History

Jan Karski’s message

Featured image I first learned of Jan Karski’s story in Walter Laqueur’s The Terrible Secret: Suppression of the Truth About Hitler’s “Final Solution,” published in 1980 (and first learned of Laqueur’s book from George Will’s excellent column on it in the Washington Post that year). Karski was an incredibly brave and dignified man. We need to attend to his example, now more than ever. Karski performed heroic service in World War II »

A day to be proud…

Featured image I first wrote about Rick Rescorla in 2003 after finishing James Stewart’s Heart of a Soldier, the book based on Stewart’s New Yorker article “The real heroes are dead.” (“The real heroes are dead” is what Rescorla would say in response to recognition of his heroism on the battlefield in Vietnam.) The book is good, not great, but it touches on profound themes in a thought-provoking way: life and death, »

Ordinary politics as corruption: the left’s new totalitarian hobby horse

Featured image Whatever one thinks about the conviction of former Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell on fraud and extortion charges, there is little doubt that the legal theories that produced the conviction blur the distinction between criminal corruption and ordinary politics. Indeed, it is my view that the left sees no such distinction. To the extent that ordinary politics stands in the way of its agenda, the left perceives ordinary politics as, at »

CRB: On the slaughter bench of history

Featured image We conclude our preview of the Summer issue of the Claremont Review of Books today—the hundredth anniversary of the first battle of the Marne—with Algis Valiunas’s First World War essay, “On the Slaughter Bench of History.” A fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, Valiunas draws on several of the numerous books released to commemorate the centennial of the outbreak of the Great War to explore the historical, cultural »

CRB: Extremism and moderation

Featured image Fifty years after Barry Goldwater’s 1964 presidential defeat, in some respects little has changed. Liberals and establishment GOPers alike caution primary voters to do the sensible thing and run screaming from any candidate to the right of Mitt Romney. But as our own Steven F. Hayward—Ronald Reagan Distinguished Visiting Professor at Pepperdine University’s Graduate School of Public Policy—argues in the new Summer edition of the Claremont Review of Books (subscribe »

The College Board: marching the U.S. to the left one history lesson at a time

Featured image In this post, I discussed the left-wing ideology behind the College Board’s development of new curriculum for the teaching of AP U.S. History. Here, I want to discuss how left-wing ideology is manifested in the College Board’s “Framework” for the AP U.S. History exam, which you can find here. One manifestation is, as you would expect from a leftist project, is the downplaying of our Founding. If you read the »

American exceptionalism: we’d be damned fools not to believe in it

Featured image I wrote here about the College Board’s effort to mandate that AP U.S. History be taught from a leftist perspective. That perspective is based, in part, on a critique of “American exceptionalism.” In my post, borrowing from Stanley Kurtz, I took “American exceptionalism” to mean the view that celebrates America as a model, vindicator, and at times the chief defender of ordered liberty and self-government in the world. There are, »

College board mandates left-wing narrative for AP U.S. History

Featured image The College Board, the private company that produces the SAT test and the various Advanced Placement exams, is effectively requiring that AP U.S. History be taught from a hard-left perspective. It is doing so through a newly-issued “Framework” for its AP U.S. History exam. I warned of this development here. Stanley Kurtz provides the back story. He points out that the co-chairs of the committee that redesigned the AP U.S. »

Community Action @50

Featured image As Roger Simon has observed, the events playing out in Ferguson, Missouri right now are a distinct echo of the failures of the Great Society of the 1960s, and today happens to be the 50th anniversary of LBJ’s signing of the Economic Opportunity Act, which set in motion the infamous Community Action Program and was the cornerstone of much subsequent Great Society legislation.  The idea of “maximum feasible participation” was »

Did the press uncover Watergate?

Featured image I wrote about Edward Jay Epstein to introduce the video interview with him regarding Edward Snowden here yesterday. I have been one of Ed’s fans for a long time. I vividly remember reading his classic Commentary essay “Did the press uncover Watergate?” when it was published in 1974. Commentary has posted it online here, Ed on his own site here. We didn’t know for certain in 1974, when Ed published »

WSC Before the Fact, Part 2

Featured image The other day I made note of Churchill’s description in a 1901 speech of what we would come to call “total war” in the 20th century.  In August 1911, around the time of the Agadir crisis and when he became First Lord of the Admiralty, Churchill wrote a memo critiquing the existing view of the British and French general staffs that a German offensive into France could be easily beaten »

WSC Before the Fact, Part 1

Featured image While just about everyone caught up in Progressive-era optimism thought a general war in Europe was impossible—right up to this moment a hundred years ago—Churchill not only thought it possible, indeed likely, but anticipated its character.  From one of his early speeches in the House of Commons in May 1901: “A European war cannot be anything but a cruel, heartrending struggle, which, if we are ever to enjoy the bitter »

One less U.S. apology required

Featured image In his 2009 Cairo speech, President Obama declared that “in the middle of the Cold War, the United States played a role in the overthrow of a democratically elected Iranian government.” Obama clearly intended to convey that the United States shares some of the blame for its longstanding dispute with the current regime. In conceding wrongdoing in connection with the overthrow of the government of Mohammad Mosaddeq and the restoration »

The Last Days of Nixon–And the American Republic?

Featured image We’re coming up shortly on the 40th anniversary of Richard Nixon’s resignation, which coincides with the publication of Rick Perlstein’s new doorstop, The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan, about which more—much more—in due course.  (I’m working on a long review for the Claremont Review of Books, and also following closely the unfolding controversy about potential plagiarism that Craig Shirley has brought against Perlstein’s peculiar »

The Evil Empire Is Back

Featured image So Obama, ever the bright and prompt one when it comes to foreign affairs, has declared the Soviet Union Russia to be in violation of the 1987 Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty—Ronald Reagan’s famous “zero option.”  The violation occurred in 2009.  Guess it would have got in the way of that whole “reset” thing to have brought it up at the time. As it happens, I’m working on a new »

The Great War and Modern Memory

Featured image Yesterday was the 100th anniversary of Austria-Hungary’s declaration of war on Serbia—the official beginning of hostilities of what became World War I.  There’s a ton of new books about the Great War (as it was called before the sequel caused a re-numbering), but in many ways my favorite remains Paul Fussell’s treatment of the literary legacy of the war from the 1970s, The Great War and Modern Memory. A few »

Harry Jaffa on the Famous “Extremism” Speech

Featured image Paul noted yesterday the 50th anniversary of Barry Goldwater’s famous—or infamous—convention speech in 1964.  Has there ever been another convention speech before or since that is as well recalled for a single line?  Only William Jennings Bryan’s “Cross of Gold” speech comes close. Harry Jaffa, who turns 96 in a few weeks, reflected some time ago about the famous line—”Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice”—and his role in »