Monday Brief

Brief

Sep. 3, 2001

THE FOUNDATION

“I place economy among the first and most important virtues, and public debt as the greatest of dangers to be feared…. To preserve our independence, we must not let our rulers load us with public debt…. We must make our choice between economy and liberty or confusion and servitude…. If we run into such debts, we must be taxed … in our necessities and comforts, in our labor and in our amusements…. If we can prevent the government from wasting the labor of the people, under the pretense of caring for them, they will be happy.” –Thomas Jefferson

INSIGHT

“I wish to preach not the doctrine of ignoble ease but the doctrine of the strenuous life; the life of toil and effort; of labour and strife; to preach that highest form of success which comes not to the man who desires mere easy peace but to the man who does not shrink from danger, from hardship, or from bitter toil, and who out of these wins the splendid ultimate triumph. A life of ignoble ease, a life of that peace which springs merely from lack either of desire or of power to strive after great things, is as little worthy of a nation as of an individual.” –Theodore Roosevelt.

GOOD NEWS

“Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division….” (Jesus in Luke 12:51)

“Who is like the wise man? And who knows the interpretation of a thing? A man’s wisdom makes his face shine, and the hardness of his countenance is changed.” (Ecclesiastes 8:1)

“Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.” (Proverbs 3:3-4)

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

ICTUS IMPRIMIS

“Our founders…recognized that only a virtuous people would deserve the continued blessings of liberty that had been bestowed upon them. Moreover, virtually all of our nation’s founders believed that a virtuous people was a necessary pre-condition for self-government, and that virtue could not be had or sustained without religion. President Washington…noted in his Farewell Address that ‘reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.’ Benjamin Rush was even more blunt: ‘Where there is no religion, there will be no morals’. …Since about the middle of the past century, the connection between religion and the public schools has been severed, with the predictable result that our public schools today too often fail in their most important task of inculcating moral virtue in the next generation of citizens, even when they succeed in outfitting our children with useful job and other skills. As Martin Luther King, Jr. once noted, ‘Education which stops with efficiency may prove the greatest menace to society. The most dangerous criminal may be the man gifted with reason but with no morals’,” –John C. Eastman

FAMILY

“Human [embryos] have yet to yield baby chicks or puppies. If allowed to grow, such cells produce boys and girls. That’s why the vocabulary surrounding stem-cell research, human cloning, and other fertility issues is so eerie. Discussions of ‘surplus embryos’ that will be ‘discarded anyway’ are cruelly dismissive of Microscopic-Americans who – if their potential body parts are not ‘harvested’ – will become citizens sooner than Thanksgiving turns to Labor Day.” –Deroy Murdock

CULTURE

“Our society increasingly has a problem confronting evil (which, like good, is essentially a religious concept). It’s frightening to think that a sane person could ruthlessly slaughter five children, kill and cannibalize 15 young men or murder 6 million strangers. It’s actually comforting to attribute such horrors to insanity. Mental illness can be treated with drugs and psychotherapy. But how do you treat evil? With the weapons of the spirit. And, when necessary, with very strong bars or a lethal injection.” –Don Feder

LIBERTY

“The reason this country continues its drift toward socialism and big nanny government is because too many people vote in the expectation of getting something for nothing, not because they have a concern for what is good for the country. A better educated electorate might change the reason many persons vote. If children were forced to learn about the Constitution, about how government works, about how this nation came into being, about taxes and about how government forever threatens the cause of liberty perhaps we wouldn’t see so many foolish ideas coming out of the mouths of silly old men.” –Lyn Nofziger

OPINION IN BRIEF

“Optimists in the West are willfully blind to the way totalitarians, tyrants and thugs negotiate. Democracies deal in good faith. Out of a desire to avoid conflict, they offer real concessions. The other side sees the bargaining table as an arena. It will take as much as it can get. What it offers in return is illusory. Ceded territory becomes a base for future attacks. Cease-fires are an opportunity to regroup.” –Don Feder

EDITORIAL EXEGESIS

“Jesse Helms announced that he will retire from the Senate next year, at the end of his fifth term. He will be missed – by the conservative movement, the country, and millions of now- and once-enslaved people worldwide. Helms, a former radio broadcaster, was first elected in 1972 at the high tide of Nixonian detente and dirigisme, and began laying the groundwork for a conservative revival. …Helms saved the Reagan Revolution. He was a fiery crusader on social issues, speaking with populist bluntness…. But the most immediate threats of the end of the 20th century were foreign, and he made his mark fighting them. Not a nomination nor an appropriation passed without his scrutiny, and his stubbornness earned him the epithet ‘Senator No.’ …But Helms’s contribution went beyond process. He sought for opportunities to fight Communism, not to buy it off, such as in Central America. After the fall of the Soviet Union he did not consider its puppet, Castro, yesterday’s news, but insisted that he pay for his continuing oppression of his people with economic pressure. He resisted every frittering away of American sovereignty. …Yet Helms’s focus on American interests became even more relevant in the post-Communist world, when believers in the end of history viewed the globe as a theater for bustling armed social work. …Ronald Reagan had the sunny disposition we look for in presidents. But Helms occupied an equally vital, if lesser, ecological niche, whose requirements for survival include a willingness to be hated. (Only someone of his truly affable and courtly nature could be so willing.) Who in the era of the compassionate junior Bush will take his place?” –National Review

THE GIPPER

“It’s hard when you’re up to your armpits in alligators to remember you came here to drain the swamp.” –Ronald Reagan (1982)

GOVERNMENT

“A republic is the highest form of government devised by man, but it also requires the greatest amount of human care and maintenance. If neglected, it can deteriorate into a variety of lesser forms, including a democracy (a government run by a small council or a group of elite individuals): or dictatorship (a government run by a single individual). As John Adams explained: ‘Democracy will soon degenerate into an anarchy; such an anarchy that every man will do what is right in his own eyes and no man’s life or property or reputation or liberty will be secure, and every one of these will soon mould itself into a system of subordination of all the moral virtues and intellectual abilities, all the powers of wealth, beauty, wit, and science, to the wanton pleasures, the capricious will, and the execrable … cruelty of one or a very few’.” –David Barton

POLITICAL FUTURES

“As ex-presidents go, Bill Clinton is likely to be far more entertaining than the insufferably self-righteous Jimmy Carter, the vapid Gerald Ford or even the sometimes likeable but essentially boring Senior Bush. So perhaps it’s best simply to relax and enjoy the ride.” –Alan W. Bock

FOR THE RECORD

“More evidence that a budget surplus is the enemy of small government and taxpayers, courtesy of the Republican Study Committee: During the four years before the surplus emerged (1993-1997), federal discretionary spending shrank by 2.2 percent; in the four years since then (1997-2001), federal discretionary spending swelled by 24.1 percent. And it’s not like the surplus is being put to good use. The military received a 3.7 percent pay hike, but that’s nothing compared to what several departments took in last year. The Department of Education won a 35.7 percent increase, Housing and Urban Development got 35.1 percent extra, and Labor received 35.2 percent more. (HUD’s budget, in fact, has gone up more than 82 percent since 1997.) Even Veterans Affairs outpaced the military raise, with its own budget increase of 7.2 percent. Then again, maybe it needs the money to prepare for all the retirements of soldiers sick of low pay and equipment shortages.” –National Review Online

**So, next time we are face to face with a formidable enemy, let’s make sure the front lines are staffed with Education, HUD and Labor bureaucrats – with the members of Congress who voted them their largess leading the line on white horses!

SELECT READER COMMENTS

“I is worth noting that the three most recent and horrific slayings in our country, (five children in Houston … the Ukrainian family in Sacramento … and now, the Iowa family), have been committed with the following weapons: a bathtub, a knife, and a hammer.”

“With regard to the "Culture Comment” piece about the woman who jumped from the Ship Canal Bridge this week - yes, there were many, thoughtless, cruel and self-involved people who encouraged her to jump. I was appalled. That was not the whole story however. The next day the woman’s room at Harborview Hospital was filled with cards and flowers from well-wishers. And more were being delivered all day. That doesn’t make up for the cruelty and unfeeling attitude of those who jeered and harassed her, but it gives me some encouragement that maybe they aren’t the majority.“

"The Washington Times reports that half of U.S. states are names of Indian origin. Maryland and Virginia both have numerous places with Indian names: Chesapeake, Potomac, Chincoteague, etc. She notes that 68 place names in Maryland contain the word ‘Indian.’ I wonder if the Commission on Indian Affairs would prefer that we drop all place names that honor Native-Americans too.”

The Federalist often surprises me with its erudition. But in times when public and private events conspire to make life difficult, there is Publius with a pearl, shining from the mud. Faced with the need to make hard decisions, when the ordinary is difficult and the difficult seems impossible, God finds a way to send his message of hope and renewal.”

“Sure, my SUV is heating the planet…and have you seen how flat it is getting?”

THE LAST WORD

“So we should, as a long-overdue safety measure, ban babies. But that is not my point. My point is that there is good news on the cell phone front, which is that several companies – including Image Sensing Systems and Netline – are selling devices that jam cell phone signals. Yes! These devices broadcast a signal that causes every cell phone in the immediate vicinity to play the 1974 hit song ‘Kung Fu Fighting.’ No, that would be too wonderful. But, really, these devices, which start at around $900, cause all nearby cellular phones to register NO SERVICE. Unfortunately, there’s a catch. Because of some outfit calling itself the ‘Federal Communications Commission,’ the cell phone jamming devices are illegal in the United States. I say this stinks. I say we should all contact our congresspersons and tell them that if they want to make it up to us consumers for foisting those lousy low-flow toilets on us, they should put down their interns for a minute and pass a law legalizing these devices, at least for beach use. I realize some of you disagree with me. I realize you have solid reasons – perhaps life-and-death reasons – you MUST have your cellular phone working at all times, everywhere. If you’re one of those people, please believe me when I say this: I can’t hear you.” –Dave Barry

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