Category Archives: Western Civilization

‘Woke’ Is a Bad Word for a Real Threat to American Democracy – WSJ

WSJ, by Garry Kasparov

The search is on for new words for old ideas. “Cancel culture” and “woke” have become overused and abused, part of a struggle to define one’s political opponents in the harshest possible way, to dismiss ideas as not only wrong or harmful, but intolerable.

As a nonnative English speaker, I am content to avoid rhetorical fashion and use older phrases. Call it the mob mentality, groupthink, or punitive neo-Puritan orthodoxy. It is the abuse of power—mostly social, not yet governmental—to silence debate and paralyze the spread of any ideas that challenge the prevailing ideological dogma. It is the coordinated, coercive attempt to win a debate by ending debate—to punish, not to educate.

The leading practitioners of these tactics have two contradictory responses to criticism. First, they say it isn’t happening, that it doesn’t exist, that drawing attention to it is a rhetorical whine to silence critics of the establishment and shield the privileged from accountability. Second, they blame the victims, calling them bad people with bad ideas who should be banished to make room for more diverse voices. Claiming you are fighting fire with fire can be used to justify any excess; the only way to fight back is to take freedom away from someone else.

The politics of personal destruction have run amok online and off. Full disclosure: I’ve been friends with Peter Thiel for years. I disagree with him on many things, especially lately, but the attacks on him have been disturbing. In his recent book “The Contrarian,” journalist Max Chafkin assigns an ideology to Mr. Thiel, then defines it as “fascist” and even tries to blame this concocted “Thielism” for the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. There is little doubt that the book would never have come to be had Mr. Thiel not supported Donald Trump in 2016. Suddenly, a secretive libertarian tech investor with a complex history and identity—immigrant, gay, Stanford Law grad, coastal elite—became simply evil, and Mr. Chafkin was quickly paid to fill hundreds of pages to support that preordained conclusion.

Criticism of politically active billionaires and tech giants is essential. But as the left did with the Koch brothers and the right has done with George Soros, demonizing people for wealth and political activity can spin out of control. Muckraking books, screaming mobs—in person, not only online—and rumors about your personal life shouldn’t be the price of political involvement in a democracy.

Tearing down the powerful may be satisfying, if briefly, but remember who inevitably suffers most when justice is abandoned in favor of vengeance and destruction. Black Lives Matter, a necessary idea and important human-rights movement, has been hijacked by leaders who seek only power—and who are willing to sacrifice their supposed beneficiaries to achieve it. Who will be harmed most when the police are defunded, the public education system wrecked? Not the elites. The Russian Revolution dispatched some wealthy landowners, but its natural outcome was a new form of slavery under totalitarian Communism—all in the name of equality and freedom, of course.

Putting ideology and politics ahead of reason is as dangerous as putting them ahead of justice. Mr. Trump and his administration used the possibility that Covid-19 originated in a Wuhan laboratory to bash China and deflect attention from his administration’s catastrophic pandemic response. A corresponding rise in hate crimes against Asians helped turn a crucial line of inquiry into a politicized bludgeon.

The left’s reaction to Mr. Trump’s rhetoric was instructive. Anyone who mentioned the lab-leak theory was assailed as pro-Trump. Social-media companies removed posts mentioning it. By January 2021, it was obvious that shutting down debate was the true antiscience position. Invaluable months were lost, time the Chinese Communist Party used to destroy data and spread disinformation about the virus’s origins. We may never know the truth, but we do know there was a coverup.

Increasing numbers of Americans believe their freedom is under attack, and I agree. Antidemocratic forces are on the rise. Election results are treated as suspect. Threats of violence are becoming routine.

Schools are being pressured to remove books and cancel professors for spreading the “wrong” ideas. These sentiments are all too familiar to me, and to anyone who has survived life in a dictatorship. The only answer is more freedom, more speech, not less.

This is why the Renew Democracy Initiative launched the Frontlines of Freedom project, which gives voice to dissidents from authoritarian regimes around the world. Americans have the rights and self-determination that people in Russia, Hong Kong and Zimbabwe are literally dying for. We see the pillars of American democracy under attack from within, by rioters at the Capitol and online mobs. Rights are violated in the U.S. when the system fails. They are violated in dictatorships when the system works as intended. Heed this warning.

Destroying the mechanisms of democracy to preserve democracy won’t work. We can’t promote marginalized voices by telling them what is acceptable to say. We must fight to preserve the free flow of ideas, of debate and an open society, however uncomfortable it makes us. Democracy has never been a safe space.

Mr. Kasparov is chairman of the Renew Democracy Initiative.

Appeared in the November 18, 2021, print edition.


School Makes Unmasked Students Wear a ‘Yellow Badge’

School Makes Unmasked Students Wear a ‘Yellow Badge’

By Jon Fleetwood 11/18/2021

  • Telegraph columnist Allison Pearson reported on Wednesday a U.K. school is instructing students to “wear a Yellow Badge” in order to identify those students from other students as having received a mask exemption.
  • Pearson tweeted a screenshot of an email she says is from the school explaining the school’s decision to reintroduce mask-wearing in the classroom.
  • The email goes on to explain that mask-exempt children must don a yellow-colored “Badge.”
  • “Those pupils who were exempt from wearing a mask last academic year will once again be exempt and should wear a yellow badge to indicate this,” the email reads.
  • Summit News pointed out the yellow badge is “historically understood to symbolize a ‘badge of shame’ and was imposed on Jews at numerous points throughout history to denote them as ethnic or religious outsiders.” “While no one is comparing the treatment of Jewish people in Nazi Germany to kids being forced to wear yellow badges,” the article clarified, “the use of such a symbol is still odious and morally bankrupt.”
  • Pearson concluded her tweet, asking, “Does the school have teachers who know their history?”
  • Australia implemented more strict lockdown measures for the unvaccinated on Monday. About two million unvaccinated Australians “will only be allowed to leave home for limited reasons, like working or buying food,” the BBC reports. The Australian government “says police will carry out spot checks in public spaces to determine the vaccination status of individuals, and issue fines to those caught breaking the rules.” Austria’s health ministry “says anyone who violates the lockdown for the unvaccinated could be fined €500 (£426; $572), while a penalty of €1,450 could be incurred for refusing to participate in checks.”
  • Austria and Germany have also implemented severe lockdown measures for the unvaccinated. “Testing for vaccinated and unvaccinated alike would become mandatory in some regions once hospitalizations reach a given threshold, German authorities said on Thursday. Vaccinations will now be made mandatory for healthcare workers,” according to The Wall Street Journal (WSJ). Unvaccinated Austrians are “excluded from entertainment venues, restaurants, hairdressers and other parts of public life in Austria,” CNN reports. But now Austria’s lockdown measures apply to “all those age 12 and older.”
  • Measures have also been introduced in Croatia this week, “including obligatory vaccination or testing for employees, have prompted protests, as well as criticism from President Zoran Milanovic, who is elected independently of the government,” notes WSJ.

Inside the Austrian lockdown – UnHerd

What the ruling classes and the ‘Left’ have come to, or perhaps better, are now showing their true beliefs and character. mrossol

By Freddy Sayers,  11/18/2021

Mia and Christopher are Austrian circus performers. From their home in Vienna, accompanied by their dog, Magic, they go off to take part in theatrical shows large and small around Europe, from the Royal Albert Hall to private parties, sometimes juggling fire, sometimes trapeze, sometimes simply with stunning displays of balance and strength.

Perhaps the least interesting thing about this talented young couple is that they are unvaccinated against Covid-19. When I meet them at their house in a wooded suburb outside Vienna, I am almost embarrassed to ask about it. But they carefully explain how, for reasons of mistrust, caution and, as they see it, integrity, they have decided not to take the Covid vaccine — and how this fact is suddenly defining their whole lives.



Since Monday, unvaccinated Austrians are not allowed to leave their homes except to go to work, to buy essential supplies, or to take exercise: it’s the world’s first “lockdown for the unvaccinated”. It was introduced in response to rapidly rising cases and a lack of excess capacity in Austrian hospitals. “It is not a recommendation, but an order,” announced the Interior Minister Karl Nehammer at a press conference. “Every citizen should know that they will be checked by the police.”

It is, essentially, a ratcheting up of the regime of vaccine passports that exists already in many countries across Europe, whereby unvaccinated people are already excluded from restaurants, museums and theatres. But to place a minority of the population under partial house arrest does seem to cross a new line.

Mia is an artist who is unvaccinated but allowed out because she had covid recently.

The Brazilian-born Mia has already had Covid and, in the Austrian “2G” system, proof of recovery affords you the same status as if you had been vaccinated — albeit for a period of six months. So, for now at least, she is allowed out and about. Chris is stuck at home. He describes it as a “brainfuck”. Attempting to remain philosophical about it, he explains how he tries to tune out the relentless fear coming out of the TV and keep control of his own mental state. “I don’t want to be dependent on these kind of things to be happy.” But the sense of alienation and unease is palpable. What will the future look like? He is supposed to be performing in Paris before Christmas; who knows if he will get there.

It’s a “brain fuck”, says Mia’s partner, Christopher

Back in the old town, alongside the fancy boutiques of the Kärntner Straße, it’s a very different world. Affluent shoppers are out and about in the crisp November air, and they are more than happy to share their views with us.

“I think it comes much too late,” says one woman. “They’re crazy. All the trouble we have is due to those people that believe in, I don’t know, that the earth is flat… If the majority of society depends on idiots, then they can’t be helped and it’s the end of society!”

Her view is typical — there is very little sympathy here, and a good deal of frustration. Only a few voices take the opposing view, and they tend to be passers-through more than the wealthy locals; the doormen and deliverymen we try to talk to just shake their heads. One man simply describes the latest lockdown as “bullshit”.

What is striking is that very few think the policy will actually work. Covid levels per capita have shot up in recent weeks, and Austria now has one of the highest case rates in Europe. The rationale behind the lockdown is that it will increase the level of vaccination (low for a Western European country at 65%); but even supporters of the move predict that it will be followed up by more universal measures soon enough. The Austrian Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg openly explains that the policy is a heavy-handed “nudge”: “My aim is very clear: to get the unvaccinated to get vaccinated, not to lock up the unvaccinated,” he told ORF radio station.

On a practical level, though, the logic of the new rules does not withstand much scrutiny: unvaccinated workers are permitted to travel to and from work, and they work disproportionately within the hospitality sector. This means that they are currently allowed into restaurants and bars to serve, but not to consume. In any case, if there were only vaccinated people in a venue, that wouldn’t necessarily make it Covid-free. Many places require daily testing for non-vaccinated staff, yet not for the vaccinated, leading to the odd situation where the unvaccinated are “safer” than the patrons.

It feels like a bit of a stand-off. The vaccine issue has become a show of strength, a test of principles. As Ivan Krastev, a political scientist at Vienna’s Institute for Human Sciences, tells me: “When some of the anti-vaccine people said, ‘we are ready to defend our freedoms’, the basic message of the Government was, ‘Okay, let’s see what price you are ready to pay for them.’ The idea of this measure is to make people uncomfortable.”

Ivan Krastev: “the government wants to make people uncomfortable”

One peculiar feature of this dramatic new measure is the silence of the liberals. Why are the bien-pensant Viennese, usually so concerned with the rights of minorities, so relaxed about a measure that in other contexts would seem outrageously draconian?

Somersaults of logic have been performed to assert that the policy is more liberal than the alternatives. For one thing, they say, it stops short of an actual vaccine mandate, which just about keeps alive the notion of personal choice; for the majority, it offers the hope of avoiding another lockdown, so seems to them to be a lesser intervention. And, unlike in neighbouring Italy, the unvaccinated can still work, with tests being provided at public expense. In Austria, across the West, there is no one left to assert the rights, or even try to understand the motivations of this despised minority, the anti-vaxxers. They are the new deplorables.


To interrogate this seeming contradiction, I visit Professor Manfred Nowak, one of Europe’s pre-eminent human rights lawyers, at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna. He has dedicated his whole life to the upholding of human rights and the defence of oppressed minorities against arbitrary detention and mistreatment. Former Special Rapporteur to the UN on Torture, current Secretary-General of the European Campus of Human Rights, activist against Guantanamo Bay, UN Independent Expert on Children Deprived of Liberty — the list continues. I expect him to be a little concerned about the potential direction of travel in his home country of Austria.

He wasn’t. He thinks the policy doesn’t go far enough. “From a human rights perspective, you always have to balance the obligation to protect the right to life, the right to health, with interfering with other rights such as personal liberty,” he tells me.

He wants to make vaccination mandatory, with refusal equivalent to a traffic offence, resulting in a fine rather than a criminal record. He is also worried about how this partial lockdown might affect an already divided society — but he is unconcerned about the human rights or civil liberties implications. Do you not even have a twinge of anxiety about the shift in democratic norms, or whether such discriminatory policy might be applied in different settings, I ask? “No, not really,” he says, with admirable candour.

Manfred Nowak, an eminent human rights professor: “vaccination should be mandatory”

The final component in this lockdown mix is, of course, politics. In most European countries there are no mainstream political parties that could be described as “anti-vaccine”, but Austria has the populist, right-wing Freedom Party, which was part of the coalition government until 2019; it has made vaccination choice a central issue. The FPÖ organises regular rallies in cities around Austria, and its new leader Herbert Kickl is gaining popularity by condemning Covid policies as “corona fascism”.

Having thus turned vaccine hesitancy into a “right-wing” political campaign, Kickl has managed to put a face to the dissenting minority — and it’s not one that many people like. As a result, instead of thinking of the unvaccinated as a vulnerable, if misguided, group and one worthy of protection and respect, they have become viewed as an extreme political enemy who must be defeated.

It would be hard to think of anyone less threatening or extreme than Mia and Chris. Alternative, certainly; anti-establishment, yes. But good people who in any healthy, confident culture would be cherished and celebrated. Allowing them, and millions like them, to drift into a caste of untouchables, separated from the mainstream, all for the sake of a marginal gain against a virus that is rapidly becoming endemic, may prove to be a grave miscalculation with effects that will be felt for years to come.[0]=18743&tl_period_type=3&mc_cid=7c4e768f15&mc_eid=0ff3e7ea29


‘Reimagine Capitalism’: Fortune Magazine Pushing Globalist Klaus Schwab’s Anti-American ‘Great Reset’ Agenda

‘Reimagine Capitalism’: Fortune Magazine Pushing Globalist Klaus Schwab’s Anti-American ‘Great Reset’ Agenda

Fortune Magazine wants elites to rule the world and you to “own nothing. And you’ll be happy.”

  • Fortune Magazine published a piece today titled “Change the World: To reimagine capitalism, we need to reimagine power.”
  • The piece states that Fortune is “thrilled to see so many companies of all sizes and from around the globe” who are answering “calls for the world to reimagine capitalism and for companies to embrace stakeholder capitalism.”
  • The piece also promotes the far-left position that “the climate crisis, growing inequality and wealth disparity, inequitable access to health care, and long-rooted systemic racism and bias” are the “biggest challenges the world has faced.”
  • To tackle these alleged problems, Fortune advocates for the end of “traditional capitalism” while encouraging readers to welcome the “emergence of” and “transitioning to” stakeholder capitalism.
  • Stakeholder capitalism is part of the globalist “Great Reset” agenda to end American sovereignty and supremacy in order to usher in “a new world” order controlled by “stakeholders,” namely, corporations selected and controlled by the World Economic Forum.

NEW: Fortune’s 2021 Change the World list is out!

These companies use the creative tools of capitalism—including the profit motive—to address society’s unmet needs.— FORTUNE (@FortuneMagazine) October 11, 2021

  • Stakeholder capitalism is an idea coined by Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman at The World Economic Forum (WEF).
  • The WEF advances “The Great Reset” agenda, an initiative aimed at consolidating global power under the control of multinational corporations, or, “stakeholders.”
  • After this Great Reset takes place, world populations “will own nothing. And you’ll be happy,” according to a video presentation created by the WEF. (See below.)
  • According to Schwab, stakeholder capitalism is meant to replace current free-market capitalism with a new “form of capitalism in which companies do not only optimize short-term profits for shareholders, but seek long term value creation, by taking into account the needs of all their stakeholders, and society at large.”
  • “The most important characteristic of the stakeholder model today,” writes Schwab, “is that the stakes of our system are now more clearly global.”
  • A WEF report states that individual governments, such as the U.S. government, are no longer “the overwhelmingly dominant actors on the world stage” and that “the time has come for a new stakeholder paradigm of international governance.”
  • The Transnational Institute—a non-profit think tank in Amsterdam—explains Schwab’s vision as “a self-selected group of ‘stakeholders’ make[ing] decisions on behalf of the people.”
  • The Institute characterizes Schwab and the WEF’s goals as “a silent global coup d’etat” to capture world dominance.
Image from the World Economic Forum’s page about Klaus Schwab’s book, “Stakeholder Capitalism”
  • Fortune Magazine is owned by Fortune Media Group Holdings, which in turn is owned by Thai business tycoon Chatchaval Jiaravanon.
  • Purchasing Fortune for $150 million in 2018, Jiaravanon is a member of the billionaire family that controls Charoen Pokphand Group, one of the biggest Thai conglomerates, according to Bloomberg.
  • Charoen Pokphand is owned in part (here) by BlackRock Inc., a single corporate entity with power over every major world industry: social media, communication, information, technology, manufacturing, weapons manufacturers, retail, wholesale, food, agriculture, energy, oil, transportation, automotive, banking, credit, finance, insurance, travel, grocery, computer, pharmaceutical, health, real estate, and mainstream media (from CNN to Fox News, Disney to Netflix).

Thai tycoon who owns Fortune Magazine plans fintech acquisitions— Bloomberg (@business) January 13, 2020

  • As of July 2021, The Wall Street Journal reportsBlackRock is approaching $10 trillion in assets. Excluding the U.S. and China, the value of BlackRock’s total assets is greater than the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) respectively of any country in the world.
  • BlackRock owns major shares of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google, YouTube, Alphabet; AT&T, Verizon, Comcast; Apple, Microsoft, IBM, Dell, Intel; Caterpillar, 3M; Volkswagen, Toyota, Ford, Honda; Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon; Amazon, Walmart, Costco, Target; FedEx; Delta, American Airlines, United, Southwest; Ross, Nike, TJX; Pepsi, CocaCola, Nestle, Sysco, Tyson Foods; Del Monte, Seaboard Corp; McDonald’s, Starbucks; Exxon Mobile, Shell, BP, Total Energies, Chevron, General Electric, Tesla; Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Berkshire Hathaway; Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, Citigroup, Capital One, Wells Fargo; Prudential, MetLife; Airbnb, Uber, Lyft; Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Merck; CVS, Anthem, Blue Cross; Zillow; CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, Disney, Netflix, Time Warner, The New York Times, Yahoo, Discovery, iHeartMedia, Vogue, Vanity Fair, GQ, News Corp, and Viacom, and thousands more.
  • Many of the major companies owned by BlackRock are listed as “Partners” on the WEF’s website.
  • BlackRock’s website insists not only that globalism is a reality, but that globalism is “evolving” and that “Much of [the work of globalism] will fall on the shoulders of multinational corporations,” like those owned by BlackRock and partnered with the WEF. Its website says that “large corporations [need] to play a bigger role” in advancing globalism.
  • BlackRock CEO Larry Fink—a board member and contributor at the WEF—endorses “activism from the far-left” and says, like the Fortune piece, that we must “focus” on advancing globalism by utilizing specifically stakeholder capitalism.

Jon Fleetwood is Managing Editor for American Faith.