Independent Women's Forum RSS feedhttp://www.iwf.orgThe RSS feed for the IWF. News/Commentary, Blog posts and publications(...)IWF RSS a Conservative Fourth of July <p> We asked some contributors and friends of NR how they will be celebrating July 4. Here are their replies: &nbsp;</p> <p> RYAN T. ANDERSON</p> <p> I&rsquo;m celebrating my freedom to tell the truth, and working to protect that freedom for future generations.</p> <p> &mdash; Ryan T. Anderson is the William E. Simon Senior Research Fellow in American Principles and Public Policy at The Heritage Foundation and author of the forthcoming book Truth Overruled: The Future of Marriage and Religious Freedom.</p> <p> COLLEEN CARROLL CAMPBELL</p> <p> I&rsquo;m grateful for my faith, my family and my religious freedom. I&rsquo;m also mindful that freedom is under fire. Given the impending fallout from Obergefell v. Hodges and the escalating harassment of those who defend man-woman marriage, oppose taxpayer-funded abortion or insist that our God-given sexual identity still matters, I&rsquo;m no longer sure that robust religious liberty in the U.S. will last my lifetime, much less my children&rsquo;s. What I do know is this: I&rsquo;m called to stand up and speak out while I can. I&rsquo;m called to raise countercultural children who will defend their faith and freedoms long after I&rsquo;m gone. And I&rsquo;m called to stake my confidence for the future on the interior liberty that is a gift from God to every human person &ndash; a gift no government mandate or Supreme Court ruling can rescind.</p> <p> &mdash; Colleen Carroll Campbell is an award-winning author, journalist, and former presidential speechwriter whose latest book is My Sisters the Saints: A Spiritual Memoir (Random House, 2012). She serves as a lay consultant on religious liberty to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and lives near Washington, D.C., with her husband and four children. &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;PAT CASTLE</p> <p> As for me and my family and friends, we celebrate those who sacrificed and fought the good fight for us to be free. Freedom isn&rsquo;t free. If America remains tethered to God, freedom will prevail for all, born and unborn. Forward, forward, always forward!</p> <p> &mdash; Pat Castle is president and co-founder of Intro LIFE Runners. &nbsp;</p> <p> JAY COST</p> <p> Freedom is usually thought to mean the absence of restraint, particularly from the state. But it is more than that. A free government not only respects my natural rights &mdash; to speech, conscience, due process, etc. It also does not rule arbitrarily. Its legitimacy is derived from the people, and it exercises sovereignty on behalf of the people. These principles were very much at stake in 1776. The English had preserved their version of these ideals in the Glorious Revolution, but Parliament&rsquo;s capricious rule over America posed a new threat. The Revolution was the ultimate vindication of free government. It is worth celebrating the Founders, not only for their courage and tenacity in fighting the British, but also their moderation and ingenuity. This was the critical moment in modern history, so thank God we had men like Franklin and Washington, rather than Robespierre and Napoleon, to lead us.</p> <p> &mdash; Jay Cost is a staff writer for The Weekly Standard. His new book is A Republic No More: Big Government and the Rise of American Political Corruption. &nbsp;</p> <p> LEE EDWARDS</p> <p> This Independence Day I am celebrating the resolute response of so many Americans to the most recent unconstitutional decisions of the &ldquo;Supreme&rdquo; Court, declaring that this is not the end but the beginning of a battle to rescue the world&rsquo;s best health care system and preserve biblical marriage as the linchpin of our society.</p> <p> &mdash; Lee Edwards is Distinguished Fellow in Conservative Thought at the B. Kenneth Simon Center for Principles &amp; Politics Institute for Family, Community, and Opportunity at The Heritage Foundation. &nbsp;</p> <p> MATT FRANCK</p> <p> I celebrate what&rsquo;s left of that freedom after the parallel attacks on it of the Obama administration and the Supreme Court. What I resolve is to work for restoration of what we have lately lost of this. Our fathers bought it for us, and it is not our place to throw it away.</p> <p> &mdash; Matthew J. Franck is director of the William E. and Carol G. Simon Center on Religion and the Constitution at the Witherspoon Institute. &nbsp;</p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><strong><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">JULIE GUNLOCK</span></span></strong></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><strong><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">This weekend, we&rsquo;ll spend time as a family, enjoying each other&rsquo;s company and giving thanks to a nation that encourages innovation and gives women amazing opportunities and true independence.</span></span></strong></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><strong><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&mdash; Julie Gunlock is a Senior Fellow at the Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum. &nbsp;</span></span></strong></span></p> <p> KEVIN HASSETT</p> <p> The fireworks this weekend will sound the starting pistol of the 2016 election season. The hope and possibility of change that lifts the hearts of conservatives is proof of the wisdom of the founders&rsquo; design. No matter how olympian a president and a party may be, the opposition is lurking in the gallery, holding him accountable when he fails to halt the rise of the oceans.</p> <p> &mdash; Kevin A. Hassett is the State Farm James Q. Wilson Chair in American Politics and Culture at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). &nbsp;</p> <p> PETE HEGSETH</p> <p> My family and I will be celebrating our precious freedom, and those who defend it. My kids will learn the story of our great country, because too many Americans don&rsquo;t fully grasp the bold step&mdash;and long odds&mdash;that our Founders undertook in establishing the American experiment. They were exceptional men, with an audacious&mdash;yet clear eyed&mdash;vision of human freedom. The odds were stacked against them, militarily and historically; yet, their constitutional Republic has stood for nearly 239 years. America is the land of the free because of the brave, and we must remember that.</p> <p> &mdash; Pete Hegseth is the CEO of Concerned Veterans for America and a Fox News contributor. &nbsp;</p> <p> HEATHER RICHARDSON HIGGINS</p> <p> This July 4th I shall be at Newark Airport, picking up my 15 year old as he returns from a language immersion program. The airport will be full of people taking advantage of not only the freedom to travel where they want, but to come to this country, attracted by the freedoms to fulfill their own potential, to practice their faith, to be treated with dignity, that they lack elsewhere.</p> <p> &mdash; Heather Richardson Higgins is president and CEO of Independent Women&rsquo;s Voice. &nbsp;</p> <p> DOUGLAS HOLTZ-EAKIN</p> <p> I am celebrating my U.S. &ldquo;Gladiator&rdquo; moment, namely: &ldquo;There once was a dream that was the United States.&rdquo; We may have taken some steps backward, but the dream of being the brightest beacon of freedom that mankind has ever known is still within our reach.</p> <p> &mdash; Douglas Holtz-Eakin is president of the American Action Forum. &nbsp;</p> <p> GARY JANSEN</p> <p> I&rsquo;m attending a wedding, which is an important reminder that independence isn&rsquo;t about being solitary, but is a joining together with another &mdash; whether it&rsquo;s a spouse or a family or a community &mdash; for the sake of something bigger than ourselves. Our country gained its independence not because of the actions of an independent individual, but through the collective actions and decisions of many who had a definite, higher purpose. To celebrate is to pray, so my prayer for this day is for all of us to discover our chief aim in life and move boldly and together in its direction.</p> <p> &mdash; Gary Jansen is a senior editor at the Crown Publishing Group of Penguin Random House. &nbsp;</p> <p> JENNIFER KACZOR</p> <p> In 1988 I traveled to East Germany with a group of college students. Our living conditions were uncomfortable, the food was horrible (shriveled plums, hard, dry meats, boiled eggs), and the pollution was appalling. But the worst thing (even for a self-absorbed young adult) was the oppression of the East German students. In my na&iuml;vet&eacute;, I expressed my enthusiasm for their studies. They were not enthusiastic. Almost none of the students were studying what they wanted to study. An aptitude test had been administered, and they were assigned disciplines. With students of my own now, I am deeply grateful for a government that allows children innumerable second chances (IEPs, GEDs, community colleges), and that supports creativity, initiative, and drive. We are (excepting abortion) a merciful country that allows its citizens second chances. My family needs them. I am celebrating them.</p> <p> &mdash; Jennifer Kaczor is co-author of The Seven Big Myths about Marriage. &nbsp;</p> <p> PAUL KENGOR</p> <p> I&rsquo;ll address what freedom is and is not, starting with what it isn&rsquo;t. It isn&rsquo;t Justice Anthony Kennedy&rsquo;s definition, which he rendered in the 1992 Supreme Court case Planned Parenthood v. Casey: &ldquo;At the heart of liberty,&rdquo; proclaimed Kennedy, &ldquo;is the right to define one&rsquo;s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.&rdquo; That isn&rsquo;t the Founders&rsquo; understanding of freedom, nor is it a conservative understanding. The Founders&rsquo; understanding was grounded in what Jefferson and the Continental Congress aptly described as &ldquo;the Laws of Nature and of Nature&rsquo;s God.&rdquo; They knew that a country whose conception of liberty was rudderless, totally relativistic, totally individualistic, with no roots in certain time-tested traditions and absolutes or Judeo-Christian ethics, was doomed. The Founders understood that freedom requires faith, virtue, self-restraint. George Washington urged citizens to govern themselves before they could govern their nation. Similarly, Russell Kirk spoke of &ldquo;ordered liberty.&rdquo; Kirk talked of the need for &ldquo;inner order&rdquo; before citizens could successfully govern through &ldquo;outer order.&rdquo; This is, obviously, completely contrary to the modern conception of &ldquo;freedom&rdquo; by Anthony Kennedy and our court&rsquo;s liberal justices. They believe that liberty is the right to define one&rsquo;s own meanings of everything from marriage to life to literally meaning itself. Secular progressives this weekend will be celebrating this New America made in their own image, but I will not. I will be lamenting this nation&rsquo;s loss of a roper understanding of freedom and even what it once meant to be an American.</p> <p> &mdash; Paul Kengor is professor of political science at Grove City College and author, most recently, of Takedown: From Communists to Progressives, How the Left Has Sabotaged Family and Marriage. &nbsp;</p> <p> JENNIFER LAHL</p> <p> I&rsquo;ll be running a 5K with several members of my family and then enjoying a nice backyard BBQ with friends and family!</p> <p> &mdash; Jennifer Lahl is president of the Center for Bioethics and Culture. &nbsp;</p> <p> SHEILA LIAUGMINAS</p> <p> The more the world opens up borders and barriers, giving global reach to individuals on many continents to access goods and information and communication, the more apparent our interconnectedness has become, and therefore our shared humanity. Pope Francis wisely calls us to our duty and opportunity to encounter people enslaved and endangered on the existential peripheries, and help free them from suffering. The freedom to speak out, spread awareness, and call people together to serve the true, good, and beautiful is a gift and blessing. To do so in my faith, family and work is a celebration.</p> <p> &mdash; Sheila Liaugminas is host and managing editor of A Closer Look on Relevant Radio and the author of Non-Negotiable: Essential Principles of a Just Society and Humane Culture. &nbsp;</p> <p> REGGIE LITTLEJOHN</p> <p> My husband and I have taken two refugees from China into our family. Their father, Zhang Lin, is in prison for his pro-democracy advocacy. His daughter, Anni, was kidnapped out of her elementary school and detained because of her father&rsquo;s activism. We are celebrating that the United States is a land in which Anni can wake up in the morning, go to school, and live a normal life, without fear.</p> <p> &mdash; Reggie Littlejohn is president of Women without Frontiers. &nbsp;</p> <p> JEANNE MANCINI</p> <p> I am celebrating my faith and my marriage! My relationship with God through the Catholic faith is my deepest treasure. I&rsquo;m spoiled to be able to receive the sacraments with some frequency &mdash; Mass almost every day, reconciliation frequently, etc. This is an invaluable blessing, especially when I consider how Christians are being martyred around the world for their faith daily. I am also profoundly grateful in moments of cultural crisis to be able to turn with confidence to the Church that unwaveringly speaks the truth and is the first expert in humanity. And, as a newlywed I continue to celebrate the sacrament of matrimony every day!!</p> <p> &mdash; Jeanne Mancini is president of the March for Life. &nbsp;</p> <p> HARVEY MANSFIELD</p> <p> Since the Fourth of July is not an ordinary day like other days, I will celebrate with a glass or two of champagne prepared in the wineries of our oldest and sometimes most irritating ally, France. And the event to be celebrated is not independence from our best ally and closest kin, Great Britain, but rather for the principles of self-government we learned from them and improved. As free citizens we are friends to others as well as among ourselves. Philosophers don&rsquo;t get drunk, but these are truths one can drink to.</p> <p> &mdash; Harvey Mansfield is professor of government at Harvard University. &nbsp;</p> <p> JOHN MCLAUGHLIN</p> <p> This July 4th I hope to be celebrating my return home to my family after spending time with friends and colleagues in Israel who share our values. It&rsquo;s very sad and scary that our friends there are surrounded by radicals who would like nothing more than to see their freedom and society destroyed on their way to destroying our freedom and society. We should celebrate those Americans in our military abroad and our police forces at home who keep us secure from the barbarism that is spreading in too many parts of the world today.</p> <p> &mdash; John McLaughlin is a Republican strategist and a partner in the national polling firm McLaughlin &amp; Associates. &nbsp;</p> <p> ERIC METAXAS</p> <p> This Independence Day I&rsquo;m celebrating the hard-won freedom that in 1776 the Founders and Framers and Sons of Liberty wrested from the tyrannous British Empire of King George III &mdash; and I&rsquo;m celebrating all those who in the years since have worked and sacrificed and fought and died to &ldquo;keep the republic&rdquo; that Franklin and all those other men created in Independence Hall in 1787.</p> <p> &mdash; Eric Metaxas is the New York Times bestselling author of Bonhoeffer and host of the nationally syndicated Eric Metaxas Show. &nbsp;</p> <p> GEORGE H. NASH</p> <p> Independence Day this year reminds me of words by a remarkable American, Herbert Hoover. He lived and worked in many lands, as an engineer and then as a humanitarian, before he became president. The experience gave him a unique perspective on our country. Here is what he said on his 74th birthday, in the summer of 1948: I have seen the squalor of Asia, the frozen class barriers of Europe. And I was not a tourist.&nbsp;.&nbsp;.&nbsp;.&nbsp;I had to deal with their social systems and their governments. And outstanding everywhere to these great masses of people there was a hallowed word &mdash; America. To them, it was the hope of the world. My every frequent homecoming has been a reaffirmation of the glory of America. Each time my soul was washed by the relief from grinding poverty of other nations, by the greater kindliness and frankness which comes from acceptance of equality and belief in wide-open opportunity to all who want a chance. It is more than that. It is a land of self-respect born alone of free men and women.&nbsp;.&nbsp;.&nbsp;.&nbsp; The meaning of our word &ldquo;America&rdquo; flows from one pure source. Within the soul of America is the freedom of mind and spirit in man. Here alone are the open windows through which pours the sunlight of the human spirit. Here alone is human dignity not a dream, but an accomplishment.&nbsp;.&nbsp;.&nbsp;.&nbsp; At the time our ancestors were proclaiming that the Creator had endowed all mankind with rights of freedom as the children of God, with a free will, there was being proclaimed by Hegel, and later by Karl Marx, a satanic philosophy of agnosticism and that the rights of man came from the State. The greatness of America today comes from one philosophy, the despair of Europe from the other. Words to ponder as we celebrate the Fourth of July.</p> <p> &mdash; George H. Nash is author of The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America since 1945 and several volumes about Herbert Hoover, among other books. &nbsp;</p> <p> MICHAEL NOVAK</p> <p> As Federalist 1 put it: They were testing (we are still testing) whether for the first time in history a nation can be formed, not by force or by chance, but by reflection and deliberate choice. Full reflection and deliberate choice, that is what American freedom means. If I may then put forward what my reflective inquiry and deliberate personal choice tell me &mdash; this is also what the best human love means: Reflection and choice that leads with the full reflection and deliberate choice of two persons to commit their lives to each other for all time and forever, and for the purpose of completing full human love, presiding over the complete flourishing of their offspring, and adding to the sustainable growth of the human race. All this for the sake of the full human community. And may I also add: With full respect for the quite different reflections and choices by others. A whole Union of mutual respect for others, and liberty and justice for all.</p> <p> &mdash; Michael Novak is author of Writing from Left to Right and blogs at Coming Down to Earth. &nbsp;</p> <p> MARVIN OLASKY</p> <p> I&rsquo;m celebrating that we live in a country where churches can still freely proclaim the Gospel, and that tens of thousands of Bible-based volunteers continue to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the prisoners, care for widows and orphans, and teach about God &mdash; even though a pandemic of pandering pundits disparages them for clinging to purportedly outmoded values and beliefs. These volunteers put into action what Paul wrote: &ldquo;You were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.&rdquo;</p> <p> &mdash; Marvin Olasky is editor-in-chief of World. &nbsp;</p> <p> JOHN J. PITNEY</p> <p> This Independence Day, we should celebrate the people who risk their lives for that independence. We should always remember the men and women of the armed services, but should also keep in mind another group. There are 113 stars on the wall in the lobby of the CIA&rsquo;s headquarters. They represent people who died in the line of duty, some of whose names have to remain secret. We should celebrate these heroes, too, including those whose names we&rsquo;ll never know.</p> <p> &mdash; John J. Pitney, Jr. is Roy P. Crocker Professor of American Politics at Claremont McKenna College. &nbsp;</p> <p> KAREN SWALLOW PRIOR</p> <p> This Independence Day, I am celebrating the great blessing it is to live in a land where we are free to live according to the dictates of reason and conscience, in cooperation with and in responsibility toward my fellow citizens. We are a diverse and pluralistic nation, and that is its strength and beauty. It has not been and is not so for many. I am grateful indeed.</p> <p> &mdash; Karen Swallow Prior is professor of English and modern languages at Liberty University. &nbsp;</p> <p> JAMES SCHALL</p> <p> I am not &ldquo;celebrating&rdquo; this Fourth of July. The standards and principles on which this nation was founded have been undermined at the most basic level, that of human life and its origins, by the very instruments of government our Founders designed to prevent a tyranny stemming from its own constituted branches. What I do celebrate is the Socratic principle on which our civilization itself was founded, namely, &ldquo;That it is never right to do wrong.&rdquo; An order to which our minds are directed does exist in things, including human things. This fact remains true to celebrate on any Fourth of July in any land, not just our own.</p> <p> &mdash; James V. Schall, S.J., is professor emeritus at Georgetown University. &nbsp;</p> <p> AMITY SHLAES</p> <p> I celebrate Independence Day with Calvin Coolidge at his birthplace, the tiny village of Plymouth Notch, Vt. As many NR readers may know, CC was actually born on July 4. In the morning, the Notch will host a naturalization of new citizens. Later, there is a parade to the president&rsquo;s grave. Jenny Harville, Coolidge&rsquo;s great granddaughter, will sing the national anthem this year. In the afternoon, Jenny and Coolidge impersonator Jim Cooke gather with others in Coolidge&rsquo;s church to read the Coolidge autobiography aloud in its entirety. If you drive up, or over, you may even be able to sit in the Coolidge pew (left side). Last year NR editor Rich Lowry graced us and spoke on Coolidge and Lincoln. Join us this year and read a line or two yourself. Email if you are interested. The words from the autobiography that resonate most regard Coolidge&rsquo;s decision not to run for president again in 1928. &ldquo;It is difficult for me in high office to avoid the malady of self-delusion,&rdquo; explained &ldquo;30.&rdquo; &ldquo;The chances of having wise and faithful public service are increased by a change in the presidential office after a moderate length of time.&rdquo;</p> <p> &mdash; Amity Shlaes chairs the board of the Calvin Coolidge Presidential Foundation and serves as presidential scholar at King&rsquo;s College. &nbsp;</p> <p> THE REV. ROBERT A. SIRICO</p> <p> This Independence Day is more contemplative than celebratory for me. There are many things to ponder as we see, in various ways, the foundation of civilization and ordered liberty itself being eroded on so many fronts and in such a short period of time. It is a time to think, to speak with trusted friends and, of course, to pray to the Author of Liberty.</p> <p> &mdash; Father Robert A. Sirico is president and co-founder of the Acton Institute and the author, most recently, of Defending the Free Market: The Moral Case for a Free Economy. &nbsp;</p> <p> BRAD SMITH</p> <p> On this and every Independence Day &mdash; indeed every day &mdash; I celebrate the remarkable blessing of having been born an American. I celebrate those who have come to the United States to partake in the blessings of freedom for over 200 years. I celebrate the rule of law, tattered as it has become. And this year, I celebrate our nation&rsquo;s past, in the hope that the spirit of liberty built in that past will withstand this current era of intolerance, fear, and petty, suffocating, bureaucracy.</p> <p> &mdash; Bradley A. Smith is Josiah H. Blackmore II/Shirley M. Nault Professor of Law at Capital University Law School. &nbsp;</p> <p> SAMUEL STALEY</p> <p> I am celebrating that fact I live in a nation that still, for the most part, respects my right to self-determination and self-actualization, professionally and personally. I am celebrating my ability to move freely within a vast and diverse nation, express my opinions without the hindrance of government oversight, and see my children choose where to work, live, and play. I am celebrating the wonders of living in a nation that still values innovation and dynamism, allowing me to connect, establish, and reestablish connections with family, friends, and colleagues on a global scale.</p> <p> &mdash; Samuel R. Staley is director of the DeVoe L. Moore Center at Florida State University. &nbsp;</p> <p> CAROL TOBIAS</p> <p> As we celebrate the birth of our nation, the right-to-life movement can also celebrate the continued decline in the number of abortions that we are seeing nationwide. We rejoice that a majority of Americans still reject Roe v. Wade&rsquo;s doctrine of abortion on demand for any reason. And we celebrate the millions of lives that have been saved as a result of pro-life policies and laws over the past 40 years. There&rsquo;s still much to be done, but we know that we&rsquo;re moving our country in the right direction, and we look forward to the day when we can celebrate Independence Day knowing that the most vulnerable members of our society are protected by our laws.</p> <p> &mdash; Carol Tobias is president of the National Right to Life Committee. &nbsp;</p> <p> TEVI TROY</p> <p> At a time when freedom is either diminishing or being threatened around the world, July 4th is a reminder that we in the U.S. still have our freedom. This includes the freedom to worship as we see fit. As this year, July 4th is on a Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath, I will spend Independence Day 2015/5775 praying, reading, and visiting with family. I will also raise a glass in memory of my mentor and friend Ben Wattenberg, who died this week. Ben&rsquo;s love of America knew no bounds, and I&rsquo;m sorry that he didn&rsquo;t get to see one more July 4th, his favorite day of the year.</p> <p> &mdash; Tevi Troy is president of American Health Policy Institute and the author of What Jefferson Read, Ike Watched, and Obama Tweeted: 200 Years of Popular Culture in the White House. &nbsp;</p> <p> GRACE-MARIE TURNER</p> <p> In America, we have exercised our freedom to completely foul up our health sector with massive government intrusion. But the lessons learned also can motivate us to get back on the right track toward free markets, with free competition and freedom of choice. The American people are learning for themselves that we can&rsquo;t provide free health care and health insurance to millions of people without costs and adverse consequences. If a freedom-loving, conservative candidate prevails in the 2016 election, we will be able to restore the precious freedom to make our own choices about the most important and personal of decisions &mdash; our health.</p> <p> &mdash; Grace-Marie Turner is president of the Galen Institute. &nbsp;</p> <p> HANS VON SPAKOVSKY</p> <p> On July 4, I always feel a profound sense of gratitude that I got the chance to be an American. My parents immigrated here in 1951, having survived some of the worst horrors and atrocities of the 20th century, from the Russian Revolution to World War II. So my family got a new start in this great democracy, a bastion of liberty and opportunity. Yet recent events remind me that we have a host of external and internal enemies who hate this country and want to see it destroyed. Fortunately, my patriotic batteries always get recharged on July 4th and I for one don&rsquo;t intend to stand by and watch them pull us down without a fight.</p> <p> &mdash; Hans von Spakovsky is manager of the Election Law Reform Initiative and Senior Legal Fellow at The Heritage Foundation. &nbsp;</p> <p> MICHAEL WALSH</p> <p> There&rsquo;s no real grilling tradition here in Erin, so I&rsquo;ll be having a pint in my local and celebrating what used to be, and what might and should be again. If political independence was worth fighting for once, isn&rsquo;t both political and personal independence worth fighting for again?</p> <p> &mdash; Michael Walsh is author of the upcoming The Devil&rsquo;s Pleasure Palace: The Cult of Critical Theory and the Subversion of America. &nbsp;</p> <p> BENJAMIN WEINTHAL</p> <p> I am in Berlin, Germany. Independence Day carries the weight of America&rsquo;s role in defeating Stalinism and Soviet Communism in continental Europe. With the disturbing rise of mainstreaming unfree countries such as Communist Cuba and Iran, I&rsquo;m celebrating an America that, traditionally speaking, pursued democratization and free markets in closed societies. In short, Independence Day is about advancing American security and interests in the wider world.</p> <p> &mdash; Benjamin Weinthal is fellow for the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. &nbsp;</p> <p> THOMAS JOSEPH WHITE</p> <p> Freedom has its root in our desire for happiness. It is the amazing capacity we have to seek the truth concerning what is genuinely good for ourselves and others, to distinguish it from what is harmful or evil, and to pursue what will make us happy with wisdom and effectiveness. Freedom is what allows us to love other persons, and to be loved by them, to love the truth above all things, and to broach the mystery of God, with both genuine questioning and joyful reverence. A healthy state is a state where authentic freedom is nourished and supported, in view of the search for happiness, truth, virtuous love, and the encounter with the sacred. &mdash; Thomas Joseph White is a Dominican priest who lives and teaches at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C.</p> GunlockSat, 4 Jul 2015 08:07:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumSchool Dress Codes: Tool of the Patriarchy?<p> An <a href=";wpmm=1">opinion piece in the <em>Washington Post</em></a> co-authored by a concerned mother and her oppressed daughter is filled with the sort of dramatic language that makes one cringe. The hot topic they&rsquo;re covering is how dress codes at schools are hindering self-expression. Like nude cover girl and derri&egrave;re fetishist Kim Kardashian&rsquo;s recent announcement that <a href="">she&rsquo;ll be giving a lecture on the objectification of women</a>, these ladies seem a bit confused about the true meaning of women&rsquo;s rights and what oppression really looks like.</p> <p> Chronicling the hardship of finding clothes that fit within the school dress code, the ladies write (now is a good time to grab a tissue):</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> She slides the shorts low on her waist and hunches up her shoulders to make her arms shorter. What she was demonstrating for me was how she and her female friends had developed tactics to evade and resist the dress code at their school. She is one of the millions of girls across the U.S. who have to figure out to express their sense of self through their clothes while coping with oppressive rules about what they allowed to wear to school.</p> <p> In addition to being a showpiece of the type of first world problems only a wealthy, white woman would understand, this op-ed misses the far broader and more important issue related to schools limiting self expression. There are good reasons for dress codes that infringe on a student&rsquo;s &ldquo;right&rdquo; to show too much flesh; far more troubling is that today it is de rigueur for schools to set limits on true expression, through speech codes.</p> <p> Consider how universities are now <a href="">limiting speech that can &ldquo;trigger&rdquo; bad feelings</a>, how Condoleezza Rice was <a href="">disinvited to be the commencement speaker at Rutgers University</a> because of her statements on the Iraq war, and Brandeis University&rsquo;s appalling treatment of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, herself a victim of genital mutilation, <a href="">which reneged on its offer to award her an honorary degree</a> because of her criticism of Islam. Radical feminists at <a href="">Georgetown University and Oberlin University tried in vain to cancel a lecture</a> by scholar Christina Hoff Sommers then proceeded to accuse her of engaging in hate speech for discussing the term &ldquo;rape culture.&rdquo;</p> <p> These are examples of shutting down free expression worthy of an opinion piece in the <em>Washington Post</em>.</p> <p> Yet, writers Charlotte Canning and Frances Schwentker think sending a young girl home from prom for wearing &ldquo;too revealing&rdquo; and &ldquo;too low cut&rdquo; dresses amounts to oppression and suggest gender intolerance is what motivates these harsh dress codes. They write, &ldquo;While the occasional young man is cited for a dress code violation, the focus of these codes fall overwhelmingly on young women&rdquo; and claim prom season is when these confrontations about dress codes really increase.</p> <p> Now, I could be wrong&mdash;I don&rsquo;t have a teenage daughter so my experience with such things is a bit dated (when I went to prom, I wore a dress that would today be mistaken for a North Face parka)&mdash;but today it seems young girls try to imitate what they see young Hollywood stars wear on the red carpet. Yet, when it comes to prom attire for young men, boys seem less inclined to deviate from the standard black tie formula of a (usually rented) tux or suit and a bow tie. Those scrotum-revealing pants popular in Iceland just haven&rsquo;t caught on . . . yet. But when they do, will Canning and Schwentker rush to the defense of the boys wearing them?</p> <p> Probably not. Canning and Schwentker don&rsquo;t think revealing clothing choices have anything to do with it. Instead, they claim isolating women for these dress codes are the result of society holding &ldquo;Dark Ages views of women as lusty temptresses distracting the men around them.&rdquo;</p> <p> Well, okay, maybe, except for the fact that in the Dark Ages, these bizarre notions about women&rsquo;s sexual power were largely based on the belief in magic and witchcraft. I agree that in 850 A.D., a woman strutting around town half naked might have gotten into some hot water (literally, she might have been boiled alive), yet having codes of conduct and asking young women to view school as a place to learn not a nightclub is hardly medieval torture.</p> <p> The delusional accusations of victimhood and gender bias continue with Canning and Schwentker claiming that:</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> &ldquo;The justification for [these dress codes] is so it doesn&rsquo;t distract people from learning. Obviously, they mean boys. So, according to school systems nationwide, girls should be taken out of class, or sent home, and miss learning, so that boys can focus. My daughter is getting the message loud and clear that her education is secondary to that of boys, and that her body exists solely as a sexual object.&rdquo;</p> <p> This paragraph reveals the writers&rsquo; dishonesty on the subject. There&rsquo;s an easy way for her daughter to avoid being denied her school time: Dress appropriately so you don&rsquo;t get sent home.</p> <p> And Canning ought to consider what&rsquo;s really behind her daughter&rsquo;s desire to violate the school dress code. Is Canning really going to deny that girls want to look provocative and feel sexy?</p> <p> Of course that&rsquo;s what&rsquo;s behind the impulse. And there is nothing wrong with that. It&rsquo;s quite normal for teenagers to rebel, test limits, and experiment with styles so that they look more adult.</p> <p> If a teenage girl&rsquo;s desire to look more grown up is reasonable, it&rsquo;s also reasonable for schools to set limits and expect parents (that&rsquo;s you, Canning) to guide kids to behave appropriately in certain settings. It&rsquo;s called manners and being a civilized human being. At one time (probably back in the Dark Ages), parents saw teaching these concepts to their offspring as a duty.</p> <p> If Canning really wanted to help her daughter, she would provide her with some simple guidance on when it&rsquo;s appropriate to dress sexy. Here&rsquo;s a guide for Canning&mdash;school and church: No. When you&rsquo;re 21 and at a nightclub: Yes.</p> <p> Canning and her daughter claim the school is just looking out for the boys, but it&rsquo;s a legitimate issue for schools to consider. The reality is that high-school aged boys are likely to be distracted by girls who dress in sexy clothing. They should be in an environment that is conducive to learning, and that right is more important than any purported right to wear a half-shirt.</p> <p> Something tells me Canning and Schwentker don&rsquo;t really care about what&rsquo;s fair to boys. After all, hormones are just another part of the patriarchy, sister!</p> GunlockMon, 29 Jun 2015 12:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumJessica Alba's Dis-"Honest Company" + More Banned Products • Cam & Company GunlockThu, 25 Jun 2015 07:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumThe Overpraised Child: Yearbook Edition<p> When did it become normal to pay to have an advertisement placed in the back of your kid&rsquo;s elementary school yearbook? That&rsquo;s right, I said elementary school. More importantly, when did elementary school yearbooks become a thing? When I was in elementary school, you simply received a single-page photo sheet with thumbnail pictures of your classmates along with your own individual and most likely awkward picture that you would spend the rest of your life trying to hide.</p> <p> Oh, how times have changed!</p> <p> Today, it&rsquo;s common for elementary schools to produce 40-plus page yearbooks documenting every class event, field trip, and school production. And parents are given space in the back to praise their little scholars.</p> <p> Leafing through the yearbook my son brought home last week, I was flabbergasted at the notes and pictures submitted by parents. First Graders had ads! And so did a few Kindergarteners! What has this age group done but color butterflies, trace letters and numbers, play tag on the playground, make a mess, and talk loudly all day?</p> <p> These are the types of things that make me wonder, &ldquo;Am I the only one who thinks this is weird?&rdquo; Perhaps it&rsquo;s my Midwestern upbringing or the fact that I was raised by people who didn&rsquo;t do a whole lot of superfluous praising, but the whole practice of lauding 6-year olds for showing up to class (because mom or dad drove them to school after yelling at them to get up and get dressed) is a little over the top for me.</p> <p> Some ads made some sense. For instance, several commemorated a child&rsquo;s last year at the elementary school before moving on to the much bigger middle school. Others were generous in recognizing particular teachers who helped their child or made their child&rsquo;s time at the school special. But most ads were filled with the sort of praise usually reserved for actual accomplishments&mdash;like college graduation, receiving some sort of prize or award, or winning a competition; not the rather banal action of going from second to third grade. One set of parents even used the ad to promote their child&rsquo;s YouTube channel. Groan.</p> <p> Is this over-the-top coddling why older folks sometimes find it difficult to work with some from the millennial generation? It&rsquo;s certainly part of the problem. After all, imagine how disappointing employment is if, after meeting the basic requirements of the job, you don&rsquo;t get a full page ad in the local paper praising you for doing what you were hired to do?</p> <p> The school my kids attend is 28 percent Hispanic&mdash;14 percentage points higher than the state average. Yet, looking at the back pages of my kids&rsquo; school yearbook, one would think no children of Hispanic origin attend school. Obviously, there are reasons for this. The Hispanic children who are bussed into our neighborhood school generally come from families who don&rsquo;t have the petty cash to spend on these silly notes. Yearbook ads are clearly a practice of white, middle and upper middle class parents&mdash;an outgrowth of the helicopter parenting trend, where parents with too few children and too much time hover over their children ready to intervene and protect them from all of life&rsquo;s terrifying realities.</p> <p> Like helicopter parenting, overpraising kids for average tasks seems as likely to backfire as to help kids succeed. Just as helicopter parenting leaves kids incapable of making judgments for themselves, fearful, and far too dependent on Mom or Dad to face the harsh world, yearbook ads tell kids they can expect to be lavished with rewards just for doing what&rsquo;s expected of them. That&rsquo;s not how real life works.</p> <p> I understand that parents are proud and happy to see their kids do well. But perhaps the best way to recognize a child&rsquo;s pretty average milestones is to buy them a celebratory ice cream cone, pat them on the back, tell them they did a good job, and then send them outside to play for the summer.</p> GunlockWed, 24 Jun 2015 15:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumIn other trans News . . . Fats Are Now Banned • Cam & Co GunlockTue, 23 Jun 2015 15:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumAlarmism About Herbal Supplements<p> As I&rsquo;ve written many times before, the growing popularity of alternative medicine concerns me because I think most people who use these alternatives reject modern medicine and the many life-saving treatments doctors proscribe. The acceptance of alt medicine often goes hand in hand the complete rejection of modern medicine (see this horrifying case as an example), the anti-vaccination movement, belief in &ldquo;essential oils&rdquo; as treatments for serious diseases, and other ludicrous theories on health and healing.</p> <p> Yet, I&rsquo;m also concerned about knee jerk alarmism about some alternative remedies. I think too often, people who defend science and traditional medicine can be dismissive of treatments that can <em>augment</em> (not preplace) pharmaceuticals and more traditional treatments.</p> <p> For instance, consider recent reaction to an herbal supplement Kratom, which is marketed as a pain reliever. Typically it&rsquo;s used by people who want relief from pain but who don&rsquo;t want to use narcotics or traditional pain relievers like Tylenol and Advil. I have no idea if this stuff works but I do know that the placebo effect&mdash;where those given sugar pills are told they&rsquo;re getting an active medication and report feeling better&mdash;is real and gives some people the psychological reaction that they&rsquo;re pain is subsiding. The mind is extremely powerful so I see no harm in people believing an herbal remedy has helped.</p> <p> Of course, alarmists are freaking out because this herbal medication can be found in small-sized drinks (similar to 5-Hour Energy drinks) at convenience stores and is marketed as a &ldquo;feel good&rdquo; shot, which, according to some that have complained about the product, could attract young children.&nbsp;</p> <p> This is where the alarmists lose me. I simply don&rsquo;t understand why people don&rsquo;t see it as a parent&rsquo;s responsibility to keep their kids from drinking things that aren&rsquo;t good for them instead of the 16-year old dude behind the counter at the drug store. There are many things sold at the convenience store I&rsquo;d rather my kids not consume. Candy and soda and high-fat snacks, cigarettes, wine, beer, Lysol, bleach, Slurpee&rsquo;s, Maxim magazine. But you know what? I know it&rsquo;s my job to tell them &ldquo;hands off!&rdquo; not the guy making seven bucks an hour behind the counter.</p> <p> Naturally, certain state legislatures think I&rsquo;m an idiot who can&rsquo;t control my kids, so there&rsquo;s a <a href="">movement afoot to ban these herbal supplements</a>.</p> <p> At some point, it sure would be nice if elected officials would remember what they&rsquo;re elected to do: Keep criminals off the street, be good stewards of taxpayer dollars, and leave adults and parents the hell alone to make decisions for themselves and their families.</p> GunlockTue, 23 Jun 2015 11:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumPolicy Focus: Unhealthy Consequences of Government Nutrition Initiatives<p> Government is increasingly meddling in American food manufacturing and consumption. Many accept these measures as harmless: what&rsquo;s the matter with government nudging people to eat healthier?</p> <p> Here is the problem: these initiatives come at a high cost in terms of higher food prices, in wasted tax dollars, and even&mdash;ironically&mdash;to our health. Taxes on specific products have been shown to fail, as people substitute equally unhealthy choices for those subject to the tax. Menu labeling requirements and marketing restrictions also fail to change consumer behavior, but increase costs and can drive small food providers out of business. Efforts to label &ldquo;organic&rdquo; products create the false sense that&nbsp;these items are somehow healthier, when all scientific evidence shows no health difference between organic and conventionally grown (or genetically modified) products. This can distract from the real need to make better food choices (more proteins and vegetables) regardless of how they are produced.</p> <p> Government dietary guidance on salt, meat, and carbohydrates has been unreliable at best, and could have contributed to our growing obesity problem. Government feeding programs based on this guidance result&nbsp;in tremendous waste and could be leading to worse nutrition for many students.</p> <p> Government should get out of the diet business. Their efforts have destroyed jobs, discouraged innovation, and lead to higher prices, all without yielding any recognizable health benefits. Americans should be trusted to decide what to eat on their own.</p> <p> <u><em><a href="">Click here to continue reading this 6-page policy focus in PDF.&nbsp;</a></em></u></p> GunlockFri, 19 Jun 2015 08:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumTrans fats ban & Jessica Alba's "Honest Company" isn't so honest • Garrison Pt. 2 GunlockThu, 18 Jun 2015 08:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumTrans fats ban & Jessica Alba's "Honest Company" isn't so honest • Garrison Pt. 1 GunlockThu, 18 Jun 2015 08:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumThe ‘toxic’ lies behind Jessica Alba’s booming baby business<p> Actress Jessica Alba, co-founder of the ironically named &ldquo;The Honest Company,&rdquo; recently declared, &ldquo;One billion feels like a small number.&rdquo; Alba was referring to her companies&rsquo; profits, made not by being honest with consumers but by spreading lies about her competitors.</p> <p> The Honest Company sells a variety of organic and eco-friendly baby and personal-care products, such as diapers, baby wipes, sunscreen, soap, face wash, shampoo and toothpaste.</p> <p> Yet the company&rsquo;s main commodity is fear &mdash; and a false promise that its products are better and much safer for you and your child than those sold by other companies.</p> <p> It&rsquo;s a marketing strategy that clearly works.</p> <p> Alba often boasts that she really cares about her customers and implies those other guys &mdash; her competition &mdash; do not.</p> <p> Relaying the story of why she started her company, Alba told ABC news that after doing research, she &ldquo;found that there are a lot of toxic chemicals in everyday products, and I was more horrified to find that there are more toxic chemicals in baby products.&rdquo;</p> <p> Is this true? Are there toxic chemicals in baby products?</p> <p> Of course there are, and for good reason.</p> <p> For example, baby-product companies that compete with Alba regularly add fragrances to their diapers.</p> <p> The Honest Company &mdash; which produces fragrance-free diapers &mdash; suggests on its Web site that a conspiracy designed &ldquo;to disguise the toxic stink of those unpronounceable VOCs [volatile organic compounds]&rdquo; is the real reason the competition uses fragrances.</p> <p> The Web site further suggests that these fragrances are &ldquo;made up of hundreds of other chemicals and may contain everything from allergens and carcinogens to hormone-disrupting phthalates.&rdquo;</p> <p> Reasonable people know that fragrance is added to diapers to cover up another toxic stink &mdash; the one coming out of your baby &mdash; but claiming there&rsquo;s a conspiracy afoot to harm kids is the far better marketing strategy for Alba&rsquo;s &ldquo;honest&rdquo; company.</p> <p> Sure, chemicals can be toxic &mdash; if consumed in certain amounts. (Heck, water is dangerous in high doses! And it&rsquo;s easy to get nervous when looking at some products&rsquo; ingredient lists.</p> <p> Long, multi-syllabic words that are hard to pronounce and even harder to understand don&rsquo;t exactly instill confidence in protective parents.</p> <p> Still, chemicals in products &mdash; including those fragrances used in diapers &mdash; are used in trace amounts, often improve the safety of those products and have undergone hundreds of safety tests.</p> <p> Alba probably won&rsquo;t mention this, but even her Honest Company products contain chemicals.</p> <p> For instance, her diapers are plant-based, gluten-free (in case your gluten-sensitive kid wants to snack on them, I suppose) and are made of an &ldquo;absorbent core with fluff pulp harvested from certified sustainably managed forests.&rdquo;</p> <p> But they also contain sodium polyacrylatepolyolefin, Polymer Spandex, Polyolefin, and Polyurethane.</p> <p> Her dish soap contains cocamidopropyl betain, phenoxyethenol, and methylisothiazolinone. Her facial wipes contain polysorbate 20.</p> <p> To be sure, each of these chemicals is completely safe &mdash; just as safe as the regulated chemicals used by her competitors.</p> <p> Alba stokes a kind of chemphobia, repeating a standard line used by radical environmentalists that &ldquo;there are 80,000 chemicals in consumer products &mdash; chemicals that frankly haven&rsquo;t been tested.&rdquo;</p> <p> Nothing could be further from the truth. And here&rsquo;s where Alba&rsquo;s misinformation campaign kicks into high gear.</p> <p> Chemicals are regulated under nearly a dozen federal agencies and regulations.</p> <p> The Environmental Protection Agency continuously reviews the safety of chemicals and requires chemical manufacturers to provide the agency with all available health and safety data as part of the approval process required before manufacturers can use a chemical in their products.</p> <p> Alba certainly is a savvy businesswoman. She recognized that many people &mdash; particularly women &mdash; have been convinced that common chemicals are a bogeyman that lurks, waiting to harm them, in every bar of soap and baby product they see.</p> <p> So Alba started a company selling overpriced goods to nervous people with money to spare.</p> <p> But her marketing tactics are below-the-belt: She tells the world that she&rsquo;s the only one who can be trusted, implying the rest are out to harm, maim, poison and kill.</p> <p> The &ldquo;Honest&rdquo; Company thrives on alarmism, and a false promise of safer, healthier products at a high price.</p> <p> It&rsquo;s a strategy that makes some people rich and many more riddled with anxiety.</p> <p> We can salute her for her marketplace success, but we shouldn&rsquo;t let her get away with pretending that she&rsquo;s saving the world.</p> <p> <em>Julie Gunlock writes for the Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum.</em></p> GunlockThu, 18 Jun 2015 07:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumIn Other Trans News . . . Fats Are Now Banned <p> Transfats have been on the FDA&rsquo;s radar for years. Yesterday, the agency finally dropped the proverbial meat mallet, telling food manufacturers that partially hydrogenated oils (also called transfats) are no longer considered &ldquo;generally recognized as safe.&rdquo; In other words, transfats are banned in the United States, and food companies have only three years to completely phase out their use. Naturally, this is all being done to save lives and reduce medical costs.</p> <p> No one disputes that transfats are unhealthy. Yet that doesn&rsquo;t mean that this ban makes sense. While some manufacturers will have to make changes to comply with the ban, most products will remain as is. That&rsquo;s because, in the last decade, food makers have been voluntarily removing transfats from products. As a result &mdash; and also because consumers have learned that transfats are unhealthy &mdash; transfats in the American diet have declined precipitously. According to the CDC, since 2003, Americans&rsquo; transfat consumption has fallen by about 80 percent, to roughly 1 gram per day.</p> <p> Given this natural decline, many are scratching their heads about this move by the FDA. Why suddenly ban transfats when food companies are already eliminating their use?</p> <p> Perhaps its because our government nannies can&rsquo;t bear that Americans are making healthy decisions on their own. They want to be able to take credit for ridding the world of transfats before they go extinct.</p> <p> Naturally, the FDA&rsquo;s announcement of the transfat ban was filled with over-the-top rhetoric. HHS Secretary Margaret Hamburg had already stated in an FDA press release from November 2013 that the ban &ldquo;could prevent an additional 20,000 heart attacks and 7,000 deaths from heart disease each year.&rdquo; Yesterday, CDC commissioner Thomas Frieden &mdash; who prior to his appointment at the CDC served as Mayor Michael Bloomberg&rsquo;s health commissioner and helped institute New York City&rsquo;s transfat ban &mdash; expressed his delight at the national ban, tweeting: &ldquo;I applaud @US_FDA action to remove artificial transfats in processed foods; expected to prevent thousands of heart attacks every year.&rdquo;</p> <p> While certainly transfats are bad for you, there&rsquo;s little to suggest that small amounts of transfats are dangerous or that eliminating them will save lives by reducing heart disease. That&rsquo;s because many factors besides transfat consumption contribute to cardiovascular disease: smoking, alcohol use, weight, gender, genes, and other lifestyle choices. The occasional indulgence in an unhealthy treat that includes transfats is unlikely the behavior that puts someone over the top and into cardiac arrest.</p> <p> And how are Americans still getting their 1 daily gram of transfats? Products such as sprinkles, cake frosting, doughnuts and other pastries, microwave popcorn, and some convenience foods like frozen pizzas, and pancake and pie-crust mixes sometimes still contain small amounts of transfats. Do you detect a pattern here? These are all foods that everyone knows should be eaten in moderation.</p> <p> So how much more &ldquo;healthy&rdquo; will these products be when they have zero transfats? Not much. And interestingly, replacements for transfats are proving problematic. The food industry hasn&rsquo;t yet found a replacement for transfats in every product, but many manufacturers have started replacing unhealthy but environmentally friendly transfats with almost equally unhealthy and less environmentally friendly palm oil. Palm oil comes primarily from Malaysia and Indonesia, two countries environmentalists bemoan for the crime of deforestation and endangering the habitat of orangutans. Palm oil is also extremely high in saturated fat, which people should limit in their diet, according to the latest medical advice. Ironically, people may end up with a diet that&rsquo;s less healthy after the transfats ban &mdash; if they believe that transfat-free cake frosting and doughnuts are now okay to eat.</p> <p> We&rsquo;ve seen how such government guidance has backfired before. Note that government largely created the demand for transfats by warning of the dangers of butter and other animal-derived fats. And now the government is reversing course to push transfats out of the picture.</p> <p> Wouldn&rsquo;t it be better if the government just stayed out of the business of trying to tell people how to eat and stopped issuing bans on the ingredients food manufactures use to make their products?</p> <p> Yesterday, Cato&rsquo;s Walter Olson reacted to the transfat ban by warning that food activists see this as a test case for further bans of such embattled food ingredients as salt, sugar, and caffeine. This may seem farfetched to some, but don&rsquo;t forget, just like transfats are bad in large quantities, so are salt, sugar, and caffeine. Why not ban these ingredients, too?</p> <p> Think of the lives saved, the millions saved in medical costs.</p> <p> <em>Julie Gunlock writes about food for the Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum.</em></p> GunlockWed, 17 Jun 2015 15:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumObama Administration banning trans fats • Vicki McKenna GunlockTue, 16 Jun 2015 14:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumConservatives say Obama's plan to ban trans fats limits American freedom<p> Conservative groups have offered stark warnings of an infringement on personal liberty, after the <a href="">Obama administration</a> implemented its ban on trans fats.</p> <p> The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) said the restriction on trans fats &ndash; a staple of doughnuts, sprinkles and popcorn &ndash; could prevent 20,000 heart attacks and 7,000 deaths a year. The White House <a href="">has described </a>the ban, to be implemented by 2018, as a &ldquo;massive win for public health&rdquo;. <a href="">The Center for Science in the Public Interest supports</a> the ban. Many doctors support it too.</p> <p> But not everyone is happy.</p> <p> &ldquo;It&rsquo;s certainly counter to the idea of American liberty and freedom,&rdquo; said Daren Bakst, from the <a href="">Heritage Foundation</a>, a conservative thinktank.</p> <p> &ldquo;It&rsquo;s an overreach by the agency. The public will be extremely concerned.&rdquo;</p> <p> Between 2003 and 2013, the average daily consumption of trans fats, or partially hydrogenated oils, decreased by 78%, from 4.6g to 1g per person. Bakst said that decline showed that the ban was unnecessary.</p> <p> &ldquo;The industry has reduced the amount of trans fat in food products and the consumers are eating far less trans fat,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;The question is: why in the world are they trying to address this now when it&rsquo;s already voluntarily going down?</p> <p> &ldquo;It&rsquo;s not just problematic when it comes to partially hydrogenated oils. It&rsquo;s also problematic because it sets a dangerous precedent when it comes to other potential ingredients they could start trying to regulate.&rdquo;</p> <p> Trans fats are used in processed foods to prolong shelf life while adding texture and flavour. But they are considered worse than even saturated fats &ndash; themselves the bane of arteries everywhere &ndash; as a major contributor to heart disease.</p> <p> <strong><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&ldquo;I just don&rsquo;t know where it stops. There&rsquo;s a lot of bad things out there that people shouldn&rsquo;t be eating,&rdquo; said Julie Gunlock, a senior fellow at the </span></span><a href=""><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum</span></span></a><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">, a conservative personal liberty thinktank.</span></span></span></strong></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><strong><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&ldquo;The government should be educating people, giving out grants to scientists. That&rsquo;s as far as I want to see the government going.&rdquo;</span></span></strong></span></p> <p> <strong><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Trans fats are known for their use in such American staples as sprinkles and various types of doughnuts. They are also present in dishes served at large chain restaurants, including Chili&rsquo;s and Red Lobster. In May, </span></span><a href=""><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Yahoo listed</span></span></a><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;"> the worst-offending products in terms of trans fat contents. Pop Secret buttered popcorn, Olive Garden&rsquo;s Sicilian cheesecake and Steak &rsquo;n Shake&rsquo;s sausage gravy and biscuits featured prominently.</span></span></span></strong></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><strong><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&ldquo;These trans fats do still exist, they are incredibly unhealthy. But this is moving from telling us and educating us to making the decision for us,&rdquo; Gunlock said. &ldquo;With freedom comes the freedom to make bad decisions.&rdquo;</span></span></strong></span></p> <p> Kentucky senator Rand Paul, who is running for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, <a href=";cck=1">wrote</a> to the FDA in March expressing his own discomfort. Paul, a qualified ophthalmologist, said there are &ldquo;practical and process concerns&rdquo; with the ban.</p> <p> Jeff Stier, a senior fellow at the rightwing National Center for Public Policy Research, warned that the FDA had been infiltrated by health officials from the administration of former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg. While mayor, Bloomberg banned trans fats from restaurants and smoking in public areas, and famously <a href="">attempted to ban</a> large-sized sodas.</p> <p> &ldquo;It is no surprise to see Bloomberg-style nanny-state policies in the Obama administration,&rdquo; Stier said. &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t think the entire country wants Bloombergian policy.&rdquo;</p> <p> Stier said the ban on trans fats could set in motion a series of restrictions on foods that might be seen as unhealthy.</p> <p> &ldquo;It&rsquo;s precedent-setting,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;I&rsquo;ve got a whole list of ingredients that could be next. Sugar can be attributed to lots of deaths. Is sugar generally recognised as safe? Maybe we should only allow minute amounts of sugar.&rdquo;</p> GunlockTue, 16 Jun 2015 10:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumGender neutral graduation: Md school makes grad robes unisex • Fox&Friends GunlockWed, 10 Jun 2015 08:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumNanny state doesn't apply to Obama • Cam & Co GunlockTue, 9 Jun 2015 11:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's Forum