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The Electoral College: Rooted in Racism?

Prof. Akhil Amar of Yale Law School launched a salvo against the Electoral College.  In a piece published on December 12 at the website of Time, Amar claimed that the Electoral College has pro-slavery origins.  James Madison preferred it to a nationwide popular vote because he wanted Southern slaves to count in the tally of...

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Blurred Lines

What’s with Pope Francis?  What has been his effect on the Church?  To understand the situation we need to look at secular culture, the state of the Church, and Francis himself. Public culture today is atheistic.  It excludes God, natural law, and higher goods; bases morality on individual preferences; and views reason as a way...

Reading Huxley Between the Headlines
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Reading Huxley Between the Headlines

“Is it time to reread Brave New World?” asks the distinguished historian Anthony Beevor, in a recent article on Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 presidential election.  I think it is. Of the two great fictional casts into the future, George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949) and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World (1932), Huxley’s imaginative prophecies...

The Sport You Aren’t Watching
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The Sport You Aren’t Watching

Women’s sports lurch upon a troubled foundation.  To throw like a girl is to fail on the grounds of athleticism, and not to throw like a girl is to fail on the grounds of girlism.  Worse, the quest for equality cannot reconcile its dogmatic ideal with how its professed adherents live out their faith.  If...

Public Opinion at the End of an Age
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Public Opinion at the End of an Age

One symptom of decline and confusion at the end of an age is the prevalent misuse of terms, of designations that have been losing their meanings and are thus no longer real.  One such term is public opinion.  Used still by political thinkers, newspapers, articles, institutes, research centers, college and university courses and their professors,...

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Southern Baptists Versus the South

The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) has over 15 million members.  With over 46,000 churches, they are present in all 50 states (as well as several foreign countries).  It is the largest Protestant denomination in the United States.  Nonetheless, for nine straight years, the SBC has reported a net loss of membership. Last summer, the SBC...

Green Balance of Power
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Green Balance of Power

A subplot of the 2016 presidential campaign was the Green Party’s ability, for the second time in the 21st century, to achieve balance of power in a close race won by a Republican.  Physician Jill Stein, 66, earned 1.4 million votes, or one percent—a miniscule amount, but more than the difference between Republican Donald Trump...

Delenda Est Academia
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Delenda Est Academia

In the Winter 2015/2016 issue of the Claremont Review of Books, William Voegeli argues, Conservatives have been firing shots across the bow of higher education for years, but the Ship of Fools has never turned back, or changed course.  It’s time either to surrender or to shoot a round into the engine room. While the...

Alex Smith
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Alex Smith

Just after 6 p.m. on Super Bowl Sunday, February 7, 2016, a tuxedo-clad Alex Smith sat alone on stage at a grand piano near the 50-yard line in Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, set to accompany Lady Gaga as she sang the National Anthem to introduce the championship game between the Carolina Panthers and...

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Our Progressive Sexual Apartheid

I recently attended a rock concert where the headline act—an artful blend of political correctness and antic comedy dressed in a leopard-skin overcoat under a silver wig—lectured us at some length on the need to respect women.  His remarks were repeated at intervals throughout the performance, and at one point were illustrated by images of...

Fighting the Dragon With Solzhenitsyn
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Fighting the Dragon With Solzhenitsyn

Do great men make history?  Or does history make great men?  One thing’s for sure: History sometimes smothers great men, as Thomas Gray suggests in his famous elegy written in a country churchyard, and as the rows of endless graves from Arlington to the Somme demonstrate with brutal candor. “Some mute inglorious Milton here may...

Steadfast Sessions
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Steadfast Sessions

President and five-star Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower said that a man must “believe in his luck” in order to lead.  Jeff Sessions is such a man.  He has not only survived multiple setbacks, considered career ending by many, but has consistently come out ahead.  Most recently, his early and conspicuously vocal endorsement of Donald Trump...

Forgetting Colin Kaepernick
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Forgetting Colin Kaepernick

Colin Kaepernick, the former star quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers, made the decision during the 2016 NFL preseason to kneel during the playing of the National Anthem.  Other athletes quickly followed suit, some by kneeling, others by raising a fist to protest “racial injustice” in America. Outrage predictably followed, with opinion polls suggesting that...

Signs of Hope in the East
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Signs of Hope in the East

In the United States, the forces of the cultural left have been particularly aggressive in seeking to diminish the influence of our Christian heritage on American society. The Obama administration has led the campaign for the complete separation of religion from the public square.  It has used executive orders, regulatory rule-making authority, and the bully...

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A Complete Man: Remembering Terry Kohler

During the late 1950’s, Terry J. Kohler was a jet pilot with the U.S. Air Force, flying T-33 fighters and B-47 bombers with the Strategic Air Command.  Like most others of that tribe whom I have met, the experience gave him an almost startling directness of manner.  On meeting him, you quickly became aware of...

Beating Affirmative Action
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Beating Affirmative Action

Is the composition of the Supreme Court the be-all and end-all of important societal conflicts?  Are there effective ways that conservatives can address these conflicts—manifest in political battles over such things as affirmative action—apart from the Court? The Supreme Court’s decision in Fisher v. University of Texas, handed down on June 23, means affirmative action...

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The Equality Shell Game

“For there is no longer Jew nor Greek, neither free man nor slave, neither man nor woman,” says Pseudo-Paul, the apostle to the Americans, “but all are equal in Christ Jesus.”  He has been studying his Pseudo-John, wherein the risen Lord says to Peter, “I have been praying for you, Simon, that you might strengthen...

Addressing the Media Addressing Trump
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Addressing the Media Addressing Trump

The U.S. media establishment has been up to its usual occupation during a presidential season: harrumphing, growling, tut-tutting at the idea of putting a non-“mainstream candidate”—someone other than a liberal Democrat, that is—in charge of anything more consequential, in Washington terms, than an armchair at the Commerce Department (if that).  However, this year, with Donald...

Ruminations Amidst the Ruins
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Ruminations Amidst the Ruins

In the winter of 1987-88, Sen. Dan Quayle of Indiana decided that he wanted the VP spot on the Republican ticket as the most “conservative” candidate.  He started his quiet campaign by running the idea by my boss, Sen. Jesse Helms.  After all, if Jesse wouldn’t support him, it would have been pointless to go...

The Body as Billboard
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The Body as Billboard

The blind poet Milton, praying for divine inspiration, tells us what he misses most since losing his sight: Thus with the year Seasons return, but not to me returns Day, or the sweet approach of even or morn, Or sight of vernal bloom, or summer’s rose, Or flocks, or herds, or human face divine. The...

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Rise of the Trumps

Come November, Donald Trump may go down in flames.  Or he might continue to surprise and astonish us.  But the Trump children, regardless of whether their father is ever again allowed in GOP polite company, are another matter. The display of warm affection for their father during the Republican National Convention was not merely for...

Midwife Crisis
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Midwife Crisis

A few things can be said with certainty of the BBC’s Call the Midwife: None of those babies are swaddled tightly enough.  Car births aren’t the greatest, but I’ve seen worse than the one in Season Four.  And if Sister Evangelina doesn’t know why Sister Monica Joan paired the ass and the angel in her...

Soldier Girls and the Stakes of War
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Soldier Girls and the Stakes of War

President Obama is keeping his promise of “fundamentally transforming” the nation, especially when it comes to the military. Women have been voluntarily serving in the Army officially since 1901, but today, with new policies being introduced at a rapid pace, the modern major generals in the Pentagon are changing the nature of combat units. To...

The “Punishment” of Women
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The “Punishment” of Women

Questions concerning the relationship between morality and law were reignited when, during the Republican primary campaign, Donald Trump commented on the matter of abortion and (implicitly) women’s rights.  When pressed by a journalist, Trump stated that, yes, women should be “punished” if their behavior is illegal or contrary to prevailing community standards.  Though abortion is...

Faulkner in Japan: The “American Century”
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Faulkner in Japan: The “American Century”

In August of 1955, William Faulkner traveled to Japan.  Based in the out-of-the-way mountain province of Nagano—which, until the 1998 Winter Olympics, enjoyed a benign anonymity in perfect proportion to its relative unimportance in world affairs—Faulkner lectured and temple-toured for two weeks, doing the bidding of the U.S. State Department, which had sponsored his trip. ...

Earning Your Protest
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Earning Your Protest

Like many young men graduating high school in 1966, my father took a fast track to the politically seething, war-shattered jungles of a small country on the other side of the world.  He had no middle name, no college degree (nor any aspirations of pursuing one), five siblings, and no “rich dad” culture to be...

Beyond Populism
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Beyond Populism

Donald Trump’s political success dramatizes the nature of today’s politics.  On  one side we have denationalized ruling elites with absolute faith in their own outlook and very little concern for Americans as Americans.  On the other we have an increasingly incoherent and corrupted populace that nonetheless retains for the most part the basic political virtue...

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Orwell in Chains

George Orwell’s “Politics and the English Language” remains a lighthouse, the beam sweeping past the scene for a moment of blinding illumination before passing on to darkness.  Though Orwell enjoined us against cliché, Hamlet’s “More honoured in the breach than the observance” applies: Everybody lauds Orwell, but few appear to have read him.  And of...

The Sentinel
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The Sentinel

“Don’t mention the war,” my grandfather told me a few minutes before our guest, an old friend from the Business Administration faculty at the nearby university, joined us for lunch.  This was in Tacoma, Washington, in the summer of 1975, and I was visiting from England, on vacation from college.  In that particular summer, it...

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Not Your Mother’s Weasels

At the United Nations in the fall of 2009, Barack Obama acknowledged, with customary self-regard, “the expectations that accompany my presidency around the world,” no doubt referring to his pledge about the receding oceans, healing the planet and reviving the animal kingdom, and the unprecedented wisdom of his associates and himself.  Sure enough: The Russian...

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A Monumental Proposal

I was recently perplexed to see in the news that Harvard, the oldest institution of higher learning in the nation, had declared that, though master has no etymological relation to slavery (but rather to magister), the word would nevertheless be abandoned as a title for a resident supervisor of student housing, and be replaced by...

The Saudi-Iranian Blood Feud
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The Saudi-Iranian Blood Feud

Tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran, which have frequently flared over the years, reached full intensity this winter when the Saudi government executed 47 regime opponents, including the prominent Shi’ite cleric Nimr al-Nimr.  Immediately, there were riots in Iran directed against Saudi targets, culminating in the burning of the Saudi embassy—an incident that even Iran’s...

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An Essay on the State of France

What follows is not an anthropometric description of France, but neither does it reflect the fancy of the author: It is what one can see of France from a certain distance, which blurs the finer details but allows the main features to stand out.  When looking at the Great Wall of China from a certain...

Sing Me Back Home
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Sing Me Back Home

Sing me back home with a song I used to hear Make all my memories come alive Take me away and turn back the years Sing me back home before I die Merle Haggard was a real American.  At its best, his music was folk art, Americana poetry, each song capturing a snapshot of his...

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Snobs and Slobs

How very vulgar I have been—I am sorry, and I apologize!  I am just terrible, and it is all my fault.  And I accept the responsibility.  And how could I accept my own shame if I had not done so in public?  Yet my own vulgarity has been hedged, because I neither sinned nor confessed...

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On the Wings of a Snow White Dove

When you have over an hour to kill downtown in a major city, time seems to slow to a stop.  Fortunately, the Roman houses beneath the Palazzo Valentini, which we were waiting to visit, are a stone’s throw from the column of Trajan.  On that warm and sunny day in February, we took over an...

Game of Bones
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Game of Bones

So what is objectionable about Game of Thrones? In posing the question, please note that I am assuming that something is objectionable.  So let me count the ways.  If we are talking about the books, the prose is klonkingly pedestrian—although in fairness it must be said that George R.R. Martin, author of the internationally best-selling...

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Donald Trump, the Court, and the Law

Is Donald Trump a Burkean?  Would Russell Kirk vote for him for president?  Can a paleoconservative legal scholar imagine any benefit to a Trump presidency? Of course, the neoconservatives are piling on Trump.  Most notable was National Review’s January 21 issue, “Against Trump.”  “Trump,” say the editors, “is a philosophically unmoored political opportunist who would...

Two Cultures
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Two Cultures

Four decades before Hillary Clinton coined the term “Deplorables,” Chronicles predicted how the battle lines in the culture war would be drawn.