Gary Kasparov, the chess grandmaster, tweeted:
“The point of modern propaganda isn’t only to misinform or push an agenda. It is to exhaust your critical thinking, to annihilate truth.”
Is George Orwell’s dystopian nightmare coming true?
1. Department of Homeland Security Launches Disinformation Governance Board
From The Daily Citizen:
It’s been a while since I read George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984. Nevertheless, I’m pretty sure it wasn’t meant to be a how-to book for government officials.
But when Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas appeared before the House Appropriations Subcommittee and announced that his department had created a Disinformation Governance Board (DGB), it seemed like he’d been taking notes from Orwell.
The inaptly and ineptly named department sounds like it will oversee the spread of disinformation by the government – just like Orwell’s “Ministry of Truth” (aka MiniTru) which works to disseminate propaganda and falsify history under the Party which rules Oceania.
But Mayorkas explained that the DGB’s goal was to combat disinformation, “to bring the resources of [DHS] together to address this threat” of “misinformation campaigns,” Fox News reported.
Mayorkas said that the DGB will be led by co-chairs Rob Silvers, undersecretary for policy, and Jennifer Gaskill, principal deputy general counsel.
Conservatives in the media and on social media flipped. Is the government supposed to decide what is truth for us?
But they started spinning even faster when Politico announced that Nina Jankowicz will head the board as executive director.
Jankowicz has written two books, How to Be a Woman Online and How to Lose the Information War. Her bio says she “is an internationally-recognized expert on disinformation and democratization.”
Do we want a government agency – complete with Mary Poppins-singing “disinformation experts” and graphic novels – deciding what is true?
Or do we want the freedom to debate and argue for truth in the public arena?
- The Risk that AI Poses to Religious Freedom
From the Deseret News:
Despite all the applications of AI for good, particularly when it comes to advancing faith and religious freedom, critics of this technology are now widespread, with even the Vatican vowing to fight back against AI’s threats to human rights and religious freedom.
Here is the paradox. All the gathered information that can help facilitate faith outreach, particularly information about vulnerable individuals or countries’ national security infrastructures, can also be used by malign actors to stamp out minority beliefs. What happens, suddenly, when an authoritarian regime determines that a specific type of faith or religious adherence is a “threat to society”? Data and artificial intelligence can be deployed to target individuals and faith groups. Facial recognition technology, enabled by AI, can identify people entering or exiting houses of worship, which might later be used against them to bolster unjust charges of sedition.
Welcome to the roaring ’20s of the 21st century where this occurs every day in countries around the world. The ferocious behaviors of dictators are enabled by technology that was originally designed with an eye toward human progress and creating a better world.
Chinese authorities have already used a vast system of advanced facial recognition technology to profile religionists. This data then serves as a hub for authorities to track movements, search people’s homes and detain citizens. Labor camps have been set up that officials in Beijing cynically refer to as vocational training camps — these are “reeducation camps” designed specifically to target Chinese Uyghur Muslims.
3. Grove City College Condemns ‘Alleged Drift into CRT Advocacy’
From Christianity Today:
Grove City College insists it’s not “going woke.” A new report from the conservative Christian college in Pennsylvania denounced school-sponsored courses and trainings they say promoted “CRT concepts” and characterized inviting historian Jemar Tisby to speak at a 2020 chapel service as a “mistake.”
“Grove City College has not changed,” a committee composed largely of Grove City board members said in the report released last week. “It remains a Christ-centered, conservative institution.”
The report, a product of the committee’s assignment to ascertain any “mission drift” at the college, recommends re-adding the word “conservative” to the school’s mission statement after it was removed in 2021 and lists “remedial actions” to curb the promotion of critical race theory at the school.
These actions include replacing an education course accused of promoting “pop-CRT,” rebranding the school’s Office of Multicultural Education and Initiatives, and exercising increased scrutiny of guest speakers and student trainings.
4. If student loans are cancelled, where’s my refund?
Focus on the Family’s Zachary Mettler writes in the Christian Post:
It was American journalist Earl Wilson who said, “This would be a much better world if more married couples were as deeply in love as they are in debt.”
This is especially true when it comes to student loan debt.
Forty-three million Americans currently owe a combined $1.7 trillion in student loans.
But though difficult, I know that it is possible to pay off one’s student loans.
On November 2, 2021, I finally made my last student loan payment and became debt free. It took me several years and cost a pretty penny: $23,125 plus interest to be exact.
I did the right thing. I paid back what I owed.
But as the old adage goes, “No good deed goes unpunished.”
There is a myriad of reasons why every plan to cancel student loans, no matter the amount, is bad.
For starters, cancelling student loans would be like a doctor prescribing Tylenol to treat a cancer patient.
As a Christian, I believe in helping the poor, including those struggling with student loan debt.
For Scripture tells us, “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender” (Proverbs 22:7).
But the Bible also teaches, “The wicked borrows but does not pay back, but the righteous is generous and gives” (Psalm 37:21).
Cancelling student loans would turn the government into a reverse Robin Hood, taking from the poor and giving to the rich, harming the very people our elected leaders claim they’re trying to help.
It would punish those who have been responsible and paid back the money they borrowed.
5. The Continuing Importance of Thomas Sowell
From Hillsdale College’s Imprimis:
Sowell is now 91 years old. The book he published last year was his 36th, and his fifth since turning 80. That’s not too bad for a black orphan from the Jim Crow South who was born into extreme poverty during the Great Depression, never finished high school, didn’t earn a college degree until he was 28, and didn’t write his first book until he was 40. But even aside from that impressive personal journey, Sowell is a rare species. He’s an honest intellectual. He’s someone who has consistently sought out the truth, regardless of whether it made him popular. He has been willing to follow the facts and evidence wherever they lead, even when they lead to politically incorrect results. It’s not something that ought to distinguish you as a scholar, but these days it does.
Think about the current debate that we’re having over critical race theory. These ideas were once relegated to college seminars. Now they are entering our workplaces through diversity training. And they are entering our elementary schools through The New York Times 1619 Project, which attempts to put the institution of slavery at the center of America’s founding. That’s absurd. Slavery existed for thousands of years, in societies all over the world and long before the founding of the United States. More African slaves were sent to the Islamic world than were ever sent to the Americas. Slavery still exists today in Sudan and Nigeria.
What makes America unique is not slavery. It’s emancipation. It’s how fast we went from slavery to Martin Luther King to a black president. The economic and social progress of black Americans in only a few generations is something unmatched in recorded history.
6. Should We Be Anxious About Nuclear War?
From The Daily Citizen:
Should we be worried or anxious about the looming threat of nuclear war?
Jesus admonished, “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Matthew 6:34). He also once said, “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?” (Luke 12:25)
One of the many blessings of Christianity is its practicality. Christ’s counsel is also perfect, even when we find it difficult to put into practice. If I’m honest, I will sometimes allow present joys to be clouded by tomorrow’s concerns.
But there is a big distinction between anxiety and burden. Only a shallow and misinformed person is not heavy-hearted with the state of today’s world. When looking around, we may feel helpless – but because of Jesus Christ and His promises, we need not be hopeless.
The mature and proper response to the saber rattling and threat of nuclear conflict is prayer. Pray as a family. Pray as you drive or as you work out. Appeal to the Lord. Take your anxieties to Him. He knows. He cares. He understands.
Remember: men and women may have free will, but as Christians, we know nothing happens in this world without God’s permission.
- Five Ways Elon Musk Can Improve the Digital Public Square
From First Things:
- Clean House: Twitter’s internal culture is toxic, extremely woke, and hostile to American principles like free speech and free expression. It’s likely that Musk will receive enormous pushback from woke employees within the company—he already is.
- Embrace the First Amendment: “Content moderation is hard,” Big Tech apparatchiks always insist. But it really isn’t. Musk has spoken a great deal about free speech and publicly wrestled with its meaning. Fortunately, we have a wonderful standard for free speech in this country—the First Amendment.
- Get Rid of the Porn:Some libertarians might object to this proposal, protesting that porn is protected under the First Amendment and pointing to Reno v. ACLU. But as a social conservative, I’m used to the Supreme Court getting the Constitution egregiously wrong. And Twitter is a private company—it can do whatever it wants.
- Verify Everyone: Musk has spoken publicly about his desire to get rid of pseudonymous accounts. A better policy would be to give everyone the opportunity to be verified as a real human, and provide those accounts with a blue checkmark and all the algorithmic benefits that come with it.
- Tell the World What Happened in 2020:If Twitter really wants to regain the trust of the American people, it has to be transparent about exactly what it did wrong in the first place. The most egregious example is obviously Twitter’s suppression of the Hunter Biden laptop story, but there are surely plenty of other cases of interference that were less blatant.
8. In Italy, Babies Will Now Automatically Carry Both Parents’ Surnames
The Italian Constitutional Court in Rome made a ruling that automatically assigning children with the surname of only their father is constitutionally illegitimate. The court went further to say that parents should be able to have a say in their kid’s surname since it constitutes a “fundamental element of personal identity.”
Now, moving forward, parents need to mutually agree on the order of the surnames and a child will have both. The court did leave an option for a child to be given only one surname, should both parents agree. This would mark the first time it’s possible for kids in Italy to carry only the last name of their mom, and it will apply to kids born to married or unmarried parents and adopted children.
9. The Extraordinary Wealth Created by the Pandemic Housing Market
From The New York Times:
Over the past two years, Americans who own their homes have gained more than $6 trillion in housing wealth. To be clear, that doesn’t mean homebuilders have transferred to buyers $6 trillion worth of new housing, or that existing homeowners have made $6 trillion in kitchen and bathroom upgrades.
Rather, most of this money has been created by the simple fact that housing, in short supply and high demand across America, has appreciated at record pace during the pandemic. Millions of people — broadly spread among the 65 percent of American households who own their home — have gained a share of this windfall.
It’s a remarkably positive story for Americans who own a home; it’s also inseparable from the housing affordability crisis for those who don’t. For them, rents are rapidly rising. Inflation is whittling away their incomes. And the very thing that has created all this wealth has pushed homeownership as a means of wealth-building further out of reach.
10. ‘Wonder Years’ Star Discovers the Wonder of Salvation Through Jesus Christ: ‘God’s Love Is Bigger Than Any Human Love’
Danica McKellar, known for her role as Winnie Cooper on The Wonder Years, recently shared that her heart is bursting with love for the Lord as she embarks on her new faith journey.
McKellar posted an Instagram live video on April 24 where she admitted to being skeptical about Christianity for much of her life.
The 47-year-old explained that she is seeing things differently now and understands that God’s love for us is limitless.
“But that’s just people, that doesn’t represent God’s actual love for us,” McKellar noted. “And I can tell you I’m experiencing a relationship with God and Jesus that I’ve never had before, and it feels miraculous.”
Notably, she had a change of heart after talking with her friend and fellow actress Candace Cameron Bure.
“And it all started one evening when I was struggling with the idea of forgiveness and DM’d my good friend @candacecbure about a passage from the Bible she had read on her instastories, and then she sent me a Bible, and invited me to church.”
Responding to McKellar’s post, Bure wrote, “God’s love is bigger than any human love and when He sweeps you up in understanding how powerful it is, because He is, it’s undeniable. Praying for you on your journey and relationship with Jesus my sweet friend.”