History

What’s in a nickname?

Featured image A lot, if we’re talking about the nicknames presidents and their aides bestow on each other and their rivals. Donald Trump publicly used nicknames to demean his political opponents — “Low Energy Jeb,” “Crooked Hillary,” “Sleepy Joe,” “Lyin’ Ted,” and “Little Marco.” This charming development was something new in American politics, I think. But, as presidential historian Tevi Troy shows, presidents and their aides have long used derogatory nicknames in »

Bob Dole, then and now

Featured image I found it amusing to read the nostalgia in the reporting on Bob Dole’s death. Dole deserved the praise he received from the mainstream media. He was an important member of the Senate for decades — one of that body’s leading figures of the last half of the 20th century. What amused me was the presentation of Dole as bridge-builder, friend of Democrats and Republicans alike, and reminder of the »

Bob Dole at war

Featured image Bob Dole was a happy undergrad at the University of Kansas in 1942. “He didn’t want to go to war,” Richard Ben Cramer writes in chapter 5 of What It Takes: The Way to the White House, his doorstop “masterpiece” (as Jonathan Martin called it when Cramer died in 2013). Dole was happily “fooling around” on campus and at his fraternity, pursuing his studies, going out for football, baseball, and »

America’s first socialist republic

Featured image Paul A. Rahe holds the Charles O. Lee and Louise K. Lee Chair in the Western Heritage at Hillsdale College and is one of the country’s most distinguished scholars of history and politics. In view of his study of Republics Ancient and Modern, Professor Rahe is the academy’s foremost authority on the history of republics. Although his subsequent work on Soft Despotism was not far from his Thanksgiving reflections when »

The Dying Citizen

Featured image Victor Davis Hanson’s important new book is The Dying Citizen: How Progressive Elites, Tribalism, and Globalization Are Destroying the Idea of America, published by Basic Books on October 5. Victor is a learned man who applies his learning to the present discontents in the book and in his interview with Peter Robinson (video below). The Hoover Institution/Uncommon Knowledge post includes both the video and podcast forms of the interview with »

Before there was Rosa Parks, there was Claudette Colvin

Featured image In March 1955, nine months before Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat to a White on a Montgomery, Alabama bus, Claudette Colvin was arrested for the same “offense.” She was taken to jail and later placed on indefinite probation. Colvin was 15 years old at the time. So why didn’t Colvin become a civil right hero? She cites three reasons. First, she wasn’t entirely non-violent. »

Let’s go Brandon, the precursors

Featured image My conservative cousin, formerly of New York, looks at past instances in which leaders have been publicly abused by disenchanted citizens. He writes: There are plenty of precedents for political leaders being jeered by sports fans. In ancient Constantinople the appearance of the Emperor at chariot races sometimes caused jeering Hippodrome crowds to erupt in violence. American crowds are a bit less raucous in displaying disapproval of their leaders. Some »

Is America in irreversible decline?

Featured image New Criterion editor and publisher Roger Kimball posed the question to “Visiting Critic” Conrad Black. Roger introduces Black and Black provides the answer to the question Roger posed in the New Criterion’s third annual Circle Lecture, posted online here and embedded below. Black discusses his lecture and other topics with New Criterion executive editor James Panero in an interview that is also posted at the link. The email alerting readers »

Lies of the NY Times

Featured image Well, it appears Nicole Hannah-Jones, the impresario of the New York Times‘s egregiously awful 1619 Project, is at it again. No stealth corrections? How, then, does she explain these changes? Was the Times hacked? Move along, nothing to see here. (Hat tip: Phil Magness.) Chaser from the Times today: Jefferson Statue May Be Removed After More Than 100 Years at City Hall Black, Latino and Asian City Council members who »

A great teacher remembered

Featured image Yale classicist and historian Donald Kagan died this past August. In the current (October) issue of the New Criterion his former student Paul Rahe draws on his long relationship with Professor Kagan for the tribute “Donald Kagan, 1932–2021.” It is a moving portrait of a great teacher. Indeed, one can infer the qualities of a great teacher from Rahe’s portrait. It is worth reading and thinking through on that ground »

Happy Indigenous Peoples’ Day?

Featured image Tomorrow is Columbus Day. Or, at least, it used to be. In many places around the country, like Minnesota, Columbus is out of favor. Last year, “activists” encouraged by the state’s governor and lieutenant governor tore down the statue of Christopher Columbus that stood on the grounds of the Minnesota Capitol. The statue has never been restored, and its removal exemplifies a new intellectual order premised on the belief that »

Ruth Wisse remembers

Featured image Ruth R. Wisse is a leading scholar of Yiddish literature. To many conservatives, she is best known for her frequent contributions to Commentary magazine. Wisse has published her memoir. The book is called Free as a Jew: A Personal Memoir of National Self-Liberation. Cynthia Ozick, Wisse’s fellow Commentary comrade-in-arms, calls the book an “intellectual autobiography. . .of profound moral force and scathing political discernment.” I agree. The book begins with »

Muhammad Ali, Ken Burns style

Featured image I’ve watched every documentary that has popped up on cable about Muhammad Ali over the years and enjoyed them all. None annoyed me, or annoyed me as much as Ken Burns’s documentary Muhammad Ali (written and co-directed by Sarah Burns, Burns’s oldest daughter, and her husband, David McMahon). Running nearly eight hours over four episodes, the documentary includes extensive footage of Ali that makes it worth viewing. Despite its length, »

Trippin’ with General Milley

Featured image They say a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Gen. Mark Milley proves that a lot of knowledge can be a dangerous thing when accompanied by a fevered imagination and barely a glimmer of analytical ability and common sense. James Hohmann of the Washington Post gushes that Milley “owns thousands of books in his personal library” and “attended Princeton before starting his climb up the officer’s ladder.” The general is »

Leo Baeck, Berlin, 1935

Featured image Jews begin the observance of Yom Kippur at sundown tonight with the Kol Nidre prayer service. Ten years ago our friend Rachel Paulose asked to join us at our service. Since then she has regularly attended the service with us and joined my family when we break our fast, as she will do again this year. The first time around she pointed in our prayer book to an adaptation of »

The myth of Biden’s empathy

Featured image Somewhere along the line, Joe Biden got a reputation for being empathetic. I’m not sure how this happened. It’s true that Biden seemed to empathize with the unborn, but that was before he seemed to empathize with pregnant women who want to destroy their unborn babies. He seemed to empathize with the victims of crime, but later seemed to empathize with the criminals who harm them. Actually, Biden cares only »

I Beg Your Pardon?

Featured image The telos of the leftism’s new soft-on-crime mentality arrived today when a California parole board granted parole to Sirhan Sirhan, the assassin of Robert F. Kennedy in 1968. The Los Angeles district attorney, the leftist George Gascon, declined to send anyone from the DA’s office (the LA DA prosecuted Sirhan back in 1969, and as such is the prosecutor of record for Sirhan) to lobby against Sirhan’s parole. It had »