The Art of the Possible in an Age of Recrimination

As Otto von Bismarck several times had occasion to observe, “Politics is the art of the possible.” On at least one occasion he added, “the attainable—the art of the next best.” Since, as Henry Kissinger once observed in a long essay on Bismarck, the Prussian colossus was a “revolutionary” who sought not to “adapt [his]

By | 2017-03-26T20:39:35+00:00 March 26th, 2017|

What’s In a Doctrine?

The Claremont Institute sponsored an event in Washington, D.C. a couple of weeks ago called “Conservatism in the Trump Era.” There, the speakers explained, in keeping with Plato’s Republic, “the foreign policy of a sensible nation is never devoted to the good of other nations, unless the good of another nation directly promotes the existence

By | 2017-04-03T05:32:04+00:00 March 25th, 2017|

In Feinstein vs. Gorsuch, Originalism Wins

Neil Gorsuch is no Robert Bork—to the great chagrin of the Senate Democrats who are trying to block his confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court. Thirty years ago, Senate Democrats derailed Bork’s nomination, claiming the judge’s judicial philosophy of “judicial restraint” was well beyond the mainstream. Today, Democrats are looking for any reason at all

By | 2017-03-23T14:53:47+00:00 March 23rd, 2017|

Open Borders Do Not Lead to Prosperity

Illegal immigration has plagued the United States for decades. The business, political, media, and academic elite in America today insist that the unfettered movement of all people will, among other things, lead to a greater level of innovation. According to this theory, whenever America becomes less inviting to foreigners, that talent chooses to go elsewhere.

By | 2017-03-23T21:27:52+00:00 March 23rd, 2017|

Make Americanism Great Again

I recently received an e-mail—you may have seen it, too—from a person who has been a prominent spokesman for the GOP and now is a NeverTrumper. He notes that the GOP and American conservatism appear to have arrived at a turning point. Perhaps, he suggests, we should abandon the label “conservative” and reclaim for ourselves

By | 2017-03-22T15:29:49+00:00 March 22nd, 2017|

Shootout over Natural Law at Gorsuch Gulch?

Supreme Court justices sometimes devise overly clever “tests” in their opinions to determine the constitutionality of a law or government action. Here’s my one-pronged (and multi-part) Supreme Court minimal competency test, derived from Abraham Lincoln’s critique of Chief Justice Taney’s opinion in Dred Scot: Was Lincoln right in making the Declaration of Independence the basis of constitutional government?

By | 2017-03-21T15:39:54+00:00 March 21st, 2017|

Beware the Headline Trap: Tillerson to Meet With NATO Ministers—on Wednesday

“Exclusive: Tillerson plans to skip NATO meeting, visit Russia in April—sources,” read the headline of a Reuters story first published Monday. “Well, that doesn’t seem right. It also seems politically stupid,” I thought, before I clicked on the article and read it. Turns out, the headline is misleading at best, and downright dishonest at worst. Yes,

By | 2017-03-21T12:23:51+00:00 March 21st, 2017|

Can Activist Judges Be Controlled?

Congress failed in 1805 to impeach Justice Samuel Chase. But circumstances have changed. The disquieting spectacle of three unelected judges (all appointed by President Barack Obama) enjoining the signature initiative of the newly inaugurated President Donald Trump, without even citing the statute—8 U.S.C. section 1182(f)—that expressly authorizes the action they just stopped, has focused

By | 2017-03-20T15:34:45+00:00 March 20th, 2017|

A Government of Laws, Not Men

I suspect that nearly all readers of American Greatness are familiar with John Adams’ famous statement about the rule of law in his Constitution for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, approved by the voters in 1780. “In the government of this commonwealth,” Adams wrote, “the legislative department shall never exercise the executive and judicial powers, or

By | 2017-03-19T09:28:33+00:00 March 19th, 2017|