America’s founders were highly educated men who seized their moment to create a civil society based on a constitution designed to limit constraints and protect the liberty of individuals. Their mission: give those citizens history’s greatest opportunity to fulfill their God-given destinies.
It was revolutionary.
They succeeded – not in a vacuum, but with humility in the sense that they learned well and absorbed history’s lessons.
They intently studied the successes and failures of preceding — and even ancient – leaders and their civilizations. Their study of classical thought and all previous forms of governments yielded a sacred document that allowed America to bypass colossal failures of past civilizations and societies.
They shattered – to borrow a metaphor – the glass ceiling of freedom, which led to the melting of the pot.
Immigrants came with pennies in their pockets to do their dreams. And they brought with them knowledge, inventions and ideas that allowed our economy to become the world’s giant and offered unrivaled potential for investment from inhabitants worldwide.
Jewish scientists who immigrated to America helped our military build the one weapon – the atomic bomb – that gave us, instead of Hitler or Hirohito, the victory in World War II.
Wouldn’t it have been foolish and even tragic had America concluded: “If we didn’t come up with the idea, we’re not interested?”
Yet that’s what those who live in the soft underbelly of Kentucky’s status quo seem to be saying to state House Republicans who recently released their “Handshake with Kentucky,” which is designed to highlight some of the party’s future priorities.
Included in the handshake is a promise to cut taxes, reform the state’s ancient telecommunications policy and implement a right-to-work law.
To its credit, the GOP leadership, which seems to be showing increasing strength and resolve these days, evaluated what’s happening in some other states and then put together a strategy that adopts those successful policies for the betterment of all Kentuckians.
It’s utterly ludicrous for labor-union boss Bill Londrigan to criticize the GOP for doing what successful business owners, state political leaders and founders of countries do: they find someone else doing it – or doing it better – and they bring those ideas home and adapt them to their situation.
Londrigan unsophisticatedly ignores the fact that some of the very businesses where his union has a presence themselves borrow from the successful playbooks of other firms.
But he, in his best lone-voice-in-the-wilderness impression, thunders: “We don’t need outside solutions; we are capable of making our own!”
Londrigan actually said that. But where has such a provincial mindset led us?
Has ignoring the education reforms enacted in 42 other states – including in the six of our seven neighboring states that have charter schools – improved Kentucky’s education system? Has ignoring the labor reforms enacted by states like Indiana improved our economy?
Where has refusing to “plagiarize” – as Londrigan accuses Republican leaders of doing – other states’ tax-and-regulatory policies like Texas gotten Kentucky?
Only nine states have higher unemployment rates than Kentucky. In Texas, where most of the new jobs in America currently are being created, employment grew overall between 2000 and 2013 by 25 percent, compared to just 4.7 percent growth in the rest of the nation.
“We need for our politicians to be capable of generating new ideas that address the specific conditions we face in the boundaries of our state,” Londrigan said.
That’s exactly what the GOP has tried to do.
However, it’s been a long, long time since I heard any “new ideas” coming from Londrigan or his fellow inhabitants in the soft underbelly of Kentucky’s status quo.