Skin in the Game Defending Liberty

Lois Bolinby Lois Bolin
Old Naples Historian

In 2012, the American Council of Trustees and Alumni conducted a study entitled “What Will They Learn?” by assessing the strength of a university’s required general education courses. The article, “History Literacy: Failing Among American Students,” noted these seven core subjects: U.S. government, history, economics, literature, college-level math, science and intermediate-level foreign language.

Universities that required six of the seven earned an “A.” Cornell, Columbia, and Dartmouth obtained “B”s. Princeton and Penn received a “C.” Harvard and Yale a “D.” and Brown an “F.” (Note: Do not shoot the messenger.)

ConstitutionRecently, a fake petitioner convinced 50 Yale students in less than an hour to sign a form to repeal the First Amendment, which includes the rights to free speech, religion, the press, and assembly. Ironically, only weeks before, Yale students protested (assembled) debates on Halloween costumes.

How can we expect these students to know better if, since the passage of No Child Left Behind, American history and civics are virtually non-existent in our schools – if current America history book portrays Marxism better than Capitalism? How can they understand that America is still a beacon lighting the path for those yearning to be free. (Not just a path to free stuff.)

Would these students be so willing to give away their birthright for which many gave their life, if they had skin in the game – if they had to pledge their life – if they had to pledge their family’s money to fight for this safe place so their feelings would not be hurt? Would they even know what sacred Honor means?”

“We hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Robert Levy

Dr. Robert Levy

These intentions were set forth by Thomas Jefferson through the Declaration of Independence, which was later supported by James Madison through the Bill of Rights.

“Unalienable Rights” are ours by virtue of the endowment from our Creator-not the government. Among these “unalienable Rights” are freedom of speech, religion and self-defense.

In 2010, Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the majority decision for McDonald v. Chicago that self-defense is a basic right. This right, recognized by legal systems since ancient times, was first challenged two years earlier by a modern day Patriot, who had skin in the game.

Dr. Robert Levy, now Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Cato Institute, pledged his personal fortune, neither asking nor receiving funding from individuals or groups, as he mounted a landmark legal challenge to Washington D.C.’s draconian gun restrictions.

Dr. Levy’s challenge marked the first time since the 1939 case, United States v. Miller, that the Supreme Court had directly addressed the scope of the Second Amendment. On June 26, 2008, Levy and his team quietly celebrated their efforts when the decision was read on the District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570.

Levy wasn’t always an attorney. This second career in law started in 1994 after selling his company, CDA Investment Technologies, a major provider of investment information and software he started in the late 1960. (Before the Internet.)

You may know of Bob Levy through his writings from the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, National Review, or of his appearances on ABC’s Nightline, Fox’s The O’Reilly Factor, or PBS’s Newshour. Perhaps you know of his book, The Dirty Dozen: How 12 Supreme Court Cases Radically Expanded Government and Eroded Freedom.

If you don’t know this Naples resident, you can meet him when the Republican Women of SWFL Federated (RWSFF) presents Dr. Robert Levy with the inaugural Mary Ellen Hawkins Award, instituted last year in honor of one of Collier County’s staunch defenders of the United States Constitution. The award is presented annually to individuals and organizations that have dedicated themselves to defending our nation’s Constitution and the principles it embodies.

Reservations are required as seating is limited. Please contact, Diane van Parys at or Lois Bolin at 239.777.2281. Skin in the Game is $50 for non-RWSFF members.

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