A Call to Mend, Not End the NEH

In its draft budget, the Trump administration has proposed the abolition of the National Endowment for the Humanities, as part of a dramatic reduction in non-essential discretionary spending. The NEH’s budget is so small (0.004 percent of the federal budget) that its elimination would serve as a mere gesture. In fact, Trump-inspired conservatives

By | 2017-04-24T17:49:52+00:00 April 24th, 2017|

Kate O’Beirne 1949-2017

The news yesterday that Kate O’Beirne—longtime Washington editor for National Review, quick-witted talk-show debater for CNN— had died was sad but not surprising. I had had dinner with Mary Ellen Bork, one of her closest friends, a few weeks before and had heard how sick she was. As can be said of us all,

By | 2017-04-24T15:55:26+00:00 April 24th, 2017|

How Trump’s First Three Months Point the Way to Three Percent Growth

The great nineteenth-century man of letters William Dean Howells once made a remark that I have long cherished as a sort of personal motto: “The problem for a critic,” Howells said, “is not making enemies, but keeping them.” A critic who does not make enemies is unlikely to be doing his job, inasmuch

By | 2017-04-24T17:53:13+00:00 April 22nd, 2017|

Activists Appropriate Holiday Spirit for Political Purposes

It’s the same, every year. If our most cherished holidays aren’t denigrated falsely as pagan anachronisms, they’re indicted as examples of naked consumerism. As Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, or even Easter and Christmas roll around, one can reliably count on the chorus of cynics ever ready with limitless reserves of smug

By | 2017-04-24T16:01:34+00:00 April 20th, 2017|

Draining the Academic Swamp

Civil rights historian Abigail Thernstrom once spoke of the American campus as “an island of repression in a sea of freedom.” That was in 1989. At the high tide of freedom we who believed in unfettered inquiry and free speech believed these islands might “stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety with which

By | 2017-04-22T00:36:01+00:00 April 19th, 2017|

Fundamentalist Nihilism

At some point, progressivism begins to collapse by the weight of its own internal contradictions and becomes faith-based. Future anthropologists will have a difficult time sorting out all the bizarre rituals and sacraments of this early 21st-century progressive cult. In today’s headlines, we have three crystal clear illustrations of the phenomenon. Let’s begin

By | 2017-04-24T16:04:17+00:00 April 18th, 2017|

Get Smart: “Fundamental Transformation” Demands Chaos

It's the chaos, stupid. Nothing more clearly marked the intended mission of Barack Obama’s presidency than his own words, spoken shortly before the 2008 election:  “We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.” Two markers from his final month in office are the concluding grace notes of his

By | 2017-04-22T01:18:04+00:00 April 18th, 2017|