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Seekers of Good News Don't Have to Leave Florida

December 23, 2012 - 6:00pm

In keeping with the holiday season, I went looking for good news.

It is hard to find, granted. The liberal media are chock full of end-of-the-world doom and gloom: Mayan calendars, meteors smashing into the Earth, volcanoes erupting, etc. They revel in that stuff. The world can't end soon enough for them.

One liberal professor years ago openly pined for a plague that would eradicate most human life, which he imagined would benefit the bugs and weeds.

There is bad news. America is in decline, descending into socialism. But that does not mean good things can't continue to happen.

Britain famously voted, like America, to go socialist. This happened right after it helped save freedom throughout the world and remains one of the great political mysteries of our time.

Today, Britain is a mess but hasn't yet been reduced to Third World status. It is still a great place to visit.

Periodically, Brits toss out socialists and put a conservative government in, but they usually don't remain long because of the millions of voters who live on the dole.

So it will go with America, although I don't expect to see another conservative president elected.

But conservatives are optimists and look for hopeful signs. We see plenty in states still clinging to freedom.

This week, Florida papers reported the plunging unemployment rate or the soaring employment rate, depending on how full your glass is and the fact that school grades are improving.

The former clearly is a result of the pro-growth policies of the Legislature and governor and the trend is markedly different from the socialist states in the Northeast and left coast.

The latter was not supposed to happen. According to learned liberals, the draconian cuts in school spending should have decimated the government schools and brought learning to a standstill.

We might have been able to test this theory if, in fact, school spending had lessened, but it hasn't.

Despite a temporary reduction in state funds, most school districts have picked up the slack via federal and local funding. Spending, as educated people know, does not equate with learning anyway. If it did, kids trapped in the Washington, D.C., school hell-holes would be the smartest in the world. Instead, Florida's fourth-graders are tops.

But standards and accountability do matter and Florida's nation-leading school reforms continue to bring improvement in the schools.

School grades are rising all over the state even though standards have been raised again. Also, evidence continues to pile up that charter schools are producing real educational improvement. Again, this is despite liberal attempts to control, contain and crush charter schools.

In short, America's unique system of states and federal government means there can be decline overall but areas of continued improvement in the quality of life. Thus, until politicians try to prevent people from moving to another state, as they already have tried to do to businesses, you still have a choice.

Lloyd Brown was in the newspaper business nearly 50 years, beginning as a copy boy and retiring as editorial page editor of the Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville. After retirement he served as speech writer for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

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