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Weekly Opeds 2009

by Christopher Chantrill

Lesson of the Noughties: Government Hasn't a Clue

Thomas Frank, the >Wall Street Journal’s tame liberal columnist, experienced the Noughties as a “low, dishonest decade.” It was all corporate scandals, slack regulation, and

|  more  |  12/30/09

Harry Reid's Lump of Coal

Some people think that Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) is insulting Christians with his plan to make the United States Senate work right up to Christmas Eve on his health reform bill.

Maybe so. But it seems more likely that he just wants to make sure that every American gets a lump of coal in their Christmas stocking.


|  more  |  12/24/09

The Poisoned Chalice

If only everyone would be sensible, and stop fighting with liberals over health care, then we could all get along.

There he is, poor Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), facing a brutal reelection bid next November, mercilessly diverted into trying to make an omelet out of rotten eggs.

That’s what the public option is. It’s a

|  more  |  12/18/09

So Michael Mann is a Bully?

The only thing that has taken a pounding in the last two weeks of Climategate is the fantasy PR image that scientists have maintained for so long.

Of course scientists fake results. Of course they bully other scientists. Of course

|  more  |  12/12/09

Palin and the Future

A generation ago liberals taught me to believe that Ronald Reagan was an extremist and a lightweight. Then I went to a Republican caucus in 1980 as a Bush supporter and met the Reagan supporters. I realized that they were the little people, mechanics, technicians, churchgoers, folks that used to be Democrats.

Now liberals are teaching

|  more  |  12/04/09

ObamaCare's Hot Water Treatment

Modern conservativism is the essence of moderation. Conservatives want to persuade the world to chart a course between two extremes. They join with the modernists in breaking the absolute power that family and tribe once had over peoples’ lives. While conservatives value filial respect, they want sons and daughters to be able to defy

|  more  |  11/25/09

The Liberals' "Other" Problem

When a white redneck American blew up the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995, President Clinton blamed right-wing talk radio. But when a Muslim-American blew away thirteen American citizens at Ft. Hood in 2009, the president was careful not to rush to judgment, and the mainstream media medicalized the suspect’s motive into

|  more  |  11/19/09

The Purpose of Bureaucracy

Last week the House Republicans helpfully pointed out that the Pelosi/ObamaCare bill would create “111 new bureaucracies.” No fair, said a Democrat spokesman. Most of the new bureaucracies would only be “demonstration

|  more  |  11/13/09

A Liberal Whiff of Panic

Peggy Noonan thinks that the American people are disheartened. Recently she talked to a mid-level man in Big Pharma. In the old days, it seemed, people were confident; they could see a way through the nation’s problems.

Now they

|  more  |  11/05/09

Life in the United Scapegoats of America

Oh good. At last the feds are going to crack down on those evil bankers and their greedy bonuses. Or is it greedy bankers and evil bonuses? Auto da fe next Tuesday.

Now we can get back to the important work of scapegoating insurance companies and the US Chamber of Commerce, the monsters

|  more  |  10/29/09

Who Will Rid Me of that Troublesome Rush?

Don’t be tempted to believe in an organized conspiracy to race-bait Rush Limbaugh. That’s not how things work in politics.

To understand how DeMaurice Smith, head of the NFL players’ union and politically connected Obamite, could be the center of an attempt to destroy the reputation of Rush Limbaugh you only need to

|  more  |  10/22/09

World Approves Obama Appeasement

All the world celebrates President Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize. The prize expresses international community’s endorsement of his politics and his commitment to a world without war.

Meanwhile some people have noticed that all is not peace-process and diplomacy back at the president’s adopted home town of Chicago. Gang

|  more  |  10/16/09

How About Those "Chick-Cons?"

I admit it. I was wrong. When I wrote about the importance of “woman-centered” conservatism back in 2007 here, in 2008

|  more  |  10/08/09

The Perils of a "Policy" President

The last three Democratic presidents are similar. They are policy presidents: they all believe in the rational, systemic approach to governance. That’s what David S. Broder, dean of the Washington press corps, has noticed.

|  more  |  09/30/09

Irving Kristol and the Future of Conservatism

They called him the godfather. That’s because in the 1970s Irving Kristol, who died September 18, 2009 aged 89, seemed to be the conservative at the center of the “family,” pulling the strings.

But he wasn’t making people offers they couldn’t refuse. Billy’s

|  more  |  09/23/09

Why Democrats Want Single Payer

Many conservatives may not understand the logic of President Obama’s preference for the “public option” that leads to “single payer” government health care for all.

So let me tell you about some Democratic neighbors of mine. They are a fiftyish childless couple. He works as a contract technical writer.

|  more  |  09/17/09

Obama's Wasted Year

It’s about a year since Barack Obama has been at the center of US national politics, but it’s probably not too early to say that his first year was wasted.

It is also probably too harsh to blame the president for all of the waste. He heads a party that last did something serious in the civil rights era of the 1960s. It’s

|  more  |  09/09/09

The Kennedy Test

Now that the last Kennedy brother has lost his fight with brain cancer, you can say say this about the Kennedys: they always seemed to know what Democrats wanted.

Elder brother Joe died a hero’s death in World War II, at a time when liberals were all in favor of fighting fascism. Jack Kennedy was a cold warrior, when liberals

|  more  |  09/05/09

No Dead Parrots Here

It must have all looked so appealing back in the winter. Why not publish The Death of Conservatism by New York Times Book Review editor Sam Tanenhaus on September 1? The

|  more  |  08/27/09

Obama and the Upchuck Factor

Among the most powerful psephological tools available to political strategists and commentators is the well-known Upchuck Factor. Never heard of it? I’m surprised.

The Upchuck Factor is, quite simply, the length of time it takes the US voter to decide that s/he’s “had enough” of the Democrats. And it looks like

|  more  |  08/21/09

Healthcare and the Resourceful Poor

Evil political wizard Karl Rove seems to be tasting blood. His analyzes the president’s stuff for Obamacare in the Wall Street Journal and concludes that the pitcher is in a jam.

There are no polling data or focus groups

|  more  |  08/14/09

The Myth of the Expert

Last week Steve McIntyre of the Climate Audit website cracked the walls of the fortress at Britain’s Climatic Research Unit. A “mole” sent him a sample of global temperature data that CRU Director Dr. Phil Jones had refused to share with the climate audit community. By Sunday

|  more  |  08/06/09

Fixing Government Healthcare With Your Money

Last week the president’s health care reform ran off into the ditch. This week, in a flurry of flashing lights, the Beltway wrecker will doubtless haul it back up on the legislative highway. The mainstream media will take a look and declare the it as good as new. But we all know that after you have run a car up on the sidewalk or into

|  more  |  08/01/09

Who's Out of Touch?

In the Canadian Ottawa Citizen David Warren reckons that US liberals are out of touch. He says it all got started long

|  more  |  07/25/09

Private Schools for the Poor

When President Obama visited Ghana last week, he went to teach. Africans could harness education “to create new wealth,” said the president. “Yes you can.”

But what if Africa has something to teach the president about

|  more  |  07/17/09

Liberals: Learning Nothing and Forgetting Nothing

A liberal acquaintance couldn’t understand why conservatives are impatient with Obama. Didn’t conservatives get enough of a chance with 30 years of Reagan and Bush, he asked?

OK, it’s true that conservatives did get some tax-rate cuts. And we did win the cold war. And we did roll back one social program, welfare, a

|  more  |  07/14/09

Brits Melt Down Over Naughty MPs

In these latter days parents no longer talk about children having tantrums. They talk about meltdowns, as in nuclear plants. In my day, of course, children didn’t indulge in nuclear explosions. I still remember the shock of reading The Secret Garden and the tantrums of its spoiled rich-bitch

|  more  |  06/25/09

Witness to Liberals as they Really Are

People are wondering what to do about the Sotomayor nomination. Should conservatives robustly oppose this Affirmative Action baby to the utmost? Or should conservative senators witness to her identity liberalism, asking her questions that allow her to expand, as a wise Latina, on her philosophy of jurisprudence?

There is a lot of

|  more  |  06/21/09

The Liberal Housing Crash

The American people are pretty well convinced that the mortgage meltdown was the fault of greedy bankers, stupid borrowers, and the odd Friend of Angelo Mozilo like Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-CT). That’s hardly surprising, since the mainstream media has shown a vivid disinterest in getting to the bottom of it all.

That’s why we

|  more  |  06/11/09

Don't Cry for Milton

Where’s the next Milton Friedman coming from? That’s what Club for Growth founder Stephen Moore wants to know. With the ongong “assault against global capitalism” coming out of Washington,

I become more nostalgic for one missing voice:

|  more  |  06/06/09

And They Said Bush Was Clueless

The president mentioned the Rule of Law in a speech last week. At the National Archives about his policies on terrorism, he said:

From Europe to the Pacific, we’ve been the nation that has shut down torture chambers and replaced tyranny with the rule of

|  more  |  06/03/09

The Palin Seminar for Moderate Women

Sarah Palin’s speech to the folks at Vanderburgh County Right to Life last month didn’t seem to get on the national political radar. But if you get a chance to review the YouTube

|  more  |  05/25/09

Liberalism: Cruel Corrupt Unjust Wasteful and Deluded

In the battle for the soul of the Republican Party the usual suspects want to make the brand more bland. We should avoid dividing people with divisive social issues.

But the Milquetoasts forget that democratic politics is a combination of Our Glorious Vision of the Future and Their Cruel and Unjust Swamp of Waste and Corruption. They

|  more  |  05/18/09

Thatcher's Victory: Then and Now

If you like counting “firsts,” here’s one for you. It was just 30 years ago when the British first elected a grocer’s daughter to be Prime Minister. Yes, for thousands of years the oppressive British political system had denied not just grocers, but the spawn of grocers the highest political office in the land.


|  more  |  05/07/09

What Price Limited Government?

If you attended a Tea Party recently you were sure to have heard speakers talk about “limited government” and “liberty.” But what does it mean? When does government cease to be limited?

We could look at the numbers. If you go to usgovernmentspending.com and its new home page, you could take a look at one of the pie

|  more  |  05/02/09

The Difference Between Them and Us

As I walked through the tea party-goers in Seattle’s Westlake Park last on Wednesday, April 15, I couldn’t help noticing the difference between the people there assembled and the people you see on TV.

We are talking about the kind of people you see on the news, on the prime-time shows, and in commercials.

The people who

|  more  |  04/26/09

I Just Can't Take the Liberal Melodramas Any More

I’m so sick of watching liberal movies I just can’t take it any more. Last week I took in the latest Nicole Kidman star vehicle, Australia, on cable. It’s a conventional story about two free-spirited liberals battling a bigoted, racist white society on behalf of a half-white

|  more  |  04/12/09

The Ladies' Tea Party

It was encouraging this week to see conservative women leading in the Tea Party movement. In Orlando on March 21 the 4,000 strong tea party was organized by two

|  more  |  04/06/09

The Instinct of the Clueless

President Obama has got it all wrong. The problem with the economy is not greedy bankers trousering their multi-million dollar bonuses. So his plan to fix the banks and tighten up on financial regulation misses the point.

But at least he is doing something about the

|  more  |  03/26/09

Take Me To Your Leader

President Obama and his enforcers are right. Rush Limbaugh is the leader of the Republican Party. And now that Bill Buckley’s gone, he’s the leader of the conservative movement too.

Technically, of course, you could say that the Republican Party doesn’t have a leader right now, and it won’t have one until its

|  more  |  03/19/09

Obama and the Liberal Freeloader Culture

Many conservatives experience President Obama’s budget as a radical lurch to the left. Obviously, they conclude, President Obama is a radical lefty.

Unfortunately it’s worse than that. President Obama is not leading from the left of his party. He is leading from the center.

Scratch a liberal and you will find someone who

|  more  |  03/12/09

Who Is The Smartest of Them All?

You all remember the old German folk tale of Snow White and the Seven Conservatives. Every morning the liberal policy wonk gets up and looks at The New York Times online.

Mirror, Mirror on the wall;Who is the smartest of them all?

And The New York Times always responds in the same way.

|  more  |  03/06/09

The Difference Between Change and Reform

Did you notice that when Gov. Sarah Palin was campaigning for vice-president she talked about “reform?” Candidate Obama campaigned on a different theme, “Change We Can Believe In.” In case you weren’t paying attention, he had the slogan on the emblazoned on the front of his lectern.

The word “Change” is a

|  more  |  02/27/09

Pity a Poor Banker

Last week our noble solons lined up a bunch of bank CEOs and proceeded to lash themselves into a lather. All hands aft to witness punishment, as they say in naval fiction.

I’m sorry, Mr. Congressman. I don’t get it. I thought the whole

|  more  |  02/19/09

America's Emerging Liberal Oligarchy

Anyone can make a mistake. But when a parade of Obama administration cabinet picks—Richardson,

|  more  |  02/13/09

Obama's First Fumble

Last week America blew a raspberry at the House “stimulus” bill. The Wall Street Journal edit page reckoned it out at about 12 percent stimulus. What about the other 88 percent? It was mostly the usual liberal special-interest spending, 40 years of

|  more  |  02/05/09

Women and Safety

Now that President Obama is safely inaugurated into the office of President of the United States, working on pleasurable stimuli for the Democratic faithful, let us resume our conservative seminar. While the Democratic stoats and weasels roister and revel at Toad Hall, we stalwarts of the republic, Moles and Rattys and Badgers, even the

|  more  |  01/29/09

President Obama's Problem

We conservatives wish President Obama well. Of course we do. Conservatives are decent people who believe in saying and doing the right thing. But still, we wonder. We wonder whether President Obama really understands the problem.

If you read the retrospectives of the Bush administration you realize the problem that the global media elite had

|  more  |  01/22/09

The Experts Agree on Healthcare

We spend an enormous amount on health care in the United States. But what do we get in return? One of the most extensive studies of health care, the famous RAND study on health insurance conducted between 1974 and 1982, found that the availability of free health insurance didn’t

|  more  |  01/15/09

Democracy and the Shock Doctrine

In her best-selling book The Shock Doctrine, lefty Naomi Klein complains that eevil conservatives have figured out how to trick people all over the world into accepting conservative economic policy.

All the recent outrages we’ve seen: outsourcing the war on terror to

|  more  |  01/08/09

A Conservative Narrative

As the old year wanes, let us not dwell on its disappointments. Let us celebrate the New Year and hope for a swift recovery in the economy.

Let us wish our liberal friends well, their new Congress and our new President Barack Obama.

OK, good. Now let’s go back inside and gather round the hot stove. Let us spin a tale of conservative

|  more  |  01/01/09




“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

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

Hugo on Genius

“Tear down theory, poetic systems... No more rules, no more models... Genius conjures up rather than learns... ” —Victor Hugo
César Graña, Bohemian versus Bourgeois


“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

Faith & Purpose

“When we began first to preach these things, the people appeared as awakened from the sleep of ages—they seemed to see for the first time that they were responsible beings, and that a refusal to use the means appointed was a damning sin.”
Finke, Stark, The Churching of America, 1776-1990


“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


A writer who says that there are no truths, or that all truth is ’merely relative’, is asking you not to believe him. So don’t.
Roger Scruton, Modern Philosophy

Faith and Politics

As far as the Catholic Church is concerned, the principal focus of her interventions in the public arena is the protection and promotion of the dignity of the person, and she is thereby consciously drawing particular attention to principles which are not negotiable... [1.] protection of life in all its stages, from the first moment of conception until natural death; [2.] recognition and promotion of the natural structure of the family... [3.] the protection of the right of parents to educate their children.
Pope Benedict XVI, Speech to European Peoples Party, 2006

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

Religion, Property, and Family

But the only religions that have survived are those which support property and the family. Thus the outlook for communism, which is both anti-property and anti-family, (and also anti-religion), is not promising.
F.A. Hayek, The Fatal Conceit


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

US Life in 1842

Families helped each other putting up homes and barns. Together, they built churches, schools, and common civic buildings. They collaborated to build roads and bridges. They took pride in being free persons, independent, and self-reliant; but the texture of their lives was cooperative and fraternal.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism

presented by Christopher Chantrill

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