Center on Human Exceptionalism

The mission of Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism is to affirm and uphold the intrinsic nature of human dignity, liberty, and equality. In resistance to a growing movement against unique human personhood, we aim to revitalize a commitment to the traditional Western view of human rights and human responsibilities — summed up by the term “human exceptionalism.” Read more



Clarke Forsythe on the History and Future of the Pro-Life Movement

Wesley J. Smith
November 20, 2023
When the Supreme Court ruled that abortion was a constitutional right in Roe v. Wade in 1973, it not only throttled an important ongoing democratic debate in the country about legalizing abortion, but it tore this country’s culture apart. In the next fifty years, dedicated pro-life activists committed themselves to democratic engagement and advocacy to reverse Roe and return the struggle over the right to life to the democratic sphere. That decades-long effort bore fruit last year in the Supreme Court case of Dobbs. But that is far from the end of the story. The abortion issue continues to roil the country, with state legislatures passing dramatically different laws about the issue and voters in state initiative elections, such as in Kansas and Ohio, supporting legalization.  With the federal courts officially neutral on abortion, how will the Pro-Life Movement seek to achieve its stated goal of convincing the entire country that life should be protected and respected from conception to natural death? Wesley’s guest on this episode of Humanize has some answers. Clarke Forsythe is Senior Counsel at Americans United for Life (AUL) and the author of Abuse of Discretion: The Inside Story of Roe v. Wade (Encounter Books 2013), which was cited by the Supreme Court in its majority opinion in Dobbs. In his 38 years at AUL, Forsythe has been co-counsel for parties in three U.S. Supreme Court cases and has argued before federal and state appellate courts. He has also testified before Congress and state legislatures. Forsythe has authored or co-authored 20+ professional legal articles on constitutional and bioethical issues. His other articles have been published in the Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, the Los Angeles Times, Public Discourse, The Washington Times, The Federalist, The Hill, and many other newspapers and magazines.  His first book, Politics for the Greatest Good, which draws on lessons in political prudence from Thomas Aquinas, William Wilberforce, and Abraham Lincoln, was published by InterVarsity Press (IVP) in 2009.  His new book, Pushing Roe v. Wade Over the Brink, co-authored with Alexandra DeSanctis, chronicles the 50-year legal struggle to overturn Roe v. Wade, and its implications for future bioethical issues in American law and policy. Forsythe has a B.A. from Allegheny College, a J.D. from Valparaiso University, and an M.A. in Bioethics from Trinity International University, where he has been an Adjunct Professor of Bioethics.  Clarke and his wife, Karen, married for 41 years, have five daughters and 11 grandchildren. Pushing Roe v. Wade Over the Brink: The Battle for America’s Heart, the Human Right to Life, and a Future Full of Hope Abuse of Discretion – Encounter Books Crucial Priorities for Advocates and Lawmakers After Dobbs – Americans United for Life ( AUL’s 40 Year Stand Against Chemical Abortion – Americans United for Life When Congress Funds Abortion, It Funds Coercion | National Review

Jonathan Choe on the Crisis of our City Streets

Tom Shakely
November 6, 2023
The homelessness and addiction catastrophes on our city streets seem intractable. Unhygienic squatter tent cities. Human waste on our sidewalks. Used needles littering our parks. Crime. Collapsing commercial districts. It’s enough to make one turn away in despair and allow areas of our once most beautiful cities to become no-go zones. But some refuse to yield. One is veteran independent journalist Jonathan Choe. Choe focuses his journalism on homelessness, drug addiction, and the mental health crisis ravaging America through hard-hitting video narratives. In this episode of Humanize, Choe will describes the horrors—and heroism—he encounters daily as he covers the homelessness beat Choe is a Senior Fellow with Discovery Institute’s Center on Wealth and Poverty, covering homelessness issues for its Fix Homelessness initiative. Prior to joining Discovery, Choe spent several years as one of the lead reporters at KOMO-TV, consistently the top-rated television station in Seattle. His in depth stories on crime and deep dive investigations into the homelessness crisis led to measurable results in the community, including changes in public policy. Choe has more than two decades of experience in television news behind the scenes and in front of the camera for ABC, NBC, FOX, CBS, and Tribune. He has also been nominated and honored with multiple industry awards including an Emmy. As an independent journalist, Choe also contributes regularly to the Mill Creek View and Lynnwood Times and has reported on exclusive stories in the past year for Daily Wire and The Postmillennial. Choe is a New England native and Boston University journalism school graduate. (757) Choe show – YouTube Twitter: Jonathan Choe Journalist (Seattle) (@choeshow) / X ( (757) DOWNTOWN #seattle MADNESS CONTINUES – YouTube Donate | Fix Homelessness (1) “I have never seen this much anti-Semitism.” ( Other Humanize Interviews on the Homelessness Catastrophe Robert Marbut on America’s Homelessness Crisis, Strategies for Uplifting the Homeless, and Effective Government Policies | Humanize Jim Palmer of the Orange County Rescue Mission on causes and cures for America’s homelessness crisis | Humanize

Henry Olsen on the Crisis in American Politics

Wesley J. Smith
October 23, 2023
It is no secret that American politics are in crisis. Polls show that Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives are increasingly estranged from each other, conservative red states and progressive blue states are enacting public policies that are dramatically dichotomous, and millions of people no longer trust the integrity of our electoral system. As this program is being recorded, there is no Speaker of the House of Representatives. The two leading candidates to become president in 2024—President Joe Biden and Former President Donald Trump—are both highly unpopular, and most Americans don’t want a rematch of 2020. How has this crisis come to be and what can be done about it? Wesley asked one of the most respected election analysts in the country to provide some insight. Henry Olsen is a Washington Post columnist and senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. He was the Thomas W. Smith distinguished scholar in residence at Arizona State University for the winter/spring 2023 semester. Olsen began his career as a political consultant. After three years working for the California Assembly Republican Caucus, he went to law school, and after graduating, clerked for the Honorable Danny J. Boggs on the United States Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. Olsen later joined the think tank world where he served as the President of the Commonwealth Foundation, a Vice President at the Manhattan Institute, and Vice President and Director, National Research Initiative, at the American Enterprise Institute. He left AEI in 2013 to pursue a career in political analysis and writing at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. Olsen’s writings have appeared in variety of leading publications throughout the United States and the United Kingdom. He is the author of “The Working Class Republican: Ronald Reagan and the Return of Blue-Collar Conservatism” and co-authored, “The Four Faces of the Republican Party”. Olsen’s biennial election predictions have been widely praised for their uncanny accuracy, and he is a frequent guest on television and radio news and commentary programs. Olsen regularly speaks about American political trends and global populism in the United States, Europe, and Australia. He is also the host of the Beyond the Polls podcast. In this interview, Wesley does not ask Olsen to take sides on the issues of the day or political personalities but solicited his dispassionate analysis of what has gone wrong in our contemporary political discourse and why. Beyond the Polls With Henry Olsen – Ricochet PowerPoint Presentation (