Author: Tom Piatak (Tom Piatak)

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Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine Is Not the Cuban Missile Crisis
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Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine Is Not the Cuban Missile Crisis

Twenty years ago, we traditional conservatives, paleoconservatives, members of the dissident right—whatever you want to call us—had perhaps our finest hour. With the nation still looking to avenge 9/11, a number of powerful people who had been scheming to invade Iraq long before 9/11 used that tragedy to plunge America into a disastrous war of choice.  Few...

A Russophobe for Peace—Even More So
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A Russophobe for Peace—Even More So

Events in the Russia-Ukraine situation have moved far faster than anyone imagined, and today we are watching Russian troops attempt to take Kiev as part of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s large-scale invasion of Ukraine. This invasion will do to the reputation of Putin’s Russia what the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 did to the reputation of...

Winning the War Against War
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Winning the War Against War

One recent morning an opinion piece by Jennifer Rubin of The Washington Post arrived unbidden in my email inbox.   “Should Putin act, it would arguably be the greatest provocation since the end of the Cold War,” Rubin claimed. “Like the Berlin Wall and the blockade of Berlin before that, movement into Ukraine would be...

A Moviegoer Reflects
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A Moviegoer Reflects

I had the good fortune to talk regularly about movies with my good friend and conservative thinker Sam Francis. With intellectual heft, he generously shared what he had learned from his own moviegoing. What follows is offered in the same spirit: a list of 10 movies I have repeatedly enjoyed and unhesitatingly recommend. The Searchers (1956):...

Defaming the Dead
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Defaming the Dead

Two years ago, Matthew Rose wrote a lengthy article about Sam Francis in First Things (“The Outsider,” October 2019) that I responded to in these pages (“A Giant Beset by Pygmies,” December 2019 Chronicles). I had hoped that Rose would consider the information I presented and use it to paint a more accurate picture of...

Hungarian Rhapsody
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Hungarian Rhapsody

I have come to see myself as a morale officer for the Deplorables. When a fellow conservative writer recently asked what I hoped to accomplish by writing about ideas the left would either ignore or demonize, I said my hope was to give support to those otherwise inclined to view the left’s ideas as irrefutable...

Equity or Bust
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Equity or Bust

Lyndon B. Johnson issued Executive Order 11246 on Sept. 24, 1965, directing federal agencies and contractors to not only avoid discrimination but to also “take affirmative action to ensure … equal employment opportunity based on race.” Despite the promises of various Republican politicians, affirmative action remains firmly entrenched in government, higher education, and even in...

The House I Hide In
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The House I Hide In

In 1945, liberal Democrat Frank Sinatra recorded a song about the meaning of America, “The House I Live In.” It was a perfect match for the honeyed voice of the young Sinatra, one that Sinatra continued to sing as his voice matured and his politics moved rightward. I have been vaguely familiar with the song since...

Disenfranchising the Deplorables
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Disenfranchising the Deplorables

If not for the COVID-19 pandemic, it is likely that Donald Trump would have won reelection. He achieved a growing economy that was seeing more wage gains at the bottom than the top, he refused to start another foreign war, and he appointed three Supreme Court justices and nearly a third of all active federal...

A Revolution Delayed
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A Revolution Delayed

If Donald Trump’s legion of enemies had the same grace they decry him for lacking, they would have had to admit that his re-election campaign was a bravura performance. Facing the combined opposition of the media, academy, entertainment industry, permanent bureaucracy, tech monopolists, and big money generally, Donald Trump crisscrossed the country in the final few...

Our Recessional Culture
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Our Recessional Culture

I was born in 1964, in a country that most people, inside America and out, regarded as the greatest on the planet. Indeed, many felt that America in the early 1960s was the greatest country there had ever been. There was little reason at the time to question this consensus. Americans enjoyed a standard of living...

Don’t Know Much About History
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Don’t Know Much About History

A few years ago, I was fortunate enough to be included in a group meeting with a former adviser to President Trump. At one point, this former adviser asked me what I thought conservatives needed to do to win over younger Americans. I replied that the most important step conservatives could take was to make sure...

See the Gun, Leave the Cannoli
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See the Gun, Leave the Cannoli

Saturday the mob descended on my hometown of Cleveland. With the police operating under rules that rendered them largely impotent, the vandals had their way, and business after business was sacked. The charming downtown that had impressed so many visitors to the city during the Republican convention, NBA Finals, and World Series just four years before was devastated, perhaps permanently...

Go Big or Go Home
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Go Big or Go Home

Before the coronavirus slammed into the United States in a way that few foresaw, it seemed Donald Trump was heading to reelection based on a record of genuine, though modest, accomplishments. Despite being treated as an usurper by the media, the Democratic Party, and many of those who work in the federal government—particularly in the...

Never Trumpers Call Quarantined Americans ‘Whiners’
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Never Trumpers Call Quarantined Americans ‘Whiners’

Over the weekend, Never Trumper Erick Erickson put up a profanity-laced series of tweets in which he berated pro-Trump conservatives for criticizing the lockdown that has shuttered many businesses, closed down most churches, stopped most medical procedures and examinations, and isolated most Americans from friends and family for two months or so. According to Erickson,...

Tariffs Work
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Tariffs Work

For decades, American political discourse has largely operated within the spectrum of opinions voiced by the editorial pages of The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal. Opinions not embraced by one of these newspapers were unlikely to advance very far, and those voicing such unapproved opinions were, sooner or later,...

An Arrogance Justified by Nothing
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An Arrogance Justified by Nothing

It was a revealing moment. Former GOP consultant turned Never Trumper Rick Wilson began ridiculing Trump supporters on CNN as “credulous Boomer rube[s]” who believe “Donald Trump is the smart one and y’all elitists are dumb.” Muslim activist and New York Times contributor Wajahat Ali joined in, mimicking the rubes’ supposed disdain for “You elitists,...

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What the Editors Are Reading

Evelyn Waugh wrote Brideshead Revisited (1945) while on a six-month leave from the British Army during World War II. It proved a hit with the public, but the critics who had praised Waugh’s earlier satirical novels were less impressed, objecting both to its religious themes and its lush prose. Waugh never apologized for the former,...

Make No Bones About Iran
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Make No Bones About Iran

Otto von Bismarck famously declared the Balkans weren’t worth the bones of a single Pomeranian grenadier. He knew that fractious, feuding part of Europe would soak up as much blood as the Germans cared to spill. Because Bismarck’s successors forgot his wisdom, the Balkans ended up claiming the bones of millions, in what was naively...

The Frum Brigade
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The Frum Brigade

[above: David Frum] This week brought the unsurprising news that our war in Afghanistan has long been supported by optimistic claims that were false and known to be false.  It is, of course, too late to save the thousands of Americans who have died in Afghanistan or to recover the hundreds of billions—some say trillions—of...

A Giant Beset by Pygmies
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A Giant Beset by Pygmies

Most newspaper and magazine articles are forgotten not long after they appear. Does anyone read the 25-year-old columns of Norman Podhoretz, William F. Buckley, or Richard John Neuhaus for insight into current events? It therefore tells us something when First Things prints a 20-page essay about a political journalist who has been dead for almost...

Mexico: The Insurgency Next Door
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Mexico: The Insurgency Next Door

Recently, we learned that the Mexican drug cartels are capable of defeating the Mexican Army in a pitched firefight. Then we learned that the cartels are literally building altars of human skulls. This week the Mexican cartels brutally murdered nine Americans, including young children.  In 1916, the murder of American civilians by Mexican bandits was...

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An America First Moment

Donald Trump has refused to go to war with Iran. He has refused to go to war in Syria. He has imposed tariffs to save American jobs. He is capping the number of refugees coming into America–as opposed to all the countries they have to cross to get to America–at a very manageable number. And...

Time for an Immigration Pause
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Time for an Immigration Pause

The postwar American conservative movement had many factions, but most at least feigned to revere British statesman Edmund Burke. Those who read the movement’s books and magazines were told Burke abhorred radical change, and so should we. In practice, however, most movement conservatives proved powerless to stop the many radical changes America has seen since...

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Globalism vs. Democracy

There is an unmistakable pattern in contemporary politics: any politician who challenges globalism will be subject to unremitting attack, the legitimacy of his rule will never be acknowledged, and every effort will be made to prevent those who voted to challenge globalism from having their votes heeded, all the pious professions of belief in “democracy”...

America First
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America First

Just in case you were wondering: a war with Iran would be a disaster for the United States. If the Saudis believe that Iran attacked their refinery, let the Saudis do something about it. America First. No more Americans killed in pointless wars in the wretched Middle East. [Image via: OSeveno, created with works by...

I Remember
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I Remember

I was in the air when the first tower was hit; I watched the two towers fall, stupefied and enraged, alone in my hotel room in Norfolk. After my business was done, I went to the eerily quiet Norfolk airport to begin the drive home. I remember watching contrails in the sky driving across Virginia,...

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A Tale of Two Borders

One clear winner of the recent European Parliament elections was Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, whose party won roughly a third of the votes, finishing well ahead of any other party. Salvini’s party, the Lega, began as a regional party in Lombardy, but won numerous votes in southern Italy, including carrying many municipalities and several...

Is There a ‘Catholic Case for Communism’?
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Is There a ‘Catholic Case for Communism’?

My personal experience with Jesuits has been overwhelmingly positive. I was reminded of that this past Sunday, as I attended Mass at my high school alma mater. I enjoyed my four years as a student there, and the friendships I made and the lessons I learned have continued to bless me, year in, year out....

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Sweetness

Easter 2019 was a vivid reminder that Good Friday still precedes Easter Sunday. The global news machine brought us horrific images of Christians massacred in their churches by Islamic terrorists in Sri Lanka. And an older, more personal means of communication spread the sad, shocking news that Chronicles’ Aaron Wolf, beloved by all who knew...

Deplorable Duke
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Deplorable Duke

In 1979, as John Wayne was dying, his friend and costar in five movies, Maureen O’Hara, went to Capitol Hill to urge Congress to issue a medal honoring Wayne.  She told Congress that, “To the people of the world, John Wayne is not just an actor—and a very fine actor—John Wayne is the United States...

Name the Victims
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Name the Victims

When a gunman murdered 50 Muslims at prayer in New Zealand, both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton forthrightly expressed their solidarity with “the Muslim community.” New Zealand’s Prime Minister went even further,  donning a hijab and leading her countrymen in paroxysms of guilt over their supposed “Islamophobia,” even though the shooter was not a New...

The West’s Parish Church
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The West’s Parish Church

The emotional outpouring prompted by news of the fire at Notre Dame de Paris has been extraordinary. It has been marked by both depth and breadth, prompting myriad expressions of concern for the fate of Paris’ venerable cathedral and affecting Catholics and non-Catholics, those who live in France and those who don’t, those who have...

Winter of Our Discontent
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Winter of Our Discontent

As fall turned into winter, there were unmistakable signs of paleoconservative dissatisfaction with President Trump.  In various forums, several paleoconservatives expressed displeasure that Trump had surrounded himself with unrepentant Bush Republicans and neoconservatives; that he was listening too much to his daughter Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner, who may be even further to the...

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Stanley Donen, RIP

This weekend brought the sad news of the death of Hollywood director Stanley Donen, at the age of 94. Donen directed many fine films, including the wonderfully Hitchcockian Charade, but the focus of the tributes is rightly on an undoubted American masterpiece, Singin’ in the Rain, a film that epitomizes Hollywood’s Golden Age. The entire...

Pelosi’s Warning
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Pelosi’s Warning

Nancy Pelosi is warning that, if Trump declares an emergency over the border, a future Democratic President could declare an emergency over gun violence. This argument is intended to frighten Republicans from taking action to prevent millions more potential Democrats streaming from Latin America into the United States. Republicans should not let themselves be frightened....

Throwing the Sheep to the Wolves
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Throwing the Sheep to the Wolves

The boys from Covington Catholic did a good thing by going to the March for Life. If what the Catholic Church teaches is true, Roe v. Wade marks a death sentence for roughly 1,000,000 innocent human beings every year, year in, year out. As John T. Noonan wrote decades ago, “No plague, no war, has so...

MAGA Hats and the Mob
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MAGA Hats and the Mob

A word about hats. Now that the vicious media assault on the teens from Covington Catholic has been exposed as a lie, one of the fallback positions is that the boys shouldn’t have been wearing MAGA hats. First of all, I very much doubt that they were wearing the hats during the March. They were...

Public Enemy Number One
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Public Enemy Number One

Every year, on or near the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, hundreds of thousands of Americans go to Washington, D. C., to join the March for Life and protest that infamous decision.  The March for Life is peaceful and orderly, and every year the major media outlets contrive to pretend it doesn’t exist.  Until this...

Build the Wall, Mr. President
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Build the Wall, Mr. President

10 USC § 2808 gives the President authority to use the military to undertake construction in the event the President declares a national emergency. It has been used, without controversy, to build military facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan.  33 USC § 2293 is an even clearer grant of statutory authority to the President to order construction, “without...

Faith of Our Fathers, Living Still
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Faith of Our Fathers, Living Still

On most Sundays and holy days, I happily attend what Pope Benedict XVI termed the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite and what is often called the Novus Ordo Mass. Last Saturday, though, I attended what Benedict XVI termed the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite and what is often called the Latin Mass. The occasion...

Thankful to Be an American
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Thankful to Be an American

I often hear it said that America isn’t a real country or that there are no such people as Americans. That’s an easy enough case to make from behind a keyboard, but a harder case to make if you’ve ever been to Europe, where Americans are instantly recognizable even if they’re visiting places their families...

An Anniversary to Remember
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An Anniversary to Remember

Last Sunday, many of our political leaders, feeling pressured by the anniversary of the Armistice that began at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month exactly one hundred years ago, publicly remembered the generally forgotten dead of the Great War. That war is something any genuine statesman would always keep in...

An American Statesman Turns 80
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An American Statesman Turns 80

Eight years ago, I made the case in this magazine that Pat Buchanan has been a “visionary.” That case is even clearer today, with the White House occupied by a man who got there by running on the issues Buchanan had championed for decades and who is now remaking the GOP along populist and nationalist...

Thanks, Christine
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Thanks, Christine

The ugliness displayed by the media and Democrats during the fight over Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court is yet another indicator of how far we have come from Hamilton’s conception of the federal judiciary as “the least dangerous branch.” Kavanaugh was nominated to replace Anthony Kennedy, who used his perch on the...

An Invasion Heads North
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An Invasion Heads North

The people who voted for Trump weren’t motivated by the allure of tax cuts. They were motivated by a desire to, at long last, secure the southern border. The organized mob now being allowed to march through Mexico is an all too vivid reminder that the wall has not yet been built. These marchers aren’t...

Grand Juries Are Not the Answer to Clerical Scandals
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Grand Juries Are Not the Answer to Clerical Scandals

The primary purpose of a grand jury is to vote on indictments. The Pennsylvania grand jury that examined the Church issued two indictments. Forty-four percent of the priests mentioned in the report are dead; the average age of the remainder is 71. The Pennsylvania grand jury report does contain details of actions that can only...

A Welcome Voice for America First
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A Welcome Voice for America First

Last week, a prominent American replied “Of course not” when he was asked on FOX News whether Donald Trump was racist. He added that America wasn’t racist, either. When asked about NFL players protesting during the national anthem, he declared: “We should never denigrate our flag and our national anthem. We should always be Americans...