“Without religion, I believe that learning does real mischief to the morals and principles of mankind.” – Benjamin Rush

“Who could argue with the idea that, when it comes to sex education, our teenagers should be taught to say ‘no’? Considering what’s at stake (their health, their future, their dignity as human beings, their morality)- and because we love them and want what’s best for them- nothing short of a clear-cut abstinence message will do. At least, that’s how it appears out here in the Real World… Our teens deserve better than just a condom and a message to ‘be safe.’ Our children are not animals, incapable of controlling themselves. They are not hopelessly immoral creatures who are going to ‘do it anyway.’ Yet ‘comprehensive’ sex ed teaches them that they’re just that. Parents, this is a slander against our youth. It’s a lie- one that we must fight. Teaching abstinence may be hard work- and heaven knows it’s not going to win you any popularity contests. But for the sake of our teens, there’s simply no substitute. In the end, you’re the only real ‘protection’ they’ve got. So don’t let them down.” – Rebecca Hagelin

“This year, American taxpayers will spend more than $9,200 on the average public-school student. That’s a real increase of 69 percent over the per pupil expenditure in 1980. The total bill for a student who remains through high school will be almost $100,000. This spending would be worthwhile if it gave us the results we need to compete globally. But it hasn’t been doing so. American students still score poorly compared to students from other countries, especially in math and science. The National Assessment of Educational Progress shows 18 percent of fourth-graders and 29 percent of eighth-graders scored ‘below basic’ in mathematics last year. And far too many students drop out. At least 1 in 4 quits high school. Among minority children, the picture is even bleaker. In 2002, only 56 percent of black and 52 percent of Hispanic students graduated, compared to 78 percent of white students. The Census Bureau has found that a full-time employee with a college degree will earn more than $2 million over a lifetime. One with only a high-school diploma will earn half as much, while a dropout, obviously, will earn even less. More ominously, an independent study found dropouts die an average of nine years sooner than graduates. Our educational system is a national problem- but one that calls for local solutions. One approach is to provide school choice.” – Ed Feulner

“In a quest to lower my impact on the environment, I calculated our [family’s] carbon footprint if we cut our use of electricity and natural gas in half, switched our two cars for a single Toyota Prius and reduced our annual mileage by half, tripled our train travel, and never took an airplane. Furthermore, what if we became vegetarians, ate only local organic food in season, bought only second-hand clothes, furniture and appliances, never went to movies, bars or restaurants, and recycled or composted all our waste? Even then our combined carbon footprint would be 7.3 tons per year, but that would get us just below the world average of 4 tons per capita annually… The creators of Carbon Footprint claim that everyone in the world must eventually emit no more than 2 tons of carbon dioxide per year. When did Americans last emit so little carbon dioxide? Around 1870.” – Ronald Bailey

“Are you willing to spend time studying the issues, making yourself aware, and then conveying that information to family and friends? Will you resist the temptation to get a government handout for your community? Realize that the doctor’s fight against socialized medicine is your fight. We can’t socialize the doctors without socializing the patients. Recognize that government invasion of public power is eventually an assault upon your own business. If some among you fear taking a stand because you are afraid of reprisals from customers, clients, or even government, recognize that you are just feeding the crocodile hoping he’ll eat you last.” – Ronald Reagan

“The McCain [health care] plan would provide an annual tax credit of $2,500 per individual or $5,000 per family. The idea is to encourage families to buy their own health care plans- preferably plans that save consumers money when they follow healthy lifestyles and make smart economic choices. Unlike Clinton and Obama, McCain would not require that insurers cover people with chronic illnesses. Instead, McCain proposes state ‘guaranteed access plans’ for those patients. Politically, Plan McCain may be suicide. Clinton and Obama have kept to the current employer-based system- which gives workers the happy illusion of not paying for their health care, when in fact it comes out of their paychecks. Like President Bush, however, McCain has concluded that the best way to curb health care costs is to return the incentive to save to patients. Because when you know a doctor’s visit will only cost $25 and that you won’t have to pay for a test you may not need, you have no incentive to economize. That’s the problem with the status quo: The cheaper we make it look, the more it ends up costing. The way Americans look at health care has been distorted by a system that cuts costs where they are least onerous. Gone is the day when patients paid for annual medical exams and insurers picked up the tab if a family member became seriously ill. Now you don’t have to be sick to be subsidized, and workers have come to expect someone else to pick up the tab for routine care, minus a modest co-pay. Credit McCain for proposing to make the process transparent, so that people have a more personal stake in the care they receive.” – Debra Saunders

“Is the bottom falling out for Barack Obama?… The latest Fox News poll, conducted after the Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s appearance at the National Press Club, showed Obama’s favorable/unfavorables at 63 to 27 percent among Democrats, compared to Hillary Clinton’s 73 to 22 percent. Suddenly she’s not the only one with high negatives. And 36 percent of Democrats say they would be disinclined to vote for Obama because of his longtime relationship with his former pastor. There’s more bad news in The Pew Research Center poll of Democrats. Obama’s national lead among Democrats is down from 49 to 39 percent to a statistically insignificant 47 to 45 percent… Obama’s standing as a general election candidate also seems to have taken a hit. Gallup showed him tied with John McCain 45 to 45 percent before the Wright appearance and trailing 47 to 43 percent afterward; at the same time, it shows Hillary Clinton tied with McCain 46 to 46 percent… A few pundits still are saying that Obama’s choice of pastor is a distraction, an irrelevancy. But some voters, perhaps in the belief that a president’s judgment and values have important consequences, don’t agree.” – Michael Barone

“The evidence is that if every eligible voter voted, national elections would probably remain unchanged. ‘Simply put,’ political scientists Benjamin Highton and Raymond Wolfinger wrote in a 2001 article, ‘The Political Implications of Higher Turnout,’ U.S. ‘voters’ preferences differ minimally from those of all citizens; outcomes would not change if everyone voted.’ So, maybe, just maybe, we have our priorities wrong. Perhaps cheapening the vote by requiring little more than an active pulse (Chicago famously waives this rule) has turned it into something many people don’t value. Maybe the emphasis on getting more people to vote has dumbed down our democracy by pushing participation onto people uninterested in such things. Maybe our society would be healthier if politicians aimed higher than the lowest common denominator. Maybe the people who don’t know the first thing about how our system works aren’t the folks who should be driving our politics, just as people who don’t know how to drive shouldn’t have a driver’s license. Instead of making it easier to vote, maybe we should be making it harder. Why not test people on the basic functions of government? Immigrants have to pass a test to vote; why not all citizens? A voting test would point the arrow of civic engagement up instead of down, sending the signal that becoming an informed citizen is a valued accomplishment. And if that’s not a good enough reason, maybe this is: If you threaten to take the vote away from the certifiably uninformed, voter turnout will almost certainly get a boost.” – Jonah Goldberg