First Principles

The Restart of History and the Renaissance of Realpolitik

States and their interests, both cultural and historical, to recall Charles de Gaulle, are eternal. They do not, and will never, take a backseat to ideology of any sort. Including our own.

n the heyday of geopolitical optimism after the First Gulf War and the fall of the Soviet empire, political theorist Francis Fukuyama prophesied the “End of History.” What he meant was that liberal democracy was ascendant and would continue to be ascendant in the coming years. History had other things in mind. That fate culminated […]

First Principles

Coronavirus Is an Opportunity to Reject Judicial Supremacy

The litigious Michigan legislature has endorsed the idea that the courts alone can save Michiganders from Governor Whitmer’s grip. This is a lie.

f anyone has benefitted from the coronavirus pandemic, it’s lawyers. Business is positively booming; if Americans know how to do anything, it’s file lawsuits. The American Spectator reports that since the various pandemic measures were enacted in March (has it really only been two months?), “dozens” of lawsuits have been filed against Democratic governors across […]

First Principles

Is Half of the Country Crazy?

When the only seemingly possible solution is using the power of the government to crush those who disagree, it is time to rethink the entire paradigm.

s half of the country crazy? Regardless of which side of the political divide you happen to be on, at least half the country appears to be crazy. And they probably think the same about you. Can this be true? It is difficult to believe half our country—which half doesn’t really matter—is unmoored from reality. […]

First Principles

The Perils of Philosophy

Self-evident truths are the foundation of common sense realism; for Thomas Reid, common sense is the human faculty which enables us to grasp self-evident truths.

avid DesRosiers has written a delightful review of my new book, Reclaiming Common Sense. His review appears in the spring issue of the Claremont Review of Books. He praised the book, and wrote that it could have been of great use to him as a graduate student when he tried to rebut utopian thinkers like […]

First Principles

The Indispensable American Family

Someone may say we ought to live in open sewers, because filth and disease are subversive; or that we ought to cut ourselves with razors, because razors are edgy. What response can you give to him? He has placed himself outside of moral reasoning entirely.

n August 1884, Washington Gladden, possibly the most famous Christian preacher in the America of his day, wrote an article in The Century Magazine on “Three Dangers” besetting the welfare of the nation he loved. Of the first and third dangers he named, intemperance and gambling, I have little to say here. I will note […]

First Principles

This essay is part of RealClearPublicAffairs‘s 1776 Series, which explains the major themes that define the American mind. It is republished here with the permission of RealClearPolitics.

Started in Slavery, Founded in Freedom: 1619 vs. 1776

The United States of America was indeed started in slavery, but it was founded in freedom.

ow that everyone with a computer and an opinion has had his or her say on the merits and shortcomings of the “1619 Project,” we are now in a position to step back and ask ourselves: What is really at stake here? The most controversial aspect of the project has not been its content—apart from […]

First Principles

The Pulitzer Prize for Tabloid History

Nikole Hannah-Jones and the New York Times peddled bogus history as fact. Instead of being repudiated, they just won the most prestigious award in journalism.

he New York Times Magazine’s “1619 Project” was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for journalism. Like the “suicide” of Jeffrey Epstein, the outcome is stunning but not surprising. On its face, the project is completely undeserving of journalism’s highest prize. It is not journalism, but history in tabloid form. Are we to believe that after American […]

First Principles

Dare To Be a Daniel

The remedy for this state of affairs comes from people once again taking charge of their own lives.

here is an old Puritan hymn (based on the apocalyptic Old Testament book of Daniel for the less-than-biblically literate) we grew up singing. Perhaps you recall it:  Dare to be a Daniel, Dare to stand alone; Dare to have a purpose firm, Dare to make it known.  In a famous essay written just after World […]

Demonstrators take part in an "American Patriot Rally," organized on April 30, 2020, by Michigan United for Liberty on the steps of the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing, demanding the reopening of businesses. - The group is upset with Michigan Gov. Gretchen WhitmerÕs mandatory closure to curtail Covid-19.
First Principles

Freedom, If You Can Keep It

It is we, America’s citizens, who ultimately bear responsibility for how our leadership handles this crisis—that is what government by the people, for the people, and of the people means.

ood public health policy is good economic policy. An epidemic run wild will destroy an economy just as surely as a ruined economy will destroy lives. Political leaders at all levels of government will soon have to make one of the gravest calculations of their lifetimes: identifying the singular point of equilibrium between the physical […]

First Principles

Big Tech, Privacy, and Power

The power of Big Tech has been growing slowly, and in a way that many of us have accommodated as a necessary infiltration. But the scope of that power—and its costs to the culture we have ordered—have been less transparent.

he ground is shifting quickly beneath our feet when it comes to tech, privacy, and power. And, although tech companies, their advocates, and even some policymakers, would like us to imagine these issues are cut and dried, they are not. In their book The Sovereign Individual, published on the eve of the year 2000, James […]

First Principles

Will Consciousness of Death Remind Americans to Value Life?

In the 103 years since the last comparable pandemic, our cultural relationship with life and death has changed.

ay 1 celebrations used to be about the renewal of life, replete with beribboned poles and spring dances, long before the Soviet and Chinese communists appropriated those joyous rituals—replacing flowers with tanks. May Day parades, ostensibly for the purpose of commemorating International Workers Day and instilling pride in the motherland, were meant also to intimidate […]

First Principles

The Land of the ‘Free’ and the Home of Shelter-in-Place Orders

Americans should not be complacent, nor should they allow panic or fear to lead them to acquiesce to unreasonable restrictions on constitutionally guaranteed liberties.

n mid-March, governors across the country began issuing broad shelter-in-place orders in response to the coronavirus outbreak. The orders contain sweeping restrictions on individuals’ freedom of movement and activity in every sphere of life. They preclude people from going to work, running their businesses, convening to worship, visiting their own properties, taking a drive, attending […]

First Principles

A New American Civics Portal

While the Real Clear Foundation’s project will not shy away from the injustices that have taken place throughout our nation’s history—including slavery and racism—those will be depicted rightly as departures from America’s founding principles.

he Real Clear Foundation has launched a new American civics education portal, dedicated to renewing civic education in the United States. If one good thing has come out of this season of quarantine, it’s that parents, forced to homeschool, are getting to see the unpatriotic and liberal curriculum public schools are teaching. In a recent […]

First Principles

Why the Double Standard With Hungary?

What matters to transnational progressives is not “government by the consent of the governed,” but the elite consensus developed and refined in unelected judicial-administrative bureaucracies.

n reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic, all European democracies have instituted large-scale emergency measures. But one nation in particular, Hungary, has been subjected to an unprecedented barrage of international criticism for its response to the crisis. The Hungarians are charged with moving towards “dictatorship,” bypassing the rule of law, suspending the parliament, and canceling elections. […]

First Principles

Millennials and Zoomers: Socialism Will Ruin Your Life

The reality is that there are a few, extremely powerful people, set to benefit, who want to dismantle a civilization that is the culmination of millennia of the world’s best minds—a distillation of the heights of human glory and wisdom.

ello Americans 35-and-under. As a fellow Millennial, I’m talking to you.  Socialism, and its close cousin, Communism, is descending on North America with a vengeance. And the main reason it might soon succeed is that you’ve been lied to and indoctrinated your entire lives through the media, the school system, and institutions of higher education.  […]

First Principles

More Speech, Not Less

Perhaps it’s time for American companies to uphold the spirit of the First Amendment, especially when lives are at stake.

odern reliance on technology has never been more evident than now. During the COVID-19 pandemic, modern technological advances have gone from conveniences to life-saving resources. But not for everyone. For people banned from tech platforms, the potential emergency resources these platforms provide are out of reach. Banned from Twitter? Reduced access to breaking news. Banned […]

First Principles

What Is Really Fueling Wuhan Virus Hysteria?

The Wuhan virus has taught people that spiritual maladies can translate into physical maladies. A society comprised of so many individuals lacking community, faith, and reason will succumb all too easily to hysteria and nihilism.

lthough the circumstances are somewhat different from today’s, in Albert Camus’ novel The Plague, there is one character, Monsieur Cottard, who illustrates what happens when a profoundly sad and lonely person encounters a horrible event that ravages his community. Cottard paradoxically finds new life and purpose for as long as the plague endures. At the […]

First Principles

Can a State District Attorney Prosecute the President?

The Constitution provides that the two houses of the national legislative power, which are directly dependent on and accountable to the people and to the states, should deal with any criminality of a president.

n August 29, 2019, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., having opened a criminal case against President Trump, had a New York state grand jury issue subpoenas for Trump’s personal financial and tax records “dating from 2011 to the present.” Attempting to quash the subpoenas, Trump immediately sued on his own behalf. Trump v. […]

First Principles

Shaking Hands Is Vital to American National Character

Dr. Fauci’s view, that to avoid infecting others in the future, the handshake should disappear as a social custom, privileges mere life at the expense of the good life and further undermines American civic life by ending a custom that directs us towards others and away from ourselves.

r. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, recently told reporters, “I don’t think we should ever shake hands ever again, to be honest with you. Not only would it be good to prevent coronavirus disease; it probably would decrease instances of influenza dramatically in this country.” This view […]

First Principles

The Soullessness of a Technocrat

Experts and technocrats lack the experience, the wisdom, and the real political authority to make the kind of broad decisions that should be guiding us in a crisis.

f the Wuhan coronavirus and our federal, state, and local governments’ response to it does nothing else, it should put in sharp relief the limitations of experts and bureaucrats, and remind us of why so many people voted against them in 2016. Most will agree that Drs. Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx are superb public […]