Scrutonizing American Conservatism

Featured image Later this week I’m away to Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee, for a conference Friday afternoon with—and about the works of—philosopher Roger Scruton. If you’re in the Memphis area and would like to come, it is free and open to the public. Here are the full details. My paper, which I’m struggling mightily to finish today, is entitled “What American Conservatives Should Learn from Roger Scruton.” Beyond the obvious opening »

How Jonah Goldberg Became Jonah Goldberg! (Part 2)

Featured image In this second installment of our conversation with Jonah Goldberg, Jonah recounts finishing college and living as an ex-pat in Prague, where the largest difficulties were finding good toilet paper and deciding whether to stay all night at the casino gaming tables, why comic books seem to be a common denominator for certain kinds of conservatives, and how he finally got traction and achieved liftoff with his writing career.  About »

How Jonah Goldberg Became Jonah Goldberg! (Part 1)

Featured image A few weeks back when Jonah Goldberg and I were cruising the Baltic Sea attempting to spot Putin’s subs, undermine Russian autocracy, and re-enacting the Kronstadt rebellion as we sailed close by that memorial of early Leninist terror, I sat down with Jonah not to discuss current issues, but how he came to be a conservative in the first place. Here he explains his childhood and education. We had trouble »

What Next for the House? (Take 2)

Featured image John has offered his opinion that the House GOP should have little to fear if they force Obama to veto a continuing resolution that omits funding for Planned Parenthood, thereby causing a government shutdown. This may be correct, though I have my doubts it would work out well for Republicans. We’ve had this argument before on Power Line, so readers needn’t send in comments that the 2013 shutdown didn’t seem »

Netanyahu returns

Featured image I want to share this announcement from the American Enterprise Institute: American Enterprise Institute president Arthur C. Brooks announced today that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will receive the 2015 Irving Kristol Award on November 9, 2015, in Washington, DC. The annual award, AEI’s highest honor, is given to individuals who have made exceptional practical and intellectual contributions to improve government policy, social welfare, or political understanding. The winner is »

The Jaffa-Berns Feud Revisited

Featured image When Harry Jaffa and Walter Berns died on the same day back in January, I wrote an article for the Wall Street Journal about how despite their bitter feud, they both deserve credit and praise for reviving some essential aspects of the American Founding. Their shared contributions were overshadowed by the rancor of their feud that spilled out from private letters into public forums. “In your present state of mind,” »

The “Baron,” John Von Kannon, RIP

Featured image More sad news from the ranks of our friends and heroes this week, this time the passing of John Von Kannon at the age of 66. John was one of the founders, with R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr., of The American Spectator, and went on to become vice president of the Heritage Foundation. It was during those madcap early years of the Spectator that John acquired the nickname “Baron” that stuck »

Voegelin on America, Part 2

Featured image Last Sunday I mentioned appreciating Eric Voegelin’s Autobiographical Reflections. Here’s another passage that reinforces the point that America is superior to Europe in terms of philosophy and relevant thinking, based on his first extended visit to the U.S. in the early 1920s. (Voegelin could be pretty dense himself at times, but not here.) This literary work in which I assembled the results of the two American years does not, however, »

Will Donald Trump get “specific”? Who cares?

Featured image Donald Trump has moved to the top of the GOP presidential field by painting in broad strokes. America is losing; our politicians are stupid; if elected, I’ll kick ass. Now, some are calling on Trump to be more “specific.” What are his multi-point plans for dealing with the issues, they want to know. The call for “specifics” plays into Trump’s hands because its a “challenge” he can easily meet. You »

Eric Voegelin on America

Featured image I’ve written here before at length about Hayek, Leo Strauss, Milton Friedman, Richard Weaver, and other major conservative thinkers of the 20th century. I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned Eric Voegelin, another German emigre who made significant contributions to political philosophy with such works as The New Science of Politics and his multi-volume Order and History. This neglect ends today! Lately I’ve been reading Voegelin’s Autobiographical Reflections, and came across »

Friedman’s greatest hits

Featured image In honor of what would have been Milton Friedman’s (103rd) birthday this week, John Hawkins has culled “20 best quotes” from Friedman’s work. Friedman was of course a deserving winner of the Nobel Prize for Economics in 1976. Reading through the quotes, I recall that Friedman also had a Newsweek column. He had one or more series on PBS. He wrote books promoting freedom for a popular audience. One or »

How Can Government Help Black Americans?

Featured image Except when it comes to law enforcement, by doing less. The Obama administration has been a disaster for Africa-Americans, but most pretend not to notice out of a sense of ethnic loyalty. That is understandable, but if you are an African-American and are looking past the Obama administration, wondering what policies might produce better results, check out this graphic that was tweeted a couple of days ago by the Young »

Celebrating Peter W. Schramm

Featured image In “Peter the Great for our time” Steve wrote about the event celebrating the life and career of Peter Schramm after the event held in his honor at Ashland College’s Ashbrook Center earlier this week. Peter is engaged in a death struggle with cancer that has elicited the prayers of his many friends and admirers. The Ashbrook Center has now posted the summary and video of the event here. The »

The quest for ideological purity in Supreme Court Justices

Featured image In our podcast last week, we tried to explain why Democratic-appointed Supreme Court Justices march in lockstep in the big, closely divided Supreme Court cases, while one Republican-appointed Justice (Anthony Kennedy) cannot be counted on at all to vote with his more reliably conservative brethren and a second (John Roberts) has parted company in two of most important cases decided in his tenure. I offered one possible explanation. Liberalism, I »

The case of Hillsdale College

Featured image The Wall Street Journal’s Kyle Peterson profiles our long-time friend and Hillsdale College President Larry Arnn in “Liberal arts for conservative minds” (accessible here via Google). The occasion of the profile is Larry’s receipt of one of this year’s Bradley Prize awards. Larry is the past president of the Claremont Institute. Here the profile takes a sidelong glance at the work of the institute: The institute’s first program, the Publius »

Life lessons from Justice Thomas

Featured image This is the season of formulaic left-wing commencement speeches. Contributing to the cause of true “diversity” — diversity in the life of the mind — Zev Chafets has edited a volume of heterodox commencement speeches under the title Remembering Who We Are: A Treasury of Conservative Commencement Addresses. There are several speeches that I find inspirational and/or moving and/or thought-provoking in the book. One that is all of the above, »

Economic mobility and government activism

Featured image Michael Gerson wrote today about “the rhetoric of mobility” — in other words, the way liberals and conservatives talk about the issue of economic mobility. He finds the rhetoric of both sides, as the well views behind it, wanting. Gerson’s piece is thoughtful, as usual. But it should be of concern to conservatives who worry that “reform conservatism,” a movement with which Gerson is associated, may to some extent represent »