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Weekly Opeds 2005

by Christopher Chantrill

Liberal Privacy vs. Conservative Transparency
We all know what the NSA surveillance case is about. It is about liberals living in a bubble, as Thomas Lifson has explained. Liberals think that the issue is government spying and the Bush administration’s overall hostility towards civil liberties, but they are

|  more  |  12/25/05

Iraq Election: Left World, Our World

It was a famous victory, the election of 12/15—for Iraq, for President Bush-in-a-Bubble, for his not always constant supporters, and for the men and women of the incomparable U.S. armed forces. For a moment we can take a moment to savor the emotion of the moment, like that of the Iraqi general,

|  more  |  12/18/05

David Cameron Breathes Life Into Britain's Conservatives
On Tuesday December 6, David Cameron was elected leader of the British Conservative Party. He’s the fourth leader since 1997 when John Major was defeated by Tony Blair and his New Labour Party. Can he breathe life into the party, unlike his predecessors, William Hague, Iain Duncan Smith, and Michael Howard?

Perhaps he can, because it is

|  more  |  12/11/05

Stand Up for Wal-Mart

So now we know. About 56 percent of Americans “believe that Wal-Mart is bad for America,”according to a Zogby poll conducted on behalf of wakeupwalmart.com, an activist group that is “working to change Wal-Mart.” Liberals can take heart that their years-long

|  more  |  12/04/05

The Year of the Looter

What a year! First of all we got to see New Orleans looters calmly pushing shopping carts full of plasma TVs and expensive athletic shoes down the flooded streets of the Big Easy. Then we saw the rioters of the Paris banlieus calmly torching the cars of their neighbors and friends. And let us not forget the corporate looters, men

|  more  |  11/27/05

What is our Elevator Story?

After weeks of retreat and confusion a troop of Republican horse last Friday finally turned on the Democrats and drew their sabers. The House of Representatives voted 403-3 to reject an immediate pullout from Iraq.

Immediate pullout was what veteran Democrat Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., called for on Thursday. The House disagreed. “To

|  more  |  11/20/05

Beating the Bureaucrats in Education

Governor Schwarzenegger learned an important lesson last week when his four voter initiatives to reform California state government went down to defeat. If you try to take out the government employees in a massive World War I style offensive you won’t succeed. Instead of a decisive breakthrough you will suffer a decisive defeat. But

|  more  |  11/14/05

Rioters Burn French Social Model

Last week Paris was burning. Now it is the little town of Evreux where 50 cars were torched on Saturday night by Muslim teenagers.

No problem? Evreux is 25 miles from Giverny, the home of Monet’s garden and its famous Japanese bridge. The garden was restored in

|  more  |  11/06/05

President Bush and the Mandate of Heaven

After a week in which the combat deaths in Iraq reached 2,000, the Harriet Miers nomination collapsed, and Vice-President Cheney’s chief of staff was indicted, can anyone doubt that Bush administration has lost the Mandate of Heaven?

Well, it depends whose side you are on.

Back in the good old days when China was ruled by the Son

|  more  |  10/31/05

Democrats and "The Politics of Polarization"

To Democrats the decline of the Democratic Party over the past generation seems inconceivable. How could the “amiable dunce” Ronald Reagan have won the presidency? How could the bombastic Newt Gingrich have brought forty years of Democratic Congresses to an end? How could the dim-witted frat-boy George W. Bush have been elected to

|  more  |  10/24/05

Who Lost Delphi?

For those of you still transfixed by hurricanes and Supreme Court nominations, here’s a more important issue: Who lost Delphi?

Dell Who? Of course. Delphi Corporation, the former parts division of General Motors, isn’t exactly a household word. But Delphi filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on October 8, 2005. And that means

|  more  |  10/18/05

Changing The Supreme Court: The Real Problem

The conservative argument over the nomination of Harriet Miers to be associate justice on the Supreme Court is just like the Allied argument in the fall of 1944.

After the breakout from Normandy the British General Montgomery wanted to end the war by getting his Army Group 21 into Germany first with a bold left hook through the Low

|  more  |  10/09/05

Big Ed Fights Back Against For-Profit Colleges

It’s back-to-school time so it must be time to view with alarm the shocking state of our nation’s colleges.

Last week in The Weekly Standard, retired conservative foundation director James Piereson took a look at the threat to the

|  more  |  10/02/05

I Gotta Right to My Illusions

A fellow at work recently told how his relative was planning to sue her former employer, a well-known national retailer. Suffering from a particular affliction, she frequently absented herself from work up to, and sometimes over, the limit established for leave without a doctor’s note. So her employer had fired her, but not for

|  more  |  09/25/05

The Power of the Liberal Taboos

The president’s mother, Barbara Bush, got into trouble recently for saying on NPR that the underprivileged African American refugees from hurricane Katrina were doing fine in Texas. “What I’m hearing, which is sort of scary,” she said on NPR, “is they all want to

|  more  |  09/18/05

Disaster: When You Want Solutions

There is no doubt that the Bush administration made a big blunder in its planning for hurricane Katrina. It had planned for hurricane relief in which FEMA assisted the state and local governments in getting help where it was most needed, based on the assumption that local resources could hang on until 72 to 96 hours after the disaster. That

|  more  |  09/11/05

The Lesson of New Orleans

Now we know. Your average American inner city is about one day away from anarchy. This is a remarkable achievement, when you think of it. It takes careful work to fray the social bonds so thoroughly that they can be snapped on the instant after the removal of the guardians. After all, societies down the ages have put a lot of work into

|  more  |  09/04/05

Filling the Education Vacuum

Here we are at back-to-school time, and all across the nation colleges are prodding our children into freshman orientation. Today, of course, that means catechizing the young into the religion of “anti-racism.” And instead of inducting our kids into the cult of Americanism, they humiliate them into the “cult of

|  more  |  08/28/05

It's Official: Left-Islamist Alliance Against the West

So the hard left and the Islamists have established a coordinating committee, according to Douglas Davis of the London Spectator. In Britain

The steering committee of the Marxist–Islamist alliance consists of 33 members — 18 from myriad

|  more  |  08/21/05

The Trouble with Unions

The American labor union movement has split again. Led by Andy Stern, the leader of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), a rump of private sector unions has split off from the AFL-CIO, the convocation of all American unions. Stern believes that in order to grow the union movement should put more energy and resources into

|  more  |  08/14/05

Prince William and the Two Nations

After all the tragedy and heartache in London over 7/7, at least there is some good news. Now that Prince William has got his degree at St. Andrews University, he’s moving back to London and will set up house with his constant companion Kate Middleton. So that’s all right then.

Of course, this is nothing new. Princes of the

|  more  |  08/07/05

Liberal Prof Gets Conservative about Supreme Court

There was a time, and it wasn’t so long ago, when liberals exuded confidence and panache. They proposed sweeping legislation and their pals on the U.S. Supreme Court confidently used the research results of social scientists to justify sweeping decisions to outlaw race-based education (in Brown v. Board of Education) or to mandate

|  more  |  07/31/05

After the London Bombings: What We Can Do

Who can fail to be shocked by last week’s story of London police pursuing a terror suspect into a subway train and shooting him dead? Eyewitness Mark Whitby was sitting in the train:

“I heard people shouting `get down, get

|  more  |  07/24/05

What Muslims Must Do After 7/7

A week after the bombings of 7/7 the British think they have a problem. The bombers were native Britons. They weren’t crazed loners or foreigners but Islamic children of the British nation state, kids who had enjoyed the full benefit of a modern, social democratic childhood as directed down to the last detail by modernizing New Labour

|  more  |  07/17/05

Back to Business as Usual

Although the 7/7 London bombings, coming a day after the award of the 2012 Summer Olympics, were immediately interpreted as a cruel trick upon Londoners, It was really an appropriate culmination to a week of modern ephemera. The week of 7/7 began with a Live8 concert at which young people could blame their parents for tolerating world poverty.

|  more  |  07/12/05

The Supreme Court and Little Lord Fauntleroy

Back in the nineteenth century they used to write books about plucky young American lads—often working to support their widowed mothers—and how they showed up rich kids as liars and lowlifes. In Horatio Alger’s Struggling Upward, young Luke Larkin showed up the banker’s son Randolph Duncan as a cheat and a cad and

|  more  |  07/03/05

A Tactical Play on Social Security

For a moment last week it looked as though the Republicans were going to give away the store on Social Security reform. As Britain’s Guardian reported the rumors the Republicans in Congress were going to draft a bill “stripped of President Bush’s proposed personal accounts financed with payroll taxes” and it would

|  more  |  06/27/05

Our Post-patriotic Elite

How wrong can you be? No, we are not talking about the analogical genius, Senator Dick Durbin (D. al-Inois). We are talking about Mark Steyn, who has the effrontery to call Dick Durbin unpatriotic. Come now, Mark. Dick Durbin isn’t unpatriotic. He is

|  more  |  06/20/05

Fathers Keep Society Safe

For the last couple of weeks, lefties in Britain have been leaping to the defense of the three teenaged sisters, aged 16, 14, and 12, that have each recently brought a little bundle of joy into the world. These brand-new single parents live with their single-parent mother, Julie

|  more  |  06/16/05

Euro-Paradise Lost

In the wake of the French “Non!” and Dutch “Nee!” to the EU constitution, every scribbler is beside himself. It’s the end of the European project, the end of the Euro, and the end of the “social model.” It’s the end of Europe itself!

It is certainly the end of something. Let us call it the End of

|  more  |  06/06/05

A Very American Hero

Eight years ago, on March 20,1997, American hero John R. Boyd was laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery. He was 70.

John Boyd was an Air Force fighter jock who learned physics and thermodynamics so he could translate his hunch about fighter combat into a theory. Then he fought the Pentagon to translate his theory into reality.

|  more  |  05/30/05

How Much Ruthlessness is Enough?

A couple of weeks ago the left-wing blogger Markos Moulitsas of the Daily Kos told us what the Angry Left is all about.

“We will be quick, ruthless, and diligent. We won’t show mercy, because we haven’t gotten any.

|  more  |  05/24/05

After the Battle: Don't Raise Taxes
The critics of the president in the mainstream media are shocked to discover that, after the first 100 days of his second administration, he is stuck in a quagmire. They note his declining popularity, the losing fight over Social Security, the “controversial” Bolton nomination, the gridlock over the judicial filibuster, and the

|  more  |  05/16/05

Blair Wins; Third Way Loses

On May 5, Tony Blair led the British Labour Party to an unprecedented third consecutive electoral victory in Britain. You would think it would be time for celebration. But the cartoonists gave him a black eye, and the newly elected Labour Party members of Parliament are

|  more  |  05/12/05

A Whiff of Panic

Last week in NRO the eminent theologian and political philosopher Michael Novak gently chided the emotional Andrew Sullivan for his over-the-top criticism of the Catholic Church. It is not true, he wrote, that the papacy of John Paul II saw an unparalleled quashing of

|  more  |  05/02/05

The Soros Noise Machine

Over the April 16/17 weekend according to The Hill George Soros led his progressive billionaire friends in an important strategy meeting in Scottsdale, Arizona. The idea was to lay out the strategy for funding a progressive policy machine to go

|  more  |  04/27/05

Andrea Dworkin and the Pity of Feminism

There is something achingly sad about the life of Andrea Dworkin, 58, the feminist firebrand, who died April 9 of unknown causes. Daughter to a “committed socialist” Jewish postal worker she went to progressive schools and lived as an activist from childhood. She first hit the headlines in 1965 when she reported experiencing

|  more  |  04/19/05

Advice for the Conclave

Ever since the death of John Paul II people have been generously offering to help plan the future of the Catholic Church. They recognize that the Church occupies a unique position in the world, and they want it to succeed.

OK. They just want to graft their own agenda onto the Church’s robust root stock and grow their own fruit upon

|  more  |  04/11/05

What Conservative Crack-up?

With Terri Schiavo dead and Social Security reform in the balance, the pundits are suddenly calling for a “conservative crack-up.” Yet sales of The Purpose-driven Life have tripled in the last two weeks, according to The Wall Street Journal weekly Sales Index, beating out the best-selling fiction title. Perhaps readers

|  more  |  04/04/05

Stop Whining Start Thinking

In Easter Week, conservatives took a blow to the solar plexus. We thought that all we had to do was pass a law asking the federal courts to take a look at the Terri Schiavo case, and hey presto, Terri would have another two years to live while the courts mumbled over endless procedural issues, just like in capital murder cases.

Instead we

|  more  |  03/29/05

Beyond the Judicial Filibuster

On March 17, the Senate Judiciary Committee sent for consideration by the entire Senate the nomination of William G. Myers III to a seat on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Democrats have threatened to filibuster. Republicans have threatened to change the Senate rules to eliminate filibusters on judicial nominations. Right now, things are

|  more  |  03/25/05

Perfect Storm in Atlanta

Suppose you were a liberal still deeply afflicted by PEST (post-election selection trauma), reeling from the Iraq election and now deeply disturbed by the Cedar Revolution in Beirut. What would finally put you on the train for Canada?

Imagine a story about a middle-class African American man accused of rape. The 210-pound athlete breaks

|  more  |  03/19/05

Trust Us, We Care

Remember the stolen gubernatorial election of November 2004 in Washington State? Seattle blogger Stephan Sharkansky (www.soundpolitics.com) got a look last week at some poll books in Democratic King County. At the Denny Terrace polling station (a public housing project) the records show that a total of 30 machine-readable provisional ballots

|  more  |  03/16/05

The Race To Unimportance

Everybody now knows that President Larry Summers of Harvard, leader of an institution devoted both to truth and phonics (VE-RI-TAS), is in serious trouble for pursuing truth.  It is a situation beyond parody.  But inquiring minds are bound

|  more  |  03/10/05

Social Security Grand Strategy

In the current campaign for Social Security reform, we should not lose sight of the forest for the trees. All the talk about trust funds, caps, IOUs, actuarial scoring, and bankruptcy is mere ritual, the rich symbolic pageantry of the national Social Security cult. Beneath the

|  more  |  03/01/05

Loosey-goosey Hits the Wall

Shed a tear for the Democrats.  They didn’t just lose the presidency in November 2004.  Their whole loosey-goosey approach to voting hit the wall.  In the middle of the splat is Washington

|  more  |  02/27/05

Ward Churchill is Right

No sooner had Prof. Nancy Hopkins of MIT bounced up from her fainting couch upon the prospect of yet another task force to investigate gender inequity in the darkly menacing groves of Larry Summers’ Harvard than conservatives started swooning over Ward Churchill’s remarks about little Eichmanns in the twin towers on 9/11 had it

|  more  |  02/16/05

Conservatives and the Creative Impulse: Part II

In part one of this essay we examined the deep philosophical difference between the bared breast and the broken bra strap, and how they symbolized two kinds of creativity: the impulsive creativity that has long been championed by the left and the ruled-based creativity that has been practiced but not particularly

|  more  |  02/15/05

Conservatives and the Creative Impulse: Part I

What a difference a year makes! A year ago Americans were digesting the rude, crude Super Bowl “wardrobe malfunction” of Janet Jackson. This year, twenty-something guys are sniggering over the Go Daddy Girl’s troublesome bra-strap. A year ago America got hit in the solar plexus with mindless “challenge” art. This

|  more  |  02/11/05

Getting Past Freud

Conservatives have always had a problem with Freud. Liberals have not. “When I read Freud,” said the playwright, “the scales fell off my eyes.” Conservatives experience Freud as a charlatan; artists experience him as a revelation.

Freud’s psychology may seem to conservative Americans as a sudden, unlooked for

|  more  |  02/07/05

Driving Miss Hillary

Many conservatives are happily writing off the Democrats as dinosaurs doomed to political extinction.  Democrats just don’t get it on God, on patriotism, and on abortion.  But let us not get carried away.   Let us not forget about

|  more  |  02/01/05

Iraq Election: A Teachable Moment?

Today the Iraq election is over and Senator John Kerry is wisely advising that:

No one in the United States should try to over-hype this election... This election is a sort of demarcation point, and what really counts now is the effort to have a legitimate political

|  more  |  01/30/05

Social Security for the Sixties Generation?

“All my life I have wanted a pension,” said the retired naval clerk John Dickens to his son Charles in a BBC biopic that ran years ago on PBS. And many Americans agree with him. You put in your 40 years, or 30 years—or even a mere 20

|  more  |  01/23/05

Republicans are Regular Guys
Conservatives like to complain that for liberals there is no life outside politics.  Politics is their religion, their livelihood, and their politics.  They start out as student politicians in high school, and go on to make a splash in college politics.

|  more  |  01/19/05

The Real Charlotte Simmons

Twenty years ago, writing The Bonfire of the Vanities, Tom Wolfe worried that his novel about Masters of the Universe bond traders and race hustling reverends in New York City would be received as too over-the-top. Instead, he was roundly criticized for his lack of imagination.

|  more  |  01/16/05

The Global Future of Contract and Trust

If a global society forms during the twenty-first century, will it necessarily be a contract society, built upon reciprocal trade and agreement, as many people think?  Or could it be constructed upon other principles, for instance the left’s dream of universal nonviolence,

|  more  |  01/15/05

Liberals, You're Doing Too Much!

After spending Christmas Day in a liberal home I can report that this was not a Happy Holiday for liberals.  There was at least one thing to celebrate though: the courage of San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom in standing up to the bigots and allowing people to do what comes

|  more  |  01/02/05




The incentive that impels a man to act is always some uneasiness... But to make a man act [he must have] the expectation that purposeful behavior has the power to remove or at least to alleviate the felt uneasiness.
Ludwig von Mises, Human Action


“But I saw a man yesterday who knows a fellow who had it from a chappie that said that Urquhart had been dipping himself a bit recklessly off the deep end.”  —Freddy Arbuthnot
Dorothy L. Sayers, Strong Poison

China and Christianity

At first, we thought [the power of the West] was because you had more powerful guns than we had. Then we thought it was because you had the best political system. Next we focused on your economic system. But in the past twenty years, we have realized that the heart of your culture is your religion: Christianity.
David Aikman, Jesus in Beijing


[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

Civil Society

“Civil Society”—a complex welter of intermediate institutions, including businesses, voluntary associations, educational institutions, clubs, unions, media, charities, and churches—builds, in turn, on the family, the primary instrument by which people are socialized into their culture and given the skills that allow them to live in broader society and through which the values and knowledge of that society are transmitted across the generations.
Francis Fukuyama, Trust

Class War

In England there were always two sharply opposed middle classes, the academic middle class and the commercial middle class. In the nineteenth century, the academic middle class won the battle for power and status... Then came the triumph of Margaret Thatcher... The academics lost their power and prestige and... have been gloomy ever since.
Freeman Dyson, “The Scientist as Rebel”


Conservatism is the philosophy of society. Its ethic is fraternity and its characteristic is authority — the non-coercive social persuasion which operates in a family or a community. It says ‘we should...’.
Danny Kruger, On Fraternity

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


“When we received Christ,” Phil added, “all of a sudden we now had a rule book to go by, and when we had problems the preacher was right there to give us the answers.”
James M. Ault, Jr., Spirit and Flesh

Democratic Capitalism

I mean three systems in one: a predominantly market economy; a polity respectful of the rights of the individual to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; and a system of cultural institutions moved by ideals of liberty and justice for all. In short, three dynamic and converging systems functioning as one: a democratic polity, an economy based on markets and incentives, and a moral-cultural system which is plural and, in the largest sense, liberal.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism

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


“We have met with families in which for weeks together, not an article of sustenance but potatoes had been used; yet for every child the hard-earned sum was provided to send them to school.”
E. G. West, Education and the State

presented by Christopher Chantrill

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