What Starts in South Carolina…

Lathan Watts, March 14, 2019

In South Carolina the state legislature and the flagship university seem to be at odds over whether college students should be required to study the U.S. Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and the Federalist papers. The legislature recently updated the statute requiring study of the founding documents. The president of the University of South Carolina previously criticized the requirement as “archaic.” Ironically, the first state to leave the union is now trying to lead the nation’s efforts to ensure, through education, that the Republic will endure.

It is a fight worth having.

A recent study by the Annenberg Public Policy Center revealed only one third of Americans could name the three branches of government and another third could not name even one. There’s little doubt such ignorance of basic civics is having profoundly negative impact on our politics and culture.

The Annenberg survey also showed a correlation between knowledge of the Constitution and a willingness to defend the independence of the judiciary.

If the American education system continues failing at basic civics instruction to such a degree reflected in the Annenberg study, the importance of an independent judiciary’s role as guardian of our God-given rights cannot be overstated. In fact, one could argue the significance of the courts’ interpretation of the Constitution is inversely proportional to the ignorance of the general population.

One problem inherent in a democratic republic is that a constitutionally illiterate population is more likely to fall for dangerous proposals like the progressive left’s new goal of “packing” the Supreme Court with more justices to ensure outcomes more in line with their policy ideology, or in the very least, block those nominees they can’t control.

And, it isn’t just citizens who appear to lack civic knowledge.

Indeed, perhaps Annenberg should have polled members of the U.S. Senate on Article VI of the Constitution and its strict prohibition on a religious test for office. Based on the recent actions of Sens. Feinstein, Harris, Hirono, and others, the results would likely mirror the dangerous lack of knowledge of their constituents.

A bit of timeless wisdom often attributed to Mark Twain (though unverified) is that a man that doesn’t read the newspapers is uninformed and a man who reads the newspapers is misinformed. Another gifted wordsmith, Ronald Reagan, was fond of saying his political opponents were, “not ignorant, they just know so many things that aren’t so.”

Both quotes illustrate “knowing” things that aren’t true to be even more dangerous than not knowing the truth. No area of the law is a better example of this maxim than religious liberty. Over many years the general public and even many members of the judiciary have accepted the idea of separation of church and state as a canonical lens through which Establishment Clause and Free Exercise Clause cases must be viewed despite the conspicuous absence of the phrase from the Constitution.

The result has been an often-undeclared yet overt government hostility to religion and to those seeking to live in adherence to deeply held religious views spurred on by atheist and humanist organizations hell bent on a religious cleansing of American life. One need only consult the client list of the religious liberties bar for evidence.

The Founders placed religious freedom first in the Bill of Rights because they knew that if government officials were ever permitted to invade the space between man and God, there would be no limit to government authority and inevitably the type of tyranny they fought an empire to escape. The ignorance – or denial – of this fact among citizens, Senators and the judiciary threatens our nation.

If we are to keep our Republic as Benjamin Franklin admonished after the constitutional convention we must combine a top-down and bottom-up approach to the threat of constitutional ignorance. We need judges who strictly adhere to the text of the Constitution, fiercely guard the rights of the people, and sternly enforce the separation of powers. To date, President Trump’s nominees to the federal bench have been superbly qualified and worthy of our trust to do so. Add to excellent jurists a population of citizens who are well informed of their rights and our grand experiment in self-government might just survive.

We also need citizens who elect to office those who also adhere to the Constitution, confirming judges who do so without politicizing the confirmation process.

A look back at American history reminds us fights that start in South Carolina have monumental implications for the rest of the nation. This current conflict between the state legislature and the university is no different. A look even further back in human history cautions with Divine wisdom, “My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge…”

States Need to Fight Green New Deal the Right Way

Brian Darling, March, 14, 2019

The fight over the so called “Green New Deal” has gone into the states.  Although this left-wing idea is pitched as a plan to save the environment, it has elements that don’t have anything to do with environmentalism and fall into the category of new entitlement spending and an overall push for big government. Liberty minded activists in states need to be smart in fighting this idea and to be careful not to overreach. 

The national version of the Green New Deal is described by CNN as a ”14-page resolution [that] envisions a shift to 100% renewable and zero-emission energy sources, and calls for the creation of millions of new high-wage jobs to help wipe out poverty." CNN describes the resolution as emphasizing “massive public investment in wind and solar production, zero-emission vehicles and high-speed rail, energy-efficient buildings, and smart power grids, as well as ‘working collaboratively’ with farmers and ranchers to move towards sustainable agriculture techniques.” The resolution also addresses “historic injustices visited upon the poor and people of color.”  This is a grab bag of left-wing ideas tossed into one green package that has become the centerpiece of a national debate.

It is important to note that our economy has been a great driver of innovation in the energy sector producing “clean coal,” solar and electric cars.  Conservatives don’t want the government to play favorites and help out solar and plug-in cars, yet there is nothing wrong with renewables competing in the private sector if they can prove efficient while convincing consumers to use them. Some people don’t care about the personal cost of renewables and just want to use renewables to feel like they are helping the environment and that is every American's right.

The state of Virginia has become a battleground over environmental policy and a Virginia version of the Green New Deal.  A local Virginia paper posted an op-ed on May 5, 2019 where the VA plan was described as  “a moratorium beginning Jan. 1, 2020 on approval by any permitting agency on any new major fossil fuel projects. The legislation defined fossil fuels as ‘coal, petroleum, natural gas or any derivative of coal, petroleum, or natural gas that is used for fuel.” They want 80% from solar, onshore and offshore wind, geothermal and ocean tidal sources of energy. The plan is not realistic and likely will not go anywhere in the Virginia legislature.

Some have already started to fight over a privately-funded plan on private property in Spotsylvania, Virginia and calling it part of a VA Green New Deal.  This is an overreach and a mischaracterization of that private plan.

The Virginia sPower solar plan falls into the category of private individuals and corporations engaging in private contractual relationships that don’t have anything to do with the core agenda of the Green New Deal.   This project in Virginia is a $615 million private investment that, according to the Free-Lance Starr of Fredericksburg, will create “800-1,000 local employees during construction, including electricians, site contractors, landscapers, mechanics, heavy equipment operators, engineers, waste management, and security guards.” The project will generate “$110 million in economic output and another $164 million over the life of the project” as well as “approximately $13 million in new gross tax revenues for the county, which reflects a 1,800 percent increase over current tax generation without impacts on schools, public safety, transportation or other county services.”  Blind hatred of the Green New Deal should not lead Virginia residents to reflexively oppose this private plan on private property.

Conservatives want to stop the use of government subsidies and tax benefits to push renewables while discriminating against fossil fuels. The markets should rule these private decisions. Our nation has used efficiency and technological advances to lower emissions dramatically over the past few decades showing that capitalism and free markets work. 

It is also true that people deserve the freedom to choose renewables if they want. Renewables, or a mix of the most efficient ones, may be the future of generating energy for Americans, yet only solar and wind seem to have taken hold in a few communities.  If private companies want to spend cash on renewables, then that is their choice.  

When the government tries to force renewables on Americans at a high cost, that is wrong and should be stopped.  The “Green New Deal” has polled as popular yet expect those poll numbers to plummet when the American people get wise to this shell game the left is playing by mixing environmental politics and the push to expand entitlement programs. 

Back on Setember 1, 2013 on a Sunday afternoon around 1 pm the new Dietz & Watson Meat Processing Plant located in Delanco, NJ had a roof fire break out. Normally firefighters would go up on the roof and make roof cuts confine and extinguish the fire. However due to the roof being covered with electric generating solar panels this was imposible due to the danger of electrocution by firefighters coming into contact with these solar panels. The fire burned for two days with over 200 firefighters used in stopping the fire. The Philadelphia Fire Department was called to help stop the fire. The Fire Chief in command when ask by reporters why it took so long he explained that had this been a normal flat roof building the fire could have been contained in a matter of minutes, Due to the solar panels and danger of electrocution the firefighters had fight from aerial trucks. Solar panels are charged by Sun light and as long as the Sun shines they make electricity there is no off and on switch. The estimated loss from this fire was well over a million dollars and put people out of work for months.

Editors Corner

With new homes going up in Red Bridge, Locust Town Center, Western Hills, Whispering Hills, Barbara Ann Park, Abbington, and a proposed new sub division on Elm Street. Plans are well underway for new Commerical, Retail, and Restaurants. I will post them.