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The Heartland Institute celebrated its 35th Anniversary October 4 with a benefit dinner at the Cotillion in Palatine, Illinois. Frank Lasée is president of Heartland. The theme of the evening was Stopping Socialism, Increasing Freedom.
The gala event, attended by 400 guests and friends of The Heartland Institute, featured Glenn Beck, a leading American media personality, political commentator, author and co-founder of Blaze Media, a multiplatform news and entertainment network available on television, radio, and the Internet. Because of Beck’s focus on warning Americans about the tremendous dangers of Socialism, perhaps the greatest threat this nation has ever faced, Glenn Beck was honored as the recipient of the Heartland Liberty Prize for 2019.
Frank Resnik (1942 – 2018)
Chuck Lang (1945 – 2018)
Lee Walker (1938 – 2018)
Resnik was a former board member from early on in Heartland’s life in the mid-1980s, and Lang was a long-time board member who died shortly after being elected the chairman of the board of The Heartland Institute.
Rev. Cory Brooks, a black conservative Republican pastor on the south side of Chicago, presented a heart-felt tribute to Lee Walker, describing Lee as a “man of courage and great character. He was honest, respectful, caring, and always responsible.”
Rev. Brooks and Lee Walker grew up poor and black on the south side of Chicago. Brooks, in remembering Walker, laughingly and lovingly compared him to a Bozo the Clown inflatable punching bag he remembered having as a child. “Although Bozo could be knocked down, as Lee had often experienced in his life, something on the inside of Lee always caused him to bounce back up with a smile on his face.”
In continuing his opening remarks, Frank Lasée spoke of The Heartland Institute’s role in fighting for liberty as one of the world’s leading free market think tanks located in Arlington Heights, Illinois. With a full-time staff of 40, its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. Lasée said Heartland produces five podcasts daily, and prides itself on regularly communicating with 8,400 of our nation’s national and state selected officials through its newspapers Budget & Tax News, Environment & Climate News, Health Care News, and School Reform News. And starting last year, Heartland started to focus more on “stopping socialism,” the theme of the night.
In keeping with the event’s theme, President Lasée had this to say: “We are living in a transitional phase. The American people must be convinced to fight for liberty and to say NO to Socialism and YES to our free market economic system.” The climate change issue was described as “green on the outside and red on the inside.” “The issue is being used by the other side to control every aspect of our lives, as a means to establish Socialism,” Lasée explained. “It’s impossible to reach people with closed minds, but we can get the misinformed and uninformed to listen.”
Justin Haskin on “STOPPING SOCIALISM”
Heartland Institute Editorial Director Justin Haskins is leading the charge against socialism at the think tank – with a new website called StoppingSocialism.com and Haskins’ recent book, Socialism Is Evil: The Moral Case Against Marx’s Radical Dream. Haskins has more than 100 broadcasts to his credit in the last year, and has appeared frequently on Tucker Carlson Tonight on the Fox News Channel and Varney & Co. on the Fox Business Network to talk about the rise of socialism.
Haskins noted that Heartland began a focus on socialism “at just the right time” with socialist U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York rocketing from out of nowhere to become a leader of the Democratic Party. Ocasio-Cortez’s “Green New Deal” is a great example of socialism’s absurdity because part of it involves reducing the amount of methane produced by cows. “So people who tell us to love nature, now are telling us that all cows must die,” Haskins said.
Haskins also related something that is less funny: The city government in Boston is celebrating the 70th anniversary of Communist Party rule in China, even flying Communist China’s flag over historic Boston’s City Hall.
In that socialism is growing in popularity with young people, Justin suggested three helpful tactics to deal with the grave problem:
- Speak with young people. Explain what Socialism is. It’s not a government-sponsored society, but about force, coercion, and manipulation. It is a fallacy that socialism is working in Sweden, Denmark and Finland, because what is being practiced in those countries is not even close to socialism.
- Explain to young people how socialism is evil and has failed everywhere it has ever been implemented. History has proven repeatedly that the collective ownership and management of property eventually leads to death, destruction, coercion, and tyranny. More than 167 million people have been killed, exiled, or imprisoned by socialist and communist regimes in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. That’s comparable to more than 50,000 attacks as deadly as those that occurred on September 11, 2001.
Consider also, Haskins said, the inefficiency of the post office and Amtrak which the government runs. It is not difficult to imagine how under socialism, government control on a massive scale would lead to discontent among the American people, with tyranny not far behind.
- Use the art of telling stories to make a point, as stories tend to remain with us longer. Haskins went on to relate a story told by Glenn Beck: It was New Year’s Eve in 1776. The enlistment of Washington’s men had nearly run out. Few men were willing to give up the opportunity to return home, and no longer risk death. These encouraging words by Washington prompted most of his men to reenlist:
“My brave fellows, you have done all I asked you to do, and more than can be reasonably expected; but your country is at stake, your wives, your houses and all that you hold dear. You have worn yourselves out with fatigues and hardships, but we know not how to spare you. If you will consent to stay one month longer, you will render that service to the cause of liberty, and to your country, which you probably can never do under any other circumstances.”
Haskins concluded with these words: “We stand on a similar battlefield. Although we face a different choice, we cannot lose this battle.”
Glenn Beck Speaks
Following a standing ovation, Glenn Beck lauded Haskins, whom he first heard speak at a Heartland Institute breakout session at CPAC this year. Beck has since asked Justin to be co-author of his next book that will argue against socialism.
Using another way of pushing back against socialism, Beck gave a theatrical-like presentation through his stories, often in the form of a soliloquy, to explain who we are as Americans and what this nation is all about – starting with our Founding Fathers and progressing through this nation’s history. Not only were Beck’s stories riveting, but he made his stories come alive through the display of first-hand historical artifacts when appropriate.
“We are losing our country,” said Beck, “because we haven’t made the argument about socialism. We must know who we are. Instead, we are told that our nation was started by a bunch of racists who were greedy men.”
Beck pointed to the Declaration of Independence, written by Thomas Jefferson, as the greatest document ever written. Often questioned is how Thomas Jefferson could have written “all men are created equal” when he owned slaves? According to Beck, Jefferson tried to but was unable to free his slaves because he was in debt and slaves were considered property.
Of importance was that the Declaration of Independence be unanimously approved by the delegation, because if anyone disagreed, the King of England would have reason to split apart the delegates.
It was through the Mission Statement of the Declaration of Independence that the Founders – who believed deeply in God, and who were willing to sacrifice for something bigger than themselves – defined who they were for all future fellow Americans, Beck said. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Beck spoke glowingly about the character of George Washington. While not yet a teenager, Washington wrote a treatise on civility. The actual compass received by Washington for his 13th birthday, was displayed by Beck. As Beck told the story, Washington kept this compass with him his entire life on the battlefield. Beck insisted there was a thumb indentation on the compass where Washington had rubbed on it in his pocket.
In Beck’s story of Abe Lincoln, Beck characterized him as a president who changed in office because he kept on losing. Lincoln was disliked by many Americans and knew he would eventually be killed. As Lincoln lay of the floor at Ford’s Theater, someone went in and cut something off the lapel of Abe’s jacket. This item was displayed on stage by Beck for all to observe. It was also pointed out that the doctor treating Lincoln after his removal from the theater kept putting his finger into Lincoln’s wound trying to locate the bullet in his head to unclog the wound.
Regarding Lincoln’s decision to free the slaves, Beck, said Lincoln realized that the issue was not about preserving the union, but about humans and slaves, representative of a universal principle that men want to be free.
As to the Statue of Liberty, given to the United States as a gift by France in 1886, Beck refers to a poem, “The New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus, placed on the Statute of Liberty17 years after it was built. Although many Americans believe the statue stands as a symbol to welcome anyone who wants to enter this nation, even illegally, the statue was never built for immigrants. It was built before the immigration wave to pay tribute to the United States of America, the Declaration of Independence, American democracy, and democracy throughout the world. It honored the end of slavery, honored the end of all sorts of tyranny, and also the friendship between France and America.
There were times when this nation did not remain true to who we are, Beck said. Such a time was reflected upon with the rise of Charles Darwin and his book, On the Origin of Species. Beck challenged the audience to recite the full title of the book. When no one could answer, Beck provided it: On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. Beck emphasized the words “favored races,” noting correctly that Darwin’s book increased the popularity and gave an academic legitimacy to the evil of eugenics, which would be embraced by “progressives” in the early 20th century.
Beck said with political activist and writer George Bernard Shaw’s rise to fame in the early 20th century came the need to justify your existence or society has no use for you, which gave birth of Mein Kampf, Hitler’s political ideology and how he ruled Germany. Shaw’s entire quote follows:
“If you can’t justify your existence, if you’re not pulling your weight in the social boat, if you’re not producing as much as you consume or perhaps a little more, then, clearly, we cannot use the organizations of our society for the purpose of keeping you alive, because your life does not benefit us and it can’t be of very much use to yourself.”
Even so, as Beck related, a proud torch of freedom was carried for this nation by Jesse Owens, a black man and the most successful athlete at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, which Adolf Hitler hoped would be a showcase of Aryan supremacy. The sight of the graceful American’s soaring victory in the long jump and his Olympic-record wins in the 100- and 200-meter dashes and 400-meter relay put the lie to Der Führer’s simplistic myths about race.
Beck moved on to the advent of World War II, in which 70 million bombs were dropped. How then did World War II define who we are as a people and a nation?
Germany and Japan were fighting for total control of the world around them, via control of the people under them. The United States and the British Empire were fighting for human freedom, a product of human nature. Just as Churchill argued, if the allies had failed to defeat the spread of totalitarianism and communism, they would have failed to secure a flourishing future for all of mankind.
Following World War II, Walt Disney, a visionary, had a dream to develop Disneyland. Beck said Disney never intended to create a mere “amusement park,” but a “theme park” – one dedicated to the ideas and dreams that created America. Beck displayed from the stage the first drawing Disney made to advance his idea. Initially Disney had difficulty finding a bank to loan him the money to fund his dream. But he succeeded, and Disneyland in California opened in 1955, just one year after ground was broken.
The Apollo missions in the 1960s continued the idea that we as Americans were not afraid to dream. The can-do spirit was alive. Apollo 11 was the first manned mission to land on the Moon. The first steps by humans on another planetary body were taken by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on July 20, 1969. The astronauts also returned to Earth the first samples from another planetary body. As Beck described it, it was a win for humanity, for the good of the world.
In conclusion, Beck spoke of the present time as one of tremendous possibilities, predicting that the world will not be the same in 10 years. With 5G mobile technology on the horizon, a surgeon in America will be able to work on the body of a person in Hong Kong instantly, in real time. 5G will also bring us self-driving cars that will be able to detect other cars around them and predict what they are about to do.
Despite the many changes, Beck sees this nation as the last best hope for mankind. We must be for things that reflect well on this nation, not against them. We must be our best selves as people, reflecting the best of those who have gone before us.
Frank Lasée’s closing remarks dovetailed with the thinking of many in attendance: “We are in a battle with evil people who want to have government control our lives.” Lasse encouraged all to go out and do our best.
NOTE: Heartland always has a raffle at their gala, and this year one lucky winner walked home with a genuine World War II flight helmet, goggles, and a scarf. Heartland also gave all attendees a set of its new “Liberty Baseball Cards.”
[Originally Published at Illinois Review]