Civitas Review

Why Huckabee Focuses on Culture


Some politicians say conservatives should back away from hot-button social issues, but Thursday night Mike Huckabee made a case that social issues are central to successful conservatism.

At a town hall event, and in an interview, he stressed that culture was vital for the success of a democracy. He noted that his new book is about culture, not politics, and that is why.

The former Arkansas governor put it this way: If everyone followed the Golden Rule, we wouldn’t need much government. If everyone treated others as they themselves wish to be treated, no one would steal, or abuse others, or even be unkind. We wouldn’t need police or most government agencies.

But when others rob or cheat us, or even play their stereos too loud at night or don’t mow their lawns, the rest of us naturally want the civic authority to step in. That's how government grows.

That’s at the heart of his critique of the coarsening of American culture. He’s not just being the old guy lamenting it’s not the old days. He’s saying that when our culture is strong and healthy, we don’t need government as much.

But as our culture frays, our public life grows worse and we grow worse. We hurt others, and we are no longer able to take care of ourselves. Our society needs more government help and we demand it. As culture decays, government expands.

That’s why conservatives are concerned about culture. Freedom depends on people being able to monitor their own behavior.

Or look at abortion. Huckabee said that abortion undermines equality because it says that one class of human beings, the unborn, has no rights. And why not? Because the unborn would burden others? What about others who burden us – the elderly, the disabled or others? Do they have no rights? The logic of abortion leads to a crucial undermining of our founding doctrine that all men are created equal, and are created with unalienable rights.

Some Republicans say abortion is a distraction. Huckabee’s position, if I understand it, is that the abortion issue is a key element of the equality that underlies our democracy.

In any case, the key point is that in this view, all these social issues are not sideshows, but are essential to a successful, fair and equal democracy.

Is Mike Huckabee Running?


Mike Huckabee (right) with Civitas President Francis De Luca.

Mike Huckabee (right) with Civitas President Francis De Luca.

Our Town Hall with former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee last night in Charlotte provided some insights on why he is looking seriously at a White House run.

First, though he hasn't officially declared, in an interview he made it plain he is serious about a presidential bid. As he said, why would he quit a lucrative job as a Fox News commentator if he weren't seriously planning to seek the office?

At least one commentator says he is just trying sell books. But that makes no sense. If he just wanted to sell books, he would've kept the television gig. That's a lot easier than traveling by bus all over making speeches. Logic says it's the other way around: He wrote the book to bolster a presidential run.

For all practical purposes, he is on the campaign trail. Unless there is a big obstacle, he says, he will formally announce later this year. And, just looking at the logic of the race, there may not be many big obstacles to keep him (or others) out of the race, maybe even until the convention in 2016.

As to what that means, more a bit later.

New EPA Rules to Cost NC Tens of Thousands of Jobs


A new study by the Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University, and published by the Civitas Institute, examines the potential impact new EPA rules would have on North Carolina. The main findings of the study include:

  • EPA rules will cost the North Carolina economy a total of $1.7 billion between 2015 and 2030.
  • The state’s economy will lose 32,120 jobs by 2030.
  • Real disposable income would fall by $3.5 billion per year by 2030.
  • Electricity bills for residential ratepayers will increase by about $355 per year by 2030, and for industrial ratepayers by nearly $52,000 per year.

Because the EPA rules would be especially onerous on coal-fired power plants, the impacts will be felt more sharply in NC because it receives a higher share of its energy from coal than most states. Click here to read the study.

National School Choice Week


January 25-31 is National School Choice Week!

This year over 11,000 events are planned to show your support for school choice.  What’s going on in your area ?    The National School Choice Week web site has a handy feature that allows you to search for events by zip code.   Cool.

So What's going on in the Raleigh area?

Tomorrow the John Locke Foundation is  hosting a National School Choice Breakfast Event at the Raleigh City Club  (28th floor of the Wells Fargo Building) beginning at 7:30 a.m.   The event  includes guest speakers as well as a showing of the school choice film,  The Ticket.

If you can't make tomorrow's breakfast, don't worry. There are hundreds of other events in North Carolina and thousands of events nationally where you can stand up for school choice!

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