Judaism Is a Religion of the Heart (Shai Held, 3/22/24, WSJ)

We have all heard it a thousand times. Christianity is about love, we are told, but Judaism is about…something else, like law or justice. In a similar vein, we often hear that whereas Christianity cares about how you feel and what you believe, Judaism cares only about what you do. Judaism is a religion of action, we’ve been taught, not emotion; a religion of deeds, of rote rituals, not inwardness.

Centuries of Christian anti-Judaic polemics are not the only source of such distortions and misapprehensions; they are also part of a broader phenomenon in American Jewish life. Perhaps because of anxiety about assimilation, American Jews long ago began to define Judaism as whatever they thought Christianity was not. So because Christianity was about love, Judaism was, well, not about love. […]

The Torah issues three dramatic love commands. We are charged to love our neighbor, a fellow member of the covenant between God and Israel; to love the stranger, someone who lives among us despite not being part of our kin group and who is therefore vulnerable to exploitation; and to love God, who created the world, redeemed us from slavery, and gave us the Torah as an act of love and commitment. Later Jewish sources clarify that we have an additional obligation to love all human beings, who were created in the image of God and who are part of the same single human family as we are.


Why did it take so long to ban puberty blockers? (Patrick West, 22nd March 2024, spiked)

For too long, these drugs were handed out to mentally troubled youths, to confused young gay people caught up in vortices of social contagion and to children pressured into potentially life-ruining decisions by ideologically driven adults.

For this ban, we must thank Lucy Bannerman and Janice Turner of The Times, author Helen Joyce and the many other gender-critical feminists who campaigned tenaciously against the use of puberty blockers. But a troubling question remains: how on Earth was the practice allowed to continue for so long?

An intriguing answer comes from Helen Joyce herself. As she explains in a recent article for the Critic, the trick the radical trans movement played was to persuade people that according blanket rights to trans people was simply the next step in a narrative of liberation. The thinking among many has been that, ever since the Enlightenment, we have been on an emancipatory trajectory in the West. It began with religious toleration, then came the campaign for racial equality, moving on to women’s liberation and then, by the 1960s, gay liberation. With these goals achieved, the next step was surely liberation for the trans community. As Joyce explains: ‘During the past decade, the trans lobby has been stunningly successful in selling false analogies… [such as] that separate toilets for men and women are like racial segregation and that insisting people can change sex is “gay rights 2.0”.’ […]

The recent craze for mutilating children will most likely one day be put in that same category of warped, weird thinking. As will Butler’s belief, that both gender and biological sex are socially constructed.

The ‘Detransition’ Time Bomb (WILFRED REILLY, March 14, 2024, National Review)

More striking than the total numbers involved, to me, was their mappable rate of increase. The summed year-over-year increase rate, during only my five-year window of analysis, was 119.6 percent for the use of puberty blockers and 122.1 percent for hormone use. Conservatively applying the rate for the last year that I have on record to the next two, we would expect prescriptions for puberty-blocking drugs to keep rising to above 2,000 in 2023, and for hormone prescriptions to over 7,000 in 2023, with hundreds more mastectomies for teen girls across the same two years. Our 2017–23 totals would then indicate tens of thousands of minors were given some combination of puberty blockers, human sex hormones, and top surgeries.


Human Dignity and the Politics of Dune : Dune: Part Two contains conservative truths about human nature the fate of political faiths. (Kody W. Cooper, 3/22/24, Law & Liberty)

As the story progresses so does Jessica’s pregnancy, and the audience sees Paul’s fully human sister develop with striking visuals inside the womb, portraying Alia from her embryonic to later stages. At one point on the threat of death, Lady Jessica is forced to ingest a poisonous substance that the Fremen call the “Water of Life,” which sends her into life-threatening convulsions. But the Fremen did not know she was pregnant. When they realize they unwittingly endangered the baby girl, they lament: What have we done!?

Rarely has the silver screen featured such a powerful, if subtle, moral condemnation of chemically-induced abortion. Dune sends a clear message that human life has dignity from the moment of conception.


When It Comes To Fighting Poverty, We Actually Agree On A Lot (Josh Bandoch, 3/22/24, Discourse)

From left-of-center think tanks such as the Brookings Institution, Urban Institute and Progressive Policy Institute, to right-of-center public policy groups such as the American Enterprise Institute and the Alliance for Opportunity, there exists remarkable consensus on how to empower individuals to rise out of poverty and into prosperity.

This consensus centers on seven “macro” solutions to poverty:

1) Empower people through the dignity of work.

2) Prepare individuals for the future of work through education and workforce development. (This issue is widely overlooked in the research on poverty.)

3) Remove barriers to work, especially occupational licensing and burdensome regulations.

4) Ensure the educational system prepares students for careers, particularly in industries that need more workers, through effective workforce development programs such as apprenticeships.

5) Restructure safety net programs to empower people to rise out of poverty, including through rigorous program evaluation.

6) Promote affordable housing, including through zoning reform.

7) Promote family formation and stability, including by making it easier for people to follow the “success sequence” of education, job, marriage and then children.

While there are certainly disagreements about how to execute these solutions, this is greatly overshadowed by the overlap in approaches and the notable consensus that exists around the solutions themselves.