The Death of Fun as We Know It
These days, when people ask me what I do, I tend to brace myself a bit, battening down the proverbial mental hatches. “Oh, I’m a writer,” I’ll say cheerily, warily scanning my new friend’s eyes, especially if ...
‘The Bard,” William Shakespeare, had a healthy distrust of the sort of mob hysteria typified by our current epidemics of statue-busting and name-changing.
In Shakespeare’s tragedy Julius Caesar — a story adopted from Plutarch’s Parallel Lives — a frenzied Roman ...
Yale Offers a Tutorial in Higher-Education Indoctrination
Summer brings no respite for academics committed to campus purifications, particularly at the institution that is the leader in the silliness sweepstakes, Yale. Its Committee on Art in Public Spaces has discovered that a stone carving that has adorned an ...
Can a Progressive’s ‘Inclusive Values’ Include Christianity?
Don’t ever forget that, for some folks, “separation of church and state” is a half-measure. It’s just a pit stop on the road to de-Christianizing America. It’s a temporary means to a much bigger end.
Over the ...
Keith Ogre-mann: Condé Nast-y’s Misogynist-in-Chief
Once a woman-hating blowhard, always a woman-hating blowhard.
Keith Olbermann, the “new” face of the Democratic resistance on Condé Nast’s digital video platform, is the same old foul-mouthed beast he was on cable TV.
Over the weekend, the former ...
The Inheritance of Generals Washington and Lee
If we are to question our patron saints, then we must do so without losing a sense of ourselves.
University presidents have struggled to strike this balance in the wake of the violence in Charlottesville. The rush to remove controversial ...
Gone with the Wind, Soon to Be Gone with the Wind?
Asked how she could debase herself to the level of playing Mammy in Gone with the Wind, Hattie McDaniel replied, “I’d rather play the maid and make $700 a week than be a maid and make $7.”
Now McDaniel’s iconic ...
The Peculiar Conservatism of the Lonely American
Editor’s Note: In a series of columns, Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry, a Paris-based conservative and a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, will write on an alarming trend, which he calls the Francification of America.
What is America’s ...
From Black Annie to White Daimio
So do fictional characters have races, or not? I hope we settle that question soon, because I’m getting sick of hearing about it every year or two.
The current controversy centers on the forthcoming Hellboy movie, and specifically on ...
Trump’s Unmerited, Unnecessary, Impulsive Pardon of Sheriff Arpaio
As our Monday editorial explains, there are several problems with President Trump’s highly objectionable pardon of former sheriff Joseph Arpaio. I want to address a couple of them in more depth — one here and one in a subsequent column.
The Joe Arpaio Pardon Won’t Destroy Democracy
If the best thing you can say for a presidential action is that it is no worse than things previous presidents have done that you condemned, perhaps it would be better not to have done it at all. That’s ...
Trump Haters, Supporters, Neither, and Both
The Left-Wing Trump Haters
About a third of the Democratic party (15–20 percent perhaps of the electorate?) loathes Trump, from reasons of the trivial to the fundamental.
The hard-leftist hatred is visceral; it is multidimensional; and it is unalterable.
Trump is ...
Something’s Rotten in the DNC
The Democratic National Committee hasn’t been having a good year. Save for a spike during March, fundraising, cash on hand, and net money have all dropped since former secretary of labor Tom Perez took over as chair in January. ...
How Corbyn Revitalized the British Left
Jeremy Corbyn aims to transform the world of British politics — an agenda the Labour leader has had since he was first elected to Parliament in 1983 alongside fellow reformer Tony Blair. But whereas Blair was part of the vanguard that initiated ...
What Can Reconstruction and the Gilded Age Teach Us about Today’s America?
The United States grew from a peripheral nation to a world power in a period that high-school history classes often gloss over. The Reconstruction era and the period of economic growth it touched off remade the American nation in the ...
Sex and the City Turns 20
Sex and the City has been on my list of books to read for a long time.
Okay, maybe I should back up and explain, considering my wife gleefully informed me that I’d lost my “man card” when I ...
Stop Making Excuses for Antifa Thuggery
One of the least safe places to be in Berkeley, California, is in the vicinity of someone holding a “No Hate” sign.
So-called anti-fascist, or antifa, activists bearing shields emblazoned with those words assaulted any of the handful of beleaguered ...
Antifa Just Showed Its True Colors. Again.
If 2016 is the year when our political parties failed, inflicting on America arguably its worst presidential choice in our nation’s history, then 2017 is when our broader institutions began to lose their collective minds. This is the year when reasonable ...
How to Get Out of the Iran Nuclear Deal
Although candidate Donald Trump repeatedly criticized Barack Obama’s Iran nuclear agreement, his administration has twice decided to remain in the deal. It so certified to Congress, most recently in July, as required by law. Before the second certification, Trump ...
The Case for Skills-Based Immigration
Shortly after Arkansas senator Tom Cotton and Georgia senator David Perdue released the RAISE Act, a bill that would, among other things, sharply reduce legal-immigration levels, it occurred to me that its very reasonableness was, to use the language of ...
I Love America (and the Alt-Right Doesn’t)
Editor’s Note: The following piece originally appeared at J. J. McCullough’s personal blog. It is reprinted here with permission.
Ezra Levant’s renunciation of the alt-right (a popular activity at the moment) has been predictably scorned as disingenuous, ...
Maestrissimo, Part I
Editor’s Note: In the August 14 issue of National Review, we had a review by Jay Nordlinger of Harvey Sachs’s Toscanini: Musician of Conscience. This week, in his Impromptus, Mr. Nordlinger is expanding his review. He will do it ...
Main tumhe talaq deta hoon.Main tumhe talaq deta hoon.Main tumhe talaq deta hoon.
For many years in India — until last week, in fact — the above incantation, spoken or delivered in print, constituted the entirety of a divorce proceeding, ...
Trump, the Novice Protectionist
Sooner or later, and the later the better, the president’s wandering attention will flit, however briefly, to the subject of trade. So, let us try to think about the problem as he seems to: Wily cosmopolitans beyond our borders ...
In Afghanistan, End the Trump-Obama Taliban Fantasy
On the matter of an outcome in Afghanistan after 16 years of fitful war, President Trump is adamant. “The men and women who serve our nation in combat deserve a plan for victory,” he proclaimed in Monday night’s big speech. “...
Of the writing of biographies of Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald, there is, it seems, no end. Two more have just come down the pipeline, and the prospect of reading them tempted me to cap the quote and add ...
Coach Prays, Ninth Circuit Says No — Blame Supreme Court Conservatives
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled this week that a high-school football coach, Joseph Kennedy, had no First Amendment right to kneel and briefly pray at the 50-yard line after a football game — at least not when he’s ...
Democrats Pressure the Federal Government to Support Racial Discrimination
Top Democrats in Congress are pressuring the Justice and Education Departments to stop the administration’s plans to investigate and potentially sue universities that intentionally discriminate against applicants based on race. In their letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and ...
Professor’s Facebook Rant: ‘All Republicans’ are ‘Racist’ and ‘Scum’
A Clemson University professor who claims to specialize in online decision-making went on a rant on his Facebook page, calling “all Republicans” “racist” and “scum.”
In a series of posts earlier this month, Bart Knijnenburg — an assistant professor of human-centered ...
Crown Heights Is a Docu-Fantasy
Critics used to dismiss socially conscious movies as well-meaning but unartistic (as when deriding director Stanley Kramer’s entire career for his concern with outdated issues such as brotherhood and interracial marriage). Yet social-justice movies now win automatic praise. Crown ...
Editor’s Note: The following piece originally appeared in City Journal. It is reprinted here with permission.
For today’s progressives, marriage doesn’t matter when it comes to fighting poverty in America. Melissa Boteach and Anusha Ravi of the ...
California Threatens Jail Time for Dissenters from the New Transgender Dogma
California may see itself as a leader on criminal-justice reform, but it is on its way to creating a whole new class of criminals: citizens who use “him” to refer to a man and “her” for a woman.
The “Lesbian, ...
The Distant Conservative Heritage of the National Park Service
When Ferdinand V. Hayden returned from his exploration of the area that is now Yellowstone National Park, he warned President Ulysses S. Grant that “vandals who are . . . waiting to enter into this wonder-land, will in a single season despoil . . . these ...
The virus seems to be approaching its breakout phase. We could be looking at a full-scale epidemic here.
Zika? Ebola? Flu?
Nope. We don’t have a great word for this sickness yet. “Iconoclasm” — i.e., the destruction of images ...
Affirmative Action Has Failed. It Never Had a Chance to Succeed
This morning the New York Times published an extraordinary, data-rich article examining the outcome of diversity efforts at colleges and universities from coast to coast. The results, quite frankly, are sobering.
After decades of affirmative action, billions of dollars invested ...
The Unbearable Lightness of Confederate-Statue Removal
To update an old joke, removing Confederate statues is a bit like wetting one’s self in a dark suit: It offers a warm feeling but little of lasting value.
The erasist frenzy to tear down Confederate monuments is accelerating ...
Trump Can’t Win a War on McConnell
If you believe the New York Times, President Donald Trump hasn’t spoken to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in weeks, and their last phone call was an angry exchange that “quickly devolved into a profane shouting match.” While neither ...
Putting an End to Government Funding of Islamism
In Tuesday’s speech, President Trump denounced the flow of U.S. money to Pakistan while that nation harbors terrorists. South Asian Islamism is an enormous problem, and yet a great deal of the discussion in America surrounding Islamism focuses ...
We’ll Need Something Other Than Big Government to Stop the ‘Hoarding’ of Economic Opportunity
‘First class,” Renée Zellweger sighs in Jerry Maguire. “It used to be a better meal. Now, it’s a better life.”
Richard V. Reeves of the Brookings Institution worries that tickets to first-class living are becoming impossible to acquire ...
Paul Ryan’s Conservatism Can Help the Poor
During his CNN town hall in Wisconsin Monday night, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan was confronted by a Dominican nun who asked about his approach to health care and poverty, especially in light of his Catholic faith. Here’s ...
Jared and Other Sons-in-Law We Have Known, Part I
Editor’s Note: This series in Jay Nordlinger’s Impromptus is an expansion of a piece he has in the current issue of National Review.
Quite possibly, the most ticklish relationship in human history is that between mother-in-law and daughter-in-law. ...
The Next Obamacare Mess and the Rule of Law
When John Adams wrote into Massachusetts’s Constitution a commitment to a “government of laws and not of men,” he probably assumed that the rule of law meant the rule of laws, no matter how many laws there might be. ...
The Left Opens Fire on Columbus Statues
When the going gets stupid, the stupid turn pro. On Monday, in an essay due to appear in the forthcoming print edition of National Review, I wrote, “The Christopher Columbus protests are coming.” That very day, a vandal in Baltimore ...
Trump’s Failures on the Easy Stuff Overshadow His Successes on the Hard Stuff
The last week was the Trump presidency in a nutshell. When faced with a situation that called for him to do one of the many easy things Americans expect of their president, he repeatedly failed. But when asked to do ...
The Problem with the ‘Otherwise, People Will Die’ Argument for Big Government
It has become the go-to policy argument for many liberals and the media: People will die. Repeal Obamacare . . . and people will die. Cut any social-welfare program by so much as $1 . . . and people will die. Reform unsustainable entitlement programs like Social ...
What is it we are doing in Afghanistan? What do we think we are doing in Afghanistan? All we can say with any confidence is that the former and the latter bear only a theoretical relationship.
The United States invaded ...
Political Violence Is Not Okay
America can survive crappy ideas.
America can survive nasty statues.
America can’t survive normalization of political violence.
That should be the takeaway over the last two weeks. The latest round of racial and political recriminations began with a horrifying ...
It’s Only Going to Get Weirder from Here
You hear it constantly these days: “This can’t go on.” “Something’s got to give.” The hope that impeachment is around the corner is an unspoken assumption in much media coverage. “Trump Is Just Six Senate Votes Away From ...
Trump’s Afghan Escalation
President Trump doesn’t want to lose a war on his watch and that’s a good thing.
He had a choice. On one hand, he could follow his instinct to pull out of Afghanistan, act on his many bumptious ...
Trump Was Right to Acknowledge His Flip-Flop on Afghanistan
Lost in the details of Donald Trump’s address last night was one extremely notable point: the fact that the president admitted he had changed his mind on the issue of American military involvement abroad.
Trump has long been known ...
‘The End of Loyalty’ and the Surge in Populist Sentiment
In the literature that helps explain the shocking results of the presidential election of 2016, Rick Wartzman’s new book, The End of Loyalty: The Rise and Fall of Good Jobs in America, merits a place alongside J. D. Vance’s ...
MLB Commits an Error with Harvey
When faced with a major social issue or a crisis, Major League Baseball usually finds a way to do the right thing. It often produces a moment or a decision that transcends its circumstances.
Famously, baseball integrated before the U....
The Fashion Police Take On Politics
In case you missed it, yes, Vogue has deemed Melania Trump out of touch for wearing a pair of stiletto heels on her walk on the tarmac to board the Texas-bound Air Force One.
But it wasn’t just the ...
Weather Is Politics by Other Means
Weather emergencies on the scale of Hurricane Harvey ought to be about common humanity, not politics. Americans have been saddened at the losses suffered by those affected by the storm, have cheered the efforts of rescuers, and have reached into ...
Hurricane Harvey’s Men, Women, and Children
On Sunday, as images from Hurricane Harvey stunned the nation, one particular image stuck out for many Americans as indicative of the heroism of Texans in the face of disaster: a picture of a man in a baseball cap carefully ...
Monuments to Racist Democrats Should Enrage Leftist Mobs
If those on the left sincerely wish to address America’s historical injustices, rather than simply pursue partisan advantage, they should advocate the removal and purification of the hundreds of tributes to Democrats who oppressed blacks and other minorities.
• They ...
Trump’s ‘Toughness’ Is an Insult to Law Enforcement
By now, we’ve all seen the pictures: police officers and sheriff’s deputies wading into Houston’s floodwaters to rescue people, exhausted from working 20-hour shifts, disregarding their own safety to help others. Nothing could be more emblematic of ...
Harvey Awakens a Divided America’s Better Angels
Even hurricanes have a silver lining: The downpour washes away a lot of bull.
Don’t get me wrong. This is a tragedy for untold thousands of people. And no upside could possibly balance the scale against the downside. The ...
Those Who Don’t Fight Evil Fight Statues
All my life I have known this rule about people: Those who don’t fight the greatest evils will fight lesser evils or make-believe evils.
This happens to be the morally defining characteristic of the Left. During the Cold War, ...
Catholic School Removes Jesus, Mary Statues Because They’re ‘Alienating’ to Non-Catholics
The San Domenico School, the first Catholic school in California, has removed all but 18 of its 180 religious statues in an effort to be more “inclusive” and “forward looking.”
Several parents have complained about the decision, according to Marinij.
“Articulating an ...
Scandal Erupts over the Promotion of ‘Bourgeois’ Behavior
Were you planning to instruct your child about the value of hard work and civility? Not so fast! According to a current uproar at the University of Pennsylvania, advocacy of such bourgeois virtues is “hate speech.” The controversy, sparked by ...
Pope Francis Is Diminishing the Papacy. Good.
Sometimes I think Pope Francis is a gift to the Catholic Church, especially when he says something silly, clumsy, or even stupid. He allows serious Catholics to take the papal cult less seriously than they have been doing for generations. ...
Forcing Transgender Ideology on Kindergartens
Parental rights are under fire once again, this time at a Sacramento-area charter school. A kindergarten teacher at Rocklin Academy Gateway recently staged a “transition ceremony” for a gender-dysphoric student in her class, introducing him to other students as a ...
No, It’s Not Hypocritical to Want Targeted Disaster Relief
As Hurricane Harvey moves through the Gulf Coast, a very misleading story is making the rounds: Texas senators and congressmen who, in 2013, heartlessly opposed relief for the localities rocked by Hurricane Sandy are now begging for the same. The wake ...
A new school year is upon us, and the assault on free speech continues as Yale Law School students reject their new dean’s call for civil discourse. George Washington proclaimed in 1783 that if “the freedom of Speech may be ...
Editor’s Note: In the August 14 issue of National Review, we had a review by Jay Nordlinger of Harvey Sachs’s Toscanini: Musician of Conscience. This week, in his Impromptus, Mr. Nordlinger is expanding his review. Part I is here. ...
Recent reports suggest that President Trump is torn about what to do about DACA, the de facto amnesty for so-called DREAMers instituted by Barack Obama. We understand the hesitation, since many of the beneficiaries of this amnesty have sympathetic stories, ...
The announcement of the pardon of former Sheriff Joseph Arpaio on a Friday night — the time usually reserved for getting out bad news — suggests that some people at the White House might have been embarrassed by it. If so, they ...
Hillary Excuse No. 1,756: Trump Stood Too Close to Me
Hillary Clinton’s 2016 brand: Tough. Capable. Experienced. Ready. A fighter.
Who freaks out when a man stands behind her for a few seconds.
That last detail about Hillary’s personality didn’t emerge until the world was treated to excerpts ...
The Feds and the Frog: Private Landowners Stand to Lose on 1,500 Acres
Imagine waking one day and learning that federal officials have declared your private property subject to federal control as “critical habitat” for an endangered frog, even though the frog does not and cannot exist on the property or, apparently, anywhere ...
A Break from the Total Eclipse of America’s Heart
The solar eclipse this August was a marvel. After all, people were looking up and not at screens! There was a widespread sense of wonder at creation at a time when it’s far from a given that we are ...
In The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, the historian Edward Gibbon notes that in its latter stages, Roman citizens were fond of vandalizing or removing monuments to an unpopular leader. Historians called the practice “damnatio memoriae,” or condemnation ...
Five Questions for Trump on Afghanistan
On Monday, President Donald Trump finally explained to the American people why an expansion of U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan is necessary to defend our national-security interests. Now that President Trump has become the third consecutive commander-in-chief to increase ...
Tom Price Can Deliver Relief from Obamacare
This month brought fresh headlines about how Obamacare continues to implode. No fewer than five insurers have announced they will be withdrawing from the Obamacare marketplaces or raising their rates. Most recently, Medica — the sole Obamacare provider in Iowa — announced ...
Who Wins if Free Speech Loses?
Sloppy thinking usually isn’t a criminal offense. Then again, Sarah Jones at the New Republic has written a essay called “How Donald Trump Poisons Free Speech.” Jones, the magazine’s social-media editor, asks the empirical question, “Is it ever ...
The Democrats Suddenly Need Menendez
It seems like such a long time ago. Back in the early months of 2015, Democratic leaders could barely contain their glee at news that one of their own was in legal trouble. Indeed, as far as President Obama was concerned, ...
The sanctimonious thrill of flaunting one’s outrage against Donald Trump is like a drug that can prove difficult to give up. Last fall the recovering Sandersista and fervent Hillary Clinton backer Miley Cyrus spoke of “a sea of terrifying ...
Being a Good ‘Ally’ Will Destroy the ACLU
At 1:49 p.m. on Wednesday, the ACLU put out one of those feel-good messages that doesn’t really mean anything:
This is the future that ACLU members want. pic.twitter.com/bAIwuheEco
— ACLU National (@ACLU) August 23, 2017
A cute baby holding ...
Attacking the Press Doesn’t Make You a Nazi
If we are to judge the importance of a threat by the amount of time President Donald Trump spends attacking it and the harsh things he says, the greatest peril facing the United States doesn’t come from Islamist terrorists, ...
Government Shutdowns: A (Sort of) Love Letter
There’s an infamous figure looming large in today’s politics, a rogue of sorts, often unfairly maligned. Shunned by the national political establishment, it darts in and out of the shadows, haunting the dreams of D.C.’s professional ...
Editor’s Note: This piece originally appeared in the August 28, 2017 issue of National Review.
Closing a speech that was as emotional as it was endless, the president invoked Shakespeare’s The Tempest. In the play’s opening scene, a boatswain ...
Quis Furor, O Cives? A Plea for Preserving Historical Monuments
Some years ago, before we as a nation started punching ourselves in the face by moving to excise Confederate monuments from our public spaces and thereby destroy a part of our cultural patrimony, I studied a marble Roman portrait of ...
Jared and Other Sons-in-Law We Have Known, Part II
Editor’s Note: This series in Jay Nordlinger’s Impromptus is an expansion of a piece he has in the current issue of National Review. For Part I, go here. The series concludes today.
Stalin, it will shock you to ...
For many Republicans, what matters most about Donald Trump is that he’s demonstrated resolve against the enemy — not the Islamic State or the Taliban, but the media.
The media has become for the Right what the Soviet Union was ...
The Libertarianism-to-Fascism Pipeline
In 2002, I got it into my head that I wanted to attend what was then described as the “Old Latin Mass.” I had been reading in the dingy corners of the Internet, which is always dangerous, and these Latin Mass ...
America’s Francification, Part Trois: Secularism
Editor’s Note: In a series of columns, Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry, a Paris-based conservative and fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, will write on an alarming trend, which he calls the Francification of America.
France and America are countries ...
ESPN Shows Why Corporations Should Not Be Our Moral Arbiters
‘Amid this turbulence,” the New York Times breathlessly reported, “a surprising group of Americans is testing its moral voice more forcefully than ever: C.E.O.s.”
Vox upped the ante, explaining: “After Charlottesville, CEOs have become our public conscience.” ...
Trump’s Conservative Internationalism
Does Trump have a foreign policy?
You know the old saw: No one knows what Donald Trump thinks, even if his name is “Donald Trump.” True, but let’s try. If we can get beyond the man’s personality, we ...
How the Mainstream Media Operate
“The leading media [are characterized by] indefensibly corrupt manipulations of language repeated incessantly.”
— Patrick Lawrence in The Nation, August 9, 2017, on the media’s reporting of the alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia
To understand America’s crises today, ...
Welcome to the Permanent Campaign
Welcome back, my friends, to the show that never ends. Donald Trump put on what his press secretary called a “campaign event” Tuesday night in Phoenix and, during the rally, made generous use of the future tense, that hallmark of ...
The Double Standard in the Progressive War against the Dead
Much of the country has demanded the elimination of references to, and images of, people of the past — from Christopher Columbus to Robert E. Lee — who do not meet our evolving standards of probity.
In some cases, such damnation may ...
‘Get Tough or Shut Up’: The Malicious Spirit Loose in the Land
Sometimes, small stories can tell us big things. Last week, I had a telling conversation with a young Evangelical mom of three. I was a customer at her workplace, and we were making all the normal small talk. She asked ...
Trump’s Dumb Dance on Immigration
Donald Trump needs to put some points on the board, and fast. Health-care reform is dying. Every time the White House announces a new Infrastructure Week, Trump gets bored by mid-morning on the first day and goes to Twitter to ...
Parasitic Progressivism at ESPN, Marvel, and the University of Missouri
Consider the state of three longstanding, once (and arguably still) powerful institutions: the University of Missouri, the sports cable channel ESPN, and Marvel Comics.
As our former colleague Jillian Kay Melchior detailed earlier this week, the University of Missouri is ...
A Look Back at Love Actually: The Sweet and the Bitter Collide
The BBC has released the results of its poll of the greatest film comedies of all time. Some Like It Hot topped the list, followed by Dr. Strangelove, Annie Hall, Groundhog Day, Duck Soup, Life of Brian, Airplane!, France’s ...
Can’t We All Just Stick to Sports?
‘Stick to sports.”
That’s the familiar refrain from football fans, who are tired of hearing about politics every time they turn on ESPN. It’s true: The sports media doesn’t abide by that rule, in large part because ...
American Politics Has Become Hyper-Nationalized
Last week, more than 200 Minnesota newspapers published nothing but “Imagine a Day without Local News” — or some variation — on their front pages. In organizing the campaign, the Minnesota Newspaper Association hoped to draw attention to the critical role local news ...
Do Democrats Remember That They Nominated a Hawkish Candidate?
Democrats are quite upset about President Trump’s decision to ramp up the war in Afghanistan — and I’m upset about it too, but I just have to ask: Do they remember that their own nominee had the most hawkish ...
Donald Trump Decided Not to Lose the War in Afghanistan
Last night, Donald Trump did the responsible thing. He reneged on a campaign promise to avoid losing a war. That’s exactly what we want presidents to do when they win elections, learn new information, and begin to fully understand ...
Oregon Governor Puts Taxpayers on the Hook for All Abortions
Oregon’s Democratic governor, Kate Brown, has just signed into law a radical new bill, and in so doing has made her state the nation’s leader in pro-abortion policy. The legislation requires all insurance companies in the state to ...