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Guest Post: “Imposing Our Beliefs” on Others

October 30th, 2009 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

Here is a Guest Opinion from Rev. Tadeusz Pacholczyk. He holds a doctorate from Yale University and serves as Director of Education at the National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia.

A lot of hot-button topics are being debated in our state legislatures these days, topics of great ethical and bioethical importance, ranging from emergency contraception to gay marriage. These debates address important issues for the future of our society. Lawmakers face the daunting task of making decisions about what should or should not be permitted by law within a reasonable society. Recently I was asked to speak in Virginia at legislative hearings about embryonic stem cell research. After I gave my testimony, one of the senators asked a pointed question.

“Father Tad, by arguing against embryonic stem cell research, don’t you see how you are trying to impose your beliefs on others, and shouldn’t we as elected lawmakers avoid imposing a narrow religious view on the rest of society?”

The senator’s question was an example of the fuzzy thinking that has become commonplace in recent years within many state legislatures and among many lawmakers.

Two major errors were incorporated into the senator’s question. First, the senator failed to recognize the fact that law is fundamentally about imposing somebody’s views on somebody else. Imposition is the name of the game. It is the very nature of law to impose particular views on people who don’t want to have those views imposed on them. Car thieves don’t want laws imposed on them which prohibit stealing. Drug dealers don’t want laws imposed on them which make it illegal to sell drugs. Yet our lawmakers are elected precisely to craft and impose such laws all the time. So the question is not whether we will impose something on somebody. The question is instead whether whatever is going to be imposed by the force of law is reasonable, just, and good for society and its members.

The second logical mistake the senator made was to suppose that because religion happens to hold a particular viewpoint that implies that such a viewpoint should never be considered by lawmakers or enacted into law. Religion teaches very clearly that stealing is immoral. Would it follow that if I support laws against stealing, I am imposing my narrow religious viewpoint on society? Clearly not. Rather, the subject of stealing is so important to the order of society that religion also feels compelled to speak about it. Religion teaches many things that can be understood as true by people who aren’t religious at all. Atheists can understand just as well as Catholics how stealing is wrong, and most atheists are just as angry as their Catholic neighbors when their house is broken into and robbed. What is important is not whether a proposed law happens to be taught by religion, but whether that proposal is just, right, and good for society and its members.

To be more coherent, of course, the senator really should have chosen to address the substance of my testimony, rather than talking about the imposition of religious views. The argument I had offered, interestingly, did not depend on religious dogma at all. It depended rather on an important scientific dogma, namely, that all humans come from embryonic humans. The statement that I was once an embryo is a statement about embryology, not theology. Given the fact that we were all once embryonic humans it becomes very clear why destructive embryonic research is an immoral kind of activity. Exploiting the weak and not-yet-born in the interests of the powerful and the well-heeled should not be permitted in a civilized society. This argument, moreover, can be clearly seen by atheists, not just Catholics.

During my testimony, I pointed out how in the United States we have stringent federal laws that protect not only the national bird, the bald eagle, but also that eagle’s eggs. If you were to chance upon some of them in a nest out in the wilderness, it would be illegal for you to destroy those eggs. By the force of law, we recognize how the egg of the bald eagle, that is to say, the embryonic eagle inside that egg, is the same creature as the glorious bird that we witness flying high overhead. Therefore we pass laws to safeguard not only the adult but also the very youngest member of that species. Even atheists can see how a bald eagle’s eggs should be protected; it’s really not a religious question at all. What’s so troublesome is how we are able to understand the importance of protecting the earliest stages of animal life but when it comes to our own human life, a kind of mental disconnect takes place. Our moral judgment quickly becomes murky and obtuse when we desire to do certain things that are not good, like having abortions, or destroying embryonic humans for their stem cells.

So anytime we come across a lawmaker who tries to suggest that an argument in defense of sound morals is nothing but imposing a religious viewpoint, we need to look deeper at what may really be taking place. That lawmaker may not be so concerned about avoiding the imposition of a particular view on others — more likely, they are jockeying to simply be able to impose their view, a view which is ultimately much less tenable and defensible in terms of sound moral thinking. Hence they seek to short-circuit the discussion by stressing religious zealotry and imposition without ever confronting the substantive ethical or bioethical argument itself. Once the religious imposition card is played, and Christian lawmakers suddenly become weak-kneed about defending human life and sound morals, the other side then feels free to do the imposing themselves, without having expended too much effort on confronting the essence of the moral debate itself.

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Posted in Guest Posts, Idaho Pro-Life Issues, Politics in General | No Comments »

Andi Elliott: Question with Boldness

October 29th, 2009 by Halli

By Andi Elliott

Thomas Jefferson said… we must “question with boldness”. OK…here it goes!

1. Why are Democrats balking at posting legislation on the internet 72 hours in advance for “We the People” to read…as Obama promised? I’m only coming up with one answer here…can someone help me out?

2. Why would the President of ALL Americans target individuals and corporations that have opposing ideologies? “Enemies list” pops into my mind.

3. What happened to the “transparency” that Obama promised? I am thinking that it has become very inconvenient to let the “stupid people” know what they are doing to us. Ya’ think.

4. What possible motivation could Obama have not to support General McCrystal’s request for more troops in Afghanistan? Maybe it would upset his left-wing voters???

5. Why would Obama push the “public option” down our throats when it is more than evident that the vast majority of Americans DO NOT want government interference in the best medical care system in the world? Obamacare would still leave tens of millions of Americans without health care…so it’s not because he is concerned about “our health”. I’m thinking “power and control” here.

6. Why would Obama claim to know little about controversy surrounding the corruption of ACORN? Oh that’s right…he surrounds himself with corrupt and radical czars.

7. Why isn’t tort reform being considered in the effort to bring health costs in-line? That’s right…Obama and his cronies are attorneys.

8. Why has Obama spent $1.37 million to keep his birth certificate, school records, and his law writings sealed? I’m not liking the answer I am coming up with. Perhaps, Obama can explain on 26th January in Judge Carter’s court in San Diego. Carter says that it’s time for the military to know whether their Commander-in-Chief is eligible to be POTUS.

Hmmmm, Hmmmm, Hmmmm!

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Posted in Guest Posts, Presidential Politics | No Comments »

Andi Elliott: Open Letter to the RNC

October 29th, 2009 by Halli

From Andi Elliott

26 October 2009

TO: Republican National Committee

RE: The State of our Nation and our Party

Dear Sir:

I am a monthly donor to the RNC and I will be canceling my support. It is apparent that the RNC is continuing to back those candidates that are not Conservative so I heretofore shall be seeking out Conservatives both locally and nationally and will donate personally to their campaigns. The race in New York is a prime example. The Republican running…well, is a sad excuse for a Republican. She is pro-choice and accepted ACORN’s endorsement AND the RNC is backing her! WHAT?????

We don’t need more RHINO’s in Congress. We NEED people who are well grounded in the founding principles of our great nation. We need people who will stand up for what is Constitutional and are not beholding to PACs. I am not a fan of 3rd parties…I am however a fan of those who will stand for what is right and good for our country so I will be supporting “principled” candidates.

I have discovered that 80-90% of my Congressman’s (Mike Simpson) campaign funds have come from “back East” and with only 10% of his financial support coming from Idaho, it does not take tremendous effort to figure out where his loyalties lie. I see Simpson accepted funds from SEIU (first cousin to corrupt ACORN) who is chock full of radicals, Communists, and Marxists which advocate the overthrow of our American republic. I’ll be campaigning vigorously against him.

Sincerely,

Andi Elliott

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Guest Posts, Politics in General | No Comments »

Richard Larsen: Fear Government, not Corporations

October 29th, 2009 by Halli


By Richard Larsen

There are many among us who seem to make a sport of bashing business and the free market system. They appropriately point out the egregious moral and legal failures of some firms but then ascribe culpability to all in the corporate world equally. At the national level, it’s become a “pro sport” as professional politicians exculpate or absolve themselves of all their regulatory blunders creating the business environment companies must function in and cast blame on the corporate world for all that they can’t blame on our former president.

This bashing and fear of American corporations was well articulated by a recent contributor to the Journal blogs who said, “Not only is it appropriate to keep corporate transgressions ever present in any debate concerning the state of our economy, but that unless we do, capitalism as we once knew it will continue its metamorphosis into a controlling entity that has undermined the very Democracy that enabled it to exist.”

Yet what power is wielded by any corporation that even comes close to that which is held by government? Logically, there is much more to fear about government than there ever is to fear about the business world. Businesses make things, sell things, provide service, all to generate a profit so they can grow bigger, hire more people, sell more gadgets, and acquire other companies.

The larger companies grow, the greater their potential impact on the economy and their influence with lawmakers. But they have no more power with politicians than what the politicians grant. In spite of potential influence in D.C., corporations cannot deprive us of our civil or constitutional rights. Corporate policy sometimes can affect their employees and in some cases, their customers. But corporations cannot take away our collective freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of association, freedom to own firearms. In short, they cannot deprive us of our constitutionally guaranteed freedoms. They cannot force us to give them 30% of our income. Their boards of directors cannot vote to force all of us to part with our earnings to pay for their pet projects and payback for political favors.

However, government can do all of those things. And government is actively engaged in this assault on individual freedom and liberty right before our very eyes. They can force us to pay $1600 more for our energy consumption as a tax. They can force us pay up to $6,000 per household for a public health-insurance plan. And once that is in place, they can dictate our diets and consumption habits for eligibility in the public health plan. They can force us to list all of our firearms on our tax form. They can force any reference of God out of the public sphere, if it smacks of anything Christian. They can do all these things. And they are doing them.

As governments’ appetite for spending increases, so likewise their need to expropriate more of our income increases. With a vote in Washington, we can lose more of our earnings. We can lose more of our liberties. We can be coerced into doing things we have moral, legal, and constitutional objections to. Corporations don’t have that power.

With the factual realization that government has the power to eliminate or minimize our freedoms, and corporations do not, which should we fear more? I can choose not to buy from a company because I object to their policies. But I have no such luxury to withhold my taxes for objectionable cause. I can choose to live outside of a corporations’ influence, but as an American, I cannot simply choose to live outside the parameters of government policy, regulation, and laws.

There is no inherent virtue in government or in capitalism per se, but there is inherent virtue in liberty. Both government and corporations should abide by those same constitutional precepts that were designed to assure individual liberty, and rather than abridging those rights, affirming and perpetuating them. Neither the absolutism of socialism nor unbridled capitalism morally serve the greater interests of the nation. But freedom does.

There is ample reason to be wary of corporations, but not to fear them. After all, they have little power over our fundamental liberties and freedoms. But with a legislative vote and the stroke of a pen, government can, and actively is, reshaping America from the land of the free to the land of the oppressed.

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Guest Posts, National Sovereignty, Politics in General, Presidential Politics | No Comments »

David Ripley: Sen. Reid Lays New Trap

October 29th, 2009 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

Yesterday, Sen. Reid, the Senate point guy trying to paste together a temporary 60-vote majority for ObamaCare, revealed an alluring new gimmick – the “opt out”. While no details have been revealed, apparently Sen. Reid is shopping the notion that the Senate health care bill could include a provision allowing the states to “opt out” of the government insurance program.

The “could” part is contingent upon whether such an idea is necessary to gain the critical last few votes on a health care overhaul. And the details will be worked out with said group of senators.

While the notion lacks any integrity, it is a potentially brilliant political ploy.

There is, first, the simple fact that it provides some political cover for those members of Congress squeamish about facing a hostile electorate after the bills and details come due.

But let’s suppose that Reid’s language will require a state legislature and governor to enact some kind of notice or actual legislation to get out of the federal insurance program. That would put even Republican state governments, like Idaho, in a terrible position. Regardless of principle – how could a state legislator go home and tell his/her constituents that they voted to prevent any Idahoan from getting access to (cheaper?) government health insurance – BUT, they will still have the privilege of paying higher federal income taxes so that folks in New Jersey, California, New York and Massachusetts can enjoy greater federal goodies? (Including, we emphasize again, the sorry obligation to pay for abortions in those states).

Like the gravitational pull we just witnessed on the Stimulus Boondoggle, legislators in every state will be forced to grapple with the structural logic of accepting some benefits versus none for the federal taxes we pay.

At this point, it seems the only defense to this scam is for conservatives in Congress to demand that states which choose to stay out will be exempted from the certain federal tax increases necessary to support ObamaCare. A member of Congress voting for an “opt out” without taxpayer protections is just dancing with their constituents.

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Guest Posts, Idaho Pro-Life Issues, Politics in General, Presidential Politics | No Comments »

David Ripley: Liberalism’s Fascist Impulse

October 21st, 2009 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

The Obama Administration’s decision to muscle FOX News, and recruit other news organizations into an active conspiracy to isolate the conservative network, is obviously disturbing. It should be understood as a gross abuse of presidential power. After all, the president took an oath to use the public’s power to defend the First Amendment – not undermine it.

But to truly appreciate the dynamic, the threat to our inherited liberty, one must put the FOX News campaign into the context of Obama’s broader assault on the free exchange of ideas contrary to his own. It is but the latest in a very ominous list of policies and actions designed to greatly reduce organized opposition to the American Left’s agenda.

Let’s review just the easy-to-remember pieces of a fascist pattern being assembled by the current national regime:

Remember the order by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to a private insurance company, demanding that it stop informing its customers of concerns with ObamaCare? On what authority did the federal government dare to interfere with private communication between citizens and a private company? No constitutional inhibition seemed to occur to the present team running Washington, D.C.

Or what of Speaker Pelosi’s order that her staff would review all large constituent mailings by Members of Congress to ensure that they were not “misinforming” voters about the implications of ObamaCare? And her iron rule that mailings which failed to pass her censorship would not be approved for franking?

Leader Reid has made his contribution to the building oppression as well. It was his inspiration to add “hate crimes” legislation to the defense authorization bill in order to ensure that homosexuals are graduated to a “protected” class – because he knew full well that such legislation could not pass on its own merits in the light of day. But we add this item to the laundry list, not because of process abuse, but because of the substance of the new law. It will greatly undermine the free speech and free exercise protections of the First Amendment in the hopes of normalizing homosexuality by intimidating those guided by religious or traditional values.

But what is a little constitutional abuse in a nation so rich in tolerance?

As we review the growing list – after just nine months in power – we must not forget the Obama Administration’s campaign to regulate the Internet through legislation blandly referred to as “Net Neutrality”. Nor can we overlook the Left’s zealous efforts to impose a newly-packaged “Fairness Doctrine” on commercial radio stations in the hope of somehow ending the penetrating critique of personalities like Rush Limbaugh.

And then we learn that the Obama Administration, partnering with the totalitarian regime in Egypt, has introduced a resolution in the United Nations to create international law protecting Islam from public criticism. Just to a add another brace of insult to the scene of an American president proposing to criminalize free speech under international law – Obama & Co. have packaged this disgrace as a measure designed to protect “freedom of opinion and expression” around the world. By any standard, this list represents an intimidating and energetic attack on political and religious liberty. And it is probably incomplete.

So what are we to make of this seeming anti-constitutional orientation of America’s most liberal president?

The concerned citizen may consider arming himself with a keen analysis of the American Left’s fascination with fascist doctrine and tactics. Jonah Goldberg wrote a book entitled, “Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left from Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning”.
For those who can’t easily square the notion of liberals being ensnared by fascist tactics and policies, here is a provocative excerpt:

“Contrary to what most people think, the Nazis were ardent socialists (hence the term ‘National Socialism’). They believed in free health care and guaranteed jobs. They confiscated inherited wealth and spent vast sums on public education. They purged the church from public policy, promoted new forms of pagan spirituality, and inserted the authority of the state into every nook and cranny of daily life. The Nazis declared war on smoking, supported abortion, euthanasia and gun control. They loathed the free market, provided generous pensions for the elderly…. The Nazis led the world in organic farming and alternative medicine. Hitler was a strict vegetarian and Himmler was an animal rights activist.”

Does this mean that President Obama is some kind of Nazi? No. Those people were in a world of insanity created by, and for, themselves alone.

But Goldberg’s analysis does document Liberalism’s fascist impulse; the impulse now on display in Washington. Obama’s lack of respect for freedom and liberty, his contempt for, and fear of, those who disagree with him suggests a grand arrogance that could lead to a much weakened Constitution.

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Guest Posts, Idaho Pro-Life Issues, Presidential Politics | No Comments »

Richard Larsen: Examples of Corporate Altruism and Magnanimity

October 19th, 2009 by Halli


By Richard Larsen

The administration and Congress are actively engaged in a class-envy war on the private sector, the free-market system, and corporations. Part of the process is to villainize corporations to make them objects of our disapprobation.

In this context, it’s advisable to remember that America has been built economically by companies led by men and women of vision and principle. Not only do they provide jobs to over 150 million Americans in the workforce, but they provide health insurance, retirement plans, and a host of other benefits to employees who bring their skills to the table day after day for their employer.

There are also companies who go beyond good business practices, following a higher law in contributing to communities and caring for their own. One such example is Texas Roadhouse.

Three weeks ago Texas Roadhouse opened another of their outstanding restaurants in Logan, Utah. New restaurant openings are not uncommon, but this one is. All of the profits generated by this one venue will be used to fund the company’s charity, Andy’s Outreach. Andy is the name of the company’s armadillo mascot, and the charity so named is established to help Texas Roadhouse employees and their families during times of need. As the company puts it, “Andy’s Outreach Fund is the Texas Roadhouse way of raising money to help our family members (any employee) who might be struggling while carrying on the incredible, legendary culture of our one-of-a-kind place to work.”

The origins of the program are found in tragedy for one of their “family members.” Company CEO G.J. Hart was attending a seminar at the company headquarters in Louisville a few years ago where he met a veteran dishwasher named James Bryan. Bryan was a deaf man and was the father to five children. A few weeks later, Hart learned that Bryan had died from a heart attack, and he mobilized his resources and organized an effort to pay for his funeral and help his surviving family members. They succeeded in doing much more than that, as the organizing group eventually put all five children through college.

In just the few years that Texas Roadhouse has been in Pocatello, Andy’s Outreach has assisted over half-a-dozen local employees. Most recently, three have been helped with medical expenses, including one who is out of work for six months due to a car accident. Dave Alexander, the Managing Partner for the Pocatello restaurant says employees can contribute to the fund as well, and that Pocatello has the highest percentage of employee contributions of any in the chain.

To further illustrate how important Andy’s Outreach is to the 320 Managing Partners in the company, they contributed the necessary funds to build the Logan restaurant.

Another superb example is provided by Sears. By law, companies who have reservist employees who are called to active duty are required to hold their jobs open until their tour of duty is complete. With over 500 reservist employees called to active duty over the past few years, Sears did much more than what the law required. They not only held the reservists jobs for them, but the company paid the difference in salaries and maintained all benefits including medical insurance and bonus programs for their reservist employees. They extended these benefits for up to 60 months.

When I first learned of this policy a few years ago I was impressed at their commitment to their employees and their families and the support of our troops, and resolved that I owed them my loyalty. I’ve had to replace three major appliances during that time, and intentionally used Sears products to replace them for that very reason.

I’ve also been gratified to learn that IDACORP, the parent company of Idaho Power did the same for their reservist employees.

Corporations are nothing more than people coalesced around specific products and services to serve other people. Although there may be exceptions, it is disingenuous to ascribe nefarious motives to corporations carte blanche and the private sector in general. And many, many companies, like Texas Roadhouse, Sears, and IDACORP see the bigger picture and deserve our respect and admiration, not our scorn.

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Posted in Guest Posts, Politics in General, Presidential Politics | No Comments »

Larry Lyon: The Case for Republican Party Endorsement of City Candidates

October 12th, 2009 by Halli

By Larry Lyon, Bonneville County Republican Central Committee Precinct Committeeman

“All that is necessary tor the forces of evil to rule the world is for enough good men to do nothing.” It is time to make these more than words. The God given freedoms we have been blessed with for over two hundred years are being lost. The Idaho Republican Party is full of good men. Unfortunately most of them are sitting by and doing nothing in the cities of Idaho to protect our liberty.

Candidates for state and national office many times start their political careers in city counsels, school boards and Mayors offices. If the people who fill these offices are not committed to preserving the constitution as the founders intended; are they suddenly going to start respecting the Constitution when they get elected to state or national office? Of course not!

In the state of New York local elections are partisan. There have been attempts to make them non-partisan. These have been rejected. Why? In New York non-partisan city elections are considered bad public policy. Voter turnout is not improved. People actually have less of a voice because without any common set of principles for groups of people to rally around (party Platforms) they remain ineffective individuals bobbing in the political ocean. They are easily fooled by predatory demagogues and opportunists.

One question that the Republicans need to answer is, “Why do they not get involved in city elections when the Democrats are already heavily involved in city elections?” Democrats are smart enough to know that to openly tag a candidate as a Democrat will likely diminish their chances of getting elected in most parts of the state. They use other tactics:

1) They work through the opinion pages of local papers. An example of this appeared in the Idaho Falls Post Register on Sunday September 27th of this year. Dino Lowrey wrote an opinion piece comparing the Bonneville County Republicans Endorsement of City Council candidate Alex Creek to a “circus”. The title of her article was “This Circus Needs to Leave Town”. She was described by the tag at the end of the article as an archeologist. You would think she is an independent thinking non-partisan, but you would be wrong. What the tag at the end of the article didn’t say is that she is the wife of the Chairman of the Bonneville County Democrats. She is very much a left wing ideologue with a partisan agenda.

2) They redefine themselves as moderates or non- partisan. This is what Boise City Council candidate TJ Thomson is doing. Just last year TJ was at the Democratic National Convention nominating Barack Obama for President. Now his Facebook page describes him as non-partisan and he describes himself as a moderate.

3) They use Democratic front groups like Acorn and Democracy for America.
TJ’s endorsments are a who’s who of Idaho Democrats.

Republicans need to wake up and shake off the shackles of political correctness. Republicans must recruit, endorse and promote wise and good men and women who are true to the Constitution and the Republican Party platform. Otherwise they will lose Idaho to the Democrats city by city and won’t even know what hit them.

I will close with these words from Glen Beck’s book Common Sense, “…Martin Luther King Jr., once said: ‘The hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in times of great moral conflict.’ Do not remain neutral. Do not sit idly by. Silence has gotten us nowhere…”

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David Ripley: A Love Story

October 12th, 2009 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

In the midst of our struggles against evil now institutionalized in Washington, D.C., which can sometimes seem overwhelming, it is important to remember the power of the individual, the single hero, to change the world.

Such an example is now available on WorldNetDaily, “5 Alive After One Brave Choice”.

It is the story of a woman brutally attacked back in 1956, raped by a gang of eight men on her way home from watching a movie in St. Louis, Missouri. After surviving her crushing ordeal, the twenty-two year old woman, Ann, found out that her suffering was not over. She was pregnant.

Her parents made it clear they wanted her to commit abortion on the baby; but Ann was steadfast in her refusal to compound the violence. She would have the baby girl, but her parents demanded that she give the baby up for adoption.

That baby is now a mature woman named Juda Myers.

For some 48 years, the only thing Ann had to hang onto was photo of her newborn. That is, until Juda found her birth mother in a nursing home in December of 2005. The two talked of the painful circumstances, with the daughter weeping over a description of the brutal rape.

“Honey, stop crying. I’ve forgiven those men,” said the mother. “Look what God has done. He’s brought you back to me. God is faithful.”

Ann’s blessing is now extended to two more generations of family that would not be here without her heroic sacrifice, her decision to choose love over vengeance.This powerful story is really a Gospel parable, and exemplifies the Apostle Paul’s description of love:

“Love always protects, always trust, always hopes, always perseveres.”

Bask in the inspiration yourself by reading the whole story.

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Posted in Family Matters, Guest Posts, Idaho Pro-Life Issues | No Comments »

Richard Larsen: We Need More Neoconservatives

October 12th, 2009 by Halli


By Richard Larsen

The appellation “Neo-con” has been so unscrupulously bandied about the last few years, and so incorrectly used as a pejorative that the actual meaning of “neo-conservative” has become lost in the din of ignorant debate. With the passing of Irving Kristol, who graduated from mortality two weeks ago at the age of 89, a review of the contributions and analysis of the father of neo-conservatism is a venture into what made America great.

As a young socialist, Kristol was critical of the primary tenet which he found animating the socialist movement; the idyllic perfectibility of man and his milieu. As early as 1944 he wrote of his preference for “moral realism” which “foresees no new virtues and is interested in human beings as it finds them, content with the possibilities and limitations that are always with us.” Such an expression would lead him over the ensuing decades to a realization that ideals have value in reality, if they work, but not if they don’t.

His ideas and analysis truly took hold in the 1960s when he and other liberals like him, were castigated for being “neo-conservatives.” He was driven to do something that made many liberals uncomfortable, to monitor whether their theories worked in the real world, or if they created more problems than they solved. Kristol himself described neoconservatives as “liberals mugged by reality.”

Through his column in the Wall Street Journal and his quarterly journal, he analyzed the issues founded in the “Great Society” programs. Did urban redevelopment improve conditions for the poor? Did welfare programs create more problems, especially sociological issues, than they solved economically? Did they solve any economical issues for the impoverished? As a liberal who based efficacy on what worked rather than good intent, he came to the conclusion over 20 years ago, “The problem with our current welfare programs is not that they are costly – which they are – but that they have such perverse consequences for the people they are supposed to benefit.”

Time after time, and issue after issue, Kristol brilliantly exposed the principles of the Great Society (major spending programs that addressed education, medical care, urban problems, poverty, and transportation) as worthy ideas, yet wholly inadequate or destructive in application. As he aptly pointed out, after over a trillion dollars of wealth redistribution based on Great Society programs, we still have roughly 12% of the population living at poverty level. As one “mugged by reality,” he concluded that principles of socialism, even when partially executed, empirically fail.

Through his honest assessment of the failures of contemporary liberalism, Kristol emerged as one of capitalism’s greatest apologists. As he frequently reminded us, “Capitalism has eased more misery and engendered more comfort than any other economic system in world history.” And this man knew his history. So to Kristol, it only made sense that what the world needed more of was capitalism, not more of any of the other “isms” that ingratiate a few at the expense of the many.

The more nefarious use of the term was used throughout the Bush presidency, where the neoconservative concept of using American economic and military strength for purposes of expanding democracy, human rights, and capitalism. Conceptually I find it difficult to comprehend that any moral person would object to such a notion, but in the case of Bush, it had more to do with how the principle was implemented in Iraq, not a rejection of the philosophy behind it.

Even more disconcerting to Kristol’s former liberal colleagues, was his evolution as a social conservative. In his missive “My Cold War,” a recapitulation of his intellectual migration from left to right, he wrote, “What began to concern me more and more were the clear signs of rot and decadence germinating within American society — a rot and decadence that was no longer the consequence of liberalism but was the actual agenda of contemporary liberalism. And the more contemporary, the more candid and radical was this agenda.” He warned, “Combating the cultural decay — a war on spiritual poverty — was even more important than winning the other Cold War.”

Much of neo-conservatism is based in common sense and application of principles with proven empirical efficacy, both of which are scarcities in Washington. Seems to me we need a lot more Irving Kristols. At the very least, we need a lot more neoconservatives.

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