First Principles

The Expectations Abyss

On our side of the abyss, the 16-year-old boy is dying slowly of intellectual asphyxiation in school and online. On that side of the abyss, the biggest manufacturer of women’s clothing in Cleveland is advertising for a likely lad to come and do office work, with high hopes set forth for a well-remunerated career.

collect magazines. Not the brightly colored paper things that fall apart. My magazines are bound in large volumes of about 1,000 pages, six months at a time: The Century Magazine, Harper’s Magazine, Scribner’s, and others, and they date from around 1875 to 1930. In those magazines, you will find articles of what would strike us […]

First Principles

Maybe Nature Shouldn’t Be Worshipped After All

If the COVID-19 virus destroys the foolish veneration of nature and leads more people, especially the young, to a new respect for the Judeo-Christian worldview, it might be the one silver lining in this catastrophe.

statement widely attributed to the great British thinker G. K. Chesterton describes the modern period as perfectly as any single idea can: “When people stop believing in God, they don’t believe in nothing; they believe in anything.” One of these substitute gods has been nature. Indeed, of all the false gods, nature is probably the […]

First Principles

Is Nothing Sacred?

We have a duty to preserve our earthly lives, but not at all costs. This is true both for individuals and for nations. We cannot help but notice the eagerness with which some leftists have embraced the shutdown of churches.

aster is coming. We are at the conclusion of Lent, a time of sacrifice and spiritual renewal for Catholics. During Lent, we imitate Jesus’ fasting in the desert. Our small self-denial is rightly understood not as an exercise in masochism, but as a form of spiritual food. Sadly, we cannot go to Mass and celebrate […]

First Principles

Tocqueville’s Lessons in a Time of Pandemic

As the crisis continues, and in the aftermath, the activity of the citizens that Alexis de Tocqueville described so well in his book must always include assessing how well their local and state governments have prepared for ordinary and extraordinary events.

he immediate challenge of COVID-19 has been cast as an examination of how individual Americans will fare should they be exposed to the virus. The effort to arrest the spread of the virus has brought unprecedented changes in the daily routines of all Americans. The limitation of activity is apparent when one walks outside. There […]

First Principles

Experts and Statesmen in the Time of Coronavirus

The war against COVID-19 puts the choice between expertise and common sense front and center. Are we to be ruled by statesmen or experts?

he Chinese virus is a clarifying agent. Among other things, one can see the choice between republican and progressive government—the rule of the people on the one hand and the rule of experts on the other. President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden perfectly embody this choice in response to the crisis. Nowhere […]

First Principles

Nurturing Common Sense in A Time of Crisis

We urgently need this common sense in our corporations, in Congress, and in the White House if we are to succeed as a nation, particularly in this time of crisis.

he 2020 election will be all about common sense. That is important because of the coronavirus pandemic and the need to as the Brits put it, “Keep Calm and Carry On.” But it’s also important because one candidate embodies sound, prudent action and the other has no vision and suffers from dementia, simply wanting to […]

A political cartoon showing South Carolina Representative Preston Brooks beating abolitionist and Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner in the Senate chamber, after Brooks accused Sumner of insulting his uncle, Senator Andrew Butler, in an anti-slavery speech.
First Principles

This article first appeared in the Providence Journal.

Fellow Citizens No Longer?

If we believe that our opponents are not just wrong, but evil, violence against them becomes an acceptable response.

n May 22, 1856, Representative Preston Brooks of South Carolina entered the Senate chamber and proceeded to beat Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts nearly to death with a cane. Brooks’ attack was prompted by Sumner’s earlier “Crime Against Kansas” speech in which he denounced the “slave power” and verbally attacked Brooks’ cousin, Senator Andrew Butler […]

First Principles

The Real Goals of ‘The 1619 Project’

Teaching young people they have no country, that there is neither God nor justice, but only their own anger to right wrongs leads not to civilized self-rule but to fanaticism and self-destruction.

rom Frederick Douglass to Martin Luther King Jr., many Americans have tried to bridge America’s racial divide. America’s newspaper of record believes it has discovered a new way. No longer preaching faith in the Constitution or civic brotherhood, the New York Times hopes that—by creating enough hatred for the nation’s founding, its ideals, and for […]

First Principles

Tolerance Is Not Enough

While it is important for us to come together and work to address shared concerns and strive to reach shared goals, it is important to remember that cultures and religions have fundamental and occasionally contradictory principles.

ast week, the Hudson Institute and the European Leadership Network hosted a panel discussion on anti-Semitism featuring many high profile religious and interfaith engagement leaders, including Imam Hassen Chalghoumi, a renowned moderate French Muslim who maintains close relations with Jewish organizations in France. The discussion, which took place in the Hudson Institute’s beautiful Pennsylvania Avenue […]

First Principles

Socialism Extinguishes the American and Biblical Ideal

The call for socialism, even so-called “democratic socialism,” is an attack on America itself.

hose today pitching democratic socialism as a safe and benign form of socialism are hiding the truth about it. By nature, socialism disregards any aspect of democratic will when it is in conflict with its fixed social agenda and goal of economic leveling. Thus, democratic socialism is an oxymoron, a seductive syntax and play on […]

First Principles

A Resource for Religious Liberty

Religious Liberty is the latest in the Ashbrook Center’s series of document collections covering major periods, themes, and institutions in American history and government. 

First Principles

The 1619 Project and its Critics

Nikole Hannah-Jones ought to step up, be courageous, and debate the historians with whom she disagrees. They’re waiting. All historical claims, particularly those with as wide-reaching and radical ramifications as these, must be discussed and scrutinized by trained scholars.

First Principles

Socialism’s Inequalities

In full-blooded socialist systems, access to government power is the paramount avenue to success.

First Principles

The Enduring Counsel of George Washington

Charity is warranted respecting political divisions when the objects of the parties are in accord. Washington’s advice for healing our divisions then and now involves remembering what ought to be our common object. But do we?

First Principles

States’ Right to Recall

The right to recall can be enacted and states should take the lead to regain power over the swamp.

First Principles

Subverting the Irrational Narrative of America

Christopher Flannery’s podcast “The American Story” works to dispel the irrational leftist narrative about America, one true and beautiful story at a time.

First Principles

This essay is adapted from an address to the annual Lincoln Day Dinner of the Boulder County, Colorado Republicans, February 8, 2020.

What It Means for America To Be the ‘Last Best Hope of Earth’

The fundamental task is not so much to imitate the actions of Abraham Lincoln, as it to imitate his acceptance of the weighty responsibility to preserve the last best hope of earth. Unless we stand up, America cannot stand out.

First Principles

You Can’t Have Representation Without First Having a People to Represent

If we have no sense of this land, this history, this language, these songs, these heroes, and no love for them, what “America” is there at all? And perhaps that is the progressive aim, at last: that there should be no America.

First Principles

What Americans Can Learn from F. W. de Klerk’s Great Betrayal of South Africa

Universal suffrage is not to be conflated with freedom. As Iraqis learned after their “liberation,” ink-stained fingers don’t inoculate against bloodstains—or rivers of blood.

First Principles

The System Worked

Even all the powers of a concentrated, entrenched establishment, corrupted political institutions, and monopolized media and education systems could not defeat the Madisonian constitutional system.