Boots & Sabers

The blogging will continue until morale improves...

Category: Culture

The Shifting Language of Business

I have mixed feeling about this.

Workplace harmony, culture and productivity all depend on successful communication. And while language gaps between senior leadership and newer hires aren’t unusual, they’re usually bridged by a shared lexicon of ‘business speak‘. But now, the first generation of true digital natives is entering the workforce, and a pandemic has forced us into virtual offices. Workplace communication is undergoing a major shift, with some huge potential pitfalls.

[…]

The move to remote work in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic means younger generations, who are digitally fluent, suddenly have far more influence over communication and culture. It goes beyond slang and internet-speak abbreviations. Gen Z, used to informal, near-constant contact, spurns the prim email in favour of a quick Slack message. But that can be a tough pill to swallow for older generations, who are accustomed to dictating the professional rules of communication.

Kovary points to a former client: a company who came to her for advice after a run-in with a young intern. “On the first day, she emailed the CEO because she couldn’t find access to information she wanted. At the end of week one, she sent a company-wide email, to 8,000 people, with all her ideas. They called me and said, ‘obviously, we let her go’.”

Kovary explains that while the company’s leadership felt the intern “totally violated the unspoken rules of the communication chain”, what really happened was a generation-gap issue. “Most companies don’t want a new hire to email the CEO directly, even if that CEO has said, ‘I’m always available!’ They don’t really mean it, but the new hires don’t understand. I tell executives all the time, don’t tell young people ‘message me with your ideas’, and then be surprised when you get them.”

Stillman says Gen Z values authenticity above all else. It’s why younger employees are less willing to do the same ‘code-switching’ that past generations have. Forced assimilation to a shared lexicon isn’t sustainable anymore, says Nicky Thompson, a London-based business psychologist with a background in linguistics. Code-switching can be especially harmful for people of colour; research shows it can hinder performance and increase burnout. And Gen Z won’t put up with it.

Language and communication evolves and that’s great. What I struggle with is the hubris infused in this article. The underlying assumption is that business needs to adopt the communication norms of Gen Z. Maybe some of them, but the purpose of communication is to… you know… communicate. The purpose is to convey a thought, directive, or query to someone else. Every good communicator must think about their audience and be willing to craft their communication in a way to effectively send the intended message. I would suggest that it is just as important for Gen Z to think about how to appropriately communicate to other generations as it is for the rest of us to figure out how to communicate with them.

Oracle And HP Move to Texas

The flight from California is accelerating. Let’s just hope that they don’t turn Texas blue in the process.

Tech giant Oracle Corp. said Friday it will move its headquarters from Silicon Valley to Austin, Texas, and let many employees choose their office locations and decide whether to work from home.

The business software maker said it will keep major hubs at its current home in Redwood City, California, and other locations.

‘We believe these moves best position Oracle for growth and provide our personnel with more flexibility about where and how they work,’ the company said in a regulatory filing.

[…]

This month, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, one of the early companies in Silicon Valley, said it will move to the Houston area and build a campus with two five-story buildings by 2022.

‘HPE’s largest U.S. employment hub, Houston is an attractive market to recruit and retain future diverse talent, and is where the company is currently constructing a state-of-the-art new campus,’ the company said in a statement.

[…]

Texas also offers a lower cost of living and no state income tax, both of which may appeal Oracle as well as South Africa-born Musk, 49, who overtook Bill Gates to become the world’s second-wealthiest person last month as Tesla stock reached ever-greater heights.

I would point out that there is nothing stopping Wisconsin from attracting businesses like this. It’s a choice.

Disney Shifts to Streaming

The industry shift continues. I expect that this isn’t going to revert back.

Disney has unveiled plans for a major expansion of its Star Wars and Marvel franchises on its Disney+ subscription streaming service.

The company said that its upcoming films Peter Pan & Wendy and Tom Hank’s Pinocchio will be launched directly onto Disney+, skipping theatres.

Disney is the latest major studio to divert its focus from cinema to streaming.

Last week Warner Brothers said all its 2021 releases would debut on HBO Max.

And, of course, they are going to flood the zone with the same stuff until we’re all sick of it and the market cries uncle.

Disney said that it planned to offer 10 new TV series in Its Marvel and Star Wars franchises over the next few years.

 

Liberty trumps longevity

Here is my full column that ran in the Washington County Daily News earlier this week.

I have been operating under the assumption that the COVID-19 pandemic would end the same way every other viral pandemic ends: virtually everyone will catch it or be vaccinated for it. My number came up a few weeks ago as I was diagnosed with COVID-19.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, I have opposed using the violent, coercive power of government to impose lockdowns, restrictions, mask orders, and the like. Using the blunt instrument of government to fight a natural phenomenon is anti-liberty and results in countless negative consequences that we are just beginning to understand. Our government is useful to pool resources and provide information, but individual citizens retain the right and responsibility to live their lives according their own values and risk assessments.

Even though I oppose tyrannical government decrees, I do understand the science of viral infections. I did not want to get sick and I did not want to get other people sick. Like many Americans, I have spent months wearing a mask when out in public, obsessively washing hands, sanitizing surfaces, avoiding close contact with people (something that goes well with my misanthropic tendencies), and staying close to home.

At the same time, I am not going to give up months and years of living for the miniscule risk of death from COVID19. I took reasonable precautions to prevent the spread of disease, but I did not live like a recluse. I supported local restaurants and stores, fetched groceries, attended to my routine health care needs, enjoyed the parks, cheered on my teams, worked, played, and went about living my life.

In the end, they call it “inevitable” for a reason. Despite taking CDC-recommended precautions, I caught COVID-19. I don’t know where it came from. I did not knowingly come into contact with anyone else who had it. Likely, I caught it in passing from someone at a grocery store or restaurant who may not have known that they had it.

The first indication was a scratchy cough on a Friday in November. Saturday and Sunday were pretty crummy. I experienced varying degrees of fatigue, aching joints, coughing, headache, and general symptoms between a bad cold and a mild flu. By Monday I was feeling better but decided to get tested for COVID-19. By Thursday, I was almost completely better, and my test came back positive. Per CDC guidelines, I isolated for another 10 days, spent some time on the phone with a contact tracer (she was delightful), and now I am back to normal, except now I have a super-charged COVID-19-killing immune system.

COVID-19 is a nasty disease that is severe or deadly for some people. We need to be careful about spreading it — particularly to people in higher risk categories. But for every story you read about someone who was severely ill or died from COVID-19, there are more than 40 people whose story is more like mine. It was a rough few days and I am fine. That does not include all of the people who have had COVID-19 and did not get tested or never had any symptoms.

The point of the story is not that COVID-19 isn’t serious. It is very serious for a small percentage of people. For most people, however, the risk is a few days of unpleasantness. For most people, a few days of unpleasantness is not worth throwing away our livelihoods, our children’s education, our mental health, our life’s savings, our liberty, or our enjoyment of life. For most people, we have already sacrificed too much of life for so small a risk of death.

Fear is a powerful emotion. Fear is also the emotion most often used to subjugate people. Fear of war. Fear of enemies. Fear of natural disasters. Fear of global warming. Fear of disease. All of these fears have been, and are, used to convince free people to accept more regulation, more restrictions, more government, and less freedom. “It is for your own good,” they coax in soothing tones. “Think of grandma,” they say to stoke your familial loyalties. “You don’t want to get the dreaded virus,” they warn as if the politician has exclusive magic to protect you from disease. Meanwhile, they strip away one more liberty and stick their hand further in your pocket.

Hearing a politician say, “trust me, I am here to help” should make every freedom-loving American’s hair stand on end. Living longer is less important than living free. In the case of COVID-19, we must each evaluate the risk according to our individual characteristics and tolerance for risk, but not impose our choices on our neighbors through the police power of government.

 

Director Whines About Public Seeing Movies

Heh

Tenet director Christopher Nolan is leading a chorus of furious protest from the film industry over Warner Bros’ decision to release its entire 2021 slate in the US simultaneously in cinemas and on its streaming service HBO Max.

In an interview with E!, Nolan said his response was one of “disbelief” and that “there’s such controversy around it, because they didn’t tell anyone … They’ve got some of the top film-makers in the world, they’ve got some of the biggest stars in the world who worked for years in some cases on these projects very close to their hearts that are meant to be big-screen experiences … And now they’re being used as a loss-leader for the streaming service … without any consultation.”

He added: “It’s very, very, very, very messy … [It’s] not how you treat film-makers and stars and people who … have given a lot for these projects.”

[…]

John Stankey, the chief executive of AT&T, which owns both Warner Bros and HBO Max, defended the move on Tuesday, calling it a “win-win-win”. He said: “I know there’s a lot of noise out in the market, people with different viewpoints. Anytime you’re going to change a model, it’s going to create a degree of noise.” Stankey said the move would give customers a “choice”, and the longer-term would be “dictated by what consumers wish to do”.

Remember that this is all about the money. All of the directors, producers, etc. have been paid – except for those who have compensation tied to box office receipts. They are perfectly happy to sit and wait for the theaters to reopen. Warner Brothers, meanwhile, shelled about a lot of money to make these movies and hasn’t been able to reap any return on that investment. They are trying to salvage some revenue for the year and generate funds to reinvest to make more product. Nobody makes money on movies that nobody is paying to see – except the people who were already paid to make them.

Accidental Anthem

Awesome.

It was just a normal start to the game between the Waverly High Tigers and the Portsmouth West High Senators in West Portsmouth, Ohio. Both teams were lined up and the game announcer directed everyone to stand for the National Anthem, but something went wrong. Instead of music, all you hear is silence during a livestream of the game.

The sound system was experiencing some technical difficulties and after several awkward minutes, a man’s voice begins singing “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

One of the Waverly parents, Trenton Brown, decided to sing the anthem to get the game going after some encouragement from his wife.

“I looked over at the announcer and the music didn’t play and didn’t play and I looked over and he was getting a little frustrated. My wife gave me a little nudge and said “Sing” and I said, “All right,'” Brown told CNN.

Although Brown said he has been singing and playing music most of his life, he had never performed the National Anthem solo.

“There was a lot of awkward silence … and then I started singing and that was it,” he said.

When he finished, he said he sat down and started his eating popcorn and drinking his Mountain Dew.

Only Dogs Can be Emotional Support Animals

Thank goodness.

US airlines will no longer be required to transport emotional support animals after passengers insisted on bringing on board their horses, pigs, peacocks and turkeys for psychological reasons.

Wednesday’s rule change by the US Department of Transportation now says only dogs qualify as service animals.

The agency said unusual animals on flights had “eroded the public trust in legitimate service animals”.

Airlines say the old policy had been abused and was dangerous.

The new rule defines service dogs as “individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability”, and says other animals should be treated by airlines as pets that can be placed in the cargo hold for a fee.

Open Everything and Let People Live Their Lives

I completely agree with Mark Belling.

Those of us who have had it with COVID hijacking our lives (and American life) have weighed the risks and want us to return to “normal.” But the other half thinks we are nuts for “ignoring the science” and risking our lives and doing our part to keep spreading the virus.

So, we have a country, and a state, at odds with one another because we are on different timetables with different perspectives and different priorities. There is only one way to resolve these differences and that is for government to butt out and let people make decisions for themselves. One size fits all never works but it especially doesn’t work when you have a country of two sizes. Businesses that want to open at full capacity ought to be allowed to do so. Those that want to close, or limit their clientele, should be free to do that as well. If public schools want to close because of a virus that doesn’t make kids sick, that’s the prerogative of their school boards. But if private schools in the same community want to stay open because they understand the downside of not educating children is worse than the risks of COVID, they ought to be able to do that as well. That’s why the Racine case headed to the state Supreme Court is so critical. The Racine health department has issued an order closing all schools in the city (and some adjacent to the city) whether they are public or private. Wisconsin Institute For Law And Liberty (WILL) is suing. The right of the leaders of private schools to make their own decisions has to trump the rights of bureaucrats to take away those basic rights. Parents silly enough to send their kids to the mediocre (I am being generous) Racine Unified district have opted to exile them to another year of “virtual learning” in which they are going to fall even farther behind their peers. But the moms and dads who have opted to send their children to private schools shouldn’t be stuck with the decision made by leftist government officials afraid of their COVID shadows.

We all know the risks and ways to mitigate the spread of the virus. If you need to stay home, then do so. You are not harmed if I go to a restaurant with other people who are willing to accept the risk.

In Praise of Capitalism

Fist bump.

Whole Foods CEO John Mackey claimed capitalism cannot be replaced by socialism, stating it is ‘the path to poverty’.

Speaking to Robert Doar from the American Enterprise Institute via Zoom last week, the multimillionaire, 67, said capitalism is the ‘greatest thing humanity has ever done’ while claiming socialism ‘impoverishes everything’.

The libertarian grocery store boss, whose business is said to ‘lead with love’, spoke passionately about leadership and criticized those who slam capitalism.

‘Socialism has been tried 42 times in the last 100 years, and 42 failures,’ he said. ‘It doesn’t work. It’s the wrong way. We have to keep capitalism. I would argue we need conscious capitalism.’

[…]

‘We’ve told a bad narrative, and we’ve let the enemies of business and the enemies of capitalism put out a narrative about us that’s wrong.

‘It’s inaccurate and doing tremendous damage to the minds of young people,’ he said. Until we get this corrected, capitalism is always going to be disdained and criticized and attacked.

‘It’ll be attacked for its motivations, because its motivations are seen as somehow impure. Yes, of course, business has to make money.

‘If a business doesn’t make money, it will fail, but that doesn’t mean that its purpose is to make money.’

Instead he suggests business culture needs to evolve, to avoid the socialists ‘taking over’, which he describes the ‘path to poverty’.

‘They talk about trickle-down wealth, but socialism is trickle-up poverty. It just impoverishes everything. That’s my fear, that the Marxists and socialists, the academic community is generally hostile to business. It always has been. This is not new.’

The supporter of a free market economy suggests professors are more upset than the students and proposed there should be more ‘business people’ teaching.

Don’t Believe the Numbers

What an interesting standard the “experts” are setting up. If the numbers go up after Thanksgiving, then it is evidence of the irresponsibility of Americans and we need to lock down for Christmas. If the numbers don’t go up, then it’s evidence of poor testing not revealing that the numbers actually did go up and we need to lock down for Christmas.

MILWAUKEE (AP) — The coronavirus testing numbers that have guided much of the nation’s response to the pandemic are likely to be erratic over the next week or so, experts said Friday, as fewer people get tested during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend and testing sites observe shorter hours.

The result could be potential dips in reported infections that offer the illusion that the spread of the virus is easing when, in fact, the numbers say little about where the nation stands in fighting COVID-19. The number of Americans who have tested positive passed 13 million Friday, according to Johns Hopkins University.

“I just hope that people don’t misinterpret the numbers and think that there wasn’t a major surge as a result of Thanksgiving, and then end up making Christmas and Hanukkah and other travel plans,” said Dr. Leana Wen, a professor at George Washington University and an emergency physician.

As for me, I don’t think the government has the legitimate power to restrict me from engaging in legal behavior with other people of our own free will. I will continue to take reasonable precautions and go about living my life. And I will vote against all of the would-be tyrants.

Happy Thanksgiving

It what has been a strange year for everyone, I hope that we can all pause to count our blessings and be thankful for all that the Good Lord has given us. May you all have a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving.

Bribing for Concealed Carry Permits

There’s a broader point here.

Apple’s head of global security has been charged with bribery after allegedly promising 200 iPads worth $70,000 to police in exchange for four concealed-weapon permits for the company’s security officers.

[…]

Carrying concealed firearms in California is illegal without a permit, and county sheriffs have broad discretion over their issuance, which can cost between $200 and $400.

Jews Celebrate in Defiance of Government Prohibition

Mega props to the Orthodox Jewish community for exercising their God-given freedom to assemble and worship.

A Hasidic wedding in Brooklyn slipped under the radar of city officials as it crammed 7,000 maskless people into a synagogue in defiance of Governor Andrew Cuomo‘s coronavirus restrictions.

On November 8, crowds gathered shoulder to shoulder in the Yetev Lev temple in Williamsburg to celebrate the nuptials of Yoel Teitelbaum, grandson of Satmar Grand Rabbi Aaron Teitelman.

To keep the celebration under wraps, the community shared information on the wedding only by word of mouth as organizers schemed to avoid it being broken up by ‘the ravenous press and government officials’.

[…]

‘Due to the ongoing situation with government restrictions, preparations were made secretly and discreetly, so as not to draw attention from strangers,’ reported Yiddish newspaper Der Blatt, the publication of the Satmar sect. on November 13, according to the New York Post.

‘In recent weeks, organizers worked tirelessly to arrange everything in the best way possible.

‘All notices about upcoming celebrations were passed along through word of mouth, with no notices in writing, no posters on the synagogue walls, no invitations sent through the mail, nor even a report in any publication, including this very newspaper.’

Will You Take the COVID Vaccine?

Well?

Pfizer said Friday it is asking U.S. regulators to allow emergency use of its COVID-19 vaccine, starting the clock on a process that could bring limited first shots as early as next month and eventually an end to the pandemic — but not until after a long, hard winter.

The action comes days after Pfizer Inc. and its German partner BioNTech announced that its vaccine appears 95% effective at preventing mild to severe COVID-19 disease in a large, ongoing study.

The companies said that protection plus a good safety record means the vaccine should qualify for emergency use authorization, something the Food and Drug Administration can grant before the final testing is fully complete. In addition to Friday’s FDA submission, they have already started “rolling” applications in Europe and the U.K. and intend to submit similar information soon.

I am not one who rejects vaccines. I have taken all of the normal ones throughout my life and believe them to be a prudent way to prevent severe illnesses with minor risk. There’s no way I’m taking the first round of a vaccine that was rushed to market to prevent a disease that my immune system will almost certainly be able to fight of when I get it. For people who are in a higher risk category for COVID, y’all’s risk/benefit assessment may be different. But I would count on wide swaths of Americans taking a pass for a while until we see how the first few waves of vaccinations go.

The question will be… what will the government and businesses do to force it? We have already see several businesses jumping to find ways to force their customers to get a vaccine. We are in a dangerous transition point in our nation’s history. I’m not sure that we will ever get back.

In Praise of Messy

Here is my full column that ran in the Washington County Daily News earlier this week:

There is a dangerous ethos slipping into our national psyche that has the power to upend our cherished republic. That ethos decrees that objectionable speech should be forbidden. Not challenged with more speech. Not ridiculed. Not debunked. Forbidden. Our nation’s downfall finds root in such concepts.

Our nation is not unaccustomed to robust public debate. Much of our history is the story of vigorous, heated, sometimes violent debates that burned hot in the friction created by the wheels of progress. Some of our national heroes are those who were able to introduce new, sometimes radical, concepts that lubricated the body politic in preparation for action. Such heroes of thought, pen, and voice would struggle in today’s enforced culture of leftist thought hegemony.

Liberty begins with the freedom of thought and the first public manifestation of liberty is the expression of thought. The measure of a free society is how many of those expressions are permitted. How restrictive can a society be before it toggles from a society that is considered free and one that is not?

In a perfectly free society, all expressions would be permitted without government sanction. Almost all nations, even those considered to be ardent adherents to the principle of free speech, criminalize some speech. Direct threats and defamation are almost never allowed, for example, but the bar for restricting speech is very high.

At the other end of the spectrum are those nations that maniacally regulate every utterance and have severe penalties for anyone who dares speak something deemed forbidden by the regime in power. The United States has moved along this scale throughout its history, but we are slipping toward the totalitarian end of that spectrum at an alarming pace.

In the American culture, people like to claim that they support free speech, but are increasingly willing to silence people who express views with which they disagree. Since it goes against the traditional American self-image to silence opposing views, the oppressors among us have taken the convenient moral shortcut of labeling thoughts with which they disagree as X-ist or hateful. Since everyone agrees that it is immoral to be X-ist or hateful, the oppressors can claim that silencing such thoughts, and the expression of them, as not only justified, but a moral imperative.

This is the faux moral high ground that movements like antifa and the leftists who lend them support seek to claim. They stand in righteous judgment of everyone who they deem “fascist” or “hateful” or “bigoted.” Their definitions are fluid, but their fury is constant. And when the silencing of evil foes is a moral imperative, any means of doing so can be justified because it promotes a higher good.

Those means have manifested themselves across America in a hundred different ways. News organizations have spawned “fact checking” squads to seek out opposing thoughts and label them as untrue. These self-anointed arbiters of truth stride forth with the confidence and wisdom of 19-year-olds who are home from their first year of college. In an earlier column, I rang a warning bell about the tech giants who are using their market dominance to regulate which speech is allowed to be heard and which must be quashed into the digital abyss. Some Democrat politicians and leftists are espousing the virtues of blacklists to prevent any Trump supporter from being able to work or hold a position of public influence. In both Wisconsin and in Washington D.C., we saw how elected leaders and bureaucrats weaponized government agencies to silence speech and punish the speakers.

The crushing of American public debate under the pretext of purging it of hate, X-ism, and bigotry is an attack on the freedom of thought and an affront to the ideals upon which our nation was founded. That does not mean that all thoughts are good, helpful, or positive, but the way to eradicate them is not to mute them. The way to eradicate them is to allow the light of truth in the public space to show them for what they are and allow them to retreat to the fringe. Freedom means permitting the expression of all thoughts — not just the ones that are accepted by the current orthodoxy.

Freedom relies on people being able to think, speak, introduce new ideas, resurface old ideas, subject them to the gristmill of public debate, and allow the people a robust discussion of diverse viewpoints from which to formulate a consensus public policy. Many of the ideas espoused by our Founders were considered radical, subversive, and treasonous at the time. That is precisely why our founding documents include a full-throated defense of free speech. They understood that the world would change, and new ideas would emerge. Our nation should not fear those ideas. We should welcome them, debate them, and encourage more. It is messy, but freedom always is.

Dane County Bans Indoor Gatherings of Any Kind

Nuts to that.

Public Health Madison and Dane County issued on Tuesday, Nov. 17 an emergency order which prohibits indoor gatherings of any size. Outdoor gatherings are permitted with 10 people or less, with physical distancing.

Officials say this order goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 18.

[…]

In-person games, sports, competitions, group exercise classes, meetings, trainings, movies, events, and conferences are all considered mass gatherings. Indoor mass gatherings of any people who do not live together are prohibited. Outdoor mass gatherings are limited to 10 people who do not live together, with physical distancing. The previous limit for gatherings was 10 indoors and 25 outdoors, with physical distancing.

This emergency order is in effect until 12:01 a.m. on Dec. 16 — \and continues to require face coverings and limit the capacity for most businesses to 50%, along with many other provisions.

Will the Leftist “fight the MAN!” radicals in Madison sheepishly obey this order?

Yup.

When did we get to the point that we just accept that it is the role of some jackass health department bureaucrat to tell us if we can gather with friends and family in our own homes? About three months ago. Push back.

BTW,

The First Amendment guarantees freedoms concerning religion, expression, assembly…

School Closings are Not About the Rona

The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty has done a study which shows what we all anecdotally knew. Unions and politics are driving school closures. COVID is just the excuse. If you want to see systemic classism/racism, look to the public school system.

Diving Deeper: As the new school year approached in 2020, individual school districts in Wisconsin had to make important decisions about in-person learning or using virtual options. But how much did the local presence of the COVID-19 virus factor into these decisions? Research Director Will Flanders, author of Politics in the Pandemic: The Role of Unions in School Reopening Decisions, finds that factors other than the local presence of the virus appear to have played a much larger role.

  • Union presence predicts a school going virtual. Districts with a teachers union were more likely to go virtual than districts without a teachers union.

  • Political ideology predicts a school going virtual. Districts with a higher percentage of votes for President Trump in 2016 and 2020 were more likely to open, while those with a higher percentage for Hillary Clinton were more likely to remain shuttered.

  • COVID-19 cases in an area were not predictive. The per-capita rate of COVID-19 cases in an area was not significantly predictive of whether a school district would reopen or not.

  • Districts with more low-income children are more likely to go virtual. As the percentage of students in a district who are low-income increases, so does the likelihood that the district will have chosen virtual education for the fall.

 

In praise of messy

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online and in print. Here’s a part:

In the American culture, people like to claim that they support free speech, but are increasingly willing to silence people who express views with which they disagree. Since it goes against the traditional American self-image to silence opposing views, the oppressors among us have taken the convenient moral shortcut of labeling thoughts with which they disagree as X-ist or hateful. Since everyone agrees that it is immoral to be X-ist or hateful, the oppressors can claim that silencing such thoughts, and the expression of them, as not only justified, but a moral imperative.

This is the faux moral high ground that movements like antifa and the leftists who lend them support seek to claim. They stand in righteous judgment of everyone who they deem “fascist” or “hateful” or “bigoted.” Their definitions are fluid, but their fury is constant. And when the silencing of evil foes is a moral imperative, any means of doing so can be justified because it promotes a higher good.

Those means have manifested themselves across America in a hundred different ways. News organizations have spawned “fact checking” squads to seek out opposing thoughts and label them as untrue. These self-anointed arbiters of truth stride forth with the confidence and wisdom of 19-year-olds who are home from their first year of college.

In an earlier column, I rang a warning bell about the tech giants who are using their market dominance to regulate which speech is allowed to be heard and which must be quashed into the digital abyss. Some Democrat politicians and leftists are espousing the virtues of blacklists to prevent any Trump supporter from being able to work or hold a position of public influence. In both Wisconsin and in Washington D.C., we saw how elected leaders and bureaucrats weaponized government agencies to silence speech and punish the speakers.

The crushing of American public debate under the pretext of purging it of hate, X-ism, and bigotry is an attack on the freedom of thought and an affront to the ideals upon which our nation was founded. That does not mean that all thoughts are good, helpful, or positive, but the way to eradicate them is not to mute them. The way to eradicate them is to allow the light of truth in the public space to show them for what they are and allow them to retreat to the fringe. Freedom means permitting the expression of all thoughts — not just the ones that are accepted by the current orthodoxy.

 

 

Americans Plan to Resist Lockdowns

Lockdowns are not an effective means of controlling the pandemic, but they are very effective at controlling people, destroying small businesses, increasing poverty, increasing food insecurity, increasing mental health issues, neglecting our elderly, and harming our kids’ educations. Yeah, not thanks. I will not comply. And I suspect that a sizable chunk of the 49% who SAY they will comply, won’t.

Americans are less likely to comply with another coronavirus lockdown than they were in the spring, with fewer than half saying in a new poll that they’re very likely to stay home this time around, according to a new Gallup Poll released as record numbers of cases skyrocket nationwide.

In the poll, taken between Oct. 19 and Nov. 1, 49% of respondents said they’ll be very likely to stay home for a month if it’s recommended after an outbreak in their communities, reports CNN. This is down from 67% in the spring.

Another 18% said they are somewhat likely to comply, but a third said they are not likely to obey lockdown orders.

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