Good Morning! 

The 19th century writer Mary Catherwood once observed, “There is no robbery so terrible as the robbery committed by those who think they are doing right.” 

The poet Robert Frost took a slightly different tact when he noted, “Of all crimes the worst is to steal the glory from the great and brave, even more accursed than to rob the grave.” 

In this morning’s Wall Street Journal, the esteemed researcher and writer Mary Eberstadt pulls no punches in calling out the blatant, public heist of America’s children: 

  1. Millennials, Put Away Childish Political Things 

Mary Eberstadt writes in the Wall Street Journal: 

As the election results of 2021 suggest a chill in the air for the left, the time has come to talk to younger voters—millennials and Generation Z—about America’s future. The message can be distilled in a single sentence: You’ve been robbed. 

You have been robbed of something treasured by millions of less-literate Americans before you: knowledge and appreciation of your own country, and its symphonic, tumultuous, sometimes riven and always illuminating history. 

Many of today’s young have been robbed, too, of another source of immaterial wealth: the consolations and joys of family life. This theft is due in part to generational arithmetic. Today’s younger adults hail from smaller networks of kinship than earlier generations. You are more likely to have lacked a father at home and to have had fewer siblings, cousins, uncles and aunts than your forbears. 

The family deficit is also a consequence of ideas. Generations of thinkers have disparaged the family as the enemy of utopian schemes. In their depictions, home and hearth amount to a slaughterhouse of dreams and aspirations, especially for women. To the contrary: Unprecedented rates of abortion, fatherlessness and divorce, far from liberating you, have subtracted actual and potential loved ones from your lives. No wonder surveys show that young people are the loneliest Americans. 

Some of you have been robbed of another rich inheritance: organized religion. Men and women throughout the ages concluded that humanity exists within some form of a sacred order. Alongside that understanding of the divine flourished the greatest art and science, architecture and music and human creation at large that our species has ever devised. Permanent membership in “none of the above” secularism risks relinquishing your own cultural inheritance: Western civilization. 

  1. The Next Battle in the War for Parents’ Rights in Education is a Line Politicians Dare Not Cross 

Betsy DeVos writes for Fox News: 

There’s the potential for a new fault line in America’s ever-growing debate about parental rights: a schism between policymakers who believe parents have a right to know what’s being taught in public K-12 schools, and those who do not. 

Wisconsin lawmakers recently passed overwhelmingly the nation’s first, most powerful academic transparency law to pull back the curtains on the content of classroom instruction. The bill requires schools to post online a list of the specific instructional materials being presented—so that current and prospective parents can see for themselves whether the content awaiting their kids is academically rigorous, or ideologically extreme. 

Because wokeness is the left’s religion, “banning” critical race theory or the 1619 Project won’t fix the problem. The liberal education establishment will simply rename, rebrand, or repackage these insidious ideas to get around so-called bans. 

Instead, we must equip parents themselves with the tools to hold schools accountable for their programming decisions—to be able to see what is being taught and differentiate between activist and academically oriented schools before they have to make an enrollment decision. Schools, in turn, will find themselves under a meaningful spotlight for the first time, and those that don’t want to alienate prospective parents (and the substantial formula funding that comes with their kids’ enrollment) may finally have an incentive to veer away from political extremism on their own. 

The Wisconsin bill’s sponsor, state senator Duey Stroebel, observed during the floor debate: “I didn’t think I would ever hear transparency equated to fascism like I just did here.” 

Hiding materials taught to children from their own parents seems a like line politicians should be wary to cross. We’ll see whether their big union funders push them to cross it. 

  1. Facing Down the Woke 

Peggy Noonan writes in the Wall Street Journal: 

An important piece appeared in the Washington Post this week by Virginia public school mothers Tiffany Justice and Tina Descovich. They wrote that the antiwoke movement among parents is driven by many things—mask mandates, reading materials, critical race theory—but is about something “more profound.” When parents “were suddenly within earshot” of online classes, they became alarmed that children were “being fed lessons on highly divisive topics of questionable academic benefit.” But when parents began to push back, they discovered who really runs the schools: unions, school boards whose members are often handpicked by unions, and businesses that sell curriculums and textbooks. “None of them put students’ interests first.” 

The public-education system is a cartel. It’s a big thing when people discover this, and the movement against it will continue, powered by two other dynamics. One is that when parents heard indoctrination during the kids’ Zoom classes, they’d heard it before. They knew it from work, from endless human-resources antiracism and gender-bias sessions. They didn’t know the kids were getting it too, and didn’t like it. Second, when parents were home they had time to master the arduous process by which government documents are requested. That’s how a parent in Loudoun County, Va., found out the system was paying consultants to instruct teachers, among many other things, in the difference between “white individualism” and “color group collectivism.” 

I’ve been meaning for a long time to mention the seminal piece on this subject, the one that pierced through and made liberal parents in my liberal town sit up and take notice: “When the Culture War Comes for the Kids,” by George Packer, published in October 2019 in the Atlantic. “The organized pathologies of adults—sometimes known as politics—find a way to infect the world of children,” he begins. 

“Around 2014, a new mood germinated in America,” then rapidly spread. “This new mood was progressive but not hopeful.” It came to take on “the substance and hard edges of a radically egalitarian ideology.” In New York City’s public schools, which Mr. Packer’s children attended, the battleground was “identity.” Grade-school “affinity” groups were formed “to discuss issues based on identity—race, sexuality, disability.” The city was spending millions in “antibias” training for school employees. One slide was titled “White Supremacy Culture” and included such traits as “individualism,” “objectivity” and “worship of the written word.” 

It’s a brilliant, early piece, full of arguments on why one should have reservations about the new regime. 

  1. Parish Creates ‘Ransom’ Fund That Pays Parents To Take Their Kids Out Of Public School 

From the Daily Wire: 

A church in Virginia will pay parishioners $2,000 to move their child from public school to any Catholic school, with the pastor saying “I think right now the schooling of our children is the issue. We’ll lose them to the culture of death if we don’t.” 

The effort by Saint Raymond of Penafort Church in Springfield is made possible for what it calls the Our Lady of Ransom Fund, recalling how in the year 1218, Saint Raymond founded a religious order that organized the ransom of Christians kidnapped by Moorish raiders, the Arlington Catholic Herald reported. 

Father John C. De Celles, the church’s pastor, “sees the fund as a way to ransom his school-age parishioners from the prevailing secular culture at public schools,” the Herald wrote. 

The parish has raised $140,000 for the fund this year, which has gone to 113 students. The diocese also has its own Catholic school tuition assistance program. 

  1. Media Dishonest About Battles Over Critical Race Theory in Schools 

From The Daily Citizen: 

A new report examined how newspapers and education journals covered the debate about teaching critical race theory (CRT) in schools. 

Surprise, surprise, surprise: The study showed that articles about CRT ignored some of the basic premises of the ideology; rarely mentioned school practices based on CRT; and falsely caricatured those opposing CRT as not wanting school children to discuss slavery and racism. 

When discussing legislation to ban or restrict concepts from CRT in public schools, outlets rarely quoted from the legislation to explain the controversy. 

The report, by Frederic Hess from the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), is titled, “Media’s misleading portrayal of the fight over critical race theory.” It gives the results of his examination of articles published between September 1, 2020 and August 31, 2021, from four major newspapers: The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and USA Today. He also examined articles from three education outlets, Education Week, Chalkbeat, and The 74. 

  1. Marriage and Family in the Post-COVID World

Focus on the Family’s Tim Goeglein writes in the Epoch Times: 

Mary Eberstadt, senior research fellow at the Faith and Reason Institute in Washington, D.C. wrote several years ago, “The new wealth in America is familial wealth, and the new poverty, familial poverty.”  I was reminded of those words as I studied a new report by W. Bradford Wilcox and the Institute for Family Studies looking at the state of marriage and family in America as we reach (hopefully) the last stages of the COVID pandemic. 

In September 2021, Wilcox and his team surveyed men and women between the ages of 18-55 about family formation. What they discovered is that the pandemic has widened the marriage/family gap between the rich and the poor, the religious and the non-religious, and conservative and the liberal. 

The study found that since the pandemic started in March 2020, the desire to marry among higher-income Americans (those making more than $100,000 per year) has increased 9 percent and the desire to have children increased by 1 percent. 

But the converse is true among middle-to-lower income Americans. While the desire to get married (the good news) has increased at a lower rate – 4 percent for the middle-class and 2 percent for lower-income Americans — the desire to have children decreased 6 percent for the middle class, and an alarming 11 percent for the lower class. \

My hope for a post-pandemic America is one where every American — regardless of class —  sees the value of getting married, having children, and raising those children in a stable, loving home, regardless of material comfort or lack of material comfort. That is a scenario that will bring Americans together rather than further drive us apart.  This major new study confirms that the state and fate of the American family and marriage continues to be the most important bellwether and predicator of national weakness or strength. 

 7.   As Climate Anxiety Reaches New Extremes, Environmental Data Tells Hopeful Story 

From The Daily Citizen: 

new report from Yale University tells 70% of Americans struggle with some level of climate anxiety, an all-time high. Just one year ago, leading British medical journal The Lancet issued a dramatic “call to action” due to run-away levels of climate anxiety among young people. This is something all parents should be mindful of, as extreme fearfulness can be devastating to children. 

Such anxiety naturally stems from dramatic statements like President Biden made on the world stage in his recent speech at the COP26 environmental summit in Glasgow earlier this month, claiming “Climate change is already ravaging the world” and is an “existential threat to human existence as we know it.” Some environmentalist writers are even warning such talk is becoming a bit too much. 

But are such claims actually true? What if the best research demonstrates the environment is actually improving in the most important ways required by human thriving? 

Simply consider what we all need to live: clean air, fresh water, abundant food, and protection from threats of nature. If we have these, all other things can be overcome. Most are surprised to learn these are all improving in dramatic ways precisely because of technological innovation and population growth. One of the best sources for this information comes from the scholars at Our World in Data and the Oxford Martin School at the University of Oxford. 

As the Creator’s stewards of the planet, we still have much work to do in improving the environment. But we must appreciate how the empirical data persuasively indicates the most significant trend lines for human thriving are moving in the right directions in profound ways for nearly everyone around the globe. And this is all happening as our population and economy continues to grow! The reason is because new people are not just stomachs that consume, but intellects that grow into innovative problem solvers. More people are the solution, not the problem. 

Our children need to hear data like this so they can replace their rising climate anxiety with informed understanding that we are indeed heading in the right direction toward a healthier environment and a safer world. 

  1. My husband is gay but we’re married with two kids 

From the NY Post: 

A woman has revealed how she’s married to a gay man and the pair have two young kids together. 

It doesn’t bother 35-year-old Brynn Embley though and she and Matthew Neilson, 33, still have great sex and chemistry. 

Before they married in 2017 Matthew had dated both men and women but he’d never had sex with anyone, including Brynn. 

And despite admitting he didn’t know if he’d ever enjoy being intimate with her, they tied the knot and became parents. 

The pair are members of the Church of Jesus Christ and Latter-Day Saints – a faith which doesn’t condone same-sex relationships – and Matthew admits a strong motivation for dating women was so he didn’t have to be single and celibate forever. 

9.   The Joy of Living in a World Gone Wrong 

From the Gospel Coalition: 

The paradox of fitting in and standing out is what makes the Christian life an exciting journey of discovery. We are free to live as a people set apart, a foretaste of future glory, as we cultivate the virtues that mark Christian character and become the kind of people who embody faith, hope, and love—both homesick and “at home” in a world both ruined by sin and marked for redemption. 

It’s easy to feel sad at the state of the world. Of course, the culture is crumbling! Such is the fate of any society where Christ is not acknowledged as King. 

But rather than meekly assume a resigned state of pessimism, or adopt an overly ambitious project of world renewal, we can happily make a difference where we are, pointing people to God’s original design and holding out hope in his future promise. This is the word of life we hold firm, that we may be “blameless and pure, children of God who are faultless in a crooked and perverted generation,” among whom we “shine like stars in the world” (Phil. 2:16–17). 

Don’t despair when you see how badly this world needs repair. Stand up and stand out. This is what makes the Christian life an adventure. 

10.Alabama Baby Named the World’s Most Premature Infant to Survive  

From The Daily Citizen: 

An Alabama baby boy was named the world’s most premature baby to survive by Guinness World Records. 

Curtis Means was born at 21 weeks and one day and weighed only 14.8 ounces. Today he is a happy, healthy, and thriving 16-month-old. 

Baby Curtis and his twin sister, C’Asya, were born on July 4, 2020, at the University of Alabama at Birmingham hospital. They were born 132 days premature and were given a less than 1% chance of survival. 

The physician on call that day, Dr. Brian Sims, said that because children born so young have virtually no chance of survival that doctors generally advise compassionate care rather than lifesaving care to allow parents the opportunity to hold their babies before they pass. 

But their mother, Michelle Butler, asked Dr. Sims to give her babies a chance, and he did.