FIRST PRINCIPLES

First Principles

Ruth Bader Ginsburg Is in the Dock Today

We know for certain that right now, the late Supreme Court justice knows the truth of abortion, a truth she assiduously avoided in her professional life.

uth Bader Ginsburg is not a judge today. Today she is in the dock. She is the accused. Like each one of us who will face judgment one day, Ruth Bader Ginsburg begs for mercy. As a Catholic, I cannot opine on the state of anyone’s soul, living or dead. We cannot know what happens […]

First Principles

An Open Letter by Liberty and Justice for All

This crisis is acute, and the hour is late. Like our forebears, we aim both to conserve and reform our institutions in light of enduring principles of justice.

Editor’s note: Liberty and Justice for All is an academic and intellectual enterprise focused on making sure that what has happened in the American academy—and which has now spilled out into American streets—does not take over and destroy our free and decent polity. Among the lead signatories are Jeremy Beer of The American Ideas Institute, […]

First Principles

This essay is adapted from a September 16 speech celebrating Constitution Day at the Institute of World Politics.

The Case Against Slavery and Against ‘Anti-Racism’

Today’s anti-racists share in common the zeal of yesterday’s temperance advocates. For the fundamental evil of reformist revolutionaries is certainly not being drunk on alcohol but rather being drunk on power.

his year’s Constitution Day comes at a fearful time for friends of constitutional government. Some now even fear its collapse, whether by raging mobs or scheming lawyers. Either way, whether by force or by fraud, from fists or from sophistry, tyranny lurks to replace constitutional government.  This division stems from a stark question: Is America […]

First Principles

No Common Love, No Common Life

What happens when a formerly Christian nation forgets the reality of sin and our desperate need of grace?

own in the ninth circle of Hell, where “traitors are laid to waste forevermore,” fixed up to the head at least in ice, Dante picks his way through the region of Caina, named after Cain, the first man guilty of fratricide and founder of a city. There he comes upon two men who glare at […]

First Principles

Make English Great Again

Do not accept words, or redefinitions of words, that end up putting your worldview down or at a disadvantage.

ne of the biggest weapons in the takedown of western civilization has been the Left’s amazing ability to frame debates through the cunning use of language. The way issues are framed now presupposes what the outcome should be. It’s all part of the art and science of persuasion. Scott Adams grasps this intuitively. You see […]

First Principles

America as Bad as Nazi Germany?

Lessons from a black man who lived in both countries.

hat in the world are you doing here among these Krauts?” That was a black American soldier in 1945, after the Allied victory, addressing a young man who had always lived “among these Krauts.” As Hans-Jürgen Massaquoi explained, he was born in Hamburg in 1926 to a Liberian father and German mother. More than half […]

First Principles

Why Cancel Culture Is Anti-Christian

It is not surprising that those who place so little value on the life of a completely innocent unborn child would so carelessly destroy the life of any hopelessly flawed adult.

any years ago, my Dad told me that if a man lived long enough he’d get to see just about everything. (He also told me that nothing good happens after midnight, another solid observation I blithely ignored until I became a father myself.) I find that those of us of a certain age, who remember […]

First Principles

Turn to the Founders to Remind Ourselves of What We Stand to Lose

Let’s read The Federalist Papers from now until Election Day.

n just about 70 days, you and I will be called upon to decide the fate of the American Republic. Make no mistake, this is no ordinary election. American voters have not faced such a momentous choice since an earlier generation was presented with the Constitution and called upon to decide its fate. The vote […]

First Principles

Rights, Religion, and Property

The State Department’s Commission on Unalienable Rights reveals an animus against natural liberties that betrays an aspiration to expand the reach of government even further.

he State Department’s Commission on Unalienable Rights has issued a report on the rationale to pursue human rights as a primary goal for American foreign policy. Rights have a bipartisan pedigree. In our modern history, it was the Democrat Jimmy Carter who first defined human rights as a U.S. foreign policy mission. But Republican Ronald […]

First Principles

Meghan Markle: 21st-Century Tory

Perhaps the Duchess of Sussex should keep her disloyal thoughts to herself, lest Americans become upset with a 21st-century turncoat.

s a member of the small military fraternity that proudly carries the nom de guerre of American Revolutionary War hero Francis Marion—Swamp Fox—I find Meghan Markle’s recent remarks about American electoral politics reprehensible.  Not because Markle is an opportunist on the scale of Evita Peron.  Not because she “identifies” as black, then white, then sometimes […]

First Principles

New York’s Actions Against the NRA Are an Omen of Things to Come

The NRA should serve its members. But it should not, in fighting for its members, also have to fend off trumped-up charges and draconian remedies aimed at silencing its message.

his week New York’s Attorney General, Letitia James, sought to dissolve the National Rifle Association. She took this action ostensibly to pursue a claim of financial mismanagement. But the real reasons are obvious: the NRA is the preeminent defender of the Second Amendment, and the Left—and New York leftists in particular—really hate guns. In her […]

First Principles

Twilight of the Founders

In our arrogance, we imagine that it is we who are disdainfully rejecting America’s Founders. They would want nothing to do with us.

ou can tell about the soul of a people by looking at who they honor. It used to be that America, more or less universally, admired its founders. But Americans today increasingly fancy themselves more evolved than George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. We imagine that these founders have been “found out.” Their great secret—their hypocrisy […]

First Principles

How to Avoid the Life Cycle and Death Spiral of a Republic

A wise Jerusalem is better than an innocent Eden.

o understand the extraordinary events in America today, it is helpful to look at the ancient wisdom of Greece and Rome. And as the wise historian Thucydides said, “If we forget the errors of the past, we are doomed to repeat them.” The classical Greek authors Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, as well as the Romans […]

First Principles

Who Elected Twitter and Facebook to Censor Speech?

Banning anyone’s political speech, left or right, is wrong. Once the speech of one party is significantly constrained or even erased, any speech opposed to the powerful will be steadily eliminated.

I have spent my professional life defending the First Amendment and the free-speech rights it enshrines. It is the bulwark of all our freedoms. The attacks on it are proliferating alarmingly. Now, the most powerful social media platforms—which function as today’s public square—are arrogantly silencing a U.S. president. If a president’s right to be heard […]

First Principles

The Strength of Strength and the Strength of Weakness

Many people claim to be fighting to create the world they would like to live in, but an astonishing number appear content to win on a technicality or disqualification rather than in a fair fight.

n the small Southwestern Pennsylvania coal-mining town where I grew up, the locals kept to themselves and were notoriously tight-lipped when it came to praising anyone for anything. The elderly residents—mostly descendants of Slovak and Croatian immigrants who came to the town to work the mine—were pessimistic people, distrustful of the Democratic politicians they voted […]

First Principles

Party, Propaganda, and Revolutionary Silence

It is time to speak the truth about the reality of what the country is experiencing.

he American people are enduring a withering bombardment of propaganda from a corporate-owned media that is beholden to financial interests, including interests that benefit from legacy trade policies with Communist China. Propaganda is a weapon of warfare abroad, and propaganda is a weapon of tyranny at home.  Propaganda works.  The tactics used and the target […]

First Principles

Fascism 101 with Professors Vittorini and Solzhenitsyn

How can you tell if you have the soul of a fascist? If you are alive and breathing, you are in danger of it.

idn’t you catch that stink?” says the big man to his fellows in the compartment on a train in Elio Vittorini’s novel, Conversations in Sicily. He is burly and blond, of Lombard and Norman blood, though a native Sicilian all the same. “What stink?” says a man who is returning to his native Sicily after […]

First Principles

Gun Control Is Dead

There’s simply no way Americans will tolerate being disarmed in the face of soaring violent crime, riots, and a neutered police force.

his summer has answered the question, “why would somebody ever need an AR-15 or a high-capacity magazine?” As the Left continues to advocate for ending private ownership of military-style rifles, Americans can also see that powerful rifles are turning up in the possession of violent rioters and looters. In this video, one can clearly see […]

First Principles

Antifa and BLM: The Greatest Second Amendment Promoters Since the NRA

Come November, does anyone think that folks who just spent $1,000 or more on firearms are going to vote for the vertiginous Joe Biden who would take their guns away and leave them unprotected?

urn stuff up, Portland! Lay waste to yourself, Seattle! Sherman redux, Atlanta! And New Yorkers, just keep on supporting de Bozo. All you Disgruntled Bernie (isn’t that redundant?) supporters, hunkered down in your parents’ basements, Facetiming in your black balaclavas, please keep on organizing those “peaceful protests” on Twitter and Facebook. Please! You Soros-funded lackeys, […]

First Principles

Build the Family

Americans should seek to extend the blessings of family life to more people. Sophie Lewis and her feminist allies, now including Black Lives Matter, blow the smoke of a pernicious ideology that instead seeks the family’s destruction.

ocial transformation continues at a breakneck pace. Ideas germinating in leftist fever swamps have become public dogmas in a matter of a generation—or a couple of weeks—or the last few hours. Thus, the calls by Sophie Lewis, and most recently Black Lives Matter, to abolish the family cannot be ignored. Lewis’s book Full Surrogacy Now: […]