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Weekly Opeds 12

by Christopher Chantrill

The Scrooge in Me
When I was a child I liked presents, and I notice that children have not changed in this respect. My eldest grandson, who was born in France, knew all about “cadeaux” from an early age, and the children of Spanish-speaking friends know all about “regalos.”

But we adult men hate presents. No doubt that is why, studies

|  more  |  12/25/12

The Strategic Concentration of Modern Children
Back in the good old days, when a few million humans were evenly distributed across the planet, every young man was a rampage killer. In the dawn raid, the idea was to kill all the men in the neighboring village and grab a few women. Remember the Sabine women? It was rape

|  more  |  12/18/12

You Think the GOP Has Problems?
While everyone gathers around the water cooler monday-morning quarterbacking Speaker Boehner on the execution of his game plan for the Cliff Bowl before it is even played, let us spare a thought for the hapless Democrats. After all, who would want to be a Democrat as we go into 2013?

Don’t be fooled by that tough-guy act.

Yes, yes,

|  more  |  12/11/12

Obama Wants a War
Conservatives seem to be non-plussed about President Obama sending Treasury Secretary Geithner to Capitol Hill without a proposal for a grand bargain on entitlements. But why? Worrying about debt and default and entitlements is for the responsible people. Responsibility is for the people that believe the “responsible self,” the

|  more  |  12/04/12

It Will Take a Moral Movement, Girls
After the election, conservatives are still full of foreboding--and also a pessimistic hope. Want to know how to spell “default” asks Holman W. Jenkins, Jr.? It goes like this: “entitlement reform.”


|  more  |  11/27/12

The End of the Twinkies Union Label
A couple of months ago during the Chicago teachers’ strike I mildly suggested that the trouble with unions is that they are all on a journey that can only end in tears. If employees declare war on their employer then the war can only end in the death of one or the other.

And who wants that? The union bakers--the union former bakers--at

|  more  |  11/20/12

The Age of the Welfare State Smashup

It took a day after the election for me to realize what had happened. It is simply this: the old order has ended. We have now moved into a new era. Responsible Republican Reform is dead. The new age of the welfare state smashup has begun.

In the old era conservatives offered to the American people a gradualist way of

|  more  |  11/13/12

America's Real Choice

We all remember the last time that liberals were telling us that stagnation was the new normal. It was back in 1980, the year that Ronald Reagan stepped up and taught a generation of liberals what to do with their pessimism and their declinism.

Now we have a new pharaoh, one that knew not Carter, and he and his

|  more  |  11/06/12

Obama and the Liberal Conceits
When Peggy Noonan writes in her weekly sense-of-the-sensible-people column that President Obama is a president who is at once over his head, out of his depth and wholly unaware of the fact, you know that the world

|  more  |  10/30/12

Liberals Say It's the End of an Era
Nobody knows how the election will come out, pollsters least of all. But we know one thing. Liberals are in retreat. I have a liberal friend, a member of the Greatest Generation, who says simply that we are coming to the end of an age.

Well, yes. You could even dip down into cycle theorists like Mircea Eliade and say that it’s the

|  more  |  10/23/12

Watching Joe Biden Play Willy Loman
I’ve always had a stick up my butt about Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, the 1951 play about the emptiness of the success culture. What’s the point about success, says lefty Miller, when Willy Loman’s life as a salesman ends in failure? And what’s the point of high-school athletics, when athletes like

|  more  |  10/16/12

October Political Reality Check
After the president’s meltdown in Denver last week, liberals were furious that he didn’t fling the celebrated 47 percent gaffe in Romney’s face. And maybe they are right, as Mitt Romney has since said he was “completely

|  more  |  10/09/12

Pundits Worry About Conservatism. Again
Apart from the chorus of people telling Mitt Romney how to run his campaign, this week has spawned a lot of “What is Conservatism” musings.

There is David Brooks mourning the good old days of his youth when conservatism included not just

|  more  |  10/02/12

How Liberals Screw the 47 Percent
Everyone’s getting their knickers in a twist about the 47 percent that Mitt Romney figures are going to vote for Barack Obama, no matter what. But do you know why they will vote for Barack?

Wyatt Emmerich did the math back in 2010 for The Clevelend Current in Mississippi. It’s been written up at

|  more  |  09/25/12

Union Teachers Hate Their Jobs
Well, well, well. So the mighty Rahmbo has met his match in the sweet-talking president of the Chicago Teachers Union, Karen Lewis. All that bravado, the stabbing of knives, the mailing of dead fishes, none of that seems to scare the union teachers, who

|  more  |  09/18/12

Obama's Speech at the End of the Universe
In his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, President Obama came across like a preacher. Of course. When real preachers prayed at this year’s party conventions, the Republicans lowered their heads. But the Democrats had already left the building. Someone had to fill the gap.

We all have

|  more  |  09/11/12

"Mittens" or Monster?
You tell me what happened last week. Did Governor Romney and Rep. Ryan fail the test of audacity, by playing it safe, as the Wall Street Journal complained?

If they can’t confidently and aggressively win the argument for tax

|  more  |  09/04/12

2016: Obama's America or Romney's
There were two big takeaways for me on 2016: Obama’s America. One was the united front that Barry and his mom formed against step-father Lolo Soetero’s capitalist career working for an evil oil company in Indonesia. The other was Dinesh D’Souza’s interview with one of Barack Senior’s old anti-colonialist buddies

|  more  |  08/28/12

Break the Chains, says Joe
There was something charming about Vice President Joe Biden (D) playing the race card last week, singing the “They’ll put y’all in chains” number with a great big stage wink. After all, when you play the

|  more  |  08/21/12

Amerians are Anti-intellectual Because...
Just before the selection of can-do politician Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) to be Mitt Romney’s running mate I finally stumbled over the answer to a question that had been troubling me for years. A liberal friend had asked me, as her conservative go-to guy, why America is anti-intellectual. The answer, I finally realized, was obvious.


|  more  |  08/14/12

Let's Talk About Inequality, Liberals
Our liberal friends like to talk about Inequality, and we know why. Liberals are deeply concerned about the increase of economic inequality since 1980. There’s even a book about it, The Great Divergence, by Timothy Noah, adapted from a

|  more  |  08/07/12

Obama's 1.5 Percent Problem
What is wrong with the economy? Something is wrong when the GDP expands by only 1.5 percent a year as it did in the second quarter.

The problem is that nobody knows. Everyone thinks they know, but F.A. Hayek long ago put that fatal conceit to rest, if only for conservatives.

Some people think the problem is the continuing mortgage

|  more  |  07/31/12

Obama the Great Educator
Back in the day, our liberal friends were eagerly telling each other what a great orator President Obama was. Today, not so much.

But I think that all the talk about oratory was missing the point. President Obama is not that great an orator. His skills lie elsewhere, and I have finally realized where his true talent lies.


|  more  |  07/25/12

The Folly of Obama's Politics
Who cares if President Obama and his acolytes want to spend $100 million in TV ads to paint Mitt Romney as the scowling Moloch of Wall Street, chewing up the jobs of helpless American workers for sport? It’s politics, and

|  more  |  07/18/12

Injustice, American Style
Don’t bet on ObamaCare, writes the excellent Jay Cost. It’s not going to turn into a political winner like Social Security and Medicare.

Because Social Security and Medicare do not discriminate between citizens, there has yet

|  more  |  07/11/12

Roberts Hands a Poisoned Chalice to the President

What in the world was Chief Justice Roberts trying to do by voting with the liberals on ObamaCare? Conservative opinion is all over the map, but conservative talk show hosts were clear, as I drove south from liberal Seattle to liberal Ashland, Oregon, on June 28, 2012, that the ball was in the voters’ court.

Whatever you think of

|  more  |  07/04/12

The Ghosts of Liberal Pieties

These last few months I’ve been working on the idea that there are two modern world views. There’s the Invisible Hand world view that things will work out because humans are social animals and must be social to achieve their selfish ends.

Then there is the Exploitation world view that says that the only way forward is for

|  more  |  06/27/12

Obama's Togetherness

In his learned excursus on American history in Cleveland last week, President Obama made a big deal about the things we Americans have done “together:” railroads and highways, the Hoover Dam and the Golden Gate Bridge.

We got where we are today “not by telling everybody to fend for themselves, but by coming together as one

|  more  |  06/20/12

A Pre-revolutionary Situation

Once upon a time there was a nation that had trouble paying its bills. The people were restless. So the king called for his advisors, and they advised a little inflation to stimulate trade. A few months passed, and the people were still restless. So the king called for his advisors once again and asked them what was wrong. It’s those

|  more  |  06/13/12

Smashing the Tyranny of the Democrats' Cliches
Politics is civil war by other means. So when Mitt Romney showed up at Solyndra and the Romney HQ troops showed up to heckle David Axelrod last week, conservatives found themselves writing about the thrill up their legs. It really makes a difference when your leaders actually show up to fight.

The ancients knew that too. That’s why

|  more  |  06/06/12

What Conservatives Really Think About Community, Mr. Dionne

In the Year of Julia, liberals sometimes say the darnedest things. Last week Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne told his liberal readers that “Conservatives used to care about community. What

|  more  |  05/30/12

Welcome to the Democrats' Julia Crow Era

When I watch the Democratic attacks on Bain Capital, I wonder. Just how do Democrats think the economy is supposed to work?

Take the Kansas steel plant that Bain took private in 1993 and reassembled as GST Steel. Here we had a faltering

|  more  |  05/23/12

Liberals Ruin Everything

When friends suggest that the election in November will be close, I half agree, with a twinkle. Because I don’t think it will be close.

That’s because this lot, as the Brits say, don’t have it sorted--unlike Bill Clinton in the 1990s who knew how to seduce the middle class. It’s a point of pride among urban liberals

|  more  |  05/16/12

Women of the Welfare State

I just hope the Obamis are as stupid as we conservatives imagine. Because it would be too bad if the “Life of Julia” turned out to be a cunning Chicago buffalo jump, stampeding conservatives into jumping to red ruin in November. That’s what Ross Douthat

|  more  |  05/09/12

If Conservatives are Social Darwinists, then...

That President Obama certainly has a way with words. The other day he called Paul Ryan’s House-passed budget “thinly veiled social Darwinism.” Does he mean that Ryan’s budget is like a burqa? Anyway, he prompted Catholic Rep. Ryan (R-WI) to take his budget to Georgetown University, where the congressman

|  more  |  05/02/12

2012: The Art of Intimidation
What a joy it was to watch the Romney campaign executing on the Hilary Rosen flap, launching Ann Romney on Twitter in a heartbeat. And then the Romney war room followed up with the dog-meat play. Liberals thought that the dog-on-the-roof scandal had legs. But it turned out that the legs were Indonesian roast pooch.

Of course, as Bill

|  more  |  04/24/12

Mr. President: It's All of The Above
Even MSNBC reckons that the president had a bad week. The bad-hair week, according to Chuck Todd, included the “tax-fairness issue” over the weekend, the stock market loss on Monday, the rallying round Romney after the Santorum exit, the Rosen

|  more  |  04/17/12

Helping Women Get What They Want
As the Republican nomination contest slogs through a messy endgame President Obama’s reelect numbers are soaring, especially among women. So what is the Republican problem with women and what do women want? NRO asked this question and discovered that

|  more  |  04/11/12

Can Liberals Handle Adversity?
Liberals just had a bad week watching the Supreme Court munching on ObamaCare and spitting out the pits. They thought it was rather bad manners.

It seems that each week this year raises the stakes, making 2012 will go down as a year which will live—either in infamy or glory, depending on who wins and whose side you are on. Instead of

|  more  |  04/03/12

Half-baked Science: From Keys to Mann

The more we learn about climate science the more we learn what a shabby, back-of-the-envelope business it is. Dr. Michael Mann, the climate science poster boy that simplified the global climate of the last millennium into a hockey stick, just came out with a book to remind us how anyone who disagrees with him is a shill for dark forces.

|  more  |  03/27/12

The Optics of Energy Failure
People are starting to worry that President Obama might be wobbling on his visionary “all of the above” program to bring on the green energy millennium, what with $5.00 gas in the Northeast states.

But don’t worry. Even though the administration will be changing its “optics” on energy by featuring the

|  more  |  03/20/12

Newt Gingrich is Shameless
When the Democrats surfaced George W. Bush's 1976 DUI the week before the 2000 presidential election it nearly tipped the election. A week before the revelation, Bush was comfortably ahead in the polls.

It was

|  more  |  03/16/12

The GOP and the Upscale Vote
Good news! The upscale vote is moving towards Mitt Romney, according to Michael Barone. Says he:

One constant factor in the 14 contests with exit polls is that Mitt Romney has tended to run best among high-income and high-education voters.


|  more  |  03/16/12

Freedom vs. The Secular Seminary
Little did I know, when contrasting conservative freedom and liberal liberation, that a poster-girl for liberation was presenting herself at the Altar of the Victim, the remarkable Sandra Fluke, the toast of our Democratic friends. For Ms. Fluke’s belief system suggests to her that she cannot have access to her sexuality unless a big

|  more  |  03/09/12

Culture Wars: Conservative Freedom vs. Liberal Liberation
The recent skirmish in the culture wars over compelling Catholic organizations to offer contraception and abortifacient services to their employees reminds us of the big issue between conservatives and liberals in the culture wars. It bears repeating: conservatives believe in freedom; our liberal friends believe in liberation.

Both traditions

|  more  |  03/02/12

A Budget Rear-view Mirror
ow that Obama’s last budget--we hope--is out, a mere week after the statutory deadline, the nation’s budget experts are out in judgment. But few of them look in the rear-view mirror. How did the federal government’s budget estimates compare with actual outcomes?

Here in southern India the usgovernmentspending.com team is

|  more  |  02/24/12

Liberals Forced to Bare Their Teeth
Liberals were a sorry spectacle this month, when they were forced to bare their teeth on the Planned Parenthood / Komen caper. A real hegemonic ruling class at the peak of its power doesn’t need to make threats. Its natives don’t even think about getting restless.

That, after all, is why liberals invented Political Correctness.

|  more  |  02/17/12

Let's Stop Obama-ing Apart
Just a quick word here to Mitt Romney. Would you please take a week out from campaigning and get together with your messaging people and all read Charles Murray’s Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010 together? The book contains just about everything you need to communicate a practical conservative vision to America and

|  more  |  02/10/12

President Obama's Civilian Soldiers
Everybody is outraged and disgusted by our divisive politics, from Jewish bubbies in Florida to AT’s own Rick Moran. The rest of us just think that President Obama is incompetent. “Obama doesn’t have the experience, character, or personality to be president. To put

|  more  |  02/03/12

2012: It's Bain Capital vs. Obama Capital
I have been worrying for months about Romney and the Bain Capital problem. How was Romney, if nominated for President of the United States, going to deal with Democrats trying to hang Bain Capital layoffs round his neck? Paul Kengor goes into great detail on

|  more  |  01/20/12

The Bad News on Unemployment
Conservatives are anxious to see bad news in the drop in the headline unemployment rate to 8.5 percent. Yes, it’s fabulous that employment is finally turning upwards, but the labor force isn’t expanding as it should in a healthy recovery. The following two charts using data from the

|  more  |  01/20/12

Steven Pinker and the Decline of Violence
For years I’ve been saying that people are very sensitive to “incoming rounds.” When a mortar round, real or metaphorical, lands in your fire-base, it spreads death and destruction. But outgoing rounds are different. You fire a shot in the air, and who cares where it comes down?

Now I learn from Steven Pinker in The Better

|  more  |  01/20/12

Obama's Sterilized Society
Chalk one up to President Obama. He’s got a 2-month extension of payroll tax cuts in the teeth of opposition from those wascally Wepublicans, so that two months from now we can have the fight all over again.

I suppose that the president’s chief objective in this vicious little fight was to remind the voters which of the two parties

|  more  |  01/20/12



What Liberals Think About Conservatives

[W]hen I asked a liberal longtime editor I know with a mainstream [publishing] house for a candid, shorthand version of the assumptions she and her colleagues make about conservatives, she didn't hesitate. “Racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-choice fascists,” she offered, smiling but meaning it.
Harry Stein, I Can't Believe I'm Sitting Next to a Republican

Racial Discrimination

[T]he way “to achieve a system of determining admission to the public schools on a nonracial basis,” Brown II, 349 U. S., at 300–301, is to stop assigning students on a racial basis. The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.
Roberts, C.J., Parents Involved in Community Schools vs. Seattle School District

Liberal Coercion

[T]he Liberal, and still more the subspecies Radical... more than any other in these latter days seems under the impression that so long as he has a good end in view he is warranted in exercising over men all the coercion he is able[.]
Herbert Spencer, The Man Versus the State

Taking Responsibility

[To make] of each individual member of the army a soldier who, in character, capability, and knowledge, is self-reliant, self-confident, dedicated, and joyful in taking responsibility [verantwortungsfreudig] as a man and a soldier. — Gen. Hans von Seeckt
MacGregor Knox, Williamson Murray, ed., The dynamics of military revolution, 1300-2050

Responsible Self

[The Axial Age] highlights the conception of a responsible self... [that] promise[s] man for the first time that he can understand the fundamental structure of reality and through salvation participate actively in it.
Robert N Bellah, "Religious Evolution", American Sociological Review, Vol. 29, No. 3.


[In the] higher Christian churches... they saunter through the liturgy like Mohawks along a string of scaffolding who have long since forgotten their danger. If God were to blast such a service to bits, the congregation would be, I believe, genuinely shocked. But in the low churches you expect it every minute.
Annie Dillard, Holy the Firm


[Every] sacrifice is an act of impurity that pays for a prior act of greater impurity... without its participants having to suffer the full consequences incurred by its predecessor. The punishment is commuted in a process that strangely combines and finesses the deep contradiction between justice and mercy.
Frederick Turner, Beauty: The Value of Values


Within Pentecostalism the injurious hierarchies of the wider world are abrogated and replaced by a single hierarchy of faith, grace, and the empowerments of the spirit... where groups gather on rafts to take them through the turbulence of the great journey from extensive rural networks to the mega-city and the nuclear family...
David Martin, On Secularization

Conservatism's Holy Grail

What distinguishes true Conservatism from the rest, and from the Blair project, is the belief in more personal freedom and more market freedom, along with less state intervention... The true Third Way is the Holy Grail of Tory politics today - compassion and community without compulsion.
Minette Marrin, The Daily Telegraph

Moral Imperatives of Modern Culture

These emerge out of long-standing moral notions of freedom, benevolence, and the affirmation of ordinary life... I have been sketching a schematic map... [of] the moral sources [of these notions]... the original theistic grounding for these standards... a naturalism of disengaged reason, which in our day takes scientistic forms, and a third family of views which finds its sources in Romantic expressivism, or in one of the modernist successor visions.
Charles Taylor, Sources of the Self

Drang nach Osten

There was nothing new about the Frankish drive to the east... [let] us recall that the continuance of their rule depended upon regular, successful, predatory warfare.
Richard Fletcher, The Barbarian Conversion

Government Expenditure

The Union publishes an exact return of the amount of its taxes; I can get copies of the budgets of the four and twenty component states; but who can tell me what the citizens spend in the administration of county and township?
Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

presented by Christopher Chantrill

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