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Thorner: Heartland Institute celebrates liberty at annual fundraiser




By Nancy Thorner

Photos by Mark Weyermuller 

Judge Andrew Napolitano expresses displeasure over assault of our natural right by government at Heartland's 34th Anniversary Benefit Dinner

The Heartland Institute celebrated its 34th Anniversary with a reception and dinner at The Cotillion in Palatine, Illinois, on Friday October 26, 2018.  The Heartland Institute is a national, nonprofit research and education organization devoted to discovering, developing, and promoting free-market solutions to social and economic problems. 

Welcoming remarks by Heartland's President and CEO

Welcoming remarks were made by Tim Huelskamp, Ph.D., President and CEO of The Heartland Institute, to an estimated 400 attendees.  From 2011 to 2017, Dr. Huelskamp served three terms in Congress representing the 1st District in Kansas, which he called "six long years" under the Obama presidency.  Dr. Huelskamp succeeded Heartland’s co-founder and long-time president Joseph Bast as Heartland CEO in January 2018, although Bast continues to serve Heartland as a director and senior fellow.

Dr. Huelskamp called the 34th Anniversary event "an amazing evening to honor an amazing couple and the amazing gift of freedom promoted by Heartland."  Because of the interaction of Heartland and the EPA, the nation is winning on Energy and the Environment.  As Huelskamp explained, "fewer regulations and less government equals more freedom." 

Huelskamp touted the Right to Try Bill, for which he was present in the White House Rose Garden on May 30, 2018, when  President Trump signed this legislation giving terminally ill patients the opportunity to seek experimental drug treatments that are not fully approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

Huelskamp then spoke about the work by Heartland in all 50 states to deliver its freedom message with a focus on the issues in education, environmental protection, health care, budgets and taxes, and constitutional reform. Heartland sends three monthly policy newspapers – Budget & Tax News, Environment & Climate News,and School Reform News – to every national and state elected officials in the United States and thousands of civic and business leaders.  

Lastly, Huelskamp reminded attendees that they were here tonight "to support freedom."

Featured Speaker, Judge Andrew Napolitano

Featured speaker, Judge Andrew P. Napolitano, joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in January 1998 and currently serves as the senior political analyst, providing legal analysis on both FNC and Fox Business Channel.   

The theme of Napolitano's comments centered on "The Constitution and Human Freedom", in which the Judge expressed his displeasure over the assault of our natural right by our government.

Napolitano's address began with his account of St Thomas Moore, arguing as his own lawyer for alleged treason in 1535 for his refusal to acknowledge Henry VIII as the head of the Roman Catholic Church of England, was beheaded.  When St. Thomas Moore was making his case to the jury he used the following argument, which became known as Moore's statement of natural law: 

“Some men say the earth is flat.
Some men say the earth is round.
But if it is flat. Could Parliament make it round?
And if it round. Could the kings command flatten it?"

It is a given that the parliament or the king cannot make the round earth flat or a flat earth round, but St. Thomas Moore was not only appealing to the common sense of his juries, but also to their understanding of the natural law that regulates and controls even the king!

Thomas Jefferson, as the principal author of the Declaration of Independence, used a version of Moore's statement of natural law in musing upon the nature of natural law; however, Jefferson derived the most famous ideas in the Declaration of Independence from the writings of English philosopher John Locke.  Locke wrote that all individuals are equal in the sense that they are born with certain "inalienable" natural rights, rights that are God-given and can never be taken or even given away.  Among Locke's fundamental natural rights, were “life, liberty, and property.” , which were extolled by Jefferson in the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence:

“We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certainunalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and thePursuit of Happiness."  

What are our rights?  They are these areas of human behavior for which you don't need a government permission slip to make free choices:  

  • Life, liberty, pursuit of happiness
  • self defense
  • to inherit, earn, and keep property
  • the right and duty to demand that civil authorities obey the law
  • the right to live our lives free from interference from civil government
  • the right to worship God

These essential American rights were embodied in our Bill of Rights, and, as such, the government cannot take them away.  They are free from interference by the government.  While a person can surrender his/her natural right which come from God, but he/she cannot surrender the rights of another.  And because the Declaration identifies the Creator as the grantor of rights, we look to the Bible, or to the Natural Law, to see what those rights are.

Napolitano further explained how an assault of our natural rights began almost immediately in the administration of our second president, John Adams, when he enacted the Alien and Sedition Act, which Napolitano called abominable. 

The Sedition Act clearly violated individual protections under the first amendment of the Constitution; however, the practice of "judicial review," whereby the Supreme Court considers the constitutionality of laws was not yet well developed.

“Under the terms of this law over 20 Republican newspaper editors were arrested and some were imprisoned. The most dramatic victim of the law was Representative Matthew Lyon of Vermont. His letter that criticized President Adams' "unbounded thirst for ridiculous pomp, foolish adulation, and self avarice" caused him to be imprisoned. While Federalists sent Lyon to prison for his opinions, his constituents reelected him to Congress even from his jail cell.”

According to Judge Napolitano, everything our government has ever done, other than to protect our natural rights, has been ill-conceived, for, according to the Judge, “protecting our natural rights is what we have a government for.” As to the 4th Amendment, for Napolitano it poses the greatest risk for government. Codified in the Fourth Amendment is the right to be left alone.  It protects people from unreasonable searches and seizures by the government. However, it is not a guarantee against all searches and seizures, but only those that are deemed unreasonable under the law.  As such the Judge condemned the Patriot Act as "abominable" and an "infringement of our natural rights."

In closing Judge Napolitano offered this warning:  "When people fear the government there is tyranny, but when government fears the people there is liberty."

Judge Napolitano, an outspoken critic of government intervention

Judge Napolitano lived up to his reputation as an outspoken analyst of the legal system, most fervent critic of government intervention into personal lives and commercial transactions and most passionate defender of the Constitution. Although the Judge was entertaining, he appeared self-absorbed and pompous to Thorner and others attending the event.  He seemed to take credit for George W. Bush winning the chad debacle in Florida over his challenger Al Gore.

Napolitano was appalled at the idea of reigning in the media, even though the mainstream media is attempting to destroy President Trump and his administration with its fake news and distortions. Concerning Fox News, Napolitano bashed the network for being all Trump all the time, yet Napolitano is paid by Fox News for his political analysis. Unfavorable remarks were also made about President Trump.

When questioned whether he would ever like to sit on the Supreme Court, Napolitano answered: "I've had fantasies of being appointed to the Supreme Court, but I am too "long in the tooth for this president to consider me."  Napolitano appeared to Thorner as a Never Trumpster.


2018 Liberty Prize winners honored, Joe and Diane Bast

A highlight of the evening was the presentation of the 2018 Liberty Prize winners to Joe and Diane Bast.

Joseph Bast was Heartland’s president since its founding in 1984 until January of 2018, when Tim Huelskamp, Ph.D. succeeded co-founder and long-time president, Joseph Bast.  Joe's wife, Diane Bast, worked as an editor at Heartland almost as long as her husband.  

For many Joe and Diane Bast represent the face of Heartland with its mission to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. Their hard work and dedication was instrumental in developing The Heartland Institute into a premium think tank known throughout the world, especially as one promoting skepticism of man-made climate change.

See here the Video tribute to Joe and Diane Bast shown before Joe and Diane Bast  were presented with the 2018 Heartland Liberty Prize.  The video features comments from: Bob Chitester, founder, Free to Choose Network; Grover Norquist, president, Americans for Tax Reform; Grace-Marie Turner, president, The Galen Institute; Steve Forbes, chairman and editor-in-chief, Forbes Media; Fr. Robert Sirico, president, The Acton Institute; Lawrence Reed, president, Foundation for Economic Freedom; Matt Kibbe, president, Free the People; Stephen Moore, distinguished visiting fellow, The Heritage Foundation; David Boaz, vice president, The Cato Institute; Jim Johnston, founding board member, The Heartland Institute; Larry Arnn, president, Hillsdale College; David Theroux, president, The Independent Institute; Twila Brase, president, Citizen's Council for Health Freedom.

Upcoming Events

Wednesday, Nov 7

Twila Brase: 'Big Brother in the Exam Room: The Dangerous Truth About Electronic iHealth Records'

5:30 PM – 7:30 PM Arlington Heights, Illinois

Wednesday, Nov 14

'The Creepy Line' Movie Screening and Discussion

5:30 PM – 8:00 PM Arlington Heights, Illinois


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