Conservatism

Reformicons: Civil War on the Right?

Featured image There’s the old story about the Michigan state senator who said one day on the floor of the legislature, “Some of my friends are for this bill, and some of my friends are against this bill, and I’m going to stick with my friends!” That’s how I feel about the back-and-forth playing out in the latest Claremont Review of Books over the subject of “Reform Conservatives,” aka, “Reformicons.” The estimable »

Kristol asks, Krauthammer answers

Featured image Charles Krauthammer’s collection of columns (mostly) — Things That Matter — has sold well over a million copies. It is a remarkable achievement for a book of previously published pieces by an author who is a pundit and not a political player in his own right. Aside from the merit of the pieces compiled in the book — a big consideration, to be sure, but the pieces were almost all »

Charles K. With Charles K.

Featured image The latest installment of the Claremont Institute’s “American Mind” video series features Claremont Review editor Charles Kesler in conversation with the other great Charles K—Charles Krauthammer.  I have been encouraging Krauthammer to write an intellectual autobiography, and in this episode reviews the development of his thought, with the mild surprise of the importance of John Stuart Mill in Krauthammer’s thinking. About 15 minutes long: »

Old Americans for Freedom

Featured image The Wall Street Journal’s “Notable and Quotable” section this morning reminds us that M. Stanton Evans was the author of the “Sharon Statement,” the founding manifesto of Young Americans for Freedom. It is called the “Sharon Statement” because it was adopted at a meeting at William F. Buckley’s home in Sharon, Connecticut. I was not even two years old at the time of its writing, so I took no notice »

M. Stanton Evans, RIP

Featured image Sad news this morning of the passing of M. Stanton Evans at the age of 80. He was, in addition to his long list of books and distinguished career in journalism, the author of the Sharon Statement, one of the founding documents of modern conservatism produced at the founding of Young Americans for Freedom in 1960. Stan was my first mentor in professional life. I came to Washington DC right »

A conversation with James Ceaser

Featured image In the latest of his Conversations, Bill Kristol draws out the eminent political scientist James Ceaser on the philosophy of constitutionalism on which the American experiment is founded as well as the development of American political parties with which it must live. The video is also posted and broken into chapters here; the transcript is posted here. The video continues here with Ceaser’s discussion of his teachers Harvey Mansfield, James »

Another Shot of Oakeshott

Featured image Following up on my first installment a few days ago from Michael Oakeshott’s classic essay “On Being Conservative,” herewith my second-favorite passage from the essay, which I find can be effective in getting students to understand why Aristotle (among others) thinks the young are unsuited to the study—let alone practice—of politics: Everybody’s young days are a dream, a delightful insanity, a sweet solipsism. Nothing in them has a fixed shape, »

Classics Revisited: A Shot of Oakeshott

Featured image I think it was nearly three years ago that I wrote a series that ought to have been called “Hayek Tuesday” (because I wrote most of these entries on Tuesday mornings following a Monday night class at the Ashbrook Center that semester based mostly on Hayek’s Constitution of Liberty), with excerpts and observations drawn from that great political thinker and Nobel Prize winner. Subsequently there have been brief serials here »

A conversation with Bill Bennett

Featured image In the latest of his Conversations, Bill Kristol draws out the eminent Bill Bennett on key moments in his distinguished career. Bill Bennett is a man who needs no introduction to Power Line readers. I will say only that this is great stuff. The interview is posted here, where it is broken into chapters. (It is also available in transcript or podcast form at the link.) My guess is you’ll »

Voegeli On Liberal B—S—

Featured image In the latest installment of Bill Voegeli’s series the Claremont Institute’s “American Mind” series, Bill discusses his chapter of The Pity Party entitled “Liberal Bullshit.”  It’s worth viewing if for no other reason than to enjoy how fully Charles Kesler channels William F. Buckley’s old mannerisms from “Firing Line.” »

The “Ryanization” of Marco Rubio

Featured image Tim Alberta of the National Journal has written an article called “The Ryanization of Rubio.” Alberta’s thesis is that Marco Rubio has inherited the role many thought Paul Ryan was going to play — conservative intellectual presidential candidate armed with daring policy proposals. There’s little doubt that Rubio is attempting to play that role. And, as Alberta points out, Rubio has impressed some leading conservative thinkers with his ideas across »

After last night, detoxify here

Featured image Peter Robinson recorded the current edition of Uncommon Knowledge last month with Thomas Sowell (video below). Sowell is a one-man antidote for the evasions and prevarications retailed by Barack Obama along with his supporters and enablers. If you subjected yourself to Obama’s State of the Union Address last night, a dose of Sowell may help detoxify you. If you took a pass, it will edify you. The series summary states: »

For Your Viewing Pleasure

Featured image We have a link posted in our “Picks” section above to the first installment of Harvey Mansfield on the character of our two political parties in the indispensable City Journal, and I do advise you to read it.  But you can also take it in by video, in the latest “Conversations with Bill Kristol,” just out this morning.  The whole conversation is nearly 90 minutes, but Mansfield’s reflections on the »

Berns on Berrigan

Featured image I studied the writings of both Harry Jaffa and Walter Berns intently when I was in the process of abandoning liberalism and becoming conservative. I think I read just about everything each had published as of 1973. Fortunately for me, that included Jaffa’s great book on Lincoln, Crisis of the House Divided. I consumed Bern’s writings on the Constitution and the First Amendment, but I especially enjoyed Berns’s essay on »

A Few Loose Ends on Jaffa & Berns

Featured image My Wall Street Journal article today on the Jaffa-Berns feud had to be shortened down for page space reasons, which often happens in newspapers, of course. But one of the sacrificed lines was my favorite joke of the piece, which was that Harry Jaffa was relentless, and would always send you another letter if you responded. The only way to get in the last word with Jaffa was either complete »

Walter Berns and Harry V. Jaffa, RIP

Featured image By an extraordinary coincidence that summons up the idea of Providence, Walter Berns and Harry Jaffa both passed away yesterday. These two intellectual giants, graduate school classmates and students of Leo Strauss, carried on a long-running and sometimes bitter feud (“the feud that saved conservatism,” as I shall argue more fully in a couple days). This found me caught in the middle, as a student of Jaffa and a colleague »

For Speaker, Louis Gohmert [Updated]

Featured image Texas Congressman Louis Gohmert announced on Fox and Friends this morning that he will challenge John Boehner as Speaker of the House in the new Congress. I hope Gohmert wins, and urge conservatives in the House delegation to vote for him. I have generally defended Boehner in the past, but in my view his conduct with regard to the continuing resolution/omnibus spending bill that was passed during the lame duck »