The Long Version

Retired broadcast journalist. Blogging helps scratch the itch. Recovering exRepublican – Sober and still Conservative.

An Open Letter to the U.S. House of Representatives

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By Jeff Minick

Dear Members of the House of Representatives,

I hope this letter finds you in fine fettle.

This is a first for me. I’ve never written an open letter. Usually celebrities, politicians, and academics compose and deliver these missives, often brickbats of denunciation and self-defense, to be printed in the media. For an ordinary guy like me, writing an “open letter” seems a bit pretentious. It makes me want to slip into a silk bathrobe, pop an American Spirit Light into a long-stemmed holder, dandle a glass of Korbel Brut in the other hand, and stroll about a rose garden dictating my words to a secretary who looks like Juliette Binoche.

Instead, here I sit in a McDonald’s six hours from home, sipping coffee, listening to tunes on the sound system from the fifties and sixties, and glancing now and then at a table of five old-timers nibbling their Egg McMuffins and discussing aircraft and the Wright Brothers.

Well, enough about me. Let’s talk about you.

Since Donald Trump’s election to the presidency, a number of you, some Democrats, some Republicans, some socialists, some independents, have talked and talked about impeaching the president. I can certainly understand why. His election was a stunner, wasn’t it? I’ve heard some folks were so upset they actually entered therapy. Others are still so unhappy they light themselves on fire or stab themselves. (When my candidates lose, I just toss back an extra gin-and-tonic, hit the sack, and go to work in the morning. Different strokes for different folks.)

The Mueller Report, two years in the making, exonerated President Trump of any collusion with Russia. That our president didn’t conspire with Boris and Natasha to subvert the United States is surely cause to break out the champagne, yet it brought sackcloth and ashes in certain quarters.

Now some of you are demanding that Attorney General William Barr break the law by giving you an unredacted copy of the report. Others accuse President Trump of mental illness. (The Soviets notoriously used this tactic as a way to put dissidents behind bars.) Some of you call for impeachment for no reason other than to appease your more rabid constituents.

You’ve stuck to this subject like a tick on a dog, but polls reveal most Americans are tired of the circus. You seem to forget that many of them voted for Trump and will be more than a little unhappy if you impeach him. Others, even many who didn’t vote for him, believe you are engaged in a vendetta, not a quest for justice.

Anyway, I have a suggestion for you.

Why not try solving some of our nation’s problems?

Let’s look at just two issues.

Our nation is 22 trillion dollars in debt. (I can’t even imagine how a million dollars stacks up, much less a trillion.) The Washington Post reports we are on track to a trillion dollar deficit in the 2020 budget alone. I have four children and a platoon of grandchildren, and don’t really like to imagine them living as paupers because our Congress lacked the guts to look a few years into the future and slash the budget.

And yet you seem to have your personal finances in order. Your current annual salary is $174,000. (The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the salary of the average American is about $45,000.) You are, as I write, considering giving yourselves a raise. (How many employees anywhere get to vote to give themselves a raise? And yes, ladies and gentlemen, you are employees, something you tend to forget.) In fact, some of you leave Congress as millionaires. How about performing this same magic on the federal deficit?

You see, what’s frustrating to those of us outside the Beltway is that so many of you seem irresponsible with everyone else’s money other than your own.

Then there’s illegal immigration. The New York Times, CNN, and other media have recently acknowledged a crisis on our southern border. The place is falling apart. Hundreds of thousands of people are entering our country, some slipping across the border, others being caught and then released inside the United States. Most recently, we have reports that hundreds of illegal immigrants from the Ebola-stricken Congo – the Congo, for heaven’s sake! – were caught wading across the Rio Grande.

Were they turned back? Nope. They were dumped in the streets of San Antonio.

So what are you doing about this invasion? Any plans?

In the last twenty years or so, Congress has had a hand in our failing education system, a health care program that baffles many and brings ever greater costs, a military second to none but with boatloads of wasted dollars, and a government with lots of “non-essential” jobs.

Were you not elected to represent your constituents and to defend American interests?

How about giving it a shot? How about doing your job?

As for impeachment, which will likely backfire big-time if you go through with it, let me conclude with the words of the young woman pressed to get an abortion by her companion in Ernest Hemingway’s short story “Hills Like White Elephants”:

“Would you please please please please please please please stop talking?”

Encouraging you to do so, and to do your duty to the rest of us,

Jeff Minick

[Image Credit: Architect of the Capitol, Public Domain]

This post An Open Letter to the U.S. House of Representatives was originally published on Intellectual Takeout by Jeff Minick. Reposted by permission.

https://www.intellectualtakeout.org/sites/all/themes/ito/js/ito-repub.js

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The Case For the Electoral College

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Damn that antiquated constitution and it’s old fashioned rules regarding how we elect our leaders!

The political Left appears to be in all out war against the constitution, the Founders of our nation, and our history. They wish to pick and choose which parts they will adhere to and which parts they won’t depending on the political advantage or disadvantage said parts provide them…

Now they are after the Electoral College.Electoral College

Apparently the election of Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton so riled the Leftists that they are now convinced, after 230+ years of use, the Electoral College is no longer useful. They are convinced abolishing the Electoral College will solve all of their election woes (and put them solidly back in eternal power).

But in their rush to get rid of one of the oldest institutions in our political system, they are overlooking some significant consequences should they be able to do so. You see, the pendulum always swings back.

Tara Ross is a historical scholar on our Republican form of government, the constitution, and our Founders. This was taken from a Twitter thread by Ross. I encourage you to follow her on social media. You will learn much about America and its form of government.

The Founders created the Electoral College because they knew several things we seem to have forgotten:

  1. Simple democracies are dangerous.
  2. Bare or emotional majorities can tyrannize even large minority groups.
  3. Two wolves and a sheep voting on what’s for dinner is not a good system.

They understood that humans are fallible. Power corrupts. Ambition, selfishness, and greed are dangers to freedom. Some claim Founders were elitists who didn’t trust the people. NO. They didn’t trust ANYONE. Not the people, not elected officials, not states or feds. Checks & balances on EVERYONE.

Carol Berkin states this wonderfully, noting that delegates to the Constitutional Convention were the most likely men to be elected to the first Senate or as the first President, yet they still sat and debated how to put checks and balances on those offices because THEY DIDN’T TRUST THEMSELVES either.

The Electoral College serves us well. It has several benefits that go unrecognized. First it makes it harder to steal elections. You can’t steal an election unless you can steal votes in right state at the right time and during a close national election.

With a National Popular Vote system, any vote stolen anywhere affects national outcome. This is true even if the vote is easily stolen in a very safe blue or red state. This is a dangerous situation that the Electoral College protects us from today.

Second, the Electoral College rewards coalition-building. Perhaps that sounds weird after 2016? But NO ONE really focused on coalition building that year. The result? A close election. One party lost. The other mostly avoided losing. But, yes, there was a coalition and it won.

The coalition that won in 2016 consisted of a group of voters who grew tired of being ruled by DC elites. They felt ignored, unheard. They saw DC insiders living by one set of rules while they were forced to live by another. They were tired of being told what to think and tired of being called names simply because they didn’t agree with those elites.

Some of this coalition voted for Trump enthusiastically. Some held their noses and voted for him. But the coalition all agreed he was most likely to upset the status quo in D.C. and that gave Trump the White House. Right now, Democrats are very focused on eliminating the Electoral College they believe caused them to lose. But they’d be better off focusing on why they lost in first place. They should consider how they might reach out to the millions of voters who feel ignored. They should be searching for middle ground. They should focus on things that bring us together instead of things that drive us apart. They should figure out why they lost the trust of so many voters within their own ranks who crossed over.

They need to run a campaign more like FDR. If Democrats can find that nominee, they will win in a landslide in 2020 WITH the Electoral College firmly in place. Similarly, Republicans don’t have to be stuck in world where they barely win by the skin of their teeth each election. They too should find middle ground. How can they build coalitions? Earn trust? Figure that out and their will start winning again in Reagan-like landslides.

We need to stop going off in our partisan corners. Quit pointing fingers at the other side. Quit blaming the Electoral College for the party’s own failures. Instead focus on what your own party did wrong or right in 2016.

The first party to take hard look inward and fix its own flaws will start winning again. In landslides. Electoral College and all. We’ve been here before. After the Civil War, the country was sharply divided between North and South. But due to the Electoral College, both political parties were forced to move past that division or suffer massive defeat politically.

Pretty much whether they wanted to or not, Democrats in South simply couldn’t win without reaching a hand across the aisle. Republicans could win by relying on their safe areas, but just barely. Both sides had incentives to look at their own mistakes and figure out how to build better coalitions.

By the 1930s, of course, Democrats were winning in repeated landslides. The lesson? Remember that we live in a big, diverse country! Don’t force people into one-size-fits-all thinking. THAT is the lesson the Electoral College has taught over and over again, throughout our history.

Getting rid of the system now, when we are so angry and divided…. Well, it’s the worst possible solution. We’ll be stuck in this angry place forever. We are better off trying to remember why we have the Electoral College in first place.

Interestingly, there have been only five occasions in which a closely divided popular vote for the presidency and the Electoral College vote have failed to point in the same direction. 5 times in 235 years.

The Electoral College was designed by the framers deliberately, like the rest of the Constitution, to counteract the worst human impulses and protect the nation from the dangers inherent in democracy. The Electoral College is neither antiquated nor toxic; it is an under-appreciated institution that helps preserve our constitutional system, and it deserves a full-throated defense.

 

Written by DCL

May 21, 2019 at 3:59 pm

Posted in Politics

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CBS News Reporter Confirms: News Media Has Leftwing Bias

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Lara Logan CBS NewsLara Logan may not be a household name in the world of journalism, but she has been a part of some well-known international news stories over the past decade.

Logan, who is from South Africa, began her news career there in Durban in 1990 and has worked for Reuters, ABC, NBC, and CBS as a freelance reporter internationally. In 2002 Logan was offered a correspondent position with CBS News where she spent most of her time on battlefields reporting in war zones around the world. Logan also made regular appearances on CBS 60 Minutes.

But Logan is perhaps best known for what happened to her off camera than on. In 2011 she was in Egypt covering the Egyptian revolution when she and her camera crew were arrested and detained by Egyptian police. They were later released but as they moved back into the streets a large group of Egyptian males encountered them and began to make lurid comments about Logan. Soon the crowd became aggressive and Logan was taken by the mob and sexually assaulted. She would later say she believed she was going to be killed. She spent several days in a US hospital upon her arrival from Egypt.

With nearly 30 years of journalistic experience at major news networks around the world, Logan is a prime candidate to speak on the subject of bias in the news industry. She sat down with retired Navy Seal Mike Ritland and was interviewed for Mike’s podcast “Mike Drop.” Logan had interviewed Ritland 6 years earlier for a segment on 60 Minutes. Now Logan was on the side being questioned.

Ritland has been a harsh critic of the American news media, calling it “absurdly left-leaning” and that “Democrat biases were a huge —-ing problem” and a disaster for the country. “I agree with that. That’s true,” Logan replied. She also implied it wasn’t just an American problem. “The media everywhere is mostly liberal, not just the U.S.,” she said. In the U.S., Logan says there are only a small number of news organizations that don’t march to the Leftist drumbeat. She cited Fox News and Breitbart as two examples.

In the podcast with Ritland, Logan talks about her experience in newsrooms.

“Visually, anyone who’s ever been to Israel and been to the Wailing Wall has seen that the women have this tiny little spot in front of the wall to pray, and the rest of the wall is for the men. To me, that’s a great representation of the American media, is that in this tiny little corner where the women pray you’ve got Breitbart and Fox News and a few others, and from there on, you have CBS, ABC, NBC, Huffington Post, Politico, whatever, right? All of them. And that’s a problem for me, because even if it was reversed, if it was vastly mostly on the right, that would also be a problem for me.”

“My experience has been that the more opinions you have, the more ways that you look at everything in life — everything in life is complicated, everything is gray, right? Nothing is black and white.”

“This is the problem that I have. There’s one Fox, and there’s many, many, many more organizations on the left. … The problem is the weight of all these organizations on one side of the political spectrum. When you turn on your computer, or you walk past the TV, or you see a newspaper headline in the grocery store If they’re all saying the same thing, the weight of that convinces you that it’s true. You don’t question it, because everyone is saying it. Unless you seek out Breitbart on your computer, you’re probably not even going to know what the other side is saying.”

She wonders how people can know what’s accurate and what’s not when so many news outlets are saying the exact same thing, in many cases word for word.

“How do you know you’re being lied to? How do you know you’re being manipulated? How do you know there’s something not right with the coverage?” she asked.

“When they simplify it all, there’s no gray. It’s all one way. Well, life isn’t like that. If it doesn’t match real life, it’s probably not. Something’s wrong. For example, all the coverage on Trump all the time is negative. … That’s a distortion of the way things go in real life.”

Logan continued, “Although the media has historically always been left-leaning, we’ve abandoned our pretense, or at least the effort, to be objective today. We’ve become political activists, and some could argue propagandists, and there’s some merit to that.”

Another major problem she sees is the use of anonymous sources, particularly in the government. “That’s not journalism, it’s horse shit,” she said. “Responsibility for fake news begins with us.”

At the end of the three hour and forty-nine minute interview, Logan said something that in itself is very revealing of the state of our free press in America. She said, “This interview is professional suicide for me.” A sad, but likely all too true, sentiment in the era of Trump and the news media.

Here is the full video of the interview from the Mike Drop podcast.

Written by DCL

February 19, 2019 at 10:45 am

Climate Changes… It’s Called Weather.

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We're all gonna die!I was born more than half a century ago.

Since that time major newspapers and news organizations along with numerous climate, environmental, and scientific groups have made claims and predictions that when viewed today are laughable, but when reported were considered very serious and in need of immediate attention and action.

During the past 50+ years of living on this planet the media has reported the following:

  • Global cooling. A new ice age was approaching. In fact scientists wrote Richard Nixon to warn him of the coming cold and ask for help reversing the impending frigid world. It was even suggested that soot be spread across the poles to melt the ice and slow down the process.
  • The Ozone Layer would soon disappear.
  • The oceans would be dead with no life left in them.
  • Acid rain would destroy all the forests.
  • Ecologist Kenneth Watt said, “By the year 2000, if present trends continue, we will be using up crude oil at such a rate…that there won’t be any more crude oil.”
  • Harvard biologist George Wald estimated that “civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.”
  • “It is already too late to avoid mass starvation,” declared Denis Hayes, the chief organizer for Earth Day, in the Spring 1970 issue of The Living Wilderness.
  • The polar ice caps would completely melt causing the oceans to rise and swallow up places like Manhattan and huge chunks of the East and West Coasts.
  • In January 1970, Life reported, “Scientists have solid experimental and theoretical evidence to support…the following predictions: In a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution…by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half….”
  • Kenneth Watt told Time that, “At the present rate of nitrogen buildup, it’s only a matter of time before light will be filtered out of the atmosphere and none of our land will be usable.”
  • Harrison Brown, a scientist at the National Academy of Sciences, published a chart in Scientific American that looked at metal reserves and estimated the humanity would totally run out of copper shortly after 2000. Lead, zinc, tin, gold, and silver would be gone before 1990.
  • In the 1970s Dr. S. Dillon Ripley, secretary of the Smithsonian Institute, said he believed that in 25 years, somewhere between 75 and 80 percent of all the species of living animals would be extinct.
  • Decaying organic pollutants would use up all the oxygen in the rivers killing all fresh water fish.
  • Stanford University professor Paul Ehrlich, who is perhaps best known for his 1968 book The Population Bomb, predicted by the year 2000 the United Kingdom would be simply a small group of impoverished islands. He said, “England will not exist in the year 2000 and I give ten to one that the life of the average Briton would be of distinctly lower quality than it is today.” Today Ehrlich has latched on the to global warming hysteria claiming “humans may soon be forced to resort to cannibalism.”
  • The U.N. claimed by 2010 50 million refugees would be fleeing the sinking islands of the Caribbean, low-lying Pacific Islands, and coastal regions.
  • The North Pole was supposed to be “ice free” by 2013 according to Al Gore.
  • Polar bear numbers would dwindle to near extinction levels. They are currently at record level populations.

The list goes on.

But now, this time, 2018, we MUST listen to the climate alarmists. This is it. If Donald Trump doesn’t listen this time and do everything the climate changers say, we’re all doomed.

This is our last chance! (if you don’t count the 2015 Paris Summit when they said that was our last chance, or any of the last chances in this video)

If nothing else, these ridiculously dire and horribly wrong predictions tell us one thing, we’re not as smart as we think we are when it comes to this planet and the natural forces that make it what it is. Let’s consider every climate prediction with a healthy dose of skepticism and a willingness to search for information that can either corroborate or debunk such claims. In the meantime, try not to fall for the hype, hysteria, and spectacularly wrong apocalyptic predictions that are bound to continue, promoted by “environmental grievance hustlers” like the news media, Al Gore, and pretty much every Democrat in power.

 

 

Written by DCL

November 28, 2018 at 11:07 am

Don’t Be Evil – Google’s Hypocrisy

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Larry Page as Dr EvilHas Google become something it once told us never to be?

Anti-trust regulators say Google unfairly and illegally used its dominance in search to promote its own products over those of competitors paying for ads and placement in its search engine.

Then there’s the company’s repeatedly defensive and dishonest responses to charges that its specially equipped street-view cars collected private internet communications — including emails, photographs, passwords, chat messages, and postings on websites and social networks.

Next we learn of Google’s plan to work with China to develop a search engine that will censor websites and search terms on human rights, religion, protests, and democracy. Something called Project Dragonfly, which brings us to the multi-billion dollar question, is Google testing this censorship technology in the U.S. for political and corporate gain?

Political conservatives would quickly say yes, from experience.

Google’s internal culture has been laid bare by James Damore’s lawsuit alleging employment discrimination. The picture we get is a corporate culture of lockstep ideological uniformity, enforced by censorship, badgering, and blacklisting. Damore provides, in his evidence, a note from a Google manager in 2015, addressed to “hostile voices.”

I will never, ever hire/transfer you onto my team. Ever. I don’t care if you are perfect fit or technically excellent or whatever. I will actively not work with you, even to the point where your team or product is impacted by this decision. I’ll communicate why to your manager if it comes up. You’re being blacklisted by people at companies outside of Google. You might not have been aware of this, but people know, people talk. There are always social consequences.

In other words , “you will think and act like us or you will be turned into a pariah.” How open-minded and free-thinking.

But the laundry list goes on…

  • There’s the ill-conceived launch of Google-Buzz which made all of your contacts in Gmail viewable to the public. A huge privacy issue that ticked off pretty much everyone.
  • Google’s tendency to buy up companies and sunset them without any notice, even if they are turning a profit like Jetpac and Picnik, leaving company employees looking for work.
  • Is Android an open platform? That may be more lip-service than reality. In a lawsuit by Skyhook Wireless, Google was accused of forcing Motorola to cancel a deal with Skyhook to provide location-based services for Motorola phones because Google wanted them to use their location services instead. Big boot squashing little company…
  • Then there’s the time Google got caught “tricking” Apple’s Safari browser into letting Google monitor Apple users’ web-surfing behavior.

But perhaps the biggest reason Google has become what it told us never to be is their total lack of respect for your privacy. Google built its reputation and empire on the idea that it would always put users first and build its products on the premise that they would always function in the user’s best interest, not their own, hence the motto “Don’t Be Evil.” Google built a lucrative company on a reputation and model of mutual respect. That was reversed in 2012 when Google announced their new privacy policy and the “cross-pollination” with regard to your private information being pulled and shared through multiple Google products and services. Bottom line: everything they told us prior to this change was a load of crap.

Google began as a unique and superior search engine that was very much a model of free enterprise and free market principles. But as the phrase “Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely” reminds us, those who grow into a position of control and dominance too often take their advantage to extremes, whether by intent or by losing control of the giant they’ve created.

Still millions of people use Google products every day either due to ignorance or because convenience and ease of use has chipped away at our resistance to losing our privacy online.

Google, it seems, has become one of two things. The modern technological version of Frankenstein’s monster or something much worse. Either way, growing public opinion suggests Google has become something it once told us never to be.

Evil.

Note: I will continue to add article links to this post as Google does more evil stuff.

townhall.com – John Stossel discusses censorship by Google and social media giants.

How Google Tracks Your Personal Information – An insider’s account of the dark side of search engine marketing

Written by DCL

November 19, 2018 at 10:05 am

Posted in News, News Media

Tagged with ,

No. Socialized Medicine Is Not the Answer

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Socialized medicineWhenever I see people arguing about universal healthcare aka single-payer system aka socialized medicine, I always see the same rationale when it comes to why it would work here when it has been less than ideal in every other country where it is used. “Because we (America) can do it better! We can do it right.”

That’s a fallacy.

No different than this idea that we can somehow make Socialism work as a political governing ideology. No, we can’t. No one has and no one will.

Socialized medicine will fail here just as we see it failing, or at best providing benefits well below what we’ve come to expect from American medicine. Why?

Human nature.

People lack appreciation and/or respect for things they get for free. If I have to provide examples here, you’ve never been in a public park restroom. People don’t value what they don’t pay for. When there’s no skin in the game they don’t care. When you take competition from a marketplace and replace it with guaranteed free services it creates expectations from which an entitlement mentality forms.

It is well documented in single-payer systems where doctors and nurses deal with more self-entitled people coming into their facility demanding healthcare because, “my tax dollars pay your salary.” It’s demoralizing for medical professionals. Quality of care suffers. People become objects to be slowly dragged through the system (often waiting long periods of time between treatments or to begin them) to milk as much money from the government as it can.

When you try to take the profit motive out of business and give government the reins to that business, all you really do is transfer the motive away from the business to customer relationship required to maintain customer loyalty to that business, to “how can I get more government money from this person?” To combat this the government with its deep pockets of taxpayer dollars, will pour more money into a broken system. It will pass more regulations to make things “fair.” Due to the fact that tax dollars are NOT unlimited, the government must, at some point, pick and choose what it deems a “necessary” operation or treatment to save on costs. In one example out of Canada a dental patient was in need of a root canal. The government said no, it was an “unnecessary tooth” and would only pay to have the tooth removed. “Necessity” is subjective.

Our healthcare system became the best in the world because of our innovation which is spurred by competition. Argue till you’re blue in the face, but if you take away competition, innovation will slow or even die with it because innovation is risky and expensive. Who will invest in new treatments, drugs, or surgical procedures, if government price-fixing doesn’t provide a way for the risk taker to get a return on investment?

The problem isn’t our medical system. The problem is with our politicians who always manage to get their grubby fingers into the private sector. They’re in bed with the insurance industry, big Pharma, and the large healthcare conglomerates. The mutual back-scratching is endless. Regulations have largely catered to these big businesses, not to patients or doctors. I believe one step to take would be to remove as many federal regulations as possible. Allow insurance to be sold across state lines. Make it a true competitive marketplace. Insurance shouldn’t be tied to employment. That doesn’t mean employers can’t use it as a benefit to entice high quality workers but it shouldn’t be incentivized with tax perks. We should be allowed to shop for our healthcare just as we would a car or home. Enough with these hospital “networks” that only take such and such insurance.

Free market forces are incredible regulators and balancers when allowed to function properly and under the watchful eye of honest ethical leadership. Does that mean there will be winners and losers? Yes. But that’s life. Those who provide the best care and service for the best price will win and prosper. Those who don’t will lose and go out of business. Family doctors and practices will return to communities rather than reside only with large, exclusive, medical conglomerates. Family practitioners and general physicians would be salaried in a single-payer system with less control over their pay and though many argue their pay would not go down that simply isn’t feasible unless the number of doctors and nurses is curtailed or reduced. Over-specialization in medicine, which is one reason costs are so high in the U.S, will self-moderate based on market forces.

The truly needy who can’t afford care can, and should, be provided with care. There must always be a safety net. There is no reason we can’t create one that actually works within the private sector.

I don’t claim to know all the answers, nor do I believe government can’t have a role in our healthcare system, but it should be one of oversight and enforcement of laws to make sure the care providers and companies in the medical industry are operating fairly and ethically. Government enforces the rules and laws deemed necessary by the people it governs. That is one thing it can and should do well. Government should not be paying individual bills or managing the private sector. That is not its function and it has proven over and over again how poorly government manages anything business related.

We can get our healthcare system back to where it is healthy and functions to help all Americans afford and have access to proper healthcare. We don’t need to follow in Canada or Great Britain’s footsteps.

Written by DCL

November 9, 2018 at 3:33 pm

Is a Second Reformation Unfolding in Front of Our Eyes?

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[Image Credit: Ferdinand Pauwels, Public Domain]

Republished by permission

November 1st is traditionally known as “All Saints’ Day” in the Western Christian calendar–a day to remember all of the faithful departed. The day (eve) before All Saints’ Day was “All Hallows’ (an older word for “saint) Eve.” Later, in a series of twists and turns (more reminiscent of the latest TV sitcom, rather than “normal” history) this Christian holiday devolved into our contemporary Halloween.

What is less known about this day is that it marks the moment an obscure German monk and college professor presented a list of religious concerns for a formal debate, unwittingly sparking one of the most momentous events in Western history–the Reformation.

Many in the conservative Protestant tradition resonate with Martin Luther’s bold stand to proclaim the truths of the Bible, and to resist the authoritarian forces of control. But what they forget are the true aims of Luther and the first generation of reformers.

Martin Luther did not mean to start the Reformation. As a “doctor” of theology, he was trying to start an academic discussion about common church practices, such as “indulgence preachers,” who were basically selling get-out-of-Purgatory-free cards. He initially had no intention of breaking ties with the Roman Catholic church.

Many factors led to what we now call the “Reformation.” The first was the rediscovery of Biblical Greek and Hebrew. Most of the Reformers were serious students of these languages, and the insights they gained from this Scriptural engagement fueled the momentous changes that many celebrate on Oct. 31.

The second factor was the cultural movement we call the “Renaissance.” At its most basic level, the Renaissance looked back to the artistic and literary achievements of ancient Greece and Rome. Cultural life blossomed, spawning artists such as da Vinci and Michelangelo, composers such as Palestrina, and authors such as Dante Alighieri. In northern Europe, the Renaissance took a more “bookish” turn. Sparked by Johannes Gutenberg’s invention of the movable-type printing press, northern Europeans could suddenly produce and exchange ideas quickly through the printed word. Towns like Basel in Switzerland became centers of scholarship and book-production. Erasmus of Rotterdam led this movement through his scholarship and his wit. With biting satire and vast learning, Erasmus criticized the many moral and spiritual failings of the Catholic Church.

However, in the ensuing conflict, Erasmus remained loyal to the Roman church, unlike many of his protégés. Johannes Oecolampadius worked closely with Erasmus in Basel, putting together the first printed edition of the Greek New Testament, as well as new editions of classic Christian thinkers and pastors like Gregory of Nyssa, John Chrysostom, and Basil of Caesarea. As Oecolampadius dove deeper into the original Greek and Hebrew of the Bible, he joined the ranks of the Reformers. Eventually, their devotion to God’s Word led them into sustained conflict with Roman church officials, and finally into a full-fledged “Reformation.”

These Reformers shared the goal of returning the church to a purity and fervency that they read about in the New Testament (in the original Greek) and in the church fathers (many of whom wrote in Greek). They did not want to reject all of previous church history—they saw themselves as truly “catholic,” in one sense of the original Latin word. Catholicus means “universal,” and the early Reformers tried to reform Christian worship and church practices according to what Christians had “universally” believed and practiced.

The Reformation began roughly 500 years ago. What many don’t realize, however, is that a similar reformation is occurring today, only not in the churches, but in the schools. Classical Christian schools, to be more specific.

Like the original Reformers, educators in the classical Christian school movement seek to train and equip the next generation of leaders who will boldly stand for the truth in their culture, churches, and homes. They seek to inspire students who will bravely challenge the status quo, motivated by what they see in Scripture. And they hope that students’ brief exposure to the Great Books, the Great Thinkers, and the classical languages like Latin and Greek will enable them to gain the wisdom and eloquence to lead a new Reformation.

Is it possible that by teaching students to stand on the shoulders of these intellectual giants, they, like the Reformers before them, will be able to steer the world down a completely different path than the one it is currently on?

For Further Reading

Getting the Reformation Wrong: Correcting Some Misunderstandings – James R. Payton, Jr.

Church History (vol. 2): From Pre-Reformation to the Present Day – John D. Woodbridge & Frank A. James III

An Introduction to Classical Education: A Guide for Parents – Dr. Christopher Perrin

Wisdom and Eloquence: A Christian Paradigm for Classical Learning – Robert Littlejohn & Charles T. Evans

The Liberal Arts Tradition: A Philosophy of Christian Classical Education – Ravi Jain & Kevin Clark

This post: Is a Second Reformation Unfolding in Front of Our Eyes? was originally published on Intellectual Takeout by Gregory Soderberg.