Friday, June 06, 2008

For those who paid the price

Sixty-seven years ago, on this day, over 3,300 American men (boys, really) paid for the liberty of peoples they'd never met (not only France or Europe, but us). They stormed into the jaws of hell, and kept going because so much was riding on their shoulders. I have been privileged to know men of that generation - boys and men who laid down their birthright as citizens to pursue their life and their happiness. They put down their briefcases, school satchels, footballs, hammers, hoes, and dreams - placing them on indefinite (and for so many, permanent) hiatus - in order to secure the blessings of liberty for them and their posterity. So thank you Fred, Art, Jim, Ed, Dick, Howard, and so many others for letting me breathe free.

If you know a veteran of that war, do them a kindness today. Mow a lawn, buy some groceries, sweep a driveway. Don't wait...we won't have them with us much longer. They will soon be with that Band of Brothers that didn't come home.It doesn't have to be much - and next to what they did, it will be less than nothing. But I guarantee you that they'll thank you as though you've done them a great service. Why? Because they understood liberty and fought so that we would not be serfs - and they understand that the freedom they bought for us was freedom to both fail and succeed in this life, apart from a government's watchful eye. (Remember, they defeated National Socialism - and many of them continued the fight against communism.)

Today, America's finest citizens are still doing the same. Like those of the "great generation", they refuse to take their freedoms lightly - and they won't stand idly by while the freedoms of others are trampled. My prayer for them is the same as FDR offered for our boys so many years ago.

Almighty God, our sons, pride of our nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our republic our religion and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity. Lead them straight and true; give strength to their arms, stoutness to their hearts, steadfastness in their faith. They will need Thy blessings their road will be long and hard, for the enemy is strong he may hurl back our forces success may not come with rushing speed, but we shall return again and again. And we know that by Thy grace and by the righteousness of our cause, our sons will triumph.

They will be sore tried by night and by day, without rest until the victory is won. The darkness will be rent by noise and flame, men's souls will be shaken with the violence's of war. For these men are lately drawn from the ways of peace. They fight not for the lust of conquest, they fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate, they fight to let justice arise, and tolerance and goodwill among all Thy people. They yearn but for the end of battle, for their return to the haven of home. Some will never return, embrace these, Father, and receive them Thy heroic servants into thy kingdom.

And for us at home, fathers, mothers, children, wives sisters and brothers of brave men overseas, whose thoughts and prayers are ever with them. Help us, almighty God, to rededicate ourselves with renewed faith in Thee in this hour of great sacrifice.

Many people have urged that I call the nation into a single day of special prayer. But because the road is long, and the desire is great, I ask that our people devote themselves in a continuance of prayer. As we rise to each new day, and again when each day is spent, let words of prayer be on our lips, invoking Thy help to our efforts. Give us strength too, strength in our daily task, redouble the contributions we make in the physical and material support of our armed forces. And let our harts be stout, to wait out the long travail, forbear sorrows that may come, to impart our courage unto our sons where so ever they may be.

And, oh Lord, give us faith; give us faith in Thee, faith in our sons, faith in each other, faith in our united crusade. Let not the keenness of our spirit ever be dulled. Let not the impact of temporary events, of temporal matters, of fleeting moments, let not these deter us in our unconquerable purpose.

With Thy blessing we shall prevail over the unholy forces of our enemy. Help us to conquer the apostles of greed and racial arrogances. Lead us to a saving of our country, and with our sister nations into a world unity that will spell a sure peace. A peace invulnerable to the schemings of unworthy men, and a peace which will let all men live in freedom, reaping the just rewards of their honest toil.

Thy will be done, almighty God. Amen.

Click here to listen to him pray it. Then thank God that the ACLU of that day still understood that a citizen who holds office doesn't lose his 1st Amendment rights the moment he accepts US dollars for his job. We will not forget what you did for us.

Well . . . some people will, but then again, that type has a habit of forgetting people that make sacrifices on their behalf.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Meanies vs Greenies

Here are some facts taken from surveys where people self-report attitudes and behaviors, taken from Peter Schweizer's new book Makers and Takers. The information was correlated with whether or not they described themselves as "conservative" or "liberal" (and there were labels from "very conservative" to "very liberal"), and confirmed by checking on charitable behaviors. Here's what he found:
  • 71% of conservatives say you have an obligation to care for a seriously injured spouse or parent versus less than half (46%) of liberals.
  • Conservatives have a better work ethic and are much less likely to call in sick than their liberal counterparts.
  • Liberals are 2½ times more likely to be resentful of others’ success and 50% more likely to be jealous of other people’s good luck.
  • Liberals are 2 times more likely to say it is okay to cheat the government out of welfare money you don’t deserve.
  • Conservatives are more likely than liberals to hug their children and “significantly more likely” to display positive nurturing emotions.
  • Liberals are less trusting of family members and much less likely to stay in touch with their parents.
  • Do you get satisfaction from putting someone else’s happiness ahead of your own? 55% of conservatives said yes versus only 20% of liberals.
  • Rush Limbaugh, Ronald Reagan, Bill O’Reilly and Dick Cheney have given large sums of money to people in need, while Ted Kennedy, Nancy Pelosi, Michael Moore, and Al Gore have not.
  • Those who are “very liberal” are 3 times more likely than conservatives to throw things when they get angry.
The American left prides itself on being superior to conservatives: more generous, less materialistic, more tolerant, more intellectual, and more selfless. For years scholars have constructed—and the media has pushed—elaborate theories designed to demonstrate that conservatives suffer from a host of personality defects and character flaws. According to these supposedly unbiased studies, conservatives are mean-spirited, greedy, selfish malcontents with authoritarian tendencies. Far from the belief of a few cranks, prominent liberals from John Kenneth Galbraith to Hillary Clinton have succumbed to these prejudices. But what do the facts show?

Peter Schweizer has dug deep—through tax documents, scholarly data, primary opinion research surveys, and private records—and has discovered that these claims are a myth. He balances these findings with a few issues where liberals come out ahead. He says liberals are more likely than conservatives to be open to new experiences in travel, art, and music. But Schweizer exposes hypocrisy at the core of liberal beliefs. Indeed, he shows that many of their claims actually apply more to liberals than conservatives.

Much as he did in his bestseller Do as I Say (Not as I Do), he brings to light never-before-revealed facts that will upset conventional wisdom. The biggest for me is that, while liberals claim to be compassionate and to care about the poor, conservatives are much more likely to donate their time and money to charitable causes. This has been true in my personal experience on a liberal seminary campus, but it extends to political liberals/conservatives. Here are some examples:

  • When former Clinton secretary Robert Reich ran for governor of Massachusetts in 2002, his tax returns revealed income of more than $1 million, but he contributed just $2,714 to charity, or less than 0.3% of his income.
  • Ned Lamont, the anti-war Democrat who ran against Sen. Joe Lieberman in Connecticut, is worth $200 million and made $2.8 million in 2005. He has talked about the need to raise taxes because the wealthy are not doing enough to help those in need. Yet in 2005, he donated only $5,385 to charity, or less than 0.2% of his income.
  • In contrast, George Bush gave 10% of his income to charity in 2005. In 2005, Barack Hussein Obama made $1.7 million, or 2.5 times what Bush made that year, but gave the same amount to charity as Bush did. That same year, Dick Cheney gave away 77% of his income to charity.

Conservatives such as Ronald Reagan and Robert Bork have long argued that liberal policies promote social decay. Schweizer, using the latest data and research, exposes how, in general:

  • Liberals are more self-centered than conservatives.
  • Conservatives are more generous and charitable than liberals.
  • Liberals are more envious and less hardworking than conservatives.
  • Conservatives value truth more than liberals, and are less prone to cheating and lying.
  • Liberals are more angry than conservatives.
  • Conservatives are actually more knowledgeable than liberals.
  • Liberals are more dissatisfied and unhappy than conservatives.

Schweizer argues that the failure lies in modern liberal ideas, which foster a self-centered, “if it feels good do it” attitude that leads liberals to outsource their responsibilities to the government and focus instead on themselves and their own desires.

This is nothing new. An increasing amount of research is being generated - based on both real behaviors and self-reported attitudes - that show how uncaring these hypocritical “guardians of society” generally are. Syracuse University professor Art Brooks is a fine example of a social scientist and former Democrat who was convinced by the evidence that conservatives really are more compassionate.

Here's a quote from the book that lifts up childlessness as a prime example of liberal self-centeredness.
For dramatic proof, go to the streets of a liberal enclave like San Francisco, Seattle, or Vermont. There will be plenty of expensive boutiques, antique dealers, health spas, sushi bars, and upscale coffee shops. But you won't see very many children. The reason is not that right-wingers have dumped buckets of birth control pills into the San Francisco municipal water supply. The simple fact is that many on the liberal-left today just don't want to have children.

A 2004 survey showed that a typical sample of 100 unrelated adults who called themselves liberal will have 147 children. That contrasts with the typical conservative, who is likely to have 208 children per 100 unrelated adults. That's 41 percent more.(3) Why is this important? Because raising children is a difficult and selfless act that is also an important civic duty. The survival of our society--not to mention our Social Security system!--rests on individuals bringing up a new generation.

The liberal Northeastern states--Vermont, Maine, Massachusetts, and New York--have the lowest fertility rates in the country. They also have the lowest percentage of population under the age of five. In progressive San Francisco, there are more dogs than children. Joel Kotkin points out that Seattle (my hometown) has roughly the same population as it did in the 1960s, but barely half as many children. Indeed, there are nearly 45 percent more dogs than children.(4) Dogs, of course, offer companionship without the burdens and responsibilities of children.

Some might conclude that this is a result of the high cost of living in desirable cities like Boston, New York, and San Francisco. But in these childless meccas we also see some of the highest per capita expenditures on luxury goods, spas, and personal therapies. (Kotkin regards San Francisco as a “childless liberal boutique city.”)(5) It's not a lack of money; it's a lack of interest. The General Social Survey found that 69 percent of those who called themselves “very conservative” said it was important to them to have children. Only 38 percent of corresponding liberals agreed. An online survey (admittedly not scientific) taken by the left-wing website daily kos.com asked readers if they had children and how many. The most popular answers: “No children,” “Not going to have any," and “Don't want any.”

Meanwhile, the highest fertility rate in the country is found in the most conservative state, Utah, followed by Arizona, Alaska, and Texas, otherwise known as “red states,” according to the latest National Center for Health Statistics survey. States with the lowest fertility rates are Maine, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island, all "blue states.” Over half of the women of childbearing age--15 to 44--are childless in liberal bastions such as the District of Columbia, Vermont, and Massachusetts.(6)

Many on the left proudly proclaim themselves to be “child-free.” (They angrily reject the term child-less because it implies that they are missing out on something.) Partly this is a result of liberal pessimism about the future. Concerned about overpopulation, dwindling environmental resources, global warming, etc., some liberals don't want to have children because they see them as an environmental hazard. Billionaire Ted Turner reflected this attitude when he thoughtfully announced his regret at having five children. “If I was doing it over again, I wouldn't have had that many, but I can't shoot them now and they're here.”(7) No doubt this sort of sentiment makes for charming conversation around the Turner dinner table.

About the Author
Peter Schweizer , MPhil (Oxon) is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and is the author of numerous books, including the New York Times bestseller Do as I Say (Not as I Do): Profiles in Liberal Hypocrisy.