Conservatism

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 »

A conversation with Fred Barnes

Featured image In the latest of the Conversations with Bill Kristol, Bill sits down with his colleague Fred Barnes to review the highlights of his career covering politics in Washington, D.C. The conversation is posted and broken into chapters here. Via @KristolConvos, Bill alerts us to the fact that Fred gives a nice shout-out to Power Line in chapter 4 (at 1:22:00). Coincidentally, we’re observing the thirteenth anniversary of our life online »

Happy Birthday, Freddie Hayek

Featured image Today is Friedrich Hayek’s 116th birthday, and we might as well celebrate it with a couple of good quotations from his greatest hits. How about these four passages from his classic essay “The Intellectuals and Socialism,” where he makes clear that socialism was never really a phenomenon of the “working class,” and that most reputable economists never bought into it: Socialism has never and nowhere been at first a working-class »

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 »