Dear Julep’n Jolters,
Let’s hope you’re reading this before the man yells “They’re off!” today at Churchill Downs. Once (in 1986 to be exact), Mrs. F and Yours Truly won the quinella at Yonkers Raceway, so that gives me the cred to handicap today’s Run for the Roses. Here’s how it will come out: Rounding the far turn and down the home stretch and crossing the finish line primo will be My Boy Jack (I am digging the name), so at 30-1 odds your $10 to win is gonna buy momma a new pair of shoes! Placing will be Firenze Fire (50-1 odds, but Florence King’s spirit says this is a sure thing, so momma is gonna get an entire closet of shoes), and in the Show position let’s go with Mendelssohn. I don’t know how well the colt can run (the odds are 5-1), but he sure can write music.
Given the theme of the day, given the news obsession of the week just ending, as attending art I’ve chosen this poster from the 1935 movie starring Noah Beery Jr. (he played the dad on The Rockford Files). It seems very apropos, in part because it boasts of “the most terrific scenes ever caught by camera” — which I bet Ms. Daniels might claim too. OK, on with the show . . .
1. POTUS wannabes Bernie Sanders and Cory Booker are floating competing “job guarantee” legislation proposals that are as preposterous as the media fawning over them. Our editorial says that, and plenty more. Here’s a slice:
Right now, 50 million Americans make less than $15 an hour. If Sanders’s proposal were to become law tomorrow, what would happen? Tens of millions of Americans would take government jobs, leaving their former employers in the private sector in the lurch and hampering productivity. Some private employers surely would raise wages to compete with the government. Yet many of the jobs-guarantee plans would index government wages to inflation, potentially causing an inflationary spiral as private employers face pressure to continue paying workers more for their labor. A way out for the private sector would be to invest in automation, a good in itself, but surely an unwelcome unintended consequence for supporters of these proposals.
2. There’s a very solid conservative running for Senate in West Virginia. He’s Patrick Morrisey, the very capable state AG, and our editorial endorses him in the Republic primary. Dig it:
There’s no doubt that the Democratic incumbent, Joe Manchin, is running scared. He has, so far, deftly handled the politics of a state that has been rapidly becoming more Republican. But it’s not going to be easy hanging on when Donald Trump won West Virginia by 42 points. Manchin has never faced the sort of challenge he is likely to get this year from a serious, well-funded Republican opponent. We hope that opponent is Patrick Morrisey.
3. Let’s back-burner the Nobel talk and get Rocket Man to the table — the one Trump has to be willing to walk away from. We opine: Keep the pressure on. From our editorial:
There is no reason to believe that Kim has given up on his goal of detaching the U.S. from its alliance with South Korea, toward the strategic end of eventually absorbing the South under Pyongyang’s rule, a core ideological commitment of his regime. If Kim is indeed departing from the long-held orthodoxies of his gangster state, he is at risk of Gorbachev-ing himself and unraveling his totalitarian system. This would be a boon to humanity, but is almost certainly not his intention.
1. It’s an eclectic episode of The Editors: The Notorious Gang of Four — Rich, Charlie, Michael Brendan Dougherty, and Luke Thompson — discuss Mueller’s leaked questions, Marco Rubio’s criticism of the Republicans’ tax-reform package, and Joy Reid’s time-traveling hacker. Grab the earbuds and listen, right here.
2. In an exceptional episode (in my humble opinion) of The Remnant with Jonah Goldberg, Nick Eberstadt shares his ample wisdom on all things North Korea. Pay heed, here.
3. On The Great Books, John Miller is joined by Hillsdale College colleague Kelly Scott Franklin to discuss Henry David Thoreau’s Walden. You won’t regret it: Listen here.
4. Then we’ve got two episodes of The Bookmonger to thrill you. On the first, JJM discusses Suicide of the West with Jonah. Catch it here. And then author Joyce Lee Malcolm joins John to discuss The Tragedy of Benedict Arnold: An American Life. Don’t be a traitor! Listen here.
5. He’s back: Herr Nordlinger does some Jaywalking and talks about everything from Mitt Romney to deodorant. Listen here, it’s no sweat.
6. There’s a terrific interview with education rethinker Laura Sandefur on Reality Check with Jeanne Allen. You really have to listen, and can do that here.
7. Alexandra and David discuss the Alfie aftermath on the new episode of Ordered Liberty. Listen here.
Eleven Amazing NRO Pieces that Will Raise Your IQ Merely by Your Reading Them
1. Old NR pal Henry Payne goes to Washington — the one in Michigan, the same (Democrat-heavy) spot when Donald Trump spoke on the night of the now-infamous White House Correspondents Dinner — and contrasts it with the mindset of the residents of our (other-kind-of-Democrat-heavy) Nation’s Capital. Here’s a chunk:
But it shouldn’t have been. Macomb County, after all, was famously the home of the Reagan Democrats who swept the 1980 Republican nominee to power as working-class voters felt alienated from the Democratic party, economically and culturally. Clinton pollster Stanley Greenberg made his name with a 1985 study of the county’s Reagan voters, and a generation of journalists followed him here to write books and learn the lesson of Macomb. But today, 30 years on, a new generation of Democratic media aren’t interested in the lessons of the 2016 Trump Democrats. Marinated in partisanship, they only want to be part of the #Resistance.
2. Karl Marx may have been wrong (no “may have”), but on America’s college campuses, the Old Rotten Fool still sends a thrill up the leg of leftist academics. Ben Shapiro has written a great piece, from which:
The Left will never let him go, because he offers the only true alternative to the religious view of human nature — the view of man that says he is not a blank slate, not an angel waiting for redemption, but a flawed creature capable of great things. To achieve those great things is hard work. To change ourselves on an individual level is hard work. To spout about the evils of society — that’s certainly easy enough.
3. Marco Rubio has only two cheers for the corporate tax cuts enacted in late 2017. Here’s how he ends his NRO piece:
Conservative principles still work. But they need to be applied to the characteristics of a new and very different economy. Globalization and technology have already disrupted the lives of millions of working Americans. Advances in automation and artificial intelligence are only going to exacerbate these trends. If conservatism is going to be relevant and attractive in the new economy, it needs to understand how much our economy has changed and address the opportunities and the challenges created by these developments.
4. Henry Olsen takes to the Corner and has Rubio’s back. From his post:
The supply side orthodoxy that holds the Republican party in its grip seems unwilling to consider that perhaps the world has changed since 1980. Back then, cutting taxes for individuals and corporations meant the bulk of that money would be spent or re-invested in America. Today that is far from assured. Back then, the computing revolution was in its infancy. Apple’s famous 1984 ad promoting its then–state of the art personal computer aired nearly three years after the Reagan tax cuts passed. Today, driverless trucks are said to be around the corner, a development that would cost nearly 3 million American men, largely without college degrees, their middle-class-wage-paying jobs. The senator thinks that tax and economic policies should take account of these new challenges. I agree. It appears, the high priests of supply side do not.
5. Richard Goldberg paid strict attention to Israel prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech revealing Iran’s agreement-busting nuclear-weapons program. It’s time for America to kill the Iran deal. From his analysis:
Since Iran violated the nuclear deal’s preliminary condition for sanctions relief — the full disclosure of its past and present work on nuclear weapons — and violated its ongoing commitment to never pursue nuclear weapons, the Trump administration should trigger the agreement’s procedures to restore international sanctions imposed by the United Nations Security Council. As this “snapback” process unfolds, America should re-impose its own sanctions, bringing back pressure on Iran’s central bank, its key economic sectors, and nearly all Iranian financial institutions. Trump should also insist that Europe follow suit, ordering the SWIFT financial-messaging service to stop serving Iranian banks that are once again subject to sanctions.
6. Lee Edwards regards America’s cultural crisis, and finds a response to it in the works of Russell Kirk. It’s a great piece, well worth your attention. Here is an appetizer:
Kirk laid down a philosophical foundation for a conservative social order.
First, conservatives need to revive the classical definition of justice — “to every man the things which are his due,” no less and no more. Kirk believed that this should be the animating moral principle of a people.
Second, conservatives need to remind Americans to love our country. To paraphrase Barry Goldwater, extremism in the defense of patriotism is no vice.
Third, conservatives need to emphasize that the task of the United States as “the greatest of powers” is the preservation of justice and peace. This may be the most difficult undertaking, Kirk admitted, because “national vanity is as difficult for states to subdue as spiritual pride is rebellious within man.” In this present cultural crisis, we need Russell Kirk’s idea of ordered liberty more than ever.
7. Jim Geraghty takes to the Corner to report on some polling data that Senate Democrat incumbents will find very troubling. The bottom line: “this is a terrific time to be a GOP challenger with a ‘it’s time for a change’ message, running in a red state against a Democrat incumbent. The ‘deserves reelection’ numbers for these incumbents are abysmal.” Read it in full here. Alexandra DeSanctis also reflected on the poll.
8. There is never a day that passes that doesn’t beg for some of Andy McCarthy’s expert analysis. This week, he took on a theme he has hit before: the folly of the special prosecutor appointments. From his piece:
A president should not be subjected to prosecutorial scrutiny over poor judgment, venality, bad taste, or policy disputes. Absent concrete evidence that the president has committed a serious crime, the checks on the president should be Congress and the ballot box — and the civil courts, to the extent that individuals are harmed by abusive executive action. Otherwise, a special-counsel investigation — especially one staffed by the president’s political opponents — is apt to become a thinly veiled political scheme, enabling the losers to relitigate the election and obstruct the president from pursuing the agenda on which he ran.
9. Prom-Dress Insanity One: Jonah Goldberg slaps the multiculturalists who are hissy-fitting over this nice Utah girl’s decision to wear a “Chinese” prom dress (her name is Keziah Daum, by the way). From his column:
Cultural appropriation manifested itself in every society and civilization since the concepts of society and civilization were born. We are living through the greatest period of poverty alleviation in all of human history right now because countries in Asia and Africa have appropriated many economic policies and practices — free markets, property rights, etc. — that began as quirky artifacts of English and Dutch culture.
But Western civilization is a bit different from other civilizations because, until very recently, it prided itself for its ability to embrace, and borrow from, other cultures. To be sure, some of that appropriation happened at the tip of a sword or gun, but show me a civilization that wasn’t true of at one point or another.
10. Prom-Dress Insanity Two: David French doubles down on the same. Here’s why it matters:
It’s indicative of how the people who care the most about identity and oppression are seized by rage and unreason. And because cultures are shaped and defined by those who care the most, Daum’s story is not just a Twitter story; it’s increasingly the American story.
11. Will public folks please just stop apologizing for anything and everything? Phil DeVoe (WJ editor and proofreader — break his chops if you find typos) is on the Mea Culpa Watch. From his essay:
Yet another class of apologies, and perhaps the most striking, consists of those made to remedy a statement that is in line with the accepted opinion but perceived by some as too close to a criticism of it. One example is of a library in Chicago that displayed a poem supportive of Islam. While such a poem would ordinarily be welcome, the poet made the unwise decision to use satire to make his support more persuasive, causing the poem to appear as an endorsement of anti-Islamic sentiment on first glance. (It didn’t help that it was titled “Hijab means Jihad” nor that it was set against a photo of the Confederate flag.) After patrons complained, the library’s administrators caved, removing the poem and issuing the requisite apology.
1. At The Conservative Online, the mainly Over There production of Dan Hannan and his compatriots, Benjamin Pogorel and Edmund Fitzalan Howard, ask and answer “Is Our Sovereignty Under Threat?” — essentially, from the EUcrats in Brussels. It’s an interesting piece. From it:
Sometimes violent competition, sometimes peaceful cooperation between the nations of Europe have pushed the people of Europe beyond any expectations. A “one size fits all” Europe does not exist and should not exist; the European technocrat needs to understand that. The uniformity of arbitrary rules (as an example the 3% public deficit in the Euro-Zone) is simply not adapted to the needs and economical discrepancies that compose its participating countries. Already its members rarely respect its content. Even the leading pro-EU powers France and Germany have infringed on EU rules including public deficit and the exceeding current ratio.
The smaller nations of Europe also feel no need to obey or respect the rule of the EU. The handling of the refugee crisis, in certain areas, has failed to meet the expectations that many of us hold from the EU. Their blanket policy fails to appreciate the nuances of each individual country, another example of where greater cooperation would be favourable to greater integration.
2. Get the Helmet: While I’ve got Britain on the brain, in Jolly Old London at CapX, Ian Kearns pens the ominously titled commentary, “Forget Brexit: The EU May Be on the Brink of Collapse.”
In the evocative and beautifully written memoir of May 1968 included in his autobiographical Gentle Regrets (2005), the English philosopher Roger Scruton also excoriates the nihilism he saw all around him when he was living and studying in Paris during those crucial weeks. Scruton was perplexed by the antipathy that privileged students directed at a bourgeoisie that rebuilt the freedom and prosperity of France from the ruins of the Second World War and the Nazi occupation. What good could come from the children of the middle classes playing at “toy barricades”?
Scruton saw no vision of France and French culture of the kind that was so eloquently expressed in de Gaulle’s War Memoirs (1955). De Gaulle had a “certain idea of France,” noble and elevated, one that combined loyalty to country with great enterprises. No Napoléon, he always respected the basic liberties of the French people. His vision was constructive and had nothing to do with the “adolescent insouciance” of pseudo-revolutionaries intent on “throwing away all customs, institutions, and achievements.” The greatest French statesman of the century placed his faith in the best resources of French and European civilization.
4. As it is every week, Bill McGurn’s Wall Street Journal column is a beaut. This week he takes the 50th anniversary of the publishing of Paul Erlich’s Population Bomb to declare that the book and the argument it projected was a big, fat dud. From Bill’s column:
Mr. Ehrlich’s book sold three million copies, and his crabbed worldview became an unquestioned orthodoxy for the technocratic class that seems to welcome such scares as an opportunity to boss everyone else around. In this way the missionary fervor once directed toward Christianizing the globe found its late-20th-century expression as proselytizing for population control. Thus Robert McNamara, whose leadership would prove even more destructive at the World Bank than it had been in Vietnam, would declare overpopulation a graver threat than nuclear war—because the decisions to have babies or not were “not in the exclusive control of a few governments but rather in the hands of literally hundreds of millions of individual parents.”
5. Syracuse University fires an adjunct professor. Why? Because he sent a private communication to officials in defense of free speech. Greg Piper at The College Fix has the story.
6. Turkey’s foreign minister is calling on European nations to “recognize Islamophobia as ‘a hate crime and a form of racism’ in their constitutions.” Uzay Bulut has the story at Gatestone.
1. Are conservative ideas allowed on college campuses today? That’s the question John Stossel takes on in his new video.
2. If you get to control words, then you get to control the culture (and the politics downstream). Michael Knowles discusses this in the new Prager U video.
Yeah, This Is Terrific
Cato Institute is having its big dinner in NYC on May 17, 2018, where it will bestow the Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty to Las Damas de Blanco, the tough and brave and wonderful Cuban “Ladies in White.” So, so happy they are being honored. To get more information, and to get a ticket, visit here.
(By the way: If you want to keep up with what the island’s freedom-denying Commies are doing to torment its residents, check out Babalu Blog).
It might be the saddest-ever ancient (we are talking 1884) professional “Major League” team — but darn, it sure had a cool name: the St. Paul Apostles.
Remember, on escalators, stand to the right so folks can walk to the left. This also applies to airport moving sidewalks. Floss regularly. Pray for the forgotten dead. Toss us a few sawbucks: visit the NR 2018 Spring Webathon (there’s at least a plenary indulgence for all donors!). Then, to reward yourself for a good deed, book your cabin on NR’s 2018 “Buckley Legacy” Cruise at www.nrcruise.com.
God’s blessings on you and yours,
I cannot escape your criticism: email it and anything else to me at email@example.com.