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The Struggle for the Soul of the Supreme Court
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The Struggle for the Soul of the Supreme Court

During Joe Biden’s 2020 campaign for president, when his fortunes were at their nadir, Joe Biden promised that he would nominate the first black woman to the United States Supreme Court. He reportedly made this pledge to James Clyburn (D-S.C.), the powerful African-American congressman, in return for Clyburn’s help in securing the black vote in...

The Not-So-Great Train Robbery
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The Not-So-Great Train Robbery

Late author Michael Crichton in 1975 wrote one of his best novels, The Great Train Robbery. Set in England in the 1850s, it is a roman à clef that tells the story of an elaborate heist staged by a a group of ambitious criminals. Their target was a cache of gold on a train traveling...

What We Are Reading: February 2022
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What We Are Reading: February 2022

What makes a great novelist? Genius—the ability to see connections hidden from most of us—obviously helps, but if great novels are great commentaries on the human condition, then living in a rich, stimulating, and challenging environment may also be essential.   A.N. Wilson’s brilliantly unorthodox literary biography of Iris Murdoch—perhaps the greatest novelist writing in...

Bibliotheca of the Bizarre
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Bibliotheca of the Bizarre

The Madman’s Library: The Strangest Books, Manuscripts and Other Literary Curiosities From History by Edward Brooke-Hitching Chronicle Books 256 pp., $29.95 Books are the “emblem of civilization,” Edward Brooke-Hitching writes in a new book that explores the strange history of the medium. The earliest books were used to establish and uphold administrative, legal, and taxation...

The Redemption of Saint-Saëns, 100 Years On
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The Redemption of Saint-Saëns, 100 Years On

“I am merely a genius, not a god,” mystery writer Rex Stout’s fictional detective Nero Wolfe said. “A genius may discover the hidden secrets and display them; only a god can create new ones.” Such a genius was French composer Charles-Camille Saint-Saëns, who was born in Paris in 1835 and died at age 86 in...

Is Biden Right? Does the Left Own the Future?
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Is Biden Right? Does the Left Own the Future?

Before he appeared at his first solo news conference of 2022, President Joe Biden knew he had a communications problem he had to deal with. Namely, how to get off the defensive. How to avoid spending his time with the White House press corps defending his decisions and explaining his actions as allegations of failure,...

Fundamentalism on the Left
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Fundamentalism on the Left

Minds Wide Shut: How the New Fundamentalisms Divide Us by Gary Saul Morson and Morton Schapiro  Princeton University Press 336 pp., $29.95   Fundamentalism has long been considered a religious phenomenon, a narrowmindedness that only afflicts Bible-thumping extremists. Yet fundamentalist thinking is everywhere today, and leads naturally to the authoritarian mind and the one-party state....

Remembering Kingsley Amis
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Remembering Kingsley Amis

Queen Victoria’s corpse had hardly cooled before modernism in the United Kingdom rebelled against Victorian styles, attitudes, and mores.   The ideas of arguably the four most important thinkers of the modern era—Darwin, Nietzsche, Marx, and Freud—were written during Queen Victoria’s lifetime but only gained influence after her death. So too did the literary high...

Hungary’s Stand Against the European Union
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Hungary’s Stand Against the European Union

Western elites recently heaped scorn on the Hungarian government for passing child-protection legislation. The Land of the Magyars outlawed the portrayal of homosexuality and “sex reassignment” surgeries in school education material and television programs aimed at minors. Hungarians view the law as protecting children from radical ideologies about sex and gender, while European Commission President...

Reassessing the Legacy of George Wallace
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Reassessing the Legacy of George Wallace

There was a very odd occurrence in the “Cradle of the Confederacy” in July 1987: Presidential aspirant and civil rights activist Jesse Jackson paid a visit to the Montgomery, Alabama, home of George Corley Wallace. It had been 126 years since Jefferson Davis stood on the steps of the Alabama capitol and been sworn in...

The Devils in the Demonstrators
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The Devils in the Demonstrators

I was chairman of the Annual Confederate Flag Day at the North Carolina State Capitol in March of 2019 when our commemoration was besieged by several hundred screaming, raging demonstrators—Antifa-types and others. It took a mammoth police escort for us to exit the surrounded Capitol building. I clearly recall the disfigured countenance, the flaming eyes,...

Conservatism Has Conserved Nothing
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Conservatism Has Conserved Nothing

Conservatism has not conserved anything. This claim may appear ridiculous to those plagued by unwavering faith in the Republican Party and the conservative movement. After all, is it not conservatism that is holding the line against the left’s tyrannical agenda? To those in the know, however, the charge that conservatism has conserved nothing is so...

The Intersectional Constitution Comes Alive
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The Intersectional Constitution Comes Alive

The death of the sainted George Floyd has proven to be the ideal pretext for the left to accelerate its campaign of dismantling the markers of American historical identity. With lavish corporate and philanthropic support, radical activists are “resetting” America. This means mandating the instruction of Critical Race Theory in public schools; replacing the American...

The Prairie Populist Historian
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The Prairie Populist Historian

William Appleman Williams (1921-1990) was dean of the New Left School of American diplomatic history. As one of the most influential American historians in the ’60s and ’70s, he gained a national audience for his anti-war, anti-globalist, and anti-imperial views. Odd as it might seem, it would be more likely these days that Patrick Buchanan...

Massacre of the Guards
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Massacre of the Guards

What began as an impromptu and uncoordinated eruption of violence in an upstate New York prison soon morphed into a hostage crisis and siege that gripped the nation and claimed the lives of 43 people.   The most famous prison riot in American history took place at Attica Correctional Facility in New York’s Wyoming County...

On Noise, or an Exercise of ‘Kraugatology’
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On Noise, or an Exercise of ‘Kraugatology’

To understand contemporary Western culture and politics, I suggest a term for something that is as old as the experience of man, but which has never before settled into institutional permanence. I shall call it noise. What do I mean by this? We must draw a fundamental distinction. Noise, as I use the term, is...

Stop Playing the Left’s Game
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Stop Playing the Left’s Game

When Chronicles asked me to provide a refutation of Donald Trump’s 1776 Commission report (“Rejecting the ‘Proposition Nation,’” April/May 2021), I knew it would be controversial. I was right. Michael Anton wrote a lengthy rebuttal at American Greatness (“Americans Unite,” May 1, 2021). I don’t mind Anton circling the wagons to defend his friends. That is admirable. That said, his...

American Psychiatry Has a Lot to Apologize for (but not Racism)
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American Psychiatry Has a Lot to Apologize for (but not Racism)

It seems like every other major American institution is apologizing for racism these days, so why not the American Psychiatric Association (APA)? Back in January, the APA issued an apology for its “ingrained” racism towards black and indigenous people of color (BIPOCs). The APA pledged to develop “anti-racist policies that promote equity in mental health for...

Against the Rainbow Capitalists
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Against the Rainbow Capitalists

Broad swaths of conservative opinion today would have it that the enemy of the right is some variant of Marxism. But this does not accurately describe people like Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, or CNN’s Jeff Zucker. All the tech and media executives who are censoring and deplatforming voices on the right can hardly...

Darwin in the Dock
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Darwin in the Dock

The 150th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex should be a time of celebration for his many fans. However, my advice to Darwin’s admirers is: Don’t pop the corks yet. The last couple of years of “woke” culture have cast a pall over the legacy of the...

The Tiger, the Lion, and the Old Man
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The Tiger, the Lion, and the Old Man

A day like today reminds you of how you got here, of the struggle, of the good in your life—and of a tiger, a lion, and an old man. The sun shines stark white, shimmering in a way that reminds you that it is a star, technically a yellow dwarf, but it seems not so...

Deconstructing the Decolonizers
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Deconstructing the Decolonizers

“Decolonization” is the new badge for right-thinking professors and teachers. The word reveals more about those who use it than about their imaginary oppressors. Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. The great haters in our midst have the word “hate” perpetually on their lips. So do the decolonizers. What that term...

The Post-Marxist Left’s Race Problem
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The Post-Marxist Left’s Race Problem

A recurrent theme in Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States (1980) is how the prospect of a coalition between poor blacks and poor whites has often struck fear in the hearts of the wealthy classes in American history. Not surprisingly, Zinn longed for the emergence of an interracial coalition that, in his...

Nietzsche and the American Right
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Nietzsche and the American Right

In may of last year, C. Bradley Thompson published a piece in The American Mind entitled “The Rise and Fall of the Pajama-Boy Nietzscheans,” taking aim at the radical left and its cheerleaders at The New York Times, as well as the unfashionably reactionary right. Both, he argues, are fundamentally at odds with the political...

The Ride of the ‘Woke’ Valkyries
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The Ride of the ‘Woke’ Valkyries

Mere pandemics cannot stop the Richard Wagner bibliography from expanding, indeed from metastasizing. Yet, even as the catalogue of new books on the famed, 19th-century German composer expands, “woke” culture threatens to drive him, and the Western civilization he represents, into a state of cancellation. Vast quantities of ink have been lavished upon every bizarre...

Paul Ehrlich, the Real Founder of Environmentalism
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Paul Ehrlich, the Real Founder of Environmentalism

It’s become an accepted opinion that marine biologist Rachel Carson, the author of Silent Spring (1962), was the founder of the modern environmentalist movement. But this may very well be a myth. Recent historical scholarship suggests that this title more likely applies to controversial Stanford University biologist Paul Ehrlich, author of the 1968 best seller...

The Left’s Delusions on Crime and Policing
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The Left’s Delusions on Crime and Policing

The death of George Floyd and the reaction that followed have seen an explosion of hysterical accusations, breast-beating, and lying that is extreme even by the standards of the last half-century. It is no exaggeration to say that reason and common sense have largely fled the scene, and there has been an incredibly weak reaction to...

Fourth Generation War Comes to a Theater Near You
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Fourth Generation War Comes to a Theater Near You

Mobs loot, burn, and vandalize while politicians advocate defunding the police. A commune was established in Seattle and turned into Lord of the Flies while government did nothing. Blacks demand equal treatment from police despite a violent crime rate many times greater than that of whites, and mainstream media will not report honestly the differences in crime rates....

Reparations: Blueprint for a Shakedown
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Reparations: Blueprint for a Shakedown

Nothing talks quite like money, and Robert L. Johnson, a wealthy black man who cofounded Black Entertainment Television (BET) four decades ago, lately has been talking about $14 trillion. That’s what it will take, he insists, for whites in this country to make amends to blacks for enslaving them in bygone centuries. Only a transfer of...

Put Not Your Faith in Judges
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Put Not Your Faith in Judges

Are there Bush judges and Obama judges? “No!” said the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, John Roberts. Judges, he explained during his Senate confirmation hearings, are simply umpires, objectively attempting to follow the rules and call balls and strikes. The chief, let us say, was not being candid. Since 1881, when Oliver Wendell...

Ressentiment: He Hates, Therefore He Is
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Ressentiment: He Hates, Therefore He Is

A few days ago, rioters in Boston defaced the Robert Shaw Memorial, a masterpiece in high relief wrought by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, whom I consider to be, alongside Frederic Remington, the most distinctly American of our sculptors. I am supposing that the attack on the memorial was no mere act of vandalism, no instance of “rioting mainly...

The Virus Sidelines Europe’s Right Wing
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The Virus Sidelines Europe’s Right Wing

COVID-19 has rendered Europe’s right-wing parties all but obsolete, at least in the near-term. Nationalist parties like Alternative für Deutschland (AfD, “Alternative for Germany”) and the Dutch Partij voor de Vrijheid (PVV, “Party for Freedom”) had built their electoral clout upon anti-migration sentiment. But the centrists have robed themselves in new patriotic colors, robbing the nationalists in Western Europe of...

Hobbes, the First Individualist
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Hobbes, the First Individualist

Too many conservatives get  Thomas Hobbes wrong. In a recent piece for The Imaginative Conservative, Bradley Birzer argues that the famed 17th century English philosopher is responsible for supplying the recipe for “a collectivist horror.”  He credits Hobbes with having “inspired countless tyrants,” and says that “his collectivist nightmare…is not just the stuff of George Orwell[’s] and...

Greater Than the French Revolution
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Greater Than the French Revolution

On July 15, 1870, the French Empire mobilized its armed forces, and the following day, the North German Confederation—led by Prussia—followed suit. Once the Franco-Prussian War was declared, actual combat began with startling rapidity. The Prussians won a decisive victory at Sedan at the start of September, capturing French Emperor Napoleon III. Even so, the...

Anti-Semitism in Antiquity: The Case of Apion
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Anti-Semitism in Antiquity: The Case of Apion

I have a passing interest in a first-century rhetorician and Hellenized Egyptian named Apion, who is the target of a famous polemic by Flavius Josephus, a member of the Jewish priestly class who became the court historian of the Flavian emperors. Published in Greek but known by its Latin name Contra Apionem, Josephus’s diatribe faults Apion for...

Plague Literature: The Threshing Floor
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Plague Literature: The Threshing Floor

Over the centuries, plague has been understood variously as a purely natural phenomenon, astrological fatalism, the judgment of God, or, most perplexing, a manifestation of divine mercy. Since plague is one of those natural disasters whose origin cannot be assigned to human agency, it can pose seemingly insoluble moral problems. If, for example, plague is...

The Theatrical Tradition of Dorothy Sayers
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The Theatrical Tradition of Dorothy Sayers

In 1941, bestselling novelist Dorothy L. Sayers (1893-1957) ignited a religious controversy that reverberated throughout England. Leading to discussion in Parliament, her BBC radio plays about Jesus were accused of being subversive and irreverent. Ironically, Sayers was motivated not by a defiance of tradition but by an intense desire to preserve it. Sayers’ lifelong interest...

Faux Originalism
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Faux Originalism

Is Antonin Scalia’s originalism—indeed, constitutional self-government itself—passé? The eternal temptation to read one’s own values into the Constitution beguiles even religious conservatives espousing natural law. The U.S. Constitution is the “supreme law of the land,” whose ultimate interpretation is entrusted, by longstanding custom if not by explicit textual direction, to the U.S. Supreme Court. Accordingly,...

Loveline: Stealth Conservative Talk Radio
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Loveline: Stealth Conservative Talk Radio

I first heard the Loveline radio show in the late ’90s. It came on late at night, broadcast from Los Angeles back to me in Atlanta. The format was like an old-fashioned advice column, but with a coarse edge. People phoned in with questions about sex and relationships, tales of abuse and heartbreak, disease and...

Historical Revisionism on the Right
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Historical Revisionism on the Right

Nietzsche writes in the concluding section of Twilight of the Idols, “One does not learn from the Greeks—their way is too alien, and also too fluid, to have an imperative effect, a ‘classical’ effect.” The divide between Greek antiquity and modernity to which Nietzsche alludes has certainly not discouraged many attempts to bridge this gap....

How Communism Saved the Eastern Bloc from Cultural Marxism
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How Communism Saved the Eastern Bloc from Cultural Marxism

Despite living under nearly a century of oppressive, conformist, Soviet-style Communism, Eastern Bloc nations have somehow maintained strong senses of cultural, religious, linguistic, and ethnic identities. What’s more, they arguably have stronger identities today than do most Western European and Anglophone countries that have enjoyed greater freedom for most of the 20th century. Unlike their...

The Real White Negro
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The Real White Negro

Those who think that James Comey, John Brennan, and Hillary Clinton are the first East Coast liberals to try to take down the United States have not been following the news—or at least, the old news. Columbia professors Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven argued in 1966 that the “weight of the poor,” that is,...

The Reinvention of Reconstruction
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The Reinvention of Reconstruction

American conservatives have rightly viewed the post-Civil War Reconstruction period as a tragic era rife with corruption, scandal, mismanagement, and unconstitutional uses of power at both the state and federal level. Unfortunately, many have also been deceived by a leftist narrative of Reconstruction as a flawed but ultimately virtuous project, and this has distorted their...

The Great Debate: Lincoln’s Legacy
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The Great Debate: Lincoln’s Legacy

The year 1975, for those of us old enough to remember, was a calm and quiet time in the United States. The Vietnam War and Watergate were both over, the riots and protests had ceased, and everybody liked our presiding nonpartisan president, who shared the name of America’s most iconic car company. The music was...

Trail Life: A Christian Answer to the Boy Scouts
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Trail Life: A Christian Answer to the Boy Scouts

When Boy Scouts of America (BSA) announced their decision to welcome and validate openly homosexual boys six years ago, Cub Scout mom Theresa Waning saw the writing on the wall. Shortly after BSA’s announcement, the church chartering her son’s troop, like many other churches across the country, revoked their BSA charter, leaving Waning’s son and...

Dutch Euthanasia Case Serves as Harbinger
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Dutch Euthanasia Case Serves as Harbinger

In 2002 the Netherlands became the first country in the world to legalize euthanasia, formalizing what had been tolerated by the government for several decades prior. Today, however, the Dutch practice of euthanasia is arguably less settled legally than ever before. In September, a doctor was found not guilty of breaking the law after administering...

Zombie Theology
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Zombie Theology

I teach theology courses at a non-denominational, evangelical Christian high school outside of Fort Worth, Texas. We study the history of the Christian faith, work our way chapter and verse through at least 15 books of the Bible over the span of our high school courses, examine all the major topics of systematic theology and...

Between Raising Hell and Amazing Grace
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Between Raising Hell and Amazing Grace

I have heard the following remark, or something similar, made about country music on numerous occasions in my life: “You know, it’s kind of hard to take a guy seriously when he sings about loving Jesus one minute and drinking and cheating the next.” It is always uttered by someone who is not a big...

Letter to the Bishop
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Letter to the Bishop

Your Excellency: A few years have passed since we corresponded. After my last letter to you, I’m afraid I took a wrong path, crashed and burned, and now stagger forward, burdened by more ordinary trespasses. But still a believer, grateful, as Graham Greene had the wheezing old priest murmur at the end of Brighton Rock,...

Hope in Little Platoons
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Hope in Little Platoons

For 26 years, I taught hundreds of home-educated students, including my own children. My checkered teaching career also includes a semester in a university, two years at a prison, and two years in a public high school. During my last 15 years of that teaching, I conducted seminars for homeschoolers in Asheville, North Carolina, offering...