Thought for the Day

Thought for the day

Featured image From Gerard Baker’s Free Beacon review of Franklin Foer’s hymn to Joe Biden: The Biden of Mr. Foer’s depiction—imagination might be a more accurate description—is not the fumbling, mumbling, stumbling president we have all come to see on our screens these last two years nor the predictable Democratic party hack we have known throughout his more than half a century in national politics. The figure who emerges from the pages »

Thought for the day

Featured image Tom Nolan usually reviews mysteries of the fictional variety for the Wall Street Journal. He loves the work of Ross MacDonald (the late Kenneth Millar) and has written biographies both of MacDonald (the aptly titled Ross MacDonald) and of MacDonald’s gumshoe hero, Lew Archer (that one is squirreled away in The Archer Files: The Complete Short Stories of Lew Archer, Private Investigator). Nolan recently reviewed Barbara Butcher’s What the Dead »

Thought for the day

Featured image Leo Strauss published the essay “Jerusalem and Athens: Some Preliminary Reflections” in 1967. It has since been collected in Studies in Platonic Political Philosophy (1983), with an introduction by Thomas Pangle. This paragraph has a peculiarly contemporary ring: However much the science of cultures may protest its innocence of all preferences or evaluations it fosters a specific moral posture. Since it requires openness to all cultures, it fosters universal tolerance »

Thought for the day

Featured image Barton Swaim dissects Fredrik deBoer’s How Elites Ate the Social Justice Movement in the Wall Street Journal’s Review section today. It’s a superb review that ends with five paragraphs on Thomas Sowell’s Social Justice Fallacies: The no-nonsense title of “Social Justice Fallacies” captures the book exactly: There is no introduction, no attempt by the author to lure the reader into the subject; just five essays on the dire unintended consequences »

Thought for the day

Featured image In chapter V of Thomas Hardy’s Far From the Madding Crowd, farmer Gabriel Oak’s immature sheep dog (referred to as “George’s son” below) drives Oak’s flock over the cliff. Hardy writes: George’s son had done his work so thoroughly that he was considered too good a workman to live, and was, in fact, taken out and tragically shot at twelve o’clock that same day–another instance of the untoward fate which »

Thought for the day

Featured image President Biden wields the term “democracy” as a euphemism for the left’s will to power. When you consider that Biden has sought to stigmatize and humiliate Prime Minister Netanyahu over his desire to limit the self-delegated power of Israel’s Supreme Court, this all makes perfect sense: In his New York Times opinion piece titled “The U.S. Reassessment of Netanyahu’s Government Has Begun,” Thomas Friedman wrote that he likes to say »

Thought for the day

Featured image David McCullough covers President Truman’s recognition of Israel at pages 618-620 of his biography of Truman. Truman recognized Israel within minutes of its Declaration of Independence, with the support of the American people but against the great weight of the government (at least the executive branch). Truman’s recognition is set forth in the key document posted by the Truman Library here. McCullough quotes Truman’s later reflections: The difficulty with many »

Thought for the Day: America as the Best Regime

Featured image From William B. Allen’s book, George Washington: America’s First Progressive: “The founding of the United States constitutes the single most important event in the development of political philosophy over the ages. Further, I am convinced that the government established by the U.S. Constitution in 1787 is the best yet devised—without qualification.” Allen doesn’t mean “progressive” the way the left means it today. But more to the point: I am currently »

Thought for the Day: Foucault (!!) on the Left’s Racism

Featured image You don’t often find candor and clarity about politics from the grand vizier of leftist intellectuals, Michel Foucault, but nonetheless here we are: “In addition to the State racism that developed in the conditions I have been telling you about, a social-racism also came into being, and it did not wait for the formation of socialist States before making its appearance. Socialism was a racism from the outset, even in »

Thought for the Day: Lasch’s Prophecy

Featured image Christopher Lasch had our current scene nailed in his 1994 book, The Revolt of the Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy: “The current catchwords diversity, compassion, empowerment, entitlement—express the wistful hope that deep divisions in American society can be bridged by goodwill and sanitized speech. We are called on to recognize that all minorities are entitled to respect not by virtue of their achievements but by virtue of their sufferings »

Thought for the Day: “Collective Intelligence” Is an Oxymoron

Featured image New York Times columnist Bret Stephens was invited to address the Class Day Ceremony at the University of Chicago (from which he graduated), and naturally the woke weenies threw the typical hissy fit, with many boycotting Stephens and agitating to get him canceled. In recounting the controversy Friday, Stephens notes that the monoculture of universities (and “expert organizations” generally) leads to bad results. The key paragraphs: Why did nobody at »

Thought for the day: Top secret

Featured image Andrew McCarthy considers the transformation of the Department of Justice’s investigation of President Trump for mishandling classified investigation into an obstruction of justice probe. He traces the transformation our having “suddenly learned…drumroll…that Joe Biden had been illegally hoarding classified information for decades, from his time in the Senate through his time as Obama administration vice president” in locations ranging from his private office to his private den to his private »

Thought for the Day: The Roots of Our Corrupt National Security Institutions

Featured image From Angelo Codevilla’s posthumous book, America’s Rise and Fall Among Nations: Lessons in Statecraft from John Quincy Adams: The role of U.S. intelligence agencies is a prime example of how foreign policy has succumbed to the ways of the administrative state. Prior to World War II, American statesmen made decisions on the basis of their own understanding of foreign situations, augmented by reports from diplomats and from a press that »

Thought for the Day: The Woodward Report Revisited

Featured image Back in 1975, after several years of the earliest expression of leftist anti-intellectualism in colleges and universities, Yale commissioned historian C. Vann Woodward to lead a Commission on Freedom of Expression at Yale, and write a report on academic freedom. Here’s one excerpt from the conclusion: The primary function of a university is to discover and disseminate knowledge by means of research and teaching. To fulfill this function a free »

Thought for the Day: Robert Nisbet on the Necessity of Punishment

Featured image A reminder from the great sociologist Robert Nisbet: “There is no substitute for punishment in a social order, and that means holding human beings accountable, treating them as human and therefore responsible. Concern for human rights is rampant these days, but a right is possible in the strict sense only for beings who can be rationally regarded as responsible. The celebrated dignity of man oozes away in an atmosphere where »

Thought for the Day: State vs. Church

Featured image The note this morning in Loose Ends about the possible rising religious belief among the young sent me back to this passage from Angelo Codevilla’s indispensable book The Character of Nations: Western regimes have gone out of their way to deny their peoples’ and polities’ kinship with Christianity—the drafters of the European Union’s constitution rejected references to it vehemently and repeatedly. In America, arguing that America is a Christian country »

Thought for the Day: The Liberal Mind

Featured image I know what you’re thinking: the “liberal mind” is an oxymoron. But in this case I’m channeling Kenneth Minogue’s classic 1963 book The Liberal Mind, which holds up especially well just now. I know I’ve shared the opening of this book on Power Line before, but I checked, and I did so 11 years ago. So time to re-up this spot-on diagnosis: The story of liberalism, as liberals tell it, »