Three Things You Need to Know - September 21, 2017

College students are becoming hostile toward free speech.

Does the First Amendment protect hate speech?

That’s what U.S. college students were asked last month in a nationwide study to gauge their understanding of the First Amendment. The results were not encouraging.

44 percent of college students said “No” --- that hate speech is not protected under the First Amendment. 16 percent said they didn’t know.

In case any of those students are listening, the correct answer is yes, the First Amendment does protect hate speech. You might find the speech totally disgusting, but hate speech is indeed protected by our Constitution. And if you don’t understand why this protection is absolutely vital, then we need a ton of remedial education.

RELATED: 44 Percent of College Students Are Wrong About the First Amendment in This Survey

If there is a speaker on campus that students consider offensive, 51 percent said it’s okay for a student group to shout over the speaker so the audience can’t hear.

Even worse --- 19 percent of college students said it’s okay to use violence to keep a controversial speaker from speaking on campus. Antifa recruiters must be salivating.

Students, here’s another Constitutional right you may not know about --- you have the right to not listen to speakers that offend you.

This advice will be especially handy for Berkeley students next week during their “Free Speech Week.” Stay home. Read a book. Hang out with friends. Go to a concert. Study at the library. Whatever. Just don’t cave in to the lie that you must physically restrain anyone who offends you.

These study results are evidence of out-of-control progressivism. It’s easy to mock, we can blame and point fingers. But what do we do about it? How do we fix such ignorance?

We have to make sure our own house is in order. Parents --- we can’t assume our children are learning the Constitution at school. If we don’t pass that torch in our own homes, you can be sure most schools and universities are not going to get the job done.

How do you tell the good guys from the bad guys?

Look at the Middle East right now in the war on ISIS. ISIS is the obvious easy answer --- definitely bad guys --- but after that, it gets harder and harder to decide who our friends are.

Turkey claims to be our ally, but they’ve been letting terrorists slip into Syria since this entire thing started. And defeating ISIS isn’t even their main objective. Killing Kurds is.

Iran’s another easy one. We don’t consider them allies, but we’ve been flying air support for their proxy forces since this war began. The very same forces that were attacking our soldiers and Marines just a few years ago.

How about Iraq? Most of ISIS’ commanders came from Saddam’s army. When ISIS came back, the Iraqi Army basically just handed them Mosul and half their country, along with all their weapons.

In the entire region, only the Iraqi Kurds held their ground and fought. You might remember the Kurds from the primary debates during the election. “Supporting the Kurds” almost became a unanimous catch-phrase. Out of all the countries I’ve just mentioned, these are the good guys.

It couldn’t be any more obvious, but --- for some reason --- the State Department is having a hard time with this. They announced yesterday that they’re opposing the Iraqi Kurd independence referendum which is happening on Monday. That puts us in alignment with the three countries that I just mentioned: Turkey, Iran and Iraq. Three countries that clearly don’t share our values.

It comes as no surprise to me, but one of the only countries to step forward and support Kurdish independence is Israel. They know what it’s like to be a minority in this area, and have the entire region want to see you fail. Why is it so hard for us to recognize and support those that actually deserve it?

This is the reason our foreign policy is so hard to figure out. It’s time to stop helping those that don’t share our values and stand up for those that do. Only then will we start to win back some of the respect we used to have in this world.

Who supports single-payer healthcare?

A new poll shows that nearly half of Americans support a single-payer healthcare system.

That’s 49 percent of Americans to be exact --- only 35 percent said they opposed such a plan.

In this polling we find two things:

1. A warning

2. A lesson for the way forward

Let’s start with the warning --- the fact that at first glance nearly half of Americans say they would support a single-payer system means we haven’t done our job.

We haven’t done the hard work of educating people about the pitfalls of a one-size-fits-all healthcare system.

But deeper in the polling we find a lesson for the way forward.

There was actually a poll from earlier this summer that found a clear majority --- 55 percent to be exact --- supported single-payer.

That poll also found that once people were educated about the reality of single-payer (i.e. higher taxes and giving up their employer-sponsored plans for government-run plans), opposition to single-payer jumped to 61 percent.

61 percent opposed single-payer once they were educated about what it actually meant.

And that is our lesson.

Education. Education. Education.

The truth is Americans don’t know what single-payer means --- and once they do they’re not fans.

It is our job to make sure that remains true.

MORE 3 THINGS

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.

The general sale period will be Friday, August 16 at 10:00 AM MDT. Stay tuned to for updates. We look forward to sharing in the Christmas spirit with you!