Has it made us safer? Anonymous government sources quoted in news reports say yes, but we know that all that snooping didn’t catch the Tsarnaev brothers before they bombed the Boston Marathon — even though they made extensive use of email and the Internet, and even though Russian security officials had warned us that they were a threat. The snooping didn’t catch Major Nidal Hasan before he perpetrated the Fort Hood Massacre, though he should have been spotted easily enough. It didn’t, apparently, warn us of the Benghazi attacks — though perhaps it explains how administration flacks were able to find and scapegoat a YouTube filmmaker so quickly . But in terms of keeping us safe, the snooping doesn’t look so great.
If we want this kind of system to be the rule rather than the exception, we need to scrap the healthcare exclusion in the tax code as part of a switch to asimple and fair flat tax. That will help bring some rationality to the health insurance market and address the part of the third-party payer crisis caused by indirect government intervention.
The message this sends to children and parents alike is troubling, to say the least. In a world where a 26-year-old is young enough to still qualify as a child on their parent’s health insurance, a child of 10 years of age can walk into any neighborhood drug store and purchase a massive dose of hormones with no oversight or supervision, not from their parents and not from medical professionals. As any parent will tell you, they are deluged with permission slips–to ride the bus, to participate in after-school activities, for the school nurse to administer Tylenol or prescription drugs. In this culture of treating young adults as toddlers, which the president and his fellow liberals do nothing but perpetuate, the FDA and White House’s decision is glaringly hypocritical. A child cannot decide to take a pain reliever for a headache while on the school campus, but they can have full access to a powerful drug that might have an impact on their development.
Weider is just one of a runway’s worth of women who are making a second career for themselves in religious communities by speaking out against the evils of the fashion industry. These women boast different levels of industry success, but many describe a crystallizing moment of abject horror at the fashion world’s vices, which they may or may not have dabbled in. Most of them struggled with eating disorders or depression, and now preach a message of modesty and self-esteem. And they do so while keeping a traditionally feminine look: They’re all slim, almost all of them have long hair, they wear plenty of makeup and jewelry, and they choose stylish, if not fashion-forward, clothing. As a slice of Christian culture’s much-discussed “modesty movement,” they represent modesty at its sexiest and most successful. Many of them are getting far more attention as ex-models than they ever got as professional posers.
This is no small issue. Forcing official Catholic institutions and businesses led by Catholics and others who have a commitment to the pro-life position to violate their deeply held beliefs amounts to government coercion on matters of religious faith, something the First Amendment is supposed to protect against. To Chaput, however, that is only one strand in a longer thread that includes the White House’s refusal to defend the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act in the federal courts and other cases involving the free exercise of one’s religious faith. What Chaput has done is to issue a call to action for people of faith to stand with him in defense of religious liberty. It’s an important development coming from a key religious leader, one whose opinions cannot easily be ignored except by design.