Articles by Roger Kimball

Americans Know What Time It Is

riday’s news that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died after her long battle with cancer has briefly pushed most other topics off the great chyron running along the country’s metaphysical information highway. Still, there are lingering echoes of some ancient happenings. For example, a couple of weeks ago, President Trump brokered a peace deal between Israel […]

A Collection of Liars

ow quaint this admonition from Dr. Johnson seems today: “Accustom your children constantly to this,” Johnson told Boswell; “if a thing happened at one window, and they, when relating it, say that it happened at another, do not let it pass, but instantly check them; you do not know where deviation from truth will end.” […]

When Wish Replaces Thought

on’t you just love Paul Krugman? One of loudest of the many anti-Trump hysterics employed by the New York Times, the former economist has been a reliable source of comedy at least since election night 2016. Once the worst was certain and the world learned that Donald Trump had indeed been elected president of the […]

Meet the Democrats’ Newest Strategist

er name is Vicky Osterweil. It’s a pity that she is only emerging on the scene now. Had her ideas enjoyed broad circulation even a month ago, she could have made a major and clarifying contribution to the Democratic Party’s platform. Many commentators, from the Left as well as the Right, grumbled that the Democrats’ […]

Feeling Good Through Feeling Bad

sually, political conventions are feel-good events. The party faithful congregate, wave flags, and cheer their candidates. Tomorrow is another day! Nothing stands between us and victory except defeat! These Roderick Spode-like sentiments are echoed and amplified by the cheering masses, who never let a dollop of tautology intrude upon and dampen their enthusiasm.  This year, […]

The Man Who Wasn’t There

hose things with which we are most familiar are often hardest to see. This is perhaps particularly true of such fraught subjects as politics. There we are every day staring at the same people, reading news stories that are virtually indistinguishable from one another, and what do we know? Our situation is similar to Alice’s […]

The Choice Before Us

omehow, news that the Antifa-Black Lives Matter nexus burned a stack of Bibles in front of the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse in Portland the other night put me in mind of President Trump’s magisterial speech in Krasinski Square, Warsaw, just over three years ago. A short digression: has any other modern president delivered […]

It Doesn’t End Well

enis Diderot, model of the French Enlightenment that he was, gave memorable expression to that movement’s inveterate anti-clericalism. “Man will never be free,” said the energetic Encyclopédiste, “until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.” They don’t talk much about kings and priests, but the civilization-hating anarchists of the Black […]

Our Worship of Power Over Truth

 couple of weeks ago, I wrote a column about “purity spirals.” That’s what the journalist Gavin Haynes calls the familiar “moral feeding frenzy” that occurs whenever ideology triumphs over truth. The French Revolution provides vivid historical examples, as did Mao’s cultural revolution in the 1960s. Those caught in a purity spiral, I observed, invariably find […]

It’s All About November 3

verything is what it is, and not another thing.” That lapidary observation from the Sermons (1726) of Joseph, Bishop Butler, is one of the most profound philosophical observations I have ever encountered. One of the simplest, too. In nine short words, it introduces a principle of mental hygiene that Marxists, Freudians, Hegelians, astrologers, sociobiologists, and […]

A Magnificent Speech

onald Trump did not mention Lincoln’s First Inaugural address in his speech commemorating the spirit of American Independence at Mount Rushmore on Friday night. But the president’s speech—perhaps his most forceful and eloquent to date—vibrated with the same energy and existential commitment that fired Lincoln in March 1861.  Lincoln came to office at a time […]

A Coup Against Our Institutions

atthew Spalding, a scholar of the Constitution and dean of Hillsdale College’s Van Andel Graduate School of Government in Washington, D.C., has written an important essay on the troubling possibility that the treatment of General Michael Flynn by the Obama administration and, later, by holdovers in the FBI, the Justice Department, and the CIA, represents […]

Canceling Yale

 see that #CancelYale is trending on Twitter and elsewhere in social media. It’s a development I’d like to encourage—not, to be frank, because I think that canceling things is a good idea. Quite the opposite. But if the Left is going to pursue its dream of destroying every reminder of our past it doesn’t like, […]

Joe Biden and Friedrich Nietzsche

ccording to Joe Biden, the basement candidate for president, ending “systemic racism” in the United States is “the moral obligation of our time.” Too late, Joe! Systemic racism in the United States ended with the Union victory in the Civil War. Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox on April 9, 1865. On June 19 of […]

Will Democrats Do the Right Thing Respecting Catholics?

nti-Catholicism, it has been said, is the anti-Semitism of intellectuals. I’m not sure anyone would accuse Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) of being an intellectual. Her colleagues on the Senate Judiciary Committee such as Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) are also safe from that accusation (and simple courtesy requires that we […]

Racism, Inc.

or the last couple of months, your inbox, like mine, has been awash in nauseating communiqués from every school, club, or business you had carelessly entrusted with your email address. “Stay safe,” they urged—and stay home. A great plague is upon the land, and we must all respond with displays of ritual purification and groveling […]

The ‘New Normal’? Ridiculous

rises, even if they are manufactured ones, are great producers of linguistic mutation. Thucydides noticed this. In one of the most famous bits of his History of the Peloponnesian War, the great historian wrote that in a time of civil war certain words changed their usual meanings and took on new ones. For example, “reckless […]