In The Marketplace: Why ‘American Made’ Matters (part 3 of 5)

Editor’s Note: This article was written by Colin Balfe, director of The Marketplace by TheBlaze, and is part of a series of stories highlighting businesses in TheBlaze’s eCommerce channel. In this five-part series on “American Made” small businesses, we learn about the people behind the shops in The Marketplace by TheBlaze. Read Part 1 of the series HERE and Part 2 HERE.

The Marketplace is a collection of remarkable people, extraordinary small businesses and excellent products. It’s the feeling you get upon entering a general store in a small town. It’s the handshake and smile you receive from a shop owner who has been working 16 hours straight, five days in a row. Beyond that warmth and within their work ethic is a passionate pursuit to fulfill their own version of the American dream. Learn their struggles, celebrate their triumphs and support their dream to strengthen American manufacturing.

CONSTITUTION QUEST

You’ve probably heard about Constitution Quest, the board game that’s sweeping the nation with Constitutional literacy. What you might not have realized is that the creators of the game aren’t part of some big conglomerate in the gaming industry. Instead, they’re a regular American family, fired up with the entrepreneurial spirit and a passion for our nation’s Constitution.

“Our passion for the Constitution has grown over the years,” says Pam Barret, co-owner of the business.

The Barrets’ dedication is also what caused them to commit to producing the game 100 percent in the USA. You may ask, what’s so important about that? To the creators of the game, they had no other choice.

“We never considered having this American curriculum made anywhere besides the USA.” Pam says. Every time a marketing “expert” urged them to manufacture the game overseas for a higher profit margin, they politely refused.

“Just because we want to be entrepreneurs doesn’t mean it’s only about the money,” Pam says, adding that many of their customers have applauded their commitment to producing the game entirely in the U.S.

“Our customers feel personal pride in supporting American workers and American jobs, and they want the dollars they spend to directly benefit American communities,” she says.

At The Marketplace, we’re proud to work with “Made in America” businesses like the Barrets. They have found a way to make the Constitution engaging and fun for the whole family!

WE THE PEOPLE FIGHT TYRANNY GAME

Like the Barrets, Robert and Brenda Snizek discovered one of best ways to teach kids is to make a game out of learning, and that’s exactly what they’ve done. Brenda is a part-time math instructor at Montana State University and her husband Robert works as a medical case manager helping people with acquired brain injuries in their recovery process. The Marketplace is proud to have them as a part of our small business community.

Robert and Brenda view themselves simply as concerned parents. As parents of teenagers, the Snizeks saw the need for a tool to help teach their kids the difference between liberty and entitlement and between freedom and “free” stuff.

Combining what they know about education with what they believe in their hearts about teaching kids, the passionate duo has created a new kind of game that teaches this invaluable lesson.

“People don’t know what modern-day tyranny looks like,” Brenda says. “So, we built a tool to teach just that, both liberty and tyranny.”

Throughout the process of creating and distributing their game, We the People Fight Tyranny, the Snizeks have remained committed to making their product in America.

“We love America!” Robert says. The game represents the Snizek family’s investment in our country’s future in several ways.

“First,” Robert explains, “by manufacturing it here, we support working families. Second, the content of this game teaches why individual liberties are worth defending—which is the first step in preserving America’s future.”

Brenda adds, “We’re trying to make a difference in the world by shaping and teaching the next generation.”

And they are succeeding. With each game they sell, the Snizeks are creating a generation of youth that is not afraid to stand and defend liberty, because they not only know what they believe, but why.

We’re proud to support small businesses that provide ways for our youth to engage in truth and history and are helping to build the greatest force for liberty our country has ever seen.

TIMBERWORKS TOYS

For the younger set, we present Timberworks Toys, another amazing small business that is 100 percent committed to staying “American made.” In fact, it’s what got them started.

“Really, it all started on a weekend in 2008 when my wife told me how much she hated that the toys she wanted to buy for our son were made in China,” explains Chris Heston, owner and manufacturer at Timberworks Toys. Chris’ wife encouraged him to make some log toys for their son in his wood shop.

Already busy as a custom cabinetmaker in Columbia, Mo., Chris started making log toys for his son during father-son time on the weekends. All of a sudden, they were extremely popular with his cabinet clients.

“They would come in to meet with me about designing their kitchen cabinets, and they would be ‘sidetracked’ by the toys,” Chris says. After several clients started requesting his creations for their kids and grandkids, Chris decided to turn the toys into a business.

What started as an effort to create quality, made-in-America toys for their son has turned into a thriving family business for the Hestons. Chris’ son continues to be responsible for much of the success of the business.

“He is so creative, smart and innovative,” Chris says. “I designed the parts necessary to allow him to build a bridge for his toy cars, but he was the one who wanted to build a bridge with his log toy set in the first place – he did the rest!”

Of his business, Chris says, “Owning my own business means a sense of following my own destiny,” and he’s keeping it American made.

9 SHOCKING figures revealing Biden's REAL State of the Union

Alexey Furman / Stringer, Brandon Bell / Staff, FREDERIC J. BROWN / Contributor, Mario Tama / Staff, Pool / Pool | Getty Images

Many predict that Biden will make his case for re-election during his annual State of the Union address tonight. Would you want another term of Biden's policies? Most people, including Democrats, say they don't.

Here are 9 figures from Biden's performance thus far that show the REAL state of the union—you probably won't hear about these tonight.

Nobody thinks Biden's doing a good job—not even Democrats

Glenn discussed the recent polls showing that Biden doesn't have many on his team who want him back in office in 2024.

According to a joint Washington Post/ABC poll, 4 in 10 Americans say they've gotten worse financially since Biden became President, the most in ABC News/Washington Post polls dating back 37 years.

Biden's disapproval ratings aren't only driven by Republicans. Nearly 6 in 10 Democratic-aligned adults don't want Biden to be nominated as the Democratic nominee in the 2024 election.

Proxy war with Russia

The U.S. has given Ukraine an estimated $68 billion in total aid in 2022, to aid in their defensive front against Russia. Now, we are caving to Ukraine's demands for even more sophisticated weapons to take on a more offensive approach. We are no longer an aid partner—we are an active participant in a proxy war against Russia.

As Glenn recently discussed on his radio program, after the U.S. agreed to give tanks to Ukrainian troops, we are giving Russia more reason to retaliate against the U.S. for supplying weapons that are used offensively, rather than defensively, against Russian troops. If the U.S. caves to Ukraine's most recent demands for fighter jets, it will be hard to defend that the U.S. isn't engaging in the new offensive against Russia juxtaposed to Ukraine's initially defensive stance.

Is war with Russia in the U.S.'s best interests? An increasing number of Americans are saying: no. Moreover, many Americans view the increasing aid to Ukraine as a betrayal of the struggles they are facing at home, many of which were created and exacerbated during the Biden administration.

The ever-expanding federal deficit

Biden continues to attempt to take credit for narrowing the federal deficit. This is simply a lie.

Biden simply slightly reduced deficit spending from the exorbitant COVID-era emergency spending from 2020. In reality, his multi-trillion-dollar agenda contributed to the federal deficit.

The non-partisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget says Biden expanded the federal deficit "by $4.8 trillion through administrative actions and legislation." According to the Treasury Department, the government "spent $1.38 trillion more than it collected, resulting in a deficit"and that "this year's deficit contributed to a national debt of $31.42 trillion through December 2022."

The worst border crisis in U.S. history

The Biden administration continues to break its own records in illegal border crossings, contributing to the worst border crisis in U.S. history.

December 2022 alone saw a monthly historic record of 251,000 illegal border crossings, breaking May 2022's record-setting number of 224,370. In total, the fiscal year 2022 witnessed a historic record of 2.4 million illegal border crossings. In comparison, Ellis Island's busiest year in 1907 saw 1,004,756 migrant arrivals, less than half of the rate seen in 2022.

Fentanyl

It comes as no surprise that Biden's border crisis has contributed to the opioid crisis that continues to take the lives of thousands of Americans. Last year, the DEA seized enough fentanyl to kill every American—more than 50 million fentanyl-laced pills and over 10,000 pounds of fentanyl powder.

More than 70,000 people died of overdoses from synthetic opioids like fentanyl alone in 2021, according to the CDC—a number representing two out of three of all fatal drug overdoses. That is more lives lost than the combined equivalent of U.S. military personnel killed during the wars in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

Inflation

Inflation soared from just 1.4 percent when Biden took office in January 2021 to a 40-year record high of 9.1 percent in June 2022. In comparison, before Biden’s first year as President, the calendar-year inflation rate hadn’t topped 4 percent since 1991. 2022 closed with a slightly cooled inflation rate of 6.5 percent , which remains higher than at any point since 1982.

Skyrocketing Food Prices

Arguably the hardest-hit item on Americans' budgets is the grocery bill. In 2022, food prices increased by 9.9 percent, with items such as eggs rising 60 percent in 2022. Food-at-home prices increased by 11.4 percent, while food-away-from-home prices increased by 7.7 percent.

Children's learning deficits

Biden actively fought state governments and school districts that banned mask and distance-learning mandates. However, it was these very mandates that are linked to the dramatic drop in children meeting basic learning milestones during the pandemic. According to Brown University's sweeping study that surveyed 5.4 million American schoolchildren aged 3 to 8 years old, math and reading scores dropped significantly in 2021 while the gap between higher and lower-income students widened.

Though these statistics pertain to Biden's pandemic-era policies in 2021, it's important to note that these policies had a significant, if not irreversible impact on millions of children across the U.S., an impact that didn't disappear when the mandates did.

Suicide

Glenn recently drew attention to this sobering statistic: suicide across the U.S. increased 30 percent nationwide in 2022 and 53 percent amongst African Americans. Though controlling the mental health of America isn't in Biden's job description, it is nonetheless indicative of the "state of the union."

Tapping the brakes on transgenderism in 2023

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2022 was the year of the emperor’s new clothes—where we were supposed to pretend that someone like Lia Thomas is a woman, legitimately beating actual women in swimming competitions. This carpet-bombing of common sense won’t be letting up anytime soon. Just before the New Year, the World Boxing Council announced that it’s going to create a separate category for transgender boxers. The WBC president said:

we are doing this because of safety and inclusion. We have been the leaders in rules for women’s boxing—so the dangers of a man fighting a woman will never happen because of what we are going to put in place.

After all the insanity you’ve been told to accept about transgender athletes in recent years, his statement is remarkable. He’s admitting what common sense people have been saying all along—that trans athletes identifying as women still carry natural physical advantages (from the fact that they’re actually male), and that those natural advantages could endanger biological women.

Trans athletes identifying as women still carry natural physical advantages.

The WBC president went on to say:

In boxing, a man fighting a woman must never be accepted regardless of gender change. There should be no gray area around this, and we want to go into it with transparency and the correct decisions. Woman to man or man to woman transgender change will never be allowed to fight a different gender by birth.

Maybe the WBC is on to something here. Maybe the only way to solve the stupidity of letting biological males play female sports is to create a separate transgender category in every sport. That would make competition fair again. However, the trans agenda will never accept this because it doesn’t validate their transition—in fact, it admits that these are not authentically female athletes.

There is some rare, good news on this front. In late December, the Eleventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals voted to uphold a Florida school-board policy that requires transgender students to use the bathroom of their biological sex. Of course, the Left won’t accept this, so this case will probably go to the Supreme Court sooner than later. You’re supposed to always believe the science, except when it comes to your own body parts.

You’re supposed to always believe the science, except when it comes to your own body parts.

And by the way, if the Left truly cared about unbiased science as it pertains to transgenderism, they’d listen to their favorite European country, Sweden. Sweden’s national board of health recently updated its guidelines on treating children with gender dysphoria. Unlike the Biden administration and the U.S. medical establishment right now, Sweden’s new emphasis is caution:

the scientific data is INSUFFICIENT to assess the effects of puberty-inhibiting and gender-sensitive hormone therapy of children and young people.

The Swedish guidelines also mention the prevalence of de-transition cases as another reason for tapping the brakes on sex-change surgeries for children.

Common sense apparently does still exist, even in places like Sweden. If only America would listen.

Glenn wants to dive deep into different philosophical topics this year. As CRT and woke curricula are demonizing the "western tradition," it is vitally important that we preserve the tradition that gave birth our nation and gives context to the culture we live in today. Here are the top 11 books to give you a crash course in the western philosophic tradition. If you don't have the time to read them, you can find an overview to each of the books below!

1. Plato's Republic

The first titan of Greek philosophy, Plato articulated the set of questions that would drive the future western philosophical tradition. The pre-eminent question among Greek philosophers was "what is the thing that explains everything." In philosophical lingo, this question is framed as "what is the logos or the good." Plato argued that reality could be explained in terms of the "forms." For example, when you see multiple examples of a "courageous" act, then, Plato would argue, there is such a thing as "courage." The form of "the good" is the form that gives meaning to all of reality. Humans use their rational minds to contemplate what is good and then align their desires to "the good" in order to pursue it.

2. Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics

The second titan of Greek philosophy was none other than Aristotle, who was a student of Plato. Aristotle deviated from his teacher's claims about "forms" and instead argued that every single thing has a purpose, a telos. For example, the telos of a chair is to provide a place for someone to sit. In the same way that a chair's purpose is to provide a place for someone to sit, Aristotle argues that the telos of human beings is to pursue happiness.

In the first page of the Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle claims that every action is done for the sake of pursuing happiness, although, all too often, our actions are misplaced. We often pursue things we believe will make us happy when, in reality, they are fleeting, momentary pleasures that result in despair, heartbreak, or pain. Rather than conforming the world around us to fit our momentary desires, Aristotle argues that we achieve happiness by understanding the nature of the world around us and how we fit into it by actively cultivating virtues in order to make our soul "fit to be happy." Work and action, therefore, are not mere moral "to-do lists," but rather bring us fulfillment.

3. Augustine's City of God

If Plato is the first titan of ancient philosophy, then Augustine is the first titan of medieval philosophy. Medieval philosophy begins with the re-discovery of ancient philosophical texts that had been lost throughout the Roman Empire. As Christianity had taken root and spread across the western world, medieval philosophy integrated these newly-discovered texts into Christian theology. Augustine is the pre-eminent medieval Neo-platonic philosopher, incorporating Plato's philosophy into Christian theology.

Augustine claimed that God himself is the ultimate "form" or "the good" from which all of reality derives its meaning and existence. A thing is "good" insofar as it coalesces with the way God intended it to be. When a thing stays away from God's intention, it is "not good." From this, we get the Augustinian definition of "evil" as a "privation" or "absence of goodness," which ultimately corresponds to God's nature and character.

4. Aquinas' Summa Theologica

Just as Augustine incorporated Plato's philosophy into Christian theology, the second medieval titan, Thomas Aquinas, incorporated Aristotelian philosophy into Christian theology. Building from Aristotle, Aquinas argues that Christ is our happiness, the longing of every human heart and the object of every human action. Though we may think we are pursuing happiness outside of Christ, our this pursuit is misplaced and will result in fleeting pleasure and pain. True happiness and fulfillment, Aquinas argues, is found in Christ himself and the pursuit of his nature.

**Note: Aquinas' Summa is one of the largest works ever written and contains arguments about many different subjects--there are concise versions that will save you a lot of time!

5. Francis Bacon's Novem Organum

If medieval philosophy is defined by the incorporation of ancient philosophy into orthodox Christian theology, then the Enlightenment is defined as the rejection of both. English philosopher Francis Bacon kicked off the Enlightenment with a total rejection of the Aristotelian view of reality. The title of his book, the Novum Organum, or "the new order," is a deliberate tease of Aristotle's Organon, or "the order of things." Bacon's "new order" purports that, contrary to Aristotle, there is no inherent "nature" or "purpose" in reality. Rather, reality is something that we can conquer by means of knowledge and force, dissecting nature to its fundamental parts and reconstructing it into what we want. Bacon is considered the father of the scientific method, creating a testable means through which we can understand, break down and re-construct nature.

6. Descartes' Discourse on Method

Descartes is best known for his famous assertion, cogito ergo sum, or "I think, therefore, I am." In Discourse on Method, Descartes embarks on a rigorous endeavor to doubt anything that can be doubted. He postulates that all of reality can be doubted; however, the one thing that cannot be doubted, he concludes, is that there must be someonewho is doubting. Though we may think that we are in the matrix, we are thinking, therefore, we must exist.

Descartes's rigorous skepticism introduced a brand-new burden of truth. In order for something to be true, it must be beyond all reasonable doubt. Many continue to use Descartes' skepticism as a way to challenge religious belief. According to these modern-day skeptics, unless you can prove that God exists beyond any reasonable doubt, there is no way to actually know whether he exists. The severing of knowledge and faith is often attributed to Descartes.

7. David Hume's Treatise on Human Nature

Scottish philosopher David Hume took aim at both Plato and Aristotle. One of his most famous and consequential claims about human nature is, "reason is and always ought to be slave of the passions." This took direct aim at Plato's view of human nature. Plato argued that our reason or "rationality" should always rule our passions so that we will desire what is good. Hume flips this on its head, claiming that our reason is helplessly enslaved to our passions and will inevitably justify what we will already want. From this, Hume introduced a new articulation of moral relativism, claiming that humans are not able to choose between what is good and what is evil, but rather will choose what they want over what they don't.

8. Kant's Contemplation on the Metaphysics of Morals

Hume's moral relativism sparked panic within German philosopher Immanuel Kant. If we will inevitably do what we desire, how can we ever choose to do something good and moral for its own sake? We must, according to Kant, separate morality completely from the passions if it's to be saved. Kant, therefore, argues that duty is the highest good that man can aspire to. We do the right thing, not because we want to--on the contrary, we do the "right thing" because it's our duty to do so, especially when we don't want to. This breaks away from the Aristotelian notion that our happiness is inextricably intertwined with the pursuit of "the good."

9. Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil

Nietzsche wasn't convinced by either Hume or Kant's efforts to retain some semblance of civility or relativistic moral standard. According to Nietzsche, if there is no such thing as transcendent morality, then "moral maxims" are reduced to meaningless words purported by the people in power. Morality, therefore, becomes a game of persuasion at best, coercion and force at worst. People are reduced to winners and losers, opressors and victims, and whoever comes out on top gets to impose their desired view of the world on the losers. Therefore, the goal of the individual is to cultivate the "will to power," to become the powerful "ubermensch" or "superhuman," or else you will be reduced to a victim susceptible to other people's coercion and oppression.

10. C.S. Lewis's The Abolition of Man

After the Enlightenment ends in a grand, destructive finale with Nietzsche, Christian philosophers in the 20th century attempt to pick up the pieces and resurrect the ancient and medieval philosophies that had been cast to the side. In The Abolition of Man, C.S. Lewis famously laments that mankind has become "men without chests." This is a direct reference to Plato's view of human nature--there is nothing linking our mind to our heart. Intellectually, we have dissected all of reality into its individual bits, stripping it of its holistic beauty, while also succumbing to our whims and passions with no notion of a transcendent moral law. Lewis calls for the re-marriage of our minds and our hearts, so that we will not only pursue what is good, but moreover, we will desire to do so.

11. Alasdair McIntyre's After Virtue

The latter part of the 20th century saw the resurgence of Aristotelian ethics after being largely dismissed over the past 400 years during the Enlightenment. Scottish Catholic philosopher Alasdair McIntyre was and continues to be one of the foremost leaders of this movement. In his magnum opus, After Virtue, McIntyre takes aim at the entire Enlightenment project itself and shows how it ultimately fails by its own standards. If reality is a mere power dynamic, as Nietzsche argues, and if morality is an act of persuasion and passion, as Hume purports, then we have no reason to take their views seriously. If all of reality is relative, then the statement "reality is relative" is itself relative. It becomes victim of the self-refutation of its own standards. Transcendent morality, he argues, must exist, because there must be some standard by which we judge reality and can say with determination, "this is good" and "this is evil."

The Biden Admin EXPANDED abortion access because they DON'T believe in the Constitution

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This month has already produced an extreme example of why we need a functional and more conservative Congress in order for America to have a chance at moving forward—because the Left does not believe in the Constitution.

Sure, if you confronted a Democrat in Congress, they would probably claim some sort of allegiance to the Constitution—but as a practical matter, they do not believe in it.

Instead, the Left has put all of their eggs in the basket of the executive branch. Why? Because it has the furthest reach through all the various departments, and it can move the fastest—in short, because it’s the most dictatorial. It only takes a department head to write a new memo, or even better, the President to sign a new executive order to carry the force of law.

The Left has put all of their eggs in the basket of the executive branch.

Do you recall any of the Left’s favorite Supreme Court decisions over the years—something like gay marriage for example—and how Republicans immediately tried to subvert it, using the executive branch to try to nullify the decision? Yeah, that never happened. But that is exactly what Democrats have done in recent weeks to expand abortion access.

Democrats only consider the Supreme Court legitimate when they approve of the decisions. When the miraculous overturning of Roe v. Wade happened last summer, President Biden called it “a realization of an extreme ideology and a tragic error by the Supreme Court.”

Democrats only consider the Supreme Court legitimate when they approve of the decisions.

Recently the FDA approved local pharmacies to issue abortion pills. For the first 20 years after these pills were developed, they were not treated like typical prescription drugs. They had to be dispensed in-person by a doctor. That in-person requirement is now gone.

Keep in mind that the Left’s go-to line is that abortion is always about the health and safety of women, yet a 2021 peer-reviewed study found that chemical abortions have a complication rate four times greater than surgical abortions. Between 2002 and 2015, the rate of abortion-related ER visits following use of the abortion pills increased by 507 percent.

Chemical abortions have a complication rate four times greater than surgical abortions.

And now the Biden administration is making these less-safe abortions much more accessible. Thanks to the FDA’s rule change, Walgreens and CVS have already agreed to dispense abortion pills in states where abortion is legal—effectively turning these stores into new abortion clinics.

As for states that have abortion bans, "Team Biden" announced a new way around those too. Three weeks ago, the Justice Department issued a legal opinion that the U.S. Postal Service is allowed to deliver abortion pills anywhere, even in places where abortion is illegal. What’s their rationale? That the sender cannot know for sure whether the recipient will use the pills illegally or not. So it’s totally okay.

The U.S. Postal Service is allowed to deliver abortion pills anywhere, even in places where abortion is illegal.

Georgetown Law professor Lawrence Gostin told the Washington Post that this Justice Department opinion is “a major expansion of abortion access in the United States.”

So, to recap—the Biden administration has used the FDA, the Justice Department, and the Post Office, which all fall under the executive branch, to provide an end-run around the Supreme Court’s Dobbs v. Jackson decision.

Expanding abortion was easy—simple policy tweaks and declarations that carry the force of law without an ounce of input from actual lawmakers in Congress—all because it comes from the grotesque, bloated, apparently pro-death executive branch.