Jacki Pick, Lincoln Fellow 2011
What is your current position?
I am the Host of The Jacki Daily Show (airing on TheBlaze, on the dial in Texas, and podcast on iHeartRadio and iTunes) and a Senior Fellow at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. I am a lawyer, but I have not practiced in a few years.
What inspired you to choose this career path?
The choice to do research and education for “the Movement” is a labor of love. Holding the line against power-grabbers (the oldest profession, regardless of what you might have heard) is not easy or safe, and it does not pay as well as growing or defending a pot of money in corporate America, yet it must be done. If not us, then who? Every generation must have a group that is focused on defending freedom, else we lose it. I do my best to be one of this generation’s defenders.
What are you currently working on?
Some of what I do is confidential consulting, and the rest of it you can find on a Jacki Daily Show podcast or in the work of the Life:Powered initiative of the Texas Public Policy Foundation. Mostly, I am working to educate Americans that fossil fuels are a necessary–and safe–foundation for our modern economy and existence, and that we cannot continue to be a superpower without them.
How did you hear about the Claremont Institute?
I heard about the Claremont Institute when I took a course in Constitutional Principles from Dr. Charles Kessler who was guest teaching at Georgetown University through the Fund for American Studies in 1997. Then in 2007, at the beginning of my time on Capitol Hill, I attended a briefing led by Brian Kennedy about securing our grid from hostile states. Brian reconnected me to Claremont.
What is your fondest memory of the Claremont Institute?
My fondest memory of Claremont was my week spent with my Lincoln Fellows class in Santa Ana. The group was high-caliber and truly committed to pouring themselves into the ideological fight. It has been fun to watch the group in action over time as we continue to shape our world.
What makes Claremont unique?
Claremont’s Institute’s fellowships are unique because of the type of individual selected to participate and the focus on ideas. Claremont understands that it is the ideas of a people that will decide their future. Other programs for conservatives focus on the surface issues of growing the wealth of the nation or playing whack-a-mole against tyrants, foreign and domestic. These things are important, but Claremont is more “macro” in its focus: where a people have the right ideas, wealth and power (or power-restraint) will naturally follow.
Who was more important for their time? Washington or Lincoln?
Washington and Lincoln had totally different challenges. Washington was not among the top intellectuals of his era, but instead, a master tactician. By the time he became Chief Executive, he was executing what was mostly other people’s vision. Lincoln asserted himself more as the ideological architect of his Administration. Because ideas are what matter most, Lincoln was more impactful.
Which American founder would I choose to meet? What would we discuss? Where would we meet? What would we eat?
If I could have a meal with an American founder, it would be John Adams because he was the most candid and clever. I enjoy big personalities. We would discuss how to take down the deep state, and I would take him to task for why he did not push to include term limits for Congress (and their staff!) in the Constitution– the biggest error after slavery. I would ask which of his colleagues are rolling in their graves and why. We would meet in Texas so that he could broaden his horizons, and we would eat BBQ, just so he could know what smug New Englanders miss out on.
What would the artifact be, if I could hold one piece of history from the early founding of the country, and why?
If I could hold one historical artifact from the founding, it would be the original copy of the Declaration, of course…preferably after it was tear-stained by King George. Why? Because it is the culmination of the entire era.
In which of the original 13 colonies would I want to live and why?
Virginia would have been my colony of choice because it has the most history, was a hotbed of revolutionary planning, near the action, and seat of the future capitols of the north and south. Therefore, it is Virginia where one could maximize influence at a most critical time in our history. It is no coincidence that so many of our founders and early presidents were from Virginia.
Why do you think the countries principles are still worth fighting for?
The country’s principles are still worth fighting for because we have over 200 years of evidence that they yield the best results of any that have existed in human history. They maximize freedom and continue to thwart the plans of tyrants after 243 years. Amazing.
What has led to our culture redefining itself in the 21st Century?
The culture is redefining itself in the 21st Century primarily due to the breakdown of the family–the most fundamental unit of any human society. We have delegated child-rearing to the government or to other third parties who rear children while a parent works full-time just to pay the family’s share of taxes…to the government. The result is that the younger generations are shaped by actors with no vested interest in their outcome. Culture of the past is either passed down or replaced.
What has been the major contributor to the lack of civility in our country?
The major contributor to our lack of civility is new media. It enables the radicalization of both ends of the political spectrum through instant and incessant repetition of sensationalized messaging through 24-hour cable news and social media. Combine this with the anonymity of cowardly participants online, and the worst messengers go unchecked. The most productive people do not have time to engage and are the least represented. Because both sides are not physically present for debate, it is easy to lose sight of the humanity of the opponent, left free to imagine the worst about what has become an abstract “other.” The amoral and emotionally fragile segment of the population finds a platform and asserts an outsized voice that becomes the norm.
What is the greatest challenge to the United States?
The greatest challenge to the United States is the breakdown of the family (see above), jeopardizing the most critical of human relationships. Unconnected children become weak adults, easily led and manipulated. Without the love and security required in the hierarchy of needs, the ability to develop character and higher-level reasoning is compromised. Remember, ideas are what determine the future of a people. Weak people have weak ideas.
What are the qualities of an outstanding Statesman/Stateswoman this century?
The qualities of a great statesman/woman this century are the same as in the past: values, strength, courage, humility, vision. Perhaps thicker skin is needed than in the past (see above commentary on new media and civility).
What is the most distinctive attribute / character of the people in the state where you grew up that you deeply admire?
The Appalachian area of Southern Ohio is where I spent my first 18 years. The most distinctive and admirable trait of southern Ohioans is the no-nonsense, straight talk. You know where you stand. There is very little guile. Washington D.C. and the corporate world were both complete and total culture shock by contrast. Either Ohioans are more moral, or there is a direct correlation between guile and how much you have to lose. Probably the former.
Do you think the rolodex will outlive technology and still serve a genuine purpose? Why?
I brag about my overstuffed rolodexes, but I rarely look at them anymore, so no. But the metaphorical “rolodex” of human relationships will never be replaced by technology. Nothing can strip the basic elements of being human from the human race. It’s about connections.
Do you have a special moment from your radio show that left a lasting impression? Why?
A special moment from my radio show was my interview with General Jim Jones, former National Security Advisor to President Obama who left the administration, going on tour to promote the Keystone XL Pipeline. He explained that when he led NATO forces, he explicitly made energy security the mission since energy scarcity is a weapon of war.
A week after the interview aired, I received an email from a US Special Operations officer serving in the Middle East, who told me he met General Jones overseas. As he deplaned, the officer told the General that he enjoyed his comments on The Jacki Daily Show, and they had a conversation about energy security. I was encouraged that my show was spurring a conversation on the other side of the world between people who make things happen. This would be the first of many examples. We should never forget that American online media is on the only beacon of freedom that broadcasts in many parts of the world, and to our deployed military.
In another example, Counsel of the World Intellectual Property Organization (“WIPO,” Geneva, Switzerland) listened to one of my shows that explained the role of intellectual property in the U.S. Shale Revolution. As a result, I was invited to address the WIPO in Baku, Azerbaijan to explain to foreign leaders (mostly of the former Soviet Union) why American ingenuity was the key to our success in becoming an energy superpower.
Do you think established sources of energy stand a lasting chance against new and emerging alternatives?
Traditional energy (oil, natural gas, coal and nuclear energy) will be with us until long after this generation passes away. As of now, both the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) and the International Energy Agency (IEA, Paris) both predict that we will use a minimum of 70% fossil fuels from now until 2040. The energy density of alternatives is not enough to change this with today’s technology. Alternatives are aspirational, and reality will slow its progress. For example, the COVID-19 virus has forced Europe to scrap its Green New Deal equivalent and you will see others do the same when hit with crisis. Alternatives will improve and gain greater market share, but at a far slower pace than predicted.
This is not a fearful view. Humans have made it this far and will continue to innovate ways to deal with any climate challenge. Climate deaths, such as from hurricanes, drought, wildfires, etc. are down more than 90% since 1900. Fears have centered on CO2 emissions and air pollution. The facts are that the U.S. has reduced CO2 emissions more than any country on earth (because of a fossil fuel, frac’d natural gas, replacing coal in our grid feed). We also have some of the lowest levels of deadly air pollution (fine particulate matter, or “PM 2.5”) in the world, all while being the greatest consumer of fossil fuels, next to China. The state of the world is much better than we are led to believe. My show is loaded with this and other good news.
Do you have a favorite quote? If yes, why does it resonate with you?
Favorite quote: “Things are what they are, and they’re not what they’re not.” Basically, I find comfort in the truth, even when it is unpleasant, because it’s the one thing you can count on. The Appalachian version is, “The truth will stand when the world is on fire.”
What books are you reading?
I am always reading multiple books at a time, rotating them depending on my mood. In this month’s rotation are: A Question of Power: Electricity and the Wealth of Nations, by Robert Bryce, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Plant Paradox, and I Peter.
What book has left a lasting impression on you and why?
I was raised on Bible, so there is no question that this book has left an impression. Rarely is there an impactful life event for which a verse doesn’t come to mind. The Book makes me feel connected to ancient ancestors who survived far worse than today’s challenges, and makes me feel both mortal and invincible, in different ways.
What is your favorite cultural / recreational pastime (or hobby) and why?
While I don’t have time for a hobby, I do enjoy live concerts (the last one was Billy Joel). Music is my drug. As an only child, I felt like music was my companion; it’s what “kept me company.” Growing up, we had a radio right outside my bedroom that never was turned off. It played all day and all night, for years, I believe.
As a close second to music, travel is my favorite “hobby.” I’ve seen 38 states and 40 countries—so far. My favorite country is the United States.