The Weekend Jolt

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We Soldier on Because You Soldiered. And Sailored. And Flew.

Dear Jolters,

This is Veterans Day, and, inspired by a very young Lt. William F. Buckley, we remove our hats to all who honorably and bravely served their nation and the cause of liberty by wearing the uniform of our great military services.

By the way, his brother and our dear friend James L. Buckley, 94 years young and living in Sharon, CT, enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1942 and served through the war and beyond (to May 1946) as a Lieutenant — a deck and supply officer on the unglamorously named LST-1013, (which he called “a floating shoebox”). As the former senator and federal judge told me over lunch a few months back, he was at Leyte, Okinawa, and other major Pacific battles, his ship so situated that he had “a fifty yard line seat to the most extraordinary spectacles” as U.S. guns opened up on Japanese positions while Marines landed on islands. As part of a 2015 Veterans History Project, Central Connecticut State University interviewed Jim about his service. His recollection is spectacular. Watch it here. I love this man. James Lane Buckley is a truly great American.


The evidence is pretty clear: Roy Moore, GOP senate hopeful (the Alabama special election to replace Jeff Sessions is December 12th), allegedly creeped on young girls, including a 14-year-old, when he was in his 30s. Not to discount the moral implications, but there are huge political ones. Hence our editorial, “Roy Moore Should Drop Out.” From the piece:

This is the second damaging revelation about Moore since he won the Republican nomination in the special election to replace Jeff Sessions. The other is that he took a secret $180,000 annual salary for a part-time gig at a charity, despite his denials. There is no doubt that the media and the Democrats are gunning for Moore; there is also, now, no doubt that there is plenty of material for them to mine, beyond his kooky views and ignorance of the law.

The statute of limitations on Moore’s alleged sexual misconduct long ago expired, but there is no such thing as a statute of limitations on standards. Roy Moore is not a worthy standard-bearer for the Republican party, and his vulnerabilities are now endangering what should be a completely safe Senate seat.

Please read the entire editorial. And related, also take a look at Jonah Goldberg’s powerful Corner post.


1. Bend an ear and lend an ear to this very political episode of The Editors, as Rich, Charlie, Reihan, and podcast-crasher Jonah Goldberg discuss the GOP’s terrible night in Virginia, the massacre in a Texas church, and the indictment of Paul Manafort.

2. David French and Alexandra DeSanctis (new and permanent co-host!) treat us to a new edition of The Liberty Files, in which they discuss a vital potential Supreme Court case: Can pro-life crisis pregnancy centers be compelled to advertise free abortions? The whack-job Ninth Circuit says yes, as opposed to our intrepid podcasters, who argue the First Amendment should say no.

3. That podcast followed quickly on the heels of another worth-hearing episode, in which David and Alexandra discussed the Texas church shooting, Texas, the Left’s vicious response to Americans who offer prayers in response to mass shootings, and the impact of various so-called “common sense” gun control proposals.

4. This week on The Great Books, John J. Miller is joined by Catholic University’s Chad Pecknold to discuss Saint Augustine’s City of God.

5. Switching to his Bookmonger hat, JJM and John U. Bacon discuss his new work, The Great Halifax Explosion: A World War 1 Story of Treachery, Tragedy, and Extraordinary Heroism (the explosion was so enormous, it killed 2,000 people and is considered the largest-ever explosion prior to the atomic bomb).

6. Brand new atop the Mad Dogs and Englishmen archive is this: Kevin and Charlie talk about the grim results from the Virginia election, the need for federalism, and the massacre in Texas.

7. Last week’s WJ barely missed the prior episode of Crazy Woofers and Blokes. It’s still worth promoting: Charlie and Kevin yapped about CCWC’s pending move to Florida, and the rigging of primaries for Hillary Clinton.

8. Jay Nordlinger fires up Q&A, engaging sociologist and China expert Stein Ringen about many matters, including this question: Is it really true that political liberalization follows economic liberalization, as night follows day? Because China seems in defiance of that “law.”

9. Out West, the Radio Free California boys, David Bahnsen and Will Swaim, discuss how Sacramento Democrats are attempting to spin their metastasizing sex-harassment scandal into a pro-government union campaign, and bonuses paid out to managers of the state pension fund.

10. But wait! There’s more: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, sidekicked by Ivanka Trump, visited David’s firm in Newport Beach as part of their pilgrimage to sell the Trump/GOP tax plan, which spawned a late-breaking special edition of RFC, in which David and Will brawl (not literally) over the plan’s implications  for Californians.

11. If Pink Floyd is your thing, then you’ll dig Political Beats this week: Scott and Jeff discuss the band with writer/film-maker Anthony Fisher.

12. Last but not least, on the brand spanking new episode of The Remnant with Jonah Goldberg, our hero is joined by Vulcan extraordinaire Ramesh Ponnuru, who discusses with the show’s hangover-defying host the Virginia gubernatorial elections, the prospects for tax reform, and the history of neoconservatism. For some reason, it’s titled “Micro-aggressed by the Dalai Lama.” To understand why you have to listen.

Nine National Review Pieces that You Had Best Read, Because There Will Be a Quiz

1. Dan McLaughlin, who you should follow on Twitter (he goes by Baseball Crank), has written what I consider one of the best pieces NRO has ever published: “Tim Kaine Is Wrong about America and Slavery.” Here’s how the essay ended (but you really need to read everything from the get-go):

America was founded on a promise, a dream of God-given equal rights that has taken time to bear fruit for all. Compromises to advance the promise were worth it, but advancement, and not compromise, was always the point. If we want to honor the memory of the American Civil War, we should keep the practical optimism of Lincoln and the Founding Fathers alike as our guide, rather than damning them through a politically expedient misinterpretation of history.

2. Big Jim Geraghty’s morning-after analysis of the Virginia elections is an antidote to happiness.

3. Intolerant Atheism on the March, #1: These %$#@! attacks against calls for prayer following the Texas church shooting have met their match at NRO. The title of David French’s piece says it all: “In the Face of Evil, Prayer Is the Most Rational and Effective Response.”

4. Intolerant Atheism on the March, #2: No, writes Michael Brendan Dougherty, prayer isn’t a distraction. From his essay:

And so attacking the prayers of politicians in fact substitutes for thought and reflection. It is a way for those who favor more gun control, as I do, to express a sentiment about gun violence, without actually putting forward a policy that addresses the issue at hand. If anyone is using “prayer” as a distraction in the wake of a mass shooting, it is those who want gun control but have no idea how their policy preferences could be implemented, and how those policies would have changed the events

5. Writes Kevin Williamson in his wise analysis of Virginia et al elections:

If ‘winning’ isn’t winning — and it surely didn’t last night — then Republicans have some decisions to make. They did not win on Tuesday night. The question for Wednesday morning is whether they deserved to, and whether they might deserve to again in the future. The countdown to November 2018 starts now.

6. Jonah Goldberg’s new column makes all sides on the raging Second Amendment debate think (or at least it should). Here’s a selection:

It’s a useful thought experiment to ask what America would look like if the gun controllers started to rack up policy victories, confiscating guns from law-abiding gun owners. Aside from the massive financial windfall for the NRA, millions of Americans would have their darkest suspicions confirmed, and the deep resentment already felt in much of “red state” America would intensify beyond anything we’ve experienced lately. Perhaps there would be fewer mass murders and other gun deaths — though I’m skeptical. I’m sure our politics would be far uglier than they already are.

7. David Bahnsen (see RFC above) meets with the Big Shots and then reflects on the Trump/GOP tax plan, and believes it is indeed in trouble.

8. Ace analyst and former prosecutor Andy McCarthy has some hard-to-swallow analysis for the President and his tolerate-no-criticism fans: POTUS tweeting on Saipov and Bergdahl could very well harm (has harmed?!) rightful sentencing.

9. This piece by Rachel Lu, with the engaging title of “Loneliness, Libertinism, Anxiety: Recollections of a Peace Corps Volunteer,” is last but very much not least. DO read this. It’s so good on so many levels.

You Really Must Subscribe to this Magazine

Here’s the latest issue, accessible today for Digital-edition subscribers. You want one of those subs? It’s only $19.99 for the year. Order here.

You Really Must Buy this Book

Next year we celebrate the centenary of the birth of a 20th century giant of freedom, a witness to the horror of the godless and demented state, an unrivaled man of letters: Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. The good and smart folks at the University of Notre Dame press have commenced published many of his yet unpublished (in English) works, and our pal Professor Daniel J. Mahoney reviews March 1917: The Red Wheel, Node III, Book 1 in the new issue of National Review. You can read Dan’s exceptional review of Solzhenitsyn’s magnum opus of the Russian Revolution here. To give you a taste:

Among the most effective literary devices in March 1917 are the dramatic street scenes, which powerfully convey the chaos unleashed by revolutionary violence. In Chapter 24, we learn about the “sense of total safety” that has “formed among the crowd,” which feared no retaliation from the authorities. “The city’s scoundrels” — madmen, criminals, released prisoners — had found a home among the crowds and begun to shape their character. Fires spread throughout the city, and police stations and military garrisons were attacked by out-of-control mobs. Here is one dramatic passage from Chapter 153 that captures revolutionary nihilism at its ugliest and most murderous: “Petrograd spent all evening and night catching and killing its own police. During the nighttime, they would kill them on the streets without even taking them far, or drown them in ice-holes in the Obvodny Canal. Motorcar expeditions were fitted out to hunt down policemen.”

All this occurred in a country where there was a lively, well-organized political opposition and freedom of the press. The bulk of the army and peasant Russia had nothing to do with this grotesque display of revolutionary nihilism — it was the work of educated “society” in conjunction with criminals and the most questionable people from the Petrograd underworld. There was nothing noble, nothing conducive to democracy or self-government, about the intoxicating violence that Solzhenitsyn so vividly conveys in chapter after chapter of March 1917.

And this One Too

The great Lee Edwards, who has been toiling in the conservative vineyards for over half a century, has written his memoir, Just Right: A Life in Pursuit of Liberty. The publisher is ISI Books, and you can order a copy here.

Seven Articles from Elsewhere that Merit Your Attention

1. A traditional Catholic stymied by the “current confusion” spawned by the Francis papacy? You’ve got a lot of company. At The Catholic Thing, Robert Royal elaborates.

2. Scott Rasmussen’s Number of the Day spot on Ballotpedia is always worth a read. Among this week’s figures is a heartening one. 82% of Americans believe the American Dream is within reach. No “what are they smoking” jokes allowed.

3. POTUS renders a Proclamation remembering the Victims of Communism, trashing the “dark decades of oppressive communism, a political philosophy incompatible with liberty, prosperity, and the dignity of human life.” By the way, there is a Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation that may be of interest to you.

4. High praise for a new take on an old book: Sure, Virgil wrote the Aeneid, but David Ferry’s translation gives it a refreshing new life. Check out Brian Miller’s review over at University Bookman.

5. A Lower Manhattan mom looks at terrorism, and the respect for all life, through new eyes. A bit touchy-feely for me, but I love the Human Life Review, and this sentiment, by Anne Sullivan and published on HLR’s blog, is worth understanding.

6. Is France a decomposing civilization? Writing for Gatestone Institute’s terrific website, frequent contributor Giulio Meotti answers yes. From his piece:

Paris’s Mayor Anne Hidalgo recently banned the city’s main Christmas market for being insufficiently elegant. France’s authorities and elites are tearing up, piece by piece, the country’s historical, religious and cultural legacy so that nothing will remain. But a nation dispossessed of its identity will see its inner strength broken. Samuel Pruvot, a journalist for Famille Chrétienne recently claimed that Christianity in France will be soon found in “museums.”

7. Hey all you conservative Harvard alums and donors. Dig this headline from William Nardi’s story in The College Fix: Harvard University hosts anal sex workshop. But don’t let that keep you from making even more contributions!

Ho, Ho, Ho

A one-year subscription to National Review makes a great gift. $29.50 is all it costs. No need to go to the mall. Keeps on giving every fortnight. In other words, the perfect gift for that special conservative someone. The perfect way to introduce a young conservative to intelligent discussion of our principles and their enemies (and much more of course). So you now know what to do: Order here.


We remember Roy Halladay in this NRO photo essay. RIP.

A dios

God bless all, but on this Veterans Day, may He give particular graces to those who served nobly and kept the flame of liberty lit, and who yearn for and deserve a peace that only He can provide.


Jack Fowler


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