• Deconstructing the 1619 Project

    Deconstructing the 1619 Project

    Several years ago, I purchased a used copy of Robert Fogel and Stanley Engerman’s Time on the Cross: The Economics of American Negro Slavery (1974), one of the five most important books on American slavery that have appeared in the last 50 years. The previous owner had inserted a series of newspaper clippings of book reviews and essays written around the time the book was published. This material also included his handwritten notes on the subject, including a description of a Liberty Fund conference on slavery held during the late 1990s. He expressed shock at the taboo nature of the topic and was dismayed by the relative lack of civility from the panel even 30 years after the height of the Civil Rights movement.

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Society & Culture

  • The Great Debate: Lincoln

    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 nonpolitical, and everybody was anticipating the coming bicentennial of the independence of our country. And, although now it’s hard to believe, the national commemoration was not being riven by fractious and acrimonious debates about its real meaning.

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  • The Real White Negro

    The Real White Negro

    There were many wannabe Lucifers in mid-century America, from Saul Alinsky to Herbert Marcuse, but nobody combined sulfur with venom, hate with dead-on aim, the way Norman Mailer did. East Coast revolutionary to the core, Mailer—who once nearly throttled both Gore Vidal and New Yorker writer Janet Flanner on the set of Dick Cavett’s television show—was a spring-loaded pipe bomb stuffed full of spite, touchiness, and mayhem. Mailer hated everyone and everything (including, one presumes, the wife he stabbed), and he was hell-bent on taking out the whole country, at a minimum, on his maniacal road to perdition.

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  • The Reinvention of Reconstruction

    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 view of the entirety of American history.

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  • Apologizing for the Bother

    Apologizing for the Bother

    “It’s a small, white, scored oval tablet.” A little pill stands between Florent-Claude Labrouste and his planned defenestration. It offers only a temporary reprieve from the meaninglessness of life. As the narrator of Michel Houellebecq’s latest novel assures us, Captorix: provides no form of happiness, or even of real relief; its action is of a different kind: by transforming life into a sequence of formalities it allows you to fool yourself. On this basis, it helps people to live, or at least to not die—for a certain period of time. But death imposes itself in the end…

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  • Nationalism for the Lukewarm

    Nationalism for the Lukewarm

    It seems that Rich Lowry has taken time off from castigating Donald Trump and calling for the prompt removal of Confederate memorial monuments to compose an entire book making “the case for nationalism.” A media launch was provided by Fox News’s Tucker Carlson, who gave Lowry ample time on his widely watched program to expatiate on his most recent book.

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  • <em>What the Editors Are Reading</em>

    What the Editors Are Reading

    Evelyn Waugh wrote Brideshead Revisited (1945) while on a six-month leave from the British Army during World War II. It proved a hit with the public, but the critics who had praised Waugh’s earlier satirical novels were less impressed, objecting both to its religious themes and its lush prose. Waugh never apologized for the former, but by 1959, when he wrote a preface to a new edition, he had come to agree with the critics about the latter, blaming the novel’s “glaring defects” on the grim reality of the wartime circumstances in which it was written.

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Remembering the Right

  • Remembering Richard Weaver

    Remembering Richard Weaver

    Native Southerner and traditionalist conservative, Richard Weaver (1910-1963) was a unique figure in the rise of the modern American right. Weaver, a longtime professor at the University of Chicago, was an historian, literary critic, and rhetorician who despised the modern trend towards intellectual specialization. As an undergraduate, he embraced socialism after being convinced that the future was firmly on the side of “science, liberalism and equalitarianism.”

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  • Remembering Albert Jay Nock

    Remembering Albert Jay Nock

    As a conservative “anarchist” and non-interventionist with anti-vocational views on education, Albert Jay Nock (1870-1945) can seem paradoxical. His influence was lasting and he took unconventional stances on many topics. He viewed conservatism as primarily cultural, anarchism as radical decentralization, education as a non-economic activity, and foreign policy as a noninterventionist endeavor.

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Polemics & Exchanges

  • Dabney

    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 this to his racist views.

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  • Self-Sufficient Faction

    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 educational establishments.”

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  • It

    It's Not Okay to Be White

    The left now roundly denounces anyone to the right of Jeb Bush as a “white nationalist,” which it appears is now being equated with “white supremacist,” with the apparently immortal Adolph Hitler acting as the once-and-future ringleader of a group of bad guys and gals that includes everyone from George Washington and Betsy Ross to John Wayne, as well as every single Trump voter, white or not.

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  • Culture and Peoples

    Culture and Peoples

    In a widely noted commentary on the achievements and failures of Sam Francis in the October issue of First Things, author Matthew Rose offers this conclusion: Francis claimed that he sought only to defend Western culture. It is impossible to believe him.

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  • A New Right Arises in Poland

    A New Right Arises in Poland

    The year 2019 was an eventful one in Polish politics. Out of a boring and meaningless dispute between two wings of Polish liberalism, there arose a new political force determined to shake up Poland’s political culture. Eleven MPs from the new Confederation Party appeared in the Polish Parliament, the Sejm, after last October’s parliamentary elections. This development came as a shock to many in Poland, as well as abroad. The new Israeli ambassador to Poland, Alexander Ben Zvi, was quick to warn that “the views of individual members” of Confederation are a “problem.” It’s worth pointing out that the Israeli ambassador was the only member of the diplomatic corps in Poland to voice such an objection.

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  • Jackson and the American Indians

    Jackson and the American Indians

    Everyone knows that Andrew Jackson wanted American Indians annihilated, defied the Supreme Court in a famous challenge to Chief Justice John Marshall, and forcibly removed the Five Civilized Tribes of the Southeast to lands west of the Mississippi River. What everyone knows is not true.

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  • The Perils of Revisionism

    The Perils of Revisionism

    The Irishman • Raging Bull • Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker •

    Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman has been hailed in many quarters as a triumph, a return to the early movies of his career that made his reputation as the preeminent director of mob cinema. I wonder, is this a desirable accolade? Speaking for myself, I’ve had quite enough mafia-inflected entertainment.

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  • Afghan Disinformation

    Afghan Disinformation

    During the Second World War the German High Command issued regular bulletins about the situation on various fronts. They had a triumphalist tone in 1940, when France fell, and in 1941, when it looked like the Red Army would collapse, but the core information remained reliable throughout the war. These Wehr machtberichten adopted a sober tone after Stalingrad, and deceptive euphemisms were used (e.g. “ordered withdrawal to previously prepared positions”); but even after Normandy they did not lie about the shifting front lines.

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  • Hot Air Raids

    Hot Air Raids

    Global warming is still a “maybe,” but in the Swiss Alps the visual evidence is undeniable. The glacier I used to ski on has disappeared, and man-made snow is pumped out daily in its place. The once-small alpine village from where I write this column is now a Mecca of the nouveaux riche and vulgar—snow and manners have gone with the wind.

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