A vibrant and engaged media is essential to protecting American liberty—which is why the First Amendment provides such a strong protection for freedom of the press. If the media are to carry out their societal responsibilities, journalists must have the trust of news consumers. But these days, trust is in low supply. An October 2022 Gallup Poll found that only 34% of Americans trust the mass media to report the news “fully, accurately and fairly.” Why are the media experiencing this profound crisis of trust and what can be done about it? Wesley’s guest on this episode of Humanize has some valuable insights. Alice Stewart has worked on both sides of the microphone, both as a source for reporters and a journalist in her own right. She was Communications Director for the presidential campaigns of Senator Ted Cruz, Governor Mike Huckabee, Senator Rick Santorum, and Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. Stewart has also served in government as the Arkansas Deputy Secretary of State. Stewart worked as an Anchor/Reporter in Little Rock, Arkansas and Savannah, Georgia, and also hosted “The Alice Stewart Show,” a talk radio program that featured national and local political leaders. The goal of the show was to engage in civil discussions about politics and agree to disagree in a respectful manner—a continuing professional passion for Stewart. She is currently a CNN Political Commentator, Communications Consultant, and is a resident Fellow at Harvard University, Kennedy Institute of Politics. She cohosts the weekly Hot Mics From Left to Right podcast with her CNN colleague, the liberal commentator, Maria Cardona. Here are the Links. Hot Mics From Left To Right on Apple Podcasts X: @alicetweet Insta: @alicestewartdc Website: alicestewart.com (621) Alice Stewart joins Wolf Blitzer on CNNs The Situation Room to discuss “limited gag order” on Trump – YouTube (621) Alice Stewart joins Wolf Blitzer on The Situation Room on Sen. Romney not seeking re-election – YouTube Alice Stewart: Trump’s Co-Defendants ‘Would Throw Their Momma In a Whorehouse’ To Get Ahead (mediaite.com) KCRW’s Left, Right & Center: Dems at odds over support for asylum seekers on Apple Podcasts With democracy on the ballot, the mainstream press must change its ways | Margaret Sullivan | The Guardian Americans’ Trust In Media Remains Near Record Low (gallup.com)
Supreme Court Justice Frank Murphy once opined that freedom of religion has “a double aspect—freedom of thought and action.” In other words, to be truly religiously free, one must not only be at liberty to believe, but act consistently with those beliefs. This concept of religious freedom—the right to live and act according to one’s faith—has historically been assaulted by totalitarian government authorities. For example, early in the Second Century–when Pliny the Younger was a provincial governor in the Roman Empire–he wrote a letter to Emperor Trajan asking whether he was correct in executing Christians who refused to burn incense in worship of the emperor. Trajan said he was right to punish Christians, not because he cared what they believed, but he worried, refusing to engage in emperor worship was a means of rebellion and setting themselves apart from the reigning social order. In modern times, such oppression came to be seen as a profound violation of human rights. Thus, the very first clause of the First Amendment (1789) states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” More broadly, Article 18 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) provides: “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.” That’s unequivocal. Freedom of religion means the right to live according to one’s own faith, that is, to “manifest” our religion or belief in practice, both “in public or private,” without interference from the state. Alas, freedom of religion is often as much under assault these days as in the time of Pliny the Younger. Indeed, assaults on religious practice are becoming increasingly commonplace. The questions are why, and what can be done about it? No one has put more thought into this urgent matter of human freedom than my guest today, Sam Brownback. Brownback served as ambassador at large for international religious freedom from February, 2018 until January, 2021. He also served as governor of Kansas from 2011 to 2018. Prior to that, he represented his home state in the United States Senate and in the house of representatives while a member of the Senate, he worked actively on religious freedom issues in multiple countries and was a key sponsor of the international religious freedom act of 1998. When Brownback left government service, he formed the National Committee on Religious Freedom, a nonprofit organization concerned with defending religious liberty in the United States. This is his third appearance on this podcast. NCRF (thencrf.org) ChasedAway — NCRF (thencrf.org) ‘Religious cleansing’ threatens Armenian Christians’ existence, human rights leaders warn – Catholic World Report Should Muslims Really Welcome Denmark’s Proposed Anti-Blasphemy Law? | Cato at Liberty Blog Zelensky backs Expulsion of Christian Monks after Seizing the Historic Kiev Pechersk Lavra Monastery – THE INTEL DROP Should Muslims Really Welcome Denmark’s Proposed Anti-Blasphemy Law? | Cato at Liberty Blog Zelensky backs Expulsion of Christian Monks after Seizing the Historic Kiev Pechersk Lavra Monastery – THE INTEL DROP
The COVID pandemic has been one of the most politically and culturally divisive events in American history. Adding to our woes, the proper approach to scientific inquiry and policy makers’ relationship with the expert class became badly skewed. Once an orthodoxy was declared by the World Health Organization or the Center for Disease Control, government leaders, the mainstream media, and Big Tech circled the wagons to prevent dissenting views from being aired — and even sought to punish those with differing opinions. This included attacking the Great Barrington Declaration — authored by notable epidemiologists, that challenged the efficacy of societal shutdowns and keeping children out of school. Now, with the COVID emergency at an end, two of the authors of the Great Barrington Declaration and other notables in medicine have organized the Norfolk Group, calling for a national commission to investigate the country’s response to COVID. One of these experts is Wesley’s guest on this episode of Humanize. Dr. Jay Bhattacharya is a Professor of Health Policy at Stanford University and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economics Research. He holds an MD and PhD in economics, both earned at Stanford University, where he directs Stanford’s Center for Demography and Economics of Health and Aging. Dr. Bhattacharya’s recent research focuses on the epidemiology of COVID-19 as well as an evaluation of policy responses to the epidemic. In December 2022, Bhattacharya was appointed by Florida Governor and now presidential candidate Ron DeSantis to the Public Health Integrity Committee, charged with assessing federal decisions, recommendations, and guidance related to public health and health care.
The United States has become the world’s most adamant promoter of what is now called “gender-affirming care” for children and adolescents who identify as being other than their born sex. This approach ranges from “social affirmation”—the use of preferred pronouns, for example—to “medical affirmation,” such as puberty blocking, to radical “surgical affirmation,” meaning mastectomies, facial feminization or masculinization cosmetic procedures, and, in a few cases, even genital removal and refashioning. Beginning to “transition” youth while they are still immature remains intensely controversial. But the increasingly woke medical establishment and Biden administration claim that the gender-affirming approach is “settled science” and the only efficacious approach to treating these children, calling those who disagree “science deniers.” My expert guest today says not so fast. Psychiatrist Stephen B. Levine has co-authored an important paper that details the paucity of reliable data establishing the benefits gender transitioning during a patient’s youth, calling into significant question the current approach to caring for anguished children diagnosed with gender dysphoria. Stephen B. Levine is a psychiatrist known for his work in human sexuality, particularly, sexual dysfunction and transgenderism. Levine earned his MD from Case Western Reserve School of Medicine and serves as a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry there. He was co-editor for the section on sexual and gender identity disorders in the professional text Treatments of Psychiatric Disorders. Although much of his work is written for other clinicians, Levine has also written books for a lay audience, including Solving Common Sexual Problems and Sexuality in Mid-Life (2004). Levine also served on the American Psychiatric Association DSM-IV Subcommittee on Gender Identity Disorders. Current Concerns About Gender-Affirming Therapy in Adolescents (springer.com) Informed Consent for Transgendered Patients – PubMed (nih.gov) Illuminate Life Processes by Taking a Sexual History (psychiatrictimes.com) https://doi.org/10.1080/0092623X.2022.2046221 https://doi.org/10.1080/0092623X.2022.2136117 https://doi.org/10.1080/0092623X.2022.2150346 ‘Gender-Affirming Care’ Approach Undercut by New Scientific Study | National Review
In his first term as California’s governor, Jerry Brown famously said back in 1975, “There is no free lunch. This is an era of limits and we all had better get used to it. Small is beautiful.” Was Brown right? These days, it seems that establishment thinking and most of the content on mainstream media believes it is so. Threats from climate change, overpopulation, and environmental degradation, we are told, now force us to reduce consumption and limit growth in order to save the planet and ourselves. Wesley’s guest in this edition of Humanize takes a radically different and far more optimistic view. Gale L. Pooley has co-authored a book entitled Super Abundance in which he and co-author Marian L. Tupy argue that contrary to the roaring pessimism about the human future so often espoused these days, our earthly resources are actually unlimited and indeed, that population increases and innovation are the keys to growing our prosperity and extending our freedoms. Gale L. Pooley is an associate professor of business management at Brigham Young University-Hawaii. He has taught economics and statistics at AL Faisal University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Brigham Young University-Idaho, Boise State University, and the College of Idaho. Dr. Pooley earned his BBA in Economics at Boise State University and completed his PhD at the University of Idaho. He has published articles in National Review, Human Progress, The American Spectator, the Utah Bar Journal, the Appraisal Journal, Quillette, and RealClearMarkets. Dr. Pooley is a Senior Fellow with the Discovery Institute’s Center on Wealth and Poverty and serves on the board of HumanProgress.org. He also serves on the Foundation for Economic Education Faculty Network and is a Scholar with Hawaii’s Grassroot Institute. His major research activity has been the Simon Abundance Index, which he co-authored with Dr. Marian Tupy. Economics | Discovery Institute (wealthandpoverty.center) Superabundance: The Story of Population Growth, Innovation, and Human Flourishing on an Infinitely Bountiful Planet: Tupy, Marian L., Pooley, Gale L., Gilder, George: 9781952223587: Amazon.com: Books Review of “Superabundance,” by Marian L. Tupy & Gale L. Pooley (city-journal.org) After 96 Years, TV Abundance Continues to Flourish | Economics (wealthandpoverty.center)
The environmental movement is growing ever-more extreme. Radical ideas such as granting rights to nature—including geological features like rivers, lakes, and glaciers—are gaining popularity as a means of “saving the planet.” But is there another way? Can we fulfill our human duty to be good stewards of the environment without undermining human exceptionalism and impeding our thriving? According to my guest Todd Myers, the answer is definitely, yes. In his interesting new book, Time to Think Small, Myers writes that “nimble environmental technologies can help solve the planet’s biggest problems.” Through the power of smart phones, Myers argues, coupled with the ingenuity of software apps, we can all help promote a healthy environment through millions of individual actions—and without sacrificing freedom or harming the economy. Myers is a former member of the Washington State Department of Natural Resources, and a member of the Puget Sound Salmon Recovery Council. He currently serves as the environmental director at the Washington Policy Center, a public policy think tank in Seattle. His writing has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, National Review, Seattle Times, and USAToday. He has been interviewed on numerous news network programs, including on CNN, CNBC, and Fox News. Myers has a Master’s Degree in Russian/International Studies from the University of Washington. He lives in the Cascade Mountains in Washington with his wife and 200,000 honeybees. Amazon.com: Time to Think Small: How Nimble Environmental Technologies Can Solve the Planet’s Biggest Problems: 9781623545543: Myers, Todd: Books Center for the Environment » Centers » Washington Policy Center Climate action is in our hands with tech that encourages small steps https://www.seattletimes.com/opinion/climate-action-is-in-our-hands-with-tech-that-encourages-small-steps/ There’s A New Book The Climate Industrial Complex Doesn’t Want You To Read https://dailycaller.com/2022/11/13/opinion-theres-a-new-book-the-climate-industrial-complex-doesnt-want-you-to-read-bastasch/ Small Technologies: The Millions Interviews Todd Myers https://themillions.com/2022/10/small-technologies-the-millions-interviews-todd-myers.html New Congress Should Empower People — Not Politicians — for Environmental Results https://www.realclearpolicy.com/articles/2022/11/15/new_congress_should_empower_people__not_politicians__for_environmental_results_864934.html
Western Civilization is in crisis. It is becoming unmoored from its Judeo-Christian roots and the belief in the unique dignity of every human life, leading to destructive progressive social policies that some believe threaten us with a form of therapeutic authoritarianism. One such commentator is my guest today on Humanize. Rod Dreher is an American journalist and best-selling author. He has authored several books, including The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, How Dante Can Save Your Life, The Benedict Option, and Live Not by Lies. In his journalistic career, he has written about religion, politics, film, and culture in National Review, National Review Online, the Weekly Standard, Wall Street Journal, Touchstone, Men’s Health, and the Los Angeles Times, and until recently, hosted a popular blog at The American Conservative. His commentaries have been broadcast on NPR’s All Things Considered, and has appeared on CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, Court TV, and other television networks. Dreher is a noted Christian apologist and writes a daily Substack newsletter. His next book will explore the importance of Enchantment to human society. https://roddreher.substack.com https://twitter.com/roddreher