The Internet: What America Can and Should Be Again

What should our politicians learn from Nike and Reebok?

What did I mean yesterday when I said we're not selling America to anybody? What is the brochure of where we want to go, as conservatives or constitutionalists?

We know where Bernie Sanders wants to go. He wants to take us to Sweden, 1970. He wants to take us to a socialist or Marxist utopia --- and we know that, he's clear on that. And that is actually why he's winning with so many people. He has received more votes than Donald Trump. Why? Why is that? Because Bernie Sanders has a destination.

Conservatives are either about beating Hillary Clinton, building a wall, restoring the Constitution, going back to the Reagan era --- all things that don't mean anything, really, to most people. It's not a destination. We need to find a way to start talking about America and the promise of America and what America can and should be. Why do I get on this plane with you?

Sure, you've talked to me about your pilot. You've talked to me about Hillary Clinton. And she's a great pilot and can take us to wherever you're going. But I don't know where she's going, other than corruption. Bernie Sanders, I don't know if I would trust him as the pilot, quite honestly. If my pilot looked like him, I would look at the co-pilot. What does the co-pilot look like? But at least I know why I'm getting on the plane --- I'm going to Sweden 1970. Donald Trump, he's the pilot. Where is he taking us? And Ted Cruz. Ted Cruz, I know is a great pilot, I know what instrumentation he's using. I know he's got the best maps. His map is the Constitution. But what does that mean about our destination? Where are we going?

Yesterday, I asked that question. And I'm not sure I have an answer yet. But as we were on the air, we talked about it, and I believe the best way to describe where we're going is the internet.

America was the world's internet in the 1800s. America was a place where anyone could go and do anything, without a license. You didn't have to have a certain education. You could learn it yourself. There was no government interference. And you could start your own business. You could dream anything and do it. You wanted to be a singer, you could be a singer. And you could suddenly become a very popular singer. You wanted to build a car, you could build a car. You wante to get your own education, you could get your own education. If you wanted to deal in drugs, you could go into the back alleys. You could go on the dark net and deal drugs.

America was the internet. The Constitution allowed you to live your life, not in the virtual world, but in the actual world, in the same way the internet allows you to live in the virtual world.

Nothing good happens unless you do it. That's a German pacifist poet and writer who opposed the war in Germany. His name was Erich Kästner. Nothing good happens unless you do it.

Can't the same thing be said about America? Can't the same thing be said about the internet? It exists. It's a place of creativity. It's a place of freedom. But you still have to pick up your phone. You still have to pick up your tablet. You still have to pick up your keyboard. You actually have to get on to the internet. You have to open your computer. You have to do it. You have to dip your toe into the water. You have to choose to participate. No one can force you to participate. No one can tell you how much to participate. You can ignore the internet. You don't have to have a cell phone. You don't have to go on the web. You can choose to own a set of encyclopedias. You can choose to never use Google. But you limit yourself from something that has great possibilities and great opportunity.

And so far, nobody is making the case that I didn't get mine, even though I refused to get on the internet. I didn't get my search engine for free. You didn't give me those results for free. No, you have to go and search for those results. You can enjoy participating by traveling through the creation of others, if you go online. Or you can create your own thing and build an app. You can learn from what others have posted.

Today, I was on the way into work, and I found pictures of the earth at night from the International Space Station and the things that they are learning about us just by looking at the lights of the cities at night. But the problem is, the Space Station is circling so fast, they're taking pictures --- and the university that is doing this over in Spain said, "We can't recognize some of the cities." And so they put the cities up online, and said, "Does anybody know this city? At night, this is a view from space of this city. Does anybody recognize this?" They're using collective minds that happen to be like me who just stumble across their images and go, "Oh, I know that city."

You can do and see and find and build anything, ways to participate and create and travel through the internet. I was in space this morning looking down at the earth at night.

But even though the possibilities are endless, even though there are as many possibilities as there are people, nothing good happens unless you do it. The same is true for America: Nothing good happens unless you do it.

I was reading a guy named Ezra Taft Benson this morning. One of his quotes: "The biggest business of any life is just making decisions. While one of the greatest gifts of God to man is the right of choice, God also gives us the responsibility of those choices. We put our own lives in the direction of success or failure. Nobody else does it. We may not only choose our ultimate goals, but we also have the right to determine and decide for ourselves in many cases the means for which we will arrive at those goals. And by our industry or lack of it determine the speed by which these goals are reached. This takes individual effort and energy and, without it, we fail. And in doing so, it will not be without opposition or conflict. What is true there is you have to do it."

Rebook, years ago, had a market share of athletic shoes. And they marketed themselves as an aerobic shoe. Aerobics were really popular at the time. And so they marketed themselves as a way to do aerobics.

Nike did something else. Rebook marketed themselves as a shoe that would do great athletic achievement. But Nike made their shoes available to everyone for any kind of situation. They could be worn to create athletic achievement, but they could also be worn at work. They could be worn at night to have fun. You could wear it as a fashion statement. You could wear it outside in the garden.

The difference was, you had to do the action. The action was inherent. You actually had to put the shoes on. And once you put the shoes on, you had to just do it. The shoe meant nothing. The shoe could be anything for anyone. But you had to just do it.

Now, how do you describe a destination? How does Ted Cruz or any constitutionalist stand in front of people when Bernie Sanders can say, "I got free stuff for everybody, and we're going to take you to a place that looks like Sweden."

Have you ever been to Sweden? I just went to Sweden this last, doing a show we're going to be airing soon. Sweden is one of the most amazing countries I've ever been to, really beautiful. Really odd, because it's a socialist nation and everything is cookie-cutter and you really don't have a choice of living in a big house because everybody lives in an apartment because no one can afford a big house because of the taxes, but Stockholm is a beautiful, clean city. Sweden is an unbelievable country. So I can understand why people would want to go to Sweden.

How do you get a nation that doesn't understand anymore, to just do it? You can wear this shoe to go anywhere. How do you get them to understand that the constitutional framework creates that atmosphere? How do you get them to go and imagine an America like that?

I'm not sure yet. But it shouldn't be that hard. Because the internet is that place. The internet is America prior to the Progressive Era. We're now starting to talk about regulating the internet. We're now starting to talk about putting taxes on it, making sure you have a license, regulating the news and the blogs. We're now starting to spy on you. Every keystroke is monitored.

We're about to wreck what we have, just like we wrecked what we had in the 1800s, where men were free to say, "I want to start an electric company. I want to start a phone company. I want to start a railroad. I've got an idea, how about we string wires all the way across the nation so we could have a telegraph and you could actually talk to each other."

Do you know who rode the Pony Express? Do you know what the ads said for the Pony Express? They were looking for 12-year-old boys --- imagine just starting that ad today, "Looking for 12-year-old boys." We were looking for 12-year-old boys, orphans preferable. The expectation of life was about a year. Imagine advertising, "Hey, by the way, we've got a job for kids. We're looking for orphans. 12-year-olds. Because they got a lot of stamina. They're small. And, by the way, you're expected to be dead in a year. And for this commercial enterprise, we just want to bring the mail from one side of the country to the other." We would never do that.

But one of the greatest Pony Express riders was a 12-year-old boy. He lived past his year. He fought in World War I. He was 70 at the time. And he saw what was happening to the world, and the United States said, "We can't use you. You're too old." He said, "Really?" He got on a ship and he went over to England. He asked England, "Will you take me?" They said, "You bet. We'll take anybody." He fought in World War I and lived.

The destination that I have in mind, the destination of where we need to go, what our country looks like, is a country that doesn't say, "You're too old. You're too stupid. You don't have this. You don't have this certificate. You don't have this degree. I'm sorry, you haven't filled out your paperwork." The America that I see that I want to go to is a country that is bound by laws, not by men, where its people are free to explore and just do it.

Featured Image: Screenshot from The Glenn Beck Program

This was one of the first homesteads in the area in the 1880's and was just begging to be brought back to its original glory — with a touch of modern. When we first purchased the property, it was full of old stuff without any running water, central heat or AC, so needless to say, we had a huge project ahead of us. It took some vision and a whole lot of trust, but the mess we started with seven years ago is now a place we hope the original owners would be proud of.

To restore something like this is really does take a village. It doesn't take much money to make it cozy inside, if like me you are willing to take time and gather things here and there from thrift shops and little antique shops in the middle of nowhere.

But finding the right craftsman is a different story.

Matt Jensen and his assistant Rob did this entire job from sketches I made. Because he built this in his off hours it took just over a year, but so worth the wait. It wasn't easy as it was 18"out of square. He had to build around that as the entire thing we felt would collapse. Matt just reinforced the structure and we love its imperfections.

Here are a few pictures of the process and the transformation from where we started to where we are now:

​How it was

It doesn't look like much yet, but just you wait and see!

By request a photo tour of the restored cabin. I start doing the interior design in earnest tomorrow after the show, but all of the construction guys are now done. So I mopped the floors, washed the sheets, some friends helped by washing the windows. And now the unofficial / official tour.

The Property

The views are absolutely stunning and completely peaceful.

The Hong Kong protesters flocking to the streets in opposition to the Chinese government have a new symbol to display their defiance: the Stars and Stripes. Upset over the looming threat to their freedom, the American flag symbolizes everything they cherish and are fighting to preserve.

But it seems our president isn't returning the love.

Trump recently doubled down on the United States' indifference to the conflict, after initially commenting that whatever happens is between Hong Kong and China alone. But he's wrong — what happens is crucial in spreading the liberal values that America wants to accompany us on the world stage. After all, "America First" doesn't mean merely focusing on our own domestic problems. It means supporting liberal democracy everywhere.

The protests have been raging on the streets since April, when the government of Hong Kong proposed an extradition bill that would have allowed them to send accused criminals to be tried in mainland China. Of course, when dealing with a communist regime, that's a terrifying prospect — and one that threatens the judicial independence of the city. Thankfully, the protesters succeeded in getting Hong Kong's leaders to suspend the bill from consideration. But everyone knew that the bill was a blatant attempt by the Chinese government to encroach on Hong Kong's autonomy. And now Hong Kong's people are demanding full-on democratic reforms to halt any similar moves in the future.

After a generation under the "one country, two systems" policy, the people of Hong Kong are accustomed to much greater political and economic freedom relative to the rest of China. For the protesters, it's about more than a single bill. Resisting Xi Jinping and the Communist Party means the survival of a liberal democracy within distance of China's totalitarian grasp — a goal that should be shared by the United States. Instead, President Trump has retreated to his administration's flawed "America First" mindset.

This is an ideal opportunity for the United States to assert our strength by supporting democratic values abroad. In his inaugural address, Trump said he wanted "friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world" while "understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their interests first." But at what point is respecting sovereignty enabling dictatorships? American interests are shaped by the principles of our founding: political freedom, free markets, and human rights. Conversely, the interests of China's Communist Party are the exact opposite. When these values come into conflict, as they have in Hong Kong, it's our responsibility to take a stand for freedom — even if those who need it aren't within our country's borders.

Of course, that's not a call for military action. Putting pressure on Hong Kong is a matter of rhetoric and positioning — vital tenets of effective diplomacy. When it comes to heavy-handed world powers, it's an approach that can really work. When the Solidarity movement began organizing against communism in Poland, President Reagan openly condemned the Soviet military's imposition of martial law. His administration's support for the pro-democracy movement helped the Polish people gain liberal reforms from the Soviet regime. Similarly, President Trump doesn't need to be overly cautious about retribution from Xi Jinping and the Chinese government. Open, strong support for democracy in Hong Kong not only advances America's governing principles, but also weakens China's brand of authoritarianism.

After creating a commission to study the role of human rights in U.S. foreign policy, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wrote last month that the principles of our Constitution are central "not only to Americans," but to the rest of the world. He was right — putting "America First" means being the first advocate for freedom across the globe. Nothing shows the strength of our country more than when, in crucial moments of their own history, other nations find inspiration in our flag.

Let's join the people of Hong Kong in their defiance of tyranny.

Matt Liles is a writer and Young Voices contributor from Austin, Texas.

Summer is ending and fall is in the air. Before you know it, Christmas will be here, a time when much of the world unites to celebrate the love of family, the generosity of the human spirit, and the birth of the Christ-child in Bethlehem.

For one night only at the Kingsbury Hall in Salt Lake City, on December 7th, join internationally-acclaimed radio host and storyteller Glenn Beck as he walks you through tales of Christmas in the way that only he can. There will be laughs, and there might be a few tears. But at the end of the night, you'll leave with a warm feeling in your heart and a smile on your face.

Reconnect to the true spirit of Christmas with Glenn Beck, in a storytelling tour de force that you won't soon forget.

Get tickets and learn more about the event here.

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