Author: Tom Piatak (Tom Piatak)

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Tales From the Dark Side
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Tales From the Dark Side

“All great peoples are conservative; slow to believe in novelties; patient of much error in actualities; deeply and forever certain of the greatness that is in law, in custom once solemnly established, and now long recognized as just and final.” —Thomas Carlyle Both Justin Raimondo’s Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative...

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The Stupid Party Rides Again

On November 4, 2008, voters decisively rejected the Republican Party, voting for Barack Obama over John McCain by a margin of 52.8 percent to 45.9.  Obama won 365 electoral votes to McCain’s 173, including every state in the Northeast and industrial Midwest; every state on the Pacific Coast; Florida, the state that ensured George W....

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How to Win the War Against Christmas

In the seven years since my first essay on the War Against Christmas appeared in Chronicles, I have had no trouble writing at least one such essay per year, because each year brings new and outrageous attempts to suppress the public celebration of Christmas.  My favorite example was the 2002 winner of VDare.com’s invaluable War...

How to Win the War Against Christmas
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How to Win the War Against Christmas

In the seven years since my first essay on the War Against Christmas appeared in Chronicles, I have had no trouble writing at least one such essay per year, because each year brings new and outrageous attempts to suppress the public celebration of Christmas.  My favorite example was the 2002 winner of VDare.com’s invaluable War...

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NR Ignores “The Insidious Wiles of Foreign Influence”

Imagine the reaction at National Review and in other neocon precincts if Barack Obama had indicated that his chief of staff would be someone who had volunteered for the military of a foreign nation, but had never volunteered in the American military, if his father had been a member of a terrorist organization,and was unrepentant...

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Right From the Beginning

Chronicles contributing editor Tom Piatak wishes Patrick J. Buchanan a happy 70th birthday.  [Link courtesy of VDare.com.] Share This Add to Favorites

The Promise and Peril of Identity Politics: Hope in a Dismal Season
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The Promise and Peril of Identity Politics: Hope in a Dismal Season

George W. Bush is a stunningly and deservedly unpopular president.  His approval ratings rival Nixon’s after Watergate, and the Republicans largely avoided any mention of him at their convention in St. Paul, a convention from which Bush was conspicuously absent.  Under his leadership, we have become embroiled in a war that has cost thousands of...

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David Frum, Phony

Over at NRO, David Frum is maudlin and indignant that his friend Washington Post columnist Anne Applebaum came in for some rough criticism at National Review over her endorsement of Obama. 

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Editors’ Round Table on Sarah Palin: The Palin Moment

Thomas Fleming, Scott Richert, and Aaron Wolf have all offered typically thoughtful pieces raising important points to consider in evaluating Sarah Palin.  But I would like to offer a different perspective, focusing on the speech Palin delivered at the Republican Convention and the reason the speech succeeded, to the point that Palin now enjoys a...

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David Frum Blames America First

Anyone questioning the wisdom of neoconservative foreign policy is likely to be told that he is “blaming America first,” as if American foreign policy were synonymous with the nation.  So it is only fair to point out that neocons, too, “blame America” when it doesn’t follow their policies.  Reviewing a book about the 1920 presidential...

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Angry Pygmies

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was one of the few giants of our age, a courageous witness against the irremediable evil of Communism and a prophetic voice against the dangers of amoral Western materialism. He also used to be a hero of American conservatives.  But the sort of men who now are exalted in “mainstream conservatism” have a...

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The Popular Front at NR

Yet more proof that National Review has redefined itself as a fashionable font of social democracy recently came from Canadian interloper David Frum, who used successive posts at his diary to claim that, “Among the European dictators, [Francisco Franco] ranks behind only Hitler and Stalin in monstrousness,” and to denounce Jesse Helms for his “racialism.”...

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The Forgotten Ideology

“Socialism will bring in an efflorescence of morality, civilization, and science such as has never been seen in the history of the world.” —Ferdinand Lassalle Modern American conservatism has been marked by a fascination with ideology. Despite arguments that conservatism is not an ideology or is opposed to all ideology, American conservatives have regularly attempted...

The Forgotten Ideology
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The Forgotten Ideology

“Socialism will bring in an efflorescence of morality, civilization, and science such as has never been seen in the history of the world.” —Ferdinand Lassalle Modern American conservatism has been marked by a fascination with ideology.  Despite arguments that conservatism is not an ideology or is opposed to all ideology, American conservatives have regularly attempted...

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Rudy the Unready

Not so long ago, Rudy Giuliani was the consensus front runner for the Republican presidential nomination.  He had won the first beauty contest of the primary season, from the nation’s most self-important electorate, the neoconservative punditariat: George Will, Norman Podhoretz, John Podhoretz, David Frum, and Richard Brookhiser all lined up behind Giuliani, together with an...

Atheism
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Atheism

Strange as it may sound, one of the best antidotes to the angry atheism of such disaffected Britons as Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins is the recent science-fiction novel Eifelheim by Michael Flynn.  The book, dedicated to Jean Buridan—the Paris scholastic who described inertia, a scientific concept unknown to the ancients, in the 14th century—focuses...

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Pillow Fight

Over at NRO, an entertaining spat has developed between Ramesh Ponnuru and David Frum over Ponnuru’s criticism of Frum’s book Comeback. Ponnuru writes that “none of [Frum’s] facts can be trusted without independent verification” and that Frum’s pose as a “bold truth-teller” is “insufferable.” Frum, for his part, describes Ponnuru’s “distinctive Grand Panjandrum manner” as...

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National Review Declares War on Christmas

National Review long ago ran up the white flag in the War against Christmas. Now, it is joining the other side, with Kathryn Jean Lopez echoing a reader’s complaint that Mike Huckabee’s ad wishing everyone a Merry Christmas is “offensive.” It’s hard to fathom the source of Lopez’ outrage. There is absolutely nothing preventing all...

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Rudypalooza

Over at NRO, the chorus of praise for Rudy Giuliani grows louder. David Frum has announced that he has become a senior advisor to Giuliani, whom he praised for his “character.” William Simon and Deroy Murdock wrote separate pieces to explain why social conservatives should support Giuliani. And, on Wednesday, Kathryn Jean Lopez made clear...

Hitchens’ Hubris
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Hitchens’ Hubris

“The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.” —Psalm 14:1 In July 1941, a political prisoner escaped from Auschwitz.  As punishment, ten other prisoners were chosen by the Nazis to be killed in a starvation bunker.  One of these men, Franciszek Gajowniczek, began lamenting what his death would mean for his wife...

Ecrasez L’infame: The Persistence of Christophobia
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Ecrasez L’infame: The Persistence of Christophobia

Imagine a magazine that argued that the central symbol of Judaism was inextricably bound up with monstrous evil, claimed Judaism’s holy writings were lies, criticized what Jews believe and demanded they change their beliefs, attacked Judaism’s most important holidays, asserted that Judaism was directly responsible for one of the most horrific slaughters in history—and declared...

A World Safe for Stalinism
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A World Safe for Stalinism

Long ago, a British veteran of World War II offered this sober moral judgment on the war: It was just such a sunny, breezy Mediterranean day two years before when he read of the Russo-German alliance, when a decade of shame seemed to be ending in light and reason, when the enemy was plain in...

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Chickenhawks Roosting

Two facts about George W. Bush now seem incontestable: He has been the neoconservative chief executive par excellence, and he has become a failed president.  Bush has led the nation to war in Iraq, branded Iran and North Korea as members of the “Axis of Evil,” and declared in his Second Inaugural Address that America’s...

To Preserve the American Tribe
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To Preserve the American Tribe

“A nation scattered and peeled . . . a nation meted out and trodden down.” —Isaiah 18:2 “It will never be known what acts of cowardice have been motivated by the fear of looking insufficiently progressive.”  Pat Buchanan quotes this aphorism of Charles Péguy in his latest book, State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion...

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The Neoconservative Delusion

The Neoconservative dream of spreading “democracy” in the Middle East, a delusion wholeheartedly embraced by President George W. Bush, is rapidly becoming a nightmare.  Pursuit of this utopian vision has already strengthened the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, propelled Hezbollah into the Lebanese government, and brought Hamas to power in the Palestinian Authority.  In Iraq, it...

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Ten Most Wanted List

The FBI’s most recent Ten Most Wanted List was published on May 6.  In this, the fifth year of our Global War on Terror, it may come as a surprise to some that the latest addition to the list isn’t a terrorist or even a murderer, but Warren Jeffs, the leader of a bizarre sect,...

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Imaginary Genocide

It seems that “noted scholar” Christopher Hitchens visited Georgetown, an institution that at one point was connected with the Catholic Church, and announced that Mother Teresa “helped kill millions of people.” Hitchens also falsely claimed that Mother Teresa had denounced contraception as one of the leading threats to world peace in her Nobel Laureate address,...

God, Country, Notre Dame
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God, Country, Notre Dame

It must surely embarrass John Miller and the other Francophobic neocons to realize that one of the quintessential American institutions was founded by an intrepid French missionary, who offered this vision for his action: “I have raised Our Lady aloft so that men will know, without asking, why we have succeeded here.”  And it is...

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Opposition of the Christian Coalition

Ralph Reed long ago proved that he is no conservative.  After Pat Buchanan won the New Hampshire primary in 1996, Buchanan had a legitimate chance to overtake Bob Dole and emerge as the Republican presidential nominee.  One of the major reasons he did not was the active (though largely behind-the-scenes) opposition of the Christian Coalition,...

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Panic on the Left

President Bush’s nomination of Judge John Roberts to the U.S. Supreme Court has caused something just a little short of panic on the left.  The day after the announcement, the New York Times told its readers that Roberts and his wife, Jane Sullivan Roberts, are “devout Catholics.”  The following day, a front-page headline proclaimed that...

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Pope John Paul II, R.I.P.

By any standard, the life of Pope John Paul II was extraordinary.  Born in a small town in a country that had been the plaything of dynasts for centuries before his birth, and which became the target of history’s bloodiest tyrants during his adult years, Karol Wojtyla became the first non-Italian pope in nearly five...

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A Bush Nominee

Alberto Gonzales, President Bush’s nominee to replace John Ashcroft as attorney general, is, by all accounts, a skilled lawyer who has achieved a great deal since his humble beginnings as the son of Mexican migrant farmworkers.  He also has compiled a track record that should trouble all those who wish to limit abortion, immigration, affirmative...

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Results Are In

The election results are in, and those who are reading this piece have an advantage I do not: They know whether George W. Bush or John Kerry has won.  (This issue went to press the day after the election.)  Regardless of the outcome, however, we already know a good deal about what the next President...

A Third Way?
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A Third Way?

I went into the 2000 presidential campaign an enthusiastic supporter of Pat Buchanan’s bid for the White House as a third-party candidate.  I emerged more convinced than ever that Buchanan would have made an outstanding president but skeptical that a serious right-wing party will be able to emerge, at least in the short run. I knew...

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A Third Way?

I went into the 2000 presidential campaign an enthusiastic supporter of Pat Buchanan’s bid for the White House as a third-party candidate.  I emerged more convinced than ever that Buchanan would have made an outstanding president but skeptical that a serious right-wing party will be able to emerge, at least in the short run. I...

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Correcting David Frum

On September 13, 2004, a piece by David Frum called “Correcting Pat Buchanan” appeared at National Review Online. In it, Frum charged that Buchanan had opposed America’s war against the Taliban and had “repeatedly predicted doom and disaster.” Frum spoke of Buchanan’s “past opposition to military action against Osama bin Laden” and said “I cannot...

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The Triumph of Tradition

“When violence breaks out, Mel Gibson will have a much higher authority than professors and bishops to answer to.”  So predicted Boston University’s Paula Fredriksen in one of the opening salvos in the year-long campaign to kill Mel Gibson’s film masterpiece, The Passion of the Christ—a campaign that was, in equal measure, hysterical, disingenuous, ignorant,...

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Disenchanting Prospects

Michael Peroutka may provide an alternative for conservatives who are disenchanted with the prospect of choosing between George W. Bush and John Kerry this fall.  Bush has focused most of his energies on an unnecessary and calamitous war and has warmly embraced every tenet of neoconservatism, from expanding the size and scope of the federal...

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Outsourcing Our Future

Earlier this year, Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina defended her company’s decision to send American jobs to Asia by declaring, “There is no job that is America’s God-given right anymore.”  She probably did not mean to include CEO’s of Fortune 500 corporations in this statement—Hyderabad does not offer all the amenities she is used to, after...

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Gibson’s Passion

Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ opens in theaters on Ash Wednesday (February 25).  It is too early to tell whether Gibson has achieved his aim of creating an artistically compelling account of the last 12 hours of Christ’s life that is also faithful to the Gospels, although those who have previewed the film...

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Mel and His Critics

Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ opens in theaters on Ash Wednesday (February 25).  It is too early to tell whether Gibson has achieved his aim of creating an artistically compelling account of the last 12 hours of Christ’s life that is also faithful to the Gospels, although those who have previewed the film...

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Gibson and His Enemies

For years, conservatives have wondered if there was any movie Hollywood would balk at showing.  Blasphemy, incessant profanity, graphic sex, obscene violence—none of these has proved an obstacle to Hollywood, and numerous films containing some or all of these elements have enjoyed widespread critical acclaim. We have finally found out what sort of movie will...

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Recall Election

A three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals surprised most conservatives and even a few liberals when it ruled that California’s recall election could not go forward on October 7 as scheduled, overruling a district judge and effectively overruling the California courts, which had rebuffed all legal challenges to the recall, and California...

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Try a Little (Less) Tenderness

In February, a remarkable article appeared in the New York Times Magazine.  It was an account by Harriet McBryde Johnson of her debate with Princeton philosophy professor Peter Singer, whom Johnson noted is “often called—and not just by his book publicist—the most influential philosopher of our time.”  The subject of the debate was whether parents...

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News From the Christmas Front

It has been over a year since Chronicles published my piece “Happy Holidays?  Bah! Humbug!” (Vital Signs, December 2001) and Vdare.com used it to announce its 2001 War Against Christmas Competition.  I am still receiving mail on the essay, and I thought I would give Chronicles readers an idea of how the War Against Christmas...

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A Christmas History

Before Christmas, Peter Brimelow used my article “Happy Holidays? Bah! Humbug!” (Vital Signs, December 2001) to kick off VDare.com’s annual War Against Christmas competition.  Since then, I have received a steady stream of correspondence—some of it sharply critical, but most of it extremely favorable. Of course, not everyone liked the essay.  I learned that my...

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Happy Holidays? Bah! Humbug!

In 1938, Whittaker Chambers broke with the Communist Party. In Witness, Chambers describes his Christmas that year as one of great joy, in which he first told his children the Christmas story, shared with them the Christmas ornaments that had decorated his childhood Christmas trees, and enjoyed the Christmas carols his daughter was then learning....

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Exit to Political Oblivion

Al Gore’s exit to political oblivion has no doubt delighted many conservatives. But there is nothing for conservatives to cheer about in the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Bush v. Gore, the instrument of Gore’s demise. The unsigned majority opinion concluded that Florida’s recount procedures violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment, because...