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by John Stossel

    Four years ago, the media were talking about a "Libertarian Moment."
    I had high hopes!
    Sen. Rand Paul ran for president, promising to "take our country back from special interests." But his campaign never took off.
    He "shouldn't even be on the stage," said Donald Trump at a Republican presidential debate.
    Paul quit his presidential campaign after doing poorly in Iowa.
    In my new video, Paul reflects on that, saying, "Either the people aren't ready or perhaps the people in the Republican primary aren't ready."
    But Paul says, "We may be winning the hearts and minds of people who aren't in Washington."
    Really?
    The current deficit is a record $984 billion, and since Trump was elected, federal spending rose half a trillion dollars.
    But Paul says progress has been made, in that Trump has introduced some market competition in health care, cut taxes, cut regulations, appointed better judges and promises to get us out of foreign wars. Paul tweeted that Trump is "the first president to understand what is our national interest."
    "But he hasn't pulled us out of anywhere," I said.
    "Compare it to George W. Bush, who got us involved everywhere," answered Paul. "Or President Obama, who sent 100,000 troops to Afghanistan. The rhetoric of President Trump has been a relief."
    The problem, says Paul, is that, "When the president has said anything about it ... immediately Republican and the Democrat leaders get together and pass a resolution saying it would be precipitous to leave Afghanistan."
    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell did recently make a speech about "the danger of a precipitous withdrawal."
    "Really?" replies Paul. "After 19 years? Precipitous?"
    America went into Afghanistan to take out the killers behind the Sept. 11 attacks. We succeeded. So why are we still there?
    Paul complains, "Intervention after intervention hasn't had the intended consequence. We've got more chaos."
    In Iraq, America took out Saddam Hussein, but that has left a power vacuum and continued violence.
    In Libya, we helped get rid of Moammar Gadhafi, but Libya's "government" is now run by armed gangs that torture civilians.
    In Syria, we armed rebels to fight Bashar Assad. But many of our weapons ended up in the hands of al-Qaida, and Assad is still in power.
    "Every time we think we're going to get more stability or less terrorism," says Paul, "we end up getting more chaos and more terrorism."
    Recently, Trump moved 50 troops from northern Syria. His action received widespread condemnation from people Paul calls the "war hawk caucus."
    Lindsey Graham said it was "the most screwed-up decision I've seen since I've been in Congress." That's saying something; Graham has been in Congress for 24 years and has seen several screwed-up wars and failed domestic programs.
    But Graham almost always seems to want (SET ITAL)more(END ITAL) war.
    Paul acknowledges that four years ago, he wanted to arm the Kurds who are now in harm's way and give them their own country. In promoting American withdrawal, hasn't he betrayed the Kurds?
    "When I refer to the Kurds having a homeland, they kind of do. They have a section of Iraq," responded Paul, saying he never proposed creating a Kurdish country in Syria. In any case, "Fifty or 2,000 American soldiers are nothing more than a target for bad people to kill."
    I don't know whether Paul is right about Syria, but I'm glad Paul speaks out.
    We need a strong military. But we should use it sparingly, only when we know it benefits our defense.
    If we go to war, Congress must vote to declare that war. That's what the Constitution requires. Congress hasn't done that since 1942. That's wrong. It allows politicians to hide their deadly mistakes.
    "It's a very complicated war over there," says Paul. "They're four or five different countries involved in it. The people who live there know better. We can't know enough about these problems. And unless you want to put 100,000 troops in there and fight Assad, Russia, Turkey ... we ought to rethink whether we should get involved in these wars to begin with."
    In both foreign and domestic policy, government plans usually fail.
    John Stossel is author of "No They Can't! Why Government Fails -- But Individuals Succeed." For other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com.
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by Walter E. Williams

        Last week, U.S. Attorney General William Barr told a University of Notre Dame Law School audience that attacks on religious liberty have contributed to a moral decline that's in part manifested by increases in suicides, mental illness and drug addiction. Barr said that our moral decline is not random but "organized destruction." Namely that "Secularists and their allies have marshaled all the forces of mass communication, popular culture, the entertainment industry, and academia in an unremitting assault on religion and traditional values."
        The attorney general is absolutely correct. Whether we have the stomach to own up to it or not, we have become an immoral people left with little more than the pretense of morality. The left's attack on religion is just the tiny tip of the iceberg in our nation's moral decline. You say: "That's a pretty heavy charge, Williams. You'd better be prepared to back it up with evidence!" I'll try with a few questions for you to answer.
        Do you believe that it is moral and just for one person to be forcibly used to serve the purposes of another? And, if that person does not peaceably submit to such use, do you believe that there should be the initiation of force against him? Neither question is complex and can be answered by either a yes or no. For me the answer is no to both questions. I bet that nearly every college professor, politician or even minister could not give a simple yes or no response.
        A no answer, translated to public policy, would slash the federal budget by no less than two-thirds to three-quarters. After all most federal spending consist of taking the earnings of one American to give to another American in the form of farm subsidies, business bailouts, aid to higher education, welfare and food stamps. Keep in mind that Congress has no resources of its own. Plus there's no Santa Claus or tooth fairy that gives Congress resources. Thus, the only way that Congress can give one American a dollar is to first, through intimidation and coercion, confiscate that dollar from some other American.
        Such actions by the U.S. Congress should offend any sense of moral decency. If you're a Christian or a Jew, you should be against the notion of one American living at the expense of some other American. When God gave Moses the Eighth Commandment -- "Thou shalt not steal" -- I am sure that He did not mean thou shalt not steal unless there is a majority vote in the U.S. Congress. By the way, I do not take this position because I don't believe in helping our fellow man. I believe that helping those in need by reaching into one's own pocket to do is praiseworthy and laudable. But helping one's fellow man in need by reaching into somebody else's pockets to do so is worthy of condemnation.
        We must own up to the fact that laws and regulations alone cannot produce a civilized society. Morality is society's first line of defense against uncivilized behavior. Religious teachings, one way of inculcating morality, have been under siege in our country for well over a half a century. In the name of not being judgmental and the vision that one lifestyle or set of values is just as good as another, traditional moral absolutes have been abandoned as guiding principles. We no longer hold people accountable for their behavior and we accept excuses. The moral problems Attorney General William Barr mentioned in his speech, plus murder, mayhem and other forms of anti-social behavior, will continue until we regain our moral footing.
        In 1798, John Adams, a leading Founding Father and our second president said: "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." I am all too afraid that a historian, writing a few hundred years from now, will note that the liberty American enjoyed was simply a historical curiosity. Then it all returned to mankind's normal state of affairs -- arbitrary abuse and control by the powerful elite.
        Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University. To find out more about Walter E. Williams and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.
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by John Stossel

        Student loan debt keeps growing.
        There is a better solution than the ones politicians offer, which stick the taxpayer or the loan lenders with the whole bill.
        It's called an "income share agreement."
        Investors give money to a college, and the college then gives a free or partially free education to some students. When those students graduate, they pay the college a certain percentage of their future income.
        It's a way "for the school to say to students, 'You're only going to pay us if we help you succeed'," explains Beth Akers, co-author of the book "Game of Loans."
        Andrew Hoyler was thrilled when Purdue University got him an ISA loan. Now he's a professional pilot, and he'll pay Purdue 8% of his income for 104 months.
        "After that 104-month term ends, if you still owe money, it's forgiven, forgotten, you don't owe another penny," he says in my latest video. "Now, if I find myself in a six-figure job tomorrow, there's a chance that I'll pay back far more than I took out."
        Hoyler wouldn't mind that, he says, because of "the security of knowing that I'll never (have to) pay back more than I can afford."
        What students pay depends partly on what they study.
        On a $10,000 ISA, English majors must pay 4.58% of their income for 116 months. Math majors, because they are more likely to get higher-paying jobs, pay just 3.96% for 96 months.
        "It conveys information to the student about how lucrative a different major's going to be," says Akers. "Some think that's unfair, but really that's just a way (investors) can recapture the money that they've put up."
        "It may also sway students away from majors that don't have job prospects," says Hoyler. ISA recipients learn "not only what a career may pay, but how stable it may be, what the future is like."
        "We should invest in students the same way that we invest in startups," says Akers. "Share equity."
        With one difference: The college picks the student, so investors don't have a direct relationship with the student.
        Purdue ISA recipient Paul Larora told me, "We don't know who the investor is, but I'd love to give him a hug or buy him a beer!"
        "The institutions are saying, 'If I'm operating as the middleman, I can make sure that no one's taking advantage of my students,'" explains Akers.
        Sadly, many politicians would rather have the government handle student loans and charge all students the same rate.
        President Barack Obama signed a student debt relief bill that he claimed would "cut out private middlemen," meaning banks. He said that "would save taxpayers $68 billion!" It didn't. Costs to taxpayers increased.
        Some politicians are so clueless that they still blame banks.
        In one hearing, Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., chair of the House Financial Services Committee, demanded JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon tell her, "What are you guys doing to help us with this student loan debt?"
        "We stopped doing all student lending," responded Dimon, pointing out that "the government took over student lending in 2010."
        Instead of forcing banks out of the loan business, we should get government out of it. Banks are in the business of assessing loan risk.
        If actual private lenders, people with skin in the game, made loans, then they'd care about being paid back.
        They'd tell students which majors might lead to higher-paying careers and warn them that studying sociology, art history or gender studies may make it tough to get out of debt.
        But with the government charging the same rate to everyone, students don't have much incentive to think about that.
        The Brookings Institution found that 28% of students don't even know they have a loan.
        The market would make better judgments and stop students from starting their adult lives under a burden they may never escape.
        Yet some people still call ISAs "predatory" because investors hope for profit. They say ISA makes students "indentured servants."
        Larora had a good answer to that, which is also serious advice: "If you don't have a job, you're not paying anything! Where's the servitude in that?"
        John Stossel is author of "No They Can't! Why Government Fails -- But Individuals Succeed." For other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com.
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    The media keep telling us: There's no difference between male and female brains.

    I don't believe it. Many of you must be skeptical, too. Seventeen million people watched my old ABC show on sex differences, almost as many as watched "Game of Thrones."

    Nonetheless, people now fill auditoriums to hear neuroscientist Gina Rippon talk about her new book that claims "New Neuroscience Explodes the Myths of the Male and Female Minds."

    Rippon says it's important to tell people that sex isn't an important indicator in how brains work so we don't fall prey to stereotypes. "You don't want an idea that this (difference) is something that's natural," she says in my new video.

    "It's not natural," I ask, "that in school, more boys want to play football and more girls want to do ballet? I want to run and bang into people."

    "Actually, girls might want to run and bang into people, but because there's an image that girls don't do that, they're stopped from doing that," she replies.

    But in my reporting, I've covered research that shows innate differences.

    In one experiment, students were blindfolded and then walked through tunnels running underneath a college campus. When the women were asked the direction of a college building, they weren't so sure. One said: "How would I know? I'm blindfolded!"

    Men, however, tend to have better spatial awareness and retained a sense of which direction they'd moved.

    On the other hand, women have a better memory for detail.

    In one test, students were told to wait in a cluttered room and later asked what was in that room.

    Women often gave long answers like, "There were envelopes, university envelopes, a thing of Clearasil, a Bazooka Joe comic..."

    Men were more likely to say, "I don't know ... some stuff."

    Of course, maybe they'd been molded by our sexist society -- conditioned to do what's expected of men and women.

    But I reminded Rippon that even tests on infants find differences. Baby boys look longer at objects, such as tractor parts. Infant girls stare at faces.

    "A third of the girls actually seem to respond more to the tractor parts," said Rippon.

    When I pointed out that meant two-thirds of the girls did not, Rippon said that the experiment should be redone "with a bigger set of newborns."

    Maybe. But scientists shouldn't keep redoing experiments until they get results they like.

    Some female scientists acknowledge that men's and women's brains are different.

    "You can tell, looking at brains, whether they belong to a male or a female 80% of the time," says evolutionary psychologist Diana Fleischman.

    Also: "Cultures around the world show very similar differences between men and women. Men are more likely to seek status; women are more likely to take care of children. Women are more likely to stay in the home; men are more likely to do dangerous, aggressive things like go to war."

    I suggest that perhaps the sexes are alike and all cultures have imposed similar biases.

    "Look at nonhuman animals, monkeys: They don't have culture, yet there's still very large differences between males and females," she responds.

    Among scientists, that's common opinion. The Journal of Neuroscience Research says 70 studies found differences. Boys, for example, are more likely to be autistic, to be colorblind and to have speech problems.

    Even Gina Rippon says, "I'm definitely not a brain difference denier."

    But her media coverage suggests she's discovered that male and female brains are the same.

    "It's an incredibly alluring message," says Fleishman with a laugh. "It's really sad that it's not right!"

    Of course, science shouldn't seek an alluring message. It should just be about the truth.

    But the truth doesn't stop politicians from demanding absolute equality in all things -- even if men and women have different interests.

    "Saying that men and women have different aptitudes isn't sexism. It's a statement about the true nature of the world," says Fleischman. "If we keep saying that those differences ... are because of sexism, nobody's going to end up happy with what they're doing, and we're going to keep making laws to remedy what's actually the result of freedom."

    John Stossel is author of "No They Can't! Why Government Fails -- But Individuals Succeed." For other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com.

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by Walter E. Williams

    If you need an accurate update on some of the madness at the nation's institutions of higher learning, check out Minding the Campus, a nonprofit independent organization. John Leo, its editor in chief, says that the organization's prime mission is dedicated to the revival of intellectual pluralism and the best traditions of liberal education at America's colleges and universities. Leo's most recent compilation of campus madness leaves one nearly breathless.

    In a USA Today op-ed, Emily Walton, a sociology professor at Dartmouth University, said that all college students should take a mandatory course on black history and white privilege. She says that by taking her class, white students "come to understand that being a good person does not make them innocent but rather they, too, are implicated in a system of racial dominance." Walton adds, "After spending their young lives in a condition of 'white blindness,' that is, the inability to see their own racial privilege, they begin to awaken to the notion that racism has systematically kept others down while benefiting them and other white people." This is inculcating guilt based on skin color. These young white kids had nothing to do with slavery, Jim Crow or other horrible racial discriminatory acts. If one believes in individual responsibility, he should find the indoctrination by Walton offensive. To top it off, she equates the meritocratic system of hard work with white discrimination against minorities.

    If you thought integration was in, check out the University of Nevada. Based on a report in the College Fix, John Leo describes how integration on that campus is actively discouraged -- and at taxpayer expense. The university provides separate dorms for different identities including Howell Town for black students, Stonewall Suites for LGBTQ students, the women-only housing of Tonopah community, the Healthy Living Floor for tofu and kale lovers and study-intensive floors for those who want to graduate.

    According to a New York Post report, New York City school administrators have been taught that pillars of Western Civilization such as objectivity, individualism and belief in the written word all are examples of white supremacy. All school principals, district office administrators and superintendent teams were required to attend the anti-white supremacy training put on by the city Department of Education's Office of Equity and Access. They learn that a belief in an "ultimate truth" (objectivity) leads to a dismissal of "alternate viewpoints or emotions" as "bad" and that an emphasis on the written word overlooks the "ability to relate to others" and leads to "teaching that there is only 'one right way' to do something." Administrators learn that other "hallmarks" of white supremacy include a "sense of urgency," "quantity over quality" and "perfectionism." Richard Carranza, New York City school superintendent, says the workshops are just about "what are our biases and how we work with them."

    Michael Bloomberg, former New York City mayor, says that political rage and increasingly polarized discourse are endangering our nation. Americans used to move forward productively after elections regardless of which side won. Now, we seem paralyzed by absolute schism and intolerance. Bloomberg pointed to colleges as a prime example of a rising level of intolerance for different ideas and free speech. Steven Gerrard, a professor at Williams College in Massachusetts, serves as an example of campus intolerance. Students declared Gerrard "an enemy of the people" after he suggested that Williams College join other schools in signing onto what's called the Chicago Principles. The statement, published by the Committee of Freedom of Expression at the University of Chicago, calls for free speech to be central to college and university culture. Williams college students said free speech is a part of a right-wing agenda as a "cover for racism, xenophobia, sexism, anti-Semitism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism and classism." Bloomberg pointed out that fewer than 70 of America's 4,000 colleges and universities have endorsed or adopted the Chicago statement.

    State governors and legislators can learn something from their Alaskan counterparts, who slashed public spending on the University of Alaska by 41%. There's nothing better than the sounds of pocketbooks snapping shut to bring a bit of sanity to college administrators.

    Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University. To find out more about Walter E. Williams and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.

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