One can hardly blame Mexican citizens for being fed up with the way their nation is being run and expressing that displeasure at the polls. But electing a radical leftist who wants less immigration enforcement and to flood the US with illegal immigrants and whose economic policies have drawn comparisons to Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez is definitely like trying to escape the frying pan by leaping headfirst into the fire.
Shapiro v. Maher
Entertaining video: Ben Shapiro debates Bill Maher on the lack of civility in the US, which the left blames on the right, even as they bully Republican families out of restaurants and riot on campuses to shut down conservative speech.
Naturally, I think Ben easily won this debate (it’s hard even for Bill Maher to make a convincing argument that Maxine Waters is less offensive than anybody.) But I would add a note to his observation that leftists need to make up their minds whether Trump is an ignorant doofus or an evil genius because they keep attacking him as both, depending on the topic. Actually, they’ve had plenty of practice: they did the same thing to George W. Bush for eight years. He was either a moronic chimp or a Machiavellian genius, whichever was more convenient for the narrative at the time. I know it’s impossible for both to be true, but you can’t be a “progressive” without believing at least 10 impossible things before breakfast.
Obama's unusual introduction
Memo to DNC Chairman Tom Perez: No, Barack Obama is not the “real President of the United States.” He’s the “former President of the United States.” Donald Trump is the real President. And despite what the media might lead you to believe, there are many millions of Americans who are thrilled about both of those titles.
Democrat hopes for 2020 pinned on...
Democrats who are dreaming of beating President Trump and retaking the White House in 2020 have a fundamental problem: who will they run? A new poll from Harvard CAPS/Harris asked their preferences, and the top names aren’t very inspiring. Three of them have already run for President and lost the nomination. One lost the nomination, then finally got it and lost the election (that’s right: her AGAIN!)
And here’s something the linked article doesn’t go into that says a lot about the self-described party of youth, forward-thinking and new ideas: the top four choices alone, who garnered a total of 76% support, have a combined age of 290. On Wednesday, America itself only turns 242. Two-hundred-ninety years back was 1728, the year Cotton Mather died. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if he joined the Democratic race, too, except I doubt he would approve of today’s Democratic Party. Even though he probably votes a straight Democratic ticket in Chicago to this day.
Keep government limited
I hope you’re having a great 4th of July week, but amid all the fun and fireworks, let’s take just a moment to reflect on what Independence day really means and how it led to the freedoms and blessings we often take for granted today.
Most 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 far from certain. That was followed by heated battles over what kind of government we would have.
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Our Forefathers finally agreed to a blueprint, the Constitution, that wasn’t even introduced until 1789 – over 13 years later. But today, too many Americans take those hard-won freedoms very lightly. Many seem willing to trade them away for false promises of security. Some 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 power that wasn’t specifically prohibited to them (apparently, the ability to rap wasn’t the only way Hamilton predicted the current century). He and many others also felt that a Bill of Rights was unnecessary: since nobody was surrendering their 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 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 take 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 limit 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.
So if we want to preserve our freedoms, and keep government limited, maybe we should send more farmers to Washington -- and fewer lawyers.
Moral Standards are necessary
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. Well, pardon me for pointing it out, 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. 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.
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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 a photo of a child who’s being exploited, then there’s more at stake than just the liberty of the viewer. We’re currently having a big media controversy over whether to separate children from parents who cross the border illegally, but very few people bring up the fact that the parents chose to bring their children along as they knowingly violated federal immigration law.
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 always leads to government that’s bigger and more intrusive, just to force people to do the right thing. Not to mention creating an avalanche of lawsuits.
If you think more lawyers and bigger government actually improve society, then I have a delicious cake recipe I’d like to sell you. Then again, no…taking your money for that cake recipe would definitely be morally wrong.