Author: Clyde Wilson (Clyde Wilson)

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Living With Lenin
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Living With Lenin

An interesting sidelight on our current ruling regime is its changed attitude toward Russia. From the time of the Russian Communist takeover until quite recently, American leftist “intellectuals” sympathized with the Russian regime and gave it every benefit of the doubt. During the Cold War leftists pushed for unilateral Western disarmament, beating down those who...

Remembering M. E. Bradford
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Remembering M. E. Bradford

Anyone who met M. E. Bradford was unlikely to forget him. There was his imposing bulk and his Stetson cowboy hat, but that was just the trimming. This Oklahoman, long a fixture at the University of Dallas, radiated vast erudition, lightly worn and easily shared, often in colloquial language. He emitted goodwill and sparkling humor,...

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The Treasury of Virtue

From the December 1991 issue of Chronicles. “Contrary to widespread belief, evidence is accumulating that Western democracy is in continuous and serious decline,” writes Claes Ryn in the opening of this eloquent, concise, and hard-hitting manifesto that goes immediately to the heart of our times. “Many commentators proclaim democracy’s triumph over evil political forces in...

The Life of an ‘Old Republican’
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The Life of an ‘Old Republican’

From the December 1990 issue of Chronicles. Nathaniel Macon (Dec. 17, 1758- June 29, 1837), “Old Republican” statesman, the foremost public man of North Carolina in the early 19th century, was the sixth child of Gideon and Priscilla (Jones) Macon and was born at his father’s plantation on Shocco Creek in what later became Warren...

Bait and Switch
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Bait and Switch

According to pious American folklore, there was in 1787 a “Miracle at Philadelphia” in which demigod Founding Fathers gathered and gave the world the “U.S. Constitution”; thereby, as chanted by former Chief Justice Burger in a juvenile bicentennial panegyric, they changed human history forever—and got rid of the awful Articles of Confederation, which stood in...

In the Beginning . . .
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In the Beginning . . .

“Little lamb, Who made thee?” —William Blake This latest is vintage Tom Wolfe.  As in Radical Chic and The Painted Word, he casts his uniquely probing eye on fashionable orthodoxy and its establishment priests—in this case the strange religious cult of evolution.  While evolution may presume, sometimes dubiously, to describe the world, it can explain...

Sounding the Trump
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Sounding the Trump

In important ways, a revolutionary process has begun.  So argues Ilana Mercer in the best extended analysis yet published of the Trump phenomenon: “Trump is getting an atrophied political system to oscillate” in “an oddly marvelous uprising.”  For us revolutionaries there is still a long way to go, but we are entitled to a “modest...

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A Few Modest Suggestions for the Trump Administration

Order withdrawal  of troops and materiel from Afghanistan and Iraq. (Without bringing   the indigenous population with you.) Perhaps a small CIA presence might be maintained just for intelligence-gathering, which is what they are supposed to be doing anyway. Join with Russia to destroy ISIS in preparation for a withdrawal from Syria. This will allow the...

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Oh, Donald, Say It Ain’t So

Back when the Republican feedlot was full of wannabes for the next presidential nomination, this site published my little tongue-in-cheek pieces, “Looking for Mr. Republican” (Sept. 13, 2013) and  “Don’t Look Any Further, Mr. Republican Has Been Found” (April 3, 2015), describing the ideal Republican candidate. First, he must be presentable and respectable—someone you would...

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Lament for a Lost Love

Oh, England!  How have I loved thee, even though most of my forebears came from the doubtful Scots and Welsh borders, and not a few were 17th-century refugees from the turmoil of the German states.  I am old enough to remember when many, many of us regarded you as our Mother Country, despite all the...

A Real Place
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A Real Place

Breathes there the man, with soul so dead, Who never to himself hath said, This is my own, my native land! —Sir Walter Scott This work reminds me, on an appropriately more modest scale, of John Lukacs’s book on Philadelphians.  Both hearken back to a time when Americans were a semicivilized people who lived in...

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Parties

Contrary to popular belief, political parties are not democratic institutions.  They are extraconstitutional instruments of elite control, machines for corralling and pacifying the voters with platitudes.  The appearance of advertising, public relations, and polling has strengthened this aspect of their character.  This has particularly been the nature of the Republican Party, as should be evident...

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Uncle Bud Helps Out Jeb Bush

To Guvner J.E.B. Bush Floridy or maybe Conneckticut Dear Guvner Bush, I know we have not always seen I to I, as they say, but fair is fair, as they say, and I feel it is my duty to let you know that one of your opponents has been making fun of you and misreporting...

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America Today: From Sea to Shining Sea

It is reported that a machete-wielding Somali has attacked an Asian in a restaurant owned by an Israeli. In Ohio. All but a few of the baker’s dozen contenders for the Republican presidential nomination advocate warlike measures against Russia, Syria, and Iran. Consequences are not discussed. Most of them want to fight terrorism by increased...

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A VP For Trump?

If Trump should actually get the Republican presidential nomination, then the question arises of his Vice-President-to-be. Of course, we should not count our chips before the last hand. The Republican Establishment is sure of its divine right to rule, has money out the kazoo, employs plenty of talent expert at manipulating elections, and has a...

It’s the Debt, Stupid
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It’s the Debt, Stupid

A distinguished and liberal economic historian, Prof. Michael Hudson has laid bare the secret of the present American dilemma—why we suffer a declining and artificial economy and a widening chasm between the rich and the rest.  The interest-collecting rich absorb ever more of the national income.  “Instead of creating a mutually beneficial symbiosis with the...

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More Annals of the Stupid Party

Donald Trump has certainly revolutionized American politics. And he did so by a very simple act—mentioning substantive truths that other Republicans fear to utter. Trump is not perfect. But criticism at this point (some from over-fastidious Chronicles writers) is like Titanic survivors complaining about accommodations on the lifeboats. No ordinary man would climb into the...

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Democracy in Action 3

Democracy is impossible when millions of Americans actually believe in the sincerity of politicians when they say they care about us. Democracy is not possible when there is no debate, ideas, or principles but only marketing. We used to celebrate “democracy,” thought of, somewhat vaguely, as majority rule and freedom. Now it seems to mean ...

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Democracy in Action 2

Why is it that every time Muslims kill a bunch of people and declare it is because they are fulfilling their religion, the government tells us Islam is peaceable and we should import more of it? Nobody really believes that, but politicians say it because they think it is what they should say to sound...

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Democracy in Action

James Webb, a genuine war hero and author of a worthy book (Fields of Fire) draws no interest as a Presidential candidate, but numerous Republicans who have never been anything but parasites and cannot even read, much less write a good book, are considered promising statesmen. I am told we must be a multicultural country....

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More Maxims of American Life

Silence is unhealthy and un-American. Everybody has a right to talk and play their media as much as they want to,  anywhere any time. Every child has the right to a quality education. A college education is the key to a well-paying job. Same-sex couples have the same right to government benefits as everybody else....

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Maxims of American Life

What goes up must continue to go up and up. People love us for our good intentions when we tell them to be like us. If a few bad ones resist we can bomb them. We must be right because after every war our enemies want to move to the U.S. Whoever dies with the...

Band-Aids for the Corpse
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Band-Aids for the Corpse

In 1973 Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., published The Imperial Presidency.  He argued that the stretching of presidential power by Democrats Roosevelt and Truman had been necessary and benevolent, but that such behavior by Nixon was a dark threat to the commonwealth.  Schlesinger’s childishly partisan and superficial tirade was soon forgotten.  Time has moved on, and...

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The Way We Are Now (with apologies to Anthony Trollope)

Americans are more upset by the killing of a wild beast in Africa than they are by chopping up babies and selling their parts. Americans are more interested in the divorce of Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy than they are in the various wars their government is engaged in. (Killing innocent people and planting...

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The Dream Ticket

The run-up to the Presidential sweepstakes for 2016 is not very exciting so far. There are so many Republican wannabes that it is hard to keep track of them all. Let’s face it, Bushes and Clintons are old hat, boring. They are used goods. We need new products to liven up the market. I have...

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Signs and Portents

I can’t recall where I first encountered them.  It must have been in one of the rundown bars, like Clarence’s or The Shack, in the redneck section of Chapel Hill.  Let’s call them Larry and John.  I was one of a handful of notorious hard-core reactionaries in the student body, and they were among the...

A Tale of Two Keys
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A Tale of Two Keys

Everybody knows that “The Star-Spangled Banner” was written by Francis Scott Key as he watched the British attack on Fort McHenry in Baltimore harbor during the War of 1812.  But in 1861 Francis Key Howard wrote about his grandfather, “The flag which he then so proudly hailed, I saw waving at the same place over...

The Patsy
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The Patsy

In general I am not a fan of conspiracy theories.  A good historian learns that, in regard to controversial events, the simplest explanation is the one most likely to be accurate.  I long ago took to heart Napoleon’s maxim that you should not blame on hidden machinations what can be more readily explained by incompetence....

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Messalina’s Revenge

What a nasty lot of female would-be Masters of the Universe imperial America is turning out in these latter days! Messalina was the wife of the Roman emperor Claudius, and she was not only notoriously lewd but an active, behind-the-scenes power manipulator.  She ended badly—executed by order of the senate.  Historians still debate how many...

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Don’t Look Any Further—Mr. Republican Has Been Found!

Republicans have not been too happy lately looking over the long row of their Presidential wannabes. It is almost  embarrassing—so many outstanding candidates. They all have much to be said for them, but each one seem to have something lacking, to be just not quite right. They are just not “Presidential” enough. But relax Republicans,...

Society Precedes Government: Two Counterrevolutions
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Society Precedes Government: Two Counterrevolutions

A successful War of Independence established 13 free and independent states in North America in 1783.  This was followed, unfortunately for us, by the French Revolution and then by the 19th century, preeminently a time of violent government centralization.  Subsequent events, as well as nationalist emotion and propaganda, have seriously damaged our ability to see...

Cultural Cleansing, Phase One
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Cultural Cleansing, Phase One

In 1833 James Fenimore Cooper returned from a European tour to Coopers town—founded by his father, one of the first pioneers into the dangerous frontier of New York beyond the Hudson Valley.  Cooper property included a pretty peninsula on Lake Otsego that the family had allowed the community to use for fishing, picnics, and boating. ...

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A Day to Remember

Today, January 19, is a memorable date, the birthday of one of the greatest of all Americans. Robert E. Lee was born in Tidewater Virginia in 1807. Two uncles signed the Declaration of Independence and his father was a notable cavalry officer in the War for Independence. He was later to wed the granddaughter of...

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More Things the Republican Congress Will NOT do

Propose anything containing a genuine idea or principle rather than an advertising slogan. Get rid of affirmative action. Address the immense fraud in Medicare and Medicaid. Do anything substantive towards retiring the catastrophic national debt or eliminating dependence on foreign bond-holders. Reduce taxes on the middle and working classes. Save Social Security. Put unemployment among...

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What the Republican Congress Will NOT Do

Treat their election victory and new  majorities as a mandate for anything other than enjoying additional power and perks and maneuvering for the White House in the next election. Repeal Obamacare. Block the Obama illegal immigrant ukase (if he should pursue it). They may adopt some cosmetic “compromise” invented by PR men which will pretend...

The Missing Opposition
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The Missing Opposition

The late and great Sam Francis famously described the Republicans as the “Stupid Party,” pointing out that its leaders were always shooting themselves in the foot or chickening out and defeating their own declared positions.  Actually, although in general not terribly bright, Republican leaders are smart enough to take care of their own power and...

The Unnatural Aristocracy
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The Unnatural Aristocracy

A little-remembered provision of the U.S. Constitution: “No title of nobility shall be granted by the United States” (Article I, Section 9).  By this proviso the Founding Fathers affirmed the republican principle that nobody is entitled to power merely because of who he is.  Americans wanted to repudiate the hereditary privilege of the Old World...

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Hush! It Is General Lee

With Obama completing the displacement of the American people and the Republicans trying to start a war to detract attention from their uselessness and to revive their collapsed grassroots support, a poor observer barely has time and attention to note the civilizational degradation taking place in Lexington in the old and once-honored Commonwealth of Virginia....

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Goodbye, Bill Quirk. Jefferson Forever.

William J. Quirk, long-time professor of law at the University of South Carolina and a writer very familiar to Chronicles readers, passed away on September 22. Bill was 80 and had been quite active until the last two years or so. Professor  Quirk was a favourite of several generations of law students, who marveled at...

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Decline and Fall

I am very far from original in noticing similarities in the histories of Rome and America—republics that became empires.  The decline and fall of the former has often been thought to foretell the fate of the latter.  A Frenchman some years ago wrote a fairly convincing book called The Coming Caesars.  Such analogies are interesting...

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Some More Memories

One of my history department chairmen had the habit of hiring at whim as instructors various unqualified people, lacking appropriate degrees and without the vetting that was usually done.  A new, more professional chairman decided, rightly, to get rid of them.  One was a radical African-American preacher, notorious for complaints and a cavalier attitude toward...

Diversity Where It Counts
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Diversity Where It Counts

A work of genuine scholarship tells us what we did not know before and does so felicitously—it is a contribution to the world’s body of knowledge.  Discouragingly, a majority of academic books that have bounced across my desk in recent years either regurgitate what was told better long ago, or are the distorted remnants of...

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Weasel Words

Dr. Fleming, Mr. Cadfael,  and now Mr. Navrozov in recent posts have opened a fruitful discussion of the American tendency to debase the language with prettified terms in order to disguise reality and enforce conformity of thought. Actually this is nothing new and is in part a product of what our two most penetrating foreign...

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True Tar-Heel Tales

Abe Lincoln and Al Capone Sometimes “Uncle” Bud disappears for a week or two on “fishing trips.”  He always has a nice car for trips, usually a Buick with a big trunk.  Pays cash for ’em,  too.  Always says he got the money from cashing in his “G.I. insurance.”  Less said about that the better. ...

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Carolina, I Hardly Know You

In the primary of June 10, the Republican voters of South Carolina gave a comfortable victory to Lindsay Graham, one of the most notorious and repulsive of the current “invade the world, invite the world” brand of U.S. Senators. Friends from elsewhere  have questioned me repeatedly: how could this happen in such a traditionally conservative...

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Random Thoughts on Evolution

It is well to remember that ruling powers never exercise censorship to suppress falsehoods. They often themselves perpetrate falsehoods they find useful and are indifferent to others. The purpose of censorship is always to suppress inconvenient  truths. One of the best reasons to question the prevailing dogma of evolution as the source of life is...

Americans and War
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Americans and War

World War II seems to be getting a lot of what might be called revisionist treatment these days.  Such rethinking of history is, on principle, a good thing, although sometimes it does little more than revive old propaganda and partisanship.  It is good, for instance, that people who are concerned by the overgrown and uncurbed...

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Weep for California

California, once the American Mecca of milk and honey, has fallen on hard times. Though its degradation and decline are largely self-inflicted, California’s condition is nonetheless an American tragedy and a dire portent for the rest of us.   The state is fast becoming a colony and milk cow for Mexico, with a few enclaves...

True Tar-Heel Tales
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True Tar-Heel Tales

Great Granddaddy Honeycutt and Teddy Roosevelt Children, I haven’t ever been on what you might call speakin’ terms with any presidents.  But I have seen four or five of them from pretty near, and I want to tell you that they ain’t nothing special.  They have to get out of bed in the mornin’ and...

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What is History?

Quite a while back I annoyed the readers of this site with a long series of quotations:  “What is History?” My intent was to provide thought on the vast and complicated question of how we understand and best make use of the past. As a kind of belated conclusion to that series, I quote myself—with...