This Christmas I’ve been trying to find some glimpses of good cheer in a country that for decades, as Tom Piatak, wrote earlier this month, is far more Pottersville than Bedford Falls, even under national Republicans. Maybe especially under national Republicans.

But something we still have, if we can keep it, is freedom of religion and the press. That’s no longer true in Canada and most of Europe, where politically correct speech codes severely censor what people say, even in the pulpit.

One cheerful thing is Chronicles magazine, which I have read for more than 30 years, and for which I have written for five. When each new issue plops in the mail box, I head for a café and spend a couple hours reading, a real pleasure.

Since at least the mid-1980s, Chronicles was about the only publication warning of the immigration crisis. I actually wrote a letter to it in the fall of 1987 backing liberal border laws. A couple of years later I changed my position. Unlike some people, I’m not afraid to alter how I think when the evidence points in a different direction. I actually enjoy having a debate in my head over what is the right stance. I’m not talking about doubting a dogma, such as the Trinity; but a political or social opinion.

Why did I change my mind? One thing was reading a lot of Chronicles articles on the problems of uncontrolled immigration. Another was Pat Buchanan’s articles, some in Chronicles, and his political campaigns, all of which I supported. Even though I always have been non-partisan, I briefly registered to vote as a Republican in 1992 and 1996, and for the Reform Party in 2000, to vote for Pat in the primaries.

A third factor was just living in California, Ground Zero for uncontrolled immigration. Politically, immigrants vote about 70 percent Democratic. Republicans, as mentioned above, are less then worthless at the national level, enacting their obsession with global wars and Pottersville financial plunder. But at the local level, Republicans often are the only thing preventing the Democratic Party from imposing socialism and Cultural Marxism. When modern Democrats (not the party of Truman, let alone Grover Cleveland) run things, you get massive tax increases, P.C. rules on everything and regulations that push up housing costs for the middle class – while Democrats’ constituents get Section 8 housing.

A second area where Chronicles shed light in the darkness was leading up to the 2001 Iraq War, when it warned of the impending disaster. A recent issue chronicled Chronicles’ opposition to the war before it started. That was at the same time Canadian David Frum, writing in National Review – a magazine grew up on in the late 1960s and 70s – branded right-wingers who opposed the war “unpatriotic conservatives.” His Enemies List included Chronicles Editor Thomas Fleming and contributors Buchanan, Justin Raimondo, Joseph Sobran and Sam Francis – the latter two no longer with us. Of course, now almost everyone concedes the war was a total disaster. And today’s unfolding horror of ISIS in Iraq, murdering what’s left of the country’s ancient Christian community that Bush’s war didn’t destroy, even has brought a new escalation with U.S. troops.

I was against the Iraq War from the beginning. But Chronicles’ incisive articles about the war helped inform the editorials I wrote for the Orange County Register, such as this one. Along with other Chronicles readers, I knew what really was going on with what the late Gen. William Odom warned was “the greatest strategic disaster in American history.”

Finally, Chronicles loudly has sounded the alarums about the War on Christmas, such as this article by Piatak.

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