The World and Everything in It — December 4, 2020

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Well, good morning!

Today on Culture Friday, we’ll talk about securities regulators and transgender activism.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And on Culture Friday we’ll bring those ideas together. 

Also today: Ask the Editor. 

Plus Megan Basham reviews the Netflix series The Queen’s Gambit.

And the music of Advent.

REICHARD: It’s Friday, December 4th. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.

EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Good morning!

REICHARD: Time for the news. Here now is Kent Covington.

KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Calif. heads for stricter lockdown as deaths, hospitalizations surge » California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday that a tougher lockdown is on the way. 

He said he will likely order most businesses in the state to close or limit capacity.

Hospitalizations are now at record highs, both in California and nationwide. And the Democratic governor told reporters…

NEWSOM: Regions where the ICU capacity is falling below 15 percent, we are now mandating that we are implementing a stay-at-home order for three weeks. 

He said without serious action, hospitalizations could double or even triple in just one calendar month. 

His announcement comes as COVID-19 deaths set a new single-day record in the United States. More than 3,000 people died of the disease on Wednesday. 

Unemployment claims drop at start of holiday season » The number of Americans filing jobless claims remains chronically high, but new applications fell last week to 712,000. That’s down about 10 percent from the week before. 

Analysts say many employers are hiring seasonal workers for the holidays, and that could explain the drop in new claims. 

The total number of people continuing to receive traditional state unemployment benefits also dropped from 6.1 million to 5.5 million.

Optimism growing for COVID relief bill » Meantime, on Capitol Hill lawmakers say they’re feeling more optimistic about passing a relief package unveiled earlier this week. 

New York GOP Congressman Tom Reed is co-chair of the House Problem Solvers caucus.

REED: I want to thank each and every one of these members that came together. And we were able to support this package because of the work and the trusting relationship that this group has formed over the last years.

The $900 billion measure is now in the draft process. It would focus on delivering state and local aid, unemployment help, and small business loans. 

The proposal is more than a trillion dollars shy of the HEROES Act that House Democrats passed earlier this year. But it would spend $400 billion more than the latest Republican Senate bill. 

President Trump told reporters he’s all for it. 

TRUMP: I want it to happen, and I believe that they’re getting very close to a deal.
REPORTER: And you’ll support it?
TRUMP: I will. I will. 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell spoke on Thursday. It’s unclear if either would support the bill as it currently stands. But both leaders struck an optimistic tone and signaled a willingness to compromise. 

Phishing ploy targets COVID-19 vaccine distribution effort » Tech giant IBM says cyberhackers tried to steal information about plans to distribute coronavirus vaccines. WORLD’s Anna Johansen Brown reports. 

ANNA JOHANSEN BROWN, REPORTER: IBM security agents recently uncovered the cyberespionage scheme which used phishing emails to try and break into systems in several countries. 

The hackers were trying to swipe vital information on the World Health Organization’s plans for distributing vaccines in developing countries. 

Researchers aren’t sure who was behind the campaign or if it was successful. But they say the campaign bore—quote—“the potential hallmarks of nation-state tradecraft.” 

The hackers were sophisticated and careful in efforts to cover their tracks.

IBM security officer Nick Rossman said whoever is behind the operation could be trying to learn about the distribution process in order to copy it. Or they might want to undermine a vaccine’s legitimacy or even launch a disruptive or destructive attack.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Anna Johansen Brown. 

Wis. high court won’t hear Trump lawsuit » Wisconsin’s Supreme Court says it will not hear a Trump campaign lawsuit right now.

The campaign wanted the swing state’s high court to disqualify more than 200,000 ballots in mostly Democratic counties, alleging irregularities.

In a split decision Thursday, the court said the case must first wind its way through lower courts.

That ruling came one day after President Trump made his case to the American people in a video address. He again claimed that Democrats “rigged” the election.

TRUMP: They used the pandemic as an excuse to mail out tens of millions of ballots, which ultimately led to a big part of the fraud. 

But Republican Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham said it’s time for Trump’s legal team to prove its case.

GRAHAM: You’re making all these claims. You’ve got to prove it. Doing a video is not proof.

A Nevada court heard arguments Thursday in a Trump lawsuit there. 

One day earlier in Arizona, Republican Governor Doug Ducey certified President-elect Biden’s win in his state.

I’m Kent Covington.

Straight ahead: virtue signaling on Wall Street.

Plus, Marvin Olasky on cultural Marxism.

This is The World and Everything in It.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: It’s Friday, December 4th, 2020.

Glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Mary Reichard.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher.

It’s no big secret that big tech has an outsized influence over our lives.

And now the second-biggest stock exchange, the Nasdaq, takes that influence to a whole new level. Nasdaq is an electronic stock exchange, a marketplace for buying and selling corporate equity, and it caters to high-tech stocks.

The Nasdaq is now trading in identity politics.

This week, it sought permission from the government regulator, the Securities and Exchange Commission, to place a new restriction on public companies that trade on the Nasdaq.

Here’s Nasdaq CEO Adena Friedman on CNBC.

FRIEDMAN: We establish standards that we are asking companies to meet, which is to have at least one woman and at least one person of either an underrepresented minority or LGBTQ on their board.

What she’s saying is, Nasdaq-listed companies must have diverse corporate boards, or explain why they can’t comply—at risk of being kicked out of the market.

Now, it’s all in the definitions, as she explains.

Nasdaq’s proposal is at least one woman director and one director from an underrepresented minority group or LGBTQ.

Interestingly, Nasdaq has about three-thousand companies and something like 75 percent of them today are not in compliance. Or maybe not knowingly. Maybe a company has a board member who’s not open about that.

REICHARD: Most of the bigger companies are compliant. It’s the smaller ones that aren’t and particularly foreign ones—Chinese companies, for example.

The Wall Street Journal editorialized: “Like much of corporate America today, the Nasdaq is virtue signaling at the expense of someone else. … Imposing its own identity politics on … companies meddles in corporate management and will harm economic growth and job creation. A free society looks at the skill and talent of individuals, not their physical appearances.”

EICHER: Joining us now to talk about this is John Stonestreet, president of the Colson Center and host of Breakpoint podcast. Good morning, John.


EICHER: I’m a proponent of free-market economics and the free market provides more opportunity than any government ever will, but I want to home in on the LGBTQ part of this question, John.

It’s especially interesting to me that the SEC has to approve this rule.

If you know about public-company financial disclosure requirements, the compliance regime is stringent. Your numbers have to be true, thorough, accurate. 

Yet I’m just thinking about putting, oh let’s see, the actress Ellen Page in a corporate board seat, now Elliot Page, she came out as a transgender male this week. It strikes me as ironic that you have fixed standards about financial disclosure, but self-identification trumps fixed standards of biology.

STONESTREET: Well, here’s a question. What if you had Ellen Page on your board two weeks ago and she re-identifies herself as a man, as Elliot Page as she is now. Are you now out of compliance if you don’t have a woman on your board?

EICHER: (laughs) Well, that’s a good question.

STONESTREET: It kind of gets to the heart of I think the point that you’re making which is when it comes to economic realities, you are dealing with realities. You are dealing with observables. You’re dealing with measurables, with testables, with things that are repeatable. 

This is the way that the sciences—whether we’re talking about the economic sciences, things upon which things in real life are based. Right? In other words, you have to have a certain level of society built on realities to even have conversations like this, in which denials of reality are even possible. 

And then you bring up a very real question, which is if part of this compliance means you have to have at least one woman, what if you have a woman now that re-classifies herself as a man—as Ellen Page did this week—then are you now out of compliance? And what this should do for us is make us step back and go, wait a minute, we are having this conversation at all, which means it’s something that doesn’t make any sense. 

We often made this joke, working with college students as I did for years—and high school students—is that, you know, you can only be a postmodernist questioning the existence of whether something is true and that it corresponds to reality or whether it’s just something that is a result of your own opinion or imposition of your own will on the world — you can only have that conversation in English class. 

You can’t have that conversation in engineering, right? Because you can’t build bridges based on the fact that two plus two equals four is really an example of cultural bias. Because two plus two actually equals four in real life. 

And so that’s what’s happening here is the mixing of categories like male and female, which are kind of built into reality itself. And one could actually see the point of saying, look, we want to have a female voice in the leadership of our organization. But then to turn around and equate that with something that is as pliable and maneuverable as gender identity, which is not the same thing as biological sexual realities. You just have to reach a particular point of decadence and comfort in a society to even have that conversation. And then the inconsistency on its face should make us rethink the whole thing.

EICHER: A smart business reporter at Fox Business had a question for Nasdaq and wasn’t able to get an answer, as it relates to Chinese listed companies: Will it force these companies to select as board members people from persecuted minorities on the Mainland? No answer. Interesting.

STONESTREET: Well, it’s interesting to think if most of the companies that are out of compliance are international companies—and many of them in the Nasdaq obviously coming from China—is this going to be the place where Corporate America stands up to China? Because we certainly haven’t on any other issue, right? I mean, we have completely bowed down, whether we’re talking about Disney’s film distribution or the NBA’s inability to compromise the amount of money they can potentially make and have already made in China. There’s no other issue upon which we have stood up to China at all right now because of the financial realities. Is this going to be the one? This one right here? This is going to be where we take our brave, courageous stand? No, I can’t imagine that suddenly we’re going to develop courage when it comes to China and money, on this issue.

REICHARD: On to another topic of interest to me as a court-watcher: a prominent appellate lawyer wrote a piece for Scotusblog. Thomas Goldstein called out liberals for attacking lawyers who represent clients they don’t like. 

This week at oral argument, a politically progressive lawyer argued in defense of companies alleged to have used child slavery. Nobody says the companies knew child slavery was going on. The legal question was quite technical. 

But no matter- liberals went after this lawyer for advocating for his client. And this is a progressive lawyer who pleased liberals when he went after the Trump administration every which way. 

Goldstein explained how our justice system works- that clients should have the best advocacy so courts can make the best decisions. Then the line that caught my attention: “this seems like an example of the political left eating its own.”

John, I have old fashioned words for this: mean. Ignorant. How should Christians counter mean and ignorant?

STONESTREET: Well, I mean, the good news is we have truth and love and of course this sounds like a cliche or trite or something like that. But I keep coming back to how revolutionary basic Biblical truths are in this cultural moment. Like, for example, so much of what you read in Proverbs. It’s one of the reasons I find Proverbs so compelling as wisdom literature of all the religions. Because most wisdom literature, especially out of the Eastern religions, is this esoteric nonsense that you can’t make any sense out of. It’s this stuff that sounds too smart by half. And Proverbs is like, hey, don’t talk loudly early in the morning. It’s a bad idea. So true, you know? There is such a baseline of common sense wisdom to Proverbs. 

 And in a cultural moment like ours, it can sound just absolutely revolutionary. Like “A soft answer turns away wrath,” for example. So our best option, I think, at this point is to retreat back into being confident in truth and being confident in the truth that every person is made in the image and likeness of God and we can treat them that way. And we can be absolutely ruthless with ideas and gentle and kind with people. That is something we can do. It’s not something we’re good at. It’s not something that’s easy. It’s much easier to measure our temperature gauge with the heat that’s coming at us. And our commitment, as some would say, to light instead of heat is the thing that should set Christians apart.

EICHER: John Stonestreet is president of the Colson Center and host of the Breakpoint podcast.

REICHARD: Thanks, John!

STONESTREET: Thanks so much.

NICK EICHER, HOST: Construction crews restoring the historic Roslyn Grist Mill on Long Island, New York found something buried in a concrete floor. 

It was a time capsule from a century ago inside a building built three centuries ago. 

A spokesman for the Roslyn Landmark Society revealed what was inside. Howard Kroplick speaking with CBS:

KROPLICK: We discovered messages in a bottle. And we’ve taken out the messages and they’re actually readable.

The first letter explained that workers were rebuilding the structure for the grandson of poet Wiliam Cullen Bryant. 

In the second letter, the Italian builder of the grist mill building made a simple request in his native language…

KROPLICK: I am Romolo Capparrelli. I worked on the grist mill. Please remember me. (background: we are remembering) And we are!

That letter made it into the hands of Caparrelli’s grandaughter

The time capsule of old milk bottles also had inside four rare coins.

The Roslyn Landmark Society is thinking about burying its own time capsule before completing the restoration.

It’s The World and Everything in It.

NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Friday, December 4th. You’re listening to WORLD Radio and we are so glad you are! 

Good morning. I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard.

Coming next on The World and Everything in It: Megan Basham reviews a new show so popular, it’s been inspiring people to go out and spend hard-earned dollars so they, too, can start saying, “checkmate.”

MEGAN BASHAM, TELEVISION CRITIC: Even beyond the 1960s sets and costumes, there’s something old fashioned about Netflix’s massive new hit, The Queen’s Gambit, a drama about an orphaned girl competing in the man’s world of professional chess.

From the synopsis, it might be easy to dismiss it as yet another modern morality play about patriarchal oppression. But if that had been the case, the series probably would have remained one of those critical darlings mass audiences ignore. It certainly wouldn’t have become popular enough to send sales of chess boards and books skyrocketing.

What would do that is a surprisingly warm and riveting tale of overcoming hardship and finding community in unexpected places—namely, from the men many other stories would have turned into villains.

CLIP: I’m in Lexington for the summer and I thought. I thought what? Would you like some training? I know you’re better than me. But if you’re going to play the Soviets, you need help.

When she first arrives at the Methuen school for girls, 9-year-old Beth Harmon has been let down by every woman in her life. First, her mother abandons her through suicide. Then, her headmistress manages her behavior by feeding her daily doses of tranquilizers. The only person to take real notice of her is the school janitor, a chess enthusiast.

CLIP: What do you want child? You should be in chapel. What’s that game called. You should be upstairs with the others. I don’t want to be with the others. I want to know what that is you’re playing. It’s called chess. Will you teach me? I don’t play strangers. 

Mr. Shaibel fosters her growing intellectual prowess, teaching her a few lessons about graciousness along the way.

CLIP: You resign now. Resign? That’s right, child. When you lose the queen that way, you resign. No. Yes. You have resigned the game. You didn’t tell me that in the rules. It’s not a rule. It’s sportsmanship.

But Shaibel is hardly the only man Beth comes to rely on. Her male competitors may dismiss her in the beginning because they’ve never played a girl before, but none try to shut her out. Eventually, they set aside their own interests to support hers.

CLIP: Hello? If he goes for the knight hit him with the king rook pawn. Benny? If he goes for the bishop do the same thing. How do you know. It’s in the Times. It’s 7 a.m. here but we’ve been working on it for three hours. We? Hi Beth. Hi Harry. It’s really nice to hear your voice. [overlapping voices from group]

At its core, The Queen’s Gambit offers a Rocky-style tale of achieving success in a meritocracy despite early disadvantages. Though she begins life profoundly underprivileged, the greatest obstacle Beth faces is her own self-sabotage, fostered through drinking and drug abuse. That may have grown out of the harmful place and patterns she was born into, but eventually she has to take responsibility for her choices if she wants a future filled with something beyond bitterness and envy.

CLIP: You need help. What kind of help would that be? Help with my chess because we tried that. That’s not what I’m talking about. What are we talking about? My dad drank.

But if the series doesn’t offer you-go-girl feminist triumphalism or grievance, neither does it place too much power in individual bootstraps. Again and again, the men in Beth’s life come to her rescue, unraveling the toxic lessons her mother taught her. 

CLIP: The strongest person is the person who isn’t scared to be alone. It’s other people you got to worry about. Someday you’re going to be all alone so you need to figure out how to take care of yourself.

Without their support, she could never pull herself up to compete on the world stage in Moscow.

The closing image of the series, too perfect to spoil, illustrates how much we gain when we refuse to sort ourselves into superficial categories based on gender and identity.

Which is not to say the show is perfect. Characters swear profusely and the last couple of episodes take unnecessary swipes at international Christian organizations. 

Beth also engages in several emotionless sexual encounters, including, one scene hints, with another woman. There’s no nudity, all but one are implied, not shown, and that one is noteworthy for how degrading and unfulfilling it is. And once Beth stops the drugs and alcohol, she also stops sleeping around, illustrating the truthfulness of Ephesians 5:18: Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery.

In the end, the show is at least honest enough to show that, sure, sin is fun and can even seem to give you an edge, for awhile, but ultimately it takes much more than it offers.

So if conscience allows you to tolerate these elements, The Queen’s Gambit is the rare show that is as smart as advertised, and even more engaging.

I’m Megan Basham.

One more thought before I go. In our several years of these giving drives, it’s never fallen to me to throw out the first pitch, as it were. 

So, fair warning. I throw like a girl.  

But metaphorically, I like to think of myself as one of those girls who can fire a 70-mile-per-hour softball for a strike. I like to be direct!

Here goes. I’ve been writing for WORLD for more than a decade now. And Nick asked me when The World and Everything in It was still just a weekly program to start reviewing on-air.

I’ve loved doing it. 

From reviewing to hosting to commentary, I am all about this team, and I want you to know the Basham family this year has gone all-in. I’m so proud of my husband Brian, the Big Bash, joining the team to pioneer a new outreach to young people to bring biblical understanding to the news of the day with WORLD Watch.

It was your support that helped make a major undertaking like that possible. And it’s going well, thanks to you.

But you know all the work we do here we do every single day and we do need your support.

So would you renew your support this month? Well. I said I’m direct. How about renewing your support today? 

This is WORLD’s December Giving Drive. Would you take a moment and visit and make a gift to help us keep the work going strong?

I’m Megan Basham and I’m grateful for anything you can do to support sound journalism, grounded in God’s Word. Thanks so much.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Friday, December 4th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. It’s time for Ask the Editor. Here’s  WORLD Editor-in-Chief, Marvin Olasky.

MARVIN OLASKY, EDITOR IN CHIEF: A reader in Pennsylvania asked this question: Dr. Olasky, you mentioned in your early years that you believed in Communism, but God helped you to see the truth. Just recently I heard the expression “cultural Marxism.” Could you explain what that means?

Sure. Your question takes me back 50 years to the most crowded guest lecture I ever attended at Yale University. Students filled every seat in an auditorium, sat on stairs, and stood at the back to hear a visiting 71-year-old philosopher with a German accent, Herbert Marcuse. 

Why? Because we young revolutionaries faced a  problem: The proletariat, the poor workers who should most want to revolt did not. Instead, they found us revolting. Why, Dr. Marcuse, why? Tell us what we must do to be saved.

Marcuse said advertisers and churches work together to give workers quote “false consciousness.” Yes, Madison Avenue makes workers think consumer goods will give them happiness. Even worse is the way churches promote monogamy and the patriarchal family. If young people throw off “repression” and have more sex—not a tough sell in 1970— the revolution will come.

Marcuse’s disciples said in that great day to come men will no longer be burdened by the need to work hard to support their families, because women will no longer depend on them. Children can be aborted. Students, instead of trying to please professors, will be free to do as they wish: “No class today, no ruling class tomorrow.”

1970 was not only the peak of Marcuse’s popularity but also the year in which Shulamith Firestone advanced cultural Marxism in her book The Dialectic of Sex. She called for “not just the elimination of male privilege but of the sex distinction itself.” She said quote “unobstructed pansexuality” would replace heterosexuality: “Artificial reproduction children would be born to both sexes equally or independently of either.”

Marcuse and Firestone prophesied a brave new world: In her words, “The division of labor ended by the elimination of labor altogether, through cybernetics. The tyranny of the biological family broken.” Marcuse knew many Americans would oppose this, so the revolution to succeed would require “undemocratic means”: no tolerance for those who discriminate on religious grounds or oppose government control of social benefits, education, and medical care.

Marcuse received a standing ovation. I was one of those applauding—until God changed me several years later, for which I remain very thankful. But cultural Marxism is hot among those unchanged. 

I’m Marvin Olasky.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: This weekend Christians observe the second Sunday of Advent. Once again we’ll close today’s program with a few different takes on a hymn of reflection that’s almost as old as the Church. WORLD Correspondent Bonnie Pritchett is our guide.

BONNIE PRITCHETT, REPORTER. An ancient Latin poem dating back to the 5th or 6th century calls all “children of the day” to listen. Like this Sunday’s lectionary readings, the hymn, “Hark! A Thrilling Voice is Sounding,” declares Christ is near and urges the listener to prepare for his arrival.

In this 2012 recording, the Chichester Cathedral Choir sings “Hark! A Herald Voice is Calling.”


There are many English variations of the text. Most are translated from a 1632 latin version. John Dryden is credited with the first English translation—published in 1706 after his death. But the most popular version of the hymn text and melody is from the mid-19th century. 

Englishman Edward Caswall’s translation, alternately called “Hark! A Herald Voice Is Calling” or “Hark! A Thrilling Voice is Sounding” was put to music in 1850 by fellow Englishman William Henry Monk.

Covenant Presbyterian Church of Chicago included this arrangement by Paul van der Bijl and Jason Reed, on its 2011 Advent album: Proclaim the Bridegroom Near.


In Isaiah chapter 40 the prophet tells of a voice crying out to prepare the way of the LORD. The first eight verses of Mark’s Gospel tell the reader that prophecy was fulfilled in John the Baptist who preached of the one who could come–one  mightier than him. And in Second Peter, Chapter 3, the apostle declares Christ will return. 

A guild of church worship leaders calling themselves Folk Hymnal used Caswall’s translation on their 20-18 project called “Incarnation Songs.” The recording includes a more modern version of “Hark! A thrilling Voice is Sounding.” 

Stewart Fenters and Tim Briggs composed an additional chorus that reminds the listener of the promise fulfilled long ago and the hope of promises yet to come.


Reporting for WORLD, I’m Bonnie Pritchett

EICHER: If you’re enjoying Bonnie’s Advent selections, good news! We’ve created a Spotify Playlist this year so you can find the music for your own enjoyment. We’ve included the link to that in today’s transcript at

NICK EICHER, HOST: Well it takes many people to put this program together each morning. So we want to say thanks to: Megan Basham, Anna Johansen Brown, Myrna Brown, Janie B. Cheaney, Kent Covington, Kristen Flavin, Katie Gaultney, Kim Henderson, Leigh Jones, Onize Ohikere, Bonnie Pritchett, Sarah Schweinsberg, Cal Thomas, Emily Whitten, and Kyle Ziemnick.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Nightowls Johnny Franklin and Carl Peetz are our audio engineers who stay up late to get the program to you early! Paul Butler is executive producer, and Marvin Olasky is editor in chief. 

Of course, none of this happens without you. We thank you for coming alongside this team to bring biblically objective journalism to the marketplace of ideas. 

I hope you have a restful weekend, and worship with your brothers and sisters in Christ.

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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