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|

Americanism vs. Marxism-Lennonism

I have a friend who is a retired public school teacher. She is very likeable and in some areas an independent thinker. One day in conversation she brought up the terrible poverty and near-anarchy that prevails just on the other side of America’s southern border. It quickly became clear that she believed America was at

By | 2017-04-03T05:31:05+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|

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|

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|

10 Things Trump Could Do to Drive the Left (Even More) Crazy: Campus SJW Edition

President Trump’s Twitter feed remains a source of mainstream media consternation and of nervous fretting from weak-sister Republicans bent on returning to the days of Republicans taking the court as the Washington Generals. But if Trump really wants to drive the Left crazy—and, let’s be honest, we hope he does—then there are any number of

By | 2017-03-17T18:02:34+00:00 March 15th, 2017|

Political Violence and Coming-of-Age for an American Student

The recent events at Middlebury College should have been a jolting reminder that all is not well in our polarized culture or, especially, in our institutions of higher learning. The level of chaos on display two weeks ago was incongruent with the understanding most of us have about the experience of university life, and somehow even

By | 2017-03-14T22:03:29+00:00 March 14th, 2017|

Our Conservative Folks Part 2: Campuses Are Becoming Unsafe Spaces for Conservative Students

The attack on Middlebury College political science professor Allison Stanger, who moderated a talk by scholar Charles Murray, has received some attention—as it should. There is something about the image of a professor wearing a neck brace from an attack by a mob on campus that should raise alarms. Stanger became a target by virtue

By | 2017-03-13T15:53:19+00:00 March 13th, 2017|

Our Conservative Folks

Back in the days of Jim Crow, many whites defended racial discrimination by trotting out stereotypes about “Our Black Folks,” who they maintained were satisfied with the status quo. Oh, they are quite happy with being maids, bootblacks, and sharecroppers, said the apologists. They like living on their “side of the fence,” as a character

By | 2017-04-03T05:35:25+00:00 March 10th, 2017|