How the Tyranny of the Majority Threatens Our Freedom

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Alexis de Tocqueville, the Frenchman who visited America for nine months and chronicled his journey in “Democracy in America,” understood our nation with more clarity and depth than we understand ourselves today.

Tocqueville predicted that tyranny of the majority would someday pose a real threat to Americans’ freedom. Heritage expert Arthur Milikh explains why Tocqueville’s prediction is true to our modern world:

Despots of the past tyrannized through blood and iron. But the new breed of democratic despotism “does not proceed in this way; it leaves the body and goes straight for the soul.”

That is, the majority reaches into citizens’ minds and hearts. It breaks citizens’ will to resist, to question its authority, and to think for themselves. The majority’s moral power makes individuals internally ashamed to contradict it, which in effect silences them, and this silencing culminates in a cessation of thinking. We see this happen almost daily: to stand against the majority is to ruin yourself.

We need to take Tocqueville’s warnings seriously. America requires statesmanship and intelligent guidance to fight off any threat that diminishes our freedom.

Do you think individuals’ voices have been weakened and isolated by despotic majorities?

Why President Obama Is Willing to Put the Military’s Paychecks At Risk

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President Obama, who favors increasing both defense and non-defense spending, has said he plans to veto the National Defense Authorization Act, which increases only defense spending.

Heritage expert Justin Johnson explains why his veto would cause a partial shutdown of the Department of Defense and compromise the livelihoods of those who serve in our military.

If President Obama vetoes the defense appropriations bill, there is a very real chance that service members could miss a paycheck. Any service members who worked during a shutdown would be entitled to back pay, but they wouldn’t receive that pay until the president signed a new defense appropriations bill.

The bottom line? A veto of either defense bill would put the paychecks of service members at risk. If the president wants to ensure that our men and women in uniform can pay their bills on time, he should not threaten to veto bills that ensure they get paid on time. The defense budget should not be used as political leverage to increase non-defense spending.

Do you think President Obama has compromised our military?

Bad Deals With Iran and Cuba Empower Oppressive Regimes

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The Obama administration’s foreign policy will be known for propping up Iran and Cuba, two of the most oppressive regimes in the world.

Heritage expert Mike Gonzalez explains how deals with these countries allow state-sponsored terrorism and violence to continue:

The [Iranian] regime may soon reap $300 billion to $400 billion in sanctions relief from the Vienna nuclear deal which is the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism. Tehran will likely use much of that money to support such proxy groups as Hezbollah, Hamas and a Syrian regime that has massacred over 320,000 of its own people in four years. Cuba’s human rights violations get even less attention.

Do you think America’s foreign policy is on the right track?

How Medicaid Is Failing the Poor

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Medicaid was created 50 years ago to provide health care for low-income Americans. Today, the program has expanded to the point where it may not even be able to take care of the people it was designed to help. Under Obamacare, a program that was only meant to be a safety net has become a catchall program that covers able-bodied adults.

Heritage expert Nina Owcharenko explains how Medicaid can be reformed to help instead of hurt vulnerable individuals:

Medicaid reform should not be another excuse to create a lifetime of dependence, but to support independence. Reform should assist those who are able to shift to a competitive private health insurance market, where coverage is more affordable and thus the need for assistance diminishes. For the disabled and elderly, reform should be more accountable to the patients by giving them greater choice and allowing for more patient-centered options.

Medicaid should be reformed not only to protect taxpayers from runaway spending, but to ensure it does not drift further from its core mission of helping the neediest Americans.

Do you think that the government needs to reform Medicaid?

7 Reasons Why Planned Parenthood Should Not Get Government Money

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Even with the public outcry against Planned Parenthood, there is opposition in Congress to ending the organization’s federal funding. Some lawmakers are insisting they need more facts before acting.

Heritage expert Sarah Torre gives all the facts Congress needs to know about Planned Parenthood.

  1. Planned Parenthood has become a billion-dollar organization on the backs of taxpayers. They earned $128 million in revenue with over $1.4 billion in net assets last year. In the same year, federal and state governments gave them over $528 million to fund their lucrative programs.
  2. Planned Parenthood performs one in three abortions in the U.S. They reported performing 327,653 abortions last year. Former employees have even made allegations that there are mandatory “abortion quotas” each affiliate must meet.
  3. Planned Parenthood emphasizes abortions instead of preventative care. They made only 1,880 adoption referrals and just 18,684 prenatal services last year. Even cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood have decreased 50 percent since 2004.
  4. Planned Parenthood has been accused of financial fraud with taxpayer dollars. In 2013, an affiliate payed a settlement of over $4 million to Texas for Medicaid fraud. Similar investigations revealed over $8 million in possible fraud across nine states.
  5. Planned Parenthood fights laws that protect women and children. They have opposed legislation that would protect infants born alive after failed abortions and tried to derail an anti-human trafficking bill because the legislation included a longstanding and widely-supported policy against taxpayer funding of abortion.
  6. Planned Parenthood stands accused of jeopardizing the health and safety of women and girls. They have been accused by pro-life advocacy groups of abetting the sex trafficking of minor girls and at least four affiliates have been similarly accused of neglecting the health and safety of patients.
  7. Women can receive wider range of care at other centers. In addition to roughly 1,200 federally qualified health clinics there are over 2,000 pregnancy centers that provide medical testing, prenatal care, ultrasounds and child-birth classes, among other services to women facing unplanned pregnancies.

Policymakers looking to put limited taxpayer funds to more efficient and effective use should redirect those dollars to centers and clinics that can provide more comprehensive care for women and which don’t provide abortions.

Do you think the government should be funding Planned Parenthood?

Here Are Five Steps that Will Revive America’s Missile Defenses

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Under the Obama administration, America’s conventional armed forces have grown weaker. So have our strategic forces, including our nuclear capability and our defenses against missile attack.

Since it is apparent that President Obama will not step up our missile defenses, Heritage expert Jim Carafano explains what steps the next president will need to take to restore Americas strategic defenses:

  1. Abandon arms control treaties that benefit our adversaries without improving our national security. Weakness invites aggression, and continuing with unilateral nuclear reductions only encourages our adversaries to ramp up their own nuclear programs.
  2. Fund, develop, and deploy a multi-layered ballistic missile defense system. Strong presidential leadership can and should get our missile defense program back on track. War gaming exercises have shown that missile defense is the most effective deterrent to attack in a world where more and more nations become nuclear powers.
  3. Modernize Nuclear Weapons and Delivery Platforms. Years of misguided policies, underfunding and neglect have taken a toll. Our nuclear weapons and their delivery systems are old and in danger of becoming outdated.  The next president will have to articulate the urgency with which we must modernize our nuclear force.
  4. Dump the policy of Mutually Assured Destruction. We need multi-layered missile defense — including space-based interceptors — to protect our civilians, our forward-deployed troops, and our allies from both salvo launches and long-range missile attacks. Iran, Russia, and China have openly threatened to attack us.
  5. Rebuild relationships with allies. Alliances are not automatic or self-sustaining. Mr. Obama has spent more time negotiating with our adversaries than on building partnerships with our most trusted allies. The next president will need to re-engage with our allies on nuclear weapon policy, especially regarding U.S. treaty withdrawals, modernization and deployment.

In an increasingly dangerous and more uncertain environment, the next president will need a new nuclear playbook. They will need to reestablish international confidence in the U.S. as a global leader able to prevent and deter a nuclear war.

What qualities are your looking for in the next commander in chief?

Is the Government Prepared for a National Disaster?

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The United States is unprepared to respond to major natural disasters in part because of the federal role in disaster preparedness, according to a panel of experts who spoke this week at The Heritage Foundation.

“There is a moral hazard where the federal government continues to spend more and more money on preparing for disasters and the states rely on them instead of equipping themselves,” said Daniel Kaniewski of George Washington University. “Very few states set aside money to prepare for disasters.

The experts gave three recommendations to improve disaster response:

  1. Increase state responsibility for local disasters so the federal government can concentrate on being equipped for major national disasters.
  2. Educate the public on how to be prepared. The federal government or state agencies will never be able to respond immediately to disasters. It is vital that individuals know how to be prepared for a disaster.
  3. Integrate planning between local governments, federal agencies, and private organizations to coordinate responses to disasters.

Do you think that local governments should have a bigger role in disaster response?

When Terrorism Goes Viral, How Does America Respond?

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America is losing the fight against terrorism on both the home and international fronts, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) said Wednesday at The Heritage Foundation.

ISIS and al Qaeda have created an enormous internet platform that generates momentum behind their extremist views, he said. Every day, there are more than 200,000 pro-ISIS messages posted on Twitter alone. They are spreading their messages at broadband speed, while America is fighting them at bureaucratic speed.

“If you try to bring terror to our shores, we will bring justice to yours,” McCaul, the chairman of The House Committee on Homeland Security, told a packed audience at Heritage.

Do you think the government should be doing more to protect Americans from extremists?

What We Are Reading At Heritage

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Ryan Anderson’s new book, Truth Overruled: The Future of Marriage and Religious Freedom, is a road map for understanding the marriage debate and how to reestablish truth in our society. In response to the Supreme Court’s decision on same-sex marriage, Anderson gives a practical and philosophic explanation of what marriage is, why it matters for government policy, and the consequences of its legal redefinition.

Anderson explains why Americans needs to be engaged in the marriage debate now more than ever.

We must now bear witness to the truth of marriage with more resolve and skill than ever before. We must now find ways to rebuild a marriage culture. The first step will be protecting our right to live in accordance with the truth.

Attacks on religious liberty have already begun. To engage in the national debate on marriage, it is vital to be equipped with the right information.

If you would like to read Ryan Anderson’s book, you can buy it online here.

Do you believe it is important to continue the marriage debate?

President Obama Needs to Enforce International Agreements, Not Just Cut Deals

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In 2013, the Obama administration declared a diplomatic victory. They struck an agreement with Syria under which the regime would destroy its chemical weapons permanently and completely. But today, reports that show Syria never honored the deal, and we’ve done nothing about it.

Turing a blind eye to these violations indicates to Iran and our allies that they cannot rely on the Obama administration to enforce agreements in the future.

Heritage expert Jim Philips explains why it is important that President Obama enforce their agreement with Syria:

The Obama Administration cannot afford to continue turning a blind eye to the Assad regime’s use of chlorine gas and other chemical weapons against its own people.  Such ostrich-like behavior amounts to an abject abandonment of President Obama’s “red line” against Syria’s use of chemical weapons. Worse, it emboldens Assad to step up his use of those illegal weapons.

Continued inaction also would send a dangerous signal to Iran: that the United States has no appetite for confronting and punishing Tehran should it decide to violate terms of the pending nuclear agreement.

A firm stance against Syrian chemical warfare violations would reassure nervous allies, such as Israel, and show Iran that any violations of a nuclear deal will be vigorously monitored and enforced.

Do you think the Obama administration is doing its best to protect America’s international interests?

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