Facts–and People–Are Stubborn

Ronald Reagan once said, “Facts are stubborn things.” And he is right. Sometimes, the truth becomes almost impossible to ignore. I think we are seeing that now in the national debates over climate change and health care.

Yet, even more stubborn than facts are people. I tell the interns at my office when I meet with them that it is a person’s worldview, more than the facts that they are presented with, that usually shape their opinions on issues. Because the worldview is used to filter facts, keeping ones they like and discarding the ones that upset their view of the world. So we can’t always expect facts to carry the day. At least in the short run.

With this introduction, here are a few quotes that show the impact of worldviews on the U.S. at the moment:

“War in general would stop if we didn’t have weapons. Violence in our streets would stop if we didn’t have weapons.” – Code Pink protester, demonstrating against a Marine recruiting office in Berkley, California.

“The yearning for peace is universal … The people of the world can live their lives, raise their families, and resolve their differences peacefully. [We must] reassert our resolve to end conflicts around the world. We must stop the spread of nuclear weapons, and seek the goal of a world without them.” President Barrack Obama

“We are content and happy if Obama can stay forever as the president of the United States.” – Libyan President Moammar Khadafy

“When Obama said this “For those who question the character and cause of my nation”. . . I sort of expected him to follow up with something like, look at the Declaration of Independence, the Gettysburg address, this nation’s contribution to winning WWI, WWII, the Cold War, etc. Instead, he said this: “I ask you to look at the concrete actions we have taken in just nine months.” He really imagines himself — to borrow the title of Allen Guelzo’s fine Lincoln biography — the redeemer president. … Obama’s mistake is in believing ‘the interests of nations and peoples are shared.’ They aren’t. Georgia has an interest in becoming a strong nation capable of defending itself; Russia has an interest in quashing it. China has an interest in dominating all of East Asia; Japan and other neighbors have an interest in containing it.” – Rich Lowry

Plano Lowers the Cost of Living

It is not often that governments voluntarily reduces fees or taxes. So when one does, it is worth taking a closer look.

Last month, Plano voted to eliminate impact fees on developers building new homes and businesses. The fees were charged based on the size of the water meter for the project, and typically ran from $1,000 to $2,000 for a typical home, but could go as high as $95,000 for the largest meters. The money was then used to build additional infrastructure for the city. But as new construction has slowed in Plano, the city is looking for ways to make it less expensive for people to live in.

Taken by themselves, impact fees could be seen as a user fee, which is one of the better ways for governments to raise money. Use a service, pay a fee. That is what makes toll roads so appealing from a market perspective. But user fees are only good if used instead of general taxation, replacing the tax revenue rather than supplementing it.

I don’t know which route Plano took, but the good news now is at least its city council members acknowledge the fact that fees and taxes make living their more expensive—not for the developers, but for the people who live there and ultimately have to bear these costs.

Quote of the Day

So long as men accepted the basic affirmations of religion — that there is a God of all people with whom each individual has a personal relationship — our liberties were basically secure. Whenever there was a breach in them, we possessed a principle by which we could discover and repair the breach. But when there ceases to be a constant recurrence to fundamental principles, our political freedom is placed in jeopardy. Political liberty is not self-sustained; it rests upon a religious base. – Edmund A. Opitz

Marxism Isn’t Enough

William F. Buckley Jr.’s first book, God and Man at Yale, examined the anti-Christian and anti-capitalist mindset which, even in 1951, was pervasive among the Yale University faculty. The book caused quite a bit of controversy—not because it wasn’t true, but because the radical liberals/socialists/communists in American academia and other institutions (the press, government, etc.) were not prepared to be exposed in a country that was so traditionally-minded.

Today, we’ve come to a place where the radicals no longer mind being exposed. In fact, they live out in the open!

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About John

John Edward Peacock went home to his Father in heaven on April 26, 2009 after having suffered from intractable seizures for 7 months.

As you’ll see, much of this page is about our son John. You’ll find much information about him and photos. But it is really about much more than just John, or even our family.

It is about the work of Christ in our lives, in the lives of those around us, and–even more so–about the work that He has yet to do. While we are still greatly saddened by our loss of John, we are aware of many blessings that came from his life. And feel called to share them in some form or fashion with others.

So we have put together this web site with all of the entries from our original caringbridge site, and will from time to time offer more for those who care to follow along.

Bill and Kelly Peacock (and William)

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Government is Good, but has its Limits

We tend to have lots of discussions about public policy at my office—after all, that is what we do. As part of that dialogue, an intern recently asked:

Is government regulation never a good thing? Even if regulations are designed to reduce pollution or cut down on secondhand smoke in restaurants (nominally good goals, although the regulations may be flawed/designed incorrectly), is it always better to allow individuals/corporations to make their own decisions and enjoy or suffer the consequences? Or in the case of unemployment insurance or a more-limited form of welfare, is it better to make individuals responsible for themselves rather than helping them get back up on their feet? My principal exposure to these types of discussions comes from my microeconomics and public finance classes from this past year. The classes emphasized using taxes and subsidies in the case of externalities and other market failures (information asymmetry, natural monopolies, etc.), but I would like to have further discussion on these topics from other perspectives.

Here is my response:

Your questions are all very good. And all very challenging. In fact, they are at the very heart of what a conservative involved in public policy must come to grips with.

I recently mentioned that I do believe that government was given to us by God for a reason, mainly to help us live in freedom. We can’t be free if we can’t own property because someone bigger and stronger than us is always taking it away from us. Or we certainly can’t be free if we are running in fear for our lives.

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