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On June 30, China passed its National Security Law aimed primarily at Hong Kong, much to the dismay of Hong Kong’s protestors and the international community. It has also reopened a rift between the authoritarian and libertarian left, who are split on the law’s merits.

The objections from the libertarian left are pretty clear: the process through which the bill was passed without any semblance of democracy. It was crafted entirely in Beijing, without any input from the Hong Kong legislature or even Beijing’s mouthpiece in Carrie Lam. Nor did the Hong Kong people get any say in the law: it was not voted on by the Hong Kong government, and only a select few even saw the bill before it went into effect. …


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Michael Brooks: 1983–2000

What does my death matter, if through us, thousands of people are awakened and stirred to action? -Sophie Scholl

This week, the entire left-wing community was shocked by the news of Michael Brooks’s sudden passing at the age of 37. Brooks, a beloved figure in left politics, was the co-host of the Majority Report with Sam Seder. He also hosted his own podcast and regularly appeared on other leftist podcasts and shows. It’s hard to understate just how meaningful Brook’s presence was for the left. Michael was instrumental in inspiring and helping many small leftist writers, personalities, and projects get off the ground, and his own work set an incredibly high bar for the rest of his colleagues to aspire to. Known for his warmth, empathy, and humor, Michael was almost unmatched in his knowledge of international affairs and left politics in general, and I would argue that he was quickly becoming our generation’s Noam Chomsky. Perhaps most famously, his continued support of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Brazil’s former president turned political prisoner, culminated in Lula’s eventual release in November of 2019. In fact, Michael had the opportunity to meet and interview Lula shortly after his release. …


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Last week, Ilhan Omar once again was the target of the right-wing outrage machine, this time because of comments that she made during a news conference with Minneapolis leaders. You can view the full conference here: Critics honed in on a small portion of the conference, namely comments she made about dismantling systems of oppression:

As long as our economy and political system prioritize profit without considering who is profiting, who is being shut out, we will perpetuate this inequality. So we cannot stop at [the] criminal justice system. …


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In 2005, Warner Brothers released V is for Vendetta, an adaption of a graphic novel series written by Alan Moore and eventually purchased by DC comics. The film focuses on the efforts of V, who works to circumvent the fascist government and inspire a popular uprising. The movie was quickly co-opted by anarchists, libertarian socialists, and free-market libertarians, with the Anonymous “organization” going so far as to use V’s mask (which was taken from an attempted bombing attempt in England during 1604) in some of its broadcasts. However, there is a different part of the film that I want to focus on here. After V sends out a broadcast to the people, he discusses symbolism with Evey, a young woman that he rescued earlier. …


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Photo by Randy Colas on Unsplash

That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organising its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness… it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. -Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence

In 1767, the British Empire was faced with severe debt, and it looked to its American colonies as a source of potential revenue. Parliament passed the Stamp Act, which levied a tax on every official document in the colonies. The Act provoked violent protests throughout the colonies, and crowds directly threatened the stamp collectors. The Sons of Liberty, a revolutionary group founded by Founding Father Samuel Adams, organised a protest that involved hanging an effigy of the man in charge of collecting the tax and ransacking his house, and later that month, protesters raided the house of the Lieutenant Governor. The pressure and violence eventually worked, resulting in Parliament overturning the bill. …


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“Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government…whenever things get so far wrong as to attract their notice, they may be relied on to set them to rights.”

So wrote Thomas Jefferson to Richard Price shortly before the beginning of the French Revolution. Jefferson realized that a free society cannot function unless its citizens have the skills and knowledge to protect themselves from a government that would seek to take them away. This, indeed, is the core purpose of journalism: to protect the people by educating them about important issues that deeply affect them. Authoritarian leaders from Stalin to Eisenhower to Xi Jinping have sought to silence the free press out of fear of a populace that knows the truth and can act on it. In a way, journalists are the soldiers on the front lines of the battle for liberty and democracy. Without journalism, Watergate would be nothing more than a high-class hotel in Washington and My Lai would be a place known to only a small group of people. Democracy depends on a free and effective press.

This is a responsibility that journalists cannot afford to shirk. In the face of governmental harassment and censorship, we must strive to be factual, honest, and concise. We cannot afford to sensationalize stories, and we must hold our elected officials accountable. But most importantly, we have a responsibility to give the American people the information they need when they enter a voting booth and join the workforce. We need to educate our children about the freedoms that all people possess, and we cannot afford to allow those in power to capitalize on ignorance. Whenever a free society falls, the blame invariably falls squarely on the shoulders of the press.

I refuse to allow such a thing to happen to America. The Secular Report is dedicated to covering important stories and publishing opinion pieces from a left perspective. Furthermore, The Secular Report will never apologize for publishing facts. We do not pretend to be unbiased, and we hope to provide a leftist alternative to mainstream media sources. We are not in the business of coddling worldviews, and science and reason are valued above all else. With that said, all attempts will be made to write in a civil and tasteful matter. We accept the basic moral truth that everyone deserves basic human rights regardless of age, race, gender, sexual orientation, and religion (or lack thereof), and we will never label manners and common decency as “political correctness”.

And finally, The Secular Report will never be found behind a paywall: each edition will be available free of charge to the public. Donations will be gratefully accepted but never required; although patrons will have access to special privileges.. I don’t care if two or two hundred or two thousand people read The Secular Report: the only thing that matters is doing the news well, no matter the size of the audience. I can only hope that this publication contributes in some small way to both journalistic integrity and the progress of humanity. …


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I should preface this with a disclaimer: I do not endorse Donald Trump for President, and I have written why leftists should not vote for Donald Trump. At the same time, I think that there are some very good reasons not to vote for Joe Biden, reasons that are good enough to cause me to ignore both parties altogether and vote for the Green Party candidate. …


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Last Thursday, the United States Senate voted to pass the USA Freedom Act that reauthorizes portions of the Patriot Act regarding government surveillance that have recently lapsed. Once again, the United States government has the authority to peek into the private lives of its citizens. An amendment was passed that adds legal protections and oversight, which is certainly a step in the right direction, but it didn’t accomplish anything significant.

The USA Freedom Act passed the Senate by a margin of 80–16. It is worrisome enough that the Senate once again voted to pass the Patriot Act, a clear invasion of privacy of Americans. I am much more concerned about the Senate’s failure to pass a bill that would protect the rights of Americans. The Justice Department has been gathering Americans’ internet data through its interpretation of the Patriot Act despite a lack of explicit permission from Congress, and the failure of the Wyden-Daines amendment is sure to reinforce their interpretation. …


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Photo by Macau Photo Agency on Unsplash

This Tuesday, Amy Acton, the Health Director in Ohio, generated some controversy when she praised a policy that would require citizens to carry papers saying that they are immune to COVID-19. The full quote is below:

“We would love, in some countries they’re looking at certificates to say you’re immune (to Covid-19) and therefore you’re able to go about your business. It would be a dream if we were able to get something like that.”

Predictably, this generated some controversy in conservative circles, and Sarah Marie Brenner, an avid Trump supporter and wife of a Republican state senator, went so far as to compare Dr. Acton’s recommendation as something that feels like “Hitler’s Germany”. Perhaps even more predictably, Brenner faced significant backlash for her comment. There are a number of things that can and have been said about this. For one thing, Dr. Acton is Jewish, and comparing her to a Nazi may not be the best way to argue with her. For another thing, there is an argument that can be made that Dr. …

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