If you have a little time, this is well worth it. I was just curious about how a Jew, a Christian Apologist and a hill billy comedian would get along. Very well I must say.
And … I learned a lot.
The Southern Poverty Law Center bills itself as a watchdog of hate groups. But is this just a cover for its true aims? Journalist and author Karl Zinsmeister explains.
The truth is very important to know.
Shutting down people you don’t agree with is about as un-American as you can get.
Rigorous debate, honest discussion, open exchange of ideas—that’s the American way.
But free thinking and speech are threatened today by a group with a sweet-sounding name that conceals a nefarious purpose. This group is called the Southern Poverty Law Center, or SPLC.
Originally founded as a civil-rights law firm in 1971, the SPLC reinvented itself in the mid-‘80s as a political attack group. Every year now it produces a new list of people and charities it claims are “extremists” and “haters.”
Aided by glowing coverage from the establishment media, the SPLC’s hate list has become a weapon for taking individuals and groups they disagree with and tarring them with ugly associations.
The SPLC employs a two-pronged strategy:
First, find a handful of crazies with barely any followers, no address, and no staff, and blow them up into a dangerous movement— proof that there are neo-Nazis lurking everywhere. On their notorious “Hate Map,” the SPLC lists 917 separate hate groups in the U.S.! No one has even heard of more than a handful of them.
The second strategy of the SPLC is to undermine legitimate political voices that they oppose by associating them with extremists like the KKK.
Did you know that since 1970, the percentage of humanity living in extreme poverty has fallen 80 percent? How did that happen?
Jesus declared that we would always have the poor but challenged us to do something about it. Jesus, was not a capitalist. Jesus lived in a brutal dictatorship. Jesus challenges us to focus on wealth in God’s country not this one.
Arthur Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute, explains.
Script: The next time you hear someone complain about capitalism, consider this: The percentage of people living at starvation level poverty has fallen 80% since 1970. Before then, more than one in four people around the world were living on a dollar a day or less.
Today, it’s about one in twenty. This is the greatest anti-poverty achievement in world history. So, how did this remarkable transformation come to pass? Was it the fabulous success of the United Nations? The generosity of U.S. foreign aid? The brilliant policies of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank? Stimulus spending? Government redistribution? No. It was none of those things.
It was capitalism. Billions of souls around the world have been able to pull themselves out of poverty thanks to five incredible innovations: globalization, free trade, property rights, the rule of law, and entrepreneurship. Globalization means the ever-increasing ability to move goods, people, and ideas from one distant location to another.
Free trade is open access to markets and people from all over the world with few, if any, barriers. Property rights is ensuring that what belongs to you can’t be taken away on a whim by the state. The rule of law safeguards contracts, assuring that they will be respected and lived up to whether the deal is made in Peru or Poland. And entrepreneurship is the creativity of free people to dream up new products that we never knew we wanted or needed.
It’s worth noting that in places like East Asia, these five things were all made possible by the historic peace after World War II that resulted from America’s global diplomatic and military presence. Let me put this in a slightly different way: The ideals of free enterprise and global leadership, central to capitalism and American conservatism, are responsible for the greatest reduction in human misery since mankind began its long climb from the swamp to the stars. This remarkable progress has been America’s gift to the world.
So, if these American conservative ideals have done so much to lift up the world’s poor, you would think conservative ideas would be gaining strength every single day – everywhere. And not just gaining strength among conservatives, but also among young idealists, immigrants, minorities, and advocates for the poor—all embracing the principles of free enterprise and unleashing its power on behalf of the vulnerable. But this hasn’t happened. To the contrary, capitalism is struggling to attract new followers. Indeed, some believe it’s destined to fade away – just as it has in much of Europe. According to a Harvard Study, only 42% of young Americans 18 to 29 have a favorable view of capitalism.
What explains this discrepancy between the incredible results of capitalism and its popularity? Why does capitalism get such bad rap? One answer is simple: The defenders of free enterprise have done a terrible job of telling people how much good the system has done around the world. Capitalism has saved a couple billion people, and we have treated this miracle like a state secret.
According to a 2013 survey, 84 percent of Americans are unaware of the progress made against poverty worldwide. Indeed, more than two-thirds think global hunger has actually gotten worse.
Venezuela is falling apart. Its economy? Ruined. Its people? Hungry. Its government? Corrupt.
It is a shame to see what is happening. Jesus wants us to help the poor. Jesus calls on us to love.
So what happened? In a word, socialism. Debbie D’Souza, a native Venezuelan and political activist, explains.
Would a nationwide $15 minimum wage help or hurt American workers? Andy Puzder, former CEO of the parent company of Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr., explains.
Progressive politicians love to talk about raising the minimum wage.
It makes them sound caring, compassionate, concerned. They’re on the side of the worker, standing against the greedy employer.
The current call is for a national $15-an-hour minimum wage – more than double the current federal rate of $7.25.
A number of cities and states are already there – including New York, California, Washington D.C. and Seattle. Others are considering it.
The left casts the minimum wage debate as a war between employee and employer. But most business owners pay their workers as much as they can. Finding and keeping good people is the hardest part of any employer’s job.
I know. For 17 years, I ran CKE restaurants, the parent company for Carl’s Jr. and Hardees. Our company and franchised restaurants employed over 75,000 people, but, as with most retail businesses, our profit margins were razor thin.
Based on my experience, if we adopt a national minimum wage of $15, here’s what will happen:
1. A lot of people will lose their jobs or have their hours reduced. According to a 2014 Congressional Budget Office study, just a $10 minimum wage would cost half a million jobs as businesses terminate employees. Obviously, far more jobs would be lost at $15 an hour. To survive, employers would have to reduce hours even for workers who manage to keep their jobs. That’s a pay cut.
2. Businesses will close, and the jobs they created will disappear. A recent report from researchers at the Harvard Business School found that each $1 increase in the minimum wage results in a 4-10% increase in the likelihood of restaurants closing. An over $7 an hour increase, to $15, would be devastating not only for restaurants, but for small businesses and their employees.
3. Young people will lose that entry-level job opportunity. My first job was scooping ice cream at a Baskin-Robbins in Cleveland, Ohio in the 1960s. I was paid just $1 an hour. But it taught me valuable lessons – like the importance of showing up on time, teamwork, and presenting a happy demeanor to customers. No one can get that better job until they have their first job.
4. The cost of all workers will have to go up. If you hire a dishwasher at $15 an hour, your cooks will be unhappy with their wages. You’re going to have to pay everybody more, which increases labor costs across the board. That’s more pressure on profits. Too much pressure and you’re out of business.
5. Fewer people will open businesses. $15 an hour is a very steep hill to climb. Would-be entrepreneurs will do the math on labor costs and realize it’s just not worth the risk. This is a real cost to the economy that we can’t measure. A company that never exists never employs anyone.
6. Prices for everything will go up as businesses pass higher labor costs along to consumers. One of two things will happen: Either consumers won’t pay the higher prices and businesses will lay off workers or close, or consumers will pay higher prices and have less money to spend elsewhere. Either way, the higher minimum wage will represent a drag on the overall economy.
For the complete script, visit https://www.prageru.com/courses/econo…
I love this. God is honored in our country. What a great history we have. Our origins as a Judeo-Christian country are clear.
That seems to be slipping away. May we take a stand for Jesus and turn the tide.
“The U.S. Constitution never explicitly mentions God or the divine, but the same cannot be said of the nation’s state constitutions. In fact, God or the divine is mentioned at least once in each of the 50 state constitutions and nearly 200 times overall, according to a Pew Research Center analysis.”
“The battle over whether America remains Judeo-Christian or becomes secular like Europe is what this, the Second American Civil War, is about.” ~Dennis Prager
What if people have the war in Iraq backwards? What if George W. Bush and the U.S. military won it, and Barack Obama and the Democrats gave it away? Well, we don’t have to wonder what if, because Pete Hegseth, who served in Iraq, explains what happened.
The Iraq War was an absolute disaster – a historic mistake.
That’s probably what most Americans – not to mention most people around the world – would say. But is it true?
President George W. Bush’s decision to invade Iraq in 2003 is subject to fair debate. But it’s important to recall that, at the time, the war had overwhelming bi-partisan support in the House and Senate. Dozens of allied countries joined the coalition. That support, however, quickly faded as causalities mounted and the war started to bog down.
Criticism then turned to blame when the weapons of mass destruction that were expected to be found were not. Nothing seemed to be going right. I know – I was there, serving as a lieutenant in the United States Army.
As 2007 dawned, President Bush faced a near total collapse in both public and political support for the war. He had to make an impossibly difficult decision: accept strategic defeat and leave Iraq in chaos, or send even more troops into battle. He chose the latter, a decision that came to be known as “The Surge.”
The Democrats predicted disaster. Senator Harry Reid, the majority leader at the time, said, “This war is lost and the surge is not accomplishing anything.” Senators Joe Biden, John Kerry and Hillary Clinton agreed.
They were all wrong.
Led by General David Petraeus, and supplemented by 30,000 additional troops, American forces and their Iraqi counterparts reversed the course of the war. It was one of the most stunning and successful turnabouts in modern military history.
In 2008, I returned to the country to see for myself. I had seen the “before.” I could hardly believe the “after.”
Attacks on US forces were down 90%. American casualties were rare. Baghdad’s most dangerous neighborhoods were secure. Al Qaeda in Iraq was decimated. The oil was flowing again. Iraqis were rebuilding. And new elections were held.
This was the Iraq that President Barack Obama inherited when he took the oath of office on January 20, 2009.
Now, Iraq was certainly no Western-style democracy, but it was—as General Petraeus dubbed it—a functioning “Iraqracy.” So much so that, in a February 2009 speech to Marines at Camp Lejeune, President Obama said: “The relative peace and strong participation in January’s provincial elections sent a powerful message to the world about how far Iraqis have come.”
Vice President Joe Biden was even more enthusiastic a year later, when he said in February 2010: “I am very optimistic about Iraq. I think it’s going to be one of the greatest achievements of this administration.”
To put it mildly, it wasn’t.
So, what went wrong?
It started when the Obama Administration got into a dispute with the Iraqi government over something called a “Status of Forces Agreement.” The Iraqis said they wanted to be able to prosecute American soldiers who broke Iraqi law. Appropriately, the Obama Administration said no; we will prosecute our own law-breakers. But instead of continuing to work towards an agreement, the president, against the advice of his own generals, ended negotiations.
President Obama had said during his campaign that he would bring all the troops home, and the status-of-forces dispute gave him the perfect excuse to do just that.
Dennis Prager is great conservative thinker and writer. He loves to smoke great cigars. He also likes to conduct symphonies. Not easy I imagine. So, as a conservative, what happens?
John F. Kennedy lowered taxes, opposed abortion, supported gun rights, and believed in a strong military. And he was a proud Democrat. But would he be one today? Author and talk show host Larry Elder explains.
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Why is it so hard for so many parents and teachers to get kids to do as they are told? Because too many adults have followed some very bad advice. Family psychologist John Rosemond offers some useful tips on how to get the little barbarians to listen.
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When was the last time you heard a child referred to as obedient? It’s probably been a while. That’s too bad because the best research tells us that obedient children are happy children. And, from my experience as a family psychologist, the parents of obedient children are happy parents.
Since all parents want their children to be happy, the question becomes: How does one get a child to obey? Is there some trick to it?
Well, there are certainly are a lot of parents who think so. They believe that proper discipline is a matter of using the right methods, techniques, and strategies: what I call consequence delivery systems. Parents have been using these behavior-modification-based methods since they became popular in the 1960s – seemingly to no avail. Would anyone argue that today’s kids are more obedient than kids were several generations ago? I don’t think so. The reason these methods and techniques don’t work is that proper discipline is not a matter of proper methods. It’s a matter of a proper attitude on the part of the parent.
Let me illustrate the point. Let’s say that for a week I observe the classroom of a grade school teacher who has the reputation of being the best disciplinarian in her district. She consistently has fewer behavior problems than any of her colleagues. What is she doing? She’s making her expectations perfectly clear. Which means, first, she communicates in simple, declarative sentences. She doesn’t use fifty words when she could use ten. The more words you use to communicate your expectations, the less confident you sound.
Second, she prefaces her instructions to her students with authoritative phrases like “I want you to…” and “It’s time for you to…” She says, “It’s time for you to take out your math books and turn to page 25” as opposed to “Let’s take out our math books and turn to page 25. Okay?”
Third, this teacher does not explain the motives behind her instructions to her students. Why? Because she knows that explanations invite arguments.
Whenever parents tell me they’re dealing with an argumentative child I know that these well-intentioned people are explaining themselves. They tell their child why they want him to pick up his toys, for example. And he argues, because you can always pick apart an explanation. If you don’t explain yourself when you give an instruction to a child, then the child, being a child, is almost surely going to ask for one. He’s going to ask Why? or Why not? At which point… get ready for a big surprise… your answer should be “Because I said so.
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Science tells us that the universe came into being via The Big Bang. But how do you get from energy and matter to a self-aware human being? That takes three additional Big Bangs that science cannot explain.
Noted theologian, Frank Pastore, unravels this compelling mystery and, in the process, poses the ultimate question that every thinking person must face.
The Middle East conflict is framed as one of the most complex problems in the world. But, in reality, it’s very simple.
Israelis want to live in peace and are willing to accept a neighboring Palestinian state. And most Palestinians do not want Israel to exist. As Dennis Prager explains, this is really all you need to know.
In 5 minutes, understand how Israel was founded, and how, since that auspicious day in 1948, its neighbors have tried to destroy it, again and again.
What’s the best way to help people stuck in poverty get out of poverty? Arthur Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute, shows where conservatives and progressives differ.
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What’s the best way to help poor people escape poverty?
Progressives and conservatives have very different answers to this question, but before we explore those answers, let’s agree on this: Both progressives and conservatives believe that the government has a moral obligation to help those who, through bad luck or unfortunate circumstances, can’t help themselves. Here’s what a conservative icon, Nobel Prize-winning economist, Frederic Hayek, said on the subject: “There is no reason why, in a society that has reached the general level of wealth ours has attained, the first kind of security should not be guaranteed to all…some minimum of food, shelter, and clothing sufficient to preserve health and the capacity to work.”
Whatever the media might tell you, there isn’t a conservative out there who would not agree with Hayek’s statement. As I have documented in my book, Who Really Cares, when it comes to philanthropy and charitable giving, conservatives actually out-give progressives — by a lot. Where the two sides disagree is on the role the government plays – not in protecting the poor from poverty, but in lifting them out of it. Here’s a disturbing piece of data: On balance, since President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty programs came fully online in 1966, the poverty rate in America has hardly budged.
That rate, as computed by the United States government, was 14.7 percent in 1966. And today? It’s 13.5 percent. The rate has fluctuated a few points up and down over the decades. The net result is just one percentage point of progress. And this is after the government has spent over 20 trillion dollars on poverty relief programs. 20 trillion dollars – the current size of the US debt — and the needle has barely moved. Now, it’s true that the official poverty rate doesn’t measure consumption.
We have moved into a dangerous era with progressives and the left. There is a war on Christmas, Easter and other important Christian holidays in the United States.
Even a Jew, Dennis Prager, recognizes the importance of saying “Merry Christmas”. He accurately draws the distinction between an American holiday and his Jewish Holy Days.
90% of Americans celebrate Christmas. Can’t we please use the word?
“Please say “Merry Christmas”. If you don’t, you’re not “inclusive.” You’re hurtful.” ~Dennis Prager
The change from wishing fellow Americans “Merry Christmas” to wishing them “Happy Holidays” is a very significant development.
Proponents of “Happy Holidays” argue it’s no big deal – proponents of “Merry Christmas” are making a mountain out of a molehill.
But the “Happy Holidays” advocates want it both ways. They dismiss opponents as hysterical; but at the same time, in addition to replacing “Merry Christmas” with “Happy Holidays,” they have relentlessly pushed to replace “Christmas vacation” with “winter vacation” and “Christmas party” with “Holiday Party.”
So, then, which is it? Is all this elimination of the word “Christmas” important or not?
The answer is obvious. It’s very important. That’s why so much effort is devoted to substituting other words for “Christmas.” And these efforts have been extraordinarily successful. In place of the universal “Merry Christmas” of my youth, in recent decades I have been wished “Happy Holidays” by every waiter and waitress in every restaurant I have dined; by everyone who welcomes me at any business; by my flight attendants and pilots; and by just about everyone else.
When I respond, “Thank you. Merry Christmas!” I often sense that I have actually created some tension. Many of those I wish “Merry Christmas” are probably relieved to hear someone who feels free to utter the “C” word, but all the sensitivity training they’ve had to undergo creates cognitive dissonance.
The opponents of “Merry Christmas” and other uses of the word “Christmas” know exactly what they’re doing. They’re disingenuous when they dismiss defenders of “Merry Christmas” as fabricating some “War on Christmas.”
Of course it’s a war on Christmas, or, more precisely, a war on the religious nature of America. The left in America, like the left in Europe, wants to create a thoroughly secular society. Not a secular government – which is a desirable goal, and which, in any event, has always been the case in America – but a secular society.
Most people do not realize that the left believes in secularism as fervently as religious Jews and Christians believe in the Bible. That’s why “Merry Christmas” bothers secular activists. It’s a blatant reminder of just how religious America is – and always has been. So, here’s a prediction: Activists on the left will eventually seek to remove Christmas as a national holiday.
Now, the left doesn’t announce that its agenda is to thoroughly secularize American and European societies. Instead, they offer the inclusiveness argument: that “Merry Christmas” or “Christmas party” or “Christmas vacation” is not “inclusive.”
This inclusiveness argument plays on Americans’ highly developed sense of decency. But the argument is preposterous: Who, exactly, is being excluded when one wishes someone “Merry Christmas?” Non-Christians?
I’m a non-Christian. I’m a Jew. Christmas is not a religious holy day for me. But I’m an American, and Christmas is a national holiday in my country. It is, therefore, my holiday – though not my holy day – as much as it is for my fellow Americans who are Christian. That’s why it’s not surprising that it was an American Jew, Irving Berlin, who wrote “White Christmas,” one of America’s most popular Christmas songs. In fact, according to a Jewish musician writing in the New York Times, “Almost all the most popular Christmas songs were written by Jews.” Apparently all these American Jews felt quite included by Christmas!
By not wishing me a Merry Christmas, you are not being inclusive. You are excluding me from one of my nation’s national holidays.
But even if Christmas were not a national holiday, I would want pilots to wish their passengers “Merry Christmas,” companies to have Christmas parties, and schools to continue to have Christmas vacations. Just because I don’t personally celebrate Christmas, why would I want to drop the word “Christmas” when the holiday is celebrated by 90 percent of my fellow Americans?
It borders on the misanthropic, not to mention the mean-spirited, to want to deny nearly all of your fellow citizens the joy of having Christmas parties or being wished a “Merry Christmas.” The vast majority of Americans who celebrate Christmas, and who treat non-Christians so well, deserve better.
So, please say “Merry Christmas” and “Christmas party” and “Christmas vacation.” If you don’t, you’re not “inclusive.” You’re hurtful.
I’m Dennis Prager.
What is forgiveness and how do we achieve it? Jesus shows us the way. Jesus is love and knows that love forgives. Jesus has forgiven us.
We have all had times in our relationships when we hurt a loved one, or a loved one hurt us. That’s part of life. But not all of us know how to forgive, even when the other party has offered a sincere apology. In this Prager University course, UCLA psychiatrist Dr. Stephen Marmer shares the three types of forgiveness–exoneration, forbearance, and release–and explains why anyone who wants to mend meaningful relationships must first understand forgiveness. Internalizing Dr. Marmer’s teaching can be an important first step, for many people, to keeping and fixing their most valued relationships.
I’ll be speaking here about forgiveness where it most often is needed — in the context of your every day personal life with family members, friends, co-workers, and business associates.
One of our challenges in understanding this process is that the word — forgiveness — is inadequate to explain a very complex concept. Forgiveness actually embodies three different things, each of which applies to different situations and provides different results.
The three types of forgiveness are: exoneration, forbearance and release.
Let’s take each in turn.
Exoneration is the closest to what we usually think of when we say “forgiveness”. Exoneration is wiping the slate entirely clean and restoring a relationship to the full state of innocence it had before the harmful actions took place. There are three common situations in which exoneration applies.
The first takes place when you realize that the harmful action was a genuine accident for which no fault can be assigned.
The second is when the offender is a child or someone else who, for whatever reason, simply didn’t understand the hurt they were inflicting, and toward whom you have loving feelings.
The third situation occurs when the person who hurt you is truly sorry, takes full responsibility (without excuses) for what they did, asks forgiveness, and gives you confidence that they will not knowingly repeat their bad action in the future.
In all such situations it is essential to accept their apology and offer them the complete forgiveness of exoneration. You’ll feel better and so will the person who hurt you. In fact, not to offer forgiveness in these circumstances would be harmful to your own well-being. It might even suggest that there is something more wrong with you than with the person who caused you pain.
The second type of forgiveness I call “forbearance.” And here things get a little more complicated.
Forbearance applies when the offender makes a partial apology or mingles their expression of sorrow with blame that you somehow caused them to behave badly. An apology is offered but it’s not what you had hoped for and may not even be fully authentic. While you should always reflect on whether there was a provocation on your part, even when you bear no responsibility you should exercise forbearance if the relationship matters to you. Cease dwelling on the particular offense, do away with grudges and fantasies of revenge, but retain a degree of watchfulness. This is similar to “forgive but not forget” or “trust but verify.” By using forbearance you are able to maintain ties to people who, while far from perfect, are still important to you.
Furthermore, in some cases after a sufficient period of good behavior, forbearance can rise to exoneration and full forgiveness.
But what do you do when the person who hurt you doesn’t even acknowledge that they’ve done anything wrong or gives an obviously insincere apology, making no reparations whatsoever? These are the cases of forgiveness that are the most challenging. In my practice, I find this in such examples as adult survivors of child abuse, business people who have been cheated by their partners, or friends or relatives who have betrayed one another. Still, even here there still is a solution. I call it “release” — the third type of forgiveness.
Release does not exonerate the offender. Nor does it require forbearance. It doesn’t even demand that you continue the relationship. But it does ask that instead of continuing to define much of your life in terms of the hurt done, you release your bad feelings and your preoccupation with the negative things that have happened to you. Release does something that is critically important: it allows you to let go of the burden, the “silent tax” that is weighing you down and eating away at your chance for happiness. If you do not release the pain and anger and move past dwelling on old hurts and betrayals, you will be allowing the ones who hurt you to live, rent free, in your mind, reliving forever the persecution that the original incident started.
Whether you get there through your own efforts, through psychotherapy, through religion or some other method, release liberates you from the tyranny of living in the traumatic past even when the other forms of forgiveness, exoneration and forbearance, are not possible.
Exoneration, Forbearance, Release.
To forgive may be divine, but when we understand its dimensions we find that it is within our ability to do it.
I’m Dr. Stephen Marmer of UCLA Medical School, for Prager University.
We are in trouble as a country. Our values are being assaulted left and right. It is relentless and doesn’t appear like we have great choices in front of us.
We know we are in trouble.
Ignoring it won’t help.
Now would be the time to humble ourselves and throw ourselves to the mercy of God.
God is God. God is great.
Those are two reasons (of many, unfortunately) why — other than the first years of the Civil War, when the survival of the United States as one country was in jeopardy — there was never a darker time in American history.
The world has become a very dangerous place. We need to know it. We need to do something about it.
We have an enemy who wants to destroy us. They are very patient. It involves people in many countries. They are here in America.
We need to find them. We need to defeat them.
10 percent of world Muslims have a favorable opinion of the Islamic State and terror against civilians. That’s more than 100 million people.
Dennis Prager, a conservative Jew, suggests that anyone who asks this also answer 3 questions.
Of course, I would ask a 4th. Do you believe that the God of Israel sent his son Jesus to be the Messiah?
Did George W. Bush lie to America about Saddam Hussein having weapons of mass destruction? Judith Miller, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, covered the lead up to the Iraq War for The New York Times, and settles once and for all the big lie about the war in Iraq. It was a mistake but not a lie.
Is there really something known now as “white privilege”? We need to think about this carefully. Under the light of day, it doesn’t really hold up to scrutiny.
Is it possible that this is about being able to claim victim-hood? Who benefits by continuing to see America as racists particularly when the evidence won’t support the claim?
A pillar of contemporary leftism is the notion of “white privilege.” Given that a generation of high school and college students are being taught that a great number of “unearned privileges” accrue to white Americans — the charge of white privilege demands rational inquiry.
Bret Stephens asks “Is there a middle ground between the aggressive foreign policy of the Bush Administration and the passive and hesitant foreign policy of the Obama Administration? Yes, and New York City is a model. How so?”
Bret Stephens, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for the Wall Street Journal, explains how the NYPD’s “broken windows” policy–swiftly and forcefully punishing even petty crimes–can be applied by the United States on a global scale.”
Dennis can be counted on to be a consistent conservative voice who stands for traditional moral positions. Not surprising the left is attacking him.
His question is an essential one. If you don’t believe the Torah, how do you know you are right?
There is at least one thing about which my critics and I can agree: The very many responses — published in the Jewish Journal and elsewhere (The Forward, Huffington Post and various blogs) — to my Dec. 4 column titled “The Torah and the Transgendered” are an excellent measure of the moral and intellectual state of the American-Jewish left.
My critics and I recognize that all these rabbis, including the head of the Reform rabbinate, all these Jewish professors and all the Jewish laypeople who attacked me and my column represent the American-Jewish left, and are therefore a fine indicator of the moral and intellectual state of the American-Jewish left.
So, then, here is the question: How do Jews who support ending gender distinctions — electing boys as homecoming queens, admitting males who believe themselves to be females into high school girls’ locker rooms and into all-women colleges, allowing anatomical males to play on women’s sports teams, hiring as rabbis females who identify as males and yet insist on being called by a female name — know that they are right?
If the Torah is not our guide, who or what will be? By dropping the Torah and substituting compassion as standards, we are creating a Brave New World in which definitions of male and female no longer have meaning, are regarded as subjective and are completely interchangeable. If you think this a better world, the Torah is indeed essentially useless as a guide to life. If, however, you think we are playing with fire and that future generations will pay a big price for this unprecedented experiment, the Torah will have, once again, proven itself indispensable.
One of the most important differences between the Left and the Right is how each regards the role and the size of the government.
The Left believes that the state should be the most powerful force in society. Among many other things, the government should be in control of educating every child; should provide all health care; and should regulate often to the minutest detail how businesses conduct their business — in Germany, for instance, the government legislates the time of day stores have to close. In short, there should ideally be no power that competes with Government. Not parents, not businesses, not private schools, not religious institutions; not even the individual human conscience.
Conservatives, on the other hand, believe the government’s role in society should be limited to absolute necessities such as national defense and to being the resource of last resort to help citizens who cannot be helped by family, by community, or by religious and secular charities.
Conservatives understand that as governments grow in size and power, the following will inevitably happen:
1. There will be ever-increasing amounts of corruption. Power and money breed corruption. People in government will sell government influence for personal and political gain. And people outside government will seek to buy influence and favors. In Africa and Latin America, government corruption has been the single biggest factor holding nations back from progressing.
2. Individual liberty will decline. With a few exceptions such as an unrestricted right to abortion, individual liberty is less important to the Left than to the Right. This is neither an opinion nor a criticism. It is simple logic. The more control the government has over people’s lives, the less liberty people have.
3. Countries with ever expanding governments will either reduce the size of their government or eventually collapse economically. Every welfare state ultimately becomes a Ponzi Scheme, relying on new payers to pay previous payers; and when it runs out of the new payers, the scheme collapses. All the welfare states of the world, including wealthy European countries, are already experiencing this problem to varying degrees.
4. In order to pay for an ever-expanding government, taxes are constantly increased. But at a given level of taxation, the society’s wealth producers will either stop working, work less, hire fewer people, or move their business out of the state or out of the country.
5. Big government produces big deficits and ever increasing — and ultimately unsustainable — debt. This, too, is only logical. The more money the state hands out, the more money people will demand from the state. No recipient of free money has ever said, “Thank you. I have enough.”
Unless big governments get smaller, they will all eventually collapse under their own weight — with terrible consequences socially as well as economically.
6. The bigger the government, the greater the opportunities for doing great evil. The twentieth century was the most murderous century in recorded history. And who did all this killing? Big governments. Evil individuals without power can do only so much harm. But when evil individuals take control of a big government, the amount of harm they can do is essentially unlimited. The Right fears Big Government. The Left fears Big Business. But Coca-Cola can’t break into your house or confiscate your wealth — only Big Government can do that. As irresponsible as any Big Business has ever been, it is only Big Government that can build concentration camps and commit genocide.
7. Big government eats away at the moral character of a nation. People no longer take care of other people. After all, they know the government will do that. That’s why Americans give far more of their money and volunteer far more of their time to charity than do Europeans at the same economic level.
Without the belief in an ever-expanding government, there is no left. Without a belief in limited government, there is no right.
I really like Dennis Prager. I listen to him when I can on talk radio. His Prager University is the best. I thought he would have this opinion and was glad to see him put it in writing.
I am a non-Christian. I am a Jew. Christmas is therefore no more a religious holy day for me than Ramadan. But I am an American, and Christmas is a national holiday of my country. It is therefore my holiday, though not my holy day, as much as it is for my fellow Americans who are Christian.
Irving Berlin, an American Jew, wrote “White Christmas” as a celebration of an American holiday, his holiday. By not wishing me a Merry Christmas, you are not being inclusive. You are deliberately excluding me from one of my nation’s national holidays. But even if Christmas weren’t a national holiday, I would want companies to have Christmas parties, schools to continue to have Christmas vacations, and pilots to wish their passengers “Merry Christmas.” Just because I don’t personally celebrate Christmas, why would I want to drop the word “Christmas” from public discourse when Christmas is celebrated by 90 percent of my fellow Americans?
What corrupts politics more: Millionaires and billionaires? Or the rules that intend to limit the influence of wealthy donors? At Prager University, George Will, author and Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for the Washington Post, explains who designed campaign finance reform and why Congress’s solution to the problem may actually be the bigger problem.
Summary of the video
Campaign finance reform is what it pretends to combat: corruption.
Let me say that again, slightly rephrased: campaign finance reform corrupts the political system it presumes to save from corruption.
Now that I’ve taken the trouble to repeat myself, you may be shaking your head, wondering how I could be so… wrong. Don’t we want to “get money out of politics?” Isn’t campaign finance reform an inherent good? The late Senator Eugene McCarthy, the iconic liberal politician of the Vietnam War era, didn’t think so.
McCarthy, a Democrat who represented Minnesota in the Senate from 1959 to 1971, did something unthinkable in 1968. Because of his opposition to the Vietnam War, he challenged a powerful, incumbent President for his party’s presidential nomination.
His challenge to President Lyndon Johnson was possible — and potent — only because five wealthy liberals who shared McCarthy’s opposition to the Vietnam War gave him substantial sums of money. Stewart Mott’s $210,000 would be $1.4 million in today’s dollars. The five donors’ seed money enabled McCarthy to raise $11 million dollars or $75 million dollars today.
But, because of campaign finance reform, the most a wealthy quintet could give to help an insurgent against an incumbent today would be $13,000 (five times the individual limit of $2,600). McCarthy didn’t win the nomination, but he did compel Johnson not to run for a second term. In doing so, McCarthy changed history. But the Democratic Party establishment wasn’t happy about it. To stop it from happening again, they pushed for government regulation of political speech.
Thus in reaction to Eugene McCarthy’s insurgency, campaign finance reform was born.
Not much has changed since then.
Whatever their stated intentions, campaign finance laws are not written to protect the public from corrupt politicians, they are written to protect incumbents from anyone who might challenge them. So, not only doesn’t campaign finance reform disrupt the status quo; it encases it in cement.
All the laws that ever have regulated campaigns, or ever will regulate them, have had or will have one thing in common: They have been, or will be, written by incumbent legislators. That is why such laws are presumptively disreputable and usually unconstitutional.
But, reformers shout, politicians are bought and sold by big money interests, and we have to stop this.
These reformers argue two propositions.
One is that corruption is so pervasive and so subtle that it is invisible.
They resemble the zealots who say proof of the conspiracy to assassinate President Kennedy is the fact that no proof has been found.
Alternatively, reformers argue that corruption is entirely visible everywhere: If politician A votes in a way that pleases contributor B — particularly if contributor B enjoyed “access” to politician A — that shall be designated corruption.
But there is abundant research demonstrating that money almost always moves toward the politician with whom the contributor already agrees. In other words money is rarely given in order to change a politicians’ votes; it is given in order to support politicians who already vote the way donors want them to.
Nevertheless, reformers increasingly argue (see their justifications for restricting political action committees or PAC’s) that regulating the timing, amount and content of political advocacy is necessary to improve the tone of politics.
These reformers apparently think that what James Madison, the author of the Bill of Rights, meant when he wrote: “Congress shall make no law abridging freedom of speech,” was really “Congress shall make no law abridging freedom of speech — unless incumbents think abridgements will help keep them in office.”
Even if it were Congress’s business to decide that there is “too much” money in politics, what does “too much” mean?
In the 2007-08 election cycle, spending in all campaigns, from city council members up to the presidency, was $8.6 billion, about what Americans spend annually on potato chips.
Reformers say that regulation of campaign giving and spending will not only spare our leaders the distraction of the governed — that is, seeking “undue” influence on government, it also will make us think better of government.
But a jaundiced view of government is often sensible, and certainly it is justified by all these campaign regulations, which have become a particularly virulent form of the disease it purports to cure.
So, let me repeat myself a third and final time: Campaign finance reform is what it pretends to combat: corruption.
I’m George Will for Prager University.
Consider two important amendments to Constitution — the ninth and tenth. We don’t hear much about them these days.
“The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people,” and “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
Summary of Video
How did the framers of the Constitution of the United States seek to preserve liberty and prevent tyranny? Pretty basic question. Here’s the answer I usually get from my students.
“Well, Professor, to protect the individual and minorities against the tyranny of the majority, they added the Bill of Rights; and they gave the power to enforce those rights to the Supreme Court.”
Are my students correct? The editorial boards of the New York Times or the Washington Post and many members of the U.S. Congress would say yes. Unfortunately, the answer is wrong. I say “unfortunately” because it reflects a common misunderstanding of the Constitution. And that misunderstanding has led to a serious erosion of our freedom.
Let me explain. Both the Bill of Rights and judicial review — the idea that the courts can decide if a law is Constitutional or not — were hotly debated items when the Constitution was being drafted in 1789. The Federalists, the group led by Alexander Hamilton that wanted a national constitution, opposed including a Bill of Rights. They feared it would actually undermine what the Federalists regarded as the main protections against tyranny in the document — the limited nature of the national government itself.
The Constitution did not envision a national government of general jurisdiction — meaning a government that could do whatever it wanted — but rather, a government of enumerated and delegated powers — a government that had authority over only specific areas of American life. All other powers were to be beyond the scope of the national government and reserved to the States or to the American people themselves. That’s why, when political necessity forced the Federalists to yield to demands for a Bill of Rights, they took care to add two important amendments — the ninth and tenth:
“The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people,” and “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
These amendments reinforced the idea that the national government couldn’t just assume powers it had not been specifically granted by the Constitution. Unfortunately, these amendments have not stymied the expansion of the national authority. The power grab the Federalists feared — the national government taking more and more control over more and more areas of American life — took place. Not immediately, but over time, and especially beginning in the second half of the 20th century.
That same time frame has seen a similar concentration of power in the judiciary, especially in the Supreme Court — so that now, most Americans think of the Supreme Court as the ultimate arbiter of almost every social and political dispute. The Founders never envisioned the court in this role.
How has the Court fared in playing it? Well, there have been moments of glory, to be sure, such as in the racial de-segregation case of Brown v. Board of Education in the 1950s But it has also handed down decision after decision — from Dred Scott v. Sandford in the 1850s, which facilitated the expansion of slavery, to Roe v. Wade in the 1970s, which legalized abortion throughout the United States — in which the justices have plainly overstepped the bounds of their authority by creating law from the bench, thereby further expanding their own power and that of the national government.
Moreover, the Supreme Court has done little to stop the executive and legislative branches of the national government from unconstitutionally overreaching. Recently, the Court found a way, by a bare majority, to uphold an obvious case of constitutional overreach by the national government — the imposition of a law — or individual mandate, as it is known — requiring every citizen to purchase health insurance coverage as part of President Obama’s signature “Affordable Care Act.” The government defended this mandate as a legitimate exercise of its expressly delegated power to regulate commerce among the states. The trouble is that the mandate does not regulate commerce at all; rather, it forces people into commerce on pain of a financial penalty.
But why did the issue get to the courts at all? Congress and the president should have recognized and honored the fact that the Constitution simply does not empower the national government to impose a mandate on the people to purchase products, whether health insurance or anything else.
We’ve drifted a long way from the original vision of the Founders. The further we’ve drifted, the more powerful the national government has grown, and the less free Americans have become. Freedom can be taken away, but it can also be given away — out of sheer ignorance. If we Americans, we the people, want to get some of that freedom back, we need to read America’s founding documents. All the freedom we ever wanted is there.
I’m Robert George, Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University for Prager University.
Dennis Prager raises the right question. Abortion is not about legality. Abortion is all about morality. The essential question is does the baby have any value and rights?
Here are five important moral points:
Here is the transcript of the 5 minute video.
Let’s talk about one of the most emotionally charged subjects there is — abortion — but in an unemotional way. Also, let’s not touch on the question that most preoccupies discussion of the subject — whether abortion should be legal or illegal. The only question here is the moral one: Is ending the life of a human fetus — moral?
Let’s begin with this question: Does the human fetus have any value and any rights? Now, it’s a scientific fact that a human fetus is human life. Those who argue that the human fetus has no rights say that a fetus is not a person. But even if you believe that, it doesn’t mean the fetus has no intrinsic value or no rights. There are many living beings that are not persons that have both value and rights: Dogs and other animals, for example. And that’s Moral Argument Number One: A living being doesn’t have to be a person in order to have intrinsic moral value and rights.
When challenged with this argument, people usually change the subject to the rights of the mother — meaning the right of a mother to end her fetus’s life under any circumstance, for any reason, and at any time in her pregnancy. Is that moral? It is only if we believe that the human fetus has no intrinsic worth. But in most cases, nearly everyone believes that the human fetus has essentially infinite worth and an almost absolute right to live. When? When a pregnant woman wants to give birth. Then, society — and its laws — regard the fetus as so valuable that if someone were to kill that fetus, that person could be prosecuted for homicide. Only if a pregnant woman doesn’t want to give birth, do many people regard the fetus as worthless. Now, does that make sense?
It doesn’t seem to. Either a human fetus has worth or it doesn’t. And this is Moral Argument Number Two: On what moral grounds does the mother alone decide a fetus’s worth? We certainly don’t do that with regard to a newborn child. It is society, not the mother — or the father — that determines whether a newborn child has worth and a right to live.
So, the question is: Why should that be different before the human being is born? Why does one person, a mother, get to determine whether that being has any right to live? People respond by saying that a woman has the right to “control her body.” Now, that is entirely correct. The problem here, however, is that the fetus is not “her body;” it is in her body. It is a separate body. And that’s Moral Argument Number Three. No one ever asks a pregnant woman, “How’s your body?” when asking about the fetus. People ask, “How’s the baby?”
Moral Argument Number Four: Virtually everyone agrees that the moment the baby comes out of the womb, killing the baby is murder. But deliberately killing it a few months before birth is considered no more morally problematic than extracting a tooth. How does that make sense?
And finally, Moral Argument Number Five: Aren’t there instances in which just about everyone — even among those who are pro-choice — would acknowledge that an abortion might not be moral? For example, would it be moral to abort a female fetus solely because the mother prefers boys to girls — as has happened millions of times in China and elsewhere? And one more example: Let’s say science develops a method of determining whether a child in the womb is gay or straight. Would it be moral to kill a gay fetus because the mother didn’t want a gay child?
People may offer practical reasons not to criminalize all abortions. People may differ about when personhood begins; and about the morality of abortion after rape or incest. But with regard to the vast majority of abortions — those of healthy women aborting a healthy fetus — let’s be clear. Most of these abortions just aren’t moral.
Good societies can survive people doing immoral things. But a good society cannot survive if it calls immoral things moral.
Facts can be pesky details. Since 1970 Iran has agreed not obtain nuclear weapons.
What leads us to believe we can trust them now?
–Obama: “After two years of negotiations, we have achieved a detailed arrangement that permanently prohibits Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”
This might be the whopper of the speech. Only an academic audience could find this statement persuasive.
To begin with, Iran has been “permanently prohibited” from obtaining nuclear weapons since 1970, the year Iran signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. So this arms deal prohibits nothing that wasn’t already prohibited more than 45 years ago.
Even more important, the statement is utterly meaningless. It is like saying, “The United States has permanently prohibited murder.” It’s true, but so what? Iran’s behavior clearly indicates that it wants to develop nuclear weapons, and being “prohibited” from doing so did not and will not stop it. Again, it would be like saying, “Nazi Germany was prohibited from attacking Poland.”