National Review

Busting Up America’s Chifforobe


Dear Jolter,

Your Correspondent is not sure how perfectly apt the subject line of today’s missive is or ain’t. But the inspiration for it, as represented by the attending image, is Rich Lowry’s brilliant column this week: Atticus Finch Was on the Wrong Side. It soooo catches the hypocritical Left in the hypocrisy that cannot be helped if you are an acolyte of the Alinsky School of Public Mayhemery.

Rich takes a sharp look at what was, to liberals (who somehow claimed ownership of To Kill a Mockingbird), their American novel, and sets it against the backdrop of the Kavanaugh Affairs and the Left’s decree of New Rules of Political Speech and the Reordering of Jurisprudence. You know: where the accuser and the accusation outrank and overrule the fundamental American principles of due process and the innocence (until proven otherwise) of the accused. And now where the accuser is to be untouched and unquestioned (and the questioner vilified).

“Poor Tom,” you say? What about poor Mayellah, eh?! She should have played that card against Atticus, who questioned her and her despicable dad about facts . . . alleged ones. In other words, allegations. From Rich’s column:

It is revealed that Ewell is lying. She had made an advance on Robinson and gotten caught by her vicious, racist father. The charge of rape against Robinson was a cover story, although the bigoted jury convicts him anyway.

To Kill a Mockingbird stands firmly for the proposition that an accusation can be false, that unpopular defendants presumed guilty must and should be defended, and that it is admirable and brave to withstand the crowd — at times in the story, literally the lynch mob — when it wants to cast aside the normal protections of justice.

Exactly what has made Atticus Finch such an honored figure in our culture would make him a very inconvenient man at many college campuses today, where charges of sexual misconduct are adjudicated without the accused being allowed to confront the accuser or make use of other key features of our system of justice. Finch is a rebuke to the shift from a presumption of innocence toward a presumption of guilt that now attends accusations of sexual harassment and assault. He didn’t believe that someone’s being accused of something is enough to establish his wrongdoing, or accept that a category of people were, by definition, to be under a pall of suspicion.

What won’t the Left stand on its head, or just plain bust up. Power, not institutions, is what matters. And if these United States of Chifforobe get turned into kindling in the process, well, too bad for you and your White Male Privilege. Anyway, Rich exposes this hypocrisy brilliantly, as do many other NR writers, always, but especially these last weeks of Verdun-like politics.

By the Way . . .

In particular to those of you who live and breathe and wine and dine and luxuriate in NRO — in these past contentious weeks you have seen, or been reminded maybe, of just how vital this journalistic child of Bill Buckley is, just how critical its presence and endurance matters to America. We’re having our fundraising webathon. Charlie Cooke has made a most literate and wise case for why your support is something we truly need. Now. Your Correspondent would like to think he can expect and count on all who 1. read this, 2. have a conscience, and 3. agree with NR’s indispensability, that you will 4. make a kind contribution. Done safe and sound, here.


1. ‘Twas reading this while humming Tom Dooley, which might not have been a good omen. Anyway, we say, Do the Right Thing, Jeff Flake. From the editorial:

Democrats are, predictably, complaining that the FBI investigation was too limited in duration and scope. But since there is no evidence for Ford’s account beyond her own memory — and she herself testified before the Senate last week under oath — there wasn’t much for the FBI to probe. Flake specifically said he wanted the FBI to talk to Kavanaugh’s friend Mark Judge, and it did. Flake today said he considers the probe thorough. Despite what Democrats say now, Flake’s idea last week wasn’t to undertake a weeks-long investigation into whatever is the latest Democratic assault on Kavanaugh, from college drinking to the meaning of slang terms.

Flake’s own convictions should move him to vote for Kavanaugh — not just his constitutionalism (as Flake has said repeatedly, he’s a conservative inclined to support the conservative Kavanaugh) but his concern about our political norms. If he votes against Kavanaugh, he will reward a disgraceful campaign of character assassination that is a low point in our recent politics and in the history of the U.S. Senate. If Flake wants our political debate to be more elevated, he can’t join the lynch mob that has accused Kavanaugh of everything from lying about the term “boofing” to helping run a gang-rape ring as a teenager.

2. Kavanaugh onslaught: The ever-changing focus of charges against the nominees took on claims earlier in the week that he had committed perjury. As we have with many of the other inane political charges made, NR said . . . farce. From the editorial:

None of the people Ford identifies as witnesses to her story say that they recall the party. (Another perjury charge against Kavanaugh is that he exaggerates how exculpatory these witnesses are, but this makes him guilty of slight error, not deceit.) As a report outlined by Judiciary Committee outside counsel Rachel Mitchell makes clear, Ford has repeatedly changed some key details of her account and cannot remember others. (If Kavanaugh had similar slip-ups, the critics would be crying “perjury” about that too.) Mitchell argues that Ford’s allegation does not meet even a preponderance-of-the-evidence standard.

The case against Kavanaugh is constantly changing, but one thing has stayed the same: Democrats will make any argument, no matter how implausible or over-the-top, to try to sink him.

3. As WJ was wrapping up, Senator Susan Collins was speaking on the Senate floor, sticking a fork in the Democrats’ turkey with a speech making the case for Justice Kavanaugh. We find her particular action commendable. From the beginning of our editorial:

We are not prone to praising Susan Collins. But we are delighted to make an exception for her impressive speech on the Senate floor this afternoon explaining why she’ll vote “yes” on Brett Kavanaugh. A process that has often been disgusting—exposing the bottomless bad faith of Senate Democrats and the hysterical partisanship of much of the mainstream media—reached the beginning of the end with a careful, thoughtful, and persuasive presentation by Senator Collins.

She rightly excoriated the last few weeks as akin to “a gutter-level political campaign.” She was appropriately angry over the charges surfaced by guttersnipe attorney Michael Avenatti that Judge Kavanaugh was allegedly part of a gang-rape ring as a teenager—a charge that, lest we forget, was taken seriously by the press and Democrats. She blasted whoever on the Democratic side leaked to the press Dr. Ford’s letter to the committee.

For Posterity’s Sake, as this was a Generational Struggle, We Suggest These Wise and Essential Pieces on The Battle of Kavanaugh, and Then Some

1. More from Rich Lowery, this time on how the claims that Kavanaugh lied are bogus. From his column:

Kavanaugh never denied going to keg parties, or — to cite the recent reporting — enthusiastically planning his high-school friends’ excursion for beach week, or getting in a barroom scuffle at Yale. If Kavanaugh had been asked about any of these specifically and denied them, his critics would have a case for dishonesty that simply doesn’t exist.

They object that Kavanaugh put too much emphasis on the “choirboy” parts of his record, but what obligation was he under to talk about, say, the Ralph Club over and above his academic and athletic record, when he was being fiercely pressed by opponents determined to assassinate his character?

2. Victor Davis Hanson weighed in with a brilliant analysis, that the Left’s antics and tactics polluting America’s campuses have now come to Capitol Hill. From his piece:

On campus, all can present equally valid narratives. What privileges one story over another is not necessarily any semblance to reality, at least as established by evidence and facts. Instead, powerful victimizers supposedly “construct” truths based on their own self-interests. As a result, self-described victims of historical biases are under no obligation to play by what they consider to be rigged rules of facts, evidence, or testimony.

This dynamic explains why Senator Cory Booker (D., N.J) insisted that Dr. Ford told “her truth.” In other words, evidence was not so relevant. Ford’s story of events from 36 years ago inherently would have as much claim on reality as Kavanaugh’s rebuttal — and perhaps more so, given their different genders and asymmetrical access to power.

There was little interest in discovering the ancient idea of “the Truth.” To do that would have required the messy work of taxing the memories of teenage behavior nearly four decades prior.

Truth-finding would have required difficult, time-honored examinations of physical evidence, the testimony of witnesses, and even unpleasant cross-examinations about the time and place of the allegations. Feelings might have been hurt. Motives might have been questioned, as they are under constitutional norms of due process.

Also on the campus, the race and gender of people now increasingly determine who we are.

3. The women who have known Kavanaugh all his life came out swinging on his behalf. Alexandra DeSanctis recounts some remembrances of a decidedly decent guy. From her report:

Julie DeVol is also one of the women Kavanaugh referenced in his testimony, and she tells National Review they became best friends after they met in 1980 through a group of high-school friends. “We used to get each other dates to dances and different events, but he and I never went to dances together because we were like brother and sister,” she says.

DeVol said several times throughout our conversation that Kavanaugh was always the patient, responsible one in their friend group. “He was always there taking care of us,” she says. “I was a year younger, and he was like my big brother. He wouldn’t let any guys mess around with you. If anybody was drinking, he would be the one taking care of you. Not everyone in his friend group was like that, but he always was.

And that was true all the time, not just when their friends were spending time together on weekends or at parties. “He used to always help me with my homework over the phone,” DeVol adds. “My mom would say we couldn’t talk on the phone until I had done my homework, so he’d walk me through my math problems and other work so that we could talk.”

4. Jonah Goldberg says lefties should be thrilled that a “strict constructionist” such as Brett Kavanaugh is appointed to SCOTUS. From his column:

Justice Antonin Scalia, a conservative to the core, hated flag burning just as much as those on the right who favored banning it, but he ruled it constitutionally protected free speech all the same. On criminal procedure, he was often the defendant’s best friend on the Court. Neil Gorsuch, appointed by Trump, is another conservative in the Scalia mold, and in one of his first decisions he joined with the four liberals to deliver a defeat to the Trump administration in Sessions v. Dimaya, an immigration case. Kavanaugh himself threw out one of the first Obamacare lawsuits — hardly the act of a rank partisan.

Progressives have won so many policy battles by relying on activist courts to do things they could not achieve at the ballot box, they’ve come to see an activist Supreme Court as a birthright. As a result, the Court has been politicized far more than it should be. Progressives have convinced themselves that nothing could be worse than a Brett Kavanaugh on the bench. But they could do far worse, and they should count themselves lucky that conservatives such as Kavanaugh still believe the Court belongs to no faction save the Constitution itself.

5. The “gang-rape” claims levelled against Kavanaugh — and instantly legitimized by an activist media — get a deserved smack-down from David French. From his piece:

While we should dismiss Swetnick’s claims as lacking credibility, we cannot allow this incident to disappear from public consciousness. The furious response to those who questioned Swetnick’s claims, and the credulousness that led even Senator Dianne Feinstein to ask about them at a Senate hearing says something disturbing about the extent to which “believe women” — combined with partisan hatred so intense that we’re willing to believe the worst about our opponents — can sometimes morph into “believe anything.”

And it’s not just “believe anything”; it’s “believe the wildest of claims while also insulting anyone who dares dissent.”

In the face of intensely emotional topics such as alleged sex crimes (or, really, any crime that violates the human body), it’s vital that we slow down, drain our response as much as we can of partisan bias, and consider not our own experience but rather the evidence in front of us. And we also have to consider that other people of good will can consider the same evidence and reach different conclusions. We can honor the pain of victims (and honor the pain of the wrongly accused) without allowing that pain or injustice to dictate conclusions about guilt or innocence in any case.

6. More French: David scores the contempt the Ivy League Left has for conservatives who may share their habits but not their beliefs. From his piece:

It turns out that it’s not just hard to escape high school, it’s hard to escape your freshman dorm. If you never really get over your insecurity at prom, you also don’t truly get over your insecurity at belonging to a perceived out-group at Yale.

If you haven’t attended an Ivy, these resentments look ridiculous. If you have attended an Ivy, you know these resentments are ridiculous. The social battles of the elite college represent the squabbling of men and women at the tip of the privilege spear in the most powerful nation in the history of the planet.

But as real as these petty resentments were and are, they pale in comparison to the most important thing. They miss the real roots of Ivy rage. Brett Kavanaugh’s true sin isn’t his connections, his popularity, or his prep school. His true sin is that he’s a conservative. And now he’s a particular kind of conservative — a conservative who matters, a conservative who will have the power (and might actually have the convictions) to threaten one or more of the most sacred elements of progressive jurisprudence. He can potentially affect the law and the culture in a profound way.

7. The gossip-mongering MSM comes in for a comeuppance from Charlie Cooke, who takes on The New Yorker’s Ronan Farrow and Jane Mayer for their “journalism” on an evidence-free claim that Kavanaugh exposed himself in college to a fellow Yalie. From the end of his piece:

As if to add insult to injury, Farrow and Mayer then descend into lazy high-school gossip-mongering. Having left Appold behind, they quote “two high-school acquaintances of Kavanaugh’s,” whose anonymous case against the judge seems to have been that he was a football jock. (How far we have come from the topic of sexual assault.) Throughout, the words of the acquaintances are couched in cop-out phrases such as “the impression I formed” and “seemed to be,” while Farrow and Mayer’s descriptions carry heavy caveats such as “while he might not be remembering the rhyme word-for-word.” The accusations, likewise, are heavy on implication and light on detail. “He said that he never witnessed Kavanaugh physically attacking another student,” one reads, “but he recalled him doing” nothing to stop it. He also may have laughed once when someone around him said words.

And therefore . . . what? Oh, yes. Therefore it is a disgrace that the FBI is not rushing to get these oracles onto the record.


RELATED: Last month Charlie had also slammed The New Yorker with its weaselly, fact-less piece on Kavanaugh.

8. The polygraph hoopla brought on by Ford’s accusation of Kavanaugh gets a dose of reality from Jibran Kahn. From the start of his piece:

Recent weeks have seen various forms of evidence, rightly discredited by reformers for their tendency to mislead, being rehabilitated in the hopes that they might “get” Brett Kavanaugh. Politics has always featured cheap tricks and sloppy expressions of principle, but the sheer scale and promotion of these techniques in the coverage of the Kavanaugh case signal a dangerous trend. My point here is not to argue for his innocence or for his guilt, but to correct some misconceptions — the truth of which our political classes have seen fit to blatantly ignore. This is important because the legal system does not confine itself to one person at a time. Ideas and policies made popular here will have a ripple effect.

Polygraphs have featured heavily in the discussion because the accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, took one (albeit with a very unusual set of questions). And why shouldn’t they? We’ve all seen spy films and crime dramas with truth-detecting polygraphs, the scourge of the guilty, which only psychopaths have a chance to thwart; their efficacy is broadly accepted, much like the harmlessness of sugar or the fact that lightning never strikes the same place twice. The power of the polygraph is widely believed, and on a bipartisan basis. Jeff Sessions has called for their use in the White House as a way to catch leakers, and Kamala Harris highlighted Ford’s polygraph and Kavanaugh’s lack of one. There is, however, a hitch. Despite the senators’ endorsement, psychologists have argued for decades that polygraphs are built on pseudoscience, and the Supreme Court was aware of this consensus by 1998.

9. Matthew Scully looks at great men past (Robert Casey) and present (Brett Kavanaugh) and wonders about honor, courage, and if the son might be up to his father’s standards and decency and manhood. From his piece:

A little more wishful is one final thought. There is another dramatic “yes” vote a lot of us would like to see — from the Democratic senator who, more than anyone in the chamber, should understand the stakes: Robert P. Casey Jr. Everything to be admired in yesterday’s Democratic party was summed up in the figure of the senator’s late father, remembered as a gallant champion of life, a man of unshakable conviction, and the last guy his party’s leadership would dare try to push around.

The governor would have seen right through the smear on a superbly qualified nominee, and he would not have stood for it. Surely the senator sees through it too. And if so, then perhaps the scene is set for his own moment of greatness. A senator who works in the very office space once occupied by the author of Profiles in Courage should need no further prompting. A reckless and arrogant political mob has forgotten that there is such a thing as honorable dissent. Who better to remind them than a Pennsylvania Democrat named Casey?

10. Seriously . . . a SCOTUS nomination debate fixated on a synonym for fart? Robert VerBruggen sniffs out the “boof” sleuthing.

11. The Kavanaugh outrage is deeply rooted in the Left’s abortion obsession, explains Kevin Williamson. From his Corner post:

The Left’s meltdown over Brett Kavanaugh — which will be born again in an even bigger and more hysterical form if President Trump and a Republican Senate have the opportunity to nominate another justice or two — is a reminder that the abortion-rights movement and the gun-rights movement are in many ways mirror images of one another. . . .

The gun-rights movement has an advantage: the Bill of Rights. The Second Amendment is right there in black and white (or black and parchment) explicitly recognizing the right of the people — not the state, not the National Guard — to keep and bear arms. The abortion-rights movement doesn’t have a plank in the Bill of Rights: It took an act of extraordinary judicial activism to invent one for them.

And that is what terrifies the Left about the current direction of the Supreme Court. Roe v. Wade represents ill-gotten political gains. While the NRA got a big win in the courts a few years back — one entirely in keeping with the actual text of the Constitution as it exists, not as progressives wish it were — it mainly has advanced its agenda and defended its agenda and defended its gains through ordinary democratic politics. It is not, contrary to the myth, a particularly big political donor or spender (not even in the top 100 last I checked) that gets things done by throwing money around. Until its recent (and, in my view, ill-advised) metamorphosis into a full-spectrum culture-war outfit, the NRA was a very disciplined and narrowly focused single-issue outfit, which made it truly bipartisan: Harry Reid may have been a train wreck on 99.99 percent of the issues, but he was solid on guns, and the NRA credited him for that.

12. More Kevin: Of late NR has written and editorialized about the imprisonment of Frank Fuster, a.k.a. Janet Reno’s last victim, from the contrived “Satanic” day-care abuse scandals of the 1980s and 1990s. KDW considers the fits that prompt such mass hysterias. From his essay:

Our public-policy discourse is dominated by members of our elites and hence tends to reflect elite interests and, at times, elite hysterias. A great deal of attention has been paid in recent years to the epidemic of rape on our nation’s college campuses. That epidemic is a fiction — it simply does not exist, and the data suggest that women in college are less likely than women in the general population to be raped. We are not having a national discussion of rape on Indian reservations, in remote communities in Alaska, or in poor urban areas — i.e., in the places where the incidence of rape is in fact elevated. During the Satan-ritual-abuse panic — and at this minute — one of the most likely places for a child to experience sexual abuse is in the home, especially in “blended” families in which minors cohabit with adult men to whom they are not biologically related. Mothers’ live-in boyfriends and stepfathers commit a great deal more sexual abuse than do the nefarious minions of Satan in underground cults.

But of course the reality — that this world is the mess we make of it — is too painful to accept.

There are legitimate concerns about how American police operate, but there isn’t an epidemic of police shooting unarmed black men. Mass killings on the Columbine model are neither a new phenomenon nor a uniquely American one. The administration of justice in the Dallas suburbs is not being handed over to imams operating sharia courts. Occult powers are not behind our current state of affairs: not Satan, not Moloch, not “white privilege,” not “patriarchy,” not “toxic masculinity,” not capitalism, not the Koch brothers, not George Soros, not the “International Jew,” not the NRA, not Brett Kavanaugh.

13. Going, going, going . . . gone? Not yet? From the Tory Conference, John O’Sullivan scopes out the Long Goodbye (PMExit?) of Theresa May. From his piece:

Theresa May did not actually lose the 2017 election — she led Labour by two points in the popular vote — but she lost her party’s parliamentary majority in an election that was generally expected to produce a Tory landslide. That near-defeat was plainly attributable both to her own robotic campaign performance and to her policies — such as the so-called “dementia tax” that alienated older voters, a natural Tory constituency. She should have been defenestrated then.

May was able to hold on as PM because Conservatives thought she would unite the party in support of implementing Brexit, after which she would smilingly resign and be given the credit for a historic achievement. That was naïve, of course: What political leader resigns after a great achievement? But what no one then expected is that May would pursue a policy designed to ensure that Brexit never occurs — or that what does occur is Remain lightly disguised as Brexit, or worse.

Worse than Remain? Well, yes. May’s Brexit proposals — now known as “Chequers,” after the PM’s country house, where they were imposed on a surprised cabinet days after May had personally assured the secretary of state for exiting the EU that she had no such intentions — would effectively keep Britain inside the EU’s single market (i.e., by accepting its current and future regulations) and its customs union, and keep it subject to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice while forfeiting its votes in all EU institutions.

14. Conrad Black praises Trump Triumphant as only Conrad can. It will be hard to find a more praiseworthy assessment of POTUS. Here’s how it ends:

If Judge Kavanaugh is confirmed and the Republicans hold both houses of the Congress, it will be the greatest and swiftest ascension to comprehensive power in all branches of American government in history. A measurement of how the tide has shifted is the disappearance from public consciousness of the Mueller inquiry. The number of Trump-haters who are still clinging to that waterlogged life-vest is statistically trivial. It was just six weeks ago, when Michael Cohen’s plea bargain was announced and Paul Manafort was convicted (of offenses that occurred a decade before he knew the president), that Trump’s enemies ululated their triumph and proclaimed, in the words of one often-published Trump-hater, that “The fat lady is singing; it’s almost over.” She wasn’t and it isn’t. It has only just begun, and it will get better. Trump isn’t an aberrant interlude; he is a sea change. He has a mandate to clean up Washington and he plans to fulfill it.

15. The second of Michael Knox Beran’s two essays on the elite’s “gospel of cyber-utopia and globalist conformity.” Here is how it commences:

Today’s elites portray themselves as champions of community.

Mark Zuckerberg invokes the power of Facebook to help “one billion people” build “meaningful communities.” The World Economic Forum, sponsor of the Davos conference, persuades itself that the “common denominator” of the young talent it is grooming for planetary leadership “is a desire to act and meaningfully contribute to the public good.” In fact our classes supérieures are committed to a dehumanizing brew of globalist conformity and cyber-utopianism, one that is destroying older forms of common life and the places in which they flourish, with unhappy consequences for the soul.

To be sure, the moguls insist that their cosmopolitan vision of multiculturalism and online solidarity promotes tolerance and respect for different cultures and communities. But in reality it is producing an appalling sameness hardly less corrosive than discrimination itself, as what is distinctive in particular traditions is boiled down in the global melting pot to an insipid uniformity.

The bankers and tech magnificos who in the Alpine councils of Davos sip Veuve Clicquot with regulators ensconced in supranational organizations are in thrall to perhaps the most subtle and dangerous prophet of global regimentation and lowest-common-denominator humanity, Alexandre Kojève, the enigmatic Russian philosopher who as a civil servant under de Gaulle drafted the blueprint for the European Union.


1. The Editors does double duty. In the new episode, Rich, Charlie, Reihan, and MBD review the Kavanaugh onslaught and the recent NAFTA overhaul. Ya gotta listen, and ya gotta do that here.

2. But wait . . . there’s more. The National Pastime beckons, so Rich, Dan McLaughlin, MBD, and Jason Epstein talk playoffs and World Series for a special “All About Baseball” episode of The Editors. Batter up, here.

3. As we approach the centennial of the birth of Russell Kirk, John J. Miller has the sense to make the new episode of The Great Books an homage to his classic, The Conservative Mind, from Burke to Eliot. Kirk expert James E. Person, Jr. does the honors of appearing with John. Hear here.

4. JJM next dons his Bookmonger chapeau to discuss with our esteemed colleague Reihan Salam his new book, Melting Pot or Civil War? A Son of Immigrants Makes the Case Aaginst Open Borders. Heady stuff. Catch the podcast here.

5. On the new edition of The McCarthy Report, Andy and Rich focus on Kavanaugh, the New York Times’ story on Trump’s taxes, and Rod Rosenstein. Listen here.

6. The Remnant with Jonah Goldberg celebrates its first year with a new episode featuring Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt, co-authors of The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure. Two guests means stereo wisdom, so put on the good headphones and listen here.

7. Jaywalking finds Brother Nordlinger discussing bees and politics and sports. It’s a honey of a listen. Do that here.

8. On the new episode of Ordered Liberty, David and Alexandra talk about three things: Kavanaugh, Kavanaugh, and Kavanaugh. Go on, listen. You know you want to.

9. Capital Times reporter Jessie Opoien joins Scot “Snow Miser” Bertram and Jeff “Heat Miser” Blehar on the new episode of Political Beats to discuss the band Old 97s. Grab a cold one, crank up the volume, and listen. Do it here.

10. On the new episode of Constitutionally Speaking, Jay and Luke delve into the Second Amendment: Where did it come from, what did it mean, how was it implemented, and does it still make sense? Well-armed militiamen and all others should listen here.

11. Last but never ever least, my beloved Radio Free California compadres Willie S and Davey B focus on how California lawmakers are spinning out new laws and hoping for epic battles in the political Resistance that dearly wishes to make Sacramento its epicenter. Live, learn, listen.

The Six

1. Asked, by the writer “thehistorian” at the UK blog Public Policy and the Past: Is the Labour Party institutionally racist? Here’s how the answer begins:

Is the UK Labour party institutionally anti-Semitic? Almost unbelievably, that has become a real live matter of public debate over the last few months – a development that previous generations of Labour activists and members could scarcely have imagined. Once upon a time, Labour seemed like the natural choice for Britain’s Jewish community. Labour was of course a rallying-point for all Britain’s non-Anglicans, as the Conservatives represented Deep England’s Established Church; it was an anti-racist Party that welcomed all-comers; it was friendly towards Israel, or at least sympathetic to that country’s situation. Most (though by no means all) Jews thought of Labour as their home.

Not so today, after more than three years of mounting tension between Labour and the Jewish community. This year’s local elections showed that Jewish communities in (for instance) Barnet have had enough of Labour — and will boot out their councillors where they live in enough numbers to make that choice. What we know from opinion polling is that Labour’s vote has crashed to almost nothing among Jews — and that for instance 85% of them regard the Party’s leader, Jeremy Corbyn, as quite simply an anti-Semite. There are some dissenting voices, to be sure: but that’s the picture taken as a whole.

Why has this happened? Well, let’s just take a look at the whole sorry farrago. To be honest, it’s exhausting just trying to give you a list, but here’s an initial reckoning with these frankly astonishing events. Over the past few years, it’s become clear that a minority of Labour members and office-holders — a group of very hard-to-determine size, though perhaps it amounts to some thousands or tens of thousands — hold very worrying views about Jews. We’ve had councillor after councillor, officer after officer, member after member, repeating the same awful hate speech as if they think it’s okay. Apparently ‘Zionists’ run the world’s press. Or the banks. Or the ‘deep state’. Or the whole international economy. Apparently they’ve organised themselves into a sinister cabal biased against the Left, determined to prevent real people taking a real leading role in public life. Apparently they’ve got money and they’re influencing our politics behind the scenes. Apparently some Jews have divided loyalties as between the UK and Israel. And so on. And on. This sort of thing has become such a constant drumbeat of low-level fear and loathing that it’s often forgotten amidst the shrapnel storm of Labour’s unending civil war — though it shouldn’t be.

2. In 2017, New York voters passed, overwhelmingly, a referendum amending the state constitution to permit stripping corrupt and convicted lawmakers of their public pensions. The amendment’s language required Albany elected officials to pass an implementing law . . . which they have conveniently failed to do. For City Journal, James Coll reports on how some guys can splurge at the prison commissary. From his piece:

Sheldon Silver was due to begin his seven-year sentence this week for violating the law, the public trust, and the responsibilities of his office as assembly speaker — a position he occupied for 21 years. Though a federal judge has stayed his entry date while Silver appeals his conviction, many New Yorkers are justifiably pleased to see Silver heading off to jail, viewing his conviction as a long-overdue draining of the Albany swamp. With recent convictions of other top players in state politics, it appears that New York may have begun to clean itself up.

But while Silver is eventually going to prison, he won’t lose a single taxpayer-funded pension paycheck of $6,602 per month, even while serving his time behind bars. And in spite of his own federal conviction, former New York Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos also continues to receive a $95,831 annual pension, courtesy of New York taxpayers. If this makes you angry — as it should — it might further upset you that these ill-gotten pensions could have been eliminated if our elected lawmakers had done their job properly during the most recent legislative session.

3. At The American Conservative, the bail-bond system — and reforming it — is the subject of a very interesting essay by Lars Trautman. From his piece:

With law enforcement making over 10 million arrests every year in the United States, a growing number of Americans regularly face the prospect of a money bail. For example, the percentage of felony defendants required to post bail rose from 37 percent in 1990 to 61 percent in 2009. Numbers this large have ensured that commercial bail bonds remain a multi-billion dollar business that impacts hundreds of thousands of Americans every year.

Furthermore, while large scale data on bail remains elusive, the most recent Bureau of Justice Statistics report estimates that 38 percent of defendants in the nation’s largest counties and cities were detained prior to trial, and that nine in 10 of these defendants had a money bail set but were unable to post it.

The negative ramifications of even a short pretrial detention extend well beyond the loss of freedom for the individual. A jail stay can be personally traumatic; it can put a person’s job and housing in jeopardy and throw family and childcare obligations into chaos.

And let’s not forget that all of these circumstances are being visited upon an individual who is still considered legally innocent until proven guilty.

4. Cardinal Idea: Crux reports on the formation of the “Better Church Governance” group, underwritten by wealthy Catholics to fund audits of “all 124 current papal electors.” Organizers say the “Red Hat Report” dossiers will be . . .

conducted by a team of, to date, nearly 100 researchers, academics, investigators, and journalists, with the aim “to hold the hierarchy of the Catholic Church accountable for abuse and corruption, and to develop and support honesty, clarity, and fidelity in Church governance.

5. Academic-journal hoaxers James Lindsay, Peter Boghossian, and new instigator Helen Pluckrose are at it again, unmasking “grievance studies.” Greg Piper at The College Fix has the amazing story. From the article:

The trio’s first publishing success came in April with the journal Fat Studies. “Who Are They to Judge?: Overcoming Anthropometry and a Framework for Fat Bodybuilding” argued that only “oppressive cultural norms” have convinced society that building muscle is more admirable than building fat.

It suggested that “fat bodies” be displayed in “non-competitive ways as a part of professional bodybuilding” to benefit both “fat activism” and bodybuilding, according to the project summary.

The trio wanted to show that journals will accept arguments that are “positively dangerous to health if they support cultural constructivist arguments.” One reviewer praised the paper for presenting “fat bodybuilding” as a “way to disrupt the cultural space” of bodybuilding.

Next was Gender, Place and Culture, a “journal of feminist geography” that accepted and published the dog-park paper in May. It argued that dog parks “become rape-condoning spaces in which human rape culture plays out by the moral permissiveness we extend to animals.”

Studying the rape culture of dog parks can “provide insights into training men out of the sexual violence and bigotry to which they are prone,” they wrote in the project summary. “Arguably our most absurd paper.”

6. NRI Buckley Journalism Fellow Madeleine Kearns follows up on her recent NR piece on transgender-mania with a piece in The Spectator on how the U.K. and Scottish school systems are training teachers to cut mommy and daddy out of their dealings with kids. From her piece:

It’s not just in Scotland. A trainee teacher in England who took part in a compulsory class on transgender issues last week told me it was run by the mother of a trans child on behalf of Mermaids, a charity which ‘raises awareness about gender nonconformity’. Teachers were told that gender is a spectrum and shown a graph with Barbie at one end and GI Joe at the other. They were asked to consider where they and their students would fit on this chart. Posters and stickers encouraged children to contact Mermaids directly if they didn’t feel they could talk to their teachers about trans issues.

Where are the parents in all of this? They are often not told if their child is worried about their gender. During my training, we were told to avoid ‘outing’ potential transgender children to their families. If the child so wished, we might want to keep mummy and daddy out of the loop. Un-believably, this is in line with Scottish government guidelines.

One thing that wasn’t mentioned was the clinical term gender dysphoria. This is a well-established medical diagnosis for when a person experiences a strong incongruence, and accompanying distress, between their perceived gender and their biological sex. Gender dysphoria is on the rise. The NHS’s leading specialist clinic, the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, has seen an increase of over 400 per cent in the number of young people referred to its Gender Identity Development Service in the past four years. That’s 2,519 children (more than two-thirds of them girls) potentially put on powerful hormone treatments with the intention of delaying puberty and allowing full surgical reassignment in future.

BONUS: Good old pal Gerald Russello, who is the editor of University Bookman, reviews Founding Martyr: The Life and Death of Joseph Warren, the American Revolution’s Lost Hero, by Christopher Di Spigna, for the Wall Street Journal. Here’s how the review begins:

Before George Washington, before Thomas Jefferson, even before Alexander Hamilton, there was Joseph Warren. A British commander once called him “the greatest incendiary in all America.” Warren stood at the center of the colonial intrigue against the British in Boston, yet his story has largely been obscured by history. The future of America’s nascent revolution was still in doubt in 1775 when Warren, at the age of 34, was shot and killed during the Battle of Bunker Hill. At the time, he was still considered a rebel and traitor to the King: There was not yet a Declaration of Independence, no Articles of Confederation, no Constitution, no United States. Warren and his allies set the groundwork for these milestones of independence during a period when the majority of colonists were still opposed to armed rebellion.

In “Founding Martyr,” Christian Di Spigna has produced a gripping biography of one of the American Revolution’s earliest activists. This is no whitewashed version of the Founding. Mr. Di Spigna’s Boston is a rough place, with violence on all sides and a growing suspicion of British rule. The British army physically abused its soldiers; colonists tarred and feathered those thought sympathetic to the crown; public executions were grisly social occasions; slave markets, with their normalized brutality, still existed. And over it all lingered the constant fear of disease.

Lights. Cameras. Punditry.

1. Hollywood is on its fourth iteration of A Star is Born (I prefer the 1954 remake with Judy Garland, James Mason, and the always terrific Jack Carson). Of the new version, with Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga, Armond White says it has been remade . . . the wrong way. You’ve got to read the whole review but this one paragraph is Armond at his Armondiest:

But Gaga’s Ally, a girl of great confidence (and anger), is vulgar and foul. She pretends “innocence” by presenting “goomara” toughness as an ethnic- and gender-based essence. But confidence alone could not make Madonna into an actress, and something harsh and brazen in Gaga thwarts the movie-musical fantasy that desire and sincerity bloom and naturally burst forth during the “Far from the Shadows” number that is staged as the film’s star-making moment. But it doesn’t work. Gaga’s over-singing lacks the crucial emotional release. Ally’s reticence about her looks, lamenting her large nose, is unconvincing since Streisand forever erased that ethnic insecurity from showbiz. Instead, bug-eyed Gaga seems anomic and never conveys emotional depth. She has already internalized too many personality shticks and takes the stage as an already fully formed performer (pointing a tyrannical finger at new adoring fans), part of her post-postmodern Cindy Sherman act. It’s laughable that Ally’s makeover into a bump-and-grind redheaded vamp is supposed to certify her rise. What this characterization needs is a meat dress.

2. Kyle Smith sees the same film and also cannot find nice things to say. From his review:

Cooper never explores how horrifying alcoholics can be because, like most actors directing themselves, he doesn’t want to come off too repellent or abusive. He never comes across as the truly hollowed-out soul that March’s and Mason’s Norman Maine so memorably were. Cooper, who shot this film at the same age Elvis Presley was when he died, looks nothing like end-stage Elvis (who turned down the lead in the 1976 version): He looks cool. Ruggedly handsome. Athletic. Even when he lashes out at his lady, it’s only because she insulted his dad and is betraying her talents.

As Ally, whom Jackson first meets when he stumbles into a drag bar desperate for a drink, Gaga plays a character much like Streisand’s, and she shares with Streisand a generous nasal endowment. Her performance is stellar, particularly in the early going, when she seems fragile and uncertain and goes easy on the makeup and hair for a change. But Ally is also a thing of cliché: Innocent and eager and never sullied by the demands of the business, she also comes from one of those stereotypical working-class Italian families in which everyone talks about Frank Sinatra at all times. Her arc is simplistic as well; the main change that comes over her is cosmetic. As time goes on she looks more and more like . . . Lady Gaga. Jackson chides her for losing touch with her folky singer-songwriter roots, but that isn’t much of a conflict. It’s hard to fault Ally for abandoning a style that, these days, accounts for record sales in the tens when she can master the kind of meretricious gyrational dance-pop that makes you a global sensation. I doubt most viewers of this film will think “Nah, getting gigs on Saturday Night Live and the Grammys makes her a sellout.”

3. Blow Winds, Crack Your Cheeks and . . . Rave: Kyle finds the new Amazon Prime movie version of King Lear, starring Anthony Hopkins, Emma Thompson, and a terrific cast, as “a superb way to approach the Bard in the age of the Shard.” From his review:

Crunching past and present together while pruning a three-and-a-half-hour work down to under two hours, Ricard Eyre’s exciting new Amazon Prime movie King Lear reshapes Shakespeare’s text into a fast-moving political-military-domestic thriller without abandoning its essence. Turning the play’s power-grabs into a boardroom battle, Eyre opens by imagining the Tower as a sleek locale for a cocky firm to hold high-level meetings for its executives, with Anthony Hopkins as a kind of corporate suzerain dividing up his holdings for the next generation. Then his plans go off the tracks. It’s less Game of Thrones than Succession.

4. Armond watches the revived 1974 French classic, Stavisky, and has some deep cultural thoughts. From his essay:

How will filmmakers of the future portray our ongoing period of national division? Film Forum’s revival of Alain Resnais’s Stavisky . . . (1974) gives a clue. This bio-pic (opening today) dramatizes the scandal surrounding Russian-born swindler Serge (Sacha) Alexandre Stavisky when his international financial schemes, exposed in 1933, brought chaos that destabilized France in the precarious years just before the Nazis came to power.

The Stavisky Affair’s national impact parallels our current cultural instability; Resnais shows this emotional volatility hidden within the protagonist’s personal deception about class. His swanky lifestyle (portrayed with cautious bravura by Jean-Paul Belmondo as a playboy always wearing a blood-red carnation in his lapel) is a cover for his social indifference — a rarely examined psychological aspect of political histories, no doubt inspired by Bertolucci’s The Conformist. Such class deception could determine the insight or partisanship that artists and historians apply to define or understand our own era.

Vitamin Sea

You’re clearly deficient. So get yours on the National Review 2018 Buckley Legacy Conservative Cruise. Sailing on Holland America Line’s luxurious Oosterdam, December 1-8, from Ft. Lauderdale. You have to come! Here’s where you can get complete info about the sailing:


The National Pastime’s playoffs, which we commence, were not considered playoffs per se before 1969. Pre-division, there were a mere five times when a regular season ended with two teams tied for first place. In the American League, that happened just once, in 1948: The Indians and the Red Sox were tied at 96–58, forcing a one-game tie-breaker (also considered a regular-season game for statistical purposes), played at Fenway Park. The home team lost, and the Indians tagged aging Red Sox starter Denny Galehouse for 13 hits and an 8–3 win (it was starter Gene Bearden’s 20th of the season).

And if this isn’t stated on WJ, a fan will give me acida: the Indians’ Dale Mitchell got one hit.

The NL saw four tie-breaker years, and unlike the AL, each was a best-of-three battle, and it turned out that the Dodgers, twice in Brooklyn and twice in Los Angeles, played in all of them. They lost three of them: in 1946 to the Cardinals, in 1951 to the Giants, and in 1962, again against the Giants. In both of the latter series, the Dodgers were leading going into the ninth inning of the deciding third game, only to see epic pitching collapses. In 1962, leading 4–2, a combination of walks, a wild pitch, an error, and just two singles saw the Giants score four runs. The final score was 6–4, and good old former Yankee Don Larsen, now a Giants’ reliever, got the win (he also won a game in the ensuing World Series against his former team).

The 1951 playoff was the scene of the historic “Shot Heard Round the World,” with the Giants prevailing 5–4 in the rubber match thanks to third baseman Bobby Thompson’s walk-off home run. The teams’ Hall-of-Fame center fielders, Duke Snider and Willie Mays (on deck when Thompson unleashed his dinger off of Ralph Branca, a sweet man who used to play catch with me, no kiddin’!), played in both contests. The ’62 game would be Duke’s last as a Dodger.

Oh yeah: The Dodgers did win their 1959 tie-breaker against the reigning NL Champs, the Milwaukee Braves, taking two games (no need for the third). There was some drama: Milwaukee led 5–2 going into the top of the 9th of Game 2, but the Dodgers rallied to tie — stringing together five singles and a sac fly — and in the bottom of the 12th the great Carl Furillo slapped a single, driving home the beloved Gil Hodges, and winning Los Angeles the team’s first pennant since leaving New York.

A Dios

Is there enough time in the day for us to pray for all our many enemies? Well, you all have a good weekend and please remember not to text while sauntering. Hey, it’s called a sidewalk after all, not a sidetext! Regardless, Love They Neighbor as Thyself.

God’s Mercies, Tender as They May Be, On You and Yours,

Jack Fowler, who can be reached for your Bible verses and other thoughts at

National Review

Where Do I Go to Get My Reputation Back?


Dear Jolters,

We are launching our Fall 2018 webathon with this Jim Geraghty appeal. It was planned long ago, and hokey smokes what a maelstrom to sail into! More below. But first . . .

The contrived eleventh-hour smear — the destroying of a reputation as the price of some chiseling political gain — is part and parcel of our culture. Poor innocent Jimmy Stewart, a.k.a. Jefferson Smith, who went to Washington in 1939 and crossed a gang of devious media-backed hacks, looms large in American lore. Deservedly. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington must have new and particular meaning to the Kavanaugh Clan, now enduring his umpty-umpth week of indignity in the meat-grinder that is The World’s Greatest Deliberative Body, guffaw.

Yet, he soldiers on. Bravo, truly. We watch aghast at the tumult, the calculation and deception, the unmitigated gall, the preening phonies, the well-intentioned pilloried, the past distorted, and . . . his defiance.

Which brings to mind another movie, and no, it’s not Spartacus, which we will leave to the presidential wannbe from New Jersey. It’s Stanley Kramer’s Judgement at Nuremberg (Montgomery Clift is brilliant in this scene, and here is Part Two). Central to the movie’s plot is the fate of an esteemed judge, Ernst Janning, played by Burt Lancaster. How could the international respected jurist end up on trial as . . . a Nazi stooge? Oh, the things that can happen when the Left runs a courtroom (in Moscow, site of various Show Trials, in Germany, where a notorious Nazi judge dispenses demonic “justice”). It’s an obvious point: For the Left, courts are not hallowed venues for jurisprudence and hushed reverence, nor the echo chambers of Maimonodes and Solomon and Justinian, nor need they be presided over by the learned and temperate. Nope. Maybe once upon a time. But like every other institution, to the Left our Courts are a means of achieving a political objective. Trash non-compliant nominees accordingly.


1. From earlier in the week last: We demand of Senate Republicans (and all lawmakers shocked by the dirty delay tactics of the Left) that they Fight for Kavanaugh. Here’s how our editorial wraps up:

Brett Kavanaugh is an excellent jurist who has earned his sterling reputation over decades of public service. If his career is going to be ruined and his reputation besmirched, it should require clear and convincing evidence. We are willing to follow the facts wherever they lead, but so far, they lead only to the belief that this is a disgraceful episode that makes Borking look above-board and responsible by comparison.

If Republicans surrender on the basis of what we know now, they will face the fury of their own voters — and rightly so.

2. We believe immigrants should support themselves (my grandparents did!). Don’t you? The Trump administration is proposing new regulations on benefits and their threshold. From our editorial:

In determining whether someone in the country is “likely at any time to become a public charge,” an obvious factor to consider is the degree to which they are already dependent on the government. And under the current rule, established by executive fiat about two decades ago, officials do consider whether an applicant is primarily dependent on cash assistance.

The problem is that cash assistance is today but a small part of the welfare state. Other forms of aid, from food stamps to housing to Medicaid, are far more common. The administration estimates that 23 percent of foreign-born noncitizens receive public benefits — but that only 2 percent receive cash assistance in particular.

3. Sleazers gotta sleaze. We go after the ridiculous charges of Attorney Avenatti. From the editorial:

But drama is not evidence, and timing is not corroboration, and, as is customary for the man, Avenatti’s latest act seems to have been built out of smoke and mirrors. We were promised proof that Brett Kavanaugh, along with his friend Mark Judge, had been running a “gang rape” ring. Instead, we got an unsubstantiated statement from a single accuser, the only details of which (the names and a convenient reference to “Beach Week”) were based on information that was already publicly available. In a statement posted on Twitter, Julie Swetnick alleged that Judge Kavanaugh was present when friends of his engaged in serious criminal misconduct. Per Swetnick, who claimed to have been to at least ten parties with the pair, Kavanaugh often got “excessively” drunk and tried “fondling and grabbing” girls without their consent. The women were “disoriented” with drugs and alcohol and then “gang raped.”

As evidence for this, Swetnick provided . . . nothing. She named neither witnesses nor victims, could identify none of the perpetrators except for Kavanaugh and Judge, failed notably to decide on the year in which these alleged crimes took place, and hedged in her language such that the only concrete accusation of Brett Kavanaugh’s involvement with “gang rape” was that she saw him drunk once near a door. In a bloodless piece on the topic, the New York Times reported that “none of Ms. Swetnick’s claims could be independently corroborated.” “Her lawyer,” the paper confirmed, “declined to make her available for an interview.” Well, then.

4. Finalamente: Confirm him. From the editorial:

The Senate should elevate Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court. Thursday’s hearing was at times compelling, at times emotional, and at times frustrating. At no point, however, was it transformational. When the day started, there was no corroborating evidence behind any of the charges leveled against Kavanaugh. That remains the case now.

Although she was subject to only the lightest cross-examination, Kavanaugh’s accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, acquitted herself well. Indeed, as Kavanaugh himself acknowledged, it seems entirely possible that at some point in her life, Ford was sexually assaulted. That is a terrible thing. Nevertheless, the charge that Kavanaugh was responsible for the attack remains extremely weak — even non-existent. Every single named witness has either rejected Ford’s story outright or testified that he or she has no memory of it. One of those witnesses, a lifetime friend of Ford’s, not only affirmed she had never attended a party with Kavanaugh — with or without Ford — but that she did not in fact know him at all. And, as Ford herself acknowledged, there are serious gaps in her account.

That Kavanaugh believes himself to be wholly innocent was clear from his extraordinary opening statement. Rarely in American life has any figure pushed back so indignantly or professed his innocence with more vehemence. His reputation, Kavanaugh insisted, had been “totally and permanently destroyed,” his life made a living “hell.” Echoing Clarence Thomas in 1991, Kavanaugh described the last ten days as a “circus” and repeated on more than one occasion that he had wanted to appear at a hearing from the moment the charges had been presented. Frequently, he broke down into tears.

After Kavanaugh had made his plea, the senators on the Democratic side of the aisle were noticeably muted. Perhaps the vagueness of the charges they had been asked to consider had made their jobs effectively impossible. Perhaps they had been shocked by the intensity of the accused’s protestations. Either way, the ten members of the minority descended swiftly into repetition — and, at times, into farce. One after another they asked Kavanaugh to ask for an FBI investigation into himself, no doubt so that they could tell the world that he was under such an investigation and delay his vote as long as possible. And, when that failed, they resorted to litigating his high-school yearbook or to making insinuations about his drinking. Unusually for a nominee, Kavanaugh was aggressive in his rebuttals, demanding that he be allowed to finish his answers, expressing his frustration with the gamesmanship, and at times asking derisive questions back at the senators.

5. But then: Jeff Flake pulls his stunt that extends “an assiduous and cynical campaign of character assassination.” From the editorial:

Whether Senator Flake had his change of heart because he was detained briefly in an elevator by activists who harangued him only he will ever know. Regardless, he should understand that the protester who shouted at him is firmly in the Murphy school of thought. “I feel relieved that @JeffFlake seems to have heard my and @AnaMariaArchil2’s voices in the Senate elevator today,” she wrote on Twitter. “We absolutely need an FBI investigation and for him and all Senators to vote NO. #StopKavanaugh.”

She is right, of course. This is a delaying tactic. It is a fishing expedition. It is, in effect, the extension of an assiduous and cynical campaign of character assassination. What, one wonders, does Senator Flake think that Democrats are going to do if, as will almost certainly be the case, the FBI concludes that Dr. Ford’s story still has no corroboration? Does he expect Kamala Harris and Cory Booker to say, “Well, we are satisfied, and we are voting for him?” Does he expect Dianne Feinstein to pen a paean to the majesty of the presumption of innocence?

RELATED: Andy McCarthy pounds GOP senators for giving the Democrat character assassin “everything they wanted.”

What is Reihan Doing on the Cover of the New National Review?

I walked in NR’s doors in January of 1983 and I’ve yet to be a cover boy. Ah well. No schadenfreude allowed! The fact is a new issue is hot off the presses, and Reihan’s mug is on the cover — and damn it looks good. So let me share links from four pieces (one will be Reihan’s, about his forthcoming book, Melting Pot or Civil War? A Son of Immigrants Makes the Case Against Open Borders, in the issue.

But be reminded: If you have an NRPLUS membership, you can read these pieces, and the entire issue of the magazine, pronto. And comment. And enjoy NRO sans too many ads.

1. A juicy essay taken from Reihan’s book. Enjoy a slice:

Immigration advocates tell us we have two choices: to be an open society that welcomes immigrants or to be a closed one that barricades itself off from the rest of the world. If you disagree with any aspect of the pro-immigration agenda for any reason, you must be heartless or racist. rhetorically and politically, forcing this choice is shrewd, but it is a false choice all the same. The real choice is not between being open or closed. rather, it is between hubris and humility. The belief that we can continue on our current path, in which most immigrants are admitted to the U.S. without regard to their skills, as if the economic prospects of those with little in the way of schooling were just as bright today as they were a generation ago, is, to my mind, the height of hubris. Consider a few of the challenges we as a country face, and whether our immigration policy will ease or exacerbate them.

The first and most obvious is that America’s immigration system is expanding our low-skill work force just as automation and offshoring are exposing low-skill workers to ever-intensifying competition. We aren’t welcoming nearly as many foreign-born workers as low-wage employers would like, and I readily acknowledge that if our low-skill work force were to dramatically expand, low-wage employers would find a use for it, especially if we were to repeal the federal minimum wage and relax labor standards. For one, a surge of low-skill immigration might lead technologists to abandon the quest for (say) self-driving cars as the ready availability of low-wage immigrant drivers rendered them unnecessary. Yet the susceptibility of many low-wage jobs to automation would likely have the effect of holding down wage growth. Given concerns about stagnant working-class wages and high inequality, this doesn’t seem like a recipe for social harmony.

In a similar vein, advances in communications will soon make it much easier for U.S. firms to make use of remote labor. As the economist Richard Baldwin has explained, “‘virtual immigration,’ or international telecommuting, would radically expand the range of jobs that are directly subject to international competition. Many menial and professional tasks in rich nations could be performed (remotely) by workers and professionals sitting in poor nations.” In other words, at some point in the not-too-distant future, U.S. employers will be able to capture almost all of the benefits of low-skill immigration by embracing virtual immigration, thereby vitiating the narrowly economic case for the former. Are we prepared for the impact of virtual immigration? And will having a larger number of workers with low levels of schooling and English proficiency make it easier or harder to reckon with it?

2. The great Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is retiring from Congress. The Republican woman seeking to take her place is Maria Elvira Salazar (she’s facing off against Democrat Donna Shalala — yep, that Donna Shalala). Jay Nordlinger profiles this hot race. From his piece:

Miami, and so is Maria Elvira Salazar. She has 82 percent name recognition, she tells me. “And the viewers are the voters. I don’t even have to introduce myself,” on the campaign trail. “I don’t even have to explain myself. They tell me, ‘Oh, I know you, Maria Elvira! I know you’re a good person.’” Also, Salazar has this advantage over Shalala: She can campaign in both English and Spanish, switching between the two languages effortlessly.

I ask her why she is running. “Love and gratitude,” she answers. Love of country — which many Americans feel — and gratitude, which is especially strong in the breasts of exiles and refugees. When she speaks this boilerplate, she does so with the ring of sincerity.

And what are the issues in the campaign? Salazar talks about jobs and the economy. Whatever you think of Trump, she tells audiences, the economy is doing well. And the Democrats have been hijacked by the extreme Left. Do you want to continue on the economic path we’re on or go socialist? Many of the voters — Cubans, Venezuelans, Nicaraguans — know socialism. And don’t like it. Okay, what about immigration? This is a challenge for a Republican candidate here, Salazar tells me. The stance of President Trump and his GOP is not popular in this district.

3. Another great political piece in the issue is Kyle Smith’s profile of the grandstanding New York senator Kirsten Gillibrand . . . and her “calculated convictions.” From Kyle’s piece:

The best possible spin on Gillibrand’s attempts to make herself the Senate’s scourge of sexual assault is that she isn’t a shameless opportunist but she has a difficult time thinking clearly when it comes to such cases. Even after the notorious Rolling Stone story about a supposed gang rape at the University of Virginia was exposed as the product of the febrile imagination of a single lovestruck accuser named Jackie, Gillibrand said, “Victim-blaming or shining the spotlight on her for coming forward is not the right approach.” Victim-blaming! The undergrad, identified much later as Jackie Coakley, falsely portrayed members of a fraternity as rapists and the fraternity itself as the eager incubator of a culture of rape. She participated in a vicious attack. It was the fraternity brothers who were the victims.

Another effort to borrow some sexual assault-victim glamour, Gillibrand’s notorious decision to bring then — Columbia student Emma “Mattress Girl” Sulkowicz to President Obama’s 2015 State of the Union address, was even more unconscionable. The young woman’s claim of rape by a fellow undergraduate, which was dismissed by a campus investigation, looked suspiciously like revenge for being romantically rejected by him after consensual sex. The young man later reached a settlement with the university after he sued it over the debacle in which his accuser, thanks to the efforts of Gillibrand and others, became a national celebrity while his name was repeatedly linked to unproven and almost certainly false claims.

4. Harvard has got a big discrimination problem. Surprised? Robert VerBruggen explains. From his piece: Here’s some of RVB’s wisdom:

The case that Harvard is discriminating against Asians is strong. Harvard’s Asian population fluctuated in a narrow range of about 15 to 20 percent from the early 1990s through 2013 (the year before the lawsuit was filed), even though the Asian population grew substantially in that period, whether measured as a percentage of college-age Americans, as a percentage of applicants to elite schools, or as a percentage of high scorers on the SAT. A private analysis conducted by Harvard’s own Office of Institutional Research in 2013, released publicly pursuant to the lawsuit, found that Asians were less likely to be admitted than whites with the same qualifications. Using Harvard’s admission data, Duke economist Peter Arcidiacono–an expert witness for the plaintiffs — found the same thing. This seems par for the course among highly selective colleges in general: A study of ten schools by Princeton’s Thomas Espenshade and Alexandria Walton Radford found that, at private schools in 1997, “an Asian candidate with a 1250 SAT [out of 1600] would be just as likely to be admitted” as “a white student with an SAT score of 1110.” At public schools, Espenshade and Radford measured the “Asian disadvantage” in ACT points and put it at 3.4 out of 36.

Harvard’s lawyers argue, in part, that Arcidiacono’s analysis is wrong — an idea we’ll return to. But it’s worth asking whether what the plaintiffs allege is even illegal. This is an open question because the Supreme Court’s affirmative-action jurisprudence, a line of cases stretching from 1978’s University of California v. Bakketo 2016’s Fisher v. University of Texas, is a mess. Outside the courtroom, the case for affirmative action usually stems from the idea that it can help to counteract discrimination and make up for the legacy of past oppression. The courts, however, have always rejected this as a legal argument. Schools may not use racial preferences simply to help maltreated minority groups.

What they may do is use racial preferences to promote diversity, which allegedly has educational benefits and is thus an interest compelling enough to justify racial discrimination. What’s “diversity” and how might schools achieve it? Well, schools are allowed “considerable deference” to define what they’re trying to accomplish, but they have to explain their goals in terms that are “sufficiently measurable” that courts can ensure any consideration of race is “narrowly tailored” to achieving them. Harvard says it wants to expose students to “new ideas, new ways of understanding, and new ways of knowing,” and to prepare them “to assume leadership roles in the increasingly pluralistic society into which they will graduate.”

Sixteen Articles and Essays that Are a Firehose of Brilliance and Sanity

1. Victor Davis Hanson sees George Orwell’s 1984 reflected in the Kavanaugh attacks. From the essay:

The problem, of course, was that, under traditional notions of jurisprudence, Ford’s allegations simply were not provable. But America soon discovered that civic and government norms no longer follow the Western legal tradition. In Orwellian terms, Kavanaugh was now at the mercy of the state. He was tagged with sexual battery at first by an anonymous accuser, and then upon revelation of her identity, by a left-wing, political activist psychology professor and her more left-wing, more politically active lawyer.

Newspeak and Doublethink

Statue of limitations? It does not exist. An incident 36 years ago apparently is as fresh today as it was when Kavanaugh was 17 and Ford 15.

Presumption of Innocence? Not at all. Kavanaugh is accused and thereby guilty. The accuser faces no doubt. In Orwellian America, the accused must first present his defense, even though he does not quite know what he is being charged with. Then the accuser and her legal team pour over his testimony to prepare her accusation.

Evidence? That too is a fossilized concept. Ford could name neither the location of the alleged assault nor the date or time. She had no idea how she arrived or left the scene of the alleged crime. There is no physical evidence of an attack. And such lacunae in her memory mattered no longer at all.

Details? Again, such notions are counterrevolutionary. Ford said to her therapist 6 years ago (30 years after the alleged incident) that there were four would-be attackers, at least as recorded in the therapist’s notes.

2. You want the Trump Phenomenon explained? Rich Lowry says you’ll find that in the smears against Judge Kavanaugh. From his recent column:

Senate Democrats may delicately talk about the importance of norms and civility on Sunday shows, but watch how they act. They sat on an accusation throughout an extensive process of vetting and questioning a nominee, then declared it dispositive evidence against his confirmation when it leaked at the eleventh hour. They delayed a hearing with Christine Blasey Ford long enough to allow time for the second accuser to be persuaded to come forward.

All of this plays into Trump’s support. Surely, a reason that the president appealed to many Republicans in the first place, despite his extravagant personal failings, was that they had decided that virtuous men would get smeared and chewed up by the opposition’s meat grinder, so why be a stickler for standards?

If Trump’s attacks against the media are over-the-top and sometimes disgraceful, at least he understands the score.

He may not be a constitutionalist, but he will be faithful to his own side, and fiercely battle it out with his political opponents.

3. You know who won’t get the Kavanaugh Treatment? Beto O’Rourke, that’s who. Andy McCarthy zeroes in on yet another media double standard. From his piece:

We await the next shoe to drop in the Judge Kavanaugh saga. Rest assured that if there’s a rumor that, in third grade, young Brett yanked on the ponytails of the girl in the second row (war on women!), the New York Times, NBC News, and phalanxes of their journalistic colleagues will be all over it.

Meanwhile, Representative Beto O’Rourke had a pair of felony arrests in his mid-to-late 20s, including a reckless drunk-driving incident in which he crashed into a car and allegedly tried to flee from the scene. The cases appear to have mysteriously disappeared without serious prosecution, notwithstanding that O’Rourke continues to deny basic facts outlined in at least one police report.

So, what really happened? We don’t know. See, Representative O’Rourke is a Democrat.

4. The Kavanaugh Smear Campaign reminds all, of course, about what Clarence Thomas endured in 1991. Jonathan Tobin compares and contrasts. From the analysis:

Clarence Thomas may have been confirmed with a cloud on his reputation that eventually grew into a conviction that he was guilty. Yet even before Kavanaugh testifies about these charges, all left-leaning Americans may be convinced that he is guilty as charged. Nothing he says will shake that conviction, and almost everything they hear and read from liberal outlets will deepen their belief that he is a sexual predator and a liar.

That will be a heavy burden for Kavanaugh to carry for the rest of his life, even if he winds up spending it as a Supreme Court justice. His heretofore pristine reputation is gone, and there doesn’t seem to be any way it can be retrieved. Just as bad is that, unlike Thomas, who has been reviled by the Left but has been left largely alone to pursue what is by now a formidable judicial legacy, Democrats won’t be done with Kavanaugh even if they fail to defeat him. He should be prepared for a future in which congressional Democrats appease their base by attempting to revive investigations into his alleged high-school and college misbehavior. President Trump knows a Democratic House will at some point try to impeach him, and the same will likely happen to Kavanaugh, whether he is on the Supreme Court or remains an appellate judge.

Is it possible that liberal Americans will take a more measured view of these proceedings once the political furor dies down? Right now it’s hard to imagine such a possibility, since the country appears to be living in a moment where Steve Bannon’s line about politics being warfare has become an obvious truth. One day, however, more serious scrutiny will be given to the charges against Kavanaugh than they have thus far received from the liberal media.

5. The man was accused of gang rape, after all. But the anger in his self-defense is itself shocking to Lefties, who (infuriated!) try to turn that into a charge that Judge Kavanaugh lacks “judicial temperament.” Charlie Cooke calls BS on the lot of ’em. From his piece:

The first assumption is that a judge must act like a judge even when he’s involved personally in a case. “He’s supposed to be neutral!” came the cries this afternoon. “He’s supposed to have a cool temperament!” “He’s supposed to be an umpire.” Now, when a judge is acting as a mediator between two competing parties, this is, of course true. But what about when he’s not? What about when, as was the case today, he’s not the judge but the accused? In such a case it is entirely appropriate for a judge to defend himself, providing that he recuses himself if there is any conflict of interest. Today, Kavanaugh was the accused. And, today, he simply could not defend himself without making specific criticisms about how he had been treated; about who had said what, and when; and, yes, about how certain people in the room with him had behaved. To argue “he should have refrained from specifics” is to say, effectively, “he shouldn’t have competently defended himself.”

RELATED: Rich Lowry writes Brett Kavanaugh Should Be Angry.

6. VDH hails Kavanaugh’s triumphant self-defense, which rendered his Democrat foes “a collective Joseph McCarthy.” From his take:

Just when pundits were declaring Kavanaugh’s obituary, he appeared resolute, fiery, and presented an outraged denial that essentially put the entire Democratic effort at destroying him on trial.

He became the proverbial Joseph N. Welch; the Democrats became a collective Joseph McCarthy.

His effort galvanized heretofore somnolent Republican senators into stepping up and decrying the current farce. Lindsey Graham gave the greatest speech of his life, and the most remarkable from any Republican in years. He threw down the gauntlet to remind that any Republican who joined the witch hunt should be ashamed. That moment likely did a great deal to provide cover for a few wavering senators who might have been thinking of abandoning Kavanaugh, and, indeed, seemed to render obsolete some of the old Republican divides over Trump — given a new shared conservative outrage at the progressive efforts at character assassination.

Not one Democrat senator could find any inconsistency in Kavanaugh’s testimony, and their feeble attempts to do so had the effect of appearing bullying and crudity — ironically in the manner that the Republicans had feared they might appear if too aggressive in questioning Ford.

7. Could the Kavanaugh circus knee-cap the “Me Too” movement? Alexandra DeSanctis sees evidence of such. From her piece:

The idea that we must “believe all women” is similarly reckless, and left-wing activists and abortion-rights groups are pushing it nearly nonstop. Far from being a way to support women, this argument means that the truth of an allegation matters not at all, a terrible development for real victims of assault — not to mention for men falsely accused.

All of this will add up to the average person, who naturally wants justice for survivors, being less inclined to take sexual-abuse allegations seriously, the exact opposite of what the Me Too movement has promised and until now largely delivered. Because these accusations against Kavanaugh have so clearly been weaponized as a partisan tool, it only makes sense that onlookers will dismiss stories presented by biased politicians or shoddy reporting.

When people become numb to outrageous claims launched without verification and wielded by those with no interest in the truth, they will close their eyes to real instances of abuse. This debacle is teaching onlookers to take the stories of victims with a grain of salt. How can the average person be expected to care about seeking justice when so many in the public square seem to care more about advancing an agenda than about discerning who has actually been mistreated or abused?

8. Abandon all hope ye who . . . abandon: David French cautions Republicans who go south on Kavanaugh after his powerful self-defense. From his Corner post:

And it is also a fact that Kavanaugh has been subjected to a series of abhorrent, unsubstantiated allegations culminating in a fantastical and grotesque allegation of gang rape that all too many Serious People took all too seriously. In these circumstances, there was a need — a crying need — for a person to echo the immortal words, “Have you no decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency.” Today, was that moment. Today, there were conservatives across the nation who choked up — some openly wept — during his testimony. Not because they disrespect women. Not because they excuse sexual assault. But because they also love their sons. Because they are tired of being painted as evil when they are seeking to do what’s right. Because they want to see a man fight with honor.

That’s what Brett Kavanaugh did today. He fought with passion, evidence, and compassion. And absent any new, substantiated revelations, he united the conservative movement. Any Republican who abandons him now will abandon the electorate that put them in power.

9. It was 100 years ago this week that hundreds of thousands of American doughboys climbed out of trenches and commenced the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. The six-week effort (an understatement!) was the largest battle in U.S. history. Dan McLaughlin is his usual thorough self — this is a great essay of remembrance. From the piece:

Even the name, “American Expeditionary Force,” speaks to a different era. The armies of America’s wars before 1941 came into being to fight a specific war, and disbanded at the end, leaving their names behind as monuments: the Continental Army, the Army of the Potomac, the Army of the Tennessee. The professionalized, permanent army and Marine Corps were tiny then; the Army in 1917 was less than 150,000 men, compared to some 11 million Germans under arms and 8 million Frenchmen, and ranked as the world’s 17th-largest army. Only after the Second World War would the United States develop what Dwight Eisenhower termed our “military-industrial complex.” Americans had put the world’s most formidable fighting forces in the field against each other in the 1860s but had mostly forgotten the arts of war by 1917, when about 14,000 Americans (two-thirds the size of the Continental Army in mid 1776) were all that could be put in the field in France.

The Marine Corps would do much to build its legend at Belleau Wood in June 1918, and would fight again at St. Mihiel and the Meuse-Argonne under the command of Major General John Lejeune (namesake of North Carolina’s Camp Lejeune), but a small, elite force like the Marines cannot alone conquer a battlefield as vast and densely soldiered as the Western Front. And America’s industrial might was not the decisive factor it would be in the 1940s, when mechanized warfare ruled the battlefield; the American Army Air Service was not a notably effective factor in the battle, and many of the American tanks were borrowed from the French. It was the freshly recruited, still-amateur “Doughboys” of the Army, manning rifles, machine guns, and artillery, who made up the bulk of the estimated 600,000 men committed to the initial assault at H-hour on September 26. The six-week struggle would be the first and, as it turned out, the last time the AEF was fully committed to battle.

10. The science on “false memories” is very real and disconcerting, and the “memories” are a lot more common than you would think. Maddy Kearns has written an eye-opening article. From the piece:

In 1990, the McMartin preschool trial came to an end, seven years after allegations surfaced of outrageous, satanic sex abuse of toddlers. It was the most expensive criminal trial in American history; at its end, all charges were dropped. The mother who made the initial accusation was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic (she stated that she’d seen one of the alleged abusers fly through the air) and later found dead from complications of alcoholism. In the wake of this trial and other satanic-abuse hysteria sweeping the country at the time, “false memories” became a prominent phrase in neuropsychological research.

Now, Harvard psychologist Daniel Schacter explains that false memories form partly because our brains are constructive — they create narratives about our future, which might lead to related memory errors about our past. Elizabeth Phelps, a psychologist at New York University, reports in Identifying the Culprit: Assessing Eyewitness Identification that “unknown to the individual, memories are forgotten, reconstructed, updated, and distorted.”

Of course, when it comes to law, scientific rigor is key. Lawyers and judges therefore tend to seek independent corroboration — especially corroboration at the time of the incident.

The hearsay and allegations in Kavanaugh’s case are well chronicled in the media, and there’s no need to reiterate them here. But suffice it to say that proving guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt” is not only a requirement for jurors but for all of us who dare to publicly speculate on matters that are so grave for both the accuser and the accused.

11. Let’s cram two movie reviews into one item! Kyle Smith looks at The Hate U Give and finds, in a “Black Lives Matters” opus, some stealth conservatism. Here’s how it begins:

As The Hate U Give reached its climax, I had to reach down to the floor. There it was, right down there with the soda residue and the spilled popcorn: My jaw. Did I really just see a Black Lives Matter movie, in which an unarmed black youth is shot and killed by a white cop, build up to a scene in which a black cop explains what goes through the mind of a police officer in such a situation, when a suspect repeatedly disobeys lawful commands, and explains that he would have shot the guy too? This film is going to make Sheriff David Clarke jump out of his seat and cheer.

Then Armond White takes a look at Robert Redford’s The Old Man and the Gun. If you like a review that slaps Redford, you’re gonna like this one. Here’s how it begins:

Robert Redford’s legacy is actually the subject of The Old Man and the Gun, in which he plays Forrest Tucker, an elderly ex-con recidivist and inveterate thief who still robs banks for fun in 1980s Texas. You can’t avoid the story’s association with the showbiz hucksterism of the arena where Redford has lived most of his life — Redford being one of those finicky Hollywoodians who pretends to disdain the frivolity of his profession. But it’s also hard to square the Tucker character’s questionable, supposedly affable behavior with the realization that Redford’s film legacy isn’t as delightful as filmmaker David Lowery pretends.

12. Red caps kowtow to Red China: George Weigel attacks the Vatican’s concordat with the PRC. Here’s how the analysis begins:

Attempts to defend the recent provisional agreement between the Vatican and the People’s Republic of China, which was signed on September 22, have rung increasingly hollow over the past few days.

That pattern began before the ink was dry in Beijing, as Pope Francis’s secretary of state, Pietro Parolin, issued a statement claiming that now “for the first time all the bishops in China are in communion with the Bishop of Rome, with the Successor of Peter.” Really? Weren’t “all the bishops in China” in full communion with the pope before the Chinese Communists set up their front church, the Patriotic Catholic Association? Parolin also tried to justify the provisional agreement on the grounds that Pope Francis, like his immediate predecessors, “looks with particular care to the Chinese people” — a claim that, translated from Vaticanese, suggests that John Paul II and Benedict XVI would have made the same deal Francis and Parolin reportedly did. But that deal was available to John Paul II and Benedict XVI and they didn’t make it, because they knew that giving first rights of nomination over Chinese bishops to the Chinese state or the Chinese Communist Party was both a violation of the Church’s own canon law and a prescription for a puppet episcopate.

Then there was Andrea Riccardi, one of the founders of the Community of Sant’Egidio, a Catholic renewal movement firmly lodged in the progressivist camp. “Today,” Riccardi wrote, “the pope’s representative enters Peking [sic] through the front door. No more secret negotiations, but an official agreement that recognizes the dignity of the Holy See and Chinese Catholicism.”

How utterly, totally Italianate: Bella figura trumps again, and “dignity” is imagined to be a substitute for courage and fidelity to the truth. And of course Riccardi was spouting nonsense about “no more secret negotiations,” for the text of the provisional agreement is itself secret, and the charade by which the Chinese Communist Party will nominate bishops for a Vatican thumbs-up or thumb-down will be as transparent as mud. What has happened, one wonders, to the commitment to lift up the witness of the “new martyrs” of the 20th and 21st centuries, which the Sant’Egidio Community honors at the Church of San Bartolomeo all’Isola in Rome? Will those martyred in China while Vatican diplomats were caving in to Chinese Communist demands be remembered at that shrine?

13. More China: The PRC’s naval expansion shows global aspirations. Frank Lavin explains. From his piece:

With the launch of its second aircraft carrier, China has enhanced its position in the front ranks of military powers and prompted questions as to the ultimate purpose of its navy. The Chinese navy, formally known as the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), is expanding and will be doing so for years — decades — to come. Some of this is the natural consequence of being the navy of a country in economic ascendancy. Some of this is bureaucratic politics; the PLA is represented on the Communist Party Central Committee, and the PLA answers to the Chinese Communist Party, not the Chinese government. But some of this, the interesting part, is what’s left after one accounts for normal economic growth and institutional self-interest. We might not just be seeing an updated navy or a more potent navy; we might be seeing a different navy, with a different mission.

The axiom here is that in the short run, doctrine determines capabilities, but in the long run, capabilities determine doctrine.

14. Where have you gone, Scoop Jackson? While China expands, is America abandoning its role as global leader and peacekeeper? The statements of Capitol Hill Democrats in key Armed Services positions leave much to concern. Thomas Spoehr and Frederico Bartels discuss this important development. From their analysis:

What is America’s role in the world and what are our national priorities? Ask the two leaders of the House Armed Services Committee and you’ll get strikingly different answers.

On September 5 the committee’s ranking member, Representative Adam Smith (D., Wash.), suggested the U.S. should move away from being an “utterly and completely dominant” world power. Instead, he told attendees at the Defense News Conference, we should settle for being a “major player” among other major players in the international arena: Why “cling to this notion of dominance” amid the rise of China and other nations?

Smith views the dominance we achieved in the post-World War II era as unsustainable. It’s a perception that helps justify his contention that we spend too much on defense and must make deep cuts in the Pentagon budget. “How much of that [budgetary] pie can go to defense?” he asked, suggesting that domestic priorities must take precedence. He also opined that we are spending too much on our nuclear arsenal and should be able to absorb more risk in our international engagements.

15. Michael Brendan Dougherty, in his “Off the Shelf” weekly essay on a book he is currently reading, reviews, if you will, Reihan’s new tome. From the essay:

As soon as you get past the tautological stats about immigration increasing GDP, Salam shows, mass immigration makes us a poorer society: “The United States is home to eighteen million people under the age of eighteen who are either the children of immigrants or are immigrants themselves. According to research by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the median income for these families is 20 percent lower than for established families,” he writes. And studies looking at social mobility show that, contrary to popular belief, immigrants and their offspring do not “have poverty-defying superpowers that natives do not.” Salam’s argument is that mass low-skilled immigration is adding to America’s baleful history of radicalized inequality, and amounts to serious political trouble.

The heart of Salam’s book is a plea to slow down the rate of immigration-caused change in society and to select future immigrants who are likely to assimilate into and replenish the great middle-class society that gives the American dream plausibility and grants the American way of democracy some legitimacy in the eyes of citizens.

16. Daniel Gelernter describes a night at the New York Philharmonic that sounds so dreadful . . . you’d almost want to have been there to see the train wreck. From his piece:

For years, the maniacal self-absorption of Music Director Alan Gilbert allowed the New York Philharmonic to deteriorate into a sloppy shambles and become the worst of the world’s best orchestras. This season, there is a new music director, Dutch conductor and violinist Jaap van Zweden. Van Zweden gave his opening subscription series this weekend, and the transformation was obvious: Under his baton, the orchestra is no longer sloppy. Now it is merely unmusical.

The concert opened with the debut of Filament, a new work by contemporary composer Ashley Fure that sounded like a parody of late 60s experimental music. The orchestra was supplemented by three soloists in casual hipster attire on spotlit pedestals: a trumpet, a bass, and — out in the aisle — a bassoon. These were in turn supplemented by fifteen “moving voices,” singers who prowled around the audience with black plastic megaphones that resembled witches’ hats. The piece lasted 14 minutes: roughly ten minutes of demonic possession followed by four minutes of a traffic accident in the Holland Tunnel. The composer’s stated goals included “to democratize proximity” and “to activate a theater for the social.” I feel compelled to note that, once the singers had finished hissing into their megaphones like a suite of deflating tires and van Zweden had turned slowly and balletically to stare at the audience as the lights were gradually dimmed to black, we were not left feeling that our proximities had been particularly democratized.

The audience, however, loved it. A few people stood up to applaud, and all sides murmured and bubbled about how “cool” it was.


It’s truncated this week. Had to vamoose. So go to NRO Podcasts page to see how the lineup has been refreshed since last you whipped out the headphones.

The Six

1. Soeren Kern, for Gatestone Institute, profiles a month of multiculturalism madness in the UK. It ain’t pretty. From his piece:

August 2. British teenagers are being forced to marry abroad and are therefore effectively raped and often impregnated while the Home Office “turns a blind eye” by handing visas to their husbands, according to The Times. Officials received dozens of reports last year that women wanted to block visas to the UK for men they had been made to marry in countries Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and the United Arab Emirates. In almost half of the cases, records show, the visas were approved. Yvette Cooper, chairwoman of the home affairs select committee, said that she would demand answers from the Home Office over the findings. Experts believe there are thousands of victims in Britain, but that the vast majority are too afraid to come forward.

2. California State University at Long Beach has a mascot: Prospector Pete. Make that had. Per The College Fix, he’s being “retired.” Can you guess why? From the article:

According to the Daily Republic, university president Jane Close Conoley announced the decision to retire Pete on Thursday, stating “We came to know that the 1849 California gold rush was a time in history when the indigenous peoples of California endured subjugation, violence and threats of genocide.

“Today, the spirit of inclusivity is reflected in our students, faculty, staff, alumni and community. Today’s Beach is not connected to that era.”

Son of a Beach!

3. At Law & Liberty, Garreth Bloor does a deep die into homo economicus. From his essay:

Why do free markets, despite their success in material outputs, fail to gain the moral high ground in surveys of public opinion, especially among a millennial generation said to be swelling the ranks of the Democratic Socialists? Juxtaposing two seemingly dissimilar writers, George Gilder (1939-) and Eric Voegelin (1901-1985), may shed light on the answer. We can look to Gilder on the macroeconomic, and Voegelin on the philosophical, principles that inform the often narrowly specialized thinking of writers who support free enterprise.

Our natural desires to apprehend the good and the just are often left cold by a model of homo economicusthat seems to lack an account of the dignity of the human person. “The good” and “the just” (“social justice” in today’s parlance) are terms often taken up in a collectivist vein within the moral vacuum left by many pro-market arguments.

Voegelin found shortcomings in the economic theories of the Austrian School. And Gilder, while believing that free markets matter, critiques a central element of market economics: the attainment of equilibrium. This essay seeks to assess whether these two demurrers, one from a philosopher and one from a tech-friendly economist, are reconcilable with one another. If they are, what could emerge is an analysis that is interestingly interdisciplinary–one that transcends the limits of economic methodology while still making the case for the proper place of economic methodology in the ordering of human flourishing.

4. Haters gotta hate. In the Wall Street Journal, the great Shelby Steele explains why. From his piece:

For many on the left a hateful anti-Americanism has become a self-congratulatory lifestyle. “America was never that great,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently said. For radical groups like Black Lives Matter, hatred of America is a theme of identity, a display of racial pride.

For other leftists, hate is a license. Conservative speakers can be shouted down, even assaulted, on university campuses. Republican officials can be harassed in restaurants, in the street, in front of their homes. Certain leaders of the left–Rep. Maxine Waters comes to mind–are self-appointed practitioners of hate, urging their followers to think of hatred as power itself.

5. On his blog, libertarian economist Dan Mitchell sees a speck of honesty from some Euro economists who are mouthing some ideas that are Laffer-ian. From his post:

Regular readers know that I’m not a big fan of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The Paris-based international bureaucracy routinely urges higher tax burdens, both in the United States and elsewhere in the world.

But the professional economists who work for the OECD are much better than the political appointees who push a statist agenda.

So when I saw that three of them (Oguzhan Akgun, David Bartolini, and Boris Cournède) produced a study estimating the relationship between tax rates and tax revenues, I was very curious to see the results.

They start by openly acknowledging that high tax rates can backfire.

6. In her new book, not-conservative author J.K. Rowling may be portraying some lefty characters as . . . racist! Misogynist! At The Spectator, Nick Cohen marvels. From his piece:

You rarely come across a character in modern literature like Jimmy Knight. He’s a racist, but that’s not what makes him a novelty act. racists, after all, are deplored everywhere in the culture industry, from Hollywood to Pinewood Studios. Of this racist, however, his ex-wife says:

‘I wouldn’t trust him if it was anything to do with Jews. He doesn’t like them. Israel is the root of all evil, according to Jimmy. Zionism: I got sick of the bloody sound of the word.’

 Knight is also a misogynist, a type which is once again a familiar figure in contemporary fiction. But when his girlfriend cries out after he hits her, he replies by attacking her privilege with the language of the left:

‘Oh f**k off, that didn’t hurt! You demean women who really are knocked around, playing the victim.’

Speaking of New Books . . .

The man who has become America’s expert biographer on our Founding Fathers is NR’s Rick Brookhiser. And yes, he has a new biography coming out in a few weeks: John Marshall: The Man Who Made the Supreme Court. To be exact, the publication date is November 6th.

Sounds kinda timely, no? Anyway, these publishers (Basic Books has the Marshall gig) pay these PR staffers (peanuts?) to write verbiage to persuade you as to why a book deserves to be purchased, read, and placed on your bookshelf. As I see it: Who am I to deny the burgeoning Hemingway pounding the keyboard in some windowless office at Basic the opportunity to show he or she has talent? That having been babbled, here’s what Basic’s PR shop wants you to know about this really good book:

In 1801, a genial and brilliant Revolutionary War veteran and politician became the fourth Chief Justice of the United States. He would hold the post for 34 years (still a record), expounding the Constitution he loved. Before he joined the Court, it was the weakling of the federal government, lacking dignity and clout. After he died, it would never again be ignored.

In JOHN MARSHALL: The Man Who Made the Supreme Court, renowned writer and biographer Richard Brookhiser offers a definitive look at Marshall’s legacy through his landmark decisions over three decades. In these often-colorful cases involving businessmen, scoundrels, Native Americans, and slaves, Marshall defended the federal government against unruly states, established the Supreme Court’s right to rebuke Congress or the president, and unleashed the power of American commerce. For better or worse, he made the Supreme Court a central part of American life.

Marshall was born in Northern Virginia and served as a captain during the Revolutionary War and then as a delegate to the Virginia state convention before being appointed to the Supreme Court by John Adams, almost by chance.  He believed in a strong federal judiciary led by the Supreme Court, which would define laws, protect rights, and balance the power of the legislative and executive branches. However, America’s legal system, he worried, was threatened by specific individuals–namely Thomas Jefferson and the early Republican Party–who he saw as intent on undermining the Constitution and respect for law in order to empower themselves.

As a Federalist and follower of Washington, Marshall wanted a robust national government, favorable to business. He helped accomplish that. As Brookhiser vividly shows, Marshall’s modus operandi was charm and wit, and he often succeeded in uniting his fellow justices around unanimous decisions in controversial cases.

Beautifully written and deeply entertaining, JOHN MARSHALL is the definitive biography of America’s greatest judge and most important early Chief Justice.

Persuaded? You better be. Now click on the link (to Amazon) so you can pre-order weeks in advance: John Marshall: The Man Who Made the Supreme Court. And good luck to you, Rick!

It’s Webathon Time!

This weekend we launch our appeal for financial help from our friends and admirers. When WFB was alive, these things were called “The Fund Appeal,” and they proved vital to sustaining NR as conservatism’s voice of consequence.

Bill always said he owned NR’s stock on behalf of the magazine’s donors. Their support meant much to him, and his sense and spirit of such awareness and gratitude remains. Indeed, it is part of the DNA at NR HQ. Boy oh boy, do we need your support. And boy oh boy, are we grateful for it.

Jim Geraghty has something important to say, to ask you to contribute. Give him a read.


To clear the mind, amble through You’ll always find a rabbit hole to merrily go down. Among the players of yore highlighted this week by the site was Joe Hoerner, the journeyman reliever who pitched for 14 years from 1963 to 1977, most notably for the St. Louis Cardinals, appearing for them in the 1967 and 1968 World Series, the latter including a losing performance in Game 5.

About that contest, and about the point much discussed as to how baseball has become a very different game than the one played when I was a snot-nosed brat: Game 5 (it was terrific, and included Willie Horton gunning down Lou Brock at home; you can watch the game in its entirety: Part One is here and Part Two is here) tells us a lot about the differences.

Hoerner came into the game in the bottom of the Seventh to relieve starter Nelson Briles and to protect a 3-2 lead for the Cardinals, at that point leading the Detroit Tigers three games to one, and just nine outs away from becoming World Series champs. The inning began with Briles striking out the Detroit’s weak-hitting third baseman, Don Wert. And then the man who would prove to be the Series hero, the beer-bellied Mickey Lolich, stepped into the batter’s box. It was an incredibly pivotal moment: A poor batter (his career average was .110, although he hit his sole career home run in Game 2!), Lolich blooped a single to right, beginning a rally. Briles was yanked for Hoerner, who faced four batters only to give up three singles, a walk, and the lead. The Tigers won the game, 5-3, and then took the next two contests to wipe away the three-game deficit for a come-from-behind World Championship.

Fast forward to 2018: There’s no way Briles would still have been in the game in the 7th inning (in the 6th he had loaded the bases, but the Tigers failed to score). And even though he was pitching well (settling down after giving up three runs in the top of the 1st) there is no way Lolich would have hit for himself in that situation if this was Game 5 of the 2018 World Series.

By the way: The greatest pinch hitter in American League history, Gates Brown, was sitting on the Tigers’ bench when Lolich started the rally! Manager Mayo Smith obviously did not regret his decision.

A Dios

This ain’t over by a long stretch. Backs were made to be stabbed, no? Pray that the spines stay stiff and that the forces of Alinsky go down to bitter defeat. I’m going to have some beers while I pray for my new favorite nominee. What else? OK, tip generously. And go Yankees.

May His Mercies Be Tender and Copious,

Jack Fowler, which is the email address of NR’s most decidedly uncool suit.

National Review

It’s a Bar Fight


Dear Jolters,

Yours Truly is far more simple-minded than most if not all of my colleagues — heck, after three-plus decades I am still puzzled as to how I was ever let through the doors of National Review. (Explanation: Someone goofed!) Anyway, maybe that’s why I find the politics of the last week, and the forthcoming one, to be simple: It’s a bar fight.

And it is. Like the scene in Shane, when the out-manned Alan Ladd and Van Heflin take on the Ryker gang, not wanting to fight, but knowing they had no choice but to put their dukes up, and ditch the Marquis of Queensbury Rules (à la Heflin pushing through the swinging doors with an ax handle, which he employs swiftly, brutally, effectively). The instigators have a code of ethics and honors (well, not really — it’s more like a manual that Alinksy wrote) that doesn’t jibe with mom and apple pie. They play unfair (an understatement!) and for keeps. No quarter is given.

What’s a Conservative Movement to do? You didn’t ask for the fight, and you don’t want the fight, but do you stand there and clutch at pearls while you get the tar kicked out of you?

Whether you’d have preferred a pie fight, the fact is it’s a nasty, furniture-busting barroom brawl. So let’s admit what is happening, grab a bar stool, and swing it at the guy who is about to christen your skull with a bottle of scotch.

If you are looking for a call to arms (I’ll repeat it again below), my colleague Andy McCarthy pens an exceptional piece that is of sharp perspective and unvarnished clarity.

Now, I have a theory to share, but will do that in the P.S. And all that having been blathered, let us get on with the Jolt!


1. This was a contrived eleventh-hour ambush of the Kavanaugh nomination. From our editorial:

The hearing will probably degenerate into a political circus, given the theatrics at the first round of hearings even before a charge of sexual assault was on the table. The Democrats have conducted themselves disgracefully throughout this process, with their handling of this charge a new low and new depths sure to follow. But a public airing was unavoidable, certainly once both Kavanaugh and his accuser said they were willing to testify. We hope Republicans don’t blink from asking Ford tough questions about her account, even though such due diligence will be portrayed as rank sexism by Democrats and the media.

Absent any compelling new evidence that backs up the charge, we continue to strongly support Kavanaugh’s confirmation. We believe he’d make an excellent justice. In such a case, when emotions are high, a healthy republic should hew to basic principles of fairness. A good man and deserving judge should not be barred from the high court because of an unproven and almost certainly unprovable accusation of wrongdoing.

2. Enough delays for specious reasons. If the accuser won’t testify, the Judiciary Committee must vote. From our editorial:

It is worth remembering that Ford brought her allegation to the attention of the Washington Post and Feinstein in July, and retained a lawyer weeks ago. While neither the Post, nor Feinstein, nor Katz has uncovered serious corroborating evidence, the discrepancies in her account of the assault continue to add up: The latest is that Patrick Smyth, who Ford says was at the party in question, denies ever being there.

In any case, a hearing before the Judiciary Committee would be an appropriate way for the Senate to gauge the accuracy of this accusation. Just as evidence supporting Kavanaugh’s denial has been brought to the committee via letters from Smyth and Mark Judge, Ford could marshal evidence in her own behalf in testimony. Instead, her attorney and the Democrats appear to have coalesced around the unprecedented demand of an unbounded investigation by an agency that has no business investigating allegations like this one. If Ford continues to decline to testify, then Republicans should move ahead with the confirmation vote. An unanswered invitation is no reason to bring the nation’s affairs to a halt.

A Dozen and Then Some Pieces of Brilliance, Many Brimming with Anger so Righteous the Bejeepers and Maybe Even the Bejeebers Might Be Scared Out of You

1. Andy McCarthy calls out the 800-pound gorilla. It’s a set-up. From his piece:

Well, whaddaya know: Late last night, the partisan Democratic attorneys retained by the putative victim, Christine Blasey Ford, delivered a letter to Senator Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa), the Judiciary Committee chairman, contending that before any hearing at which she is summoned to testify takes place, there must be a “full investigation by law enforcement officials [to] ensure that the crucial facts and witnesses in this matter are assessed in a non-partisan manner.”

My personal favorite part of the missive is the lawyers’ complaint that, based on published reports, it seems that some of the senators have already “made up their minds” about Professor Ford’s story. This takes some gumption, coming from Democratic activists who are working in tandem with Democratic senators who decided to vote against Judge Kavanaugh long before the hearing started. The lawyers utter this tripe while in the middle of a transparent gambit to block the nomination by delaying it interminably — or at least until after the November election.

What a crock.

2. More Andy: Our ace on this matter gives a thorough history lesson on the Democrats’ politicizing of the SCOTUS-nominee process (exclusively for GOP nominees!). From his savaging:

Justices Ginsburg and Breyer were well qualified. But, of course, so had been Bork and Thomas. Because they were Democrats, however, Ginsburg and Breyer sailed through. The two things Democrats and Republicans have in common are 1) abiding respect for the personal integrity and legal acumen of Democratic judicial nominees and 2) effective acceptance of the Democrats’ claimed prerogative to “Bork” any Republican court nominee, no matter how impeccably credentialed, no matter their obvious integrity.

Republicans have defeated Democratic nominees, but they never Bork them. They never demagogue Democratic nominees as sex offenders, racists, or homophobes. There are no “Spartacus” moments.

Even when Republicans are put off by a Democratic nominee’s progressive activism, they seem apologetic, quick to concede that the progressive in question adheres to a mainstream constitutional philosophy — one that is championed by leading American law schools and bar associations because it effectively rewrites the Constitution to promote progressive pieties. Old GOP hands then typically vote “aye” while mumbling something about bipartisanship and some “presumption” that the president is entitled to have his nominees confirmed (a grant of deference that Democrats do not reciprocate, and that actually applies only to offices in the executive branch that exercise the president’s own power, not to slots in the independent judicial branch).

Even in 2016, when Republicans blocked Merrick Garland, President Obama’s late-term gambit to fill the vacancy created by the titanic Justice Antonin Scalia’s death, there was no besmirching of Judge Garland’s character. It was pure political calculation and exactly what Democrats would have done if roles had been reversed (minus the character assassination).

3. Jonah Goldberg congratulates Diane Feinstein for making our politics even uglier.

4. And Michael Swartz calls for to be censured. From his piece:

In substance, she “deliberately misled and deceived” her fellow senators, with the “effect of impeding discovery of evidence” relevant to the performance of their constitutional duties. No one should know better than Feinstein herself that such deceptive and obstructive conduct, widely regarded as “unacceptable,” “fully deserves censure,” so that “future generations of Americans . . . know that such behavior is not only unacceptable but also bears grave consequences,” bringing “shame and dishonor” to the person guilty of it and to the office that person holds, who has “violated the trust of the American people.” These quoted words all come from the resolution of censure Feinstein herself introduced concerning President Bill Clinton’s behavior in connection with his sex scandal. She can hardly be heard to complain if she is held to the same standard.

Comparison with other past censure cases only makes Feinstein’s situation look worse. The last three senators censured, Thomas Dodd, Herman Talmadge, and Dave Durenberger, were all condemned for financial hanky-panky: converting campaign contributions to personal use and the like. They were all found to have brought the Senate into “dishonor and disrepute” even though nothing they had done implicated the Senate’s performance of its constitutional duties. Feinstein, in sharpest contrast, sought to keep her committee from timely and properly investigating an apparently serious charge of misconduct, and is still doing so, even in the face of criticism from all (or most) quarters.

5. Dan McLaughlin looks into all the legal nooks and crannies of the accusation and the accuser, and find credibility favors Kavanaugh. It’s thorough and detailed. And here is how it ends:

For my part, I think the Judiciary Committee should go forward on Monday and let Kavanaugh testify, even if he’s the only witness; his good name has been placed in the crosshairs, he’s the nominee, and he should have the opportunity to defend himself before the world. Even as a matter of pure politics, it would benefit Senate Republicans to do that to clear the air. If Blasey Ford testifies as well, the Judiciary Committee would be well within its rights to probe the many reasons for questioning the credibility of her story, and the Senate will be entirely justified in confirming Brett Kavanaugh if they end up hearing nothing more than we have seen so far. And if Christine Blasey Ford refuses to show up for the hearing and stands only on statements that aren’t under oath or to federal investigators, that would, and should, be the last straw.

6. Victor Davis Hanson smacks a two-by-four upside the thick skull of Democratic progressivism, which is proving a descent into madness. From his piece:

The new heartthrob of the Democratic party, socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, former Westchester County resident, promises that a new generation of socialists such as herself will take the party hard leftward to perpetual electoral dominance. And to prove the growing popularity of redistributive socialism, she just posed with a hardhat construction worker in a chic $3,505 outfit: a Gabriela Hearst “Angela” double-breasted wool-blend blazer ($1,990), Gabriela Hearst pants ($890), and some Monolo Blahnik shoes ($625). A socialist might wonder how many needy children could have been clothed with adequate Walmart ware for $3,505 — 40, 50, or more? Not since the disclosure of Bernie Sanders’s three homes, or Elizabeth Warren’s past real-estate success in flipping houses (“you can make big money buying houses and flipping them quickly”) have we been so personally enlightened about the Animal Farm two-legs-for-us/four-legs-for-them rules of the new Democratic socialism.

Finally, Occasio-Cortez herself is in some jeopardy of being upstaged by yet another young, zealous, female identity-politics socialist: Julia Salazar, candidate for the state legislature in New York. Oddly, almost everything that Salazar has said to enhance her progressive credentials is untrue — and untrue in a blatant Elizabeth Warren, Ward Churchill, and Rachel Dolezel identity-fraud way. Salazar is not an immigrant; she did not grow up impoverished; she is not part Jewish; and she did not graduate from Columbia University.

All that we can say about this new progressivism is the same as what we can say about the cult of sanctuary cities, ensuring universal Medicare for all, and the idea of abolishing ICE: It operates outside the realm of reason and truth as it descends into collective madness.

7. Michelle Malkin, adept at taking no prisoners, continues to keep the jails empty. She has a thing or two to say about dudes gushing over “Believe Women.” From her new column:

I have a message for virtue-signaling men who’ve rushed to embrace Me Too operatives hurling uncorroborated sexual-assault allegations into the chaotic court of public opinion.

Stuff it.

Your blanket “Believe Women” bloviations are moral and intellectual abominations that insult every human being of sound mind and soul.

8. Judge Kavanaugh . . . There’s a Mr. Kafka on Line One. El Jefe Rich Lowry reacts to the accusations. From his column:

If someone is capable of such a thing, even as a teenager, it is a black mark against his character. And character is usually destiny. It is no accident that the men taken down by #MeToo are invariably repeat offenders.

Not only is there no other allegation against Kavanaugh, the assault charge runs against everything we know about his personal and professional life, as attested by everyone who has known him. His exemplary reputation, earned over the course of decades and a matter of public record, should outweigh a charge that is unproven and, as far we know, unprovable.

The confirmation process for the Supreme Court has long been badly broken, a forum for sheer blood sport. If, based on what we know now, this accusation keeps Kavanaugh from the Court, it will be a new low. The Senate will have embraced a new world where the existence of an allegation, regardless of whether it can be proven, is enough to stop a nominee and destroy his good name.

9. Armond White hands down a death sentence for Assassination Nation. From his review:

Fans of dystopian junk like Get Out and BlacKkKlansman will fall for anything, but they shouldn’t get their hopes up for Assassination Nation. Levinson’s sexual and generational politics are so shallow that he betrays their own trendy self-righteousness. I suppose we’re fortunate that, during this era of media and government witch-hunting, another dumb filmmaker from the Sundance-Hollywood cabal cannot get his political biases to line up cogently. Levinson so miscalculates this Salem-witch-trial parody that he eventually overshoots what should be its obvious point.

In a truly clever, maybe even cautionary, satire, Lily and her band of avenging tarts would represent Clinton, Pelosi, Warren, and Feinstein — the obsessed, politically treacherous ladies we’re witnessing right now. Such a movie might shine a light on the self-pity that leads Clinton to take a loss of political power as a personal wound and to project blame on foreign hackers, all while she advocates revolution and eventual political ruination. (Some form of assassination seems to be the obsession of #Resistance members’ distorted imaginations. Without political power, they feel exposed and terrified and become vicious, as if they are meant to permanently run our country and our culture.) In the brilliant, devastatingly funny Mom and Dad, Brian Taylor got to the heart of our culture’s self-destructive bent. Even Taylor’s simple evocative title outclasses Assassination Nation and its foolish, chaotic blatancy.

10. The drive to sanctify Transgender Orthodoxy — and to shut up all non-genuflectors — is getting a big boost from pediatrician groups. Maddie Kearns hits both sides of the Atlantic to get the very big story. From it:

In the same week that the U.K.’s “equalities minister” launched an inquiry into why there has been a 4,000 percent increase in girls seeking gender reassignment in the past ten years (from 40 in 2009–10 to 1,806 in 2017–18), the American Academy of Pediatrics released its official policy statement on how to ensure “comprehensive care and support for transgender and gender diverse children and adolescents.”

All of this relates to a global child-welfare battle that is being fought in schools and surgeries across the English-speaking world. One of the most successful tactics used by the activists is to pathologize the debate; only “transphobes” question ostensibly pro-trans assumptions.

But whichever side of the transgender debate one falls on — from within the medical community — the following questions ought to be raised in relation to the AAP’s recent statement: (1) To what extent did activists and interested third parties influence this policy? (2) To what extent was the AAP able to hear from all stakeholders? (Especially parents who feel unable to speak up publicly due to concern for their relationship with their child, and professionals who fear animosity from an activist trans community.) And, related, (3) Is this official policy likely to be helpful or harmful to children?

11. The truly great D.J. Jaffe discusses the impressive results of state laws that permit mandated treatment of the most seriously mentally ill. From his report:

Assisted outpatient treatment is the practice of delivering outpatient treatment under court order to a small, highly targeted population: adults with serious mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder who meet specific criteria, such as repeated past hospitalizations, violence, or arrests due to their failure to comply with treatment. AOT allows judges to require these individuals to stay in closely monitored treatment for up to a year, while they continue to live in the community.

Mandated and monitored treatment has been a huge success. Studies in New York, Los Angeles, North Carolina, Arizona, and Iowa show that AOT increased treatment compliance or lowered the number of days spent homeless or hospitalized or incarcerated in the 70 percent range, an outstanding result since only the most seriously mentally ill are eligible.

12. Who’d a thunk it: California civil-rights groups are suing the tree-huggers and wind lovers. Robert Bryce reports on this battle between Strange New Enemies. From his piece:

The land-use problem facing Big Wind in California is the same throughout the rest of the U.S. and Europe: People in cities like the idea of wind turbines. People in rural areas increasingly don’t want anything to do with them. Those rural landowners don’t want to see the red blinking lights atop those massive turbines, all night, every night, for the rest of their lives. Nor do they want to be subjected to the harmful noise — both audible and inaudible — that they produce.

Even before SB 100 passed, though, California’s leaders were already facing a legal backlash from minority leaders over the high cost of the state’s climate policies. On April 27, The Two Hundred, a coalition of civil-rights leaders, filed a lawsuit in state court against the California Air Resources Board, seeking an injunction against some of the state’s carbon dioxide–reduction rules. The 102-page lawsuit declares that California’s “reputation as a global climate leader is built on the state’s dual claims of substantially reducing greenhouse gas emissions while simultaneously enjoying a thriving economy. Neither claim is true.”

The gist of the lawsuit is this: California’s high housing, transportation, and energy costs are discriminatory because they are a regressive tax on the poor. The suit claims that the state’s climate laws violate the Fair Employment and Housing Act because CARB’s new greenhouse-gas-emissions rules on housing units in the state “have a disparate negative impact on minority communities and are discriminatory against minority communities and their members.” The suit also claims the state’s climate laws are illegal under the Federal Housing Act, again because their effect is felt predominantly by minority communities. It also makes a constitutional claim that minorities are being denied equal protection under the law because California’s climate regulations are making affordable housing unavailable to them.

13. Michael Knox Beran laments the supplanting of the philosopher and poet by the techie and financier. From his essay:

Four centuries ago Francis Bacon predicted that the “knowledge which we now possess will not teach a man even what to wish.” Crack the algorithms of nature, Bacon believed, and human beings could liberate themselves through technology. He went so far as to suggest that they could repair the damage of the Fall and restore a lost paradise.

Today’s elites are in thrall to messianic Baconism. Jeff Bezos speaks of the “beginning of a Golden Age.” Mark Zuckerberg prophesies a new world of meaning and purpose, to be contrived by ever-more-poignant algorithms. The drudgery of uncongenial labor will be eliminated as robots take over the more irksome tasks of life. In the ensuing embarrassment of riches, every citizen will enjoy a guaranteed income paid out of the treasury of the state. In place of dead-end jobs, we will have not only new virtual communities, but new synthetic realities, to which we will turn with relief from the dreariness of our actual ones. Mortality itself will yield to the wizard’s wand, or so investors in Calico, the California Life Company, foresee.

Which translated means: The dream that animates Silicon Valley and Wall Street — the world of applied science and the capital that underwrites it — is now as revolutionary in its aspirations as the dreams that inspired the Enlightenment philosophes of the 18th century and the Bolshevik and Maoist iconoclasts of the 20th. It is where the action is: It is supplying the madder music, the stronger wine, that were once the property of the old utopian creeds. And it is monopolizing the talent of the nation.

14. The uber-great Lee Edwards scores Elizabeth Warren’s “Accountable Capitalism Act” as being socialist and unconstitutional dreck. From his analysis:

ACA is not a small or even a giant step toward socialism. It is socialism. Senator Warren’s legislation is the most radical congressional proposal since the National Recovery Administration Act of 1933, which was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court just two years later.

Let us begin with a simple question: What if all the stakeholders disagree about the size of the next pay raise or the hiring of transgender workers or the construction of a new plant or how to market a new product? Who is going to resolve the impasse — the Office of United States Corporations? As the business ethicist Kenneth Goodpaster put it: Multiplying the number of stakeholders “blurs traditional goals in terms of entrepreneurial risk-taking” and “pushes decision-making towards paralysis.”

And why is it more “just” for assorted stakeholders to claim a share of the profits? The owners of a company are its shareholders who invested their money in the enterprise. If there is a loss, it is the shareholders who suffer. Other stakeholders — workers, suppliers, the community at large — do not share the direct risk that shareholders do. Warren’s plan, despite its superficial leveling philosophy, may end up benefiting wealthy stakeholders at the expense of small shareholders.

15. For an institution that is millennia old, how the current Vatican bureaucracy could have forgotten the idiocy and lessons of the Concordat with the Nazi regime is shocking. George Weigel looks at the Pope’s latest diplomatic blunder — a deal with Red China that will sell out the underground Church. From his piece:

This legal-diplomatic strategy — which seems to have been based on the belief that even a totalitarian regime would honor a treaty commitment — didn’t work. The Third Reich began violating the Reichskonkordat shortly after the ink dried on the treaty. Then after some two dozen stiff diplomatic notes to Berlin (drafted by Pacelli) had not produced results, an irate Pius XI issued the encyclical Mit brennender Sorge [With Burning Concern] in 1937, had it clandestinely printed in Germany, and ordered that it be read from all German pulpits. In the encyclical, Pius denounced an “idolatrous cult” that replaced belief in God with a “national religion” and a “myth of race and blood,” and his stress on the perennial value of the Old Testament made it quite clear what he thought of the Nazi swastika and what it represented.

It is beyond ironic, and it borders on the scandalous, that the lesson of this debacle — paper promises mean nothing to totalitarians — has not been learned in the Vatican, which now appears to be on the verge of repeating its mistake by completing a deal with the government of the People’s Republic of China, on the 85th anniversary of the Reichskonkordat.

Vatican sources are calling the deal “a historic breakthrough,” but the only thing “historic” about it is the inability of Vatican diplomacy to learn from history. To make matters worse, others in the Vatican are conceding that the deal is “not a good agreement” but then go on to suggest that it might pave the way for something better in the future. Really? Haven’t we been down that road before? Isn’t the failed Reichskonkordat a cautionary tale? Is history taught at the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, the Church’s graduate school for papal diplomats?


1. The Editors finds Rich, Charlie, Reihan, and MBD dissecting the eleventh-hour ambush of the Kavanaugh nomination. Pay heed here.

2. On the new episode of The McCarthy Report, Rich and Andy try to make sense of the Kavanaugh accusations, developments in the Manafort trial, and whether or not Trump could pardon Manafort. You can’t not listen, right here.

3. Lots of news and reminiscing on the new Radio Free California episode, with Will and David discussing how, five years later, Central Valley farm workers finally get their Election Day results, plus how union-backed lawmakers are erecting more barriers to worker freedom, and the gloomy tenth anniversary of when California’s housing boom went bust — and took the world with it. Check your mortgage then strap on the headphones and listen, here.

4. Señor Nordlinger yacks it up about words, concepts, the world — including Syria, Russia, Burma, and Taiwan — sports (Tiger Woods), and music. The new episode of Jaywalking is nutrition for the old hearing glands, so listen up and enjoy, right here.

5. Jessica Hooten Wilson of John Brown University visits John J. Miller for The Great Books podcast to discuss The Moviegoer, Walker Percy’s classic. Hear here.

6. Then Thomas H. Connor joins JJM on The Bookmonger to discuss his new work, War and Remembrance: The Story of America’s Battle Monuments Commission. It’s a fascinating subject — learn more about it here.

7. Our wide-stance-ing host straddles the Mighty Mississippi to deliver a new episode of The Remnant with Jonah Goldberg straight from St. Louis. Listener questions are answered and socialism flayed. You’ll find all the merriment here.

8. On the new episode of Ordered Liberty, David and Alexandra do a deep dive into the sexual-assault allegations against Brett Kavanaugh. Listen here.

9. The Washington Post’s Dave Weigel join hosts Scot “Bert” Bertram and Jeff “Ernie” Blehar on the new episode of Political Beats, to discuss the Ye Olde 70s band, King Crimson. Break out the vinyl later — right now just listen to this amazing podcast.

10. Jay Cost and Luke Thompson continue their voyage through the Constitution, and on this week’s edition of Constitutionally Speaking visit the First Amendment’s “religion clauses.” (Personally, I can’t wait until they get to the 21st Amendment.) Amend your schedule and find time to listen, right here.

One Week Closer to the Big Buckley Prize Gala

So we are now less than a month off from National Review Institute’s fifth annual William F. Buckley Jr. Prize Dinner, to be held in Chicago on Thursday, October 18th. Here’s a question, the answer to which is, “of course.” Are you coming? The affair will be held at The Cultural Center, and the expected highlight will be the bestowing of the Buckley Prize on our close friends, Edwin J. Feulner (Leadership in Political Thought) and Karen Buchwald Wright (for Leadership in Supporting Liberty). Now, especially if you live in the Midwest, we want very much for you to join us. This is a terrific way to support NRI and its great fellows, centers, and programs. Sponsorships are available, and individual tickets are $1,000. You can find complete information, and register, here. If you have any questions do contact Alexandra Zimmern Rosenberg by email ( or phone (212-849-2858).

The Six

1. Mamma mia a lot lot lot of people are leaving California, and they tend to be earning big paychecks (and big baby-makers too!). At, Joel Kotkin and Wendell Cox have a demographic story that is presaging a disaster for the Golden State.

One of the perennial debates about migration, particularly in California, is the nature of the outmigration. The state’s boosters, and the administration itself, like to talk as if California is simply giving itself an enema — expelling its waste — while making itself an irresistible beacon to the “best and brightest.”

The reality, however, is more complicated than that. An analysis of IRS data from 2015-16, the latest available, shows that while roughly half those leaving the state made under $50,000 annually, half made above that. Roughly one in four made over $100,000 and another quarter earned a middle-class paycheck between $50,000 and $100,000. We also lose among the wealthiest segment, the people best able to withstand California’s costs, but by much smaller percentages.

The key issue for California, however, lies with the exodus of people around child-bearing years. The largest group leaving the state — some 28 percent — is 35 to 44, the prime ages for families. Another third come from those 26 to 34 and 45 to 54, also often the age of parents.

2. A new book — The Long Night of the Watchman: Essays by Vaclav Benda, 1977-1989 — is out (edited and compiled by Flagg Taylor and Barbara Day) and the brilliant conservative academic, Daniel J. Mahoney, reviews it for City Journal. From the review:

We owe a debt to Flagg Taylor and Barbara Day for making Václav Benda’s remarkable anti-totalitarian writings available to English-language readers in a handsome and accessible volume. In his thoughtful introduction, Taylor convincingly argues that the Czech belongs in that small coterie of writers, thinkers, and actors — Solzhenitsyn and Havel included — who fought totalitarianism with courage and lucidity. In their distinctive ways, these great figures illuminated “the nature of their totalitarian enemy and how their battle could be fought and won.” Benda is barely known in the Western world outside his native context. But these writings ought to make his witness and achievement much more widely recognized among all those who continue to strive to understand the tragedy of twentieth-century totalitarianism. Benda, who died before age 60, was a patriot, Christian, and lover of liberty who profoundly illuminated the nature of evil in our time. He never confused his Christian faith with a call to passivity. His writings and activities played a major role in setting the stage for the annus mirabilis of 1989, the revolutionary year when Communism behind the Iron Curtain imploded.

3. More City Journal. Economics writer Gene Epstein does a thorough trashing of liberal Nobel Prize-winner Joseph Stiglitz. From his essay:

Though he has amassed a track record scarred with dubious prognostication and mistaken analysis, Stiglitz remains highly regarded among mainstream media elites, including the New York Times’s Paul Krugman, who calls him “an insanely great economist.” And Stiglitz remains influential in policy circles. In October 2017, he was named cochair of the Commission on Global Economic Transformation, teaming up with NYU professor Michael Spence, one of the economists who shared the Nobel with him in 2001. Though the Obama administration treated him like an outsider, Stiglitz could make a comeback if a Democrat wins the White House in 2020. He joined Senator Warren in criticizing Obama for supporting the Trans Pacific Partnership, or TPP, which Trump has since scuttled. He serves as chief economist with the Roosevelt Institute, which, according to its website, exists “to carry forward the legacy and values of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt by developing progressive ideas and bold leadership in the service of restoring America’s promise of opportunity for all.”

In May 2015, Senator Warren and Mayor de Blasio, two ambitious Democrats, joined Stiglitz at a press conference to release the Roosevelt Institute report “Rewriting the Rules of the American Economy: An Agenda for Growth and Shared Prosperity.” The report — which proposes to “make health care affordable and universal by opening Medicare to all” and to “create a public option for the supply of mortgages” — was aimed at influencing Hillary Clinton, then seen as the next president. Perhaps Warren will succeed where Clinton did not. Stiglitz may then have a final shot at shaping U.S. economic policy. If he becomes chairman of President Warren’s Council of Economic Advisers in early 2021, he’ll be 78. Alan Greenspan did not step down from the chairmanship of the Federal Reserve until age 80, and Paul Volcker was well past 80 when he served as advisor to President Obama. Stiglitz’s worst may be yet to come.

4. At Gatestone Institute, Soeren Kern explains how Sweden’s anti-immigration party has become the country’s political kingmaker. Read his report here.

5. At The American Conservative, Hollywood’s child-abuse epidemic gets a spotlight shined on it by Ben SixSmith. From his commentary:

Critics of “Me Too” often accuse the movement of abandoning due process in favor of trial by social media. There is something to this. Especially where famous people are concerned, making false accusations of abuse can be a good means of acquiring attention or money, and Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram can spawn a kind of febrile mob mentality. Where children are concerned, it is especially important that the courts, and not anonymous rumormongers, determine guilt and innocence. Yet rumors flourish when institutions are closed, corrupt, and unaccountable. Decades of abuse and impenetrable institutional silence have fostered a desire for a full and verifiable reform of organizational attitudes towards child performers and adult abusers. Hollywood, which thrives on telling other people’s stories, has to be more open about its own.

6. The Imaginative Conservative republishes Joseph Mussomeli’s essay on “Redefining American Exceptionalism.” From his piece:

First, use the label sparingly and prudently. Admittedly this will feel akin to amputating a leg or tearing out one’s own heart. A passionate belief in our Exceptionalism is something we all were handfed since we were infants and accepting that we are something less than unique and special will be painful. But like every other extremist “ism” we denounce and distrust and have sought to destroy, American Exceptionalism can sometimes embody a threat to Republican principles. Imbued with a strong sense of Exceptionalism, our leaders sometimes justify policies and practices that we would generally find loathsome. Just as Marxism and Fascism and Islamic Extremism enable their followers to commit deplorable acts for some greater future good, so too American Exceptionalism — despite all the good and inspiring aspects of it — has made it easier for us to do similarly appalling acts. Embracing American Exceptionalism with thoughtful humility rather than boastful pride would be salutary.

Second, be consistent. From the very outset post-World War II interventionism has suffered from a notable hypocrisy of purpose. We unabashedly rail against the tyrannies in Syria and Iran, but continue to ignore the equally tyrannical and arguably more dangerous governments in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and elsewhere. At one time this approach, while never morally defensible, made some sense from a practical perspective. It was arguably practical because we needed certain resources such as oil from the Middle East, and it was also practical because we were waging a decades-long cold war, so we cleverly delineated between totalitarian regimes (our enemies) and mere authoritarian regimes (our friends) despite there being little difference in how they ran their governments and mistreated their citizens.

WHAT THE HECK, LET’S THROW IN ANOTHER: Well, too bad for Saint Junipero Serra that he founded the California mission system. That’s now a reason to blackball him from any structures on the Stanford University campus. The PCeaucrats have ruled! And Graham Piro of The College Fix has the story.


I’m just satisfying my love here for pitchers who hit (WJ also has a thing for hitters who pitch). Today’s subject is Dodgers pitcher (and hitter!) Don Drysdale, who was considered as ferocious a competitor as they come. At 6 foot, 5 inches, he was a workhorse and intimidating as heck, leading the NL in strikeouts across three seasons, winning the Cy Young Award in 1962, and posting a lifetime 209 – 166 record in 14 seasons, in five of which his Bums played in the World Series. He tossed six consecutive shutouts in 1968 (damn!) and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1984. “Big D” died too young, in 1993 at the age of 56.

Drysdale has one of the MLB’s best career records for home runs by a pitcher — he slammed 29 before he hung up his cleats in 1969, with seven coming in each of the 1958 and 1965 seasons. There was that one game in 1958 (August 23rd, at the LA Memorial Coliseum against the World Champion Milwaukee Braves) though, when DD had a particularly great performance at the plate: In the 4th he smacked a three-run homer off of a young Juan Pizarro (who would end his long career in 1974 with the Pittsburgh Pirates), and then in his next at-bat in the 6th knocked a solo shot, also off Pizarro. Of course Drysdale pitched a complete game victory, winning 10 – 1.

A Dios

Do we really pray? Even those who believe in prayer’s power — do you? Let me suggest you do (pray) for our Republic. It is a great thing in the history of mankind, but it is not a certain thing. Given the chaos inflicted upon us by the enemies of conservatism and the friends of all things “progressive” and leftist, we could use the kind of Wisdom and those Graces that only the Almighty can bestow. Nasty days face us. Please God, bestow!

Ancient of Days, bless us as we gird our loins,

Jack Fowler . . . is to whom you write for any complaints about this missive or any other matter, except for the lateness of Metro North trains, as I am already all over that.

P.S.: OK as I said up above (and I cannot believe you have hung in all the way to the caboose) I have a theory to share about the attacks on Judge Kavanaugh. It’s not so original, and may have more holes than a block of Swiss cheese, but here goes: You don’t have to be a movie junkie to know about the Eighties’ go-to Bad Teen — his name is William Zabka, famous for his roles as Ralph Macchio’s cocky nemesis Johnny Lawrence in The Karate Kid, and as the privileged, joe-cool, smug, condescending classmate of the son of Thornton Mellon (all hail Rodney Dangerfield!) in Back to School (treat: this is the scene that is Hollywood’s greatest-ever lesson in reality).

But I digress.

This fictional character of Johnny Lawrence — athletic, cocky, good-looking, probably just the type who went to some elite high school — is a Millennial hyper-memorable who has earned primo status on the Movie Hate Scale. Who doesn’t yearn for him getting a Very Big Comeuppance?

My theory is that at The George Soros Memorial Leftist Headquarters, they have found a stand-in, namely Judge Kavanaugh, who they will try to portray as Everyone’s Favorite 80s A**hat. Like with this Slate piece on “elite impunity”  which pontificates:

Brett Kavanaugh has little personally in common with Donald Trump. He has taken pains, at his nomination announcement and during his confirmation hearings, to assert his woman-friendly bona fides. Nonetheless, he is a perfect nominee for the moment. He embodies the driving themes of the Trump era, albeit in more genteel, traditional form than the president himself. Themes of elite impunity in the face of open transgression; of redemption without recompense for those in authority; and of a society that extends endless opportunity for some and deploys unyielding punishment for others. He is both the product of a political movement devoted to the protection of existing hierarchies of race, gender, and wealth, and a representative of the power structure that sits at the top of those hierarchies.

So what do they want Middle America to think? “Hey, yeah, I kinda knew a guy like that . . .” (of course you do, if the guy was a movie character). After all, Kavanaugh went to a Catholic all-boys high school. He was athletic. Good-looking (so ladies of whom I have questioned say). Assaulting a woman, why, it’s in the DNA! Isn’t it? Getting away with it . . . It’s S.O.P.!

And so goes this Great Experiment. Now duck because that guy over there is about to toss a beer mug at you!

WAIT! After I wrote this drivel I saw that the great Heather Wilhelm take off on the same theme – except she wrote about it clearly. From her piece:

Life, however, comes at you fast: “That it happened or not, I have no idea,” the classmate told NPR within a day. “I can’t say that it did or didn’t.” Wait. What? Here’s more: “In my [Facebook] post, I was empowered and I was sure it probably did” happen, she continued. “I had no idea that I would now have to go to the specifics and defend it before 50 cable channels and have my face spread all over MSNBC news and Twitter.”

Oh. Well, never mind. It’s a good thing we’re dealing with an abstract mental mock-up of a “privileged” preppy white man who represents all of our pent-up resentments and issues, rather than with a serious, potentially career-destroying accusation against a real human being with a family and a job and a soul!

“I was empowered”: It’s interesting phrasing, is it not? What does it mean? I’d be willing to bet it means “swept up in the therapy mob.” At this point, we still don’t really know what, if anything, happened between Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh. The accusations are certainly serious, and should be treated accordingly — but strangely, to many, finding the facts just doesn’t seem to matter anymore. For a certain segment of the population, this story isn’t about truth or justice. It’s about a bizarre national therapy session. In the end, it’s all about them.

National Review

Borders on Insanity, or Insanity on Borders


Dear Weekend Jolter,

My esteemed colleague, the friendly and brainy Reihan Salam, has written an important new book that will be published in fewer than two weeks. It’s titled Melting Pot or Civil War? A Son of Immigrants Makes the Case Against Open Borders, and if you know what’s good for you (I am in Nagging Dad Mode) you will pre-order a copy. Make that copies!

Of course you want to hear what some other Big Brains are saying about Melting Pot of Civil War?, so let me treat to you but three of many praisings for Reihan’s efforts. We’ll start with Hillbilly Elegy author J.D. Vance:

“Tackling a complex and emotional subject with thoughtfulness and charity, Salam has issued a clarion call to everyone who cares about the American nation and every person who calls it home. Melting Pot or Civil War answers the question of how we can have an immigration policy that is beneficial, humane, and fair to everyone — from ninth-generation Americans to new immigrants.”

Now batting, Thinker of Big Thoughts, Peter Thiel:

“Should we lock people out of the middle class, or should we lock people out of the country? That is what is really being asked when we debate whether American immigration policy should be open or closed. Thankfully, Reihan Salam reveals this dichotomy to be a false choice. We can live in a middle class country that welcomes newcomers — if we can live with middle-of-the-road limits rather than absolutist extremes.”

And let’s wrap up this Salamfest with conservative Wise Man Yuval Levin:

“For far too long, advocates of open immigration have dismissed their critics without even bothering to answer them. Reihan Salam should make that impossible. He offers a smart, informed, humane, and powerful case for an immigration policy that better serves all Americans. This is essential reading for understanding our country and its future.”

You have your instructions . . . now get Reihan Salam’s Melting Pot or Civil War? A Son of Immigrants Makes the Case Against Open Borders. Then mow the lawn. By the way, I am betting the image attending this epistle doesn’t necessarily reflect the content of Reihan’s book . . . I’m just a sucker for a vintage on-topic political picture.


1. Their assault at the hearings were a bust, so Democrats have taken to smearing SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh as a perjurer. We consider the charges as ten pounds of rutabagas in a two-pound bag. From the editorial:

Simply put, there is simply no credible argument that this was anything other than truthful testimony. It’s a partisan smear spread to partisan hacks who either don’t know or don’t care about the governing legal standards.

And so is the next perjury claim, that he lied about his knowledge of “memogate,” an old and largely forgotten controversy from George W. Bush’s first term. A former Republican Senate staffer, Manuel Miranda, took confidential Democratic documents from a shared server. As Above the Law founder David Lat explained in an invaluable Twitter thread, Miranda exploited a “glitch” to gain access to Democratic communications and Democratic strategies. At issue is the classic Washington question: What did Kavanaugh know, and when did he know it?

RELATED: Remember to check out Bench Memos for a relentlessly wise analysis of the Kavanaugh nomination process and all things judicial.

A Baker’s Dozen (Plus Three . . . Do the Math) Satisfying and Delicious Pieces from the NR Website that I Still Insist on Calling ‘NRO’

1. Norm Macdonald can be incredibly naughty and hysterical comedian — that last word is important — but he now finds himself in the cross-hairs of a leftist #MeToo jihad. Teddy Kupfer comes to the funnyman’s defense. From his piece:

Don’t get the wrong idea: Macdonald is not one of those comedians whose brand is “politically incorrect,” and his own politics remain somewhat mysterious. In fact, his comedy is generally apolitical, which is to say that it shuns the notion of politics as an absolute matter of obvious right and risible wrong and rejects the point-and-sneer approach. In rare moments when he expresses a sincere opinion, it is wrapped in humility and disavowals of his own expertise.

But this, of course, is at odds with the current environment, and Macdonald is paying the price. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, he addressed the Me Too movement, expressing the view that damning the accused removes the possibility of forgiveness, and lamenting what he described as the new model of “admit wrongdoing and you’re finished.” Referring to Louis CK and Roseanne Barr, whom he considers personal friends, he said he put them in touch and has sympathy for their situations. “Of course, people will go, ‘What about the victims?’” he said. “But you know what? The victims didn’t have to go through that.”

2. More Norm. Kevin Williamson says he should stop with the apologies. From his piece:

Here is some unsolicited advice for Norm Macdonald: Stop apologizing. Once was enough.

At some point, maybe in a few weeks and maybe in a few years, this current fad of serial mass hysterias — driven in part by social media and amplified by the news media and entertainment media — will pass. Some people will look back on it and be embarrassed, but most people will not, because they do not have the intelligence or the moral depth to be embarrassed by it. It will go the way of hula hoops and screaming at the Beatles with religious fervor. This is mostly a game, not a moral panic, and Macdonald and others should mediate with equanimity on the truth that this is not really about them. They are convenient piñatas in this early 21st century backyard birthday party of the damned. It doesn’t matter what Norm Macdonald says. He isn’t the point of the game; he’s just the ball.

3. David French strikes back at the character assassination of Brett Kavanaugh. From his piece:

There are people who think the ends justify the means, and it is just fine to destroy a man’s good name to keep him off the High Court by spreading falsehoods. So, yes, malice is part of the explanation, but it’s only part. In my experience most partisans aren’t intentionally malicious. Rather they believe Kavanaugh’s philosophy is ipso facto proof of his low character. They look at a person who may overturn Roe, who voted to overturn Washington D.C.’s assault-weapons ban, and who has written opinions that they believe empower religious bigots, and they think, “This is a bad man.” Thus, when they see a former clerk make an “Ok” sign, or watch Kavanaugh turn away when a Parkland father extends his hand, or listen to his testimony, they immediately interpret each experience through the prism of their distaste.

That’s negative polarization at work. You see it all the time. The very idea that Kavanaugh was appointed by Trump means that he’s “lost the benefit of the doubt.” The very notion that he thinks the original public meaning of the Constitution may not include federal protection for a right to an abortion means that he hates women. Heck, even originalism itself (in the telling of the truly blinded activist) is believed to be a ruse — a philosophical disguise for naked partisanship and outright bigotry.

In other words, in their minds, they’re not engaging in character assassination so much as character revelation.

RELATED: Katrina Gulliver looks into the Online Left’s fetish for conspiracy theories.

4. Andy McCarthy poses an important question to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein: What the hell is the legal basis for the Mueller special-counsel investigation? Here’s his piece, and here’s how it begins:

For precisely what federal crimes is the president of the United States under investigation by a special counsel appointed by the Justice Department?

It is intolerable that, after more than two years of digging — the 16-month Mueller probe having been preceded by the blatantly suspect labors of the Obama Justice Department and FBI — we still do not have an answer to that simple question.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein owes us an answer.

To my mind, he has owed us an answer from the beginning, meaning when he appointed Special Counsel Robert Mueller on May 17, 2017. The regulations under which he made the appointment require (a) a factual basis for believing that a federal crime worthy of investigation or prosecution has been committed; (b) a conflict of interest so significant that the Justice Department is unable to investigate this suspected crime in the normal course; and (c) an articulation of the factual basis for the criminal investigation — i.e., the investigation of specified federal crimes — which shapes the boundaries of the special counsel’s jurisdiction.

5. Jonah galley-slave Jack Butler takes on Matthew Hennessey over the charges in his new book, Zero House for Gen X, that the young’uns need to be spanked by the Millennials. En garde! From the piece:

It is this portion of the book, as Hennessey embarks on a bracing, thorough, and tech-skeptic rant against the encroachments of technology in their modern forms, that most inspires. He offers horror stories about the “Internet of Things” — hacked baby monitors, digital assistants laughing inexplicably — and serious explorations of how the more everyday use of tech is changing us: shortened attention spans, reduced human interaction, decreased intelligence. And he leavens it all with a recollection of his tech-free childhood, personalizing his jeremiad, even if there might be some romanticizing nostalgia involved.

But what does any of this have to do with Millennials? Still committed to the notion of us as villains, Hennessey tries to render us willing accomplices to the Silicon Valley “conspiracy” (his term, not mine, though I endorse the word choice). “Encouraged by Silicon Valley’s string of tangible technological successes, not to mention its utopian promises, few millennials will admit a downside to moving every form of human interaction onto the web or disrupting every established way of doing business,” he writes. He calls us, variously, “digital natives,” “digital junkies,” and “digital Maoists.” We are essentially the shock troops of the Digital Age.

6. Rich Lowry’s very worthwhile new column explains the blue-collar recovery.

7. The consequences of random hookup-ery is the subject of Kyle Smith’s latest cultural yom-peeping. From his excellent piece:

Joining their numbers now is Courtney Sender, who published in Friday’s New York Times a hurt-feelings epic about how a man she had sex with two hours after meeting him via the Web subsequently ghosted her following a second tryst. Apparently he wasn’t deeply invested in the relationship, or indeed shallowly invested in it, or even of a mind to bear any more responsibility for Sender’s feelings than he would have with a prostitute after conclusion of business. Unlike a prostitute or a porn performer, though, neither Sender nor any of the others has even a few dollars to show for her efforts, hence the need for these women to seek the retribution of humiliation via the sickeningly detailed tell-all. (Sender’s website is headed by the legend, “Hell hath no fury . . .”)

Given the uniformly dismal outcomes of all of these sex stories, my question is this: Would these women, or the many supporters cheering them on in social media, counsel their daughters to behave as they do? You wouldn’t loan 50 bucks to someone you had known for two hours. Why yield your body so indifferently? What did you think you were likely to gain from such wild-kingdom behavior? Even in the most febrile, Looking for Mr. Goodbar days of the 70s disco scene, having sex with someone you had known for two hours would have been considered a bit of an eyebrow-raiser. In the days when Donna Summer ruled the dance charts, a young couple might have spent at least a few hours on the dance floor, likely with inhibitions loosened by various substances, before retreating to the satin together. The ages of first herpes and then AIDS dampened animal spirits. A certain level of prudence returned.

8. Ted Cruz campaign foe Beto O’Rourke pines for taking advantage of “unguarded moments.” What’s the meaning of this jibber-jabber? Graham Hillard explains. From his piece:

“Unguarded moments”? That’s what the Left wants?

On a purely rhetorical level, the phrase makes no sense in the context in which O’Rourke used it. Who, exactly, has been “unguarded” — the protesters staging their dissent? their political opponents? the millions of Americans who don’t give a damn? Moreover, it’s difficult to conceive of anything less probable than widespread unguardedness in an age when progressives have defined “intolerance” down to the molecular level, weaponized it, and trained the resulting laser beam on any conservative who dares to express dissent. “Please,” one can almost imagine O’Rourke thinking, “tell us exactly how you feel about the day’s pressing social concerns. Better still, why not email your thoughts directly to your boss, your co-workers, your professors, or your potential romantic partners?”

“Unguarded moments,” you say? No, I’ll be keeping my guard up, thank you.

9. Kathryn Jean Lopez does her Q-and-A thing with Elise Italiano about a new outfit, the GIVEN Institute, which is intent on helping young Catholic women develop their God-given gifts and bring them to bear on the Church and the wider culture. From this inspiring interview:

Lopez: Why are mentors so crucial?

Italiano: Young people learn what it means to become an adult by watching others live as adults, and they also learn what it means to live as a Christian by watching others live as Christians.

But in recent decades, many young people — including those who count themselves as engaged Catholics — have lacked the consistent presence of adults in their lives to show them what it means to be a mature Christian. They’ve also been starved for instruction in how to tackle the general expectations and demands of adulthood as well as how to navigate today’s complex moral questions.

Families — nuclear and extended — used to be reliable and consistent “schools of love.” They were the context in which emerging adults could learn how to make lifelong commitments and discern God’s will. But decades of divorce and a changing economy that has scattered people far and wide in search of work have weakened the family’s foundation as a critical place of instruction for those coming of age.

And the weakening of what were previously ubiquitous centers of communal support — parishes, neighborhoods, and civic associations — have left young adults looking for adults who can help them understand and meet the expectations and demands of adulthood. Mentors play a critical role in helping to fill this gap.

10. The Deep State, paid off by the Ashtray Industrial Complex, is gunning for e-cigs, which has vape aficionado Kat Timpf standing athwart bureaucrats yelling stop. From her piece:

Even though e-cigs may have some health risks, they’re better than regular cigarettes. In fact, according to Harvard, “e-cigarettes are almost certainly less lethal than conventional cigarettes.” What’s more, they don’t smell bad. As someone who used to smoke on occasion but has been able to leave that behind thanks to vaping, I can say that I for one don’t miss the stink that cigarettes would leave on my clothes. And that taste I’d wake up with in my mouth in the morning? Yuck. These little robot-cigs are a blessing sent from heaven to save me from that hell, and I am glad that I have found them.

On top of the fact that they’re a better alternative than smoking, e-cigs have also helped many people quit tobacco entirely. There are vapes available in which you buy the liquid separately, and you can taper down the nicotine content of the liquid as time goes on in order to quit. I know several people who have done this successfully, people who used to smoke like chimneys who currently do not smoke or vape — and it was all thanks to e-cigarettes. A Juul-sponsored study of 19,000 users found that smokers who had switched to vaping outnumbered vapers who had switched to smoking by a huge margin. In fact, only 2 percent of the respondents who said they had not smoked before trying Juul were smoking when the survey was taken. The FDA keeps freaking out about vaping being some kind of gateway drug to smoking, but it seems that in reality that’s actually not a huge problem.

11. More on the new Vape Jihad: Kevin Williamson says this isn’t a health issue, it’s a class issue. From his piece:

Smoking correlates very strongly with poverty and low educational achievement. People below the poverty line are about 60 percent more likely to smoke than people above the poverty line. Marginalized minorities such as Native Americans smoke at much higher rates than do nice white liberals in the suburbs, and people with GEDs smoke at nine times the rate of people with graduate degrees. People in rural areas and small towns in the South smoke at much higher rates than do people in Santa Monica.

Think of it this way: Smoking is a problem for people who shop at Walmart, but our public policies are made by the people who shop at Whole Foods. (Or who have their servants shop at Whole Foods.) And those people do not want to see young people in their communities doing something that even looks like smoking.

Of course people vape recreationally, and minors who are not legally able to buy vaping products get their hands on them and use them, albeit at relatively low frequency: Teen-age marijuana use, for example, is about 35 percent more frequent than teen-age vaping. And marijuana is of course much more heavily regulated than vaping.

12. More Church Rot: Michael Brendan Dougherty’s “Off the Shelf” column dives first into Jeff Pearlman’s USFL history, Football for a Buck, but it blends into a wonderful take on the ever-unfolding Church scandals, and it’s a terrific read. From his piece:

The picture of religious life and episcopal life is, as far as I can see, not improved at all. And the culture of therapeutic self-actualization remains ascendant in the Church. Weeks ago, when the revelations about Cardinal McCarrick were still pending but before the Vatican ambassador called out the pope, Cardinal Donald Wuerl gave a jaw-dropping interview in which he said that the McCarrick revelations were not some huge crisis. He then went on to talk about how bishops needed to give one another more support, implying that what they needed was more retreats together. It was astonishing. In the wake of reports about his predecessor’s systematically harassing seminarians in a beach house, Cardinal Wuerl suggested that it was nothing that couldn’t be solved with more vacation time.

Now that the Pennsylvania grand-jury report has exposed him as an enabler of abuse, and the former Vatican ambassador has accused him of being a shameless liar, Cardinal Wuerl has managed to get an audience with the pope, who told him to go home and consult with his own priests about whether he should resign. It’s not as if priests can easily jump from diocese to diocese. They have to live with Wuerl’s decision no matter what. So Wuerl has announced a six-week “season of healing.” No penitence, no accountability. Just an announcement that in six weeks, he expects his image to be rehabbed, and everyone else will have to move on. You weren’t healed during my season of healing? That’s on you, bub. As for me, it’s time for another retreat with the lads. Humanly speaking, the situation in the Church is hopeless.

RELATED: MBD’s essay links to this powerful 2003 speech by Father Paul Mankowski, a Jesuit, previewing (by over a decade) the clerisy’s looming breakdown.

ALSO RELATED: MBD’s update on Pope Francis v. Archbishop Viganò.

13. Victor Davis Hanson scores the demonization of House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes. From his column:

No one so far has refuted the committee’s findings. Yet Chairman Nunes has become the subject of unprecedented venom, largely because a spate of further embarrassing scandals at the FBI, DOJ, and CIA have resulted from his committee’s findings.

Here in California’s Central Valley, progressive reporters and political activists snoop around the farms of Nunes’s relatives, eager to find any information that would be useful in discrediting his chairmanship. They have hunted down his wife, his grandmother, and his uncle in hopes of finding dirt. Reporters have even studied his family’s genealogy going back four generations to accuse him of being too loyal to Portugal.

The local newspaper, the Fresno Bee, suffers from chronic Devin Derangement Syndrome. Almost daily, the Bee runs anonymously sourced stories with headlines implying that Nunes could be treasonous, corrupt, or dishonest.

14. The Gang that Couldn’t Negotiate Straight: Matthew Continetti scores in a wonderful takedown of the Obama Administration’s clueless Iran Deal squad, using chief negotiator Wendy Sherman’s new book, Not for the Faint of Heart: Lessons in Courage, Power, and Persistence (did that test your gag reflex?) as a piñata. From the takedown:

“Diplomacy can test your patience,” Sherman writes. Especially diplomacy when your side — the United States — has already given up its leverage by ditching the economic sanctions the Obama administration reluctantly imposed, and, after the failure to enforce the red line in Syria, mooting the threat of military reprisal. “Every time one element of the deal changed, we had to renegotiate within the P5+1 and EU, then go back to the Iranians again.” It’s almost as if multilateral negotiations are self-limiting and the Iranians can’t be trusted. Perish the thought.

“After dinner on the 25th day, I met with Abbas Aragchi, Iran’s lead negotiator, with his partner, Majid Takht-Ravanchi to go over one final UN resolution.” Aragchi agreed. Then he backtracked. He wanted to reopen a matter previously considered closed. What happened next is the most stunning thing I have ever heard a diplomat reveal.

“I lost it,” Sherman continues. “I began to tell [sic], and to my frustration and fury, my eyes began to well up with tears. I told them their tactics jeopardized the entire deal.”

The Iranians sat there, “stunned” and “silent,” as the representative of the United States of America, the global economic and military superpower, broke down in the middle of a conference room inside a posh hotel in the Austrian capital. “Women are told early in life that it’s not socially acceptable to get angry,” Sherman laments. “And it’s a sign of weakness to let people see you cry.” Men are told that too, by the way.

15. Movie One. Kyle Smith zings The Predator. Here’s how his review begins:

First activated in 1987 (Lethal Weapon), the filmmaker Shane Black’s action-movie quip-inator (TM) has made him absurdly rich down the years of writing The Last Boy Scout, The Long Kiss Goodnight (both flops, but whatever), and Iron Man 3. In his latest, The Predator, the quips come fast and heavy. There are about 50 of them. I’ll refrain from quotation, as they tend to begin with “Your mama’s vagina is so large . . .” All 50 of these zingers are almost funny, which means Black is sort of like a quarterback who throws 50 straight passes that almost get caught. In the NFL, alas, such a player would be cut, but in movieland, as long as you keep guys and monsters chasing other guys and monsters, with plenty of bullets flying and explosions exploding, you’re a top talent.

That was the thought behind many a 1980s blockbuster, anyway, and Black’s effort to rejuvenate the Predator franchise — whose sixth entry this is — is not a wry homage but a return to the era of the manful but cheesy. Black broadcasts his intentions right away by amping up a musical score, by Henry Jackman, that’s so comically gung-ho it sounds like a spoof from a South Park movie. This is disappointing: Black has become a specialist in self-aware moviemaking, in which characters comment sardonically on the imperatives of the genre they’re stuck in. The Predator, though, except for a line about how its titular Rastafarian aliens have been appearing on earth at mysterious intervals since 1987, isn’t self-aware. It’s just a choppy, lackluster, thinly written monster action flick peppered with the kinds of gags you thought were funny in puberty. “WELCOME PARENTS AND STDS,” reads a sign outside a school.

16. Movie Two: Armond White knocks out White Boy Rick. Get the smelling salts! What an opening paragraph:

Poor White Boy Rick can’t help being behind the times. Pop culture has already moved past the simple exoticism of filmmakers who pity blacks as socially disadvantaged creatures and then romanticize whites who imitate blacks as fascinating hipsters. In the Black Lives Matter era, blacks are encouraged to exploit their own cultural status: Political Fetish Objects Matter. Consequently, race envy is all that the barrage of street lingo and ghetto fatalism in White Boy Rick “represents,” which makes the movie totally out of fashion.

We Interrupt this Missive to Discuss an Evening of Wine, Women, and Song

Can you say that anymore? I’ll have to ask Norm Macdonald. Regardless, I am not sure about the women. Or the song. But there is beef! So to my California friends, of the Central Valley persuasion and proximity, you know the Harris Ranch Inn and Restaurant in Coalinga. That’s where, next Friday (September 21), you’re going for an exclusive “Winemaker’s Dinner.” Our friends at Harris and CRŪ Winery are planning an evening with like-minded people while enjoying one of the best meals you’ll have had in a long time.

If only I could be there: Executive Chef Reagan Roach will present a delicious array of wine-paired courses for this special VIP event. I’m told he loves creating seasonal dishes based on what the fields around him are producing and pairing unique flavors to complement each wine. And about those wines: They’re award-winning. And only the tastiest will do for an event like this, which is why Chef Roach is pairing his courses with glasses filled with CRŪ’s boutique-style (delicious — this I know!) vino.

Of course you’re going! Email or call CRŪ at 559-935-0717 to get more information. Tell ’em Jack sent ya, and let me know post facto how groovy a time you had.

Some Suggestions from the New Issue of NR

The October 1, 2018, issue of your favorite magazine has a special section of excellent articles in defense of that wonderful thing that needs our defending: The Constitution. Here are a few pieces from the issue which I encourage you to consider reading:

1. Charlie Cooke says the Bill of Rights never gets old. From his essay:

The idea for an American Bill of Rights had arisen as a result of the Constitution’s historically unique presumptions, which were radical for the time and remain radical to this day. As designed, the Constitution carefully listed the powers that the federal government enjoyed, and left everything else to the people and the states — a conscious inversion of the usual order of things. Typically, governments were presumed to enjoy all powers that they had not been explicitly denied; in America, the opposite was the case. On paper, this arrangement served as a solid guarantor of freedom, for if its terms were to be faithfully observed, its signatories could rest assured that only the authority they had consciously signed over would be wielded against them. Indeed, on paper, the arrangement obviated the need for any serious “parchment barriers” that might be raised against government overreach. Defending the unamended Constitution, Alexander Hamilton proposed that the addition of a Bill of Rights was self-evidently unnecessary and might even be dangerous. “Bills of Rights,” Hamilton wrote in Federalist 84, “are in their origin, stipulations between Kings and their subjects, abridgments of prerogative in favor of privilege, reservations of rights not surrendered to the prince.” What use for one could the American republic possibly have?

This, of course, was an excellent question. And yet so was the answer, which came incessantly and vigorously from the Constitution’s many critics: that history teaches us how quickly government can metastasize, and confirms that a list of enumerated rights can serve as a useful rallying tool in the hands of those seeking redress against caprice. To assuage the cavilers, a compromise was struck: The Constitution would be ratified as written, and a Bill of Rights would subsequently be added, along with an explanatory note in the form of the Ninth and Tenth Amendments. Thus would all involved be satisfied, and would the added protections be reconciled with the ostensibly incompatible enumerated-powers doctrine.

2. Michael Stokes Paulson makes the emphatic case for the sanctity of originalism. From his essay:

This single correct method of constitutional interpretation travels under many names. I call it “original-public-meaning textualism,” emphasizing the text and the requirement that it be taken in its known, original sense. A convenient (if imprecise) shorthand term is simply “Originalism.” It contrasts, sharply, with any of a variety of progressive theories under which the Constitution’s meaning shifts, morphs, evolves, or otherwise transmogrifies to suit the needs or circumstances of the moment — and, typically, to serve the interpreter’s desired political agenda.

There are many good arguments in favor of Originalism: It is less subject to manipulation, produces greater clarity and consistency, better preserves democratic decision-making, and frequently yields better results than any other method. All of these points are true and important.

But the strongest argument for Originalism is simply that it is the method prescribed by the Constitution itself. It is the only method consistent with taking the Constitution on its own terms, as a binding, written document intended to function as supreme law. It is the only method consistent with the terms on which the Constitution claims to be authoritative. It is the only method consistent with the very idea of written constitutionalism. If what one is doing is interpreting a written constitution intended to serve as governing law, as opposed to engaging in some other project, one must take that constitution (literally) on its own terms.

3. Rob Long stumbles upon a transcript of Cory Booker’s 911 calls. Very funny stuff.

4. Jay Nordlinger has a love affair, with state fairs. From his article:

I think it’s extraordinary that state fairs are still going, in this age of screens, large and small, and whiz-bang entertainment. Rodgers & Hammerstein wrote their musical State Fair in 1945. It seemed old-fashioned, tinged with nostalgia, even then. Yet all 50 states have a state fair, and Washington, D.C., does too. Yes, D.C. . . .

New York’s state fair is the oldest one in the country. It began in 1841, right here in Syracuse. Among the activities was a plowing contest. For the next 50 years, the fair moved around to other cities in the state, including Poughkeepsie, Elmira — even New York City itself. In 1849, a proto–Ferris wheel was introduced to the world at the New York State Fair. Before long, the Civil War came, but the fair was held every year nonetheless. In 1890, the fair made Syracuse its permanent home.

They have every farm animal you can think of, and many animals you probably can’t think of. Cavies? Never heard of them. Conies, yes, from the Bible (they are bunnies, I gather). I look up “cavy” on my smartphone: “any of 14 species of South American rodents.”

Hey! Don’t forget to subscribe to NRPlus!


1. On today’s episode of The Editors, Rich, Charlie, Luke, and Michael discuss the president’s recent poll numbers, the anonymous (and disgraceful) New York Times op-ed, and the long-term effects of the 2008 financial crisis. Catch it here.

2. Haven’t listened yet, but on the new episode of The Remnant with Jonah Goldberg, the return guest (after quite a spell of an absence) is corn-pee prankster Senator Ben Sasse, who discusses with the program’s renowned host the Republican Party, the state of our government, and . . . cats. Enjoy the podcast purrrrfection.

3. Colonel Mustard in the kitchen with a lead pipe: On the new “Where’s the Crime?” episode of The McCarthy Report, Andy and Rich discuss developments in the case of former FBI agent Peter Strzok and lawyer Lisa Page and analyze ongoing FISA abuses. Collect the evidence here.

4. Piano Keys! On the 88th episode of Ordered Liberty, David and Alexandra take on the Left’s smear campaign against SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh, and consider the Tucker Carlson question, “Is diversity really our strength?” Inquiring minds want to know, and can, here.

5. Shusaku Endo’s Silence is the subject of the new episode of John J. Miller’s The Great Books podcast, which features this week as its guest Liberty University English professor Karen Swallow Prior. Enjoy the sounds of Silence here.

6. And JJM is joined on The Bookmonger by Hillsdale prof Brad Birzer to discuss his book, In Defense of Andrew Jackson. If you want to get your Old Hickory jollies, you can get them here.

Hey! Listen to Johnny Horton croaking The Battle of New Orleans.

7. Tough stuff on the new Mad Dogs and Englishmen as Charlie and Kevin discuss the Texas cop who entered the wrong apartment and shot her neighbor dead. Listen here.

8. Siding with California Democrat state officials, the federal Ninth Circuit orders conservative charities to hand over the names of donors; housing prices are killing Golden Staters before they’re even conceived; and the place where each morning birdie sings becomes the first state in the nation to end “cash bail”: That’s the issues lineup for the new episode of Radio Free California, featuring Will and David. A sun-kist miss says listen here.

This Week Past

My brother Jim recommends, and I agree, that WJ make reference to a particularly brave man who died in New York City on September 11, 2001. He knew it would happen, he prepared, and thousands survived that day because of him. I’m talking about Rick Rescorla. 

The Six

1. At Minding the Campus, Peter Wood profiles the SJW-instigated firing of a tenured Canadian professor, Rick Mehta, who charged that multiculturalism is a “scam.” Cue the Thought Police! From the report:

The Herald News of Halifax covered the story in “Acadia Fires Rick Mehta After Fire Storm over Comments.” To fire a tenured professor over his “comments” suggests that he must have uttered some pretty remarkable syllables. Granted that Canada doesn’t have First Amendment protections. What did Mehta do? Did he denounce hockey as a sport inferior to American baseball? Did he declare personal opposition to Canada’s tariff protections of its dairy industry?

No, rather, he described multiculturalism as a “scam.” Multiculturalism might be described as the official state religion of Canada, and Canadian universities as its schools of theology. The courage to call it out as a scam testifies that Professor Mehta must be a man of rare character. Let me say at once that I have never met him or even corresponded with him, and it is possible that he holds other opinions from which I would recoil in horror. But his stand on multiculturalism all by itself commands respect.

It is a stand that goes beyond that one word “scam.” He is accused as well of “denying the wage gap between men and women and dismissing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission as a vehicle for ‘endless apologies and compensation.’” The Truth and Reconciliation Commission, for readers below the 49th parallel, was a body created in 2008 by the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement to make things right with the native peoples of the country. It issued its final report in 2015, which includes 95 “calls to action” on many matters, from child welfare to indigenous languages. It is, in essence, a charter for permanent grievance by Canada’s native people against the descendants of all European immigrants. Many Native Americans in the United States look upon the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission as their fondest dream.

2. Over at The Daily Signal, Danile Kochis reports on the Swedish elections — with crime and immigration emerging as the major issues — that have thrown the ever-ruling Social Democrats for a major loop. From his report:

The massive influx of migrants has come with an uptick in terror attacks and crime. In April 2017, a rejected asylum-seeker carried out a truck attack against pedestrians, killing five people and injuring nearly a dozen. Sweden has faced increasing gang violence, which is contributed to a dramatic increase in grenade attacks since 2014.

To this day, the news in Sweden is full of stories of rising crime, including 80 cars being burned in a coordinated attack in the city of Gothenburg last month. Three-fourths of Swedes say crime has increased over the past three years.

The data back this up. According to Sweden’s National Council for Crime Prevention, 2017 saw 4,010 more reported crimes than 2016. While Sweden has seen a decrease in some crimes like theft, other crimes — including sexual assaults — rose significantly during the same period. Rapes increased by 10 percent in 2017 alone.

RELATED: See John Fund’s NRO piece,In Sweden, the Elite Lost Touch with the People.

3. A federation of Asian-American organizations is blasting the UCal/Berkeley plan to establish racial quotas for admissions via a “Hispanic Serving Institution,” which requires 25 per cent of the student body to be Hispanic (the current numbers are nowhere close). No doubt at the expense of prospective Asian students. So Tom Joyce of The College Fix ably reports on this.

4. “Jobs for All, Not College for All” — that’s the title of a very readable and smart City Journal piece by my old pal Tom Carroll. From the piece:

President Trump, who issued an executive order on the promotion of job training in July, can do more, with congressional help, to highlight alternatives to expensive four-year degrees. New legislation could allow students pursuing apprenticeships and workforce-training programs to tap 529 college-savings accounts — set up on their behalf — to help pay for tuition and related expenses for job-training programs. Pell grants — the needs-based, federal financial-aid program for students — should be modified to allow greater choice. Presently, Pell grants can be used to cover tuition at a college or career training school, but only for long-term courses of study. These grants should be applicable as well for non-credit, short-term apprenticeship and workforce-training programs, as Tamar Jacoby of Opportunity America has suggested. The president and Congress should also embrace policies that would give federal tax credits to individuals and corporations donating money to such programs — including business- and labor-designed certification programs that lead to job offers for students on completion.

5. At Gatestone Institute, Soeren Kern profiles Hungary’s defense of its sovereignty and borders, and the backlash from the EU. From the beginning of his story:

The European Parliament has voted to pursue unprecedented disciplinary action against Hungary over alleged breaches of the European Union’s “fundamental values.” The EU has accused the Hungarian government of attacks against the media, minorities and the rule of law.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has denied the charges, and said they are a retaliation for his government’s refusal to take in migrants from the Muslim world.

The censure represents another salvo in a showdown between pro- and anti-EU forces over populism and nationalism ahead of European Parliament elections in May 2019.

During a session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg on September 12, MEPs voted 448-to-197 — by a margin of more than two-thirds — to trigger Article 7 against Hungary. It was the first time that such parliamentary action has been taken against an EU member state; the move can ultimately lead to Hungary losing its voting rights in EU institutions.

6. What if Custer survived? At The American Conservative, Bradley Birzer takes on that subject as he reviews Harry Crocker’s new novel, Armstrong. Looks very funny, in a Flashman way. From the review:

Crocker creates a world in which Custer alone — at least among American military — survived that day, having been protected by Rachel, a white captive of the fictional Boyanama (!) band of Sioux. She claimed Custer as her slave, but he claimed her as his ward. As part of his captivity, the Sioux tattooed his arm, drawing a picture of his beloved wife, Libby on his biceps with the motto around it: “Born to Ride.” Escaping his captors, he decides that he must remain incognito, hoping to clear his name after the disaster at Little Bighorn. During the novel, in fact, he takes many names, all of them hilarious. The most frequent name he takes, however, is Armstrong Armstrong (yes, you read that correctly), thus the title of the novel.

My Kind of Gala in My Kind of Town

And that is what Chicago is, if we are to believe Old Blue Eyes. And we do! And believe you too this: that in a speck more than a mere month, on Thursday, October 18th, there will be one heck of a gala in the Windy City — namely, National Review Institute’s fifth annual William F. Buckley Jr. Prize Dinner. And you need to be there. The affair will be held at The Cultural Center, and the expected highlight will be the bestowing of the Buckley Prize onour close friends,Edwin J. Feulner (Leadership in Political Thought) and Karen Buchwald Wright (for Leadership in Supporting Liberty). Now, especially if you live in the Midwest, we want very much for you to join us. This is a terrific way to support NRI and its great fellows, centers, and programs. Sponsorships are available, and individual tickets are $1,000. You can find complete information, and register, here. If you have any questions do contact Alexandra Zimmern Rosenberg by email ( or phone (212-849-2858).

Oyez Oyez! Come to the Annual NRI / PLF SCOTUS Preview Forum

Amigos this will be the fourth year in which National Review Institute and Pacific Legal Foundation are co-sponsoring a popular preview of the upcoming U.S. Supreme Court term (which will consider a number of blockbuster cases) with a cabal of expert constitutional lawyers, hosted by the good people of Jones Day . . . and you’re invited to see and hear all the wisdom our panelists will impart.

Here are the key particulars: The forum is scheduled for Friday, September 28th at Jones Day’s Washington, D.C. offices on 300 New Jersey Avenue, N.W. (on the Senate side of Capitol Hill). Registration begins at 11:30 a.m., the forum begins at Noon, and concludes at 1:00 p.m. And if you are thinking, “Gee, I hope they are providing lunch,” well, you and your hunger will be in luck. And the vittles will be free (everyone’s favorite word preceding “lunch”). NRI senior fellow David French will introduce the forum, which will consist of panelists Paul Clement, David Frederick, and Shay Dvoretzky.

Space is limited (this really is a popular event), but attending is simple: just RSVP to We suggest you do that right now.


He was the greatest hitter ever for . . . the Federal League. Of course, when your “ever” is two years, the immensity of the feat may be a bit diminished. But nonetheless, a feat it was!

Benny Kauff was a dashing outfielder who played briefly for the Yankees . . . err, the Highlanders, in 1912, and the Giants from 1916 through 1920. He hit two home runs in Game 4 of the 1917 World Series, one an inside-the-park job in the Polo Grounds’ endless center field. The Giants won the game, 5–0, over the White Sox, but lost the Series in six. In between his stints for New York ballclubs, Kauff, antsy playing in the minors, and said to be blessed with a major ego, jumped to the new (and short-lived and largely forgotten) third circuit in 1914, signing with the Federal League’s Indianapolis Hoosiers (which in 1915 moved East and became the Newark Peppers). While the roster included future Hall of Famers Bill McKechnie and Edd Rousch, it was the 24-year-old hotshot Kauff who was the star, leading the league in batting (.370), hits (211), stolen bases (75), doubles (44), and slugging percentage (.509). The Hoosiers finished first in the league with an 88–65 record. Kauff’s 1915 season was spent with the Brooklyn Tip-Tops, where the “Ty Cobb of the Federal League” again led the league in batting (.342), and stolen bases (55). Alas, Brooklyn ended the season with a measly 70–82 record.

As for Kauff: When the league disbanded after the 1915 season, he signed with the Giants, for whom he played several solid seasons (hitting .308 in 1917 and .315 in 1918, before he was drafted into the Army for WW1 service). But never quite lived up to his Federal League glory and promise (in fact, he was picked off from first base three times in one game in 1916, said to be a Major League record). And then Kauff’s career was cut short by a scandal: Accused of involvement in a (never proven) bribery plot to throw games, which piggybacked a criminal case in New York (he was found innocent of charges he had stolen an automobile), Kauff was essentially banned from baseball by the new prig of a commissioner, Kenesaw Mountain Landis. Kauff did stay involved in the game as a scout for over two decades. He died in Ohio in 1961. Hopefully St. Peter did not pick him off.

A Dios

Speaking of Heaven, pray that you get there, and that we all do, and don’t forget the souls in Purgatory who could use a boost. And this weekend let’s think about those who are struggling with the impact of this brutal storm hitting the East Coast head on — be generous too in your support for the cleanup. The Corporal Works of Mercy demand it!

God bless you and all those you love or should love,

Jack Fowler is where you can reach me.

National Review

‘We’re going to do something’

U.S. President George W. Bush throws out the ceremonial first pitch before the start of Game 3 of the World Series in New York, October 30, 2001. The Arizona Diamondbacks lead the New York Yankees 2-0. REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine GMH/SV – RP2DRIQCYEAA

Dear WJ friends,

We were all somewhere on 9/11. I was in New York City, miles from the crime scene. It was hellacious, but at least I am here to talk about it. As for Tom Burnett, he was on a westward-bound plane that day. United Flight 93. It was the place where the battle commenced to take on the terrorists who that morning attacked our nation and murdered thousands of its innocent citizens. Tom and a handful of other determined Americans — brave souls such as Mark Bingham and Jeremy Glick and Todd Beamer — led that initial counterattack. On the last of his four calls with his wife, Deena, Tom vowed with his final words: “We’re going to do something.” And then they did. It cost them their lives, but stopped the destruction of our Nation’s Capitol, thereby saving the lives of many, maybe even some who this week embarrassed America with tactics and stratagems and spectacles unbecoming of this Republic.

Tom was a subscriber to our journal. As was his dad, who sent our founder a note and a transcript of Tom’s calls with his wife on that fateful Tuesday morning. Bill had it published in the “Notes & Asides” section of the May 20, 2002, edition of National Review. As the anniversary approaches, we thought it a good thing to revive. You can find it here.

Do not forget, America. Not Tom. Not his fellow passengers. And not any of the others who, for us and our freedoms, took the fight back to the Islamofascists.


1. The President’s campaign against his own Attorney General is shameful. From the editorial:

In the meantime, the president’s lack of self-control in commenting on pending investigations and prosecutions continues to harm the Justice Department’s reputation for integrity as safekeeper of the rule of law. It does damage to worthy cases, which can’t help but be seen as potentially driven by political pressure rather than evidence.

Finally, if the president truly wants to be rid of Sessions, with whom does he believe he’ll be able to replace him? The president is making an alarming record that he conceives of an attorney general as a political loyalist guided by Donald Trump’s political needs and whims. Even if the Senate were not so evenly divided, it is difficult to imagine the confirmation of any nominee, however exceptional, in these circumstances.

In short, nothing good can come from Trump’s campaign against his own attorney general, and if he understood the role of the Justice Department — or his own long-term political interest — he’d immediately cease and desist.

2. Do you know Frank Fuster? He seems a creep. But he is also Janet Reno’s last victim, rotting for decades in a Florida prison due to the contrived day-care-abuse trials that swept an America seemingly bent to mass hysteria and “recovered memories” in the 1980s and 1990s. The Sunshine State’s then AG, Janet Reno, was at the center of these acts of unfathomable injustice. Rael Jean Isaac has written a major piece on Fuster’s case in the current issue of National Review. And now we urge Governor Scott and Florida officials to do the right thing and undo this “gross injustice.” From the editorial:

Those familiar with the history of these cases will not be surprised to learn that while such theatrical and invasive abuse would have left a significant trail of physical evidence, the absence of such evidence did not prevent Fuster’s conviction. Instead, Fuster was convicted on evidence of a different sort: His then-wife, 17 years old at the time of her arrest, was held in solitary confinement for months on end and abused on the orders of Janet Reno, the Florida prosecutor who went on to become Bill Clinton’s attorney general. An investigator who visited her during her incarceration stated in a sworn deposition that she was covered in sores, that she reported being kept naked and put on humiliating display, that she was denied basic hygiene facilities and hosed down with cold water, and more. This went on for eleven months, during which she continued to assert her innocence and declined to agree to the confession and plea deal offered to her. A psychological consultancy bearing the dystopian name Behavior Changers, Inc., was brought in, and she put her name to a lurid confession — the contents of which she denied even as it was entered into the court record. “I am pleading guilty not because I’m guilty but because it’s best for my own interests,” she said. “I am innocent. I have never done any harm to any children. I have never seen any harm done. I am pleading guilty to get all of this over.”

The other element weighing heavily against Fuster was — as in many of these cases — “recovered” memories.

There is practically no scientific evidence that the suppression and recovery of traumatic memories is an actual and authentic phenomenon. Its mere existenceis the subject of intense debate, which in itself ought to keep alleged evidence based on that theory out of criminal trials until the fact and folklore can be separated.

3. Richard DeVos, the great conservative philanthropist and AmWay founder, passed away this week. From the editorial:

Paralleling the rise of the conservative movement that his philanthropy and counsel helped grow and sustain, in the early 1950s the young veteran and Calvin College graduate cofounded, with Jay Van Andel, a small vitamin company that they grew into (and which remains) the global giant, Amway (the name a mash-up of . . . American Way). Their business success was immense, and shared in profound ways: DeVos’s financial help to social-conservative organizations — such as Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council — was fundamental, and enabled them to become major centers of influence on the culture and policy. The charity bug was picked up by the DeVos children, and their collective largesse extended far beyond the Evangelical Right: From the Heritage Foundation to the Acton Institute to the Federalist Society, if there was a worthwhile conservative or education-reform group that was not touched, profoundly, by prolonged DeVos kindness and inspiration (assistance went far beyond writing checks), it is much more the exception than the rule. The result was obvious: Because of Rich DeVos and his clan, the Buckleys and Feulners and Dobsons could do what they did.


Do not forget to visit Bench Memos for the wisdom of Ed Whelan, Tom Jipping, and Carrie Severino on the drama of this week that was.


1. On the new episode of The Remnant with Jonah Goldberg, our intrepid host is joined by George Mason University professor Peter Boettke to discuss the ins and outs of F.A. Hayek. Get off the next exit on the Road to Serfdom and listen here.

2. How much would a Woodward wound if a Woodward’s words would wound? I don’t have an answer, but surely Rich, Charlie, MBD, and Reihan do on the new episode of The Editors (in which they also debate the impact of Woodward’s book on the White House, discuss how the Left is losing its mind during the Kavanaugh hearings, and muse over the cause of Steve Bannon’s exclusion from the New Yorker Festival). Ok now, you simply must listen to all this stuff right here.

3. Aldous Huxley and Brave New World are the subject of the new episode of The Great Books, where host John J. Miller is joined by Hillsdale professor Nathan Schlueter. Don’t be a savage! Listen here.

4. On The Bookmonger, JJM interviews co-author Greg Lukianoff about his new book, The Coddling fo the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting up a Generation for Failure. Listen up!

RELATED: Maddy Kearns interviews Jonathan Haidt, the book’s other co-author, in this piece for NRO.

5. Sinclair Broadcast Group political wise man Boris Epshteyn shows up on the new episode of The Jamie Weinstein Show, opening up about the rise of Trump, why his critics are wrong to call him a Trump administration propagandist, whether he signed a non-disclosure/non-disparagement agreement while working for the Trump campaign, the Russian collusion investigation, his influences, and much more. Every Tom, Dick, and Natasha need to catch Boris here.

6. Political Beats snags Bobby Booby Baby VerBruggen, a man who knows how to smack the heavy-metal strings, for a down-and-dirty discussion — with hosts Fifth of Scot and Jeffy Peanut Butter — of Guns and Roses. Turn up the volume and go deaf in style here.

7. I’m a one-woman man curious about whether California has become a one-woman state. That’s why I am listening to the new episode of Radio Free California, where Will and David discuss Governor Brown’s intention tosign a bill requiring at least one woman on every company board, and much more, including Duncan Hunter blaming Mrs. Hunter for his legal troubles, the increasingly crazy bullet train, and the last-minute blizzard of bizarre bills in Sacramento to blunt worker freedom. Hear the tomato juice, listen to the flavor, here.

8. Fore! Kevin and Charlie are in the saddle for a new Mad Dogs and Englishmen, yapping about electric cars, presidential golf, and the Kavanaugh hearings. This episode is straight down the fairway: Listen here.

9. I love the line notes for the new episode of Constitutionally Speaking:

Jay and Luke begin digging into the Bill of Rights, starting with the First Amendment. Most Americans don’t realize that what we know as the First Amendment was originally the Third Amendment in Madison’s planned version of the Bill of Rights. The original First Amendment, which we call “Amendment A,” dealt with the size of Congressional Districts. The original Second Amendment dealt with Congressional pay and, after 202 years, 7 months, and 10 days, was finally ratified as the 27th Amendment.

Read with Amendment A and the 27th Amendment, the First Amendment becomes clearer as part, but not the whole, of Madison’s designs for the “political Amendments” — those dealing with representation, representatives, and representing the people.

Heck, I’m gonna listen! And you can too, right here.

10. Projections is back! Ross and Kyle share their takes on the summer’s buzziest flicks, including Crazy Rich Asians, and get into a Commie-prompted attack on Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman. Lights! Cameras! Podcast!

11. On the new episode of Ordered Liberty, David and Alexandra discuss the sorry spectacle of the first day of Brett Kavanaugh hearings, Nike’s absurd homage to Colin Kaepernick, and an unplanned discussion of Major League Baseball’s marketing mistakes. Listen to it here.

12. On the new issue of Jaywalking, Brother Nordlinger talks about Bill Clinton, Louis Farrakhan, Nancy Pelosi, George W. Bush, Theresa May, Howard Cosell, Neil Simon, and more. He ends with Don Cherry, the late singer and golfer. Grab the earphones and the putter and listen here.

A Dozen and Then Some Dandy Articles to Fill the Noggin and Invigorate the Think Muscles

1. John Fund looks at the media beatification of John McCain. From his column:

Yes, of course, John McCain was an American hero. But his sudden elevation to superhero status demonstrates one reason so many Americans view the media and the political establishment with skepticism. Many must have wondered whether they were getting the “real McCain” story or being fed a thinly veiled political message. As Joe Concha of The Hill newspaper asked, “If the senator had gotten along with Trump, perhaps voted for the ‘skinny repeal’ of Obamacare that he so famously shot down with one vote change at the 11th hour, hadn’t publicly called Trump ‘disgraceful,’ would we see this level of reverence?”

Many commenters rightly criticized President Trump’s churlishness toward John McCain. But when it was revealed that Sarah Palin, his 2008 vice-presidential running mate — who has never said a negative word about McCain and indeed expressed only gratitude toward him — was being excluded from his funeral and memorial services, the same pundits were silent. Noticing the public rebuke of Palin would have interrupted the narrative of John McCain as an example of what’s best and noble in our politics.

2. Anatomy of tariff consequences: Jibran Khan reveals how the Trump Administration’s actions have hammered one company (Bricasti, a Massachusetts-based manufacturer of high-end audio equipment). From the piece:

Some protectionists might ask why Bricasti doesn’t simply source its circuit boards and similar electronic parts from the U.S. But that’s not possible. For security reasons, the domestic production of such items is generally limited to military or medical applications. Because military equipment is produced in secrecy, because the relevant trade secrets are of strategic importance, manufacturers use American-made parts so that they can be sure of their provenance. Ordinary businesses cannot compete with that market, which receives heavy government subsidy. Indeed, there is more of a national-security justification for allowing more foreign imports for civilian products like this, because it allows the domestic producers to focus on such sensitive production.

3. There is indeed such a thing known as the “Cathedral of Learning,” and it is located at the University of Pittsburgh. Marlo Safi visited the stunning landmark and realized that America is beauty’s protector. This from her beautiful bit of writing:

The Nationality Rooms are luxurious and one of a kind; Maxine Bruhns, the director of the program for 54 years, tells National Review that there isn’t anything like it anywhere else in the world.

My favorite room was the sumptuous, forbidden fruit, located on the first floor, only to be looked at but not touched: the Syria-Lebanon room.

My first encounter with the Syria-Lebanon room was as a high-school junior touring Pitt’s campus with my mother before officially applying. The hallway was dark, framing the gilded room that was protected by a glass-paneled French-style door, as though it were a precious but unexplorable relic. It was like standing too close to Monet’s Rouen Cathedral paintings, with the heavy impasto whorls created with oil that could cripple with the human touch after over a century lapsed, owing to their fragility, but that overwhelms you with its seductive delicacy and color, raised just enough off the painting that it teases you with its allure. (I’ve actually read in an anonymous blog post that touching a Monet is like touching a smooth-pebbled plaster wall — for anyone who was curious but doesn’t want to risk putting a museum on lockdown by attempting to touch one.)

4. Kyle Sammin makes the conservative case for ye olde Lord Liverpool. From his review of William Hay’s new biography:

It is the nature of Liverpool’s conservatism that most of his work is now unnoticed. As Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge would do in America a century later, Liverpool’s government represented a return to normalcy after the tumult of the Napoleonic Wars. No slogans, no rallies, no great celebrations accompanied that effort, only slow, steady efforts to lower taxes, improve trade, and by the 1820s oversee a significant improvement in economic fortunes. Liverpool’s was the sort of government most Britons were happy to live under, but about which few felt compelled to write.

5. Kathryn Jean Lopez looks at a grieving Catholic Church. From the conclusion of her column:

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, return to the Lord your God” is the refrain during the singing of the searing Lamentations. That’s the only recourse. The Church isn’t any one person. It belongs to Jesus Christ, and the baptized are called to live the Gospel. And the reform and renewal will benefit from every witness to the reality of God’s grace in the face of evil — mothers, spiritual fathers, TV hosts, Uber drivers, and all.

6. Jonathan Tobin analyzes the intricacies of the Cruz–O’Rourke Senate slugfest in Texas.

7. Kyle Smith watches Hal, the new documentary about the 1970s’ lionized hippie filmmaker Hal Ashby. Our critic doesn’t seem to think the movie’s subject is bound for any permanent glory. From his piece:

None of Ashby’s other films hold up as well, and his corpus seems on the brink of obscurity. One of the two films he made that were actually hits, Coming Home, was considered a landmark in 1978, given the then-startling frankness with which it depicted wounded Vietnam veterans. (It was inspired by the life story of Ron Kovic, who would later go on to be the subject of Oliver Stone’s Tom Cruise vehicle Born on the Fourth of July.) Today, though, despite the Oscar-winning lead performances by Jon Voight and Jane Fonda, and its naturalistic feel, it is undone by its didactic anti-war tone (Fonda, who produced it, is seen in interviews explaining that it was conceived as such a statement) and its melodramatic love-triangle story, which culminates in a walk-into-the-sea suicide. Ashby’s other big hit, Shampoo, in which Beatty’s horny hairdresser beds an assortment of beautiful women as the 1968 election of Richard Nixon looms, seemed like gonzo comedy at the time but today seems quaint, even slow-footed, and it hardly contains anything worth a laugh, belonging rather to the bulging file of films about disillusioned rebels.

RELATED: Armond White also offers an opinion on Hal (yawn), as well as on the new Jennifer Garner flick, Peppermint, an “action movie that conservatives can enjoy without selling out their principles.” Get Armond’s takes here.

8. What has become of love and marriage? Kevin Williamson looks at history’s arc, from the Psalms to more modern, silicone-molded forms of . . . gratification. From his piece:

We social conservatives have spent a big part of the past two decades talking about homosexuality and its role in public life, particular when it comes to marriage. That isn’t an entirely unimportant question but, in the context of what has happened to marriage since the 1960s and the overall state of our sexual culture, it is a relatively trivial one. It seems to me that very often talking about homosexuality has mainly been a way of not talking about other things that need talking about.

The things that have gone along with our retreat from what historically would have been understood as marriage into what we have now — that tepid and deformed legal construct that pretends to be a substitute for the real thing — are not the cause of that separation. They are only correlates. It was not the invention of the birth-control pill, or the adoption of no-fault divorce, that hollowed out marriage: It was that we became the sort of people who desired those things. We became — Western civilization became — the kids who flunked the test in the famous Stanford marshmallow experiment, unable to resist immediate gratification and, having stripped ourselves of the cultural basis for understanding the distinction, unable to tell the difference between pleasure and happiness.

Hence the sex dolls.

9. No matter which side of The Pond you inhabit, there’s a price to pay for the dogmatic utopianism of the elites. Yoram Hazony explains. From his essay:

The alarm and trepidation with which European and American elites responded to the prospect of an independent Britain revealed something that had long been obscured from view. That simple truth is that the emerging liberal construction is incapable of respecting, much less celebrating, the deviation of nations seeking to assert a right to their own unique laws, traditions, and policies. Any such dissent is held to be vulgar and ignorant, if not evidence of a fascistic mindset.

Nor is Britain the only nation to have felt the sting of this whip. America is hardly immune: Its refusal to permit the International Criminal Court to try its soldiers, its unwillingness to sign international treaties designed to protect the environment, its war in Iraq — all were met with similar outrage both at home and abroad. Such outbursts have long targeted Israel, whether for bombing Iraq’s nuclear facilities or for constructing housing complexes in eastern Jerusalem. Eastern European countries, too, have been excoriated for their unwillingness to accept immigrants from the Middle East. Moreover, similar campaigns of delegitimization, in both Europe and America, have been directed against the practice of Christianity and Judaism, religions on which the old biblical political order was based, and whose free exercise has usually been protected or at least tolerated by Western national governments. We have seen attempts, especially in Europe, to ban such Jewish practices as circumcision and kosher slaughter in the name of liberal doctrines of universal rights, or to force liberal teachings on sexuality and family upon Christians and Jews in the workplace and in schools. It requires no special insight to see that this is only the beginning, and that the teaching and practice of traditional forms of Judaism and Christianity will become ever more untenable as the liberal construction advances.

10. In Journal mode, Jay Nordlinger recounts his recent trip to Syracuse. A few weeks earlier, he was in Salzburg, from where he filed delightful journals. Good luck keeping up with our globe-trotting friend.

11. Nick Searcy explains, “Why I Directed Gosnell.” From his piece:

I have always hated movies that preach at me, that try to manipulate me and tell me what to think about a story rather than just telling me the story. After a long period of developing a shooting script, the producers and I set out to make a movie that would inform and benefit people on both sides of this issue, no matter how passionate. I saw nothing to be gained from a film that preached or demonized one side or the other.

However, this is a story about a serial murderer who was allowed to operate for 27 years. Fear of the politics of abortion is what enabled him to continue, undetected, for decades. What this monster did and how and why he was allowed to get away with it for so long are equally shocking. The politics could not be ignored, but we tried to present them objectively in an honest and compelling film.

12. Rich Lowry takes on the liberal lunacy about Old Glory, the moon, and Neil Armstrong’s patriotism. From his column:

The mission of Apollo 11 was, appropriately, soaked in American symbolism. The lunar module was called Eagle, and the command module Columbia. There had been some consideration to putting up a U.N. flag, but it was scotched — it would be an American flag and only an American flag.

The video of Armstrong and his partner Buzz Aldrin carefully working to set up the flag — fully extend it and sink the pole firmly enough in the lunar surface to stand — after their awe-inspiring journey hasn’t lost any of its power.

The director of First Man, Damien Chazelle, argues that the flag planting isn’t part of the movie because he wanted to focus on the inner Armstrong. But, surely, Armstrong, a former Eagle Scout, had feelings about putting the flag someplace it had never gone before?

13. What is this thing called Resistance? Michael Brendan Dougherty looks at the infamous / anonymous New York Times op-ed, and riffs. From his essay:

And so it came to pass in #TheResistance, a group of various charlatans, self-important Twitter users, and some genuinely frightened Americans who give them attention and money. Even before Election Day, they accused him of questioning the validity of his anticipated electoral defeat. Then they turned around and looked for various ways of annulling or reversing his surprise victory. They accused him of spreading conspiracy theories, and then they filled our information streams with wild rumors predicting that the Republican party would be arrested en masse as a criminal organization, or that the non-existent marshall for the Supreme Court would haul away President Trump in manacles. This spectacle was a distraction from the real work liberals might have undertaken in political opposition. And it acted as a kind of prophylactic that kept them from learning any useful lessons from the 2016 election.

But this extremely obnoxious sideshow was infinitely preferable to the anonymous op-ed written for the New York Times by a “senior Administration official” this week. It seems certain that Never Trump conservatives are determined to damage to American institutions, in a quixotic effort not to learn anything from 2016.

14. There was a crooked man, who Jay Cost says may soon be the ex-senator from New Jersey, the infamous Robert Menendez. Might the GOP pick up a seat in the Garden State? From the piece:

No, that is not a typo, nor is it a fever dream of a conservative deeply invested in the idea of keeping Chuck Schumer in the minority. New Jersey may very well be in play this year because the Democrats have renominated Senator Robert Menendez, easily the most crooked member of the upper chamber today, and one who must rank in the top tier through its whole history (which is really saying something!).

Last year, Menendez went on trial for corruption over his cozy relationship with Dr. Salomon Melgen, a Florida ophthalmologist who is himself serving a lengthy sentence for defrauding Medicare to the tune of tens of millions of dollars. The specifics of Menendez’s alleged crimes are too unseemly to be detailed on the e-pages of what is a family magazine. Suffice to say that he was accused of doing favors in government for Melgen in exchange for personal luxuries and kickbacks.

15. Anonymous Fallout. Cooke thinks the op-ed is a sign of a constitutional crisis. Lowry says nope, it ain’t. Ponnuru agrees with El Jefe, and makes his case more fully in his Bloomberg column.

The Six

1. The “New American Working Class” is the subject of an important new study of The Frontier Lab (for which Yours Truly is a humble board member), and it finds that those who enjoy work, embrace work, are more apt to, well, more apt to be reading something like the Weekend Jolt. (Those less likely — they’re dubbed “Gleaners.”) From the report:

Wealth and the Wealthy: The New American Working Class is much less likely to express apprehension over the accumulation of wealth or support political solutions to level the “playing field” than their Gleaner counterparts. While one in three NAWC respondents was definitely concerned over the “wealth gap” between the poor and rich, nearly half of all Gleaners were. Similarly, when it came to raising taxes on those who can easily afford more, two in three in the NAWC said it could be, or is, wrong; over half of Gleaners said is never wrong to do so. As to wealth accumulation, 77 percent of the NAWC would be against any limit on the amount anyone should be able collect, while only 56 percent of Gleaners would be against it.

Automation and Universal Basic Income: Another dividing line exists between the NAWC and Gleaners in how they envision the future of work in America. At the outset, both groups expressed similar concerns over the automation of jobs reducing work opportunities, with approximately three in four showing at least some concern in both groups. However, the NAWC was much less likely to support one government-centric solution to the potential problem of automation — a universal basic income. While only 26 percent of the NAWC supported a UBI, 42 percent of Gleaners did. This makes sense, given the Gleaners expressed strong support for raising taxes on those who could easily afford to pay more.

2. At City Journal, Bob McManus scores the short, race-obsessed tenure of New York City schools chancellor, Richard Carranza. From the piece:

Carranza embraced the popular notion that New York City’s public schools are the nation’s most segregated, an often-repeated and tendentious point. New York’s student population is 66 percent black and Hispanic, 15 percent white, 16 percent Asian, and about 3 percent “two or more races,” and it’s difficult to understand how one “integrates” a system with that mix. Racial imbalance in the schools is a fraught issue, given America’s long and shameful history of explicit, legally mandated classroom segregation. However, de jure school segregation ended by 1920 in New York City, and more than a half-century ago across America. Demographic disparity today largely reflects poverty patterns, housing choices, and private-school options open largely to the affluent. It’s a matter that demands attention, but attempts to engineer an idealized racial balance have historically meant imposing levels of political and governmental coercion that most Americans find unacceptable, and these efforts generally have failed anyway — sometimes explosively.

Nevertheless, Carranza’s giving it one more try. He laid out his operating philosophy during a town hall meeting in Harlem in June. “It’s important that we put the real issue on the table,” he announced, “and the issue on the table is this. In one of the most diverse cities in not America but the world, and in the largest school district in America, a school district that is public, are opportunities really open for all people?” But if a public school system is failing, is the preferred solution to raise performance standards across the board, enforce them in the face of bureaucratic and teachers’ union blowback, and thus generally improve outcomes? Or is it better to weaken standards — functionally, to abandon them — in order “to open opportunities for all people?” Higher standards will produce unequal outcomes; nostandards will teach students nothing worth knowing in a modern economy. Yet this fact seems lost on Carranza, who has in his sights the city’s competitive-entry schools and programs — including high schools like Bronx Science and Stuyvesant in Manhattan and the so-called gifted-and-talented initiatives for elementary and middle schools. Selective-entry schools tend to outperform system-wide averages, but they rarely reflect the city’s racial and ethnic enrollment averages. Thus, they command Carranza’s critical attention.

3. Is the money that would fix California’s massive water problems being spent on . . . a train to nowhere? Writing for California Policy Center, Ed Ring seems to think that there is indeed a “grand bargain” that will end the drought of lousy solutions. From his piece:

When thinking about solutions to California’s water challenges, there is a philosophical question that has to be addressed. Is it necessary to persistently emphasize conservation over more supplies of water? Is it necessary to always perceive investments in more supplies of water as environmentally unacceptable, or is it possible to decouple, or mostly decouple, environmental harm from investment in more water supplies? Is it possible that the most urgent environmental priorities can be addressed by increasing the supply of water, even if investing in more water supplies also creates new, but lessor, environmental problems?

This philosophical question takes on urgent relevance when considering not only the new restrictions on water withdrawals that face Californians, but also in the context of another great philosophical choice that California’s policy makers have made, which is to welcome millions of new immigrants from across the world. What sort of state are we inviting these new residents to live in? How will we ensure that California’s residents, eventually to number not 40 million, but 50 million, will have enough water?

It is this reality — a growing population, a burgeoning agricultural economy, and compelling demands to release more water to threatened ecosystems – that makes a grand political water bargain necessary for California. A bargain that offers a great deal for everyone — more water for ecosystems, more water for farmers, more water for urban consumers — because new infrastructure will be constructed that provides not incremental increases, but millions and millions of acre feet of new water supplies.

The good news? Voters are willing to pay for it.

4. More about the Golden State choo-choo, aka “California’s Stonehenge.” Ralph Vartabedian reports in the Los Angeles Times that the project is currently socking taxpayers for $3.1 million a day. But that ain’t nothin’. From the article:

It was supposed to cost $33 billion and eventually reach from Sacramento to San Diego. Now, the route connects only San Francisco to Los Angeles, with the completion date pushed back 13 years.

To be sure, the vast majority of megaprojects around the world bust their budgets, though, for a variety of technical, legal, political and financial reasons. Boston’s 3.5-mile Big Dig, for example, was finished in 2007 — nine years behind schedule and at a cost of $14.6 billion, up from an initial estimate of $2.5 billion. The 11-mile East Side Access tunnel in New York City is 14 years behind schedule, and its tab has grown from $4.3 billion to $11.1 billion.

The bullet train project, with its record-breaking rate of spending last year, fell 31% short of the authority’s $4.5-million-a-day target. In its current fiscal year, the aim is to spend $1.8 billion, or $4.9 million a day. At its peak in fiscal 2023, spending should hit $10.7 billion — or $29 million every calendar day — according to planning documents.

5. Trés trés on the dommage: The French culture is crumbling, says Guillaume de Thieulloy, writing for Law & Liberty. From his piece:

The largest part of European elites is still dreaming of an everlasting peace and of a world that has gotten rid of crises, indeed of politics altogether. But history, war, and tragedy are back, and the return of tragedy to a pacified Europe is the great issue of Gilles Kepel’s excellent new book, Terror in France: The Rise of Jihad in the West.

The causes of the rise of jihadism in the West are well known, but they are seldom gathered and studied: the geopolitical context (especially the war in Iraq, but also the never-ending conflict between Israelis and Palestinians), the economic crisis in Western Europe, the cultural question, and the memory of colonization. To these causes Kepel could have added the question of immigration. France has the greatest number of Muslims of any European country, between six million and 10 million of a total French population of 67 million. This means that many hundreds of thousands are radical Islamists and many thousands—to say the least—are potential jihadists.

The most interesting aspect of Kepel’s book is its portraits of jihadist figures and trends among their followers, ranging from banditry or so-called “small delinquency,” to radical Islamism, to violent jihadism. We all know that French jails are perhaps the most radical “mosques,” where many young delinquents become true jihadists. But it’s striking to see it concretely, in the real life of some “French” jihadists. I put quotation marks around “French” because, of course, generally speaking, the jihadists are only French citizens by their passport, not with their heart. Most were born abroad or are the children of recent immigrant parents. They have no clear commitment to French culture or history. In fact they hate France, which in their understanding is the country of the Crusaders.

6. Just what has the West given the world? At The Imaginative Conservative, Bradley Birzer explains. From his essay:

When I was a student in college, back in the late 1980s, the Western canon was under attack. Of course, it had been under attack for nearly a century at that point, but it came blatantly under attack in the late 1980s by the newly-tenured radicals (those who came of age in the 1960s) who called for “inclusivity” in the canon of the West. They did not argue against studying Plato, but they wanted to know about Plato’s wife or if Plato had been influenced by central African philosophy. Frankly, every not quite “in-group” — at least as they saw themselves — wanted representation in the canon. Perhaps the most memorable and influential book at the time was, appropriately enough, named Black Athena (1987). In the late 1980s, each side saw the other as intractable and somewhat insidious. How naïve we all were then, presuming the debate would simply continue about inclusivity. And, how I long for those days when at least we debated what should be in the canon. As we approach the third decade of the twenty-first century, no canon can be stated with any certainty to exist. Not in the minds of academics and, most certainly, not in the minds of the average citizen of Western civilization. At least in 1989 and 1990, we still presumed a canon existed. Today, few even know that the word “canon” exists.

BONUS: You must read the powerful Minding the Campus essay by Phillip Carl Salzman on “What Your Sons and Daughters Will Learn at University.” It’s what you feared, and even more. Here’s but one thing that will be crammed into their skulls:

Only the West Was Imperialist and Colonialist: This ahistorical approach of postcolonialism ignores the hundreds of empires and their colonies throughout history, as well as ignoring contemporary empires, such as the Arab Muslim Empire that conquered all of the central Middle East, North Africa, southern Europe, Persia, Central Asia, and northern India, and occupied them minimally for hundreds of years, but 1400 years in the central Middle East and North Africa, and occupy them today. China, once the Communists took power, invaded Inner Mongolia to the north, Chinese Turkestan to the west, and Tibet to the south. Once in control, the government flooded these colonies with Han Chinese, in effect ethnically cleansing them. Postcolonialists have nothing to say about any of this; they wish to condemn exclusively the West. Your children will learn to reject history and comparisons with other societies, lest the claimed unique sins of the West be challenged.


The National Pastime took on September 11th. God bless you George Bush, for history’s greatest first pitch. You can find the acclaimed ESPN “30 for 30” documentary here. Louisa Thomas of Grantland writes about “The Pitch” here.

A Dios

Please pray for the souls of those who died on September 11th; who died trying to save those attacked; and who died fighting our enemies, sworn to hate the freedoms we hold as God-given. May they rest in peace.

God, bless,

Jack Fowler

You can email me at

You can reserve a cruise cabin at

You can subscribe to NRPLUS here.

National Review

I Heard My Momma Cry . . .


. . . I heard her pray the night Chicago died . . .

Dear WJ Reader,

Daddy wasn’t a cop (he sold life insurance). And the fact is, our brood of ten kids lived (stacked in a fleet of bunk beds) on the north side of The Bronx. Still, this fantasy edition of WJ kicks off by going back one half-century, to the Democratic Convention in Chicago, back in the USA, back in the bad old days, when chaos was rampant in the streets as Windy City cops battled anti-war rioters. And inside the convention hall, where raucous prevailed, speakers castigated the city’s Mayor from the podium.

The time and place remain important: In plain sight, this is where the Democrat Left honed its skills and made clear the lengths to which it would go to intimidate and rule. I’ll pull it out of the usual order and recommend to you Arthur Herman’s piece, The Night the Democratic Party Died. From it:

After killing off the traditional liberal Democratic party they despised, they would go on to take over the corpse and make it the host of America’s radical Left, from Jerry Brown to Bernie Sanders — with George McGovern, Nancy Pelosi, and Barack Obama as their front men.

The friends who joined in the kill were the mainstream media. . . . Starting that night the New York Times, the Washington Post, and ABC and CBS News would become the enablers of America’s radical Left, even at its most violent — and in the process cut themselves off from the millions of ordinary working Americans who had made the Democratic party their political home.

There’s more below. Before we get there, let’s put on the 45 RPM and recall Paper Lace singing about another famously bad night in Illinois. Glory be!

But Let’s First Harangue You About . . .

NRPLUS. Notice I have had Phil the Galley Slave put it in bold! Why? Because: extra attention from your eyeballs. Now let me reinforce a point: If you don’t get NRPLUS, you are subscribing, for free, to what is essentially NRMINUS. (Make that bold, Phil, but no red). Minus the opportunity to read NRO sans ads. Minus the opportunity to comment on articles. Minus invites to special NR events (like the Fowler Leaf-Raking Extravaganza in Milford, CT this October 32nd — remember to bring your work gloves, calamine lotion, and Bengay). Do yourself a big favor, a plus-sized favor, if you will: become an NRPLUS member today. It only costs 59 bucks, which is a small price to pay to stay completely and (informing my pal Waren that a new word is approaching) unharrassedly informed.

OK, let’s get on with the show.


1. We reflect on the passing away of John McCain. From the editorial:

Perhaps his finest moment in the Senate was his lonely advocacy for the surge in Iraq at a low point of the war. It was classic McCain, who didn’t hesitate to take up an unpopular cause, and who propelled it with his passionate commitment and his credibility on military matters.

That said, we had many differences with him over the years. His signature domestic cause, campaign-finance legislation, was of dubious constitutionality and even more doubtful wisdom — it helped kneecap the party committees. In his insurgent 2000 bid for the Republican nomination, he road-tested a TR-inspired progressive Republicanism friendly to government regulation (although he remained in most respects a conventional Reaganite). After he lost to Bush that year in an honest fight — although the media portrayed Bush’s key victory in South Carolina as underhanded and racially charged — he entered a period of bitter estrangement from his own party.

2. Florida’s Democrats want to put a socialist, nominee Andrew Gillum, Tallahassee’s mayor, in the governor’s mansion. NR says this will be a disaster for the Sunshine State. From the beginning of the editorial:

In a gubernatorial town hall held three weeks ago, Tallahassee mayor Andrew Gillum was asked if he considered himself a “democratic socialist.” He demurred. But Gillum, now the Democratic nominee for governor of Florida, is campaigning as a member of the Sanders–Ocasio-Cortez wing of the party: He wants to abolish ICE, raise the minimum wage to $15, pass single-payer health care, and increase taxes across the board. With its laissez-faire economic policies and its general respect for personal liberty, Florida has long been considered one of the freest states in the union. And the Democrats want to put a socialist in the governor’s mansion.

Since emerging as a surprise contender for the nomination, Gillum has received fawning coverage from the national press. The fawning will only intensify after his victory over two well-funded candidates to capture the Democratic nomination and make a bid to be the first African-American governor of the state (Republican congressman Ron DeSantis will be the other candidate, after routing his opponent Tuesday night). Gillum clearly has a base of support, and has earned the backing of left-wing billionaire donors. He is an energetic campaigner whose political savvy should not be underrated. But he would be a disaster as governor of Florida.

Seventeen Enjoyable Wisdom Pearls that Require No Labor to Read this Labor Day Weekend

1. Rich Lowry recalls those nasty few days in Chicago and what the ruckus has meant for us, half a century later. From his new column:

It’s hard to think of a direct action that more directly backfired than the Chicago protests. But the passage of several decades tends to alter judgments. So it is that, 50 years later, the Spirit of 1968 is in the ascendancy on the left and in the Democratic party, which is moving toward a more open embrace of democratic socialism than perhaps could have been imagined by the protesters during those fevered summer nights in 1968.

Chicago was a war within the Democratic party; there’s a reason the protesters didn’t show up at the Republican convention in Miami earlier that summer. Mayor Daley, and especially his cops, hated the demonstrators and showed it with the appallingly free use of their billy clubs. Now, much of the Democratic party — certainly its rising figures — wants to cater to and capture the energy of the activists of the Left rather than resist them.

2. Talk Socialist, Act Capitalist: Kat Timpf reflects on how the words and the actions of adored lefty Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are never twain-meeting. From her report:

Now, this is not the first time that something like this has happened. As Investor’s Business Daily notes, Ocasio-Cortez seemed to make an argument against herself again last week when she expressed her sadness over the closing of a restaurant where she used to work. In her post about the good times that she’d had there, she failed to mention that the reason it was closing was because it could not comply with New York City’s soon-to-be-implemented $15 per hour minimum wage. Perhaps unknowingly, she had expressed regret over something that had been caused by the very sort of policy she supports.

3. Louis Farrakhan is toxic, but that hasn’t kept the Congressional Black Caucus from being comfortably associated and footsie-playing with the National of Islam boss. Jeryl Bier reports about this and more in an excellent article, from which this highlight is selected:

Another CBC member who has remained close to Farrakhan is Representative Danny Davis (D., Ill.). Ten years after Farrakhan met with the CBC about the Millions More Movement, he organized and in October 2015 was the keynote speaker at the Justice or Else rally, which marked the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March in Washington, D.C. Davis attended and spoke to the crowd, saying, “I want to commend and congratulate minister Louis Farrakhan for his visionary leadership.” Davis assured the gathering that “we will march on with the understanding that today is our day, tomorrow is our day, and we will march with the vision and with the leadership of minister Louis Farrakhan.” (An interesting footnote from that rally: Davis was introduced by Leonard Muhammed, the Nation of Islam’s chief of staff, and was followed by none other than the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Barack Obama’s estranged pastor, and by Linda Sarsour, a Muslim activist who herself often faces charges of anti-Semitism. One of the emcees for the Justice or Else rally was Women’s March co-founder Tamika Mallory, who stands by Farrakhan to this day.)

Despite these numerous, publicly accessible articles and videos, the associations between the Congressional Black Caucus and Louis Farrakhan have been largely ignored over the years by the media, even the conservative press. From the warm greetings and fond remembrances from both Farrakhan and CBC members captured in these stories and videos, it seems likely that many more private get-togethers took place over the years. Though some CBC members have publicly condemned Farrakhan after my Wall Street Journal op-eds, others have remained mum or even renewed their support. Only one CBC member’s office has responded to my requests for comment, and that was simply to report that the congressman would have no response.

4. The big brain of Reihan Salam produces thoughtful analysis and interpretation of polling about how new arrivals affect policy positions (and maybe even voting-bloc preferences) of existing immigrant communities. It’s very interesting stuff, so read up.

5. Holy Mother Church One: Michael Brendan Dougherty reacts to The Predator (Cardinal McCarrick), the Diplomat (explosive memo-writer Archbishop Carlo Viganò), and the Pope (who’s all of a sudden doing a Mum’s Da Woid routine). From his piece:

The key questions that reporters need to address: What records, if any, are there of sanctions placed on Cardinal McCarrick’s life and ministry under Benedict? Can Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re recall them? Perhaps most important, will Cardinal Marc Ouellet confirm whether he communicated the details of these sanctions to Viganò in 2011? Certainly journalists sympathetic to McCarrick reported at the time that he had been “put out to pasture” under Benedict, and then under Francis was “back in the mix and busier than ever.” If there were no sanctions placed on him other than removing him from the seminary in 2009 or 2010, then the rest of the claims in the Viganò letter may begin to fall apart quickly. Can Archbishop Viganò or the nunciature provide dated copies of the memos he sent? The documentary evidence for Viganò’s report is crucial.

But one thing is most crucial of all: candor among the bishops and cardinals of the Catholic Church. Ever since Cardinal Timothy Dolan alerted the public about a credible accusation of pederasty against McCarrick, letting loose a flood of stories about the “open secret” of his sexual harassment of seminarians, lay faithful have been demanding that bishops tell the public “what you knew and when you knew it.” The answers cannot wait until the meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in November. They cannot wait until bishops war-game how their disclosures will play out within the Catholic Church’s ongoing political and theological civil war. Just tell us what you knew, like Archbishop Viganò, and let reporters try to verify it.

6. Holy Mother Church Two: Does a bear you-know-what in the woods? Is the Pope . . . Catholic? John O’Sullivan considers men in collars and the depth of their faith and vocation. From his essay:

So what did the bishops and priests who failed either at chastity or at justice or at both believe? Let me suggest three possible answers.

The first answer is: nothing much. They gradually lost their faith as they went through life and woke up one day to find that they were agnostics who had a decent living in the Church and no prospect in middle age of getting a job of equal worth and satisfaction. It’s an easy thing to do in a post-Christian society. No doubt their loss of faith was a problem for them, but in a very human way they managed to keep postponing a decision on what to do about it. Maybe they even enjoyed their job, which they defined as a special kind of social worker helping others or, at a more senior level, a special kind of bureaucrat who could use the Church to advance good causes of a secular kind. Of course, agnostics in clerical garb would find it hard to keep the rules on chastity as age and loneliness wore them down. And if they no longer took the priesthood’s disciplines (or the authority sustaining them) seriously, even if they remained personally chaste, they would find it hard to impose those rules on others. Their loyalty would gradually shift from the Christian faith to the Church as an institution, and their first response to scandal would be to conceal the vice to protect the institution.

7. Holy Mother Church Three: John Hillen walks out to the mound and signals for a relief pitcher. He argues that when it comes to Church governance, it’s time to empower the laity. From his analysis:

The healthiest political and corporate institutions have checks and balances, and some degree of independent oversight or overseers. The Catholic Church does not (at least from a temporal authority). The highly trained (in philosophy and theology) and specialized clergy are terrifically prepared to administer the sacraments to the faithful, but they also must administer the Church — its finances, workforce, politics, and all else. The latter set of issues requires a very different set of skills and experiences from those that are necessary in teaching, pastoral, or missionary work or in conducting liturgy and administering sacraments. Especially at the senior levels.

But the senior leadership of the Church — the leadership at every level, really — is exclusively clergy. Chosen by . . . clergy. The Church is aided by advisory bodies of lay leaders at almost every level. I serve on several — from the level of my little parish right on up to a program in the Vatican. But, even so, the lay leaders are members of advisory boards only. As such, they are not in a position to know and help with some of the more sensitive legal, personnel, and behavioral issues in the institution in a way that fiduciary-board members would. We give advice, we write checks, we form great relationships with our clerical partners . . . but at the end of the day we are waving at the car as it drives away — and praying for its safe journey.

8. Holy Mother Church Four: David French explains why the health of Roman Catholicism is not unimportant to American Evangelical churches. From his piece:

Third, reputational harm to the church can sweep far and wide — well beyond the guilty parties themselves. No one should presume that in an increasingly secular world our fellow citizens can so easily discern the good guys and the bad guys. I remember well moving from the Bible Belt to Boston in 1991, and being stunned to discover that my classmates painted the church with a very broad brush. In my youth and naïveté I had largely pointed and laughed at the televangelist scandals of the 1980s, only to discover that I was one of “them” until proven otherwise, a gullible congregant in a church of con men.

9. Holy Mother Church Five: Washington’s Cardinal Wuerl and his obtuseness are explained by Alexandra DeSanctis. From her report:

If, as the archdiocese continues to aver, Church officials are dedicated to honest communication with Catholics and outside observers alike, why the total silence? Because to answer these questions or provide anything other than PR blather would call into question Wuerl’s assurances that he has always been beyond reproach.

In other words, telling the truth would cost one man too much. Wuerl would like us to believe he is merely disinterested and uninvolved in what happens on his watch. In fact, he has been lying to keep faithful Catholics in the dark and asking his staff to cover his tracks with obfuscations. So much for “professional transparency.”

10. Kevin Williamson reads The Economist and finds naivety and maybe even stupidity about our peculiar — and peace-ensuring — system of self-government on this side of The Pond. From his essay:

Over the summer, The Economist did two things of interest: One, it began a series exploring the great thinkers of liberalism — liberalism in the “broad classical sense, rather than the narrow American left-of-centre one” — with a suggested-reading list including important liberal thinkers from members of the Surname-Only Club (Mill, Hobbes, Spinoza, Tocqueville, Locke, Montesquieu, Paine, Smith) to a few who may not have been on your undergraduate syllabus, such as Frédéric Bastiat, Salvador de Madariaga y Rojo, and Mary Wollstonecraft. (No, friends, Frédéric Bastiat is not on very many undergraduate syllabi, even though he should be. Not everybody goes to Hillsdale, King’s, or Grove City.) This is a genuine public service, one of the many things that makes The Economist an invaluable voice in public affairs.

The other interesting thing The Economist did was publish an uncharacteristically stupid essay about the “built-in bias” of the American electoral system. “In no other two-party system does the party that receives the most votes routinely find itself out of power,” the newspaper said. That’s true enough. There isn’t another two-party democratic republic very much like the United States, and that is intentional. One of the important reasons for that is the fact that Jefferson et al. were up on The Economist’s reading list well before James Wilson (the Scottish one, who also appears on the reading list, not the American Founding Father) got around to launching The Economist. Perhaps the essayist here should peruse the works of some of those great liberal thinkers. A good place to start would be in The Economist, which intelligently included an essay on the father of modern liberalism, John Stuart Mill, which bears the title “Against the Tyranny of the Majority.”

As it turns out, there is a relationship between these two items of journalistic curiosity.

11. How to describe the idea of a post-Trump world? Victor Davis Hanson takes a crack at what impeachers might wrought (if you will pardon the tense). From his piece:

The Trump base will see a Trump removal as a Deep State/elite-bluestocking effort to nullify an election. With long memories, they will be far less likely to vote Republican at the national level. We should remember that conservatives have maligned Trump voters as much as has the Left, from “crazies” to what Eliot Cohen recently referred to as a “peasant revolt.”

What got Trump elected was not just his populist/nationalist agenda but a canny appraisal of the Electoral College. So far in the two years of Republican-party civil war, few Never Trumpers have offered anything like the following: “We do not need the crude Trump and his crackpot heresies, or his pathetic peasant rallies, but instead can return to Republican orthodoxy and thereby win the states of Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Wisconsin.”

Few seem to ponder that the Trump election was not so much a vote for a raconteur who frequented with the likes of Michael Cohen and Stormy Daniels, but rather for someone who was notthe Republican party, at least as embodied in the last few years in the national elections. Few have argued that had Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio or John Kasich won the Republican nomination, his agenda and Marquess of Queensbury rules of decorum would have won over the swing voters in the above key states. That is not an endorsement of either Trump’s heterodox views or his personal comportment; it is just a statement of fact.

12. Dennis Prager explains the Left in three easy lessons. One: Fear the naïve and the bored. Two: Chooches like Andrew Cuomo can’t help but show their sincere contempt for America. Three: You get Saul Alinsky when you ditch God.

13. I’ll Be a Monkey’s Uncle: In The Corner Rich Lowry attacks in turn the “idiotic” attacks on FL GOP gubernatorial nominee Ron DeSantis.

14. Monkey See, Monkey Do: Charlie Cooke seconds El Jefe’s outrage, and decries a disgraceful press. From his Corner post:

In pursuit of both, an enormous number of self-described “journalists” deliberately tied DeSantis’s use of “monkey this up” — which came attached to some praise for Gillum coupled with a warning that Gillum’s socialism would muck up Florida’s excellent economy — to the fact that Gillum is black, the obvious implication being that DeSantis believes that electing a black man as governor of Florida would “monkey this up” (whatever that means). But that is not what DeSantis said. It is not what DeSantis meant. And it is not what anyone really thinks he meant, either. It is a lie of the sort that is to be expected from explicitly political players, but not from those who believe they are Woodward and Bernstein in a firefighter’s hat. (Given his interest in “context collapse,” I’m sure that Ezra Klein is penning a defense of DeSantis for Voxas I type.)

15. More from the Barrel of Monkeys: Jay Nordlinger recalls the chimp-influenced defenestration of Howard Cosell. From his Corner post:

In light of Monkeygate, down in Florida, I’ve been thinking of Howard Cosell — who in 1983 was covering a Cowboys–Redskins game. “That little monkey gets loose, doesn’t he?” He was referring to the Redskins’ Alvin Garrett, a pass receiver of diminutive stature, certainly for the NFL (5 foot 7). As Garrett is black, a furor ensued.

Cosell protested his innocence. First, there was his record on civil rights (sterling). But second, he often used “little monkey” to refer to small, fast people. He used the term about his own grandchildren.

RELATED: Timing being everything, of coincidental note is that this Sunday night, at 8 PM Eastern time, Turner Classic Movies will be showing the possibly racist Cary Grant / Ginger Rogers / Marilyn Monroe comedy, Monkey Business. (Which is not to be confused with any documentary on Gary Hart.)

16. Armond White reviews Support the Girls. Insightful as heck, as usual. From his piece:

It is the Obama Effect that explains the shallow acclaim for Andrew Bujalski’s Support the Girls. Regina Hall plays the film’s protagonist, Lisa, the middle-aged black female manager of a Hooters-like Texas bar called Double Whammies. She goes along with the establishment’s matter-of-fact sexism as well as the white owner’s casual policy of not having more than one black female on waitress duty at a time. Lisa’s not an activist; she understands how racism operates, and so it doesn’t faze her. She has work to do and a life to live — which means she understands America. This premise proves that Hall and Bujalski both understand America in a particular way — a double whammy that remedies the Obama Effect.

Hall and Bujalski collaborate on the most credible portrait of a black American woman’s travail in any film this millennium. The Texas setting is different from the Williamsburg hipster locale of Bujalski’s early Mumblecore films (Funny Ha Ha, Mutual Appreciation) and the Lisa character differs from Hall’s widely admired comic turns in the Scary Movies series. A filmmaker dedicated to subcultural specifics and an actress striving for her career identity have found artistic common ground. They bypass the social stereotypes of the Obama Effect through this story’s Southern ethnic mix that big-city Northern media folk just don’t understand: Lisa mentors her team of young-lady waitresses, shares confidences with them, the same way she humors her good-old-boy customers and the white cops she depends upon to keep order.

17. David Nammo offers three cheers for the not-impartial, increasingly lefty American Bar Association getting sidelined over the Kavanaugh SCOTUS confirmation process. From his analysis:

No one seems to expect liberal judicial nominees to come to the bench without life experience or opinions. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg worked for the ACLU. Justice Sonia Sotomayor was an advocate for immigrants. Justice Thurgood Marshall was an NAACP champion. We ask our judges — liberal or conservative — to set aside their personal opinions to consider each case based on the law. In a pluralistic society, many views are accommodated, since we are stronger together than we are separately.

But given the bias against faith and pro-life concerns, it’s clear that the ABA stamps all résumés of attorneys found “guilty” of faith as unqualified. No longer should the ABA’s analysis be consulted when considering people for the bench. It has a right to its point of view, but not the right to prevent others from participating in our democracy. Unfortunately, this bias will be on full display over the next month as the ABA and its political friends in Congress take weeks to criticize Judge Kavanaugh, play to their base, and raise money for 2018 and 2020.


1. Rob Long joins the intrepid host of The Remnant with Jonah Goldberg for some GLoP-flavored (gluten- and Podhoretz-free) discussion. Catch it here.

2. In this episode of The Editors, Rich, Reihan, Charlie, and Michael remember John McCain, discuss possible outcomes of an ongoing NAFTA negotiation with Mexico, and consider controversies in the recent Florida primary. Rich also asks Michael for more details and clarification on the unfolding scandal in the Catholic Church. Say three Hail Marys and listen here.

3. Given the PC-engineered stoppage of the forthcoming Broadway revival of West Side Story, Mr. Nordlinger can’t help but make the new episode of Jaywalking focus on such at the get-go, before delighting us with a rich stew of other treats. Eat if you can, but I suggest listening instead, right here.

4. James Robbins, author of Erasing America: Losing Our Future by Destroying Our Past, joins John J. Miller on the new episode of The Bookmonger, which awaits your ears here.

5. We’ve got two new episodes of Ordered Libertyawaiting you. The newest finds Alexandra and David taking on the New York Timesfor after a report which says conservative Catholics “pounce” to . . . take advantage of the sex scandal and to take on Pope Francis. Catch that here. And in the prior episode, our Dynamic Duo explain how the “Catholic Catastrophe is a Christian Catastrophe.” Listen here.

6. On the new episode of Mad Dogs and Englishmen, Charlie and Kevin discuss whether Florida needs a socialist governor. Get back into the Woof Blimey groove here.

7. Constitutionally Speaking, now playing on NRO, this week finds co-hosts Luke and Jay giving a briefing on the Bill of Rights. Refuse to short-change your intelligence, here.

8. On Reality Check with Jeanne Allen, our host is joined by Chris Whittle to discuss “reimagining education” and “the first global school.” This very cool discussion can be heard here.

9. On the new episode of The McCarthy Report, Andy and Rich focus on three personalities with deep ties to Trump and the Russia allegations: Bruce Ohr, Michael Cohen, and Don McGahn. Podcast is in session, here.

The Six

1. At, our mate Dan Hannan dissects identity politics. The MEP shares some anecdotes and we pick up here (using Britishy spellings):

What is most striking about these stories is the unquenchable indignation of the affronted. It becomes impossible to avoid giving offence, because the offended keep changing the rules. It is obligatory to demand a black Bond, yet simultaneously unconscionable to applaud a white Maria. Gender is an invented social construct, but we must recognise self-designated gender identities. Racial discrimination is always wrong, except when quotas are wanted.

The wokest of the woke can find themselves tripping up. Consider, for example, the explosion earlier this month when The Nation, a Leftist American magazine, published a poem written from the point of view of a homeless black woman. When it turned out that the author was a white man, he had to issue a grovelling apology, while the editors involved rushed out the kind of self-accusatory statements that were heard at Stalin’s show-trials. Why? Because the poem was written in black American vernacular – apparently quite authentically.

2. Skidmore College professor Flagg Taylor graces Law & Libertywith an essay on Anne Applebaum’s “Holomodor” book, Red Famine: Stalin’s War on Ukraine. It’s never too late to set the record straight. From the essay:

While the story of the Holodomor deserves telling and retelling, historical awareness of the terrors of 1932-33 was nearly effaced in the ensuing decades. The Soviet Union was quite adept at whitewashing these events and finding willing agents in the West to propagate lies on its behalf. Academic political scientists and historians, those supposedly well-equipped for measured analysis, have not always proven themselves to be reliable interpreters of the Holodomor. As the French philosopher and historian Alain Besançon put it, “It is characteristic of the twentieth century that its history was not only horrible in terms of human massacres, but that historical awareness . . . has had particular difficulty finding a true orientation.”

The British social scientists Sydney and Beatrice Webb visited the Soviet Union during the famine. Still they returned more convinced than ever that the Soviet system was a model for all to emulate. Here is their considered judgment, rendered in 1937, on “dekulakization” (the forced removal and deportation or murder of the supposedly wealthier peasants) during the collectivization campaign: “Candid students of the circumstances may not unwarrantably come to the conclusion that . . . the Soviet Government could hardly have acted otherwise than it did.”

3. Ain’t no fear here. At First Things, Todd Flanders contends retribution, sin, and damnation are quite real and merit theological attention. From his piece:

The Church in America has, for the most part, almost exclusively emphasized doctrines of grace, forgiveness, love, and this-world social justice, as though there is little or no eschatological dimension to reality.  To the extent that eschatology is preached or taught in schools it tends to be heaven alone (except for Hitler and maybe the likes of Trump). It is commonly good news all the time, to the point where the Good News of Jesus can seem a bit arbitrary, as though the Incarnate Christ found no particularly bad news about man to respond to on earth.

For me and many fellow converts in the past quarter century, the “good news all the time” approach has been especially puzzling. I came to see Christ in the Catholic Church as the sure source of healing, forgiveness, growth, and transformation. The way of sanctification in the Church — by grace and mercy and love — I saw not only as possible, but compellingly attractive. For many, there comes a moment of recognition that we are unrighteous, in radical need of a savior and redeemer as well as a brother and friend.  Thus the Good News that is the gospel. Thus the evangelical power of the Church.

4. Steven Pinker has a new book, Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress, that’s getting lots of attention. Jeffrey Folks gives it some for The University Bookman. From his review:

It is difficult to dismiss Pinker’s writing since it displays extraordinary rhetorical skill, but the word that comes to mind so often in reading his work is “superficial.” Enlightenment Now is the product of high intelligence and exceptional diligence, but it seems tone deaf to the enduring facts of human nature and the human condition, and, I would add, to the growing realization among populations everywhere that progressivism has not resulted in greater human happiness but rather in enslavement.

Indeed, having read Enlightenment Now and other works by Pinker, I am left with a chilling fear of what progressivism might do were its adherents to gain complete control. The world that Enlightenment Now envisages, that same world imagined in the past by Edward Bellamy, H. G. Wells, Benito Mussolini, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, LBJ, and Obama, is one of state control, intellectual repression, and regimentation. It is not the route to happiness but to a death-in-life unlike anything the world has seen, even in that ancient Babylonian past in which, as the author points out, an hour of candle light (by sesame seed oil) cost 50 hours of human labor. Better to sit in the dark than to live in thrall of those “experts” so highly recommended in Enlightenment Now.

5. It’s been a year since “the events at Charlottesville,” as the great Mark Helprin calls them in a reflection for Claremont Review of BooksFrom his piece:

So, in Charlottesville many serious injuries and three deaths (two police in a helicopter crash; one peaceful demonstrator slain by a white supremacist who drove his car into her and dozens of others) came not from the tips of the two spears but from innocents. The national press ignored both the role of Antifa in joining battle and the city authorities in instigating it. They deliberately misapplied President Trump’s comment that there were good people on both sides, to the confrontation rather than to the issue of monument removal. And Trump, being Trump, did not manage or bother to correct them.

As innocent as Charlottesville may be of exaggerated charges, being part of America it suffers nonetheless what James Madison characterized as “[i]mbecility in the government; discord among the provinces; foreign influence and indignities; a precarious existence in peace, and peculiar calamities from war.” The now fashionable abandonment of civility, turning like an augur deeper and deeper into the country’s heart, appeared here 20 years ago when the “conservation chairman” of the Virginia Sierra Club wrote, “Officials who support the road should be mercilessly abused, shamed, ridiculed, and otherwise made to suffer pain.” Charlottesville’s mayor at the time of last year’s confrontation, Mike Signer, was recently quoted as referring to “the so-called freedom of speech.”

6. At The New Criterion, James Piereson reviews the body counts and wonders why socialism isn’t a hate crime. Read his piece here.

BONUS: William H. Young recounts in Minding the Campus his recent trip to Madison’s homestead, Montpelier. In the face-off between slaveholder and Constitution father, guess which aspect of the fourth president prevails in the site’s exhibits? From the piece:

When I last visited Montpelier, the ancestral home of James Madison and his wife Dolley in northwestern Virginia, about twenty years ago, the principal exhibit focused on the ideals and ideas of the U. S. Constitution and Bill of Rights, and the contributions made to them by the man called the Father of the Constitution. To my surprise and dismay upon a return visit to Montpelier in May 2018, that exhibit had disappeared and had been replaced by one that tells the story of James Madison as a slaveholder, how slavery was rooted and protected in the Constitution, and how that legacy is manifested in America today.

The new Montpelier exhibit adds to the transmogrification of the public presentation of American history at our museums and historic sites, which the academic left (and their affiliated progressive and postmodern multicultural elites) has achieved. The ideologically refitted narrative presents the oppression of marginalized groups and injustice as the principal story of American history — replacing the understanding of our founding ideals and ideas, the applications of our governing principles, and the positive achievements of our nation’s past.

Buy this Book!

My pal Matthew Hennessey has authored a new book getting deserved attention and acclaim, Zero Hour for Gen X: How the Last Adult Generation Can Save America from Millennials. That was the Amazon link, so buy your copy thataway. After all, you could do with some insight into a matter of major societal concern. Now, if you want a taste of what Matt is getting at, I recommend his 2017City Journal essay (it shares a title with that of the book):

Millennials’ high opinion of themselves doesn’t extend to the country they share with older generations. Markedly less patriotic than boomers and GenXers, they see nothing particularly special about being American and recoil at the notion of American exceptionalism. A 2016 Gallup poll found that socialism was more popular than capitalism among those under 30. Nearly 70 percent of millennial survey respondents said that they’d be comfortable voting for a socialist candidate. During the 2016 Democratic presidential primary, 80 percent of voters under 30 voted for Bernie Sanders in the crucial early-voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada. In 2012, millennials put Democrat Barack Obama over the top in a tight race against Republican Mitt Romney.

Perhaps most troubling, millennials have displayed an indifference to the bedrock American principle of free speech. A 2015 Pew Research Center study found that 40 percent of those between the ages of 18 and 34 felt that the federal government ought to censor potentially offensive statements about minority groups. “Roughly two-thirds of college students say colleges should be allowed to establish policies that restrict slurs and other language that is intentionally offensive to certain groups (69%), as well as the wearing of costumes that stereotype certain racial or ethnic groups (63%),” according to a 2016 Gallup survey. Nearly half of respondents said that they thought that there could be some “legitimate reasons” to prevent the press from covering campus protests.

These attitudes set millennials apart from Generation X and the baby boomers, but it’s Generation X that will feel their impact. The advertising world has already begun to turn away from marketing to middle-aged Xers and cater instead to millennials and their unprecedented purchasing power. Even the military is scrambling to adapt to the needs of its youngest recruits. The army is considering prolonging the amount of time that drill sergeants spend with new soldiers during basic training. “The problem that we do have is that right now the generation we have coming in is not as disciplined as we would like them to be,” said an army spokesman. “So we have to provide them with discipline over a longer period of time.”

Buy this Cabin!

On the National Review 2018 Buckley Legacy Conservative Cruise. You’ll find complete information at


The days dwindle down to a precious few, September . . .

The game is marked by many things, but of its more dramatic moments are the collapses in the season’s last month, when first-place certain-pennant winners . . . crash like a falling piano. One of the more-forgotten collapses was that of the 1934 New York Giants, led by player/manager Bill Terry, crossword-puzzle answer Mel Ott, Carl Hubbell, and ace Hal Schumacher (all but Hal Hall of Famers). Things looked sorta rosy on Thursday, September 6th, and they were: The Giants stood seven games ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals, and nine ahead of the Chicago Cubs. But then things got bad and stayed that way for Terry’s Men: In the season’s final days, the Giants played 8-13 baseball, including losing the last five games, five extra-inning games, and dropping three out of four to the Cardinals in an important Polo Grounds homestand.

The flashy Cards showed why they were called the Gashouse Gang: Led by player/manager Frankie Frisch(the “Fordham Flash”) and fellow future Hall-of-Famers Ducky Medwick and Dizzy Dean, they went on a 17-5 tear (Dizzy and brother Daffy Dean took 11 of those victories, and registered no defeats), sweeping a four-game season-ending series at home against the Cincinnati Reds to clinch the pennant. The Cards finished the season 95-58, two games up over the Giants. In the World Seasons, they prevailed over the Detroit Tigers in seven games, with Mrs. Dean’s boys each snagging two victories.

September Song

. . . and these few precious days . . .

The beautiful tune was written by Kurt Weill and Maxwell Anderson for the 1938 Broadway musical, Knickerbocker Holiday. The classic “original” version of September Song was sung by Walter Huston — best known for his performances in Yankee Doodle Dandy (as George M. Cohan’s dad, Jerry) and in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (as Howard, the old goat prospector, for which Huston won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar). Listen here to him croak it out. Some other worthwhile takes on the classic: Frank Sinatra crooning it in 1965, an exquisite rendition by Ella Fitzgerald, a remarkable tag team of the Boston Pops and Wynston Marsalis backing up Sarah Vaughn.

But wait, there’s more: If you like Sammy Davis Jr. (and I do) then stop your waiting game here, The Ravens’ version sounds like a mash-up of the Ink Spots and the Mills Brothers, and the Old Schnozzola, Mr. James Durante, did September Song nasally justice in this version.

Labor Day

Or, let’s be honest, non-labor day. But so what: May I recommend Ronald Reagan’s 1984 Message on the Observance of Labor Day? Sweet, simple, essential, American:

A rising economy and greater opportunity give us confidence, but our work is far from finished. Too many of our fellow Americans are still out of work or down on their luck. We must not and will not rest until everyone who wants a job has found one, until all Americans can reach as high as their vision and talents take them. We must and we will make certain that the American dream remains a springtime of hope for all our people. Meaningful work, not welfare, is every American’s hope, and we have a continuing responsibility to make those hopes a lasting reality.

By the way, here’s an interesting 2011 piece from The Atlantic on how The Gipper was a great SAG union president.

I Coulda Been a Contenda . . .

Are we disappointed that TCM this weekend isn’t airing the most-appropriate film for Labor Day, On the Waterfront? Hell yeah! But before you get your one-way ticket to Palookaville punched, watch this clip of the film’s classic scene.

Related: A few years back my pal Tim Peterson wrote this excellent profile of Father John Corridan, the real-life tough Jesuit who was portrayed by Karl Malden in the film.

A Dios

Lord, see my goods, my possessions; in my boat you find, no power, no wealth. Will you accept then, my nets and labor? I hope so.

God’s Blessings on you and all those for whom you seek His Graces,

Jack Fowler

I await you taunts, your brickbats, your elation at finding typos, your glee in my factual errors, at

National Review

What I Did on My Summer Vacation


Dear WJ Reader,

It was a short one, my vacation, and as for its planned events, it ended on a sweet note: at Fenway Park, where we watched the Red Sox lose to the Indians, 5 – 4. A good game on a beautiful summer night, accentuated by peanuts, Cracker Jacks, hot dogs, and a beer. And did I mention that the Red Sox lost?

Anyway, the two-day visit to Beantown with Mrs. Jolt and Son Jolt (who headed to UConn on Friday) began with a patriotic thrill: A visit to Charlestown to see the USS Constitution, and nearby Bunker Hill.

As for Old Ironsides, the world’s longest-serving, still-active, commissioned vessel afloat, she is a thing of beauty. She makes the heart swell. While on board one of her guns was shot off, and mackerels of holiness, the roar of actual battle (against the HMS Guerriere and several other vanquished British ships during the War of 1812) must have shaken to the core all but men of internal steel. After debarking, we walked the short distance to Bunker Hill. Actually, to Breed’s Hill, which was the true battlefield, but no matter the name, this was a place of patriot bloodshed: 115 Americans died that day, June 17, 1775, and more than 300 were wounded. The eyes-white Redcoats prevailed, in a victory most Pyrrhic: The cost was 226 dead and over 800 wounded. Our freedoms are dearly purchased.

I recommend any and all to visit these sites, especially while it remains permissible and yet-legal to have authentic patriotic feelings. Now, as to this missive: We have much in store for you my friends, so grab yourself a libation and maybe even a stogie and please do enjoy. But first, of course, is this message . . .

You Don’t Want to See Me Beg. It’s Ugly.

How ugly? Mirror-breaking ugly. But if I have to beg, I will. Here goes: Look, pal and palstress, I think your intellectual life would be greatly behooved by your becoming a member of our new-fangled NRPLUS program. You get the NR magazine (digital edition, same as the print but no paper, ink, postage, or mailmanning). You get NRO minus ads. You get to comment on articles (Like: “I cannot stand Fowler and this Weekend Jolt. For God’s sake someone introduce him to stamp-collecting or teach him how to juggle!”). You get to hang out in the ether with our editors. And there is plenty more “you get to be you”-getting. It’s just $59 a year, which is the price of one cup of coffee (admittedly, a 20-gallon cup). Find out more about NRPLUS here and now. Or so help me I am going to take off this mask.


1. Looks like Barrack’s “Clean Power Plan” is heading for the ash heap, courtesy of President Trump. Kudos and good riddance we say in our editorial, which includes this slice:

President Trump has offered himself as coal’s savior, just as President Obama offered himself as its reckoning. The key difference between the two is that the Obama administration created expansive new executive powers, while the Trump administration is putting the presidency back in its constitutional box.

Coal country will appreciate Trump’s gesture, certainly. But this move, welcome on constitutional grounds, probably will not be sufficient to revitalize the ailing coal industry. It has suffered under heavy regulatory burdens, but in the long term what it suffers from is displacement by cheap and relatively clean natural gas. It is very likely that the United States will continue to use less coal to generate electricity — thanks to fracking, which has liberated stores of hydrocarbons once thought to be unusable. That presents a problem for the high priests of green, who can’t decide whether they hate coal more or fracking. We are content to let the market sort that out.

2. Speaking of clean, we editorialize that on the unfolding Cohen Drama, Donald Trump should . . . come clean. From the opinion:

Regardless, the issue for Trump now isn’t so much legal as political — Justice Department guidelines say a sitting president can’t be indicted, meaning impeachment is the only immediate recourse for such misconduct. We don’t believe such an alleged campaign-finance violation — sleazy as it is — rises to the level of a high crime or misdemeanor, but Democrats will almost certainly disagree if they take the House.

The best defense for Trump is the one he’s least likely to make — being completely truthful about what happened, apologizing, and putting his trust in the capacity of the American public to forgive even more embarrassing lapses.

3. China is brutally persecuting the Uygurs. We urge America to fight to stop it. From the editorial:

The history of the Uyghurs in China is that of a restive minority generating fears among the Chinese majority that the fringe of their empire is pulling away, and the Chinese responding with brutal consolidation. Uyghurs tried to declare independence from the Republic of China multiple times before the Communists came to power; under Mao, there was no shortage of Red Guard violence bent on stamping out their religious practice. More recently the PRC encouraged Han Chinese to move to Xinjiang, hoping to dilute the Uyghur presence in the region. And it has exploited international fears of Islamic terrorism as a pretext to build an immense surveillance state that involves DNA collection, cell-phone monitoring, and the installment of facial-recognition software.

Now authorities are using this surveillance apparatus to round up and incarcerate Uyghurs suspected of dissident activity or excessive religiosity. Reporters and international officials have been barred from the reeducation camps and, in the case of BuzzFeed reporter Megha Rajagopalan, ejected from the country, so the information that is available is piecemeal. But we know from researchers and eyewitnesses that conditions are dire: Prisoners are made to recite political propaganda and renounce Islam, some have been tortured, and others have died soon after being released. The family members of those incarcerated have not been able to contact them. The scale of the detention campaign is only growing.

The September 10, 2018 Issue of National Review Is Out

Echo echo echo. . . get yourself an NRPLUS membership, because if you did, you could be reading this amazing content already. Mein spiel now having been spielt, let me recommend these four pieces from the new issue:

1. Madeleine Kearns stumbles upon the Happy Warrior column and taps out the issue, bothered that comedy is a victim of political correctness. It ends with a dirty joke, but here’s a slice before the naughtiness:

The rage against humor exists in America, too. Three years ago on Late Night with Seth Meyers, Jerry Seinfeld, in conversation with David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker, recalled sensing unease in his audience after he told his “gay French king” joke. “I can imagine a time when people say, Well, that’s offensive to suggest that a gay person moves their hands in a flourishing motion and you now need to apologize.” But no need to imagine, Mr. Seinfeld. Welcome to 2018, when sitcoms like yours are under severe scrutiny.

Take the slew of articles from Vice, Buzzfeed, and Slate with titles such as “21 Times Friends Was Actually Really Problematic” and “Millennials Watching Friends on Netflix Shocked by Storylines.” Apparently, woke viewers are combing through old episodes and being scandalized by “homophobia,” “transphobia,” “slut shaming,” and jokes about fat people. Contemporary progressives are more bothered by Friends than are social conservatives, who oftentimes begrudge the show’s normalization of promiscuity.

2. Kyle Smith takes on the Southern Poverty Law Center, more a fundraising operation than an entity concerned with justice. From his article:

Founded in 1971, the Alabama-based SPLC, dubbed “essentially a fraud” by Ken Silverstein in a blog post for Harper’s back in 2010, discovered some time ago that it could line its coffers by positioning itself as a that in 1987, after the SPLC sued the United Klans of America, which had almost no assets to begin with, over the lynching murder of Michael Donald, the son of Beulah Mae Donald, the grieving mother realized $52,000 from the court case — but the SPLC used the matter in fundraising appeals (including one that exploited a photograph of Donald’s corpse) that raked in some $9 million in donations. Today the SPLC typically hauls in (as it did in 2015) $50 million. In its 2016 annual report it listed its net endowment assets at an eyepopping $319 million. It’s now quaint to recall that, when Silverstein called the SPLC the wealthiest civil-rights group in America, it had a mere $120 million in assets. That was in 2000. President Richard Cohen and co-founder–cum–chief trial counsel Morris Dees each raked in well over $350,000 in compensation in 2015.

News that has anything to do with the South or with race has proven to be a bonanza for the SPLC; after the events in Charlottesville last summer, the SPLC swiftly took action to capitalize. It placed a digital picture of Heather Heyer, the young Charlottesville resident who was killed when a white supremacist drove into a crowd, on its “Wall of Tolerance” and blasted out press releases about it. What is the Wall of Tolerance? It’s a gimmick to make donors feel important, neon-style virtue-signaling in the pixels that light up a giant video screen that continuously scrolls the names of 500,000 people who have taken a pledge to be tolerant. After Charlottesville, Apple CEO Tim Cook pledged $1 million to the group and put an SPLC donation button in the company’s iTunes store. JPMorgan Chase promised $500,000.

3. David Pryce-Jones remembers V. S. Naipaul.

4. Speaking of remembering: Do you remember the craze when Janet Reno and hell-bent prosecutors tormented the arrested and conned idiotic juries into convicting day-care workers of outlandish charges? Rael Jean Isaac has penned a powerful essay about “The Last Victim.” It begins like this:

On January 23, 2014, the Florida Parole Commission sent Frank Fuster a letter informing him that, owing to a recent policy change, it had determined that his initial interview was scheduled for March 2134. No, that isn’t a misprint. His first parole hearing is scheduled in 120 years. And this for a crime that, by any fair reading of the evidence, not only did Fuster not commit but never even happened.

Thirty-three years ago, Fuster, along with his young wife, Ileana, was convicted of sexually abusing children at his suburban Florida home, where Ileana provided day care. He is the last person charged in the mass sex-abuse-in-day-care scares that made headlines from the 1980s to the mid ’90s to remain in prison. Part of a broader obsession with child sex abuse — therapist-induced repressed “memories” of incest destroyed thousands of families — the day-care cases were a modern version of the Salem witch trials of the 1690s, down to allegations of Satanic rituals by caregivers. They stand as a warning to those who look condescendingly at our Salem ancestors, incredulous that judges and public alike would believe girls writhing and shrieking that they were at that moment being pinched by the accused sitting far away in the dock. As a young attorney, Robert Rosenthal cut his teeth on the day-care cases, winning reversals on appeal in a number of them.

“These cases made normal people abandon their disbelief,” he says. “In another situation, would they believe this crazy stuff about pentagrams and Satan? But here they believe it.” These cases attest to the inability of our justice system to deal with mass hysteria and, worse, to rectify injustice in a timely fashion even after the hysteria has passed. Traditional rules of evidence and procedure were thrown out the window, with nary a protest from the American Bar Association, the American Civil Liberties Union, or other watchdog organizations.

Sixteen Wonderful NR Pieces that Will Have You Smacking Your Gobs and Gasting Your Flabbers

1. Cohen Un: Andy McCarthy offers his reflection and guidance on what the Manafort verdict and Cohen pleas mean. From his analysis:

At this point, it does not appear that Mueller has a collusion case against Trump associates. His indictments involving Russian hacking and troll farms do not suggest complicity by the Trump campaign. I also find it hard to believe Mueller sees Manafort as the key to making a case on Trump when Mueller has had Gates — Manafort’s partner — as a cooperator for six months. You have to figure Gates knows whatever Manafort knows about collusion. Yet, since Gates began cooperating with the special counsel, Mueller has filed the charges against Russians that do not implicate Trump, and has transferred those cases to other Justice Department components.

When it comes to the president, I believe the special counsel’s focus is obstruction, not collusion. When it comes to Manafort, I believe the special counsel’s focus is Russia — specifically, Manafort’s longtime connections to Kremlin-connected operatives. Mueller may well be interested in what Manafort can add to his inquiry into the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting (arranged by Donald Trump Jr. in futile hopes of obtaining campaign dirt from Russia on Hillary Clinton). That, however, is not the more serious “collusion” allegation that triggered the Trump thread of the investigation — cyberespionage conspiracy (i.e., Russian hacking of Democratic party emails). At this late stage, I’m betting Mueller is most interested in whatever information Manafort might provide regarding potential Russian threats to American interests.

2. Cohen Deux: El Jefe Lowry, à la our editorial (above), says the lawyer’s plea should instigate a Trump come-clean. Catch the wisdom here.

3. Cleta Mitchell has a suggestion for Robert Mueller’s fishing expedition, in case the special prosecutor is interested in being truly non-partisan: How about taking a look at the Hillary Clinton campaign’s financial chicanery? From her piece:

The point here is that if Mueller is interested in unreported and excessive contributions to a 2016 presidential campaign, he can certainly accomplish that objective on a much grander scale in both the amounts involved and the scope of the conspiracy by turning his attention to the $84 million that flowed through the DNC in their massive scheme to completely evade the legal contribution limits to the Clinton campaign. Their misconduct is laid out quite specifically in a federal civil suit filed in May 2018 (Committee to Defend the President v. Federal Election Commission),making Mueller’s job fairly straightforward. Mueller and his agents could spend 30 minutes reading the complaint in that lawsuit and the memorandum of understanding prepared by Marc Elias for and signed by the DNC and the Clinton campaign (Elias represented them both) that gave Clinton control of the DNC’s finances, activities, and expenditures, as well as the millions of dollars in proceeds of joint fundraising by the DNC, state Democratic parties, and the Clinton campaign. These co-conspirators collectively engaged in the greatest campaign-finance scandal in history. Mueller has the opportunity to prove that his investigation is not a partisan witch hunt, as millions of Americans now believe. It will be interesting to see if he applies the same fervor to the Democrats’ 2016 campaign-finance violations and activities that he has applied to those of President Trump and his associates.

4. Alexandra DeSanctis wonders if Heidi Heitkampf, who now has a record to run on, is in an impossible situation seeking re-election in Republican North Dakota.

Critics of the North Dakota Democrat note that, while Heitkamp may have started aligning with the president’s agenda over the last year and a half in anticipation of her reelection struggle, she’s done so only on a few issues such as banking deregulation and farming.

At the same time, she’s opposed nearly every big-ticket GOP priority, and the ones that conservative voters favor. For instance, in January, she joined most of her Democratic colleagues in filibustering a popular 20-week abortion ban. This, despite having said during her 2012 run, “I do not support public funding of abortions, and believe that late-term abortions should be illegal except when necessary to save the life of the mother.”

Heitkamp has supported taxpayer-funded abortion, too, and in one sense it’s paid off: She’s earned herself a 100 percent rating on Planned Parenthood Action Fund’s 2018 congressional scorecard. In a state as pro-life as North Dakota, though, this might as well be a target on her back. In June, Cramer told me that Heitkamp’s vote against the 20-week ban was one of the key reasons he changed his mind and decided to jump in the race. After that vote, he said, his office was inundated with calls from North Dakotans demanding that he challenge her for the seat.

5. Yoo hoo! Resistance! Your anti-Christian boas is showing. Jonathan Tobin lifts the Left’s skirt and exposes something nasty. From his column:

How can we explain such unabashed religious bias, even in the context of an editorial claiming that the administration isn’t sincere about protecting religious freedom? Clearly, some liberals are questioning the legitimacy of the entire subject of religious liberty. Evangelicals and Catholics have found themselves under fire in the culture wars for refusing to accept federal mandates about abortion drugs and contraception or participation in gay weddings. Many Christians worry that religious freedom is being sacrificed here in the U.S. to encourage progressive social goals, such as the celebration of abortion and same-sex marriage. But leftists see such worries as a reason to distrust all calls to protect our “first freedom,” as Mike Pence called religious freedom in a recent speech.

The belief that conservative Christians are an obstacle to progressive measures is so ingrained among liberals that they often dismiss the genuine peril that this faith group faces throughout the Muslim world and in totalitarian countries. Protecting Christians from persecution should not be a priority for U.S. foreign policy, this thinking goes, and, indeed, we should question the motives of Christians drawing attention to the persecution.

6. Elon Musk shows his agonies and frustrations in public, and finds comfort (maybe?) in T.S. Eliot. Kevin Williamson waxes about Musk’s waning. From his reflection:

Elon Musk is not religious. He has a net worth of around $25 billion, a figure that went up by more than $1 billion after Tesla stock surged following his tweet about taking the firm private. (Hence the SEC probe.) He is a man who has, or who could have, almost any material thing a human being might desire. And yet he has spent a year that he describes as “excruciating.” That’s an interesting word, deriving from the Latin word for crucifixion, a punishment that not even the SEC contemplates. (Excrucioris the word Catullus used to describe being tortured by love.) There is excruciating and there is excruciating: Elon Musk’s worst day (as I am sure he appreciates entirely) is not very much like anybody’s worst day in the tragically misnamed Democratic Republic of Congo. But, as Eliot suggests, it’s impossible to know exactly what someone else’s interior life is like. He did believe that it was possible to finesse that, a bit, through art and literature, believing that the artist could isolate an emotion and assemble “a set of objects, a situation, a chain of events which shall be the formula of that particular emotion.” Read strictly (formula?), that’s a little bit quacky. But reading “The Waste-Land” does produce a unique sensation. It does in me, anyway. Presumably it does in Musk, too, which is what he was hoping to share.

7. Among numerous things he is wrong about, George Will is wrong about his economic predictions, writes David Bahnsen. From his piece:

My concern with Will’s article is not that he wants to correct the administration’s claims about the strength of the economy.

Rather, it is in the tired and vanilla analysis that seeks to use the length of this economic expansion as indicative or predictive of, well, anything. While this bull market — defined as a period of no 20 percent declines in equity prices from peak to trough — is the longest on record (though prices fell by 19.8 percent in the summer of 2011), the magnitude of this economic recovery is nowhere near those of past recoveries. In other words, tenure is in tension with magnitude, rendering comparisons to past periods highly questionable. This stock bull market has gone on for a long time, but the vast majority of it came in a 1–2 percent real GDP environment, not the 4–7 percent environments typical of post-recession periods. It has also gone on with very little participation from some key international partners. Global divergence in monetary policy, let alone fiscal conditions, makes past comparisons tricky as well.

8. Marlo Safi finds Kanye West’s “casual endorsement of porn” something not to be . . . taken casually. From her critique:

It’s disingenuous for Westerners to claim to be champions of gender equality and seekers of justice for victims of sexual violence in the MeToo era when porn is unchecked and virtually unquestioned. Catcalling is widely viewed as objectifying and threatening, and often rightfully so — but videos featuring women being violated, which reduce them to only their physical being and their availability to men, aren’t?

Kanye West is one of the most popular pop-culture icons in the world, with millions of young men listening to his music and following his public appearances. He had a valuable opportunity, after writing a song that showed a genuine concern for the well-being of his daughter, to influence other men to reflect on their own behavior and treatment of women. Instead, he reinforced porn in front of millions as harmless and even humorous, at the expense of women and young girls.

9. More on the pigginess front: Kyle Smith finds the new imitation Muppets flick, The Happytime Murders, to be “a spectacularly inappropriate R-rated comedy.” From his review:

The movie itself actually has considerably less wit and bounce than a real Muppet film. Far from being freewheeling, it’s a slog to sit through. I was surprised to see the screenplay credited to one guy, Todd Berger (with story by Berger and Dee Austin Robertson). If any movie called for pinging every comedy writer in the 310 area code and urging them to pile on with their wildest gags, it would seem to be this one. Instead, the story moves like Snuffleupagus. Whole scenes go by without anything much happening, and the movie’s tendency to let dirty jokes go on too long (such as in an endless scene in a porn shop) costs it opportunities to do more interesting, weirder jokes: The highlight of the movie is a demented little riff by Maya Rudolph, as the private eye’s secretary, who talks about what happens to puppets who get sent to prison. Apparently their insides get ripped out and replaced by rice pilaf. No joke involving prison and the words “rice pilaf” can fail to be funny.

10. Fauxcahontas is promoting legislation which Samuel Hammond describes as a “corporate catastrophe.” From his analysis:

Dubbed the “Accountable Capitalism Act,” Warren foresees the creation of an Office of United States Corporations that would require any company with revenue over $1 billion to obtain a federal charter, binding company directors to “consider the interests of all corporate stakeholders — including employees, customers, shareholders, and the communities in which the company operates.” The bill further requires 40 percent of a chartered company’s directors to be selected by employees and adds statutory restrictions on how executive compensation may be structured.

As motivation, Warren cites stagnant median wages and the declining labor share of income. Yet to call this bill a non-sequitur doesn’t quite do it justice. Changes in labor share, such that they exist, are almost completely explained by rising real-estate prices (which appear in the statistics as capital income). Stagnant wages, meanwhile, are largely the result of a secular decline in economy-wide productivity — a force that the country’s biggest, most productive firms are actively fighting against. Indeed, as Michael Lind and Robert Atkinson note in their recent book Big Is Beautiful, productivity growth in any era tends to be driven by a handful of highly innovative frontier companies at one end of the size distribution. Workers in large firms, for instance, earn on average 54 percent more than their small-business counterparts. This helps to explain why regulations that distort the size distribution of firms can have such a big impact on a nation’s aggregate productivity.

11. China has a de facto “Jim Crow” system. Jonah Goldberg argues that we shouldn’t ignore it. From his new column:

America’s Jim Crow system of second-class citizenship is rightly remembered as our version of apartheid: a racist raft of laws designed to dehumanize and marginalize African Americans in the name of white supremacy. But it was also a form of economic regulation designed to prevent blacks from participating fully in the labor market and to protect business from the supposedly dire threat of rising wages. Such statist crony capitalism doesn’t detract from the moral horror of Jim Crow, but it does help put it in context.

In China, there is systemic discrimination against non-Han Chinese. Ethnic minorities — about 10 percent of the Chinese population — are routinely denied access to elite universities and urban job markets in the name of Han supremacy. Under China’s internal-passport system, many non-Han aren’t permitted to even look for work outside of their rural provinces. Tibetan and Uighur citizens are often barred from using Chinese hotels.

12. We provided an excerpt of Raymond Ibrahim’s new book, Sword and Scimitar: Fourteen Centuries of War Between Islam and the West, about the consequential Battle of Yarmuk in 636. From the excerpt:

Indeed, mere decades after Yarmuk, all ancient Christian lands between Greater Syria to the east and Mauretania (encompassing parts of present-day Algeria and Morocco) to the west — nearly 4,000 miles — had been conquered by Islam. Put differently: Two-thirds of Christendom’s original, older, and wealthier territory was permanently swallowed up by Islam. (Eventually, and thanks to the later Turks, “Muslim armies conquered three-quarters of the Christian world,” to quote historian Thomas Madden.)

But unlike the Germanic barbarians who invaded and conquered Europe in the preceding centuries, only to assimilate into the Christian religion, culture, and civilization and adopt its languages, Latin and Greek, the Arabs imposed their creed and language onto the conquered peoples so that, whereas the “Arabs” were once limited to the Arabian Peninsula, today the “Arab world” consists of some 22 nations across the Middle East and North Africa.

This would not be the case, and the world would have developed in a radically different way, had the Eastern Roman Empire defeated the invaders and sent them reeling back to Arabia. Little wonder that historians such as Francesco Gabrieli hold that “the battle of the Yarmuk had, without doubt, more important consequences than almost any other in all world history.”

13. Will land-seizing South Africa go the way of Zimbabwe? John Fund reports on the attack on private property in Africa, and the likely consequences. From his column:

It’s been a quarter century since apartheid ended, and since then each ANC government has scrupulously followed the pledge of the late Nelson Mandela that private property wouldn’t be seized except on the basis of “willing buyer, willing seller.” But Mandela’s moderate voice has increasingly been replaced by the likes of Julius Malema, who heads the radical Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), a breakaway party from the ANC.

Malema notes that during the apartheid era, blacks were barred from buying land in white areas, and the ANC government has been slow in compensating blacks who had their land forcibly seized by the apartheid regime. Land grabs are “necessary justice,” he says, and he has issued a call: “People of South Africa, where you see a beautiful land, take it, it belongs to you.”

14. Boo hoo hoo, John Brennan’s security clearance was revoked by the mean Old President. Such stuff, writes Victor Davis Hanson, was a long time in coming. From his Corner post:

The entire issue of security clearances extended to former government officials, especially those who are paid partisan commentators and allude publicly to their connections to establish their fides, has long needed to be addressed.

Almost all retired professionals with clearances have notbeen previously fired for cause from government, or have not lied to Congress, or have not accused the sitting president of being a traitor to the country, or have not likened him to a Nazi, or have not suggested that the president’s days were numbered and that he might well be assassinated.

But for the small number of those who cannot abide by any of those quite low bars of behavior, there seems little reason to extend such privileges after the completion of their government tenures.

15. Frederick Hess and Cody Christensen look at the U.S. college dropout crisis, and the related book-cooking by university officials. From the piece:

The troubling dropout rate across American colleges and universities is starting to get the attention it deserves. Earlier this year, always eager to mobilize the armies of social reform, the New York Times declared “a new dropout crisis.” As 2 million students drop out of college each year, the costs should give everyone pause — including a half-trillion dollars in unpaid student debt and public subsidies wasted on college-goers who never graduate.

Policymakers have sought to answer the challenge, with most states adopting performance-based funding policies. Currently, 32 states allocate a portion of their higher-education funding based on educational outcomes. Ohio, for instance, allocates more than half of its funding to colleges based on how many students earn degrees. Other common metrics including retention and job-placement rates.

16. Mark Krikorian pays respects to the murdered Mollie Tibbets.


1. The Editors is back with El Jefe, Rich Lowry, in the saddle, joined by Luke, Michael, and Dan for a monster discussion on the aftereffects of the Cohen and Manafort trials, corruption’s role in current politics, and Cuomo’s clumsy shot at patriotism. To finish up, they answer some questions from NRPLUS members. I double dog dare you: Listen here.

2. On the new Trump Was Right About . . . episode of Radio Free California, David and Will discuss The Donald’s verbiage about California wildfires, our out-of-control water policy, teacher strikes reveal unions’ real ambition, and L.A.’s million-dollar cop. Dig the groove here.

3. If they asked me, I could write a book: The guest on the new episode of The Remnant with Jonah Goldberg is our host’s literary agent Jay Mandel, of WME Entertainment, who divulges as many of the secrets of book publishing success as the podcast length and format allows. Hear here, and take notes!

PAL JOEY BONUS: Harold Lang and Vivienne Segal croon about their literary plans.

4. Cohen’s guilty plea is the subject of Rich and Andy’s discussion on the new episode of The McCarthy Report. Also on the docket: Trump’s need for forthrightness in dealing with the Cohen outcome, and if the Manafort trial was a victory for Mueller. Approach the bench here.

5. How Does It Feel . . . to anticipate a third installment of Political Beats grooving to the tunes of Bob Dylan? The times may be a-changing, but not until Scot and Jeff and guest Andrew Kirell of The Daily Beast share more wisdom about the Tambourine Man. Look out kid, it’s something you are gonna do: Listen here.

BONUS: You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.

6. More Cohen: On the new Ordered Liberty episode, David and Alexandra consider Cohen’s guilty plea and its — impeachment? — ramifications. Listen and learn.

7. On the long-awaited new Jaywalking, Brother Nordlinger treats us to Verdi and Burt Bacharach (Mr. Angie Dickinson!) and many more . . . treats. Treat yourself, here.

8. Gack! The guest on the new episode of The Jamie Weinstein Show is Ezra Klein. I’m told you can listen here.

9. Constitutionally Speaking has moved over to NRO. The hosts are Luke Thompson and Jay Cost, and Episode 27, the initial one for our glorious website, discuss the historic rise of America’s political parties. Join the party, here.

The Six

1. Holy Mother Church, Batman: In First Things, Robbie George describes “the poison in the bloodstream of the Church” and suggests cures. Among them:

So here is what I think needs to happen going forward. No one should be ordained or retained by his bishop as a priest (and certainly no one should be consecrated as a bishop) who does not believe, and is not prepared publicly in carrying out his priestly ministry to proclaim, the teachings of the Church on all points on which the Church solemnly teaches — including her teachings, in all particulars, on the dignity of the human person, on sex and marriage, and on the requirements of justice. Any seminarian who is guilty of grave sexual misconduct, whether that conduct involves women or other men, and certainly if it involves minors, should be expelled from the seminary. Any priest (of any rank — going all the way up to pope) who is guilty of such misconduct should be stripped of his priestly faculties.

2. To infinity, and beyond: Do you have the right to create your own universe? At The Imaginative Conservative, Thomas Ascik asks and answers, before the background of the forthcoming SCOTUS / Kavanaugh hearings, and the expected barrage of privacy-rights questions that will come at the nominee. From his essay:

Thus, the Supreme Court, in the “privacy” line of cases, usurped the legislative authority of the states over morals, marriage, parenthood, and the family, and along the way, purposely did away with the judicial doctrine that it would hear cases only from “real parties in interest.” It forever altered the most fundamental aspect of the doctrine of justiciability, that is, the kind and “character” of cases and controversies appropriate for federal constitutional adjudication as “cases or controversies.” As for “precedent,” the Court, once it had established Griswold, never overruled any previous decisions but proceeded by ignoring, contradicting, or finessing essential elements — specifically the factual predicates — of those decisions.

BONUS: This was Ascik’s second part of a two-part series. You can find part one here.

3. Related: In Law and Liberty, Bruce Frohnen considers the Supreme Court’s “inability to deal with religion in a reasonable manner,” and the casualty of such, which he identifies as “the common mind.” From his essay:

Decisions connecting Christianity with the common law were legion in the early republic and rooted, not in some narrow attempt to “impose religion,” but in the need to understand law in its proper context. A prime example from a somewhat later period (1889) is Riggs vs. Palmer, in which New York’s highest court held that a man who murdered his grandfather to secure an inheritance could not legally take that inheritance. The court found that, in drafting its testamentary law, the New York legislature could not have intended to allow a donee to inherit from a testator he had killed. Why not? Because the court recognized the fundamental maxim of the common law that “No one shall be permitted to profit by his own fraud, or to take advantage of his own wrong, or to found any claim on his own iniquity, or to acquire property by his own crime.”

Our common law always has assumed that, beneath their technical provisions, statutes carry with them the legislature’s intention to avoid rewarding conduct that violates our common understanding of right conduct. Today’s positivist lawyers may scoff at the idea of “bad conduct” not specifically defined by law. But law always has rested on cultural, in the end religious, assumptions as to right and wrong found most prominently and reliably in long-established common law maxims.

YET ANOTHER BONUS: Frohnen penned two related essays of interest. The first is The Supreme Court’s Religion Problem, which explains the hyper-individualist ideology motivating this campaign against traditional American practices and culture. The second is What the Court Misses: Religion, Community, and the Bases of Ordered Liberty, which focuses on what these decisions miss – the necessity of religious associations for American ordered liberty.

4. Requiem for a Heavyweight: At City Journal, good ol’ Bob McManus writes the maddening tale of the vandalization of the USS Ling, the ignored, Hackensack, NJ-based submarine museum honoring the 52 US subs that sank during World War Two. Try not to spit nails when reading this.

5. If the Four Seasons got kindergartened: Spare us the “patronizing Millennial trend” of the micro-hotel, begs Addison Del Mastro in The American Conservative. From the howl:

I am probably not alone in feeling some affection for the generic, stodgy, could-be-anywhere aesthetic of the mid-range suburban hotels, brands like Hampton Inn, Hilton Garden Inn, Holiday Inn Express, and the lower-tier Marriotts. There’s something welcoming about it all: the elegant but overbuilt lobby furniture, durable in a way that nothing in the consumer market is; the overpriced room service menu and plain old American restaurant; the fresh but definitely-not-homemade cookies in the lobby; the “local” or “welcome to X” prints hanging behind the desk, the only indication that you’re in any particular place at all; the perfectly appointed yet soulless guest room, packed with rarely used amenities like ironing boards and bathrobes. I could rail against the McDonaldization of hotels, or I could wonder why the phones and alarm clocks usually look like they were manufactured in 1985, or I could inquire how many people really use the massive work desk. But I also like all of those things, because they suggest a level of indulgence and redundancy, of unnecessary but pleasing service.

6. At American Greatness, Mackubin Owens considers America’s need to review the experience of Great Britain as a global power and “renegotiate” its role in the world. From his piece:

Trump’s approach to Russia is part of a necessary restructuring of America’s relationship with the rest of the world. As in the case of Great Britain in the 19th century, America’s hegemonic position has become more expensive as its relative share of the global wealth has declined. And again as in the case of Great Britain, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan illustrate that the opportunity cost of policing our “frontiers” has risen, hampering our ability to check the rise of a major state competitor, especially China. Trump intuitively recognizes this reality and has sought to renegotiate America’s global bargain.

The Seventh (This Being a One-Time Caboose of The Six)

Mamma mia I just cannot stand tattoos and if you have one, yeah, I love you anyway, and will still even when one day that Chinese symbol you thought meant “peace” (but really means “septic tank”) gets all droopy and stretched on your parchment skin. Here I share my pal Father George Rutler’s take on Catholicism, tattoos, the history of such, the latest papal head-scratcher, and much more, written for First Things. Here’s a slice from The Morality of Tattooing:

There was a time, not in the hoary past, when tattoos were an indulgence of louche members of the demi-monde, as observed by Alexandre Dumas. They seem to have become respectable as our culture erasures the border between the demi-monde and the monde entier. Priests have become somewhat accustomed to pious communicants with arms totally decorated like a Persian tapestry or Michelin roadmap, in what is vernacularly called a “sleeve.” Even facial tattoos are appearing. Some are in the form of written slogans, which one supposes would appear to a narcissist backwards in a mirror. Other designs are more audacious, like a portrait of Anne Frank on the cheek of the “hip-hop” producer Arnold Gutierrez. One used to have to go to state fair sideshows to see tattooed men like those who have become part of the vernacular on Main Street. Roughly over one fifth of all adults in the United States now sport more than one tattoo, up from about 14 percent in 2003, although these figures of course are estimates.

One practical problem with this fad — if it is just a fad — is that it cannot be corrected in mature years like hairstyles or clothing. If these markings can be removed, it is only by a long and painful process, more so if the depiction is in a less accessible part of the body. But the bigger issue is whether a tattoo befits what is increasingly referred to with unqualified insouciance as “the dignity of the human person.” If it is undignified to execute someone, whatever the crime may be, as some would now propose, is it unworthy to turn the human body into a human billboard? And if the body is a temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19-20), are such decorations embellishments or defacements?

Which reminds one of Theodore Dalrymple’s classic piece for City Journal, It Hurts, Therefore I Am.

Plan to Work Off the Turkey and Stuffing . . .

. . . on the National Review 2018 Buckley Legacy Conservative Cruise. It sails the glorious Caribbean from December 1-8, aboard Holland America Line’s luxurious Oosterdam. Get complete information at


Jimmy Foxx began his historic baseball career in Philadelphia, for the Athletics, in 1925, and ended it two decades later, back in Philadelphia, signing on with the war-ravaged Phillies, who in 1945 coasted to last place and a miserable 46 – 108 record. There, the three-time AL MVP hit the final seven of his 534 career home runs (he was second to the Bambino in this category until the mid-1960s). But of interest to National Pastime devotees might be this: that more so than spot-playing and pinch-hitting in his last hurrah, Foxx found himself on the mound nine times for the Phillies, garnering a 1 – 0 record and an amazing 1.59 ERA in 22 and 2/3 innings of hurling (of the 94 batters faced in that year and one one-inning appearance on the mound for the Red Sox in 1939, he gave up zero home runs).

On August 19th, at home in Shibe Park, in the second game of a doubleheader, Foxx found himself starting against the Cincinnati Reds, facing Howie Fox (whose greatest distinction was leading the NL in losses in 1949). In the Battle of the Foxes, the one with two Xs prevailed: Jimmy pitched 6 and 2/3 innings, gave up just four hits and two earned runs, struck out five, and picked up his sole career victory (Andy Karl got the save).

A Dios

God watch over mine and theirs; inspire us with Your wisdom and prudence; heighten our senses of charity and mercy; bring prosperity to all; and succor to those who need such, comfort to those who need such, solace to those who need such, and salvation to all who need such. Pretty please.

Peace until next weekend,

Jack Fowler

Who deserves your torments for the reparation of sins past, and which you can send to him via

National Review

Nancy’s Big Mouth


Dear Jolters,

Well, Nancy hung around for a long time. Little Miss Ritz — the slot-nosed niece of Ms. Fritzi Ritz and significant other / BFF of pug-nosed Sluggo Smith, born from the ink well of Ernie Bushmiller — first graced the funny pages in 1933 and had her own strip in 1938, which perseveres lo these many decades later, albeit in a handful of newspapers. That was just two years before the birth of another Nancy, Nancy D’Alesandro (of the Baltimore D’Alesandros) who later married Mr. Paul Pelosi and headed to California, where she found political fame. And just like our comic strip honey, she too perseveres . . . to a dwindling audience?

More on that below.

Now, on a more serious level: Some of us (Catholics) thought Pandora’s Box was unleashed in the early 2000s, when the news burst about the plentiful abuse of children by priests and religious. In hindsight, that seems like a trifle. The report released this week, of the toll (the sheer numbers!) of crimes committed against the young over the past several decades in Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania and the degree of the cover-up by embarrassed, aloof, conniving bishops (who became little more than de facto accomplices) is staggering, especially coming on the heels of the scandal of Cardinal McCarrick, seminarian “groomer.” It all leaves Yours Truly and millions of others with hearts heavy and broken.

Back in the days when Rod Dreher was in the National Review saddle, he wrote one of the first major pieces exposing these scandals. Maybe I want to convey now the idea that NR was not aloof then. Which is not a bragging point. But we have revived the Dreher essay, “Sins of the Father,” which is now live on NRO. Read it here.

I admittedly play the Catholic thing a bit much in these missives, but whether you are Catholic, Protestant, Jew, or of another faith, or no faith, this expanding — exploding — scandal is not a provincial concern. The Catholic Church in America has played a profound role in our culture, and continues to. Its being laid low is not of passing interest.

More on all that below, too. Sigh.


Starting here. We say that the Catholic Church needs more than expressions of sorrow. Instead, she must “Cleanse the Temple.” Read it in toto here, but first, a slice:

Bishops, including cardinals, who are shown to have been derelict in confronting the evil they knew about in the Church must be made to resign and encouraged to live a life marked by visible signs of penance. Policy changes are not enough for a Church that believes in the supernatural. The bishops are in the same position as the apostles who asked Christ why they were unable to drive out an evil spirit. The Lord explained to them: “This kind can go out by nothing but by prayer and fasting.”

It’s Pronounced “Pluhs,” Not Ploo

My crazy French ami was discussing Ehn Ehrrr Ploo, and I had to remind him that, while en francaise the word plus implies the more-ness of what we are promising with our very cool, new, and groovy subscription and membership service, the term NRPLUS is pronounced EN ARE PLUHS. Or, if you are a pirate, EN ARRRRH PLUS. But no matter how one says it, I strongly recommend that every Tom, Dick, and Pierre indeed get it. Which one can and may do, très bien, right ici.


1. On the new Ordered Liberty podcast, David and Alexandra reflect on three grim topics — the Catholic sex abuse in Pennsylvania, the renewed persecution of Colorado Baker Jack Phillips, and the Democrats’ devotion to abortion on demand. It’s called “A Grim Day,” but grim or not, it is worth your while to listen, here.

2. A very special episode (not because it is Bahnsen-less) of Radio Free California features Will and five California Policy Center summer interns who discuss learning about the Golden State’s desire to grow government into areas of state-mandated cancer warnings, plastic-bag bans, the power of government unions, and California’s influence on national politics. Listen, learn, maybe even cry a little, right here.

3. An appropriate item for the new episode of The Great Books: John J. Miller and UC Berkeley prof Robert Alter discuss The Book of Job. Get the sack cloth, get the ashes, get the headphones, and listen here.

BONUS: I recommend this 2017 Nick Frankovich Corner post on how to read the Bible.

4. Michael Long, who along with Daniel Lieberman co-authored The Molecule of More: How a Single Chemical in Your Brain Drives Love, Sex, Creativity—and Will Determine the Fate of the Human Race, which is one humdinger of a book title, shacks up with JJM on the new episode of The Bookmonger. Get the cold shower running, and listen here.

5. Political Beats is so cool, getting all confident and wing-spreading with these multi-parters. OK, I am digging the depth and the confidence. So what have we this week you ask? Scot and Jeff bring back The Daily Beast’s Andrew Kirell for Part 2 of his expertise-ery on Bob Dylan. How does it feel? Listen to find out.

6. WMAL professional talker Larry O’Connor is the guest on the new episode of The Jamie Weinstein Show, discussingwhat’s surprised him about Trump’s presidency, what he thinks should happen if the alleged racist Apprentice outtake tape exists, his influences, and much, much more. Hear here.

7. Mad Dogs and Englishmen hit Episode 200, and the milestone is marked by aloud-wondering if liberal democracy and socialism can co-exist.Balloons, confetti, and Chuckie/Kev banter here.

8. Fernando Zulueta, CEO of Academica Corporation, is a great leader in education choice and he is this week’s guest on Reality Checkwith Jeanne Allen. Now class, pay attention and listen here.

9. On this week’s episode of The McCarthy Report, MBD and Andy talk about Donald Trump stripping John Brennan of his security clearance, the compound in New Mexico led by radical Islamist Siraj Wahhaj, and the Paul Manafort trial and what it says about Robert Mueller’s probe into the Trump campaign. Do listen, please, right here.

BONUS: Liberal sweetie Jeanne Safer, the better half of Richard Brookhiser, has started a new podcast for Apple, called “I Love You, But I Hate Your Politics.” Find out more here. (Make you think: I wonder if there is a podcast “Bronx Bomber Married to a Red Sox Fan.”)

10. On the Lowry-less new episode of The Editors, Michael, Charlie, Dan, and Luke discuss the media’s coordinated anti-Trump editorials, John Brennan’s security-clearance troubles, a second round of litigation against Masterpiece Cake Shop, and the heinous PA grand jury report on Catholic priests. Listen up right here.

11. Woof! With the dog days of summer emptying D.C., Matt Continetti, editor in chief of the Washington Free Beacon, is dragged back onto The Remnant with Jonah Goldberg for some rank punditry, some Trumpsplaining, and some conservative nerdery. And awaaaaay we go.

Eighteen Main Courses, Each Expertly Prepared for Your Nourishment

1. Paging Toodles the Flute: KLO interviews Wall Street Journal writer-editor Matthew Hennessey about his new book, Zero Hour for Gen X: How the Last Adult Generation Can Save America from Millennials. How about trying one question on for size? Okey dokey, here’s one from the full interview:

Lopez:“Do not go quietly into the good night of millennial domination, whether in your professional or personal life,” you write. “Stand up for regular order, face-to-face meetings, and systems that reward merit over all else. Celebrate experience. Find a way to promote humanistic values. Don’t let childish ignorance or the promise of a utopian future steamroll your sense of right and wrong. Give as good as you get, even as the grey hairs form on your temple, as technological change outpaces your ability—and desire to keep up, and your 20/20 vision begins to blur. Gen X may be small, but we are tough. Our specific experiences should allow us to punch over our weight.” What do you have against Millennials?

Hennessey: You assume I have something against Millennials, but I really don’t. The word is useful to me mostly as a proxy for the app-soaked, Millennial-friendly world that is still busy being born all around us. I work at the Wall Street Journal with some great Millennials, who are clever, kind, and not always staring at their phones. If they ended up running the world I’d be thrilled.

If you read Zero Hour you will see I have some contrary opinions about culture’s drift toward a utopian, semi-socialist techno-paradise premised on the idea that privacy, free speech, edgy comedy, and newspapers have outlived their usefulness. Millennials don’t appear terribly worried about where things are going. I want them to wise up. So this book is aimed as much at them as it is at Gen Xers. There’s a hunger among younger people for a more authentic way of living. You see it in the hobbying around vinyl records, vintage fashion, artisanal gin, and old-timey bikes. Some of that is posturing  , but some of it, I think, betrays a real longing for a simpler time.

2. It’s Miller Time, One: Michelle Malkin mocks the media hoopla over the immigration hawk Stephen Miller’s dovish Uncle Dave. From her column:

Miller, by contrast, spent a dozen years on Capitol Hill mastering every aspect of immigration policy — border security, sanctuary cities, deportation, asylum and refugee programs, and the impact of foreign guest-worker visas on wages, for starters — before taking on a senior policy-adviser role for the Trump transition team and White House. He is a longtime vocal proponent of serious, comprehensive immigration-enforcement reform from top to bottom — including a long-overdue rethinking of our chain-migration system, which rewards familial ties over merit and skills.

Glosser thinks that by pointing out that their family entered America through chain migration, Miller is somehow an “immigration hypocrite.” This is one of the most inane arguments of the open-borders lobby. And there’s a lot of inanity there to choose from, my friends.

3. It’s Miller Time, Two: Kevin Williamson considers Miller’s “hypocrisy.” From his essay:

I sometimes tease the most indefatigable of my immigration-hawk colleagues that, try as I might, I cannot find anybody named “Krikorian” on the manifest of the Mayflower. But, here’s the thing: Mark Krikorian’s views on immigration may be valuable and true or corrosive and false, but none of that has anything at all to do with how the Krikorians made their way from Armenia to Washington. We are all of us entitled to our own opinions, irrespective of what our grandparents or great-grandparents did. Even Stephen Miller.

If we are to have any legal immigration process at all, then there will be conditions and criteria under which certain would-be immigrants are excluded. That’s what it means to have a legal process. There was no immigration-and-naturalization process when our Pilgrim forebears landed here, and we had effectively open borders for many years. Victorian England had effectively open borders, too. (And borders have a way of moving around.) A great deal of immigration occurred during that period. Are we then obliged to accept open borders as the only possible policy that avoids opening us to the charge of hypocrisy? That’s a silly argument, but it is what follows from Glosser’s construction.

4. Glynn Custred serves up the latest case for breaking California’s eggs in the hopes of getting three omelettes. From his piece:

California occupies just over half the west coast of the United States, with a land surface larger than that of Germany. The highest population concentration is in the San Francisco–Sacramento area, extending south along the coast to the Mexican border, while the rest of the state is much less densely populated. Moreover, there are economic and political disparities between those regions, with the economy of the urban liberal coastal counties based on commerce and manufacturing, while the small-town and rural population elsewhere is more conservative and agricultural. But the coastal counties, thanks to their far higher population, dominate the politics of California, imposing their policy preferences on the rest of the state.

One possible solution is to divide California into multiple states, with the lines drawn to reflect these divides. This is what Tim Draper intended to do with a ballot initiative, Cal 3. But the state supreme court pulled it off this year’s ballot, citing constitutional concerns. If it survives the ongoing legal challenge, it will appear in 2020 instead.

It is no wonder that the special interests, the politicians, and the bureaucrats who now have a stranglehold on state government and finance would resist such a move. They and their supporters in the media act as if there were something radical or unreasonable about this proposal. Yet a brief look at history shows that this is by no means unreasonable or radical, but is consistent with the way our federal union has functioned from the start.

5. Heather MacDonald goes after the New York Times and its intention to portray fringe white supremacists as central-casting Conservatives. From her Corner post:

Trade protectionism has an American lineage dating back to the Founders; that lineage is distinct from white nationalism. It has been embraced by union leaders as a form of economic justice for workers of all stripes. As for immigration control, it was Texas congressman Barbara Jordan who argued in 1994 — again, decades before the rise of the alt-right — that “any nation worth its salt must control its borders.” As chair of the U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform from 1994 to 1996, Jordan insisted that “it is both a right and a responsibility of a democratic society to manage immigration so that it serves the national interest.” Jordan recognized the connection between mass low-skilled immigration and falling wages for low-skilled American workers, often themselves black and Hispanic. The commission she chaired proposed stricter measures to curb illegal immigration and family chain migration.

The Times cannot concede a good-faith reason to adopt any of these views and portrays them only as eruptions of bigotry. The paper also needs to keep alive the narrative of a racist white power structure. Linking longstanding political positions, some conservative, to the only recently noticed insignificant political fringe is therefore a match made in heaven. The paper quotes Thomas Main, a political-science professor at Baruch College, who obligingly dismisses the significance of the white-nationalist rallies now that, in retrospect, they have proved such a wash-out. “What’s crucial for the fate of the alt-right is not the demonstrations,” Main told the Times. “They are a political movement that is concerned with influencing the way people think, and there are a lot of signs that their ideas continue to penetrate mainstream media and political culture.”

6. Aunt Fritzi! Help!! John Fund finds that, for Republicans, Nancy is the gift that keeps giving, and wonders if Dems will contrive an October Surprise and mothball Minority Leader Pelosi. From his column:

Democrats privately scoff that Pelosi’s departure could be this year’s surprise. Instead, they are focusing on the recent accusations from disgruntled former White House staffer Omarosa Manigault-Newman, who also was a guest on today’s Meet the Press. Omarosa predicted that a tape of Trump using the “N-word” against African Americans would surface shortly before the election: “I know it exists, and what I regret is that these people are probably trying to leverage it as this October surprise.” I have no idea whether such a tape exists, but I rate Omarosa’s overall credibility on a par with that of fabulists.

A “Bye, Nancy” pass to appeal to swing voters strikes me as at least as likely if not more so as an October surprise. Republicans haven’t been buoyed by the strong economy as much as they thought they would be. They will probably fall back on warning voters about what a return to power by increasingly liberal Democrats would mean: efforts to scale back border controls and even abolish ICE, higher taxes and more regulation, and a focus on impeaching President Trump. Despite her best efforts to downplay such issues, Nancy Pelosi is easily identified with this left-wing agenda.

7. That flailing sound you’re hearing, coming from Virginia? That’s Corey Stewart, ticking candidate. Alexandra DeSanctis reports, and here’s a slice of it:

Stewart, the Republican nominee challenging incumbent Democratic senator Tim Kaine in Virginia this fall, has come under sustained fire lately as news outlets have uncovered disturbing past comments from his campaign staff and from Stewart himself — shedding new light on the candidate’s friendly relationships with white-nationalist figures.

The negative publicity seems already to be taking a toll. In a VCU poll of likely voters released late last week, Kaine led Stewart by a comfortable 23 points, 49 percent to Stewart’s 26. That’s an improvement for Kaine from the 18-point lead he enjoyed over Stewart in a Quinnipiac poll from late June, shortly after Stewart won the GOP nomination.

A bit of bad press alone rarely tanks a campaign, but for Stewart, the series of hard hits has established a troubling pattern.

8. Jim Talent is insistent that America realize the massive military buildup in China is quite for real, and will seriously impact in our affairs. From his essay:

The Chinese are also engaged in a national effort to develop advanced weapons, which would be game changers in any armed conflict. The PLA is improving its already potent ability to attack American space assets, testing hypersonic-missile technology at a high rate, and developing sophisticated maneuverable reentry vehicles. It has exercised mass formations of unmanned aerial vehicles and has plans to build the world’s largest facility for unmanned-ship research.

While growing stronger itself, China has systematically used cyberespionage to steal America’s defense secrets from U.S. allies and defense contractors. That means that in any conflict the PLA will begin with a high level of situational awareness of American capabilities and how to defeat them.

China is also acquiring key maritime nodes around the world. Chinese companies own or are highly invested in 70 percent of the world’s ports, while the PLA has militarized its new artificial and illegal islands in the South China Sea and opened its first overseas military base in Djibouti.

9. Washington or Bust! Or, Washington Bust. Brian Allen review the Frick Museum’s exhibition of some classic sculpturing of the Father of Our Country. Here’s a history lesson for you:

In 1816, North Carolina’s legislature commissioned a full-length, life-size sculpture of Washington for the rotunda of its state capitol. When consulted on possible artists, Thomas Jefferson insisted that only Canova, probably Europe’s most distinguished sculptor, would do. By that time, Canova had portrayed emperors, popes, gods, and princesses, his figures sleek and subtly sexy. Absolute power might corrupt absolutely, but restrained, elegantly conveyed power can be intoxicating.

Gilbert Stuart’s portrait of Washington might have been ubiquitous given the many versions Stuart painted, but Jefferson and others thought Giuseppe Ceracchi’s bust, done from life in 1791, was the most accurate depiction of Washington ever done. There are two versions in the show, one marble and the other terra-cotta. The terra-cotta bust is as alive as it could be. Also in the show is Jean-Antoine Houdon’s 1785 plaster life mask of Washington. This is the first time all of these depictions have been together. Canova faithfully used Ceracchi’s work as his model.

10. Yeah bishops, you have lost our trust. That’s why it’s time to reappoint Frank Keating to investigate your coverups. Michael Strain makes the painful but obvious argument for truth and against self-interest wearing a red cap. From his piece:

How did a man who likely belongs in a jail cell rather than in the red cassock of a prince of the Church get away with so much for so long? McCarrick apparently preyed on those over whom he wielded power for decades, and he reached the highest levels of leadership in the Church. Some important people in the Vatican and the U.S. must have known at least something of his behavior. How many people — including bishops — turned a blind eye, or covered up his crimes? Why did they make that choice? Petitions were made to the Vatican to stop McCarrick’s rise. They went nowhere. Why?

A good place to start looking for answers is with the 15 American cardinals. At least four of them, or 27 percent, likely heard at least something regarding McCarrick’s behavior and did, it appears, nothing.

Cardinal Kevin Farrell, the highest-ranking American in the Vatican, worked for and lived with McCarrick for several years. A priest wrote a letter to Cardinal Sean O’Malley, the archbishop of Boston, discussing McCarrick’s behavior. Cardinal O’Malley’s staff responded to the priest. It’s hard to believe that Cardinal Donald Wuerl, McCarrick’s successor as archbishop of Washington, didn’t hear rumors, at a minimum. Despite the close proximity that all three held to McCarrick, these cardinals deny any knowledge of McCarrick’s behavior.

11. More Bishop-Walloping. Michael Brendan Dougherty lets loose at the hollow verbiage of sorrow. Here’s how his new essay begins:

“We are deeply saddened.” So begin the many perfunctory statements of many Catholic bishops today in response to the Pennsylvania grand-jury report detailing how priests in that state abused children and how bishops shuffled these priests around. What deeply saddens these men? The rape of children, the systematic cover-up, or the little schemes to run out the clock on the statute of limitations? Are they saddened by the people who were so psychologically wounded by their abuse at the hands of priests that they killed themselves? What exactly are they sorry about? Soon the bishops are telling us about a chance for “renewal” after the promised implementation of new policies. They tell us about “overcoming challenges” in the Church. Or they use the phrase “a few bad apples.”

I find it impossible not to notice that these expressions of sorrow never arrive before the courts, the state attorneys general, or the local press arrive on the scene. That fact gives you another idea about what causes the bishops’ sorrow.

12. Three leading Jewish journals in the U.K. have joined forces to make an emphatic declaration about Labour bossman Jeremy Corbyn: He’s an anti-Semite. Julie Lenarz tells the ugly tale. Here’s a slice:

Corbyn has often excused his meetings with Hamas and Hezbollah as gestures of peace, an opportunity to talk to all sides in the conflict — except when it comes to Jews. Corbyn time and again has missed opportunities to meet with Israeli delegates and boycotted events with Israeli officials in attendance. He is part of a mindset in which Zionism, the belief that Jews deserve their own homeland, is a racist endeavor — a position that, according to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition, is anti-Semitic.

Corbyn’s collusion with extremists goes on. He invited for tea in Parliament the Palestinian hate preacher Raed Salah, whom he described as “a very honoured citizen” whose “voice must be heard.” Saleh was found by a British court to have used the anti-Semitic “blood libel” (the fabricated assertion that Jews use the blood of Christians in religious ceremonies). On a different occasion, Corbyn accepted a free trip to meet Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, paid for by a Palestinian group that blames Jews for the Holocaust. In a similar fashion, Corbyn’s spokesperson had to disassociate Corbyn from Holocaust denier Paul Eisen, to whom he had allegedly donated money.

13. Harvard Shmarvard: Victor Davis Hanson sees elite degree, pedigrees, and idiocies — all at the same time. From his essay:

It is growing harder and harder to equate elite university branding with proof of knowledge. Barack Obama, another Harvard Law graduate, proved this depressing fact a number of times when he asserted that the Maldives were the Falklands, “corpsmen” was pronounced with a hard p, Austrians spoke a language called Austrian, there were 57 states, and Hawaii was in Asia.

Joe Biden, another law-school graduate, once stated that George W. Bush should have addressed the nation on television the way FDR did after the stock crash: “When the stock market crashed, Franklin Roosevelt got on the television . . .”  Biden apparently forgot that FDR was not president in 1929 and that TVs weren’t introduced to the public until 1939.

The point is not to cite egregious anecdotes but rather to reflect on why Americans have pretty much lost faith in their degreed elite. On most of the major issues of the last 40 years, what we were told by economists, foreign-policy experts, pundits, and the media has proven wrong — and doubly wrong given the emphases placed on such assertions by the supposedly better-educated professional classes.

14. Daniel Allott travels to Obama / Trump country and finds not an iota of regret among those who switched sides and voted for The Donald. From the story:

With each new round of tariffs and counter-tariffs, media outlets have deployed reporters to tell the story of how the White House’s protectionist policies could prompt a backlash among voters in these pivotal Trump states. But that is not what I found in Howard County. On my final day there, I headed to Casey’s General Store on the outskirts of Lime Springs and chatted with a group of farmers who gather there early each morning.

None of the farmers wished to be quoted by name, but all were happy to give me their political opinions. They said they were nervous about the tariffs and had already seen significant drops in crop and livestock prices. “We’ve lost a dollar and a half on the beans, and seen a drop on the corn in the last month,” one farmer said. “It’s really affecting people that have to have that cash flow. For them, it’s traumatic.”

But I didn’t sense any anger at Trump or hear anything to suggest he’d lost their support. In fact, they said they appreciated that a president was finally pushing back against other countries’ unfair trade practices. “I think we’ve been giving our wealth away for way too many years,” said one farmer. “We’ve made terrible deals,” another said. “Terrible.”

I asked the group whether an ongoing trade war would affect their vote in 2020. “Last time there wasn’t much of a choice,” one elderly farmer said. “Depends on who’s running. If it’s a socialist, no.”

15. Plenty of critics are acclaiming Sorry to Bother You. Not Kyle Smith.

16. Jonathan Tobin gives credit where due: It’s Trump’s boom, not Obama’s. From his piece:

As for Trump’s supposedly superb salesmanship, it’s true that the president isn’t bashful about claiming credit. But if he were really expert at seizing credit for good news, Trump wouldn’t spend so much time and energy distracting the public from the news of his economic success. His tweets and statements are a never-ending stream of arguments, complaints, and abuse directed at opponents that make it harder for voters to concentrate on the central fact of a robust economy that is bringing down unemployment and raising wages for his working-class supporters as well as satisfying big business. If the Republicans lose control of Congress this fall, it will be because Trump isn’t as good a salesman as either he or his opponents think he is, and it will disprove James Carville’s rule that elections are always about “the economy, stupid.”

Trump has removed the regulatory shackles that Obama placed on the economy during his unsuccessful attempts to orchestrate a robust recovery. Whether it lasts or will be undermined by other policies remains to be seen. But whatever else happens, the boom belongs to him, not Obama.

17. There’s nothing that great about Andrew Cuomo either. Charles Cooke smacks around the volume-obtuse hack Governor of New York. From his piece:

Queen Victoria complained of William Ewart Gladstone that he “speaks to Me as if I was a public meeting.” Andrew Cuomo has the opposite problem: He addresses public meetings as if trying to convince a recalcitrant octogenarian that the fire in his bedroom means he really, seriously has to leave. Never have so many friendly faces been so vigorously barked at by a man saying so little. In his mind, Cuomo is Pericles. Outside of it, he’s late-90s Al Pacino reading a bargain-basement script. “We’re not going to make America great again,” he bellowed this afternoon, to audible gasps. “America was never that great.”

Cuomo is everyone and nobody all at once. “I am a Muslim,” he proposed last January, provoking widespread consternation. During the same speech he also became “Jewish,” “black,” “gay,” “disabled,” and “a woman seeking to control her health and her choices.” Conspicuously missing from his list was the one self-descriptor that explained his overzealous schizophrenia: “I am a white guy running for office in the Democratic party in 2018.”

18. The SCOTUS Masterpiece Cakeshop ruling be damned, the Left’s trolling and continued persecution of Jack Phillips continues. David French reports on a man with a target on his back, and the Colorado Civil Rights Commission once again is complicit in the assault on Freedom of Worship. Read David’s piece here.

Bonus: David calls BS on the “stunned” claim of Phillip’s lefty troller.

The Six

1. In First Things, a group of prominent Catholics has sent Pope Francis a powerful message in opposition to his dictat that Church teaching formally opposes the death penalty. From their letter:

Since it is a truth contained in the Word of God, and taught by the ordinary and universal magisterium of the Catholic Church, that criminals may lawfully be put to death by the civil power when this is necessary to preserve just order in civil society, and since the present Roman pontiff has now more than once publicly manifested his refusal to teach this doctrine, and has rather brought great confusion upon the Church by seeming to contradict it, and by inserting into the Catechism of the Catholic Church a paragraph which will cause and is already causing many people, both believers and non-believers, to suppose that the Church considers, contrary to the Word of God, that capital punishment is intrinsically evil, we call upon Your Eminences to advise His Holiness that it is his duty to put an end to this scandal, to withdraw this paragraph from the Catechism, and to teach the word of God unadulterated; and we state our conviction that this is a duty seriously binding upon yourselves, before God and before the Church.

2. Department of Whose Ox: Writing at Crisis, my dear old pal Anne Hendershott (who I first met on the commuter train, she was reading National Review!) reports on an incredible head-turning (everything turning) “Title IX” case involving a renowned lesbian New York University professor, Avital Ronell, accused by a gay male graduate student of some aggressive sexual harassment. All of a sudden, Ronell’s lefty peers are okay with victim-blaming. From Anne’s piece:

In some important ways, this is the logical outcome of the mess created by Title IX. The mandates imposed by the law have devastated the lives of falsely accused students and faculty members who are deprived of legal rights by their academic institution. Betsy DeVos, the Secretary of Education, has attempted to mandate due process protections for the accused but most colleges and universities have defied her attempts. In fact, some schools have implemented even more draconian policies. No longer content to deny due process to accused university students in the wake of often unsubstantiated and frequently false charges of sexual harassment and assault, there was even a movement last year toward destroying any hope for these students to transfer to other colleges and universities. The Safe Transfer Act, a bill promoted by Rep. Jackie Speir (D-CA), requires transcript notation for those students who try to transfer to other colleges or universities after being found “responsible” for violations of Title IX policies. Creating a new “check the box” requirement specifically for the transcripts of the students who have become ensnared in Title IX’s ever-expanding net for campus “sex crimes,” Speier’s bill requires a warning on the academic transcript of any student found by a college or university to have violated the school’s rules or policies on sexual harassment and assault.

3. At The American Conservative, Rod Dreher looks at the Church’s scandal and shares his thoughts about weak men.

4. Writing in American Greatness, Michael Walsh looks into the roots of American Catholicism’s collapse, and finds them in Pope John XXIII and the Second Vatican Council. From his piece:

I cannot say for certain when the rot set it, but I can say when my disillusionment first set in: with Vatican II and the papal reigns of John XXIII and Paul VI. After the ascetic papacy of Pius XII, who shared the same grim visage as John Foster Dulles and James Jesus Angleton, so common to men of that period, the roly-poly Cardinal Roncalli seemed a Kennedyesque breath of fresh air. And yet some of the outward changes he and Paul instituted in the Church — the abandonment of the Latin rite was one that most affected this altar boy — seemed arbitrary and superfluous; we would have called them “virtue signaling” today.

The theological implications of the wider reforms were lost on me at the time (the opening of dialogue with the Jews was long overdue), but what I did sense from my limited perspective was that in making the Mass more “inclusive,” the authority of the Church, as expressed in the universal Latin Mass, said by the priest with his back to the congregation (and thus leading them in worship instead of addressing them as a primus inter pares), was being lost in the interest of a transient accommodation to vogueish concerns. For whatever reasons, Church attendance began to dwindle, then plummet, not long thereafter.

5. For Gatestone Institute, Nonie Darwish asks a big geo-political question: Does Turkey belong in the EU? Here’s his answer.

6. Houston is under threat. The “opportunity-rich” municipality is being targeted by regulation-wielding Smart Growthers. Joel Kotkin explains in City Journal. From the piece:

Houston is largely an engineered city. Its success does not owe to a perfect location, a salubrious climate, or spectacular scenery. Situated far from a natural harbor, this bayou city was forged, in large part, by the 1914 decision to build a ship channelthat connects it with the Gulf of Mexico, 50 miles away. Its location makes Houston susceptible to natural disasters. Long before Harvey, Houston was devastated by hurricanes, including the one that destroyed the once-thriving port city of Galveston in 1900. A 1935 flood caused more severe damage, proportionally, than Harvey did, on a then much-smaller Houston.

Historically, Houston has met these challenges by seeking to tame nature. A relevant model can be found in the Netherlands, where, for hundreds of years, planners managed to push back against the sea, in the process creating one of the world’s great metropolises (Amsterdam). Historian Jonathan Israel traces the rise of the Netherlands, particularly following a massive flood in the sixteenth century, to its period of extensive infrastructure-building. Like Houston’s suburban expansion, infrastructure development in Holland opened new land and opportunities for residents. It also initiated liberal laws about tenancy and allowed for the expansion of ownership and enterprise, much as Houston’s expansion accomplished over the past half-century. The new lands constituted “the geographic roots of republican liberty,” notes historian Simon Schama.


Interesting thought: What was the worst team whose starting lineup included the most future Hall-of-Famers. WJ’s research minions need to look into this, but at first glance, it will be hard to top the 1962 Chicago Cubs, which had to be thankful this was the New York Mets’ abysmal inaugural season. The Cubbies were 59-103, good for 9th place (they endured 10 “walk off” losses!). The future Cooperstown boys were Ernie Banks, Ron Santo, Billy Williams, and rookie Lou Brock. Believe it or not, the latter did not lead the team ins stolen bases; that distinction went to George Altman, who swiped 19 to Brock’s 17.

A Dios

This missive is being finished in the wee hours, in a hotel room near the airport in Fresno, California. Your bleary-eyed jet-lagged correspondent doesn’t travel well. Next Friday, Correspondent Jr (he’s Deduction #5) heads off to college, so a busy week awaits. But we’ll manage another WJ. Until then, please water the flowers, apologize even if there is a remote chance you were wrong, and wash your own coffee mugs!

God’s blessings on you and yours,

Jack Fowler

jfowler@nationalreview.comis where I can be hectored.

P.S.: is where you can reserve a cabin on our post-election voyage, which gives you the chance and right to hector me in person!

National Review

Fired the Shot Heard Round the World


Dear Weekend Jolter,

Lookee below and see the link-sharing for just some of the great content found in the new issue of National Review. It’s extravagant title is: “The Gun Issue.” We don’t often do special issues at NR. This one is one of the best in my 30-whatever years hanging around this joint.

It’s hot and the water looks inviting so let’s just dive in straight away.


1. Of course I am overjoyed that one of the greatest lawmakers I have ever known — Connecticut state senator Joe Markley, a man of such principle and class — has been endorsed by NR for lieutenant governor of Connecticut. From our editorial:

Connecticut holds its primaries August 14, and the Republican contests really matter this year. We strongly urge the GOP voters to give their nod for lieutenant governor to state senator Joseph Markley.

The lieutenant governor, who presides over the senate among other duties, is a position that has been very consequential in Connecticut’s decline. The Lowell Weicker tax increase depended on the tie-breaking vote of a lieutenant governor and so did Dan Malloy’s sweetheart union deal.

We have no doubt that Joseph Markley, if ever faced with such a choice, would make the right one. He has written for this website, and his conservative bona fides are so excellent that Bill Buckley held a fundraising event for him when he first sought office in 1984. He is a lawmaker of great principle, discernment, eloquence, and energy. He knows how the legislature works, in ways formal and informal. If there is to be reform in Connecticut, we believe Markley will be integral to it.

2. We believe the time has come for carmakers to be freed from abusive, nutty, and political federal regulations on fuel economy standards. From our editorial:

The Trump administration has proposed two major changes to federal vehicle regulations. First, it seeks to abandon its predecessor’s 2012 plan to nearly double cars’ fuel economy by 2025, to an average of 54.5 miles per gallon; instead, the standard would stop rising after 2020, at 37 miles per gallon. And second, the administration wants to eliminate a waiver that gives California the right to create state-level emission rules that are stricter than federal law.

Obama’s fuel standards are a looming boondoggle and Trump is right to discard them. And California’s waiver, despite its pretensions to federalism, gives the state an unwarranted and outsized sway over federal policy: Unlike any other state, California can threaten to create a separate regulatory regime if federal policy doesn’t track its own prerogatives.

3. The PRC-hacked-and-violated Google is now considering reentering its business and products into China. We advise: Don’t do it. From the editorial:

Our concerns with Google’s possible reentry do not end with censorship, which in China is just one element of a unified state strategy to manage the Internet. As a New America Foundation brief notes, “Party leadership is expanding the legal tools at its disposal to monitor and control information disseminated online.” The 2017 cybersecurity law and a spate of related regulations require “critical information infrastructure” to be based in China and restrict the flow of “sensitive” data. Hence Google is reportedly in talks with state-aligned companies Tencent and Inspur to partner on its cloud service; the data would be stored in China. The party has also tightened its ban on anonymous online activity and ramped up its tracking of personal information, enlisting private companies to help enforce these rules. If Chinese law enforcement demands access to such data, will Google provide it to them? If it wants to comply with the law, it won’t have a choice. No American company should willingly become an adjunct of the Chinese state.


1. We spied New York Times columnist and NR film critic Ross Douthat in our NYC HQ, there to be interviewed by the intrepid host of The Remnant with Jonah Goldberg, a session in which such questions as “is Saruman a Randian superman?,” “should Alex Jones be banned?,” “has Jonah ever made love in the back of a Model T?,” and other pressing inquiries were entertained. As you will be when you when you listen here.

2. On the new episode of The McCarthy Report, Andy and Rich discuss “Trump Tower Turmoil.” It’s must-listenable, here.

3. The Editor trio of Rich, Charlie, and Luke triage the week’s politics, considering the Sarah Jeong affair, Alex Jones’ bannery, and the Ohio special elections. Get informed, here.

4. They’re calling it “The Brief Phone Call Episode” — Charlie and Kevin do their Mad Dogs and Englishmen thing about the thoroughly unlikeable Andrew Cuomo. Catch it here.

5. Is it true that The Pump Don’t Work ’Cause the Vandals Took the Handles? Scotty (Wotty Do-Do) Bertram and Jeff Blehar (Witch Project?) will have you rolling stones and complete unknowns grooving to the discussion — with The Daily Beast’s Andrew Kirell — of Bob Dylan. Activate your headphones here.

6. More Daily Beast invading of NR podcast space: Matt Lewis gets grilled on The Jamie Weinstein Show, about Trump, Palin, Bannon, Alex Jones, and a kajillion other things. Listen here.

7. Andrea Neal joins John J. Miller to discuss her book, Pence, on the new episode of The Bookmonger.Get your warm bucket of spit here.

8. The stuff that dream are made of? More JJM: on the Great Books podcast, crime-novel reviewer Tom Nolan waxes about commie pinko Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon. Learn a thing or two or three here.

BONUS: Bogie fondles a bird.

9. Way out West, David and Will send forth a new episode of Radio Free California, discussing the much-rumored Los Angeles teachers strike and the dark money behind a statewide ballot measure to resuscitate rent control. And there’s what they call a “special bonus track” about banning plastic straws and shopping bags in a state that hands out free hypodermic needles. Get hip and hep to it all, right here.

10. Alexandra and David conjure up a Twitter War peace plan on the new episode of Ordered Liberty, in which they break down the Sarah Jeong and Alex Jones free speech controversies and solve all the internet’s problems. And then they move on to discuss the intersection between race, class, and religion in America’s culture wars. Sounds like a rollicking time, which you can hear here.

The Baker’s Dozen of Cream-Filled, Frosted, and Sprinkled NR Doughnuts

1. Elizabeth Warren, forked-tongue speaker, fails Rich Lowry’s lie-detector test. From his new column:

Her riff is a sign that the Democrats are going to leaven their lurch toward socialism with a condemnation of America as fundamentally racist. After helping fuel Donald Trump’s rise in 2016 with loose rhetoric about the bigotry of cops, Democrats hope to dislodge him in 2020 with even more sweeping accusations of systematic racism.

The U.S. criminal-justice system is obviously a legitimate topic of debate. The war on drugs has been a blunderbuss mistake, and we should be reconsidering how many people we jail, and how we do it and why. But the contention that U.S. law enforcement is a product of racial hatred is a paranoid lie, from top to bottom, from beginning to end, from front to back.

2. The title of Victor Davis Hanson’s new essay says pretty much all: “The Police Were Not Policed.” From his piece:

Our current agency directors and cabinet are rightly calling universal attention to the ongoing threat of Russian espionage efforts.

They do so in concert because they are apparently worried, though they cannot say such openly, that President Trump himself and the American public are not yet sufficiently woke to these existential threats from Russia.

Such concern for the national security is fine and necessary.

But somewhere, somehow, someone must also must explain and rectify the past. For two years, the top employees of these agencies, most appointed during the Obama administration, have been engaged in unethical and illegal behavior, likely intended to throw the election to President Obama’s preferred candidate and then, after the election, to subvert the new presidency.

In other words, those who are warning of Russian collusion efforts to warp an election now work for agencies that in the recent past were doing precisely what they now rightly accuse the Russians of doing. The damage that Brennan, Clapper, Comey, and others have done to the reputations of the agencies they ran will live on well after their tenures are over.

The public will not be able to square such a circle — believe that the intelligence agencies are trustworthy now, while knowing they were deeply corrupt in the very recent past — unless there is some accountability for U.S.-government misdeeds.

3. Armond White finds Spike Lee’s new film, BlacKkKlansman, to be “stupidly incendiary.” And confusing. And this:

Consider BlacKkKlansman’s “Infiltrate Hate” ad poster, which recycles the font used for Gordon Parks’s Shaft in Africa. Lee’s advertising is usually his cleverest ploy. But this campaign’s unclear emphasis on police as white-hooded villains carrying an Afro comb is mere exploitation of an issue minus the sincere dramatic investigation of a crisis like in Melvin Van Peebles’s Panther. Lee leaves it unclear whether cops are good or bad; the simplistic association with the Klan is a weak meme for a born Madison Ave. hack.

All these pop-culture miscues indicate that Lee operates from the peculiar antipathy of the black middle class that remains angry despite its own successful pop-culture maneuvering. His most offensive — and thereby most effective — stunt is the end credit that turns the American flag upside down, then shifts from egalitarian red, white, and blue to fascistic black and white. It’s a millionaire (film nerd’s) scam artist’s version of a Colin Kaepernick prank.

4. Kathryn Jean Lopez reflects on two important matters. From her column:

Adoption and foster care are subjects that, like abortion, tend to be obscured from public view. If it happens to you, you know — and may feel quite alone in it. If not, it may be something foreign, the stuff of bad headlines or miserable politics. And adoption and fostering, being much rarer than abortion, also suffer from our lack of attention: Whether you’re a birth, adoptive, or foster parent, you may have to go it alone in your community. Even our language is woefully inadequate: “Giving a child up for adoption” sounds to a lot of people, most especially and unjustly birth mothers, like abandonment — when in truth it’s the most selfless act there is. When we throw around the word lovein the most casual of ways, we should stop to reflect that this is exactly what it is: radical self-sacrifice. In this case, wanting the best for another, and knowing you may not be the best for them.

5. Conor Friedersdorf wrote an unpleasant piece about Hillsdale College and its president for The Atlantic. But Larry Arnn, said president, was having none of his “concern trolling.” From his counterpunch:

Third, it is alleged that, because I support Donald Trump politically, I am eroding the moral standards of the college and of its students. This is silly. What one teaches the young about morality is a very different thing from choosing whom to support for president of the United States. For the young, a whole life is before them, and it is right and possible to encourage them to build all of the virtues in themselves. The first step is for them to learn what those virtues are. We teach that.

The choice for president is by contrast sharply circumscribed: One opts for the best of two people. I made the choice for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton. I thought that was an easy choice to make. I still think so. If one believes as I do that the Constitution is precious and in danger of eclipse by the modern administrative state, then one places a high value on stopping and reversing that. Donald Trump stated the intention to do this, and so far he has done it more than any president excepting, maybe, Ronald Reagan. This seemed and seems to me the decisive thing. I feel this acutely as a citizen, but also because of my station: I am responsible for keeping the college independent in service of its ancient mission, and the extension of the administrative state in recent years has threatened Hillsdale’s independence as surely as it has threatened religious liberty.

6. “Gender-neutral” pronoun rule dictators continue to do their amok-running on campuses. Brad Palumbo explains why this is a threat to free speech. For thee, thou, and thine, a selection from the essay:

After decades of such free-speech precedents, it’s unlikely that mandatory-pronoun rules would pass constitutional muster. Samantha Harris, FIRE’s vice president of policy research, told me in an email that “it would certainly be unconstitutional for a public university to require students and faculty to use gender-neutral pronouns or face punishment,” although she noted that since the language of the University of Minnesota’s proposed policy is vague, it’s possible that this wouldn’t be how the rule was implemented. But it’s clear that if they did force students to use pronouns they disagreed with, university administrators would be trampling over the Constitution in their race to prove their progressive bona fides — and students shouldn’t stand for it.

From my experience as a conservative activist on campus, it’s clear to me that most right-of-center students don’t actually want to harass transgender people — and many are even willing to use alternative pronouns — but rather they take issue with the idea that we should be compelled to do so. I spoke with Michael Geiger, a conservative student at the University of Minnesota, and his frustration with the administration’s new proposal was clear: “The fact that the bill is receiving serious consideration shows that the school’s administration has no grasp of what free speech means and why it is so important.” If liberal faculty really want to promote the inclusion of transgender students, force simply isn’t the way to do it. In fact, it may only engender more hostility.

7. RIP, Paul Laxalt. Quin Hillyer remembers a conservative lawmaker. From his piece:

Laxalt, governor of neighboring Nevada while Reagan was governor of California, was liked and trusted entirely by both Ronald and Nancy Reagan. Serving three times as chairman of Reagan’s presidential campaigns, for years as general chairman of the Republican National Committee, and as a stalwart conservative senator known for integrity, decency, and quiet effectiveness, Laxalt played key roles in implementing the Reagan agenda. Perhaps his greatest single triumph came when he personally persuaded Philippine strongman Ferdinand Marcos to abdicate in the face of (justifiable) civil unrest, rather than trigger a bloodbath that might have resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands.

8. Bruno Macaes sees a New World Order that is chaotic. From his essay:

The global order created after the Second World War had been endangered before, but in the past the threat had come from the outside. Now it seems to be in danger of being abandoned by those who had been responsible for building it and who had always benefited from it. For some, Brexit and Trump have simply been an error of perception: It is true that the countries at the core of the system have to restrain their power and cannot come out on top every time, but over the long term they reap the largest benefits and have the most interest in preserving the system.

As domestic divisions in Europe and the United States became increasingly exposed, relations between elites and a large section of the electorate acquired something of the old, familiar dynamic between Europeans and those inhabiting the rest of the world. They sound like an effort by the rational and enlightened classes to persuade the irrational and the superstitious — professedly in the interest of the latter. Politicians and intellectuals scrambled to explain the bizarre voting behavior through all sorts of economic and psychoanalytic theories, all the while insisting that a new effort at civic education had become urgent. Such messages can only deepen the divisions and alienation.

9. Andrew Cuomo hates the Second Amendment. And the First. David French has the skinny on a man at odds with the Bill of Rights. From his piece:

New York’s Andrew Cuomo is engaging in a deliberate campaign to use state power to drive the NRA out of business. It’s using a combination of consent decrees and warning letters directed at financial institutions to coerce them into cutting of business relationships with the NRA.

Cuomo’s intentions aren’t hidden. He’s on a crusade. “If I could have put the NRA out of business, I would have done it 20 years ago,” he said earlier this week. He followed up with this pithy statement: “I’m tired of hearing the politicians say, we’ll remember them in our thoughts and prayers. If the NRA goes away, I’ll remember the NRA in my thoughts and prayers.”

Clever. But when statements like this are accompanied by state action, there’s another word that applies — unconstitutional.

10. You don’t say — a socialist demagogue? Who trades in anti-Semitism? And is on the verge of grabbing a nation’s power? Jonathan Tobin considers if Jeremy Corbyn might be replicated on our shores. From his analysis:

Far from moderating once installed atop the party, Corbyn stuck to his radical stances on both domestic and foreign issues. Yet when Labour voters were given a chance to replace him after the parliamentary party repudiated him, he won reelection as leader in 2016 by an even greater margin. At that point, pundits still dismissed his chances of winning election to No. 10. Prime Minister Theresa May was so unthreatened by the prospect that she called an early general election in June 2017. Of course, rather than increase her majority as the polls predicted, May lost seats and barely retained power. Though Corbyn fell short of winning the election, Labour’s share of the vote increased to 40 percent and it gained 30 seats in parliament. His chances of replacing May could no longer be dismissed. In fact, given the deep divisions Brexit has opened up among Tories, the prospect of a Prime Minister Corbyn is less remote than ever before.

Despite this seemingly golden opportunity, however, Corbyn hasn’t budged an inch toward the center. His hostility to Israel and his refusal to unambiguously condemn anti-Semitism are particularly instructive examples.

11. Heather Mac Donald finds Sarah Jeong . . . boring. As hell. She explains in part:

Jeong’s five-year tweet trail is much longer than a mere “period of time” during which she allegedly experimented with counter-trolling. But most important, her tweets are not imitative of anything other than the ideology that now rules the higher-education establishment, including UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School, both of which Jeong attended. And that ideology is taking over non-academic institutions, whether in journalism, publishing, the tech sector, or the rest of corporate America. Sarah Jeong’s tweets and blog posts are just a marker of the world we already live in.

The key features of Jeong’s worldview are an obsession with whiteness and its alleged sins; a commitment to the claim that we live in a rape culture; and a sneering contempt for objectivity and truth-seeking. These are central tenets of academic victimology. From the moment freshmen arrive on a college campus, they are inundated by the message that they are either the bearers of white privilege or its victims. College presidents and the metastasizing diversity bureaucracy teach students to see racism where none exists, preposterously accusing their own institutions of systemic bias. “Bias response teams,” confidential “discrimination hotlines,” and implicit-bias training for faculty and staff roll forth from university coffers in wild abandon.

12. Rich Lowry (again!) finds that the erasure of crackpot Alex Jones has “worrisome ramifications for free speech.”

13. Picking winners and losers and losers and more losers. Amelia Irvine finds much to criticize in the Trump Administration’s trade policy. A healthy chunk from her essay:

In short, no American business did anything to merit the special treatment of Trump’s tariffs, and no American business did anything to merit the punishment of Trump’s tariffs. Instead of allowing the free market to decide the value of products, the Trump administration has sought to use tariffs as a weapon to improve the American economy, even though tariffs will always give rise to arbitrary winners and losers. This is fundamentally unfair to businesses whose only crime was exporting goods into an emerging market, and to those whose only merit was happening to have the “right” foreign competitors. (Trump’s $12 billion agricultural bailout puts a nice bow on the whole farce: His tariffs hurt American farmers, and then he turned to the taxpayers to offset the damage.)

Supporters of Trump’s trade war might point to his recent success in securing negotiations with the European Union toward the goal of “zero tariffs.” They may say that he is using steel and aluminum tariffs to gain leverage in the ongoing NAFTA-renegotiation talks, or to force Beijing to end its “unfair trade practices,” as administration officials have put it. If so, Trump’s actions are even more irresponsible. Allowing American farmers and manufacturers to take hits in the hopes of securing better trade deals is political suicide and economic malpractice. . . .

Trump supports trade wars so heartily because he believes there is something intrinsically economically harmful about the trade deficit, the difference between exports and imports. Of course, there are working-class men and women in the United States who have been harmed by global trade as manufacturing jobs are offshored and factories shut down. But workers lose jobs and factories close because of trade itself, not because of the trade deficit. Though job displacement is one awful side effect of an innovative and prosperous economy and the U.S. should do a better job of mitigating it, in the long run, everyone benefits from trade. The alternative — an increasingly closed economy — would foreclose any potential for economic growth, hurting us all.

You Want a Job?

National Review Institute is seeking an Accounting and Office Manager for the NYC HQ. Description here. You get to turn off the AC in KLO’s office and force Jonah to submit expenses in triplicate. Think of the fun!

You Want a Filet Mignon?

I think that’s what will be served. Anyway, get one for yourself and nine friends when you sponsor a table at NR Institute’s Fifth Annual William F. Buckley Jr. Prize Dinner.

In the New Issue of NR (the Magazine!)

Here are four selections — to whet your whistle — from the special gun issue!

1. Kevin Williamson profiles bad boy Jesse James and his move from Motorcycle maker to gun manufacturer. From his piece:

“The gun regulation — I didn’t even realize how bad it was until I moved to Texas,” James says. “I was like: Whoa. It happened when I was in high school, but I wasn’t paying attention.” For much of his time in California, James’s experience with firearms was a lot like that of any other California-based celebrity: the Hollywood version. “We rented a lot of guns for filming Monster Garage,” the reality show in which teams of colorful characters worked to create unlikely mechanical monstrosities, e.g., turning a DeLorean into a hovercraft. Unsuccessful projects were dispatched with dynamite, tank treads, and, on occasion, gunfire. “Full autos, .50-calibers. But I didn’t realize what it was really like until I bought an AR-15 in the 1990s and it was this weird composite breechloading thing.” California law requires that AR-style rifles have fixed magazines rather than detachable and swappable ones, which more or less defeats the purpose of an AR. “It kind of made me mad,” he says. And his interest in gunsmithing? “It kind of found me.”

Unlike motorcycles or monster mutant cars, guns become family heirlooms, meaningful in a way that few other things are. “I’ll always build bikes and cars. But a motorcycle is just like a boat. You can sell it on Craigslist. Guns are a personal thing. It provides protection for you and your family, and that gives it a higher meaning. You’re not going to think about showing it off this weekend, but about two generations from now. And that seems more important than motorcycles.”

2. Frank Miniter makes the case for defending hunting. From his piece:

One main reason conservatives should support hunting is that hunters and their associations act as a counterbalance to far-left environmentalism. Not all hunters vote Republican (many Democratic-voting union members hunt), but most hunters tend to be conservative on environmental issues. Hunters don’t share today’s preservationist belief that humans can only harm nature; those who hunt tend to understand that we are part of the ecosystems we live in, so forest and game management aren’t off-limits, though we must take a responsible and scientific approach to them. This is why the environmental Left fears and fights local sportsmen’s groups all the time. It’s why environmentalists don’t like to admit that hunters are some of wildlife’s greatest advocates.

Just look at the League of Conservation Voters’ “National Environmental Scorecard”: The “issue categories” by which the group ranks politicians include “climate change,” “clean energy,” “drilling,” and “wildlife . . . including the Endangered Species Act,” but “hunting” appears nowhere on the list. Moreover, the candidates who receive the organization’s highest grades are Democrats who often fail to support hunting.

3. To set things straight about the Second Amendment, Charlie Cooke puts down the Colt and takes to the keyboard to explain that it was always meant to protect an individual’s right to be armed. From his essay: From his essay:

Given changing sensibilities; the evolving meaning of words; the decline of a shared republican worldview that regarded government as an auxiliary, not all-conquering, domestic force; and a healthy helping of cynical gamesmanship from the gun-control movement and its allies in the press, one can comprehend how we went from a widespread understanding that Americans enjoyed the right to keep and bear arms to breathless online headlines insisting that the “gun lobby” has “rewritten the Second Amendment!” “Arms,” “state,” “militia,” “well-regulated” — these terms have all changed in the popular imagination in the years since 1791, as have what we would now refer to as America’s “gun politics.” For many unfamiliar with the history, the mistake is a forgivable one.

For those who are familiar, however, it is most decidedly not. Indeed, to be cognizant of the history is to arrive at one clear and unmistakable conclusion: that the “collective right” theory is just nuts. As a 1982 Senate report on the meaning of the Second Amendment concluded bluntly, it is “inescapable that the history, concept, and wording of the second amendment to the Constitution of the United States, as well as its interpretation by every major commentator and court in the first half-century after its ratification, indicates that what is protected is an individual right of a private citizen to own and carry firearms in a peaceful manner.”

4. Have Big Gun, Will Travel. Rabbi Rob Thomas collects . . . tanks. Takes ‘em out for a spin. And a bang bang. From his wonderful piece:

My first tank was an M4A1 Sherman Grizzly medium tank, built in 1943. I flew to the seller’s location and inspected the tank with great enthusiasm and a discerning eye. Being a neophyte to tank collecting, I quickly deduced that the tank was large, smelly, and green. I took it for a test drive (yes, qualified buyers do this) and loved it. It was much easier to drive than one might expect, as long as one had driven a manual transmission. It handled well and rattled even better. I bought it and immediately began to learn that transporting a tank is never routine. There are countless state permits required (wide load, heavy load, etc.), rules restricting trucking traffic on certain days of the week, and significant costs.

Yet it was worth it. The Sherman was truly the tank that won the war. While German WWII armor (meaning tanks, tank destroyers, and assault guns) were rarely operational more than 60 percent of the time, the American Sherman tank was at least 89 percent operational during the entirety of WWII, and often more so. Further, while Sherman tanks were taken out by German armor and guns, resulting in an average of 1.1 crewmen per tank becoming casualties, German tank crewmen were lost at a rate eight times higher. The Sherman was reliable, durable, and survivable. Thanks to it, at the end of World War II, the U.S. had achieved dominance over opposing German armored vehicles, with a kill ratio of 2.75 to 1.

The Six

1. In a mega-essay/review in Claremont Review of Books, Michael Anton takes on six blame-Trump tomes (such as Wiliam Galston’s Anti-Pluralism: The Populist Threat to Liberal Democracyand David Frum’s Trumpocracy: The Corruption of the American Republic) and finds authoritarian pots noticing kettle pigmentation. From the essay:

What Harvard’s Nathan Glazer said of the original study — “the authors of The Authoritarian Personality seem quite oblivious to authoritarianism on the political left, and so set a precedent for studying authoritarianism without need for unpleasant self-examination” — may not be true to the letter of these present-day updates. Hugo Chavez, for example, is a sometime target. But it is true to their spirit. One gets the sense that Chavez and other leftists, such as Greece’s Alexis Tsipras, are included not to demonstrate genuine belief that authoritarianism cuts both ways, but as inoculations against charges of left-wing bias. How can that be, when I criticize Chavez on pages 16-19?

These new exposés on the threats to democracy have the same dry social science-y surfaces that obscure (if not exactly conceal) polemical cores. President Trump’s name appears in the title of only one, David Frum’s, but he is the real subject of all six. Their purpose — with perhaps one-and-a-half exceptions — is, like The Authoritarian Personality, to clothe polemic in scholarly robes, this time to make Trump’s legion of haters feel more high-minded about their rage, but mostly to misuse “science” to categorize Trump as “authoritarian.” The finding being “scientific,” it is therefore irrefutable and not subject to debate. “Authoritarianism” being beyond the pale, thus so is Trump and all he represents.

2. What the Frack! At Forbes, David Bahnsen celebrates the 20th anniversary of hydraulic fracturing. From his piece:

“Fracking” is the term we have applied in the culture to the combination of vertical drilling (where the well is dug deep into the ground, often many thousands of feet deep), followed by hydraulic fracturing, where sand and water are pumped into the shale rock that exists many thousands of feet below the surface to “fracture” that rock, and allow the oil and gas embedded deep underground to be captured. The volumes of natural gas, natural gas liquids, and crude oil that this technique has uncovered all over the country have been unfathomable, and over the last decade alone has caused the United States to more than double their crude oil production on an absolute basis, and to surpass Russia and Saudi Arabia in production on a relative basis.

3. At Gatestone Institute, Majid Rafizadeh writes about how the hijab is a force of torment and suppression. From his piece:

Last month, an Iranian court ordered Shaparak Shajarizadeh, 43, to prison for two years, with 18 years’ probation, for removing her headscarf in public.

In our childhood in Iran, my sister’s screams would cut through the silence of our home at night. Nightmares would wake her and leave her too terrified to go back to sleep. We all encouraged her to share her fears; she would always refuse. On the night she finally opened up, her entire body was shaking with fear.

Afraid to ask the question out loud, my sister, then nine years old, whispered: “Will Allah hang me from my hair? The religious and Quran teacher at our school told us in class that if we show our hair in public, God will hang us from our hair in the afterlife and torture us for infinity. He will resurrect us if we die and then torture us again,” she was sobbing. “I went to the grocery store and forgot to wear my hijab. Will He torture me for infinity?”

4. Modern Age, founded in 1957 by Russell Kirk, celebrates the approaching centenary of his birth with an essay by Jack Hunter on his enduring relevance. From the essay:

Kirk’s preference for practical reform over radical change was conservatism at its most basic: conserving the best or most integral traditions and institutions of a community, nation, or civilization even in the face of unavoidable evolution or correcting injustice. So while sympathizing in many ways with the antebellum South, Kirk viewed Abraham Lincoln as a conservative reformer, not a radical Republican or tyrant as so many Confederate apologists would characterize him (including me, for a time).

If my partisan political interests had led me to Kirk, his conservatism also dovetailed with new developments in U.S. politics in the mid-1990s. My newfound fascination with Kirk coincided with Pat Buchanan’s meteoric 1996 Republican presidential primary campaign. In that election, Buchanan adorned the covers of Time, Newsweek, and other major outlets, and he won the New Hampshire primary. The “Buchanan Brigades” were a popular movement within the Republican Party, but they were also largely in opposition to it on many fronts.

Buchanan, like Kirk, was deeply critical of U.S. foreign policy. (Conservatives could oppose war? Rush Limbaugh never told me that.) He also preached a “conservatism of the heart” that favored Main Street over Wall Street and Washington, D.C. Buchanan’s conservatism might have been populist in style, but in substance it was similar to the anti-populist Kirk’s preference for local community over Leviathan. I was not surprised to learn later that Kirk was the Michigan chair for Buchanan’s 1992 primary challenge to President George H. W. Bush.

5. The Catholic News Service reports that Edward Scharfenberger, the Bishop of Albany, NY, is strongly advocating lay oversight of the bishops’ exploding perv scandal. Per His Excellency: “I think we have reached a point where bishops alone investigating bishops is not the answer. To have credibility, a panel would have to be separated from any source of power whose trustworthiness might potentially be compromised.” Amen.

6. Related. First Things publishes an open letter from young Catholics (including our Alexandra DeSanctis) attacking “the culpable silence or active complicity of men at the highest levels of the Church.” From the letter:

We are scandalized by the fact that men like Archbishop McCarrick have held positions of authority in the Church. Indeed, we are alarmed by reports that Pope Francis acted on McCarrick’s guidance in creating cardinals and appointing men to senior positions in the Church. Men McCarrick mentored and lived with are now important archbishops and heads of Vatican dicasteries. We want to know what those men knew about McCarrick and when they knew it, especially since “everybody knew.” If the pope himself knew, we want to know that as well.

You are the shepherds of the Church. If you do not act, evil will go unchecked. As members of your flock, we therefore ask the following of you.

We ask you to agree to a thorough, independent investigation into claims of abuse by Archbishop McCarrick, both of minors and of adults. We want to know who in the hierarchy knew about his crimes, when they knew it, and what they did in response. This is the least that would be expected of any secular organization; it should not be more than we can expect from the Church.

BONUS: Ed Ring at California Policy Center has written a terrific essay on the amount of taxpayer money being spent on “water” that . . . isn’t being spent on water. As in a desperately needed increase in supply. Read it here.

Attention All Rand Fans

The Fountainhead is playing at 6PM (Eastern) tonight on TCM. Mamma miaPatricia Neal!


Happy birthday Bobo Newsome, born this day in 1907. His pickled soul and other cirrhotic organs went to the Big Ballpark in the Sky in 1962, at the young age of 55. His may be the longest, most-traveled, staggering, and oddball career of any hurler — his career record was 211-222, and he was 2-2 in World Series play (for the Tigers in 1940 and the Yankees in 1947). The journeyman played for the Brooklyn Dodgers (he broke into the majors with them in 1929) twice, the New York Giants, the Chicago Cubs, both Beantown teams, the Boston Braves and Red Sox, the St. Louis Browns for three separate tours of duty, twice for the Philadelphia As (where his career ended in 1953), and an amazing five separate tours with the Washington Senators. He led the league in losses during four seasons, was a four-time All Star, had three 20-plus win seasons, one home run, and one stolen base. R.I.P.

A Dios

Primary elections are held in Connecticut on Tuesday. Is it wrong to pray for certain people to win, certain to lose? I’m going with yes. I’ll also be praying for all the interns who have graced the offices this summer — the last two marked their final day on Friday. Their presence in part was due to the generosity of NR supporters — and we are confident that this experience will be for their own good, and for the good of the causes and principles we hold dear.

God bless you and your family and all those you love, and maybe even those you don’t.

Jack Fowler

Toss the ball at and watch his blubber plunge into the dunk tank.

P.S.: is where to go to buy that cabin.

National Review

Why I Remain a Fervent Marxist


Dear WJer,

We’d all have preferred Gummo in that lineup, rather than the humorless author of Das Kapital and numerous other works that propagated a philosophy of death and mayhem, its hallmark being unprecedented massacres — whether by bullets or deprivation — in the last century.

Speaking of centuries, two have passed since the 1818 birth of the original Commie in Trier, Prussia. A brilliant commentary by Dan Mahoney on Karl Marx’s bicentennial is linked below.

Like you, I remain a Marxist, as long as it is of the Groucho / Chico / Harpo / Zeppo variety. And I am most definitely a Louis Marxist, and odds are you are too.

Won’t You Let Me Take You on a . . .

Sea Cruise? Join us December 1 – 8 in the Caribbean on Holland America Line’s Oosterdam for the 2018 National Review Buckley Legacy Conservative Cruise. For more information or to book your cabin visit


1. Marc Short — named to a one-year senior fellowship at University of Virginia’s Miller Center— worked in the Trump White House, which means for many in academia, he has the cooties. The demand is that the fellowship be revoked. We say: Pound sand. From our editorial:

The core message is clear: Anyone who has served in the Trump administration, in any role, is not welcome to a fellowship at the Miller Center. Never mind the perspective that a member of the Trump White House could bring to an institution that both seeks to understand the presidency and aims to provide competing viewpoints. And never mind that Short doesn’t face a single accusation rooted in his own behavior.

Fourteen Intelligence-Weaponizing National Review Articles Exploding with Brilliance

1. So we have come maybe to the brink of America’s second civil war? How did that happen? Victor Davis Hanson hazards a detailed explanation. High Tech is in part to blame, as described in this slice:

The mass production of cheap consumer goods, most assembled abroad, redefined wealth or, rather, disguised poverty. Suddenly the lower middle classes and the poor had in their palms the telecommunications power of the Pentagon of the 1970s, the computing force of IBM in the 1980s, and the entertainment diversity of the rich of the 1990s. They could purchase big screens for a fraction of what their grandparents paid for black-and-white televisions and with a computer be entertained just as well cocooning in their basement as by going out to a concert, movie, or football game.

But such electronic narcotics did not hide the fact that in terms of economics the lifestyles of their ancestors were eroding. The new normal was two parents at work, none at home; renting as often as buying; an eight-year rather than three-year car loan; fewer grandparents around the corner for babysitting or to assist when ill; and consumer service defined as hearing taped messages of an hour before reaching a helper in India or Vietnam.

High-tech gadgetry and the power to search the Internet did not seem to make Americans own more homes, pay off loans more quickly, or know their neighbors better. If in 1970 a nerd slandered one on the sidewalk and talked trash, he might not do it twice; in 2018, he did it electronically, boldly, and with impunity behind an array of masked social-media identities.

2. Meanwhile, Dov Greenberg explains the thriving BDS-fortified Jew-hate at VDH’s academic home of Stanford University. From his article:

In mid July, Hamzeh Daoud, a student at Stanford University, publicly posted on Facebook: “I’m gonna physically fight Zionists on campus next year.” If his meaning wasn’t clear enough, Hamzeh continued, “And after I abolish your ass I’ll go ahead and work every day for the rest of my life to abolish your petty ass ethno-supremacist, settler-colonial state.” While not reflective of Stanford’s values, the sentiment of this hateful post reveals the state of contemporary life on campuses.Daoud’s post is particularly telling, and its damage outlasts his reactive retraction.

A thought experiment: Replace the word “Zionist” with “LGBT” or “supporters of #BlackLivesMatter” in Daoud’s post. Almost certainly, the outcry would be universal and deafening. Yet, for some reason, when it comes to threatening physical violence against fellow students who support Israel, the response is indifference or, worse still, support. Somehow, the target of hate becomes the villain and the aggressor becomes the victim. How has this come to pass?

3. Kathryn Lopez marks the 50th anniversary of the controversial papal pronunciamento on birth control, Humanae Vitae, by Pope Paul VI. The anniversary comes at a particularly painful time for the Church. From her piece:

But the story of Humanae Vitae over the last 50 years is not complete without even more reason for repentance and renewal: The June news that former Washington, D.C., cardinal archbishop Theodore McCarrick had credible allegations against him in his past and then some. Not only priests but a cardinal living such a double life, torturing seminarians and priests — and boys younger, along the way — according to what was revealed before and continues to be after the initial news finally broke; it all brings to the surface that “smoke of Satan” Pope Paul VI also warned about during his pontificate. Of course, the world wasn’t going to embrace Humanae Vitae, or the Good News of the Gospel it sought to further communicate, when such filth was amidst the sacred at the highest levels.

4. Could Chevron’s days be numbered? No, not the oil giant, but the same-named idiotic judicial deference to regulators as law-definers. Jonathan Wood believes a Justice Kavanaugh and an upcoming case (California Sea Urchin Commission v. Combs, and yes, there really is such a commission) provide the opportunity for Chevron’s kyboshing. From his piece:

The fundamental principles underlying our Constitution are that government power must be divided up, rather than concentrated, and those who exercise it must be accountable to the people. It’s difficult to imagine a greater departure from these principles than the concentration of near-limitless power in the hands of unelected bureaucrats, combined with a lack of oversight from Congress and the courts.

With three sitting justices raising questions about Chevron deference and another on deck, it’s time for the Supreme Court to address the issue head-on.

5. Kyle Smith reads Andrew Lloyd Weber’s Unmasked: A Memoir, and likes what he sees. From his review:

The whole book is a merry justification for the wisdom of following your own aesthetic compass, especially when it points in what everyone says is the wrong direction. Aged 14, he visited Athens and Rome on a school trip and declared his favorite building was the American Church in Rome, citing its mosaics by the Victorian Edward Burne-Jones. Apoplexy ensued when Lloyd Webber put the case for the pre-Raphaelite in an essay. “How can you write such garbage?” his art teacher screamed at him. “Don’t you realize that church is full of Victorian tat?” Merely implied, not stated, is the rejoinder that a taste for tat made Andrew as rich as King Tut.

6. A Scottish university fired a Catholic chaplain because his views were . . . Catholic. Maddy Kearns reports.

7. The expressive Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez bears, in the words of Charlie Cooke, “The Unserious Face of an Unserious Movement.” From his takedown:

Given the extent of our polarization, it would be premature to assume that Ocasio-Cortez will suffer consequences for her ignorance. Criticize her and you will be met upon the instant with a barrage of righteous indignation. “Er,” her apologists immediately retort, “have you seen the guy in the White House? He’s not exactly Thomas Jefferson.” Which, of course, is not actually a defense of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — what, on that logic might her slogan be? “I’m ignorant, too, but I’m younger”? — but is certainly a preview of the post-rationalizations that she will come to count on from her fans. “They all lie”; “They are all stupid”; “They’re just saying that because she’s a woman”; “Well, she’s better than the alternative”; ”Here is what she was trying to say” — these are the sentiments that lead us to embrace mediocrity or worse. Sure, she’s a fool. But she’s not Donald Trump, and thus . . .

8. Douglas Murray has a thing in for ISIS. Thank God. He has just read Dunya Mikhail’s The Beekeeper of Sinjar, and finds it terribly important. From his review:

Rape and modesty might seem an inherently unstable cocktail of beliefs, but it is one that ISIS practiced with considerable success earlier this decade. If it isn’t to come back in any of its forms — watered-down or otherwise — then as many people as possible should make themselves familiar with the creed that these men followed. For not only are the scars of their savagery far from healed. The embers are far from out.

9. Since Mexico’s new president seems to want to control his nation’s southern border, it’s imperative the U.S. work with him, argues Dan Crenshaw. From his report:

The need for physical border security is a very real one. But equally important is the need to focus on the source of the problem: mass emigration from Central America. With the Mexican president-elect showing a clear willingness to tackle this problem, the U.S. should show equal and enthusiastic willingness to be a strong partner in such efforts.

10. Theresa May’s parade of lies has many Brits wondering — how to save Brexit. John O’Sullivan weighs in with expert analysis of the crisis; from his Corner post:

This extraordinarily comprehensive list of lies is finally prompting those who favor Brexit, including a large majority of Tories, to confront the fact that the May government is seeking to keep Britain in the EU in all but name and that it may well succeed in doing so. There is accordingly a sudden rush of articles asking the question: How can we save Brexit? Naturally, there are several possible answers to this question from leaving the EU without a deal in order to trade under World Trade Organization rules to remaining in one of the half-way houses to Brexit, such as the European Economic Area. (None of these routes, incidentally, include the Chequers deal which only Remainers now support.)

I remain agnostic about which route to take. My opinion is that the WTO route would be the best one in economic terms, providing disruption in the short term but long-term opportunities for greater prosperity in the long term, but politically hard to sell when the Remainers control most of the forums of debate. Unless those politics change, I’ll be compelled to accept the argument long made by Andrew Stuttaford (and repeated yesterday in this space) that we will have to accept a Brexit-in-installments, leaving the EU but remaining in the EEA through EFTA. (I write this through gritted teeth, which is no easy task.)

11. Andy McCarthy says the plot by House conservatives to impeach Rod Rosenstein is wrong in so many ways. From his piece, here’s one example:

As for disqualification, while I believe the deputy attorney general has conflicts of interest, his decision not to recuse himself is not an impeachable offense, even if it is wrong. Government lawyers have considerable leeway in determining whether they are conflicted in a given situation. Further, recusal is more of an issue in judicial proceedings than in congressional inquiries. Congressional committees are political bodies, and conflicts abound in their investigations. (Note that no one is suggesting that the sponsors should recuse themselves as fact-finders because they support President Trump and, like committee Democrats, are not objective arbiters of the contested FBI and Justice Department conduct.) It is not typical for a government lawyer whose conduct is at issue in a congressional investigation to recuse himself from his official responsibilities.

12. David French explains through the shouting what the “3-D Printed Gun” controversy is really about.

13. Kyle Smith says The Originalist, a new play about Justice Antonin Scalia, is a must-see. Kyle’s review is a must-read.

14. Trump’s impeachment is coming, writes Jim Geraghty, à la Godot. For the liberal faith, impeachment and criminalization is a doctrine, and inevitable. Here’s a slice of Big Jim wisdom:

I wonder how many people — particularly the not-tuned-in Trump haters — think that is how this is going to work. Mueller enjoyed a long and distinguished career at the FBI, taking over the bureau a week before 9/11, but he barely permeated the public consciousness in that role. Now he’s being portrayed as the ultimate no-nonsense tough guy by Robert De Niro on Saturday Night Live. How many Americans think that once Mueller issues his final report, this will be resolved quickly and neatly like a Scooby-Doo episode, with a mask being pulled off and everyone gasping, “It was Old Man Putin all along!”


1. Hiatus kaput: Mad Dogs and Englishmen is back. In the new episode, Kevin and Charlie discuss the freakout over 3D-printed firearms, the price tag for Medicare for All, and whether the president should be the avatar of the nation. Get your long-awaited dose of woof-woof Cheerio here.

2. Sonny Bunch joins The Remnant with Jonah Goldberg to discuss “Star Wars” revisionism, the “Golden Age” of (too much) TV, Marvel vs. DC, and more. To the Batcave, here!

3. On Episode 103 of The Editors, Rich, MBD, Charlie, and Reihan discuss Bernie Sanders’s ‘Medicare for All’ idea, the unwarranted backlash over 3D-printed guns, and the theatrical mess of Trump v. the press. Here now, hear now.

4. It’s another super-duper episode of The McCarthy Report, in which Andy and Rich ponder recent Trump tweets, continue to follow the Manafort trial, and discuss some dubious goings-on at a Trump Tower meeting. Court is in session, hear ye.

5. On the new episode of The Great Books, our dear old pal and colleague Tracy Lee Simmons joins John J. Miller to discuss Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations. Lend me your ear!

6. The Bookmonger’s JJM is joined by Oanh Ngo Usadi to discuss her book, Of Monkey Bridges and Banh Mi Sandwiches, the story of a young girl’s path from Saigon to Texas. Do listen, right here.

7. Put anortha steak awn the barbie and listen to Jonathan Swan dive into the new episode of The Jamie Weinstein Show. The Axios journalist opens up on what has surprised him about the Trump presidency, who holds influence in Trump world, how he achieved his rapid success, and much more. You’ll find the fun here.

8. In Episode 11 of Projections, Ross and Kyle take a break from the multiplex and hunker down with some home-viewing options available on demand or on streaming services: A Quiet Place, ChappaquiddickThe Death of Stalin, and Blade Runner 2049. Lights! Camera! Podcast!

9. On the new episode of Jaywalking, Brother Nordlinger speaks of Kim Kardashian — and of Kim Kashkashian, a distinguished violist, as well as Reagan, Trump, Ed Schultz, Serena Williams, and others — including the Gabors, the pre-Kardashian cool sisters. Wander over here and listen.

10. On Reality Check with Jeanne Allen, our hostess sits down with Mike McShane, who is currently the director of national research for EdChoice in Indianapolis, to discuss educational options and the effects the newest Supreme Court justice nominee might have on school choice. Strap on the earphones and pay attention.

11. David and Alexandra break down the bizarre attack on Catholic hospitals for daring to be Catholic on the new episode of Ordered Liberty. Sister says you have to listen.

And Now, a Commercial about My Kind of Gala in My Kind of Town

And that is what Chicago is, if we are to believe Old Blue Eyes. And we do! And believe you too this: On Thursday, October 18th, there will be a humdinger of a gala in the Windy City — namely, National Review Institute’s fifth annual William F. Buckley Jr. Prize Dinner, to be held at The Cultural Center in Chicago. We will bestow the Buckley Prize on our close friends, Edwin J. Feulner (for Leadership in Political Thought) and Karen Buchwald Wright (for Leadership in Supporting Liberty). Now, especially if you live in the Midwest, we want very much for you to join us at this swell and important affair, and even possibly to join the gala’s host committee (now in formation). To register as a sponsor, please click hereor contact Alexandra Zimmern Rosenberg by email ( or phone (212-849-2858).

The Six

1. Professor Daniel J. Mahoney, the pride of Assumption College, marks Marx’s bicentennial in Law & Liberty with this takedown of one of history’s most consequential fines. From his piece:

Economist, prophet of capitalism’s doom and an inevitable and blissful communist future, and revolutionary agitator par excellence, Marx hated the world as it was. His goal was “revolution” — not merely political revolution or “political emancipation,” but a wholesale change in the order of things: the aforementioned “human emancipation.” For the German ideologist, there was no human nature or “natural order of things” that needed to be respected even as one worked to promote humane and salutary change. It is a mistake to apply categories such as “eternal justice” to Marx’s political reflection. As he put it in 1845 in his “Theses on Feuerbach,” “the philosophers have only interpretedthe world, in various ways; the point however is to changeit.” This comes from the young Marx but it remained a profound sentiment of his until his death in 1883. Marx was not an advocate of reform, however radical. He did not work for “social justice” like a good humanitarian. Instead, he advocated something like “metaphysical rebellion” against the human condition. His humanism — and historicism — were distinctively inhumane and entailed something like a “gnostic” revolt against reality. Eric Voegelin and Alain Besançon have demonstrated as much and they have yet to be refuted convincingly.

For those looking for a humane alternative to the consumer society, and to the excesses of “late capitalism,” Marx does not in any way challenge the established view that the modern project ought to culminate in the thoroughgoing “conquest of nature.” He praised capitalist globalization as its most noble and desirable feature and had no quarrel with a materialist cornucopia as the final goal of human existence (even if the young Marx — the one attractive to the New Left — sometimes prefers “being” to “having”). In his early years, Marx sometimes preferred “authenticity” to material prosperity. But that is not the conclusion of mature Marxism.

2. More from Law & Liberty: Jessica Hooten Wilson reviews Elizabeth Amato’s The Pursuit of Happiness and the American Regime: Political Theory in Literature.

3. Writing in Bloomberg, Ramesh Ponnuru levels some criticism at erstwhile free-traders who now claim President Trump’s protectionism policies re truly free-trade efforts, just in disguise. From his column:

It is of course always possible that tariffs or the threat of tariffs will lead other countries to drop their own trade barriers or reduce their use of abusive practices such as the theft of intellectual property. So far Trump’s tactics — his tariffs on washing machines, solar panels, steel and aluminum, and Chinese imports — have yielded almost no such reform. The one exception: South Korea has raised the number of cars it will allow American companies to sell. But that is a fairly theoretical gain, since American companies have not been hitting today’s lower caps.

What isn’t theoretical are the higher costs for American consumers and companies Trump’s tariffs have imposed, or the retaliatory tariffs they have provoked.

It would be nice if the administration had put as much intelligence and ingenuity into setting its trade policies as Trump’s defenders have put into devising rationales for them.

4. More Mahoney: For City Journal, he discusses a new book (en français seulement, quel dommage) by French political philosopher Pierre Manent on natural law and human rights. From his piece:

Manent’s latest work is above all an effort to reactivate the perspective of the citizen or religious believer who truly acts in the human world. In the second chapter, “The Counsels of Fear,” Manent challenges a widely held belief that Machiavelli and other early modern political philosophers liberated a salutary practical perspective against the one-sidedly contemplative emphases of classical and Christian thought. This is to turn everything upside down, Manent believes. It was the classics and the Christians who defended “reflective choice” and “free will,” the preconditions of all meaningful action.  By contrast, Machiavelli, writing at the dawn of modernity, substituted a theoretical perspective on action that eclipsed the agent’s point of view. The rationale for this assault on practical action shows up most revealingly in chapters 15 and 18 of Machiavelli’s The Prince. Machiavelli could not abide the gap between “what men do” and “what they ought to do.” This distinction, so central to practical action and reflective choice, becomes, for Machiavelli, an unbridgeable chasm that confuses and enervates human beings. The chasm, he contended, must be closed once and for all. Machiavelli counsels subduing fortuna, but he has no place for reflective choice or moral prudence — the crown of the virtues, according to Aristotle.

5. More City Journal, with this from Matt Hennessey (author of the forthcoming Zero Hour for Gen X: How the Last Adult Generation Can Save America from Millennials), who worries that TechDaddy doesn’t know best.

The visionaries of Silicon Valley seem, at best, ambivalent about the social implications of calling into existence an omniscient, self-aware technium; at worst, they are so eager to see it happen that they can barely contain themselves. Call it delusions of grandeur, the God complex, or plain-old ordinary lust for power, but the celebrated geniuses of tech seem to have one thing in common: they think that they know better than the rest of us how society should run. They envision a pyramid-shaped political economy, with themselves and the super-productive Silicon Valley workforce at the top and the rest of us spanning out below in a massive, obedient — and grateful — base. The bad news is that they have the means to try to make this happen, and the implicit support of many of the soon-to-be governed, which derives from more than a decade of supplying everyone with things that we didn’t know we wanted until we got them.

6. On the Fox News website, a beautiful farewell by Judge Andrew Napolitano of his dad.

BONUS: Turkey, the land of . . . child brides. Burak Bekdil has the disturbing story for Gatestone Institute. From his piece:

Where would you like your daughter to be when she is 13? In school, or in bed with a grown man? The answer to this question is largely beyond argument in much of the world. In Islamic societies, however — including non-Arab and theoretically secular Turkey — the answer is anyone’s guess. Usually in such states, the police power of the government does not fight the patriarchal tradition; instead, it supports it.

Turkey’s former president, Abdullah Gül, incumbent Islamist strongman Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s former ally and co-founder of the party that has ruled Turkey since 2002, was a 30-year-old man when he married his wife Hayrünnisa when she was 15. Gül, nominated for the presidency by Erdoğan, was Turkey’s first Islamist president.


May 1933 was the absolute nadir of the Great Depression, as unemployment spiked to 25.49 percent. Baseball barely survived the gloom, yet soldiered on, often in near-empty ballparks. On Monday, May 15, the month’s ides and America’s economic low point, just two MLB games were played. In the AL, at Shibe Park (attendance unknown), the Philadelphia A’s beat the Cleveland Indians 1-0, with Sugar Cain getting the eight-hit shut-out win, and scoring the game’s sole run. In the Senior Circuit, at Forbes Field the first-place Pittsburgh Pirates beat the last-place Philadelphia Phillies, 5-4. The Bucs’ ace, Heinie Meine, who sported royal backup nicknames “The Count of Luxemburg” and “The Duke of Luxemburg,” went the distance, getting future Hall of Famer Chuck Klein to fly out in the top of the ninth with two on, ending a Phillies’ rally (Klein would win the Triple Crown that year). One-time Phillies’ ace Jumbo Elliott — who had no backup nickname — took the loss. The Pirates’ lineup featured five future Hall of Famers: Freddie Lindstrom, brothers Lloyd Waner and Paul Waner, shortstop Arky Vaughan, and Pie Traynor. What a day.

Eye Candy

1. The lunacy over plastic straws gets trashed by Reason TV. View the video here.

2. Oldie but goodie: Jay Leno exposes geography ignorance of America students. Watch and cringe here.

3. Comedian Owen Benjamin appears n the new Prager U video to discuss “The Strange Death of Politics.” Watch it here.

4. WFB et al in 1994 debate the death penalty. Watch it here.

5. The Gipper tells jokes.

A Dios

And to Rose, sweet soul, always there, with a smile bigger than her heart, now with all the other girls at that big Coffee Klatch in the Sky, (“Aunt Helen! Coffee time!!”), keep the pot warm for us. We hope to get there eventually. To all the rest of you, slather on the sunscreen and wear a hat in the sun, get that strange freckle checked out, and steer clear of cigareets, whusky, and wild, wild women.

God’s blessings on you and yours,

Jack Fowler

P.S.: Umbrage, dudgeon high and low, and brickbats may be heaved at I will offer up unfair slights for the redemption of the souls in Purgatory.

National Review

As with Gladness Men of Old


Dear Weekend Jolters,

Do not be confused by this missive’s subject line: We know it’s not Christmas. Nope, we just have a thing around here for . . . reflecting. We can’t help but look back to our movement’s roots. To the once-young Men of Old. Women too (Love you Priscilla! Maggie!). For nostalgia? Sure. But more so, to refresh our thoughts and contemplations as to why indeed we are conservative, why we believe what we believe. The picture attending this missive is of Our Founder and the great Russell Kirk, the centenary of whose death will be celebrated later this year by various organizations, including National Review Institute, the The Russell Kirk Center | Cultural Renewal, and The University Bookman. Just wanted to get this on Ye Olde RadarScreen.

Related: Below I link to a smart NRO piece by Liam Warner about Kirk making the case for the centrality of virtue.

More Related: A few weeks back, on his Ricochet Q & A podcast, Jay Nordlinger had a terrific interview with George Nash, the great historian, a.k.a. “Mr. Conservative.” There’s Kirk Talk aplenty. Do give that a listen.

Can It Be? Yes, Even More Related: George will be a speaker on the forthcoming NR 2018 Buckley Legacy Conservative Cruise. You should be on the cruise too! Get all the info you need, and more, at

And while we’re hawking events: You really must join us this October in Chicago for NRI’s fifth annual William F. Buckley Jr. Prize Dinner.

With all business having been conducted, we’ll echo the Great Gleason . . . and away we go.


1. Theresa, love, you’re blowing it. The UK PM gives Brexit the cooties treatment. From our editorial slapping the Tories’ Remain dalliance:

This rising hysteria of Remainer arguments may be due to the fact that the Chequers package, devised in secret by May and her aide Olly Robbins, is meeting massive and stubborn resistance from the public and in particular from the Tory public. Moreover, this resistance seems to harden the more the policy is explained — in part because, as the distinguished Tory lawyer Martin Howe, QC, points out with forensic relentlessness, most of the explanations are, ahem, terminological inexactitudes.

2. Raise tariffs, get boomeranged in the economic noggin, then bail out those boomeranged? How about . . . not raising tariffs in the first place. Our editorial strongly argues against the Trump Tariff-instigated $12-billion farmer bailout. From the editorial (warning: You might need a thesaurus with this passage):

We are right to push the Chinese to end their misbehavior, but the administration’s course is not the way to do it. The reasons should by now be pellucid. While the U.S. has indiscriminately imposed tariffs on intermediate and capital goods — often raising costs for American manufacturers in the process — foreign countries have shrewdly targeted consumer goods and commodities that will cause political problems for Republicans. And if Trump’s goal is to solve the problems in the agricultural economy, this bailout is insufficient: Many businesses that rely on the farm economy but do not grow crops themselves will not see any benefits, and the payments will lead to further market distortions as the government artificially drives up demand. Regardless, the president has resorted to cut-rate dirigisme in service of nakedly political goals, a sign that he is being out-maneuvered.

A Dozen (and Then Some) Dramatic and Delicious Conservative Confections

1. Well isn’t that nice: Kat Timpf reports that admissions officers at the Dartmouth Business school are going to evaluate applicants on their . . . niceness. Rants Her Meowness:

Now, I’m certainly not anti-nice. Like most people, I would much rather spend time around a nice person than a mean person, and I also like when I see good things — like business-school acceptance — happening to nice people. Still, I really don’t think that this is the best way for Tuck to be deciding which students it will and will not admit.

You see, “niceness” is not exactly an easy quality to identify in a person. There are plenty of fake people out there who may seem nice because they’re smiley and friendly but who are actually not good people. Conversely, there are also people out there who might seem stuck-up because they’re not smiley and friendly, but who are just shy and actually very nice at the core. I have a hard time believing that the admissions people are going to be able to tell how “nice” someone is — especially through something as cursory as reading an answer to an essay prompt.

2. For those who think a generational turnover will houseclean the liberal louts and perverts from the ranks of Catholicism’s clergy . . . nope. Michael Brendan Dougherty has a sensational piece in the wake of the scandal about Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, arch lefty and groomer of seminarians. From his essay:

First, we underestimated the damage that can be inflicted by a dying generation on its way out. If your plan is to gain territory because the other side will cede it naturally, you are vulnerable to stunning reversals when that side decides to fight back. Not long after Pope Francis was elected, the type of appointments made in America began to change. The traditional-leaning and “relatively young” Cardinal Raymond Burke was cast off the powerful Congregation of Bishops in Rome. While he had been there, Burke had likely seen to the elevation of tradition-minded men to replace old progressives, men like Bishop Salvatore Cordileone in San Francisco, Jose Gomez in Los Angeles, Timothy Dolan in New York, and Charles Chaput in Philadelphia. When Burke was removed, he was replaced by the icy Cardinal Wuerl, the successor to Cardinal McCarrick in Washington. And suddenly Cardinal McCarrick’s personal lobbying became instrumental in the ascension of progressives to the College of Cardinals, men like Blase Cupich in Chicago, Kevin Farrell sent to a Roman office, and Joseph Tobin in Newark. (Tobin, you may remember, recently tweeted what he intended to send as a direct message, “Nighty Nighty, baby. I love you.”) The careers of Burke’s men stalled out. No red hat for Chaput, nor for Cordileone, nor, shockingly, for Gomez, the leader of one of the largest archdioceses on the planet. In fact, Gomez has been gelded. His scandal-ridden predecessor, Cardinal Mahony, roams the diocese against his wishes, and beyond his control.

3. And as if that wasn’t enough, MBD looks at the mealy-mouthed reaction of America’s Catholic Cardinals to McCarrick’s decades of debauchery. It’s a doozie! From his powerful piece:

A spokeswoman for the diocese of Metuchen said that she had spoken to Cardinal Tobin and that he “has expressed his intention to discuss this tragedy with the leadership of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in order to articulate standards that will assure high standards of respect by bishops, priests, and deacons for all adults. ”

An expressed intention to articulate standards endorsing high standards. Let them eat standards. This is the moral imagination and moral vocabulary of Cardinal McCarrick’s peers in the Church. They need new policies to confront predators; the fear of perdition doesn’t move them to do so. Nor does respect for the seminarians or their congregants. Nor does self-respect. The reaction of the cardinals goes some way toward explaining how a man like McCarrick flourished in their ranks.

4. More McCarrick: George Weigel wonders how a pope with institutional moxie, such as Pius XI, might have dealt with the seminarian groomer.

5. As no one else can, Andy McCarthy explains what the FISA applications expose, redactions and all. From the get-go of his piece:

On a sleepy summer Saturday, after months of stonewalling, the FBI dumped 412 pages of documents related to the Carter Page FISA surveillance warrants — the applications, the certifications, and the warrants themselves. Now that we can see it all in black and white — mostly black, as they are heavily redacted — it is crystal clear that the Steele dossier, an unverified Clinton-campaign product, was the driving force behind the Trump–Russia investigation.

6. My dear old pal, the great Hadley Arkes, thinks through a strategy for Senate Republicans when the abortion issue rears its head in the upcoming Kavanaugh confirmation hearings. From his essay:

But as an issue for Ending the Conversation — or making the Democrats lose their appetite for raising the issue any longer — nothing stands as decisive now as the votes already taken on the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. That act was passed in the House in January of this year, a follow-up to a bill passed into law in 2002 and billed as the “most modest first step” in legislating on abortion: an act to bar the killing of a child who survived an abortion. That bill was brought forth to break out information that most of the public would find jolting: that the right to abortion was not confined to the first three months of pregnancy, that it extended through the entire pregnancy — and even when the child was born. In one notable case of a child who had survived an abortion for 21 days, a well-known federal judge ruled that “the fetus in this case was not a person whose life state law could protect.” It was a child marked for abortion — which is to say, the right to abortion meant the right to an “effective” abortion, or a dead child.

7. George Leef follows the campus lefties and their ongoing jihad against triggering statues and memorials.

8. Yo mullahs: The Trump tweets are nothing compared to the economic crackdown that is about to descend on you. Rich Lowry peers into Iran’s future.

9. Fred Bauer says that without a sense of common identity and mutual commitment, self-government loses much of its persuasive force. From his essay:

Of course, a society without any consensus might not just have a hard time sustaining the welfare state — it might also struggle to sustain the conditions of liberty. This consensus need not be absolutely rigid. Everyone doesn’t have to wear the same color shirt on Thursday or agree that Nickelback is the best band ever. But, without some broad commitment to certain key norms and institutions (such as the rule of law, the results of elections, mutual tolerance, and so forth), a society is likely to dissolve into endless fratricidal warfare. Such overarching norms help ensure that tribal disagreements can be modulated within a greater civic order. And, as I’ve just implied, some of these norms might be norms of limitation — to allow one’s fellow Americans to live, worship, and think differently. These norms might find there to be more virtue in mercy and tolerance than vengeance.

10. Ahoy matey, thinking there be too few truckers? Well this watery idea will vang yer boom and shiver yer timbers, writes Colin Grabow: Repeal the Jones Act! From this very smart piece:

Passed in 1920, this law mandates that ships transporting cargo between two points in the United States be domestically flagged, owned, crewed, and built. Intended to bolster the U.S. maritime sector, the Jones Act has instead been a case study in the failures of protectionism. Absent foreign competition, U.S. shipbuilders produce vessels whose price is as much as eight times higher than those built abroad. This disincentive to the purchase of new vessels means we have fewer ships and a fleet that is old and inefficient.

11. Congressman Carlos Curbelo, a Florida Republican, has a proposal for a greenhouse-gas tax. Like most tax proposals, it’s . . . dumb. So says Benjamin Zycher. From his piece:

So this proposal is preposterous as environmental policy regardless of what one assumes about the science and dangers of anthropogenic climate change. But it is serious in terms of wealth redistribution. With a 33 percent reduction, U.S. GHG emissions in 2030 would be about 4.9 billion metric tons; annual revenues from this tax would be $125-$150 billion, 70 percent of which would go to the Highway Trust Fund as a replacement for the federal fuels tax. Revenues from the latter in fiscal year 2016 were about $36.4 billion, so this proposal would double or triple annual federal receipts for the highway fund, to be paid by almost all energy-using sectors rather than the direct beneficiaries of federal highway outlays.

12. A century ago, the Romanovs, prisoners of the new Red regime, were dragged to a basement, murdered, and then taken to a mineshaft and dumped down it. Maddy Kearns remembers the end of a dynasty, and the beginnings of its bloody successor.

13. Later this year we’ll be celebrating Russell Kirk’s centennial. So take a look at this essay by Liam Warner about the importance of Kirk to the foundation and development of the conservative movement. From the piece:

In Kirk’s conception of society, free speech plainly does not extend to indecent material, and the Christian standard is the best we have for judging what is indecent. In the libertarian conception, which is now dominant in the conservative movement, free speech should be as broad as possible, and the virtuous citizen can decide for himself whether to patronize lewd media. Libertarians’ almost paranoid wariness of government action at any level denies the very concept of public decency.

Kirk would probably find such paranoia reckless, particularly in view of the catastrophic decline in traditional morality since World War II. Meyer and the libertarians would likely attribute this decline to religious leaders’ failure to persuade people to adhere to their doctrines, and they would assert that the government is unable to coerce virtue.

14. Marlo Safi is the new Collegiate Network Fellow, and she will be working at NR for the next year. The mostly forgotten 1933 Simile Massacre, in which Assyrian communities were wiped out by murdering Iraqi soldiers, is not forgotten by her in the important piece. From it:

Assyrians were never afforded the opportunity to heal and properly document what happened to their community. Today, they still don’t have a dignified memorial site for those who perished in the massacre. The bones of those who were callously burned in mass graves remain scattered, and can be seen protruding through the dirt in a neglected and haunting ossuary treated as a waste yard. Atop a large, dirt hill overlooking the gravesite is a sign reading “Simmel Archaeological Hill.” Trash is carelessly tossed among the bones, and the relatives of the deceased have been prohibited from unearthing the bodies for proper burial.

Four Articles from the New Issue

The August 13 issue is hot off the presses, and for those of you who are members of NRPLUS — if not, then you really need to subscribe — you can access the issue pronto. That said, here are four selections from the lofty magazine’s lofty pages:

1. The cover essay, by liberal Alexander Nazaryan, explains why he has given up on the mecca of Berkeley. Chew on this slice:

This past April, posters appeared on Berkeley’s utility poles — wooden beams scabrous with staples and shreds of paper, the remnants of older handbills calling for a protest against the Trump administration or, just as frequently, the construction of market-rate condominium buildings. “Prepare Now for the People’s Park Riots of 2018,” the new notice declared (“Date and Time to be announced”). While the riots were presumably being planned, the poster urged concerned citizens to contact Berkeley’s chief spokesman, Dan Mogulof, and the city’s mayor, a hapless and bumblingly ambitious young progressive named Jesse Arreguín who in 2016 earned an endorsement from Bernie Sanders and beat an establishment candidate on the same night that Donald Trump won the White House.

The communards were being summoned to People’s Park once again because Berkeley had declared its intent to finally reclaim its land (not a decade too soon!) and build student housing there. Berkeley’s campus is terrifically overcrowded; according to the university, it can currently house only one-fifth of its 42,000 students, leaving the rest to hunt for dwellings in the nation’s most viciously expensive housing market. The new dormitories to be erected on the site of People’s Park would house about 1,000; there would also be, according to a university press release, “75 to 125 apartments that will provide safe and supervised living for homeless Berkeley residents.”

While this may seem like a munificent gesture, not to mention an effective one, those for whom People’s Park is hallowed ground saw only an affront. Ergo, there had to be riots.

2. Pulitzer Prize-winner Jerry Kammer writes a major essay on the worksite-enforcement failures that are central to America’s immigration-policy problems. Here’s a slice:

Today, in the aftermath of President Trump’s similarly strenuous campaign to stem the flow of Central Americans across the Rio Grande, leading Democrats are calling for ICE to be abolished completely. Senator Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) has suggested that immigration enforcement is the work of racist bigots. “We have to stop vilifying and criminalizing whole populations of people because they came and arrived here from south of the border!” she proclaimed last year. Meanwhile Trump, while declaring an urgent need for a wall across the Mexican border, has shown scant interest in repairing the virtual wall around the American jobs market that Congress long ago promised but has abjectly failed to deliver.

Every feature of the widening gyre that is the modern immigration debate — outrage, efforts to delegitimize all enforcement, a pro-enforcement backlash that sometimes targets all immigration, and a political environment that smothers efforts to find common ground — is a result of the colossal failure of the last major immigration-reform law, the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. Known as IRCA, it stands as one of the most consequential failures of governance in our recent history, and we cannot understand how we got ourselves in this mess unless we understand how IRCA failed to earn its ambitious name.

3. Jay Nordlinger profiles nonagenarian Thea Musgrave, the Scottish-American composer. Do read it, right here.

4. Cell phones be darned: Graham Hillard makes the case for the land line. From the article:

To go without a cell phone in 2018 is to provoke both wonder and indignation. Snake handlers and pansexuals inspire less anthropological curiosity, lawyers and used-car salesmen less rage. Among the questions I’ve received (the most common — an astonished “How do you do that?!” — neatly illustrates the snugness of technology’s shackles) are inquiries into my trustworthiness (“You’re lying, right?”), my sociability (“Have you no friends?”), my sanity (“Are you psychotic?”), and the health and safety of my children (“They’re dead on the side of the road somewhere, aren’t they?”). The common denominator of these reactions is their implication that I have violated an unassailable 21st-century covenant—that, in my unwillingness to get with the mobile program, I have unfitted myself for polite society and, like Huck Finn’s father, can be reformed only with a shotgun.

That I have not yet been fired on, I consider purely a matter of happenstance.

Because, of course, “Thou shalt be connected” is one of the civil and economic commandments of our time. To break it produces serious annoyance. By going phoneless, I have spoiled social opportunities, caused my colleagues inconvenience, given my family grounds for worry when circumstances have delayed me, and risked setting myself up as a scold and a fool. I have forfeited the breezy conviviality of text chains and Instagram and have missed out on services — Uber, Seamless — that clearly ease city living. Were I a single man, I would now be preparing to die alone.


1. On The Remnant with Jonah Goldberg, RFC’s David Bahnsen, author of Crisis of Responsibility: Our Cultural Addiction to Blame and How You Can Cure It, cross-pollinates to discuss whether China is poised to dominate the world, whether the 2008 financial crisis was the fault of Wall Street, and much more. You gotta listen, and you gotta do that here.

2. So on the latest episode of Radio Free California, David and his dynamic other half, Will Swaim, have at Luke Thompson’s recent major NR piece on California’s problems. It’s a great program, which you can catch here.

3. Episode 102 of The Editors — titled “Coherence and Chaos” — features El Jefe Lowry with MBD, Reihan, and Charlie in a lively tussle over trade issues, followed by a discussion of Trump’s Iran and NATO diplomacy, and finish off by glancing at the Cohen tape. Groove to the tussle here.

4. On the new episode of The McCarthy Report, Rich and Andy discuss the many grey areas of the Carter Page FISA warrant, the information gaps of the Cohen tape, the new clamor for Rosenstein’s impeachment, and the possibility of a Trump and Mueller conversation. Hear ye, here.

5. Skidmore College prof Natalie Taylor joins John J. Miller to discuss The Education of Henry Adams (yeah, by Henry Adams) on the new episode of The Great Books podcast. Get educated, here.

6. Sean Spicer is the big-kahuna guest on the new episode of The Jamie Weinstein Show. You’re gonna want a bowl of popcorn for this one.

7. JJM gets the great Mona Charen to spill her guts onThe Bookmonger about her new book, Sex Matters: How Modern Feminism Lost Touch with Science, Love, and Common Sense. Listening matters too: Accomplish that here.

8. It’s a big agenda for David and Alexandra on the new episode on Ordered Liberty: the heavily-redacted FISA applications, the difference between James Gunn and Roseanne Barr, and a terrible abuse of Florida’s “stand your ground” law. Grab the headphones and listen.

9. On Reality Check with Jeanne Allen, National Heritage Academies boss Brian Britton talk shop about the NHA mission and vast accomplishments. Do lend an ear here.

10. I especially hope yawl will listen to the recent episode of Jay’s Q&Apodcast, featuring as his guest businessman Bill Browder, thugocrat Putin’s white whale. Listen here. And then there is Jay’s subsequent interview with Kyle Parker, the House of Representative staffer who is largely responsible for the Magnitsky Act. Which makes him another top target of Putin. Listen to the podcast here.

EXTRA: You should read Jay’s early-2018 profile of Browder and his family.

Point of Personal Privilege

In which I condemn the attempt to bring leftist-style “identity politics” to the Connecticut Republican party’s forthcoming primaries.

The Six

1. Over at The Catholic Thing, Matthew Hanley, in an essay on the Italian philosopher Augusto Del Noce, provides an understanding of our secular era. From his piece:

As a result, we now inhabit a technocratic society that is radically irreligious: any thought of matters pertaining to the divine in man, to his interiority, is deemed meaningless — totally irrelevant. Del Noce would not have been the least bit surprised by the recent revelations that social media giants are censoring “traditional” (i.e., mainly Christian) viewpoints; this is only the culmination of the broad pattern he saw emerging.

2. At Law & Liberty, Emina Melonic makes the case for rereading Michael Oakshott. From the essay:

Politics or political activity for Oakeshott is very much connected to the idea and reality of the community. It is “an activity of attending to the general arrangements of a set of people whom chance or choice have brought together.” Politics is relational in nature and it is in those relations that we learn how to navigate through any community which we may be part of. Unlike political ideology, political activity is not primarily concerned with theoretical musings but what kind of human beings are created in the process of politics. With this argument, Oakeshott affirms the dialogue between the individual and the community.

Politics is an act, but not one identical to activism. In our current state of affairs, we witness ideology daily in empty and meaningless slogans, whether it comes from established media figures, protests, or general social media exchanges among people. It all amounts to what we may call ‘hashtag politics.’ We understand the activity of politics when we recognize that the world we inhabit is not a haphazard mess but a “concrete whole.” The actual political act extends beyond static terms, which are the territory of ideology. Rather, a political act has the “source of its movement within itself.” What Oakeshott means is that politics, by nature, is a movable act dependent upon individual thought.

3. For Gatestone Institute, Douglas Murray castigates anti-Israeli sentiments of Britain’s Foreign Office, obsessed with claims to the Golan Heights. From his piece:

According to the British Foreign Office, the Golan Heights are ‘occupied’. They have been ‘occupied’ — according to the logic of the UK Foreign Office — since 1967, when Israel took the land from the invading forces of Syria. Ever since then, the Israelis have had the benefit of this strategic position and the Syrian regime has not. This fact, half a century on, still strikes the British Foreign Office as regrettable, and a wrong to be righted in due course.

Of course, since the onset of the Syrian civil war in 2011, the official position of the UK government has become ever-harder to justify. For example, if the Israeli government were at some point over the last seven years suddenly to have listened to the wisdom of the Foreign Office in London and handed over the strategic prize of the Golan, to whom should it have handed it? Should Israel be persuaded to hand over the territory to the Assad regime in Damascus? It is true that, throughout the course of the Syrian civil war, the one bit of territory to which the Syrian regime has laid claim and which it has not been able to barrel-bomb and otherwise immiserate the people there has been the Golan Heights. Only in the Golan has anybody in this ‘Greater Syria’ been able to live free from the constant threat of massacre and ethnic, religious or political cleansing.

4. The New Criterion remembers Tom Wolfe.

5. The College Fix reports on the new great scandal: People are prejudiced against black robots. I kid you not. Read the story here.

6. Powerful and disturbing, from Quillette: Matthew Blackwell looks at the Academic Left and its denial of Cambodian genocide. From his piece:

Amazingly, even as Cambodia disintegrated, the Khmer Rouge benefitted from unsolicited apologetics from intellectuals at the West’s august universities. Just as Mao, Stalin, and Hitler enjoyed disproportionate popularity among academics and university students, Pol Pot and his promise of a communist utopia in South East Asia elicited sharp defences from many radical Western academics. In what is now known by some historians as the ‘The Standard Total Academic View,’ these professors downplayed reports of atrocities perpetrated in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge, and printed vicious attacks against anyone who disagreed.

Reports of cities being emptied by the regime’s forced marches, for instance, were explained away as a necessary policy to prevent starvation in the country. “What was portrayed as a destructive, backward-looking policy motivated by doctrinaire hatred was actually a rationally conceived strategy for dealing with the urgent problems that faced postwar Cambodia,” wrote Gareth Porter and George Hilderbrand in their 1977 book Cambodia: Starvation and Revolution. “Cambodia is only the latest victim of the enforcement of an ideology that demands that social revolutions be portrayed as negatively as possible, rather than as responses to real human needs which the existing social and economic structure was incapable of meeting.” The authors didn’t have the direct data on food levels in Cambodia required to make this claim. Nor were they able to assess conditions on the ground, since the regime had expelled all Western observers under a policy even more strict than that adopted by North Korea today.


Small world: NR Buckley fellow Teddy Kupfer’s pop (Charles) has written a book about the Baltimore Orioles’ glory years. Something Magic: The Baltimore Orioles, 1979-1983 gets a healthy dose of thought, attention, and praise from Jay Nordlinger, who loves the National Pastime and his Tigers. From his reflection / review:

If this book has a dominant figure, it’s Earl Weaver, the fiery little sage who managed the Orioles from 1968 to 1982 (and again in 1985 and ’86). He was “baseball’s best manager,” says Kupfer, frankly if not unchallengeably. Weaver was best known for the tantrums he threw at umpires.

Is that how he was best known by Oriole fans themselves? No, as Kupfer shrewdly notes. That’s how we, the great non-Oriole public, best knew him. Baltimoreans, living with him day to day, had a better sense of how canny he was.

I am anxious to flip through the book’s pages for one of my obsessions’ sake: To see if the St. Louis Browns are mentioned. Not that they need to be. But damn it would be nice if somehow, some way, they were.

A dios

It’s late as I finish this and there is no ice cream left in the refrigerator! This offering-it-up for Purgatory’s souls stuff is hard for the sweet-toothed. OK, you have a sweet weekend. Count to 10 before you let loose. Don’t kick the dog. Be kind to spiders. And enjoy God’s profound blessings.


Jack Fowler

Send pictures of sundaes to

P.S.: The Most Beautiful Summer Melody. Ever.

NR Insider

. . . And Two Hard-Boiled Eggs


Dear Jolter,

Youth abounds at NR’s NYC HQ: We’re stuffed here with interns, Buckley fellows, a new ISI fellow, social-media worker bees, and other types of galley slaves (I swear some editor yelled “RAMMING SPEED!”). No one will be surprised if an episode of Romper Room erupts. Anyway, crowd scenes always bring to mind Groucho and the boys. By the way, the script for A Night at the Opera was written by the great Morrie Ryskind, who in his later years was a regular contributor to Bill Buckley’s little magazine. I hope we’ve taught these young’uns (we’ll show them a little Jolt love below) about the colorful heritage of this joint.

Hey, speaking of (or referring to) ship cabins: Order yours for the National Review 2019 Buckley Legacy Cruise, sailing December 1-8 on Holland America Line’s spectacular MS Oosterdam. Sign up and two hard-boiled eggs — and one duck egg — are on me.

And speaking of NRPLUS (We weren’t? Well, now we are.) I want you to become a member. Yep, not just a subscriber to the magazine, but a member of the community that has emerged through this terrific new program. In fact it’s so good there’s talk we may call it NRMULTIPLY.


1. I was in Helsinki once (on NR’s 1999 Baltic Cruise), and wandered its empty streets on a Sunday morning. Gotta admit: I was bored out of my pickled herring. Socks too. But the Finnish capital was anything but boring this week past. Understatement alert: In the opinion of our editors, it served as the summit-setting for what was not Donald Trump’s finest hour. From “The Mouth that Toured”:

Trump’s meeting with Putin in Helsinki was wholly misbegotten, an itch that he’s wanted to scratch since he got elected. On the rest of the trip, he pursued valid goals (such as the need for more NATO defense spending, especially from Germany) or made valid points (such as that Theresa May is botching Brexit, and that the Nord Stream 2 project is a boon to Russia) in a characteristically bombastic, indelicate manner.

We hope the upshot, once the dust settles and jaws stop dropping, is that the Europeans will spend more on defense and Angela Merkel will find it harder to defend Nord Stream 2, although Trump softened his opposition in Putin’s presence in Helsinki. By the time Trump had left the NATO meeting, he was praising the alliance and boasting of great progress. But he shouldn’t want the main impetus for any additional spending to be his unpredictability and his bizarre personal soft spot for Vladimir Putin (even as his administration’s actual policies on Russia have been tougher than those of its predecessors).

2. Here with some very deserved criticism of the President for pressing on auto tariffs, and furthering abuse of federal law in the process, is the editorial “Junk the Auto Tariffs”:

It appears the administration would justify the tariffs under the same provision — section 232 of the 1962 Trade Expansion Act, which gives the executive broad authority to adjust tariffs if doing so is in the interests of U.S. national security — that it cited for the recently imposed steel and aluminum tariffs. As we have argued repeatedly, the invocation of this statute is an abuse of executive authority that distorts the law beyond its meaning; imported Mercedes sedans have even less to do with American national security than does Canadian steel.

On the merits, the policy is no better. Globally integrated supply chains mean that cars manufactured in the United States (which include both domestic and foreign brands) often use imported parts, and that domestic companies occasionally manufacture overseas. The retaliatory tariffs that would surely follow would hurt American automobile exporters. All of this belies Trump’s stated rationale of protecting American auto companies, which is likely why foreign and domestic auto companies alike, as well as some automobile-production workers, have lobbied against the tariffs in recent days.

3. More taking to task, this time Senators Rubio and Scott for their efforts to scuttle the President’s nomination of Ryan Bounds to the Ninth Circuit. From the editorial:

The college writings are being described in the press as “racially charged” or worse — which is another injustice being done to Bounds as a predictable result of the senators’ conduct. Bounds’s views, while sharply expressed, were mainstream, defensible, and absent of any hint of hostility toward anyone based on his race. He opposed the existence of racially-defined organizations on campus. He criticized these groups for insulting conservative members of minority groups as “oreos” or “twinkies.” Absurdly, Bounds has been treated as a bigot for using these terms in the course of denouncing them.


1. On Episode 101 of The Editors, Charlie, Luke, Reihan, and MBD discuss Trump’s poor Helsinki performance, debate the sustainability of Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez as a candidate, and much more. Bend an ear thisaway.

2. Rich is away, but Charlie Cooke is here to save the day and team up with our favorite Andy for a new episode of The McCarthy Report, in which they discuss advances in the Russia investigation, the indictment of The Notorious Dozen Ruskies, the devolvement of judgement in the case of Strzok and Page, and the recent arrest of Russian agent Maria Butina. Listen while you handle a bowl of borscht.

3. On the new episode of The Bookmonger, John J. Miller brings on thriller-writer Daniel Silva to discuss his new novel, The Other Woman. You can catch it here.

4. Last year Sarah Ruden, occasional NR poet, published a new translation of Augustine’s Confessions, and this classic work finds itself as the topic for the new episode of JJM’s The Great Books podcast. Do listen, here.

5. If you were anxiously awaiting for Part Two of Charlie Cooke’s dissembling on The Beatles for our Political Beats podcast, I’ve got good news for you. Keep Calm and Carry Headphones.

6. On the new episode of Reality Check with Jeanne Allen, charter-school pioneer Lisa Graham Keegan talks about past, present, and future in education today in Arizona and across the country. Class, pay attention; right now, right here.

7. Bring your flashlight to the new “Light and Dark” episode of Jaywalking, which Brother Nordlinger starts with a phrase from long ago — “a thousand points of light” — and ends with some music, heard in the darkness of Iraq under ISIS. Listen here.

8. The “Helsinki Follies” get reviewed by David and Alexandra on the new episode of Ordered Liberty. Definitely not entertaining for those who cannot take criticism of the President. Listen, or not, here.

9. More Charlie: He’s the big kahuna guest on the new episode of The Remnant with Jonah Goldberg. Listen to it here.

And Now, a Commercial about My Kind of Gala in My Kind of Town

And that is what Chicago is, if we are to believe Old Blue Eyes. And we do! And believe you this too: On Thursday, October 18, there will be a humdinger of a gala in the Windy City – namely, National Review Institute’s fifth annual William F. Buckley Jr. Prize Dinner, to be held at The Cultural Center in Chicago, and bestowing the Buckley Prize onour close friends,Edwin J. Feulner (Leadership in Political Thought) and Karen Buchwald Wright (for Leadership in Supporting Liberty). Now, especially if you live in the Midwest, we want very much for you to join us at this swell and important affair, and even possibly to join the gala’s host committee (now in formation). To register as a sponsor, please click here or contact Alexandra Zimmern Rosenberg by email ( or phone (212-849-2858). We’re hoping folks will do that before August 1.

Fifteen Examples of NR Brilliance, In Toto Possibly Brighter Than the Lightning Strike That Knocked Out the Power in Your Neighborhood

1. If you’re like me, you were eager for John O’Sullivan’s analysis of the Brexit mess and the fate of PM Theresa May. And you’d be right to be eager. A terrific piece that was worth the wait. From it:

All this created an atmosphere at Westminster of instability, uncertainty, even chaos, and right on cue Donald Trump arrived. There followed three days of diplomatic pratfalls, insults, inappropriate political interventions, minor court discourtesies, apologies, and at last charm offensives until the Donald left a relieved Theresa May for Helsinki. It was Hellzapoppin’ stuff, but apparently it went down quite well with about two-thirds of the Brits, probably because Trump said nice things about Britain in comparison with the vituperative attacks we hear from Brussels. Also it was highly entertaining — see Freddy Gray’s reports for the London Spectator. But it left an impact on two serious matters. Trump managed to get the Europeans to concede that this time they’d have to hike their defense spending. Second, he said — and despite all the blunders and apologies he didn’t retract the statement — that May’s version of Brexit was not compatible with the U.S.–U.K. free-trade deal he was offering. People took that on board: Obama may have threatened, but May was actually sending Britain to “the back of the queue.” It was yet one more sign that her version of Brexit was not meeting her red lines, what people had voted for, or what Brexiteers in her own party plainly wanted.

Even while Trump was in the U.K., her support began to collapse. Opinion polls showed that support for the Tory government and for her personally was falling precipitately. Labour took a four-point lead as the Tories fell from 42 to 36 percent. Worse, UKIP rose by five points, or almost the same number of voters the Tories lost, to 8 percent. UKIP again poses a serious electoral threat to the Tories. Reports from the constituencies showed massive anger and rejection of the May policy, with stories of party members resigning, burning their party cards, and vowing never to vote Tory again. To staunch this hemorrhage, May gave a television interview. It fell short of a disaster, but it gave very little reassurance to those who feel that she has made too many concessions to Brussels in the talks so far and that she will probably make more.

2. Peter Beinart smacked (in “a trademark incoherent rant”) Rich Lowry and Victor Davis Hanson. VDH smacked back. Ouch. That’s going to leave a mark. From his piece:

Last time I looked, the Paris climate accord and the Iran deal (and its stealth “side” deals) were pushed through as quasi-executive orders and never submitted to Congress as treaties — largely because the Obama administration understood that both deals would have been summarily rejected and lacked support from most of Congress and also the American people, owing to the deal’s inherent flaws.

The U.S. may soon come closer to meeting carbon-emission-reduction goals than most of the signatories of the Paris farce. Following the Iran pullout, Iranians now seem more inclined to protest their theocratic government. They are confident in voicing their dissent in a way we have not seen since we ignored Iranian protesters during the Green Revolution of 2009. Incidents of Iranian harassment of U.S. ships in the Persian Gulf this year have mysteriously declined to almost zero.

3. Helsinki One: Nope, says Andy McCarthy, President Trump really did not have to meet with Putin. From his analysis:

We are no longer in the era of the Second World War, or even the Cold War. We are not in a ferocious global conflict in which a grudging alliance with Stalin’s Soviet Union makes sense (especially when the Russians are taking the vast majority of the casualties). Nor are we in a bipolar global order in which we are rivaled by a tyrannical Soviet empire. Modern Russia is a fading country. Yes, it has a worrisome nuclear stockpile, strong armed forces, and highly capable intelligence services; but these assets can scarcely obscure Russia’s declining population, pervasive societal dysfunction (high levels of drunkenness, disease, and unemployment), low life expectancy, and third-rate economy. Putin’s regime — more like a marriage of rulers and organized crime than a principled system of government — must terrorize its people to maintain its grip on power.

We don’t need summit meetings between our head of state and theirs. Even during the Cold War, when it could rightly be argued that we had to deal with our ubiquitous geopolitical foe, such meetings did not happen very often. For example, in the decade-plus between President Kennedy’s Vienna meeting with Khrushchev and President Nixon’s trip to Moscow, there appears to have been just one meeting (between LBJ and Alexei Kosygin in 1967). Contact was also sparse in the decade between the end of the Nixon–Ford term and Reagan’s first meeting with Gorbachev in 1985 (after which the meetings became more frequent as the Soviet Union declined and collapsed). Many of these meetings are memorable precisely because they were unusual events. Whether the top-level U.S.–U.S.S.R. meetings succeeded or not, they were arguably worth having because there was something potentially highly beneficial in them for us.

4. Helsinki Two: Jonah Goldberg calls it a fiasco for Trump. Why? From the finale of his new column:

But Trump’s stubborn refusal to listen to his own advisers in the matter of the Russia investigation likely stems from his inability to admit that his instincts are ever wrong. As always, Trump’s character trumps all.

5. Helsinki Three: Rich Lowry’s take is smart and sharp, as usual. From it:

More startling were Trump’s statements blaming both the United States and Russia for poor relations. He tweeted it before his meeting with Putin and then confirmed the point when pressed about it in his news conference: “I hold both countries responsible.”

Ah, yes, both countries. One is given to invading its neighbors, rigging elections, killing dissidents (including on foreign soil), and violating international agreements and norms in the hopes of reestablishing something like the old Russian empire. The other has a strange, but apparently unbreakable, habit of electing new presidents who naïvely believe that they can reset relations with Russia based on their personality and goodwill.

6. The Administration’s imposed tariffs are biting — or, in this case, clawing — American industries as the Chinese counter or shop elsewhere. It’s a long way from Shanghai, but regardless, Maine’s lobster industry is getting slammed. Jibran Kahn has the grim analysis. From it:

China is one of the largest markets for Maine shellfish, but because the Chinese have reacted to the U.S. tariffs by imposing some of their own, that is beginning to change. With tariffs now set at 40 percent for live lobster and 35 percent for processed lobster, Maine’s seafood producers are taking a hit. Rather than pay a considerably higher amount in taxes by importing from Maine, Chinese businesses are shifting to Canadian suppliers, whose lobster exports have not been subject to the new tariffs. Canadian waters are home to the same species of lobster, so the trade war makes their product a direct, cheaper substitute.

The fact that Chinese businesses are still importing the same type of lobster shows that this shift is not the product of market forces. It is the completely avoidable result of government interference. Indeed, before the advent of the trade war, exports of Maine lobster to China had been increasing. Last year alone, they tripled, and fishing companies in the state have invested in larger facilities to in response to the boom in sales. One business (among many), The Lobster Co., had expanded its capacity so that it could ship out 100,000 pounds of lobster a day (up from the 15,000 pounds a day it sent to China last year). Businessmen spent more, knowing that they were set to sell enough to make up for the investments. Now, they continue to face those costs, but without the expected profits. The co-owner of The Lobster Co., Steph Nadeau, is not sure if her business, which employs 18 people, will survive the year. In addition to its direct employees, it sources its lobster from dozens of lobstermen. These freelancers may now find themselves without a market to sell their catch to.

7. More Jibran: He’s got a very smart piece about a forthcoming SCOTUS case (Timbs v. Indiana) that presents an opportunity to clobber the form of thievery better known as civil-asset forfeiture. From his piece:

The way that seized money is spent is just as disgraceful as the takings themselves. Departments have used forfeiture funds to buy Mercedes-Benzes, BMWs, Corvettes, Hawaiian vacations, and ski trips — just to list a few. They have also used these funds to buy military equipment, which has contributed to the dissolution of Sir Robert Peel’s concept of good policing that held the police should be well-integrated with the public rather than seeing itself as a military force. It’s no surprise that Brad Cates, who headed up asset forfeiture at the Department of Justice in the 1980s, describes it as “a free-floating slush fund.” The taking of property from citizens who are not charged with crimes to fund lavish lifestyles for government officials sounds like something out of the most dysfunctional Third World regimes.

It’s heartening to see that the Supreme Court will hear the case. The practice is an affront to both constitutional and cultural norms, and has empowered law enforcement to engage in what would be considered criminality by any other measure. The incentive to police for profit encourages miscarriages of justice. Citizens who find themselves stripped of their property may resort to crime for quick cash. Removing civil forfeiture will not only reduce corruption; it will help fight crime.

8. Did our president seriously consider allowing the thug Putin to interrogate Bill Browder? Mona Charen looks at Putin’s obsession with the Magnitsky Act. From her column:

Sergei Magnitsky was the accountant who worked for William Browder. When Browder’s firm, Hermitage Capital, was the victim of a fraud and embezzlement scheme, Magnitsky patiently pieced together the truth. Those responsible, it turned out, were Russian government agents, living large and enjoying BMWs and seaside apartments. Magnitsky’s reward was to be arrested and tortured to death. Oh, and to add a nice Soviet-style touch, Putin’s government pinned the embezzlement on Magnitsky. Putin’s retaliation, halting adoptions of Russian babies by Americans, was another human-rights abuse.

Browder was shaken to his core by Magnitsky’s fate and has since devoted his life to passing Magnitsky laws in every country he can convince. Ours passed in 2012. The law forbids Americans to do any business, including banking, with those who had a part in Magnitsky’s torture and death, thereby making it more difficult for Russian criminals (i.e., state actors including Putin) to stash stolen money in the U.S. or other countries that have adopted such laws. It would not be strange for a president of the United States to award someone like Bill Browder a medal. It is pathetic for a president of the United States to be so obtuse or ignorant or both as to agree before all the world that such a man might be questioned by Putin’s trained attack dogs.

9. Kyle “Fernando” Smith reviews Mama Mia. Abba dabba do! From his piece:

As you’d expect, the film resembles a string of goofy conceptual music videos from about 1983. Those who are made happy by camp will be happy campers, but I’m in it for the melodies, not the feather boas and the electric-blue space boots. Yes, I’m an ABBA lover, and you won’t find a heterosexual man more devoted to those songs than I (except, perhaps, my boss Charles C. W. Cooke). My grudge with the original Broadway musical and its 2008 film adaptation was primarily the ruinous show-tune arrangements, though my ears were also scarred by Pierce Brosnan’s broken-carburetor vocals in the latter. This time, however, those unblessed by singing ability are elbowed off to the side and the songs are closer to the sound of the records. That ripping guitar on “Knowing Me, Knowing You,” for instance? Perfection. A faithful rendition of “Dancing Queen” as presented by a flouncy flotilla of party guests? Works for me. I can never tire of the song.

10. Meanwhile, Armond White pens this amazing piece about Denzel Washington, Equalizer 2, his role in last year’s Roman J. Israel, Esq., and the “disappearance of the black public intellectual.” From the piece:

All the RJI character study needed to make sense to moviegoers was a reassuring bebop/funk/disco black-power theme song like that in Shaft. Instead, we got a doofus brandishing impeccable musical taste: Marvin Gaye records on his old-fashioned stereo turntable. Despite this éclat, RJI’s sob story turned out to be a frustrating elegy for something we didn’t know we’d lost.

Moviegoers couldn’t recognize RJI because they could no longer relate to him as one of the breed of black media and academic specialist that peaked during the 1990s — who frequently appeared on PBS’s Charlie Rose Show and C-SPAN, was a regular vendor on the New York Times op-ed page, and was a staple on the university lecture and conference circuit. The fin-de-siècle black public intellectual has been replaced — given today’s historic levels of political division and equally historic degrees of celebrity worship — by showier political gestures, whether from the estimable Kanye West or the race hustler Donald Glover (Childish Gambino).

11. A short but very sweet Charlie Cooke take on media bias: “Apparently, Only Conservatives Spend Money on Politics.”

12. Late at night, while you are sleeping, Ramesh Ponnuru is scouring the footnotes of inane Democrat lawsuits. Look at what he found.

13. More VDH: He didn’t need to go up to Mount Sinai to get these 10 Commandments. Here’s Number 8:

The Law Follows Reality.In the progressive legal mind, popular culture and collective progressive habit need a law to sanctify reality. The neo-Confederate idea of sanctuary cities does not nullify the Constitution because they are useful to the open-borders movement. By contrast, a travel ban against countries deemed unable to verify the passports and records of their citizens would be unconstitutional, given the perception that it falls inordinately on unstable Muslim-majority nations. The legality of gay marriage or abortion depends entirely on how popular or acceptable to the public such trends have become, or how useful such changing protocols are to political ends. The constructionist idea in contrast believes that the spirit of law exists across time and space and predates popular practice. The law is immune from considerations of whether it enhances or retards progressive change. When the Court bucks popular culture, it is derided as little more than the cranky work of “nine old men”; when it accelerates perceived social justice, then the justices become “far-seeing,” “lively,” “engaged,” and “spirited.” When nine justices rule progressively, they are properly shielded from popular passions and benefit from their separation from the politics of the day; when they don’t, they are “out of touch” and “clueless” to the world about them.

14. A gaggle of editors and NRO friends make summer-reading recommendations right here. One of the suggesters (is that a word?) is Tevi Troy, and it gives me great pleasure to single him out!

15. What happened to the ADL (which, per Jonathan Tobin, has turned into an adjunct of the Democrat Party)? Here’s a smart look at another sector of the Trump Resistance. From the piece:

It is no surprise that many liberal groups — including some that are all-in on what some on the left are treating as an apocalyptic fight for the future of the High Court — are reflexively opposed to anyone Trump may nominate. But the ADL’s presence in the ranks of those who are supplying the organizational muscle for the resistance to Trump might come as a surprise to those who haven’t been paying much attention to the group in recent years. Though it spent its first century of existence being careful to avoid getting labeled as a partisan outfit, in the three years since the ADL’s longtime national director Abe Foxman retired, Greenblatt has steadily pushed the group farther to the left and, in so doing, more or less destroyed its reputation as being above politics. After the ADL has repeatedly involved itself in partisan controversies, it is impossible to pretend that Greenblatt’s vision of the group isn’t fundamentally that of a Democratic-party auxiliary that is increasingly overshadowing and marginalizing its still-vital role as the nation’s guardian against anti-Semitism.

Let’s Hear It from the Kiddies

1. Socialist wanna-congressman Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez appears on the new episode of Margaret Hoover’s Firing Line reboot, and intern Liam Warner finds the newbie politico embarrasses herself. From his piece:

On finally to immigration. She made a good point in noting that we should consider the humanitarian consequences of military involvement in foreign countries, which might create an obligation for the United States to accept the refugees displaced by the conflict. She went on, however, to complain that “we have always legislated from a place of ‘How do we exclude?’ and ‘Who do we exclude?’” We could, of course, also ask whom to include — that’s the same question. Immigration policy consists precisely in deciding which people to admit and which people not to admit. We could admit all of them, we could admit none of them, we could select using various criteria. Rather than declare her position, Ocasio-Cortez explained how important low-skilled workers are to the economy that, as she has just finished telling us, is hemorrhaging low-skilled jobs to automation.

2. What happens on the campus doesn’t stay on the campus: NR intern Christian Gonzalez argues that the wars over campus politics should matter very much to all, because they eventually involve all. From his piece:

The clearest example of this phenomenon is seen in how intersectionality — an academic ideology if there ever was one — has influenced protest movements surrounding issues of race. The ideology of Black Lives Matter (BLM), one of the foremost protest movements on the left, shows clear signs of having been shaped by highbrow intellectual currents. BLM’s platform makes clear references to Marxist political economy, declaring “that patriarchy, exploitative capitalism, militarism, and white supremacy know no borders” and that its members “stand in solidarity with our international family against the ravages of global capitalism and anti-Black racism, human-made climate change, war, and exploitation.” It owes a debt to intersectionality as well, as we can infer from its affirmation of “the lives of Black queer and trans folks, disabled folks, undocumented folks, folks with records, women, and all Black lives along the gender spectrum.” These are not just abstract rhetorical points: They translate into BLM’s policy demands. For instance, BLM believes that “Black humanity and dignity requires political will and power,” asks that higher education be made free for black students, and argues that black Americans should receive a form of universal basic income.

Whatever one thinks of BLM’s policy proposals, they are indisputably influenced by an intersectional ideology with deep roots in academia. If BLM successfully effects policy changes, those changes will owe an intellectual debt to the influence of intersectional theorists in the academy.

3. Jimmy Quinn, whiz-bang intern, scores the Democrats’ Russia smugness. Here’s how his Corner post ends:

But as long as the Democrats want to play their faux anti-Russia game, we might as well hold them to a repudiation of Obama’s feckless policy of acquiescence and move them toward an embrace of assertive policies that hold Putin to account.

4. If you think The Donald has bad manners, well, so did his British protestors last week. NRI Buckley fellow Madeline Kearns reflects in the Corner.

The Six

1. This one is for your Walker Percy lovers: At Law and Liberty, Titus Techera considers the nexus of technology and self-knowledge. Find it here.

2. At Gatestone Institute, Soeren Kern reports on Germany’s dysfunctional deportation system.

3. At Modern Age, George Hawley reviews The People Vs. Democracy: Why Our Freedom Is in Danger & How to Save It by Yascha Mounk. From his review:

Economic stagnation and growing inequality are another source of rising skepticism about the compatibility of liberalism and democracy. Political theorists like to emphasize the growing acceptance of liberal ideals in the twentieth century. But it is possible that most people were never enthralled with liberal democracy as a matter of principle. Instead, its stability may have resulted from the high and rising standard of living that it seemed to provide. The consolidation of liberal democracy across the Western world coincided with unprecedented affluence, widely shared. Even more important, all signs indicated that the long-term trajectory was toward even greater prosperity. Although the economy would experience vicissitudes, in the end each generation was expected to be better off than its predecessor.

This pattern has broken down. Economic growth continues in the United States, and few Americans are destitute by global or historical standards. Yet the wealthiest Americans are capturing most of these gains, and wages are stagnant for the rest of the country. Many of the oldest millennials are approaching middle age with less economic security than their parents enjoyed at a similar stage of life, despite higher levels of education. Material comfort was one of liberal democracy’s greatest selling points. If it no longer delivers on that promise, faith in liberalism and democracy may erode further.

4. Big surprise: The College Fix reports that the University of Oregon student government last year gave liberal groups $250,000, but conservative groups a measly $1,500. Brandon Jacob reports.

5. At The Federalist, Joy Pullman reports on a new study which shows that preschool kids learn less and misbehave more. From the piece:

At the end of one year in Tennessee’s pre-k, participating children scored better on academic measures than non-participants did, such as letter recognition and sounds. But during just one year of kindergarten, non-participating children not only caught up to the preschooled children but surpassed them. This effect persisted through third grade, where “VPK participants scored lower on the reading, math, and science tests than the control children with differences that were statistically significant for math and science.”

“In math, the VPK group scored 0.12 standard deviations lower than the control group, which equates to roughly 13 percent less growth in math achievement than would be expected in the third grade year,” the Straight Talk summary explains. “In science, the VPK group scored 0.09 standard deviations lower than the control group, which equates to roughly 23 percent less growth in science achievement than would be expected in the third grade year.”

6. Department of Ox Gored: Heather Mac Donald writes in City Journal about selective outrage for murders in Chicago. From her piece:

There were no protests against the taking of the carjacking victim’s life. Carjackings have nearly tripled in Chicago since 2015, averaging two per day in 2017 and close to that in 2018. In August 2016, officers tried to pull over a car involved in an earlier carjacking; someone inside the car opened fire and hit one of the officers in the face. The shooter was on parole for attempted armed robbery. In January 2017, a teen carjacker ambushed a 34-year-old mother in an alleyway where she had been parking her car. His initial blow to her head with his gun was so severe that it temporarily blinded her. “Quit trying to kick back, you white bitch,” the assailant said as he pistol-whipped her. Before the attack, the mother had noticed a van suspiciously idling in the alleyway, but decided to continue about her business, likely second-guessing herself about “racial profiling.” In March 2017, a man with a gun forced a 24-year-old woman into the trunk of her car and raced it around the South Side until crashing into a tree. In August 2017, a 28-year-old entrepreneur and student was fatally shot in his car when he refused to hand it over to the carjacker. In November 2017, a pair of thugs accosted an 88-year-old man and stole his Lincoln at gunpoint. They almost immediately crashed into a semitrailer truck and retaining wall; one of the two felons died in the crash.

Baseballery, in Which I Namely Name Names

1. I would like to buy a vowel: Emil Yde, Pirates hurler of the mid 20s — as a rookie in 1924 went 16-3 — started and lost a game in the 1925 World Series (gave up a single to Walter Johnson and back-to-back home runs by Goose Goslin and Joe Harris).

2. I would like to sell a vowel: Dario Antonio Lodigiani, San Francisco native and childhood playmate and teammate of the Brothers DiMaggio. He played second and third for the As and White Sox in the late 30s and early 40s, and was still knocking around in the minors in the mid 50s.

3. Cactus Keck hurled for the Cincinnati Reds in 1922 and 1923 (his record was 10-12), and then disappeared into the minor leagues. His Reds teammates included Bubbles Hargrave, Greasy Neale, and my non-relation, Boob Fowler. He was also known by the hardly better nickname of “Gink.” Maybe “Glorp” and “Toenail” were taken.

(BTW: Cactus also played with Rinaldo Angelo Paolinelli, a.k.a Babe Pinelli, who later became an umpire and was behind the plate when Don Larsen pitched his perfect game in the 1956 World Series.)

A Dios

I had a theological talk with a colleague this week, and the discussion came to finding happiness in God’s creation in things small and innocent and not obvious. I have found intense happiness in things big (the one time I saw the Milky Way, and that time I won the quinella at Yonkers Raceway!), but then there is the beauty of . . . the Buffalo Nickel. Even worn and scratched, it is majestic and dignified and elicits a smile. Find something innocuous to smile about this weekend, and some time to thank the Ancient of Days for your life and your liberties.

God bless,

Jack Fowler

On the grid at

Corrections: Daniel Silva is the author of The Other Woman. The Ten Commandments were given to Moses on Mount Sinai.