Category: Polemics & Exchanges

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Abortion Letters
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Abortion Letters

I would like to add three comments about Chronicles Editor Paul Gottfried’s acute analysis of America’s historical conflicts over abortion (“Feminism Left and Right Drove America’s Permissive Abortion Laws” January 2022 Chronicles).    First, as I have documented in numerous publications, while I would never discount the influence of the women’s rights movement of the...

The Lure of Integralism
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The Lure of Integralism

Catholics have figured prominently among American conservatives, from Russell Kirk to William F. Buckley, Jr., to Antonin Scalia. Though they differed in many ways, Kirk, Buckley, and Scalia all emphasized the importance of tradition in ordering any decent society and the consistency of America’s constitutional order with Catholic doctrine and tradition. The neoconservative shattering of...

An Open Letter
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An Open Letter

To the rector of Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland: Dear Sir, it has been brought to my attention that your university and office have seen fit to reprimand Professor Ryszard Legutko for not supporting your efforts to introduce feminist ideology into your curriculum. Although I do not know all the details of this daring experiment,...

Semite Sympathy
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Semite Sympathy

I commend Taki for his courageous article in the July Chronicles, “Nothing’s Easy About Israel.” Taki mentioned “the irony in my case is that I am a man of the right siding with a pro-leftist cause, that of the Palestinians.” Well, I feel the same way, but my case is even more ironic or strange...

Better Together
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Better Together

Brion McClanahan penned two able critiques of President Trump’s “1776 Report” for the April/May and July 2021 issues of this magazine. I notice that his charge (in “Stop Playing the Left’s Game,” July 2021 Chronicles) that “our allies at Claremont…give unwitting aid and comfort to the left” is mirrored by Michael Anton’s assertion (in “Americans Unite,” in the online magazine American Greatness) that Chronicles does...

The Malaise Within
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The Malaise Within

Prof. Trifkovic, the Chinese elite wants to be the top dog in the New World Order as much as the Anglo-American elite. So, why has the Anglo-American elite been tearing down its power base, the United States, while at the same time building up the Chinese elite’s power base, China? What does the Anglo-American elite...

By Other Means
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By Other Means

Mr. Gonzalez did a fine job in your June issue succinctly describing the garrot being slowly twisted around the throat of what remains of traditional America (“American Guerrilleros”).   It is clear the deck is overwhelmingly stacked against those who still desire a constitutional republic and individual freedom. It has been apparent that we have...

Bound by History
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Bound by History

Most of us objected to The New York Times’ notorious “1619 Project” because it trashes the great achievements of Americans (creating free institutions and conquering a continental wilderness), substituting a story of supposed victimization as the core of our history. Alas, Professor Hall, in his speculations in the March issue (“Slavery and the American Founding”)...

No Mere Christian
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No Mere Christian

The cover of your November issue suggests the truth that we, conservatives and especially conservative Christians, are engaged in spiritual warfare. And yet, smack in the middle of that issue, you print an article, “Remembering C. S. Lewis.” The reader is led to believe that this man has been a powerful instrument of truth and has...

Too Busy for the Unborn
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Too Busy for the Unborn

Ms. Mullarkey misrepresents comments of the Roman Catholic bishop of Madison, Wisconsin in “Politics as Spiritual Warfare” in the November 2020 number of Chronicles.   Her quotations are totally accurate but they are grossly out of context and do not convey what the bishop actually says [about abortion as a voting issue] in his Sept....

A Conciliar Critique, Etc.
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A Conciliar Critique, Etc.

It is significant but not surprising that Ross Douthat in his book The Decadent Society and reviewer John M. DeJak (“A Decadent Diagnosis,” August 2020 Chronicles) both overlooked the pivotal impact of Vatican II and Catholic social doctrine. These two liberal landmarks changed the religious and cultural focus from duty to freedom; from truth to inclusiveness; from repentance to...

Evil That Good May Come
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Evil That Good May Come

I am surprised that in your generally conservative and pro-Christian magazine not one of the four articles debating the pros and cons of dropping the Bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki (August 2020 Chronicles) presents the orthodox Christian evaluation of that literally earth-shattering decision. Indeed, that orthodox position is not even addressed by your authors. It evades...

Polemics & Exchanges
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Polemics & Exchanges

Bringing Up Buckley In his response to Jack Trotter’s essay on William F. Buckley, Jr. (“Defense of Bill Buckley,” Polemics and Exchanges, June 2020), Tom Pauken writes that Ronald Reagan as president “orchestrated an effective strategy that won the Cold War and dismantled the Soviet Empire.” This is a common misconception among both the right and...

Defense of Bill Buckley
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Defense of Bill Buckley

It is hard to know where to begin in responding to Jack Trotter’s profile of a founding father of the modern conservative movement (“Remembering William F. Buckley, Jr.,” April/May 2020). In discussing Buckley’s background, Trotter relies heavily on John Judis’s biography, Patron Saint of the Conservatives (1998). While Judis seems to provide an objective account,...

Polemics & Exchanges
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Polemics & Exchanges

Founding Virtue To the list of those labeled as “social justice conservatives” by Brion McClanahan (“Reinventing Reconstruction,” February 2020) you can add the names of the Founding Fathers. Referring to them, Alexander Stephens (Vice-President of the Confederacy and author of the infamous “Cornerstone Speech”) wrote, “The prevailing ideas entertained by [Jefferson] and most of the...

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Dabney’s Blind Spot

I read with interest the article by Zachary Garris on Robert Lewis Dabney (“Remembering R. L. Dabney,” December 2019). Having myself graduated from Hampden-Sydney College, where he taught, and being Presbyterian, I have had some interest in his views. The article mentions hierarchal views of biblically sanctioned authority. It does not mention the extension of...

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Self-Sufficient Faction

I much enjoyed Prof. Gottfried’s response in the January issue, “Was Civil Rights Right?”, in which he wrote, “Although I am happy that racial segregation has ended, I am far less pleased with other changes that have come about because of social engineering, pushed by the government and courts and cheer-led by our media and...

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Was Civil Rights Right?

I read the editorial “What’s Paleo, and What’s Not” by Paul Gottfried (December 2019) with appreciation. It did raise some questions for me. He mentioned the controversial view of seeing continuity between the civil rights legislation of the 1960s and the current situation we are in. Given the obvious injustice that existed in both the...

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A Louisiana Lesson

If an admiring reviewer’s main purpose is to inspire his reader to run out and buy the book he praises, Professor Randall Ivey has done that for me with his review of Louisiana Poets: A Literary Guide (“Chansons by the Bayou,” December 2019). Drs. Brosman and Pass could not have asked for a more justly...

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An E Pluribus Reminder

It is saddening to see so distinguished an authority as Professor Stephen Presser misquote important words from the Constitution as he does in his November article on impeachment. He writes that treason is “clearly defined” in the Constitution as “making war on the United States or giving aid or comfort to her enemies.” Here is...

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Ruffled Feathers

I’ll leave it for the birds to pick the salvageable bits out of Jason Michael Morgan’s vomitous screed (“Ride On, Proud Boys!” September 2019) and restrict myself to some much needed correction of this horrendously anti-cultural, anti-Christian, and therefore anti-Western (in the only sense in which “The West” has any real meaning) diatribe. The apparent...

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Clean Language

Thank you for publishing “Boris’s Literary Language,” by Ralph Berry in the October issue. Mr. Berry’s fine contributions, always instructive, illustrate the careful use of English that he identifies in the discourse of Jacob Rees-Mogg. Two brief comments are warranted. The first is that while H. W. Fowler, whom Berry mentions among the illustrious “cleaners...

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Letter from a Legend

Chronicles’ editors should be commended for publishing several hard-hitting articles on the left’s pernicious censorship and particularly for providing an interview with a young friend of mine, Michael Millerman, who has been victimized by academic bigots (“Interview with a Condemned Academic,” Chronicles, August 2019). Like Michael, I have written on Leo Strauss and Martin Heidegger...

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Silicon Valley Insider

The three articles about the destructive character of Silicon Valley (Chronicles, August 2019) were right on the mark and reminded me of how the area has changed over the years. I first visited Santa Clara Valley nearly 70 years ago while temporarily serving as a young officer at a nearby naval base. It was beautiful...

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Noble Savages

Allensworth and Frye do a wonderful job dispelling human ignorance concerning the walls that have protected civilizations from barbarians (“Against the Barbarians,” Chronicles, July 2019). But, one thing mentioned bothers me: “Endless warfare, savagery, and sudden, violent death.” The prevailing wisdom concerning Hunter-Gatherers, completely betrays common sense. Our Stone Age ancestors, who had no sophisticated...

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Whither Chronicles?

I have been a subscriber to Chronicles for roughly twenty-five years. I love the print magazine, which I intend to take until I pass on to my reward, its publication ceases, or its “voice” becomes indistinct from that of National Review, whichever comes first. But it seems to me that, beginning about the time of...

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That Culture Thing

We have been long-time subscribers and readers. Chronicles is one of many periodicals, newspapers, journals, magazines, books we read expressing thoughts that span the political idea spectrum. You state that you are a magazine of American culture. I do not know how you define that and would like your definition. I find your articles perplexing....

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Pious Tariffs

In “Protectionism as a Path to Piety” (May 2019 issue), John Howting appears to assert that protective tariffs are acts of piety. Where is the justice in the politically powerful forcing, ultimately under the penalty of death, the politically weak to subsidize them—which is what a protective tariff does? Protective tariffs require politicians to pick...

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A Memorable Secession

I haven’t read The Land We Love: The South and Its Heritage, and judging by Donald Livingston’s review (May 2019 issue) I probably won’t. Why? Because it sounds like yet another attempt to defend “Lost Cause” ideology. According to the book’s author, Boyd Cathey, the real reason the South seceded had little to do with...

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Homo Economicus

I want to thank Greg Kaza for his review of “Globalists” in the June issue. He has called to attention some extremely relevant points, which are necessary for understanding current events. The first is that “globalism doesn’t replace the nation-state.” Not many observers understand that. As he explains so well, neoliberalism is characterized by Homo...

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Anglo-Apologia

Can reviewer Ralph Berry find nothing in the public life of Winston Churchill that was negative, or was there nothing of that nature in Andrew Robert’s new book: Churchill: Walking with Destiny? Was Churchill’s reputed collaboration with Foreign Secretary Edward Gray [sic] to effect a partial mobilization of the Army, prior to Britain’s decision to...

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We Happy Few

Regarding Jeff Minick’s April 2019 article, “Happy Warriors:” The reason the Left is winning is because they actually fight for their side in the culture war while the Right does not. And since, as the saying goes, politics is downstream of culture, the winner of the culture war is going to dominate the political system....

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Sex Erased

George McCartney is usually right on in his cultural analyses of current films, but he made a couple of statements in his review of Boy Erased (“Mortal Coils,” In the Dark, January) that must be addressed.  “If homosexuality is innate, as recent research suggests,” he wrote, “then what right do heterosexuals have to deride people...

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Liar From the Beginning

Aaron D. Wolf is absolutely right to argue that, from a Christian perspective, J.J. Rousseau is the fountainhead of political evil in our day (“Ignoble Savages,” January-March, Heresies).  Indeed, the Prince of this World has been rejoicing in Christianity’s shameless pandering to the courtesan Mlle Égalité, ever since the catastrophe of the First Republic.  Rousseau...

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Still Printing the Legend

I have to admit, I began reading Roger D. McGrath’s article “The Real McCoy,” (Sins of Omission, August) about Tim McCoy with the suspicion that he was just pulling my leg, but was drawn in enough to read it to the end.  There really are people in this world like Tim McCoy, whose lives keep...

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Humane But Not Tame

Aaron D. Wolf’s portrayal of the rabble in New Orleans jeering at General Lee’s dishonored image (“The Discarded Image,” Heresies, July) conjures a scene from C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe: A mob of repulsive scum, all manner of beasties and boggles, heap inane insults on the bound Lion, whose nobility they...

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Immeasurable Loss

My thanks to Aaron D. Wolf for his article “The Discarded Image.”  It reminded me of G.K. Chesterton’s “The Age of America,” published in The Illustrated London News, December 14, 1929 (The Collected Works of G.K. Chesterton, Vol. 35). Chesterton saw the Civil War as a real clash of civilizations, with good and great men...

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Ivy League Press

I have just finished reading Illiberal Reformers, by Thomas C. Leonard, motivated by Carl E. Olson’s interest-piquing review “A Faith Misplaced” (Reviews, June).  I heartily concur with Mr. Olson’s enthusiasm for a fine, concise, and accessible account of the 19th- and early-20th-century Progressives’ infatuations with German economics, evolution, racial stereotyping, and paternalism toward women and...

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If It Can Happen Here . . .

As a Texas resident and an alumnus of the University of Texas, I can attest that Jon Cassidy’s dreary assessment of the situation there is totally accurate (“Scandalous Education: UT’s War on Standards,” Correspondence, June).  Sadly, Cassidy’s exposé merely scratches the surface of the transformation of UT into what he aptly calls “Berkeley South.” Chronicles...

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Fending Off Barbarians

I just finished reading Chilton Williamson, Jr.’s May entry in What the Editors Are Reading, regarding Ed Abbey. I have been reading Edward Abbey’s work for years (my dog-eared copy of Desert Solitaire is a Ballantine paperback purchased in 1972 for 95 cents), and my library of Abbey’s work includes Appalachian Wilderness, Slickrock, Confessions of...

Curing Relativitis
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Curing Relativitis

“Nominalist in ontology, relativist in epistemology.”  In one short statement, Anthony Esolen sums up everything wrong with art and society in the modern world (“Ut Plures Sint,” View, April).  This is what I love about Chronicles: Every month there are observations that illuminate far beyond the particular topic that is being discussed.  How many times...

Wall of Baloney
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Wall of Baloney

Anne Williamson is being generous to Jeffrey Sachs (“The Many Reinventions of Jeffrey Sachs,” View, February).  I was in Poland on sabbatical from Rice University in the same time frame working (gratis) for Unido in the introduction of Deming Statistical Process control. I trained economists and mathematicians in the Deming paradigm and then sent them...

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Of Familial Optimism

I was very pleased to see Dr. Carle Zimmerman’s Family and Civilization referenced in Allan Carlson’s “A City on a Hill—With Transgender Toilets?” (View, March).  I discovered this book early last year and was amazed by its lessons.  The rapid and unintelligent changes in our culture seem so absurd without the context of history, and...

Oracles of the West
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Oracles of the West

The title of Joseph Pearce’s profound piece “Fighting the Dragon With Solzhenitsyn” (Society & Culture, January) hit me like a punch to the solar plexus, for Solzhenitsyn frequently directed its first three words to me in the form of a question—“Yeshche boryoutsya s drakonamy?”—as a sort of general “How goes it?” As a callow Harvard...

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The Ides of April

I thank Mr. Jeff Minick for his letter “Blood From a Stone: Observations of a Serf” (Correspondence) in the January issue, on the burden of personal taxes and the sorts of things these onerous obligations fund.  I do sympathize and empathize with his words.  If I were as articulate as he, I would have written...

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Storm of Snowflakes

Aaron D. Wolf has written the best summary I have seen of the moral confusion of the Millennials (“Rise of the Alt-Left: After This, the Deluge,” View, January): “Their morality is . . . entirely relativistic and personal.  They are the world.” Wolf asks, “Who will teach them otherwise?”  Yes, a very difficult reeducation problem...

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Cross-Questioning

As a new subscriber to Chronicles, I was drawn to Chilton Williamson’s reply to Mr. Patterson in the December issue (“Start Somewhere,” Polemics & Exchanges).  He wrote that “ideology by definition is silly.”  It made me recall my late Austrian friend, Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn. Mr. Williamson may be aware of Erik’s 1981 article, “The Portland...