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Conservatism Media Truth

Ben Shapiro Is Reshaping Media As Rush Did 30 Years Ago

Rod Thomson

When working in newsrooms in the 1990s, my journalism colleagues often asked me why Rush Limbaugh was so popular. They could not fathom it.  I explained it was basic supply meeting pent-up demand; that is, conservatives had felt under attack in every area of media and here came a guy with a microphone giving voice to their worldview, and providing analysis and twists that were done no where else.

Limbaugh ushered in a revolution of talk radio hosts, creating an entire industry known as conservative talk radio and probably saving the AM dial. Before Fox News, conservative talk radio stood alone in the flood of liberal media. And spawned Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Hugh Hewitt, Dennis Prager, Laura Ingraham and more. Most of these hosts are Baby Boomers and have a fairly set way of thinking and doing. (Notably, Beck the least in that regard, via both worldview and business model, and Prager with Prager U.) A lot of conservatism has reflected that old set way — at least in the Republican base.

But now we have something new in Ben Shapiro, who is arguably the most popular conservative in the country, although Rush and Sean fans may dispute that. Shapiro’s been on the scene for awhile, starting with a nationally syndicated column at 17 years old. But he’s exploded in recent years with the largest conservative podcast, a newly minted national radio show and best-selling books, while still writing for the Daily Wire and acting as Editor.

He’s simply sprinted past all of the much older and more established radio commentators.

Why? What makes Shapiro different?

Yes, he is smart, fast-talking, aggressive yet reasonable and has a quantum hard-drive for a memory. His worldview as a Christian-friendly, Orthodox Jew millennial conservative is almost hilariously unique. He’s fearless taking on the Left and usually acquits himself with a good pummelling. People eat up his “Ben Shapiro destroys…” Youtube videos usually answering questions at college campuses. He’s just a fresh voice in so many ways.

But there’s something else going on, and why people like me also gravitate to Shapiro. He simply puts more meat on the bone than the talk radio predecessors, throws far fewer bombs, rants less and more frequently explains what the other side is thinking or strategizing — fairly or not dependent on your worldview.

For too long, many of our talk radio hosts have spit out the same name-calling invectives and one-sided rants that have felt good but have not prepped any listener for dealing with an informed liberal. I can always tell my conservative friends who spend a lot of time listening to conservative talk radio. The vernacular is well-repeated. It too often boils down to: liberals are evil, they’re idiots, they hate America, and they think we’re all “racist, sexist, bigot, homophobes.” OK. Fair enough. Got it. But now what?

This is not a shot at these guys. I remember hearing Rush for the first time around 1989 or 1990 driving on U.S. 67 north of the Quad-Cities along the Mississippi River on the way home from my newspaper job in Davenport, flipping through stations when I came across this guy saying what I believe. I listened for a few minutes and was drop-jawed. This was no where else! I pulled into a dirt driveway, put it in park and just listened.

Supply was just beginning to meet demand and Rush was the pioneer.

But the supply of good red-meat conservative insights and rants (which I like as much as the next guy) is exceeding demand and has for awhile as everyone seeks to get in on the schtick. The typical pendulum of supply and demand seeking equilibrium and rarely finding it.

I’ve long wanted more, and sought it out in books and podcasts. Particularly podcasts in recent years where I can get long-form interviews and more in-depth information than what feels like the same old, same old on radio.

Shapiro goes at least part way toward meeting that demand. He provides reams more data and context on issues. While standard talk radio tells you X is a terrible idea. Shapiro frequently tells you why X is a terrible idea. That is a big step forward and one that obviously conservative millennials are attracted to — and there are growing numbers of those — but also that older conservatives are drawn to.

If Shapiro is roughly Rush 2.0 30 years later — William F. Buckley without the pretensions — then what we’re likely to see is a lot of people following his footsteps, just as we saw an entire industry follow Rush’s. We’re already seeing that with young conservative personalities. But young ranters a la old ranters is not the future. Depth, context, data and fearlessness with opponents (Rush never debates a liberal) may well be — and that does not have an age requirement attached.

Further, Shapiro’s radio program is utilizing his podcast format on radio, which has the potential to revolutionize a somewhat ossified radio industry facing stiffening competition from podcasts and new media.

Shapiro’s style and altered format — if it works — could be one of the healthier trends long-term for conservatism by creating a new breed of conservative-thought influencers, building on the first generation with a new and updated model that leaves conservatives more informed and armed than the 1.0 version.

Rod Thomson is an author, past Salem radio host, ABC TV commentator, former journalist and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act. 


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Climate Change Conservatism Economy Judges Justice Supreme Court Truth

Breakdown: The World Is Measurably Better Since January 2017

Rod Thomson

The largely unreported and to some ironic reality of the past two years is that the world overall is a better, safer, more prosperous place since the swearing in of Donald Trump as President of the United States in 2016. Better than it was under Barack Obama and better than it was under George W. Bush.

Despite the nonstop onslaught of negative reporting on Trump — 90 percent according to the Media Research Center (there’s been 10 percent positive?) — and the breathless reporting on the government shutdown, the latest Robert Mueller leak or arrest, the Kavanaugh hearing fiasco, fake news such as BuzzFeed’s flat wrong non-story on Trump telling Michael Cohen to lie, the disgusting anti-Christian bigotry associated with the MAG-hat Covington Catholic High School students and so on ad infinitum — Trump’s approval ratings remain right in the range they were when he took office, and ticking upward.

That suggests that the relentlessly anti-Trump, Democratic partisan media is washed out by what his actual policies have so clearly accomplished.

But it also suggests that a lot of Americans — probably more than are reflected in polls, and at least some who support Trump — simply do not feel safe saying to anyone that they realize how much better off the country and the world are. It wasn’t supposed to happen. But the media not reporting something does not mean it didn’t happen.

So here are some of the major areas where the world is demonstrably better off since January 2016:

→ First, the economy, duh! 304,000 jobs in January, blowing out all of the predictions. Manufacturing has burst back in the U.S. when President Obama said those jobs would never return. (Man, that guy was wrong a lot.) GDP growth 50 percent higher than it had been under Obama, even though the recovery is now long in the tooth. This has led to a growing consensus among non-political economists that what has driven the economic renaissance has been tax cuts, massive deregulation, stronger trade policy, tax breaks to lure back offshore capital, and a dramatic rise in oil and natural gas production.

→ The entire federal court system will be far more conservative and constitutional for a generation as Trump’s judicial nominees have been uniformly originalists and conservative…and young. This means that there should be fewer overtly political rulings in which the law and constitution are bent to judges’ political views like a reed in the wind, and more solid rules for governing and living.

→ The dishonest and duplicitous media has been unmasked for the partisans they are. This was unintended, of course, but Americans are better off knowing this (something I have known for many, many years as a former member of the mainstream media.) The media’s vicious partisanship has been widely self-exposed for Americans to see, although many members of the media themselves seem to remain in denial. The vast majority of Americans do not.

China’s systemic cheating on trade agreements and thieving of intellectual properties has been called out and responded to forcefully. Since Trump’s inauguration, an accepted consensus has emerged that China’s actions pose a commercial threat to world trade, to its geographic neighbors and to the security of the United States. Ultimately, we will end up with better, more fair trade that will absolutely benefit American companies and workers, but also will benefit most of the rest of the world, which will be more empowered to demand better, more fair agreements for their companies and workers.

→ Pulling out of the terrorist-enabling Iran nuclear agreement did not result in the end of the world, In fact, the world basically yawned past the regular hyperbolic media coverage. Further, most of the sanctions have been reinstated, including by our European friends, when the media Democrats assured us they could not be. Iran is feeling the pinch. Leashing up the murderous Mullah’s financially makes the world that much safer.

→Similarly, when the U.S. walked away from the essentially worthless, symbolic Paris Climate Accords, the world did not warm and seas did not rise. Actually, the U.S. continues to be a leader in reduction of carbon emissions, largely through the voluntary, innovative private sector.

→ The U.S. showed its promise-keeping resolve for the first time when Trump directed the U.S. embassy in Israel to be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem — just like Obama, Bush and Bill Clinton had promised to do before him, but never did. The hyperventilating over lighting the Middle East tinderbox never materialized. The normal amount of Muslim terrorism and Israeli military response ensued afterwards as before.

Black Americans are enjoying an employment resurgence like that not seen since before the disastrous implementing of the Great Society. While overall U.S. unemployment hit a 50-year low in Trump’s second year, joblessness among black Americans has set a modern record as well. Black employment has risen about 1.3 million under Trump to hit a record 19.3 million in October. Now this clearly started before Trump, but that it accelerated this long into a recovery is fairly remarkable.

Russian aggression against Ukraine and other small neighbors has been held in check as the U.S. has sent arms and supplies to the Ukraine and stiffened the response to Russian belligerence. The tough talk had already been backed by missile attacks against Russian mercenaries in Syria and Russian-backed Syrian allies. Using the big stick once or twice means carrying it around becomes a deterrent — not a joke as with the previous president. The crossing of any red line is obviously not going to be acceptable and Russia knows that.

→ Trump’s forceful efforts to denuclearize North Korea resulted in a one-one-one summit with President Kim, and second one coming up. It started with tough talk, followed by the movement of U.S. naval and air power off the coast. It’s ended so far with the self-destruction of some of North Korea’s nuclear facilities and no more of the missile tests that had become common under Obama.

→ Most of our European allies in NATO have been weak and sometimes duplicitous on defense, refusing to live up to their promise on minimal military expenditures to help defend themselves from Russia. Trump again talked tough. Considering he had pulled out of the Paris climate accords and the Iran agreement, European leaders worry he could follow through on NATO threats. They have accordingly increased their defense spending by a combined $100 billion now so far — strengthening free countries against tyranny.

ISIS decapitated.

There are plenty more. But this hits the highlights. By all the evidence, it is unarguable, even by the Orange Man Bad crowd, that the world is better off now than two years ago.

Rod Thomson is an author, host of Tampa Bay Business with Rod Thomson on the Salem Radio Network, TV commentator and former journalist, and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act. Rod also is co-host of Right Talk America With Julio and Rod on the Salem Radio Network.


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Conservatism Truth

Whatfinger Has Solidified Itself As The Premier Drudge Alternative

Rod Thomson

Last year at this time, we determined, and suggested to our readers, that Whatfinger.com was rapidly becoming the go-to conservative aggregator site, replacing the Drudge Report and its increasing use of the mainstream media, celebrities and salaciousness to drive hits.

A year later, we can safely conclude that Whatfinger is no longer “rapidly becoming the go-to conservative aggregator site” — it simply is, hands down. There are other conservative aggregators out there, but none that so consistently put out news links, not celebrity gossip, tabloid nonsense.

Did I say links? This is where Whatfinger shines — kind of obvious for an aggregator, and yet where it totally dominates Drudge or others.

Whatfinger puts up a minimum of 150 new links daily — in it’s middle column alone. That is at least three times the amount of new links from Drudge. Plus Whatfinger has another 100 to 150 in sections. So Whatfinger has probably seven times the news on a daily basis as Drudge, and none of it wasted on nonsense links about Jay-Z or 50-pound babies.

Whatfinger grew from being nearly the top 13,000 in the U.S. last year at this time to being near the top 7,000 this year, according to Alexa rankings. That is a huge jump in that high range, but all the more so considering it creates a new page for reader ease when you click a link — unlike Drudge, which does not and requires you to click back to Drudge, thus artificially inflating hits and making it look bigger.

Whatfinger is becoming so ubiquitous and trusted on the right, that our readers even suggest Whatfinger in comments to other commenters.

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With that, here’s our story from last year on why Whatfinger is so superior to Drudge for conservative, traditional Americans:

The Drudge Report is the undisputed champion of news aggregate sites, and has been since the Clinton years. It’s iconic and people are comfortable with it. But it’s also filled with a lot of the cultural garbage that is irrelevant to many right-leaning readers, uses sensationalized headlines and includes just too much of the weird alien nonsense for those who are simply looking to stay on top of current events.

Staying on top of events as a conservative without some type of aggregator is almost impossible because of the innate and well-deserved distrust conservatives have for the mainstream media. Fortunately, there is an emerging treasure trove of conservative sites. But most people don’t have the time to wade through them all.

That’s where Whatfinger.com comes in. The relatively young conservative aggregator site is already nearing the 13,000 rank in Alexa among all web sites in the United States, quickly making it a player in the space. And there is a reason. It is chock full of links to mostly conservative sites with news and commentary, but organized into top stories, hot tweets, Trump news, political commentary, U.S. news, world news and more. The headlines and linking site are clearly delineated so you don’t click a link and get assaulted by a surprise site. There is even a section with a slate of stories and links to liberal/mainstream media sites under “Fake News Quarantine Section.”

The editors say they purposely include those “opposing views for specific issues (such as MSNBC vs FOX). This is how you get to the truth, by digesting all points of view and then coming to your own opinion and conclusion. In other words…freedom to think and feel and learn without censorship.”

The Whatfinger name comes from the simple concept of thumbs up, thumbs down or, of course, the middle finger. The site is founded and run by former members of the military who are unapologetic lovers of America but keep their personal identities under wraps for understandable reasons.

They have one, basic goal with the site, found on their “about” page: “You could say, we are in a relentless pursuit of creating the greatest go-to link news site ever.”

That’s a tough hill that means dethroning the Drudge Report from the current position. Not easy. Drudge still takes a good pulse on the news, but it includes so many ancillary click-baity stuff that it is not great for serious news consumers. In conversations with the editors, they say that once people find Whatfinger, they generally continue to use it instead of returning to Drudge or lesser aggregators.

The editors seem to have a good instinct for what right-leaning Americans want to read, leading to their rapid growth that has been entirely fueled by word of mouth — quite amazing in this age where political space is crowded with endless options. But in part, that crowded field is leading to Whatfinger’s usefulness: The editors cull the best stories from the Web for easy use with headlines typically taken from the stories — not over sensationalized.

We took a look at Whatfinger when we saw a bump in traffic from the site. We had not heard of it. But it’s quickly become a new favorite. Consider this digital word of mouth.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: The Revolutionary Act has no financial relationship with Whatfinger and does not accept payment for articles ever. We do provide a link to them at our site and they link to our stories — because both parties believe in the other’s work.)

Rod Thomson is an author, TV talking head and former journalist, and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act. Rod is co-host of Right Talk America With Julio and Rod on the Salem Radio Network.


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Conservatism Hollywood Truth

Can Fearless Conservative James Woods Make An Acting Come Back?

by Julio Gonzalez, M.D., J.D.

One of the many fatalities of Hollywood’s war on conservatism is the career of James Woods, the feisty author of countless conservative tweets and a towering steeple among conservatives on Twitter. His commentary and retorts are biting, witty, and when they need to be, merciless.  But of course, his open display of his political positions has cast a stigma on his career as an actor. And Woods has said as much.

In a tweet from February, Woods said he was blacklisted because he refused to back Democratic Presidential Nominee Hillary Clinton. Then came word from Woods that The Gersh Agency, which represented him for a great part of his career, would not continue representing him because of his political views.

And Twitter has not been accommodating to Woods, either. Despite having 1.79 million followers, Twitter banned him from his account after he tweeted a meme of three men enthusiastically proclaiming that they were going to make women’s votes more powerful this election cycle by staying home on election day.

#Genius!

Twitter refused Woods access to his account unless he took down the meme. He refused. And he got his account back.

But if his Twitter presence has been remarkable, his acting career has been even more so. Woods, known for his intensity on the screen and his ability to deliver expressions of sheer unbridled anger is one of the giants of modern film productions.

Who can forget the Porsche scene in Against All Odds and the events surrounding it? And if you haven’t seen The Specialist where Woods’s character, Ned Trent, loses it while building a bomb in front of a trailer full of Miami police officers daring them to have him blow it up, then you’ve missed one of the greatest displays of controlled anger on film.

Then there was his portrayal of the Machiavellian politician in Contact, who kept saying, “Continue,” as he intently listened to the report of the missing 8-hours of data from a presumably failed, seconds-long, space mission in a vehicle that was the product of alien blueprint instructions. The missing time sequence was the exact amount that Jodie Foster’s character, the astronaut that actually traveled in the craft, described as she toured the galaxy with an apparent alien. Woods’s silent attention was followed by a single, sinister, controlled utterance from him, “That is interesting.”

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But by far, my favorite Woods movie is True Believer where Woods plays a beat up, longhaired, has-been lawyer opposite Robert Downey, Jr. The movie opens with Downey entering the courtroom to meet Woods’s character, Eddie Dodd, for the first time. Woods, his back to the camera, is seated at the defense table when Downey instinctively introduces himself to the shorthaired, well-manicured defendant seated next to him. When Woods actually responds, the audience is duped and falls victim to one of the great displays of irony and double-fakery in film. Few actors other than Woods would have been able to pull off this inherent contradiction in a character.

But, as has become too frequent a case, Woods’ career has been effectively silenced as his conservatism has become public. You would think that there would be someone so iconic, so magnificent, so great, that political bias would be insufficient to ostracize.

Well, you’d be wrong.

Yet Hollywood’s coercion was unable to silence him, merely to control the only thing it can about him: his career. But over the past week, there has been talk about a sitcom featuring him and another discarded semi-conservative actor, Roseanne Barr — talk that Woods himself ginned up.

Needless to say, I’d love to tune in to that sitcom. Not because of Barr who, although iconic in her own rate, is at best a mediocre actress. But because of Woods, a true giant amongst thespians!

And the fact that Woods and Barr would almost assuredly be able to put together a hit because of their talents, their huge following who feels starved for something not bashing Trump and Republicans, and of course the controversy. But for it to really happen, someone in Hollywood would have to have the fortitude and professionalism to do it.

Unlikely. Woods’ feisty, take-no-prisoners verbal fisticuffs on Twitter does not translate into persuading even otherwise willing Hollywood execs to take the risk. The anti-all-things-not-left in Hollywood is just too strong and too nasty, frequently beating out even the profit motive.

However, if someone with a distribution channel took it, about every conservative out there would give it a watch. I’m ready to. I’ll even go fire up the popcorn!

Dr. Julio Gonzalez is an orthopaedic surgeon and lawyer living in Venice, Florida. He is the author of The Federalist Pages and cohost of Right Talk America With Julio and Rod. Dr. Gonzalez is presently serving in the Florida House of Representatives. He can be reached through www.thefederalistpages.com to arrange a lecture or book signing.


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Conservatism Free Speech Liberalism Truth

Study: Americans Really, Really Hate Political Correctness

Rod Thomson

In one of the most encouraging studies in recent times, a group of leftist scholars out of England has found that the political correctness minefield driven by the left is wildly unpopular with Americans across virtually every category.

The British study group came to these results, without aiming for them, when it took a deep-dive look at political polarization in America. An unexpected unity arose among the vast majority of Americans across race, gender and income lines in really hating today’s politically correct atmosphere — and possibly those pushing it — which could have long-term, detrimental political ramifications for the Democratic Party.

The key takeaway from the study looking at political correctness is this: Fully 80 percent of Americans believe that “political correctness is a problem in our country.” Those numbers vary, but remain vast majorities across boundaries. Interestingly, even young people don’t like it, including 74 percent ages 24 to 29, and 79 percent under age 24. It seems that not only is political correctness deeply unpopular and a political anchor, but it also has no future.

The study Hidden Tribes: A Study Of America’s Polarized Landscape, was conducted by More In Common, which is a European organization made up of what appears to be mostly leftists and socialists. The researchers for the study include scholars Stephen Hawkins, Daniel Yudkin, Miriam Juan-Torres, and Tim Dixon — whose pedigrees include Harvard, Yale, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights. It was in no conceivable way a conservative organization or conservative researchers, which makes the findings all the more compelling.

The 10-month study period between December 2017 and September 2018 included a nationally representative poll of 8,000 Americans, six small focus groups and 30 one-hour interviews.

Researchers identified seven clusters of Americans when talking about immigration, white privilege, the prevalence of sexual harassment: progressive activists, traditional liberals, passive liberals, the politically disengaged, moderates, traditional conservatives, and devoted conservatives.

In those clusters, 25 percent of Americans are traditional or devoted conservatives, and their views are outside the American mainstream; 8 percent of Americans are progressive activists, and their views are far outside the mainstream; but about 65 percent of Americans are in some form of the middle, and the authors call them the “exhausted majority.” According to the report, this large number of Americans “share a sense of fatigue with our polarized national conversation, a willingness to be flexible in their political viewpoints, and a lack of voice in the national conversation.”

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Most of the “exhausted majority,” and virtually all of the traditional conservatives share a strong dislike for political correctness. The study did not define political correctness, which was probably necessary in that it is always changing — and that is part of what people don’t like. But it includes being required to use just the right words, and never the wrong words, in a broad range of topics and being required to treat people differently based on race, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation and prefer certain categories over others.

So when Democratic U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono says that “men need to shut up” she is invoking political correctness. When the New York Times runs a column by Alexis Grenell (a white woman) under the headline “White Women, Come Get Your People,” she is using political correctness. When colleges have cordoned off free speech zones so that students don’t get “triggered” by potentially “offensive” words or thoughts, that is political correctness. Gender non-binary pronouns such as ne and ve are political correctness. Americans simply recoil at all of this and so much more.

Here’s a further breakdown. This is the percent of Americans by category who consider political correctness to be a problem in the country:

  • Blacks: 75 percent
  • Whites: 79 percent
  • Asians: 82 percent
  • Hispanics 87 percent
  • American Indians: 88 percent
  • Income under $50,000: 83 percent
  • Income over $100,00: 70 percent
  • Never attended college: 87 percent
  • Post graduate degrees: 66 percent
  • Traditional conservatives: 97 percent
  • Traditional liberals: 61 percent
  • Progressive activists: 30 percent

The takeaway is crystal clear. Other than the tiny percentage of Americans who are progressive activists, there is widespread, cross-category opposition to the sort of political correctness that makes it almost impossible to communicate without fear.

As a 40-year-old American Indian in Oklahoma told researchers in a focus group: “It seems like everyday you wake up something has changed … Do you say Jew? Or Jewish? Is it a black guy? African-American? … You are on your toes because you never know what to say. So political correctness in that sense is scary.”

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And politically, it is a poison issue. Remember progressive activists are only 8 percent of the population.

Yascha Mounk, a lecturer on government at Harvard University, reviewed the study for The Atlantic magazine. In that review, he admitted to a revelation that should really give Democrats pause:

“In the days before “Hidden Tribes” was published, I ran a little experiment on Twitter, asking my followers to guess what percentage of Americans believe that political correctness is a problem in this country. The results were striking: Nearly all of my followers underestimated the extent to which most Americans reject political correctness. Only 6 percent gave the right answer. (When I asked them how people of color regard political correctness, their guesses were, unsurprisingly, even more wildly off.)

Obviously, my followers on Twitter are not a representative sample of America. But as their largely supportive feelings about political correctness indicate, they are probably a decent approximation for a particular intellectual milieu to which I also belong: politically engaged, highly educated, left-leaning Americans—the kinds of people, in other words, who are in charge of universities, edit the nation’s most important newspapers and magazines, and advise Democratic political candidates on their campaigns.

So the fact that we are so widely off the mark in our perception of how most people feel about political correctness should probably also make us rethink some of our other basic assumptions about the country.”

This is an admirable insight and admission by Mounk. The sense among conservatives is that progressives, academics, colleges and other leftist bastions are far outside the mainstream of America. Inasmuch as they are pulling the Democratic Party with them, they are inviting electoral disaster for Democrats at some point.

Rod Thomson is an author, TV talking head and former journalist, and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act. Rod is co-host of Right Talk America With Julio and Rod on the Salem Radio Network.


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Conservatism Education Schools Truth

End Liberal Indoctrination In Education, Create TOTAL School Choice

By Nate Davis

The most important conservative policy today, the one that is most likely to make this country predominantly conservative over time, is total school choice: $13,000 per student per year school vouchers. Please let me explain.

What are school vouchers? It costs about $13,000 per year for one student to attend a government-run school. With school vouchers, parents and students are allowed to take that $13,000 to another school, whether it is government-run or not. The money would follow the student. Of course, if parents and students wanted to spend their children’s $13,000 vouchers on an existing government-run school, they could.

Note: offering total school choice wouldn’t cost the taxpayer. The only issue is whether citizens can be trusted to choose the best educational route for their own children.

How will letting families choose the best education for their own children lead to a more conservative-thinking society?

It’s about ideology

Liberals have two main outlets for their social ideas — schools and the media. That is why they will fight tooth and nail to keep education as government-run as possible. If the government-loving liberals provide education (and they do), they can promote their moral, social and economic agenda to 50 million future voters at a time.

Liberal ideas must be indoctrinated, and therefore liberals must control education. That makes $13,000 school vouchers the single most important conservative idea out there. If you want to put the brakes on the leftist movement in our country, offer people choice. Privatize education with $13,000 vouchers.

If parents were given total school choice, few would choose the one that promises to promote moral relativism and government control as the solution. Some would, but not most. Many would choose schools that taught a deep sense of individual responsibility. They would choose schools with high expectations for behavior. They would chose schools that promote conservative values. Many parents who don’t live by those standards themselves would see them as the best hope for their children, and their assessment would be well founded.

Socialism stinks

Has it occurred to you that you can’t get much more socialist than the way we do grade school and high school in America? The only further step would be to outlaw schools that were not run by the government.

Socialism produces inferior products and services. (See every socialist economy from the USSR to Cuba to Venezuela.)

Can you imagine if the country was set up in districts, and for every service we had to prepay to use the one provider in that district: one dentist, one auto mechanic, one HVAC Repairman, one jeweler, one grocery, one physical therapist, etc.? On top of that, the distribution of service was organized and managed by a government bureaucracy, with pension funds and unions involved as well. Would you get the kind of service you would want? Of course not. Also, what gets into the psyche of the one who gets to be the sole provider in that district? What is the incentive to be truthful and to do things right and timely? These questions get at the angst caused by socialized efforts and are rightfully repulsive to many.

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The government-run school system is a prepaid, single provider per district system with large pension funds and heavy union influence like the scenario described above. Why embrace single provider, prepaid, government bureaucracy for your children’s education?

Letting educational money follow children allows for competition and employs an army of active overseers — consumers. To those who know and understand the benefits of the free market, it is both reasonable and logical. So, not only is there the benefit of taking the wind out of the liberal agenda sail, but there are efficiencies to gain in education that will leave students better off.  

Providing $13,000 school vouchers would help every American because every American benefits when citizens are better educated and better prepared to be productive. Competition will offer these benefits.  

Conservative politicians are missing it

Unfortunately, the $13,000 voucher policy is low on most conservative politicians’ radar. It is time to change that thinking. Let’s consider all the constituents who would benefit from the new policy.  

Providing $13,000 vouchers would help families and students because they would be able to choose between schools that offered different value propositions. If students could pick their schools, teachers would have more options to find the right fit for them, too. The $13,000 voucher would be especially helpful to the underprivileged and to children at risk. The schools in those districts are usually the worst. Finally, every conservative constituent would benefit because those who graduate from high school under total school choice would likely be more open to or supportive of conservative ideas.

Politicians need to realize that constituents overwhelmingly choose a government-run school because it is “free.” It does not mean they wouldn’t enjoy and benefit from total school choice. Still, to address concerns, we need to consider why conservatives seem to feel okay with communalist schools.

Why do so many conservative parents support government schools?

Quick answer: Financially, they have to.

For most of us, double paying for school is too much (first through mandatory taxes and then through private school tuition). When people can’t change something, they tend to make the best of the situation they have. Thus, when government-run school is the one they can afford, they make the most of it. They get to know people. They speak highly of the positive aspects. They encourage their own children and grandchildren to be successful there. They get used to it, and change can be difficult, though it seems more and more citizens are expressing they would choose something different if they could.  

There are other reasons people support the local government-run school. For some, supporting the school is supporting the community. Sometimes government-school support is attached to business relationships, a means of networking in the community. Sports play an important role in a conservative’s commitment to the local government school, too. How could you not support “your team”?

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Others are concerned that some special activity, like band, performing arts, science fair, etc., would be lost if most students weren’t compelled financially to go to government schools. (With vouchers, there would likely be more opportunities for quality extracurricular activities for students, not fewer.) Some may be motivated to protect their child. If a parent was to criticize the government school, would his children suffer at the hands of teachers, coaches, or administrators? It is easier to be nice.

Finally, people support the government-run schools because they have friends, family or acquaintances who work there — good people. That does not mean the system is right. In fact, these good people could do much better work outside of that system.

We have to realize that good conservatives end up supporting a socialist school system for practical reasons. But that is not to say they would not prefer total school choice.

Still, some will say, “I got a pretty good education” (who wants to claim they were poorly educated?), or “My kids like their school.” These statements ignore the alternative. They disregard options that would have been available if the government didn’t use tax dollars to disincentivize almost all competition. That is why we need people to cast a vision.

Dig deeper to see more problems

Support for local government-owned schools seems to be waning. School violence, depravity and lower educational standards have more and more people wishing they had other options.

Do your own assessment of your local government schools. I think you will find that students are often permitted to use vulgarity and profanity, educational expectations are downgraded, and liberal social ideas such as gender confusion are promoted. Certainly, we could do better.

In 2015 the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services conducted a nationally representative survey of high schoolers:

In a 30 day period, 4.1% carried a weapon to school, and 5.6% said they skipped school at least once because they didn’t feel safe.

In one school year, almost 8% were in a fight, 6% were threatened with a weapon and 1 in 5 were bullied.

What a mess.

If you need to confront the administration for any reason, you will get a clearer picture of the inner workings of these government bureaucracies. This is the reality: government employees watch government employees behind closed doors with little accountability.

To make matters worse, union members watch over union members. The members’ commitment to protect one another’s employment, pay, and pension is a complete conflict of interests. (Unions also work very diligently to elect those school board members who will side with them.)

How do $13,000-per-year vouchers solve these problems? When there is wrongdoing, families will switch to a school that does it right. Consumers will look for schools with high expectations of employees and students. It is that simple. No bureaucracy needed. The market will decide, as it does every day with thousands of products and services.

$13,000 school vouchers: the Great Conservative Cause

Total school choice is a simple and logical extension of the most basic of conservative ideas, that is, the best choices are made by consumers, and the best products are created through competition. On top of that, total school choice frustrates the liberal’s strategy and will expose more people to conservative ways of thought — not by force, but by choice.  

The government should only do the things no one else can do (e.g., roads, military, law enforcement). Expect what it does to be relatively inefficient. Expect some degree of corruption. These are just truths. For this reason, if government doesn’t have to do it, it shouldn’t. Certainly, government doesn’t have to do education. Giving the choice back to citizens with $13,000 school vouchers is best for America.  

Once parents and children have money to spend on education, they will have reason for constantly evaluating the output and opportunities of one school versus the next. Reviews on public forums online will further fuel schools to be the very best they can.

The money from the vouchers would prime the pump for philanthropy, which would be very good for education. Those making donations to education providers will be voting with their dollars for the best schools.

No, charter schools don’t solve the problem. They are simply a subset of school run by the state. They are still government and will eventually fall by the wayside of all communalist efforts. Are they better for now? Yes, but they are getting in the way of the solution by putting new paint on an old pig (government school bureaucracy).

“School choice” — the ability to choose between government schools — does not help much either. The choice has to include any school, not just government schools, so the best ideas in education can be explored and exploited.

Finally, consider what America could be if students were not put through the same cookie cutter that are government-run schools, and instead were inspired and taught the way they and their parents choose. The result would be a smarter, more logical, more productive, and less indoctrinated-by-liberals electorate, and that is very good for America.

What can you do?

One of the easiest things is to change what you say.

Language matters, which is why it is best not to use the word “public” when referring to the school system. It has the appeal that socialist-minded people like to apply to government institutions. “Public” doesn’t mean “ours,” but “theirs” — those who control it. The terms government-owned and government-run work better. “My kids go to the government school” provides more clarity.  

Cast a vision.

Help others imagine what schools will pop up when school funding follows the student. Schools will be safer, more focused on individual students, promoting true character, and with more committed, happier educators. Local service organizations, businesses, special industries (science, manufacturing, medicine, etc.), trade groups, arts organizations and groups of parents deeply committed to children will all be able to add their special flavor to the educational experience by starting or supporting a school in their community. Those concerned about at-risk children will be especially empowered to care for and educate them.

Urge your elected officials to give your children (or your grandchildren) $13,000 vouchers. It is a policy that makes sense, and one that could truly save our country as we know it.

Remember, government-run schools are and will always be a huge detriment to conservative values, which is why you should move the issue of $13,000 school vouchers to the top of your political wish list. Don’t do it just for the kids today. Do it for our society in generations to come.

There is simply no single policy that will help conservative ideas succeed in the future more than total school choice. None.

Nate Davis’ break-through book God The Parent was published in 2017. It is the product of reading so many unfulfilling parenting books that use a Bible verse here or there and instead mines the deep, rich vein of parenting wisdom found throughout the Bible. Nate and his wife, Ginny, have 10 children — 20 years between the youngest and the oldest. The Davis family sings a lot, laughs a lot and is most at home in the outdoors.


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Conservatism Liberalism Truth

WalkAway: A Word From a Recovering Liberal

By KrisAnne Hall, JD

Right up front, there are some things that I need to tell you about myself. I want you to know where I came from and how I got to where I am today — my walkaway path. I don’t want to ever be accused of deception or dishonesty. So, in full disclosure:

I was not born a Constitutionalist. I did not live my life with an inherent understanding of Liberty and what is necessary to defend it. I was not raised a Christian. For some, these things will be a stumbling block, so you need to know from me.

I was raised a Democrat. The only thing more evil than Satan was a Republican in my home. There were no choices to be made in voting…straight Democratic Party line was the only choice.

I was an environmentalist — a rabid environmentalist. Some of my best friends were members of GreenPeace and I supported the WWF and PETA. I believed the earth would be better if there we no people at all. I was a vegetarian by ideology, not for health reasons, for almost 15 years.

I believed in the “good” of scientific manipulations of food and the necessity of vaccines. Not only believed this, but helped create them when I was a biochemist for Monsanto.

I believed in Global Warming and defended it vigorously. I believed in the Big Bang and openly criticized those who believed in creationism as ignorant and misled.

I believed Government’s duty and purpose was to be a provider for the people. I supported programs that would give the government more control over the people. I even believed a One World Government was the best way to go to ensure “global peace.” I supported the principles of socialism, although I cannot claim to have known at the time it was socialism, per se, that I supported.

I supported abortion and often openly condemned others for being pro-life. I have argued with abortion protesters on street corners and called them names that I am not proud of.

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I was not only not a Christian, but I practiced many other religions, including many occult versions. I was bitter against God and felt that only ignorant, weak people needed faith. I was too intelligent and too educated for such a feeble crutch.

I was not born with the knowledge that I have now. I did not wake up one morning with a divine epiphany. I traveled a long road to walkaway from the lies. Learned some hard and painful lessons. My beliefs were challenged and I came to know the Truth. Now I am a true constitutionalist. I have written six books about the Constitution and Liberty. I have a radio show heard by 2 million people every week. I teach the Constitution all over America and even started my own online training program called “Liberty First University.”

I am able to stand firm on what I believe because I have discovered the difference between truth and lies. I am able to defend the truth because I walked the path. I can show you my path of discovery, and to be guaranteed it is not tied to any political motivation or personal gain — unless you call the liberation that comes from knowing the truth in the face of lies, a personal gain.

So when someone says to you…”Did you know that person used to be associated with this or that group or used to believe this… How can you possibly believe him now?” Remember this story.

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It is good to question someone’s “transformation.” You should do that. If they cannot show you that walkaway path, step by step, you should question their motivations.

But do not discount someone’s current position just because of who they used to be or who they used to associate with or what they used to believe. Sometimes it is not a selfish or deceptive motivation, but a path to enlightenment.

Do you have a family member who is a progressive? Do you have a co-worker that is hostile to the truth?  Don’t give up hope! We have an obligation to bring the truth, to show them they can walkaway from lies. When truth is the enemy or the source of hostile response, you know for sure that someone is afraid they are believing lies! Their foundation is being rocked, so keep on rocking! Keep shining that light. Keep walking a consistent walk. Saint Francis of Assisi said, “All… should preach by their deeds.” Let your deeds be Truth, let your walk be Liberty.

Remember, we all had to wake up somehow. All you have to do is take the first step to truth and then walkaway from the lies.

KrisAnne Hall is a former biochemist, Russian linguist for the U.S. Army, and former prosecutor for the State of Florida. KrisAnne also practiced First Amendment Law for a prominent Florida non-profit Law firm. KrisAnne now travels the country teaching the foundational principles of Liberty and our Constitutional Republic. She is the author of 6 books on the Constitution and Bill of Rights, and has an internationally popular radio and television show. Her books and classes have been featured on C-SPAN TV. KrisAnne can be found at www.KrisAnneHall.com. Get the book “Sovereign Duty” to learn what the designers of our Constitution wanted Americans to do when their federal government became bloated and out of control. Find this book on Amazon, Barns & Noble, Wal-Mart, and many other merchants.


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Christianity Conservatism Trump Truth

Unmasking The Error Of The Never-Trump Evangelicals

Rod Thomson

When did we who are Christians decide that we could not support a politician who was not holy enough? When did we arrive at the point where we would not support an apparent unrepentant sinner — perhaps, say, a non-Christian — even if his policies are overtly and measurably returning us at least in small part to our Judeo-Christian heritage and improving the state of the nation?

The answer? Apparently at the election of Donald Trump. This is not a hard case to make.

There are two bookends to the case.

First, evangelicals who voted for Trump in November and support Trump now are charged with being idolaters, heretics and unfaithful by prominent never-Trump evangelicals. Because we support him and his policies as president, that means we are OK with the morals in his life, including sex outside marriage with a prostitute, or his incautious language at times, including on Twitter.

But this is a fallacious position, as shown when it is flipped. If they did not vote for Trump, then by their conflation they are OK with tacitly supporting abortion and funding Planned Parenthood. If evangelical Trump voters are not allowed to separate the man from his policies, then why should they be allowed to separate not voting for Trump with the concomitant immoral policies that follow.

Second, is the standard which they hold evangelicals to with Trump the same as they hold themselves to with all of the rest of elected officials? Is this requirement of Biblical purity being applied at every level of office? Are the people they support at the city, county, state and Congressional level meeting this standard? If they are not, do these people similarly disdain and attack supporters of those people?

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The answer is self-evident. Too many of my evangelical Christian brethren, who are conservatives as I am, have moved the goal posts — or flat out changed the rules of the game — to accommodate their personal dislike of and opposition to Trump, and to ground their attacks on those of us who do support him because of his solidly conservative policies and appointments.

Those two applications of their philosophy bookend the middle problem, which is the use of straw men in their attacks. So let’s take a match to the most absurd straw man that is constantly used and undergird both bookends: By supporting Trump’s policies, Christians are turning a blind eye to his moral failures, or worse, accepting them as not a big deal.

This is false to the point of being injurious libel. Yet this is the ground that has been staked out by some prominent and angry-sounding evangelicals.

New York Times columnist and anti-Trumper Ross Douthat sums up two of these straw men approaches:

“…on the influential Gospel Coalition site, Jared Wilson described younger evangelicals as ‘basically a bunch of theological orphans,’ betrayed by older pastors who insisted on the importance of moral character and then abandoned these preachments for the sake of partisanship — revealing their own commitments as essentially idolatrous, and leaving the next generation no choice but to invent evangelicalism anew.

Wilson like the rest seems to conflate any support of Trump due to Trump policies and appointments as “abandoning” our beliefs. But would he apply the same straw man logic to himself?

If Wilson did not vote for Trump, then that means he has abandoned his morals with regard to abortion and maybe 72 genders. Because if Wilson, Douthat and the others philosophically do not allow me to separate Trump policies from Trump, then I why should I let them separate not supporting Trump from non-Trump policies — that is, Hillary Clinton?

I’ll tell you why: Because I don’t believe that of them. I don’t think they have abandoned their social morals because they did not vote for Trump. They weighed and chose one way and I have always granted conservatives that space. But they will not grant me that space, because apparently, they know I have abandoned my faith and principles — which of course, they cannot know.

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Further, what they propose in their pronounced judgement of fellow Christians is a terrible and divisive philosophy that digs the foundations of purity tests as requirements for candidate support — and Wilson and Team Anti-Trump will clearly be the arbiters of what those requirements are and when they are met.

Here’s another example from Douthat’s column:

“In a somewhat different vein, the Baylor professor Alan Jacobs responded to a question (from me) about where younger evangelical intellectual life is going by saying that “as far as I can tell, where young evangelicals are headed is simply out of evangelicalism.” Meaning that they will either go along with the drift of their elders and become church-of-American-greatness heretics, or else they will return to “older liturgical traditions,” Catholic and Orthodox and Anglican, and cease to identify with evangelicalism entirely.”

Wilson knew I had abandoned my principles because I disagree with him politically on this president. But Jacobs knows even more; that I am now a heretic. But see above why he would have to be also, if judged by the same test.

David French, one of the most prominent and loudest evangelical never-Trumpers, recently castigated in the harshest terms evangelical support for Trump:

“It’s sin, and it’s sin that is collapsing the Evangelical moral witness…all too many fellow believers have torched their credibility and exposed immense hypocrisy through fear, faithlessness, and ambition. Soon enough, the “need” to defend Trump will pass. He’ll be gone from the American scene. Then, you’ll stand in the wreckage of your own reputation and ask yourself, “Was it worth it?” The answer will be as clear then as it should be clear now. It’s not, and it never was.”

Or maybe a major threat to evangelical Christianity will be seeing prominents such as French, Douthat, Wilson, Jacobs and others viciously attack the very being of the faith of evangelicals who disagree with them politically. That is a uniquely ugly presentation of Christian unity and charity.

I will not attack these people on the logic of their horrible straw men depictions of Christian Trump supporters. Nor will I attack them on the grounds of knowing their hearts — as they clearly do with me. Dozens of Bible verses compel me otherwise. Let’s take one:

“Every man’s way is right in his own eyes, But the LORD weighs the hearts.” Proverbs 21:2

The Lord weighs our hearts. Not anti-Trumpers. Not pro-Trumpers. They take that upon themselves at great peril.

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It is soundly unChristian to denounce the hearts of other believers over political choices. Did they do that over the Christians who supported Obama and Clinton, despite the deeply anti-Christian policies of those two? I sure don’t remember it. I did not and will not. Vigorous disagreement on the substance of issues is warranted. Condemnation is well outside the Christian pale.

These are passionate times and we all make mistakes. We are all fallen. We all sin. Pundits to presidents.

And here’s something I think they err on greatly. The emphasis on morals is right. It’s right for us before God and to teach our children. But it’s not the first thing because it is a distinctly Christian doctrine that we cannot be saved by our own works, but only through the grace offered by God. So before being moral is the need for salvation through Christ for the evangelical Christian, particularly. While my fellow Christians surely believe this, they do not sound it. They want to judge Trump — and Trump policy supporters — on morals in a way they would not allow to be turned back on them.

But what if Trump is not a Christian? Then all of their protestations are out of order, and their libel against brothers and sisters is more than unwarranted, its unloving.

I understand the dislike. But the opposition is wrong in my opinion, although I accept we can disagree without me condemning their hearts. Their attacks on evangelicals such as myself are unbecoming — and create this internecine battle among people who agree on virtually all the major political issues, and presumably on the core of the most important issue: the centrality of Christ.

I will always have an olive branch out for my brothers and sisters in Christ who are so determined to tell me I am a disgraceful idolator ruining the witness of Christ. I am also open to debating and discussing this in any civil environment. It seems as though civility should not be a prerequisite, but the anger and bitterness in some of these words suggest it needs to be.  

Rod Thomson is an author, TV talking head and former journalist, and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act. Rod is co-host of Right Talk America With Julio and Rod on the Salem Radio Network.


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Categories
Christianity Conservatism Elections Liberalism Truth

Leftists Own Every Propaganda Tool — Yet Cannot Win Over Americans

Rod Thomson

It’s stunning how thoroughly the American Left dominates every lever that moves the American culture, that shapes the broad narrative and forms public opinion — and yet it does not dominate in either the elections or in polls on self-identification.

While it is amazing Republicans can ever win in such an environment of dominant cultural institutions being leftist and Democratic, this is actually wildly good news.

It means, unbelievable enough, that Americans are still strongly resistant to the kind of collectivist, subservient mindset that is rampant in an ever-diminishing Europe. It means that while Americans are not exactly of the hearty 19th century settler style anymore, we still value our individualism and liberties and recognize America truly is an exceptional nation.

This is the only conclusion given the level of propaganda being waged.

The traditional and still dominant news media, virtually every college campus, public schools, Hollywood and the music industry are all hardcore Leftist institutions and have been for many decades. Their propaganda has driven enormously damaging trends in the country and the acceptance of self-harming activities as normal.

But even with this tsunami of public movers, Leftist core ideals seem unable to ratchet off course the basic metal of the average American. Consider, at this moment, the President of the United States is Republican, the U.S. Senate is Republican, the U.S. House is Republican, 32 state legislatures are Republican and 33 governors are Republican. At every level of government, Republicans have majorities. They may not be all that conservatives want, but they are the only party representing traditional American values and norms.

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Now, however, with new technologies, another wave of Leftist inculcation of the masses is apparent in the big social media conglomerates. Facebook, Youtube and Twitter have all been more and more openly putting their fingers on the scales to favor liberal content creators. And, much more actively and effectively as a propaganda tool, they are suppressing opposing views of conservative creators.

For instance, Youtube last year began the adpocolypse, demonetizing conservative sites so no ads would show, and further, restricting their viewing. This included such mainstream conservative sites as PragerU, which is suing the giant video-sharing platform. Now, however, Youtube has gone further by actually closing accounts, in the beginning of what looks like a purge. These have been mostly alt right accounts, but they also suspended generally conservative sites, such as Steven Crowder’s.

This activity by the social media giants all falls under the rubric of “offensive speech” policies. These policies are heavily tilted toward liberal speech only. Anything anti-Muslim is offensive speech, anything anti-Christian is free speech. Opposition to normalizing gender confusion is offensive speech, pro gender confusion is free speech. You get it. Needless to say, liberal accounts are largely unaffected, which is the point of these policies.

Twitter has been doing it longer. Facebook was caught cooking its “trending” list into liberal trending, and now they and others are trying to clamp down on “fake news.” Of course, fake news is almost totally subjective. So they are using liberal dominated organizations such as Politifact, Snopes and the extremist leftist organization Southern Poverty Law Center (which considers organizations with traditional Christian beliefs as hate groups) to determine what is fake news.

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And despite this smothering level of propaganda, at every level of influence on American life, the party most closely aligned traditional, conservative ideals is dominant right now? Surely there will be a swing back toward Democrats because that is the history of the United States. But considering all, how is this even possible?

The only answer is that a strong vein of our founding truths still runs through most Americans.

Patriotic and Christian movies consistently do very well, despite being constrained by lack of capital, advertising and screen showings. American patriotism — at its best representing the unique goodness that is America, even with all her flaws — still thrives. Christianity has not yet gone the way of Europe and remains a mighty force in American life. Individual American generosity (not government grants) remains unparalleled in the world. The desire for freedom, for Americans and for others remains so strong it can lead us down wrong paths, such as nation-building. But the impetus is uniquely American, and good.

Things may yet change for the worse. As the great philosopher Yoda said, “Difficult to see. Always in motion is the future.” Yet it should be an encouragement to all who understand America, her foundations and her significance to the welfare of the world, that all has not been lost in this liberal onslaught on the culture.

Americans remain a unique people in an exceptional nation.

Rod Thomson is an author, TV talking head and former journalist, and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act. Rod is co-host of Right Talk America With Julio and Rod on the Salem Radio Network.

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Conservatism Liberty Truth

Global Progressives Pushing “Assault-on-Marriage” Bill In Florida

Rod Thomson

Sherry Johnson has an unnervingly awful story that somehow fell within the bounds of the law. Raped and impregnated at age 10 in 1971, she was forced to marry her rapist by a Florida judge at age 11 and had five more children with him before escaping into a series of abusive relationships later in life.

She understandably would like to see her abuse not be repeated. So she has been the public face pushing for a Florida bill that goes well beyond fixing the law that created her tragedy by banning marriage for Floridians under the age of 18. No exceptions.

Johnson is far from alone in this effort — not surprisingly given she does not have the political or financial wherewithal to get the Florida Legislature to move on a bill. But the progressive, global groups from several western nations and the United States, in the background pushing this bill and more like it in other states, do have that power.

Unfortunately, it’s not clear Florida Republicans know who was behind the legislation. But legislatures around the nation need to be.

Florida law currently allows minors who are 16 and 17 to marry only with their parents’ consent. But the law also allows county judges to approve marriages with younger minors if there is a pregnancy involved, and it was this last provision the judge incomprehensibly used 46 years ago to approve the marriage of Sherry Johnson when she was 11.

Fixing this law is eminently sensible and simple. Banning what happened to Johnson, even if it was very, very rare, is the right thing to do. And the obvious fix is to eliminate the marriage exemption for those under 16, while allowing flexibility for 16 and 17 years olds. This is an easy, quick pinpoint fix.

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So then why did the Florida Legislature take a sledgehammer to the law and, in the unanimously passed Senate version, create a total ban on marriage for anyone under 18 and remove any personal freedoms in the matter? 

Perhaps because two politically progressive groups supported by and connected to progressive groups globally pushed in the background for the far more restrictive law. They have pushed legislatures in Massachusetts and elsewhere to pass this legislation. Apparently, few lawmakers in the Republican-dominated Florida Legislature were aware of these influences in the legislation.

In one of the more poignant moments of the 2018 Florida session, two lone conservative representatives — George Moraitis and Julio Gonzalez — took on this over-reactive change on the merits of violating conservative tenants by creating too much government intrusion into private lives at the cost of personal liberty.

Don Quixote had as much success. The House bill passed 108-2 and the Senate bill passed 37-0. At that point, perhaps no one really wanted to be painted as supporting “child brides,” even though that is not what is happening. Politics is politics.

This is not a matter of whether marriage at 16 or 17 is a good idea, but whether it should be an individual and familial choice or it should be government dictate.

The two bills that passed differ slightly. A consensus between the two chambers has not yet been reached. The Senate has a strict prohibition for marriages under the age of 18, while the House bill allows a pregnant sixteen or seventeen year old to still be married, but only if the father is within two years of the mother’s age. That’s a lot of government micromanaging.

In floor debate, ironically on Valentine’s Day, Gonzalez pointed out that current Florida law already bans children under the age of 16 from being married except in the case of pregnancy. So the problem of ultra young children marrying in Florida would be solved simply by eliminating the marriage exception.

The bill’s sponsor said there were other goals of the bill, such as preventing minors from being coerced into marriage and improving high divorce rates. Both of those would be laudable goals, but the bill does not address either, which the sponsors admitted during floor debate.

The real problem with the bill, and the almost unanimous support of Republicans, is that at its core, it is not conservative by expanding the reach of government into private lives. Here’s the problem with the well-intentioned but overreaching bill.

First, it represents an attack on personal liberties. As Gonzalez said in debate, the decision over whether a 16- or 17-year-old should marry belongs in a family’s living room, not distant state government. Johnson’s story is horrific. Is this an ongoing problem that could not have been fixed simply by eliminating the pregnancy exemption for those under 16?

Second, Moraitis rightly raised the issue of the bill’s excessive meddling into the private circumstances by which marriage would be appropriate. He said it gives government far too much role in individual and family decision-making.

Third, the bill is not crafted to solve the problems it raises. Remember, if the problem is the pregnancy exception allowing for children to be married, then this response is irresponsibly broad and intrudes on a myriad of privacy and personal liberty issues. And if the motivation is a higher divorce rate or the prevention of coercive practices, then the bill fails as it does none of these.

Fourth, Gonzalez spoke from personal experience when he said the bill creates needless hardships. For instance, there are legitimate times, particularly with military members being assigned to distant regions, when one member of a couple who is 18 has to leave the area or the country and cannot take his as-yet unmarried partner who is 17 with him or her.

“In such situations, the forced separation can be brutal for the military member,” Gonzalez said during the debate. He has personal experience with militarily forced separations from his then fiancé and now wife when he was a military doctor. “The fact is that there are numerous circumstances where it would be reasonable for 17-year-olds to marry, and this bill would unnecessarily block them.”

Which begs the question, is there another purpose of the bill?

In the Right Talk America weekly radio program that Gonzalez co-hosts with Rod Thomson, Founder of The Revolutionary Act, Gonzalez suggests it is the result of a progressive liberal assault on marriage, of which most Florida Republicans are unaware:

“This is typical of the progressives’ game plan. You identify an emotion-laden issue. You sell an emotional argument to the public, and then you push a solution that goes much broader than the fix to the problem. We saw this with the passage of the Sixteenth, Seventeenth, and Eighteenth Amendments to the Constitution. You saw this with Obamacare. You’re seeing this with gun legislation. And now you’re seeing it on marriage.”

There is born out by some digging into who is pushing the legislation beyond Sherry Johnson. The Revolutionary Act as learned from sources inside the Legislature that two groups have been the prime motivators for this bill: Girls Not Brides and Unchained At Last.

 

Progressives behind the bills

Girls Not Brides, an organization chartered in England, gets considerable money from government organizations in several western, progressive nations, along with several large, private foundations. Here’s the list:

  • Bridgeway Foundation,
  • The Brooks Foundation
  • Ford Foundation,
  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation,
  • Global Affairs Canada (Government of Canada)
  • Human Dignity Foundation,
  • Ikea Foundation,
  • The Kendeda Fund,
  • Money.co.uk
  • Nationale Postcode Loterij (Netherlands),
  • The Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
  • Nike Foundation,
  • NoVo Foundation (connected to the Tides Foundation),
  • Open Society Foundations,
  • David & Lucile Packard Foundation,
  • Sabanci Foundation,
  • Skoll Foundation,
  • Swedish Postcode Foundation.

The majority of these organizations are known to support and fund progressive causes, some of them being radical.

Further, Girls Not Brides partners with Global Citizen, a progressive group based in New York that funds and supports progressive causes around the world from global warming to Planned Parenthood.

Unchained At Last also partners with Global Citizen, plus Human Rights Watch to push for ending child marriage — but can be quite deceptive about the scope of the problem — at least in the United States. It’s founder, Fraid Reiss, who has her own challenging story of an arranged marriage at age 19, wrote at Global Citizen:

“If I told you about a country where hundreds of thousands of children as young as 10 were getting married — mostly girls being wed to adult men — would you assume I were(sic) talking about a developing country on the other side of the world?

“Actually, I’m talking about the United States.”

That sounds unlikely. But she writes further and the obfuscation becomes clear:

“For a long time, no one knew the full extent of America’s child-marriage problem. I changed that last year, when I wrote an op-ed article published in the Washington Post that revealed the results of a groundbreaking study conducted by Unchained At Last, the nonprofit I founded to help women escape forced marriage in the US. I showed that in just the 38 states that track marriage ages (based on marriage license applications), more than 167,000 children as young as 10 were married between 2000 and 2010 alone.”

The problem is obvious. She does not break down how many are 10 — if any recently — and how many are 17. In the case of Sherry Johnson, she was married at 11 nearly 50 years ago. Has there been another one in Florida? It’s not reported. How many are around the nation at 10 or 11 or 13? Well, Reiss does not specify. That’s problematic and raises a red flag.

The reasonable assumption why no specifics are given beyond the careful crafting that includes the 10-year-old age is because the huge majority are 17 and some 16 and very small numbers to virtually none as they get younger.

In fact, the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey — the most extensive and high quality survey — only has numbers down to 15 years old, probably because incidents of younger marriages are too rare to create any statistical significance. Even Pew Research calls child marriage — which it puts at 15 to 17 years old — “rare.”

So why do backers of these laws — and it is more than Reiss, there seems to be consistent messaging on this, even on Wikipedia— insist on using the age of 10, lumping it in with “hundreds of thousands of children” being married? Why do neither she or her progressive partners break down the numbers by age? Perhaps because the issue becomes so minor as to be considerably less compelling?

Florida Republicans wanted to do the right thing to protect girls such as Sherry Johnson from being forced into that terrible situation. But the law they passed went far beyond that and seems to be inspired and pushed by groups standing for the opposite of what Republicans stand for.

And that fits perfectly with progressive tactics. And it raises the question: What will be their next step?


Rod Thomson is an author, TV talking head and former journalist, and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act. Rod is co-host of Right Talk America With Julio and Rod on the Salem Radio Network.


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