My Lantern Batteries Are Drained

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Alan Jacobs advocates for an Operation Diogenes.

I don’t usually think much about things I have already published, but I have continued to meditate on the subject I wrote about here — and there’s good reason for that, I believe. You read a story like this one and you realize how pervasively the people who profit from minors who (supposedly) suffer from gender dysphoria lie. They lie about the conditions of the children who come to them, they lie about the likely effects of their interventions, they lie about what they do and don’t do — they lie about everything and it seems that they never stop lying. But then, we in this country also spent four years with a President and a White House staff who lied virtually every time they opened their mouths — lied even when there was no clear advantage to lying, evermore pursuing the preferential option for bullshit.

I could provide ten thousand examples, but I don’t think it’s necessary: we all know that this is the situation we’re in. There’s a lot of talk right now — thanks to this op-ed by Leonard Downie — about “objectivity” in journalism, which term I think is a red herring: nobody has any clear idea what it means. I have never asked whether a journalist is objective; I have often asked whether a journalist is telling me the truth. And when Downie says that renouncing objectivity is a newspaper’s path to “building trust” with readers, what he clearly means is that you gain your readers’ trust by sending a strong message: We will never tell you truths you don’t want to hear; we will always tell you consoling lies; and that’s how we’ll get you to give us your money. He means nothing more or less or other than that.

So I think there is no more important question for us to ask than this: Given that almost everyone in the media is lying to us constantly, how can we discover what is true — especially when the truth hurts?

A. J.'s first two paragraphs are more understandable when you follow the links.

As for his slam at the Trump and his administration, fine, but the last couple years have been no Truth Picnic at the White House either.

And, finally: I don't want a newspaper simply "telling the truth". I want the whole truth. Don't leave out relevant facts because they cut against an ideological narrative. Too much to ask?

Maybe it is. Billy Binion notes that the "whole truth" ideal is something a lot of people desperately oppose: 980 'New York Times' Contributors Want To Sacrifice Free Inquiry to Ideology.

On Wednesday, hundreds of contributors to The New York Times formally expressed their discontent with how the paper covers transgender, nonbinary, and gender-nonconforming people, publishing an open letter that condemns the paper's reporting as antagonistic toward those individuals. "The Times has in recent years treated gender diversity with an eerily familiar mix of pseudoscience and euphemistic, charged language," it reads, "while publishing reporting on trans children that omits relevant information about its sources."

The claim is set against the backdrop of an ongoing debate about how, and if, people who identify as transgender—particularly minors—should be permitted to transition. But at its core, the letter is about a different debate: What questions are members of a free press allowed to ask?

Roll that around your mind: 980 contributors to the NYT don't want its readers to hear the debate.

Briefly noted:

  • A controversial stand from Michael Lind: Why I Am Against Saving the Planet. See if you don't get a chuckle (perhaps tinged with bitterness) out of this excerpt:

    The notion of a self-regulating ecosystem disturbed by human activity that would automatically restore itself to a “natural” condition if not for human interference is another bit of unscientific nonsense taken on faith by the green lobby. The evidence suggests that greenhouse gasses in the industrial era have warmed the Earth’s atmosphere. But it is also true that global temperatures have fluctuated wildly for billions of years, most recently in the Pleistocene ice ages. Human civilization developed in one of several warm “interglacial” spells following repeated expansions of ice to cover much of the Northern Hemisphere. In addition to fluctuations like these, there are catastrophic events that alter the climate and wipe out many species, like the asteroid or comet thought to have wiped out the dinosaurs and many other animals and plants on Earth. Contrary to what you would assume listening to green propaganda, if the human race vanished tomorrow the climate would not “stabilize” but would continue to fluctuate dramatically over time—at least until the gradual warming of the sun evaporates the oceans and turns the Earth into a steam-shrouded desert world in half a billion years, if the predictions of contemporary astrophysicists are correct.

    But there is a crucial difference, according to the belief system of environmentalists. If an asteroid annihilates the dinosaurs, that is natural and not a crime. But if a local species of frog becomes extinct because officials drain a malarial swamp and replace it with a civic water reservoir that saves millions of people from infectious diseases, that is mass murder (of frogs).

    Pun Salad noted James Lileks's observation and commentary on the wistful misanthropy of (some?) environmentalists back in 2006.

  • George F. Will explains Why Americans need protection from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

    Frail humans, fallen creatures in a broken world, rarely approach perfection in any endeavor. In 2010, however, congressional majorities (including only six Republicans) created a perfectly, meaning comprehensively, unconstitutional entity. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau also perfectly illustrates progressivism’s anti-constitutional aspiration for government both unlimited and unaccountable.

    The CFPB is unlike any federal law enforcement agency ever created. Floating above the Constitution’s tripartite design of government, it is uniquely sovereign:

    Independent of congressional appropriations, it funds itself by acquiring, in perpetuity, up to 12 percent of the Federal Reserve’s annual operating expenses (the CFPB’s cut might soon be $1 billion), rolling over and investing any year’s surplus. The president or either chamber of Congress can veto any attempt by legislators to gain control of the CFPB. Its director could not be removed for policy reasons, until this provision was declared a violation of the separation of powers because it reduced the president’s authority to direct the executive branch.

    GFW notes that the Supreme Court will soon decide whether to consider a case where a CFPB ruling was struck down stemming from the bureau's "independence" from Constitutional constraints.

Last Modified 2024-01-14 4:40 AM EDT