Bari Weiss: Say No to the Woke Revolution

Writing in Commentary magazine in “We Got Here Because of Cowardice. We Get Out With Courage,” Bari Weiss provides an excellent summation of the “core beliefs of the Woke Revolution,” and asks, “Why are so many, especially so many young people, drawn to this ideology?”

If you have ever tried to build something, even something small, you know how hard it is. It takes time. It takes tremendous effort. But tearing things down? That’s quick work.

The Woke Revolution has been exceptionally effective. It has successfully captured the most important sense-making institutions of American life: our newspapers. Our magazines. Our Hollywood studios. Our publishing houses. Many of our tech companies. And, increasingly, corporate America.

Just as in China under Chairman Mao, the seeds of our own cultural revolution can be traced to the academy, the first of our institutions to be overtaken by it. And our schools—public, private, parochial—are increasingly the recruiting grounds for this ideological army.

And then asks “How did we get here?”

There are a lot of factors that are relevant to the answer….[b]ut there is one word we should linger on, because every moment of radical victory turned on it. The word is cowardice.

The revolution has been met with almost no resistance by those who have the title CEO or leader or president or principal in front of their names. The refusal of the adults in the room to speak the truth, their refusal to say no to efforts to undermine the mission of their institutions, their fear of being called a bad name and that fear trumping their responsibility—that is how we got here.

Her solution?

All that had to change for the entire story to turn out differently was for the person in charge, the person tasked with being a steward for the newspaper or the magazine or the college or the school district or the private high school or the kindergarten, to say: No.

If cowardice is the thing that has allowed for all of this, the force that stops this cultural revolution can also be summed up by one word: courage.

[…]

George Orwell said that “the further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those that speak it.” In an age of lies, telling the truth is high risk. It comes with a cost. But it is our moral obligation.

Read the rest.

Jordan McGillis: China’s Energy Expansionism Threatens a Free and Open Indo-Pacific

  • World

Writes Jordan McGillis over at IER:

Oil, Gas, and the South China Sea assesses China’s skyrocketing oil and gas demand and the actions the People’s Republic is now taking to firm up its supply of these essential resources. In pursuit of oil and gas, China now routinely encroaches upon the waters of other South China Sea littoral states, such as Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia. Despite international rulings against its behavior in the region, China’s expansionary pursuits have only intensified in recent years, jeopardizing the shared global interest of a free and open Indo-Pacific.

As this report explains, China’s additional use of oil and gas in 2020 exceeded its additional renewables use by 30 percent on an exajoule basis and China now consumes 50 percent more crude oil than it did just ten years ago. China’s oil consumption growth has accounted for two-thirds of new global oil consumption in recent years. China’s use of natural gas has accelerated even faster than its use of oil, multiplying tenfold since 2001.

Today, imports meet about three-quarters of China’s total oil demand and China is the world’s biggest crude importer. By 2030 four-fifths of China’s oil demand and half of its natural gas demand will be met by imports.

To mitigate this perceived problem, Xi Jinping has set China on a path towards greater resource production, both onshore and offshore. In seeking new offshore resources, China is now thrusting itself into conflict with the other countries that ring the South China Sea.

 

American Parents: The New “Domestic Terrorist”

Responding to a letter by the National School Boards Association, attacking parents concerned about the dereliction of duty by the American public school profession, Maud Mauron responds:

“You may disagree with parents like me who do not want our children indoctrinated with Critical Race Theory, masked during recess, or told that their biological sex is is not real. But in a free society, we don’t call the feds to police our fellow Americans because we don’t share their politics.

“Actual violence should be condemned without reservation. School board members can and should immediately call the police in the event of a crime or a credible threat. But the incidents cited by the NSBA are not criminal and they definitely do not warrant federal intervention.

[…]

“…few elected officials have publicly aligned themselves with parents — rich and poor and of every color — who are outraged that their children are being denied a decent education by ideological zealots. There will be no waivers for these moms and dads. These people — who dare to question the conventional wisdom, who are not so quick to submit to the powers that be — have no friends in high places. Instead, they are being treated as possible criminals.

“They’re not. We’re not. We are parents, and we have every right to speak passionately and publicly about our children’s education. To post on social media. To write open letters to school board members. To submit op-eds to newspapers. To form advocacy organizations with other parents. To organize protests. To show up to school board meetings.

“That’s not domestic terrorism. It’s good parenting. It’s patriotism. And it’s a basic American right — one we all need to defend.”

Read the rest of Why Are Moms Like Me Being Called Domestic Terrorists?

“Let Racism Die the Death it Deserves.”

“Putting critical theory into our classrooms is not combating racism. It’s fanning the flames of what little embers are left. I encourage you to support this resolution. Let racism die the death it deserves.”

Pro-Capitalist Immigration Laws Matter

According to a report by the National Foundation for American Policy:

American “Immigrants have been awarded 38%, or 40 of 104, of the Nobel Prizes won by Americans in chemistry, medicine and physics since 2000….In 2021, three of the four U.S. recipients of Nobel Prizes in medicine, chemistry and physics were immigrants to the United States. Between 1901 and 2021, immigrants have been awarded 35%, or 109 of 311, of the Nobel Prizes won by Americans in chemistry, medicine and physics.”

Among the other findings in the NFAP research:

  •  “The proper immigration laws matter, particularly in determining whether the United States gains from increased globalization and rising educational achievement in the world. The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 eliminated the discriminatory national origin quotas and opened the door to Asian immigrants, while the Immigration Act of 1990 increased employment-based green card numbers. Those two pieces of legislation have been essential factors in drawing international students to the country and enhancing the ability of America to assimilate talented individuals into our culture and economy.
  • “The rise in immigrant Nobel Prize winners reflects an overall increase in the reputation and capability of American institutions and researchers post-1960, and a greater openness to immigration has helped make the United States the leading global destination for research in many different science and technology fields, including computer and information sciences, cancer research and others.
  • “One can see the increasing influence and importance of immigrants on science in America reflected in Nobel Prize winners. Between 1901 and 1959, immigrants won 21 Nobel Prizes in chemistry, medicine and physics but won 88 prizes in these fields—more than four times as many—between 1960 and 2021.
  • “The pre-1960 immigrant (and U.S.) Nobel Prize total would have been lower if not for the many Jewish scientists who overcame significant restrictions against immigration in the 1930s and fled to the United States to escape European fascism.
  • “Since 2000, immigrants have been awarded 44% of the U.S. Nobel Prizes in physics, 37% in chemistry and 33% in medicine.”

For more coverage on immigration click here.

Peikoff & Chayes: What To Do About Facebook

If you thought Facebook was manipulative and bad, having the state control its manipulative instruments would be Orwellian, so conclude Peikoff and Chayes:

“For years, congressional hearings pertaining to all (un)imaginable evils of social media have amplified a persistent argument that they must be regulated, controlled – even declared public utilities. Now the groundwork is laid to fully implement Orwell’s “1984 by the stroke of a pen.”

[…]

“But most importantly – and this is where we part ways with Haugen – we must prevent the government from obtaining any further control over instruments that apparently cannot be responsibly handled, even by a bunch of gifted Whiz Kids in the Valley.”

“We should staunchly oppose any legislation that puts not only personal data, but also manipulative algorithms at the disposal of politicians or bureaucrats, as some of the laws proposed during Tuesday’s hearing might entail. Private lawsuits, made more practicable by a narrower interpretation of Section 230, would help redress grievances of users of all ages.  

“Big Brother, which is precisely what a public-private “partnership” with Facebook might look like, isn’t any less pernicious if it’s spawned “for the children.”

Read “Facebook hearings confirm fears about company’s business model. What now?

Tom Bowden: Justice Holmes Undermining of the U.S. Constitution

Writes Tom Bowden at New Ideal on “Justice Holmes and the Empty Constitution“:

Scholars have called it “the greatest judicial opinion of the last hundred years” and “a major turning point in American constitutional jurisprudence.” Today, his dissent not only exerts strong influence over constitutional interpretation and the terms of public debate, but it also serves as a litmus test for discerning a judge’s fundamental view of the United States Constitution. This means that any Supreme Court nominee who dares to question Holmes’s wisdom invites a fierce confirmation battle and risks Senate rejection. As one observer recently remarked, “The ghost of Lochner continues to haunt American constitutional law.”

What heinous offense did the Lochner majority commit to provoke Holmes’s caustic dissent? It was not the fact that they had struck down a New York law setting maximum working hours for bakers. Holmes personally disapproved of such paternalistic laws and never questioned the Supreme Court’s power to strike down legislation that violated some particular clause in the Constitution. No, in Holmes’s eyes the majority’s unforgivable sin did not lie in the particular result they reached, but in the method by which they reached it. The majority interpreted the Constitution as if it embodies a principled commitment to protecting individual liberty. But no such foundational principle exists, Holmes asserted, and the sooner judges realize they are expounding an empty Constitution — empty of any underlying view on the relationship of the individual to the state — the sooner they will step aside and allow legislators to decide the fate of individuals such as Joseph Lochner.

 

C. Bradley Thompson: The Police State Comes After American Parents

C. Bradley Thompson on the Biden Administration’s attempts to silence parental dissent against what’s happening in America’s government schools:

“Let’s not kid ourselves. We all know what this is and is not about. It’s NOT about alleged threats of violence against school board members. It’s about targeting political opponents, criminalizing dissent, and weaponizing the FBI and the National Security State against parents who are protesting peacefully and lawfully against indoctrination and censorship in America’s government schools. It’s about turning complaining parents into domestic terrorists for the crime of being parents. It’s about turning America’s mothers into the legal equivalent of Islamic jihadists. It’s about intimidating parents. It’s about using the coercive force of the State against our First Amendment rights to free speech, to assemble peaceably, and to “petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” It’s about silencing parental opposition to the Education Establishment. Make no mistake about it, that’s what this about.”

“More fundamentally, what Garland’s letter is really saying is that the federal government is entirely responsible for the education of your children. You have no rights and no authority to determine the content of your child’s mind. That is for the government to determine.  Your old-fashioned view that your children are actually your children is no longer relevant.”

Read the full article A Declaration of War.

1776 Unites

Members of The Woodson Center’s 1776 Unites Initiative have written an open letter to the National School Boards Association and local School Boards.

Here are some excerpts:

The prevailing narrative of racial grievance has been corrupting the instruction of American history and the humanities for many decades, but has accelerated dangerously over the past year. The most damaging effects of such instruction fall on lower income minority children, who are implicitly told that they are helpless victims with no power or agency to shape their own futures.

[…]

We represent a nonpartisan and intellectually diverse black-led alliance of writers, educators, thinkers, and activists focused on solutions to our country’s greatest challenges in education, culture, race relations, and upward mobility.

The Woodson Center’s 1776 Unites initiative stands in unqualified opposition to any curricula that depict America as irredeemably racist; teach that the legacies of slavery, racial segregation, and other appalling crimes are insurmountable; or fail to provide examples from history of black achievement against the odds. We ask that your schools instead adopt curricula that, rather than completely reject our founding values, instead embrace the ideas of family, faith, and entrepreneurship that have enabled all Americans – including black Americans – throughout history to move from persecution to prosperity, and will continue to do so for generations to come.

We propose including in your schools’ offerings the Woodson Center’s 1776 Unites curricula, which map to Social Studies, English and Social/Emotional Learning standards. 1776 Unites offers authentic, motivating stories from American history that show what is best in our national character and what our freedom makes possible even in the most difficult circumstances.

The curricula maintain a special focus on stories that celebrate black excellence, reject victimhood culture, and showcase the millions of African Americans who have prospered by embracing their country’s founding ideals. The lessons have been downloaded more than 17,000 times across all 50 states.

The Woodson Center’s 1776 Unites curriculum is grounded in essential American values, upholding:

  • Continuity, not rupture. 1776 Unites confronts the realities of slavery and racism in American history while also recognizing them as betrayals of our founding’s highest principles. Leaders like Thomas Jefferson are celebrated in our history despite, not because of, their personal and political failings. The struggle of Americans to rise and realize our own values is part of our story—and always has been.
  • Dignity, not grievance. While dealing frankly with the grim realities of racial segregation, 1776 Unites also shows how black Americans have seized their own destiny and flourished despite harsh restrictions, as demonstrated by the development of nearly 5,000 rural schoolhouses overseen by Booker T. Washington and Julius Rosenwald. These schools became sources of local pride and helped close the white-black learning gap.
  • Resilience, not fragility. Knowing the achievements of the past helps students better understand their responsibilities as American citizens. A lesson on the “Woodson Principles,” which celebrate individual responsibility and strength in the face of adversity, asks students to draw vital support from family, faith, community, and participation in civic life.

Embedded within the achievements of American history are the tools of self-betterment and self-renewal that our country has always deployed on the journey to become a more perfect union. Our children deserve an authentic vision of that story, one that will help them to achieve their own human flourishing.

[…]We invite all those who are committed to quality education and fostering a genuine interest among our young people in how inspiring lessons from our past can inform our path forward to contact us at 1776 Unites ([email protected]), and to view and download our free lessons here.

The full letter can be read here.

Dershowitz: Is Biden’s Vaccination Mandate Constitutional?

Writing in Newsweek, Alan Dershowitz asks: Can the Federal government compel vaccinations?

There is a Supreme Court decision on compelled vaccinations, but it is a 1905 state case that carried a small fine for noncompliance.

Can Biden mandate vaccinations without explicit authorization from congress?

[T]he constitutional authority of the presidency has been expanding since the New Deal and its limits are constantly being tested by presidents of both parties. Presidents generally cite broad and vague congressional authority for their actions. […] It would surely have been better if Congress had explicitly authorized the mandates—better for democratic values and easier as a matter of constitutional law.

Sadly, Dershowitz resorts to the rubber-band concept, “the public interest”,

One point is clear: both sides are exaggerating their constitutional claims. Some proponents of the Biden mandate assure us that its constitutionality “is completely clear,” while some opponents are certain that it is “utterly lawless.” The reality is that the question could go either way. In such a close case, President Biden is justified in doing what he believes to be in the public interest and leaving it to courts to decide.

(In other words, the executive makes the law, and the courts possibly rewrite the law, totally circumventing the authority of the legislative branch.)

Commenting on the concept, Ayn Rand wrote in “The Fascist New Frontier”:

There is no such thing as “the public interest” except as the sum of the interests of individual men. And the basic, common interest of all men—all rational men—is freedom. Freedom is the first requirement of “the public interest”—not what men do when they are free, but that they are free. All their achievements rest on that foundation—and cannot exist without it.

The principles of a free, non-coercive social system are the only form of “the public interest.” [The Ayn Rand Column, 111]

and similarly in her essay, “The Monument Builders,”

Since there is no such entity as “the public,” since the public is merely a number of individuals, any claimed or implied conflict of “the public interest” with private interests means that the interests of some men are to be sacrificed to the interests and wishes of others. Since the concept is so conveniently undefinable, its use rests only on any given gang’s ability to proclaim that “The public, c’est moi”—and to maintain the claim at the point of a gun. [The Virtue of Selfishness, 88]

With vs. From: Interpreting COVID Hospitalization Rates

For 36-48% of COVID hospitalizations, COVID diagnosis was merely incidental. Quoting from The AtlanticOur Most Reliable Pandemic Number Is Losing Meaning” (13 Sept 2021):

If you want to make sense of the number of COVID hospitalizations at any given time, you need to know how sick each patient actually is. …. yet the overall tallies of COVID hospitalizations, made available on various state and federal dashboards and widely reported on by the media, do not differentiate based on severity of illness. Some patients need extensive medical intervention, such as getting intubated. Others require supplemental oxygen or administration of the steroid dexamethasone. But there are many COVID patients in the hospital with fairly mild symptoms, too, who have been admitted for further observation on account of their comorbidities, or because they reported feeling short of breath. Another portion of the patients in this tally are in the hospital for something unrelated to COVID, and discovered that they were infected only because they were tested upon admission. How many patients fall into each category has been a topic of much speculation. In August, researchers from Harvard Medical School, Tufts Medical Center, and the Veterans Affairs Healthcare System decided to find out.

[…]

Instead of meticulously looking at why a few hundred patients were admitted to a pair of hospitals, they analyzed the electronic records for nearly 50,000 COVID hospital admissions at the more than 100 VA hospitals across the country. Then they checked to see whether each patient required supplemental oxygen or had a blood oxygen level below 94 percent. (The latter criterion is based on the National Institutes of Health definition of “severe COVID.”) If either of these conditions was met, the authors classified that patient as having moderate to severe disease; otherwise, the case was considered mild or asymptomatic.

The study found that from March 2020 through early January 2021—before vaccination was widespread, and before the Delta variant had arrived—the proportion of patients with mild or asymptomatic disease was 36 percent. From mid-January through the end of June 2021, however, that number rose to 48 percent. In other words, the study suggests that roughly half of all the hospitalized patients showing up on COVID-data dashboards in 2021 may have been admitted for another reason entirely, or had only a mild presentation of disease.

The study also points out how vaccination helps reduce the severity of the infection:

One of the important implications of the study, these experts say, is that the introduction of vaccines strongly correlates with a greater share of COVID hospital patients having mild or asymptomatic disease. “It’s underreported how well the vaccine makes your life better, how much less sick you are likely to be, and less sick even if hospitalized,” Snyder said. “That’s the gem in this study.”

“People ask me, ‘Why am I getting vaccinated if I just end up in the hospital anyway?’” Griffin said. “But I say, ‘You’ll end up leaving the hospital.’”

The authors conclude by noting that those with COVID, but suffering from something else, should not be classified as a COVID hospitalization — to which I might add, not a COVID death.

[…] Doron told me, referring to decisions about school closures, business restrictions, mask requirements, and so on, “we should refine the definition of hospitalization. Those patients who are there with rather than from COVID don’t belong in the metric.”