Commentary

Medved: A Cruel Delusion on “Equalized Achievement”

The New York Times recently reported good news on the education performance gap between black-and-white children—a gap that’s narrowed by 50 percent over the last 30 years. But the distance between privileged kids and disadvantaged children of all races has only gotten wider: offspring of college graduates are seven times more likely to earn college degrees themselves, than are the children of high school drop-outs.

Professor Jane Waldfogel of Columbia University says the problem begins before kindergarten. “If we could equalize achievement from zero to 14, that would go a long way to closing the college enrollment gap,” she says. But this is an absurd idea: even in the same classroom, there is never “equalized achievement.” Heredity is a major factor: children of parents who struggle with poverty will generally have less native ability than offspring of driven high-achievers. But even siblings growing up in the same family don’t perform identically or equally, so expecting “equalized achievement” is a cruel delusion.

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Hewitt: The First Freedom

Pepperdine California Democratic Party

Pope Francis has left America now, but long after his return to the Vatican, indeed long after he has left this life for the next, American courts will be quoting the pontiff’s words in opinions dealing with the “first freedom,” the freedom of religion.

The Pope delivered the most important address of his trip from a lectern used by Abraham Lincoln to deliver the Gettysburg Address.

The heart of his remarks deserve a close rereading:

He said [and I quote]: “In a world where various forms of modern tyranny seek to suppress religious freedom, or try to reduce it to a subculture without right to a voice in the public square, or to use religion as a pretext for hatred and brutality, it is imperative that the followers of the various religions join their voices in calling for peace, tolerance and respect for the dignity and rights of others.”

He continued:

“Let us preserve liberty, let us take care of it: freedom of conscience, religious freedom, the freedom of every person, family, and nation, which causes other rights.”

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Mohler: Shout Your Abortion

One of most interesting recent developments in the pro-abortion movement started on social media when a woman by the name of Lindy West created a hashtag “shout your abortion.”

Lindy West writing at The Guardian explains that she started the hashtag to remove the moral stigma around abortion and then she makes this statement: “The truth is that life is unfathomably complex, people with uteruses own their bodies unconditionally, and every abortion story is as unique as the person who lives it.”

At one level, there’s something both right and wrong about that phrase. What’s right about it is that we do recognize a right to a personal control over one’s body. But what’s really wrong about those words is the argument that an unborn baby is actually just a part of the woman’s body. This is a tragic and horrifying misconception.

The baby is not the mother.

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Hewitt: Enormous Interest in Election 2016

Pepperdine California Democratic Party

As the race for the Republican presidential nomination continues, I now see four types of GOP primary voters, and not all of them are conservatives … or even Republicans.

There are the “True Believers,” to use Eric Hoffer’s term, and they have picked a candidate and are sticking to him or her come hell or high water unless and until he drops out or wins.

There are the “Buckley Voters”—in reference to the late William F. Buckley, Jr. They simply want to support the most conservative candidate they see as plausibly winning.

Then we have the “center-right governing conservatives”—Republican primary voters who want to get legislation passed by assembling coalitions in D.C. that include some Democrats.

And the fourth group of voters are what I call “uniques.”  They are in it to support a candidate for a unique reason or because of unique appeal.

With 24 million viewers tuning in to the CNN debate we know there is enormous interest in this Presidential election cycle, with similarly enormous implications for the future of the nation.

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Brooks: Conservatives Who Care

A recent poll from Gallup showed that three out of four Americans are dissatisfied with the United States. Yes, you heard me right—three quarters of our fellow citizens.

The basic bargain in America is supposed to be that no matter where you start out, if you work hard and play by the rules, you can make out all right.

But people look around today and see that the poor have gotten poorer, work has disappeared for those at the bottom, government dependence has grown and mobility has fallen.

Why aren’t Americans turning to conservatives for solutions? Simple: People don’t think conservatives care.

Consider this:

Do you think the word “compassionate” describes the Republican Party?

Over half of Americans say “not at all” … and only five percent say “compassionate” describes the party “very well.”

This has to change. The right must show the American people a new vision of compassion and fairness that emanates from deep within—in the title of my latest release—the “Conservative Heart.

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Medved: Suicidal Strategies Lead to Self-Destruction

Shutting down the government to score political points isn’t illegal or immoral, but it’s a suicidal strategy when failure is guaranteed. As Senator Kelly Ayotte points out, even if all 54 Republican Senators vote to defund Planned Parenthood, they’d still need 13 Democrats to side with them to overcome the president’s certain veto, and there’s no chance of getting those votes.

The government would re-open sooner or later with Planned Parenthood still funded, and Republicans would be universally blamed for a pointless disruption. Why? Because federal support for Planned Parenthood has been part of the budget for 45 years, under both Democrats and Republicans, so an attempt to de-fund represents dramatic change.

Conservatives are right to push for that change as a matter of principle, but progress is totally impossible with a Democratic president. To shut down the government temporarily under Obama won’t hurt Planned Parenthood, or the president and his party, but it could very well harm Republicans and conservative credibility.

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Mohler: A Pop Culture Revolution

The moral revolution that we are witnessing today on issues of human sexuality and gender is driven by changes that have taken place in the popular culture and the popular culture is doing its very best to try to signal the direction this moral revolution is to go.

A recent opinion piece by Charles M. Blow of the New York Times illustrates my point. He cites the artist Miley Cyrus who recently said, “I’m very open about it—I’m pansexual.”

Basically, this means that she is open to virtually anything with anyone … so long as adult consent is granted.

About this, Charles Blow writes:

“There was something about the casual, carefree-ness of the statements that I found both charming and revolutionary. It took a happy-go-lucky sledgehammer to the must-fit-a-box binary that constrains and restricts our understanding of the complexity of human sexuality.”

Here you have one of the more influential columnists in the New York Times arguing that popular culture in general, and Miley Cyrus in particular, have been responsible for moving the meter when it comes to understandings of human sexuality and of gender identity.

The tragic truth is, he’s probably right.

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