The Best of 2020 🎁

Bright Morning Issue #4

We will continue with the audio / podcast version of Bright Morning next week. In the meantime, take our short survey and help us shape the future of Bright Morning!

Share Feedback


Hello folks, and welcome to the fourth issue of Bright Morning and the final issue of 2020! Since the Christmas season is upon us, we thought that everyone (ourselves included) could use a bit of a break from the news. In its place, we thought it would be fun if we gave readers some “best of” lists. After all, I think it’s no secret that 2020 was, let’s say... special, and so in the interest of maintaining sanity, a little break from the news is probably in order. 

The Best 5 Books of 2020

As I’m sure is the case with most people, when our world was graced with the introduction of COVID-19 back in March, free time became much more readily available. However, there were only so many walks that I could go on before I would become a drifter, and there was only so much Doom Eternal and Sea of Thieves that I could play before my eyes melted out of my skull, and so I decided to revisit my bookshelf. This was a wise decision because this newsletter is, in part, the product of the knowledge, principles, and values developed over the course of the year. Thus, the books listed should be understood as a sneak peak into what informs our work. Without further ado, we present to you the best five books of 2020.

5. The Parasitic Mind: How Infectious Ideas Are Killing Common Sense by Gad Saad

Short and sweet. This is a book about critical thinking. Saad argues that the west’s commitment to reason and science is facing a serious threat from “parasitic ideas.” Parasitic ideas, like the idea that science is racist or biological sex does not exist, are more than just the utterances of some blue-haired activists on university campuses - they the products of a toxic ideology that is rapidly infecting our major institutions and poses a threat to our ability to think, speak, and reason. Using his signature blend of satiristic humour and sharp, evidence-based critiques, Saad dissects all of the major “idea pathogens” in our society and provides reasonable and practical solutions for how we can develop the “testicular fortitude” to speak up not just for ourselves, but for western culture. This book can easily be read in a few short hours and I would be surprised if it did not grip your interest from the beginning.

4. Fortitude: American Resilience in the Era of Outrage by Dan Crenshaw

At its heart, this is a book about stoicism. We live in the best society that has ever existed, yet western culture is often characterized by legacy media outlets, far-left politicians, and celebrities as an irreparably broken and irredeemably racist wasteland. Consequently, the American Spirit - the ethos of grit and determination - is unravelling. In its place, outrage, victimhood, and divisive mob politics are becoming the new virtue. Crenshaw provides a solution for this by imploring readers to persevere, choose proper heroes, voluntarily adopt responsibility, and tell better stories, not just about themselves, but about their culture. Crenshaw draws from his experience as a Navy SEAL to show us that no matter what life throws at us, and no matter what others around us say or do, we are in control of ourselves. We can either be paralyzed by adversity, or we can choose to improve, adapt, and overcome, and ultimately live with purpose. Lighten up, toughen up, and go do something difficult. 

3. Cynical Theories: How Activist Scholarship Made Everything About Race, Gender, and Identity - and Why This Harms Everybody by Helen Pluckrose & James Lindsay

To truly understand a religion, you must understand its language, rituals, scripture, and value hierarchies. And that is what “wokeness” is - a fundamentalist religion. Fortunately, Cynical Theories functions as a translator. Have you ever wondered what woke acolytes mean when they use phrases such as “lived experience,” “systemic racism,”  or “ways of knowing”? Or what is meant when claims such as “science is a whiteness ideology” suddenly become mainstream? If so, then this book is for you. Helen Pluckrose and James Lindsay do an exhaustive review of activist scholarship, from its earliest days in the 1960s all the way up to the present, to help everyday people understand the shallow roots of this new religion, and how we can stand up to it. This is one of the most useful books that you can read. 

2. The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam by Douglas Murray

Although this book was released in 2017, I had not been introduced to Douglas Murray until this year. This book is nothing short of powerful and it is arguably one of the most important philosophical works of our time. Murray argues that Europe (and the western world in general) is currently dying because, at the same time that there is unsustainable mass migration, “Europe lost faith in its beliefs, traditions, and legitimacy.” As well, Europe’s leaders seem to have no interest in, and even contempt for, the precious values and traditions that ushered in the culture of rights in the first place. As a result, Europe has become tired and guilt-ridden. This book is worth reading, not least because Murray is a formidable writer, but also because he offers us a glimpse at what could have been, and what still could be. 

1. The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity by Douglas Murray

Without a doubt, this is the best book I have ever read. Full stop. As a follow-up to The Strange Death of Europe, this book shows us what happens when a culture has completely lost faith in its values, beliefs, and traditions. Murray’s main argument is that there has been a cultural shift away from religion and classical liberalism and towards a new belief system (wokeness - although he does not use this word) in which perceived forms of victimhood based on identity have become a means to achieve social status. Murray also argues that instead of unlocking the so-called “matrix of oppression,” intersectionality deranges us. It makes claims of victimhood grind hideously up against each other. But in addition to identifying the problem, Murray provides us with a way out - a way to skip the meaningless debates on identity. This book is so well-researched and the writing is so well-articulated that it is nearly impossible not to think about it for days, weeks, and even months after reading. Murray even updated it with an afterword to talk about the woke explosion that occurred in 2020 following the COVID crisis and the death of George Floyd. This book will stand as one of my favourite books of all time. It is quite funny, as well (particularly the audio version, narrated by Murray himself).

The Top 5 ‘Do As I Say, Not As I Do’ Moments of 2020

Before we begin, let us just state that when COVID first hit us in March, most people were on board with the lockdowns. We did not know what the virus was and we had faith that our leaders were looking out for us. But not for long. Within weeks, the whole premise of “two weeks to flatten the curve” disappeared into myth and our leaders kept getting caught violating their own restrictions. Now we are at the point where trying to count the number of times leaders have violated their own rules is like trying to count the number of trees in a forest. But at the very least, we can point out the most ridiculous examples. So let’s take a look, shall we?

5. Justin Trudeau’s Easter 2020 Holiday

This was among the first examples of politicians violating their own rules. By the time Easter 2020 was here, we were about one month into the lockdown. “Let’s put into practice what it truly means to love our neighbours as ourselves by making sacrifices to protect their health. Let’s stay home, for them” is what the Prime Minister said. The Prime Minister also added that crossing provincial borders was not acceptable. There probably should have been an asterisk at the end of his statement with the caveat that he was excluded from this rule, because once Easter Sunday rolled around, his wife put up a picture of their family with an announcement that they had been spending their holiday in Quebec. Oh well, what’s one slip-up, right?

4. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s Trip to the Hairdresser

Chicago has been fun to watch this year. Amidst the chaos that plagues the city, Mayor Lightfoot has been adamant that COVID restrictions are to be obeyed. In one televised appearance, she stood there hectoring the public about so-called illegal gatherings, stating “we will shut you down. We will cite you and if we need to, we will arrest you and we will take you to jail. Period.” Imagine if she was this concerned with all the murders and gang violence in her city. Nonetheless, she happily violated her own lockdown restrictions to get her hair done. Even more amusing was her response when she said that as “the public face of the city,” she needed to look good. Look… it’s not nice to poke fun at appearance, but what the hell. Just look at that hairdo. Mayor Lightfoot, if you happen to come across this article, fire your hairdresser and send us an email. You can violate your own restrictions again, come on up to Ontario, and I can use my body hair trimmer to give you a haircut. I promise that I will do a much better job for you.

3. Nancy Pelosi’s Relaxing Day at the Spa

This is a photo that speaks for itself. Nancy Pelosi has been one of the most ferocious voices in favour of lockdowns. She has also accused anyone who does not wear a mask, whether they are indoors or outdoors, of killing fellow Americans. But, what do we have here? Here she was indoors, maskless, at a salon in San Francisco. If you do not yet get chills listening to her when she speaks, then wait until you hear her response. She defended herself saying “I take responsibility for falling for a setup by a neighbourhood salon I’ve gone to for many years.” That’s right, folks, it was the salon’s fault. I guess the owner lured her in there and made her change out of her real estate jumpsuits and into a robe by leaving a trail of the ice cream that she loves to store in her $10,000 refrigerator. 

2. Eric Garcetti in the 2020 Remake of Woodstock ‘69

Regular readers of this newsletter will know how much we love (to hate) LA Mayor Eric Garcetti. We mentioned this example two weeks ago, but it certainly qualifies to be on this list. Like Lori Lightfoot, Mayor Garcetti has been firm in his stance that all “illegal gatherings'' are to be responded to with the full extent of the law. In fact, Garcetti ordered water and power to be shut off for households that violated his rules. Yet here he was (maskless!), standing in a crowd of thousands upon thousands of people in the Summer of 2020. Oh well, I guess COVID supports protests, so long as they are politically acceptable. If not, then gatherings become “super spreaders.” 

1. Gavin Newsom’s $400.00 Dinner at The French Laundry

Was there really any other contender for first place? This is a photo that effectively sums up the ethos of our time: rules for thee, but not for me. Here is California Governor Gavin Newsom,  a.k.a. Patrick Bateman from American Psycho, the man who is responsible for impoverishing his entire state with evidence-free lockdowns, having dinner at a fancy restaurant in Napa Valley. Included in his party was a CEO for the California Medical Association and a lobbyist for public health. No masks. No social distancing. All indoors. It is hard to describe in a few words (and politely) the emotions that arise when we allow our leaders to act this way. They do this because they want to, not because they made a “mistake,” as Newsom responded. They do this not because they believe in lockdowns, but because they feel immense pleasure in the power that citizens have ceded to them. Tucker Carlson discussed this photo in one of his best monologues of 2020, and it is certainly worth a watch. Let us hope that in 2021, people get their courage back and stand up to this sort of elitism.

Honourable Mention

An honourable mention goes out to Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus task coordinator, who was caught violating her own Thanksgiving restrictions by traveling to Delaware to visit her family. After getting caught, she decided that she would opt out of public life and retire after helping the Biden-Harris transition team in January 2021. Like every other politician and bureaucrat mentioned in this list, she lectured the public on the importance of “making sacrifices,” and then happily excused herself from her own responsibilities. What a way to wrap up 2020 🎁. 

A Message From the Bright Morning Team

We hope that you enjoyed our year-end lists. Before you go, we need your help! We have been receiving lots of feedback from our readers and it has been overwhelmingly positive. We are very grateful that you are enjoying our work and we look forward to continuing in 2021. As we mentioned last week, we are constantly listening and iterating to see how we can make our content more accessible. If you have a few moments, we would appreciate it if you could please complete this survey to let us know what you like, what you do not like, and what sort of content you would like to see as we continue to grow. We have a lot planned for 2021 and look forward to hearing from you as we continue on our adventure. On that note, we hope that you have a safe and happy New Year’s Eve! See you all in 2021.  

Complete Survey