The Corner

The one and only.

The Latest Tweets from Team NRO . . .

Corner Classic


I’m pretty sure I posted this a long time ago, but the ebonic Delta commercial remains a classic.

Why Can’t Paul Gigot Be The Editor of The Whole Journal?


An unfair piece in today’s Wall Street Journal (“Schools’ Efforts to Protect Gays Encounter Opposition”–in print edition and online only available to subscibers) about efforts to fight the bullying of homosexual kids in schools. Conservative, Christian, family groups are part of the bullying problem, most readers would understandably conclude after reading the “news” story. Meanwhile, groups above political labels defend kids from bullies. Human Rights Watch, for instance, comes off as some agenda-less groups only caring for the welfare of kids. The article uses the word “conservative” four times, labeling the Family Research Council and the West Virginia Family Foundation, among others. But never does the word “liberal” appear alongside the names of groups like the Anti-Defamation League, Human Rights Watch, and the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network.


Military and Affirmative Action


Thanks for all the e-mails. Here is a good one. Does this sound right to people?

E-mail: “The reason affirmative action works for the services is we are the only employer who has the time, energy, and resources to provide the extra oomph to get the poorly prepared person to parity with their peers, officer or enlisted. Officer candidates accepted to the academies don’t miss class – they walk ‘tours’ and suffer other unpleasant consequences if they do. They have mandatory study hours – and people check to ensure they are studying. Their peers are organized and motivated to help them if they need it (key cultural component of military morale).

If they are doing poorly, they are in remedial classes almost immediately. There are people from upperclassmen, tac officers, and faculty whose job it is to spend the extra time with these people to get them past their deficiencies and up to the minimum standard and beyond. The same is also true of soldiers in general – at least in basic training. Once you get into actual deployable units the support is somewhat less, and more variable based on leadership and other constraints – but in our initial entry processes (OTHER than the ROTC) the support structure is immense. If you aren’t properly prepared, but are willing to put in the time, we’ll get you through.

But, as I said, no one else can afford that. And if you are an ROTC cadet – that kind of support isn’t really there, either. Why? Because you are where, a major university, like, oh, say, Michigan? While the ROTC cadre will do what they can, there are only 3-8 of them or so, and may not have the academic background or experience to help, and don’t have resources to procure that help if it is available – and unlike academy cadets, who are subject military discipline, ROTC cadets are not, except in a limited fashion after they sign the contract.”

Web Briefing: September 22, 2014

Inactivists and Iraq


Over the last few months several readers have queried me on what they see as an inconsistency on my part. As longtime readers know, I am a champion of what I like to call “inactivism.” Inactivism can be summarized by Calvin Coolidge’s observation that “When you see ten problems rolling down the road, if you don’t do anything, nine of them will roll into a ditch before they get to you.”

These readers also note that I am in favor of an activist foreign policy when it comes to Iraq — and a few other places as well — and they accuse me of hypocrisy. It’s a fair point as far as it goes in that I’ve never made a distinction between foreign and domestic policy when it comes to inactivism. But there is an important distinction here. In a decent, democratic, society individuals and associations of individuals can be trusted to regulate themselves and each other with minimal governmental — especially minimal federal — interference. Businesses solve their own problems without Washington, property owners protect their own property, communities devise ways to protect their citizens. Etc.

In the international arena these rules do not apply. Here, a state of nature exists. Here, states, peoples, nations and faiths often vie in a zero-sum environment. And these actors must act on their interests to regulate the “global community.” In America, we can count on the fact that most individuals share common values, common understandings of self-interest and common agreement upon the rules of settling disputes. Such a regime doesn’t exist outside our borders, except perhaps among a few allies or on a few subjects like trade. Many regimes and movements would gladly destroy or at minimum harm America if they had the means. It is up to our government to make sure that doesn’t happen. There is no conflict with inactivism because the global arena is a libertarian environment and therefore we must take it upon ourselves to deal with criminal actors — not rely on some global superstate to fix problems.

Also, keep in mind that even the inactivist recognizes that 1 in 10 problems are real problems in need of our attention. We are not considering waging war on 10% of the bad actors in the world.


Shut Up, Chiraq, Too




Molly Ivins, fast approaching the “whatever happened to Molly Ivins?” stage of her career chastizes me in her latest column . In a sense this is progress since last time she wrote about me she pretended she hadn’t heard of me. She called me “some juvenile jerk attacking Canadians as a bunch of wimpy wimps.” I doubt she hadn’t heard of me, but her schtick is to sound more important than she is, so fair’s fair. Anyway, she mentions me by name today, and is less snarky about it, so I guess that’s even more progress. As for the gist of her article, she likes France and she thinks they are very brave. She cites the 100,000 French soldiers who died defending France and she is surely right to call them brave. But what about the 37 divisions which surrendered en masse? She mentions the Foreign Legion at Dien Bien Phu — and the Foreign Legion is most assuredly very, very brave. Alas, the Foreign Legion, historically speaking, was also mostly made up of foreigners. King Louis Philippe founded the Legion as a way to deal with poor immigrants and keep casualties among actual French soldiers to a minimum. I like the Foreign Legion and have long believed the US should have a version of it if we are going to use the military for humanitarian missions. But, citing Dien Bien Phu as a huge French sacrifice when many of the grunts were actually Germans and Brits isn’t exactly a great point.

Anyway, I’m hardly shocked that Molly’s sticking up for the French. That seems to be the enlightened liberal position these days. What’s so funny about it is that the French remain colonialists in many respects and they have policies on such things as race that folks like Ms Ivins consider outrageously right-wing when proposed here. I wonder if she reveres the French policy of zero affirmative action and a complete ban on collecting racial data — policies championed by Ward Connerly & Co. But that’s a subject for another time. I’m just so delighted to have been mentioned by name by Ms. Ivins before she slips completely into the “whatever happened to…” category.

Memo to Ex-Prezes Carter and Clinton


“Shut up.” But that is not from me, that comes from Arizona senator John McCain.

Florida Professor Arrested


Help--Military Affirmative Action


Al Hunt has made the argument that affirmative action works for the military at the academies, and now there’s this brief in the Michigan case. If you have an informed view on this, I’d love to hear from you….

President Bartlet Fits Right In


I’m told West Wing had some colorful words for the French last night.

A Sign! a Sign!


You’ve heard about the plane crash in Iran that took the lives of 300 of the Islamic republic’s soldiers. A reader writes to wonder what all the Muslims who saw the crash of the space shuttle Columbia as a sign from Allah that America was going to come to a bad end in the Middle East are thinking about this plane crash.

Cats and Dogs Together


It’s Bizarro world in the British media today. Martin Sheen is (fairly) sympathetically profiled in the Daily Telegraph and Instapundit is writing in the Guardian.

Lord Ryan


The poet fireman won on the Bachelorette, seemingly proving that chicks–even apparent self-centered fame seekers like Trista–are more Pride andBronte than Sex in the City.

Campaign Finance


State funding of political parties comes with its own type of corruption. Here’s the EU with a prime example.

War of The Worlds?


Chirac needs to check who he’s messing with when he takes on the New Europe. Look where the Latvian prime minister really comes from.

Via Baltic Blog



Ramesh, I’ll leave it to John Derbyshire to explain how Al Bundy’s reactionary defeatism can, in its own way, be inspiring. As to that NYT piece, I thought it was pretty amusing. Yes, it was somewhat condescending and the refrigerator jibe was a cheap shot, but, Ramesh, we’re talking about the New York Times here. The New York Times without condescension and cheap shots would be like Al without Peg, better but somehow unimaginable.

Interesting Email


In response to G-File:

Very interesting observtion–giving one’s successor the opportunity to achieve greatness. President Buchanan was considered the premier politico in America of the 1850s, just the kind of man who could find a political solution to prevent nation dissolution. He failed, of course. But Abraham Lincoln did not.

Could Groundskeeper Willie and Jonah Get Some Kind of Award? The Freedom Medal, Maybe?


“Surrender monkeys made the White House press briefing today:

Terry Moran, ABC News: “Ari, on the U.N. resolution, a second U.N. resolution, one of the forces that’s at work, it seems, is increasing rancor and nastiness within the Western alliance. You’ve got newspapers here showing France and Germany as weasels at the Security Council, people calling France ’surrender monkeys.’ Then you’ve got a lot of anti-Americanism on the streets over in France.”

Ari Fleischer, White House Press Secretary: “Are you asking me if I can be responsible for the American press?”

Serving Up Freedom Fries


Re: Bundy


Ramesh: Never fear. As NR’s resident Bundyologist, I have just penned a
paean to Al, Peg, Kelly, Bud and Buck. Should be on NRO later this week.


Sign up for free NRO e-mails today:

NRO Polls on LockerDome

Subscribe to National Review