Friday, July 19, 2019

Is Big Tech trying to suppress the pro-life movement?

Donald Trump and Elizabeth Warren have both made headlines this past week, accusing social media companies of aiding and comforting the enemy. The President claims that Twitter censors right-wing voices; meanwhile, the Massachusetts senator says that Facebook didn’t do enough to curtail “fake news” during the 2016 election. Regardless of whether Big Tech is hostile to conservatives or progressives, however, it seems clear that the pro-life movement has few friends in Silicon Valley.

Cary Solomon, the producer and co-writer of the anti-abortion film Unplanned, was among those invited to participate in last week’s White House summit on social media. “We are the tip of the spear as far as social media persecution goes,” she told the Catholic News Agency. She said that her project was “directly, monetarily hurt” by Big Tech’s alleged suppression of pro-life content.

Lila Rose, the founder of Live Action, was also in attendance. For years Twitter has forbidden her group from buying ad space on its platform. Twitter specifically cited as offensive Live Action’s calls for the US government to defund Planned Parenthood (which is still allowed to advertise on Twitter). Ms Rose also claims that YouTube “buried our pro-life videos and boosted abortion videos”. Last month, Live Action was permanently suspended from Pinterest. Meanwhile, posts teaching women how to perform DIY abortions remain on the site.
This isn’t a recent development, either. In 2014, reports emerged that Google had decided to block ads from crisis pregnancy centres at the behest of the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL). The pro-choice giant was outraged that these pregnancy centres were allowed to bid for space when users searched for the keyword “abortion clinics”. Google conceded, ensuring that women would never learn of a non-fatal alternative to abortion.

[Read more at the Catholic Herald.]

Thursday, July 18, 2019

MWD on Tucker

Did you miss me on Tucker Carlson Tonight discussing Jeffrey Epstein, President-Emeritus of the Hellfire Club? Watch it here!

Drowning in the Internet’s Political Sewers

Donald Trump is marshaling a legion of internet trolls for his impending re-election battle. Ostensibly, this summit is being convened to discuss the censorship of right-wing voices on social media. In reality, Trump is bolstering the morale of his online militia, which could be more effective than traditional TV surrogates because it doesn’t have any official ties to the campaign. These “activists” advance Trump’s cause by (for instance) making him videos of Joe Biden molesting himself, which POTUS can then post to Twitter. And if the content ends up being too spicy, he can just delete it and accept no further blame. It’s a win/win for @realDonaldTrump.

At the same time, Senate progressives are summoning Big Tech’s Axis of Evil—Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Apple—to Capitol Hill. Elizabeth Warren will look Facebook executive Matt Perault square in the eye and tell him that his company’s failure to prevent “Russian interference” in the 2016 election means Facebook will be broken up under anti-monopoly laws. Twitter, of course, is exempt: it already does a pretty good job of identifying agents of the Kremlin, like Joseph Cox and James Woods.

To quote Henry Kissinger, it’s a pity both sides can’t lose.

[Read more at The American Conservative.]

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Welcome to the Hellfire Club

This is how America is. This is how our ruling class works: Democrat, Republican, whatever. As the inimitable Matthew Walther points out, there’s a reason people believe in Pizzagate. The Hellfire Club is real. And for decades, we’ve emboldened them considerably.

Remember how Democrats and centrist Republicans mocked conservatives for making such a stink about Monica Lewinsky’s blue dress? The media elite competed to see who could appear the most unfazed by the fact that our sax-playing president was getting a bit on the side. “I mean, heh heh, I love my wife, but, heh, the 1950s called, man! They want their morality police back.”

Well, look where that got us. Two confirmed adulterers have occupied the White House in living memory; both are now under fire for cavorting with a child sex slaver on Orgy Island. Go ahead and act surprised, Renault.

Surely I’m not the only one who noticed that the Epstein sex abuse timeline is nearly identical to the Catholic Church sex abuse timeline. Both investigations were initiated in the early 2000s. Both revealed that the exploitation of children was an open secret in the highest echelons of power. Both investigations were closed a few years later, though not resolved. We assumed justice would take its course, and slowly began to forget. And then within two years of each other, both scandals emerged again, more sordid than ever. And on both occasions, we realized that nothing had changed.

Whew. Now I get why people become communists. Not the new-wave, gender-fluid, pink-haired Trots, of course. Nor the new far Left, which condemns child predators like Epstein out one side of its mouth while demanding sympathy for pedophiles out the other.

No: I mean the old-fashioned, blue-collar, square-jawed Stalinists. I mean the guy with eight fingers and 12 kids who saw photos of the annual Manhattan debutantes’ ball, felt the rumble in his stomach, and figured he may as well eat the rich.

Of course, we know where that leads us. For two centuries, conservatives have tried to dampen the passions that led France to cannibalize herself circa 1789.

[Excerpted from The American ConservativeRead more!]

Why don’t Catholics listen to bishops on immigration?

What’s astonishing is how little Catholic voters appear to heed the bishops’ condemnations. A March 2019 poll by the Pew Research Center found that, while Trump’s support among white Catholics had slumped by eight points since February 2017 (about the same as the national average), it had doubled among non-white Catholics, most of whom are Hispanic.

Perhaps there was a time in US history when the hierarchy’s every pronouncement in the political arena would have been instantly accepted by huge swathes of Catholic voters. But a century of integration has left American Catholics thoroughly independent-minded in matters of politics.

Moreover, as Pope Francis and most of the American bishops stand accused of complacency in the ongoing sex abuse crisis, never have American Catholics been less inclined to trust Church leaders. Supporters of tougher immigration policies will question why, as new allegations of sexual misconduct against senior prelates continue to emerge, our leaders in Rome and America seem far more interested in talking about Trump’s wall.

[Excerpted from the Catholic Herald. Read more!]

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Academic Freedom is Nonsense

Look: undergraduates—conservative, progressive, whatever—don’t need “freedom.” What they need is instruction, formation. They lack knowledge, which is why they pay a professor to share some of his. If they want, they can smoke pipes on the green in between classes and toy around with their half-baked musings about Nietzsche. But it would be insane for them to shell out $40,000 a year for a guy who wrote his doctoral thesis on German existentialism to sit by and quietly observe their efforts to explain Thus Spake Zarathustra to one another.

For all their faults, leftists still understand that college is about learning to distinguish between good and bad ideas, and that lecturers and tutors must have a certain intellectual authority over their students if that’s to be accomplished. The problem with modern left-wing academics is simply this: they’ve gotten True and False hopelessly mixed up.

Even then, however, we can’t blame professors for professing—only for professing error. When a tutor tells your son to use “their” instead of “he” or “she” in his essays because gender is non-binary (or what have you), that’s not mere propaganda: it’s bad science, and even worse grammar.

By the same token, university administrators are right to take an active interest in the moral formation of the young men and women in their charge. Sure, we may prefer single-gender dorms to consent classes. But we can’t dismiss college officials as “neo-puritans” because they want to protect drunk teenaged girls from the scores of male classmates who would readily seize the opportunity to rape them.

Anyway, it’s obvious we don’t believe all the rot we talk about colleges being a “marketplace of ideas.” We’d never demand that a Newman Guide school abandon its binary view of gender and “teach the controversy” by giving an equal hearing to theories about gender fluidity. We wouldn’t decry the Catholic University of America as “neo-puritan” for blocking porn on its wifi servers.

And that’s okay! Better to be a conservative hypocrite than a sincere libertarian. Besides, only a self-important fop like Voltaire would die for someone else’s freedom to be wrong. As conservatives and Christians, we know that Truth is the only cause worth our lives.

[Exerpted from The American Conservative. Read more!]

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Make America Good Again

When America passes away (as she must) in a hundred or a thousand years, how will she be remembered?

Most conservatives suspect we’re living in the twilight of a new Rome. Like the old Rome, we got our start as a cultural backwater. We came to flourish, against all odds, by embracing certain high-minded ideals: an equal citizenry, representative government, the rule of law, and so on. We traversed the known world, bringing one barbarian horde after the next to heel beneath the mantle of civilization.

Now our empire, too, is faltering under the weight of its own hegemony. The United States has invaded practically every country in the Middle East, and not a single one has been successfully assimilated into Pax Americana. Many suspect President Donald Trump will play the role of Caesar. He’ll destroy the republic in the republic’s name. He’ll drag her lower and lower as he tries to make her great again.

Where the New Rome thesis may fail is that it overestimates America. After all, we’re enchanted by the memory of Rome’s cultural exploits as much as her military ones. Do we have anything that can compare? The little wooden congregational churches that our fathers built won’t leave majestic ruins like the Pantheon. Our greatest philosopher—Ralph Waldo Emerson, say, or even Henry James—can’t compare to Seneca or Marcus Aurelius. George Washington probably won’t go down as a new Romulus and it’s doubtful Honest Abe will be invoked alongside Cato the Younger.

For all we know, we’ll be remembered more like the Goths or the Mongolians: fierce conquerors, but little more.

The answer, I think, will fall somewhere in the middle. America seems to me a modern Troy—noble, strong, and tragic. As the Greeks razed Troy to the ground, they, too, thought they would be remembered for their greatness. Remember Prince Hector’s swan-song:

Tis true, I perish, yet I perish great:
Yet in a mighty deed I shall expire,
Let future ages hear it, and admire!

What do we remember the Trojans for, really? Being duped by a bunch of Greeks in a wooden horse. So while I hope Trump gets his wall, he should remember that Troy’s were razed from the inside.

“Fate gives the wound, and man is born to bear,” Apollo said, dismissing Achilles’ blasphemous rage at the death of Patroclus. Maybe it was America’s fate to follow Troy. English lore once supposed that Britain was first settled by Felix Brutus, a direct descendant of the Trojan hero Aeneas. (Romulus and Remus were also born of Aeneas’s line, which makes Britain and Rome cousins.) Because America is a former British colony, that would make us great-grandsons of Ilium…despite our Founding Fathers’ best efforts, which came to fruition on this day some 243 years ago.

[Read more at The American Conservative.]

The Catholic school that would make Socrates proud

Thank God for homeschoolers. As America’s public school system continues to collapse, and even parochial schools grow more expensive as they become less faithful, many Catholics find they have no recourse but to take the burden of their children’s education upon themselves. It’s well worth their effort, of course – but it can be just that: a burden.

What’s more, the Church teaches very clearly that homeschooling, while sometimes necessary, is far from ideal. “Parents are the first educators, not the only educators, of their children,” according to the Compendium to the Social Doctrine of the Church. “It belongs to them, therefore, to exercise with responsibility their educational activity in close and vigilant cooperation with civil and ecclesial agencies.”

But what if you could take the virtues of homeschooling – the deep religious character, classical curriculum and strong parental involvement – with a traditional school environment? That’s where Regina Pacis Academy comes in.

[Read more at the Catholic Herald.]

How do abortifacients affect mental health? We still don’t know

Women should be no more reluctant to terminate a pregnancy than they should be to have their wisdom teeth removed. That is the conclusion one must draw from the pro-choice movement’s claim that abortion is merely a “women’s health issue”. But what if abortion itself has a negative impact on women’s health?

There is certainly some evidence that points in this direction. In September 2011, the British Journal of Psychiatry published a study of 877,000 women which suggested that women who had terminated a pregnancy were 81 per cent more likely to experience mental health issues like depression and anxiety, as well as alcohol abuse. Shockingly, they were 155 per cent more likely to commit suicide than women who hadn’t procured an abortion.

Pro-choicers counter this by arguing that these averse effects are actually caused by social pressure. They claim that a woman is subjected to a culture that “perpetuates shame” for making this decision about their “healthcare”. However, an exhaustive new study suggests that the effects are not social, but intrinsic to abortion.

Over the past three years, a team of neuroscientists from the Franciscan University of Steubenville, a Catholic university in Ohio, and San Sebasti├ín University in Chile have tested mifepristone and misoprostol, two common abortion-inducing drugs (abortifacients), on pregnant rats. They found that the rats “experienced significant adverse effects including: depression, loss of appetite, anxiety, and decreased self-care”.

[Read more at the Catholic Herald.]

The Che Guevara quote that incensed Miami’s Catholics

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio cribbed an infamous communist militant’s catchphrase during a speech to striking airline workers on Thursday. “¡Hasta la victoria siempre!” the 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful proclaimed, which means: “Until victory, always.” These are the words Che Guevara spoke when he left Cuba to foster revolution in South America.

As expected, conservative media outlets went ballistic. “Fidel Castro’s right-hand man oversaw the murder of tens of thousands,” the New York Post’s editorial board noted. And Guevara had a special animus against Catholics. “I am not Christ,” Guevara once said, but “all the contrary of a Christ … I fight for the things I believe in, with all the weapons at my disposal and try to leave the other man dead so that I don’t get nailed to a cross or any other place.” He meant it. When Guevara ran the Cuban penal system, Catholic priests were routinely condemned to the gulags for no other crime than being a priest.

[Read more at the Catholic Herald.]

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Vocations start young – and other lessons from a major study

If we’re to resolve the vocations crisis in the United States, it might be helpful to determine who’s seeking ordination already. A new study from the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University provides a trove of information that could explain precisely that.

The most interesting statistic may be the age at which 2019’s American ordinands first considered a vocation to the priesthood. Just 36 per cent of men responded that they were 18 or older. Meanwhile, 40 per cent were between the ages of 5 and 13. That suggests it would be in the Church’s interest to pique boys’ own interest at a young age. Recruitment to the holy priesthood can’t begin too young.

Traditionally, this is one of the points of altar-serving. Altar boys are, as Evelyn Waugh put it, apprentice-priests. And, sure enough, CARA finds that an impressive 78 per cent of this year’s ordinands had been altar boys at some period in their lives. Compare this statistic to the more modern roles for “lay participation,” such as extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion. Just 44 per cent of ordinands reported acting as extraordinary ministers before they entered seminary.

[Read more at the Catholic Herald.]