Speaking Truth To Power

Feb 10, 2013

….. who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”  Esther 4:14

The politically curious might wonder whether Dr. Benjamin Carson’s speech at the Annual Prayer Breakfast on February 7th in Washington (watch here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8M8aYiPZIF0 ) was an intentional trial balloon for a 2016 presidential run.  If it was, the country has its next executive team – Carson Rubio 2016.

In the end, it doesn’t matter whether it was intentional or unintentional.  What does matter is that the speech set the benchmark of courage and leadership necessary to lead the country back from the cultural and financial precipice at which it finds itself. You must watch the video, if only to see both the courage and the pain of truth spoken to power.  Dr. Carson speaks respectfully, plainly and without apology.

For reference, here are the nine principles we took away from the speech:

  1. Political correctness must go.  It is a dangerous and horrible pathogen.  It is keeping us from discussing necessary and important issues as the fabric of the country is being irreparable changed.  The founding principles of our nation included freedom of thought and freedom of expression.  Speaking up respectfully for what we believe is much more important than being PC.
  2. Our education system is broken.  Two symptoms – young people are not receiving an adequate education, and too many are dropping out. One of the many reasons that education is important is that the US system of government was designed for a well informed and educated populace.  Less informed = more vulnerable.  Education liberates.  We are, moreover, well behind other developed countries.  Part of the problem is that we are not giving academic performance equal worth with athletics. What will maintain our position in the world? The ability to shoot a 25 foot jump shot or the ability to solve a quadratic equation?  And reading matters.  With all of today’s innovation and technological advances, reading and learning to exercise one’s own mind and imagination are essential ingredients to success. For a fuller picture of the vital nature of  education issues today, read America the Beautiful (http://www.amazon.com/America-Beautiful-Rediscovering-Nation-Great/dp/0310330718). Also go to Carson Scholars Fund (carsonscholars.org) to see a solution in action.
  3. Victimhood is a recipe for failure.  It is anathema to the dignity and growth that come from taking personal responsibility.  No excuses.  If we do not accept excuses, pretty soon people stop giving them and start looking for solutions.
  4. Get involved.  The leadership of the nation must be made up of fewer lawyers and more doctors, engineers, scientists and others.  The skills that make for a good lawyer are not those that make for good governance.  Lawyers are trained to win but winning is not the same as solving problems.  We need smart compassionate people to step up.
  5. The grand experiment that is the USA can fail.  Unthinkable even a decade ago, it is clear now that it can (and is) happen(ing).  But it need not.  This is another reason that education is important – we do not want to go down the same pathway as many other pinnacle nations that have preceded us.  Think Rome.  They destroyed themselves from within.  Moral decay.  Fiscal irresponsibility.  Sound familiar? We are smart enough to save it. Will we?
  6. The deficit and national debt must be tackled and eliminated.  Again – no excuses.  Here is a parable:  A family, with five children, has had a significant drop in income.  Dad has lost his job and can only get part-time work. He goes to his children and says we are going to have to cut your allowances. All but Mary and John.  Maybe we will raise yours.  A parable.  Think about it.  What this would do to the fabric of that family is the same thing that it would do to the fabric of a nation.
  7. The tax system is too complicated and an abject failure.  It results in money and enterprise going offshore rather than being available to drive jobs, GDP and wealth creation in the US.  Creating a simpler and more proportional tax system would result in a rising tide of GDP and wealth that would lift all boats, including those currently unemployed and/or on some form of government assistance.  And, by the way, it would generate more tax revenue and be part of the solution to the debt and deficit problem.
  8. Our healthcare system needs major surgery.  And a federally administered system is not the answer (Obamacare or otherwise).  The existing system is inefficient.  We spend twice as much per capita on healthcare as anyone in the world.  We are smart enough to fix it.  The solution is simple and includes, among other things, a Health Savings Account (HSA) and electronic medical record for everyone.  Without the personal security that comes from a viable and sustainable healthcare system, the US cannot reach its potential as a society or nation.
  9. It is late.  Very, very late. The nation has deep systemic problems.  But it may not be too late.  Dr. Carson tells a parable from the War of 1812.  At Fort McHenry dedicated patriots gave the last full measure to keep the stars and stripes flying over ‘one nation under God’.  In the morning light the flag was battered but still flying.  We are in the same place today.  O say can you see?

All these things are linked.  Watch the video.  Think about it.  Let Dr. Carson’s speech and these principles be the starting point for a renewed national discussion of solutions.  Solutions based on a worldview that is based on the way things really work.  Not the insanity of doing things the same way and expecting a different result.

We intend to have more to say in coming days, particularly about the failure of the American experiment, about how we got here (you can never solve a problem you cannot define), about the links between these principles, and about the way things work (worldview).  Stand by.


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