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

Humanize

Alice Stewart on the Crisis of Trust in the American Media

A vibrant and engaged media is essential to protecting American liberty—which is why the First Amendment provides such a strong protection for freedom of the press. If the media are to carry out their societal responsibilities, journalists must have the trust of news consumers. But these days, trust is in low supply. An October 2022 Gallup Poll found that only 34% of Americans trust the mass media to report the news “fully, accurately and fairly.” Why are the media experiencing this profound crisis of trust and what can be done about it? Wesley’s guest on this episode of Humanize has some valuable insights. Alice Stewart has worked on both sides of the microphone, both as a source for reporters and a journalist in her own right. She was Communications Director for the presidential campaigns of Senator Ted Cruz, Governor Mike Huckabee, Senator Rick Santorum, and Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. Stewart has also served in government as the Arkansas Deputy Secretary of State. Stewart worked as an Anchor/Reporter in Little Rock, Arkansas and Savannah, Georgia, and also hosted “The Alice Stewart Show,” a talk radio program that featured national and local political leaders. The goal of the show was to engage in civil discussions about politics and agree to disagree in a respectful manner—a continuing professional passion for Stewart. She is currently a CNN Political Commentator, Communications Consultant, and is a resident Fellow at Harvard University, Kennedy Institute of Politics. She cohosts the weekly Hot Mics From Left to Right podcast with her CNN colleague, the liberal commentator, Maria Cardona. Here are the Links. Hot Mics From Left To Right on Apple Podcasts X: @alicetweet Insta: @alicestewartdc Website: alicestewart.com (621) Alice Stewart joins Wolf Blitzer on CNNs The Situation Room to discuss “limited gag order” on Trump – YouTube (621) Alice Stewart joins Wolf Blitzer on The Situation Room on Sen. Romney not seeking re-election – YouTube Alice Stewart: Trump’s Co-Defendants ‘Would Throw Their Momma In a Whorehouse’ To Get Ahead (mediaite.com)  KCRW’s Left, Right & Center: Dems at odds over support for asylum seekers on Apple Podcasts With democracy on the ballot, the mainstream press must change its ways | Margaret Sullivan | The Guardian Americans’ Trust In Media Remains Near Record Low (gallup.com)

Podcast

Alice Stewart on the Crisis of Trust in the American Media

2
Jackson Meyer
September 25, 2023
A vibrant and engaged media is essential to protecting American liberty—which is why the First Amendment provides such a strong protection for freedom of the press. If the media are to carry out their societal responsibilities, journalists must have the trust of news consumers. But these days, trust is in low supply. An October 2022 Gallup Poll found that only 34% of Americans trust the mass media to report the news “fully, accurately and fairly.” Why are the media experiencing this profound crisis of trust and what can be done about it? Wesley’s guest on this episode of Humanize has some valuable insights. Alice Stewart has worked on both sides of the microphone, both as a source for reporters and a journalist in her own right. She was Communications Director for the presidential campaigns of Senator Ted Cruz, Governor Mike Huckabee, Senator Rick Santorum, and Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. Stewart has also served in government as the Arkansas Deputy Secretary of State. Stewart worked as an Anchor/Reporter in Little Rock, Arkansas and Savannah, Georgia, and also hosted “The Alice Stewart Show,” a talk radio program that featured national and local political leaders. The goal of the show was to engage in civil discussions about politics and agree to disagree in a respectful manner—a continuing professional passion for Stewart. She is currently a CNN Political Commentator, Communications Consultant, and is a resident Fellow at Harvard University, Kennedy Institute of Politics. She cohosts the weekly Hot Mics From Left to Right podcast with her CNN colleague, the liberal commentator, Maria Cardona. Here are the Links. Hot Mics From Left To Right on Apple Podcasts X: @alicetweet Insta: @alicestewartdc Website: alicestewart.com (621) Alice Stewart joins Wolf Blitzer on CNNs The Situation Room to discuss “limited gag order” on Trump – YouTube (621) Alice Stewart joins Wolf Blitzer on The Situation Room on Sen. Romney not seeking re-election – YouTube Alice Stewart: Trump’s Co-Defendants ‘Would Throw Their Momma In a Whorehouse’ To Get Ahead (mediaite.com)  KCRW’s Left, Right & Center: Dems at odds over support for asylum seekers on Apple Podcasts With democracy on the ballot, the mainstream press must change its ways | Margaret Sullivan | The Guardian Americans’ Trust In Media Remains Near Record Low (gallup.com)

Sam Brownback on the Importance of Religious Freedom to World Peace and Prosperity

1
Wesley J. Smith
September 11, 2023
Supreme Court Justice Frank Murphy once opined that freedom of religion has “a double aspect—freedom of thought and action.” In other words, to be truly religiously free, one must not only be at liberty to believe, but act consistently with those beliefs. This concept of religious freedom—the right to live and act according to one’s faith—has historically been assaulted by totalitarian government authorities. For example, early in the Second Century–when Pliny the Younger was a provincial governor in the Roman Empire–he wrote a letter to Emperor Trajan asking whether he was correct in executing Christians who refused to burn incense in worship of the emperor. Trajan said he was right to punish Christians, not because he cared what they believed, but he worried, refusing to engage in emperor worship was a means of rebellion and setting themselves apart from the reigning social order. In modern times, such oppression came to be seen as a profound violation of human rights. Thus, the very first clause of the First Amendment (1789) states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” More broadly, Article 18 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) provides: “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.” That’s unequivocal. Freedom of religion means the right to live according to one’s own faith, that is, to “manifest” our religion or belief in practice, both “in public or private,” without interference from the state. Alas, freedom of religion is often as much under assault these days as in the time of Pliny the Younger. Indeed, assaults on religious practice are becoming increasingly commonplace. The questions are why, and what can be done about it? No one has put more thought into this urgent matter of human freedom than my guest today, Sam Brownback. Brownback served as ambassador at large for international religious freedom from February, 2018 until January, 2021. He also served as governor of Kansas from 2011 to 2018. Prior to that, he represented his home state in the United States Senate and in the house of representatives while a member of the Senate, he worked actively on religious freedom issues in multiple countries and was a key sponsor of the international religious freedom act of 1998. When Brownback left government service, he formed the National Committee on Religious Freedom, a nonprofit organization concerned with defending religious liberty in the United States. This is his third appearance on this podcast. NCRF (thencrf.org) ChasedAway — NCRF (thencrf.org) ‘Religious cleansing’ threatens Armenian Christians’ existence, human rights leaders warn – Catholic World Report Should Muslims Really Welcome Denmark’s Proposed Anti-Blasphemy Law? | Cato at Liberty Blog Zelensky backs Expulsion of Christian Monks after Seizing the Historic Kiev Pechersk Lavra Monastery – THE INTEL DROP Should Muslims Really Welcome Denmark’s Proposed Anti-Blasphemy Law? | Cato at Liberty Blog Zelensky backs Expulsion of Christian Monks after Seizing the Historic Kiev Pechersk Lavra Monastery – THE INTEL DROP

Dr. Jay Bhattacharya on the Need for a COVID Response Truth Commission

17
Wesley J. Smith
June 5, 2023
The COVID pandemic has been one of the most politically and culturally divisive events in American history. Adding to our woes, the proper approach to scientific inquiry and policy makers’ relationship with the expert class became badly skewed. Once an orthodoxy was declared by the World Health Organization or the Center for Disease Control, government leaders, the mainstream media, and Big Tech circled the wagons to prevent dissenting views from being aired — and even sought to punish those with differing opinions. This included attacking the Great Barrington Declaration — authored by notable epidemiologists, that challenged the efficacy of societal shutdowns and keeping children out of school. Now, with the COVID emergency at an end, two of the authors of the Great Barrington Declaration and other notables in medicine have organized the Norfolk Group, calling for a national commission to investigate the country’s response to COVID. One of these experts is Wesley’s guest on this episode of Humanize. Dr. Jay Bhattacharya is a Professor of Health Policy at Stanford University and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economics Research. He holds an MD and PhD in economics, both earned at Stanford University, where he directs Stanford’s Center for Demography and Economics of Health and Aging. Dr. Bhattacharya’s recent research focuses on the epidemiology of COVID-19 as well as an evaluation of policy responses to the epidemic. In December 2022, Bhattacharya was appointed by Florida Governor and now presidential candidate Ron DeSantis to the Public Health Integrity Committee, charged with assessing federal decisions, recommendations, and guidance related to public health and health care.

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