April 11, 2008
I am not quite sure what has gotten into Dick Armey these days, but he sure is grumpy. He opened fire this week on a proposal that we have floated calling upon the White House to establish a Family Czar to revive an initiative first undertaken by Ronald Reagan.
Armey not only misses the target on almost every point, his facts are wrong, including his claim that I endorsed a Republican presidential candidate that he opposed. I didnt endorse; my role at FRC is not to elect presidents, but to shape policy and that is exactly what we are proposing with the idea of a Family Czar.
Armey mistakenly claims we are calling for the creation of more government intrusion into the lives of Americas families. Like Mr. Armey, I have a legislative record that is solidly conservative, for limited and smaller government. I hold to my conservative credentials and our proposal reflects them. Mr. Armeys disregard for the importance of strong families is shocking. If we are willing to create issue-specific White House policy coordinators, some of whom the media has deemed czars, is it too much to ask the government to recognize the value of the family and our need to strengthen rather than usurp it?
Ronald Reagan understood the fact that America as a country could be no stronger than its families; that is why he had a quasi-family czar in domestic policy advisor Gary Bauer. That is why in 1987, by executive order 12606, President Reagan pushed the traditional family to the forefront in Washington by requiring government agencies to consider the impact their policies would have on families before issuing them. The measure was designed to block intrusive federal action and slow the growth of government. Among the orders strong provisions was a requirement that federal agencies ask whether a planned action helps the family perform its functions, or does it substitute governmental activity for the function?
When families prosper the nation prospers. Unfortunately, President Clinton rescinded the executive order when he took office. Efforts to pass the measure through Congress during Mr. Armeys watch were unsuccessful. Had it succeeded there is little doubt the gains of the Left would have been braked not accelerated.
Working off the language of President Reagans Executive Order 12606, I wrote and passed The Family Impact Statement legislation in my home state of Louisiana. I am convinced it will be a valuable tool in the hands of a true conservative like Governor Bobby Jindal, and I think it would be a good step for a White House committed to the traditional family unit. Calling on government to consider the impact of its proposals on the family, whether it is the strength of the marital commitment, the rights of parents to raise their children as they see fit, or the familys budget, is a conservative idea. But to give it life, the family must be given priority. Im not wedded to the term Family Czar, and the images it unintentionally evokes certainly give Mr. Armey a bone to pick, but he can rest assured we support solutions that push authority and financial resources back to the smallest government of all, the home.
April 11, 2008
Inner-city Catholic schools are rapidly vanishing, according to the Thomas B. Fordham Institutes new report, Who Will Save Americas Urban Catholic Schools? Since 1990, 1,300 Catholic schools have closed, displacing 300,000 students and costing taxpayers $20 billion to absorb these students into public schools. These closures have had little to do with performance and much to do with Catholics leaving the inner cities for suburbia.
The report calls on parishioners, philanthropists, and others who recognize the quality educational option Catholic schools can provide, even to non-Catholics, to support these inner-city schools directly and through development and marketing plans that will ensure Catholic schools remain a vibrant and valuable player in American education.
April 3, 2008
Ted Turner, apparently chomping at the bit to promote the agenda of the global warming alarmists, says we will be eating one another by mid-century. Always hungry for a headline, Turner is sure to grab a few by suggesting that the world’s population, exacerbated by global warming, will lead to scarcity of resources.
What’s on Turner’s menu of solutions? Population control.
“We’re too many people; that’s why we have global warming,” Turner said. “Too many people are using too much stuff.”
In an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Turner suggested that “on a voluntary basis, everybody in the world’s got to pledge to themselves that one or two children is it.”
Of course what happens when people don’t comply? If it is a good idea, then government has to make you comply, whether it’s wearing seatbelts, bicycle helmets or limiting your quiver to two.
There is even more to the call for population control, like China’s forced sterilization and infanticide and the liberal West’s advancement of same-sex relations.
Stanford University professor Paul R. Ehrlich, in his book The Population Bomb, predicted millions of people would die of starvation in the 1970’s and 1980’s without the type of population control that Turner is calling for. The hysteria created by Ehrlich paved the way for the United Nations Population Fund.
The UN projected that the planet would be overrun with 11.5 billion people. Ehrlich was wrong. The UN now is quietly saying the population boom will fall far short of their projections. World population is projected to peak at 8.5 billion and then start a steady, long-term decline which many countries are already experiencing and multi millionaires promoting doomsday scenarios.
So we might very well have fields where no crops grow, not because of climate change, but because of an intemperate climate for humans caused by radical public policies.
April 2, 2008
While the piece to which Pat links certainly displays the courage of the leaders of Harvard’s True Love Revolution, I have to say I was not a fan of it. It struck me as a brutally unfair portrayal of what is going on in Cambridge. For example, the author asks one of the co-presidents his thoughts about the other and coaxes from him some fairly awkward comments. The author then relays these comments to the other co-president. What purpose does this serve other than to sow discord? At the same time, the Times has a long history of making young conservatives seem incredibly strange, and TLR probably could have been more cautious going in.
One nasty piece by a snarky journalist doesn’t change the interesting facts of this chastity phenomenon, though. It’s a growing and exceedingly complex movement. Pat mentions Princeton’s Anscombe Society as the college chastity prototype, describing it as “an Ivy League version of True Love Waits.” While True Love Waits and Anscombe certainly have many of the same goals, I’m not sure if that accurately reflects Anscombe’s mission. In a rare example of good reporting, the Times piece describes Anscombe as justifying its views on chastity through rigorous intellectual means. That certainly conforms to my observations in college of both the society itself and of the people who were in it. Princeton’s chastity society was inspired by the profoundly rigorous essay “Contraception and Chastity” by Elizabeth Anscombe (the English philosopher who occasionally bested C.S. Lewis in argument). On the other hand, True Love Revolution and True Love Waits come at the question in a very different way. Which approach happens to be better is beside the point. It is important to note, though, that there are wildly different approaches to promoting chastity in young people, and that they are flourishing in the Ivy League of all places. No wonder the New York Times felt inclined to try and take a hatchet to one of them!
April 2, 2008
The new sexual revolution—abstinence—is spreading and being noticed. When The Anscombe Society (an Ivy League version of True Love Waits) started at Princeton University some years ago the Wall St. Journal took note. Now the New York Times has a long story on the next big Ivy League player in the new sexual revolution, Harvard University. This is a good read on the culture warriors among the intellectual elite.
Update (4/8): Here’s another good commentary on Harvard’s student-run True Love Revolution.