The Current Crisis

The Current Crisis

America, Love It Or Leave It

By 2.26.15

When former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani said he did not think that “the president loves America,” was he right? Of course he was. The record is strewn with President Barack Obama’s statements of contempt for America. In a quieter setting I would think that Professor Obama would agree. He would then go on to brag about his love for higher things: for humankind, for the world community, for the planet, the green planet.

Recall in 2009 when Obama told a European audience that “There have been times when America has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive toward” Europe. I cannot remember exactly when “America” or even an American president expressed these sentiments, but I guess Obama and his speechwriters can. He has also expressed his contempt for the American system of commerce. In a speech abundant with contempt for capitalism he said—and I shall only pick out one passage—“if you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that.”

The Current Crisis

Au Revoir, Jon Stewart

By 2.19.15

The irrepressible New York Times is at it again! First it destroys the credibility of the most trusted newsreader in America, Brian Williams, and leaves him in a heap exposed as a flagrant liar. Now it is destroying the credibility of the most trusted comic in America, Jon Stewart, and intent on leaving him too in a heap exposed also as a flagrant liar. The Times used all of its investigative skills to expose Williams, and it is using them again to expose the wretched Stewart.

The Current Crisis

Brian Williams’ Future

By 2.12.15

On the vexed matter of Brian Williams my friend and colleague Wes Pruden raises a fundamental question. “Brian Williams, the tall tale teller for NBC News, has had a rough few days, but he’s likely to survive,” writes Wes. “He’ll probably be back,” Wes speculates, even overcoming the derisible endorsement of Dan Rather. Dan, your endorsement could be the kiss of death to poor Brian. Is there no reality-check on these egomaniacs?

The Current Crisis

Personal Liberty and Measles

By 2.4.15

Two potential Republican presidential candidates caused mild palpitations amongst the press corps this week in expressing their misgivings about state-mandated children’s vaccinations. The press’s concern could be a precursor of what Republican candidates might experience in the coming primaries. Ostensibly a mild outbreak in measles is the cause of the journalists’ alarm.

Governor Chris Christie, speaking in the United Kingdom, and Senator Rand Paul, speaking on radio and TV talk shows, expressed their reservations about this public health policy. Christie called for “some balance of choice” between health officials and parents. Paul said most vaccines should be voluntary.

The Current Crisis

Conservatism Is Now Everywhere

By 1.29.15

There is a problem with the Internet. Its commentary is too often dominated by pinheads. H.L. Mencken used to complain that only idiots write letters to the editor. That might have been true of his day—the 1920s and 1930s—but in our time writers of letters to the editor of newspapers and even of websites are occasionally quite well-informed and even lucid. But others, I am afraid, are indeed pinheads, sitting in their underwear back home, foaming at the mouth, believing that the whole world is profoundly interested in their every word, until the authorities arrive at their homes to take them away.

The Current Crisis

Duke University’s Call to Prayer

By 1.21.15

A few weeks back many Americans were understandably perplexed by Duke University’s decision to allow Muslim students to sound the call for Friday prayer (the adan) from the belfry of its famed Chapel tower. After all the Chapel has its roots in Methodism, Duke having been historically linked to the United Methodist Church. Moreover, you would think that the left-wing professoriate that dominates the Duke campus would raise concerns about an old bugaboo, the separation of church and state. Imagine if Catholic students called on Duke to allow Gregorian Chant to be sung from the belfry or Baptist students called upon Duke to allow a weekly sermon of fire and brimstone.

The Current Crisis

Why Are There No Lefties on Talk Radio?

By 1.14.15

This column over the years has been interested in liberalism in a special way, as a coroner is interested in a corpse in a special way. Specifically I have been interested in the pathologies that laid the patient low. What precisely has been the cause of death?

The coroner asks what made a robust fellow a corpse. Was it a remorseless cancer or a tragic accident? Was it Huntington’s disease or something else, possibly, simple alcoholism? In the case of the liberal, the cause of death was almost certainly a massive overindulgence. Simply stated, the liberals attempted too much. They even attempted to solve problems that were not conventionally understood as problems. After all, there were no plausible solutions, for instance, for the elimination of poverty, which in America amounts to relative deprivation, not destitution. How can we solve a citizen’s relative deprivation?

The Current Crisis

The Democratic Party Runs on Empty

By 1.7.15

As the Republicans settle into the House of Representatives and the Senate, with in the House’s case their largest margin in 86 years and in the Senate’s case about as healthy a margin as they could have gained in 2014, the talk in major media is of the Republicans’ many problems. As the Washington Post put it in a front-page headline, “Rancor in GOP flares….” The Democrats should suffer from such “rancor.”

I wonder how the local press is handling the Republicans’ takeover across the nation. Out there in the states the Republicans have gained control of 24 state governments, from the governors’ mansions to the state legislatures. The Democrats have only managed to hang on to similar dominance in seven states, down from 13 in 2014. Any way you look at it, these are palmy times for the Republicans, unless you are looking through the bloodshot eyes of a Democrat or a camouflaged Democrat, say, a member of the press corps.

The Current Crisis

A Night Out With the Clintons and Their Brain Trust

By 12.31.14

It is the end of the year 2014 and the beginning of 2015. Perhaps it is an appropriate time to think about what we are to be confronted with in the presidential year 2016. Ever since the autumn electoral rout of the Democrats we have been confronted by news stories of the looming presidential prospects of Hillary Rodham Clinton and hints about the rise of the presidential prospects of Elizabeth Warren. Only rarely is there a news story about the presidential prospects of the Republicans, though I count more than 25 possible Republican candidates. On the Democrats side we only hear of two, Clinton and Warren.

The Current Crisis

Two Ominous Stories for the New Year From New York City

By 12.24.14

Two news stories, both from New York City, suggest that 2015 may be a grim year, but the grimness might be tinged with whimsy—at least in the second case.

First the grimness, and I write as an American with two proud police officers prominent in my family tree, my great-grandfather and my great-great-grandfather. The first was Frank Tyrrell, for many years the sole survivor of Chicago’s Haymarket Riot. As a youngster wearing short pants and a neatly pressed suit coat I went along with the burly members of the Chicago Police Department to place a wreath on the Haymarket memorial. Incidentally, the Chicago police had to move the memorial indoors after the radical SDS in the early 1970s bombed it a second time. Did our President’s accomplice, Bill Ayers, have a hand in the bombing? We shall wait for the full Obama memoir.

Then, of course, there is my second heroic ancestor, P.D. Tyrrell, an immigrant from Ireland who as a Secret Service officer broke the plot to steal Abraham Lincoln’s body in 1876 and sent the lousy would-be body snatchers to the calaboose. The Tyrrells arrived late in this great country, but growing up we all knew where we stood on the Civil War.