Be it Resolved!
Monday, December 29, 2014
Be it Resolved!
by Steve Fair
New Years often begins with the making of resolutions. New Years resolutions are not a modern invention. They have been around since ancient times. The Romans began each year by making promises to the god Janus, for whom the month of January is named. The most popular resolutions people make include eating healthier, exercising, and resolving to lose weight or to quit smoking, working toward a better education, volunteering more, spending more time with family, and getting out of debt. How successful are most of us at fulfilling New Year’s resolutions?
According to a 2007 study by Richard Wiseman from the University of Bristol involving 3,000 people, 88% of those who set New Year resolutions fail. That is in spite of the fact that 52% of the study's participants were confident of success at the beginning.
According to the University of Scranton, Journal of Clinical Psychology, “45% of Americans usually make resolutions and 37% never make resolutions. Those in their twenties are three times more likely to be successful at achieving their resolution goal than those in their fifties.”
While most people resolve to do more in the New Year, Princeton psychologist Edlar Shafir and Harvard economist Senhil Mullainathan suggest the best strategy is to resolve to do less, not more. They argue when busy people get busier; it leads to ignored deadlines, disorganization and a vicious cycle of falling further and further behind. They do not discount the importance of a person staying busy and productive, but they caution against what they describe as “tunneling”: a laser-like focus on the tasks immediately at hand, which often results in a disregard for the bigger picture. They believe focusing on a deadline at the expense of long-term happiness is counter-productive.
In 2013, Atlantic magazine published several New Year’s resolution lists of celebrities. They included a list of 17 resolutions by Jonathan Swift, the author of Gulliver’s Travels, and a list of 33 by Oklahoman Woody Guthrie. Guthrie’s list included several goals revealing his socialist political leanings, but also included one about washing his teeth (if he had any) and waking up to fight. They also included a handwritten list of Marilyn Monroe’s resolutions.
In 1722, a nineteen year old boy named Jonathan Edwards, who was studying for ministry, wrote out his New Year’s resolutions. Edwards was the interim pastor at a small Presbyterian church in New York City. He wrote as the introduction to the resolutions: “Being sensible that I am unable to do anything without God’s help, I do humbly entreat him by his grace to enable me to keep these Resolutions, so far as they are agreeable to his will, for Christ’s sake. Remember to read over these Resolutions once a week.” Edward’s list had seventy resolutions that he used to guide him throughout his life. He read them weekly and resolved to keep those resolutions. Edwards ultimately became President of Princeton University and is famous for preaching, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” The wisdom and insight of Edward's resolutions are still profitable today. To see a complete list of Edward’s resolutions, go to: http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/the-resolutions-of-jonathan-edwards.
New Year’s resolutions most often involve self-improvement. They are rarely a resolution to improve one’s spiritual condition or relationship with their fellow man. Edward’s resolutions were basically ones that focused on his desire to please his Creator, not in becoming more satisfied with himself.As we enter into 2015, may each American, no matter their political Party affiliation, resolve to understand that we, individually or collectively, can do nothing without God’s help. No amount of well intentioned resolutions, effective debating, positioning, coalition building or proclaiming of the truth will be effective without His grace. If we understand that one simple principle in 2015, perhaps we will see God have mercy on America.
Monday, December 22, 2014
Weekly Opinion Editorial
ALL OF THE ABOVE?
by Steve Fair
The Oklahoma Republican Party will be hosting the Southern Republican Leadership Conference May 21-23, 2015 in Oklahoma City. Speakers that have confirmed are potential 2016 presidential candidates Rick Santorum, Ben Carson, Bobby Jindal, and Carly Fiorina. There will no doubt be many others. 2016 could be the largest field of presidential candidates since 1940 when nine Republicans ran for the Republican nomination. Other keynote speakers include T. Boone Pickens and several other members of the energy sector. These businesspeople will be addressing America’s need for a comprehensive energy policy.
The events will be held at the Cox Convention Center in downtown Oklahoma City. Explaining the significance of the 2015 event, OKGOP Chairman Dave Weston said, "We're honored to have been chosen by the RNC as the host city for the 2015 SRLC. And this year's event, unlike any other in quite a few years, will be an opportunity to witness the Republican Party’s presidential hopefuls descend upon Oklahoma City precisely at the time they begin to make announcements for their candidacy and begin kicking off in their campaigns." The theme of the conference is, “Energizing America.”
Why does America need a common sense Energy Policy? Because President Obama and his administration has declared war on fossil fuels. Coal was the first target. On page 19 of his Climate Action Plan, Obama writes, “Going forward, we will promote fuel-switching from coal to gas for electricity production.” To expedite that transition, the Obama administration tightened restrictions on carbon emissions, which directly impact coal fired plants. Switching to natural gas may be a great strategy for the future, but the reality is almost 40% of America’s electricity today is generated by coal fired plants. When you hamstring an industry with regulations so they produce less of their product, the price goes up. Electricity costs are at an all time high and until the restrictions are loosened, they will continue to increase.
The president has been quick to take credit for the boom in the oil and gas sector, even though he has opposed drilling on public lands and the completion of the Keystone pipeline. Harold Hamm of Continental Resources believes that simply opening up drilling on public lands could be the solution needed to pay off the huge national debt. "I truly believe the federal government could over time raise $18 trillion in royalties." That's more than the U.S. national debt, Hamm says. Hamm was interviewed by the Wall Street Journal in 2011. That interview can be accessed at http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052970204226204576602524023932438.
President Obama calls his energy policy the All-of-the-Above Energy Strategy. On the White House website, it states the strategy…” is making America more energy independent and supporting jobs. Since the President took office, domestic energy-related emissions have fallen to their lowest level in 20 years, and our dependence on foreign oil is at a 20-year low — and declining. America is producing more oil, gas, and renewable energy, and the U.S. is becoming more energy efficient overall. These trends are increasing our energy security, cutting our carbon pollution, and enhancing our economic growth.” Several times in recent months, the president has taken credit for the boom in the oil sector.
Obama taking credit for the oil/gas boom is like a dog running out in front of a caravan of cars prancing along like he is leading the procession. It’s just a coincidence the dog is in front and it’s the same with the President. Obama is no friend of oil/gas/coal. He has done little or nothing to help the fossil fuel energy sector in America. He has bent over backwards to help the ‘renewable’ energy sector, aka wind and bio-fuel. Oil/gas has grown in spite of the president and not because of him. Fact is,the vast majority of Americans still have vehicles that run on gasoline and the demand for fossil fuel worldwide is at it’s highest.
American taxpayers subsidize the ‘green fuels’ by paying more for the food we consume. Much of the corn that in the past was used in food processing is now going into our gas tanks. We pay more at the grocery shelf for the privilege of buying ethanol. Ten(10) percent (and soon to be 15%) of the gasoline going into your tank is corn liquor/moonshine and you are paying for the privilege to burn it. The next President of the United States needs to understand fossil fuels may be the answer to not only our energy issues, but our debt issues. We need a common sense approach to energy in America. The goal of the SRLC next May will be to help educate the eventual GOP nominee on the importance of ALL energy to America.
Monday, December 15, 2014
Weekly Opinion Editorial
CAN AMERICA CHEAT HISTORY?
by Steve Fair
Last Wednesday, Dr. Tom Coburn gave his farewell speech to the U.S. Senate. He was emotional and reflective on his time in the Senate, but used the time to ask a very important rhetorical question: Can America cheat history? Can America’s Democratic Republic form of government survive longer than other countries that had similar forms of government?
History tells us the average life span of a Democratic Republic is about 200 years. If that is the case, then America is living on borrowed time at 238 years.
Alexander Fraser Tytler, a Scottish judge and historian, said, “A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's greatest civilizations from the beginning of history has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence: From bondage to spiritual faith; from spiritual faith to great courage; from courage to liberty; from liberty to abundance; from abundance to selfishness; from selfishness to complacency; from complacency to apathy; from apathy to dependence; from dependence back into bondage.” Tytler was right- no Republic has survived much more than 200 years. Coburn addressed several areas America- and her government- must improve if we are to survive.First, if America is to survive, out of control spending must be addressed. America is $18 trillion dollars in debt. Congress just passed a $1.1 trillion dollar spending bill and sent it to the President. Coburn identified billions of dollars of duplication and waste in the budget and yet lawmakers on both sides of the aisle signed off on it. In fact many Republicans fought for their chance to get to the pig trough to get something for their state. Coburn admonished that practice in his speech. “Your state is not mentioned one time in that oath,” he said. “Your whole goal is to protect the Constitution and its liberties. It’s not to provide benefits for your state.” In other words, pork is pork, no matter where it is.
Second, elected officials must get back to following the founding documents. Quite frankly, that is the only thing they have the legal authority to do- uphold the Constitution-, but in modern times, the Constitution has been largely ignored. During his speech, Coburn read the ‘oath of office’ all Senators take and then stated that many had abandoned their oath and responsibility for the mission of, ‘bringing home the bacon.’
“We established the Constitution to try to protect those rights and to delineate those rights. We put in the limitation of the government and outlined the rights of each individual citizen upon which the government shall not infringe. Yet what comes out of this body and this Congress every day, to my chagrin, infringes those guaranteed rights,” Coburn said.
Third, elected officials must exercise oversight of government if America is to survive. “To know how to reach a destination, you must first know where you are, and without oversight --effective, vigorous oversight --you will never solve anything,” Coburn said. It is the responsibility of Congress to make sure government does a good job in spending our money. It is the responsibility of Congress to make sure government doesn’t overreach and impede our liberty. Congress needs to hold bureaucrats accountable. “Effective oversight is an effective tool to expose government overreach and wasteful spending, but it also markedly exposes where we lose our liberty and our essential freedoms,” Coburn said.Coburn concluded with a message of hope. “I tell people everywhere I go… we do not have one problem we cannot solve,” he said. “There is nothing too big for us. They’re all solvable. Can we cheat history? Can we do something better than has been done in the past? I honestly believe we can. But I don’t believe we can if we continue to ignore the wisdom of our founding documents,” said Coburn.
Can America cheat history? I’m not sure, but I predict we will be referencing Coburn’s ‘farewell speech,’ of 2014 for decades to come.
To read a transcript of Coburn's speech, go to:
To watch Coburn's speech on Youtube, go to: