11 months ago

What Alan Dershowitz’ shunning says about snowflake culture and intolerance for debate


Listen to the 10 min audio

Read the transcript:        

ALAN DERSHOWITZ OSTRACIZED FOR NOT CONDEMNING TRUMP

TOM LAMPRECHT:  Harry, I want to take you to an article out of Fox News. We referenced this in a program we did a few days ago. Harvard law professor emeritus, Alan Dershowitz, recently came out in an interview and said that he has been basically ostracized by what he thought were his own friends at high-end seasonal destination Martha’s Vineyard.

Dershowitz, a famed lawyer, lamented the efforts to eject him from social life at Martha’s Vineyard amid his outspoken criticism of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the alleged collusion with Russia. He said, “So they are shunning me and trying to ban me from the social life on Martha’s Vineyard.”

DR. REEDER: And, by the way, it cuts both ways: he was quite the defender in what he thought were overreaches on Clinton’s impeachment on constitutional grounds. And so now he’s being ostracized in the arena of Martha’s Vineyard, which is the gathering of the cultural elite in society.

IS THIS THE PROGRESSIVES’ NEW TACTIC OF EDGING OUT OPPOSITION?

These summer months, he finds himself not invited to the wine and cheese moments and he’s lamenting it but you can also see that he’s taking advantage of this moment to point out what is happening in this continued snowflake culture where, if someone disagrees with you, what you do is ostracize them from a conversation and you exclude them from the company that you keep.

Actually, I think he’s being excluded for another reason and that reason is one of the reasons why I wanted us to go ahead and take this on today. What we’re seeing in our society is this inability to allow the First Amendment to flourish because, whenever people have ideas, ideas are expressed in words and words and ideas have consequences, and if the words and the ideas are more persuasive or more influential than yours and you want yours to succeed, then what you do is you try to ostracize it, shout it down and you try to intimidate it.

COLLEGE CAMPUSES ARE ALSO SWITCHING FROM FREE DEBATE TO NO DEBATE

We’re watching it in our college campuses which, historically, have been a place where free speech is supposed to reign with supremacy so that people are educated in the context of debate on ideas and we see that inability to allow free speech — particularly, in the progressive agenda, the socialist agenda and in the agenda of the culturally elite — they cannot stand the debate of does gender begin at conception or does gender begin when the person declares what gender they want to be and does life begin at conception or is life only sacred if the people who are having it want it because it meets the test of what is acceptable and convenient for them.

Along with euthanasia, abortion, transgender movement, the sexual anarchy of the sexual revolution and those who embrace this secular world and life view of the sovereign self as opposed to the consistent world and life view of a sovereign God and a Creator who has so established the dignity of life, and marriage, and sexuality, and work and all of those things and the right role of government, by the way, then what you do is you get rid of the people who disagree with this new agenda.

As my daddy used to say, “You can’t stand the heat in the kitchen,” when the conversation is beyond your ability to refute, what clearly makes sense?

WHEN DID A PERSON WITH A DIFFERENT OPINION BECOME YOUR ENEMY?

TOM LAMPRECHT:  Harry, let me go a little deeper on what you’ve just said and I’ll put it in the form of a question. What has happened in the last several decades that, when we disagree with someone on a political issue, it has gone from, “Okay, I will agree to disagree,” to today, if you disagree, “You are now my enemy and I will do everything I can to destroy you” — what’s the underlying cause?

DR. REEDER: Because social secularism — the sexual revolution, the socialist agenda — really is a religious movement. It’s an issue of where people’s hearts are. When you have a world and life view, Tom, in which the only thing that’s right is what I declare is right, and now you’re confronted with a world and life view that says, “No, there are things that are objectively right and objectively wrong. There’s something that’s good and there’s something that’s not good. There’s something that’s beautiful and there’s something that’s not beautiful. There’s something that’s true and there’s something that’s not true,” and you run into that world and life view which makes sense and which is rational and influential, then this becomes a heart issue — it is the exaltation in religion of the sovereign self otherwise masquerading as secular humanism — then you have to excommunicate those ideas.

The way that you excommunicate them is you try to intimidate people into silence, you try to marginalize them, you try to shame them or you just simply ostracize them. And Dershowitz who, by the way, clearly is no evangelical Christian but he’s in trouble because he has supported Trump’s Middle East policies, he has supported most of his immigration policies and he has exposed the overreach of the FBI situation in the special counsel probe that’s going on — which, by the way, he also did in the Clinton era — but, in today’s agenda, part of its mantra is the destruction of the current president and not the criticism of his policies, simply, and debating that, but his personal destruction so now Dershowitz is seen as an enemy and, therefore, he is ostracized.

THE FLAW IN DEBATE SHOWS FLAW IN THE ARGUMENT

Tom, I think that always exposes the weakness of an argument. Whenever someone raises their voice, not expressing emotion of their commitment to their idea, but raising their voice to express an ability to emotionally and verbally oppress the other person’s idea when they resort to profanity, when they resort to tactics of intimidation and when they resort to exclusion and being ostracized, then by and large, almost 90 percent of the time, that is the revealing of either a weak mind or a weak argument.

The people who have a good mind and have a good argument relish the discussion, relish the debate because first, they have confidence in their position and, second, because the debate will help sharpen them in their position or, if necessary, change them.

DON’T BE AFRAID TO DEBATE 

Tom, every time I preach, I always pray what we call in worship “The Prayer of Illumination” that God would bless his people and overcome the inadequacies of the preacher — that’s me — which are many and would work in the lives of the hearers so they have eyes to see and ears to hear. One of those prayers that I many times pray is this: “Lord, in these moments, from your Word by your Spirit, would you affirm what we know that is right, would you correct what we think is right but is wrong and would you teach us what we need to know and teach us what is right?” Tom, I think that’s absolutely crucial in life.

OUR FOUNDERS KNEW THAT FREE SPEECH WAS THE CORNERSTONE OF OTHER FREEDOMS

By the way, the free practice of religion and free practice of speech and the free practice of assembly, those are inseparably entwined. That’s why they’re not separate amendments but they’re part of those six affirmations of the First Amendment. I think the founding fathers were absolutely wise in putting them all together — “See, they won’t let him assemble. See, they try to control his speech. ‘Unless you say my acceptable speech, then you’re not allowed in this community.’”

Well, it’s one thing for you to have an organization and you have every right to determine who’s going to be in that organization. It’s another thing when you try to exclude people because you can’t handle their arguments within a city or within a state or within a community. And that’s what he’s experiencing and that’s what we’re seeing on our college campuses — the fragility of the secular humanist position and, therefore, the boisterous and intimidating tactics of exclusion.

HOPE IN CHRIST CAN BRIDGE DIVIDES

Tom, I have something that I would like to freely say and I would like to offer it into the public square and that’s this: God made you and the way things are going now is not the way God made them. The way things are going now is the way we’ve made them. We have brought the sin that has brought the consequences but this God Who made us for what is good and beautiful and true that we have marred with our sin, has also spoken another Word and that Word is His Son, Jesus Christ — “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld His glory, the glory of the only Begotten from the Father full of grace and truth.”

I’d like to announce that freely this day because this same Savior came and went to a cross, died for our sins and will not only forgive us of the guilt of our sins but will set us free from the power of sin and will set us on a journey to grow in His grace and assassinate sin instead of assassinating others and their rights. And then you can freely speak with one another with the Good News that Jesus Christ loves sinners, changes sinners — come just as you are and you’ll never leave just as you came.

Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.

This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin, editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News, who has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and whose work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.

 

12 hours ago

Are you afraid to answer the phone?

Millions of Americans fear answering their phone due to a plague of billions of robocalls. These calls have made a mockery of the national Do Not Call Registry and touch on several public policy questions.

We had seemingly ended the problem of unwanted telemarketing calls. Congress authorized the Do Not Call Registry in 2003 after more than a decade of calls disrupting the peace and quiet of our homes. Fines of $11,000 per violation largely put telemarketing companies, with hundreds of thousands of employees, out of business.

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Why have unwanted calls returned? VOIP technology (voice over internet protocol) allowed anyone with a computer and an internet connection to make thousands of calls. A handful of responses can make thousands of calls worthwhile when the cost is almost zero. Furthermore, technology makes robocallers mobile and elusive.

By contrast, telemarketing firms employed hundreds of people at call centers. The authorities could find and fine telemarketers. Firms had to comply with the Do Not Call registry, even if forced out of business.

Technology further frustrates the control of robocalls. Spoofing makes a call appear to be from a different number. Spoofing a local number increases the chance of someone answering, defeats caller ID, and makes identifying the calls’ source difficult.

By contrast, technology allowed the elimination of spam email. It’s easy to forget that fifteen years ago spam threatened the viability of email. Email providers connected accounts to IP addresses and eventually identified and blocked spammers. Google estimates that spam is less than 0.1 percent of Gmail users’ emails.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) banned almost all robocalls in 2009 (political campaigns and schools were excepted). Yet the volume of calls and complaints from the public rise every year. And the “quality” of the solicitations is lower: legitimate businesses employed telemarketers, while most robocalls seem to be scams.

Telephone companies and entrepreneurs are deploying apps and services to block robocalls. The robocallers then respond, producing a technological arms race. The technology of this arms race, however, is beyond me.

I’d rather consider some issues robocalls raise. The root of the problem is some people’s willingness to swindle others. Although we all know there are some bad people in the world, free market economists typically emphasize the costs and consequences of government regulations over the cheats and frauds who create the public’s demand for regulation. People can disagree whether a level of fraud warrants regulation, but free marketers should not dismiss the fear of swindlers.

Robocalls also highlight the enormous inefficiency of theft. Thieves typically get 25 cents on the dollar (or less) when selling stolen goods. Getting $1,000 via theft requires stealing goods worth $4,000 or more. In addition, thieves invest time and effort planning and carrying out crimes, while we invest millions in locks, safes, burglar alarms, and police departments to protect our property. America would be much richer if we did not have to protect against thieves or robocallers.

Finally, having the government declare something illegal does not necessarily solve a problem. Our politicians like to pass a law or regulation and announce, “problem solved.” Identifying and punishing robocallers is difficult; the FTC had only brought 33 cases in nearly ten years. And less than ten percent of the over $300 million in fines and relief for consumers levied against robocallers had been collected. Government has no pixie dust which magically solves hard problems.

The difficulty of enforcing a law or regulation does not necessarily imply we should not act. The Federal Communications Commission, for instance, recently approved letting phone companies block unwanted calls by default, and perhaps this will prove effective. We should weigh the costs of laws and regulations against a realistic projection of benefits and laws failing to solve problems as promised should be revised or repealed.
Still, a law that accomplishes little can have value. Cursing robocalls accomplishes little yet can be cathartic. A law that costs little might provide us satisfaction until technology solves the problem.

Daniel Sutter is the Charles G. Koch Professor of Economics with the Manuel H. Johnson Center for Political Economy at Troy University and host of Econversations on TrojanVision. The opinions expressed in this column are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of Troy University.

13 hours ago

VIDEO: Culverhouse vs. UA, Trump and Biden battle in Iowa, the Bentley saga could be over and more on Guerrilla Politics

Radio talk show host Dale Jackson and Dr. Waymon Burke take you through this week’s biggest political stories, including:

— Why did the media get the story with Hugh Culverhouse, Jr. and Alabama so wrong?

— Is the Iowa slap-fight between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden a 2020 preview?

— Now that former ALEA head Spencer Collier has settled his case with the state over his firing, is the sordid Bentley saga over?

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Jackson and Burke are joined by State Representative Mike Ball (R-Madison) to discuss medical marijuana, the prison special session and the lottery.

Jackson closes the show with a “parting shot” that calls out Joe Biden for lying about the lack of lies and scandals in the Obama administration.

VIDEO: Culverhouse/UA, Trump and Biden battle in Iowa, the Bentley saga could be over and more on Guerrilla Politics

Posted by Yellowhammer News on Sunday, June 16, 2019

Dale Jackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a talk show from 7-11 am weekdays on WVNN.

14 hours ago

Alabama team targets international connections at SelectUSA Investment Summit

Alabama is home to a diverse lineup of international companies, and the state’s business recruiters are looking to expand those ranks.

The economic development team is in Washington D.C. at the 2019 SelectUSA Investment Summit, which starts today and is the premier foreign direct investment (FDI) event in the U.S.

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FDI is a significant part of Alabama’s economy. Last year alone, it came from 16 different countries, for a total of $4.2 billion in investment and 7,520 new and future jobs.

Since 2013, the state has attracted $12.8 billion in FDI, according to the Alabama Department of Commerce. It’s spread across a variety of sectors, including automotive, aerospace and bioscience.

“Team Alabama is looking to capitalize on a record-breaking year for FDI in the state, by continuing to build partnerships with world-class international companies looking to grow in the U.S.,” said Vince Perez, a project manager for the Alabama Department of Commerce.

SHOWCASING ALABAMA

SelectUSA is led by the U.S. Department of Commerce, and its annual summit regularly attracts top industry leaders and investors from around the globe. This year’s event is expected to draw more than 2,800 attendees from more than 70 international markets and 49 U.S. states and territories.

Participants of the past five summits have announced $103.6 billion in greenfield FDI in the U.S. within five years of attending, supporting more than 167,000 U.S. jobs.

“We are excited to have another opportunity to showcase Alabama’s vibrant business climate that’s been cultivated over the years through business-friendly policies,” Perez said.

“This year’s Investment Summit is very timely as we will be armed with the recently passed Incentives Modernization Act, which upgraded our already-strong incentive tool kit, making us more marketable than ever.”

The measure targets counties that have had slower economic growth. In particular, it expands the number of rural counties that qualify for investment and tax credit incentives. It also enhances incentives for technology companies.

Joining the Commerce Department at the SelectUSA Summit are PowerSouth, the North Alabama Industrial Development Association, the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, Alabama Power Co., and Spire.

Speakers at the summit will include key government and industry leaders who will discuss opportunities in a broad range of areas and industries, such as energy, infrastructure, agriculture and technology.

FDI supports nearly 14 million American jobs, and it is responsible for $370 billion in U.S. goods exports. The U.S. has more FDI than any other country, topping $4 trillion.

(Courtesy of Made in Alabama)

A ‘Story Worth Sharing’: Yellowhammer News and Serquest partner to award monthly grants to Alabama nonprofits

Christmas is the season of giving, helping others and finding magic moments among seemingly ordinary (and occasionally dreary) days. What better way to welcome this season than to share what Alabamians are doing to help others?

Yellowhammer News and Serquest are partnering to bring you, “A Story Worth Sharing,” a monthly award given to an Alabama based nonprofit actively making an impact through their mission. Each month, the winning organization will receive a $1,000 grant from Serquest and promotion across the Yellowhammer Multimedia platforms.

Yellowhammer and Serquest are looking for nonprofits that go above and beyond to change lives and make a difference in their communities.

Already have a nonprofit in mind to nominate? Great!

Get started here with contest guidelines and a link to submit your nomination:

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Nominations are now open and applicants only need to be nominated once. All non-winning nominations will automatically be eligible for selection in subsequent months. Monthly winners will be announced via a feature story that will be shared and promoted on Yellowhammer’s website, email and social media platforms.

Submit your nomination here.

Our organizations look forward to sharing these heartwarming and positive stories with you over the next few months as we highlight the good works of nonprofits throughout our state.

Serquest is an Alabama based software company founded by Hammond Cobb, IV of Montgomery. The organization sees itself as, “Digital road and bridge builders in the nonprofit sector to help people get where they want to go faster, life’s purpose can’t wait.”

Learn more about Serquest here.

15 hours ago

Alabama Power wins Electric Edison Institute awards for power restoration efforts following Hurricane Michael

The Edison Electric Institute (EEI) awarded Alabama Power with the EEI “Emergency Assistance Award” and the  “Emergency Recovery Award” for its outstanding power restoration efforts after Hurricane Michael hit Alabama, Georgia, and Florida in October 2018.
The Emergency Assistance Award and Emergency Recovery Award are given to EEI member companies to recognize their efforts to assist other electric companies’ power restoration efforts, and for their own extraordinary efforts to restore power to customers after service disruptions caused by severe weather conditions or other natural events. The winners are chosen by a panel of judges following an international nomination process.

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Alabama Power received the awards during the EEI 2019 annual conference.

Alabama Power’s extraordinary efforts were instrumental to restoring service for customers across Alabama, Georgia, and Florida quickly and safely,” said EEI President Tom Kuhn. “We are pleased to recognize the dedicated crews from Alabama Power for their work to restore service in hazardous conditions and to assist neighboring electric companies in their times of need.”

Hurricane Michael, the strongest storm to make landfall during the 2018 hurricane season, was a Category 5 hurricane with peak winds of 160 mph. The storm hit Mexico Beach, Fla., on October 10 before being downgraded to a tropical storm and traveling northeast through Georgia and several Mid-Atlantic states. Alabama Power sent more than 1,400 lineworkers and 700 trucks to help restore service to customers over the course of two and a half months.

Hurricane Michael also resulted in 89,438 service outages in Alabama Power’s territory. Due to their tireless work, Alabama Power’s crews restored power to 100 percent of customers within four days after the storm, dedicating more than 124-thousand hours to the recovery.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)