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  • The Right on Economic Reform

    The Right on Economic Reform

    We’ve lined up four writers to make the case for three economic reform systems, and one coda in defense of the existing order: economic nationalism, laissez-faire capitalism, Christian distributism, and democratic capitalism.

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  • The Case for Economic Nationalism

    The Case for Economic Nationalism

    The current moment poses a range of social, political, and economic threats. As the institutions of globalism become exhausted, the time is ripe to marry immigration restriction, economic nationalism, and populism into a potent America First program.

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  • Do We Need Economic Reform at All?

    Do We Need Economic Reform at All?

    American-style capitalism embodies trade-offs. It accepts significant inequalities and creative destruction that can render particular industries redundant. The alternative to this process of change, however, is economic stagnation.

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  • Learning From Our Hard Corona Days

    Learning From Our Hard Corona Days

    The world has reached a new level of boredom, it seems. “The sole cause of man’s unhappiness is that he does not know how to stay quietly in his room,” wrote Blaise Pascal. That sentence, like others from the Pensées (1670), is deservedly famous.

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  • <em>Black Power</em> and the 1619 Project

    Black Power and the 1619 Project

    Radically recasting America’s formative years would be damaging enough, but The New York Times’ “1619 Project” is applying that same radical intellectual perspective on American history to contemporary social issues and problems.

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  • Virginia's Creeping Authoritarianism

    Virginia's Creeping Authoritarianism

    Even before the nationwide government crackdown in the wake of the COVID-19 virus, the unprecedented reaction of Virginia’s government against civilian protesters showcased the potential for authoritarianism to rear its head in America…

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  • Coins of the Realm

    Coins of the Realm

    It is hard for us to imagine that ordinary people used to care about the design of public objects: coins, dollars, bridges, court houses, town halls, churches, schools, and even factories.... We need new coins to reflect our modern reality.

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  • The Myth of Nazi Inevitability

    The Myth of Nazi Inevitability

    Lately, I’ve been studying a segment of German history about which I knew little as compared with the period before World War I or the great German cultural awakening between 1770 and 1820, sometimes characterized as die Goethezeit. Germany’s...

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  • Bad Intel

    Bad Intel

    A pair of recent news items unintentionally demonstrated the ways the Intelligence Community is a primary source of our confused foreign policy in the Middle East, while also undermining President Trump here at home.

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  • 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....

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  • The Unbearable Burden of Being

    The Unbearable Burden of Being

    What has brought upon us the madness of the “transgender,” with all its sad denial of the beauty and particularity of male and female? To see the cause, we must diagnose the malady. It is boredom: an irritable impatience with the things that...

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  • Remembering the Right

    Remembering the Right

    The featured theme of this month’s magazine is focused on a particular task, namely retrieving conservativism and conservative thinkers from the past and explaining their continued relevance to the present. The current conservative movement, as a...

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  • Remembering Murray Rothbard

    Remembering Murray Rothbard

    Murray Rothbard, the principal founder of post-World War II American libertarianism, died 24 years ago. Lew Rockwell, one of Rothbard’s closest friends and the founder of the Mises Institute and LewRockwell.com, offers this description of his...

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  • Remembering M. E. Bradford

    Remembering M. E. Bradford

    Anyone who met M. E. Bradford was unlikely to forget him. There was his imposing bulk and his Stetson cowboy hat, but that was just the trimming. This Oklahoman, long a fixture at the University of Dallas, radiated vast erudition, lightly worn...

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  • Remembering R. L. Dabney

    Remembering R. L. Dabney

    Robert Lewis Dabney was an American theologian and seminary professor. He was also a philosopher who wrote extensively on cultural and political issues of the second half of the 19th century. In our own day, when there is much confusion over what...

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  • Impeachment, Just and Unjust

    Impeachment, Just and Unjust

    What exactly did the framers mean by putting in the Constitution Article II, Section 4? This is the section that reads, “The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for,...

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  • Our Culture of Narcissism

    Our Culture of Narcissism

    Most Chronicles readers will no doubt recall the sordid Jussie Smollett hoax, which played out over the course of almost three months early this year in a scenario that might have been scripted for reality TV. Given the media’s...

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  • The Broken Promise of American Cities

    The Broken Promise of American Cities

    There is a saying used in California when the going gets tough: “At least we have the weather.” No matter how expensive, dangerous, unclean, and generally inhospitable the state’s cities become, “at least we have the weather,” Californians say, as if

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  • How Online Censorship Works

    How Online Censorship Works

    The first level of online censorship happens without the victims even knowing it’s happening. Tweets, posts, articles, videos, comments, and websites of political content are all uploaded without resistance. But they aren’t seen, aren’t...

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  • Revisiting Suffrage

    Revisiting Suffrage

    One hundred years have now passed since both houses of Congress passed the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution granting women the right to vote. For a long time, both major parties were ready to grant the suffrage, should American women...

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  • Poet Against Empire

    Poet Against Empire

    When I mention that I am reading Robinson Jeffers, even cultivated and well-read people look bemused; the name seems obscure. By way of explanation, I borrow the closing words of the classic gangster film The Roaring Twenties: “He used to be a...

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  • The Fatherland and the Nation

    The Fatherland and the Nation

    Allen Tate, in 1952, argued that the first duty of the man of letters in the postwar world was to purify the language from the corruptions introduced by ideology and the destruction, more than physical, wrought by the recent world war.

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  • Africa: The Wind of Change

    Africa: The Wind of Change

    “A Manifesto for Renewing Liberalism” is the title of a recent issue (September 13, 2018) of the house journal of liberalism, The Economist. I read this confessional admission with amazement.

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  • Meet the Tiger

    Meet the Tiger

    “When I was young and stupid,” said George W. Bush, and we have no reason to doubt him on it, “I was young and stupid.” It is a double tautology. He might as well have said, “When I was young,” and left it at that.

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  • The Angry Summer

    The Angry Summer

    According to the Washington Post, McAllen, Texas is an “all-American city,” albeit one “that speaks Spanish.” So it’s small wonder that “immigration isn’t a problem for this Texas town—it’s a way of life.”

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  • Fascism, Real and Imagined

    Fascism, Real and Imagined

    Twenty years ago I somehow managed to get my act together and get out of Paris, where I had haunted a cheap hotel for a year in the wake of the death of Princess Diana like the ghost of the Marlon Brando character in Last Tango in Paris.

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  • The Children of Eden

    The Children of Eden

    All of us, I imagine, are granted from time to time moments of uninvited insight that will, for years to come, provide a basis for reflection and a more penetrating glimpse of the forces that shape the realms in which we live and labor.

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  • The Center Doesn’t Hold Here

    The Center Doesn’t Hold Here

    How do you make sense of New York? There’s lots of intelligence, talent, and ambition here. There’s also a lot of insanity. When Barack Obama won his first presidential election people in my neighborhood partied in the streets all night.

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  • Anniversary of the Modern West

    Anniversary of the Modern West

    Some of the greatest events in human history simply fail to register in popular consciousness. Last year, we rightly heard a terrific amount about the Reformation, or at least, about its early Lutheran phase.

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  • Beyond Imagination: Uranium One

    Beyond Imagination: Uranium One

    The multilayered story surrounding Uranium One—the former South African, then Canadian, and now Russian company, of which both Bill and Hillary Clinton and their family foundation are the enriched beneficiaries—has all the usual elements of a...

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  • Trump, NAFTA, and America First

    Trump, NAFTA, and America First

    President Donald Trump has made the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) a cornerstone of his economic policy. Signed into law by Democrat Bill Clinton in 1993 with Republican support, NAFTA created a managed trade...

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  • Fact-Free: Where No Center Holds

    Fact-Free: Where No Center Holds

    Facts were fuzzy in the ancient world. From Homer to Herodotus, . . . myth, science, and history met and mingled, merging into amalgams that were almost invariably greater than the sum of their parts and yet less than what might pass our...

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  • Love Thyself: The West’s Fatal Flaw

    Love Thyself: The West’s Fatal Flaw

    What used to be Western civilization is indeed threatened today with progressive extinction at the hands of Muslim immigration, which considers the West as a worthless relic of a useless past, at best, or, in the minds of Islam’s more or less...

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  • The Poison and the Antidote

    The Poison and the Antidote

    No historian worth his honoraria ascribes major social change to a single factor. That is ideology, not history. Nonetheless, an ideology has been and remains a large cause of America’s cultural and moral decline over the past half century.

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  • Devil Take the Hindmost

    Devil Take the Hindmost

    Hell is a meritocracy. Yet in America the meritocratic ideal is universally applauded. Everyone agrees—or pretends to agree—that the angel of justice smiles upon the triumph of merit.

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  • Regime Change in Syria: Pick Your Poison

    Regime Change in Syria: Pick Your Poison

    Modern Syria was created during World War I. Under the heavy influence of France, it had little real geopolitical significance. During the Cold War Damascus was allied with the Soviet Union but was no more successful than other Arab states in...

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  • Ut Plures Sint

    Ut Plures Sint

    For the last three months I have been asking people at my college what the phrase cultural diversity means, if it does not mean “a diversity of cultures thriving all over the world” or “the study of a broad diversity of cultures spanning four...

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  • The Many Reinventions of Jeffrey Sachs

    The Many Reinventions of Jeffrey Sachs

    Jeffrey D. Sachs, the peripatetic “world-renowned economist” who, for over three decades, has been called upon by leftist billionaires, governments, and international organizations to reshape the economies of entire countries and regions, is both...

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  • Wreckers and Builders

    Wreckers and Builders

    Twenty-five years is a long time to get back to where you started, but two-and-a-half decades after the collapse of the Soviet Union, it is the United States, not the Russian Federation, that has succeeded in restoring the threat of nuclear...

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  • The Stork Theory

    The Stork Theory

    Business Insider recently reported “a mind-blowing demographic shift” that is about to occur. Considering the globe’s whole human population, the number of adults age 65 and older will in a few years be greater than the number of children under...

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  • On Terrorism in the West Today

    On Terrorism in the West Today

    Every time a bomb explodes in the West it is a boon for journalists. They photograph weeping people, tell us how implacable the government will be, and, without breaking stride, warn us that more is likely to come.

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  • Borders

    Borders

    About 20 years ago, there was an interesting left-handed pitcher for the Duluth-Superior Dukes, a very bad team in a league beneath the status of “minor”—minuscule, I might call it, though I am glad to know that there are still a few small-town...

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  • Capitalism: The Conservative Illusion

    Capitalism: The Conservative Illusion

    When the Cold War ended in 1991, American conservatives rejoiced over the triumph of democratic capitalism, which had struggled for over half a century, first against the rise of fascism, and then against the Soviet bloc and the specter of global...

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  • The Agony of Nations in the West

    The Agony of Nations in the West

    European history since the fall of the Roman Empire may be regarded as the slow forging, as if by a hidden hand as well as by human passions, of these particular forms of human collectivities called nations.

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  • Thoroughly Modern Muslims

    Thoroughly Modern Muslims

    In the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, much of the analysis focused on the possible motives of Islamic radicals, and almost all of it was prefaced with four simple words: “They hate us because . . . ”

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  • Pax in Our Times

    Pax in Our Times

    In 1970’s London, things were a bit more rudimentary than they are today: You considered yourself lucky to get through 24 hours without losing your electricity thanks to the latest “industrial action”, the trains were invariably late, and my...

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  • Playing the Trump Card

    Playing the Trump Card

    Trump is doing a job other Republican presidential candidates won’t do: connecting the dots between the interrelated issues of mass immigration, trade (and America’s deindustrialization), and foreign policy.

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  • Dining With The Donald

    Dining With The Donald

    When Donald Trump started making noise about running for president, I knew next to nothing about him. Since I don’t watch television, I’m not sure whether I could even have identified him in a lineup.

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  • The Left’s True Target

    The Left’s True Target

    Arguments, as Malcolm Muggeridge astutely observed, are never about what they’re about. As when “You’re never on time anymore” turns out really to mean, “When are you going to quit sitting around and get a real job?”

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  • Conservatives and the Gay Agenda

    Conservatives and the Gay Agenda

    If one had not already been convinced that the gay-rights movement in America had reached a watershed, then the events in Indiana in late March of this year must have been alarming for even the most skeptical.

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  • The Worst Verse Since 1915

    The Worst Verse Since 1915

    Exactly 50 years ago, T.S. Eliot died. Exactly 100 years ago, “Prufrock” appeared. What better moment, then, to perform the long-overdue public service of identifying the single worst poem to have been published during the last century?

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  • Comparative Manufacturing Advantage

    Comparative Manufacturing Advantage

    President Barack Obama, during a May speech in Oregon, insisted that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal is good for small-business workers, helps the middle class, and maintains U.S. trade power versus China, which is not a signatory...

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  • Detroit: From Under the Rubble

    Detroit: From Under the Rubble

    Two weeks before Apple began selling its new Apple Watch, Shinola Detroit took out a full-page ad in the Wall Street Journal. Above a large photo of its analog watch, The Runwell, was the tag, “The Watch That’s Too Smart to Try and Be a Phone.”

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  • Baying for Broken Glass

    Baying for Broken Glass

    The December 4 issue of Rolling Stone includes an article entitled “A Rape on Campus,” by Sabrina Rubin Erdely. Miss Erdely tells us about a University of Virginia coed (“Jackie”) who claims to have been raped by seven fraternity boys...

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  • The Future of Minority Culture(s)

    The Future of Minority Culture(s)

    Two challenging words of the title of this essay stand somehow between us and ourselves, so that we will have to get around the distortions unnecessarily presented by minority and culture in order to see the freedom and even the...

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  • Mongrels All! or, Slaves With New Masters

    Mongrels All! or, Slaves With New Masters

    Of late, our demographic soothsayers have been assuring us that by 2040 or thereabouts America will no longer be a Caucasian-majority country, and that with the eclipse of the white majority there will be, to belabor the obvious, no majority culture.

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  • Benjamin Franklin’s American Dream

    Benjamin Franklin’s American Dream

    Today’s preferred way to think about immigration and the nation-state is exemplified in the title of a 1964 pamphlet that the Anti-Defamation League published posthumously under the name of John F. Kennedy: A Nation of Immigrants.

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  • Dante’s <em>Human</em> Comedy

    Dante’s Human Comedy

    Prima sedes a nemine indicator: “The First See is judged by no one.” Thus reads Canon 1404 of the current Code of Canon Law of the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church, and Canon 1556 of the previous code.

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  • Watching Is Out—So Watch Out!

    Watching Is Out—So Watch Out!

    I have been receiving so many requests lately for lifestyle advice, tips on public relations and media etiquette (not to mention recommendations about health and beauty maintenance), that I just haven’t been able to keep up with them all.

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  • The Missing Opposition

    The Missing Opposition

    Although in general not terribly bright, Republican leaders are smart enough to take care of their own power and profits, which was all along their only real goal. The mistake is in assuming that they ever had any ideas or principles to begin with.

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  • Last of the Romans

    Last of the Romans

    Andrew Crocker did not attend his commencement exercises at Michigan State University in East Lansing on May 2. He was home dealing with family matters. So he missed the awarding of two honorary doctorates.

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  • The Left’s Long March

    The Left’s Long March

    On June 2, FOX News’s The Five were discussing the Harvard commencement speech of ex-mayor Michael Bloomberg, in which he pointed out that something like 95 percent of the faculty had supported Obama.

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  • Buy American: Compelling Reasons

    Buy American: Compelling Reasons

    For years, the media and Hollywood have sent the message that anyone who wants to be fashionable should eschew American products and buy foreign ones. Recently, Mike Rowe, the host of Dirty Jobs, put a different message on Facebook: “If...

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  • The Long Sadness

    The Long Sadness

    William Ball was just shy of 19 and living in the town of Souris on the prairies of Canada when war erupted in Europe in August 1914. The region was still something of a frontier, devoted to trapping and trading with Indians, and inhabited by...

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  • Virtual Selves, Vacant Hearts

    Virtual Selves, Vacant Hearts

    My first face-to-face interview with Krista took place on a Friday afternoon in a local coffee shop. We had “chatted” several times on Facebook, and since she lived in my area I suggested that we talk in “real” time.

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  • The Brown Revolution: A Noxious Brew

    The Brown Revolution: A Noxious Brew

    The recent Brown Revolution in Ukraine, which saw the overthrow of the legitimate (if corrupt and bumbling) Yanukovych government, is a triumph of Western Ukrainian nationalism—an ideology characterized by a violent Russophobia and antisemitism.

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  • Borderlines

    Borderlines

    On January 1, something like 20,000 people marched by torchlight through the center of Kiev to celebrate the 105th anniversary of the birth of the Ukrainian nationalist leader Stepan Bandera.

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  • Repudiating the Debt

    Repudiating the Debt

    Since Reagan, however, intellectual political life has gone topsy-turvy. Conservatives and allegedly “free-market” economists have turned handsprings trying to find new reasons why “deficits don’t matter,” why we should all relax and enjoy the...

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  • Middle-Class Pretensions

    Middle-Class Pretensions

    When I was growing up in England 50 years ago, the newspapers still periodically caused a certain amount of mirth by “outing” a national figure as not some impeccably Eton-reared patrician, as his public image seemed to imply, but a horny-handed...

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  • Upstarts Like Shakespeare

    Upstarts Like Shakespeare

    I’ve no more desire than the next Anglophile with a framed colored engraving of the queen-empress on his office wall to pull down the aristocracy; to take away their estates and paintings and seats in the Lords and ancient Rollses resting on...

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  • You Shall Be as Gods

    You Shall Be as Gods

    “It’s awesome”: A young relative of mine loves the word and uses it profusely. Since she applies it to a restaurant or a vacuum cleaner she finds extraordinary, I doubt she realizes its real meaning. This is a typical instance of the...

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  • Moderate Islam?

    Moderate Islam?

    “Teachers who teach Western education? We will kill them! We will kill them in front of their students and tell the students to henceforth [sic] study the Koran,” declared Abubakar Shekau, leader of the Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram,...

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  • The College Bubble

    The College Bubble

    The university graduation season this past spring dumped another seven million job seekers onto the sputtering economy. A June headline in the New York Times painted a dismal picture of their likelihood of finding employment: “Degrees but No...

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  • Books Are for Blockheads!

    Books Are for Blockheads!

    Back in April, my old friend D.B. “Dukie” Kitchens called to inform me that I should soon expect in the mail an invitation to the inaugural Patriot Book Awards ceremony, to be held in Atlanta in late May. “What did I do to deserve this honor?”...

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  • Uncle Sam Goes Bust

    Uncle Sam Goes Bust

    Even President Barack Obama appears to realize that Washington has a spending problem. His latest budget, delivered late and without enthusiasm, makes a nod toward restraining the growth of social programs, most notably “entitlements,” headed...

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  • Plato and the Spirit of Modernity

    Plato and the Spirit of Modernity

    In C.S. Lewis’s The Last Battle the world of Narnia begins to dissolve and disappear. The Pevensie children are confused and frightened, but Professor Kirke, now Lord Digory, reassures them that the Narnia and the England they had known...

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  • Fiat Values

    The American publishing industry—academic presses in particular—is proof of Pope’s observation on the bliss that rewards ignorance and condemns wisdom as folly.

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  • America's First and Best Economist

    America's First and Best Economist

    Practice free trade. Avoid government debt. Keep the government and the banking system separate from each other. These quaint and long-rejected policies were Condy Raguet’s prescription for American peace and prosperity.

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  • Getting the Scoop

    Getting the Scoop

    Not long ago I was sorting through old papers for disposal. I came across a clipping saved for some forgotten reason. On the reverse was this headline: “NAACP Chief Says More Assistance Needed.

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  • Big Brother’s Big Plans

    Big Brother’s Big Plans

    In the summer of 1998, Eric Rudolph, bomber of two abortion clinics, a lesbian bar, and the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics, was on the run from the law in the mountains of Western North Carolina.

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  • Democracy: The Tower of Babel

    Democracy: The Tower of Babel

    Democracy was born as a protest against what was felt to be an oppression of man by man, a rebellion against some men having the nerve to behave as if they had a natural right to command their fellow men—whether to enslave them, to lead them, or...

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  • Making More of the House

    Making More of the House

    Throughout the 2012 political season, attention was fixed on the contest between President Obama and Mitt Romney. A few other races garnered some media attention, but Americans treated the presidential election as the Super Bowl of politics.

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  • Libertarian Humbuggery

    Libertarian Humbuggery

    At the heart of the Christmas story is the lowly birth of Christ, surrounded by beasts of the field and honored by Magi bearing gifts. But consider how differently the Christmas narrative might have unfolded if ancient Judea had been organized...

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  • Classical Liberalism and Christianity

    Classical Liberalism and Christianity

    If asked to choose one word to define the basic creed and catchword of Western modernity, I would not hesitate: That word would be freedom, provided one understands that, for a modern, there can be no freedom where there is no equality.

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  • The Imperial and Momentary We

    The Imperial and Momentary We

    Americans are a practical people. They don’t want to hear your theory; they want to know what “works.” This aversion to systematic thinking, “American pragmatism,” has been celebrated as a virtue in a world cursed by ideology.

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  • Why Democracy Doesn't Work

    Why Democracy Doesn't Work

    Critical stands against democracy, when not simply ignored or mechanically rejected as mere fascist outbursts, are usually met with a supposedly wise objection: You may be right, except that you’re targeting an imperfect form of democracy.

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  • The Gynocratic Hive

    The Gynocratic Hive

    When, in her 1963 book The Feminine Mystique, second-wave feminist Betty Friedan characterized the American suburban home as a “comfortable concentration camp” for women, well under 30 percent of American women were employed outside the...

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  • Men: Are You Ready to Lead?

    Men: Are You Ready to Lead?

    Life was much simpler for those of us who grew up in 1950’s America than it is for children today. We took for granted an intact family with a breadwinner father and a stay-at-home mom. America was the number-one manufacturing country in the...

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  • Boyhood and Single-Sex Education

    Boyhood and Single-Sex Education

    In Britain, the late 1940’s and early 50’s were probably the hardest years of the 20th century. For millions of people, the postwar decade was one of icy nights in gaslit rooms, interminable queues, and meals composed of whale fat and tinned...

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  • Stand Your Ground

    Stand Your Ground

    Bodie, July 1881—The early morning hours found deputy constables Richard O’Malley and James Monahan patrolling the streets of the mining town of more than 5,000 residents in mountains immediately east of the Sierra.

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  • To See and to Speak

    To See and to Speak

    Most retrospectives take the Swinging Sixties, and more particularly Swinging London, on their own terms. “Society was shaken to its foundations!” a 2011 BBC documentary on the subject shouted

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  • Sam Francis Was Right

    Sam Francis Was Right

    It has been seven years since Sam Francis died. But the years since his untimely death merely show the accuracy of his insights. Francis’s writing was marked not only by loyalty to the people from whom he came but by an unswerving devotion to...

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  • Same Border, Different America

    Same Border, Different America

    For the last several years Texas farmers and ranchers whose lands butt up against the Rio Grande have complained about cross-border raids by thugs of Mexican drug cartels. “It’s a war. Make no mistake about it,” said Texas Agriculture...

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  • The End of a Myth

    The End of a Myth

    “That was the summer of seventy-three,” writes Forrest McDonald. “Remember it well, and cherish the memory, for things will never be that good again.”

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  • The Unbearable Bulldozers of Walmart

    The Unbearable Bulldozers of Walmart

    A theory about the mafia that was advanced in these pages by the late Samuel Francis about 15 years ago explains how Walmart, Costco, and Home Depot drive out your corner grocery, the local pharmacist, and Joe’s Hardware. The national expansion...

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  • The Inner Logic of Civil Rights

    The Inner Logic of Civil Rights

    As everyone knows, ideas have consequences—some immediate, others slowly unraveling as the idea gradually takes root in the public mind. The latter is precisely what happened with the idea that initiated the civil-rights movement.

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  • An Unjustified War

    An Unjustified War

    “War is hell,” and war is our permanent reality. War has been the companion of man since the beginning of recorded history, together with the need to justify waging it.

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  • Postmortem on an Unjust War

    Postmortem on an Unjust War

    This issue of Chronicles commemorates what I suppose is an anniversary, of sorts. It has been nine years since the February 2003 issue questioning the legitimacy of the war in Iraq was published, an anniversary which also roughly corresponds to...

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  • Time to Start Naming Names

    Time to Start Naming Names

    To survey the state of the American right—its friends, its enemies, its controversies—is to be nearly convinced we are living in Nietzsche’s nightmare world of “eternal recurrence.”

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  • The Stupid Party Rides Again

    The Stupid Party Rides Again

    Yet the same polls that show Obama’s approval rating tanking also show him tied with or leading his possible Republican challengers. There is only one explanation for this anomaly: The Stupid Party has struck again.

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  • Communities and Strangers

    Communities and Strangers

    According to many Christian theologians, Jesus, the moral Will of God, descended from a state of perfection to take on flesh and blood, with all the pain that goes with living and dying in time.

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  • Christian Democracy? No Such Thing

    Christian Democracy? No Such Thing

    Everyone hails democracy as the government of the people, by the people, and for the people, but very few realize—or dare realize—that democracy actually represents one of the most perfect forms of tyranny, because it is one the average citizen...

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  • A Little Rebellion

    A Little Rebellion

    Scandalously, Thomas Jefferson once wrote to James Madison, “I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and is as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical.”

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  • Keeping Asheville Weird

    Keeping Asheville Weird

    North Carolina’s second-largest zoo is in Asheville, where visitors from May through October walk the middle of the town, looking at Rastafarians, New Age gurus, tattooed women, people of various sexual preferences, cross-dressers, musicians and...

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  • Unreal Bodies, Unholy Blood

    Unreal Bodies, Unholy Blood

    The vampire, possibly the most enduring mythic figure of the modern age, emerged out of the shadows of the Enlightenment. . .The emergence of the Romantic vampire cannot be adequately understood without reference to The Vampyre (1819), a novella...

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  • Tarzan's Way

    Tarzan's Way

    Last night we watched from the hotel terrace as a giant cargo ship cast anchor in the Tyrrhenian indigo and proceeded to unload fresh water for the whole of our sunburnt island, an enterprise which from that vantage point seemed a triumph of...

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  • Are We Still Entitled to Some Privacy?

    Are We Still Entitled to Some Privacy?

    More often than not, current events offer an opportunity for meditation. This is the case today: The friends of a politician turned international financier, now to be tried for rape, have rallied round him, claiming his privacy has been invaded.

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  • The Triumph of Nice

    The Triumph of Nice

    Imagine reading an interview with the founder of a new Christian church. As the interviewer points out, new denominations are scarcely a surprising story, so what makes yours so different and noteworthy? Well, explains the prophet, we have a...

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  • The Death Wish of the West

    The Death Wish of the West

    Behind the enthusiasm for democracy, and the almost fanatical devotion to the dogmas, there is the belief that each man is endowed with a freedom that entitles him to do with himself whatever he deems right for him, according only to his whims or...

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  • The Other Side of the Union

    The Other Side of the Union

    "Lincoln dared not face the facts of Gettysburg. . . . He was unable to deal realistically with the history of his country, even if the occasion had been one when the truth was acceptable to the audience. Thus we have in the Gettysburg Address...

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  • Growing Up Too Fast

    She had noticed a strange, indefinable malaise among many of the actors and actresses we met. Although fortunate by the standards of the Czech working man, they lacked what she called a “moral center.”

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  • Gelded Europeans

    Gelded Europeans

    Those who have the duty of teaching in the church and in civil society must always offer the genuine reasons for human conduct and use the rhetorical and odious comparison very sparingly.

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  • In Defense of Private Property

    In Defense of Private Property

    For centuries, the propensity to personal ownership has been considered one of the most elementary and natural features of human nature. Criticism of private property is nothing recent, either, but has turned out to be extremely commonplace in...

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  • Proudhon, Beauty and Lego

    Proudhon, Beauty and Lego

    Property may be theft, but it is less theft than a great many other things—clouds, birdsong, or a woman’s beauty, to say nothing of taxation without representation, armed robbery, or extortion with menaces

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  • The Necessity of Christianity

    The Necessity of Christianity

    To prove the necessity of Christianity in a few paragraphs would be an entirely foolish—if not preposterous—undertaking, were it not that volumes are not necessary to present a simple idea.

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  • The One Civilization

    The One Civilization

    Popular culture in the West, and especially in North America, is an illusion, mostly electronic, that does not feed the soul. Indeed, it claims to do nothing but feed the senses, and as such it tends toward universal barbarism, fostering...

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  • Reaganism and the External Threat

    Reaganism and the External Threat

    “There’s a bear in the woods,” warns ad man Hal Riney, as a grizzly appears on screen. “For some people, the bear is easy to see. Others don’t see it at all. Some people say the bear is tame. Others say it is vicious and dangerous. Since no...

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  • Academic Sins

    Academic Sins

    A graduate student asked if he could take a reading course; sitting at my feet, I thought, talking with the rabbi. He was in his early 30’s, a little older than I was, and he had taught in a private school for boys for ten years.

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  • Authentic Communities

    Authentic Communities

    Deep in the heart of man there is a need imprinted by nature that may very well be his basic difference from all other animals: Being a thinking one—i.e., an animal capable of self-awareness—man needs to be something meaningful in his own...

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  • The Tea Party: A Mixed Bag

    The Tea Party: A Mixed Bag

    In January, when Republican Scott Brown was elected to fill the remainder of the late senator Edward M. Kennedy’s term, the activists who helped make it possible traced their political lineage back to the Boston Tea Party. Jubilant supporters...

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  • Cannibal Statistics

    For a quarter-century now, I have argued, frequently and consistently, against mass immigration to the United States and the countries of Western Europe; I have even gone so far as to write a book about it, and to edit another.

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  • Adopting Indecency

    Adopting Indecency

    It’s not normal anymore to talk about normal. Yet, in so speaking, Scott Brown was 1,000 percent right. It really, truly, honestly is not normal for two people of the same sex to undertake the vital and holy estate of parenthood.

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  • For the Children

    For the Children

    Political measures can be undone, but every child whom we save becomes a living witness—an icon—of the love of God and a testimony that we as Christians live what we preach.

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  • Putting America Back to Work

    Putting America Back to Work

    Most Americans are not even aware that, from 1999 through 2009, we had zero growth in private-sector employment. In fact, we lost more than a million private-sector jobs in those years. The only growth in employment was in government jobs.

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  • From Good War to Bad Social Engineering

    From Good War to Bad Social Engineering

    The United States has been at war in Afghanistan for more than eight years. That is longer than our involvement in both world wars combined. Yet the end of the conflict appears to be further away than ever. It is not even clear what would...

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  • The Great American Outlaw

    The Great American Outlaw

    When Public Enemies was making the rounds in theaters across America last summer, doing nearly $100 million of business domestically, I was reminded that we Americans love our outlaws—not our criminals, mind you, but our outlaws. It is a...

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  • Of Genes, Vowels, and Violence

    Of Genes, Vowels, and Violence

    Why do the British speak English and not a variety of Welsh? Philip Jenkins, having fallen under the sway of a Harvard medieval historian, Michael McCormick, believes it is because the invading Germans of the fifth and sixth centuries killed all...

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  • Privilege Displaces Equality

    None of us growing up in Atlanta in the 1940’s were under the delusion that we were equal. We were aware of a myriad of differences that had nothing to do with race or gender. Some were better football players. Others were better baseball players.

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  • Fighting for Orthodoxy Among the Methodists

    Fighting for Orthodoxy Among the Methodists

    The Episcopal Church, with two million members, drove off the cliff in 2003 by electing its first openly homosexual bishop. In 2005, the United Church of Christ (1.1 million members) officially endorsed same-sex “marriage,” though the UCC had...

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  • Race and Racism: A Brief History

    Today, many Americans presume that the debate over slavery in the 18th and 19th centuries turned on the question of race. Though race was an ingredient in the Great Debate, it was no more than a pinch of salt.

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  • How the West Was Restored

    He had finally done it. He had mastered the physics of time. He was ready to visit the past. He had made his first fortune in U.S. Treasury bond futures in the early 1980’s. Wall Street had thought that the Reagan tax cuts would drive up...

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  • Obama’s Right-Wing Cheerleaders

    Obama’s Right-Wing Cheerleaders

    The Tea Partiers and the Town Hallers are clearly angry that the Obama administration so quickly began to pursue policies that run contrary to traditional conservative values—values that are based on skepticism of, if not hostility toward, the...

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  • Deconstructing Miss Dixie

    Deconstructing Miss Dixie

    College-football season has begun again in the South. Here in Alabama, football is more like a religion than a sport. Having both attended and taught at The University of Alabama from the 1970’s through the 1990’s, I was at ground zero of...

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  • Educating for Faith and Community

    Educating for Faith and Community

    Few realize that the largest Protestant school system in the United States is operated by the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. With 1,018 elementary schools and 102 high schools sharing a combined enrollment of 149,201 students, it is an...

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  • The School of History

    The seven founders of the abbey had fled their native kingdom of Hungary in 1950 when the anti-Christian reprisals and “land-reform” initiatives of the new communist regime finally moved to close down their 660-year-old mother abbey of Csorna...

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  • Another Reason Why the Agrarians Lost

    Another Reason Why the Agrarians Lost

    Andrew Lytle’s “The Hind Tit” is the best essay in I’ll Take My Stand (1930), not only because it focuses on the small, independent farmer, the class the Agrarians most admired, but also because Lytle nails the volume’s primary thesis to...

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  • The Economic Impact of Immigration

    The Economic Impact of Immigration

    I stopped paying attention to Time many years ago. My twin brother and I, already plotting our emigration to the United States, subscribed as college students in England in the 1960’s to get some sense of this world-straddling “indispensable...

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  • You Should Have Been Here Yesteryear

    You Should Have Been Here Yesteryear

    California was imagined and named before it was discovered. In 1510 in Seville there appeared a novel that would have Fabio on the cover today. Written by Garcia Ordóñez de Montalvo, Las sergas de Esplandián is a romance of chivalry that...

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  • California Crash

    Maybe we just had it too great out here in California. Perfect weather. World-class universities. High-paying middle-class jobs. Reasonably priced housing. Silicon Valley entrepreneurs. The Beach Boys. California girls. Hollywood. ...

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  • “It Takes Brass To Get Gold”

    “It Takes Brass To Get Gold”

    Thomas Jefferson has left us an account of a supper-table conversation in the very earliest days of the U.S. government. Vice President John Adams (who was intended by nature for a preacher) declaimed at length about the virtues of the British...

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  • Regulation for Financial Sanity

    Regulation for Financial Sanity

    The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) just reported that U.S. banks lost money at a $100 billion annualized rate during the fourth quarter of 2008. Sounds grim, but it only describes the visible part of the iceberg our financial...

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  • Ask an Entrepreneur

    Ask an Entrepreneur

    Want to learn how the economy really works? Don’t go into academia. Get a job. I spent six years of school filling my head with fancy theories and complicated mathematics, practiced under assumptions that often don’t work in the real world. I...

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  • Mainline Marital Mélange

    Mainline Marital Mélange

    We know the stereotype, do we not? Eyes like marbles, jaw clinched tight as a bear trap; icy baritone voice; accusatory finger slashing the air. Yea, brothers and sisters, hear the word of the Lord, Who condemns . . .

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  • Immigration and Marriage in America

    Immigration and Marriage in America

    Listening to the news media, you’d think that Americans simply don’t understand marriage. One in two marriages fails. Public schools peddle theories about “alternative families” with such textbooks as Heather Has Two Mommies.

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  • Moonstruck Morality Versus the Cosmos

    January 25 of this year marked the 50th anniversary of the surprise announcement of Pope John XXIII that he intended to convoke a general council. From 1959 to 1962, the soon-to-be-jettisoned constitutions and decrees that would have been...

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  • Obama as Lincoln

    Obama as Lincoln

    Ron English, the self-styled “Robin Hood of Madison Avenue” who specializes in “liberating” commercial billboards and defacing them (albeit artistically) with his anticapitalist messages, has painted a portrait of Obama as Lincoln.

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  • The Treasury of Counterfeit Virtue

    A few years ago, a well-known conservative historian lamented that the American public was not morally engaged to undergo sacrifice after the September 11 attacks, unlike it was in its heroic response to Fort Sumter and Pearl Harbor. Wait a...

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  • Lincolnism Today

    In the Anglo-American experience, the partisans of concentrated wealth and advocates for political centralization have long been connected. Over the last three centuries, that connection has grown stronger, and in the United States this process...

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  • A Home Is for Living, Not Flipping

    Did academics count the homes in Levittown? No, they were too busy deconstructing suburbia after World War II. But one tends to notice such minutiae in real neighborhoods where everyone knows his neighbors, including their strengths and weaknesses.

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  • Home Church

    With the election of Democrat Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States, I’ve watched a number of friends, family members, and acquaintances—conservative Christians, every one—come unglued. It would seem that this is the end of...

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  • Envy and the Consumerism of the Have&mdash;Nots

    Envy and the Consumerism of the Have—Nots

    You can make a good argument that, by the late 20th century, the Seven Deadly Sins had become the Seven Lively Virtues. In the 1960’s, the media lauded the anger of students who bombed police stations and set dormitories on fire. Hollywood...

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  • The Obesity Epidemic

    The Obesity Epidemic

    It is a sign of the times that one of the most talked-about reality-TV shows of the season centers on a woman who desires to lose weight. Lots of weight. The show’s star, Ruby Gettinger, now tips the scales at around 500 pounds, having once...

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  • How to Win the War Against Christmas

    How to Win the War Against Christmas

    In the seven years since my first essay on the War Against Christmas appeared in Chronicles, I have had no trouble writing at least one such essay per year, because each year brings new and outrageous attempts to suppress the public...

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  • Paradise Lost

    Paradise Lost

    California was once a paradise. We who were born and reared here never considered the possibility that we would lose our paradise or that whites would become a minority—just like those living in other states never thought the illegal-immigrant...

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  • David Hume: Historian

    David Hume: Historian

    Intellectual historians commonly group Voltaire, Edward Gibbon, William Robertson, and David Hume as the four greatest 18th-century historians. If limited to only one of these authors, we would do well to begin with Hume.

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  • The Dean of Western Historians

    The Dean of Western Historians

    It is usually difficult to choose only one author who is essential to the study of a particular subject. When it comes to the history of the frontier West, however, the choice is easy. Ray Allen Billington stands alone above all.

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  • Videites

    Videites

    Perhaps more than most I wax nostalgic for the 50’s, which was not a decade but an era that began in the late 1940’s and lasted through the early 60’s. It was the best of times for Southern California kids to grow up, especially for those of us...

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  • Alfred Hitchcock’s Empty Suit

    Alfred Hitchcock’s Empty Suit

    In 1939, a short, fat Englishman named Alfred Hitchcock arrived in Hollywood at the invitation of David Selznick. Impressed by Hitchcock’s work in British film, Selznick thought he would be perfect to direct Rebecca, starring Laurence...

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  • Yankee, Go Home

    Sixty years ago an incident lodged in my memory forever as it seems, as I walked with the beautiful redheaded young lady who paused to ask me a question. There above an old outbuilding—I hesitate to call it a barn—there was a weathervane...

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  • The Dream Ticket

    “While the natural instincts of democracy lead the people to banish distinguished men from power,” Tocqueville wrote in Democracy in America, “an instinct no less powerful leads distinguished men to shun careers in politics, in which it is...

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  • John McCain on Foreign Policy

    John McCain on Foreign Policy

    Over the years, John McCain has acquired a reputation as a maverick Republican. Independents and even some Democrats who loathe George W. Bush’s foreign-policy record seem to believe that McCain would be a significant improvement.

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  • A Case of Russophobia

    A Case of Russophobia

    John McCain does not like the Russians. Nearly 17 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, with Soviet-style communism safely tossed into the dustbin of history, Senator McCain loves to scare us with the Russkie boogeyman.

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  • Outgrowing Agriculture

    Outgrowing Agriculture

    It may be hard for us in the United States to imagine that food could ever be scarce here. We may worry about avian flu and mad cow disease, and about the general safety of our increasingly mass-produced food supply, as from time to time some...

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  • States of Autarky

    States of Autarky

    A great many economists and politicians contend that the absence of trade inevitably leads to armed conflict. Thus, in the interests of national security, they insist on virtually unlimited trade and castigate those who favor its restriction as...

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  • It’s 2028, and All Is Well

    My final American Interest was published today in Chronicles. In the aftermath of the Second Revolution, the column has outlived its purpose. Pontificating on the evils of one-worldism, empire, global hegemony, propositional...

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  • <i>Federales</i>, Gringo Style

    Federales, Gringo Style

    For most of American history, federal law enforcement consisted only of U.S. marshals serving in the territories of the West. Their legacy is decidedly mixed. Many were appointed purely for their political connections, and graft and corruption...

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  • Do We Want a Federal Police Force?

    Do We Want a Federal Police Force?

    Probably the last thing that would have occurred to New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer on his way to meet “Kristen” in Room 870 of D.C.’s Mayflower Hotel was that both he and the Emperor’s Club VIP were under FBI surveillance for federal...

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  • The Loss of American Identity

    The Loss of American Identity

    I have never been able to get it through my thick skull that one’s identity, culture, and national sovereignty should not stand in the way of making money. For whatever reasons, I have always had a real attachment to my name, my family, my...

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  • The Everlasting Frontier

    The Everlasting Frontier

    Although the American frontier was officially closed 118 years ago, Americans remain in thrall to its mythic spell and the romance of the American West. Europeans have always viewed our cultural obsession with condescension, though they...

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  • The Curious Career of Billy the Kid

    The Curious Career of Billy the Kid

    For most of the 19th century, the American West was a fairly tranquil place. The myths of Hollywood and the wishful thinking of certain revisionist historians notwithstanding, throughout the region, for every gunfighter there were a hundred...

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  • America as a Proposition Nation

    There is a popular superstition that defines America as a “Proposition Nation,” created and proclaimed by the obiter dicta about “all men” in the second sentence of the 1776 Declaration that the 13 colonies “are and of right ought to be free and...

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  • Throne and Altar

    My father, God rest his soul, was very fond of Thai food, with its quickly sautéd noodles and peppery élan. Not far from his condominium in the Rossmore section of Los Angeles, there was a practically endless selection of Thai places.

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  • Agrarians, Greenies, and Goreites

    Agrarians, Greenies, and Goreites

    Since its publication in 1930, I’ll Take My Stand has never been out of print, and each succeeding generation produces new disciples, though sometimes with a slightly different take on the original document.

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  • GOP Country: A Troubled Marriage

    GOP Country: A Troubled Marriage

    Back in February, music historian J. Lester Feder published an article in the American Prospect entitled “When Country Went Right.” As Feder would have it, country music wasn’t always as “conservative” as it is today.

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  • Virtual Education Reality

    In his book Decadence and Renewal in the Higher Learning (1978), Russell Kirk wrote of the “personal and social danger” caused by sham schooling in American colleges.

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  • Americans Don’t Die!

    Americans Don’t Die!

    Americans do not believe in death. At least, they live as if they will never die. This has been the case from colonial times. It is a consequence of seemingly limitless opportunity and a drive for upward mobility, denied to generations of...

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  • Property Rights and the Founding

    Property Rights and the Founding

    Americans entertain the peculiar idea that history—or, at least, “our history”—is the reign of continuity. In spite of all the talk about revolution, there appears to be a remarkable degree of stability in every substantial political rupture.

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  • The War on Blight

    The War on Blight

    If you live in an older section of town, this may already have happened to you. You wake up in a cold sweat. For the past 15 years, you and your husband have lovingly restored an old Victorian house.

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  • Of Landlords, Leases, and Calico Indians

    In 1845, James Fenimore Cooper wrote Satanstoe, the first novel of The Littlepage Manuscripts, a trilogy Cooper conceived as a fictional response to the New York “anti-rent” uprising that, since 1839, had pitted leasehold tenants...

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  • Where Did Our Property Rights Go?

    Where Did Our Property Rights Go?

    Today, most Americans consider themselves residents of the freest country that has ever graced the earth, yet they are about as committed to property rights as they are to limited government, states’ rights, avoiding empire, and many other...

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  • When Experts Attack

    When Experts Attack

    For over 30 years, the churches of America have been declining; their numbers, plummeting. Each year, a new set of numbers emerges from the various denominational headquarters, telling the tale.

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  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

    Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

    Strange as it may seem today, once upon a time, Hollywood respected Christianity. Many movies had biblical themes—some were box-office blockbusters—but, more importantly, many others had scenes depicting religion as an integral part of American...

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  • The Cardinal Vicar

    The Cardinal Vicar

    Twenty-one centuries will have passed since He promised to come in His glory, 21 centuries since His prophet wrote, “Behold, I come quickly.” For centuries, then, men had beseeched Him with faith and fervor, “O Lord our God hasten Thy coming.”

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  • The War on Terror Ended

    Unlike some of my readers, I’m old enough to remember the time, during the American occupation of Baghdad, when this part of the city was known as the Green Zone. It was renamed the Yellow Peace Zone ten years ago, after Iraq joined the...

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  • It’s the War, Stupid!

    It’s the War, Stupid!

    Political analysts, consultants, and “scientists,” envious of the success of economists in turning the study of wealth creation into a scientific discipline and a lucrative profession, are always searching for rules and laws to explain and...

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  • Committing Political Suicide

    Committing Political Suicide

    The 109th Congress was ugly to behold. Spendthrift, irresponsible, incompetent, corrupt—like the pigs who were transformed into the farmers they had displaced in George Orwell’s Animal Farm, the Republicans ended up looking like the...

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  • Harry Jaffa and the Historical Imagination

    Harry Jaffa and the Historical Imagination

    In the 1970’s, Mel Bradford and I were teaching at the University of Dallas, which offered a doctoral program in politics and literature. Students took courses in both disciplines. It was a well-designed curriculum and produced some first-rate...

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  • Eurabian Nights: A Horror Travelogue

    Eurabian Nights: A Horror Travelogue

    Thousands of young Muslims, armed with clubs and sticks and shouting, “Allahu akbar!” riot and force the police to retreat. Windows are smashed; stores are looted; cars are torched. Europeans unlucky or careless enough to be trapped by...

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  • Holding a New Line

    At the time of his election to the papacy, many thought that Pope Benedict XVI’s approach toward Islam would be, by and large, no different from that of his predecessor, the late John Paul II.

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  • How Santa Ana Became SanTana

    Immigration is like so many other political issues in modern America: The official debate is quashed by political correctness, so the real issues fester under the surface while politicians deal in platitudes.

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  • It's Hard Times, Cotton Mill Girls

    It's Hard Times, Cotton Mill Girls

    Historians tend to make the same argument: The South lost the Civil War because its economy was agrarian rather than industrial, with too few munitions factories to supply Confederate troops with weapons and too few textile mills to clothe them.

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  • It’s Hard Times, Cotton Mill Girls

    It’s Hard Times, Cotton Mill Girls

    Historians tend to make the same argument: The South lost the Civil War because its economy was agrarian rather than industrial, with too few munitions factories to supply Confederate troops with weapons and too few textile mills to clothe them.

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  • How Neutral Is the Fed?

    How Neutral Is the Fed?

    The Federal Reserve Act, passed at the close of 1913, created the current U.S. central bank in order to “establish a more effective supervision of banking in the United States.” However, in response to monetary-policy errors committed by the...

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  • The Price of Globalism

    The Price of Globalism

    It is paradoxical that, having led the Western world to triumph over fascism and then communism, the United States is now the vanguard of yet another world socialist order.

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  • Education to the Rescue

    Education to the Rescue

    In the early 1900’s, Reconstruction studies (excluding the work of W.E.B. DuBois) approved quick restoration of states, Andrew Johnson’s strict constitutionalism, and white Southerners’ revolt against military and Republican rule (which consisted...

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  • Educated at Home

    This has been a happy time: I’ve spent all day with my family, eaten a fine meal, played with my grandchildren, been to a baptism, and I went to communion.” These were the words of my uncle—with their telling rhetorical climax—on leaving his...

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  • Too Much Monkey Business

    Too Much Monkey Business

    Watching a disaster or beholding a disintegration is inherently destructive, but there is also an element of morbid fascination. Might there be, as well, a redemptive element in tracking the entropic parabola of the great fall of yet another...

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  • Thoughts on Socialism

    Thoughts on Socialism

    One day, perhaps, a great history of socialism will be written. A daunting task, but not impossible, since socialism, the “ism,” is not very old—a relatively new phenomenon, during the last 200 years or even less.

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  • An American Dilemma

    An American Dilemma

    In 1976, the Episcopal Church, U.S.A., met in General Convention to consider, among other things, two questions: the adoption of a new Book of Common Prayer and the ordination of women.

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  • RUOK? AWHFY?

    RUOK? AWHFY?

    I do not live in a painting by Magritte or by De Chirico or even by Carmen Cicero—no, really, I don’t, honest, scout’s honor, no kidding—but sometimes I get the creepy sensation that I do.

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  • Dressing for Progress

    Dressing for Progress

    If one looked to the natural world to supply the measure of what was concrete, then this world was long in the past, perhaps not actually with the dinosaurs, but certainly with the Model T and the Saturday Evening Post.

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  • O Literature, Thou Art Sick

    O Literature, Thou Art Sick

    The present condition of literature (as that term is ordinarily understood), at least in America, is obviously unhealthy. Its illness is the result not only of internal undermining, “the invisible worm” of Blake’s “The Sick Rose,” but of...

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  • Cincinnatus, Call the Office!

    Cincinnatus, Call the Office!

    On a summer morning in 1842, near the end of its session, the U.S. Senate was busy receiving committee reports. The Committee on the Judiciary reported favorably on a bill to pay the estate of William Hull, whose heirs had petitioned for...

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  • Judging for the People

    Judging for the People

    For just about the last half-century, since Earl Warren became chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, the American legal academy has pondered something usually referred to as the “legitimacy problem.”

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  • Democracy: The Enlightened Way

    Democracy: The Enlightened Way

    Before American readers embark on this inquiry into the particular democracy that was born in France with the French Revolution, I should warn them that they had better be prepared to enter a world of ideas so removed from reality as to make it...

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  • The Perpetual Family

    The Perpetual Family

    The first time I ever visited Saint Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, it was in the company of a pretty Irish-American girl from Massachusetts named Evelyn. Her father was some kind of Democratic politician back home.

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  • Rejecting Marriage

    Remember “Elisa’s Law”? In 1996, New York Gov. George Pataki signed this legislation, which removed, in the words of then Speaker of the New York Assembly Sheldon Silver, “archaic confidentiality laws” pertaining to juvenile-court and medical...

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  • Love on the Rocks

    Love on the Rocks

    If George Barna, by far the most prominent head counter among American Christians, is correct, 35 percent of “born-again Christians” have experienced (to borrow from Tammy Wynette) “pure h-e-double-l.”

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  • Importing Prosperity

    Importing Prosperity

    When I first heard of the topic “Small Is Beautiful,” I thought of the wonderful motto of Chilton Williamson’s friend Edward Abbey: “Growth Is the Enemy of Progress.” Abbey went right to the heart of the matter.

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  • An Invisible Border

    The first question that comes to mind regarding the Minutemen movement is: “What do these people imagine they’re actually doing, sitting camped out down there on lawn chairs on the Southwest border?”

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  • Anywhere But Here

    Man, by nature, is limited by time, space, and biology. I can only be where I am, live for my appointed time, and accomplish what I am physically capable of accomplishing—which, according to the natural order, means, chiefly, having a wife and...

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  • Latter-Day Beggars

    Latter-Day Beggars

    Roman beggars, like Roman gypsies and Roman cats, not to mention Roman prostitutes warming themselves by their little winter chestnut fires, are the bearers of an ancient tradition, peculiar to the City of the Seven Hills, the kaput mundi,...

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  • Unjust Compensation

    Unjust Compensation

    Twenty-five years ago, the village of Machesney Park, Illinois, did not exist. Today, it is one of the fastest-growing municipalities in the state: This spring, the village will pay $143,000 for a special census to determine how far the...

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  • Mind Your Language!

    Mind Your Language!

    One of the fascinations of language, and one of the charms of the English language in particular, is the playful resourcefulness, the lexical richness, and the ambiguous suggestiveness of words themselves.

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  • A Trip to Smart-Mouth College

    A Trip to Smart-Mouth College

    Over the years, there have been many errors identified in the various printings of the so-called Authorized Version (it was never officially “authorized” by anyone) of the Bible, the most beloved translation of the Scriptures into English.

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  • The Romantic Reaction

    The Romantic Reaction

    In the Afterword to the third edition of The Pilgrim's Regress, C.S. Lewis argued that Romanticism had acquired so many different meanings that it had become meaningless. "I would not now use this word . . . to describe anything," he complained.

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  • The Loving Look

    The Loving Look

    One warm, late-summer afternoon in Eastern North Carolina, a few hundred primary-school children poured out of their classrooms and waited for their buses to take them far and wide around the county.

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  • Conservatism as Medicine

    Conservatism as Medicine

    What are the basic tenets of modernity? What is the mind and temper of modern man? I would feel rather foolish to try to reply in a few paragraphs if I did not think that the spirit of modernity boils down eventually to only one idea that...

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  • Reattacking Leviathan

    Reattacking Leviathan

    In 1989, Russell Kirk recalled browsing through the library at Michigan State College as an “earnest sophomore” over 50 years earlier. It was there that he happened upon Donald Davidson’s The Attack on Leviathan.

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  • The Case for American Secession

    There has always been talk about secession in this country by those variously disgruntled on both the right and left, but, since the last presidential election, which revealed deep-seated divisions in American society over a variety of...

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  • American Historians and Their History

    American Historians and Their History

    For this occasion, I have been asked to reflect on “the historian’s task” and “the American republican tradition.” To do so could be a gloomy undertaking—examining two things apparently suffering through terminal illness. I shall try not to...

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  • The Communion of Saints

    The Communion of Saints

    I wish I could say I remember laughing when I first read that story in The Children’s Book of Saints, published in 1940 and reprinted six times before the 1952 edition that I still have on my shelves.

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  • Please Tread on Me

    Please Tread on Me

    A bit of folklore, often retailed, reports a remark made by the sage Ben Franklin at the conclusion of the Philadelphia convention that drafted the U.S. Constitution. Franklin is supposed to have said: “Well, gentlemen, you have made a...

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  • A Place to Stand

    A Place to Stand

    The names are legendary; the tales of heroism, a part of our heritage as Texans and Americans. Houston, Crockett, Bowie, Travis: All, save William Barret Travis, were nationally known figures before they came to Texas, which was then considered...

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  • Cowboy Heroes

    Cowboy Heroes

    The cowboys were our heroes. There were dozens to choose from. My favorite among the B Western stars was William Boyd, who made 66 films as Hopalong Cassidy beginning in 1935 and ending in 1948.

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  • Guys of the Golden West

    Guys of the Golden West

    During the first half of the second-to-last decade of the 19th century, three young gentlemen traveled from their native region of the northeastern United States to the trans-Mississippi West, still a few years short in those days of the official...

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  • The Emerging American Empire

    The Emerging American Empire

    Let us begin by assuming that we agree that Islam is inherently militant. The words Muslim and Islam are derived from the Arabic word for “submission.” Submission to the absolute authority of Allah is essential.

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  • The Rise of China

    The Rise of China

    Anyone who doubts that China is rising fast as the new power in Asia need only take the ride I took last fall through Shanghai, from the Hongqiao International Airport to the Bund area along the Huangpu riverfront.

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  • The Christian Zionist Threat to Peace

    In assessing the political conditions necessary to establish a lasting peace in Israel-Palestine, Americans are confronted with a theological question: Does the Bible insist that Christians take a certain view regarding the treatment of the...

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  • A Brief History of Quagmire

    A Brief History of Quagmire

    The United States is the world’s sole superpower, a globe-spanning “hyperpower” with professed interests everywhere. Israel is a small nation of minimal resources, far from America.

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  • A Tale of Two Cities

    A Tale of Two Cities

    Many American Jews suffer culture shock when they first visit Tel Aviv. Having grown up watching reruns of the movie Exodus, they imagine Israelis as yarmulke-wearing cowboys valiantly defending their land against attacks from vicious...

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  • Israel and America

    Israel and America

    In the 2000 presidential campaign, George W. Bush promised a more humble U.S. foreign policy. Five years later, that pledge has turned out to be nothing but disingenuous rhetoric used to contrast his campaign with the activist foreign policy of...

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  • Peace in the Promised Land

    Almost three years have passed since the unseasonably warm day in June 2002 when a number of the authors who have contributed to this issue of Chronicles met near O’Hare Airport to sketch out one of the most ambitious projects that we at...

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  • The Real Fight Is Here at Home

    The Real Fight Is Here at Home

    On our refrigerator door, we have posted photos and stories of Marines who have lost their lives in the Iraq war. Among them are Cpl. Jason Dunham and Lance Cpl. Aaron Austin. Dunham was 22 when he dived onto a grenade to protect his buddies in...

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  • Man and Everyman

    Man and Everyman

    The Abolition of Man, C.S. Lewis’s masterful critique of the relativism that was as rampant in his day as it is in ours, represented the culmination of the author’s quest for the quintessential meaning of man’s being and purpose.

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  • War on the Home Front

    War on the Home Front

    U.S. officialdom calls them “Special Interest Aliens,” as much because they might have a special interest in us as we in them. They are aliens from countries that are considered potential sources of terrorist attacks on the American homeland,...

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  • Education and Authority

    Education and Authority

    I had taught in private schools for years, but I hesitated before entering the classroom to teach my first lesson in the state sector. I stopped a colleague in the corridor and asked him for advice.

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  • America’s Unthinking Military

    America’s Unthinking Military

    It was in the autumn of 1960, after our Plebe Summer and the test of “Beast Barracks,” that I first heard about the revisions that the West Point academic curriculum had recently undergone, which would be experimentally applied to our incoming...

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  • A Southern Legacy

    In all Eastern Orthodox Churches, this troparion or prayer is spoken or sung frequently in worship: “O Lord, save Thy people and bless Thine inheritance. Grant victories to the Orthodox Christians over their adversaries; and by virtue of Thy...

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  • Finding Eden

    Finding Eden

    I have been a citizen of the sovereign state of California for most of my life. I can guarantee you, Alta California is not merely a result of the proverbial dreamin’, a state of mind, but an actual place.

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  • At Home in the Cosmos

    At Home in the Cosmos

    Nelson Head, a boy in a story by Flannery O’Connor, is reared in the rural South, with little sign of education and in obvious isolation. Yet the boy is arrogant to the point of impudence, because he was born in the city.

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  • A Third Way?

    A Third Way?

    I went into the 2000 presidential campaign an enthusiastic supporter of Pat Buchanan’s bid for the White House as a third-party candidate. I emerged more convinced than ever that Buchanan would have made an outstanding president but skeptical...

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  • Toward Real Conservatism

    Toward Real Conservatism

    According to most prominent Democrats, the United States is being seriously hurt by the conservatives running Washington today. While their allegations about the damage being done by those in power may be plausible, what warrants skepticism is...

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  • Tocqueville’s America and America Today

    Tocqueville’s America and America Today

    At the time of Alexis de Tocqueville’s writing, the French Revolution still loomed over minds and, with it, memories of a bloodbath and of a new kind of tyranny. The American Revolution seemed to offer grounds for rosier hopes about democracy.

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  • There’s No Place Like Home

    There’s No Place Like Home

    Every school has a playground for its pupils; English schools provide a playground for politicians, too. Children seek security, regularity, and continuity: The games they play in the schoolyard observe rules that do not change.

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  • Many Children Left Behind

    Many Children Left Behind

    “No Child Left Behind”: That poll-tested slogan is the centerpiece of an artfully designed, meticulously implemented p.r. campaign designed to portray Texas as a hotbed of educational reform and achievement.

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  • The Global Pharmacy

    The Global Pharmacy

    Asked when he became so obsessed with voting, the antediluvian Professor Farnsworth on Futurama replied, “The very instant I became old.” Politicians know only too well that Americans 65 and over vote at twice the rate of 18- to...

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  • Independent Media Tribes

    Independent Media Tribes

    Last year, when the Washington Post’s Michael Kelly was killed in Iraq, an anonymous contributor to the leftist web network Indymedia announced the sad news with the tasteless headline “WP Nazi columnist bites the Iraqi...

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  • Reality TV News

    Reality TV News

    From pro-war to antiwar, from uncritical acceptance of government pronouncements to principled skepticism, the American media’s perspective on the war has veered drunkenly from one extreme to another.

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  • Europe and America

    Europe and America

    Studies have established that identical twins separated at birth exhibit very similar physical, psychological, and biochemical traits, regardless of the environment in which they grow up.

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  • Dreams of Old Places

    Dreams of Old Places

    Wisconsin Highways 2 and 53 converge in the uplands east of Superior. From here, you see Duluth climb a hillside of 1.1-billion-year-old rock that geologists call “the Duluth Gabbro Complex.”

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  • Revolting Taxation

    Revolting Taxation

    On April 15, U.S. taxpayers will pay the last installment on their duty to government for 2003. The bill for federal, state, and local government totaled a staggering $3.3 trillion, of which one out of every seven dollars was in the form of “buy...

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  • Boys Will Be Boys

    Boys Will Be Boys

    When my daughter, Katie, was in the fifth grade, her grammar school conducted a week-long series of tests inspired by the White House to promote physical fitness for schoolchildren.

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  • Sex in the Suburbs

    At the end of Hollywood’s remake of The Scarlet Letter, Demi Moore, playing Hester, rides out of town with Dimmesdale to start their new life together as happy adulterers in the Carolinas.

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  • Divided Loyalties, Misplaced Hopes

    Divided Loyalties, Misplaced Hopes

    “By their fruits, ye shall know them,” our Lord once warned. Too often, however, when it comes to the promise of power or the allure of success, Christians are easily swayed to align themselves with those who cry, “Lord, Lord,” yet are, in...

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  • Staying Alive

    Staying Alive

    If you are a woman and you worry about your safety, you are not alone. A recent Gallup poll reported that six of ten women in America are afraid to walk in their own neighborhoods or go out alone at night.

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  • Who Needs Guns?

    Australia has something under 20 million people living on a continent as large as the continental United States. It is known as a place where an overseas visitor might, in some regions at least, find a frontier atmosphere.

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  • Sophocles&rsquo; <em>Antigone</em>

    Sophocles’ Antigone

    Sophocles’ Antigone is a drama about a young woman who defies orders because she believes them to be wrong. Her uncle Creon, the ruler of Thebes, had proclaimed that no one was to give the rites of burial to Antigone’s brother...

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  • Classical Education <em>Redivivus</em>

    Classical Education Redivivus

    No one really owns the copyright to the word classical. Even in the realm of education, many are pursuing distinct objectives, and all with a legitimate claim to that word. From neoclassicists to Thomists to classical Protestants, the word...

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  • The Real War

    The Real War

    In a small café in Belgrade nearly 20 years ago, I had a drink with a young man named Michael. He was an architect and, like many people I met there, was no friend of the Soviet regime, which was the subject of our conversation.

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  • The Media

    The Media

    What, no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq? This development has resulted in the sort of newsroom hand-wringing that one usually finds only when a reporter for the nation’s most prestigious newspaper is caught fabricating quotations in scores...

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  • Republic or Empire?

    Republic or Empire?

    “Remember Pearl Harbor” was a phrase familiar to everyone I knew growing up. In a sneak attack, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor! This was a dastardly, despicable act. A sneak attack!

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  • What Would Jefferson Do?

    What Would Jefferson Do?

    Are the Dixie Chicks traitors? Lead singer Natalie Maines boldly announced at a concert in London, just before the beginning of our recent armed incursion into Iraq, “Just so you know, we’re ashamed that the President of the United States is...

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  • The French Revolution in Three Acts

    The French Revolution in Three Acts

    To put it in a nutshell, the French Revolution may be viewed as a lesson on the power of one of the most common of human vices: vanity, or the desire for social recognition—provided it is understood that lust for social standing is inversely...

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  • The Modern Conception of Sovereignty

    The Modern Conception of Sovereignty

    The question of sovereignty reappeared at the end of the Middle Ages, when many began to ask not only what is the best possible form of government, or what should be the purpose of the authority held by political power, but what is the political...

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  • Rending the Seamless Garment

    Rending the Seamless Garment

    People often ask me, “What is wrong with our priests?” or “Why don’t our bishops say more about abortion? They seem to have no trouble whatsoever speaking out quite freely when it comes to war or capital punishment.”

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  • Hating Babies, Hating God

    Hating Babies, Hating God

    When I sat down to write this article, Google reminded me that, when it comes to the issue of contraception, the stakes are very high. To check the date of publication of Dr. Charles Provan’s important work The Bible and Birth Control,...

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  • The Rights of Aliens

    The Rights of Aliens

    One way of telling the story of American culture and politics in the second half of the 20th century is to present it as a revolt against the group of white Anglo-Saxon Protestant males who dominated the country from the time of William Bradford...

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  • Marbury v. Madison

    The impact of judicial review has been profound and often detrimental to the rule of law in America. Judicial review is the power of the courts to void federal, state, and local laws and ordinances that they have determined to be incompatible...

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  • Losing Federalism

    Losing Federalism

    Human liberty has two distinguishable but inseparable dimensions: the liberty of the individual to act according to his own reason and the corporate liberty of a moral community to pursue a vision of the good lived out in institutions and...

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  • Apocalypse Now

    Apocalypse Now

    American evangelicals, according to former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, “are the Israelis’ best friend in the whole world.” In return, they dubbed him “the Ronald Reagan of Israel.”

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  • Nationalism <em>Über Alles</em>

    Nationalism Über Alles

    There are probably as many theories of nationalism as there are nationalisms. Quite apart from the often extremely complex typologies used to classify nationalism, there are two principal definitions worth noting.

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  • The Third Iconoclasm

    The Third Iconoclasm

    The two roots onto which Western Christendom was grafted proposed very different notions about depicting the gods. The Greeks famously made images of Athena and Zeus, always depicting them as man writ large, and were untroubled by this glaring...

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  • American Icons

    American Icons

    “Thou shalt not portray a white male in an heroic light.” Thus reads the first commandment of the politically correct. Ever since the late 1960’s, the cultural Marxists have been engaged in a drive to destroy American heroes—if they are white...

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  • Our Yesterday and Your Today

    Our Yesterday and Your Today

    Iraq is the land of the Tigris and the Euphrates, the fertile area around and between the two great rivers, the territory between Baghdad, the ancient capital of the entire Arab world, and Basra, over 500 miles away where the great rivers...

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  • War Birds: A Taxonomy

    War Birds: A Taxonomy

    As war clouds loom over the political landscape and the propaganda wafts thickly from the major news media, we have to ask: Where does all of this come from? Who is behind the rush to war?

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  • Another World

    Another World

    My first encounter with the new, post-national ruling class came in the early 1980’s. I was a young broadcaster with the BBC Yugoslav Service (as it was called then), and my work took me to Brussels seven or eight times in my first two years to...

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  • Foreign Aid and USAID

    Foreign Aid and USAID

    There may be no more pitiful sight than that of tides of impoverished and starving refugees; there may be no greater irony than grievous want in the Third World amidst exploding possibilities in the First.

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  • My Hometown

    My Hometown

    Saint Augustine did not originally desire to be a pastor. When, in 387, he finally surrendered to the Holy Ghost in the garden of his “philosophers’ estate” in the countryside outside Milan, he intended to follow the example of Saint Anthony and...

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  • The Hollow Empire

    The Hollow Empire

    America’s present position is paradoxical. On the one hand, her unparalleled power and wealth are reflected in the astoundingly imperialist “National Security Strategy” unveiled last October, which asserts a right to stop any country “from...

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  • The Family Against the Globalists

    The Family Against the Globalists

    I once knew a lady who ran for governor of the state of Pennsylvania on the promise that, if elected, she would run the state like a family. Unfortunately, she lost the election, so we will never know what that would have been like.

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  • Molecular Families

    Molecular Families

    As we look around at the pandemonium that characterizes the circus maximus of our once-great culture, there are few things as striking as the large number of what we might call “disconnected pockets of sanity,” otherwise known as nuclear families.

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  • Pro-Family, Pro-State?

    Pro-Family, Pro-State?

    Freedom is under serious assault today. Government takes and spends nearly half of America’s income. Regulation further extends the power of the state in virtually every area of people’s lives.

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  • Larry Ellison’s Golden Age

    Larry Ellison’s Golden Age

    Larry Ellison has an idea. The relentlessly self-promoting CEO of Oracle Corp., a Silicon Valley software company famous for its ability to grab government contracts, envisions post-September 11 America as a country where everyone walks around...

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  • A “Communist” Education Remembered

    A “Communist” Education Remembered

    Belgrade’s Tenth Gymnasium was a well-proportioned neoclassical building in a leafy park three miles from the city center. Built by King Alexander shortly before his ill-fated trip to Marseilles, it bore his name until the Partisans’ victory in...

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  • The Diner’s Refrain

    The Diner’s Refrain

    With former president Bill Clinton settled into his new headquarters on New York’s 125th Street, in central Harlem, the danger for the culinary crowd is that he may now take to hanging out at Sylvia’s, the famous soul-food restaurant barely three...

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  • Food Fight

    Food Fight

    Is anyone who thinks, as I do, that “dim sum” is Chinese for “damn soon” or that “sushi” is Japanese for “bait” even remotely qualified to write on food? Actually, I often volunteer unsolicited comments, more or less printable, as the case may be.

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  • Not Separate and Not Equal

    Not Separate and Not Equal

    After World War II, the rush into the San Fernando Valley began. By 1950, the Valley’s population had more than doubled, reaching 400,000. Much of the Valley, especially its western reaches, still consisted of wide-open spaces.

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  • All Roads Lead to Florence

    All Roads Lead to Florence

    The monastic choir stalls of the Church of Santa Maria degli Angeli in Florence were occupied not by the hermit-monks of the Camaldolese Order to whom they belonged but by laymen, members of the Platonic Academy.

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  • Petrarch’s The Ascent of Mount Ventoux

    At the time fixed we left the house, and by evening reached Malaucene, which lies at the foot of the mountain, to the north. Having rested there a day, we finally made the ascent this morning, with no companions except two servants; and a most...

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  • The Timorous Intellectuals

    The Timorous Intellectuals

    David Brock, scourge of Anita Hill and Bill Clinton, the young man who gave new meaning and currency to the phrase “Arkansas state trooper,” has made a second career of repenting of his years in the conservative movement.

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  • Little Pink Churches for You and Me

    Little Pink Churches for You and Me

    For pietist Lutheran pastors in America, it was an embarrassment that would not go away. Since the Reformation, it had always been one of the people’s favorite hymns, penned by Martin Luther himself—second only to “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.”

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  • “Think of the Children!”

    “Think of the Children!”

    “School cuts would hurt neediest kids,” the headline in the local Gannett paper proclaimed. With the spring primary just days away, the administration of Rockford School District 205 was urging the public to pass the third education referendum...

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  • Cowboys and Indians

    Cowboys and Indians

    This little piece requires a head note. Oddly, it is the only thing I have ever written that was honest-to-God censored. I was asked by the Chronicle of Higher Education to write a short opinion piece on the subject of contemporary creative...

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  • Two Trails of Blood

    Two Trails of Blood

    The spread of Christianity was marked by a trail of blood, shed by myriad martyrs during the first three centuries of the Christian era. Another trail of blood followed: that of the Christian defenders of the Roman Empire, shed by Arabian...

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  • Tribunals for Terror

    Tribunals for Terror

    When President Bush signed an executive order on November 13 that authorized the trial of non-U.S. citizens on charges of terrorism before special military tribunals, the response from the political right was almost—though not quite—unanimously...

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  • Nor Shall My Sword Rest in My Hand

    Nor Shall My Sword Rest in My Hand

    When the United States government was seeking to retaliate for the terrorist attacks last year, it was not too difficult to name the obvious targets: Afghanistan (of course), Iraq, Somalia, and the rest of the world’s bandit states.

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  • Nordic Conquests

    Nordic Conquests

    In Northfield, Minnesota, St. Olaf’s College was celebrating the 17th of May—the day the sons of Norway wrote their constitution in 1814, declaring self-government and independence from Swedish rule.

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  • What Makes for Real Prosperity?

    What Makes for Real Prosperity?

    Broadly interpreting the Sherman Antitrust Act as a means to reign in large economic organizations that had spun out of control, Supreme Court Justice Rufus Peckham acknowledged that bigger businesses, because of economies of scale, could...

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  • Diseconomies of Scale

    Diseconomies of Scale

    “Free trade,” like “free love,” is a beguiling abstraction that hides more than it reveals. Absolute free trade would be an exchange of commodities between two people without the coercive intervention of a third party.

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  • Causes and Catapults

    Causes and Catapults

    For over a thousand years, Western civilization was defined by the shifting religious frontier between Christianity and Islam, and the Muslim religion was the ultimate enemy.

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  • A Tender, Unitarian Christmas

    A Tender, Unitarian Christmas

    Appropriately, it was 1984. The Reagan-Bush ticket had won reelection. The U.S. Olympic team had destroyed everyone else at the Summer Games in Los Angeles. The HIV virus had been identified, and a cure for AIDS would surely follow.

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  • The Third Compartment

    The Third Compartment

    Although the raw figures from Census 2000 have been in the public domain for months already, the American public's response to the latest decennial survey is still not clear. For politicians, the census has been a wakeup call, alerting them to...

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  • Nobody but the People

    Nobody but the People

    In the "Prologue" to his massive biography of Sen. Joe McCarthy, historian Thomas Reeves describes a scene that took place in Milwaukee, in the senator's home state, in November, 1954, only a month before his colleagues voted to condemn him and...

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  • No More Nonsense About Elites

    No More Nonsense About Elites

    A fish starts rotting from the head, it is said. That a society starts rotting from its head needs to be much better understood. Blaming the decline of Western society on a "revolt of the masses" absolves elites, who must bear the brunt of the...

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  • An Aristocracy of Warriors

    An Aristocracy of Warriors

    In his seminal work, Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville noted that the nobility of medieval Europe reckoned martial valor to be the greatest of all the virtues. The feudal aristocracy, he said, "was born of war and for war; it...

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  • <em>Sic et Non?</em>

    Sic et Non?

    A number of years ago, when I was teaching a ninth-grade religion class (in Switzerland, where religion is taught in public schools), one of the boys said to me, "All religions teach the same thing."

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  • Real Diversity

    Real Diversity

    "By Tre, Pol, or Pen ye may know most Cornishmen." This simple rhyme was known to nearly everyone in the mining camps of the Old West and probably to much of the general population in America during the 19th century.

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  • Empires of Faith

    Empires of Faith

    A story long popular in London tells of a foreign visitor losing his bearings while walking along Whitehall and politely asking a passerby, "Excuse me, sir, which side is the Foreign Office on?"

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  • Missed Manners and Creeping Laws

    Missed Manners and Creeping Laws

    All societies regulate personal behavior: That is part of what makes them societies, instead of mere aggregations of isolated individuals. Societies differ enormously, though, in just how they perform this regulation, how much they rely on law...

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  • To Hell With Culture

    "The corruption of man," Emerson wrote, "is followed by the corruption of language." The reverse is true, and a century later Georges Bernanos had it right: "The worst, the most corrupting lies are problems wrongly stated."

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  • Crime Story

    "Behind every great fortune there is a crime," wrote Honoré de Balzac in a cynical sentiment that Mario Puzo chose as the epigraph of The Godfather.

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  • New York vs. New York

    Plunkitt lived in the days before garbage scows, Tawana Brawley, Nelson Rockefeller, radioactive waste, and the decimation of local government. In the Upstate-Downstate marriage, Plunkitt's was the Era of Good Feelings.

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  • New England Against America

    In the heroic effort to establish an American literature, intellect, and culture before the Civil War, the main line of tension was not between cosmopolitans and provincials, nor between classicists and romanticists. It was regional.

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  • Put a Lid on It

    Put a Lid on It

    How often we must reflect today that the salt hath lost its savor. At a "reading" at Queens College not long ago, I saw and heard Norman Mailer reading "poems" to his audience. He showed all the innocent delight of a child, and he was well received.

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  • Renaissance Frauds

    Renaissance Frauds

    Former Vice President Al Gore distinguished himself by a number of colorful claims, including his invention of the internet, his status as inspiration for the plot of Love Story, and his crime-busting investigations that pulled the...

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  • Rome As You Find It

    Rome As You Find It

    For Englishmen, the Roman Forum was nearly as much a part of their political heritage as the Tower of London or Westminster Abbey. Since Colonial America was a part of British culture, educated American colonists shared in the British reverence...

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  • Faith in the Hour of Trial

    Faith in the Hour of Trial

    Christianity had enjoyed an initial status of religiu licita in the eyes of the Roman government, during the reigns of Tiberius (under which our Lord was crucified), Gaius Caligula, and Claudius.

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  • Roman Spies and Spies in Rome

    Roman Spies and Spies in Rome

    In the summer of 1943, as Allied forces reached Italy, U.S. Army counterintelligence warned GIs, "You are no longer in Kansas City, San Francisco, or Ada, Oklahoma, but in a European country where espionage has been second nature to the...

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  • For Keeps!

    For Keeps!

    The language of the Fifth Amendment seems so innocuous—or, rather, it seems a positive good, designed to protect us: "No person shall . . . be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken...

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  • Civil Rights or Property Rights?

    Civil Rights or Property Rights?

    The interplay of race and economics in America has produced a new variant of political economy that we might call "multicultural capitalism," a system in which property is, for the most part, privately owned, but its ownership is conditional on...

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  • History as Paranoia

    History as Paranoia

    There are many conservative, intelligent people who will happily tell you that there is no such thing as the absolute truth of history, only different, mutually complementary versions.

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  • A Room With a View

    A Room With a View

    Once, before giving a speech in Cincinnati, I met the chairman of the history department at Xavier University. I told him that I was going to talk about the sexual revolution and how it had been used to destroy Catholic political power in the...

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  • The International Jewish Conspiracy

    The International Jewish Conspiracy

    Any conversation about conspiracy theories inevitably turns to "the Jews." On one hand, the critics of "international Zionism" claim that U.S. foreign policy (or the world's resources) are being devoted to promoting Israel's interests; on the...

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  • Tradition, Old and New

    Tradition, Old and New

    As a starting point, we must distinguish between tradition as container and tradition as content. This is a difference between the positions of the two great confessional bodies which appear equally devoted to preserving their traditions.

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  • Ethiopia Lifts Her Hands

    Ethiopia Lifts Her Hands

    In a classic book of humor entitled The Experts Speak, we find an impressive collection of failed prophecies and wildly inaccurate predictions: Television would never catch on, nobody needs a personal computer, and so on.

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  • Calvinism and Culture

    Calvinism and Culture

    The most important element in the formation of a culture is the predominant faith of its people. The foundation of Western culture is Christianity; in this country, Reformed Protestant Christianity.

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  • Taking Stock

    Taking Stock

    Sir John A. Macdonald, the first prime minister of Canada, was a Conservative. He is remembered chiefly for his love of alcohol and his hatred of free trade.

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  • Restore the Constitution!

    Restore the Constitution!

    In recent years, American politics has been preoccupied with moral questions, or what are now called "social issues": sexual immorality, sodomy, abortion, pornography, and recreational drugs.

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  • Speaking the Naked Truth

    Speaking the Naked Truth

    Connoisseurs of the odd byways of law rarely find rich materials in the U.S. Supreme Court, where the deliberations usually proceed with dignity and common sense. For truly asinine judicial misbehavior, we normally have to look at state courts.

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  • After the Avalanche

    After the Avalanche

    When C.S. Lewis wrote that there was more distance between us and Jane Austen than between Jane Austen and Plato, he was remarking on a cataclysm that colleges and universities had not escaped.

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  • Going the Distance

    Going the Distance

    Homeschooling parents are all too aware of the hazards they face in signing up a beloved child for four years at Ivy U, Good Old State U, or even Used-to-be Christian College.

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  • Why I Live in Italy

    Why I Live in Italy

    I live in Italy—in Venice, which I have on occasion described as Italy's Italy—for the deceptively simple reason that it is the only place in the world where I do not feel the urge to play roulette after dinner.

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  • Birth of a Non-Nation

    Birth of a Non-Nation

    In the United States, liberation from foreign domination and liberation from the past were largely the result of the American Revolution, which was spontaneous in origin, successful, moderate in its outcome, and supported by a considerable part...

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  • FDR and Mussolini

    FDR and Mussolini

    Many Americans would be horrified at the thought of discussing Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Benito Mussolini as anything but moral and political antipodes: democrat versus dictator, peacemaker versus aggressive bully, good versus bad.

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  • Beyond Left and Right

    Beyond Left and Right

    November 9, 1989, marked the end of the old politics and the old alignments; on that day, as the Berlin Wall fell, so did the political categories and alliances of half a century.

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  • A More Perfect Union?

    A More Perfect Union?

    "At present, the United Nations closely resembles the American nation under the Articles of Confederation (1781-1789). The inherent problems with that system demonstrated the need for 'a more perfect Union,' which was duly accomplished with the...

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  • Gaines Elites Play

    Gaines Elites Play

    Boris Yeltsin, according to Kremlin sources, was replying to a query from the International Monetary Fund on the expenditure of nearly two billion dollars worth of an IMF "tranche" targeted to stave off impending Russian financial disaster in the...

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  • Down the Rathole

    Down the Rathole

    Last year, President Clinton, who has rarely found a conflict that lie did not want to join, complained to the Veterans of Foreign Wars that Congress was cutting foreign aid, "the very programs designed to keep our soldiers out of war in the...

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  • Great Expectations

    Great Expectations

    Foreign aid, like other forms of aid, is a subsidy that distorts choice. The distortion takes many forms; for example, aid is sometimes put to uses unintended by the giver; it also lets the recipient pursue activities below their real cost.

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  • Color Me Kweisi

    Color Me Kweisi

    For a quick fix on how a particular organization sees itself and its purposes, inspect its official name, especially if the organization dates from a more forthright and transparent time, when assorted reformers wore their hearts on their...

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  • A Vast White-Wing Conspiracy?

    A Vast White-Wing Conspiracy?

    I like reading about hate crime: It is such a cheering feature of American life. And while I am always happy to see the excellent news about this kind of offense—ever-rising numbers, more and more crimes in ever-broader areas of the country—I...

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  • Storytellers and Fakers

    Storytellers and Fakers

    A writer, asked during a literary party what her new novel was about, turned on the questioner with an expression combining irritation, indignation, and pity, and replied, "My novels aren't about things!"

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  • Literary Worth and Popular Taste

    Literary Worth and Popular Taste

    As an academic trained in the study and appreciation of literature, I have spent the better part of my life staunchly defending the ramparts of literary endeavor against the slings and arrows of outrageous pop-fiction lovers.

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  • Come Home, America

    Come Home, America

    An outbreak of virulent place-ism has greeted the senatorial campaign of Hillary Rodham Clinton, despite the conciliatory editorials of the Gannett papers and despite Mrs. Clinton's assertion that "where I'm from is not as important as what I'm for."

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  • Post-Human America

    Post-Human America

    Ideological assumptions that but two generations ago would have been deemed eccentric, if not utterly insane or even demonic, now rule the "mainstream." The trouble is that normal people do not take madmen seriously enough.

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  • G.I. Jane

    G.I. Jane

    DESFIREX, the Desert Firing Exercise, is a semi-annual celebration of cordite, steel, white phosphorous, and sand held at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twenty Nine Palms, California.

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  • New Faiths for Old

    New Faiths for Old

    Religion is a very sturdy creature. For two centuries, various atheist regimes have tried to eliminate religious practice in their societies and, without exception, have ended up restoring the forms of the old worship, but with newer and far...

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  • The Other Lindbergh

    The Other Lindbergh

    Charles Augustus Lindbergh was the son of Swedish homesteaders who hacked a farm out of the Minnesota wilderness. Both the perils and the virtues of that life are dramatized in the story of a run-in that C.A.'s mother, Louisa, had with some...

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  • Downsizing Detroit Motown's Lament

    Downsizing Detroit Motown's Lament

    Detroiters have a deeply ironic way of looking at their beloved city. The irony is evident in a once-popular T-shirt that showed a muscular tough gripping a ferocious dog around the neck while holding a loaded gun to the animal's head.

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  • Star Trek or Star Wars?

    Star Trek or Star Wars?

    When I was growing up, the nuclear-war nightmare and other end-of-the-world scenarios weighed heavily on filmmakers' minds. From radioactive giant lizards trashing Tokyo to the ironic Planet of the Apes, from On the Beach to...

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  • My Son, the Sociopath

    My Son, the Sociopath

    A few years ago, before my son was born, I spent a weekend in the Hamptons at the country house of a moderately hip American investment banker. There were about 20 of us to dinner that evening, with all the usual cosmopolitan strains amply...

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  • That New Time Religion

    That New Time Religion

    Americans in the 19th century had a confident pride that they would dominate the coming age, not only because of the immense economic power of the new nation, but as a natural outcome of its moral and religious strength.

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  • The Anti-American Century

    The Anti-American Century

    The anti-American Century began with a bad moon rising. Our new possessions across the sea were awash in colonial gore. Surveying from afar the corpses of Filipino independence fighters and our blood-spattered flag, Mark Twain suggested that we...

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  • "Social" Justice Is Not Justice

    "Social" Justice Is Not Justice

    To understand why the issue is most emphatically not trivially verbal, it is sufficient to ask and answer the question of why people are so keen to maintain that their actions or policies are indeed (socially) just.

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  • Print the Legend

    Print the Legend

    At the Alamo, Davy Crockett either: A. Died while swinging old Betsy; B. Came radically disconnected when he torched the powder magazine; C. Surrendered to the Mexicans, who tortured, then killed him, along with six other Anglo survivors of the...

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  • Welcome to Dodge City

    Welcome to Dodge City

    On the American frontier of previous centuries, the possession of a firearm was often a key to survival. In this regard, the frontier of 20th-century America, although different geographically, is very much like earlier frontiers.

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  • Mommy's Little Monster

    Mommy's Little Monster

    Monsters are an ancient phenomenon in human history: There have always been individuals whose characters are marked by brutal, sadistic cruelty, who lack any redeeming instincts of compassion or mercy.

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  • Cajuns Uncaged

    Cajuns Uncaged

    While many modern historians, liberal politicians, and media elites would like to think that the very concept of "state sovereignty" died when Robert E. Lee offered his sword to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse on April 9, 1865, the...

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  • Tom and Sally and Joe and Fawn

    Tom and Sally and Joe and Fawn

    The timing of Nature magazine's "expose" of Thomas Jefferson's alleged affair with his slave Sally Hemings received a great deal of press attention, coming as it did just before elections which were expected to determine a modern philandering...

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  • Hollywood Does History

    Hollywood Does History

    At 0825 on 20 November 1943, the first of six waves of Marines left the line of departure and headed for the beach on Betio Island, the principal objective for the United States in the Tarawa Atoll.

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  • Europe's <em>Kulturstadt</em> for 1999

    Europe's Kulturstadt for 1999

    The train on which I traveled this time from Frankfurt, via Fulda, Eisenach—famous for the Wartburg Castle in which (in 1522) a carefully hidden "heretic" named Martin Luther translated the New Testament from Greek into German.

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  • Multiculturalism and Islam

    Multiculturalism and Islam

    And so, on September 21, 1998, at the United Nations, President Clinton declared the quest by our ruling establishment for a "moderate Islam" officially over. If "six million Americans" believe in something, that in itself is taken as proof tha

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  • Equality, Left and Right