Dear Weekend Jolters,
Say it . . . That’s the only way we can keep from destroying the planet!
With apologies to Patricia Neal. And to the late Zsa Zsa. This confused thought from the fevered-brain-swamp of your Humble Correspondent was instigated in part by Mr. Kyle Smith, who is more than just a pretty-faced movie critic, but an astute observer of Elizabeth Warren, who he too finds may have some beyond-our-stratosphere home . . . because sure as Venus smells like rotten eggs her ideas are way out there, and stinky. More on that below.
Before we get there . . .
Let me remind you that there is a National Review Rhine River Charter Cruise taking place April 19–26, 2020, on AmaWaterways’ glorious AmaMora, commencing in Basil, Switzerland (there is a pre-cruise stay in Lucerne), and visiting wonderful cities and towns (including Strasbourg and Cologne) before arriving at its destination, Amsterdam.
This will be a true once-in-a-lifetime experience, so do come. And know that you will be in the company of terrific conservative speakers (who, as we sail up the Rhine, through its fascinating locks and past vistas of vineyards and castles and abbeys and charming hamlets, will engage in scintillating discussions of the day’s most important topics) including Rich Lowry, Daniel Hannan, John O’Sullivan, Amity Shlaes, Seth Lipsky, Charles Kesler, Sally Pipes, Jay Nordlinger, Kevin Williamson, David Pryce-Jones, Nina Shea, and Adam Meyerson.
The sailing offers tours galore, and the fact that this is a just-us-conservatives NR charter means that there will be a very special camaraderie. So how to get complete information? You can visit www.nrcruise.com to find all the information you will need. If you prefer to speak to an actual living breathing someone, do call the good folks at The Cruise and Vacation Authority (M–F, 9AM–5PM, Eastern) at 1-844-754-4566.
And about one of those speakers — this week, my dear pal Amity Shlaes, author of bestsellers like The Forgotten Man and Coolidge: This week her new work of genius, Great Society: A New History, hit the bookstores. Alan Greenspan (yes, that Alan Greenspan) sad that the book “is an accurate history that reads like a novel, covering the high hopes and catastrophic missteps of our well-meaning leaders.”
I’d argue with his meaning of “well-meaning,” but he is right — the book is an important work of history that tells the truth of a moment when our LBJ’d government grew in size and dreamed socialist dreams. Do get a copy (we’re going to discuss it on the Rhine!).
If You Were Hungering for Links to 19 Terrific National Review Articles, You Are in Luck!
1. The promised Kyle Smith reflection on Candidate Warren’s latest plan and cause — eradicating traffic violence — might be something that only a figure not of this planet or galaxy might conjure up (the result of a poll conducted by an extra-asteroidal James Carville?). From the piece:
“Traffic violence” is quite a phrase. In the end, it may be all that anyone remembers of Warren’s decreasingly persuasive but increasingly eccentric campaign. In this bold new framing, cars are not the principal way Americans get around, with fatalities being an unfortunate but blessedly rare occurrence (one per 100,000,000 vehicle miles traveled, a rate that is down more than 80 percent in my lifetime). No, to Warren, cars are instruments of violence like, I don’t know, nunchucks or fuel-injected guillotines, and so she issues her clarion tweet to #EndTrafficViolence. So, right now, November 18, 2019, “it’s time” for us to zero out deaths from cars? How? On what planet?
I ask because I think there is a reason Warren keeps proposing ideas that are so obviously misconceived, impractical, or downright bonkers on planet Earth. She is from some other. An extraterrestrial species from the Nebulon-631 star cluster sent her down to mess with us, to see how far a barely disguised alien life form could rise to power on earth, but here’s the fun detail: The Nebulonians are not a superior life form. In fact, they’re a bit thick. Nebulon’s visionaries and seers, its éminences grises and starchy mandarins, mostly attended Nebulese community colleges on volleyball scholarships but dropped out in the first semester grousing about undue homework burdens.
This is why it’s so amusing watching the Harvard-stamped youth at a place such as Vox write stories like “Elizabeth Warren’s Reasonable and Well-Thought Plan to Raise Taxes by Eleventy Bajillion Dollars but Totally Without Taxing Any Vox Readers, Explained.” You have to do some microdosing or practice rhetorical yoga to convince yourself that an obvious case of interplanetary trolling actually holds together on any level.
2. More on Liz Lunacy: economist Michael Strain nails her wealth-tax scheme for being drastic and unethical. From the Corner post:
Senator Warren would impose a 2 percent annual tax on wealth above $50 million, and a 6 percent annual tax on wealth above $1 billion.
These numbers may seem small, but remember that they would be applied every year. With wealth taxes, small numbers have large effects. Applied to an asset yielding a steady return of 1.8 percent (roughly what you’d get from a 10-year Treasury note), a 6 percent wealth tax is the equivalent of a 333 percent income tax.
If Senator Warren’s wealth tax had been in effect since 1982, Warren Buffett’s 2018 net worth would have been $14.5 billion, rather than the $88.3 billion it actually was. Jeff Bezos would have had about one-third of his current wealth. Bill Gates’s wealth would have been 81 percent less.
This is a time of great forgetting, and one of the things that has been forgotten is why we have a federal government and what it is there to do.
From Senator Marco Rubio and his “common-good capitalism” to Senator Elizabeth Warren and her “accountable capitalism,” politicians right and left who want politicians to have more power over private economic decisions assume a dilemma in which something called “capitalism” must be balanced against or made subordinate to something called the “common good.” This is the great forgetful stupidity of our time.
Capitalism is not a rival to the common good. Capitalism, meaning security in one’s own property and in the right to work and to trade, is the common good that governments exist to secure.
The U.S. government exists to see to the liberty of the American people. That is it. That is its only reason for being. It is an instrument and a convenience, the purpose of which is to ensure that Americans are able to enjoy their liberty and property — liberty and property being overlapping concepts.
What is contemplated by Senator Rubio and Senator Warren — along with a few batty adherents of the primitive nonidea known in Catholic circles as “integralism” and everywhere else more forthrightly as “totalitarianism” — is to invert the purpose of the U.S. government. Protecting Americans against those who would use force to curtail their liberty and take control of their property for their own ends is the duty of government; Rubio, Warren, et al. would have the government become the party that curtails Americans’ liberty and takes control of their property for its own ends. Which is to say, in the name of the “common good,” they would organize an assault on the actual common good the U.S. government was in fact constituted to protect. This account isn’t fringe libertarianism — it’s right there in the founding documents.
Related: As referenced in the last episode of The Weekend Jolt, David Harsanyi leveled the first critique of the Rubio speech, which you can find here.
4. Declan Leary decides to have Rubio’s back and take to task the Senator’s critics. From his piece:
The statistics Harsanyi cites to support capitalism’s progress in quality of life show only that we are better off than we were at the end of the 19th century. It is true that more companies are now offering paid parental leave than ever before, but the very concept of “parental leave” is necessitated only by the two-job households and the separation of productive work from the home and family that have resulted from largely unbridled capitalism. He writes that American workers have more free time than they once did, without recognizing that the 19th century (his point of comparison) was a time of extraordinarily grueling work trends when compared with earlier periods, as Boston College sociologist Juliet Schor has shown. That capitalism at the present moment is doing better than capitalism at its very worst is not a very good argument against attempts to rein in capitalism’s excesses.
Coarse-grained economic statistics do not resolve the debate. Of course the economy responds to different policies in different ways. But one could certainly dispute the importance of GDP growth against falling leisure time, disintegrating families, and rotting culture — as Rubio rightly does. That we might introduce policies to support family life and other areas of concern, even if they come at the expense of certain economic indicators, should not be unthinkable to conservatives.
5. Oh yeah?! David Harsanyi hits back. From his rebuttal:
I don’t think it’s worth cataloging the scores of strawmen wandering around Declan Leary’s piece defending Marco Rubio’s illiberal turn. (I’ve written extensively elsewhere on the array of improvements markets have afforded Americans over the past 40 years, if anyone is interested.) But some thoughts hit me while reading it:
1. Though the anti-capitalists have near-religious certitude that consumerism, open markets, and new technologies are corroding the nation’s soul, they don’t really have a coherent policy agenda to combat the scourge that is modernity — at least not one they’re willing to share. My naïve position is clear: economic policy should maximize economic freedom, so that most Americans can compete and thrive in an open marketplace that provides them with goods and services that allow them to live freer, healthier, more meaningful lives. How they define meaning is up to them.
The unanswered question is: What kind of policy does Rubio believe will bring back the halcyon days of the 18th century, when men spent their 40-odd years on Earth as models of probity, engaging in the dignified and productive work of tilling the land? What menu of economic reforms does Rubio propose will heal the frayed family? What laws will we pass to impel women to stay home and have more children? How will inhibiting international trade and forcing companies to invest in unproductive manufacturing jobs, as Rubio suggests, stop men from watching their cheap televisions and attending mass again? I submit it would take a New Deal–type effort in social engineering to “reimagine” the entire economy. Is that what Rubio wants?
6. Then Kevin Williamson wonders loudly about Declan’s knowledge of farming. From his Corner post:
One of the few truly general laws of human behavior is that subsistence farmers given the choice will choose almost any other occupation. The farmers were not driven off their land in the United States. They left as quickly as they could. They have done the same in India, China, Mexico, and practically every other place in the world in which economic development liberated people from the privation and misery of low-capital farming. My parents and grandparents picked cotton, and I can inform you that “dignity” was not among their leading motivations — desperation and the specter of hunger were.
7. But then Michael Brendan Dougherty weighs in, thematically, against KDW’s Rubio-et-al. criticisms. From the piece:
On matters of Church and state, Williamson puts Thomas Jefferson, President John Adams, and liberty on one side, and the abyss of Josef Ratzinger, Ahmari, Il Duce, and the common good on the other. Government, Williamson informs us, is “not a fitting instrument of moral instruction,” and we should not invest “mere political functionaries with the power of moral compulsion.” Williamson implies that such ambitions are pharaonic — they had to be humbled by ten plagues for the lesson to settle in that we should not put our trust in princes.
Williamson believes the only proper object of government is securing liberty. Liberty to do what is presumably the next question. But I presume he would object if some enthusiastic God-botherer like Ahmari tried to write into an American constitution a directive about “the duty of all men in society, publicly and at stated seasons, to worship the Supreme Being, the great Creator and Preserver of the universe.” Or even worse, if such a constitution said that “the happiness of a people and the good order and preservation of civil government essentially depend upon piety, religion, and morality” and made provision for the government to intervene when people don’t set up “the institution of public worship of God” voluntarily. This is precisely what the President Adams put near the top of the constitution that he wrote for Massachusetts.
Does Williamson believe that the Massachusetts of 1780 was a fascist state? Does he think Adams’s provision that the institution of public worship be made by the government (where it wasn’t volunteered) led to jackboots? I seriously doubt it. On the other hand, the current Massachusetts Supreme Court believes that Adams hid the concept of same sex-marriage within the same constitution. People claim to believe anything when expedient. But if Massachusetts wasn’t a prison house in 1780, then maybe just maybe we’re exaggerating the enmity between the Founders and concepts like “the common good.”
8. To quote the great Billy Mays, “But I’m not done yet:” Daniel Tenreiro looks East towards Japan and realizes there is something to learn in its industrial policy that applies to L’Affaire Rubio. From the beginning of the commentary:
Industrial policy is back in vogue. On November 5, Senator Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) gave a speech at the Catholic University of America decrying the decline of American manufacturing. Rubio argued that shareholder primacy — whereby a corporation’s primary goal is to maximize value for its owners — caused the decline, and that American capitalism should instead focus on the “common good.” By this he meant that the federal government should promote high-paying, stable employment by investing in manufacturing.
Over the weekend, Sridhar Kota and Tom Mahoney sounded a similar tune in the Wall Street Journal. Kota and Mahoney, researchers at MForesight, a think tank dedicated to the study of advanced manufacturing, argued that outsourcing manufacturing jobs has led to a decline in innovation. “Once manufacturing departs from a country’s shores, engineering and production know-how leaves as well, and innovation ultimately follows,” they argue, citing increases in the foreign share of manufacturing research and development (R&D).
In concurrence with Rubio, Kota and Mahoney call for an “Industrial Policy 2.0,” which would boost domestic R&D and mandate that innovative hardware be manufactured domestically. This proposal echoes that of the Manhattan Institute’s Oren Cass, who has spent the past two years advocating a renewal of American manufacturing.
9. As John Fund observes, leftward-bound Michael Bloomberg was stopped and frisked on the way to entering the Democratic presidential primaries. The Soda Hater has lost his fizz. From the piece:
We now know Michael Bloomberg is going to run for president. He’s turning himself into a pander bear.
During his three terms as New York City’s mayor, Bloomberg was famous for dismissing politically correct criticism and refusing to apologize for it.
But there he was on Sunday at an African-American megachurch in Brooklyn saying he was sorry for the stop-and-frisk policy he used so successfully to break the back of crime and reduce the murder rate in New York City by 50 percent.
Under stop-and-frisk, police officers were authorized to search people if they were suspected of illegal activity while carrying a weapon. Critics said the practice was disproportionately used against blacks and Hispanics. After Bloomberg left office in 2013, a judge ruled that the tactic had been used unconstitutionally. Bloomberg denounced the decision of Bill de Blasio, his successor as mayor, to dramatically reduce stop-and-frisk.
10. Victor Davis Hanson says Adam Schiff doesn’t have enough tics to toc in his impeachment clock. From the piece:
From the day Schiff reemerged after his licking his wounds in hibernation, following the Mueller implosion, his efforts have insidiously gone downhill. Once Trump released the transcript of his July 25th call with Ukrainian president Zelensky, the nation learned that the Schiff’s gold-standard whistleblower was no such thing. Instead, he seems a rank partisan and sloppy leaker whose machinations and background are already boomeranging back on those who put him up to this present circus.
Schiff never expected that Trump would release a classified transcript of his own presidential call — Democrats expected secrecy and coverup, much as the deep-state intelligence-agency miscreants acted unethically and illegally on the presumption that Hillary Clinton would be easily elected and their dishonest efforts would be rewarded and kept quiet.
One of the strangest developments of the opening inquiry was Schiff’s own doubling-down admission that he didn’t know the name of the whistleblower. After previously lying that neither he nor his staff had contact with the whistleblower (“We have not spoken directly with the whistleblower”) — he now ups the ante, apparently assuming that neither his staff nor the whistleblower will testify under oath.
Schiff’s astounding assertion that he doesn’t know the whistleblower’s name is as hard to believe as Robert Mueller’s own congressional testimony that he was not familiar with Fusion GPS — the font of the entire Steele dossier that itself fueled the collusion fantasy that led to Mueller’s own appointment.
11. More Schiff: Andy McCarthy says that the Impeachment Czar needs to learn a thing or three about “bribery.” From the analysis:
The Framers made “Treason, Bribery, and other high Crimes and Misdemeanors” the triggers for impeachment. Obviously, they were referring to bribery of a high order, on the scale of treason. The latter offense involves making war on the U.S., including giving the enemy aid and comfort. Enemies are foreign powers with which we are at war. The Framers, however, were worried that other foreign powers — even ones with which we are at peace — could corrupt an American president. Bribery was meant to fill that gap. It made impeachment available if a president was bribed by a foreign power to put the might of the United States in the service of the foreign power at the expense of the American people.
Schiff and the Democrats would reject this construction of bribery in the Constitution. Their position is that if it’s bribery under the federal statute, that’s good enough to impeach a president.
But is that really what they think?
On Wednesday, Ambassador Gordon Sondland testified about the two afore-described “official acts” that the Ukrainians sought from President Trump. Sondland said he could only be sure about one of them: the White House visit. As for the second, Sondland could only “deduce” that Trump was holding back on the defense aid to nudge Ukraine into announcing the investigations. Over time, Sondland inferred that the aid was being delayed and worried that it might not be transferred. He directly asked President Trump, who exclaimed that there was “no quid pro quo” — though this was less than convincing: Trump continued to insist that he wanted to Zelensky to do what was “right,” and Sondland understood that the aid was caught in a “stalemate” that could be undone only if it announced it would do the investigations.
Democrats spent most of Sondland’s hours of testimony pushing him very hard on this second official act, the provision of defense aid. Schiff and majority counsel, Daniel Goldman, repeatedly walked Sondland through the timeline and got him to agree that he’d “put two and two together.” Why the vigorous effort to induce an admission (which Sondland could not give) that the aid was absolutely conditional on the investigations?
12. More VDH: Once upon a Reset . . . the Good Professor watches the hearings and compares the Democrats’ Obama-Years sheepishness toward Putin to their current fierceness over the Trump Administration’s antithesis. From the analysis:
But Trump’s 2017–19 record stands in stark contrast to all of the above: Pulling out of an asymmetrical anti-missile deal, arming the Ukrainians with lethal aid, defeating and killing Russian mercenaries in Syria, beefing up U.S. defense, jawboning NATO to rearm, opposing energy deals between Germany and Russia, and pushing for more U.S. gas and oil production and exports that stabilized or lowered global export prices. Are these witnesses going to criticize Trump’s “unfair” dismantling of Obama’s Russian reset on grounds that he knew Putin had tried to sabotage his campaign via having Russian operatives seeding Christopher Steele’s phony dossier? . . .
Many of the witnesses are fine public servants, but their current and frequently expressed discontent over Trump’s Ukraine policy would find a more credible audience had they shown the prior courage to disagree with a past president popular within the ranks of the Washington bureaucracy who nonetheless did a lot of damage to Ukraine, by empowering Vladimir Putin and failing to adopt the measures that Trump rather quickly embraced and implemented.
There are two constants in these entire hearings: presumptions, assumptions, and conjectures from civil servant A about what civil servant B said or thought, and outrage at a temporary delay in lethal military juxtaposed by past silence over its prior nonexistence — which explains why what was born with a bang is ending with a whimper.
13. Michael Brendan Dougherty took in Senator Josh Hawley’s speech critiquing what life has become for too many Americas. He finds much that is persuasive. From the analysis:
Missouri senator Josh Hawley might be the most interesting thinker the U.S. Senate has seen since Daniel Patrick Moynihan. Or at least, he’s the senator today who most resembles Moynihan as a sweeping and adventurous social critic.
Last night, at a dinner held by the American Principles Project Foundation, Hawley gave a remarkable speech. Like most good political speeches, it was straightforward and accessible. But unlike most good political speeches, it was also a searing piece of cultural criticism, an indictment of America’s economic and social arrangements. This is notable because at the moment, the president of the United States — a man who happens to belong to Hawley’s party — is touting the unparalleled success of the American economy.
14. Pete Buttigieg is having problems relating to black Democrat voters. Jim Geraghty looks at the prexy wannabe’s flubs. From the analysis:
Buttigieg’s recent outreach to African Americans was painfully awkward. His campaign sought out Democratic figures to sign on in support of his “Douglass Plan for Black America” and then put out a release that left the impression they were endorsing Buttigieg’s presidential bid. Of the 297 names of figures registered to vote in South Carolina, at least 42 percent were white. Then the media determined that the photo of a black woman smiling at a young black boy that had been splashed for weeks across the web page detailing Buttigieg’s plan to combat racial inequality . . . depicted a woman and boy from Kenya. Buttigieg himself didn’t pick out the photo, but it reinforced an existing tone-deaf image.
Think of the sorts of Democratic voters who are wowed by Buttigieg so far — gays, the donor class, the meritocratic elites in Manhattan or California — and now compare them with African Americans living in the South Carolina cities of Marion (median income $31,725), Orangeburg ($27,564), or Dillon ($38,344). Do you think Buttigieg’s résumé of Harvard University, Oxford, and McKinsey Consulting is automatically going to impress them? Or do you think they might see his life experience as quite different from theirs? Note that in the Quinnipiac poll, 32 percent of black likely primary voters said “someone who cares about people like you” is the most important quality they seek in a candidate.
At 37, Buttigieg is the youngest candidate, and whether or not you concur with President Trump’s assessment that he looks like Alfred E. Neuman, he looks young, and it doesn’t help that he’s roughly five feet, eight inches tall. Buttigieg is seeking the support of voters older than him. In 2016, almost two-thirds of the people who voted in the Democratic presidential primary in South Carolina were over age 45.
15. James Knight says that we need to refamiliarize ourselves with, and embrace, the Ninth Amendment. From the piece:
The inclusion of an amendment dictating constitutional interpretation is a result of serious worries among the founding generation that a Bill of Rights would actually lead to less liberty, not more. James Wilson, one of the Constitution’s drafters, argued that a Bill of Rights would endanger liberty by implying that any rights left off the list were unprotected. Because it would be impossible to list all the rights that a person holds, it was better not to have a Bill of Rights at all. Instead, he argued, the Constitution protected liberty by carefully limiting the powers held by the government.
The Ninth Amendment was the compromise measure. By clarifying that listing certain rights did not mean that other rights were less protected, the drafters thought that they had covered all of their bases. The rights listed in the first ten amendments would be protected, but so would those that were not listed. That was important, because the rights listed in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights amendments are hardly comprehensive. Notably left off the list is the principal right asserted in the Declaration of Independence: the right to “alter or abolish” an unjust and abusive government. This and other rights were included in the Bills of Rights of many state constitutions, but they were not explicitly listed in the Bill of Rights amendments to the national Constitution. The Ninth Amendment ensured that these rights would not be demoted to second-class status, as people like James Wilson had feared.
The Ninth Amendment has grown only more important over time. Though the protections of the Bill of Rights amendments originally applied only to the federal government, the 14th Amendment has been interpreted to apply those protections against state governments as well (although which part of the 14th Amendment does this remains the subject of considerable debate). The Ninth Amendment’s interpretive rule applies here too, foreclosing the argument that only the rights specifically listed in the Bill of Rights are enforceable against the states.
16. Armond White checks out Scott Burns’ The Report and finds it to be an effort in moral superiority. From the review:
As a movie, The Report repeats the same snide perspective as Errol Morris’s Standard Operating Procedure, but it’s less showy. Burns lacks a sense of urgency, so the movie feels like something that sat on a shelf since 2004. (Only Obama’s detached voice on a speaker phone seems fresh — his detachment is hilarious.) Its ancient history seems especially untimely given how recent events have forced the public to be perhaps even more cynical than Vice Media about the CIA and the deep state. (A subplot about Obama’s CIA head John Brennan — played by Ted Levine who was Jame Gumb in Silence of the Lambs — is a surprising inclusion made even more baffling when its revelation of obstreperous Brennan defending his agency’s covert actions goes nowhere. This view of Brennan seems stuck in a time warp.)
Filmed in nearly monochrome drabness as if Burns chose a cliché documentary visual style, The Report looks like nostalgia for that period after George W. Bush won the election when the media felt American guilt was to blame for 9/11 and so could comfortably — brazenly — call Bush stupid as if it was a matter of fact, not vitriol, and without getting clapped back.
17. Safe, Uber-Legal, and Frequent: Alexandra DeSanctis watches the Dem prexy debate and sees a cabal of unfettered-abortion worshippers. From the commentary:
Neither has it occurred to the many Democratic politicians who now promise to “codify Roe” that, aside from being outside the purview of the president and perhaps even Congress, doing so would implement a more-restrictive abortion policy than the one currently in place. Unlike the Supreme Court’s 1992 “undue burden” ruling in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which now sets the judicial standard for challenges to state abortion laws, Roe granted that states had a compelling interest in protecting fetal life later in pregnancy.
That is a premise that few Democratic politicians remain willing to concede, and they proved it again in Wednesday evening’s debate. After Klobuchar insisted that “the women of America” will support Democrats in 2020 because Trump is wrong on abortion — ignoring that American women, including Democratic women, tend to support abortion restrictions at a higher rate than men do — Maddow went on to ask a more interesting question.
“Just this weekend, Louisiana reelected a Democratic governor, John Bel Edwards. He has signed one of the country’s toughest laws restricting abortion,” Maddow said, referring to Louisiana’s heartbeat bill, which would prohibit abortion after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, usually between six and eight weeks’ gestation. “Is there room in the Democratic party for someone like him, someone who can win in a deep-red state but who does not support abortion rights?” she asked Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren.
“I believe that abortion rights are human rights,” Warren replied. “And protecting the right of a woman to be able to make decisions about her own body is fundamentally what we do and what we stand for as a Democratic party.”
But neither Warren nor Vermont senator Bernie Sanders, who dealt with the same question after her, was willing to directly answer the question, despite Maddow’s posing it a second time and asking Warren to be specific. Perhaps that’s because they know they don’t need to give a real answer.
18. More on this: Josh J. Cradock sees a historic precursor to the new love for abortion. From his piece:
The Democratic party’s new defense of abortion on grounds of morality rather than necessity is eerily reminiscent of the transformation in Southern views on slavery between the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The Founding generation tolerated slavery as a “necessary evil,” mindful of the tension between chattel slavery and the Declaration of Independence, with its assertion of equal human dignity and God-given rights. Thomas Jefferson, for example, wrote in 1774 that “the abolition of domestic slavery is the great object of desire in those colonies, where it was unhappily introduced in their infant state.” The Founders supposed slavery to be on the path toward extinction and employed circumlocution to avoid mentioning that “peculiar institution” in the Constitution itself.
The Spirit of ’76 quickly began to fade, however, as southerners argued that, “instead of an evil,” slavery was, in the words of as John C. Calhoun, “a good — a positive good.” Over the next several decades, culminating in the Supreme Court’s decision in Dred Scott v. Sandford, the “positive good” school of thought became predominant. William Harper, who drafted South Carolina’s Nullification Ordinance of 1832, argued that slavery benefited both slave and master and that it constituted the essential basis for the formation of civilization. George Fitzhugh, a sociologist and lawyer, claimed that slavery was not only justifiable but actually economically superior to the Northern free-labor market. He predicted that slavery would eventually spread throughout the country. Responding to such facile defenses of slavery, Abraham Lincoln observed that “although volume upon volume is written to prove slavery a very good thing, we never hear of the man who wishes to take the good of it, by being a slave himself!” (Perhaps President Ronald Reagan had these words in mind when he quipped, “I’ve noticed that everybody who is for abortion has already been born.”)
19. More Armond: He puts the pedal to the metal and revs up the praise for Ford v Ferrari. From the beginning of the review:
There’s a MAGA moment in Ford v Ferrari when the British-immigrant auto mechanic and race-car driver Ken Miles (Christian Bale) stops being a loner and decides to be a team player. He slows down on the track to let the other American drivers on his team join him so they can cruise across the finish line together. This “bringing them in” scene turns out to be Miles’s undoing, relegating him to forgotten history, but it’s one of the few scenes in Ford v Ferrari that audiences unapologetically enjoy; they respond to it as part of their natural, national, car-culture heritage.
Conservatives should pay attention to any element in a Hollywood film that supports their political and moral beliefs. Ford v Ferrari provides that sustenance. Director James Mangold dramatizes the 1964 competition in the 24-hour race at Le Mans, distilled to a three-man alliance of Miles; his mentor, the veteran driver Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon), who had previously raced Le Mans in 1957; and entrepreneur Henry Ford II (Tracy Letts). They bring the Ford Racing Team up to the level of its faster, sleekly engineered European contenders.
The America First implications of Ford v Ferrari can’t be ignored. After the big-screen spectacle and vibrant sound design of revved-up motors and cheering crowds, Mangold swerves into quasi-political points about character. His best scenes show the way ambitious men commit themselves. It’s not about “toxic masculinity,” as producer Jane Rosenthal described Scorsese’s The Irishman (to make it seem progressive). Instead, he revels in high-speed, high-pressure contexts where egotism, expertise, and privilege vie for domination.
Carroll had retired from racing for health reasons but comes alive when he challenges Ford for sponsorship. In turn, the industrialist commands the gladiator: “Go ahead, Carroll. Go to war!” Their jingoistic vernacular is personal.
There’s a New Issue of NR Hot Off the Presses, and You Really Need to Read the Cover Story
The December 9, 2019, issue is now available on NRO, and if you A) are not yet an NRPLUS subscriber who has B) already blown through the limited number of magazine-article freebies we permit each month, then you can C) have a crack at the new edition. And here are four selections you might want to check out, but I have to tell you: The first one is a must-read.
1. There is this insane Texas case of a seven-year-old boy, James Younger, who is, per mom, “trans,” and who is being victimized by Progressives hell-bent on making scalpel-wielding doctors and lawyers and judges and bureaucrats conform to their ordained experiments and fantasies. Madeleine Kearns’s cover story is a masterful investigation of not only this case, but the ideological insanity running amok and victimizing kids just this side of being toddlers. From the beginning of the report:
His mother pulling him by the left arm, his father pulling him by the right, seven-year-old James Younger, dressed in a skirt, looks distressed and confused. His mom, Anne Georgulas, wins the struggle and rests him on her hip. His dad, Jeffrey Younger, calls 911. “Why?” asks James. “She was supposed to give me custody,” his father replies. A video recording of this incident, which occurred on March 8, 2018, at James’s elementary-school open house, was played before a jury in Texas last month. It is a larger symbol of how children such as James Younger have become pawns in the transgender debate.
The Younger case has gained much media attention, in the U.S. and beyond. The New York Times, the Washington Post, and the BBC all seem to cast the father as the villain, in particular for his refusal to agree that his child is transgender. Rolling Stone opines that the Younger story has become a “terrifying right-wing talking point.” Vox is worried about Republican state legislators’ trying to introduce bills prohibiting chemical and surgical interference with the sexual development of children who say they’re transgender, and “what [this] could mean for families nationwide” when “legislators want to have a say in whether Luna Younger should be allowed to socially transition.” For the Left, the Younger story is a tale of backwards attitudes victimizing a child.
In truth, it’s progressive attitudes that are victimizing the child, and James Younger is not an outlier. There are many more just like him, and some in even more dire straits. For years, the medical and legal establishments have been ignoring evidence and bending their standards to please transgender activists, some of whom are clinicians. There are three clinical approaches to helping children who exhibit symptoms of gender confusion. One involves a range of talk therapies and psychotherapies to address suspected underlying causes. A second, called “watchful waiting,” allows the child’s development to unfold as it will, which may mean that he chooses to transition later or not at all.
Then there is a third option—informed by an ideology according to which it is possible for a child to be “born in the wrong body.” In this option, clinical activists recommend a drastic response when a child expresses confusion about gender. First, parents should tell the child, however young, that he truly is the sex he identifies with. Second, parents should consider delaying his puberty through off-label uses of drugs that can have serious (and largely unstudied) side effects. Third, parents should consider giving their child the puberty experience of the opposite sex, through cross-sex hormonal injections and gels (which result in sterility). Finally, parents should consider goodnighting the surgical removal of their child’s reproductive organs.
Since there are no objective tests to confirm a transgender diagnosis, all of this is arbitrary and dependent on a child’s changeable feelings. To make aggressive treatment more acceptable, its advocates have come up with a media-friendly euphemism, “gender affirmation.” If it’s affirming, activists say, it’s also kindness, love, acceptance, and support. The opposite, trying to help a child feel more comfortable with his body, is a rejection: abuse, hatred, “transphobia,” or “conversion therapy” likely to lead to child suicide. This is a lie—a lie designed to obscure a critical truth: that neither a child, nor his parents on his behalf, can truly consent to experimental, life-altering, and irreversible treatments for which there is no evidentiary support.
2. Andy McCarthy explains yet again that impeachment is a decidedly political act. From the essay:
Bear in mind, too, the historical context. At the time the Constitution was adopted, there was no federal penal code as we know it today, much less a Justice Department and an FBI teeming with federal prosecutors and investigators. There was no notion that potential grounds for impeachment would be scrutinized by special counsels and grand juries, or that an impeached president would be treated as the equivalent of an accused and entitled to something like a fair trial before an impartial jury, with all the due-process protections mandated by the Sixth Amendment.
Impeachment and removal were, instead, assigned to the political branches of government. The power to impeach—i.e., to formally allege articles of impeachment—was given exclusively to the House. There is no judicial oversight; no court may instruct the people’s representatives on what qualifies as an impeachable offense or how to conduct the process of alleging one.
The Framers gave some thought to vesting the Supreme Court—or some similarly high-ranking judicial body drawn from state courts—with the power to try impeachments. Yet the idea was quickly dismissed, again because of impeachment’s political nature.
As Hamilton explains in Federalist No. 65, those making the fraught decision of whether to oust an official from public office should “never be tied down by such strict rules, either in the delineation of the offense by the prosecutor, or in the construction of it by judges, as in the common cases serve to limit the discretion of courts.” The Senate, to be composed of distinguished Americans whose six-year terms rendered them less vulnerable to the whims of popular sentiment than House members (who face voters every two years), was deemed the best forum for impeachment trials. Senators would be better suited to exercise the “awful discretion” of deciding whether “to doom to honor or to infamy” presidents and other high officials accused of disqualifying misconduct. The Senate was preferable to a judicial court also because it would bring numerous perspectives to a decision that, in its momentousness, must not be committed to “the trust” of “a small number of persons.”
3. Venice is flooding, and we all know why that is happening, and so does James Lileks, who in his latest “Athwart” fingers the guilty. From the column:
Start with the most obvious cause for the Venice floods: your hamburger. As totally moderate non-crazy right–down–the–middle–of–Main Street Pete Buttigieg said, if you’re eating a hamburger, you’re “part of the problem” when it comes to climate change.
Of course, no one is talking about hamburger confiscation; that’s wacko talk. We just want sensible regulation— a ban on private hamburger transfers (previously known as inviting friends over for a weekend BBQ), an end to the drive-through loophole, and restrictions on a hamburger’s diameter and thickness. Does anyone really need a ¾lb. patty for personal use? Are you telling me that your “right” to a hamburger somehow trumps the right of schoolchildren in Venice to get an education without fear of drowning? Are you aware that there weren’t even hamburgers when the Constitution was written?
As for the gas stove, it’s the next target for elimination, because it uses gas. The Left, if they get control of everything, would ban it from new manufacture nationwide and then ban its replacement and ownership. (Also, Trump is an authoritarian.) If someone in Montana or Florida or Seattle says, “But I prefer gas,” you can only roll your eyes: The citizens of Venice would prefer not to be rescued by helicopter from the roof of the Campanile, but here we are, pal.
4. In his book, The Fire Is upon Us: James Baldwin, William F. Buckley Jr., and the Debate over Race in America, author Nicholas Buccola takes it to our founder. In his review, Alvin Felzenberg takes it to Buccola. From the review:
Buccola delivers a highly readable and accurate account of what Baldwin and Buckley said at Cambridge, as well as a succinct summary of the two men’s philosophies—at least up to the time of their exchange. While he does quote Buckley later expressing regret that he did not endorse civil-rights and voting-rights legislation in 1964 and 1965 (“I once believed that we could evolve our way up from Jim Crow. I was wrong. Federal intervention was necessary.”), he does not believe that Buckley ever in his heart recanted his earlier views supporting racial segregation and the racial superiority of whites, as voiced in editorials he penned during National Review’s early years. Buccola fails to cite other of Buckley’s expressed regrets over his earlier stated views: his wish that NR “had taken a more transcendent position, which might have been done by advocating civil rights with appropriate safeguards” or his lamentation that conservatives had not been “more forceful in their advocacy of civil rights in the 1960s.”
“Racist,” “liar,” and “coward,” Buccola tells us, are words that came to Baldwin’s mind when he thought of Buckley. Obviously, Buccola thinks of Buckley the same way. In his acknowledgments, he informs readers that he came from a conservative family and, in his younger days, participated in Cato Institute summer camps and held an internship at the Heritage Foundation. Buccola assures his readers that his “study of history and political science” led him to “grow up from conservatism.”
So much for breaking new ground, let alone objectivity. Were Buckley able to read this admission, he might question the efficacy of conservative-oriented leadership-training programs. He might also recant advice he gave young admirers to read the introduction to his God and Man at Yale and skip the rest. Buckley might even pick up where he left off in that book, extending his examination of the teaching of economics and religion to include that of history and political science.
Buccola is more familiar with Baldwin’s total body of work than with Buckley’s. His book suffers from his failure to compensate for that weakness. In the course of 482 pages, readers discern that Buckley’s role in the book is to act as a foil against which Baldwin’s brilliance is allowed to shine.
1. At Gatestone Institute, Soeren Kern profiles the fast growth of the Vox populist party in Spain. From the piece:
Spain’s populist party, Vox, more than doubled its seats in parliament after winning 3.6 million votes in general elections held on November 10. The fast-rising conservative party, which entered parliament for the first time only eight months ago, is now the third-largest party in Spain.
Vox leaders campaigned on a “traditional values” platform of law and order, love of country and a hardline approach to anti-constitutional separatists in the northeastern Spanish region of Catalonia.
Vox’s meteoric rise is a direct result of the political vacuum created by the mainstream center-right Popular Party, which in recent years has drifted to the left on a raft of domestic and foreign policy issues, including that of uncontrolled mass migration.
The Socialist Party won the election with 28% of the vote — far short of an outright majority. The Popular Party won 20.8% and Vox won 15.1%. The rest of the votes went to a dozen other parties ranging from the far-left party Podemos (9.8%), the centrist libertarian party Ciudadanos (6.8%), Basque and Catalan nationalist parties and a hodge-podge of regional parties from Aragón, Canary Islands, Cantabria, Galicia, Melilla and Navarra. In all, more than a dozen political parties are now represented in parliament.
Spain has had a multi-party system since the country emerged from dictatorship in 1975, but two parties, the Socialist Party and the Popular Party, predominated until the financial crisis in 2008. After it, both parties underwent ideological splits that resulted in the establishment of breakaway parties.
The fragmentation of Spanish politics has made it difficult to form a coalition government: the November election was the fourth in four years. In the election held in April 2019, Vox won 2.6 million votes, or 10.3%, and entered Parliament for the first time with 24 seats. In the November vote, Vox won nearly a million additional votes and will now have 52 seats in Parliament.
2. At Media Research Center’s Newsbusters, Rich Noyes reports on the MSM’s overwhelming anti-Trump tone in its impeachment coverage. From the piece:
Secret Sources: With most of the developments behind closed doors, the majority of the networks’ impeachment coverage has been based on secret leaks from anonymous sources. Out of 172 news reports, a large majority (59%) relied on unnamed sources for their facts about the impeachment probe. This is slightly higher than when we first checked in late October, when 57 percent of impeachment stories used anonymous sources.
Even Negative Spin on Baghdadi Death: Only two other Trump administration topics have been granted much airtime since the inquiry began: the successful U.S. mission that led to the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (45 minutes before it faded from the newscasts), and the earlier decision of the President to pull U.S. troops out of northern Syria (121 minutes).
The withdrawal of U.S. forces was given witheringly (98%) negative coverage on all three networks, whose journalists routinely framed it as “abandoning” an ally (the Syrian Kurds) in the fight against ISIS.
But while media coverage of the U.S. mission against al-Baghdadi was mostly positive, the President’s role in it was not. Out of nine evaluative statements about the President himself, two-thirds (67%) were negative. These focused on his refusal to brief congressional leaders, as well as his belittling description of the cruel ISIS leader’s last moments (“He died like a dog….He died like a coward….Whimpering, screaming and crying.”)
“It’s possible that President Trump’s bellicose language about the manner in which he died could actually inspire some ISIS fighters to retaliate,” NBC’s Courtney Kube speculated on the October 27 Nightly News.
3. At the Wall Street Journal, the Manhattan Institute’s Jonathan Lesser takes on the climate-change crusade to ban natural gas hookups in new construction (there goes your stove). From his argument:
Those seeking to ban natural-gas hookups in new buildings say it will reduce local pollution and greenhouse-gas emissions, while saving end users money. Some also point to safety benefits: Fewer natural-gas lines means less potential damage during earthquakes.
When you compare the benefits and costs of such policies, however, you will find that their claims have little or no merit.
For starters, if consumers had an economic incentive to use electricity instead of natural gas, there would be no need for bans in the first place. With these kinds of analyses the devil is in the details, and one small detail is that in areas where natural gas is available, it is generally less costly to burn natural gas directly in homes and buildings for things like heating and cooking than to rely on electricity to provide equivalent end-use service.
Consider California, the state at the forefront of natural-gas-hookup bans. Last year, the average price of natural gas in California was about $12.30 per million British thermal units (a measure of the heat content of the fuel), according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. For a homeowner with a new, 95% efficiency natural-gas furnace or water heater, that translates into a cost of just under $13 per million BTUs.
Compare that with the cost of electricity, which averaged 18.84 cents a kilowatt-hour in California in 2018, about 50% higher than the national average. That works out to $55 per million BTUs, more than four times the cost of natural gas. Even heat pumps for space and water heating can’t bridge that gap.
4. More WSJ: Bill McGurn blasts the Left’s attacks on Asian-Americans. From the column:
Asian-Americans have finally made it in America. How do we know? Not from their wealth or educational achievements, but from the way progressives now target those in the community who believe people shouldn’t be judged by skin color. For in so doing, these Asian-Americans have exposed a growing fault line in affirmative-action orthodoxy.
The most recent occasion for progressive grievance comes courtesy of the state of Washington. There, Asian-Americans proved instrumental in killing a law that would have overturned a two-decade-old ban on racial preferences in public education, employment and contracting. To do this, Asian-Americans successfully rallied to force the law onto the ballot—and then defeated it. It’s a staggering achievement in a state that ranks among America’s bluest, and in a contest where the pro-affirmative-action side enjoyed more resources plus the support of the political establishment, including an Asian-American former governor.
The ballot referendum in Washington isn’t the first time Asian-Americans have rebelled against an attempt to sneak racial discrimination back into the law. Five years ago, when California considered a law that would have reversed its own ban on racial preferences, a backlash by the Asian-American community forced three Asian-American Democrats who had voted yes in the state Senate to switch sides—dooming the measure. In New York, Asian-Americans are now battling Mayor Bill de Blasio’s bid to increase the number of African-American and Latino kids at the city’s specialized high schools—at the expense of Asian-American children. Meanwhile, a high-profile lawsuit brought against Harvard for its race-based admissions preferences is likely to end up before the Supreme Court.
5. At Law & Liberty, Theodore Dalrymple has the duty of reviewing David Cameron’s massive new memoir. It’s one of the best hit jobs (and a deserved one) since Sonny got stuck on the causeway. From the review:
No one could read David Cameron’s memoir in a single sitting. Once put down, the reader resumes only with reluctance and a sinking heart. I suspect that reviewers alone will – or could – read it through, and perhaps not even all of them. I found it difficult to stand more than 50 pages at a time, and whenever I restarted I recalled Thomas Babington Macaulay’s words in his review of a two-volume biography of Lord Cecil Burghley: “Compared with the labour of reading through these volumes, all other labour, the labour of thieves on the treadmill, of children in factories, of negroes in sugar plantations, is an agreeable recreation.”
For a man to have been at the peak of political power for six years and to have written a 700-page memoir without a single arresting thought or amusing anecdote, without giving any insight into the important people he has met, and without displaying any interest in, let alone knowledge of, history, philosophy or higher culture, is an achievement of a kind. If banality can startle, Mr. Cameron’s banality startles — because of the position he once occupied. The average barroom bore is Doctor Johnson by comparison. It is only in its vacuity that David Cameron’s memoir achieves significance. It thereby tells us something about both modern politics and the state of education in Britain: for in the latter respect, Mr. Cameron is the product of the elite of the elite. This in itself is reason for the profoundest pessimism.
Only at one point in the book does he come across as a man rather than as a shadow or ghost of a man. His first son was born severely handicapped, of a rare genetic disorder, and died at age six. Here Mr. Cameron writes with feeling, and there is a genuinely touching photograph of him cradling his son in his arms with evident and unaffected tenderness. Such a man, one feels, cannot be truly bad, however much his ascent to the top of the greasy pole must have entailed the exercise of considerable ruthlessness.
He writes in clichés, thinks in clichés, and leaves no cliché unused. The achievement of which he is most proud is the legalization of homosexual marriage in Britain, but the justification that he gives for this measure is worthy of greetings-card poetry: love is love, he says.
6. In the recent issue of Commentary, Naomi Schaffer Riley dives into a new report on stay-at-home moms. From the piece:
When they opt back in, they do not want to return to their former employers. A national study found that only 5 percent of women sought to be rehired. Perhaps, as Stone and Lovejoy argue, it is because their former employers were so unyielding as to drive them out of the workplace to begin with. Or perhaps it’s because something about being at home with kids has changed their orientation. Romano tells them, “I felt like Sybil; you know I’m like trying to twist my head around to go from being, ‘I’ll scratch your eyes out over an eighth of a point’ to, you know, nurturing good mommy.”
Many of them instead decide to retool and launch themselves into professions that are entirely new or only tangentially related to what they did before. They go to work for nonprofits, schools, or philanthropies. Some have to go back to school but others are able to spin volunteer work into connections to new fields. Still more decide to consult part time in their previous fields. Generally speaking, they have little trouble relaunching their careers. A booming economy with low rates of unemployment probably helps.
And here’s the kicker. The women actually like these new jobs better. As the authors write: “While objectively, especially with regard to pay, security and benefits, their new jobs compared invidiously to their former ones, women were much more satisfied with work the second time around.” When the authors first interviewed them about their careers, “women most often indicated mixed feelings or moderate satisfaction, and fully two-thirds reported either low or moderate levels of satisfaction. Rating their current jobs, however, women are highly satisfied, two-thirds giving them the thumbs up.”
Which is great news. Right? Stone and Lovejoy have finally found the answer to the age-old question of what women want. Oh, not so fast, the authors claim. These women may have found some kind of individual happiness. But what about the sisterhood?
BONUS: In The New Criterion, Daniel Mahoney reviews the new English publication of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s March 1927: The Red Wheel, Node III, Book 2. To say he praises it would be a rather massive understatement. From the review:
In a series of wonderfully crafted “Street Scenes” or “Fragments” throughout the book, Solzhenitsyn conveys a kind of demonic lawlessness that had possessed the revolutionary crowds. Rufﬁans shot at apartment buildings, responding to nonexistent police snipers. Police stations were burned with impunity. Good men—Colonel Balakshin, the head of a “wheeled Battalion,” and Captain Fergen, a courageous ofﬁcer on leave from the front—were killed for no good reason. People with German-sounding names were targeted. Young, and not so young, nihilists, caught up in violence for its own sake, specialized in “picking off coppers” in the most brutal and mindless manner imaginable. Civilized characters, such as the monarchist historian Olda Andozerskaya, have no idea how to respond to this madness. When a revolutionary mob comes to her apartment, insanely looking for nonexistent snipers once more, she expresses her indignation. “You have no right!” she exclaims. An ensign who has gone over to the revolution revealingly replies “The revolution doesn’t ask for the right!” This is a portent of more terrible horrors to come down the line when Russia will succumb to full-ﬂedged totalitarianism.
The insane are “liberated” from asylums and mix with the crowds. Two thousand criminals, among them murderers, are released from Butriki prison in Moscow, where revolution has also taken hold. Amid this collective (literal!) madness, the revolutionary Soviet issues Order No. 1 and sends it to all army units by telegram. The army is democratized overnight, and soldiers are effectively told not to obey orders from ofﬁcers. And all of this in the midst of war, as more than a few responsible souls opine in the course of the work. Even the saluting of ofﬁcers is forbidden in this display of anarchistic reveries which will soon give way to the iron discipline of totalitarian “order.”
Meanwhile, those working to save the revolution from a dramatic leap to the left are ineffectual at best. Alexander Guchkov, the old Octobrist and monarchist who is at odds with the Tsar and who tried for months to organize a coup to save the monarchy, attempts to restore order in military units without real effect. Miliukov, the Kadet leader who becomes Foreign Minister in the Provisional Government, is shouted down by a revolutionary mob which wants to know “who elected you?” A rather good question, one might add. In a series of chapters Solzhenitsyn paints a devastating portrait of Alexander Kerensky, a revolutionary windbag overcome by limitless vanity—a man of the Left with a Napoleon Complex, and one whose hatred of the Tsar and the Old Regime prevents him from really resisting the new totalitarianism emerging on the left. Prince Georgi Lvov, the head of the local zemstvo council movement, will become the ﬁrst Prime Minister of the powerless and unbelievably ineffective Provisional Government. He is a lightweight of the ﬁrst order, and is utterly unable to rule or move souls from the ﬁrst hours of his time at the Tauride Palace. A more ineffectual and pathetic leader could not be imagined.
When Joe Nuxhall took the mound for the Reds on a June Saturday in 1944, he would be setting a record, if you will, as the youngest player in baseball history: He was, famously, 15 — not old enough to have a drivers license, and mere weeks from having pitched to local little leaguers. Little known is the bloodbath Nuxhall was part of in the Reds’ staggering 18–0 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals: Brought in to end the game in the top of the ninth, his Reds already behind 13–0, Nuxhall got two outs . . . and then the wheels came off the bus. He served up five walks, threw a wild pitch, and two singles, allowing five more Cardinal runs.
For another eight years, Nuxhall’s career ERA was 67.50, and he bounced around the minors. And then in 1952, an old man at the age of 23, Nuxhall found himself called up to the Big Time. But his first game back in the Majors was another 18-run blowout loss: Against the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field on May 21, 1952, the Reds gave up 15 runs in the first inning (Pee Wee Reese got up three times, walking twice and hitting a single, driving in two runs). By the eighth, the Reds now trailing 19–1, Nuxhall came in to end the madness. He did: The Dodgers went down one-two-three.
In 1966, some 22 years after he first threw his first Major League pitch, Nuxhall was still slinging his curve for the Reds (he had returned to Cincinnati after brief turns in Kansas City and Los Angeles). The two-time All Star (he held the AL scoreless over three innings in the 1955 contest) had his last great performance on August 29 against the Cardinals. It was a complete-game, three-hit shutout, and the final victory of Nuxhall’s storied, 135–117 career.
This was completed (mostly) a day earlier than usual as Your Incompetent Correspondent was to be in transit. Still, it is copious, abundant, a horn of conservative plenty, given the slim pickings ahead: Next week’s WJ will likely be a small affair, completed and filed even sooner than usual, so that Editor Phil can have time to travel, visit, and digest his turkey. Some day he will leave this behind — no doubt one day he will be a Supreme Court justice — and when that happens, well, Yours Truly will weep. But for now, the obligation is to be thankful. For Phil and for so many other things. This coming Thursday, please do what you can — it might take ignoring your dim-witted leftist niece or lowering the volume when you respond to your tipsy Bernie-loving Cousin Lenny — to ensure a special day of prayerful appreciation (literally, prayerful) for the blessings of liberty we enjoy in this place named after an Italian cartographer. Enjoy it while you can, because the vandals are trying to storm the gates.
God’s Blessings on You and Your Family and These United States of America,
Jack Fowler, who can be sent cures for turkey-related gastrological events at firstname.lastname@example.org.