Blessings on you and your family, and from all the Huckabee staff!
My staff is taking a break to celebrate the Fourth of July with their families and enjoy a well-earned vacation week. But don’t worry, we’ve prepared plenty of newsletter material in advance. I’ll also have brief new commentaries on the big/more interesting stories of each day. Then, we’ll return to covering all the news that’s fit to give you fits in full force on Monday, July 11th.
Today's newsletter includes:
- Bible Verse of the Day
- More Farmers, Fewer Lawyers
- Freedom Doesn't Work Without Standards
- Self-Government Requires Self-Discipline
DAILY BIBLE VERSE
A man's gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men.
More Farmers, Fewer Lawyers
By Mike Huckabee
I hope you’re having a great 4th of July week, but between the celebratory fireworks on one hand and the anti-American political fireworks on the other, let’s take just a moment to reflect on what Independence Day really means and how it led to the freedoms and blessings that far too many Americans fail to appreciate these days.
Most historians (not New York Times writers, but real historians) mark the beginning of America as the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, 1776. But in truth, there was still a long road to travel before America as we know it came to be. First, of course, there was the matter of fighting a bloody revolution against Great Britain, one where victory was an overwhelming longshot, and win or lose, the leaders risked their lives, honor and fortunes. Victory was followed by more heated battles over what kind of government we would have.
Our Forefathers finally agreed to a blueprint, the Constitution, that wasn’t even introduced until 1789 – over 13 years later. Today, many Americans take those hard-won freedoms very lightly and seem eager to trade them away for false promises of security. Many can’t even name the freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. Maybe they’d cherish them more if they knew how close they came to not having them at all.
Did you know that the Constitution very nearly got passed without the Bill of Rights? Even some of the wisest of our forefathers thought a Bill of Rights was a dangerous idea. Alexander Hamilton argued that it was risky to list the rights the government couldn’t take away because then, politicians might try to grab any and every power that wasn’t specifically prohibited to them (apparently, the ability to rap wasn’t the only way Hamilton predicted the 21st century). He and many others also felt that a Bill of Rights was unnecessary: since nobody was surrendering their God-given rights by agreeing to the Constitution, there was no need to list them, right? Hamilton wrote, “Why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do?”
It’s ironic that Hamilton made that argument. Later on, as the first Treasury Secretary, he cited powers that the Constitution merely implied that the government had in order to take on debt, create a federal bank and impose unpopular taxes. Over a century later, when the federal income tax was passed, some lawmakers wanted to include a 10% limit, but they were voted down. Opponents scoffed that it was absurd to think the government would ever steal as much as 10% of an American’s hard-earned wages. Flash forward just 30 years, and they were happily taxing away 94%. So just imagine how few freedoms we’d have today if they’d listened to Hamilton and decided it wasn’t necessary to put specific limits on government power.
Luckily for us all, Thomas Jefferson won the argument, and the Bill of Rights was added. They even included the 9th amendment, which I’ll bet most people can’t even describe. Here’s what it says:
“The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”
It means that just because some God-given rights aren’t specifically listed, that doesn’t mean the people cede them to the government. Maybe because so many of the framers were also farmers, they understood that like weeds, government tends to grow and grow, choking out the productive crops -- and like a bull, it will trample you if you don’t corral it. (Also, it produces the same thing a bull does.)
So if we want to preserve our freedoms, and keep government limited, maybe we should send more farmers to Washington -- and fewer lawyers.
Freedom Doesn't Work Without Standards
By Mike Huckabee
We hear often these days that society shouldn’t have any absolute moral standards. Imposing standards is oppressive, judgmental and outdated. Like Linus and the Great Pumpkin, it doesn’t matter what we choose to believe, as long as we’re really sincere in believing it. “Your truth” matters more than “the truth.” Well, pardon me for saying so, but that’s…well, stupid (sorry, Linus!)
There are all sorts of absolute standards to which we adhere. A rock band might be filled with nonconformists, but they can’t each play in whatever key they feel like. You might concede Hannibal Lecter’s sincere belief in cannibalism, but you wouldn’t go to his house for dinner. It seems counter-intuitive, but freedom can’t work unless we all agree to abide by certain basic standards of right and wrong. When we step outside those boundaries, chaos ensues, as we’re seeing right now with blue city officials allowing leftwing extremists to ignore laws, seize public property or smash monuments and statues, just because they feel like it. That can leave a bad taste in your mouth, and I’m not still referring to Hannibal Lecter. I like to illustrate the concept with a story from the days when my own kids were young.
When my son John Mark was only 12, he decided one day to bake a cake. My wife Janet and I returned home and were greeted by our son, proudly offering ol’ dad the first taste. Well, it looked good, and I was already preparing some fatherly praise as I took that first bite. But what came out of my mouth wasn’t words. It was the cake. It was so awful, I had to spit it out. My first thought was that my son was trying to kill me for the insurance.
As soon as my tongue overcame its shock, I asked John Mark if he’d used a recipe. He said he had, and he’d followed it to the letter. Well, except that he didn’t know what a “dash” of salt meant, so he decided a cup of salt should be enough.
Now, my son worked hard on that cake…he had the best of intentions…and he sincerely believed he’d done a good job. But hard work, good intentions and sincere beliefs meant nothing once he decided he could make up his own measurement standards. That’s literally a recipe for disaster.
Freedom can’t exist in a moral vacuum. It makes some people uncomfortable to hear this, but without clear boundaries of right and wrong, the very concept of liberty breaks down. A person might argue that he should be free to look at pictures others find offensive. But if it’s pornography featuring a child who’s being exploited, then there’s more at stake than just the liberty of the viewer. There was a big controversy over separating children from parents who crossed the border illegally, but very few people brought up the fact that the parents chose to bring their children along as they knowingly violated federal immigration laws – or that (as a pilot DNA test program proved) in many cases, those weren’t even their parents but people illegally exploiting children they weren’t related to.
Self-government can’t mean each of us lives by our own unique set of rules. If that’s how you define liberty, then you’re just going to get less of it. When people live outside the boundaries of a principled and agreed-upon moral code, it inevitably leads to government that’s bigger and more intrusive (and an avalanche of lawsuits), just to force people to do the right thing. And if it doesn’t, then society quickly spirals into anarchy (look at all those “defund the police” cities.) Neither prospect is acceptable.
If you think more lawyers and bigger government actually improve society, or that doing away with laws and police is a good idea, then I have a delicious cake recipe I’d like to sell you. Then again, no…selling people a recipe for disaster would definitely be morally wrong.
Self-Government Requires Self-Discipline
By Mike Huckabee
There are a lot of things people like to believe that are patently absurd if you think about it. Much of the Obama Administration was based on making confident declarations – we can’t drill our way out of an energy shortage, it would take a magic wand to bring back manufacturing jobs, 2 percent growth is the “new normal,” etc. – all delivered in a somber, imperious tone that made them sound like unassailable truth, when in fact, all of them were patently false, as Trump later proved.
One of the most common pieces of false conventional wisdom is that “the government can’t legislate morality!” But of course, they do it all the time. We have millions of laws, just to enforce society’s consensus of what’s morally right or wrong. Liberals used to protest this, and now they’re the chief generators of morality laws, usually bans on everything they find morally offensive, including smoking, large sodas, using racist words or an unpreferred pronoun, giving someone an unrequested plastic straw, attending a protest for a cause they personally disagree with, etc. etc. etc. Each law comes with loopholes, so government adds more laws to close them. Plus we’ll need police, courts and jails, because some people will always insist on doing the wrong thing anyway. All to legislate morality.
(I know, today’s liberals want to do away with police and jails, but that’s just for actual criminals. They still want to arrest and jail law-abiding citizens who exercise rights they disapprove of, like reopening their businesses or attending church during an endless lockdown or protesting what they believe was an unfair election.)
Self-government requires self-discipline, self-respect, and respect for others. When people don’t follow an accepted standard moral code, government keeps passing new laws to try to force them to, which creates bigger government and more expense and less freedom for everybody. Maybe the national debt wouldn’t be sky high now if our behavior standards hadn’t sunk so low.
How much do people’s bad personal choices end up costing all the rest of us? You might be surprised at the size of the bill. When I left the governor’s office in Arkansas, we had more than 13,000 inmates in the Department of Corrections. Just keeping them locked up cost taxpayers more than $220 million a year. That’s more than it would have cost to send 13,000 kids to any college in the state, all expenses paid. If every prison inmate had just lived a moral life and stayed out of trouble, college really could have been free, or the taxpayers could have enjoyed a $220 million tax cut, or roads and services could have been improved and benefit everyone.
From the left, I’d always hear that we should spend more money on prisoners or else turn more of them loose. From the right, I’d hear that we should lock up more people and eliminate parole while cutting the prison budget. Both were unrealistic. But hardly anyone wanted to talk about the real problem: the lack of morality that led to all those people being locked up in the first place. That’s the one “root cause” that Democrats never cite.
And what about juvenile offenders? Every kid placed into our Division of Youth Services cost taxpayers up to $80,000 a year. If they’d all had stable, nurturing homes with two parents and been taught to be obedient, responsible and moral, it would’ve saved the taxpayers of just that one state $80 million a year. Imagine how many parks we could have built for all kids to enjoy, or how many books we could’ve bought for school libraries, if we could’ve freed up $80 million a year in the state budget.
A lot of kids get into trouble because of peer pressure, which social media and Twitter mob shaming have made even more oppressive. They think breaking the rules makes them look cool and that they will never face any consequences for it. So kids, when someone you know starts acting up, instead of rewarding them with your admiration or covering for them with your silence, please have the courage to stand up and say, “That’s not cool! Thanks for costing us our parks and turning our generation into tax slaves, jerk!”
Hey, as long as kids are going to be vulnerable to peer pressure, why not use its power for good?