Should we let everyone in the Middle East ‘just kill each other’?

On radio this morning, Glenn argued in favor of something that goes against our very nature as people: Should we just butt out of Syria because we can’t stop every single tragedy that happens around the globe?

“I want to stop first on something that I said a minute ago that as soon as I said it, I thought, ‘Boy, that is uncomfortable to say, and I bet really uncomfortable to hear because people will not understand it,’” Glenn said on radio this morning. “And what I said was, ‘I'm sorry, but you're going to have to let everybody over there just kill each other.’”

It is undoubtedly a harsh sentiment, but when you consider the current state of American foreign policy, it becomes more and more obvious that we can no longer afford to be entangled in other counties’ conflicts.

“Now, that seems so harsh, and so awful, and so un‑American to say, ‘You're not going to be able to solve this.’ And ‘you're going to have to let everybody kill themselves,’” Glenn explained. “We can't play a role in everybody's civil war. And goes against our very nature.”

Glenn laid out two distinct reasons he believes this is necessary position to take.

First, “All of of the treasure and all of of the power, influence, and goodwill that was earned by the greatest American generation in World War II is now gone,” he said. “We do not have the clout that we had in the rest of the world that was earned by those people. We do not have the treasure that was earned by those people. We have spent the treasure. We have spent our morals that they taught us, and we have spent our power and prestige and our goodwill. It's gone.”

Two, “The reason why we spent all of that treasure, the reason why we spent all of that goodwill and everything else is because we adopted this progressive idea that we can be the world's policemen, that we can actually stop everyone from fighting. You can't. You cannot,” Glenn explained. “Here we are sitting here trying to solve the world's bickering children who end up killing each other. It's not going to get any better. It's only going to get worse. And in the end you will be in a more dangerous world because no one will have any self‑control. You won't have any power. You won't have any clout because you'll be blamed for absolutely everything in the end. The bickering children look at you and say it's your fault. You're the one who put me on this couch. You're the one that caused all my problems. That's what's happening.”

“The progressives came in and said there's a whole new world. Progressives believe that people progress past certain caveman‑like instincts. No, they don't. I guarantee you, you take away civilization, and your neighbor, who you think is kind of a nice guy but not all that great, will kill you for food. You take away civilization. We are the same animals. It is civilization that puts us back together,” he continued. “Civilization is not equal. I'm sorry. But all nations and peoples and their governments are not the same. They are not equal. Some of them work. Some of them don't. They haven't figured it out in the Middle East yet. You cannot impose it on them. You can't.”

The world just witnessed what happened in Egypt – the failure of the Arab Spring to create a real, functioning democracy. In Syria, we known the faults and violence of the Assad regime, but we also know the rebels are linked to terrorist groups. So who’s helping whom here?

“Let's say we do get involved, and we lob cruise missiles. We destroy chemical weapons. We help the rebels,” Pat said. “What's the good outcome there? On the one side you have Bashar al-Assad, who is a brutal dictator. On the other side you have Al‑Qaeda and the related radical extreme fundamentalist Islamists. Who's better ruling that country?”

But Glenn explained the true progressive will attempt to (incorrectly) draw a parallel to World War II.

“See, here's the thing. They will go back to World War II and they will say, ‘Well, we stopped the Nazis.’ Well, yes – because you were dealing with people who fundamentally understood the Western way of life,” Glenn said. “In Syria your people, the resistants are eating people. You didn't have the German Underground eating the Nazi soldiers. You didn't have the German Underground or the French Underground being those kind of people. They were people we could relate to. They were people that understood the Western way of life.”

“You don't have a good guy here. You don't have good groups of people. The good groups are the ones that are not fighting. They are the ones in the middle going, ‘God almighty, help us, please,’” he concluded. “You don't have, like this revolution, or the freedom fighters that understood freedom and understood why fascism was bad. Look what happened to us when we got into war with the Soviet Union? We got into bed with the Soviet Union and we said, ‘We're allied with you.’ We built them up and we spent the next 40 years fighting them.”

The themes of healing and redemption appear throughout the Bible.

Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength. — 1 Corinthians 15:43
It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners. — Mark 2:17.

So, for many Christians, it's no surprise to hear that people of faith live longer lives.

Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for you are my praise. — Jeremiah 17:14.

But it is certainly lovely to hear, and a recent study by a doctoral student at Ohio State University is just one more example of empirical evidence confirming the healing benefits of faith and religious belief.

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Moreover, the study finds that religious belief can lengthen a person's life.

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. — Proverbs 17:22
Lord, your discipline is good, for it leads to life and health. You restore my health and allow me to live! — Isaiah 38:16

The study analyzed over 1,000 obituaries nationwide and found that people of faith lived longer than people who were not religious. Laura Wallace, lead author of the study, noted that "religious affiliation had nearly as strong an effect on longevity as gender does, which is a matter of years of life."

The study notes that, "people whose obits mentioned a religious affiliation lived an average of 5.64 years longer than those whose obits did not, which shrunk to 3.82 years after gender and marital status were considered."

And He called to Him His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction. — Matthew 10:1

"The researchers found that part of the reason for the boost in longevity came from the fact that many religiously affiliated people also volunteered and belonged to social organizations, which previous research has linked to living longer. The study provides persuasive evidence that there is a relationship between religious participation and how long a person lives," said Baldwin Way, co-author of the study and associate professor of psychology at Ohio State.

Prayer is good medicine, and faith is a good protector.

In addition, the study showed how the effects of religion on longevity might depend in part on the personality and average religiosity of the cities where people live, Way said.

Prayer is good medicine, and faith is a good protector.

And the power of the Lord was with him to heal. — Luke 5:17
Heal the sick in it and say to them, The kingdom of God has come near to you. — Luke 10:9.

In early June, the Social Security and Medicare trustees released their annual report on the fiscal health of these programs, and the situation looks dire. Medicare is scheduled to run out of money in 2026 (three years sooner than anticipated), while Social Security is expected to run out in 2034. The rising national debt is only one of the well-known financial struggles the millennial generation faces. The burdens of student loan debt, high housing prices (thanks to zoning restrictions), stagnant wage growth, the rising cost of healthcare and lingering aftershocks of the Great Recession are among the biggest sources of economic anxiety millennials feel.

Progressive politicians have been very successful at courting the youth vote, partly because they actually promote policy ideas that address many of these concerns. As unrealistic or counterproductive as Senator Bernie Sanders' proposals for single-payer health care or a $15 an hour minimum wage might be, they feel in theory like they would provide the economic stability and prosperity millennials want.

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Republicans, on the other hand, have struggled to craft a message to address these concerns. Fiscal conservatives recognize, correctly, that the burden of the $20 trillion national debt and over $200 trillion in unfunded liabilities will fall on millennials. Some conservatives have even written books about that fact. But the need to reform entitlements hasn't exactly caught millennials' attention. Pollster Kristen Soltis Anderson, in her book The Selfie Vote, notes that millennials generally view protecting the safety net as more important than reducing the deficit.

Clearly, Republicans have a problem. They need to craft solutions that address the millennial generation's struggles, but they can't seem to sell entitlement reform, their biggest policy preference that addresses those problems. The Republican approach to wooing millennials on policy is failing because talking about stopping the debt from reaching an unsustainable level is long-term and abstract, and offers few immediate tangible benefits. A new approach to both pave the way for entitlement reform and give millennials an immediate financial boost is to first reform not entitlement spending, but the payroll tax: specifically, by partially (or wholly) replacing it with a value-added tax.

Under the current Social Security model, workers pay for the benefits of current retirees through the payroll tax. This system creates the illusion of a pension program, in which what you put in is what you get out, but in reality Social Security is a universal safety net program for the elderly paid for by taxes. The payroll tax falls on workers and is a tax on labor, while the value-added tax (VAT) is a tax on consumption imposed at every part of the production process. Assuming that this policy change is revenue-neutral, switching to a VAT will shift the responsibility for funding Social Security and Medicare away from workers, disproportionately poorer and younger, and onto everyone participating in the economy as a whole. Furthermore, uncoupling Social Security funding from payroll taxes would pave the way for fiscal reforms to transform the program from a universal benefit program to one geared specifically to eliminating old-age poverty, such as means-testing benefits for high-income beneficiaries, indexing benefits to prices rather than wages or changing the retirement age.

Switching from the payroll tax to the VAT would address both conservative and liberal tax policy preferences.

Switching from the payroll tax to the VAT would address both conservative and liberal tax policy preferences. As the Tax Policy Center notes, the change would actually make the tax system more progressive. The current payroll tax is regressive, meaning that people with lower incomes tend to pay a higher effective tax rate than people with higher incomes. On the other hand, the value-added tax is much closer to proportional than the payroll tax, meaning that each income group pays closer to the same effective tax rate.

For Republicans, such a change would fit conservative economic ideas about the long-run causes of economic growth. A value-added tax has a much broader base than the payroll tax, and therefore would allow for much lower marginal tax rates, and lower marginal tax rates mean smaller disincentives to economic activity. According to the Tax Foundation's analysis of a value-added tax, the VAT would be a more economically efficient revenue source than most other taxes currently in the tax code.

Not only would replacing part or all of the payroll tax provide an immediate benefit to millennial taxpayers, it would also open the door for the much-needed entitlement reforms that have been so politically elusive. Furthermore, it would make the tax code both more pro-growth and less regressive. In order to even begin to address the entitlement crisis, win millennial support and stimulate the economy in a fiscally responsible manner, Republicans must propose moving from the payroll tax to the VAT.

Alex Muresianu is a Young Voices Advocate. His writing has appeared in Townhall and The Federalist. He is a federal policy intern at the Tax Foundation. Opinions expressed here are his only and not the views of the Tax Foundation. He can be found on Twitter @ahardtospell.

Glenn was joined by Alanna Sarabia from "Good Morning Texas" at Mercury Studios on Thursday for an exclusive look at Mercury Museum's new "Rights & Responsibilities" exhibit. Open through Father's Day, the temporary museum features artifacts from pop culture, America's founding, World Ward II and more, focusing on the rights and responsibilities America's citizens.

Get tickets and more information here.

Watch as Glenn gives a sneak peek at some of the unique artifacts on display below.

History at the Mercury Museum

Alanna Sarabia interviews Glenn Beck for "Good Morning Texas" at Mercury Studios.

Several months ago, at the Miss Universe competition, two women took a selfie, then posted it on Instagram. The caption read, "Peace and love." As a result of that selfie, both women faced death threats, and one of the women, along with her entire family, had to flee her home country. The occasion was the 2017 Miss Universe competition, and the women were Miss Iraq and Miss Israel. Miss Iraq is no longer welcome in her own country. The government threatened to strip her of her crown. Of course, she was also badgered for wearing a bikini during the competition.

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In an interview, Miss Iraq, Sarah Idan, said:

When I posted the picture I didn't think for a second there would be blowback. I woke up to calls from my family and the Miss Iraq Organization going insane. The death threats I got online were so scary. The director of the Miss Iraq Organization called me and said they're getting heat from the ministry. He said I have to take the picture down or they will strip me of my title.

Yesterday, Miss Iraq, Sarah Idan, posted another selfie with Miss Israel, during a visit to Jerusalem.

In an interview, she said that:

I don't think Iraq and Israel are enemies; I think maybe the governments are enemies with each other. There's a lot of Iraqi people that don't have a problem with Israelis.

This is, of course, quite an understatement: Iraq, home to roughly 15,000 Palestinians, refuses to acknowledge Israel as a legitimate country, as it is technically at war with Israel. The adages says that a picture is worth a thousand words. What are we to do when many of those words are hateful or deadly? And how can we find the goodness in such bad situations?