History

Liberal Presumptions, Take Two (Updated)

Featured image A couple days back I posted a long item about the presumptions of the contemporary liberal mind that act like garish wallpaper—unnoticed by the residents of the house of liberalism, but jarring to anyone else who steps inside. Along the way I referenced Geoffrey Kabaservice’s recent article in Politico on the abysmal ignorance most liberals have of conservative history, and then went on to the main event—Stanford historian Jennifer Burns’s »

Thinking About Liberal Presumptions

Featured image Thesis: the presumption of liberalism that they have absolute truth and perfect justice on their side—that theirs is “the side of history”—makes liberals intellectually lazy and unable to think seriously. Now for the evidence. Start with a sympathetic liberal witness, Geoffrey Kabaservice, author of a well-written if not entirely persuasive book a few years back entitled Rule or Ruin: The Downfall of Moderation and the Destruction of the Republican Party. »

Remembering “Whitewater”

Featured image For the past 20 years, Kenneth Starr has avoided the limelight. And why not? As the independent counsel who investigate Whitewater and other Clinton-related scandals, he received enough attention to last several lifetimes. Now, however, Starr has written a book about those days. It’s called Contempt: A Memoir of the Clinton Investigation. The contempt in question was that of Bill and Hillary Clinton. The two manifested it differently, though. According »

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.) It’s a good book that touches on profound themes in a thought-provoking way: life and death, love and friendship, »

A Useful Reminder That Liberals Don’t Like America

Featured image John has already noted the controversy of the choice that the makers of the new film “First Man” to omit the scene of Neil Armstrong planting the American flag on the moon, with (Canadian) star Ryan Gosling making the preposterous claim that the late Armstrong—a former military test pilot and Korean War veteran—was some kind of general cosmopolite representative for all of humanity. They might have gone with a safe »

Chicago, 50 Years On

Featured image Arthur Herman has a good recollection over at National Review of the climax of the Democratic Party’s disastrous 1968 national convention in Chicago exactly 50 years ago on this date. It was unhappiness with the grassroots of the party that led to the “reforms” that disempowered party bosses and insiders and made the Democratic Party more populist (that’s before “populism” became a dirty word for liberals), resulting in such sterling »

The Power Line Show, Ep. 84: Vietnam Revisited, with Mac Owens

Featured image A very bright young fellow I know sent me an email recently about how he had been reading about the 1960s and the Vietnam War, and was puzzled as to why victory over North Vietnam wasn’t our object. Why this strange exercise in conceiving the war as some kind of exercise in “communicating” with the Communist regime by means of “graduated pressure”? I have my own answers to this good »

Faith of his fathers

Featured image Despite whatever political disagreements I had with Senator McCain over the years, I am deeply saddened by the news of his death today at the age of 81 from the aggressive form of brain cancer with which he has been contending over the past year. I found the occasions on which I spent time in his company to be a personal highlight. He was an American original. The New York »

“Enemies lists,” then and now

Featured image The Trump-hating mainstream media claims that President Trump has an enemies list. It’s possible that he has one, but the list of people whose security clearance is under review isn’t it. An enemies list would be longer and would include, for example, Jim Acosta. The list in question is simply a group of people who may not deserve the privilege of having a security clearance now that they are not »

Andrew Cuomo: America was never that great

Featured image When candidate Donald Trump rolled out his “Make America Great Again” slogan, Hillary Clinton chided him for taking the position that America isn’t great now. But today, New York governor Andrew Cuomo attacked the slogan from the opposite perspective. He said: “We’re not going to make America great again; it was never that great.” He added that America “will reach greatness when discrimination and stereotyping against women, 51 percent of »

Chile vs. Venezuela

Featured image Pop quiz: Which country would you rather live in—Chile or Venezuela? That’s pretty obvious—Chile. That was not an automatic answer until recent years. As recently as 2004 Venezuela had a higher per capita GDP than Chile, but then Chile doesn’t have Venezuela’s oil riches. Today Chile has a higher per capita GDP than Venezuela measured in nominal terms, but with a 30,000 percent inflation rate in Venezuela right now (and »

Trump not the first to mock “a thousand points of light”

Featured image The mainstream media and other anti-Trumpers are pretending to be offended by the ridicule President Trump heaped on former president George H.W. Bush’s pet saying/project “a thousand points of light.” At a rally in Montana, Trump riffed: A thousand points of light, what the hell was that? What did that mean? Does anyone know? Has anyone ever figured that one out? And it was put out by a Republican! I »

The eternal meaning of Independence Day (2)

Featured image President Calvin Coolidge celebrated the 150th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1926, with a speech providing a magisterial review of the history and thought underlying the Declaration. His speech on the occasion deserves to be read and studied in its entirety. The following paragraph, however, is particularly relevant to the challenge that confronts us in the variants of the progressive dogma that pass themselves off today »

The eternal meaning of Independence Day

Featured image On July 9, 1858, Illinois Senator Stephen Douglas gave a campaign speech to a raucous throng from the balcony of the Tremont Hotel in Chicago. Abraham Lincoln was in the audience as Douglas prepared to speak. Douglas graciously invited Lincoln to join him on the balcony to listen to the speech. In his speech Douglas sounded the themes of the momentous campaign that Lincoln and Douglas waged that summer and »

Five Ways to Look at the IG Report

Featured image Concerning the Inspector General’s report about the FBI’s conduct of the Hillary email investigation, let’s take a step back from the details and offer a few observations on the wider scene. 1. We may have abolished monarchy in America way back in 1776, but it seems we haven’t quite rid ourselves of royal prerogative. Then-FBI director James Comey took it upon himself to decide not to apply consistent procedure in conducting »

Class Struggle at Harvard

Featured image It was 40 years ago today when Alexander Solzhenitsyn delivered his famous commencement address at Harvard. Solzhenitsyn’s speech mourned, or denounced, the decline of civilization in the West. You can read the speech here. Its themes are a big topic for another day. In the meantime, on a lighter note, a friend who was present on that notable occasion, graduating from Harvard Business School, sends along this reminiscence which highlights »

The ordeal of Omaha Beach

Featured image Reader Patti Kruse wrote us a few years ago to persist in our annual remembrance of the D-Day landings on the Normandy beaches. “My dad landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day,” she told us. “He was one of the fortunate ones, as he was never physically injured and managed to survive from D-Day all the way through the Battle of the Bulge and V-E Day. He rarely spoke about his »