The Power of a New Idea: Maimonides ⋆ Politicrossing
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The Power of a New Idea: Maimonides

The more innovative the idea you wish to introduce, the more you first need to contemplate and study the landscape

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The name Moses Maimonides is lost to our contemporary masses, who might know the names Nicolaus Copernicus, Leonardo da Vinci, Marie Curie, or James Madison, but can barely cite their accomplishments.

Maimonides was born in 1138 in Cordova, Spain. Under Muslim rule, Cordova was considered one of the intellectual centers of the Western world. When Maimonides was ten years old, a warring sect invaded and conquered Cordova, forcing all non-Muslims, including his family, who were Jewish, to convert, depart, or face execution.

Many Travels

For nearly two years, Maimonides’s family lived a fairly nomadic life, traveling throughout southern Spain and eventually settling in Morocco. At the age of 28, when he had already started to establish himself as a philosopher, author, and serious thinker, he relocated to Cairo, Egypt.

His first masterpiece, the Mishneh Torah, provided an organizational framework forthe Torah’s commandments and highlighted that each part of Jewish law provided a rational and fundamental purpose.

Maimonides showed that none of the laws were constructed simply for the sake of obedience, an observation apparently true of many other religions.

Book One of the Mishneh Torah, also known as the Book of Knowledge, laid the foundation for Jewish philosophy, offered a theory of morality, implored the study of the Torah, spelled out laws regarding idolatry, and expounded upon the importance of repentance.

Book Fourteen, known as Judges, proclaimed that the true Messiah would come and restore sovereignty to Israel, make peace with surrounding nations, and lead the modern world in scientific and philosophical inquiry.

Articles of Faith

Maimonides presented 13 principles that he believed all Jews needed to adopt, including the existence and eternity of God; that God communicates through the prophets, of which Moses of Egypt was the greatest; that the Torah was offered by God and is immutable; and that there is divine providence, as well as divine punishment and reward.

These articles of faith were the first of their kind. His views were vexing to European in the 12th century and ignited an ongoing controversy in Judaism. As such, critics questioned and repudiated Maimonides for much of his adult life.

In 1190, at the age of 52, he wrote and published The Guide of the Perplexed, which began as a letter he wrote to a graduate student who couldn’t decide between studying philosophy or the teachings of Judaism.

The guide reviewed biblical terminology that seemed to endow God with corporeal qualities. It also discussed prophecy, creation, jurisprudence, and providence.

Maimonides believed that Jewish law was designed to improve the soul and body. He felt  literal interpretations of the Bible resulted in viewing God as a material conception; nothing more than idolatry.

Resistance Rises

Like the Mishneh Torah, The Guide of the Perplexed sparked controversy and was banned in many Jewish communities.

Some Rabbis feared that Maimonides’ arguments raised the question as to whether the true meaning of the Torah could be understood by typical worshippers, which implied that the Torah might only be taught to an educated few.

Maimonides published his treatise on resurrection, one year later, in which he discussed how his concept of the afterlife represented an intellectual, but not bodily, resurrection.

His letter on astrology debunked the widespread belief that celestial bodies had influence over human events.

Innovation Requires Contemplation

In his mid-60s, Maimonides died in Fostat, Egypt after a continuous battle with exhaustion.

Today, much of his content hardly seems controversial. However, Maimonides was a brilliant and serious scholar, and he did not offer his innovative views of God and humankind and their intertwined relationship to rile existing powers. Rather, they represented his best ideas from years of study and contemplation on the nature of God, existence, and divine law.

What are we to learn from one of the great thinkers of the ages? The more innovative the idea you wish to introduce, the more study and contemplation you first need to do.  Controversy can dissipate in the light of rational comprehensive arguments, but those don’t come easily.

If you have passion for your innovation and have faith in your concept, brave the criticism and stand by your ideas.

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Jeff Davidson is the world's only holder of the title "The Work-Life Balance Expert®" as awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He is the premier thought leader on work-life balance, integration, and harmony. Jeff speaks to organizations that seek to enhance their overall productivity by improving the effectiveness of their people. He is the author of Breathing Space, Simpler Living, Dial it Down, and Everyday Project Management. Visit www.BreathingSpace.com for more information on Jeff's keynote speeches and seminars, including: Managing the Pace with Grace® * Achieving Work-Life Balance™ * Managing Information and Communication Overload®



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Education

Make Universities Accountable for Predatory Student Loan Abuse

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The Biden administration is still talking about delivering on the President’s promise to relieve student loan debt for many Americans. There is continuing discussion on how much debt should be forgiven, how to pay for it, and whether it is fair to all those who have diligently and painfully worked to already pay off their own student loans. After all, if you’re going to eliminate student debt to buy votes, why just limit it to student debt?

Unfortunately for Biden, according to numerous sources including National Review, the executive branch has no generalized power to forgive any amount of student debt. Even Nancy Pelosi confirmed simply that “the president can’t do it. That’s not even a discussion.” The Department of Education came to the same verdict, determining that the executive branch “does not have the statutory authority to cancel, compromise, discharge, or forgive, on a blanket or mass basis, principal balances of student loans, and/or to materially modify the repayment amounts or terms thereof.”

Of course, even if he had the authority, forgiving student debt doesn’t make the debt go away. Reality has a way of breaking into such “freeloading” dreams. It’s pay me now, or somebody else pay me later. But why should some future taxpayer pay off anyone else’s student debt?

Whatever happened to wise warnings of “student beware.” When you get an education and agree to pay the tuition, you ought to realize that you must at some point pay for that education. You signed on the bottom line. Face your real-world responsibilities. Hopefully, you picked a degree major that will ensure a career capable of paying off your loans. Students clearly have some responsibility, but what about the universities that took advantage of the money coming from those loans?

Trending on PolitiCrossing.com: Tucker: This is a coordinated attack on the family

After all, there is ample evidence that student tuitions exploded far faster than inflation when government funds became readily available for student loans. Complaints of excessive tuition increases by students trapped in their programs tended to be met with a less than caring response—pound sand!

Since 2008, the tuition cost or a four-year college degree has increased nearly 25%. In that same period, student debt has doubled, increasing by 107%. 2015 study found that a dollar of subsidized student loans results in a published tuition increase of 58 cents at a typical university, An NBER paper suggests that changes to federal student loans are more than sufficient to explain tuition increases at private nonprofit colleges. And a 2014 study found that for-profit colleges eligible for federal student aid charged tuition 78% higher than that of similar but aid-ineligible institutions.

In short, there is no doubt that tuition was rising faster than the inflation level. Evidence has been clear for decades. In 1987, Secretary of Education William J. Bennett argued that “increases in financial aid in recent years have enabled colleges and universities to raise their tuition, confident that Federal loan subsidies would help cushion the increase.”

Bennett pointed out in 1987 that federal student aid had risen 57 percent since 1980, while inflation had been 26 percent. A 2020 analysis by the Congressional Budget Office brought the numbers up to date: “Between 1995 and 2017, the balance of outstanding federal student loan debt increased more than sevenfold, from $187 billion to $1.4 trillion (in 2017 dollars).” What is the lesson? The more federal aid to students is available colleges raise tuition more. Salaries rise and bureaucracies expand. There are more courses, more dorms, dining halls, lavish recreational centers, and more money for endowments.

Far too many students find that once they begin their education, their schools raise the tuition at such a high rate that their debt explodes. The university builds their endowment, and the “trapped” student is compelled to finish what they started at a cost they did not expect to have to pay. In such a situation, should not the university be responsible for any increased cost above the increase in cost of living during the same time? It’s time for universities to take responsibility for their share of student debt.

The universities that benefited from these loans should have a part in footing the bill. That means universities that raked in millions to inflate endowments should be holding the bag for those who can’t afford to pay their loans. With universities holding hundreds of billions of dollars in tax-free endowments, any government program to relieve student debt should be completely dependent on taxing those university endowments.

It’s time to counter the Democrats’ vote-buying scheme by making lasting changes to the student loan process. That means putting universities on the hook for their predatory behavior. That will go much further than a temporary payoff that does nothing to solve what is causing the problem.

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News

Tucker: Why are they so angry?

There’s no Constitutional requirement to have respect for anybody in the US government. In fact, in a free country you are encouraged to disagree. You are a citizen, you have that inherent right. But, no more.

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Tucker gives an extended list of several people who were arrested or had their homes raided, without explanation, for no crime. Highlights include:

“Why have a political debate when you can just arrest people who disagree with you? And that has happened, far below the media radar since the day Joe Biden was elected, and tonight we want to show you … a litany, a list of Americans who have been arrested, detained by federal law enforcement on the orders of the Biden administration, not because they committed recognizable crimes but because they disagreed with the political aims of the Biden administration.”

“Ooh, Trumps a fascist, remember that? Did Trump’s DOJ raid the homes of a lot of journalists who embarrassed his children? No, you don’t remember that, because it didn’t happen. But Joe Biden’s justice department has done that, and then they kept going.”

“We don’t arrest people for ignoring congressional subpoenas, especially when they cite executive privilege, a principal that has a long history in American history, so no, we’ve never done that, but we can do it now because it was ‘an insurrection’, an insurrection that wasn’t armed, wasn’t planned, it didn’t actually insurrect anything, but it was still an insurrection. Now you’re beginning to see why it’s been so important from the very first day for the media to describe what happened on January 6 not as a riot, but as an insurrection, because if it’s an insurrection, they can violate your civil rights.”

“So, a decade ago the Obama administration was caught sending automatic weapons to Mexican drug cartels and Congress wanted to know more about this. Eric Holder, then the attorney general, had a key role in this, ‘operation fast and furious’, you may remember it. So, they subpoena’d him, and he ignored the subpoena, and the media applauded, he was taking a noble position. But when Steve Bannon or Peter Navarro tried to do something like that, they went to jail. Again, we had this exact same thing happen in public ten years ago. A federal judge ruled that Holder’s privilege claim was not legitimate, and he was still never arrested, but the rules have changed. Why is that?”

“There’s no Constitutional requirement to have respect for anybody in the US government. In fact, in a free country you are encouraged to disagree. You are a citizen, you have that inherent right. But, no more. The media think you should be sent to jail if you show disrespect, and so of course, with no media to push back against unconstitutional overreach, the justice department kept going.”

Watch the video below and feel free to exercise your right to free speech in the comments.

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