No, Jesus Wasn’t a Socialist

Christian charity, being voluntary and heartfelt, is utterly distinct from the compulsory, impersonal mandates of the state.


The claim that Jesus Christ was a socialist has become a popular refrain among liberals, even from some whose Christianity is lukewarm at best. But is there any truth in it?

That question cannot be answered without a reliable definition of socialism. A century ago, it was widely regarded as government ownership of the means of production. Jesus never once even hinted at that concept, let alone endorsed it. Yet the definition has changed over time. When the critiques of economists such as Ludwig von Mises, F. A. Hayek, and Milton Friedman demolished any intellectual case for the original form of socialism, and reality proved them to be devastatingly right, socialists shifted to another version: central planning of the economy.

One can scour the New Testament and find nary a word from Jesus that calls for empowering politicians or bureaucrats to allocate resources, pick winners and losers, tell entrepreneurs how to run their businesses, impose minimum wages or maximum prices, compel workers to join unions, or even to raise taxes. When the Pharisees attempted to trick Jesus of Nazareth into endorsing tax evasion, he cleverly allowed others to decide what properly belongs to the State by responding, “Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s and to God that which is God’s.”

Nonetheless, one of the charges that led to Jesus’s crucifixion was indeed tax evasion.

With the reputation of central planners in the dumpster worldwide, socialists have largely moved on to a different emphasis: the welfare state. The socialism of Bernie Sanders and his young ally Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is that of the benevolent, egalitarian nanny state where rich Peter is robbed to pay poor Paul. It’s characterized by lots of “free stuff” from the government—which of course isn’t free at all. It’s quite expensive both in terms of the bureaucratic brokerage fees and the demoralizing dependency it produces among its beneficiaries. Is this what Jesus had in mind?

Hardly. Yes, amid the holidays, it’s especially timely to think about helping the poor. It was, after all, a very important part of Jesus’s message. How helping the poor is to be done, however, is mighty important.

Christians are commanded in Scripture to love, to pray, to be kind, to serve, to forgive, to be truthful, to worship the one God, to learn and grow in both spirit and character. All of those things are very personal. They require no politicians, police, bureaucrats, political parties, or programs.

“The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want,” says Jesus in Matthew 26:11 and Mark 14:7. The key words there are you can help and want to help. He didn’t say, “We’re going to make you help whether you like it or not.”

In Luke 12:13-15, Jesus is approached with a redistribution request. “Master, speak to my brother that he divideth the inheritance with me,” a man asks. Jesus replied, “Man, who made me a judge or divider over you?” Then he rebuked the petitioner for his envy.

Christianity is not about passing the buck to the government when it comes to relieving the plight of the poor. Caring for them, which means helping them overcome it, not paying them to stay poor or making them dependent upon the state, has been an essential fact in the life of a true Christian for 2,000 years. Christian charity, being voluntary and heartfelt, is utterly distinct from the compulsory, impersonal mandates of the state.

But don’t take my word for it. Consider what the apostle Paul says in 2 Corinthians 9:7: “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

And in Jesus’s Parable of the Good Samaritan, the traveler is regarded as “good” because he personally helped the stricken man at the roadside with his own time and resources. If, instead, he had urged the helpless chap to wait for a government check to arrive, we would likely know him today as the Good-for-Nothing Samaritan.

Jesus clearly held that compassion is a wholesome value to possess, but I know of no passage in the New Testament that suggests it’s a value he’d impose by force or gunpoint—in other words, by socialist politics.

Socialists are fond of suggesting that Jesus disdained the rich, citing two particular moments: his driving of the money-changers from the Temple and his remark that it’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven. In the first instance, Jesus was angry that God’s house was being misused. Indeed, he never drove a money-changer from a bank or a marketplace. In the second, he was warning that with great wealth, great temptations come, too.

These were admonitions against misplaced priorities, not class warfare messages.

In his Parable of the Talents, Jesus talks about a man who entrusts his wealth to three servants for a time. When the man returns, he learns that one of the servants safeguarded his share by burying it, the second put his share to work and multiplied it, and the third invested his and generated the greatest return of all. Who’s the hero in the parable? The wealth-creating third man. The first one is admonished, and his share is taken and given to the third.

That doesn’t sound very socialist, does it?

Likewise, in Jesus’s Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard, the story upholds capitalist virtues, not socialist ones. When some workers complain that others were paid more, the employer rightfully defends the right of voluntary contract, private property, and, in effect, the law of supply and demand.

At Christmas time and throughout the year, Jesus would want each of us to be generous in helping the needy. But if you think he meant for politicians to do it with police power at twice the cost and half the effectiveness of private charity, you’re not reading the same New Testament I am.

This article was reprinted with permission from the Washington Examiner.

COLUMN BY

Lawrence W. Reed

Lawrence W. Reed is President Emeritus, Humphreys Family Senior Fellow, and Ron Manners Ambassador for Global Liberty at the Foundation for Economic Education. He is also author of Real Heroes: Incredible True Stories of Courage, Character, and Conviction and Excuse Me, Professor: Challenging the Myths of ProgressivismFollow on Twitter and Like on Facebook.

EDITORS NOTE: This FEE column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

And Then There Were None

In 2008, Abby Johnson, the manager of the Bryan, Texas (100 miles from Houston) Planned Parenthood, became that organization’s Employee of the Year.

By 2009, she quit for conscience’ sake. Why?

That year, for the first time, she saw an ultrasound of an abortion of a 13-week old unborn child in her own clinic. This was not a blob of tissue, a clump of cells, a non-living being. This was a baby that was fighting for his life.

Although Abby Johnson was a good salesman of abortions and thought that she was helping women through her work, seeing that baby fighting for his life caused the scales to fall from her eyes.

Abby says that after she saw that ultrasound,

“I knew that I had been part of a lie. I had been a part of a corrupt system, a corrupt organization, that really preyed upon women in their vulnerable states, and I knew that I needed to leave.”

She has now written a book (with Cindy Lambert) called Unplanned, and PureFlix (“God’s Not Dead”) has now turned that book into an excellent movie.

Abby Johnson has also started an outreach, And Then There Were None (ATTWN), to help abortion workers leave the field. I have interviewed Abby before and have previously written about her story. But here is an update about ATTWN, since I interviewed for Christian television two of her assistants at ATTWN recently.

One of them is Meagan Weber, who told me,

“[Abby] wrote her book hoping that a worker would pick it up as a skeptic and see the truth, and see themselves through her words, and within three months of her book’s release in 2011, she had 17 abortion workers contact her for help.”

In effect, Abby and those 17 workers became the beginning of her work to help transition abortion clinic workers out of the field. Her reasoning is simple. She says in her ATTWN website, abortionworker.com,

“We always say that nobody grows up wanting to work in the abortion industry. Nobody. Our vision statement for ‘And then there were none’ is ‘No abortion clinic workers, no abortion clinics, no abortions’—it starts with the workers. We see ourselves as being part of a pro-love movement. That we want to love these workers out of the clinics. We want to love them to a path of healing, and we want to love them back into a relationship with Jesus Christ.”

As an abortion worker, Abby Johnson had thought that what she was doing at Planned Parenthood was helping women. But she learned the hard way that the real bottom line of Planned Parenthood was its bottom line.

Weber, who serves as Abby Johnson’s Assistant, told me, “They asked her to increase the number of abortions at her facility by half, and so she said, ‘Don’t we tell the media that we want to reduce the number of abortions to make them safe, legal, and rare?’ And her supervisor laughed and said, ‘Well, Abbey, how do you think we make our money?’ And she really was blindsided by that.”

Weber also says, “Leaving your job in the abortion industry is not like leaving your job in a fast food outlet. It has the same high turnover rate, but you don’t just leave your job, you leave your friends, you leave your ideology…you go from one day championing women’s rights and abortion rights to the next day having to humble yourself and say, ‘I was wrong. I was part of a very evil system,’ and they have to come to terms with that. So there is a lot of emotional trauma, and there is abandonment.”

I also have spoken with Laura Ricketts of ATTWN for Christian television. She observed, “As we walk through the process of healing them, as we meet their practical needs with financial assistance, with resume writing, with jobs search help, as we help them pay their bills, get back on their feet, once their practical needs are met, they are ready to meet their emotion and spiritual needs.”

So far the organization has been able to help hundreds of clinic workers get out of the abortion field. Meagan states, “And so here we are seven years later, and we’ve helped 550 workers and 7 full-time doctors.”

The movie alone helped cause about a hundred abortion clinic workers to respond…to consider coming out. Ricketts told me, “I think one of the most exciting things about the movie is the impact it had across the country and now across the world. We saw hearts changed, abortion clinic workers leaving their jobs.”

Abby Johnson says, “My story is really an exposé. It’s pulling back the curtain into an industry that has been normalized. Abortion has been so incredibly normalized in our society, and it’s anything but normal.”

© All rights reserved.

U.S. Iran Brinkmanship

Like everyone else, I wonder what is going on with Iran. Whatever it is, it just does not bode well for the US, my adopted country. My country of birth, Iran, used to be my proud homeland of noble people, is now a cabal of turbaned religious bigots who took it over some four decades ago and overnight transformed a country that was once the envy of the entire Middle East into a pariah of the world.

President Trump honored his campaign pledge to withdraw from the misguided and dangerous deal the Obama administration made with the Iranian Mullahs on the nuclear issue. Some say that was a bad thing. Others say, it was a good thing to chuck it and aim for a much better and safer agreement.

Now that debate is academic, the United States of America is no longer party to that flawed agreement. The United States did not just leave by closing the door, but proposed a new deal to the Mullahs that had exactly zero chance to succeed

President Trump seems to believe that he is dealing with a group of rational pragmatic people like others he has dealt with in the world of business. A sort of give and take type of people who can find middle ground on any deal. The Mullahs are hardly the type. They are religious fanatics to their very core who are driven — now that they are in power and sit on a sea of black gold — by their deadly messianic dream to rule the world by whatever means, piecemeal or whole, intact or in shambles. Preferably in shambles so that their long-awaited and prayed-for Saheb-u-zaman (their messiah)— from his hiding place and returns and set the world straight in accordance with the idealized Shia Islamic vision.

To Islam, Death is not death. It is martyrdom — the prized achievement earning the martyr eternal peace in fabled paradise. To these cultists, Muhammad’s son-in-law, Imam Hossain is their idol and his tragic death is what they follow. They believe in the same way that Imam Hossain with a small band of his followers stood up to the usurper Yazid, they are doing the same thing at all costs battling the Great Satan (the USA).

This cult of death is on the march and in its forty years of Islamic rules has murdered tens of thousands of Iran’s best children who dared to oppose its criminal agenda.

At this point this game of chicken has played out to the Mullahs’ highest advantage. The Saudis, with their huge arsenal of fancy weapons and the world’s third highest military expenditure are just licking their wounds not even daring to name the Mullahs as the villains who bombed their lifeline. And the Saudi’s patron, the United States, shrugs and says it is the Saudi’s place to respond and it would support that. The Saudis blinked, ergo the United States blinks.

As things stand now, the Mullahs have gained incalculable prestige in the region. They have time and again poked the big tiger in the eye and the big tiger blinked and didn’t bite. What’s the lesson to everyone? The tiger is really a paper tiger. Poke it and see for yourself.

And how this brinkmanship is likely to play out? It could trigger a full war. Not just simply the parties giving each other a bloody nose and go back to a line of less cataclysmic confrontation. This is very unlikely. The Mullahs lifeline is hugely constricted and that will not do. They will do whatever they can to open that oil-finance lifeline. A more likely possibility is so called diplomacy.

The United States took a huge risk trying to undo the massively-flawed nuclear deal. The Mullahs refused. Therefore, the United States not being remotely inclined to use force, will take the diplomatic route. Meaning overtly and covertly, the United States backtracks, eases the sanctions, and the Mullahs gleefully celebrate their partial victory waiting and hoping another Democrat president takes the helm. After all, the Mullahs believe Democrats are the nice folks who see it their way. It was that very nice Jimmy Carter who catapulted the villain Khomeini to power. Recall that Carter even called Khomeini, a “saint.”

And yes. Another very nice and understanding Democrat President — the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize granted the Mullahs the right to make their own nuclear bomb if they could only wait a few years. He, Obama even sweetened the deal giving the Mullahs a starter fund of hundred and fifty billion dollars.

What is going on with Iran? Some speculations on my part:

Trump, rightly or wrongly left the nuclear deal with Iran demanding new terms that were tantamount to surrender to the Mullahs. So, they said, Hell no. Trump started to turn the economic screws on the Mullahs that began to shut down their oil sales — their life-blood.

The Mullahs had a choice: either die slowly by the U.S. sanctions that not only prevented selling oil, but also shut down their ability to deal in international banking, or playing hardball with Trump. In a way, they decided to take a chance and go down fighting, if it is necessary.

The Mullahs figured, Trump is more bluster than fight, as evident from his inaction when they shot down an American drone in international airspace. Teddy Roosevelt advised: speak softly but carry a big stick. The Mullahs see President Trump speaking loudly while carrying no stick at all.

They also figured that re-election coming up would make Trump most hesitant to unleash his military on them. Furthermore, Trump might get bounced and the Democrats will again come around and be nice to them.

Now, they have called their opponents’ bluff with great success. They have made their point: they have said time and again, if we can’t sell our oil, then we will not let anybody else sell their oil through the Gulf. Saudis making money hand over fist selling oil while the Mullahs starving? No, that’s not very nice. They decided they would do something about that. Knowing full well that those Saudi boys have no stomach at all for entangling with Iran militarily.

Now what? Simple. This time Trump lost. Next, Trump will relax the sanctions, will even look the other way for the Mullahs to sell some oil, access to the international financial system will also quietly work out and a covert “diplomacy” dance will continue.

The result: a huge victory for the Mullahs and a new long term lease on life. I certainly hope I’m wrong as I see it.

What Is This Love Affair with Socialism?

“Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it,” said Santayana. Many young people today claim to prefer socialism—and in some cases, even communism (which is socialism’s more violent form)—over capitalism.

Recently a candidate for city council in Denver declared that capitalism has failed and that socialism is the future. Candi Cdebaca said that we are in the “last phase” of capitalism—as if it is dying. In contrast, she said, “I believe in community ownership of land, labor, resources and distribution of those resources.” And she is willing to implement this agenda “by any means necessary.” Last week, she won the election.

A new poll says that out-of-the-closet socialist Bernie Sanders would beat capitalist Donald Trump for the U. S. presidency if the election were held today. By 9 points.

The problem with socialism and communism is that it must be forced in order to put it into practice. The communists built the Berlin Wall to keep the residents of East Germany from being able to flee “the worker’s paradise” into the West. Trump wants to build a border wall—not to keep people in, but to keep undocumented people out. The fact that so many want to come here is, in part, mute testimony to the success of capitalism.

Dr. Paul Kengor of Grove City College is a best-selling author of many books related to communism. One of his most recent books is called The Politically Incorrect Guide to Communism: The Killingest Idea Ever (Regnery, 2017).

In that book he mentions a joking T-shirt given to him by one of his former students. The T-shirt read, “Communism has only killed 100 million people. Why not give it another shot?”

Kengor points out that we are told repeatedly that the problem with socialism/communism, which repeatedly fails to “deliver the goods,” only because the right people have not tried it.

Writes Kengor,

“Again and again, we’re told that communist philosophy was never the problem. No, it was nasty leaders like Joe Stalin who have given communism a bad name. Stalin, you see, was an aberration. As were, presumably, Lenin, Trotsky, Latsis, Dzerzhinsky [founder of the KGB], Beria, Bulganin, Khrushchev, Voroshilov, Malenkov, Mikoyan, Brezhnev, Andropov, Chernenko, Chebrikov, Ulbricht, Ceausescu, Tito, Hoxha, Dimitrov, Zhivkov, Mao, Pol Pot, Ho Chi Minh, Mengistu Mariam, Kim Il-Sun, Kim Jong Il, Kim Jong Un, Fidel, Raul, and Che….”

And, of course, this would also include Hugo Chavez and General Maduro, who have presided over Venezuela’s destruction, as it went from the best economy of Latin America to the worst—precisely because of socialism.

Kengor concludes: “You would think at least one commie, somewhere along the line, would have gotten it right. Why such ugly results if the theory is so pretty? Can’t these geniuses read?”

Capitalism does not produce an equal distribution of wealth. No system does. If you say that socialism/communism does, then you are covering over the fact that in the socialistic schemes, it is always the administration that does well, not the people.

Even Bernie Sanders prospers under capitalism, selling his book that railed against capitalism. He must have cried all the way to the bank.

For all its inequities, capitalism, free enterprise, a market-based system (whatever one might call it), delivers the goods for the most amount of people. In the words of Kengor, “The free market makes consumers sovereign.” Kengor quotes Ludwig von Mises in his 1922 book, Socialism, “The consumers patronize those shops in which they can buy what they want at the cheapest price….Their buying and their abstention from buying decides who should own and run the plants and the farms.”

Under communism, an inefficient, bloated bureaucracy makes such decisions, and the consumers have no choice—and are often forced into breadlines for inferior bread.

For all of its warts, capitalism produces much greater prosperity for the most amount of people.

What does communism produce? Ultimately, a lot of dead bodies. That was the answer from former communist Eugene Fox-Genovese, who, along with his wife Elizabeth, had been the editor of Marxist Perspectives.

When the Soviet Union finally imploded in the early 1990s, Eugene told interviewer Frederica Mathewes-Green in National Review (2/24/1997):

“When it all collapsed, the question was, After seventy years, what do we have to show for it? Especially when it became clear that, even on a basic level, the system didn’t deliver the goods, the one thing it was supposed to do. So what we had to show for it was tens of millions of corpses.”

One might ask,

“Why would God allow all the suffering that the socialists and communists have imposed on this world—not to mention the total loss of religious freedom in such places?” I would answer: “So that we don’t go down that road again.”

Trump Will Get Deals With Both China And Mexico

Most of the media won’t get it, probably even when it happens, but all of the signals are pointing to President Trump getting deals with both China and Mexico — and they will be better deals than what the United States has or has had.

Mexico is actually the easier nut to crack here. The government is corrupt, weak and totally reliant on the United States for both its legal economy and its black market economy. A full-out trade-war with the U.S. would of course cause some harm to the U.S., but would be catastrophic for Mexico. And more importantly, for Mexico’s government.

If the current political leadership wants to stay in power, and if future political leadership wants to attain power, they need a decent relationship with the U.S. And given the millions of Mexicans sending billions of dollars back to Mexico in remittances, running on an anti-American plank is not likely to be popular or successful — at least for long.

The tariffs on all Mexican imports began at 5 percent and rise by 5 percentage points each month before reaching 25 percent in October — unless Mexico takes serious steps to stop the flow of Central American migrants now swamping the southern American border. These 25 percent tariffs would crush the Mexican economy, and possibly have the perverse effect of strengthening the deadly cartels even more.

Mexico’s leadership is fully attuned to this dynamic, and that is why Mexican leaders are moving quickly to respond to Trump’s punitive tariffs launched Friday, with escalations coming, by agreeing to meet in Washington today.

President Trump tweeted Sunday: “Mexico is sending a big delegation to talk about the Border. Problem is, they’ve been ‘talking’ for 25 years. We want action, not talk.”

They’ve been “talking” and American leaders have been “talking” and everyone was fine with the arrangement as long as nothing was ever done. It’s obvious this President expects something to be done or those tariffs will just keep increasing.

So Mexican Economy Minister Graciela Marquez will arrive in Washington today (Monday) to meet with U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. On Wednesday, delegations led by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Mexico Foreign Relations Secretary Marcelo Ebrard will meet in Washington.

That was fast.

China is a tougher nut, but some of the same dynamics are in place as with Mexico.

As with Mexico, China is far more reliant on the U.S. than the U.S. is on China. Their economy is built on selling to the giant and prosperous U.S. consumer market. If that is cut off or diminished through tariffs, their much smaller secondary markets leave them in an economic tailspin, particularly considering that they are facing other economic headwinds, such as an aging and soon declining population, a fluctuating currency and increased competition from India (an ally that Trump should look to for a friendlier trade deal.)

One of the ways the Chinese Communist Party has maintained its iron fist of control is by not being communist, or socialist, but by freeing up its markets and allowing a form of capitalism to operate. That has created huge wealth gains, a growing economy and an emerging middle class.

Chinese who lived in generational poverty seeing the opportunity for a better life for themselves and their children have been willing to live with the totalitarianism of the Communist Party. But they may be much less willing to put up with the iron rule if the economy tanks.

One of the last things the Chinese government wants as it pursues its global ambitions is unrest at home. A trade war with the U.S. would risk that, and could begin to threaten their hold on power.

But the Chinese’ global ambitions based on their historic view of themselves as the Middle Kingdom — the center of the world — also drive them to be much more intransigent negotiators than the Mexicans. And patient negotiators as they take the long view. Newt Gingrich does a terrific job spelling this out in writing and on his podcast.

These are China’s competing interests in the negotiations: showing strength at home and abroad while actually being strong at home and abroad.

In the end though, their Middle Kingdom aspirations and desire for long-term control will mean that a new trade agreement is the lesser bitter pill to swallow. The Chinese are ultimately very pragmatic, and would likely view a new trade deal — even one that was not tilted in their favor — to be worth the trade-off for their ultimate vision.

That is why we’ve seen China moderating its original harsh rhetoric to Trump pulling out of negotiations after the Chinese deleted most of what they had agreed to. They had pulled this trick on previous administrations, counting on American president’s willingness to take a fake victory, if you will, and they were right.

However, they miscalculated with Trump. He’s just not a typical politician in so many ways.

So Beijing released a government policy paper on trade issues Sunday which as usual blamed the U.S. for the negotiations breakdown, but also turned much more conciliatory. They’ve realized Trump won’t come back to the table without real movement and so throughout the paper and at the briefing at which it was released, the Chinese government said repeatedly that they are willing to return to negotiations.

“We’re willing to adopt a cooperative approach to find a solution,” Vice Commerce Secretary Wang Shouwen said.

No talks are scheduled, but U.S. and Chinese trade officials will be at meetings of the Group of 20 major economies this weekend in Japan. A possible meeting between Mr. Trump and President Xi Jinping of China at the G-20 summit is seen as an opportunity to re-start trade talks. Don’t be surprised if that happens.

China “is expressing its wish to work together,” said Zhang Yansheng, a researcher at the state-backed think tank China Center for International Economic Exchanges, told the Wall Street Journal.

China will come back to the table that Mexico is already at. And Trump and Americans will ultimately get a better trade deal with China and better security on our southern border with Mexico — unless China holds out until November 2020 and we elect a new president that falls back to the status quo of China picking our pockets and stealing our tech.

EDITORS NOTE: This Revolutionary Act column is republished with permission.

Five Questions to Ask Yourself Before Doing a Public Speaking Engagement

Nowadays, a lot of people get up on stage to talk about something before an audience. Their listeners range from a jam-packed local bar to an arena-sized crowd. These people who love to listen to public speaking engagements have different motives. Some want to get inspired, while others are looking to learn something new.

Most speakers, on the other hand, are looking for a story to tell their audiences or to promote their business or to entertain their listeners. Along the way, you’ll meet smart and bright public speakers to boring ones and all types in between.

If you want to become a brilliant public speaker, it’s a must that you know the basics of public speaking. For a start, you should know the five questions to ask yourself before you get on stage for your first public speaking engagement.

Who are My Listeners?

In any speaking engagement, whether addressing a small or large crowd, it’s crucial that you know the people you’re speaking to. You should learn what they already know about the topic you’ll be discussing. It will also help you a lot if you consider their knowledge gaps and their motives why they choose to listen to you.

What Do I Want My Listeners to Feel During and After My Talk?

Of course, you should think about how you like your listeners connect with your topic. If your motivation is to provide them with inspiration, you need to ask yourself what are the speaking strategies you should do to attain this goal?

If your purpose is to entertain them, what material do you have to offer to achieve it? Considering what the audience will feel and think during and after your talk is essential to connect to them successfully.

What Tone Would Be Ideal for Your Listeners?

The tone of your public speaking should achieve a friendly and conversational tone. In this way, you can captivate your audience and make them engage freely with your ideas.

However, it’s crucial to strike a balance. Most of the time, it’s a must to adopt a more authoritative tone in your talk. Taking this tone of public speaking will make your ideas believable, especially if the goal of your speech is something that calls for an action.

What Do I Want My Listeners to Say about the Topic of My Presentation?

You should always have in mind how your talk can cause your audience to discuss it after your presentation. If you want your listeners to remember your topic and your strategies of public speaking, it’s a must that you highlight the facts, statistics, and the ideas to make them easier to remember for them.

What Do I Want My Listeners to Do After Your Talk?

Any public speaker will surely want their listeners to do something after giving a talk. This characteristic is common among motivational speakers and visionaries.

So, if you’re to change the listeners’ perspective and make them act on what you’re saying, you should see to it that you craft your material in a way that it’s calling for real action. There are strategies for you to achieve this goal. If you want to learn public speaking, you can reach out to organizations like Talent Bureau for that purpose.

Takeaway

If you want to be an excellent public speaker, you should see to it that you know what to do before you get up on stage. For instance, you should know the type of audience you’re addressing, how you should make them think and feel about your talk, how to make them act, and what tone will be ideal to them.

The Benedict Option: Relative versus Revelatory Truth

“God moves in a mysterious way.” – Isaiah 55:8-9.

I am a member of a weekly men’s prayer fellowship. Each member is required to give a Biblical lesson for a month. It turns out that I will be giving the lesson next month.

I began thinking what should I speak about that hasn’t already been covered? I thought about discussing the Book of Revelations because many Christians are seeing signs of the end of times and the second coming of Jesus. While thinking about my topic God revealed to me a book titled “The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation by Rod Dreher.” After reading Dreher’s book I asked members of the prayer fellowship to read the book and discuss the ideas contained in it during our weekly Friday meetings during the month of September.

Why did God, who moves in a mysterious way, reveal this book to me?

Because I and many others, Christian and non-Christian alike, feel something is wrong, very wrong, in America and it’s getting worse.

Dreher in his book bears his soul and his concerns for the future of his family, community and the nation. Dreher writes in the preface to his book:

In my 2006 book Crunchy Cons, which explored a countercultural, traditionalist conservative sensibility, I brought up the work of philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre, who declared that Western civilization has lost its moorings. The time was coming, said MacIntyre, when men and women of virtue would understand that continued full participation in mainstream society was not possible for those who wanted to live a life of traditional virtue. These people would find new ways to live in community, he said, just as Saint Benedict, the sixth-century father of Western monasticism, responded to the collapse of Roman civilization by founding a monastic order.

Dreher explains how, over the past 7 centuries, Western civilization has come to embrace relative truth and abandon revelatory truth.

Relative truth is the doctrine that there are no absolute truths. Revelatory truth is the knowledge that there are absolute truths. Truths that transcend culture, civilization and mankind itself. These absolute truths have been revealed to us thus the term I use in the title “Revelatory Truth.”

William “Bill” Hild, Pastor of First Sarasota Baptist Church, gave a sermon on “Revelatory Truth.” You may wish to listen to what Pastor Bill has to say by clicking here.

Lindy Keffer in her column “Absolute Truth” wrote:

In a society where ultimate truth is treated like a fairy tale, an outdated idea or even an insult to human intelligence, the motto of the day becomes, “WHATEVER!” Believe whatever you want. Do whatever seems best to you. Live for whatever brings you pleasure, as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone. And of course, be tolerant. Don’t try to tell anyone that their whatever is wrong.

But where does that leave us? If we have ultimate truth, it gives us both a way to explain the world around us and a basis for making decisions. Without it, we’re alone.

Dreher notes:

Unprecedented numbers of young adult Americans say they have no religious affiliation at all. According to the Pew Research Center, one in three 18-to-29-year-olds have put religion aside, if they ever picked it up in the first place.

[ … ]

In 2005, sociologist Christian Smith and Melinda Lundquist Denton examined a wide variety of backgrounds. What they found was that in most cases, teenagers adhered to a mush pseudoreligion the researchers deemed Moralistic Therapeutic Deism (MTD).

MTD has five basic tenets:

  • A God exists who created and orders the world and watches over human life on earth.
  • God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as taught in the Bible, and by most world religions.
  • The central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about oneself.
  • God does not need to be particularly involved in one’s life except when he is needed to resolve a problem.
  • Good people go to heaven when they die.

This creed, they found, is especially prominent among Catholic and Mainline Protestant teenagers.

MTD reeks of relative truth, not Revelatory or Absolute Truth.

Dreher writes:

MTD, in both its progressive and its conservative versions, is that it’s mostly about improving one’s self-esteem and subjective happiness and getting along well with others. It has little to do with the Christianity of Scripture and tradition, which teaches repentance, self-sacrificial love, and purity of heart, and commends suffering-the Way of the Cross- as the pathway to God. Though superficially Christian, MTD is the natural religion of a culture that worships the Self and material comfort.

Dreher warns, “Nobody but the most deluded of the old-school Religious Right believes that this cultural revolution can be turned back. The wave cannot be stopped, only ridden.”

What Dreher presents is another way forward for those who embrace revelatory/absolute truth.

He asks,

“Could it be that the best way to fight the flood is to . . . stop fighting the flood?”

That is to quit piling up sandbags [to fight the flood] and to build an ark in which to shelter until the water recedes and we can put our feet on dry land again? Rather than wasting energy and resources fighting unwinnable political battles, we should instead work of building communities, institutions, and networks of resistance that can outwit, outlast, and eventually overcome the occupation.

Dreher unequivocally states, “We have been in a place like this before. In the first centuries of Christianity, the early church survived and grew under Roman persecution and later after the collapse of the empire in the West. We latter-day Christians must learn from their example-and particularly from the example of Saint Benedict.”

Dreher is on to something. Christians must go back in time, and back to the basics, in order to regain a virtuous Christian future.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Haunted Luther: October 31st, 2017 the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation

Dearborn Police Chief: Talking to people about Jesus “appears to be legal” under 1st Amendment

PODCAST: Cabinet Hearings, CNN – “You Are Fake News!,” Hungary Targets Soros

Trump’s future cabinet is cruising through Senate confirmation. And with the world in the state that it is, not a moment too soon.

Terrorism once again strikes Israel in the form of a truck attack. Sound familiar? Of course, the widow of the terrorist is already collecting a pension courtesy of the Palestinian Authority. Yet these people allegedly want peace? In Hungary, the Orban government takes the dramatic step of targeting George Soros’s network of NGOs. Good for them – Trump should follow suit. In France, populist Marine Le Pen promises repatriation of the French car industry, taking a cue from Trump’s (pre-office!) recent successes. Finally, China – continuing their provocations – deploys a sixth reconnaissance ship in the South China Sea.

With so much bubbling in the cauldron of world affairs, the new American administration can’t come soon enough!

Topics of Discussion:

  • Trump’s nominees testify before the Senate
  • Biden gets his very own medal
  • First steps in repealing Obamacare
  • Hungary targets George Soros
  • Widow of Jerusalem truck terrorist gets Palestinian Authority pension
  • China deploys sixth reconnaissance ship South China Sea

and more . . .

EDITORS NOTE: Readers may listen to USA Transnational Report live on JJ McCartney’s Nightside Radio Studios and on Red State Talk Radio, subscribe to USA Transnational Report podcast on iTunes here and signup for podcasts with Podbean, here. All previously recorded shows are available here, at the links above, or through Spreaker.

What Made America Great?

It’s over, done, finished. All the energy that was poured into the U.S. Presidential election for over a year, has finally come to an end. It’s time to stop all the whining, blame, complaint, negativity and victim consciousness. It’s time to speak freely once more without worrying about “political correctness”. It’s time for everyone to come together to make America great again. We may differ on how that’s to be achieved, but surely we can all agree on the goal.

What are the qualities and values that made America the richest and greatest country in the world: the country that was, and is, a beacon of hope for people everywhere? The first and most important thing is freedom; freedom from fear, oppression, tyranny, dictatorship and from government interfering into the personal lives of it’s citizens. The American Constitution was the first to put the individual ahead of the government. “We the People”. The Founding Fathers had escaped from political and religious oppression, therefore they wanted to create a system of checks and balances that would limit government power. The Statue of Liberty is a symbol of what America stands for–Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These values were enshrined in the Constitution and made America unique in the history of the world.

Another factor our Founding Fathers thought important was religious freedom. They recognized the existence of a supreme Being and the need for each person to worship that God in whatever way they expressed their faith. (At that time it was mainly the Christian faith, but it has expanded since). Religion, the Christian work ethic and prosperity were closely aligned. The phrase, “In God We Trust”, is printed on all American bills. One of the most beautiful songs is Irving Berlin’s, “God Bless America”.

Another right that was important was the right to keep the fruits of one’s labor; which meant private property and free enterprise. If the government could confiscate what one worked for, then the aforementioned guarantees would be meaningless. Freedom meant nothing if there wasn’t also economic freedom. Small, limited government with laissez-faire capitalism was the atmosphere which fostered and encouraged growth and wealth.

The American Dream was all about raising oneself above a subsistence level, which had been the level for the majority for all of history, and still is for most of the “Third World” countries. America was pioneered and made great by people who had confidence, who believed in themselves, who worked to better themselves and improve their circumstances. These people didn’t believe or accept that poverty was a static condition or permanent station in life. They aspired to more: to them the future was unlimited. They were surrounded by examples of people who had risen as far as their imagination, creativity, talents and intelligence could take them. This was reflected materially in the big cars, houses, businesses and skyscrapers that were built. Individual people in a climate of little or no government interference, made America great. Free market Capitalism raised the standard of living for everyone. Even relatively poor people in America today have a house, a car, television,computer and cellphone. That’s not the case in other countries, where people are envious of our democracy and wealth.

America used to be a melting pot, where people came from all over the world to create a better life for themselves and their children. Some came to escape persecution or poverty, some came by boat or suffered great hardship, but they were all glad to come to America. They were happy and proud to be American. People knew and appreciated the fact that this country offered greater opportunity than the country they left. They considered themselves first and
foremost Americans.The flag, oath of allegiance and national anthem meant, and hopefully still means something.

Yet, there are some Americans who are not satisfied and complain about “Capitalism” and “consumerism”, as if they’re dirty words. In America, people have a choice of how, what or if they are going to spend their earned money on something, that in other countries would be considered unimaginable luxuries. There is a simple law of supply and demand. If there wasn’t the demand then the goods would go unsold and the business would go bankrupt. For those who argue that the “demand” is created by advertising or the media, that only speaks to the ignorance, gullibility and powerlessness of those who make that argument; that they are somehow so easily manipulated and so helpless that they can’t think for themselves and cannot make the simple choice to buy or not to buy. Again, this is an example of “victim consciousness”.

Most of the programs for conservation, the environment, social welfare etc., costs money. Where is that money to come from if not from those who are successful and financially well off. The government can only get money either through taxation or printing more, which leads to inflation. The voters demand and politicians promise to create jobs. But where are these jobs to come from if not from entrepreneurs, small business and corporations; the very ones who have been criticized and condemned as being greedy and heartless, the very ones who have been considered politically incorrect.

It is ironic that some immigrants to America have a greater appreciation for the United States, than some people who were born here. For those who are discontent, unhappy or would rather live in some other country or under some other system, there is another American freedom and that is the freedom to leave. There is no wall or iron curtain preventing anyone from leaving to go to another country that they think might be better than the greatest country on earth. The facts show that there are millions of people who would gladly take their place in a heartbeat. America is still a beacon of hope for those who crave democracy and cherish the values that this country represents.

Sure the United States can be improved, but rather than negativity, blame and complaint, let’s use our energy, passion and patriotism now to improve ourselves and make America greater than ever. If the individual succeeds and prospers, the country benefits.

It’s time to be proud again to be an American.

Senator Ted Cruz: We need Bold, Positive Leadership

On Monday, January 12th, Sen. Cruz addressed the Heritage Foundation’s 2015 Conservative Policy Summit to discuss a bold, positive agenda for the new Congress. View video below.

Miami-Dade Schools: Giving Students the Shaft

Borrowing from the saying of my mentor, Ira J. Paul, and as rightly inferred by T. Willard Fair in his recent op-ed in The Miami Herald, Miami-Dade County Public Schools, which prides itself in its motto of “giving our students the world” is giving our students what a reasonable person may conclude, especially in School Board Districts 1 and 2, the shaft.

Mr. Fair details the “what” in his article and proposes a solution, but he does not address the “why” as this article will do just that.

The “what” is that the schools of School Board Districts 1 and 2 have the least experienced teachers and the least “highly effective” teachers than the schools of other School Board Districts.

Mr. Fair is correct in referring to this as an injustice and a problem, but to fix this problem requires more than involuntary transfers as he suggests – which would do more harm than good.

However, he should keep in mind that while he was on the State Board of Education, that body and the FLDOE encouraged, as part of Jeb Bush’s A+ Plan and No Child Left Behind, involuntary transfers at failing schools.

As a result, verified by my own experience, Miami-Dade County Public Schools and principals at Miami Central Senior High School and Miami Norland Senior High School (as well as at other Zone/ETO schools) targeted outspoken veteran teachers and replaced them with new teachers (primarily Teach For America teachers; or as former UTD president Karen Aronowitz termed them “Teach For Awhile” teachers) so as to have a submissive, compliant workforce that would not dissent.

As someone who has worked full-time various instructional positions in both School Board Districts 1 (8 years) and 2 (6 years), I can readily identify the problems through my insightful knowledge based on experience as I was transferred from both schools for those very reasons.

In conversation over the years, I heard assistant principals at Norland gloat that they liked TFA teachers as “they will do whatever we want.”

Never mind that Ceresta Smith was an activist that obtained a $10,000 Michael Jordan grant that brought Dwayne Wade to Norland and money for FCAT instruction and that she was a National Board Certified Teacher; she had to go as she spoke out against questionable curriculum decisions and numerous contractual violations as I had to go for exposing massive test cheating known as Adobegate.

Numerous teachers like Ceresta and I were moved out under “the best interests of the District” clause of the Contract as apparently it is in the best interest of Miami-Dade County Public Schools for teachers to be quiet and fearful and not to speak out for the best interests of their students or to expose standardized test cheating.

Since her departure three years ago, Norland has not had a National Board Certified Teacher or an English teacher of her caliber at Norland who brought in grants and motivational speakers for our students.

Since my departure last October, the Library Media Center has been closed, students visited me at Crestview telling me they cannot check out books whatsoever, and as a result (perhaps alongside little to no cheating given increased oversight) FCAT Reading scores declined three points.

During my tenure at Norland, FCAT Reading scores went up consistently; how is removing me, other than to keep Norland teachers quiet, to the detriment of the students and their right to read, in “the best interests of the District?”

Besides TFA teachers who have a two year commitment with an already accepted slot at a graduate school somewhere in conjunction with the payoff of their student loans after their tenure at M-DCPS, who would want to work at schools like Central and Norland where you are forced to compromise your ethics and morals and are denied liberty of conscience?

District and Norland actions sends what a fair-minded person may assume is a warped message to the students they purport to serve: the honest school librarian cannot serve them in the Library Media Center at Norland, but Mrs. Brenda Muchnick can teach them business education even though she was suspended for her part in Adobegate while her colleague, Mr. Emmanuel Fleurantin, was fired for doing the exact same thing.

We wonder why students in America who go into the military partake in the various cheating scandals that have plagued the naval and air force nuclear forces?!

Mr. Fair, and others, need to realize we need to have honest and ethical school principals and value teachers based on merit and willing to highlight curriculum and contractual flaws as opposed to the status quo that disdains the outspoken veteran teacher who knows best in favor of the compliant warm body that sees, hears, and speaks no evil who rides off into the sunset two years later to graduate school and a different career path.

Of course, Miami-Dade County Public Schools is in denial and highlights so called “improved graduation rates” as proof that their detrimental policies and hardline against outspoken veteran teachers are working.

Upon closer inspection, a reasonable person may conclude that these graduation rates do not hold muster and are indeed funny math.

Think about it: Norland has never cracked beyond 30% proficiency on the FCAT Reading exam- a graduation requirement; that being the case, how can there be a graduation rate of over 80%?!

Miami-Dade County Public Schools and their messengers must think people are really stupid.

The answer lies in the ever shrinking senior class as explained in USDOE graduation rate guidelines.

Norland always had a sophomore class (FCAT exit exam class) of between 400-500 students during my tenure, with Grade 10 FCAT Reading scores being between 14-30% during my time (2007-2013) there.

For the sake of the argument, apply the highest Grade 10 FCAT Reading score, 29%, to 400 students, with the answer being 116 students passed the test give or take.

That is the baseline for the graduation rate for that graduating class two years later.

According to the USDOE guidelines, if members of that class transfer, die, or leave the country, the graduation rate is not affected- meaning, if students cannot pass the FCAT and go to a private school without the FCAT requirement, the school is not penalized:

Compared to other measures of graduation rates, the ACGR (adjusted cohort graduation rate) is considered the most accurate measure available for reporting on-time graduation rates (Seastrom et al. 2006b). A 4-year ACGR is defined as the number of students who graduate in 4 years with a regular high school diploma divided by the number of students who form the adjusted cohort for that graduating class. The term “adjusted cohort” means the students who enter grade 9 plus any students who transfer into the cohort in grades 9–12 minus any students who are removed from the cohort because they transferred out, moved out of the country, or were deceased (34 C.F.R. § 200.19.” (Page 8).

Thus, Norland (and other schools) were rewarded as the graduation rates went up as the results were incorporated into the School Grades which resulted in the Federal and State performance incentives that were paid out.

Suppose the same 116 students who passed the FCAT and are cleared to graduate stay at Norland over the next two years but 200 students who cannot pass the FCAT or the new FSA exams transfer their credits to a private school in their junior and senior year to graduate-that leaves the class with a total of 200 students and the graduation rate skyrockets to 58%.

Further student departure would only increase the rate only if the students who passed the FCAT or the FSA exams stayed.

It is very legal but very misleading, and I know of a Norland faculty member who had children at the school that could not pass the FCAT take advantage of this loophole so they can graduate and go to college on academic scholarships.

When I was at Miami Central about ten years ago, I knew of students who could not pass the FCAT that went to a private school; they transferred in their credits, spent a few months there, graduated, and went to a community college in Minnesota to play football.

More food for thought: quantity. I remember the large graduation classes that Miami Central and Norland use to have, about 300- 500 some odd students. Funny with these current unprecedented graduation rates over the past four years, graduating classes at Central and Norland have been less than 200 students.

That’s funny Miami-Dade County Public Schools’ math for you, and it’s a system that rewards failure as astronomical graduation rates are being obtained simply by a whittling down of a given senior year class via student transfers to private schools for purposes of graduation to evade the FCAT and the soon to be new Florida Standards Assessments.

Congress and/or the USDOE should revise the graduation rate criteria to eliminate this deception and count student transfers against a school’s graduation rate if they graduate from private schools with little to no accountability as they could not pass the FCAT exam at a public school with accountability.

Furthermore, the Florida Legislature should regulate private schools and only allow them to award a valid state-recognized diploma only if their students can pass the mandated state assessments or an equivalent nationally recognized exam like the ACT or SAT to gauge student learning and progress.

Florida’s Deceptive Common Core Implementation and Teacher Training

Despite Gov. Rick Scott’s executive order (Executive Order 13-276) replacing the Common Core and withdrawing Florida from PARCC, teachers are still being trained in Common Core as the Florida Standards are essentially the Common Core State Standards with another name, slight renumbering of standards, and a few additional standards.

In an email sent to me from Cheryl Etters (FLDOE Spokeswoman) as a response to a media inquiry, she termed my assertions rooted in fact as “opinions,” which is one of their dismissive tactics when the FLDOE and State officials are called on to explain their deceptive and misleading campaign to stealthily implement the Common Core State Standards in Florida schools and the continued training of Florida teachers in the Common Core State Standards.

Why are Florida teachers, including me, being trained in the Common Core State Standards a year after Gov. Scott’s executive order when they were replaced by the Florida Standards?

The simple answer is that they are one and the same with minor differences- a plan meant to appease President Obama, Jeb Bush, and the testing industry (AIR, Pearson).

To satisfy your own mind, read and compare for yourself: Common Core ELA Standards and the Language Arts Florida Standards (LAFS); and Common Core Mathematics Standards and the Mathematics Florida Standards (MAFS).

It’s amazing that Gov. Scott, Education Commissioner Pam Stewart, and FLDOE personnel cannot come clean and respond whatsoever to these claims- because they cannot in an honest fashion!

I have been waiting about a week for a response to our media inquiry; but when faced with fact and evidence, a response is difficult for them to formulate.

Beacon Educator, through FLDOE regulation, is the largest online provider of professional development courses and still offers training in Common Core but not (and has not as of yet) the Florida Standards.

Why is Beacon Educator not offering professional development courses in the Florida Standards? By continuing to offer professional development courses in the Common Core, is this an admission by the FLDOE and the State that the Florida Standards and Common Core are one and the same?

Ms. Etters’ response was: I’m not quite sure how to respond to your opinions. A mention on Beacon Educator – they appear to be a private vendor and are not associated with the Florida Department of Education. What do you mean by “through FLDOE regulation?”

            If Ms. Etters consulted the Beacon Educator website, she would know.

Concerning Beacon Educator, Beacon has three disclaimers suggesting they adhere to/meet FLDOE requirements and that it received past funding through the FLDOE:

Beacon Educator provides facilitated online courses for busy educators. These courses comply with the National Staff Development Council Standards, Florida Department of Education Professional Development Protocol Standards, and the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) mandates.

Forming a consortium with other districts including Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Gadsden, and the PAEC districts, Beacon Learning Center received the U.S. Department of Education Technology Innovation Challenge Grant (2000-2006). Other funding sources included Bay District Schools and the Florida Department of Education through grants including the Technology Literacy Challenge Fund, (1997-2000), Florida Goals 2000 (1998-99), and other Florida Department of Education grants (2002-2003).

Furthermore, Beacon Educator is not a private vendor, but a public one: “Beacon Educator, the professional development division of Beacon Learning Center, is a self-supporting, internet-based enterprise within Bay District Schools.”

Given that, the Bureau of Educator Recruitment, Development and Retention within the FLDOE approves each school district’s Master Inservice Plan to offer professional development: “The master plan shall be updated and approved by local boards on an annual basis by September 1 of the current year with written verification submitted annually to the Commissioner of Education by October 1 of the current year.”

Bay County Public Schools has an approved Master Inservice Plan from the FLDOE, hence FLDOE regulation, and thus offers professional development through their owned entity- Beacon Educator.

Doesn’t Ms. Etters and the folks at the FLDOE know this?

Notice the attached Weekly Briefings (May and August 2014) from Miami–Dade County Public Schools and the associated flyers (May and August 2014).

Both briefings offer the exact same courses, but the Briefing from May, under Online Modules, says in the second bullet: “New Florida State Standards (Common Core).”

The proof is in the pudding! I took all of the courses and earned credit in them per my Beacon Educator transcript and M-DCPS Staff Development (SD) Record– eight months after Gov. Scott’s executive order supposedly ending the Common Core in Florida.

Notice the credit entries say “Common Core” and not “Florida Standards.”

There’s no denying- Common Core is going full steam ahead with disastrous results unless appropriate action is taken.

By appropriate action, I mean taking action at the ballot box: Adrian Wyllie for Governor.

Both former Gov. Charlie Crist and Gov. Scott support Common Core and its implementation.

Charlie Crist gave us Common Core; Rick Scott is implementing them.

Crist, who likes to be liked, stands for nothing and forced it on Florida to appease President Obama and Jeb Bush.

Gov. Scott, like Crist, is implementing Common Core, and lying to us in the process, under the guise of the Florida Standards to appease Jeb Bush and the testing industry- his base and support. He has to under false pretenses (Florida Standards) for political survival and in a way that is acceptable to both president Obama and Jeb Bush.

Moreover, both of them do virtually nothing to those caught cheating on standardized tests, and you know cheating will take off like wildfire on these new Florida Standard Assessments.

Therefore, if you are in true opposition to Common Core, then the appropriate course of action is to vote for Adrian Wyllie unless you want Common Core under Gov. Scott or Common Core and PARCC under Gov. Crist.

Florida: Sheriff Jim Manfre from Flagler County wants to ban your rifle!

Sheriff Jim Manfre from Flagler County in Florida wants to ban your rifle and leave you defenseless against the tyranny flowing from Washington D.C. He calls these rifles “assault weapons.” My AK-47 sits happily in the closet and it has never assaulted anyone. Only people assault other people. Whether its with guns, knives, hammers or bottles.

According to Lee Williams of the Herald-Tribune:

At a meeting Tuesday night of the The Democratic Progressive Caucus of Florida held in Palm Coast, Flagler County Sheriff Jim Manfre called for a ban on “assault weapons,” said he wanted tighter regulation on private firearm sales, and called for changing existing laws on background checks.

According to a news story written about the meeting written by a reporter at the Daytona Beach News-Journal, the sheriff also said his “sensible gun control” ideas were supported by the Florida Sheriff’s Association.

Yesterday, Nanette Schimpf, spokesperson for the Florida Sheriff’s Association, told me the news story was inaccurate. The FSA has never called for ending private sales, banning “assault weapons” or changing background check laws.

Manfre also supports the legalization of marijuana, something the Florida Sheriffs Association is against. Indeed Sheriff Jim Manfre is just another Obama supporter who needs to voted out of office. He is unwilling to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States and Florida, as he has sworn to do.

The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office has the solemn duty of serving and protecting the citizens of our great state. The following is contact information for Sheriff Manfre:

Address: 1001 Justice Lane, Bunnell, FL 32110
Email: jmanfre@flaglersheriff.com
Phone: (386) 437-4116
Fax: (386) 586-4820

Notice how his disclaimer is to protect the citizens, yet he wants to disarm law abiding citizens, so his disclaimer is a lie. This man is another example of Obama’s reach into the great State of Florida.

I will not disarm. I will not give up my 2nd Amendment rights to some Sheriff. He has betrayed his oath to uphold and defend the Constitution and must be removed from office. I told him so in an email.

As for my weapons nobody will take them. I am protected under the 2nd Amendment. I gave sheriff Manfre my cell phone number. Lets see if he has the guts to call me back.

Third World Objectivism: A Young Indian Reflects on the Meaning of Rand on the anniversary of her death by Shanu Athiparambath

Ayn Rand died on this day [March 6th], 32 years ago. Today, young Indians are snapping up her books at a surprising rate.

It’s an apparent contradiction. Howard Roark, The Fountainhead’s main character, is a man with strong principles. But he’s also arrogant. Here in India, humility is considered the fundamental moral virtue. He might have been put away for a very long time had he lived here. In any event, he could not have reached many people through rational arguments, due to what Rand described as “the mystic muck of India.”

But, for many young Indian men and women, Howard Roark epitomizes individualism and strength of character. And much to the chagrin of their boyfriends, many women want their men to be more like Howard Roark. A college mate once told me, “Women do not know that it is not possible for a man to be Howard Roark. He can only pretend to be Howard Roark. Hell, he can’t even pretend to be Howard Roark.”

It’s strange. For nearly four decades after Indian independence, every aspect of the Indian economy was “planned” and “regulated” by the socialistic state. The economy has liberalized somewhat in the past two decades, but still remains one of the most controlled in the world.

Virtually every literate Indian has heard of Karl Marx. And so, the typical Indian’s beliefs are much closer to that of Karl Marx’s.

Outside the market niche she has found, Ayn Rand is virtually unheard of. But that appears to be changing. Ayn Rand outsells Karl Marx sixteenfold in India today, which suggests rapid growth. This is in all likelihood an underestimation: I first noticed her works in a rickety street stall in a small town. The copies were pirated.

No one seems to know why Ayn Rand is becoming so popular in India. India has a huge population, but even today, English-language fiction is read by a minority elite. It is true that Ayn Rand wrote popular fiction. Karl Marx’s prose is dense. But that still does not explain why Rand outsells even many well-known Indian writers and best-selling western writers in Indian markets. Even in the United States, where various strands of thought have found their own niche, Rand’s views are considered way outside the mainstream. It is a minor miracle that she could build a whole movement in a western capitalistic democracy. But why is she becoming increasingly popular in societies that bear no resemblance whatsoever to whatever ideal society she had in her mind?

I can only hypothesize. But part of the reason must be that the intelligent young men and women in traditional, conservative societies know that the dystopian world her fiction depicts is not too unlike the world in which they live. Indians have experienced the extremities of government tyranny firsthand. Libertarians often cite the government as the source of evil, but not all evils flow from the State to the masses. The inept, corrupt governments of the third world can be a reflection of the popular soul. In India, at least, the State can institutionalize the little people’s vices.

In The Fountainhead, Peter Keating’s mother dictates his life with the sweetest of smiles on her face, “Petey, I never think anything. It’s up to you. It’s always been up to you.” The villain in The Fountainhead is Ellsworth Toohey, a manipulative intellectual, and not a government bureaucrat or a politician. One character says Gail Wynand represents everything that’s wrong with the world, but Wynand is a newspaper publisher. People subscribed to The New York Banner because they preferred vulgarity over truth and beauty, and not because the politicians or bureaucrats forced them to.

Ayn Rand was one of those writers who saw politics for what it is—inside and out, macro to micro, down to the level of the individual.

It is probably futile to curse mediocrity, but in the third world, ineptitude and politicking reach epic proportions—and is present in nearly every aspect of our lives. As in Ayn Rand’s fiction, this is not always official, congressional politics. It is true that many rebellious Indian teens find Ayn Rand’s individualistic worldview appealing. But, I believe they also feel that the world around them reminds them of the poolroom that Gail Wynand once worked in. That is, the young men and women in India see nothing but dishonesty and corruption around them.

Even in the best hospitals in the largest Indian cities, the doctors diagnose patients without really speaking to them. When you lie on a hospital bed, you know you have written a blank check to doctors who have life-and-death power over you. On November 9, 1965, the lights of the New York City and the entire eastern seaboard went out, an admirer wrote to Ayn Rand, “There is a John Galt.” But in India today, even in the largest cities, the lights can go out at any moment.

So, appearances aside, it is hardly surprising then that Ayn Rand appeals to young men and women in collectivist societies. She told them the truth about the world in which they live.

ABOUT SHANU ATHIPARAMBATH

Shanu Athiparambath is a writer and editor living in New Delhi.

Obama Threatens to Veto the Nuclear Weapons Free Iran Act

Like many Americans and Israelis I watched expectantly President Obama’s State of the Union Address (SOTUS)  before a joint session of Congress crammed into the House Chamber. I was looking for a reaction from the Congressional audience on the issue of the P5+1 agreement implemented on January 20th. Iran’s President Rouhani had basically told  the P5+1  in a CNN  interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland that the Islamic regime was not going to dismantle their nuclear program. Instead they were going to plough ahead with research and development on advanced centrifuges and would not swap the Arak heavy water plant that would produce plutonium for a bomb.

In  light of these jarring comments made in Davos, Switzerland  by President Rouhani  at the World Economic  Forum, you would have prudently thought that the President would have changed his mind about  vetoing  the Nuclear Weapons Free Iran Act (NWFIA), S. 1881. Obama made it clear that he was proceeding with the P5+1 deal as a diplomatic way of  avoiding  military action to disable the Islamic Regime’s  nuclear weapons capability.  A capability that according to Israeli PM Netanyahu  speaking at the Annual Conference of the Institute for National Security studies at Tel Aviv University  (INSS) was  “six weeks away from achievement when the P5+1 deal was signed” on November 24, 2013 in Geneva.

President Obama fired a bow shot directed at NWFIA sponsors Sens. Kirk and Menendez, and 57 other co-sponsors of S. 1881, as well as the Resolution introduced in by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor  (R-VA)  and Minority Leader Steny  Hoyer (D-Md.) supporting its passage.

Obama said:

Let me be clear if this Congress sends me a new sanctions bill now that threatens to derail these talks, I will veto it.

For the sake of our national security, we must give diplomacy a chance to succeed.

If Iran’s leaders do not seize this opportunity, then I will be the first to call for more sanctions, and stand ready to exercise all options to make sure Iran does not build a nuclear weapon.  But if Iran’s leaders do seize the chance, then Iran could take an important step to rejoin the community of nations, and we will have resolved one of the leading security challenges of our time without the risks of war.

It is American diplomacy, backed by pressure, that has halted the progress of Iran’s nuclear program – and rolled parts of that program back – for the very first time in a decade. As we gather here tonight, Iran has begun to eliminate its stockpile of higher levels of enriched uranium. It is not installing advanced centrifuges. Unprecedented inspections help the world verify, every day, that Iran is not building a bomb.

If John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan could negotiate with the Soviet Union then surely a strong and confident America can negotiate with less powerful adversaries today.

Watch this C-SPAN video clip of the nuclear Iran segment of his SOTUS:

The immediate reaction was clearly stony silence from the Republican members of both chambers in the audience.

According to a  Jerusalem Postarticle on the President’s veto threat, NWFIA co-sponsor Sen. Kirk said:

“The American people – Democrats and Republicans alike – overwhelmingly want Iran held accountable during any negotiations. While the president promises to veto any new Iran sanctions legislation, the Iranians have already vetoed any dismantlement of their nuclear infrastructure,” Kirk added, calling his bill an “insurance policy” for Congress.

The Hill  Global Affairs blog reported the dissembling  the morning after  the President’s SOTUS remarks on a nuclear Iran by some Democratic co-sponsors of NWFIA in the wake of the President’s public veto threat.  Note these Senators’ comments:

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said on MSNBC Tuesday night that he didn’t endorse the bill so that it could be voted on during negotiations with Iran. “Give peace a chance,” he said.

“I did not sign it with the intention that it would ever be voted upon or used upon while we were negotiating,” Manchin said. “I signed it because I wanted to make sure the president had a hammer, if he needed it and showed them how determined we were to do it and use it, if we had to.”

[…]

“Now is not the time for a vote on the Iran sanctions bill,” Coons said Wednesday at a Politico event, according to The Huffington Post.

The senator clarified that he still supports the bill but warned advancing it now could damage ongoing negotiations toward a final agreement with Iran.

[…]

“I’m not frustrated,” Menendez told The Huffington Post on Tuesday after Obama’s address. “The president has every right to do what he wants.”

The Hill Global Affairs blog noted the Senate reaction  to NWFIA :

Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), the second-highest ranking Democrat, Patty Murray (D-Wash.), the fourth-highest ranking Democrat, and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) have said they are against the bill.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has also suggested he’s leaning toward not allowing a vote on it.

On Wednesday, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said the Senate should move the sanctions bill forward to the floor, predicting it would have a veto-proof majority.

Meanwhile, Reuters reported on Monday that lawmakers in both the House and Senate are considering a nonbinding resolution that expresses concern about Iran’s nuclear program.

Backing what Sen. Kirk said in his response to the President was further evidence from former  UN nuclear weapons inspector David Albright at the Washington, DC Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS).  Both he and the sanctions analysis team from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies held a well attended briefing for Capitol Hill Staffers on Monday, January 27th.  Albright was quoted in the Los Angeles Times citing an ISIS  report on the technical aspects of the accord implemented on January 20th that allows Iran to continue research over the next six months on several types of advanced centrifuges already at Natanz:

[The accord]  is not expected to seriously affect Iran’s centrifuge research and development program. Albright said he hopes to persuade the six powers to push for much stricter limits on centrifuge research and development when they negotiate the final agreement. The issue has to be addressed much more aggressively.

Cliff May of FDD, co-sponsor of the Capitol Hill event with Albright  of  ISIS,  observed in an NRO Corner article:

If Iran’s rulers faithfully comply with every commitment they have so far made, at the end of this six-month period, they will be about three months — instead of two months — away from breakout capacity.

Yesterday, at the annual conference of the  Institute for National Security studies (INSS)  at Tel Aviv University, there was a dialog between former CIA Director Gen. David Petreaus and Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin,  former  IDF military intelligence chief.  The contrast between their positions on the Iran nuclear threat was most telling:

General (ret.) David Petraeus: The United States is war weary and suffers from a “Vietnam syndrome.” However, it still has major strategic capabilities, and President Obama will not hesitate to use force against Iran, if necessary.

Major General (ret.) Amos Yadlin: What keeps me awake at night is the Iranian issue. The Iranian nuclear program aspires to attain a nuclear capability. The only viable leverage – sanctions and a credible military threat – are weakening, and this is most worrisome. Also troubling: the status quo on the Palestinian issue is not favorable, and the relations with the United States are not on the same level as before – these must be restored.

If you are a gambler, which of the two former military leaders, would you bet on to make a decision in the sovereign national interests of Israel regarding a nuclear Iran?  I know who I would.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The New English Review.