Author: Jack Trotter (Jack Trotter)

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Inhabiting the Mind of the Murderer
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Inhabiting the Mind of the Murderer

Kevin Birmingham reconstructs the aspects of Dostoevsky’s life that fed the stream of creativity that resulted in Crime and Punishment, the greatest psychological profile of a murderer in the annals of fiction.

The Tithes That Unbind
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The Tithes That Unbind

Millions of newcomers are rapidly eating away at the Mormon majority in Utah, and putting pressure on the Mormon Church to modify its stance on homosexuality. Some practice "gay tithing," sending money to activists trying to get the church to change.

Remembering Walter E. Williams
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Remembering Walter E. Williams

Addressing a Boston anti-slavery audience in 1865, abolitionist Frederick Douglass asked, “What shall we do with the Negro?” The answer he provided was a favorite of the conservative economist Walter E. Williams, though if Douglass were to utter it today he would probably be condemned by Black Lives Matter and deplatformed from social media:  ...

Snow Princess Does Beijing
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Snow Princess Does Beijing

Poor Gu Ailing, or, as we call her here in the country of her birth, Eileen Gu. She claims to have jumped ship to join the Chinese team for this year’s Winter Olympics in Beijing because she hoped to inspire young athletes on both sides of the Pacific, and to spread goodwill between the nation...

The Guardians of Sterility
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The Guardians of Sterility

Pope Francis addressed concerns about his controversial Traditionis custodes (Guardians of the Tradition)—an apostolic letter issued in July 2021 that placed severe new restrictions on the practice of the Latin Mass in the Roman Catholic Church—in a Responsa ad dubia dated Dec. 4. Both documents make it clear that the traditional Tridentine liturgy (Missale Romanum,...

The Making of a Gay Saint
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The Making of a Gay Saint

The U.S. Navy launched a new ship, an oiler christened the USNS Harvey Milk, on Nov. 6, 2021, at Naval Base San Diego, home port of the Pacific Fleet. Younger readers of this magazine may be forgiven if the significance of the name eludes them. Yet it is no exaggeration to say that Harvey Milk...

The Road to Gettysburg
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The Road to Gettysburg

Chaining Down Leviathan: The American Dream of Self-Government 1776–1865   by Luigi Marco Bassani  Abbeville Institute Press  380 pp., $19.95   European observers of the American scene have often offered valuable insights into American culture and politics. Marco Bassani has long been a student of American history and the European nation-state’s rise since the 17th century....

The Post-Abortive Culture
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The Post-Abortive Culture

The recent passage of the Texas Heartbeat Act, signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott on May 19, has resulted in feverish alarums across the land. These came after the U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal to block the law in late September, following an emergency application made by over a dozen Texas abortion providers and their...

The Cancel Culture Zoo
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The Cancel Culture Zoo

Just when we thought cancel culture couldn’t possibly get sillier, new heights of inanity were achieved in March when Dr. Seuss Enterprises removed six of that author’s best known titles from its active publishing list upon recommendations from a “panel of experts.” Among the titles canceled for racial insensitivity was the delightful If I Ran...

One Nation, Under Which God?
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One Nation, Under Which God?

On May 5, President Joe Biden left out the word “God” in his proclamation on the annual National Day of Prayer. Some critics on the right claimed Biden was the first president in American history to do so. Of course, those detractors fail to mention that the National Day of Prayer commemoration only dates back...

Remembering Andrew Nelson Lytle: Agrarian Prophet
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Remembering Andrew Nelson Lytle: Agrarian Prophet

In the early 1990s it was my good fortune to make a pilgrimage to meet Andrew Lytle on the occasion of the publication of his last book, Kristin (1992). A book-signing had been arranged by the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, where Lytle taught for many years and edited the illustrious Sewanee Review....

Remembering Booker T. Washington
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Remembering Booker T. Washington

When Booker T. Washington delivered his “Atlanta Compromise” speech in 1895 at the Cotton States and International Exposition, nearly 15 years after the founding of the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, the effect was galvanizing. Frederick Douglass, until then the most prominent black American leader, had been in his grave only six months. Washington, now ascendant,...

Under Cover of Darkness
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Under Cover of Darkness

For 124 years, the statue of John C. Calhoun, from high upon his perch in Marion Square, kept vigil over the city of Charleston. In life as in death Calhoun was indeed a monumental figure. Even in the flesh he seemed carved out of granite. He was, without question, the finest mind and the most dedicated...

What the Editors Are Reading: Who Owns America?
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What the Editors Are Reading: Who Owns America?

First published in 1936 as the nation was still reeling from the Great Depression, Who Owns America? A New Declaration of Independence remains a classic of American political thought and rhetoric. A collection of 21 essays, edited by the Fugitive-Agrarian Allen Tate and historian Herbert Agar, it was intended in part as a sequel to the better-known I’ll Take My...

Plague Literature: The Threshing Floor
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Plague Literature: The Threshing Floor

Over the centuries, plague has been understood variously as a purely natural phenomenon, astrological fatalism, the judgment of God, or, most perplexing, a manifestation of divine mercy. Since plague is one of those natural disasters whose origin cannot be assigned to human agency, it can pose seemingly insoluble moral problems. If, for example, plague is...

Remembering William F. Buckley, Jr.
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Remembering William F. Buckley, Jr.

Two years after the death of the man whom one of his biographers, John Judis, dubbed the patron saint of modern conservatism, Encounter Books brought out a splendidly packaged omnibus volume of his columns and essays, entitled Athwart History: Half a Century of Polemics, Animadversions, and Illuminations (2010). On the cover, William Francis Buckley stands...

The American Muse
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The American Muse

[I]n populous Egypt they fatten up many bookish pedants who quarrel unceasingly in the Muses’ birdcage.” —Timon of Phlius, 230 B.C. For almost as long as there have been literary works, there have been literary canons, largely established by bookish pedants who do, indeed, “quarrel unceasingly.” The quarreling began early in the third century B.C....

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What the Editors Are Reading

How is it possible to describe Dostoevsky’s great but sometimes neglected novel, Notes From Underground, without provoking repugnance for the nameless anti- hero whose voice dominates its pages? He is, as he announces in the opening lines, “a sick man…a spiteful man,” yet for all his insight into the nature of his own malady, he...

Our Culture of Narcissism
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Our Culture of Narcissism

Most Chronicles readers will no doubt recall the sordid Jussie Smollett hoax, which played out over the course of almost three months early this year in a scenario that might have been scripted for reality TV. Given the media’s saturation coverage of the fiasco, I will forego a reprise of the details. Instead, I wish...

The Long Apocalypse
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The Long Apocalypse

Today, a century after the close of the “war to end all wars,” the prospect of achieving what the U.N. and other such garrulous bodies call “global peace” seems ever more remote.  According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, if only we could establish everywhere the right to equality before the law, freedom of...

Out of Troy
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Out of Troy

Author of several novels and a memorable autobiographical work entitled Our Father’s Fields (1998), as well as a leading light of the Abbeville Institute, James Kibler has produced in the present work an indispensable study of the classical influence on Southern literature.  Other literary historians and critics of Southern letters have explored this territory; however,...

The Children of Eden
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The Children of Eden

All of us, I imagine, are granted from time to time moments of uninvited insight that will, for years to come, provide a basis for reflection and a more penetrating glimpse of the forces that shape the realms in which we live and labor.  Such a moment was granted to me back in the early...

The Managerial Racket
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The Managerial Racket

Life in America these days has become a vast numbers racket.  That is, most Americans are, cannily or not, ensnared in the numbers game called metrics, or what Jerry Muller in his latest book terms the “metrics fixation.”  This fixation is founded on the assumption that “If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it.” ...

A Ruthless Charm
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A Ruthless Charm

Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. was bred in the bone for his role on the stage of 20th-century American history.  His father, the historian Arthur Meier Schlesinger, was already a rising academic star when Arthur Jr. was born in 1917 in Iowa City, while, on his mother’s side, the prominent 19th-century historian, George Bancroft, was said to...

A Great Perhaps
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A Great Perhaps

“I am going to seek a great perhaps . . . ” —François Rabelais Sale’s theme is the restoration of “human scale” in all our works: architectural, political, economic, educational, and technological.  His thesis is that only radical decentralization can achieve this aim.  Sale first ventured into this territory with a book called Human Scale,...

Devil Take the Hindmost
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Devil Take the Hindmost

“High on a throne of royal state . . .  Satan exalted sat, by merit raised  To that bad eminence.” —Paradise Lost Hell is a meritocracy.  Yet in America the meritocratic ideal is universally applauded.  Everyone agrees—or pretends to agree—that the angel of justice smiles upon the triumph of merit.  Indeed, the hopes enshrined in...

Democracy in Action
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Democracy in Action

As both Drutman and Katz emphasize, before the 1970’s lobbying in America was a paltry enterprise.  In the immediate postwar era, under the pro-business Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations, few companies hired in-house lobbyists; instead, they worked through trade associations or independent lobbying firms.  Under Lyndon Johnson regulatory legislation addressed a host of social and economic...

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The Crossroads Merchants

“Standin’ at the crossroad I tried to flag a ride Didn’t nobody seem to know me everybody pass me by” —Robert Johnson I went to Charlotte in search of the New South and found it in a museum, the Levine Museum of the New South on 7th Street in Uptown Charlotte.  Like most historical museums,...

Twilight of the Gods
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Twilight of the Gods

Robert Gordon occupies the Stanley G. Harris Chair of Social Sciences at Northwestern University and is the author of a number of works on economic growth, productivity, and unemployment.  His present book has been eagerly awaited, owing to the publication of two “working papers” in 2010 and 2012 by the National Board of Economic Growth—papers...

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Persons, Places, and Things

        “Because I was born in the South, I am a Southerner.  If I had been born in the North, the West, or the Central Plains, I would be just a human being.” —Clyde Edgerton OK, let us admit that Mr. Edgerton exaggerates.  Yet throughout the better part of the 20th century...

Capitalism: The Conservative Illusion
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Capitalism: The Conservative Illusion

        —“If a temple is to be erected, a temple must be destroyed.” —Friedrich Nietzsche When the Cold War ended in 1991, American conservatives rejoiced over the triumph of democratic capitalism, which had struggled for over half a century, first against the rise of fascism, and then against the Soviet bloc and...

Conservatives and the Gay Agenda
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Conservatives and the Gay Agenda

        “The average American watches over seven hours of television daily.  Those hours open up a gateway into the private world of straights, through which a Trojan Horse might be passed.” —Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen, “The Overhauling of Straight America” (1987) If one had not already been convinced that the gay-rights...

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Enter the Vandals

As everyone in America knows, on the night of June 17 Dylann Roof, armed with a .45 Glock, slaughtered nine black men and women in Charleston’s historic Emanuel AME church.  Well before Roof was apprehended the following day, the mediasphere went ballistic.  Hoping to start a “race war,” Roof generated instead what the Rev. Rep....

Agonistic Politics
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Agonistic Politics

Thirty years ago Carl Schmitt (1888-1985) was hardly visible on the American intellectual horizon, and the rare mention of his name in scholarly publications was usually dismissive.  After all, Schmitt was a Nazi, a Catholic extremist, and an inveterate enemy of the liberal order.  Today, Schmitt’s major works are available in English translation, and a...

Charmless
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Charmless

Early in Owen Wister’s 1905 novel Lady Baltimore, the narrator, recently arrived in Charleston from Philadelphia, remarks upon the stillness of the city, its “silent verandas” and cloistered gardens behind their wrought iron gates—“this little city of oblivion . . . with its lavender and pressed shut memories . . . ”  For Wister the...

Mongrels All! or, Slaves With New Masters
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Mongrels All! or, Slaves With New Masters

Of late, our demographic soothsayers have been assuring us that by 2040 or thereabouts America will no longer be a Caucasian-majority country, and that with the eclipse of the white majority there will be, to belabor the obvious, no majority culture.  For many this is cause for celebration.  Among minorities, or at least those who...

Conservative Education: Caveat Emptor!
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Conservative Education: Caveat Emptor!

Much of the blame for the deplorable state of higher education in America today must be traced back to the baneful influence of America’s most revolutionary educationist, John Dewey.  In his enormously influential Democracy and Education (1915), Dewey defined education as “a freeing of individual capacity in a progressive growth directed to social aims.”  In...

Virtual Selves, Vacant Hearts
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Virtual Selves, Vacant Hearts

My first face-to-face interview with Krista took place on a Friday afternoon in a local coffee shop.  We had “chatted” several times on Facebook, and since she lived in my area I suggested that we talk in “real” time.  I explained that I was gathering material on how the proliferation of social media was reshaping...

Light From Elsewhere
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Light From Elsewhere

In the beginning, the poetic birth of the city becomes visible in the Iliad in the warrior camp of the Achaeans, in what Pierre Manent calls—in one of his most striking formulations—the “republic of quarrelsome persuasion.”  We are not, of course, concerned here with the city as defined by, say, urbanology or archaeology, but with...

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Eating Crow

“I kneel to de buzzard, An’ I bow to the crow; An eb’ry time I weel about I jump jis so.”         —from “Jump Jim Crow” (1828) Readers of this magazine hardly need to be told that antiracism in America has become a secular religion, but lest there be any doubt about...

Persecutions to Come
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Persecutions to Come

“The only true spirit of tolerance consists in our conscientious toleration of each other’s intolerance.” —S.T. Coleridge Consider the unfortunate case of Prof. Thomas Klocek, whose story is one of many examples of intolerance recounted in D.A. Carson’s most recent book.  Klocek engaged in a brief debate with a group of Palestinian student activists at...

Books Are for Blockheads!
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Books Are for Blockheads!

Back in April, my old friend D.B. “Dukie” Kitchens called to inform me that I should soon expect in the mail an invitation to the inaugural Patriot Book Awards ceremony, to be held in Atlanta in late May.  “What did I do to deserve this honor?” I asked. “Nothing,” Dukie replied.  “I got your name...

The Post-Suburban Jesus
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The Post-Suburban Jesus

By a generous estimate, evangelical Christians are as much as one third of the U.S. population.  In fact, they are the only Christian demographic that has shown exuberant growth in recent decades—a period during which church attendance overall has been steadily eroding.  A significant part of this growth has taken place in the nondenominational or...

The Sickness Unto Death
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The Sickness Unto Death

George Santayana’s dictum—“Those who forget the past . . . ”—has long since become one of those clichés beloved of high-school history teachers, who never tire of repeating it to their indifferent charges.  But Santayana would surely have agreed that forgetting is sometimes necessary.  To dwell obsessively on the past, as any spurned lover knows,...

Libertarian Humbuggery
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Libertarian Humbuggery

At the heart of the Christmas story is the lowly birth of Christ, surrounded by beasts of the field and honored by Magi bearing gifts.  But consider how differently the Christmas narrative might have unfolded if ancient Judea had been organized as a free-market economy of the sort trumpeted by our libertarian friends.  Imagine Joseph...

The Magnetic Chain of Humanity
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The Magnetic Chain of Humanity

As Alan Wolfe noted in a broadside published in The New Republic in 2003, the study of American literature, especially in American Studies programs at our major universities, has, since the 1970’s, become little more than a vituperative exercise in anti-American polemics. Largely a confabulation of Latino, Native American, African-American, feminist, “queer,” and “whiteness” theorists...