Yesterday I commented on Ed Feulner’s departure from The Heritage Foundation after 35 years and his reminiscences on the battle of freedom from his perspective from which I took some comfort. Today Heritage’s new president, Jim DeMint, takes over, and the first thing he did was continue Feulner’s conversation about first principles:
We don’t need new principles. Our values have stood the test of time. It’s important that we draw this distinction between timeless values that have been with us for centuries, and new policies that we will need in the 21st Century.
I like DeMint. I like his voting record (80 in the Freedom Index). And I liked his book, Saving Freedom. His worldview and mine are very close:
After 50 years of liberal policies, Detroit is bankrupt, culturally as well as financially. There are more than 400 liquor stores in Detroit, but not one chain supermarket. And states like California that have been controlled by liberals for decades might soon go the way of the Motor City.
Conservative principles are working while liberal schemes are failing. In Louisiana, they’re getting their schools to work by giving parents the freedom to choose. In Michigan, they have found freedom to work.
He’s a realist:
Take Obamacare. Our government has been making promises it cannot keep. Medicare and Medicaid are already on an unsustainable path…
Obamacare’s promises fuel our fiscal challenges, but that’s not the worst thing they do. They make millions of Americans dependent on the government for their health care. By 2021, nearly half of all health care spending will be controlled by the government…
More people than ever before—69.5 million Americans, from college students to retirees to welfare beneficiaries—depend on the federal government for housing, food, income, student aid, or other assistance once considered to be the responsibility of individuals, families, neighborhoods, churches, and other civil society institutions…
But he’s also an optimist:
Never has there been so much promise—or so many hurdles—to exploring and developing the nation’s natural resources. Energy production on private and state lands is thriving, while production on federal lands has slowed or is nonexistent, because large swaths of land and water are completely off-limits.
Think tanks like Heritage can set the tone and bend the conversation in ways that reach farther than concerns about day-to-day issues. The left has been bending that conversation in their direction for years. Heritage, under DeMint, appears to be determined to continue its efforts to bend it back.