How Politics Has Shaped Public Policy During Coronavirus

A look at the data

Everyone likes paying homage to “science,” deferring to it as the ultimate authority. The problem is that “science” is often more of an “art.” You frequently can find a “study” to support a point of view—regardless of how crazy it might seem. This phenomenon interests me as a computational social scientist and strategist. In a…


What Sean Wilentz Gets Wrong About Sen. Tom Cotton and the American Founding

Princeton historian Sean Wilentz recently criticized Sen. Tom Cotton for claiming that the American founders considered slavery “the necessary evil upon which the union was built.” Wilentz thought it suggested that Americans needed slavery in order to create the United States. Sen. Cotton also said that “the union was built in a way, as Lincoln…


They’re Coming for Your Head

BLM and Antifa won't stop unless we stop them.

Pliny the Younger was a gentleman of means and standing. He ascended the ranks of high Imperial Roman society, climbing from one magistracy to the next under the favorable auspices of Emperor Trajan. Pliny was a careerist. He did everything right. In 100 AD, Pliny delivered a speech praising Trajan in the Senate, a Panegyricus….


The Old Left Has Lost the Will to Live

Empty gestures won’t stop the march of the woke radicals.

Liberals are right at the cusp of a Great Awokening—but they won’t take the plunge. Many of them are alarmed about the rise of despotic illiberalism on the Left, and some of them are even speaking out publicly against the Woke Mob. But as long as they are afraid of being labeled “scary conservatives,” they’ll…


The Institutional Racism of the Democratic Party

It's the most persistent hate group in human history.

There is an institutional racism problem in the United States. The institution is the Democrat Party. No, there was no cross-partisan, musical chairs switcheroo in the late ’60s. Of the racist “Dixiecrats” who did leave, all but three rejoined the Democrat Party; not until the ’80s did more white Southerners join the GOP, and not…


Exclusive: Rep Jim Banks on the Portland Riots

Why can’t Democrat leaders see what we all see?

There have been non-stop riots in Portland for 60 days. The media still calls them “George Floyd protests,” but if you actually ask the protesters, they’ll give you unrelated answers. Some say they’re fighting against homelessness, some are fighting for immigrant rights. Others say they’re fighting “systemic racism.” Still others want Medicare for All, defunding…


The Wages of Relativism

Not all speech is created equal.

America is burning. Peaceful protests against police abuse have been marred by the presence of looters and rioters. Most people want to distance themselves from team riot—but everyone has a different theory about who these people are. Some say the primary instigators are Antifa, others say white supremacists. Likely both elements are attacking the social…


Narratives 1, Conservatives 0

The high cost of losing postmodern America’s political language games.

If we are to listen to Jordan Peterson, Postmodernism is truly a dirty word, especially for the Right. At the same time, if I am to listen to today’s academics, postmodernism is ridiculously passé: it’s been dead since the ‘90s, boomer. Now, I happen to quite dislike the nihilism of postmodernity, but if conservatives want…


Armageddon Now

Unless all lives matter, none does.

Is the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement Marxist? Its leadership says that it is. And it certainly has infused new energy into the International Marxist Tendency (IMT), which triumphantly posted on its website, “[c]omrades of the IMT have taken part in demonstrations in countries such as: the USA, Canada, Britain, Belgium, Mexico, Switzerland, Italy, Denmark,…


Scamocracy in America

How a fraudulent ruling class plundered our most precious inheritance.

Over the past fifty years the rules of public and even of private life in America have well-nigh reversed, along with the meaning of common words, e.g. marriage, merit, and equality. Social inequality, even more than economic, has increased as personal safety and freedom have plummeted. People are subject to arbitrary power as never before….


Fight First, Club Later

An open letter to aspiring Chads.

I read Hugo Thomas’s article “Corona and the Crown” in these pages and shared it with my friends. Rarely have I simultaneously found something so descriptively right and prescriptively wrong. Thomas is right that our moment exposes the need for masculine virtue and the opportunity to exert masculine gifts in a constructive way. But he…


Buy Guns and Ammo

You can’t count on the state for your security.

Recently I have noticed an interesting new trend taking shape on my phone. More and more, my liberal friends are texting me with concern for their safety, wondering how to buy a gun. A friend in NYC was recently threatened with violence—he’s gone from being passionately anti-gun to being dead-set on buying a firearm. But…


Franklin’s Admonition

Can we keep it?

This post was originally published on realclearpolitics.com. “A republic, if you can keep it.” That was Ben Franklin’s famous response when asked, as the Constitutional Convention ended in 1787, what sort of government the delegates had crafted. Time was, I thought Franklin’s answer droll. But as July 4, 2020, comes into view, I wonder. A republic…


Has the Church Given Up on this World?

It’s leftists, not Christians, who should be accused of fatalism.

Taking aim at Evangelical Christians in a Washington Post op-ed, Dr. Gary Abernathy blamed Republicans’ general desire to reopen the economy on their faith in a heavenly afterlife. This belief evidently causes Christians to stubbornly resist the wisdom of progressives who want to continue the lockdown. In support of this view, Abernathy quotes Jesus and…


Libertarians are Underpants Gnomes

It’s time for conservatives to abandon fusionist organizations.

America’s history is under attack from low-testosterone jihadis trained by our own universities and supported by our own corporations. They are incapable of building. They do nothing but tear down. They want to see everything that the average American took pride in just a few years ago expunged from the historical record. They are the…


Exodus from the Zone

I will arise and go now.

I tried to buy a pistol in Twin Falls. He wouldn’t sell me the pistol, but I could buy a shotgun or a rifle. He didn’t know the gun laws in “those liberal states” I would be driving through. Better to not risk it at the beginning of the trip, but on the way back…


What We Celebrate on the Fourth

Recovering the world-changing triumph of America.

This post was originally published on realclearpolitics.com. “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.” We have heard these words all our lives. But can we still hear the dynamite in them? According to tradition, when the British under…


What Does Our Nation Mean to Us?

Rejecting the culture of hate.

This post was originally published on realclearpolitics.com. As we approach this Fourth of July, the United States is consumed by reckless violence, nihilistic silencing, and a systematic assault on the nation’s cultural and political patrimony. The voices of sanity are few, and civic courage is in short supply. The exemplars of such courage in the…


The Revolutionary Elite Eats Their Own

This isn’t a proletarian revolution. This is a generational fight within our ruling elite class.

Let’s quit pretending that the riots which swept the country this June, and the ongoing mob assault on statues of our natural heroes, have anything to do with George Floyd or even race. The chaos in our streets is emblematic of something much deeper happening in our society. America is clearly undergoing an existential struggle….


Triumph of the Oligarchs

A new class of overlords are making their bid for world domination.

The coronavirus has trammeled the prospects of most Americans, particularly low-income workers. But for one small group, the pandemic has proved something like manna from heaven. Already ascendant beforehand, the tech oligarchy—a relatively small number of companies, venture, and private equity funds—are riding the current crisis to unprecedented dominion over our ever-weakening Republic. To be…


A Future Without Beauty

A vengeful quest for social purity ends only in public ugliness.

After statues of St. Junipero Serra, Francis Scott Key, and President Ulysses S. Grant were toppled in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, a friend called the San Francisco Arts Commission (SFAC) to learn the fate of the statues. A representative from SFAC informed her that the toppled statues were being kept in a secure location,…


Ideas Don’t Have Consequences

Why conservatives keep losing.

Ideas Have Consequences, a book by Richard Weaver, has animated countless conservative intellectuals and professionals for over half a century. What a pity, then, that the book’s title expresses but a half-truth at best. Still worse: the missing half is by far the more important one. Conservatives of all stripes need to take a sober-minded…


Exclusive: Rep. Jim Banks on the dangerous falsehoods of the NYT’s ‘1619 Project’

Have you turned on the news, seen organized groups pulling down statues—not of Confederate soldiers, but of our Founding Fathers or other presidents—and found yourself wondering what’s going on? My wife Amanda and I have watched with disgust as memorials to our country’s great heritage are attacked and vandalized. Our three girls are watching too….


Sen. Rubio remarks on civil society and race

After Mr. Floyd’s horrific murder at the hands of a man sworn to uphold the law, our nation has seen justified anger. As I said here two weeks ago, it is a moment that calls for not just “police reform”; it calls for a full reckoning with racial inequities that still plague our nation. There…


Make Mine Thermidor

What woke lobster can escape their revolution’s boiling pot?

For the counter-revolutionary, there is a grim satisfaction in the Thermidorian Reaction. Weeks after celebrating his fabricated Cult of the Supreme Being, after thousands of summary executions, French revolutionary Maximilien Robespierre and his radicals are themselves guillotined in the sultry revolutionary month of Thermidor (late July 1794), in the very place where they had decapitated…


Stand Up, Republicans

According to recent polls, 65% of all Americans now support Black Lives Matter (BLM). Why do so many Americans support an “organization” that is avowedly dedicated to the proposition that America is evil and must be fundamentally transformed? Because the Republican establishment has made remarkably little effort to expose BLM as the revolutionary and totalitarian…


Undoing the Court’s Supreme Transgression

Bostock demands a complete change of course from neutered judicial “conservatism.”

On Tuesday, Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) took to the floor of the United States Senate to declare “the end of the conservative legal movement, or the conservative legal project, as we know it.” In responding to Monday’s unfortunate Title VII Supreme Court ruling, which erroneously read both sexual orientation and so-called transgenderism into our most hallowed…


Married to the Mob

Romanticizing direct democracy leads to pandemic anarchy.

In times of upheaval and uncertainty, there is an understandable instinct to reach for and defend the familiar—to check up on friends, take stock of enemies, and graft old patterns onto new problems. Even before the coronavirus, rising tensions with China had primed pundits to view the world as a contest between liberal democracies and…


What’s Up With the Supreme Court?

I am no longer a practicing attorney. Frankly, I hated being a lawyer. There were these things called clients and inevitably they were annoying people with easy to solve problems who hated other people so much they refused to do the practical and right thing in favor of being a pain in the butt. Nonetheless,…


China is on the Ballot in 2020

American voters will decide if the PRC wins.

In early May, President Donald Trump ordered a federal retirement fund to scrap its plans to shift several billion dollars’ worth of U.S. government employee savings into Chinese stocks. The administration is now planning a broader review of China’s unfair and potentially dangerous usage of American capital markets. This is about far more than mundane…


Okay, So You’ve Abolished the Police

Now what?

The Black Lives Matters organization, reinforced by their Antifa allies, has now declared that the abolition of the police is chief among their demands. This has led to a round of questions—and some mockery. But shortly after the demand was issued, the City Council of Minneapolis began efforts to sever its relationship with the Minneapolis…


It’s America or Bust

This side of heaven, there is only one remedy for tribalism.

In a clip that has now gone viral, Nikole Hannah-Jones (architect of the New York Times’s 1619 Project) told CBS that although rioters are destroying private property across the country, their actions are not violent. “Violence is when an agent of the state kneels on a man’s neck until all of the life is leached…


The Soul of ’76

In 2020, it's equality versus chaos.

This post is the fifth in a series by Christopher Flannery, host of The American Story podcast, on America’s identity and founding ideals and their implications for 2020. Here are the first, second, third, and fourth installments.—Eds. I wrote a few words the other day about the nationwide riots we are experiencing, and I referred to a Claremont Institute Statement arguing that there are two pretexts for…


Quiet Riot

Among the silent majority.

A belated congratulations to those of you who had “Global Race War” on your 2020 Bingo card! I was almost finished with a clutch of new pieces for this esteemed publication when Civil War 2: Eclectic Boogaloo broke out, rendering my musings instantly obsolete. Pandemics and lockdowns, R naughts and CFRs: all mere fragments from…


The 1619 Riots

Our elites seek a new nation conceived in violence.

This post is the fourth in a series by Christopher Flannery, host of The American Story podcast, on America’s identity and founding ideals and their implications for 2020. Here are the first, second, and third installments.—Eds. Back in October, 2019, when all of us lived in a different world, I wrote what I called an “American Meditation,” the occasion…


America is Not Racist

A Statement from the Claremont Institute

The pretext for this entire nationwide riot is that America is a racist country. That is not true. America is not a racist country. America is a country that has strived, imperfectly but passionately, to live up to its founding promise that all men are created equal. There is not—and will never be—a greater barrier…


The Enemy of the People

Don't believe your lying eyes.

“If they thought the news networks were going to cover what happened they were kidding themselves, I said to myself. No more today than yesterday…the blackout was total.” It was either providence or something in the air that led me to start reading Michel Houellebecq’s Submission (2015) for the first time last week. Barely had…


Natural Right Is Not a Narrative

As Harry Jaffa taught, political philosophy and justice are real.

Kenneth Kersch’s political universe is comprised of competing narratives and stories—“fighting faiths” as it were. His Conservatives and the Constitution (2019) follows the development of conservative narratives and stories since the second half of the 20th century when conservatives decided to make the Constitution and the founding their “fighting faith.” Although Kersch attempts to maintain an academic…


Mask Charade

In real life, trade-offs abound.

Vice President Pence was criticized recently for not wearing a mask while touring a hospital. His explanation, that he wanted to “look these incredible healthcare workers in the eye and say thank you,” was mocked as “fragile masculinity.” Masks have become essential in our covid-infected age. For those of us who cannot be on the…


On Alexander Dugin

Leo Strauss and Russian Heideggerianism.

In order to understand what is now happening globally, serious scholars must investigate what thinkers like Alexander Dugin are saying. Unless we drag into the light what is increasingly said in the shadows, we will be incapable of critical examination. That this responsibility is not an endorsement of Dugin’s thought should go without saying, but…


Sacred Cows

What I saw at the American Academy of Religion.

Finding the right metaphor is difficult. The leadership of AAR/SBL is fiddling? Naked? On a deck chair sinking into the cold North Sea? And the fiddle is on fire… Let me explain. The AAR/SBL is the annual joint conference of the American Academy of Religion and the Society of Biblical Literature. Just about everyone who…


Blue City Lockdowns Obscure COVID’s Root Causes

We can be far more efficient in our fight against pandemics.

It will be months, likely years, before we understand how COVID-19 has reshaped our communities. Yet there is enough data, based on just the last three months, to get some notion of what areas and populations are most vulnerable. The patterns are in many ways fairly clear. Media outlets, particularly those based in New York,…


Catholicism, Textualism, and Republicanism

Catholics can—and should—support both.

As the philosopher says (Rhet. I, 1), “it is better that all things be regulated by law, than left to be decided by judges.”                         –Thomas Aquinas Originalism: the Common-Good, Catholic, Conservative Jurisprudence In a recent article called “Vermeule, His Critics, and the Crisis…


We Need New Institutions, Not Arguments

In a time of intellectual Babel, words fail.

In my response to Adrian Vermeule this week, I wrote the following somewhat bleak assessment of our public discourse: We live in a time of intellectual Babel, in want of the shared premises, definitions, history, and intellectual formation by which to engage publicly and profitably in such discussion. The result is suspicion, confusion, division—among the…


Liberate Harvard

How to free America’s elite universities from special interests.

America’s elite private universities are some of its strangest institutions. Though ostensibly charities, they accumulate massive endowments that they are unwilling to spend down. Princeton University, my alma mater, is a classic example. Like its peers, Princeton spends about 5% of its endowment each year—enough to fund much of its budget while also ensuring that…


A Burst of Light

The coming great awakening.

As the majority of us stay home, working with spouses, roommates, and children nearby, our impatience with the supposed new “normal” increases—and rightly so. But we must take heart. America will emerge from this seeming tomb into the bright light of a classic American summer. I’m sure of this because of what my grandpa taught me….


To Hell with Main Street?

It’s time to reassert the authority of we the people.

In times of trouble, Americans rally around a common cause. After Pearl Harbor, we liberated much of the world; during the Cold War, we sent a man to the moon. There was a shared sensibility that Americans were unified in pursuit of the highest ideals. But after some shocks, this sense of unity proves short-lived—and…


The Chinese Art of War

The American people deserve honesty about who is at fault for the virus disaster.

On January 28th, at a meeting of the World Health Organization, Xi Jinping said “the virus is a demon and we cannot let that demon hide.” An interesting turn of phrase for, as a matter of high government policy, the demon was driven from the shadows of a lab in Wuhan, China, and made to…



It’s Coming.

I spent yesterday crying at Whole Foods, my helpless tears filling my ski goggles (won’t be skiing any time soon) and rolling down the sides of my p100 mask. The country I grew up thinking was so majestic, so impervious to damage, has become an empty, post-apocalyptic husk of itself. Chinese bat AIDS may not…


Prediction and Imagination Won’t Solve Anything

Time travel of every kind is madness.

This essay contains spoilers for the movie 12 Monkeys.—Eds. The more we come to fear that our lives after the pandemic will not remain the same, the more we desire to make them the same, either by ignoring the problem or by going back in time and preventing the catastrophe. Our technological achievements, from biological…


An Early Legacy of Brexit

To leave the EU was to return to politics.

Brexit has been a divisive process for us all. As a mononym, if I say so myself, it was always a particularly cheap and badly chosen one. But it has succeeded where general elections had failed, releasing a pressure valve—for those disparaged and neglected in the downward spiral of British culture and politics ushered on…


Celebrating National Winston Churchill Day

Excerpt from "Fifty Years Hence"

On April 9, 1963, President Kennedy bestowed honorary citizenship on Winston Churchill. Today we continue a tradition of remembering our great friend and ally from across the pond by excerpting a portion of  his “Fifty Years Hence” essay (1931), a piece not only for the present moment, but for all time — Eds. It is…


Identity vs. Identity Politics

The human person is irreducible.

The proponents of identity politics place individual people into groups. On the surface, there is nothing necessarily wrong with that. We all identify with some group or another, however significant or superficial it may be. I can say that I am an American citizen, who happens to be also a Bosnian woman, a war survivor,…


Big Chungus Energy Will Win in 2020

A large, adult political forecast.

For the uninitiated, Big Chungus is a popular meme character you may have seen around the Internet. He is a large, fat version of Bugs Bunny. But he signifies much more. First he represented the power aesthetic of the adorably chunky creature, man or beast. Then, as often happens online, the stakes were raised to…


A Victory for Intellectual Diversity in South Dakota

South Dakota’s experience with intellectual diversity legislation is a case study for the nation.

During its 2019 session the South Dakota legislature passed H.B. 1087, a bill intended to promote intellectual diversity on the state’s six public university campuses. As signed by Gov. Kristi Noem, the bill accomplishes various goods. It ensures the right of controversial speakers to access campus space, protects the free speech rights of student groups,…


Suffer the Children

A true trans story.

The following is a true story, with names and identifying information changed to protect patient privacy. The author is a medical professional. We present it as part of an ongoing series on children and the transgender movement. A long-form piece on the topic will follow next week.–Eds. “Maybe there is a beast… maybe it’s only us.”  …


Losing My Past to Coronavirus

The choice of what to let go is no longer yours.

Yea, from the table of my memory I’ll wipe away all trivial fond records, All saws of books, all forms, all pressures past That youth and observation copied there, And thy commandment all alone shall live Within the book and volume of my brain, Unmixed with baser matter.              …


Corona and the Crown

It's time to lay the soil for a new age.

The American Mind frequently hosts voices that you will not hear in “mainstream” discourse. We do so in order to reveal the full panoply of the American mind, especially among the young, to our readers. As what was once considered “mainstream” rapidly hollows out, we publish writers representative of often-conflicting subgroups notable for their role…



Keep America Great Alive

“You are not all going to die. Only two percent of you right here today would be killed in a major battle. Every man is scared in his first action. If he says he’s not, he’s a goddamn liar. But the real hero is the man who fights even though he’s scared. Some men will…



Meet this moment, Mr. President, before it’s too late (and it’s almost too late)

Dear President Trump, You, Sir, are blowing it. I say this as a loyal supporter since early in your candidacy. I placed an early Predictit bet on you, and won big. I’ve spent more time than I care to admit defending you to #nevertrump cucks. My faith in your political and national instincts has never…


It’s Good to Be Against Things

Yes, “Parties of No” can win.

The new conservative coalition doesn’t make much sense. As Spencer Klavan recently observed, “More and more people at all levels of society have gone into political crisis mode, placing free speech at the top of their priority list and making common cause with absolutely anyone who will help them preserve it.” Beyond a penchant for…


How to Take Back Your Soul

At the National Conservative Conference, a vision of Christian humanism.

In Rome, at the second National Conservative Conference, two speeches were dedicated to the defense of humanity from the onslaught of progressive ideology. This ideology has been best (and most succinctly) described by The American Mind’s own James Poulos as the Pink Police State. The call to action was first articulated from an American perspective…


A New Normal?

The future of national conservatism.

As I came down to breakfast at the Hotel Nazionale in Rome on the morning of February 5, a headline on the front page of the New York Times caught my attention: “How the Far Right Became Europe’s New Normal.” I couldn’t help smiling at the irony. The paper surely meant to alarm its readers…


Wrench in the DreamWorks

A Spielbergian Fantasy Turns Dark

Young Woman: I’ve learned to hate you in the last ten years! Older Man: I never meant to hurt you. YW: I was a child. I was in love. It was wrong and you knew it! OM: You knew what you were doing. YW: Now I do. This is my place. Get out! OM: I did what I did, you don’t…


The Classical D.C. That Wasn’t

Would Daniel Patrick Moynihan have agreed with Trump?

Half a century ago, a young architect in the office of Vincent G. Kling Associates, a successful Philadelphia firm, produced a magnificent plan for the completion of the classical Federal Triangle. Situated immediately north of the Mall in Washington, the 75-acre complex of government buildings had been erected during the 1920s and ’30s. The Depression…


We Can’t Re-Found the Right on Free Speech

Life after wokeness demands we share more.

In “Can Conservatism Be Conserved?” Spencer Klavan offers a challenge we all ought to consider. Let’s say that we defeat the Army of Wokeness, or they lose all momentum, and that the major role they play right now is replaced by more straightforward class-driven lefties. The very broad tent that Klavan sees being stitched together…


It’s a Sick, Sick, Sick, Sick World

Scares and scars from the Oscars stars.

Ah, what sweet relief that was! How nice to take a break from watching videos of coronavirus-infected Chinese people dropping dead to watch drop-dead gorgeous people with much sexier diseases like Herpes and Chlamydia! Main takeaway: Whatever Penelope Cruz—who is supposedly 45—does to keep looking 25, I need that intel stat. Secondary takeaway: Tarantino wuz robbed. Yeah, I said…


The State of the Union: Our Respondents React

Updated in real time.

Andrea Yang Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema doesn’t always understand how bad thigh-high boots look on the floors of Congress, but, unlike her fellow Democrats, she understands just how bad petulance looks. While President Trump delivered a riveting SOTU address last night, most of the evil party’s ethno-fetishist and gender-narcissist sweethearts played on their phones, gossiped…


Sen. Rubio remarks on the State of the Union address

President Trump’s State of the Union address was a welcome reminder that life exists outside of Washington for millions of Americans too busy with life to pass their time hooked to the tumult of partisan politics. After watching the deterioration of our national unity and rapid politicization of every aspect of their lives, Americans have…


Stupor Howl

Halftime's sound and sexy signified nothing.

The morning of the big game, I predicted that the elderly singers poised to take the stage would appear in opaque nude panty hose and vinyl leotards, since legally the older the performer, the more skin they are required to flaunt. My prediction was very close to what they wore, except with slightly less fabric….


The Joke’s on Saturday Night Live

Absolutely everyone is fed up with our clueless elites.

Recently NBC’s Saturday Night Live aired a sketch-within-a-sketch during their Weekend Update segment, showcasing what can only be described as cast member Melissa Villaseñor’s attempt at a woke comedic synopsis of this year’s Oscar nominees. “White male rage,” sang Villaseñor, as (very white) host Colin Jost, beside her, seemed to struggle against laughter. “White male…


We Live in an Anti-Society

An Untimely Review of Joker.

I finally watched Joker, the much-hyped, and now award-winning, ersatz superhero movie which had the Twitterati up in arms back when it first came out. It recently won two Golden Globes—one for the best performance by an actor in a motion picture, which went to Joaquin Phoenix in his role as the titular character, and…


The Empty Cinema

Robert Downey Jr.’s failures in Doolittle are the failures of American film today.

Robert Downey Jr. is the only actor of his generation to play memorable characters whom audiences really and truly love. He resurrected his career, after all, playing Iron Man for more than a decade, taking breaks along the way to play Sherlock Holmes in two very successful Guy Ritchie movies. His attempted third, Dolittle, falls…


The Spirit of ’76

Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech casts a golden thread across three centuries, connecting us to the source of the American dream.

This post is the third in a series by Christopher Flannery (author of The American Story podcast) reflecting on America’s identity and founding ideals—and their implications for 2020. Here are the first and second installments.—Eds. If you’re driving through Wright, Wyoming (a few hundred miles east of Jackson, 5,000 feet or so above sea level,…


“Team Human” Telepresence

How to think so we can stay in control in our digital future.

Most of our “tech titans” (or whatever) have enough skin in the game to appreciate both the rewards of public life and the routine abuse that so often comes with it. As a result, they provide us regular public statements about the unfolding future—as they see it and as they would like to see it…


The Golden Snow Globe

The solution to rule by celebrity is not more rule by other celebrities.

The internet is now predictably awash with two—and only two—videos from this year’s Golden Globes awards ceremony. In the first, British comedian Ricky Gervais uses his opening monologue to announce what is obviously true, painstakingly unspoken, and therefore punishingly funny: that his audience consists of self-satisfied prima donnas who fancy themselves sages but in fact…


Our Elites Are Steering Us Towards Civil War

They are as clueless as the ancien régime.

Along with the Upper West Side of Manhattan and a few other redoubts, my suburban neighborhood near the Maryland border represents the heart of what some pundits call the “blue church.” It is increasingly a dream world. I drop in periodically at Politics and Prose, a prominent bookstore in Northwest D.C., to browse and shop….


Elite Education is for Suckers

Classical education is rising up to take its place.

As part of our ongoing efforts to diagnose the failures of higher education, we present three pieces by college students writing “from the ground,” giving firsthand accounts of life in the 21st-century academy.—Eds. There’s a sucker born every minute. While historians aren’t sure P.T. Barnum ever said it, America’s elite universities have been proving it true…


The University Has Lost its Way

When God recedes, nihilism takes His place.

As part of our ongoing efforts to diagnose the failures of higher education, we present three pieces by college students writing “from the ground,” giving firsthand accounts of life in the 21st-century academy.—Eds. The modern university’s promise of an education is like a pair of fake Yeezys—purchased for the prestige, but an imposter of the real thing. Higher education used to develop the whole…


Where Are our Leaders?

Elite universities have failed to produce elites.

As part of our ongoing efforts to diagnose the failures of higher education, we present three pieces by college students writing “from the ground,” giving firsthand accounts of life in the 21st-century academy.—Eds. The higher education system, composed of “elite” institutions, has failed the nation. It has failed to produce men and women who are statesmen,…


Eric Whitacre: American Composer

Why he belongs in the American Canon.

Ask a connoisseur of classical music which composers should be included in the American Canon, and they’re bound to toss out a few names: Gershwin, Copland, Bernstein, the other John Adams. But ask them if Eric Whitacre belongs at the top of that list, and they’ll scoff and roll their eyes. That’s because in serious…


It’s the Child Abuse, Stupid

Reform, not Twitter, is what the Church needs.

Wait, you mean you didn’t hear about the recent gathering (or as they say, “General Assembly”—LOL, OK boomer) of the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops? Their annual meeting was held in Baltimore in November; Baltimore, you may recall, was recently newsworthy for being particularly rat-infested. So many rats that no one paid much attention to a…


The Nakedness of God

An Advent reflection.

People get naked for lots of reasons. When they make love, or go to the doctor’s, or wash themselves; when they’re skinny dipping or sleeping or posing for a painting. In the ancient world Greek athletes stripped naked to compete, and Celtic soldiers did so to wage war. But everywhere nudity occurs it is extraordinary:…


A Reconquista of American Culture?

Something new must emerge from the wreckage of the Flight 93 election.

This is the second post in an ongoing series of reports and reflections from abroad by Jeremy Carl. Read the first here.–Eds. Hunter Hearns has offered a grim but accurate assessment of the results of the Flight 93 election. Despite the sincere efforts of many talented people (undermined in part, it should be said, by…


Finance Means Betting on People—Not Numbers

To Restore True Wealth Creation We Must Believe In People.

David Graeber has written a persuasive critique of the way mainstream economics treats money. His “credit theory of money,” which holds that all money is credit, is interesting. But he stops short of the true nature of money. Graeber describes how credit is created by banks, but—contrary to his implication—banks do not simply create credit…


Why Tyrants Redefine Words

To spot a would-be autocrat, look for someone who undermines language.

There is a passage that’s been haunting me for years now, from the History of the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides. It’s about what happens when a society turns in on itself. Throughout the late 400s BC, Athens and Sparta—the two great city-states of Ancient Greece—were locked in a furious and ever-escalating struggle for dominance. Caught in…


Full Metal Racket

Raising Boys in the Shadow of Endless War

On Veteran’s Day, we flew our flags and honored those who served. As is right and just. But maybe from here on out we should prevent our young people from enlisting in the U.S. Armed Forces. At least until we figure out what the hell is going on. With American foreign policy in a post-Trump…


America’s Choice: Freedom or Shame

In 2020, Americans must decide whether their country is worthy of praise or contempt.

This post is the second in a series by Christopher Flannery (author of The American Story podcast) reflecting on America’s identity and founding ideals—and their implications for 2020. Here is the first installment.—Eds. I ended my last (and first) meditation with the reflection that, under our circumstances and leaving historical and philosophical subtleties and complexities aside,…


The Academy Must Worship—but Whom?

The case of Yale and Calvin

My generation was raised on many lies. One of the lies that we Millennials were raised on is: you can be anything you want to be. You cannot. Everyone can be some things. In America, wonderfully, many people can be many things. But time, circumstances, the human body, all constrain what any one person can become or…


Villanova Lays Bare America’s Campus Free Speech Threat

Chuck Grassley throws the red flag.

Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley recently sent letters to four universities, including Villanova University, about their faltering dedication to free speech. I was an undergrad at Villanova, went on to earn my master’s, and then worked at the university. There my commitment to public service and civic education began, and I met friends who became family….


The Trump Phenomenon vs. The Successor Entity

Trump remains our reality because his enemies are trapped in a fantasy.

Professional political analysts are still trying to figure out why the Trump phenomenon has not petered out. To the contrary, it is in at least some respects stronger than ever, not only on the partisan front but the “intellectual” one too. Despite ever more effort on the part of Trump’s adversaries, and consistently little effort…


Brand Warfare is a Fight to the Death

The fight over Chick-fil-A makes it plain.

If our present ideological convulsions may fittingly be called a culture war, then the accompanying clashes between corporate brands and consumers may fittingly be called trials by single combat. Perhaps this was inevitable: the purpose of a brand is to define the customer’s identity, and the American public is undergoing an identity crisis. It stands…


America’s Sexual Crackup

It's coming.

Of all parts of life, the internet has singled out sex and sexuality for especially staggering transformation. Until recently much of the change has taken place under the social surface. But it was inevitable people would start talking, and as we know online erotics and the erotic sensibilities unleashed online now suffuse everyday life and…


Canon-Building is Nation-Building

More on the necessity of an American Canon.

A canon is a stick for measuring things with. That’s what the Greek word kanōn, cognate with the Hebrew kanna, means. When ancient Greek music theorists, for instance, wanted to mark out the locations on a string where the notes of the scale were played, they stretched the string along a plank of wood and made notches…


Stand Up and Fight

There is nothing manly in throwing up your hands.

The dominant culture cannot dam up indefinitely the natural force of manly spiritedness. Lord knows we are trying: for years now we have witnessed the alienation of an entire generation of young men endlessly harangued about toxic masculinity. If, in the ostensible name of egalitarianism and democracy, we remain intent on denying males any permissible outlet…


A Canon, If You Can Keep It

Every nation is shaped by its canon. It’s time to shape America’s.

The American soul, unlike, say, the soul of a Frenchman, grows uneasy when it comes to canon-talk. Our egalitarian instinct effaces distinctions on a level that’s unfathomable—and unacceptable—to Europeans proud of their proprietary artistic achievements, or at least understanding of the value in celebrating them. It’s not that Americans lack opinions about what’s good and…


OK Pollster

Voters are growing sick of being sold as news.

For those with eyes to see, the sudden freak-out over the evident weakness of Elizabeth Warren as a challenger to President Trump offers a peek behind the curtain of the elite sensi