a man holds up a phone to cover his face

Why Gen Z Males Prefer the Right

by Robert Bortins

Gen Z males are leaning more right than left, a recent survey shows. When it comes to political momentum, it is easy to feel intimidated by cultural forces. Especially for younger generations, we are persistently told that revolutions come from youth, and the cultural tides are shifting because of young voices.

Moreover, when touted from the left, this can be disheartening, knowing that Gen Z fills the voter pool with indoctrinated principles planted by far, far leftist public academia.

Is there hope for Gen Z?

However, as politicians, Hollywood, and mainstream media bully conservatives with these empty talking points, the data shows the opposite. And this is especially the case with Gen Z males.

In episode 71 of Refining Rhetoric, Robert explores why Gen Z males are leaning conservative twice as much as liberal, as discovered by a recent survey that contradicts the widely held narrative that Gen Z has a leftist bent. There is hope for Gen Z.

Check out the episode below. Listen to other episodes on Refining Rhetoric or check out “How Civility Can Save Our Country.

Why Gen Z Males Prefer The Right

Robert Bortins is the CEO of Classical Conversations® and the host of Refining Rhetoric. The company has grown from supporting homeschoolers in about 40 states to supporting homeschoolers in over 50 countries and has become the world’s largest classical homeschooling organization under his guidance.

a closeup of open hands

Factions & Fractions

by Lauren Gideon

As a classical educator, I can’t hide my enthusiasm when I find connections between the disciplines and realize the opportunity to practice the classical tools.

To set the stage, we are now walking full steam ahead towards securing the presidential party nominations and the November general election. If you are an active participant in politics or even just a spectator, you know that things aren’t just as simple as team red vs. team blue. Even in our system, dominated by two major parties, it’s not as if we’re separated into giant circles, holding hands and singing Kumbaya.

Why not?

Factions.

Factions – What divides us

Factions are smaller groups within the larger group that often have robust disagreements with other factions based on their differences of opinion. They usually take a bad rap but are a strong indicator of freedom. Our copious evidence for diversity of thought (factions) affirms our political tolerance for freedom of thought, speech, association, etc.

The word fraction is just one letter different and simply refers to a smaller part of the whole. These two words have much in common, but they are not related. However, our factions ARE fractions. It is human nature to form factions within our larger groups, like our families, churches, associations such as political parties, our nation, our world, or within all of humanity past and present, which are consequently fractions of different wholes. Madison discusses factions in Federalist No. 10, which explains the inevitability, the necessity, and the problems they can cause, but also how best to control their effects.

The conservative sphere is fraught with factions and, consequently, fractions. Now, what we know of political power in our republic is that when you divide your collective voice into smaller and smaller groups, it loses power and influence. Those concerned with efficacy are frustrated by these factions that fraction the influence of the whole. To consolidate influence, they cry for unity. Unity is nothing more than the combination of these fractions. And the fractions must combine to have any successful operations.

Combining fractions? Operations? That sounds like arithmetic!

Combining fractions requires the operation of addition. To add fractions, however, we must follow the rules of that operation. Step one is to attend to the elements. We know a fraction has both a numerator and a denominator. The denominator is also called the base.

Now, to combine fractions for the sake of an operation, we know that we must have a common denominator. How do we do that? First, we acknowledge that every denominator is the product of several factors. (I know I have yet to connect all the dots, but I hope you can see where this is going!) When we examine our denominator, we must do the diligence of sorting out all the unique factors. To get to a common denominator, sometimes we must let go of a factor and bring in a new one. Still, we must negotiate between fractions until we can develop a common denominator on which to operate.

Do we have to agree with everyone about everything then?

In short, “no.” You need to find a common base only to operate or TO DO something. That means the people or groups we work with can change based on the thing/things we are doing. For example, philanthropy is a factor/value of many groups that may disagree on theology or eschatology. But to operate on the base of philanthropy, we don’t necessarily have to factor in values that we don’t have in common. 

Politically, we all have bases that are the product of several factors. We have analyzed some of these factors and clarified how and why they became part of our base. We still need to analyze others to have that clarity on their value. Only through this understanding (dialectic art) can we be fruitful in our rhetoric. Clarity helps us find commonality, the essential ingredient for successful operations.

Commonality vs. Distinctions

But commonality is not our nature. Factions are notorious for obsessing over our distinctions. While clarity can come through distinctions, without an appropriate value on commonality, we can kiss operating goodbye!

So why do we prefer to focus on our distinctions? I’ll answer a question with a question. If we focus on what we have in common, or what is the same value, how can we prove the value of our factor to be superior?

We can’t. There is no foothold for our pride or ego when we seek to discover that which is shared or equal. Can it be pride at the root yet again? Surly not, and especially not within Christian conservativism. (I jest).

But before we all unify around the unity train, allow me this caveat

Our common denominator is only as valuable as the factors it contains. There will be those that cry out for unity for unity’s sake. Ignore their baseless cries. Unify on factors that are good, true, and beautiful. To do this, we must know these things, love them, and look for them in the world and people around us.

Philippians 4:8 ESV

8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Lauren also contributed The Free-Market Education Table at the Potluck.

Lauren Gideon biography picture

Lauren Gideon is the Director of Public Relations for Classical Conversations. She has been a home educator since her first student was born 18 years ago. She came to Classical Conversations for support when the student count in their home grew beyond what she thought she could navigate on her own. The Foundations curriculum brought their family together, provided a scope and sequence that was manageable, and always directed their attention to Christ. Lauren credits her experience as a home educator and as a leader within Classical Conversations for giving her the classical tools to tackle whatever opportunities come her way. In addition to homeschooling her seven children, she co-leads community classes that unpack our nation’s founding documents and civic responsibility. However, she is happiest at home, preferably outside, with her husband of 18 years, tackling their newest adventure of building a modern homestead.

the Texas capitol building

Get Ready! March & April Homeschool Days at the Capitol!

Homeschool Days at the Capitol, Legislative Days, Capitol Days, Pie Day, and other similar events foster communication between parents and their elected representatives. Seize this excellent opportunity to teach your children the importance of the legislative process. Help them mature into civic leaders who will help protect American freedoms.

The chart below lists March and April Homeschool Days at the Capitol. You can also check your state’s dates here if it’s not listed below.

AlabamaApril 4, 2024
ColoradoApril 11, 2024
GeorgiaMarch 5, 2024
IllinoisMarch 22, 2024
IowaMarch 4, 2024
MarylandMarch 14, 2024
MissouriMarch 5, 2024
TennesseeMarch 26, 2024
a stature of George Washington

Stop Being Polite! How Civility Can Save Our Country

Can Education Save Civility?

“A refugee from the federal government,” Alexandra grew up in a home that prioritized politeness and viewed education as a lifestyle. Yet when she began working for the U.S. Department of Education, Alexandra soon discovered that her coworkers used politeness for corruption and also didn’t care about education. How can civility save our nation?

Politeness vs. Civility

In this conversation, Alexandra Hudson, award-winning journalist, speaker, and author discusses:

  • her disillusionment with the Department of Education
  • how to respect someone while sharing hard truths
  • the difference between politeness and civility
  • why we need less politeness and more civility in the world
  • why the left and right don’t share the same vision
  • not living a boxed life
  • how incivility hurts both others and ourselves
  • how one individual can start a quiet revolution that can change the world
  • how the classical model of education can be used to teach future generations the art of being civil.
Alexandra Hudson, author of The Soul of Civility: Timeless Principles to Heal Society and Ourselves, originally aired on Dec 13, 2023. You can find a discount code for Alexandra’s book in the podcast’s show notes. Check out other freedom-loving episodes of Refining Rhetoric.

Robert Bortins is the CEO of Classical Conversations® and the host of Refining RhetoricThe company has grown from supporting homeschoolers in about 40 states to supporting homeschoolers in over 50 countries and has become the world’s largest classical homeschooling organization under his guidance.

A young man bowing his head down on a church alter at sunset

Behold, How Sinners Disagree

by Paul Bright

The following is a modified and expanded version of Isaac Watt’s Behold, How Sinners Disagree, which was composed for the purpose of discipling our hearts into humility and grace.

Paul Bright also contributed the blog “Swamp Fire: A Reflection” which was published on January 24, 2024.

Paul Bright currently works in the field of Biotechnology. He is a native of Evansville, IN, and an alumnus of Purdue University and The Master’s Seminary. Paul was a Systematic Theology and Ancient Hebrew professor in Samara, Russia. He and his wife, Jennifer, homeschooled their daughter all the way through high school and currently reside in Covington, Louisiana.

A young boy and girl concentrate on their homework, writing together at a table

Oklahoma Bill HB 4130 – A Deeper Analysis

By Elise DeYoung

In recent months, Oklahoma and Michigan, two states that have historically had low regulation on homeschool freedoms, have sought to pass restrictive laws. These states both claim to be passing homeschool registration and oversight laws to prevent the abuse of home-educated children.

Since homeschooling became legal in 1992, many states have tirelessly attempted to oversee and regulate a parent’s right to home education. If you wish to learn about your state’s homeschool laws, you can do so by visiting HSLDA’s website.

You can learn more about the specifics of Michigan’s proposal and its problems here.

In Oklahoma, Rep. Amanda Swope has introduced HB 4130, which would require homeschool parents to send in a letter to the Department of Human Services requesting to homeschool their child, provide the information of every adult involved in the child’s education, and go through biannual background checks performed by the DHS.

While the intentions of Swope may sound noble at first (who wouldn’t want to put an end to the abuse of children?), this bill is founded on a false premise and represents a trend of state aggression towards homeschooling. For these reasons, Americans, especially in Oklahoma, must strongly oppose Swope’s bill to restrict and regulate homeschooling families.

The Narrative is Fabricated

The entire reason for the bill rests upon the premise that there is an epidemic of abuse among homeschooled children, and we need new legislation to address it. Sadly, for Swope and her bill, the statistical facts strongly contradict this narrative.

First, all of the evidence available shows that “homeschooled children are abused at a lower rate than are those in the general public, and no evidence shows that the home educated are at any higher risk of abuse.”(Ray, 2018) What’s more, a Gen 2 Survey found that homeschooled students are actually 257% less likely to be sexually abused than their government-schooled peers.

It is ironic that Swope’s proposed solution to the fallacious low abuse rates among homeschoolers is government regulation. This has yet to help public schoolers who experience constant state oversight. What makes her think it will help the homeschoolers in any way?

Additionally, according to the statistics, if Swope were truly concerned with addressing child abuse in her state, she would turn her attention to the place where children suffer the most—government schools.

Even if there were high rates of abuse among homeschooled children, there are already nationwide laws on the books that protect all children from abuse, including homeschoolers.[1] There is no reason to pass another bill. Oklahoma simply has to enforce the ones it already has in place.

So why do Swope and those who support HB 4130 want to pass it so badly? The answer is increased government oversight and regulation on homeschooling.

Government Overreach

To understand the extent of the government overreach within HB 4130, we must examine the document ourselves.

Letters of Intent

Paragraph F. reads, “On or before the school district start date, parents making the decision to choose homeschooling, podschooling, or microschooling shall submit a letter of intent to the Department of Human Services.”

A Letter of Intent can easily be dismissed as “normal” because many states require homeschooling parents to write a letter outlining their intent to homeschool. However, most states require parents to submit it to their local school district or to their state. The purpose of this is to inform their state schools that it is not responsible for their child’s education.

The difference is that with this bill, Oklahoma parents must submit their letter of intent to the Department of Human Services. Later in the bill, the letter of intent is referred to as “a request to homeschool” and may be denied by the DHS. Denial of a fundamental right to educate one’s child is an egregious abuse of power. Since when did the DHS (the civil government) have the right to determine whether a family has the right to homeschool their children?

The bill continues by explaining what information parents are required to surrender:

  • The names of the homeschooling parents
  • The social security numbers of parents.
  • The names of all the homeschooled children
  • The home address of the family homeschooling
  • The names of all individuals living at the home address
  • The names of “any associated individuals or organizations assisting with the child’s or children’s schooling.”
  • Along with “A brief statement for the decision of schooling”

Furthermore, this bill requires you to “reapply” for homeschooling by sending in a “subsequent letter of intent” every time you make a change in your initial decision to homeschool, whether it is “a result of a move or otherwise.”

Background Checks

Paragraph H. says, “When the Department of Human Services receives a letter of intent, it shall perform an initial background check on parents, other adults within the home, and any adults assisting in the children’s schooling.”

The fact that the DHS wants to perform background checks on parents to decide whether or not they have the right to home-educate their children is Orwellian. It also begs a fascinating question:

Why does this bill not include background checks for the parents of public school students? Those students are home, with no government supervision, for three whole months. Why isn’t Swope concerned about abuse in those homes?

Background checks on “parents, other adults within the home, and any adults assisting in the children’s schooling” is both a disturbing invasion into the homes of home educators and will also cause a multitude of issues for tutoring programs and independent educators who will now be subject to background checks by the DHS.

Biannual Checks

Moreover, parents must repeat all the regulations examined so far biannually. “The Department shall maintain a system to conduct biannual checks of the database and compile a database of individuals, facilities, and organizations that perform and assist with homeschooling, podschooling, or microschooling.”

This regulation means that by the time an Oklahoma homeschool student has graduated, the DHS will have made 24 reviews on that child’s security information, address, family members, homeschool organizations, and teachers.

The bill concludes that the DHS may deny “requests” to homeschool and will deny them if any adult involved in the child’s education has a “pending child abuse or neglect investigation” against them.

Constitutional Home Educators explains the danger of this vague wording: “There are so many loopholes here that could allow DHS to deny your request to home educate. It does not say just an abuse or neglect conviction; it includes a pending investigation. All it takes is an accusation.”

Oppose HB 4130

This bill represents an outrageous abuse of government authority and power. First, it is completely unnecessary and will be totally ineffective. Regulation does not reduce abuse. Second, the bill is designed to empower government-run agencies to dictate a parent’s right to home educate and to regulate that right if it is “approved” by the state. This bill is a blatant abuse of power and must be ardently rejected by the citizens of Oklahoma before it is instated and enforced.

Homeschool freedom is a right that many before us have fought to win. We cannot allow the state to deceive us into surrendering this right for a fabricated narrative and a false promise. All Americans must stand in support of Oklahoma citizens as they fight on the front lines for educational freedom.

Elise DeYoung is a Public Relations and Communications Associate and a Classical Conversations graduate. With CC, she strives to know God and make Him known in all aspects of her life. Elise is a servant of Christ, an avid reader, and a professional nap-taker. As she continues her journey towards the Celestial City, she is determined to gain wisdom and understanding wherever it can be found. Soli Deo gloria!


[1] (n.d.). 2022 Oklahoma Statutes Title 21. Crimes and Punishments §21-843.5. Child abuse – Child neglect – Child sexual abuse – Child sexual exploitation – Enabling – Penalties. Justia US Law. https://law.justia.com/codes/oklahoma/2022/title-21/section-21-843-5/

the back of a security guard wearing a bright green neon vest

Problems with the Michigan Homeschool Registration Regulation Proposal

By Elise DeYoung

This past month, I had the opportunity to speak to a Kentucky mom about her homeschool experience and the state regulations that Kentucky has in place for homeschoolers. I shared how Classical Conversations has strong feelings regarding state involvement in homeschooling. We believe that the state has no place in our classrooms and actively work to bar state intervention and influence. She asked me how much state regulation is too much, specifically in my state of Michigan. What a timely question!

Any State Regulation is Too Much Regulation

I explained to her that the position of CC is that any state regulation is too much regulation.

Recently, in Michigan, there has been a move to enforce homeschool registration, requiring homeschooling parents to inform their local government schools of their intention to homeschool. This Kentucky mom stopped me short and said, “Oh! We have that in Kentucky. Don’t worry about it. I only have to fill out a form saying I am homeschooling and turn it in to our local school. It really isn’t bad at all.”

Many Michigan residents and homeschool parents share this opinion. What is the harm in filling out a simple form?

Before concluding whether a homeschool registration is “really bad,” we must first understand what Michigan lawmakers are proposing and why.

In December of last year, Dana Nessel, the Attorney General of Michigan, proposed on X[1]

“implementing monitoring mechanisms” onto homeschooling to “ensure that all children, including those homeschooled, receive necessary protections [from abuse].” This demand comes after two families, the Flore family, and the Brown family, were allegedly found to have abused their children while homeschooling them. Nessel charged these parents with thirty-six child abuse crimes and with a conspiracy to commit these crimes [2].

In support of this announcement, House Education Chair and Representative Matt Koleszar wrote on X[3]

“Michigan is one of only 11 states that doesn’t count or register homeschooled children, and abusive parents are taking advantage of that to avoid being found out. It’s time to support all Michigan students and change that. Michigan cannot allow this loophole to continue.”

Their position is clear: Due to the alleged abuse of some homeschooled children, Michigan should enforce a homeschool registration bill – which would inform the state of who is homeschooling and where they are – so that it can protect the children within homeschooled families from abuse. Or, as Koleszar says so innocently in an interview on CBS[4], “We just want to know where they [the children] are.”

This argument seems very convincing at first. If signing a form saying we are homeschooling will save children from abuse, shouldn’t we just do it?

It is tempting to say yes; however, Michigan residents must oppose the homeschool registration proposal because:

  • the narrative is dishonest
  • state oversight does not protect children from abuse
  • state regulations always increase over time

The Narrative is Dishonest

It is important that we put the claim of Nessel and Koleszar – that abuse in some homeschool families justifies state oversight – into a statistical perspective.

Researchers have conducted many studies to address the question, “Do homeschoolers experience higher rates of abuse than public schoolers?” Each study has come to the same conclusion.

“Homeschooled children are abused at a lower rate than are those in the general public, and no evidence shows that the home educated are at any higher risk of abuse” (Ray, 2018)

On the contrary, A Gen 2 Survey found that homeschooled students are 257% less likely to be sexually abused than their public-schooled peers.

This begs the questions:

  • What is homeschooling doing right?
  • What is public school doing wrong?
  • Additionally, if there is more abuse in the public school system, shouldn’t our representatives focus their efforts there rather than seeking to regulate homeschoolers?

State Oversight Does Not Protect Children from Abuse

The main problem Koleszar has with Michigan’s current “lack of oversight” into homeschooling is that the state government does not know where a vast number of homeschooled children are. “They have simply fallen through the cracks,” said Koleszar on CBS. Because of this, the Representative says that the state has no idea whether these children are being educated, cared for, or, God forbid, abused by their parents. The solution offered is to put these children on a government database.

This solution assumes that government oversight prevents the abuse of children, and we must address this assumption. 

This is not the case.

For instance, consider the previous statistics that prove that there is more abuse in government schools than there is in homeschools. Students who attend public schools sit under the watchful eye of the government day in and day out. The state knows where they are.

Additionally, Michigan requires that teachers are all trained to spot signs of abuse and are required to report any suspected victims and abusers to the state.[5]. Do all these government regulations, requirements, and oversight result in lower abuse rates? The statistics prove that they do not.

But let’s set public schools aside for a moment and focus specifically on abuse in homeschools. Would state regulation decrease the abuse found here? Once more, the answer is no.

Nessel uses two families, the Flore and Brown families, as examples to prove why Michigan needs to register homeschooled children to the state to stop them from being abused.

Both examples fall apart when you learn that the children who were allegedly abused by their parents were adopted and foster care children. This is extremely significant because children in the adoption agency and the foster care system are already well known by the government – they know where they are.

Israel Wayne makes this point during an interview with CBS, saying,

“The two families that attorney Dana Nessel is using as examples are families who adopted children out of the foster care system, and legally, you can’t homeschool children who are in the foster care system, so this is not a fair illustration. But these children were deeply known by the Department of Child Services. Actually one of the fathers in that situation was actually a  CPS investigator by occupation… they were already on a government database, and so if they were truly child abusers (that has yet to be proven), they [the children] weren’t protected simply because their name was on a government database.”

In the exact examples cited by Nessel and Koleszar we can clearly see that being on a government database did not protect these children from the alleged abuse by their parents. What makes us think the results will be any different if implemented at a much larger scale?

The issue of the abuse of children being undetected is a Child Protective Services (CPS) issue, not a homeschool issue.

Wayne concluded his interview by stating that a homeschool registration “is not actually going to do what is being claimed. This will not protect children.”

Regulation Always Increases

During his interview, Koleszar was asked an insightful question by the CBS host, “Well, I imagine a lot of parents would say “Surely, they are going to want to do more than just knowing where the children are,” I mean, receiving a letter that says this child is homeschooled, how would you make that jump from understanding if they are in a safe situation to understanding if they are being educated. Surely there would have to be some kind of home visits, some kind of interaction, right?”

He responded by saying, “It’s fair to say that, but I think right now the main thing we need to do is know where – we have a lot of children who have fallen through the cracks, and we just want to know where they are.”

This answer is extremely telling. Koleszar refuses to admit the probability of increased oversight in the future while recognizing it as a “fair thing to say.”

We have already seen how children being on a government database will not stop them from being abused. So, if Koleszar is really concerned with minimizing the abuse of homeschoolers, he will have to instill more and more regulations to have the chance to attain his goal.

Registrations will turn into home visits, which will turn into state tests, which end in a state-regulated curriculum. We have seen this progression in other states, like New York and Massachusetts, that now have extremely high homeschool regulations. HSLDA has researched homeschool regulations by state.

The only result that will come of this proposal by Nessel and Koleszar is an eventual increase in government control and oversight of homeschooling without the promised results of reducing the abuse of children.

The Solution

“The present study’s findings, along with prior limited research, indicates at least three things for policymakers and others to  consider. First, there is no empirical evidence that homeschool students are at any higher risk of abuse than public school and private school students; some evidence indicates that the home educated might be at lower risk. Second, there is no empirical evidence that state control (regulation) of homeschooling does anything to reduce the potential for abuse of homeschool children. Finally, there is no credible empirical evidence that increasing any current levels of regulation of homeschooling would reduce the potential for abuse of homeschool students.(Ray, 2018)

Michigan residents must oppose the homeschool registration proposal because

  • the narrative is dishonest
  • state oversight does not protect children from abuse
  • state regulations always increase over time

Instead of unnecessarily and ineffectively regulating homeschoolers, the state should enforce the laws and make use of the child protective services that Michigan already has in place to help protect children from abuse in all places.

“Our view is that we don’t want to see abuse protected, we want to see every child protected. But we believe the best way to   do that is to prosecute known child abusers with existing laws that we already have on the books. And so, we believe that child protective services and state agencies need to use laws that we already have rather than creating needless bureaucracy that won’t actually protect children.”

– Israel Wayne

Elise DeYoung is a Public Relations and Communications Associate and a Classical Conversations graduate. With CC, she strives to know God and make Him known in all aspects of her life. She is a servant of Christ, an avid reader, and a professional nap-taker. As she continues her journey towards the Celestial City, she is determined to gain wisdom and understanding wherever it can be found. Soli Deo gloria!


Resources and Further Reading

For more information on this issue, you can listen to Israel Wayne. If you are interested in learning how you can help promote homeschool freedoms in your state, visit Classical Conversation’s Homeschool Freedom Action Center, Israel Wayne’s website, and Family Renewal.


[1] Nessel, Dana. X, 6 Dec. 2023, twitter.com/dananessel/status/1732395669824880823. Accessed 8 Jan. 2024.

[2] Nessel, Dana. “Attorney General Dana Nessel Charges 4 Adoptive Parents with 36 Child Abuse Crimes, Conspiracy.” Michigan Department of Attorney General, 4 Dec. 2023, www.michigan.gov/ag/news/press-releases/2023/12/04/attorney-general-dana-nessel-charges-4-adoptive-parents-with-36-child-abuse-crimes-conspiracy. Accessed 15 Jan. 2024.

[3] Koleszar, Matt. X, 5 Dec. 2023, twitter.com/koleszar_matt/status/1732025556818968823. Accessed 8 Jan. 2024.

[4] “Breaking Down Homeschooling, Childcare in Michigan.” CBS News, uploaded by CBS Detroit, 6 Dec. 2023, www.cbsnews.com/detroit/video/breaking-down-homeschooling-child-care-in-michigan/.

[5] Laws and Model Policies That Guide School Health Service Programs in Michigan. 2nd ed., Michigan Association of School Nurses, 2013. p. 7. Accessed at https://www.michigan.gov/-/media/Project/Websites/mde/2021/10/18/ADA_Laws_and_Model_Policies_July_2021_final.pdf

a closeup of a microphone on a stage

Freedom of Speech and the Modern Public Square

By Elise De Young

James Madison embedded the freedom of speech in American society when he penned the Bill of Rights in 1791.

The free speech clause in the First Amendment states that “Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech or the press.” Abridging can be understood simply as “to impose a restriction on.” If I may be so bold as to reconfigure Madison’s words, he wrote, “Congress shall make no law… that imposes a restriction on freedom of speech or the press.” It is abundantly clear that the right to freedom of speech is absolute. The government may apply no restrictions on speech without violating the First Amendment.

How was this right exercised by the early Americans? 

Historically, before the internet and social media, even before mass-produced papers and articles, the public square was represented by a physical space where citizens would gather to reason with one another. It was a place of persuasion. The idea was that you would come with your belief, and I would come with mine, and we would discuss and debate our differences until the best idea won.

Consider the masterful debates between “Honest Abe” and Stephen A. Douglas in 1858. These debates would gather large crowds who would eagerly attend the speeches that were known to span three or four hours.

Why?

The answer is that Americans loved and respected their public square. They yearned for truth and wanted their views to be challenged and improved. This era embodied Romans 12:2 (ESV) when it says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Of course, this does not represent every individual; there are always those who are too proud to listen. But this accurately represents the posture of the 19th-century American mind.

In short, freedom of speech is the right of an American to express any idea or belief without imposition from the government; the public square is where this right is exercised freely.

With these definitions in mind, we can now examine our modern day.

The Modern Public Square

In 2017, the Supreme Court made the case in Packingham v. North Carolina that “social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube are now the “town squares” of America where the right of freedom of speech is exercised.” They officially titled this phenomenon the “modern public square.”

I believe you would agree with me when I say that today, our modern public square has regressed far from its original model. Rather than hosting serious, intellectual, and reasonable discussions, social media has become a war zone that wields mockery, foolishness, and manipulation as its weapons.

In recent decades, the term “hate speech” has gained traction among Americans as we label opposing perspectives as dangerous, violent, or harmful. Terms like misogynistic, homophobic, or transphobic rhetoric (I am probably missing a “phobic”) and ultra-MAGA speech have been thrown around on platforms like X and TikTok to describe speech that disagrees with a mainstream position on culture, politics, or religion.

These developments have profound implications because freedom of speech cannot flourish in a public square where people are shamed and mocked for speaking. So, we must ask ourselves: how can we change the status quo?

The Solution

I believe the solution is Romans 12:2, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Freedom of speech is essential because it ensures that language, thought, and expression cannot be controlled by and conform to the ruling power of this world.

Today, the world is racing towards mass control and conformity to a specific set of ideas and beliefs. They are achieving their objective by silencing and shaming specific speech before the debate has even begun. Thankfully, Romans 12:2 gives us two ways to fight against conformity to the world.

The Romans 12: Strategy

First, renew your mind. One of the reasons why our modern public square is suffering is because ignorance has taken over the conversation. Ignorance of history, logic, and truth have all blended to confuse and anger both sides of the debate. We need well-educated individuals to enter into places of confusion to provide clarity and understanding. And this begins with you and me. By educating ourselves on the topics of the day, we will know the truth more fully and be prepared when our positions are challenged.

Second, discern the truth through testing. Another reason why our public square is in disarray is that we have forgotten how to test ideas through debate. Our public square echoes with the screaming of political slogans, but this is not a debate. These statements are only childish expressions of emotional opinions. If we wish for productive conversations to flourish once more, we must learn to discern ideas and put them to the test together. When we allow the opposing argument to confront our ideas, we will grow in both humility of mind and wisdom in opinion. Without this vital testing process, how can we arrive at the truth? 

The right to freedom of speech has been the bedrock of American society since our founding, and it must remain the bedrock of our modern public square today. So, let us learn to converse with one another, and may the best idea win.

Elise DeYoung is a Public Relations and Communications Associate and a Classical Conversations graduate. With CC, she strives to know God and make Him known in all aspects of her life. She is a servant of Christ, an avid reader, and a professional nap-taker. As she continues her journey towards the Celestial City, she is determined to gain wisdom and understanding wherever it can be found. Soli Deo gloria!

wooden Scrabble letters put together in a pyramid shape to spell out the word "government"

And So It Begins Again – The Fight Against Government Control

By Carolyn Martin, CHEC Director of Government Relations  

The march toward more government programs, government control over our families and livelihoods, and restrictions on our inalienable rights has begun. Last year was bad enough, but despite this being an election year, those who run our government have not finished implementing their complete transformation of our beautiful state. And so it begins again: today is the first day of the 2024 legislative session. 

Parental Rights & Religious Freedom Relinquished to Government Control 

Parents have relinquished their rights in exchange for the rights of the child. Special rights, ostensibly granted to oppressed groups, have overshadowed religious liberty. What about homeschooling? So far, we have kept the dam from breaking on our freedom to educate our children how we see fit. Yet, there is much opposition coming from many directions. State alphabet soup agencies, departments, and boards. School choice and anti-homeschool advocates. Local school officials and boards. Legislators on both sides of the aisle. 

Stand With Us 

There is no way I can withstand them alone. I rely greatly on God’s help to see and understand these attacks. But each of you also plays an integral part. First and foremost, this is a spiritual battle. God’s enemies hate what He has created – especially children, the family, and the church. Homeschooling is a lifeboat for the preservation of our families and our faith. You must stay true to His call to raise your families in the admonition of the Lord, or everything you do is meaningless. Pray to God for His protection and provision for me and every homeschooling family in this state. 

Commit to Stay Informed and Engaged! 

Unfortunately, I foresee many liberties being taken away from us this year. Let us ensure that the ability to homeschool without government control is not one of them! We have experienced God’s faithfulness since the enactment of the homeschool law thirty-five years ago. As we ask the Lord to show us what it means to be eternally vigilant and how to safeguard what He has given us, it will require sacrifice from each of us. 

“The price of liberty is vigilance.”  – Author Unknown

Will you sacrifice some time to stay informed and engaged during this legislative session? 

  • Join the Colorado Homeschool Freedom Team (HSFT) and the Facebook group. 
  • Share my weekly prayer emails (including a list of bills following and action items) and legislative blog posts with your group of friends. 
  • For a more in-depth understanding of legislation and the legislature, join the Legislative District Connection (LDC), which meets virtually once a month. 
  • Register and participate in Meet Your Legislator Day (MYLD) on Thursday, February 15th
  • Register and attend CHEC’s 30th Homeschool Day at the Capitol (DAC) on Thursday, April 11th
  • Watch for CHEC’s action alert emails and take action when needed! 

Attend CHEC’s Meet Your Legislator Day – February 15th! 

Read the original CHEC article

If you can do more, please contact me! 

Carolyn Martin serves as CHEC’s Director of Government Relations, working for you and other liberty-loving families to protect homeschool freedom, parental rights, and religious liberty at the state capitol. Subscribe to the CHEC blog for Carolyn’s regular updates, learn more about legal issues in Colorado, and support Homeschool Freedom. Contact Carolyn directly at carolyn@chec.org. 

a glass cup full of coins with a small plant with green leaves growing out of it

The Perils of Central Bank Digital Currency: A Closer Look

By Sadie Aldaya

In an era marked by rapid technological advancements, the financial landscape is undergoing a transformative shift towards digital currencies. While the promise of efficiency and convenience is enticing, the rise of centralized digital banking currency comes with its own issues that warrant a critical examination. Although this isn’t to demonize, today we’ll explore the potential risks associated with centralized digital currencies and their implications for individuals and society.

Government Control and Manipulation

The centralization of digital currencies places substantial power in the hands of governments and central banks. This concentration of authority raises concerns about the potential for governments to manipulate currency value, control capital flows, and exert undue influence over citizens’ financial lives.

Loss of Privacy

One of the primary concerns with centralized digital banking currencies is the potential erosion of privacy. Traditional currencies allow for a level of anonymity in transactions, but centralized digital currencies often require extensive user data to operate effectively. The centralization of this information poses a significant risk, as it becomes vulnerable to hacking, surveillance, and misuse.

Increased Surveillance

Centralized digital currencies enable unprecedented levels of surveillance by central authorities. Every transaction with these currencies can be tracked, creating a comprehensive financial profile for individuals. This surveillance raises ethical concerns and threatens personal freedom and autonomy.

Single Point of Failure

Centralized systems are inherently vulnerable to systemic failures. A single point of control makes the entire financial system susceptible to hacking, technical glitches, or even deliberate manipulation. The consequences of such failures could be severe, leading to financial crises and widespread economic instability.

Exclusionary Practices

Centralized digital currencies may inadvertently exclude segments of the population who need access to the necessary technology or cannot navigate the digital landscape. This exclusionary aspect can deepen existing social and economic disparities, leaving certain individuals and communities behind.

Lack of Redundancy

Like traditional banking, decentralized systems often have built-in redundancies to ensure stability. In contrast, a centralized digital currency system lacks this redundancy, making it more susceptible to disruptions. A technical failure or cyberattack could have far-reaching consequences on the entire financial ecosystem.

Many issues must be considered as many move forward with crypto purchases and investments. In other words, before you invest, count the cost. The dangers associated with centralized digital banking currencies highlight the need for careful consideration of potential risks and implementing robust safeguards. Striking a balance between innovation and security is essential to creating a financial landscape that is both technologically advanced and resilient to the challenges posed by centralization. 

To learn more about the difference between centralized digital currencies and cryptocurrency, read CBDC vs. Crypto: What is the Difference?

Sadie Aldaya is the Research & Quality Assurance Specialist for Classical Conversation’s Special Projects & Policy Research Department and the CC Foundation. Sadie and her husband homeschooled for over 20 years. She served as a Classical Conversations field representative for 15 years, providing community and support for other homeschooling families. Sadie’s passions are to stop government encroachment in areas where they have no authority or jurisdiction and to see Christians return to a biblical Christ-centered worldview.