Hello, and welcome to the seventh weekly issue of Bright Morning. Have you subscribed to the audio version of Bright Morning on Spotify yet?

Instead of offering our usual preamble, we will instead recite a quote and ask readers to keep it in mind as you proceed through the article. 

“I was a loyal Soviet citizen until the age of 20. What it meant to be a loyal citizen was to say what you were supposed to say, to read what you were permitted to read, to vote the way you were told to vote and, at the same time, to know that it was all a lie.”

- Natan Sharansky 

| Canadian Politics

Doug Ford’s Church of Lockdown

The Nitty Gritty:
  • As stay-at-home orders and draconian COVID lockdowns continue, efforts to shed light on the actual science behind lockdowns sees further censorship

  • Last week Ontario Premier Doug Ford gave the ole’ boot to MPP Roman Baber for writing an open letter against lockdowns

We really wanted to avoid discussing lockdowns this week. How much more is there to say? But as Michael Corleone laments in The Godfather Part III, “just when I thought I was out, they pulled me back in!” 

On January 15, the MPP for York Centre in Ontario, Roman Baber, published an open letter to Ontario Premier Doug Ford on his Twitter page requesting an end to the lockdown in Ontario. Baber argued that the effects of the lockdown are more damaging to the public than COVID-19, citing drastic increases in suicides, divorces, bankruptcies, eating disorders, soaring unemployment, and drug overdoses. Baber also referenced an increase in cancer screenings, quoting one oncologist who fears a “tsunami of cancer.” Baber closed his letter with very reasonable suggestions such as expanding hospital capacity outside of the GTA, training more ICU nurses, protecting Long Term Care homes with the money that would otherwise be spent on “relief,” and most importantly, ending the hysteria by having responsible conversations about the dangers of the virus. “COVID is real, but the fear of COVID is exaggerated,” he said. 

The response was instantaneous. Ford swiftly ejected Baber from the Progressive Conservative caucus, forcing him to either sit as an independent or join another political party. In a statement that reads like an excommunication, Ford accused Baber of spreading “misinformation” and stated that his comments were “irresponsible.” However, Ford’s most deranged comment was that “there is no room for political ideology in our fight against COVID-19 - rather, our response has been and always will be driven by evidence and data.” This is a lie. The data presented by Baber was from the CDC, CMHA, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Sick Kids Hospital, and many other credible sources - all of which were posted on his Twitter page. Meanwhile, Ford and his team of public health “experts” have provided no data whatsoever to demonstrate how, exactly, the spread of the virus is exacerbated by dining rooms, gyms, or small businesses. Instead, as Baber argues, the crisis is mostly occurring in Long Term Care homes - a crisis which can be laid entirely at the feet of Doug Ford.

It is quite amusing (and frightening) that Ford accused Baber of being ideological, not least because Ford has now imbibed the ideology of Lockdown (with a capital L). He is unwilling to debate his authoritarian stay-at-home order, and he is even now repeating mantras like “Believe the Science” or “Stay home. Stay safe. Save lives.” It is time for a reality check. Science is not a belief system. Science is a process of rational skepticism that is predicated upon testing hypotheses to establish provisional truths until they can be disproven by more convincing networks of evidence. In other words, science invites skepticism. Ideologies, on the other hand, are belief systems. Like fundamentalist religions, ideologies are hostile to opposing evidence, they provide a sense of moral superiority, and they are rooted in faith. Thus, Lockdown is an ideology. Doug Ford’s team of unelected public health bureaucrats have been proven wrong, time and time again, yet he remains firm in his belief that Lockdown is the only way forward. In this new Church of Lockdown, Ford is the High Priest, his public health “experts” are the scripture, and Roman Baber is the heretic who dared to question the faith. 

| US Politics

Impeachment 2: Bigger, Louder, Badder 

The Nitty Gritty:
  • Last week the house voted to impeach Trump. Again. 🙄

  • The impeachment effort came after claims that Trump “incited insurrection” during his speech in Washington that led to the Capitol riots

With the exception of the Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and John Wick films, most sequels are unnecessary, feel rehashed, and usually leave viewers questioning why it was made in the first place. The sequel to Donald Trump’s impeachment was no different. It was loud. It was forced. But most of all, it accomplished nothing except to lay the groundwork for the future abuse of the impeachment process. 

Last week, the United States House of Representatives voted to impeach President Trump, claiming that he delivered an “incitement of insurrection.” But did he? As conservative commentator Ben Shapiro describes, it can certainly be argued that Trump used inflammatory, passionate, or emotional language in his speech to the crowd, with phrases such as “fight like hell,” but there was no specific incitement. At no point in his speech did Trump direct the crowd to invade the Capitol. In fact, at several points during the speech, Trump suggested the opposite, stating that the crowd should “peacefully and patriotically make [their] voices heard.” We will not review Trump’s entire speech line-by-line, but a full transcript can be found here, should readers wish to fact-check this statement.

Was the speech incendiary? At several points, yes it was. Was the speech irresponsible? Considering that Trump misleadingly argued that Vice President Pence and Congress could overturn votes that were not in his favour, we would argue that yes, this was irresponsible. But according to the Supreme Court, incendiary and irresponsible speech alone are not incitements of violence. And this is the very important distinction that we need to remember. If incendiary and irresponsible speech are incitements of violence, then who might else be on the chopping block? For starters, Barack Obama, Kamala Harris, and Nancy Pelosi (to name a few), as each of these politicians have expressed support for Black Lives Matter protests - some of which escalated into riots, which then resulted in murders, sexual assaults, and massive property damage.

The point is not to engage in “whataboutism,” but to instead reinforce the importance of standards in the law. If Trump’s speech was an incitement, then so was CNN Anchor Chris Cuomo’s famous statement: “show me where it says protests are supposed to be polite and peaceful.” Furthermore, for those who might argue that the violence resulting from BLM riots was morally justifiable but the Capitol Hill riot was a demonstration of “privilege,” be careful. To make such a suggestion would be to engage in Marxist/Critical Theorist Herbert Marcuse’s concept of “repressive tolerance,” which is effectively an intellectualized justification for the cognitive dissonance that results from paradoxical standards. This is not to say that we are condoning the actions of the rioters at Capitol Hill. Instead, our concern is how this impeachment could pave the way for future abuse of the system. Standards matter. You might not like Donald Trump. You might even be glad that he was banned from social media. But once we start to accept fast and loose double standards, for freedom of speech and for the application of the law, then we are conveniently forgetting that we too could fall into the same chasm as it expands. Be careful what you wish for. 

| Public Health

COVID-19: The Origin Story

The Nitty Gritty:
  • Last week the WHO began to lead an investigation into the origins of COVID-19… finally.

  • The investigation was met with opposition from the Chinese Communist Party. Surprised?

With the eyes of the world focused on the end of COVID-19, it is important that we never forget the beginning. Last week, after nearly ten months of delay, a team of scientists led by the World Health Organization arrived in Wuhan to investigate the origins of the pandemic. Better late than never. 

As can be expected in totalitarian regimes like China, the scientists have not received a warm welcome from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). According to one BBC article, “China resisted this investigation because it doesn’t want to look back. It sees the potential for more blame, from a group of foreigners. It has its official version of what happened already.” Well, unfortunately for the CCP, the rest of the world has not moved on. In fact, we are still very much living with the consequences of their negligence and lies. 

President Xi Jinping has also set up other roadblocks, including the WHO team being reliant on “preliminary investigations” conducted by the CCP and a full-scale propaganda campaign claiming that the virus did not originate in China. It is unlikely that the roadblocks will stop here. Nonetheless, it is important that the team persists and the world receives answers. We are owed that much. 

Finally, to his credit, the director of the WHO has been very critical of China’s lack of transparency, even though he seemed perfectly willing to serve as a mouthpiece for their narrative early last year (see their tweet below that did not age well).

Meanwhile, as evolutionary biologists Bret Weinstein and Heather Heying describe, competing explanations for the origins of the virus, such as the Lab-Leak Hypothesis, are finally being welcomed into the mainstream. As Weinstein states, scientists who have wanted to discuss this hypothesis have been dismissed as conspiracy theorists. However, as the Wuhan Wet Market hypothesis begins to crumble, there are more scientists who want to responsibly discuss the possibility of a lab-borne virus. Even if the Lab-Leak Hypothesis is disproven, open communication will bring us closer to learning the true origins of SARS-CoV-2. 

Whatever the conclusions of the investigation find, one thing remains clear: the Chinese Communist Party is responsible for this mess. As Douglas Murray writes, while we have been fighting amongst ourselves over the past year, China was the only country that saw an increase in their GDP. In other words, after the CCP willingly unleashed a pandemic upon the world (for the third time in just over a decade), they profited at our expense and misery. If there was ever a time for leaders to assertively demand reparations from the CCP, now would be it. 

| Extras

Further Listening 🎞️

We are always thinking about ways to improve our work. One of the ways we would like to do this is by sharing the work of those who inspire our thinking. Moving forward, each week we will share a podcast or interview that we found interesting. We hope you take the time to watch or listen. 

To close, regular readers will know how much we enjoy the work of Douglas Murray. Watch him here as he discusses the paradoxical claims baked into Social Justice Ideology.

Douglas Murray and His Continuing Fight against the "Madness of Crowds” - YouTube

Until next week, thank you all for reading.