Tom Piatak

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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...

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...

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...

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,...

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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,...

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...

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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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...

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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...

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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The Essential Sector

One of Donald Trump’s signature issues during the presidential campaign was his assertion that bad trade deals had cost millions of American manufacturing jobs, and his promise to do something to reverse that doleful trend.  As with many of Trump’s assertions, these claims brought only scorn from the purveyors of respectable opinion, who insisted either...

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Taking a Stand in Warsaw

With a monument to the 1944 Warsaw Uprising as his backdrop, President Trump delivered a forceful speech on the eve of the G20 Summit, sounding themes that would not be welcome by most other leaders of the world’s most economically powerful countries.  Trump identified “the fundamental question of our time” as whether “the West has...

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The Inevitability of National Politics

Many conservatives have become disenchanted with national politics.  This disenchantment is understandable.  Strong support for Republicans seeking the White House and seats in Congress has done little to conserve the type of society most of those voting Republican wanted to conserve.  By almost any measure, American society has moved steadily leftward in recent decades.  Social...

If the Center Cannot Hold
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If the Center Cannot Hold

The surprising triumph of Donald Trump has produced what can only be described as an extended temper tantrum by much of the American left, which fully expected a victory by Hillary Clinton to be followed by unending political dominance, as the white, Christian parts of America that generally vote Republican are gradually eclipsed demographically by...

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Middle American Revolution Begins

Donald Trump’s victory in the presidential election was greeted with shock and disbelief in many quarters.  My favorite example of this occurred at my law-school alma mater, where students traumatized by the thought that ideas regularly denounced by the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and the Washington Post had triumphed in a national...

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A Question of Identity

Most people have multiple identities, and contemporary America is tolerant of almost all of them, including men who think they are women and women who think they are men.  There is one notable exception, though, to this general tolerance: people who attach any importance to the fact that they are white.  The left, of course,...

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Falling In (and Out of) Line

As I write, we have reached the stage of the Republican primary cycle that, since at least 1988, requires a pronouncement from the highest levels of the GOP: Now is the time for other candidates to back out and for all Republicans to support the frontrunner.  Continuing the battle for the nomination will serve no...

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Disenchanted With Globalism

The political story this year was supposed to be a familiar one: A member of the Bush family was going to begin a successful march to the Republican nomination, and a member of the Clinton family was going to do the same thing on the Democratic side.  Through June 30, Jeb Bush had raised $114.1...

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A Fast Track to Oblivion

On April 25, the Cleveland Plain Dealer ran a story with the sort of headline we have come to expect in recent decades: “Goodyear chooses Mexico, not Akron.”  The story went on to report that Goodyear had chosen to build a $500 million plant to make premium tires in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, even though...

The Battle for the Middle
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The Battle for the Middle

American politicians love to pretend that they care about the middle class, because they know that the middle class generally determines who gets elected.  But once elected, politicians tend to serve those who finance their campaigns, and the interests of large donors seldom align with those of middle-class Americans.  This game has been played for...

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We Need a Time Out

The Center for Immigration Studies recently issued two reports that show how transformative mass immigration has been in recent decades.  The first study focused on the number of immigrants now living in the United States.  Recent data from the Census Bureau show that 3.3 million immigrants, both legal and illegal, came to America between July...

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War on Whites

Alabama Republican congressman Mo Brooks generated outrage among the usual suspects in early August by telling radio talk-show host Laura Ingraham that the Obama administration’s push for amnesty for illegal immigrants is “a part of the war on whites that’s being launched by the Democratic Party.  And the way in which they’re launching this war...

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The Limits of Russophilia

Despite all the media attention devoted to it, Russia’s incursion into Ukraine poses no threat to the United States.  Soviet Russia was a mortal threat to the United States because she embodied a communist ideology with aspirations of global hegemony.  The threat died with that ideology, which is why Americans who believe that the goal...

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The Technology Mirage

For years, Americans worried about the disappearance of manufacturing jobs were told that their loss would be more than offset by all the new jobs technology would create in the United States.  What’s more, the jobs created by technology would stay in the United States, because they required skills that the Chinese and Mexicans­—those now...

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The Academic Industrial Complex

In his farewell address, Dwight Eisenhower warned against a military-industrial complex that would seek to enrich itself through false appeals to the common good.  Today, it is higher education that is growing rich by convincing the public that its actions are for their good. The costs that universities and colleges are charging students range from...

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The Culture War Crosses the Atlantic

The course of 2013 in France, Ireland, and Britain provides important lessons for those resisting the left’s attempt to remove Christian influence from public life in America. On April 23, the Socialist government of François Hollande succeeded in making France the 14th country to legalize gay marriage, something he had promised to do during his...

Romney’s Retreat
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Romney’s Retreat

The October 1 issue  of the New York Times carried an important piece by Michael Shear and Ashley Parker stating that the Romney camp was going to stop running a campaign focused solely on the economy: Instead, Romney intends to hit the White House with a series of arguments—on energy, health care, taxes, spending and...

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The Democrats’ Bait and Switch

Former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland told the Democratic convention that Barack Obama was an “economic patriot” and blasted Mitt Romney for being an “outsourcing pioneer.”  That is certainly the theme of the Obama campaign in the industrial Midwest.  Any television left on in Ohio for more than 15 minutes is likely to broadcast an attack...

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It’s Ryan

Mitt Romney is not known as a gambler, but he took a gamble when he selected Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) to be his running mate.  Congressmen lack the high profile of senators, governors, and generals, all reputed to be on Romney’s short list for vice president.  Indeed, no congressman has been elected vice president since...

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Brideshead Revisited in 2012

  Brideshead, Reuters: The funeral of the Marquess of Marchmain was marred by the refusal of the parish priest, Father Mackay, to give Communion to two of the mourners, Lady Julia Mottram, the Marquess’ daughter, and her partner, the artist Charles Ryder. According to Ms. Mottram, the priest refused to give her Communion after he learned that...

A Warring Visionary
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A Warring Visionary

British scholar Timothy Stanley  has produced the first significant biography of Patrick J. Buchanan, describing his life from his boyhood in Washington, D.C., up to the present.  Stanley’s book is written in a breezy, informal manner—Buchanan is referred to as “Pat” throughout—and it makes for quick and generally enjoyable reading.  Stanley gets much right in...

hitch Is Not Great
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hitch Is Not Great

In August 1997, Princess Diana died in a car accident.  A few days later, Mother Teresa died.  The death of Diana prompted an enormous outpouring of emotion.  One writer, who had delivered a drunken diatribe against Mother Teresa during ABC’s televised coverage of her funeral, was unmoved, describing Diana as “A simpering Bambi narcissist” and...

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The Evil Party Rides Again

  There are many reasons to criticize the the Republicans as the Stupid Party, and I have often done so.  But we need to remember that, in Sam Francis’ dichotomy, the other major party is the Evil Party.  And some of what the leader of the Evil Party is doing has no real precedent in American...

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Voting in America

  I went to vote this morning, at a new polling place.  I was directed to the polling place by a sign that was in both Spanish and English.  When I was handed the ballot, I saw that it, too, was in both Spanish and English, with both languages appearing together in a confusing jumble....

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The Mob vs. the Statesman

  For two decades now, Pat Buchanan has been warning us of the dangers our country faces.  When he first started sounding the alarm, at the end of the Cold War, those dangers were hard to perceive.  Now, they are hard to ignore.     Pointless wars in the Mideast have resulted in thousands of...

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The Jobs Go Out, Like the Tide

The stagnant economy remains the central concern of most Americans.  Although the financial crisis of 2008 had repercussions around the world, the brunt of the job loss was felt here: The International Monetary Fund estimates that one out of every four jobs lost as a result of the financial crash of 2008 was lost in...

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The Jobs Go Out Like the Tide, Continued

  Wednesday, at a meeting with Hispanic activists, President Obama vowed to keep pushing for what he calls “comprehensive immigration reform.” The “reform” Obama wants is one that will enable illegal immigrants to become legal residents, and that will place no meaningful obstacle in the way of others who want to join them. Obama’s comments...

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The Jobs Go Out, Like the Tide

  Mike Dorning of Bloomberg has an interesting article on “The Slow Disappearance of the American Working Man.” The statistics set forth in the article are dire. Only 63.5% of American men have jobs, very near the low recorded in 2009, itself the lowest level of male participation in the labor force since these statistics...

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Goodbye to Borders

  This morning’s Cleveland Plain Dealer carried a sad headline: Borders, the nation’s second largest bookstore, was liquidating, and its 10700 employees will be unemployed by the end of September. I first became familiar with Borders in law school, when there were only two of them: the first Borders in Ann Arbor, and one other store in...

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Keeping History

Ever since Hugo Black succeeded in incorporating his anti-religious prejudices and Thomas Jefferson’s “Wall of Separation” into Supreme Court jurisprudence, Americans have known how a story like this is supposed to end: A parent who comes into a community objects to expressions of that community’s religious traditions in its schools.  There is no indication that...

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The Bull in the GOP China Shop

There is little in Donald Trump’s record to inspire confidence in conservatives.  He supported John Kerry in 2004 and John McCain in 2008, and the list of candidates to whom he has given money—which includes Rudy Giuliani, Charles Schumer, Harry Reid, Newt Gingrich, and Hillary Clinton—contains not a single bona fide conservative.  Trump has embraced...

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Good Friday, Bad Earth Day

When I turned on my computer this morning, I got reminders from both Yahoo and Google that today was...Earth Day. I didn't actually expect the lords of Silicon Valley to acknowledge the real significance of today. Still, it is striking that the secular world contrives to ignore a ...