Good Morning! 

Since it’s the noise that makes the news, it would be easy to begin believing that most people in today’s culture have bought the “woke” point of view – but the facts suggest otherwise. 

It was G.K. Chesterton who once observed, “Every high civilization decays by forgetting obvious things” – and so this morning, we begin with some good news that most of our fellow American still believe a most obvious thing of all: 

  1. Most Americans Agree with J.K. Rowling: There Are Two Biologically Distinct Genders 

From The Daily Citizen: 

A new survey found that 75% of American adults agreed with the statement: “There are two genders, male and female.” 18% of Americans disagreed. The poll was conducted on December 21-22, 2021, by Rasmussen Reports. 

The survey results also found that most people don’t want gender ideology being pushed on students – without parental knowledge or consent. 

The survey found that most people agreed with “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling who believes in the reality of biological sex and has been roundly attacked for defending women and pushing back against gender ideology. Most recently, the British newspaper The Guardian stopped taking entries for its “person of the year” poll when it became clear that Rowling was winning. 

The paper evidently feared transgender backlash if Rowling won. But their actions confirm the survey results: Most people side with her on this issue. Rasmussen’s second question specifically mentioned Rowling: 

Critics have recently accused “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling of engaging in “hate speech” toward transgender people for saying that there are two biologically distinct genders. Do you agree with J.K. Rowling, or is it “hate speech” to say there are only two genders? 

58% of American adults support Rowling, while only 17% said it was “hate speech” to discuss human sexual dimorphism. 25% couldn’t make up their minds and were “not sure.” 

  1. Manchin Signals He Won’t Support Filibuster Reform For Democratic Voting Bills 

From the Daily Wire: 

Moderate Democratic West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin told reporters Tuesday that getting behind a reform of the Senate filibuster to pass Democratic-backed election overhaul bills would be “very difficult,” indicating that he opposes the Democrats’ latest move to ram the bills through the upper chamber. 

Speaking to reporters outside the Congressional offices in the Capitol, Manchin was asked by Politico congressional reporter Burgess Everett whether he opposes changing Senate rules or invoking the “nuclear option” to remove the legislative filibuster. 

“[I’ve] always been for rules [changes] being done the way we’ve always done them, two-thirds of members voting, and any way you can do a rules change to where everyone is involved, and basically that’s a rule that usually will stay, that’s what we should be pursuing. [We’re] still having ongoing conversations as far as voting because I think the bedrock of democracy is making sure that you’re able to cast a vote. If you’re legal, of age, and a United States citizen, you should be able to cast a vote, and it should be counted accurately. So we’re talking about those things there,” Manchin said. 

Asked by another reporter to confirm that he was open to the idea of using the nuclear option to reform the filibuster in order to pass the Democrats’ voting rights legislation by simple majority, Manchin was noncommittal, and indicated that it would be difficult for him to get on board. “[Being] open to a rules change that would create a nuclear option, it’s very, very difficult. It’s a heavy lift,” Manchin said. 


Build Back over? Manchin says he’s not negotiating with Biden on spending bill 

From the Washington Examiner: 

Sen. Joe Manchin told reporters Tuesday he’s not working with the White House to find a path forward on Build Back Better, once a top Democratic priority that now appears hopelessly stalled thanks to Manchin’s opposition. 

“There’s no negotiations going on at this time,” the West Virginia Democrat told reporters gathered near his Senate office Tuesday afternoon. 

Manchin opposes the high cost as well as several key provisions, including green energy policies favoring renewable energy and the recurring child tax payment, which he believes should come with a work requirement. 

3. Why Fiscal Conservatives Should Care about Abortion 

Bobby Jindal writes for National Review: 

Fiscal conservatives have partnered with social conservatives to help win federal elections and nominate conservative jurists, the former hoping to repeal the Court’s 1984 Chevron ruling and the latter hoping to repeal RoeChevron gives government agencies broad authority to interpret statutes; fiscal conservatives argue that unelected bureaucrats should not have such unlimited regulatory powers. This legal fight is part of the larger political battle against the growing powers of an administrative state that is not directly accountable to voters. Conservatives have argued that the Court’s deference to federal agencies and creation of the right to abortion are both inconsistent with an originalist reading of the Constitution. Pro-life Republicans suspect moderate Republicans of having harnessed their political energies to win elections and nomination battles only so that they might use the conservative judiciary to limit the regulatory state — without overturning bans on abortion restrictions. A Roberts-style compromise would leave pro-life activists deeply skeptical of the originalist project and the political party with which they have long identified. 

Gallup polling shows that Americans are nearly evenly split between self-identifying as pro-life and self-identifying as pro-choice, with a plurality saying that abortion should be legal only in certain circumstances. In politics, intensity matters. Many of the Republican Party’s most committed supporters — the ones likely to volunteer for campaigns, knock on doors, and vote — are ardently pro-life and prioritize the abortion issue. They have worked long and hard within the system, sacrificing other policy priorities, waiting for this day and this ruling. Meanwhile, the Democratic Party moved from proudly including pro-life members and seeking to keep abortions “safe, legal, and rare” to celebrating abortions at any stage of pregnancy and for any reason. In doing so, they drove many with qualms about abortion to quit their party and join the Republicans. 

Pro-life Republicans include many blue-collar, culturally conservative voters who might otherwise find Democratic economic policies attractive. They don’t inherently mistrust unions or automatically support limited government, deregulation, and lower tax rates for large corporations and the wealthy. Many support populist policies but have joined forces with fiscal conservatives for the greater good. They consider a potential Court victory a step toward a moderate outcome, with each state able to decide its own abortion laws, rather than restricting the procedure across the country. 

If the Court overturns Roe and Republicans simply duck and hide, self-serving Democratic predictions that the ruling would be a political gift in the midterms will turn out to be correct. The side that is viewed as more extreme will lose. Republicans can fight the issue to a draw and even a small win, but it will not happen organically. And it will not happen if fiscal conservatives stay home and abandon the coalition that has brought them to the brink of victory. 

  1. 1 Million Americans Fled To Red States In 2021, But What Are Those States Doing For Them? 

From the Federalist: 

New census figures show the United States added the fewest citizens in its entire history in 2021, with population growth at just 0.1 percent. The data also showed a continued exodus of Americans from Democrat-run states to Republican-run states, with New York, California, and Illinois losing the most residents and Texas, Florida, and Arizona gaining the most, respectively. 

The Wall Street Journal posted graphics illustrating these trends on a recent front page, then editorialized about the trend, pointing out the correlation between strictness of lockdowns and population decline. Economist Mark Perry also demonstrated that the states gaining residents clearly have smaller government burdens and lower costs of living compared to the states that lost residents. 

Red states, however, also tend to accept this situation passively. Rather than seeking to be places of excellence and well-being for their citizens, often red states simply congratulate themselves that they “Aren’t Illinois or California,” and leave it at that. 

But it’s not a mark of success to say one’s state is not as bad as those that have unleashed welfare dependents, homeless addicts, and violent criminals, just like it’s not a mark of success for public schools with middle and upper-class kids to perform somewhat better than schools that oversee mostly the children of never-married drug addicts. In neither case can such entities claim they made any improvements. They’re simply taking credit for other people’s choices and advantages. Coasting isn’t leadership. It’s the abdication of leadership. 

  1. Virginia parents take critical race theory to court 

From World Magazine: 

A new curriculum at some schools in Albemarle County, Va., teaches middle school students to identify “white privilege” and support “anti-racism.” Parents skeptical of such classes are pushing back in court. 

In a complaint filed in Virginia state court on Dec. 23, a group of Albemarle County parents contended that the anti-racism curriculum, implemented earlier this year, violates state constitutional protections from discrimination based on race, viewpoint, or religion. They argue the schools are infringing on their children’s right to free speech, and they point to their constitutional right to control the education and upbringing of their children. 

At issue in the largely rural county, home to the college town of Charlottesville, is the controversial system of beliefs known as critical race theory (CRT), according to the complaint. The academic theory, the lawsuit contends, “views everyone and everything through the lens of race” and “fosters racial division, racial stereotyping, and racial hostility.” 

The anti-racism curriculum teaches students that “racism” is “the marginalization and/or oppression of people of color based on a socially constructed racial hierarchy that privileges white people.” It asks white students to consider their white privilege and status as oppressors while teaching black students to identify themselves as victims of white privilege and white supremacy. 

Alliance Defending Freedom’s Ryan Bangert, who represents the parents, points to the origin of the problem as a 2019 school board policy aimed at eliminating “all forms of racism.” Bangert said the school board and administrators are making a concerted effort to push what began as a pilot program into all aspects of school curriculum. 

“This is a radical ideology that redefines and reconceptualizes our understanding of racism, segregates and divides kids by their race, and tells them that their race is the controlling factor in what they can be and do with their lives,” said Bangert. “These are messages we fought for decades to overcome, and now comes Albemarle County reinjecting these principles into the curriculum.” 

  1. Protests Don’t Belong at Their Targets’ Homes 

From the Wall Street Journal: 

The tactic of bringing protests to politicians’ homes seems to be an American export. Antiwar protesters targeted Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s homes in Taos, N.M., and Washington in 2003 and 2004, respectively; Secretary of State John Kerry’s Boston house in 2013; and former Vice President Dick Cheney’s home in McLean, Va., in 2015. Protesters have also targeted the homes of senators, including Republican Susan Collins and Democrat Chuck Schumer, now the majority leader. 

Media figures aren’t immune. Agitators from a group styling itself Smash Racism D.C. targeted the home of Fox News host Tucker Carlson in November 2018. The Washington Post reported he was at work preparing for his show, and his wife and children were alone that evening. Both ends of his street were blocked off, the driveway was vandalized with an A-for-anarchy symbol, and Mr. Carlson told the Post the intruders “actually cracked the front door.” 

Peaceful protest in front of a government or commercial property like a courthouse, a factory or an abortion clinic is one thing. A protest in front of a private residence is beyond the pale and shouldn’t be accepted or tolerated. Even if you think a public figure is fair game, their families and neighbors shouldn’t have to put up with unruly mobs. 

Unfortunately, neither Canada nor most U.S. states have a clear legal distinction when it comes to protesting outside a person’s home or dwelling. Both countries need laws protecting the right to live and raise a family in a peaceful environment. 

A significant fine—say $100,000 for repeat offenders—and the possibility of prison time should be sufficient to deter such behavior and encourage protesters to make their views known in ways that don’t threaten the personal safety and well-being of their adversaries or bystanders. Even the U.S. Supreme Court has held that the government may impose reasonable restrictions on the time, place and manner of speech. 

7. Having pets not kids robs us of ‘humanity’: pope 

From AFP: 

Pope Francis risked the ire of the world’s childless dog and cat owners Wednesday, suggesting people who substitute pets for kids exhibit “a certain selfishness”. 

Speaking on parenthood during a general audience at the Vatican, Francis lamented that pets “sometimes take the place of children” in society. 

“Today… we see a form of selfishness,” said the pope. “We see that some people do not want to have a child. 

“Sometimes they have one, and that’s it, but they have dogs and cats that take the place of children. This may make people laugh but it is a reality.” 

The practice, said the head of the world’s 1.3 billion Catholics, “is a denial of fatherhood and motherhood and diminishes us, takes away our humanity”. 

Thus, “civilisation grows old without humanity because we lose the richness of fatherhood and motherhood, and it is the country that suffers”, the pontiff said at the Paul VI Hall. 

8. Tim Keller on the Church Crisis That He Never Had to Face as a Pastor—But You Do 

From Dr. Tim Keller in the Gospel Coalition: 

I’d say that the culture is definitely more polarized than it ever has been, and I’ve never seen the kind of conflicts in churches in the past that we see today. 

In virtually every church there is a smaller or larger body of Christians who have been radicalized to the Left or to the Right by extremely effective and completely immersive internet and social media loops, newsfeeds, and communities. People are bombarded 12 hours a day with pieces that present a particular political point of view, and the main way it seeks to persuade is not through argument but through outrage. People are being formed by this immersive form of public discourse—far more than they are being formed by the Church. 

This is creating a crisis. 

No, I haven’t faced anything like this in the past. 

However, the way to navigate such waters is still to follow the book of Proverbs’ prescription for your words. They must be honest, few, extremely well-crafted, usually calm, always aimed to edify (even when critical) and they must be accompanied with lots of silent listening. 

  1. Record 4.5 million Americans quit jobs in November 

From The NY Times: 

The number of Americans quitting their jobs is the highest on record, as workers take advantage of strong employer demand to pursue better opportunities. 

More than 4.5 million people voluntarily left their jobs in November, the Labor Department said Tuesday. That was up from 4.2 million in October and was the most in the two decades that the government has been keeping track. 

The surge in quitting in recent months — along with the continuing difficulty reported by employers in filling openings — underscores the strange, contradictory moment facing the U.S. economy after two years of pandemic-induced disruptions. 

  1. This Is the State Where Couples Stay Married the Longest

From 24/7 Wall Street

Statistics show that married people in some states stay together much longer than in others. 24/7 Tempo has ranked all 50 states and the District of Columbia according to the average duration of their marriages. Of course, the rankings are influenced by more than just death and divorce rates. Other factors include median age at marriage, which differs for men and women, and age demographics.

The numbers can vary significantly. For example, the median age at first marriage for men in Connecticut is 32.1 years, while in Wyoming, it is only 26.5. The median age at first marriage for women in Rhode Island is 30.5, but in Utah it is only 24.8. 

Because of all the variables, the median duration of current marriages also varies dramatically, from a high of 22.5 years in West Virginia to a low of 11.1 in the District of Columbia, less than half as long. Generally, marriages seem to last longer in the North and Northeast and not as long in the South and Southwest. Different social mores may account for some of the variations. Note that, in many cases, states with a higher percentage of older residents also have longer-lasting marriages.