In his book, Shooting an Elephant, George Orwell wrote:
“He wears a mask and his face grows to fit it.”
In other words, we often become what we think people expect us to become. But policies have consequences.
- Enough is Enough – Let Children Take off their Masks
Focus on the Family president Jim Daly writes:
Pressure is mounting on elected officials to lift mask mandates in schools wherever they still exist – and it’s not a moment too soon.
Thanks to heavy-hand government bureaucrats, busybodies and even the misinformed well-meaning, children have been forced to endure face coverings in the classroom for up to two years. Abnormality has become institutionalized.
Enough is enough. With their parents’ permission, it’s past time to allow children to take their masks off and live like normal human beings again.
Mask wearing was implemented to slow or prevent the spread of COVID-19, but numerous studies have been released calling into question the efficacy of face coverings altogether. In many cases, masks have been nothing short of theater – something to do that looks or even feels good but is more show than substance.
Masks are supposed to help – but for children they actually do more harm than good. First off, children are at the lowest risk of COVID. Even if they contract it, they tend to get over it very quickly. Statistically speaking, they pretty much have a zero percent chance of dying from it.
The science is clear. Children are different from adults when it comes to COVID-19. Speech and emotional development rely heavily on facial expressions and reading social cues that become impossible to translate when you can’t see someone’s mouth.
A recent study likened kids wearing masks to wearing sunglasses (though likely worse) and that such a barrier makes it more difficult to identify a child’s fear, sadness or anger – or having them read those same emotions in others. Studies have confirmed masks impair a child’s social and emotional reasoning.
Many of us have grown weary of public officials and celebrities saying one thing regarding masking and doing the other, i.e., “Rules for thee but not for me.”
Georgia’s Stacey Abrams made headlines a few weeks ago when she was photographed maskless inside a classroom. She was there to campaign for governor and read to students. All of the children had their faces covered.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti took heat when he was pictured without a mask at the NFC Championship game and then claimed he was holding his breath for pictures. At Sunday’s Super Bowl, numerous celebrities were photographed maskless again – despite a local ordinance requiring everyone to mask up.
Allow me to be clear – I don’t think these celebrities or politicians should be forced to mask up either – but stop requiring our kids to do what those making the rules have no intention of doing themselves.
For some time now, I’ve been warning about a war on our kids. It’s insidious and on every level. Anti-natalists don’t want children at all; abortion activists champion the killing of those who are conceived – and liberal activists want to control those kids who do make it by propagandizing school curricula and foisting and forcing their leftist agenda upon them.
Taking off the mask represents both a symbolic and scientific step in the right direction. It’s time to reclaim what has been wrestled from us. It’s between God and parents – not government, regarding how we are to raise and manage the health of our children. There are times when government has a right to institute public health positions on a national level but that is not the case here as scientific evidence does not support the current policies.
D.C. Will Still Require Masks For Students, Despite Dropping Mandates At Bars, Restaurants, And Strip Clubs
From the Daily Wire:
Sorry, kids, you still have to mask up in the name of COVID-19 safety in the nation’s capital while adults can gallivant around the Swamp free of face-covering obstructions.
On Monday, D.C.’s Mayor Muriel Bowser announced that the city’s COVID-19 indoor mask mandate will be “dialed back,” meaning that many — but not all — indoor facilities will no longer have to request their patrons and visitors wear a mask. Among those places still under the mask mandates are schools.
As flagged by Fox News, “The places where people will no longer have to wear masks will be ‘[r]estaurants and bars,’ ‘[s]ports and entertainment venues,’ supermarkets, pharmacies, retail businesses, private offices, D.C. government offices and ‘[h]ouses of worship. But the district will still require masks at ‘schools, childcare facilities and libraries,’ as well as healthcare facilities, jails, and on public transit.”
One reporter asked — essentially —when schools could possibly be included in the list of spaces that are no longer biohazards. To that extent, Bowser was not sure when kids could ditch their masks.
- The Unbearable Lightness of Biden
From the Wall Street Journal:
When I listen to a speech by President Biden I am occasionally in agreement, often bored, rarely exhilarated and never inspired. I realize that he doesn’t write these speeches; few presidents since Abraham Lincoln have written their own speeches. Ronald Reagan didn’t even write the sentence for which he is best remembered: “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” Peter Robinson, a speechwriter, did.
Something central is missing from President Biden’s speeches, the same thing that is missing from the man. It’s gravitas—that dignity, seriousness and convincing solemnity that powerful public utterances carry. Mr. Biden simply doesn’t have gravitas in him. In his political career he has always seemed less a public servant than an operator, less a president than a backroom politician.
In his speeches Mr. Biden may quote his parents’ homey wisdom: “ ‘Joey,’ my dad said to me when I was a boy . . .” He may lean in to the mic to whisper what he feels are home truths. Yet the speeches, as he reads them off his teleprompter, never come alive. The true Joe Biden is the Joe Biden who says, in the manner of the home-improvements salesman, “Look, here’s the deal.” The real Joe Biden can’t rise above even the hint of criticism from the press. The most recent example was his hot-mic comment about a Fox White House reporter. Mr. Biden called Peter Doocy “a stupid son of a [expletive]” for asking a rather conventional question about inflation.
How does one achieve gravitas? Some come to it naturally; some acquire it with the acquisition of education and culture. Gravitas often derives from pondering serious things in a serious manner. Implicit in gravitas is the thoughtful understanding of pressing questions, problems and issues. Reagan may not have written his best line, but there is little doubt that he truly, and rightly, believed that Soviet Communism was “an evil empire,” and he acted on that belief in helping to bring it down.
One of Mr. Biden’s problems is that we don’t know what he truly believes. He ran for office as the great healer, the man who would bring the country back to the center after the stormy Trump years. Yet since he attained office, that Joe Biden has disappeared, and now often appears to be the spokesman for the Democratic Party’s divisive left wing.
- Florida Lawmakers Introduce ‘Parental Rights in Education’ Bill
From The Daily Citizen:
Lawmakers in Florida have introduced a “Parental Rights in Education” bill that would give parents more control over what their children learn in school, and ensure schools are transparent about sex ed conversations teachers or administrators have with students.
- Requires that school districts adopt procedures for notifying parents if there is a change in their student’s services or monitoring related to a student’s mental, emotional, or physical health or well-being.
- Ensures that all procedures adopted under the bill must reinforce the fundamental right of parents to make decisions regarding the upbringing and control of their children.
- Prohibits school districts from maintaining procedures that withhold information, or encourage students to withhold information, related to a student’s mental, emotional, or physical health or well-being from parents.
- Restricts discussions of sexual orientation or gender identity to only those that are age-appropriate and developmentally appropriate for students while prohibiting a school district from encouraging discussions of these topics in primary grades.
- Creates a cause of action for parents that permits them to enforce their rights through declaratory and injunctive relief.
The bill’s stipulation prohibiting schools from discussing sexual orientation and gender identity with students in primary grades is a far cry from the backwards sexual education policy adopted by the state of Illinois.
- ‘Critical Social Justice’ in Education – If it Can Happen in Idaho, It Can Happen Anywhere
From The Daily Citizen:
A recent report shows how much “Critical Social Justice” (CSJ) ideology has been “written into the DNA of Idaho’s public education system.”
The report explains how “a false and harmful anti-American, anti-Christian ideology that sows racial hatred, gender confusion, and resentment” has made its way into Idaho’s public education system.
Published by the Claremont Institute’s Center for American Education and the Idaho Freedom Foundation, “Critical Social Justice in Idaho K-12 Education” surveys the state of education in Idaho.
The authors, Anna K. Miller and Scott Yenor, use the broader term “Critical Social Justice” to encompass more than just “critical race theory.” CSJ includes the sexualizing of children through comprehensive sexuality education and the promulgation of “queer” and “transgender” ideology. CSJ denotes a shift from teaching “the best that is thought and written” toward social activism and a therapy-based education model.
- Conservative publisher Heroes of Liberty takes aim at the Scholastic ‘Woketopus’
From Fox Business:
The conservative children’s book publisher Heroes of Liberty – which publishes books about Ronald Reagan, Thomas Sowell, Amy Coney Barrett, and others – has launched a campaign warning parents about Scholastic Corporation, which Heroes of Liberty dubs the “Woketopus.” In a statement to FOX Business, Scholastic denied having any agenda besides getting children to love reading.
“Our children’s souls are in danger,” Heroes of Liberty editor and board member Bethany Mandel says in a video exclusively provided to FOX Business.
“All over America, parents are waking up to the danger that a woke education system is having on their kids’ mental health, not to mention their futures. What’s happening in education isn’t the biggest problem. The biggest problem is our culture, or, to be more precise, our children’s bookshelves.”
“You may think that your children are safe from woke indoctrination at home, but they’re almost certainly not,” Mandel warned. “Scholastic, a billion-dollar children’s book juggernaut, turned into the most dangerous in youth culture. We call it the Woketopus.”
6. How to Argue Against Gender-Transition Interventions for Children
From the Gospel Coalition:
How then can we persuade the undecided? One possible line of argument is to appeal to their natural, commonsense intuitions by asking, “Would you be in favor of allowing children to make similar irrevocable life-altering decisions?”
To see how this might be applied, let’s create a thought experiment. James, an 11-year-old boy, decides he wants to be a secret agent (a survey found that of the top 20 childhood dreams jobs, being a spy/secret agent came in at #13). The government passed a law that gives James and other children the ability to push a button and lock in their preference for their dream job. Pushing the button does not assure James he’ll get the job, or even make it more likely. All it does is prevent him from choosing any other option later. Should we encourage or support James’s decision to push that button? Would we support our own child in making a similar decision?
Or consider this alternate example. At 9 years old, Charlotte decides she wants to marry her classmate, Elijah. She’s given a choice to push a button and lock in her preference that completely and irrevocably binds her future adult self. She can, in the future, either abide by her preference to marry Elijah or she can never get married at all. Would we be in favor of giving her the choice to push that button? What if Charlotte’s desire is persistent and she has the same feelings at age 13. Would we then allow her to lock in that preference?
Most reasonable adults, of course, would not support giving children the ability to make irrevocable decisions about their vocations or marital prospects. Why then do they support irrevocable decisions about gender transitioning that will also affect them for life?
Many who support such procedures are likely unaware that studies have shown that 60 percent to 80 percent of adolescents who suffer from gender dysphoria (i.e., a strong desire to be of another gender) do not identify as transgender when they reach adulthood. If more than 60 percent are likely to change their mind, why allow them to make unalterable changes to their body before the age of 18?
They also may not realize, as the study points out, that puberty-blocking treatments begin at around the ages of 9 to 11, that double mastectomies are being done on children as young as 13, and genital reconstruction surgery is performed on kids as young as 15.
The purpose of these reductio ad absurdum examples is not merely to point out inconsistent thinking but to get people to think in the first place. As the surveys show, most adults are answering the question based on political allegiances rather than considering what’s at stake. If we could convince the currently undecided to be consistent in how they view decision-making by adolescents, we might be better able to protect America’s children.
7. Judge dismisses Palin libel case
From World Magazine:
U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff decided former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin did not present enough evidence that New York Times editors acted recklessly or with “actual malice” when they connected an ad from her political action committee to a fatal Arizona shooting in a 2017 editorial. The nine-member jury in Manhattan had already started deliberating on Friday. Rakoff said he would still allow the jury to reach a verdict, but then he will dismiss the case. He also said Palin is likely to appeal.
What is the case about? Former opinion editor James Bennet added a line to an editorial saying that Palin’s PAC circulated an ad that incited a 2011 shooting in Arizona in which Rep. Gabby Giffords, D-Ariz., was wounded and six people were killed. The Times ran a correction and said the editor made an honest mistake. Palin argued that the insertion stemmed from a deep-seated, organizational bias against political conservatives. Her lawyers said the editorial showed a “libelous display of arrogance and unchecked power.” Times lawyers asked the judge to preserve legal precedent that they said protects freedom of the press, even freedom to make mistakes.
8. Romance After Kids
From Desiring God:
I don’t believe we should pause romance in the demanding and chaotic world of parenting. Consider at least three reasons why.
First, delight in beauty is the sustaining substance of life. The battlefield of child-rearing is not for the faint of heart. Without consistent moments to be refueled together by the beauty of God in his creation (I’m thinking Psalm 19-style sunrises and sunsets, rich flavors, unforgettable melodies, and especially the divine image in each other), we will succumb to fatigue and forget why we’re raising the children to begin with.
Second, children need their parents’ affection for each other. God created parenting to be a completion of joy, an overflow of it. It is a Trinitarian image, whereby the mutual delight of the parents spills itself into creation. To quote thirteenth-century theologian Meister Eckhart (speaking in human terms and however imprecisely), “God laughed and begot the Son. Together they laughed and begot the Holy Spirit. And from the laughter of the Three, the universe was born.”
The nourishing and cherishing of Ephesians 5 doesn’t simply transfer to your children. “No one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church” (Ephesians 5:29) — I am convicted as I type. Spouses (with a special emphasis on husbands) are called to invest deeply into one another, with the nourishing and cherishing of one’s own body, implying more than mere functional living or co-laboring. “Cherish,” after all, is not a prosaic word. It is infused with deep delight, the kind of word husbands search for to express their affection in a poem or song.
- It’s Your Friends Who Break Your Heart
From The Atlantic:
But truth be told, I’d already been mulling this subject for quite some time. When you’re in middle age, which I am (mid-middle age, to be precise—I’m now 52), you start to realize how very much you need your friends. They’re the flora and fauna in a life that hasn’t had much diversity, because you’ve been so busy—so relentlessly, stupidly busy—with middle-age things: kids, house, spouse, or some modern-day version of Zorba’s full catastrophe. Then one day you look up and discover that the ambition monkey has fallen off your back; the children into whom you’ve pumped thousands of kilowatt-hours are no longer partial to your company; your partner may or may not still be by your side. And what, then, remains?
With any luck, your friends. According to Laura Carstensen, the director of the Stanford Center on Longevity, I’ve aged out of the friendship-collecting business, which tends to peak in the tumbleweed stage of life, when you’re still young enough to spend Saturday evenings with random strangers and Sunday mornings nursing hangovers at brunch. Instead, I should be in the friendship-enjoying business, luxuriating in the relationships that survived as I put down roots.
And I am luxuriating in them. But those friendships are awfully hard-won. With midlife comes a number of significant upheavals and changes, ones that prove too much for many friendships to withstand. By middle age, some of the dearest people in your life have gently faded away.
You lose friends to marriage, to parenthood, to politics—even when you share the same politics. (Political obsessions are a big, underdiscussed friendship-ender in my view, and they seem to only deepen with age.) You lose friends to success, to failure, to flukish strokes of good or ill luck. (Envy, dear God—it’s the mother of all unspeakables in a friendship, the lulu of all shames.) These life changes and upheavals don’t just consume your friends’ time and attention. They often reveal unseemly characterological truths about the people you love most, behaviors and traits you previously hadn’t imagined possible.
10. Here are the states where people stay married longest
From Study Finds:
If you’re looking to settle down with one person and only one person forever, the study finds New Jersey, North Dakota, and Utah have the lowest divorce rates in the nation. Conversely, Nevada and Arkansas lead the way when it comes to number of couples calling it quits.
Perhaps the secret to staying in love is finding a faraway place to move to — and possibly avoid the in-laws. The study finds a higher percentage of married couples move to Hawaii (57%) than any other place in the 50 states. The Paradise of the Pacific also finished as the number one state in terms of “everlasting love” after researchers measured 18 scores including well-being, the share of married and divorced people, the opportunities for couples to dine out, and the overall appeal of each state.
As for other places Americans are taking their husband or wife to, Florida finished second, followed by Nevada, New Jersey, and Washington.
If life on the East coast isn’t your thing or Hawaii is too expensive of a move, tying the knot in the middle of the country might not be a bad idea. The study of long-lasting love and marriage found that South Dakota actually has the highest “marriage score” of any state in the country.
More than half the state is married, with just one in nine people being divorced or separated. Moreover, marriages here last an average of 21.5 years. Rounding out the top five are Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Nebraska.