FRC Blog

1984 One Better

by Family Research Council

February 21, 2009

Reading George Orwell’s masterpiece all over again provides fresh insights into the natural rebellion of the human will, frail as it is, against totalitarianism of every stripe. It also reminds one how many different stripes the totalitarian tiger wears. The United States at the present day is a long way from a totalitarian reality, but Orwell’s novel is a healthy reminder that one thing every impulse to total power has in common is a consummate skill at evoking the existence of a permanent enemy or crisis. The benefit of all-encompassing power is security purchased at the price of liberty.

In the polarized lens of the Left, this permanent enemy as evoked by conservatives was the war on terror. For the new cultural Left now in power, the “enemy” is capital and the imminent crisis or “catastrophe” is economic disaster. There are many ways to get to overweening government control. In one scene late in 1984 between Orwell’s hero, Winston, and his nemesis in “the Party,” O’Brien (English novelists always liked Irish-surnamed villains), this exchange occurs:

Winston: “But how can you [the Party] control matter? You don’t even control the climate or the law of gravity? And there are disease, pain, death … ”

O’Brien silenced him with a movement of the hand. “We control matter because we control the mind.”

Today’s champions of unlimited government, oddly enough, do claim they can control the climate and they have plenty of access to young minds, which begs the question, if government could control the climate, would one wish it to?

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School Choice is Key to Parental Involvement in Education, not Punishment

by Peter Sprigg

February 21, 2009

A Kentucky state legislator, Rep. Adam Koenig, has introduced a bill that would impose fines on parents who don’t attend parent-teacher conferences. [Source]

Rep. Koenig is certainly right that parental involvement in their children’s education is important, but this hardly seems the right way of encouraging it.

It might be better to use a carrot, rather than a stick. Instead of imposing on parents we should be empowering them, by expanding school choice. That could include magnet schools, charter schools, vouchers, tax breaks for private schools, and support for homeschooling. Giving parents real choices about their children’s education would be more effective that just forcing them to show up for a meeting.

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2.20.09

by Robert Morrison

February 20, 2009

We’ve all seen the bumper stickers. They are a somber black with white numbering: 1.20.09. They appeared shortly after George W. Bush was re-elected in 2004. In one sense, they were reassuring. Those who hated Bush-and they were intense-were indicating their willingness to wait for the end of his constitutionally prescribed term. The real crazies wanted to impeach him. Some members of the loony Left wanted something even worse.

It’s now just one month after the day longed for by millions. I’ve been struggling to recall anything said in that Inaugural Address. I remember the day-cold and clear. I recall the wonderful crowds-millions of people, cheerful and hopeful. At least 1.8 million folks came to the National Mall and not one person was arrested. God bless them.

Still, it is strange, isn’t it, that we cannot recall any ringing phrase, any soaring statement from that long-awaited day of days?

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Steering the Elephant

by Robert Morrison

February 20, 2009

Some governors might reject funds,” blared the headline in USAToday. The story detailed the fact that about $144 billion of the huge $787 billion “stimulus” package President Obama signed this week will go to the states.

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D) was not one of those governors, most of them Republicans, who were leery of the gift horse Washington was promising their states.

Still, Gov. Patrick said the $9 billion slated for the Bay State would “not be a panacea.”

Not a panacea, but maybe a Pandora’s Box. South Carolina’s Gov. Mark Sanford is head of the Republican Governors Association. He warns about the impact of programs funded by this sudden windfall from Washington. “You get this huge slug of money. It funds programs for a couple of years, and then what? You get it started, you get a constituency established, and then we’re supposed to yank the rug out from under people when the federal money runs out?” Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) echoed Sanford’s concerns: “It’s not fair to Alaskans,” she said, “to create programs that won’t be sustainable.”

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Blogosphere Buzz

by Krystle Gabele

February 20, 2009

Here’s some of the buzz from the blogosphere today.

  • Do you own a human embryo?,” Rebecca Taylor, Mary Meets Dolly The New Mexico State Senate just passed a stem cell research bill that would allow scientists to destroy embryos left over from IVF Treatments, in addition to considering an embryo property.
  • The Mandate Trap,” Philip Klein, AmSpecBlog With the talk of health care reform being addressed shortly in Congress, this article is worth reading, especially since it discusses the ramifications of the possibilities of government ran health care.
  • If It Moves, Tax It,” Doug Mataconis, Below The Beltway With the recent passage of the Stimulus bill, you might wonder how much will be left in your pockets. Now, it seems that the Secretary of Transportation is considering adding a tax based on how much you drive. I guess the title of this post is true, “If It Moves, Tax It.”
  • The Omnibust is coming! The Omnibust is coming!,” Tom McClusky, Kitchen Table Blog The Omnibus Bill is due to arrive next week in Congress, so beware of the pork and federal funding of research involving human embryos.

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Daily Buzz

by Krystle Gabele

February 20, 2009

Here’s what we are reading today.

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Change Watch Backgrounder: Kathleen Sebelius

by Family Research Council

February 19, 2009

POSITION: HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY

NOMINEE: Kathleen Sebelius

Born: Cincinnati, Ohio, May 15, 1948

Family: Husband, K. Gary Sebelius, and two sons.

Occupation: 44th Governor of Kansas

Education: B.A. Trinity Washington University, Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Kansas.

Work history: Jan 2003-present, Governor of Kansas (term-limited, term ends Jan 2011)

1994-2002, Kansas Insurance Commissioner

1987-1994, Member of the Kansas House of Representatives

1977-1987, Director of the Kansas Trial Lawyers Association

1975-1977, Aide with the Kansas Department of Corrections

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No Deal on This New Deal

by Tony Perkins

February 19, 2009

In a cedar chest at my home is a woolen thermal shirt. This is not just any thermal shirt; it is a part of history and a reminder. The shirt was a government issue, given to my grandfather. As a young man during the Great Depression, he worked with the Civilian Conservation Corps planting trees, building parks, and working on other public conservation projects. My grandfather earned a dollar a day.

The debate still continues among economists as to whether or not those vast public works projects that President Roosevelt launched through the CCC and the Works Progress Administration (WPA) along with other government spending helped end the nation’s worst economic crisis.

Regardless, FDR’s New Deal and the opportunities that it offered were significant to the many struggling families who were unemployed during a time when unemployment stood at almost 25%. Between 1935-1943 over 8 million Americans were on the payroll of the WPA alone.

FDR’s actions were controversial as he took the counterintuitive approach  promoted by English economist John Maynard Keynes to increase government spending during hard economic times. They called it “priming the pump.” FDR’s efforts led to a radical and lasting expansion of the power and reach of the federal government.

Parallels have been drawn between the New Deal and the present government response to the financial crisis - but there are vast differences. The stimulus measure signed by President Obama this week, which according to estimates by the Congressional Budget Office will cost about $1.3 trillion, will, according to the President, preserve or create 3-4 million jobs. Keep in mind that adjusted for inflation this stimulus measure will probably cost 3 times what the New Deal cost.

The overall cost of government spending designed to revive the economy will go even higher as the President announced a mortgage bailout this week that could cost up to another $250 billion dollars.

There is a vast difference between spending government money to create short-lived public works jobs and expanding the size and scope of federal agencies and directly bailing out bad mortgages. It may sound simplistic, but a government inspired hand up is much different than a government handout, and the implications will be lasting and far reaching, not only on the size of government but also on the American ethic.

The effect of FDR’s economic philosophy was so pronounced that 30 years later in 1971, President Richard Nixon said “We’re all Keynesians now.” The impact of this present economic approach is even more powerful — so much so that before it has even been implemented, a recent cover story of Newsweek declared: “We are all Socialists Now.”

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African-Americans in the Crosshairs

by Sherry Crater

February 19, 2009

February is Black History Month, and we are reminded of the many African-Americans who have made remarkable contributions to our great country. Sadly, I am reminded also of the huge number of African-American babies aborted every day in the United States snuffing out enormous future potential from this community. Adding insult to injury, evidence has surfaced over the last few months concerning anti-African-American attitudes in the abortion industry.

I refer to the explosive news regarding racist behavior by employees of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. A student reporter at UCLA who did some investigative journalism released some shocking recordings showing that the eugenic and racial origins of Planned Parenthood are evident in the work of the organization even today.

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