A victory for religious liberty, the mainstream media urges Big Tech censorship (and other stories)

A roundup of important news around the interwebs.

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In Douglas Murray’s The Strange Death of Europe, he speculates as to why it is that people are having far fewer children than they say they actually want. This week, The Guardian laid out one reason:

The controversial “two-child limit” restricting the amount that larger families can receive in social security benefits was a key factor in many women’s decisions to terminate their pregnancy during the pandemic, according to a leading abortion charity.

The British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) said over half of the women it surveyed who had an abortion during the pandemic, and who were aware of the two-child limit and likely to be affected by it, said the policy was “important in their decision-making around whether or not to continue the pregnancy.” Some women told BPAS that the combination of economic and job insecurity triggered by pandemic and the two-child limit effectively removed their choice over the pregnancy, persuading them to end a pregnancy they would in a less fraught financial situation have wanted to keep.

The state is not neutral in these matters. In short, they’re telling parents that two kids is more than enough. This is a government incentive to abort or have a small family, and it is precisely the opposite of what the Hungarian government is doing, which is creating government incentives to have children (which, all things considered, makes far more sense.) Boris Johnson and the Tories need to do something about this immediately. Even the abortion industry is admitting that there are women having abortions that they do not want because they feel pressured by an grotesque government policy that needs to be scrapped immediately.

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The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition is reporting that a number of euthanasia deaths in Belgium are being investigated:

Officials in the Belgian city of Leuven are investigating about ten euthanasia cases which may not have been done legally. The public prosecutor was tipped off by an anonymous letter to the De Standaard newspaper. comes from a letter sent anonymously to the paper’s editorial desk. Until the investigation has been completed, police are keeping mum.

The letter says: “Our family member passed away two years ago, and we were told that euthanasia was presumed to have been carried out without the doctors informing us or following the necessary procedure. This is a very traumatic experience for us.” Doctors are not required to notify the family if a person wants to be euthanised, but various medical associations strongly recommend it.

Two doctors were named in the letter, both of them associated with nursing homes in the Emmaus group. The head of the group, a former federal minister, Inge Vervotte, confirmed that the two doctors work with the homes, but she insisted that stressed that the cases being investigated involved patients in their private practice, and not residents of the nursing homes.

Professor Wim Distelmans, Belgium’s chief euthanasia overseer, said that his committee is supposed to be informed about every case of euthanasia, but it doesn’t always happen. “Some doctors are happy to admit that,” he admitted. “What doctors write down, we naturally take for granted as true,” he said. “Apart from that, and rightly so, everyone is free to file a complaint with the public prosecutor’s office if they think they have reason to.”

We’ll be seeing plenty of cases like this in Canada in the years to come.

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The Public Discourse just published a fascinating essay containing a number of policy recommendations for the GOP on the possibility for a new fusionism of social conservatism and economic populism (which I recently laid out in a column for The American Conservative.) This is precisely the sort of discussion conservatives need to be having right now. An excerpt:

During the early years of the Trump administration, a Latino colleague from Arizona State University astutely observed that “The Republicans are making an unforced error.” Although we are diverse individually and in terms of our distinctive heritages, Latinos are, overall, highly religious and more socially conservative than other demographics. There is a natural fit between a certain kind of conservativism and Latino-American political concerns. Yet, growing up, I remember relatives telling me that the Democrats were for the poor, even though these relatives each abhorred abortion. Many of us bounced back and forth from Clinton to Bush and then to Obama in a way that tracked national trends, evading being “captured” as a reliable demographic. But could it be possible for one party to ultimately secure the “Latino” vote in America?

Read the whole thing. The GOP needs to take advantage of this opportunity.

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Glenn Greenwald has a disturbing essay explaining how the mainstream media presents itself as an honest, neutral broker—and then pushes Big Tech to censor their competition”

The most prolific activism demanding more Silicon Valley censorship is found in the nation’s largest news outlets: the media reporters of CNN, the “disinformation” unit of NBC News, and especially the tech reporters of The New York Times. That is where the most aggressive and sustained pro-internet-censorship campaigns are waged.

Due in part to a self-interested desire to re-establish their monopoly on discourse by crushing any independent or dissenting voices, and in part by a censorious and arrogant mindset which convinces them that only those of their worldview and pedigree have a right to be heard, they largely devote themselves to complaining that Facebook, Google and Twitter are not suppressing enough speech. It is hall-monitor tattletale whining masquerading as journalism: petulantly complaining that tech platforms are permitting speech that, in their view, ought instead be silenced.

Read the whole thing. It’s a transparent attempt to seize control of the entire conversation.

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As Al Mohler noted, Amy Coney Barrett is already making her mark on the Supreme Court:

What a difference a single justice on the United States Supreme Court makes—it’s just a matter of math.

Indeed, on Wednesday of last week a five-justice majority ruled in favor of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn as well as a major Jewish congregation in New York City who sued New York Governor Andrew Cuomo for what they believed were violations against religious liberty. They claimed that in the midst of the pandemic, the Governor violated their Constitutional rights of religious liberty and, for that matter, freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, and freedom of religious expression.

They sought immediate relief from the Supreme Court having lost their appeals at the lower-level courts. By Wednesday, they received their favorable ruling by a 5–4 ruling by the Supreme Court—a one-vote victory, but that one vote was the difference between victory or defeat for religious liberty.

What does this mean? For now, it means that religious congregations in Brooklyn are free from specific restrictions put in place by Governor Andrew Cuomo. The issue, however, goes far beyond Brooklyn and New York—this is a ruling with massive national consequences in the defense of religious liberty.

Weirdly, Chief Justice John Roberts—who voted against Obergefell—sided with the minority on religious liberty.

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More soon.

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