. 

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EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Caller column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved. Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

INDEPENDENCE DAY TRUTH: Equal People Are Not Free and Free People Are Not Equal

“Human beings are born with different capacities. If they are free, they are not equal. And if they are equal, they are not free.” ― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

“I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., from the “I have a dream” speech in Washington, D.C.


Today we are hearing about equality, equity, along with the big lies of “Wokeism.” These words are Marxist false flags that force, via government mandate, the elevation of one group over another group for political purposes.

MAKING PEOPLE EQUAL

The goal of Marxism is to make everyone equal as humans, as workers and as a people. The problem is when this is put into practice the individual is replaced by the state. As the powers of the government increase the freedoms of the individual shrink or disappear completely.

History tells us repeatedly that as government grows the individual shrinks. Just look at the former Soviet Union to understand what is now happening in America.

QUESTION:  Will Independence Day 2021 go down in history as the day we the people lost our freedom?

In The Revolution Betrayed Leon Trotsky wrote:

The old principle: who does not work shall not eat, has been replaced with a new one: who does not obey shall not eat. Exactly how many Bolsheviks have been expelled, arrested, exiled, exterminated, since 1923, when the era of Bonapartism opened, we shall find out when we go through the archives of Stalin’s political police. How many of them remain in the underground will become known when the shipwreck of the bureaucracy begins.

The people are replaced by government bureaucrats. The laws change from defending individual liberties to taking away the individual and replace the people with crushing state mandates, take the Covid pandemic as a recent example.

Covid shifted power from the individual to that state overnight. The pandemic was used by bureaucrats to take away individual freedom to assemble and replaced it with lockdowns and social distancing.

Covid took away the rights of business to remain open and prosper. It took away individual livelihoods and replace it with government hand outs.

Rev. William J. H. Boetcker spoke of the “Seven National Crimes.”

  • I don’t think.
  • I don’t know.
  • I don’t care.
  • I am too busy.
  • I live well enough alone.
  • I have no time to read and find out.
  • I am not interested.

These seven crimes are the fundamental laws of Wokeism writ large. When we stop thinking, understanding, caring and find ourselves alone, bored and uninformed then our freedom is lost!

A FREE PEOPLE ARE NOT EQUAL

In a truly free society people are never equal. They are different and do things differently throughout their lives. From birth people are influenced by both nature and nurture. No two people are exactly the same when born. The same is true about people who have different life experiences. Even biological twins do not have the same life experiences.

It is fundamental that society understand that it must create opportunities that encourage and use these natural inequalities for the good of all.

The following sentiments were created by the Rev. William J. H. Boetcker, who lectured around the United States about industrial relations at the turn of the twentieth century. They are all the truth.

  • You cannot bring prosperity by discouraging thrift.
  • You cannot help small men by tearing down big men.
  • You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
  • You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
  • You cannot help the poor man by destroying the rich.
  • You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than your income.
  • You cannot further brotherhood of men by inciting class hatred.
  • You cannot establish security on borrowed money.
  • You cannot build character and courage by taking away man’s initiative and independence.
  • You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.

There are those who are hell bent on tearing down big men, weakening the strong, destroying the rich, inciting class hatred and taking away man’s initiative and independence.

The founding fathers understood this and that is why they wrote the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution.

CONCLUSION

QUESTION: How many American patriots have been expelled, arrested, exiled, exterminated, since the 2020 election?

As we Americans approach Independence Day 2021, let us reflect on our freedoms and defend our liberties. If we fail to do so then American, as we have known it, will cease to exist as One Nation Under God and become one nation under big government.

Is this what we want for our children and grandchildren?

I think not.

Have a blessed July 4th.

©Dr. Rich Swier. All rights reserved.

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Politico reports: A federal appeals court judge issued an extraordinary opinion Friday attacking partisan bias in the news media, lamenting the treatment of conservatives in American society and calling for the Supreme Court to overturn a landmark legal precedent that protects news outlets from lawsuits over reports about public figures.

D.C. Circuit Senior Judge Laurence Silberman’s diatribe, contained in his dissent in a libel case, amounted to a withering, frontal assault on the 1964 Supreme Court decision that set the framework for modern defamation law — New York Times v. Sullivan.

D.C. Circuit Senior Judge Laurence Silberman’s diatribe amounted to an assault on a Supreme Court decision that set the framework for modern defamation law.

Could the Courts Wheel on the Press?

Special to the NY Sun, March 20, 2021:

Could the United States federal courts turn against the press that emerged in the Age of Trump? Feature the dissent uncorked Friday by one of America’s greatest judges, Laurence Silberman of the District of Columbia circuit. In an otherwise prosaic libel case, the judge seems to have taken a satisfying swig of the ink of liberty before issuing a blistering rebuke of a press that he reckons has become dangerous to our democracy.

Pass the flask, we say. We bow to no one in our fealty to the press. We get that the First Amendment was designed to protect an irresponsible press (the non-irresponsible press, after all, has never really needed protecting). Yet we’ve never seen anything like the nihilism that has entwined our biggest newsrooms with the woke Democratic Party. At some point our courts are bound to take notice.

The case that ignited Judge Silberman was levied by two former officials of Liberia. They claimed that a human rights organization called Global Witness defamed them by publishing a report, as the court put it, “falsely implying that they had accepted bribes in connection with the sale of an oil license.” The District Court allowed them to shelter under the Supreme Court precedent known as Times v. Sullivan.

That case, decided in 1964, involved an advertisement that was run in the Times by supporters of the Reverend Martin Luther King. The police commissioner of Birmingham, Alabama, L.B. Sullivan, won a $500,000 libel judgment. It was overturned by a U.S. Supreme Court that, at the time, was all too willing to proclaim rules that hadn’t been passed by any legislature and didn’t appear in the Constitution.

The justice who wrote up Sullivan, William Brennan, would later craft the most famous farrago of judicial law-writing in American history, Roe v. Wade. In Sullivan, the rule the Court produced did not involve trimesters of pregnancy and the like. What Sullivan established was a system of unequal justice, where private citizens had an easier time suing for libel than public figures.

Public figures would have to prove any libel had been uttered with “actual malice.” That is, the libel would have to be not only untrue and defamatory but also made with “with knowledge of its falsity or with reckless disregard of whether it was true or false.” We newspaper roughnecks loved that license, since we could accuse public officials without knowing what was true. Henceforth, the press ruled the roost.

In Global Witness, Judge Silberman spent the first part of his dissent arguing that the court majority had tried to “stretch the actual malice rule like a rubber band.” He then announced outright that he was “prompted to urge the overruling of New York Times v. Sullivan.” He proceeded to do so with astonishing bluntness, even while acknowledging the uphill nature of the legal contests ahead.

In one footnote, Judge Silberman likened the precedent on libel to the Brezhnev Doctrine, named after the Soviet party boss who proclaimed that, as Judge Silberman paraphrased the point, “once a country has turned communist, it can never be allowed to go back.” Wrote Judge Silberman: “Apparently, maintaining a veneer of infallibility is more important than correcting fundamental missteps.”

The Sullivan precedent, Judge Silberman warned, has allowed the press “to cast false aspersions on public figures with near impunity.” That, he averred, would be one thing were it a two-sided phenomenon. The “increased power of the press,” he averred, “is so dangerous today because we are very close to one-party control of these institutions.” He singled out the Washington Post, the Times, and even National Public Radio.

“Our court was once concerned about the institutional consolidation of the press leading to a ‘bland and homogenous’ marketplace of ideas,” Judge Silberman warned. “It turns out that ideological consolidation of the press (helped along by economic consolidation) is the far greater threat.” He doesn’t map out how he thinks all this can be won, but he seeds his opinion with grist for the Supreme Court to focus on.

It is a moment to remember that our doctrines on libel, as on other things, can change. When America’s first great libel case, was brought by New York’s colonial governor, Wm. Crosby, against the printer John Peter Zenger, the doctrine was the greater the truth of a defamation, the greater the libel. Zenger began the process of turning truth into a defense of libel. A time of reckoning could well be at hand where truth gets the premium part.

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TRAILER: Trump vs Hollywood Here!

Documentary filmed during Corona crisis in America with 24 Hollywood stars, musicians, rappers and others of similar stature.

All talking about Donald J. Trump, the 45th president of the United States of America and his impact so far.

Half of the celebrities are pro, the other half are Democrats.

Producer Erbil “Bill” Gunasti and Director Daphne Barak of the Documentary somehow brought so many together with incendiary comments, yet to have a productive dialogue.

Click here to get a sense of what it is. Documentary is released prior to the presidential elections for a sneak view before it is removed until when it will be on most online platforms by December 14th, 2020.

ABOUT Fighting 4 ONE AMERICA!

We have set our sights to fight for ONE AMERICA. Unfortunately today, there are two Americas. Divided America is a by-product of domestic and foreign forces but unless Americans talk to one another with common sense this division will never end. Here the goal is to establish a dialogue so that DIVIDED AMERICA can become ONE AMERICA again. We began this task with a two hour long video when we brought together 24 famous Hollywood stars, rappers, musicians, and others from both side of isle. We called it: “Trump vs Hollywood. And they talked, with common sense, like an American would.

©Fighting 4 ONE AMERICA!. All rights reserved.

The Politics of Heaven and Hell

Robert Royal: Heaven is in Heaven and the New Jerusalem cannot be brought to Earth by our efforts; only God will bring perfect justice at the Second Coming.


Shortly after I arrived in Washington years ago, I reviewed a book with the same title as this column. A friend warned about reviewing books by that particular author – our late lamented colleague James V. Schall, S.J. – because if you start, he said, you won’t have time for anything else. And that was before the supernova of titles that Schall the Great turned out in his seventies, eighties, and even nineties.

Ignatius Press is republishing The Politics of Heaven and Hell this fall with an introduction by another incisive and prolific writer, Robert Reilly. A good thing, too, because in our current chaos, when it seems almost impossible to get sure footing about anything, this relatively neglected volume not only uncovers sure foundations. It explains the ways by which we’ve mixed up eternal and temporal things – and put the times out of joint.

Schall’s central insight is that our central traditions of both faith and reason agree that politics is an important, but circumscribed realm. If we were the highest beings, politics would be the highest science, said Aristotle. That wise pagan – Dante calls him “the master of those who know” – knew that we are not the highest beings. There’s God, for starters, and His Creation, to which we owe deference. Ignore them, and the inevitable result is chaos, suffering, servitude, tyranny, and death.

The ancient Hebrews learned this well before Aristotle. Schall notes how little attention political theorists pay to the Old Testament, the history of a small and obscure nation – Israel – that survived, improbably, down to our own time, with incalculable influence on the history of the whole world. It did so not because of any special policies or virtues: Jewish history is a record of graces given and refused, of return and consequent flourishing, of many rounds of ignoring God, decline, and renewal through Him.

The overall lesson: nations are great not because they accumulate power or wealth. Power and wealth come and go. And aren’t all they seem anyway. Nations are made great, however insignificant they may be in earthly terms, because God makes them so and they conform themselves to God.

Christianity, of course, limited politics in a special way, beginning with Jesus’ famous distinction between the things that are Caesar’s – the arrangements necessary to human flourishing (even, sadly, taxes) – and the things that are God’s. Those few words had immense, cascading effects in the Christian tradition.

And not only in thinkers like Augustine, Aquinas, Suárez, Bellarmine, etc. Countries historically touched by Christianity still mostly protect beliefs about ultimate things from control by politics – indeed, believe that right can and should challenge might. That separation is absent from Muslim societies, ideological regimes like China, or traditional societies where the ruler is regarded as a kind of mortal god.

But it’s not only on high intellectual or social planes that these truths prove themselves. As we’ve seen only too clearly in modern times, when politics becomes the “highest science” men become not philosopher kings, but beasts. The totalizing political systems of Communism, Nazism, and Fascism were killing machines on an unprecedented scale.

And recent decades have given birth to what the Polish philosopher Ryszard Legutko calls the “demon in democracy,” a new totalitarian temptation wherein everything is defined by political ideology. We worry over “polarization,” but there’s a deep geological fault in our politics, far more radical than that. The absence of religion in the public square, with its moderating effects, is a large factor in this development, since once the true God departs the false god of the state arrives.

Even good public impulses then become poisonous – and unlimited. For example, we’ve just seen what can happen when a proper effort to right racism, a historic wrong, is made the measure of everything. Everything becomes “racist” that is not explicitly “anti-racist” – according to someone’s definition, which may differ from someone else’s. Not surprisingly, demands for absolute political justice then turn into “canceling” and anathematizing people who show the slightest deviation from an ideological line – i.e., injustice.

Historic racial inequities need to be fixed, but does injustice only involve race – with occasional bows to gender and class? Andrew Sullivan, a brilliant writer, recently resigned from New York magazine because it couldn’t bear his criticism of “cancel culture,” despite his being gay and liberal on some issues, conservative on others (and somehow also aspiring to be Catholic).

He pointed out that it’s places like the New York Times that really don’t understand a just “diversity.” The Times seems poised to cave in to employee demands that staff reflect the racial makeup of New York City: 24 percent black and more than half “people of color.” And there must be “sensitivity training” – i.e., ideological indoctrination – for everyone.

Sullivan notes that there are other underrepresented groups at the Times. Only 37 percent of New Yorkers, for example, are college graduates – who are overrepresented in the newsroom – as are Asians and Jews. Should some of them resign?  If you wanted fairer proportions of New Yorkers, 10 percent of staff would have to be Republicans, 6 percent Hasidic Jews, and 33 percent Catholic.

It may be a long wait for that because ideologues only care about certain “facts” and rarely have a sense of irony – or humor.

Which takes us back to the politics of Heaven and Hell. Heaven is in Heaven and the New Jerusalem cannot be brought to Earth by our efforts; only God will bring perfect justice at the Second Coming. The road to human hells, however, always lies wide open.

The larger perspective that religion affords us – including elements like human imperfection, sin, forgiveness, tolerance, the limits of earthly politics – does not mean that we need to be any less passionate in pursuing justice and fairness. But it does mean we have to be vigilant and measured about our own motives and the results of our actions. We have on good authority: “Therefore take heed that the light which is in you is not darkness.” (Lk. 11:3)

Robert Royal

Dr. Robert Royal is editor-in-chief of The Catholic Thing, and president of the Faith & Reason Institute in Washington, D.C. His most recent book is A Deeper Vision: The Catholic Intellectual Tradition in the Twentieth Century, published by Ignatius Press. The God That Did Not Fail: How Religion Built and Sustains the West, is now available in paperback from Encounter Books.

EDITORS NOTE: This The Catholic Thing column is republished with permission. © 2020 The Catholic Thing. All rights reserved. For reprint rights, write to: info@frinstitute.org. The Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own.

Is it better for people to mingle and allow them to be infected with COVID-19?

There are numerous national, state and local policies that require, and in some cases laws, that require Americans to self-quarantine and for businesses to shut down in order to reduce the spread of the Wuhan Flu also known as COVID-19.

I have now lived thru four pandemics.

According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control they are:

  1. 1957 – 1958 Pandemic (H2N2 virus)
  2. 1968 – Pandemic (H3N2 virus)
  3. 2009 – H1N1 Pandemic (H1N1pdm09 virus)
  4. 2019 – Cronavirus Disease of 2019 (COVID-19 or Wuhan Flu)

This is the first time in my lifetime that Americans have been required to self-quarantine and businesses to shut down.

In my county Sarasota, state of Florida and the United State and World wide as of July 4, 2020:

Cases overview
Sarasota County
Confirmed
1,707
Recovered
Deaths
98
Florida
Confirmed
190K
+11,458
Recovered
Deaths
3,702
+18
United StatesUnited States
Confirmed
2.89M
+50,445
Recovered
872K
Deaths
132K
+273
WorldwideWorldwide
Confirmed
11.2M
+212K
Recovered
6.03M
Deaths
528K
+5,134
QUESTION: Is it better to allow people to be infected with COVID-19?

There are three categories of COVID-19 infections:

  1. A-symptomatic infections. Those who have the COVID-19 virus but show no symptoms. This group has the antibodies that resist COVID-19.
  2. Symptomatic infections. These are people who are hospitalized and require medical care to recover. Some must be placed in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) before they recover and are released.
  3. Those who die because of COVID-19. This group of people are most likely suffering from other physical anomalies that weaken their bodies auto immune system.

This CDC chart shows the infection rates in America by age:

Age Group Cumulative Rate per 100,000 Population
Overall

102.5

     0-4 years

8.9

     5-17 years

4.0

     18-49 years

62.6

  18-29 years

34.7

  30-39 years

62.5

  40-49 years

98.6

    50-64 years

155.0

    65+ years

306.7

  65-74 years

222.5

  75-84 years

370.1

  85+ years

573.1

The idea is to allow people to become infected means that those infected will most likely recover and have the necessary antibodies to all them to resist COVID-19 and remain healthy.

Why haven’t we shut down America for previous pandemics?

ANSWER: Bad politics and bad science.

Jon Miltimore in an article titled Modelers Were ‘Astronomically Wrong’ in COVID-19 Predictions, Says Leading Epidemiologist—and the World Is Paying the Price reports:

Dr. John Ioannidis became a world-leading scientist by exposing bad science. But the COVID-19 pandemic could prove to be his biggest challenge yet.

In a wide-ranging interview with Greek Reporter published over the weekend, Ioannidis said emerging data support his prediction that lockdowns would have wide-ranging social consequences and that the mathematical models on which the lockdowns were based were horribly flawed.

Ioannidis also said a comprehensive review of the medical literature suggests that COVID-19 is far more widespread than most people realize.

“There are already more than 50 studies that have presented results on how many people in different countries and locations have developed antibodies to the virus,” Ioannidis, a Greek-American physician, told Greek Reporter. “Of course none of these studies are perfect, but cumulatively they provide useful composite evidence. A very crude estimate might suggest that about 150-300 million or more people have already been infected around the world, far more than the 10 million documented cases.”

So, if COVID-19 is far more widely spread then why don’t we stop the lockdown and allow Americans to get back to work?

Dr. Ioannidis stated:

“Major consequences on the economy, society and mental health” have already occurred. I hope they are reversible, and this depends to a large extent on whether we can avoid prolonging the draconian lockdowns and manage to deal with COVID-19 in a smart, precision-risk targeted approach, rather than blindly shutting down everything. Similarly, we have already started to see the consequences of “financial crisis, unrest, and civil strife.” I hope it is not followed by “war and meltdown of the social fabric.” Globally, the lockdown measures have increased the number of people at risk of starvation to 1.1 billion, and they are putting at risk millions of lives, with the potential resurgence of tuberculosis, childhood diseases like measles where vaccination programs are disrupted, and malaria. I hope that policymakers look at the big picture of all the potential problems and not only on the very important, but relatively thin slice of evidence that is COVID-19.”

Under President Trump our hospitals have the necessary equipment and personnel to deal with COVID-19.

Blue States lead the nation in COVID-19 deaths

Jon Miltimore in an article titled Blue States Have Been Hit Much Harder by COVID-19. Why? reports:

Eleven of the 12 states (including the District of Columbia) with the highest COVID-19 fatality rates are traditional blue states. Leading the way, unsurprisingly, is New York, which posted the highest deaths, total (31,346) and per capita (1,611 per 1M).* New Jersey is not far behind New York, however (1,478/1M). These states are followed by Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and the District of Columbia. Just one red state—Louisiana, seventh highest with 680/1M—cracked the top twelve.

[ … ]

The question is, why?

After all, blue states tended to have the most stringent lockdowns. Indeed, eight red states—Arkansas, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming—declined to issue stay-at-home orders at all (though some took less severe measures).

None of these states were among the states hardest hit by COVID-19.

CONCLUSION

As more people mingle more will become infected, however more will survive with the antibodies needed. As more people are tested for COVID-19 we will have more positives results for the virus. Most of those tested positive will recover completely from the virus.

So, is it better to allow people to mingle and get infected or not? This is a personal decision on each American. Government should not be mandating. Rather government should get out of  the way.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 go to the hospital. If you don’t feel well because you have the flu, or any other notable social diseases, stay home.

©All rights reserved.

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Pavlovian Politics

We have all seen people on both sides of the political aisle use catch phrases routinely in response to political topics, but it seems the Democrats have honed this skill to razor sharpness. For example, in her recent “60 Minutes” interview, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) was asked by Anderson Cooper if she thought President Trump was a racist, to which her reflexive response was, 

“Yes, no question. When you look at the words that he uses, which are historic dog whistles of white supremacy, when you look at how he reacted to Charlottesville incident where neo-Nazis murdered a woman, versus how he manufactures crisis, like immigrants seeking legal refuge on our borders, it is night and day.”

Her response seemed almost robotic. I found her use of words like “dog whistles,” “white supremacy” and “manufactures crisis” illuminating as if she had been programmed to use such expressions on command, kind of like Pavlov’s dog. Say a certain word or ask a question, and the person begins to salivate automatically. Frankly, it’s kind of scary.

The expression “dog whistles” is particularly interesting as it is now commonly used by the Left to denote how they believe conservatives respond. Now I will admit I have seen Republicans use catch phrases, such as “Lock her up” and “CNN sucks,” but I have found conservatives more inclined to engage in honest debate as opposed to Democrats trained in Pavlovian responses.

Do you want to stop a left-wing Democrat in his/her tracks? Just tell them you have voted for a Democrat in the past, as you thought the person was the right candidate for the job, and then ask if they ever voted for a Republican. A wild-eyed expression comes over their face and they are at a loss for words.

I had a Democrat friend who recently told me point blank, “I will never go to any meeting where a Republican is speaking.” So much for open-mindedness. I also guess I will not see him in any of my audiences any time soon.

What I am finding with Democrats is there is less courteous debate and more conditioning in terms of talking points. Whenever I get in an argument with them, I feel I am dealing directly with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow or CNN’s Don Lemon, et al. Interestingly, if you ask them to explain their rehearsed talking points, they are at a loss. This speaks volumes about the power of the main stream media. Further, they tend to turn up the volume as if you cannot hear them. I have found both young and older Democrats becoming excessively passionate and less inclined to hear opposing views, thereby emboldening them to attack their opponents.

Now there is a movement in the media to label Republicans as racist, hate-filled liars. This is all being done as a prelude to the 2020 elections to condition their constituents to believe Republicans are evil and must be eliminated. Through the use of identity politics, the media is creating stereotypes intended for character assassination. I don’t think Hitler could have done it any better.

As to racism, let us never forget not one Republican ever owned a slave. In fact, the Republican Party was created to abolish slavery (anyone remember a guy named Lincoln?). The Left conveniently overlooks the fact that the Ku Klux Klan and Jim Crow laws were all Democrat inventions, and somehow try to blame the Republicans for their creation. Nothing could be further from the truth. Nonetheless, by training people to repetitively chant “Racist, Racist, Racist,” they are hoping people will develop a reflexive action against the Republicans.

By religiously parroting the talking points of the Left, the Democrats have become a party of lemmings controlled by the news media who has plotted them on a course to tear their opponents apart. More likely though, they will end up in the abyss.

Keep the Faith!

RELATED VIDEO: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) 60 Minutes interview with Anderson Cooper

EDITORS NOTE: This column with images is republished with permission. All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies. The featured photo is by Charles Deluvio 🇵🇭🇨🇦 on Unsplash.

Kavanaugh Allegations: Aimed at Justice or at a Justice?

Why would someone sit on an allegation for nearly six weeks, if were about a subject that everyone is supposed to be concerned about? Perhaps it’s because they are more concerned about how to use the allegation than whether or not the allegation is true.

Welcome to Washington, DC where such political theater is regularly on display, the latest episode being Senate Democrats’ efforts to derail Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh with an eleventh-hour allegation of inappropriate behavior from more than thirty years ago. Whether or not the allegation is true is one thing. We should always be concerned about the truth. But how it is being used is another — and methods have the right to be questioned.

“It’s disturbing that these uncorroborated allegations from more than 35 years ago, during high school, would surface on the eve of a committee vote after Democrats sat on them since July,” a Senate Judiciary Committee statement read. “If Ranking Member Feinstein and other Committee Democrats took this claim seriously, they should have brought it to the full Committee’s attention much earlier.”

Quite true. Instead, writes the committee, Democrats “said nothing during two joint phone calls with the nominee in August, four days of lengthy public hearings, a closed session for all committee members with the nominee where sensitive topics can be discussed and in more than 1,300 written questions. Sixty-five senators met individually with Judge Kavanaugh during a nearly two-month period before the hearing began, yet Feinstein didn’t share this with her colleagues ahead of many of those discussions.”

At the same time, many (including many women who knew him years ago) have firmly vouched for his character and integrity. Additionally, as my friend Franklin Graham noted, “Judge Kavanaugh has been through 6 incredibly thorough FBI vettings and a multitude of other inquiries, and nothing even related to these 36-year-old allegations has ever come up.” We know that many progressives and opponents of our Constitution as it is written would love nothing more than for this whole process to be derailed. Given the way this has unfolded, we have every reason to believe Kavanaugh’s opponents don’t care about justice; they care about a justice — specifically, that he not make it onto the Court.

As Franklin reminds us, we must “[p]ray for Judge Kavanaugh, Mrs. Ford who is making this accusation, their families, and for wisdom and discernment for Senate leadership dealing with these post-hearing, previously unreported, allegations from his distant teenage years.” Indeed, in a situation like this, let us all pray — for the good of our Constitution and our nation — that truth, justice, and righteousness would prevail.


Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.


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