Why don’t a lot of people trust the mainstream media?
Trust in the media is at an all-time low. But should it be? Why do fewer and fewer Americans trust the mainstream media? Continue reading
Is Google open to a diverse array of viewpoints? Or is it an ideological echo chamber? Just ask former Google software engineer James Damore. He was fired for disagreeing with Google’s (left-wing) orthodoxy. In this video, James shares his story.
I thought the big thing, the left side of politics, is to be tolerant and respect diversity. Seriously, what happened to that?
I guess is only as long as you agree with them. Be careful if you dissent.
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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.
Is having high self-esteem key to happiness? That’s what children are told.
But is it true? Or can that advice be doing more harm than good? Author and columnist Matt Walsh explains.
Jesus challenges us put him in charge. It is not about self.
And this from Jesus.
“Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but lose yourself? What could you ever trade your soul for?” ~Jesus (Matthew 16:24-26)
Should Americans celebrate Thanksgiving as a day of gratitude? Or should they mourn it as a day of guilt? Michael Medved, author of The American Miracle, shares the fascinating story of the first Thanksgiving.
Michael Medved always has great insights. I used to be able to listen to him on talk radio in Dallas but he has moved to another time slot now.
Did FDR help end the Great Depression? Did his New Deal improve an otherwise hopeless economy? Lee Ohanian, Professor of Economics at UCLA and consultant to the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, explains.
From Wikipedia we learn “The depression started in the United States after a major fall in stock prices that began around September 4, 1929, and became worldwide news with the stock market crash of October 29, 1929 (known as Black Tuesday). Between 1929 and 1932, worldwide gross domestic product (GDP) fell by an estimated 15%. By comparison, worldwide GDP fell by less than 1% from 2008 to 2009 during the Great Recession. Some economies started to recover by the mid-1930s. However, in many countries, the negative effects of the Great Depression lasted until the beginning of World War II.”
Was the British Empire a good or bad thing for the world? To put it another way, is freedom a good or bad thing for the world? Historian and author H.W. Crocker III explains why we may want to rethink the British Empire’s bad rap.
Script: Over the last 400 years, what power has done the most to spread the ideals of limited government, an independent judiciary, certain inalienable rights, and free markets? That power would be the British Empire.
It was Britain that gave these ideals to the United States. It was the British Empire, the largest empire the world has ever known, which made these ideals global aspirations. It was the British Empire, along with America, that defended these ideals in two colossal world wars. Freedom was an Englishman’s right—and wherever he went, he took that right with him. Whether he was an English colonist in America, governing himself through a locally-elected assembly; or an English adventurer, like Sir Stamford Raffles, creating the free-market city-state of Singapore; or an English officer, like T.E. Lawrence, leading Arab tribesmen against the Turks, the British always thought of themselves as liberators, as bringers of freedom.
The British believed the final and necessary justification of their empire was a moral one. The British kept the peace; they brought sound, honest administration; and they insisted that basic moral standards were honored. The British did not try to nation-build in the way we think of it now. They were under no illusions about making Arabs or Afghans or Zulus into Englishmen.
They were more than content to leave people alone, to let them be themselves, to govern them with the lightest possible hand. In American history, we remember this when we think of the British Empire’s so-called “benign neglect.” We can see it throughout the history of the British Empire. Think about the vast territory of the Sudan—it was governed by 140 British civil-servants. Even Gandhi praised the British Empire, paraphrasing Jefferson, saying that he believed that the best government was the government that governed least, and that he found that the British Empire guaranteed his freedom and governed him least of all. In the defense of freedom, the empire drew moral lines.
No power did more to abolish slavery and the slave trade in the modern world than did the British Empire. The British treasury spent enormous sums to liberate slaves and compensate slave-owners in the Caribbean. The Royal Navy had, as a primary duty, the eradication of the slave-trade—and, in fact, abolishing the slave trade become a major factor driving the expansion of the British Empire. The British enforced a Pax Britannica, putting down pirates, taming headhunters, and keeping the peace between previously warring tribes and religions. While respecting—and often ruling through—local leaders, the British still insisted on certain Judeo-Christian moral standards. They were not, in that respect, multiculturalists.
They had a firm sense of right and wrong. When Sir Charles Napier was confronted by the practice of suttee – widow-burning – in India, he told the Brahmin priests involved that he understood it was their custom. But the British had a custom, too: They hanged men who burned women alive, and their goods were confiscated. So, if the Brahmins insisted on continuing their tradition of widow-burning, then he would insist on following his British tradition of hanging the murderers of widows. Widow-burning in India soon ceased. For the complete script, visit https://www.prageru.com/courses/histo…
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…
Here is a great video from Prager University.
Does Israel discriminate against Arabs? Is it today’s version of apartheid South Africa? Olga Meshoe, herself a South African whose family experienced apartheid, settles the question once and for all.
Maybe you’ve heard someone say that Israel is an apartheid state. That Israel has a policy of segregating and oppressing the minority population within its borders – like South Africa once did.
Maybe you’ve been so outraged by this information that you have considered joining the BDS movement––the effort to boycott, divest and sanction Israel until it ends its alleged “racist” policies.
I don’t blame you.
Apartheid is a great evil and deserves to be fought wherever we find it.
But here’s the thing: You won’t find apartheid in the State of Israel.
So, I’ll put it bluntly: The BDS movement is a slick propaganda effort built on lies.
I think I have the credibility to make this claim.
Having grown up in South Africa, and having spent a fair amount of time in Israel, I know what apartheid is and what it is not. My parents were raised under real apartheid where blacks were, by law, separated from whites at every level, from education to drinking fountains.
Blacks couldn’t vote, couldn’t own land, couldn’t live next to, or use the same transportation system as whites. I remember my father telling me about how my grandfather was kicked and humiliated in public by a young white boy. All he was permitted to say was, “Please stop, little boss.” That was the world my family lived in.
That was the world of apartheid South Africa.
But in Israel, the law is color-blind. Israeli Arabs have the same rights as Israeli Jews. They ride the same buses, study in the same schools, and are treated in the same hospitals. Arabs are elected to Israel’s parliament, serve as judges, and fight in the Israeli military.
On my first trip to Israel, the group I was with had a Jewish tour guide and an Arab bus driver. Imagine our surprise, having heard that Israel is an apartheid state. This would have been inconceivable in apartheid South Africa.
All these things would be self-evident to anyone who did any kind of actual research, or, even better, visited Israel––something I encourage everyone to do.
BDS doesn’t want you to do research or visit Israel. It depends on the ignorance of its audience. Sadly, on American college campuses, BDS has a significant presence. It succeeds by playing on the good intentions of good people through deliberate deception.
In short, they lie.
And lies really make me angry because lies empower evil.
Lies about blacks empowered apartheid in South Africa.
Lies about Jews made the Holocaust possible.
And lies about Israel are misleading a lot of good-hearted young people into opposing the only country in the entire Middle East that doesn’t segregate and oppress its minority population. Just ask the next Egyptian Copt or Iraqi Christian you meet on campus.
So, the question people should really be asking is: What does the BDS movement want?
The answer is simple. They want to destroy Israel. They can’t do it militarily, so they try to do it through lies.
They say that Jews have no historic claim to Israel. Lie.
They say that Israel treats its Arabs as second-class citizens. Lie.
They say that Israel doesn’t want peace with its Arab neighbors. Lie.
If you tell lies, and you tell them often enough, people who don’t know the truth start to believe them.
The BDS movement’s leaders barely try to hide this charade. They will lie and say that they only want a Palestinian state living side-by-side with Israel, and then they say this:
“We oppose a Jewish state in any part of Palestine….Ending the occupation doesn’t mean anything if it doesn’t mean upending the Jewish state itself.” That’s from Omar Barghouti, a founder of BDS.
Barghouti lives in Israel, so you might expect that he said this from inside an Israeli prison, like Nelson Mandela during South African apartheid.
You would be wrong.
Barghouti is a PhD student at Israel’s Tel Aviv University, where he enjoys the same rights as every Israeli.
My parents could only dream of that kind of freedom.
Is Israel a perfect country? No. There are as many perfect countries as there are perfect people. But to call it an apartheid state is not only an insult to the only democracy in the Middle East and the only country with equal rights for all its minorities, it’s also an insult to the actual victims of apartheid––like my parents and all those who suffered under it.
I’m Olga Meshoe for Prager University.
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.
What exactly are charter schools? Are they good for students? Watch this video and decide for yourself if they help or hurt public education. This video is part of a collaborative business and economics project with Job Creators Network. To learn more about JCN, visit http://www.jobcreatorsnetwork.com.
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.
The Dark Art of Political Intimidation — By Kimberly Strassel
This is the United States of America. You are totally free to express your political views. No one is going to tell you what you can say or how you can say it, right? But what if you thought you’d be audited by the IRS or have your business boycotted or even lose your job? Would you speak freely then?
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.”
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.”