Tomorrow is not only Father’s Day: It is the anniversary (1930) of President Herbert Hoover signing the infamous Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act into law. There’s something about two-name acts — Dodd–Frank, Sarbanes–Oxley, Glass–Steagal, Corker–Kaine— that gives me the willies. Something about tariffs gives NR and plenty of conservatives the willies too. More on that below. But poor Smoot. Poor Hawley. No favors went unpunished: For their troubles in wrecking the national and world economies, both Republicans were defeated for reelection in 1932. Just like Herb.
Mr. President: History is holding on Line One!
Anyway, back to Old-Man Celebrating: Let’s get in Sunday’s spirit with Eddie Fischer belting out Oh! My Papa. And if you need a little guilt to induce a good thought about the hard-working galoot, the never-sleeping ATM machine, get woke to the Fifth Commandment.
One last thing: Al Capp, the great cartoonist and creator of Li’l Abner, pictured above in his boxers promoting Father’s Day gift ideas, was a liberal who became an unvarnished critic of First Amendment foes and destructive campus leftists. His 1969 appearance on Firing Line is considered a classic. You should watch the entire episode, here.
Don’t Tell Me — You Forgot.
I told you now to tell me! Rimshot! So: You haven’t gotten the big lug a Father’s Day present and papa mia is time running (very fast!) out. Don’t reach for the anxiety meds yet — we have you covered. Here’s a great gift for dad — an amazingly good gift, one of those truly keeps-on-giving kinds — that won’t cost much, that’ll save you a trip to a mall, that saves your neck: a one-year NR Plus membership. For a measly $49 (which is a huge 53 percent discount from the regular price), Dear Old Dad or Grandpappy will get a digital access to NR magazine (24 big fortnightly issues), full access to NR’s podcast archives, up to 90 percent fewer ads across NRO when he visits (let me repeat that – 90 percent fewer ads!), the right and ability to comment on NRO articles and Corner posts, and lots more.
So after you deep dive the Jolt (editorials are coming up in a moment) — you’re going to go here and sign up. But as this is a special Father’s Day offer, to get that big discount type in the code NRDADGIFT (a lot safer than typing RUMPLESTILTSKIN or BEETLEJUICE). Yep, you can do right by dad, even at this eleventh hour, by giving him the kind of gift that would thrill the cockles of his conservative heart — NR PLUS.
1. Please do trust us: We are no Trudeau fanboys at NR. But we contend President Trump’s shots at him serve no end, and we also contend that Canada isn’t our enemy. From our editorial:
First, trade disputes with our allies distract attention from the main challenge to the international trading order, which is China. The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation ranks countries on their mercantilism. China is far and away the worst offender — Canada and Germany are pikers by comparison. If we are truly going to get China to abandon its most objectionable practices, we will need the allies we are now alienating with steel and aluminum tariffs to help us pressure Beijing, which, by the way, is using its wealth to try to expel us from East Asia.
2. On the Singapore Summit, we find that the North Korean dictator served up more of the same could-be-empty promises. It was Kim’s Big Day. From the editorial:
Even if we have to treat with Kim, we should never forget — or let him forget — that he’s a parasite on his people who violates every civilized norm and runs the most hideous police state in the world. Reagan, of course, never stopped talking about Soviet oppression even as he met with Soviet leaders. Pressuring the North on its wholesale violations of human rights should be an element of our pressure campaign against it — indeed, the nature of the regime is at the root of its recklessness and danger.
The buttering up of Kim would at least be a little more understandable if he had made major concessions at the summit. The meeting was initially billed as the moment when Kim would perhaps commit to complete, verifiable, rapid denuclearization. Instead, he produced more of the same — vague assurances of disarmament — in exchange for American concessions.
3. Here’s one of those things we wish we didn’t have to write: an editorial calling on EPA administrator Scott Pruitt, up to his eyeballs in mounting and controversial / bizarre behavior, to resign. From the editorial:
This is no way for any public official to treat taxpayers. It also makes it practically impossible for Pruitt to make the case for the Trump administration’s environmental policies — a case that we continue to believe deserves to be made. It does not help that Pruitt’s conduct has left him nearly alone at the agency. Many of his top aides have fled and paranoia seems to consume those who remain.
1. The new episode of The Editors — the “Trump/Kim Summit Edition” — features Rich, Reihan, Michael, and Charlie discussing the North Korea summit, the G-7 summit, and the primary travails of Mark Sanford and Corey Stewart. Listen here.
2. Still featuring the new-car smell, The McCarthy Report’s second episode stars Andy and Rich discussing the split loyalties of Trump administration officials (Yo! Rod Rosenstein!). Hear here.
3. James Person has edited Imaginative Conservative: The Letters of Russell Kirk, and he’s on The Bookmonger with John J. Miller to discuss this important book about a primo conservative movement founder. You can catch it here.
4. On the new episode of Reality Check with Jeanne Allen, Carol D’Amico discusses business-led involvement with education reform, and much more. A very interesting program, which you can catch here.
5. In case you’re asking, “what about whataboutism,” David and Alexandra have the answer on the new episode of Ordered Liberty. Catch it here.
Two Six-Packs of Father’s Day Wisdom — Drink Irresponsibly if You Must!
1. About the best thing you can read on the late Anthony Bourdain and his cult of foodie worship is the terrific analysis / reflection by Kyle Smith. Praise where the praising is needed, eye-rolling when and where required too. From his piece:
After Bourdain’s 1999 New Yorker essay “Don’t Eat Before Reading This” subsequently developed into the bestselling book Kitchen Confidential, we began to think of chefs as cocky, swaggering, irreverent, intemperate, profane, macho, preferably with tattoos and a history of heroin addiction. Bourdain had a beguilingly democratic spirit, guiding us to fantastic meals served for a few bucks at a hole in the wall or even a humble food truck (previously derided as a “roach coach”). He made food exciting, adventurous, cool, sexy. On his CNN show Parts Unknown, he brought a sitting president (Barack Obama) to a noodle shop in Hanoi where the pair sat on plastic stools and enjoyed a $6 meal of pork noodles, fried spring rolls, and bottled beer.
The table where they ate, though, is today a shrine, encased in glass, set apart like a priceless work of art. This raises a question: Is the appeal of these two based on their being two ordinary guys like the rest of us, or are they gods who so sanctified objects with their touch that their empty beer bottles must be as jealously guarded as the Shroud of Turin?
2. Power to the people . . . not: The Kim regime, writes Robert Bryce, has “weaponized” electricity, which is now inaccessible to 70 percent of North Koreans. From his piece:
Indeed, by restricting electricity use, Kim has turned it into a weapon. In February, as sanctions on his country began pinching his regime’s finances, rather than increase the supply of electricity to North Koreans, he began selling it to China. According to the Seoul-based publication Daily NK, the electricity from a hydroelectric dam in the western part of the country was being supplied to a Chinese factory that produces fire-proofing materials. In return, Kim’s regime is getting cash payments of up to $100,000 per month. The Daily NK also reported that “The abrupt choice to export electricity means that the absolute amount of energy supplied domestically will be reduced. Power will continue to be supplied first and foremost to Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il idolization sites, munitions factories, and essential government organizations like the Party, and intelligence bodies, etc.”
3. Robert Poole has spent a lifetime dwelling upon American transportation, and now worrying about how it gets sustained, repaired, and expanded. This might not be to your liking, but it is sure as heck thought-provoking. From his analysis:
The federal highway-funding system, which now depends on tens of billions in “general revenue” each year to supplement dwindling fuel-tax revenue, is not sustainable. As the national debt nears 100 percent of GDP and entitlements, defense spending, and interest payments consume nearly all federal revenue, there will be little or no general revenue left to subsidize highways and transit. State governments are poorly positioned to take up the slack, since the majority of them have massive unfunded liabilities in their public-employee-pension systems that will restrict their spending for decades to come. And the 20th century gas-tax system is running out of steam, as conventional engines go twice as far on a gallon of gas and electric and other propulsion sources get set to become mainstream in coming decades.
4. Ericka Andersen — author of the forthcoming Leaving Cloud 9: The True Story of a Life Resurrected from the Ashes of Poverty, Trauma, and Mental Illness — writes about the link between childhood trauma and skyrocketing suicide rates. From the article:
People are looking for reasons behind why their loved ones — or even their idolized ones — end their lives. For many, it ismental illness. For others, it is the inability to deal with pasts so painful that they dictate present life. It’s important that those trying to heal from such traumatic pasts — feeling like they may never be free — know that there are people who have come out on the other side.
This is why so many people have come out publicly with their “suicidal stories” in the past week. They want people in their lives to know that it’s possible to feel that life is so dark it isn’t worth living — but that it’s also possible to rise up out of that place and shudder to think that they almost gave up.
5. Netflix has issued an edict to employees: They cannot look at each other for more than five seconds. Four is okay. Six? Verboten. Kat Timpf has the insane story here.
6. Jonathan Tobin found President Trump’s antics at the G-7 Summit to be base-endearing, but terribly troubling. From his piece:
But if, as critics could not unreasonably conclude from his behavior at the summit, the shift he seeks is not so much attitudinal as it is substantive, then perhaps the historical associations with the term “America First” can’t be ignored as just an unfortunate coincidence. His lack of comfort with the whole idea of the Western alliance, his seemingly insatiable appetite for trade wars, and his continuing inexplicable soft spot for Russia seem to indicate more than just a desire to recalibrate U.S. strategy to deal with new threats and realities. Instead, he seems to be demonstrating a fundamental desire to overturn the nation’s foundational beliefs of post–World War II foreign policy.
7. À la our editorial, Bossman Rich Lowry scores Trump’s dustup with Canada’s Prime Minister, who he declares annoying, yes, but not America’s adversary. Like China. From the column:
They said that Trudeau risked undermining the president’s position at his imminent summit in Singapore with Kim Jong-un. But the North Korea dictator is not recalibrating his diplomacy based on the statements of a leader of an inoffensive country half a world away.
The incident is a great misdirection. Canada’s trade practices are hardly above reproach. Its tariff on milk of 270 percent, highlighted by Trump officials the past few days, is stupid and indefensible. It is guilty of subsidizing and protecting favored companies and sectors, the way most countries are.
It is nothing compared with the world’s great mercantilist power, though. China routinely steals U.S. intellectual property, seeks to distort the entire system of international commerce to its advantage, and is pouring resources into a massive military buildup, with which it eventually hopes to expel the United States from East Asia.
8. Just how naturally can (or can’t) Catholicism fit into a changing America — that’s a question being debated by a number of serious papal-y thinkers. To those who say it can’t, well, Notre Dame prof Vincent Phillip Muñoz says ixnay. From this deep and interesting essay:
Faithful Americans can and should be patriotic citizens and champions of American principles. The principles that animated the American Founding — human equality, natural rights, government by consent, religious freedom — do not stand opposed to orthodox religious beliefs and practices. While one might agree with First Things editor Rusty Reno that “the American liberal tradition is in trouble,” our founding principles, rightly understood, remain the surest available means to help us restore a decent and just political order.
9. Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar is working to make sure the predicted fears are realized: That the abortion referendum outcome will mandate complicity in defiance on conscience. Michael Brendan Dougherty scores the referendum’s fallout. From the analysis:
Varadkar has made some rhetorical gestures to those who voted not to repeal the Eighth. He has once said that his party should give a warm welcome to social conservatives. And in his remarks to the Dáil, he warned against socialists and other politicians who seek to “turn religious people into pariahs.”
But altering the religious ethos of Catholic hospitals by fiat seems to do just that. Further, it is becoming increasingly clear that the conscience protections the government considers expedient for pro-life doctors in Ireland really amount to the right to delude oneself while participating in abortion in a remote way. A doctor that does not want to participate in abortion would be legally obliged to refer a patient who requested an abortion to a doctor that would provide it. From a normal pro-life perspective, this means referring one patient, the mother, to a doctor who would harm another patient, the unborn child.
10. Jay Nordlinger has a word or three to say about Kim, Trump, and the “Boys in the Camps.” Prison camps, that is. Such as the torture-infused hellholes of North Korea (the kwanliso) and Red China (the laogai). From his piece:
There are all sorts of things you have to do in foreign policy, to get along in the world. To lessen tensions and prevent war. You have to hold your nose and deal with beasts. But you don’t have to tell outrageous and insulting lies, and you don’t have to break faith with American values, and human values. If you’re president, the whole world hears you — and that can include the boys in the camps.
11. The Tonys (featuring the infamous Robert DeNiro swear) and the entire Great White Way’s leftward politicization are the subject of Ben Shapiro’s new column. From it:
It’s not just the shows. It’s the way Broadway has become a political rally for Democratic priorities. It’s difficult to forget the Hamilton cast’s attempt to slam Mike Pence last year, of course. And this year’s Tonys featured Robert De Niro shouting “F*** Trump” to a standing ovation; the pro-gun-control students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School performing “Seasons of Love”; Andrew Garfield telling Christians to bake that cake; and, on the red carpet, actress Noma Dumezweni telling the assembled media that President Trump wasn’t welcome to visit Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which will surely break his heart.
12. Unfair Fair: David Harsanyi explains why free trade has put America first. From his piece:
Take Trump’s top trade adviser, Peter Navarro, who recently laid out his basic concerns in a New York Times piece: “First, trade must be not only free but also fair and reciprocal.”
“Fair trade,” once used predominately by progressives, is a neologism without meaning. It allows a person to oppose complex agreements for a litany of reasons. The word “fair” is elastic and ambiguous, which is why it’s so popular with adolescents.
The billions of people in developing nations who work tedious menial labor jobs probably don’t find it “fair” that Americans use the savings we gain from their work to build our unprecedented wealth. Is it fair that some countries sit atop vast amounts of fossil fuels or prime farmlands while others sit on arid or barren land?
Let’s hope trade doesn’t get “fair” for us any time soon.
When Navarro writes that G-7 nations’ trade practices “contribute to America’s more than $500 billion annual global trade deficit in goods and services,” he means American citizens purchased goods they prefer from other countries. Sometimes these products are completely foreign-made, and sometimes they’re partially foreign-made, but Americans always get something in return. As economist Milton Friedman argued long ago, the real gain from international trade is not what we export but what we import.
BONUS BREW: Yuval Levin celebrated Flag Day with a Corner post. It included:
. . . it does seem to me that in this moment in particular — a time when the question of the very nature of American patriotism and nationalism is much in the air — the flag can offer us one path through challenging terrain. The flag belongs to no party or faction but to all of us. And it belongs to us as a symbol. It’s not a document that makes an argument, but it’s also not the soil of the land or the blood of the people. It’s a symbol that lets us take in both the idea of America and the reality of it, both the history and its meaning, both the substance and the spirit.
1. From the recent Commentary Magazine is this James Kirchick essay on “The Rise of Black Anti-Semitism.” Here’s a chunk from the piece:
It’s hard to imagine that left-wing activists or Democratic politicians would keep their careers after associating with a figure who spouts hatred against any other minority group the way Farrakhan does with Jews. Having attained a certain level of political power or social capital, however, Mallory, Jarret, Obama, and the CBC have apparently insulated themselves from criticism on this point, at least among their fellow progressives and much of the elite media.
Such invulnerability to public condemnation has not been the experience of Trayon White, a Washington, D.C., city councillor representing the capitol’s poorest neighborhood of Anacostia. During a brief snow flurry in March, White published a video on his official Facebook page blaming the adverse weather on the Rothschild family. “Man, it just started snowing out of nowhere this morning, man. Y’all better pay attention to this climate control, man, this climate manipulation,” the 34-year-old, college-educated, elected official told his constituents. “And D.C. keep talking about, ‘We a resilient city.’ And that’s a model based off the Rothschilds controlling the climate to create natural disasters they can pay for to own the cities, man. Be careful.”
White seemed genuinely perplexed when it was explained to him that assertions about a European Jewish banking family manipulating the weather had anti-Semitic undertones. And those inclined to give White the benefit of the doubt, presuming his words came more from ignorance than malice, were forced to reconsider when it emerged that he had donated $500 to the very same “Saviours’ Day” event attended by Mallory. Nor did White do himself any favors when, invited by local Jewish leaders to the United States Holocaust Memorial and Museum, he abruptly left in the middle of a personally guided tour. At a rally called to defend White, organized by a mayoral appointee, a Nation of Islam representative blasted one of White’s Jewish fellow council members as a “fake Jew” and referred to Jews as “termites.”
2. Kudos to the Justice Department which, according to a report in The College Fix, is taking on the Thought Police (officially dubbed the “Bias Response Team”) at the University of Michigan. From the story:
Anti-bias efforts at the University of Michigan took a hit Monday as the Justice Department declared some of the institution’s policies “unconstitutional” and accused its Bias Response Team of chilling free speech.
The feds’ statement of interest was issued as part of a lawsuit filed against the University of Michigan earlier this year by the First Amendment nonprofit Speech First. It sued the taxpayer-funded university on behalf of three unidentified students, alleging the university’s vague policies on harassment and bullying — and a pending provision on “bias-motivated misconduct” — violate the First and Fourteenth Amendments.
The Justice Department agrees with that assessment.
3. In the Asia Times, David Goldman sounds the alarm on Turkey’s commencing major economic crisis. Read his column here.
4. At Gatestone Institute, Alan Dershowitz has a powerful piece on the ever-leftward drift of the ACLU, and how it is now more focused on activist partisan politics than on protecting civil liberties. From the piece:
The director of the American Civil Liberties Union has now acknowledged what should have been obvious to everybody over the past several years: that the ACLU is no longer a neutral defender of everyone’s civil liberties; it has morphed into a hyper-partisan, hard-left political advocacy group. The final nail in its coffin was the announcement that for the first time in its history the ACLU would become involved in partisan electoral politics, supporting candidates, referenda and other agenda-driven political goals.
5. Over at Law and Liberty, Graham McAleer reintroduces 21st century conservatism to Hungarian political philosopher Aurel Kolnai, who championed the essential concept of nobility. From the essay:
His signature contribution is the analytical precision with which he pursues the connection between the moral value of nobility and the place that it holds in society, namely privilege. He sought to resolve an extraordinarily difficult and serious problem in modern Western sensibility: How to inject high moral worth into a thoroughly commercial culture devoted to vanity and changes of fashion without embracing militarism (as fascism did), discarding bourgeois suavity (as communism did), or subverting historically settled patterns of life (as progressive humanitarianism did). . . .
Like the thinkers of the Scottish Enlightenment, Kolnai was struck by consensus: patterns of sensibility and manners diffused through settled communities. Wondering about the origins of genius, David Hume argues that the individuals celebrated in history books emerge from a spirit of genius pervading a people, and essential to this common spirit are conditions fostering law, mastery of the mechanical arts, learning, and commerce. With regard to nobility, Kolnai found evidence of this diffusion in an English expression that he loved even though it was (perhaps because it was) grammatically faulty: “I knows a gentleman when I sees ’im.”
6. If America is so freakin’ racist and misogynistic, why do progressives so want the world’s citizens to come here? Huh?! Asked and answered at City Journal by Heather Mac Donald. From her piece:
But why should social-justice warriors want to subject these potential asylees to the horrors of America? In coming to the U.S., if you believe the dominant feminist narrative, the female aliens would simply be exchanging their local violent patriarchy for a new one. Indeed, it should be a mystery to these committed progressives why anyThird World resident would seek to enter the United States. Not only is rape culture pervasive in the U.S., but the very lifeblood of America is the destruction of “black bodies,” in the words of media star Ta-Nehesi Coates. Surely, a Third World person of color would be better off staying in his home country, where he is free from genocidal whiteness and the murderous legacy of Western civilization and Enlightenment values.
But the same left-wing establishment that in the morning rails against American oppression of an ever-expanding number of victim groups in the afternoon denounces the U.S. for not giving unlimited access to foreign members of those same victim groups. In their open-borders afternoon mode, progressives paint the U.S. as the only source of hope and opportunity for low-skilled, low-social-capital Third Worlders; a place obligated by its immigration history to take in all comers, forever. In their America-as-the-font-of-all-evil-against-females-and-persons-of-color morningmode, progressives paint the U.S. as the place where hope and opportunity die under a tsunami of misogyny and racism.
BONUS: My pal Julie Kelly, over at American Greatness, does the mom thing to advise daughters: Don’t sleep your way to the top, and . . . don’t be like Ali Watkins.
BONUS BONUS: Law and Liberty addresses the suicide issue with an excellent piece by Jessica Wooten on Walker Percy, whose many novels deal with the subject. From the essay:
In the wake of recent celebrity suicides—that of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain—there is a whir of explanations as to why they died. The majority of us were not close to these public figures. We could not tell you their pet peeves, what made them laugh, or their favorite childhood memory. Therefore, it seems audacious for so many to theorize on why they took their lives. Despite our ignorance regarding Spade’s and Bourdain’s reasons, we can speak about them as examples of a larger cultural problem. If suicide is the third leading cause of death in America, if it has risen, as journalists contend, thirty percent in a couple of decades, then our silence, in this instance, would be the more galling response.
It is too easy to dismiss suicide as a mental health problem. When we do so, we think we can throw money at the problem, and it will go away. But, the number of suicides has only risen with the increase in mental health care. Is suicide, then, another byproduct of modernity, this nondescript label we give our contemporary culture? As far as modernity has increased our alienation from one another, this may be true. Yet, we’ve been in a modern era for the past century, and suicide has only climbed the charts over the past twenty years. What of the faults of technology, how it disconnects us and dices us up into partial roles with one another rather than deep relationship? True, that’s a problem. However, there are plenty of social media users out there who are hashtagging “My Story” and telling how they overcame suicide rather than succumbed. It seems that social media, in this way, is acting as a bridge, not a divider. So, should we cast stones at American-ism? Our desire for achievement and financial success?
1. In the new Prager U video, Jordan Peterson focuses on the radical-Left nihilists who are turning campuses into madhouses, unconcerned with education. Watch it here.
2. Purging professors is the top story on The College Fix’s (sorta) new weekly video, “Campus Roundup.” Watch it here.
3. On the new episode of Uncommon Knowledge, Peter Robinson interviews historian Stephen Kotkin, the author of Stalin: Waiting for Hitler, 1929-1941. An appropriate viewing in the week when POTUS praises North Korea’s bloody dictator. Come and get it!
4. Admit it: You want to see an NR volcano-eruption slide show.
Love Is a Many Splintered Thing
No, Mr. President, Mr. Kim does not love his people. Unless, maybe, you meant, love them to death. The North Korean regime’s “gulag” is nothing short of satanic.
The term “cup of coffee” as regards our National Pastime refers to a player getting a one-game chance in his Major League career. A particularly excruciating cup performance on the mound came from the Ireland-born Joe Cleary, who played for the Senators in 1945. He pitched one-third of a harrowing inning in the second game of an August 4 doubleheader, at Griffith Stadium, against the Red Sox. Relieving starter Sandy Ulrich, Cleary proceeded to give up five hits, walked three, struck out pitcher Dave Ferriss, threw a wild pitch, and gave up a total of seven earned runs. Taken out of the game in a rather ugly way, Cleary was never again to throw a Major League pitch. His ERA: 189.00, the highest in MLB history for anyone who recorded at least one out.
But the saddest Cup of Coffee has to be Larry Yount, older brother of Hall-of-Famer Robin. Pitching for the Houston Astros, on the night of September 15, 1971, Yount was tapped to relieve in the top of the ninth against the Atlanta Braves. He was therefore officially in the lineup. But while warming up, he hurt his arm, and had to be relieved, never having faced a batter. Yount spent the rest of his unimpressive career in the minors, and never again stepped on a Major League mound.
This weekend calls for remembering Jim Bunning’s 1964 Father’s Day perfect game. Here’s the boxscore and the play-by-play.
May I Recommend for Your Viewing Pleasure . . .
You really must drop everything you are doing to watch the 1944 British cinematic classic by Powell and Pressburger, A Canterbury Tale.
And for Your Summer-Reading Pleasure . . .
Law and Liberty provides some wise suggestions from Dan Mahoney, Gerry Russello, and other big brains.
Yep: Dog Backwards Is God
Our sweet Sally slipped away this week. She was beautiful and gentle and proof of God’s existence and infinite goodness. Heaven must have been incomplete without her. That’s been corrected. Wait for us, pup!
Bestow tender mercies. Remember and honor Dad and dads, because when you do, thou mayest be long lived upon earth.
God’s blessings and graces on you and yours, including your dogs,
(Your slings and arrows may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
P.S.: Another super Dad Gift Idea would be a cabin on the National Review 2018 Buckley Legacy Conservative Cruise. Duh!