Defeating Internet Censorship

The social media phenomenon seemed at first to represent a magnificent advance for human freedom, extending to the common man the opportunity for expression of his thought to the entire world. Yet what we thought was a new, paradigm-changing degree of liberty is now rapidly being thwarted by vigorous social media censorship carried out in the name of policing offensiveness, and of protecting people from the harm of hearing someone else’s opinion. Social media censors are even expanding their arbitrary enforcement of speech limitations into the realms of political and religious speech. Facebook warnings on RNC ads, YouTube restrictions on PragerU, Twitter censoring President Trump, Facebook “fact-checks”, and now even suspension of Trump campaign ads by Twitter, typify such aggressive censorship. What a stark contrast exists between the heavy-handed intervention by social media censors and the principle underlying the very limited constraints on public speech which the government may impose in accordance with the First Amendment. As the Supreme Court explained just a few years ago in Matal v. Tam:

. . . it is a fundamental principle of the First Amendment that the government may not punish or suppress speech based on disapproval of the ideas or perspectives the speech conveys.1

Since social media now sustains our public discourse to a very great extent, the progressive suppression of conservative speech on social media at will is nothing less than a catastrophe. Conservatives must find and implement effective means for fighting internet censorship – quickly.

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Corona Conclusion?

Well, this is fantastic news!

I mean, for months now, I have been absolutely convinced that it was beyond imperative that I scrupulously exercise social distancing and mask-wearing for the survival of both myself and others. The governor has solemnly pronounced mandatory restrictions on my freedom of movement and action. I was warned in no uncertain terms that if I did not comply with said restrictions I was not only risking a painful death but also vigorous law enforcement measures upon my person. You should see the county’s implementing orders on this subject: I have seldom seen a more impressive list of “whereases” in a government document.

As part of these sacrosanct protective measures, I was also informed by both the governor and my local bishop that I could no longer attend Mass in person on Sunday, since it was way too dangerous. After all, I have to admit, it is hard to conceive of a more dangerous pursuit at a time like this: sitting or standing for long periods of time, occasionally breathing incense, and (here is the kicker) being within a few feet of other people!! The very thought is troubling. At first, not even “social distancing” and the wearing of face masks was considered sufficient to meet minimal standards of safety at Holy Mass. Now, however, we have taken limited steps toward freedom: the entire church has been divided into separated spaces to ensure all are appropriately remote from one another. Of course, this severely diminshes the number of seats available, so Mass is now first-come, first-served. If you are too late, you are banished to the parking lot – provided you maintain your social distance!

But now the great news!! Mask-wearing and social distancing are no longer mandatory! I know this because for a week now I have been watching the massive social justice protests occurring across the country from my corona virus sanctuary. I have been observing what must be thousands of people parading through the streets – many without masks and jammed together in huge crowds, as if they have never heard of the concept of social distancing!

At first I waited expectantly for the governor to act vigorously to enforce the corona virus restrictions. After all, it has been pounded into all of us that it is of extreme importance that we cooperate with these restrictions in order to prevent possibly millions of deaths across the country. A significant portion of the economy is still shut down for this very reason. I thought that the governor would have to act adamantly and expeditiously to protect the protesters from the ravages of the deadly corona virus.

But now there has been a week of immense protests, and not a word from the governor. I understand that curfews have been set, and the national guard has been called out in order to stop rioting, but that is all related only to the immediate effects of the protests. There have been no actions from our leadership to deal with the corona virus consequences of the protests.

What does this mean?? Why are government officials no longer concerned with the corona virus? If the corona virus is still dangerous, then is it not possible that a huge corona virus spike is forthcoming, due to the rapid spreading of the virus which must be occurring due to the protests??

What has happened?

Could it be that the corona virus threat has precipitously declined, and there is just so much news to report that the main stream media have not been able to report it? Could it be that the corona virus has become such a low priority that it does not even merit reporting by the media or action by the government?

Well, if so, this is really great news! It must be that the great pandemic of 2020 is over!!

I am certain that very soon, tomorrow or the next day, it will be all over the news that the corona virus is a thing of the past, and that we can all get back to real life once again.

I am still a little confused however. This is not unusual, as it seems to happen more often as I get older. But I thought, with the pandemic over, that my local church would be back in business. For some reason though, my church seems not to have received the news. All of the corona virus restrictions are still in place. I just don’t get it.

But I have an idea. Maybe if a bring a protest sign with me to Mass on Sunday . . .

Abortion and the Resurgence of Idolatry

The following grim statement appears on the “Abortion” page of the World Health Organization (WHO) web site:

“Every woman has the recognized human right to decide freely and responsibly without coercion and violence the number, spacing and timing of their children and to have the information and means to do so, and the right to attain the highest standard of sexual and reproductive health . . . Access to legal and safe abortion is essential for the realization of these rights. One in four pregnancies ends in abortion.” [1]

Think about this statement for a moment. According to WHO, abortion is a human right. That is, the deliberate killing of an innocent child is a human right. We see now what “safe, legal, and rare” really meant. [2] Such deception constitutes one of the more blatant examples of how seemingly mild, concerned, and responsible progressive language turns out to have an actual meaning that is viciously aggressive in its destruction of real human rights, such as the right to life.

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COVID-19 – Unwarranted Hysteria

One of the key aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic which is not being accurately reported is its mortality rate. This is critically important, because the careless implication that mortality resulting from this virus will be catastrophic has led to an extreme over-reaction which has caused significant and unnecessary economic impacts. A close look at the numbers reveals some crucial underlying facts.

The first thing to be aware of is that at this time it is impossible to know the real mortality rate for this pandemic. That can only be estimated, since while the number of deaths resulting from the disease is reasonably well known, there is as yet no clear assessment of the number of persons infected by the disease. An accurate case count can only result from comprehensive testing coverage, and since the virus has spread so rapidly, it has not been possible to conduct testing which is representative enough to provide a reliable estimate. As pointed out by Alan Reynolds of the CATO Institute, it is very likely that the infection counts underlying current mortality rate calculations are significantly underestimated. [1] Underestimation of cases results directly in overestimation of mortality rates. Continue reading “COVID-19 – Unwarranted Hysteria”

A Ray of Hope in the Wilds of Liberal Catholicism

My son plays small college rugby, so I find myself traveling on weekends in the fall to college towns in the region, sometimes staying overnight on Saturday and needing to find a local Mass on Sunday morning. An important part of preparing for every trip is the search for a Mass which fits the rugby game time constraints and also might hopefully be a more orthodox version of the Mass. If you are a Catholic who has attended Mass in various regions around the country, you know that the manner in which Mass is conducted can vary quite widely indeed. Ideally I would like to find a 7:30 am Sunday Traditional Latin Mass, but the prospects for finding a Traditional Mass, much less an early one, are slim to none. Continue reading “A Ray of Hope in the Wilds of Liberal Catholicism”

The Progressive Ethos and the Intractability of the Drug Crisis

Once again, I find that I need look no further than the local newspaper to face yet another example of the infestation of progressive thought in the formerly great conservative state of Virginia.

This particular time, one of the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star opinion writers laments the “drug problem,” stating that “nothing we have tried has worked,” 40 years of drug awareness education has not helped, and that “the war on drugs has been a miserable failure.” Donnie Johnston appears to understand that societal factors may be at work, since he refers to Americans’ dependency on “their fix,” and the failure to focus on prevention as “a sad commentary on our society.” But he then proceeds to profess bewilderment as to what might be done:

“The question is where do we go from here? I have no idea.” [1]

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The Morning After

I am writing this the morning after the Mueller hearings. And I am pinching myself to try and find out if what I recall of the hearings yesterday actually happened.

I mean – are the Democrats really as stupid as they appeared to be yesterday?

Did they really intend to showcase the Mueller report’s fundamental departure from the rule of U. S. law, wherein the President was not afforded the presumption of innocence, as required by the due process enshrined in the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U. S. Constitution? Did they not expect that Representative Ratcliffe, or one of the other Republican representatives, would use the opportunity presented by the hearings to ensure that everyone understands that no prosecutor, ever, has any authority to make statements about “exoneration?” Did they not understand that the great unwashed masses are at least alert enough to realize that if the President himself can be treated this way, then there is no hope for the rest of us?

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The Alabama Abortion Bill and the Vulnerability of Roe v. Wade

The Alabama Human Life Protection Act signed into state law on May 15th seems to have engendered a noticeable increase in intensity beyond the usual aggrieved progressive response to the introduction of restrictive abortion laws. [1,2] This is somewhat curious, since this is only one of several bills introduced in states this year to restrict abortions. [3] I suspect it is because the sponsors of the Alabama abortion bill have stated that their intent is to directly challenge Roe v. Wade, and that they will focus on the personhood of the baby in the womb:

“It was about creating something that was meant to go all the way to the Supreme Court and it also needed to have the most value when talking about a pro-life bill if you are going to try and pass it,” Collins said. [4]

“The point is it acknowledges there is a baby, there is a person there,” Collins said. “Under Alabama law right now, that baby, that presence, is already acknowledged under current law.” [5]

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Senator Mazie Hirono and the Menace of Progressive Thought

New Aggression against Catholics and Christians

The recent attack by Senator Mazie Hirono against key teachings of the Catholic Church marks a new threshold of antipathy by progressives toward the Catholic faith. As progressives become ever more strident in their efforts to exact their vision upon society, the constant teaching of the Catholic Church increasingly stands as a moral bulwark opposing their advance. And now we must recognize that actual danger to faithful Catholics, as well as conservative Christians, is becoming more of a reality, as we experience the erosion of key protections incorporated in the Bill of Rights.

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The Jim Acosta Press Conference

It is no longer any great revelation that “journalists” are heavily biased toward liberal views. [1] Further, the media routinely exercise blatant bias against the President. [2] Therefore, we should not have been surprised to see Mr. Acosta from CNN arguing with the President at his recent press conference on November 7th, instead of asking questions and seeking answers as to the President’s positions on issues.

 Although we should not have been surprised that it has come to this, the  disrespect shown by Mr. Acosta to the President and his office that day should be very concerning to those of us who value the truth. Moreover, we should seriously consider the wider implications of this sort of behavior by the press.

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