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Monday Brief

Brief

Aug. 20, 2001

THE FOUNDATION

“With respect to the words general welfare, I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers (enumerated in the Constitution) connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators.” –James Madison

INSIGHT

“Equality, in a social sense, may be divided into that of condition, and that of rights. Equality of condition is incompatible with civilization, and is found only to exist in those communities that are but slightly removed from the savage state. In practice, it can only mean a common misery.” –James Fenimore Cooper

GOOD NEWS

“For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.” (1 Timothy 6:7-8)

“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” (James 1:22)

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)

“Better the little that the righteous have than the wealth of many wicked; for the power of the wicked will be broken, but the LORD upholds the righteous.” (Psalm 37:16-17)

“Wicked men are overthrown and are no more, but the house of the righteous stands firm.” (Proverbs 12:7)

ICTUS IMPRIMIS

“It is ironic that, although fundamentalists are implacably opposed to liberalism, their extreme reaction shows the same weakness. They, too, stress the leap of faith and make irrationality almost a principle, dismissing the serious questions of seeking modern men as intellectual smoke-screens or diversions to conceal deeper personal problems. All this masks a desperate intellectual insecurity, barely disguised by the surrounding hedge of taboos to preserve purity. The strident intolerance of much guilt-driven evangelism betrays the same insecurity. In these circles, much that is taught has to be unlearned in the wider school of life, and it is not surprising that universities are littered with dropouts from such groups. Their non-rational, subjective faith is cruelly punctured by varsity-level questions, and many manage to survive only by resorting to a severely schizophrenic faith which they hold to be true religiously but not intellectually, historically, or scientifically.” –Os Guinness

FAMILY

“Yet, there is something to be said for the compulsions of the fathers. Men, as has been frequently noted, have their failings. The urge to make things right is their counter-failing, their allegory to women’s urge to nurture. The male urge is of course ridiculous. Who can fix the world, even for one child? But its ridiculousness makes it great. In every life, there should be someone who believes that whatever goes wrong must be fixed, and if not fixed, must at least be made to go away.” –Michael Kelly

CULTURE

“Respect for human rights is something that should be cherished, and nowhere on earth are they fully respected – but some countries and cultures have a far better record than others. The Western world and its culture have a far superior record of human-rights protections than anywhere else. Think about it. If you are a feminist, where would you prefer to live: Iran, Saudi Arabia, China or a country in Africa? If you are a criminal, where would you prefer to be tried and imprisoned: Turkey, Mexico, China or Russia? If you are a minority, where would you prefer to live: Burundi, Albania, Malaysia or Liberia? If you were an unborn spirit condemned to live a life of poverty, but permitted to choose a country for that life, what country would you choose: Chad, Romania, North Korea or Kenya? A moment’s reflection to any of these questions would yield an answer: You would prefer the United States or a European country. That’s not to say that the United States and European countries are utopias, but by observing who’s trying to flee to where suggests they are superior alternatives to other places.” –Walter Williams

LIBERTY

“The Constitution’s guarantee of religious freedom must not depend on the whims of IRS bureaucrats. Religious institutions cannot freely preach their beliefs if they must fear that the government will accuse them of ‘politics.’ We cannot allow churches to be silenced any more than we can allow political dissent in general to be silenced. Free societies always have strong, independent institutions that are not afraid to challenge and criticize the government.” –Rep. Ron Paul

OPINION IN BRIEF

“The 20th century, which was to have yielded the sweet fruits of scientific progress, was instead a century of massive brutality, wholesale carnage, and random destruction such as the world had never seen. We learned, or should have learned, that the advancement of science does not necessarily correspond with an advancement of virtue. When technology increases man’s power, it extends the impact and scope of his capability to do evil as well as good. The separation of science from ethics and morality has been and can be disastrous.” –Linda Bowles

EDITORIAL EXEGESIS

“Surrounded by a wall of fire spurred by wind in the Okanagan National Forest, trapped firefighters pleaded for more than nine hours on July 11 for water to be dropped by helicopters. By the time water was finally thrown, four young firefighters, two women and two men, lay dead below, consumed by the raging fire, 140 miles northeast of Seattle. Just what could have possibly caused this tragic delay that resulted in these deaths? Could it have been a shortage of water? Or perhaps complicated technical problems? …[A] dispatch team for the U.S. Forest Service held off on using water from the nearby Chewuch River to extinguish the flame because they were afraid it might harbor endangered fish or some other species. And because of provisions in the Endangered Species Act, these bureaucrats were presumably afraid that if they used the river water to put out the fire, they would prompt a lawsuit by environmentalists. … The Endangered Species Act is no doubt an anachronistic piece of legislation that has, ironically enough, been the cause of many forest fires since it has prevented officials from removing mature timber that easily catches fire in protected areas. But the officials who contributed to the decision to delay the rescue of the firefighters can’t hide behind legislation. Their primary concern should have been to save the people fighting the fire and deal later with any potential lawsuit. It appears these robotic bureaucrats – whose slavish adherence to orders and laws trumps their humanity – need new legislation, such as an Endangered Humans Act, to take proper measures to save the lives of human beings in danger.” –Washington Times

THE GIPPER

“Conservatism is the antithesis of the kind of ideological fanaticism that has brought so much horror and destruction to the world. The common sense and common decency of ordinary men and women, working out their own lives in their own way – this is the heart of American conservatism today. Conservative wisdom and principles are derived from willingness to learn, not just from what is going on now, but from what has happened before.” –Ronald Reagan

GOVERNMENT

“According to the Constitution of the United States, the government cannot take private property without compensation. However, judges have been letting governments get away with doing just that for about half a century now. So long as the title to the property remains in the hands of its owners, the courts let local, state and federal governments do pretty much what they please, even if that destroys much of the value of the property. From an economic point of view, there is no real difference between confiscating half of someone’s property and reducing its value by half. When county officials drastically restrict the uses to which land can be put, that land becomes less valuable on the market. A farmer cannot sell his land to someone who wants to build an apartment complex if the county regulations make it illegal to build an apartment complex. When the use of land is restricted to ways that only the wealthy can afford, that eliminates a major part of the demand for that land – and a major part of its value. Land use laws are just one way that governments can confiscate much of the value of private property without having to compensate the owner. …One of the reasons property rights do not get all the protection that the Constitution prescribes is that they are seen as special benefits to the affluent, which must give way to the general welfare. …This ignores the value of property rights to the society as a whole, including people who own no property. Most Americans do not own agricultural land, but they get an abundance of food at affordable prices because farmers own both land and its produce as their private property, and therefore have incentives to produce far more efficiently than in countries where the land is owned by the government. The Soviet Union was a classic example of the latter, with hungry people despite an abundance of fertile land, inefficiently used under government control. …It is precisely the wealthy and the affluent who gain by restricting other people’s property rights. Although the average rich person – by definition – has more money than other people, the non-rich often have far more wealth in the aggregate, simply because they are more numerous. In a free market with undiluted property rights, the non-rich would out-bid the rich for much land and use that land in ways that suit the circumstances of ordinary people. For example, grand estates would be broken up into smaller plots for more modest homes or used for building apartment complexes. That is what the affluent and the wealthy strive to prevent by government-imposed restrictions on land use. Such restrictions also increase the value of the existing estates of the rich.” –Thomas Sowell

POLITICAL FUTURES

“The public and even the Republican Party are slow to realize the implications of the immigration issue, but upon the immigration issue hang all other issues. We are already in a precarious position. Bush’s amnesty for illegal aliens would be political suicide in four years. It would result not only because of the increased numbers of Mexican immigrants likely to vote against him, his party, and conservative principles, but an increasing number of conservative voters who will no longer tolerate such blundering stupidity and disrespect of their interests.” –Lew Rockwell

FOR THE RECORD

THEN:
“The evidence is irrefutable and irreducible: This [welfare reform] legislation, once enacted into law, will create more poverty and hunger among children in America.” –Sen. Leftist Paul Wellstone

“The best available evidence is that this legislation would substantially increase poverty and destitution while doing too little to change the welfare system to one that provides greater opportunity for families in return for demanding greater responsibility. … [This welfare reform bill is] the most brutal act of social policy since Reconstruction.” –Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan

“We know how welfare reform will turn out, too: wages will go down, families will fracture, millions of children will be more miserable than ever.” –The New Republic

NOW:
“From 1995 to 2000, the proportion of kids living with single mothers fell a stunning 8%…. The percentage of black kids living with married parents shot up from 34.8% to nearly 39%. Bill Bennett’s Index of Leading Cultural Indicators shows that the percentage of the population on welfare has declined consistently over the past five years – from 5.5% in 1994 to 2.6% in 1999. That’s cutting welfare rolls in half and giving new hope and opportunity to millions. ‘Welfare to work’ is working. Incentives do, indeed, impact behavior.” –FRC’s Ken Connor

“After a decade-long slide, the proportion of black children living with two married parents increased significantly – by over 10%– in the last five years.” –New York Times

SELECT READER COMMENTS

“Now that the Red Chinese are insisting we compensate them for the EP-3 incident, how about we bill them for the Wen Ho Lee incident? We certainly are on firmer ground than they are!”

“President Bush overlooked a fundamental element of law and morality in his decision to allow the federal government to fund stem cell research. It has always been wrong to allow benefit from a crime. We don’t allow criminals to profit from published stories or interviews about their crimes.”

“Why is it that President Bush’s 2001 income tax Cut automatically expires in 2011 (reverting back to previous, i.e. Clinton-era, tax rates), but Clinton’s 1993 income tax Increase does NOT automatically expire in 2003 (reverting back to pre-1993 rates)?
Editor’s Reply: Different rules for tax increases and tax decreases on the theory that increases don’t create budget deficits but decreases do! We think sunsetting BUDGET increases would be the best of all strategies for reducing debts!

In the Federalist Digest 01-33, bearded Al Gore is tagged as 2004 presidential hopeful ‘Alberto Gorsky.’ Careful, now, gentlemen. Let’s not contribute to the curious doctrine that only pinkos and leftists sport beards.”
Editor’s Reply: Oh, that interpretation would, indeed, be a mistake. One may accurately infer from our comments only that Gore is running “incognito.”

“So the Kyoto treaty really isn’t about the earth, but leftism/socialism/communism/fascism. Let me quote from the 01-33 Chronicle: ‘Be alert to the beginnings of evil. It never comes under the appearance of evil, but always under the appearance of the beautiful, the promising, the idealistic, the pleasant.’ –Michael Novak
Editor’s Reply: Let me add the following, ‘and that which gives us the feelings of FAIRNESS.’”

“The NEA is rite, our skools needs mor teercherin on talleruns an pubik larnin on reedin, ritin, and ritmatic so it cun sho upp on tiss skores.”

THE LAST WORD

“I live in Florida, where we have BIG cockroaches. …They are so big that, when they back up, they are required by law to emit warning beeps. These cockroaches could harm Florida’s image. But we Floridians solved that problem by giving them a new name, ‘palmetto bugs,’ which makes them sound cute and harmless. So when a guest walks into a Florida kitchen and screams at the sight of an insect the size of Charles Barkley, we say: ‘Don’t worry! It’s just a palmetto bug!’ And then we and our guest have a hearty laugh, because we know there’s nothing to worry about, as long as we do not make any sudden moves toward the palmetto bug’s sandwich. So changing names is a sound idea, an idea based on the scientific principle that underlies the field of marketing, which is: People are stupid. Marketing experts know that if you call something by a different name, people will believe it’s a different thing. That’s how ‘undertakers’ became ‘funeral directors.’ That’s how ‘trailers’ became ‘manufactured housing.’ That’s how ‘We’re putting you on hold for the next decade’ became ‘Your call is important to us’.” –Dave Barry

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