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culture

I Won't Resign

There are four stages to classic attempts to discredit the victims of bullying, harassment and abuse: Deny their claims are true, isolate the victim, attack their credibility, and dismiss them. At this point, there is no way to deny the culture of harassment in state government. As more
women come forward, there’s no longer a way to isolate them or claim their accounts are false.
Therefore, the only thing left for Speaker Madigan to do is dismiss them. Pat Hughes explains in this week's Two Minute Warning.

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The Excused

G.K. Chesterton observed that, “Men do not differ much about what things they will call evils; they differ enormously about what evils they will call excusable.”

In DC, what is excused depends on who is committing the evil.

The standard of acceptable personal conduct is inversely proportional to one’s partisan value.

Ted Kennedy was indispensable whereas Al Franken was expendable.

Two different eras, yes. But consider, if Ruth Bader Ginsburg drowned a woman, do you think the Left would demand her resignation and give Trump another SCOTUS nomination?

The use of political capital to quantify character lays bare the hypocrisy of ruling elites but, worse, it results in the steady degradation of the rule of law by raising our tolerance level for the excesses of said ruling class.

Thirty years ago, Gary Hart’s POTUS ambitions were felled by an affair and Douglas Ginsburg’s Supreme Court nomination derailed by a history of marijuana usage. Both would be treated as veritable Quakers by today’s standards.

Senator X or Governor Y is to be exempted from the laws we must follow much less any code of common decency we may conceive. He is too important to this or that movement.

Excusing evils to advance political ends steadily supplants the rule of law with the rule of men and the rule of men with no character at that.

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Culturally Anxious Voters Will Decide 2018 Elections

In 2018, the GOP’s continued standing as the majority party in America will turn on the participation of culturally anxious voters.

The people who appreciate the distinctions between liberty and libertinism.

The people who understand the implications of erasing the lines between decency and indecency.

The people who are respectful of the time, money and lives of others.

The people who recognize identity politics for the cultural poison that it is.

The people who reject the age of de facto segregation everywhere other than the bathroom.

The people who still talk of men and women without the “cisgender” modifier.

The people whose lives are defined by the love of family and friends not the popularity of a hashtag campaign.

The people who will listen to rather than shout down an opposing viewpoint.

The people who see things for what they are rather than redefine them through a distorted political lens.

The people who believe in being their brother’s keeper but don’t believe they should be forced to be his sugar daddy.

It won’t be a single issue. It’s not going to be a question of one accomplishment or one failure.

It will turn on whether or not Republicans let cultural Marxists run roughshod over people in their offices, their churches, and their kids’ schools.

The GOP’s majority status will turn on its ability to serve as political Xanax to the culturally anxious.

Eli Manning’s Example

One day you’re the 2-time Super Bowl champion, 2-time Super Bowl MVP with the second-longest starting streak in NFL history. And the next day you’re on the bench.

That’s life. But how many of us would handle it with the humility of Eli Manning?

Manning was given the option to continue to start and play a few series to keep his streak alive but declined saying “that’s not the right way to play.”

In doing so, he essentially said that if coach thinks starting someone else at QB gives the team the best chance to win then we should do that. Manning’s personal streak isn’t bigger than the team.

“It’s hard…but hang in there and figure it out,” said Manning, his chin quivering.

How Manning responded to being benched, with understandable disappointment but not defiant entitlement, is why he is a leader of men and a 2-time Super Bowl Champion, twice defeating the team of his generation for the Lombardi Trophy.

A few days later Sports Illustrated conferred the Muhammad Ali Legacy Award to a Castro-loving spoiled brat. 

The NFL’s positive, teachable moments are few and fleeting.

Lionizing Colin Kaepernick is an example of our time.

Eli Manning’s example is timeless.

Most professional athletes are not role models. But some are.

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Discussing Culture And Politics With Kevin Williamson

National Review columnist Kevin Williamson was an early critic of Donald Trump's candidacy for president, considering Trump out of step with what many conservatives and advocates for small government stand for. A year after Trump's election to that office, how has the larger political conversation changed, if at all, for advocates of limited government? On this edition of Against the Current, Dan Proft talks to Williamson about the first year of Trump's presidency, his rise to the office and where the president truly falls ideologically. What was Trump's value proposition in getting elected, and should Republicans and conservatives embrace his agenda? They also discuss how different institutions – such as the entertainment industry and the media – drive culture on both the left and the right, influencing political discourse and outcomes. 

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Is Nothing Sacred?

In his remarkable press conference, Trump Chief of Staff Gen. John Kelly prompted reflection on that which was once sacred and should be but no longer is.

Women. The dignity of every life. Religion. Gold Star Families. Selfless service to country. All once sacred. Now not so much.

Gen. Kelly provided a timely reminder that civilization is not always advancing. The latest point in time is not necessarily the most enlightened. Societies can regress.

The nature of man is immutable. Edifying influences like faith, family and work and the responsibilities associated with each are necessary.

Notions of duty and honor keep us from devolving into a Hobbesian state of nature.

So what is sacred?

The politicization of all things makes state power sacred.

The 41% of nonelderly-headed households who receive entitlement payments makes good intentions sacred.

Banning books and blocking speakers to protect feelings makes conceit sacred.

In other words, the power to distribute other people’s stuff and eliminate dissent has replaced what Gen. Kelly described as sacred and what four Green Berets died on a distant battlefield to protect as sacred.

If you believe their last full measure of devotion for your freedoms was sacred then you might consider fighting to preserve them. 

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Elizabeth Warren Didn’t Build That And Neither Can You

Elizabeth Warren was born a poor, Native American child.

That’s the Horatio Alger story she spun when confronted by a Boston radio talk show host about her hypocrisy of railing against the 1% while being a Grey-Poupon-carrying member of it.

Warren refused to concede that she was a one-percenter instead recounting how her “daddy” was a janitor and her mom worked a minimum wage job.

But they provided for their Indian princess. 

Warren worked her way through school, became an academic while also consulting for big insurance companies and big banks, and amassed a multi-millionaire dollar net worth.

Warren tells her story in three dimensions. The rest of the 1% she shamelessly demagogues as one-dimensional Mr. Potter cartoons.

Warren is a one-percenter who overcame her humble beginnings. Everyone else is a robber baron--except for her champagne socialist fellow travelers in the Harvard faculty lounge, of course.

Warren is not a public servant. The businesses she seeks to plunder are.

Warren builds stylized political narratives. The entrepreneur built this country.

She can’t tell the truth about herself because Warren’s politics are predicated on a lie—not one she’s lived but one she wants to impose on you.

Elizabeth Warren didn’t build that and neither can you.

The Left Is In An All Out Virtue Signaling Contest

Erase the history of our founding fathers? Change our currency? Monuments? Park names? Whatever the mob wants, right? Did Tucker Carlson rationalize slavery while rationalizing Trump? Is there any room for rational discussion? People in the media and big government politicians are in an out virtue-ing signal contest. Dan and Amy discuss the state of political discourse in the country today.

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Confederate Statues Comin' A Tumblin' Down

Confederate statues comin' a tumblin' down. Fine, but where should we stop? Monticello? Washington Monument? Arlington? UVA? A more interesting question is what those donning Che Guevara (Castro' executioner) t-shirts and leading the charge for the removal of statutes would elevate in their places? Should Trump leave Bannon? National Review Writer, David French joins Dan and Amy to discuss the legitimate concerns of the alt right movement.

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Affirmative Action Can Lead America Down Dangerous Road

Trump revises and extends his remarks on Charlottesville and garners thanks from the mother of the woman murdered on Saturday. But, where was law enforcement in Charlottesville? Are Americans choosing to ignore the country’s history in taking down statues? Are the Confederate statues reflective of American values? Is the US going down a dangerous road in giving special privileges to certain groups of people? Eminent George Mason University Economist, Walter Williams joins Dan and Amy to address the politics as religion crowd and their church of group identity.

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Are You A Faithful Pluralist Or A Sophisticated Barbarian?

Are you a faithful pluralist or a sophisticated barbarian?

Let’s find out.

Is man fallen or can he be perfected once elevated to public office?

Should a free society be governed by those with the humility attendant to faith or those who feature unrestrained emotion?

Someone who governs by emotion might not believe he's an angel. He might believe he's done some bad things, but he also believes he can set all that aside.

Once a political leader believes that he can think and feel in a sin-free way, there is nothing to constrain the newfound purity of his actions regardless of their consequences.

This is what Flannery O’Connor meant when she wrote, “In the absence of faith, we govern by tenderness. And tenderness leads to the gas chamber.”

Tenderness is the foundation of totalitarianism.

It is how otherwise sophisticated people indulge barbarism.

It is how heterodox thoughts are repressed under the guise of tolerance.

It is how religious freedom is marginalized and private property seized.

It is how science is subordinated to ideology.

It is how a free society gives away its freedom.

The faithful pluralist, by contrast, is skeptical about his emotional read on things because he understands he is influenced by sin in ways that are not always evident. In politics, such a leader is hesitant to extend his power as a result.

So which are you, the faithful pluralist or the sophisticated barbarian?

Your freedom depends on your answer.

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Treated Equally And Decently?

Is Slate correct in stating that not only Google but other forward thinking companies aren’t treating their employees equally and decently? Could The Pope work at Google? Is the mainstream media creating a false narrative that the Google memo is anti women and anti diversity? Does the data actually support the claims made by the ex-Google employee? Could any employee that speaks out against liberal ideology risk losing their job today? Senior Editor of the Federalist, David Harsanyi joins Dan and Amy to discuss why he is nervous about the future of freedom of speech in our country.

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Live Or Die, Let The State Decide

What happens when the state is in charge of life and death decisions? Do medical professionals operate as agents of the state? Where should healthcare decisions lie? And, what is the future of freedom of speech in our culture? Writer and Psychiatrist, Theodore Dalrymple joins Dan and Amy to discuss.

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Fighting Cultural Colonization

Representative Jeanne Ives is taking heat for standing up to cultural bullies in our schools. Tiny Dancer sues the federal government for trying to make him follow federal law. Will Gov. Rauner follow suit and sign sanctuary state legislation? No action on K-12 school funding this week as IL Senate Democrats are out of town for the coronation of one of their own. Pope Francis calls it "terrible" that children are taught they can choose their gender. Don't tell Chicago Tribune's Kim Janssen who identifies as a "reporter." Dan & Amy covered education funding, sanctuary cities, and Illinois politics with State Representative Jeanne Ives.

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Saving Scholastic Simpletons From Sandwiches

Is the college educated class ruining America? That is what New York Times columnist David Brooks argues in his column “How We Are Ruining America”. Should college educated parents apologize for helping their children? Would you go to lunch with a friend who only has a high school degree? Is Brooks a hero for saving his friend from having to read a menu at a gourmet sandwich shop? Dan & Kristen McQueary, of the Chicago Tribune, discussed the self-regarding pabulum coming from the likes of David Brooks.

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You Threaten Their Planet

Rachel Carson was wrong about DDT.

Paul Ehrlich’s population bomb was a dud.

Glossy magazine covers in the 1970s featuring fashionable global cooling predictions about a coming ice age thawed.

In skated Michael Mann’s global warming hockey stick until Mark Steyn snapped it in two.

Now Chinese Communists, European Socialists, Hollywood leftists, billionaire rent-seekers and Fortune 100 CEOs suggest that America’s failure to lead from behind with our own unenforceable politician’s pledges on carbon emissions spells the imminent demise of our mortal coil.

The culprit messing up the grand plans of the jet setters? Same as it’s always been. The middle-income family and the small business owner-operator who seek pedestrian pursuits like a job or lower energy costs. Boring.

You are the demons who must be slayed so that noted scientists like Leonardo DiCaprio, Bette Midler and Governor Moonbeam can remake the world in their image.

You left billionaire fossil fuels investor turned mega-funder of leftist zealotry Tom Steyer with no choice but to term you traitors and declare war.

You see, Trump isn’t their real target. You are.

And conservation isn’t their real goal. Control is.

The Left has been using environmentalism as their cover story to exert control over you and your pursuits for 50 years.

Your existence doesn’t threaten the planet just the Left’s dominion over it.

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The Unsalvageables

President Trump’s victory produced a plethora of Leftist think pieces plotting their escape from their coastal bubbles so they are never so blindsided again.

After a six month probationary period, can we finally dismiss as disingenuous their intellectual curiosity?

During that time, the Left has written more Russian fiction than Boris Pasternak.

The budding totalitarians on college campuses have attacked professors, shouted down the Education Secretary, and argued that white men do not enjoy First Amendment rights.

In Chicago, a group of “nasty women” hosted an art exhibit/fundraiser for Planned Parenthood featuring an anti-Trump painting stained with vaginal blood from the artist.

In Phoenix, the city used taxpayer dollars to help finance a billboard depicting Trump as a money-grubbing Nazi.

Storied MIT linguistics professor Noam Chomsky, whose rhetoric is virtually indistinguishable from that of Maxine Waters, claimed recently that the Republican Party is the greatest threat to mankind’s survival in the history of the world.

I don’t see much common ground to be forged here and, frankly, I’m not terribly interested in indulging lunacy.

I’ll continue to consume the literate Left’s content for comparison/contrast purposes. But I’m not going to let their mania consume even a moment of my consideration.

If I’m a deplorable then they are the unsalvageables.

I say we let them stay squirreled away in their bubbles and we pop them again in November 2018.

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Treating The Police Like The Bad Guys Emboldens The Bad Guys

What a culture celebrates it begets.

An internal FBI report obtained by Paul Bedard at the Washington Examiner finds the DC press corps/Dem politician combine’s neutral to laudatory review of Black Lives Matter rioters makes us less safe by making police less safe.

The FBI reviewed 50 murders of police officers in 2016 and found in 14 of the cases the offender simply wanted to kill police.

“The assailants inspired by social and/or political reasons believed that attacking police officers was their way to ‘get justice’,” the report concluded.

The former mayor of Baltimore created a safe space for rioters in the wake of Freddie Gray’s death. That has left her successor crying to the FBI for help in combating Baltimore’s 20-year high murder rate.

Chicago Mayor Tiny Dancer scapegoated the police locally and brought Obama Attorney General Loretta Lynch to town to tell the nation they were all racists. After more murders in Chicago last year than in New York City and LA combined, Chicago saw a 45% increase in murders in April as compared to April of last year. April featured the additional embarrassment of the Chicago Police Superintendent's police SUV being ransacked while it was parked outside of his home.

When you treat police like the bad guys, you embolden the bad guys.

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The Real O'Reilly Factor

Dan & Amy talk with Andrew Klavan about his most recent column, "The Real O'Reilly Factor." Klavan argues that the end of Bill O'Reilly signals the end of Fox News.

What is the quality of Conservative content? Why isn't there another Fox News? Dan & Amy discuss these questions and more with Klavan who is a screenwriter, essayist & author of “The Great Good Thing: A Secular Jew Comes to Faith in Christ.”

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David French On Free Speech, Trump's Presidency, Foreign Policy & More

Conservative voices have been shut down on college campuses throughout the country, and few have had keener insight on the issue than National Review's David French. On this edition of Against the Current, Dan Proft goes one-on-one with French to examine how and why this is happening in a wide-ranging discussion on culture, politics and free speech.

They also discuss some of the nation's most pressing foreign policy issues, with French giving his perspective as a military veteran himself. And French tells the rarely-told story of how he was briefly recruited to run for president in 2016, and offers what he thinks are the positives and negatives of the Trump administration so far. This, and more, in this in-depth conversation on Against the Current.

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