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Hugh Hewitt Book Club

OK – Let’s Talk About Moral Outrage

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Look, not going to begin to defend the president’s reported utterances. To borrow from another president, “wouldn’t be prudent.”  Jim Geraghty made the point best:

The message from the president — and the subsequent refusal to deny, retract, or disavow the comments — is clear: People from these places have no value.

However, two things to keep in mind.  The president’s words and actions are often at odds with each other, and even when they are not, they can be taking quite different paths.  My father was prone to horrifically bigoted statements; cringe-inducing, deny him like Peter-at-the-cross bigoted statements. But that being said I can say quite confidently that I never saw my father treat another human being as if they were of little or no value, talked about them like they were, but never, ever treated them that way.  Does that excuse the words?  Nope, not even close – but it does put them into perspective.

The second thing to keep in mind is this extraordinarily great piece yesterday from David French.  David writes about the opiod epidemic in this nation and notes that for two consecutive years, and probably three based on 2017 preliminaries, that life expectancy in this nation has declined – yes declined – and that the decline can largely be laid at the feet of opiod overdoses.  He quotes a Washington Post story:

The 2016 data shows that just three major causes of death are responsible: unintentional injuries, Alzheimer’s disease and suicides, with the bulk of the difference attributable to the 63,632 people who died of overdoses. That total was an increase of more than 11,000 over the 52,404 who died of the same cause in 2015.

He then goes on to discuss how, despite some great writing on the subject, the issue gets little general interest.  Later in the piece French says, “Addiction is life-destroying, yes, but it’s also soul-destroying,” which is true, but I think becoming addicted to begin with represents a soul already severely damaged.

Put these three things together, 1) a clearly uncompassionate, imprudent and indefensible presidential utterance, 2) an extraordinary national health crisis based almost solely in behavior, and 3) the under-reporting of item 2), and a picture of a nation with a pretty damaged soul comes clearly into focus.  I have always contended that national elections are mirrors into the soul of the nation.  The president’s ugly utterance does in fact mirror the relative lack of concern over the opiod crisis.

This is not a pretty picture.

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House Judiciary Chairman Goodlatte On FISA, The FBI and DOJ, and Immigration Reform

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House Judiciary Committee Bob Goodlatte joined me this morning to discuss the need for a second special counsel to review the actions of the FBI and DOJ during election 2016, the re-authorization of FISA, and immigration reform:

Audio:

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Transcript:

HH: Joined now by the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Representative Goodlatte. Representative, good morning, great to have you with us, Mr. Chairman.

BG: Oh, thank you, Hugh, it’s great to be with you and your listeners.

HH: I have two issues to cover with you today – the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, and immigration. Let me take the first, first. About 21 minutes ago, or 59 minutes ago, the President tweeted House votes on controversial FISA act today. This is the act that may have been used with the help of the discredited and phony dossier to so badly surveil and abuse the Trump campaign by previous administration and others, question mark. Are you indeed voting on the FISA act today, and will it pass?

BG: We are voting on the FISA act today. I don’t know if it’ll pass or not. The program is a very important program when it’s used to gather information about people who are not citizens of the United States, and they’re outside the United States. But it has the potential, I don’t know of any facts that show that this program’s been abused, but it has the potential for abuse with regard to U.S. citizens. And that’s why the Judiciary Committee has always advocated for a search warrant requirement before you look at information that they have incidentally gathered in their database about United States citizens. This bill has a modification of that, that is not as good as the Judiciary Committee, but it is better than a straight up reauthorization, which is what the United States Senate wants to do. So I will support that.

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North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis On Immigration Reform Deal

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North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis joined me this morning to discuss the prospects for a four part Congressional compromise on immigration issues:

Audio:

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Transcript:

HH: Hour three of the program begins with United States Senator Thom Tillis from the great state of North Carolina. Senator, sorry about your Panthers.

TT: Oh, I’m in the pit of misery now, Hugh.

HH: Well, welcome to the Browns’ life. You’re not as deep in the pit as I am.

TT: Yeah, you’ve got a lot of experience.

HH: (laughing) That’s true. If it doesn’t kill you, it makes you stronger, and we’re very strong indeed in Browns land. Senator Tillis, I read the Politico story this morning, the headline of which is that Democratic leaders face internal mutiny over Dreamers deal. I just talked with your colleague, Tom Cotton, about a deal. I noted that the four whips, Senator Cornyn and Senator Durbin, Mr. Hoyer and Mr. McCarthy, are all gathered. But there are other groups meeting as well. The Flake-Graham group is meeting, you and Senator Lankford are meeting. We’ve got Perdue and Cotton. What is going on here?

TT: Well, Hugh, first off, I think you’ve got these discussion groups that you’ve just described, but then Senator Lankford and I, since we filed the Succeed Act, have met with Durbin and Graham. We’ve been very closely linked to Chairman Grassley and John Cornyn. The difference between the Succeed Act and the Dream Act, when we filed it, we said that the baseline DACA provisions that we were trying to get some clarity on and clean up the Dream Act, had to be paired with border security or interior enforcement, or we wouldn’t support our own bill. So that’s really put us in a position to talk with parties across the spectrum and try and bridge the gap so that we do something different. Instead of having a Browns-like record on the Dream Act, we’re trying to actually get something done.

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What Logic Requires

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A conservative website out of Boston reprints an Faulkner University (Alabama) Law Professor’s opening speech to his introductory students.  It is full of brilliance – here’s one example:

Second, you have been taught to resort to two moral values above all others, diversity and equality. These are important values if properly understood. But the way most of you have been taught to understand them makes you irrational, unreasoning. For you have been taught that we must have as much diversity as possible and that equality means that everyone must be made equal. But equal simply means the same. To say that 2+2 equals 4 is to say that 2+2 is numerically the same as four. And diversity simply means difference. So when you say that we should have diversity and equality you are saying we should have difference and sameness. That is incoherent, by itself. Two things cannot be different and the same at the same time in the same way.

But there is one paragraph far more insightful than any other:

Reasoning requires you to understand the difference between true and false. And reasoning requires coherence and logic. Most of you have been taught to embrace incoherence and illogic. You have learned to associate truth with your subjective feelings, which are neither true nor false but only yours, and which are constantly changeful.

Reason requires some level of selflessness.  Reason lies in the objective, the opposite of the subjective to which the prof refers.  When letting go of self is understood as necessary for reason, one comes to understand just how very, very reasonable Christianity actually is.

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