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


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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.

 

8 hours ago

Geneva County Commission strips funding for school resource officer program

The Geneva County Commission has placed the Geneva County School system in a bind after it pulled funds committed to the school resource officer (SRO) program.

Per a Dothan Eagle report, the county commission voted in June to give $15,000 to the SRO program this year, including an additional $60,000 next year.

After commissioners found that the budget would not balance, they realized that the promised funding for the SRO program could not be provided.

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Fred Hamic, chairman of the Geneva County Commission, sent a letter informing Superintendent Becky Birdsong of the decision and included a $15,000 check.

Birdsong said she was “disappointed,” but assured she will work hard to ensure the SRO program remains in place.

“I am disappointed, but I am still committed to doing what’s right for our students,” Birdsong told Dothan Eagle. “We don’t want parents to be concerned that this is going to make our schools less safe. I’m not saying we have the money now, but I am going to work on this and try to secure funding for this.”

Birdsong said that she is working with parents to increase security on school campuses in the schools she oversees.

@RealKyleMorris is a Yellowhammer News contributor and also contributes weekly to The Daily Caller

8 hours ago

Steve Marshall talks liberal tech bias, joins select group of national officials tackling the issue

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall on Tuesday joined a select group of state attorneys general for “a productive dialogue” led by Attorney General Jeff Sessions and other Department of Justice (DOJ) officials regarding perceived discrimination against conservatives by leading tech companies.

Per a DOJ release, “The discussion centered on ways the Department and state governments can most effectively safeguard consumers using online digital platforms. Each state attorney general’s office shared their views of the important issues for federal and state authorities to consider when addressing these evolving technologies. The discussion principally focused on consumer protection and data privacy issues, and the bipartisan group of attendees sought to identify areas of consensus.”

In a statement to Yellowhammer News, Marshall – who joined the meeting by teleconference – made it clear that there was a long way to go before reaching a consensus on how to tackle the complicated issues of tech transparency and bias, saying, “To the degree that there was any consensus, it is that we still have a lot to learn about how to best protect consumer interests in this context.”

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“Today I participated in a bipartisan meeting of several state Attorneys General, hosted by Attorney General Sessions, to discuss consumer protection concerns related to the tech industry. The conversation covered many of the same concerns raised in recent Congressional hearings,” Marshall outlined.

He continued, “I appreciated the invitation to participate and was interested to hear the perspectives of the various states represented. To the degree that there was any consensus, it is that we still have a lot to learn about how to best protect consumer interests in this context.”

The DOJ, which was represented at the meeting by Sessions, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, Principal Deputy Associate Attorney General Jesse Panuccio, Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim, Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore and other senior staff, explained, “Many shared the view that it is essential for federal and state law enforcement authorities to work together to ensure that these challenges are addressed responsibly and effectively.”

Sessions’ DOJ will review the information and insights shared by the state attorneys general and expects the constructive dialogue will continue moving forward. Marshall, in an interview earlier Tuesday morning with Talk 99.5’s Matt Murphy and Andrea Lindenberg, made it clear that he prefers a market-based solution as opposed to stifling government regulation.

“It is a field that I think we need to tread very lightly,” Marshall explained. “You look at the ability of government to regulate – I think we do the military well and everything else is a struggle. So I think we need to be very, very careful in how we tread in that regard.”

The argument from some is that social media platforms are like modern-day utilities.

“You hear it coming more from Democratic AG’s across the country … it’s why, I think, you have to be very careful, because the market itself has the ability to regulate and one of the things that we have to do from the government side is do not tread into the world of antitrust lightly,” Marshall outlined.

Alabama’s attorney general used Google as an example, saying consumers have multiple choices in search engines, free online email providers and the web browsers themselves (Safari, Chrome, Internet Explorer, Mozilla, etc.).

“It is important, however, when you do hear the stories of internally that Google may be directing people for political purposes that otherwise is not disclosed. That is concerning,” Marshall said.

For Marshall, the questions of whether these tech companies should allow their left-leaning biases to affect consumers “need to be asked, whether or not government needs to get involved in that, however, is a different story.”

Marshall summarized that his overall view is the tech services need to be held accountable to being open and honest with what they are doing and then the market can effectively take care of the rest. If consumers do not like what the services are doing, competition, not the government, should be the counterbalance.

“To the extent that there is transparency, I think it’s a good thing. Across the spectrum, whether it be private business or in government, and in this field particularly, if they are able to respond to questions about how it is that they control content and what they do, then I think we all have knowledge and then can make decisions ourselves,” he advised.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

9 hours ago

Strong like Samson, tough like Benaiah and wise like Solomon -Thomas Cox reveals his plan for himself and raising his kids

Finding the time to do everything in a day is tough, but Thomas Cox shared his secrets on “The Ford Faction.”

In this episode, Thomas Cox from Mealfit.co discussed where his parenting techniques come from and how he finds time to execute them. He breaks down the processes he does with each of his children.

First, he teaches them to be strong like Samson. He wants his kids to be strong in many ways: mentally, physically, socially and spiritually.

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Second, Thomas wants his kids to be tough like Benaiah.

He said, “Toughness is one of the biggest parts of our lives we have to get better at so we can adapt to what’s happening around us.”

Finally, you have to be wise like Solomon.

Thomas told host Ford Brown, “I think if you’re not spending a lot of your day on self-development, you are missing the boat.”

Subscribe to the Yellowhammer Radio Presents The Ford Faction podcast on iTunes or Stitcher.

Rep. Byrne: Breaking down Tax Reform 2.0

Since Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act last year, the American economy is booming, and Alabama families have more money in their pockets. By lowering taxes and simplifying the tax code, we have unlocked our economic potential and made life better for hardworking Americans.

The economic numbers speak for themselves: higher wages, lower unemployment, more jobs, bigger paychecks, employee bonuses and much more. Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the average family in Southwest Alabama will see their tax bill decrease by $2,187 a year.

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The good news is that we aren’t stopping here. This week, the House is expected to vote on additional changes and improvements to the tax code, something we are calling Tax Reform 2.0. Working with President Trump, we will continue to make the tax code even fairer and more competitive.

Tax Reform 2.0 includes three major pieces. Here’s a quick overview.

First, we want to make the tax cuts for small businesses and middle-class families permanent. Due to Democrat obstruction and arcane rules in the Senate, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was only able to lower taxes for ten years. Under Tax Reform 2.0, we will make the tax cuts permanent.

The non-partisan Tax Foundation found that making the middle-class and small business tax cuts permanent will create 1.5 million new jobs and increase gross domestic product (GDP) by 2.2%. This further expands our economy and makes life even better for families and small businesses.

Making these changes permanent, will also lock-in the simpler tax filing process. As you may remember, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act simplified the tax code to the point where many Americans are now able to complete their taxes on a postcard-style form. A Tax Foundation study shows that this will save Americans between $3.1 to $5.4 billion in compliance costs. Instead of needing an accountant to navigate the complicated code, most Americans will be able to file on their own.

Second, Tax Reform 2.0 promotes family savings and helps more Americans plan for retirement. Currently, too many Americans have been unable to save for retirement or put money aside to cover unforeseen emergencies.

We want to help small businesses provide retirement plans to their workers by allowing small businesses to join together to create a 401(k) plan more affordable and by giving employers more time to put new retirement plans in place. Just as important, we will help more workers participate in retirement plans by exempting small retirement accounts from mandatory payouts and by eliminating the age limit on IRA contributions.

We don’t stop there. Tax Reform 2.0 will create and expand additional programs to help Americans save. For example, our plan creates a new savings account to offer a fully flexible savings tool that families can use at any time right for them, expands 529 education savings accounts, and creates a new baby savings program to help with the birth of a new child or an adoption.

Finally, Tax Reform 2.0 will help grow the economy by promoting start-up businesses and spurring innovation. We do this by allowing new businesses to write off more of their initial start-up costs and by making it easier for start-ups to bring in new investors. America must lead the way on innovation.

As you can tell, Tax Reform 2.0 builds upon our efforts in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to ensure the American economy remains strong. We do that by allowing Americans to keep more of their hard-earned money in their pockets. I fundamentally believe our country is the strongest when money is with the people instead of the government.

U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne is a Republican from Fairhope.

10 hours ago

Ivey, Merrill celebrate National Voter Registration Day – ‘Easy to vote and hard to cheat’

Tuesday is recognized as National Voter Registration Day (NVRD), which Alabama Governor Kay Ivey and Secretary of State John Merrill celebrated by encouraging all of the state’s eligible voters to register.

The annual occasion is the largest single-day drive to register voters of the year. Merrill joined hundreds of different partners around the nation to observe NVRD, with Merrill specifically encouraging a “voter refresh” effort to update state voter rolls with correct information about Alabama citizens.

“Since I became Secretary of State, we have registered more than a million new voters who have helped us shatter state records for voter registration and participation in our elections,” Merrill said in a release.

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“But we also want our voter rolls to be up-to-date, so we are urging everyone to take a moment to make sure their current address is correct in the state system. We are pleased to participate in this special day that encourages more participation in our electoral process. We continue to work daily to make sure every eligible U.S. citizen in our state is registered to vote and has a photo ID. We want to make it easy to vote and hard to cheat,” Merrill continued.

NVRD, held on every fourth Thursday of September since 2012, is endorsed by the National Association of Secretaries of State and the National Association of State Election Directors. Since 2012, more than 1.4 million people around the nation have registered to vote or update their registration as part of this event alone. This year, libraries, schools and other partners will hold local voter registration drives.

Since Merrill took office, Alabama has registered 1,064,616 new voters, bringing the state’s total to 3,418,839 as of September 7. Yellowhammer State residents can update their voter registration information by downloading the “Vote for Alabama” app on a smartphone or visiting the Secretary of State website here.

“There is no freedom more integral to this Republic than the right to vote and participate in our democratic process,” Merrill emphasized. “I am so proud we are able to work with the partners involved with National Voter Registration Day to help make increased participation a reality here in the state of Alabama.”

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn