Why my opponents won’t debate me

Last week I was interviewed by Steven Crowder on his show “Louder Than Crowder.” It was a fun discussion that covered a lot of interesting topics, including why it is that fossil fuel opponents refuse to debate me–or back out after agreeing to debate me.

Watch/listen here.


hearts and minds alex epstein

Dilbert Exposes Climate “Science”

A recent Dilbert comic hilariously captured a point I regularly make when debating fossil fuel opponents: that claims of catastrophic climate change are not based on demonstrated science but speculative climate models–models that are overwhelmingly biased to show catastrophic warming.

I have a lot of respect for Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, who has shown both clear thinking and immense courage in taking on this issue. Earlier this year he wrote a must-read blog post on this issue, “How to Convince Skeptics that Climate Change Is a Problem.”

The post is filled with sharp observations. Here’s one that that I haven’t heard anyone make before:

“If skeptics make you retreat to Pascal’s Wager as your main argument for aggressively responding to climate change, please understand that you lost the debate. The world is full of risks that might happen. We don’t treat all of them as real. And we can’t rank any of these risks to know how to allocate our capital to the best path. Should we put a trillion dollars into climate remediation or use that money for a missile defense system to better protect us from North Korea?”

Be sure to read the entire post.

We constantly get messages from readers and viewers commenting on how our pro-human, full-context approach to thinking about issues has changed their way of thinking–and communicating.

Here’s a recent one, from a company that used our brand new Lunch-and-Learn program–a free training course that will help motivate and educate employees about the value of fossil fuels–and teach them to communicate that value to others.

“We [held our Lunch-and-Learn] just yesterday and the team thoroughly enjoyed the experience! Besides the opportunity to learn more about the topic and process; the concept of ‘lunch and learn’ was very well received. If you are considering using this format on a more regular basis, we believe it would add great value. For now we are a small 4 person team here in South Africa, and to have content and clarity such as this truly streamlines the learning process.

“Thank you for making great material available to the industry in this way.” – Gary

You can gain immediate access to this empowering tool here.

We’ve also received some great comments on Twitter, including a lot of people encouraging fossil fuel critics to debate me. Here are a few recent mentions.

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ALSO: Whenever you’re ready, here are 3 ways I can help your organization turn non-supporters into supporters and turn supporters into champions.

1. Fill out the free Constructive Conversation Scorecard to assess where you are and where you want to be in your one-on-one communications.

Email it back to me and I’ll send you my step-by-step Constructive Conversation System that will enable you to talk to anyone about energy.

2. Hold a free Lunch-and-Learn (inside or outside the industry).

This program contains one of my favorite debates along with some “cheat sheets” to help you make the moral case for fossil fuels in your professional and personal life more easily than you thought possible. You can have access to the entire program right now. By the end of the session you and your team will:

  • gain a deeper sense of meaning from their work
  • be able to turn fossil fuel skeptics into fossil fuel supporters
  • learn the secrets to having constructive conversations about energy instead of frustrating fights

Click here to sign up for the free program.

3. Hire me to speak at your next event.

If you have an upcoming board meeting, employee town hall, or association meeting, I have some new and updated speeches about the moral case for fossil fuels, winning hearts and minds, and communications strategy in the new political climate. If you’d like to consider me for your event, just reply to this message and put “Event” in the subject line.

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The backdoor law used to bring illegals to America

Illegal aliens under the age of 21-years old are migrating to America legally. They are coming under the provisions of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act – Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) program.  SIJS has been used to flood border states, like California, with illegal migrants from the “violence-prone Northern Triangle countries of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.”

In a column titled A ‘Generous’ Pathway to Citizenship, Foster Care Bret Schafer reports:

For the past fifteen years, Casa Libre has served as a refuge for unaccompanied minors who arrive in Southern California from the violence-prone Northern Triangle countries of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.

Many of those children have been granted lawful permanent residence in the United States through a form of relief known as Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS), which provides green cards to unauthorized refugee children who cannot be returned to one or both parents due to abuse, neglect or abandonment. The program has been widely used by child welfare agencies and advocates as a way to support the needs of unaccompanied minors living in the U.S. 

Enacted in 1990, SIJS was originally created by Congress to protect vulnerable, non-citizen homeless and foster children from deportation and exploitation. But in 2008, President Bush signed the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, which expanded the definition of SIJS to include minors under the age of 21 who have been declared a dependent of a juvenile court, who cannot be reunified with one or both parents due to abuse, neglect or a similar basis, and for whom a return to their country of origin is determined to be against their best interests.

“It’s the most generous form of relief I know of in the world,” said Lenni Benson, a professor of law at the New York Law School and the director of the Safe Passage Project, a non-profit that provides pro-bono legal representation to unaccompanied immigrant children. [Emphasis added]

Read more…

There is growing concern that ISIS is using fake passports to gain entry into the United States or crossing the southern border illegally. We also know that ISIS has recruited, trained and deployed an estimated half million children to fight the infidels.

According to Schafer, “USCIS received 19,475 petitions, more than double the annual quota. At the end of 2016, there were more SIJS applications awaiting decisions (8,533) than there were total applications submitted (6,840) between 2010-2012.”

Are some of these “children” coming to America under the Special Immigrant Juvenile Status program terrorists and/or drug cartel gang members?

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Democrat Poster Boy Anthony Weiner — WeinerGate the Movie

It was meant to be a documentary about a politician redeeming himself after being caught sexting. Then, as Anthony Weiner was running for New York City mayor, he was caught out again. The Weiner scandal was sensational for its speed and – given he had not physically had sexual relations with that woman – the volume of the outrage.

But the story was extraordinary because, two years later, as the politician made a comeback bid by running for mayor of New York City, the same scandal broke again. And this time, a camera crew was there to film it.

RELATED ARTICLE: Anthony Weiner to Plead Guilty to ‘Sexting’ Minor – Cortney O’Brien

EDITORS NOTE: This documentary has been produced by Webcide.com.

Ireland not taking its required EU quota of Muslim migrants

Calais migrant camp.

Calais migrant camp.

But they promised to take 200 migrants from the “French migrant camp in Calais.”  Twenty-one have arrived already!

Don’t you love it the way the media makes it sound like the camp at Calais was just one more sanctioned migrant camp.  It was not! It was a location in France across the English Channel from the UK where illegal aliens built a make-shift camp as they attempted to break in to the UK.

Lesson here is make demands long enough and you will be ‘welcomed’ to the UK, in this case Ireland!

Invasion of Europe news….

From RTE News (Irish public radio):

Ireland is being urged to resolve security issues with Italy to allow for the arrival of more migrants.  [Good for them they are at least using the word ‘migrants’ and not automatically calling them ‘refugees!’—ed]

The Department of Justice has previously said that due to issues with the Italian authorities surrounding the security assessment of migrants, relocations from Italy have yet to commence for many countries, including Ireland.

But today the European Commission called on the Government to find ways to overcome these hurdles.

Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said “I call on Ireland and Estonia to find mutually acceptable working arrangements with Italy on security interviews in the way that for example The Netherlands, France and Greece have worked out successfully.”

[….]

The latest figures from the Department of Justice show that 21 unaccompanied minors, previously resident in the French migrant camp in Calais, have arrived in Ireland and are in the care of the child and family agency Tusla.

The Government has committed to taking up to 200 unaccompanied minors who were previously resident in Calais.

[….]

Two European Council decisions adopted in September 2015 resulted in member states committing to relocate 160,000 asylum-seekers from Italy and Greece by September 2017, but as of last Thursday only 18,418 had been moved.

Under the programme, the Government pledged to accept 4,000 people.

All of my ‘Invasion of Europe’ news is archived here.  My Ireland archive is here.

ENDNOTE: I didn’t get around to posting the map below and story last week. The point of it is that Poland doesn’t take refugees and therefore has zero Islamic terrorist incidents (coincidence?). Maybe someone in Ireland should see it! Or, maybe they have already and thus the foot dragging.

Dots represent terrorist attacks across Europe. NOTE: There are no dots in Poland.

Dots represent terrorist attacks across Europe. NOTE: There are no dots in Poland.

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Utopia is Dystopian in Real Life

This is a little different from what I am known for. Actually its very different but its still recognizable as all Rod Eccles.

Last night, I watched the latest two episodes of the Hulu original series, Handmaid’s Tale. The series is based on a book written and released back in 1985. It is classified as a Utopian and Dystopian work of fiction.

First you must understand by whom the work of fiction was written. Funny enough, it’s a work of fiction about the United States of America written by a Canadian woman by the name of Margaret Atwood. The setting of the novel? Well the setting in right smack in the middle of the cradle of American freedom. The recognized birthplace of the USA. It is set in New England. Boston to be exact. Yes, Boston.

How can it be both Utopian and Dystopian at the same time? Yea I asked myself that question. But then I remembered a line by one of the main characters. Doesn’t even matter who it was. The point was made loud and clear.

The line was made after the main character, the Handmaid, asked a question in response to being told “we are making it better”. She asked better for everyone?

The answer actually stunned me to my core. “Better for everyone always means worse for some.”

Now in a Utopian society, would I be wrong in believing that it should be better for EVERYONE? I don’t think I would be wrong in thinking that. However, there is a problem with Utopia. It doesn’t exist. It never has and it never will, at least not by human standards and by human hands.

You see, Utopia comes at a terrible price. It comes at the price of freedom. It comes at the price of individual choice. It comes at a price of many human lives. It comes at an unbelievably terrible and heavy price.

This is why the book is also classified as Dystopian. You see, Utopia doesn’t exist and cannot exist so therefore it has to be Dystopian.

Why is this important to know? Because we have a political and social class that believes we can reach Utopia. They believe we can have a Utopian society. If only we let them run everything. If only we put them all in charge. If only we would fully and totally trust them.

They believe Ronald Reagan was wrong when he said “the nine most terrible words in the English language is I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” No truer words have ever been uttered by a human being on this planet.

This was more than a warning issued by President Reagan. It was a true vision of the future. The future which is now the present.

We are now living in a day when we have a growing number of people, Americans, that actually believe the lie that the government is here to help. In fact too many Americans now believe that ONLY the government can help.

The reality is that government probably caused the problems that every day Americans face on a daily basis. The reality is that government broke many of our institutions and traditions simply because they believed they knew better. The reality is that our government today actually thinks that it has the answers to just about every single problem we have, if only we would let government take over and control our everyday life so they can fix those problems.

The reality also is that if we do that, we will be enslaved by our government. We will lose our freedom. We will lose our ability to choose save one. We will have the choice to live or to die. To live, you must bow down before the government elite and pledge your undying loyalty and obedience. If you don’t do so, then you choose to die.

There will be no other choice available. Except one.

Fight.

Fight for freedom.

Fight for your right to choose what kind of life you want.

Fight for your God given right to exist on your terms.

Fight. Capitulate. Die.

In a Utopian society, those are the only choices you have.

In a Handmaid’s Tale, those are the only choices available to them.

Funny how art imitates life. Or is it life imitating art?

You choose.

My state, the great state of New Hampshire, we have a very simple four word motto.

Live Free or Die.

Notice the word capitulate is not there.

Now you know what I choose.

How about you?

Muslims littering leads to discovery of their weapons arsenal and bomb-making equipment

“According to police, a man walked by a parked car in north Minneapolis about 5 p.m. Thursday and confronted the people inside after they threw food wrappers on the ground. They ignored him until he paused to get the car license number. The men then got out of the car and indicated they had guns…Inside, the officers found a hand grenade, handgun, assault rifles and magazines and a large quantity of ammunition, the complaint said. They also found cellphones, computers and electronics equipment, including drone parts. Bomb squad personnel called to the scene noted that the large amount of ammunition and electronic devices could be used for bomb-making…”

Litter: more harmful than you realize.

“Routine arrest leads Minneapolis police to arsenal,” Star Tribune, May 15, 2017 (thanks to Undaunted):

Minneapolis police uncovered an arsenal of guns and bomb-making devices during a routine arrest last week.

According to police, a man walked by a parked car in north Minneapolis about 5 p.m. Thursday and confronted the people inside after they threw food wrappers on the ground. They ignored him until he paused to get the car license number. The men then got out of the car and indicated they had guns, according to a criminal complaint filed Monday.

The man flagged down officers, the complaint says, but the men from inside car continued to yell at him and resisted the officers’ attempts to control the situation. The men were insistent they needed to be near the car because a drone was coming to deliver a package, the complaint said. Because of the suspicious circumstances and fear for the man’s safety, the men were placed in the squad while officers searched their car.

Inside, the officers found a hand grenade, handgun, assault rifles and magazines and a large quantity of ammunition, the complaint said. They also found cellphones, computers and electronics equipment, including drone parts.

Bomb squad personnel called to the scene noted that the large amount of ammunition and electronic devices could be used for bomb-making, the complaint said.

Abdullah N. Alrifahe, 27, of Minneapolis, was charged with a gross misdemeanor for carrying a pistol in public without a permit. In December, he was convicted of the same offense….

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U.S. form used to screen migrants doesn’t ask about ties to al-Qaeda or ISIS

“Form N-400 asks various questions, including whether the applicant supports the Constitution or if they’ve ever been members of the Communist or World War II-era German Nazi parties, which are included by law. It also asks if the immigrant is in any way associated with any terrorist organizations but doesn’t list specific groups’ names, such as the Islamic State or al Qaida. ‘On both a symbolic and practical basis, this demonstrates a significant failure by the U.S. government,’ Sauter told TheDCNF. ‘If the government thinks it’s important to use these forms to ask people if they belong to specific hostile groups, why not include the groups that are trying to destroy us today, instead of ones that we were worried about decades ago?’”

Good question. Much draining of the swamp is needed, but it is proceeding very slowly, if at all.

“Fed Form Doesn’t Ask Immigrants’ About Terrorism Ties, Illegal Voting,” by Ethan Barton, Daily Caller, May 12, 2017:

Federal officials don’t compile crucial data, such as what terrorist organizations applicants are affiliated with or if they’ve ever illegally voted in an American election, on the form used to vet immigrants seeking U.S. citizenship, The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Investigative Group has learned.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) doesn’t collect any statistics on how applicants answer questions on Form N-400, which is used to screen immigrants, according to the agency.

“We have completed our search and no records responsive to your request were located,” USCIS wrote in response to a Freedom of Information Act request submitted by Mark Sauter, a co-author of a homeland security textbook and former investigative journalist.

“This data is critical, it should be aggregated, it should be analyzed,” Sauter told TheDCNF. “If the U.S. government isn’t doing the most basic form of data collection and data mining, then what the heck is going on? In my estimate, every day they fail to collect data from the N-400 is a day the federal government is not protecting us.”

The data could be used for a variety of purposes, such as analyzing how immigrants from certain countries or regions answer questions, according to Sauter.

It could also be used to show how many applicants were rejected – or admitted – from U.S. citizenship after answering disqualifying questions.

“Having those questions and the results on that statistic would confirm that U.S. law is being adhered to in the naturalization process,” Heritage Foundation homeland security expert David Inserra told TheDCNF. “If they’re not reporting that data than you can’t query it.”

He added that info could be used to confirm immigrants’ applications for citizenship are rejected for providing disqualifying answers, such as having ties to terrorist groups.

Form N-400 asks various questions, including whether the applicant supports the Constitution or if they’ve ever been members of the Communist or World War II-era German Nazi parties, which are included by law. It also asks if the immigrant is in any way associated with any terrorist organizations but doesn’t list specific groups’ names, such as the Islamic State or al Qaida.

“On both a symbolic and practical basis, this demonstrates a significant failure by the U.S. government,” Sauter told TheDCNF. “If the government thinks it’s important to use these forms to ask people if they belong to specific hostile groups, why not include the groups that are trying to destroy us today, instead of ones that we were worried about decades ago?”

Immigrants seeking naturalization also face an interview where USCIS officials try determining if applicants are affiliated with specific terrorist groups, according to Inserra.

“In both cases, you are responding to the U.S. government, and everything you say can be used against you and can be used later,” Inserra told TheDCNF. “The lying to an immigration officer can be grounds for deportation. If you acquire citizenship as a result of fraud – not just mistakenly, but purposely trying to lie and mislead – then that is grounds for revocation of citizenship.”

A USCIS official confirmed that applicants have answered that they have ties to terrorist organizations on Form N-400. The agency did not respond to a DCNF request asking if it holds data on naturalization applicants’ answers to interview questions.

Regardless, an interview requires relying on bureaucrats asking questions and interpreting answers, whereas “a form is a standardized way of collecting information,” Sauter told TheDCNF.

Inserra, however, noted that interviews allow a dialogue, which can be used to gather more information than from a paper or digital application.

“I don’t particularly see a reason why they need to add terrorism to the form,” he told TheDCNF.

Form N-400 also asks if the immigrant applicant has “ever voted in any federal, state or local election in the United States.”

“There are laws prohibiting [immigrants from voting] and that would be a disqualifying action,” Inserra said. “That would be really interesting to know if they’ve occurred.”…

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VIDEO: The Atlantic documentary on The Church Militant

Back in March, The Atlantic sent a producer out to Church Militant headquarters in Detroit to produce a short video documentary of this apostolate. Over the course of three days, Daniel Lombroso shot dozens of hours of behind-the-scenes footage of our daily routine, including prayers said in chapel, staff interaction, daily TV productions, as well as interviews with Michael Voris and other apostolate staff.

Released Tuesday, this documentary is the result of those three days.

The Left’s War on Free Speech by Kimberley Strassel

The following is adapted from a speech delivered on April 26, 2017, at Hillsdale College’s Allan P. Kirby, Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship in Washington, D.C., as part of the AWC Family Foundation Lecture Series.

I like to introduce the topic of free speech with an anecdote about my children. I have three kids, ages twelve, nine, and five. They are your average, normal kids—which means they live to annoy the heck out of each other.

Last fall, sitting around the dinner table, the twelve-year-old was doing a particularly good job at this with his youngest sister. She finally grew so frustrated that she said, “Oliver, you need to stop talking—forever.” This inspired a volley of protests about free speech rights, and ended with them yelling “shut up” at each other. Desperate to stop the fighting and restore order, I asked each of them in turn to tell me what they thought “free speech” meant.

The twelve-year-old went first. A serious and academic child, he gave a textbook definition that included “Congress shall make no law,” an evocation of James Madison, a tutorial on the Bill of Rights, and warnings about “certain exceptions for public safety and libel.” I was happy to know the private-school fees were yielding something.

The nine-year-old went next. A rebel convinced that everyone ignores her, she said that she had no idea what “public safety” or “libel” were, but that “it doesn’t matter, because free speech means there should never be any restrictions on anything that anybody says, anytime or anywhere.” She added that we could all start by listening more to what she says.

Then it was the five-year-old’s turn. You could tell she’d been thinking hard about her answer. She fixed both her brother and sister with a ferocious stare and said: “Free speech is that you can say what you want—as long as I like it.”

It was at this moment that I had one of those sudden insights as a parent. I realized that my oldest was a constitutional conservative, my middle child a libertarian, and my youngest a socialist with totalitarian tendencies.

With that introduction, my main point today is that we’ve experienced over the past eight years a profound shift in our political culture, a shift that has resulted in a significant portion of our body politic holding a five-year-old’s view of free speech. What makes this shift notable is that unlike most changes in politics, you can trace it back to one day: January 21, 2010, the day the Supreme Court issued its Citizens United ruling and restored free speech rights to millions of Americans.

For nearly 100 years up to that point, both sides of the political aisle had used campaign finance laws—I call them speech laws—to muzzle their political opponents. The Right used them to push unions out of elections. The Left used them to push corporations out of elections. These speech laws kept building and building until we got the mack daddy of them all—McCain-Feingold. It was at this point the Supreme Court said, “Enough.” A five-judge majority ruled that Congress had gone way too far in violating the Constitution’s free speech protections.

The Citizens United ruling was viewed as a blow for freedom by most on the Right, which had in recent years gotten some free speech religion, but as an unmitigated disaster by the Left. Over the decades, the Left had found it harder and harder to win policy arguments, and had come to rely more and more on these laws to muzzle political opponents. And here was the Supreme Court knocking back those laws, reopening the floodgates for non-profits and corporations to speak freely again in the public arena.

In the Left’s view, the ruling couldn’t have come at a worse time. Remember the political environment in 2010. Democrats were experiencing an enormous backlash against the policies and agenda of the Obama administration. There were revolts over auto bailouts, stimulus spending, and Obamacare. The Tea Party movement was in full swing and vowing to use the midterm elections to effect dramatic change. Democrats feared an electoral tidal wave would sweep them out of Congress.

In the weeks following the Citizens United ruling, the Left settled on a new strategy. If it could no longer use speech laws against its opponents,  it would do the next best thing—it would threaten, harass, and intimidate its opponents out of participation. It would send a message: conservatives choosing to exercise their constitutional rights will pay a political and personal price.

We’ve seen this strategy unfold, in a coordinated fashion and using a variety of tactics, since 2010.

One tactic is the unleashing of federal and state bureaucracies on political opponents. The best example of this is the IRS targeting of conservative non-profits. To this day, Obama acolytes and Senate Democrats characterize that targeting as a mistake by a few minor IRS employees in Cincinnati who didn’t understand the law. That is a lie.

Congress held several investigations of this targeting, and the truth is clear. In the months following the Citizens United ruling, President Obama delivered speech after speech on behalf of Democratic midterm candidates, repeating the same grave warning at each stop—thanks to Citizens United, he would say, shadowy and scary organizations are flooding into our elections. He suggested these organizations might be operating illegally and might be funded by foreign players. He noted that somebody should do something about it.

These speeches acted as a dog whistle to an IRS bureaucracy that was already primed to act. Former IRS official Lois Lerner was well aware of Democratic demands that the agency go after conservative Tea Party and non-profit groups. Senate Democrats and left-wing interest groups had been sending letters to the agency for months, demanding it go after the very groups it ultimately went after. And Ms. Lerner had her own biases—we know this from her recoverable emails—that put her politically and substantively in the anti-free speech camp. The result is that the IRS deliberately put some 400 conservative organizations, representing tens of thousands of Americans, on political ice for the 2010 and 2012 elections.

It is hard not to believe that this was designed to help Democrats in those elections. We know that senior members of the Treasury Department were aware of the targeting abuse in early 2012, and took steps to try to slow it. Yet those officials did not inform Congress this was happening, and chose not to divulge the abuse until well after that year’s election.

Another intimidation tactic is for prosecutors to abuse their awesome powers in order to hound and frighten political opponents. The most terrifying example of this was the John Doe probe in Wisconsin. Democratic prosecutors in Milwaukee launched a bogus criminal campaign finance investigation into some 30 conservative groups that supported the public-sector union reforms championed by Governor Scott Walker. Wisconsin’s John Doe law gave these prosecutors the right to conduct this investigation in secret and to subject their individual targets to gag orders. Prosecutors secretly looked through these individuals’ financial records, bank accounts, and emails.

Prosecutors also conducted pre-dawn raids on some of their targets’ homes. In one horrifying instance, the target of such a raid was on an out-of-town trip with his wife, and their teenage son was home alone. Law enforcement came into the house and sequestered the boy, refusing to allow him to call a lawyer or even his grandparents, who lived down the road. They hauled items out of the house, and as they left they told the boy that he too was subject to the gag order—that if he told anyone what had happened to him, he could go to jail.

We only learned of this because one brave target of the probe, Eric O’Keefe, told The Wall Street Journal what was going on. We broke that story, and it became national headline news. But it ultimately took a lawsuit and the Wisconsin Supreme Court to shut down the probe. In its ruling, the Court made clear its view that the probe’s purpose had been intimidation. The prosecutors had been sending the message: if you dare to speak, we will turn your lives into a living hell and potentially put you in prison.

More recently we have seen this tactic in the joint action of 17 state attorneys general, who launched a probe into Exxon and some 100 different groups that have worked with Exxon over the years. The implicit prosecutorial threat: get on board with our climate change agenda or we might bring racketeering charges against you.

A third intimidation tactic is for activist groups to use blackmail against corporations and non-profits in order to silence them. One subject of such attacks was the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a group that works to promote free-market policies at the state level. As a non-profit, it is largely funded by corporate donations. Because it is so successful, it has long been despised by left-wing activist groups.

These groups focused their efforts on ALEC in 2012, in the wake of the tragic shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Florida. ALEC had played a tangential role in crafting the popular stand-your-ground laws that the Left attacked after the shooting. On that basis, left-wing activists branded ALEC a racist organization and threatened to run ad campaigns against its corporate donors, branding them as racists too—unless they stopped funding ALEC. In a coordinated action, Democratic U.S. Senator Dick Durbin sent letters to a thousand organizations across the country, demanding to know if they supported ALEC and suggesting they’d get hauled in front of Congress if they did. ALEC lost nearly half of its donors in the space of a few months.

We’ve also seen this tactic employed against private individuals. One such person was Idaho businessman Frank VanderSloot, who Barack Obama’s reelection campaign singled out in 2012, following a VanderSloot donation to Mitt Romney. The campaign publicly branded him a disreputable person, painting a target on his back. Not long after that, VanderSloot was audited by the IRS and visited by other federal agencies.

Out in California, left-wing activists targeted donors to the state’s Prop 8 ballot initiative, which supported traditional marriage. They combed through campaign finance records, and put the names and addresses of Prop 8’s donors on a searchable map. Citizens on this list had their cars keyed, their windows broken, their small businesses flash-mobbed, and their voicemails and emails flooded with threats and insults. Some of them even lost their jobs—most notably Brendan Eich, the founder and CEO of Mozilla. In later depositions, many of these targets told lawyers that they wouldn’t donate to future ballot initiatives. So the attacks were successful in silencing them.

Note the use of disclosure in these attacks. We have come to associate transparency and disclosure with good government. But unfortunately, our system of disclosure has been turned on its head. Disclosure was supposed to enable citizens to keep track of politicians; but if you followed Hillary Clinton’s server scandal, you know that politicians have now become expert at hiding their business. Instead, disclosure is increasingly becoming a tool by which government and political thugs identify people and organizations who oppose them.

Sadly, our federal judiciary has refused to honor important precedents that protect anonymity in politics—most notably the famous 1958 case, NAACP v. Alabama. In that case, a unanimous Supreme Court ruled against the Alabama attorney general, who had demanded a list of the state’s NAACP members. The civil rights group knew this was tantamount to making targets of its members in a state that was riven at the time with race-related violence. The Court held that some level of anonymity is sometimes required to protect the rights of free speech and free assembly. The Court expanded on this precedent until the Watergate scandal, when it too got caught up in the disclosure fad. Political privacy rights have been eroding ever since.

What is to be done? For starters, we need to be aware that this is happening, and that it is not random. The intimidation game is very real. It is the work of left-wing groups and politicians, it is coordinated, and it is well-honed. Many of the targets of intimidation who I interviewed for my recent book weren’t aware of what was happening to them, and that allowed the intimidation to go on for too long. Awareness is key.

We need to think hard about ways to limit the powers of the administrative state, to stop rogue agents at the IRS and other agencies from trampling on free speech rights. We can make great progress simply by cutting the size of federal and state bureaucracies. But beyond that, we need to conduct systematic reviews of agency powers and strip from unaccountable bureaucracies any discretion over the political activities of Americans. The IRS should be doing what it was created to do—making sure taxpayers fill out their forms correctly. Period.

We need to push corporations to grow backbones and to defend more aggressively their free speech interests—rather than leaving that defense to others.

We need to overhaul our disclosure laws, and once again put the onus of disclosure on government rather than citizens. At the moment, every American who donates $200 or more to a federal politician goes into a database. Without meaning to sound cynical, no politician in Washington is capable of being bought off for a mere $200. We need to raise that donation threshold. And we need to think hard about whether there is good reason to force disclosure of any donations to ballot initiatives or to the production and broadcast of issue ads—ads designed to educate the public rather than to promote or oppose candidates.

Most important, we need to call out intimidation in any form and manner we see it—and do so instantly. Bullies don’t like to be exposed. They’d rather practice their ugliness in the dark. And one lesson that emerged from all my interviews on this topic is that speaking out works. Those who rolled over merely set themselves up for future attacks. Those who called out the intimidators maintained their rights and won the day.

Finally, conservatives need to tamp down any impulse to practice such intimidation themselves. Our country is best when it is engaging in vigorous debate. The Framers of the Constitution envisioned a multiplicity of interests that would argue their way to a common good. We succeed with more voices, not fewer, and we should have enough confidence in our arguments to hear out our opponents.

ABOUT KIMBERLY STRASSEL

Strassel-K-Photo-150x150Kimberley Strassel writes the weekly “Potomac Watch” column for The Wall Street Journal, where she is also a member of the editorial board. A graduate of Princeton University, her previous positions at the Journal include news assistant in Brussels, internet reporter in London, commercial real estate reporter in New York, assistant editorial features editor, columnist for OpinionJournal.com, and senior editorial page writer. In 2013 she served as a Pulliam Distinguished Visiting Fellow at Hillsdale College, and in 2014 she was a recipient of the Bradley Prize. She is the author of The Intimidation Game: How the Left Is Silencing Free Speech.

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Former Christian Coalition President Enters U.S. Senate Race Against Career Politicians

Randy Brinson, candidate for U.S. Senate from Alabama.

Dr. Randy Brinson, candidate for U.S. Senate from Alabama.

MONTGOMERY, Ala. /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Montgomery businessman and physician, Dr. Randy Brinson, candidate for the U.S. Senate seat previously held by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, spoke yesterday at Alabama Republican Party Headquarters.  Brinson outlined his plans to fight corruption, repeal and replace Obamacare, protect the Constitution, end Common Core, grow the economy, create jobs, and promote common-sense Alabama values in Washington, D.C.

Brinson touched on Alabama’s multiple recent political scandals, saying, “The people of Alabama deserve better” than “a shady appointment which put a permanent Alabama politician into a vacant Senate seat, or a current Congressman who keeps making incendiary comments. Both of these characters are career long politicians who currently swim in the swamp.”

A practicing physician, Brinson called Obamacare “a huge overreach of federal power that puts government bureaucracy between you and your doctor,” and supports repeal and replacement of the ACA.

Brinson has a history of involvement in Christian values-based political action, including founding Redeem The Vote in 2003.  He emphasized his support for the 1st Amendment, saying “When government can restrict our faith, there is nothing that they cannot restrict.”

An avid hunter, Brinson said, “I understand the need to protect our right to keep and bear arms,” and vowed to fight any attempt to erode that right.

Brinson vowed to end Common Core “because it’s an attempt to instill politically correct ideology, contrary to our values and beliefs.”  He proposed a shift in emphasis to trade internships and business partnerships in education to help more students prepare for jobs in the real world.

An Air Force veteran, Brinson supports a strong national defense strategy, as well as support for law enforcement, firefighters and first responders.  “We must see to it that they have the equipment, the training and the resources to continue to protect us.”

Brinson touted his experience creating Alabama jobs, saying, “We need more good jobs in this country, and trade is one of the best ways to create those good jobs.  Fair trade benefits all of us, but it should be Fair, both ways, so I’ll fight against any trade deals that are unfair.”

Brinson closed by saying, “It takes character, core convictions, and competency to make a difference for the people of Alabama.”

For more information on Randy Brinson please visit  http://www.votebrinson.com/

Is School Driving Kids Literally Crazy? by Kerry McDonald

May can be a particularly dangerous month for schoolchildren. According to 13 years of recent data collected on mental health emergency room visits at Connecticut Children’s Mental Health Center in Hartford, May typically has the most.

Under Pressure

Boston College psychology professor, Peter Gray, looked more closely at this data and found that children’s mental health is directly related to school attendance. Dr. Gray found that children’s psychiatric ER visits drop precipitously in the summer and rise again once school begins. The May spike likely coincides with end-of-school academic and social pressures.

Dr. Gray concludes:

“The available evidence suggests quite strongly that school is bad for children’s mental health. Of course, it’s bad for their physical health, too; nature did not design children to be cooped up all day at a micromanaged, sedentary job.”

School-related anxiety and depression are real, serious issues that can lead to catastrophe, as evidenced by the rising suicide rate among children. In fact, according to the CDC, the suicide rate among 10 to 14 year olds has doubled since 2007. And for girls in that age group, the suicide rate has tripled over the past 15 years.

Beyond these extreme mental health crises, Dr. Gray’s research, and that of others, has shown that generalized anxiety and depression are skyrocketing in children. Dr. Gray maintains that much of this rise in anxiety and depression in children is due to lengthier, more restrictive schooling over the past several decades. He writes:

Children today spend more hours per day, days per year, and years of their life in school than ever before. More weight is given to tests and grades than ever. Outside of school, children spend more time than ever in settings in which they are directed, protected, catered to, ranked, judged, and rewarded by adults. In all of these settings adults are in control, not children.”

A national study of trends in adolescent depression rates found that teens reporting a major depressive episode (MDE) within the previous year skyrocketed from 8.7% in 2005 to 11.5% in 2014. The report, published last November in the journal Pediatrics, reveals: “The risk of depression sharply rises as children transition to adolescence.” The researchers cite stress and bullying as contributing factors.

More Stressed than Adults

A 2013 study by the American Psychological Association found that school is the main driver of teenage stress, and that teenagers are more stressed-out than adults. According to the study: “Teens report that their stress level during the school year far exceeds what they believe to be healthy (5.8 vs. 3.9 on a 10-point scale) and tops adults’ average reported stress levels (5.8 for teens vs. 5.1 for adults).”

The report reveals that 83% of teens said that school was “a somewhat or significant source of stress,” with 27% of teens reporting “extreme stress” during the school year. Interestingly, that number declines to just 13% in summer.

Curious about mounting data showing correlations between school attendance and anxiety, Dr. Gray conducted his own informal, online survey of children who left conventional schooling for homeschooling or other forms of alternative education.

He found that, specifically for children previously labeled ADHD, often with related anxiety issues, “the children’s behavior, moods, and learning generally improved when they stopped conventional schooling…” Results were particularly positive when children engaged in self-directed education, like unschooling, where they had more freedom and control of their own learning.

An advocate of autodidacticism, and founder of the Alliance for Self-Directed Education, Dr. Gray urges parents and educators to think critically about the potential negative impacts of coercive schooling on children’s health and well-being. He asserts:

“We don’t need to drive kids crazy to educate them. Given freedom and opportunity, without coercion, young people educate themselves.”

Kerry McDonald

kerry_mcdonaldjpg (1)Kerry McDonald has a B.A. in Economics from Bowdoin and an M.Ed. in education policy from Harvard. She lives in Cambridge, Mass. with her husband and four never-been-schooled children. Follow her writing at Whole Family Learning.

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Poland Continues Its Rise from the Ashes of Communism by Daniel J. Mitchell

Earlier today, I gave a speech about populism and capitalism at the Free Market Road Show in Thessaloniki, Greece.

But I’m not writing about my speech (read this and this if you want to get an idea of what I said about American policy under Trump). Instead, I want to share some remarkable data from a presentation by Ewa Balcerowicz of Poland’s Center for Social and Economic Research.

She talked about “The Post Socialist Transition in Poland in a Comparative Perspective” and showed that Poland and Spain had similar living standards after World War II. But over the next 40 years, thanks to the brutal communist system imposed by the Soviet Union, Poland fell far behind.

But look what has happened over the past 25 years.

Per-capita GDP has skyrocketed in Poland and the gap between the two nations has dramatically narrowed.

So why is Poland now rising relative to Spain?

For the simple reason that public policy has moved in the right direction. Here’s the data from Economic Freedom of the World, comparing Poland’s score in 1990 and today. Poland has jumped from 3.54 to 7.42, and the nation has jumped from a dismal ranking of #104 to a respectable ranking of #40.

By the way, Spain’s score also has increased, but by a much smaller amount. And because the world has become more free, Spain’s ranking has dropped. Indeed, Spain now ranks below Poland.

Which means that we shouldn’t be surprised if per-capita GDP in Poland soon jumps to about Spanish levels.

Just as Poland has out-paced Ukraine because it has better policy.

Here are additional examples showing the long-run benefits of pro-market policy.

And here’s a must-watch video on the relationship between good policy and better economics performance.

All of which helps to explain why I’m so disappointed in both Bush and Obama. Their statist policies have caused a drop in America’s score and relative ranking.

Reprinted from International Liberty.

Daniel J. Mitchell

Daniel J. Mitchell

Daniel J. Mitchell is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute who specializes in fiscal policy, particularly tax reform, international tax competition, and the economic burden of government spending. He also serves on the editorial board of the Cayman Financial Review.

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Under Socialism, Morality Is Scarcer than Bread by Marian L. Tupy

A couple of weeks ago, I visited New Orleans, where I gave a talk on human progress. My talk centered on improvements in standards of living across the world over the last 200 years – a period of historically unprecedented growth in prosperity caused by the industrial revolution and global trade.

One of the questions from the audience concerned the morality of capitalism. “You have shown that capitalism creates more wealth than socialism,” a young man conceded. “But is it moral?” he asked.

The Morality of Capitalism

In response, I dwelt on the voluntary and socially beneficial aspects of capitalism.

In order to make money, capitalists need to perform tasks or produce goods that other people want. (Yes, there are exceptions. Capitalists protected from market forces by corrupt public officials, for example, gain monopolistic rents that they are not entitled to. That is what is meant by the phrase “crony capitalism.”)

Similarly, transactions between capitalists and consumers are typically voluntary. Capitalists cannot force their customers to buy private sector goods and services. (Again, there are exceptions. Under Obamacare, for example, the US government can force people to purchase private-sector health insurance.)

Defending capitalism as a morally sound economic system is certainly important, not least because, as I have previously noted, “In so far as capitalism is only the latest iteration of an economy set up based on commerce, private property and profit making, there have always been those who found those three [morally] unpalatable.”

Socialism’s False Promises

Socialism, as my New Orleans questioner implied, is often assumed to be moral. Is that assumption justified?

Socialism is a utopian ideal intended to solve all of humanity’s problems including, above all, poverty and inequality. The theory and practice, alas, have tended to be at odds with one another.

Here is how Karl Marx outlined the future benefits of a socialist society:

“If we have chosen the position in life in which we can most of all work for mankind, no burdens can bow us down, because they are sacrifices for the benefit of all; then we shall experience no petty, limited, selfish joy, but our happiness will belong to millions, our deeds will live on quietly but perpetually at work, and over our ashes will be shed the hot tears of noble people.”

Leon Trotsky, the Soviet revolutionary, wrote that in a socialist society:

“Man will become immeasurably stronger, wiser, and subtler; his body will become more harmonious, his movements more rhythmic, his voice more musical. The forms of life will become dynamically dramatic. The average human type will rise to the heights of an Aristotle, a Goethe, or a Marx. And above these heights, new peaks will rise.”

Fidel Castro declared that the Cuban Revolution was “of the humble, with the humble and for the humble” and that his struggle for socialism was “for the lives of all children in the world.”

Che Guevara, Castro’s number two, mused that, “At the risk of seeming ridiculous, let me say that the true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love. It is impossible to think of a genuine revolutionary lacking this quality.”

These, to many people lofty sentiments, are echoed to this day by the platform of the Socialist Party of the United States, which avers that, “We are committed to the transformation of capitalism through the creation of a democratic socialist society based on compassion, empathy, and respect…”

Soviet bread line.

Soviet bread line.

Collectivism Creates Tyranny 

Applying socialist ideas in practice turned out to be much more problematic. One of the most obvious shortcomings of socialism in real life is its tendency to lead toward dictatorship. This relationship, clearly visible in Venezuela today, was first identified by the Nobel Prize-winning economist Friedrich Hayek in The Road to Serfdom.

In 1944, when he wrote his book, Hayek noted that the crimes of the German National Socialists and Soviet Communists were, in great part, the result of growing state control over the economy.

As he explained, growing state interference in the economy leads to massive inefficiencies and long queues outside empty shops. A state of perpetual economic crisis then leads to calls for more planning.

But economic planning is inimical to freedom. As there can be no agreement on a single plan in a free society, the centralisation of economic decision-making has to be accompanied by centralisation of political power in the hands of a small elite. When, in the end, the failure of central planning becomes undeniable, totalitarian regimes tend to silence the dissenters—sometimes through mass murder.

Political dissent under socialism is difficult, because the state is the only employer. To quote Trotsky again, “In a country where the sole employer is the State, opposition means death by slow starvation. The old principle: who does not work shall not eat, has been replaced by a new one: who does not obey shall not eat.” A free economy, in other words, is a necessary, though not a sufficient condition, for political freedom.

Obviously, not everyone feels that dictatorship and mass murder are too high a price to pay for equality. Eric Hobsbawm, the British Marxist historian, for example, was once asked whether, if Communism had achieved its aims, but at the cost of, say, 15 to 20 million people – as opposed to the 100 million it actually killed in Russia and China – would he have supported it? His answer was a single word: Yes. Even today, many people, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau among them, fawn over Cuban dictatorship, because of its delivery of supposedly free health and education to the masses.

I wrote “supposedly” because under socialism, bribes (cash payments, for example, or favours) are ubiquitous. Medical practitioners, who don’t feel that they are being paid enough by the state, demand bribes in order to look after their patients. Teachers, who feel the same, promote the children of doctors in order to get better access to health care. This process goes all the way down the food chain.

Often, bribery and theft go hand in hand. In socialist countries, the state owns all production facilities, such as factories, shops and farms. In order to have something to trade with one another, people first have to “steal” from the state. A butcher, for example, steals meat in order to exchange it for vegetables that the green grocer stole and so on.

Under socialism, favours can be obtained in other ways as well. In East Germany, for example, people often spied on their neighbours and, even, spouses.

The full-time employees of the secret police and their unofficial collaborators amounted to some two per cent of the entire population.

Once occasional informers are accounted for, one in six East Germans were at one point or another involved in spying on their fellow citizens.

Socialism, in other words, is not only underpinned by force, but it is also morally corrupting. Lying, stealing and spying are widely used and trust between people disappears. Far from fostering brotherhood between people, socialism makes everyone suspicious and resentful.

I have long held that the greatest harm that socialism caused was not economic. It was spiritual. Many of the countries that abandoned socialism rebuilt their economies and became prosperous. The same cannot be said about their institutions, such as the rule of law, and the behaviour of their citizens, such as the prevalence of corruption.

Prosperity is a consequence of removal of barriers to exchange between free people. But how does one make a society less corrupt and more law-abiding?

The true legacy of socialism, in other words, is not equality, but immorality.

Republished from CAPX.

Marian L. Tupy

Marian L. Tupy

Marian L. Tupy is the editor of HumanProgress.org and a senior policy analyst at the Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity.

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Meet Kára Deidra McCullough, Miss USA — Daughter of a Marine, Scientist, Engineer, American Woman

Kára Deidra McCullough, born on September 9, 1991, is a physical scientist at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. On May 14, 2017, she represented District of Columbia at Miss USA 2017 and was crowned Miss USA 2017.

Kára was born in Naples, Italy to Betty Ann Parker and Artensel E. McCullough Sr. Her father was a member of the United States Marine Corps, and she thus lived in various places such as Sicily, South Korea, Japan, and Hawaii. Kára was later raised in Virginia Beach, Virginia. McCullough attended South Carolina State University, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry with a concentration in radio-chemistry and served as the school’s 75th Miss South Carolina State University. While a student, Kára was a member of the American Chemical Society, the Health Physics Society, and the American Nuclear Society. She has been inducted into the Golden Key International Honour Society and the National Society of Black Engineers.

Kára works as an emergency preparedness specialist in the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Office of Nuclear Security and Incident Response.

You would think that women and men across America would be celebrating this special woman. But you would be wrong.

The feminists and those who hate America, hate Miss USA Kára Deidra McCullough. Why?

In a Fox News article titled Miss USA Kara McCullough calls health care a privilege, sparks controversy Sasha Savitsky reports:

The newly-crowned Miss USA is already under fire.

Kara McCullough, of the District of Columbia, was asked during Sunday night’s pageant whether she thinks that affordable health care for all U.S. citizens is a right or a privilege. She said it is a privilege.

“As a government employee, I’m granted health care and I see firsthand that for one to have health care, you need to have jobs,” the 25-year-old shared.

Later in the competition, she also was asked what she considers feminism to be and whether she considers herself a feminist. McCullough said she likes to “transpose” the word feminism to “equalism.”

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission scientist’s answers did not sit well with some viewers, who took to social media to slam her remarks.

Read more…

An accomplished woman who is articulate, beautiful, has strong beliefs about serving the nation and feels healthcare is a privilege is now demonized. Do you see a pattern here? If you are successful you are the enemy of the state. If you believe government is the problem and not the solution then you are an enemy of the state. Even if you work for the government and express your views you are an enemy of the state.

So why is Kára Deidra McCullough under attack?

Jeffrey Tucker, the Director of Content for the Foundation for Economic Education states:

It finally struck me why. For this crowd [the center-left], all their hopes and dreams are bound up with particular political processes, outcomes, and institutions. The state is their favorite tool for all the good they aspire to do in this world. It must be protected, guarded, defended, celebrated. The illusion that the government is not a taker but a giver and the source of all good things must be maintained. The gloss of the democratic process must be constantly refurbished so that the essential sanctity of the public sector can be constantly cited as the highest calling.

The center-left has at least one hundred years of work and resources invested in the state’s health, well being, reputation, and exalted moral status. Nothing must be allowed to threaten it or take it down a peg or two. Any failures must be deemed as temporary setbacks. The slightest sign of some success must be trumpeted constantly. The population must be subjected to unrelenting homilies on the essential holiness of the public sector.Their education told them this. Their degrees and ruling-class pedigree were hard earned. This is what has inspired them. They believe so strongly that they can make the world a better place through the managerial state that it has become their religion. It’s their very core!

If you are against the state then you are an enemy of the state. The center-left has declared Kára Deidra McCullough an enemy of the state.

VIDEO: President Trump’s Remarks at the Liberty University Commencement Ceremony

President Trump gave the commencement address at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, on Saturday, May 13th, 2017.

TRANSCRIPT

Thank you very much. everybody. And congratulations to the class of 2017. That’s some achievement.

This is your day and you’ve earned every minute of it. And I’m thrilled to be back at Liberty University, I’ve been here, this is now my third time, and we love setting records, right. We always set records. We have to set records, we have no choice.

It’s been a little over a year since I’ve spoken on your beautiful campus and so much has changed. Right here, the class of 2017 dressed in cap and gown, graduating to a totally brilliant future. And here I am standing before you as President of the United States, so I’m guessing — there are some people here today who thought that either one of those things, either one, would really require major help from God. Do we agree? And we got it.

But here we are celebrating together on this very joyous occasion, and there is no place in the world I’d rather be to give my first commencement address as President than here with my wonderful friends at Liberty University. And I accepted this invitation a long time ago. I said to Jerry that I’d be there, and when I say something I mean it.

I want to thank President Jerry Falwell and his incredible wife, Becky, stand up, Becky, for their kind words, their steadfast support, and their really wonderful friendship. Let me also extend our appreciation to the entire Falwell family, Trey, Sarah, Wesley, Laura, and Caroline, thank you for everything you do to make this university so exceptional, one of the truly great, great schools.

Most importantly to our new graduates: Each of you should take immense pride in what you have achieved. There’s another group of amazing people we want to celebrate today and they are the ones who have made this journey possible for you, and you know who that is? Nobody, you forgot already. You’re going to go out, you’re going to do whatever you’re going to do, some are going to make a lot of money, some are going to be even happier doing other things — they’re your parents and your grandparents, don’t forget them. You haven’t forgotten yet, have you? Never, ever forget them, they’re great.

And especially this weekend, let’s make sure we give a really extra special thanks to the moms. Don’t forget our moms, because graduates, today is your day. Today is your day. But in all of this excitement don’t forget that tomorrow is Mother’s Day, right? I had a great mother, she’s looking down, now but I had a great mother. I always loved Mother’s Day.

We’re also deeply honored to be joined by some of the nearly 6000 service members, military veterans and military spouses who are receiving their diplomas today. Will you please stand. Please stand. Wow. That’s great. Thank you very much, great job. We’re profoundly grateful to every single one of you who sacrificed to keep us safe and protect God’s precious gift of freedom. It is truly a testament to this university and to the values that you embrace that your graduating class includes so many patriots who have served our country in uniform. Thank you very much.

To the class of 2017: Today you end one chapter but you are about to begin the greatest adventure of your life. Just think for a moment of how blessed you are to be here today at this great, great university, living in this amazing country, surrounded by people who you love and care about so much. Then ask yourself, with all of those blessings, and all of the blessings that you’ve been given, what will you give back to this country and, indeed, to the world? What imprint will you leave in the sands of history? What will future Americans say we did in our brief time right here on Earth? Did we take risks? Did we dare to defy expectations? Did we challenge accepted wisdom and take on established systems? I think I did, but we all did and we’re all doing it.

Or did we just go along with convention, swim downstream, so easily with the current and just give in because it was the easy way, it was the traditional way or it was the accepted way? Remember this, nothing worth doing ever, ever, ever came easy. Following your convictions means you must be willing to face criticism from those who lack the same courage to do what is right — and they know what is right, but they don’t have the courage or the guts or the stamina to take it and to do it. It’s called the road less traveled.

I know that each of you will be a warrior for the truth, will be a warrior for our country, and for your family. I know that each of you will do what is right, not what is the easy way, and that you will be true to yourself, and your country, and your beliefs. In my short time in Washington I’ve seen firsthand how the system is broken. A small group of failed voices who think they know everything and understand everyone want to tell everybody else how to live and what to do and how to think. But you aren’t going to let other people tell you what you believe, especially when you know that you’re right. And those of you graduating here today, who have given half a million hours of charity last year alone, unbelievable amount of work and charity and few universities or colleges can claim anything even close, we don’t need a lecture from Washington on how to lead our lives. I’m standing here looking at the next generation of American leaders. There may very well be a president or two in our midst. Anybody think they’re going to be president, raise your hand.

In your hearts are inscribed the values of service, sacrifice and devotion. Now you must go forth into the world and turn your hopes and dreams into action. America has always been the land of dreams because America is a nation of true believers. When the pilgrims landed at Plymouth they prayed. When the founders wrote the Declaration of Independence, they invoked our creator four times, because in America we don’t worship government we worship God. That is why our elected officials put their hands on the Bible and say, ‘So help me God,’ as they take the oath of office. It is why our currency proudly declares, ‘In God we trust,’ and it’s why we proudly proclaim that we are one nation under God every time we say the pledge of allegiance.

The story of America is the story of an adventure that began with deep faith, big dreams and humble beginnings. That is also the story of Liberty University. When I think about the visionary founder of this great institution, Reverend Jerry Falwell Sr., I can only imagine how excited he would be if he could see all of this and all of you today, and how proud he would be of his son and of his family.

In just two days we will mark the 10th anniversary of Reverend Falwell’s passing, and I used to love watching him on television, hearing him preach, he was a very special man. He would be so proud not just at what you’ve achieved but of the young men and women of character that you’ve all become. And Jerry, I know your dad is looking down on you right now and he is proud, he is very proud, so congratulations on a great job Jerry. Reverend Falwell’s life is a testament to the power of faith to change the world. The inspiring legacy that we see all around us in this great stadium — this is a beautiful stadium and it is packed. I’m so happy about that. I said, ‘How are you going to fill up a place like that?’ It is packed, Jerry.

In this beautiful campus and in your smiling faces but it all began with a vision. That vision was of a world class university for evangelical Christians. And I want to thank you, because boy did you come out and vote, those of you that are old enough, in other words your parents. Boy oh boy, you voted, you voted.

No doubt many people told him his vision was impossible, and I am sure they continued to say that so long after he started, at the beginning with just 154 students, but the fact is no one has ever achieved anything significant without a chorus of critics standing on the sidelines explaining why it can’t be done. Nothing is easier or more pathetic than being a critic, because they’re people that can’t get the job done. But the future belongs to the dreamers, not to the critics. the future belongs to the people who follow their heart no matter what the critics say because they truly believe in their vision.

At Liberty your leaders knew from the very beginning that a strong athletic program would help this campus grow so that this school might transform more lives. That is why a crucial part of Reverend Falwell’s vision for making Liberty a world-class institution was having a world-class football team much like the great teams of Notre Dame, great school, great place, in fact, Vice President Mike Pence is there today doing a fabulous job as he always does.

A few years ago, the New York Times even wrote a story on the great ambitions of the Liberty Flames. That story prompted a longtime president of another school to write a letter to Jerry. It’s a letter that Reverend Falwell would have been very, very pleased to read. Jerry tells me that letter now hangs in the wall in the boardroom of your great university. It came from the late Father Theodore Hesper, who was the beloved president of the university of Notre Dame 35 years ago. Like this school’s founder, he was a truly kindhearted man of very, very deep faith. In the letter, Father Hesper recalled that Notre Dame’s own meteoric rise from a small Midwestern school to a national football powerhouse. And then he wrote something so amazing and generous. He wrote, ‘I think you are on that same trajectory now and I want to wish you all the best and encourage you from the starting and from being able to start very small and arriving in the big time.’

Thanks to hard work, great faith, and incredible devotion those dreams have come true. As of February of this year, the Liberty Flames are playing in the FBS, the highest level of competition in NCAA football. Don’t, don’t clap, that could be tough. Don’t clap. That could be tough. I’m a little worried. I don’t want to look at some of those scores here. Jerry, you sure you know what you’re doing here? Those other players are big and fast and strong but I have a feeling you’re going to do very well, right?

From the most humble roots you’ve become a powerhouse in both education and sports. And just wait until the world hears the football teams you’ll be playing on your schedule starting next season. President Falwell gave me a list of some of those schools, the ones you’re going to be playing 2018. Would you like me to read the names? Just came out, would you like to hear them? I’m a little bit concerned. UMass, Virginia, Auburn — Jerry, are you sure you know what you’re doing? Jerry, Auburn? I don’t know about that James. This could be trouble, Jerry. Rutgers, Old Dominion, Brigham Young, Army — I might be at that game, who am I supposed to root for? Tell me. I don’t know. That’s a tough one, Jerry. I don’t know, Jerry, I’m going to have to think about that one, Jerry. Buffalo, Troy, Virginia Tech, oh no, Jerry, Ole Miss and wake forest, those are really top schools. maybe in four or five years I’ll come to a game, right, you’ll build it up. Well good luck.

The success of your athletic program arriving on the big stage should be a reminder to every new graduate of just what you can achieve when you start small, pursue a big vision and never, ever quit. You never quit. If I give you one message to hold in your hearts today, it’s this. Never, ever give up. There will be times in your life you’ll want to quit, you’ll want to go home, you’ll want to go home perhaps to that wonderful mother that’s sitting back there watching you and say, ‘Mom, I can’t do it. I can’t do it.’ Just never quit. Go back home and tell mom, dad, I can do it, I can do it. I will do it, you’re going to be successful. I’ve seen so many brilliant people, they gave up in life, they were totally brilliant, they were top of their class, they were the best students, they were the best of everything, they gave up. I’ve seen others who really didn’t have that talent or that ability and they’re among the most successful people today in the world because they never quit and they never gave up. So just remember that. Never stop fighting for what you believe in and for the people who care about you.

Carry yourself with dignity and pride. Demand the best from yourself and be totally unafraid to challenge entrenched interests and failed power structures. Does that sound familiar by the way? The more people tell you it’s not possible, that it can’t be done, the more you should be absolutely determined to prove them wrong. Treat the word ‘impossible’ as nothing more than motivation. Relish the opportunity to be an outsider. Embrace that label — being an outsider is fine, embrace the label — because it’s the outsiders who change the world and who make a real and lasting difference. The more that a broken system tells you that you’re wrong, the more certain you should be that you must keep pushing ahead, you must keep pushing forward.

And always have the courage to be yourself. Most importantly, you have to do what you love. You have to do what you love. I’ve seen so many people, they’re forced through lost of reasons, sometimes including family, to go down a path that they don’t want to go down, to go down a path that leads them to something that they don’t love, that they don’t enjoy. You have to do what you love, or you most likely won’t be very successful at it. So do what you love.

I want to recognize a friend who is here with us today, who can serve as an inspiration to us all. Someone who doesn’t know the meaning of the word ‘quit’. Real champion. A true, true champion. Both on the field, off the field, he’s a Hall of Fame quarterback for the Buffalo Bills, really a good friend of mine, an amazing guy, Jim Kelly, where is Jim, he’s here some place. Where is Jim, stand up, Jim. What a great man. Jim Kelly, he was tough. Jim do you have any idea how much money you’d be making today? They’d hit Jim, it was like tackling a linebacker. They’d hit Jim, four guy, five guys that weighed 320, and he’d just keep going down the field. He was much more than a quarterback. He had tremendous heart and he knew how to win. Jim is tough, and his toughest fight of all was that he beat cancer not once but twice.

And I saw him and his incredible wife as they were in a very low moment, Jill, very, very low moment, and it was amazing the way they fought. It didn’t look good, I would have said, maybe, maybe it’s not going to happen. But there was always that hope because of Jim and Jim’s heart. But I want to just say it’s great to have you here today Jim and these people are big, big fans and if you can get a young version of Jim Kelly, you’ll be beating a lot of teams, Jerry.

So, interestingly, though, I said ‘I wonder what Jim’s doing here,’ his daughter Erin crosses the goal line to you and today with you so, Erin, stand up. Where are you, Erin? Where is Erin? Congratulations, Erin. Congratulations. Graduating from Liberty. Great choice, thank you.

Liberty University is a place where they really have true champions and you have a simple creed that you live by: To be, really, champions for Christ. Whether you’re called to be a missionary overseas, to shepherd a church or to be a leader in your community, you are living witness of the gospel message of faith, hope and love. And I must tell you I am so proud as your president to have helped you along over the past short period of time. I said I was going to do it, and Jerry, I did it. And a lot of people are very happy with what’s taken place, especially last week, we did some very important signings, right James? Very important signings.

America is better when people put their faith into action. As long as I am your president, no one is ever going to stop you from practicing your faith or from preaching what’s in your heart.

We will always stand up for the right of all Americans to pray to God and to follow his teachings. America is beginning a new chapter. Today each of you begins a new chapter as well. When your story goes from here, it will be defined by your vision, your perseverance and your grit. That’s a word Jim Kelly knows very well, your grit. In this, I’m reminded of another man you know very well and who has joined us here today. His name is George Rogers, Liberty University CFO and vice president for a quarter of a century. During World War II, George spent three-and-a-half years as a prisoner of war. He saw many of his fellow soldiers die during the Bataan death march. He was the victim of starvation and torture as a prisoner of war. When he was finally set free he weighed just 85 pounds and was told he would not live past the age of 40. Today George is 98 years old.

Great. That’s so great, George. If anyone ever had reason to quit, to give in to the bitterness and anger that we all face at some point, to lose hope in God’s vision for his life, it was indeed George Rogers. But that’s not what he did. He stood up for his country, he stood up for his community. He stood up for his family and he defended civilization against a tide of barbarity, the kind of barbarity we’re seeing today and we’ve been witnessing over the last number of years and I just want to tell you as your president, we are doing very, very well in countering it, so you just hang in there. Things are going along very, very well. You’ll be hearing a lot about it next week from our generals Things are going along very, very well.

Through it all, he kept his faith in God, even in the darkest depths of despair. Like so many others of his generation, George came home to a nation full of optimism and pride and began to live out the American dream. He started a family, he discovered God’s plan for him and pursued that vision with all his might, pouring his passion into a tiny college in a place called Lynchburg, Virginia. Did you ever hear of that? Lynchburg? We love, we love it. Do you like it? We like it, right? I flew over it a little while ago. It’s amazing, actually. What started as a dream with a few good friends he helped shepherd into the largest Christian university in the world. Just look at this amazing, soaring, growing campus and I’ve been watching it grow because I’ve been a friend of Liberty for a long time, now, Jerry. It’s been a long time.

Thanks in great part George’s financial stewardship hundreds of thousands of young hearts and souls have been enriched at Liberty and inspired by the spirit of God. George, we thank you, and we salute you, and you just stay healthy for a long time, George, thank you.

Now it falls on the shoulders of each of you here today to protect the freedom that patriots like George earned with their incredible sacrifice. Fortunately you have been equipped with the tools from your time right here on this campus to make the right decisions and to serve God, family and country. As you build good lives, you will also be rebuilding our nation. You’ll be leaders in your communities, stewards of great institutions and defenders of liberty and you will be great mothers and fathers and grandmothers and grandfathers, loving friends and loving family members. You will build a future where we have the courage to chase our dreams no matter what the cynics and the doubters have to say. You will have the confidence to speak the hopes in your hearts and to express the love that stirs your souls. And you will have the faith to replace a broken establishment with a government that serves and protects the people.

We must always remember that we share one home and one glorious destiny whether we are brown, black or white. We all bleed the same red blood of patriots. We all salute the same great American flag, and we are all made by the same almighty God. As long as you remember what you have learned here at Liberty, as long as you have pride in your beliefs, courage in your convictions and faith in your God, then you will not fail.

And as long as America remains true to its values, loyal to its citizens, and devoted to its creator, then our best days are yet to come, I can promise you that. This has been an exceptional morning. It’s been a great honor for me and I want to thank you, the students. I also want to thank you, the family, for getting them there ,and I want to thank and congratulate Liberty. May God bless the class of 2017. May god bless the United States of America. May God bless all of you here today. Thank you very much, thank you. Thank you.