Groundhog Day No More
Cal Thomas’s advice for playing it cool in life and politics.


Lopez: What would you hope people might consider the Sermon on the Mount as as we celebrate Easter? As a political and personal proposal? As something to welcome and encourage whatever one’s faith?

Thomas: Try putting into practice just one of the Beatitudes, as they are also called, and be amazed at the results. You then might be encouraged to try the others. It’s difficult at first, but becomes easier when you see the change it makes in you, which is their point.


Lopez: Over your years of column writing, what’s your conversion rate like? What do you find readers find most compelling?

Thomas: Conversion is above my pay grade. I simply try to proclaim truth as I see it and ultimate Truth as I know it.

Lopez: What’s your best advice to young writers?

Thomas: Read good writers, especially those you think you disagree with. It will help sharpen your skills and your mind.

Lopez: What’s your best advice to young fathers?

Thomas: Love your children’s mother the way Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it, and let your children see you do it.

Lopez: What’s your best advice to young men reading National Review Online today feeling a little lost for one reason or another?

Thomas: Renew your subscription! The path will become clearer after you have cleared away the wood, hay, and stubble placed in your way by secular progressives.

Lopez: What’s the back-story of your blurb from Jay Leno?

Thomas:  Jay and I have been friends for many years. It started when I wrote a column praising his wife’s efforts to help save women in Afghanistan. I admire his talent, but more than that, he is a genuinely nice guy.

Lopez: How can a politician or policy maker make use of What Works? Is Ted Cruz an example of what works and that is why you let him blurb the book?

Thomas: We still have a remnant of what I call Puritan DNA in us. Most of us had parents who told us not to waste things, clean your plate because people are starving in the world, etc. I believe that if we can point out where our money is being wasted on unnecessary programs, we can began to reduce their size, cost, and reach. Because we live in a superficial age, we will probably have to begin on that level before getting down to substance. The Great Society, for example, was “well-intentioned,” but many of its programs failed objectively because they did not take into account human nature. A lot of people would rather get a check than earn one. 47 million people on food stamps is — or ought to be — a disgrace.

Lopez: If readers only walk away with one thought from What Works that sticks, what would you hope it be? 

Thomas: “There is nothing new under the sun; everything you think has been thought before; everything you do has been done before.” (See Ecclesiastes 1:9–10.)

— Kathryn Jean Lopez is editor-at-large of National Review Online and founding director of Catholic Voices USA.


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