Author: Scott P. Richert (Scott P. Richert)

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Supremely Uninterested

In every presidential election since 1992, complaints about subpar Republican candidates (George H.W. Bush, Bob Dole, George W. Bush, John McCain, Mitt Romney: The names speak for themselves) have been met with a common refrain: This is the most important election in our lifetime, because of the Supreme Court!  Hold your nose and vote for...

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Islam, Period

“The beginning of wisdom,” Confucius said, “is to call things by their proper name.”  Donald Trump’s aphorisms are unlikely to make their way into fortune cookies, much less to go down in history, but on this point he and the great Chinese sage would seem to agree. In the wake of Omar Mateen’s massacre of...

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Trump and the Stakes of Power

My undergraduate and graduate degrees are both in political science, but the chief work that helped me to understand the practice of politics is one of history: The Stakes of Power: 1845–1877, by Roy F. Nichols.  Political science shares with sociology a bias toward presentism, describing political structures as they currently exist with no sense...

A Big Beautiful Horse
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A Big Beautiful Horse

As an experiment in social reconstruction, ObamaCare was nothing compared with what’s coming down the line as a result of the Obama administration’s Friday the 13th diktat that all public schools in the United States must allow every student to use the bathroom of his/her/zis/zir choice, or risk federal civil-rights lawsuits and the withholding of...

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The Devil You Know

One of the ways in which Bill Clinton presented himself as a “New Democrat” was his insistence that he wanted abortion to be “safe, legal, and rare.”  Twenty-four years after Clinton’s election to the presidency, the national Democratic Party has given up any attempt to claim that they believe abortion is anything other than a...

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“Homegrown Violent Extremists”

Tamerlan Tsarnaev, a U.S. citizen and the son of Muslim immigrants, was investigated by the FBI for connections to Islamic radicals. They dropped the investigation. He and his brother killed three people and injured 264 others at the Boston Marathon in April 2013. Syed Farook, a U.S. citizen and the son of Muslim immigrants, was...

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Sometimes a Flower

A substitute teacher in a public school in what is, by today’s standards, still a relatively socially conservative part of the country uses “an anatomical word during a teaching lesson.”  She is fired, and the story goes viral. Just another battle in the never-ending culture war, right?  Yes—but not in the way you might think....

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What the Editors Are Reading

A recent story in the British press about Sir Peregrine Worsthorne, the English author, journalist, and broadcaster, in retirement at the age of 92, prompted me to order one of his books, Democracy Needs Aristocracy, first published in 2004.  It is an excellent work, and one I wish I’d consulted when I was working up...

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The Ties That Bind

I bought my wife tickets to a Bruce Springsteen concert for Christmas.  This may sound like the stereotypical man-gift—a present a husband bestows on his long-suffering spouse because he wants it for himself, like a riding lawn mower—but Amy really did want to see The Boss in concert again.  Twenty-eight years ago, in our sophomore...

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Let America Be America

Donald Trump claims he will make America great again.  Hillary Clinton responds that America has never quit being great.  Bernie Sanders seems to have his doubts that America has ever been great, but he would be happy to try to make her so if only the American people would give him the power to make...

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Un Hombre, Un Voto

“Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed.”  This line from Section 2 of the 14th Amendment must have seemed fairly straightforward to its authors.  In light of the first section’s elevation of blacks to full citizenship...

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A Necessary Realignment

As I write on the morning of Super Tuesday, March 1, the Republican establishment is in hysterics.  The writing is on the wall.  By the end of the day, Donald Trump will have all but sewed up the 2016 Republican nomination for president.  And I write those words confidently, even though voting has just begun...

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Iowa’s Odds

Six coin tosses.  Six separate wins.  And thus was Hillary Clinton crowned the Democratic winner of the Iowa Caucuses. Not surprisingly, people immediately cried foul, citing the “impossible odds” of winning all six coin tosses in six different precincts at six different times—a feat that is statistically surprising only to those who don’t understand statistics. ...

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Trump Vindication

From the beginning of Donald Trump’s candidacy for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, I have consistently said that I do not expect him to win the nomination, or, if he does capture it, to win the election.  My reasoning has had nothing to do with whether Trump actually believes in the positions he has adopted...

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What the Editors Are Reading

Recently, I watched The Maltese Falcon (1941), featuring Bogart, Greenstreet, and Mary Astor.  This prompted me to reexamine, after many years, the work of Dashiell Hammett, on whose novel the film is based.  I was unable to find Falcon in my library, but I did discover The Glass Key and The Continental Op, so I...

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Economic Patriotism

In an essay first published in Chronicles in 2006 and collected in the Chronicles Press volume Life, Literature, and Lincoln, the late Tom Landess relates a story about Arizona Sen. John McCain.  While stumping in South Carolina for the Republican presidential nomination, the Mad Bomber encountered a textile-mill worker who was not a fan of...

The Cheap Trick of Whiteness
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The Cheap Trick of Whiteness

A half-truth, as John Lukacs is fond of saying, is more dangerous than a lie, because the element of truth in it, speaking to our hearts and minds, can mask the accompanying falsehood.  We see this in the current embrace of multiculturalism, which propagates the dangerous lie that a civilized human society can exist—whether at...

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Keep Your Powder Dry

President Obama’s latest executive order, announced as we send this issue to press, is hardly surprising.  Having failed to convince Congress three years ago to pass new gun-control laws requiring background checks on all gun purchases, the President had used every mass shooting since—including the jihadist attack in San Bernardino—to rail against the current state...

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R.I.P., Mr. Chairman

David A. Hartman passed from this life on November 24, at the age of 79.  Though it has been some time since his writing appeared in these pages, Mr. Hartman’s influence will be felt as long as Chronicles remains in print.  As his close friend, collaborator, and fellow board member Tom Pauken rightly noted in...

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Bernardino and Islam

Unlike Osama bin Laden, who chose to launch his attack on the United States on September 11, 2001, as a symbolic reversal of the Ottoman defeat at the Battle of Vienna on that date in 1683, Syed Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, prosecuted their jihad in San Bernardino because that is where they lived...

Thoroughly Modern Muslims
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Thoroughly Modern Muslims

Allah (ta’ala) said, {They thought that their fortresses would protect them from Allah but Allah came upon them from where they had not expected, and He cast terror into their hearts so they destroyed their houses by their own hands and the hands of the believers.  So take warning, O people of vision} [Al-Hashr:2]. In...

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Release the Klan(s)!

Move over, Ashley Madison—there’s a new scandal in town.  At least, that’s what the media is desperate to have you believe. In late October, the “hacktivist” group Anonymous, usually referred to oxymoronically as a “collective” of anarchists, announced that they had obtained the membership rolls of several Ku Klux Klan organizations.  They planned to release...

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What the Editors Are Reading

Having written the book on Bill Bryson (literally—for Marshall Cavendish’s Today’s Writers & Their Works series, 2010), I have been looking forward to the film version of A Walk in the Woods (1998) since I first read Bryson’s semifictionalized account of hiking the Appalachian Trail.  Robert Redford, who produced the movie and stars as a...

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Sharpening the Swords

On June 25, one day before the U.S. Supreme Court declared that a man can marry a man and a woman can marry a woman, the Washington Post published an op-ed by Louise Melling, the deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union.  Miss Melling’s announcement that the ACLU would no longer support the...

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Burning Bright in the Darkness

        I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. To discover, at his memorial service, that Dr. John Addison Howard’s favorite verse of Scripture was Philippians 4:11 came as no surprise to anyone who knew him well.  Those who had simply met him once or twice, or never...

The New Nationalism
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The New Nationalism

During her short imprisonment for contempt of court, Kim Davis, the Rowan County, Kentucky, clerk who refused on religious grounds to issue marriage licenses to homosexual couples, was compared with (among others) Martin Luther King, Jr., Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, John C. Calhoun, Saint Paul, and even Jesus Christ Himself.  Setting aside the propriety of...

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Missing the Forest

In late July, scores of conservative websites erupted with some variant of this headline from Breitbart: “Obama’s Secret Plan to Block Seniors on Social Security from Owning Guns.”  There were only three problems: The plan isn’t secret; it doesn’t affect all senior citizens on Social Security (and, conversely, it will affect some on Social Security...

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What the Editors Are Reading

Having read Sir Philip Magnus’s biography of William Gladstone in graduate school, I recently picked up a copy of his King Edward the Seventh, published in 1964 and made the basis of a very excellent series by Masterpiece Theater, with the superb British actor Timothy West in the title role, a decade or so later. ...

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Sophistory

Two thousand fifteen was the year that we Americans broke history.  By “breaking history,” I do not mean something like “breaking news,” or “breaking records,” or even “breaking the Internet” (though the Internet certainly played a role).  Yes, the “historic moments” of the Summer of #LoveWins and #HateLoses—the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v....

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The Color of Money

In the midst of the uproar over the Confederate Battle Flag (America’s latest Two Minute Hate), an odd rumor began making the rounds on the internet.  As far as I can tell, it began on InfoWars, the website of crank conspiracy theorist and talk-show host Alex Jones.  As companies like eBay and Amazon began pulling...

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Laudato si

The release of Pope Francis’s second encyclical (and the first that can truly be called his alone, since Lumen fidei was essentially cowritten with his predecessor, Benedict XVI) was anticlimactic.  By the time the final text was released on June 18, there seemed hardly any point in reading it, since FOX News and Rush Limbaugh...

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#CallMeMilton

Like most individuals my age who have both X and Y chromosomes and a conventionally male sexual organ, I was assigned a specific identity at birth.  I obviously had no choice in the matter, though I can hardly blame the delivery-room doctor or my parents, since, in those benighted days, even the most enlightened members...

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Doing Well by Doing Evil

The revelation that Planned Parenthood is selling body parts from children that they have aborted in their clinics is shocking, even though it is hardly surprising. Pro-lifers have argued for years that Planned Parenthood is less concerned with the lives of the women that they claim to “help” than they are with making a profit....

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One in Big Brother

On January 2, 2016, I will celebrate 20 years of employment at The Rockford Institute. It seems like a long time in many ways, but a rather short time in others. One of my first acts here was to write a fundraising letter for the Center on the Family in America, explaining why the Defense...

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Watch This Space

That I could order my Apple Watch Sport from my iPhone while walking down the Corso Italia in Milan, and pay for it on the phone with just the touch of my thumb, is as much of a technological marvel as the Watch itself.  With the exception of my thumbprint, not a single element in...

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Defending Marriage

Over at Crisis Magazine, I’ve offered up some thoughts on “Taking Back Marriage” that echo a piece I wrote for Crisis in June 2013 (“Where Do We Go From Here?“), when the U.S. Supreme Court last weighed in on the subject of gay “marriage.” Two years ago, my proposed solution—that the churches, led by the...

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The Mystery of Gay Marriage, Solved

The U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, has struck down all remaining state bans on gay “marriage.” The decision was authored by Justice Anthony Kennedy, a putative Catholic and a Republican appointee. That such a decision was coming should have surprised no one; the only question was how far-reaching that decision would be. Just...

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The Court Saves the Day—For Insurance Companies

On June 25, 2015, in a 6-3 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court saved ObamaCare once again. Appropriately, Chief Justice John Roberts, who wrote the first opinion saving ObamaCare (see “Earl Warren Rides Again“), authored the latest one as well. The case involved the federal subsidies received by those who purchase health insurance through ObamaCare. The...

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It’s Been a Long Time Comin’

Not surprisingly, the U.S. Supreme Court seems to be saving the worst for last as it releases its decisions for the 2014 term. A ruling on challenges to bans on homosexual “marriage” in Ohio, Tennessee, Michigan, and Kentucky was not among the decisions handed down on Monday, June 22, and while the Court may hand down...

Dig Deeper
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Dig Deeper

In the cathedrals of New York and Rome There is a feeling that you should just go home And spend a lifetime finding out just where that is People understand catastrophes.  The everyday ebb and flow of history, in their own lives and in the world, is much harder for them to grasp. That thought—hardly...

It’s Just Business
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It’s Just Business

A dozen years ago (give or take), I tried to commission a piece for Chronicles on how Big Business was increasingly pushing a leftist social and cultural agenda.  For years, the conservative orthodoxy in the United States had been that capitalist institutions, from mom-and-pop shops up to the largest corporations, were essentially conservative.  (In the...

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We Came to Fight the Jihad

If a Muslim prays in a mosque and nobody sees her, does Allah still hear her prayers? That question might seem more urgent than rhetorical for a certain Bosnian immigrant after Dr. Arshad Shaikh, the president of the Muslim Association of Greater Rockford (MAGR), told the Rockford Register Star on February 9 that “It would...

Clash of the Iconoclasts
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Clash of the Iconoclasts

Was the murder of 11 members of the staff of a French “satirical” magazine a civilized act?  To ask that question even rhetorically seems absurd. Was the weekly output of the staff of that magazine a contribution to civilization?  To ask that question seems brutish at best, and invites cries of “blaming the victim” and...

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Justice for All

Five years before Michael Brown and Eric Garner would become household names, there was Mark Barmore. On August 24, 2009, Rockford, Illinois, police officers Oda Poole and Stan North were patrolling in a prisoner-transport van when they received a notice from a dispatcher that 23-year-old Mark Anthony Barmore was wanted for questioning in a domestic...

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Je Ne Suis Pas Charlie Hebdo

Was the murder of 11 members of the staff of a French “satirical” magazine a civilized act? Even to ask that question seems absurd. Was the weekly output of the staff of that magazine a contribution to civilization? Even to ask that question seems brutish at best, and invites cries of “blaming the victim” and...

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Why the Republicans Won’t Stop Obama’s Amnesty

Spending more than a minute or two to discuss Barack Obama’s latest assault on the Constitution that he has sworn to uphold is, quite frankly, a waste of time. Even before the announcement of his “executive action” plan for amnesty for five million illegal immigrants, the President’s defenders had claimed that he wanted to do...

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Remembering Joe

For many Catholics of a certain age, Joseph Sobran will forever be remembered as one of the greatest literary defenders of the Catholic Church’s teaching on life over the past 40 years. From contraception to abortion, from euthanasia to just-war doctrine, Joe was an eloquent voice in the popular press for the teachings of the...

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Big Brother, Little Sisters

 When Sonia Sotomayor decided, in the last hours of the last day of last year, to issue a temporary stay on the enforcement of the ObamaCare contraception mandate, she surprised a lot of people, but likely no one more than the man who had appointed her to the U.S. Supreme Court.  Barack Obama prefers his...

The End of (a) History
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The End of (a) History

“There is significance in the end of things,” a young man, hinting at a wisdom beyond his years, once told me.  For that reason alone, A Short History of the Twentieth Century, the latest book by John Lukacs, would be significant.  For this is not just his most recent book but, as he announced in...

Returning to Reality
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Returning to Reality

And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost . . . On February 28, as Pope Benedict...