Trump and the Evangelicals

 

Ever since Trump’s election, the lopsided statistics concerning Evangelical involvement in his victory have not gone away. They continue to be trotted out as though they were a shocking revelation of some kind of hypocrisy within the Christian right. So, of course, in response to the National Prayer Breakfast, NPR had several guests on to discuss Christianity in relationship to the Trump Presidency.

Larry Mantle began by questioning Professor Marie Griffith of Washington University:

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Q&A with Francisco Gonzalez of National Review Institute

 

We recently caught up with Francisco Gonzalez. Francisco is the Director of Philanthropy of National Review Institute, the host of the Agents of Innovation podcast, and recently named among the “Central Florida 100 Voices” by the Orlando Sentinel. The founding directors of Lone Star Policy Institute are alumni of the National Review Institute regional fellows program in Dallas. So, we enjoyed asking Francisco about NRI’s vision for Texas.

Q: Introduce yourself. Tell us about National Review Institute and your role there.

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A World of Trumpkins

 

Are we living in a world of Trumpkins? (Before anyone panics about banned words, I’m referring here to Trumpkin the Red Dwarf in Prince Caspian, the second book in C. S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia. This post has nothing to do with the President or his more exuberant fans.) In our world of believers and non-believers, who does Trumpkin represent, and what does this mean for the future? These are the questions I’ve found myself asking, and now will pass on to you.

There’s probably not any need to put a spoiler alert on a book published 60 years ago, but … yes, this will go into detail about both this story and the others in the series. 

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Recognizing Our Limits

 

I love the conversations here, but it brings up an issue that is often very frustrating. The members on here are well read and well informed, but that makes us outliers in the general population. And I mean outliers in the very specific statistical sense; so far out of the distribution that our presence doesn’t represent a useable data point.

I have always known that I follow politics and government more than most people. One incident revealed how far out of the mainstream I was.

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Character Assassination

 

It’s ugly. No one will deny the intensity and revolting events that have taken place since the election of Donald Trump. In one sense, destroying another’s reputation is not new; but the collaboration in order to take down the President and his administration is a process I’ve not seen in my lifetime. It’s character assassination. I’d like to define that term, provide a few examples of the ways it’s been practiced historically, and how is different in these times.

Character assassination is slandering a person with the intention of destroying public confidence in that person. Further, I believe it is an evil act. Dennis Prager explains that these actions actually violate the Ten Commandments, specifically the Eighth Commandment, “Do not steal.” After explaining how stealing a person (enslaving) is prohibited, as is taking away a person’s property, he talks about the most egregious type of stealing:

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It’s a Fine Line

 

In my time as a police officer, I saw and dealt with the unedited person. I saw them before a defense attorney cleaned them up to present them to a jury. I saw them before a social worker visited them. I saw them before the therapist saw them. I saw them in real time.

When someone I confronted told me they were going to fight, if they were so intoxicated that they couldn’t get up off the floor, or sidewalk without my help, I considered that a low-level threat. The intent to fight was expressed, and until I could search them for weapons I was still on my guard. Someone who expressed the intent to fight, and who could stand up without my help, whether they were intoxicated or not, found themselves on the receiving end of a different response.

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The New York Times Offers Another Underpowered Case for Breaking Up Big Tech

 
Former Alphabet Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt speaks to Sundar Pichai, Chief Executive Officer of Google.

Hot on the heels of Esquire’s 7,000-word argument against Big Tech comes the New York Times Magazine’s 8,000-word argument against Big Tech. Hed: “The Case Against Google.” Dek: “Critics say the search giant is squelching competition before it begins. Should the government step in?”

The piece’s author, Charles Duhigg, answers in the affirmative: “If you love Google, you should hope the government sues it for antitrust offenses — and you should hope it happens soon, because who knows what wondrous new creations are waiting patiently in the wings.”

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Billy Graham’s Death Tells Us One Important Thing About the Far Left

 

Billy Graham died yesterday.

I didn’t really know much about him, what with being Irish and a Catholic under the age of 28. Nevertheless, as a history teacher of the American 20th century (he got a short mention in Irish history textbooks) to high school pupils, I recognize the impact he imparted on America, particularly with his Crusades in the 1950’s and his friendships with many American Presidents, from Truman to Obama.

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The Modern Moses

 

Billy Graham passed from this world into the next at the amazing age of 99. I heard a quote by him today that is even inspiring amidst news of his passing. It was adapted from someone Rev. Graham admired, a 19th-century evangelist named Dwight L. Moody:

“Someday you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it. I shall be more alive that I am now. I will have just changed my address. I will have gone into the presence of God.”

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16 Penny Summer

 

Summertime is the time for making money. Sophomore year of college was a good one, but there was void in my bank account that needed to be filled before I was properly funded for a good Junior year. Being an underclassman, and an English/Poly Sci major, there were no useful and certainly no profitable internships available to me. So I headed home and picked up the same job I had worked the previous summer; as an apprentice carpenter for a local remodeling contractor. There was plenty of work, and I had established myself as capable and available, so they paired me up with a lead carpenter by the name of Jimmy, and away we went.

I liked Jimmy from day one. He stood about 5’7”, had close-cropped blonde hair, and the permanent red-tan skin of a man who works outdoors. He walked with a certain swagger that is characteristic of all experienced framers, spoke with a loud clear voice, and used plenty of colorful language. He was a former military man and had racked up his carpentry experience working for engineering crews in the Army. When the boss introduced me to him as ‘Stu’, Jimmy immediately laughed and shouted, “like Disco Stu from the Simpsons!” I was “Disco” for the rest of the summer. He seemed to take a liking to me; I think Jimmy saw my curiosity and work ethic and knew I was someone he could work with.

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Is Trump Guilty or Does He Just Look Guilty?

 

When absorbing news about the Mueller investigation, I can’t help thinking of Saddam Hussein. No, I’m not equating our president with the late Iraqi dictator. I’m thinking more about our assumptions regarding Saddam’s guilt. In the run-up to the Iraq war, the whole world was asking whether Hussein had a secret WMD program. The head of our CIA said it was a “slam dunk.” Our allies’ intelligence agencies agreed. There were good reasons to think it was true.

Hussein had used chemical weapons against the Kurds. He had threatened to “burn half of Israel.” He had used nerve gas against Iran in the Iran/Iraq war. Following the first Gulf War in 1991, the coalition was surprised to find Iraq’s nuclear program quite advanced. Throughout the decade of the 1990s, Saddam thwarted and harassed international weapons inspectors. In 1998, signing the Iraq Liberation Act, President Bill Clinton cited Hussein’s long cat and mouse game with international inspectors and declared “It is obvious that there is an attempt here . . . to protect whatever remains of his capacity to produce weapons of mass destruction, [and] the missiles to deliver them . . .”

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A Modest Proposal to Combat School Shootings

 

Since the school shooting in Broward County (right up the road from me), a whole lot of proposed remedies have been proffered, none that I’ve seen would work. Democrats immediately dusted off their bass drum with “ban guns” stenciled across the sides and began banging it all over the commons, trying to get people whipped up and in a gun-bannin’ fever. Republicans, and that ever-shrinking intersection of conservatives and Republicans, seem willing to cede the high ground and accept the premise that “something must be done” to solve the problem, and that the entity to do that “something” is the federal government.

Let’s see, that’s the federal government that got a tipper on Cruz well before he committed his obscene crime. No. Thanks.

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The Big Pile of Gun Facts to Share with People

 

America is once again going to spend the next fortnight in the grips of a debate which is, unfortunately, all too common: the role of guns in our society in light of the horrific events in Parkland, FL.

Depressingly, many people — particularly, many on the Left — are ignorant regarding guns, how they work, what they are and what the facts regarding gun violence in this country are. Ignorance is not stupidity and is remediable, so this article will be mostly aimed at people on the left because this is where remediation is most in demand.

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Our Conversation with Victor Davis Hanson

 

Professor Victor Davis Hanson discussed his prescient contribution to Vox Populi: The Perils and Promises of Populism with our own Ben Weingarten. You can listen to their interview right here on Ricochet. What follows is a full transcript of their discussion, slightly modified for clarity.

Ben Weingarten: The term “populism” has been thrown around repeatedly throughout history and it’s often used pejoratively to put down one’s political opponents. How do you define it?

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How to Talk About the Parkland Students

 

I learned something in pre-marital counseling about how to fight that I’ve taken with me when discussing difficult topics: When you need to say something controversial, sandwich your statement. Here is an example:

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A Simple Observation

 

If half the stuff the anti-2nd Amendment advocates claim were true, all of the left-leaning media outlets would being doing hidden camera exposés on it. We would be inundated with stories of underage kids, felons, and other prohibited individuals purchasing guns. Everyone talks about the “gun show loophole” but nobody produces evidence of it. That’s because they know better. The system works 99.98 percent of the time.

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90 Percent of All Stats Are Made Up on the Spot

 

This was originally meant to be a comment on @belt‘s recent post but got way too long.

As a gun owner, it’s difficult to respond after a mass shooting. The loss is real and sickening and the emotion is deep; to try and make an argument that is not an emotion-filled plea to prevent this from happening in the futures seems callous and untimely. Maybe the best course of action for gun owners is to sit quietly like the friends of Job and mourn with the mourning. But it’s hard to stay quiet when the political left is out in force, making as much hay as they can. In a large sense, a gun owner is faced with the option to remain respectfully silent, or indecorously present heartless facts to a mourning nation.

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Listen to DC — Not That DC: DC McAllister

 

I did an interview on my podcast today with Ricochet’s own D.C. McAllister that I thought was worth a special mention. I met Denise at a Ricochet gathering a while back and was so impressed with her warmth, wit, and intelligence that I invited her on the show without any clear notion of what we would discuss. It turned out to be one of the best interviews I’ve done. There comes a point where plain commonsense becomes wisdom, and Denise has reached that point. It was so refreshing to hear her speak, I thought I should make sure the rest of Ricochet didn’t miss the chance. Hit the link. You won’t be sorry.

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For a Friend Dead Five Years

 

I can hardly believe it’s been that long since that awful period of shuddering grief. But the date is on my calendar, the same one I use to keep,track of birthdays. And it was on the little plastic pill jar in which some of my friend’s ashes were delivered to me: February 21, 2013.

The death of a contemporary, someone you have chosen and who chose you, I think, is different from the deaths of parents or older family members. (May we all long be spared the death of a spouse or sibling!) Perhaps because we’re more likely to be involved with the prolonged and undeniable dying of a relative. The unexpected death of someone you spoke to yesterday and were planning to call tomorrow, is more like stepping on a land mine. Parts of you are blown away, you’re scared to even look to see which parts.

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