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A Further Perspective

Patent Legislation, Pending

By and 9.10.15

Forty years ago, nearly no one cared about patents or patent law. Now, almost everyone does. The reason for the revisionism: the evolution of the economy. Splicing DNA became possible in the late 1970s. It started to become profitable in the Reagan-era 1980s. Personal computers were nearly unheard of when Ronald Reagan was elected President. By the end of his term, Apple Computer was one of the world’s most important corporations. A combination of neo-liberal politics and economics shifted society’s relationship with science. Biotechnology, and computing, and capitalism formed a lucrative, new relationship with America that lasts to this day.

The rate of patenting new inventions in the U.S. has been increasing in recent decades and stands at “historically high levels,” according to research by the Brookings Institution. While the growth in patent applications slowed a bit after the IT bubble and the Great Recession, the rate of patenting by U.S. inventors is at its highest point since the Industrial Revolution.


Nixon’s Silent Majority Was Not About Race

By 9.10.15

It is amazing to behold. For the Left — even the Republican Left — everything is about race. Even when it isn’t. Even when one has to re-write history to make that history something it never was.

All too predictably, the New York Times — the paper that cannot control its obsession with race-card playing — recently ran this headline:

Republicans Fear Donald Trump Is Hardening Party’s Tone on Race

Really? And how exactly is this happening? Why, Donald Trump is using the term “Silent Majority” from the Nixon-era. And everybody knows that was racist, right? Here’s the Times version of this nonsense:

The Nation's Pulse

Misspelled Words Give Me LOL

By 9.9.15

Editor’s note: Peter Hannaford, a faithful contributor to this site for many years, filed this column on Friday morning. On Saturday, we learned yesterday, he died suddenly at his northern California home. His young colleague Robert Zapesochny, with whom he coauthored a number of recent columns, pays tribute to him nearby, nicely capturing Peter’s historical importance and great qualities. Here we present his final contribution, mourning his passing and grateful to him for his service to America and the gentlemanly and resourceful example he always set.

In a new Harris Poll, “Millennials” (ages 18-34) complain more than any other age group about misspelling and bad grammar.

There may be two reasons: (1) having a strong sense of entitlement they may have expected better; and (2) many of them had educations that paid little attention to either spelling or grammar. These had gone out of fashion in the nation’s schools.

In Memoriam

Peter Hannaford (1932-2015): My Friend Who Made History

By 9.9.15

This past weekend, I lost one of the greatest friends to ever grace my life.

In 1945, the New York Times wrote, “Men will thank God on their knees a hundred years from now, that Franklin D. Roosevelt was in the White House…” For those of us who believe the same of Ronald Reagan, it is important to remember Peter Hannaford.

Peter Hannaford was one of Reagan’s top aides in California and his presidential campaigns in 1976 and 1980. After Reagan lost the nomination in 1976, he was 65 years old. It was by no means certain that he could run again.

For millions, like my parents, who lived behind the Iron Curtain, they were grateful that Reagan won in 1980. Long before Reagan pressured Gorbachev to negotiate an end to the Cold War, he had to get elected. Peter Hannaford played a crucial role in that effort.

When Governor Reagan was ending his second term in California, his four top aides were Ed Meese (Chief of Staff), Michael Deaver (Director of Administration), Don Livingston (Director of Programs and Policy), and Peter Hannaford, who was his Director of Public Affairs.

Buy the Book

The New Nihilists at Work

By 9.9.15

The Devil’s Pleasure Palace: The Cult of Critical Theory and the Subversion of the West
By Michael Walsh
(Encounter Books, 222 pages, $23.99)

The culture of America and that of the rest of what is less frequently referred to as the Western world, let alone the free world, is in a parlous state. We’ve been nearly overwhelmed by nihilistic ideas that have increasingly replaced the traditional ones that for centuries have sustained the freest and most prosperous civilization the world has ever produced.

The unrelenting assault on Western values got underway in the sixties, and has been sustained since mainly by universities, the mainstream news media, the education industry, various precincts of the entertainment industry, and, all too often now, big business and the clergy. But the groundwork for this assault was laid well before the flower children appeared on the scene and Timothy Leary urged us all to turn on, tune in, and drop out.

Main Street U.S.A.

The Real Meaning of Kim Davis

By 9.9.15

Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who was jailed for refusing to give out marriage licenses to gay couples, is out of the clink at last. But in political and cultural regards, her nation and ours is not in the clear. Moral consensus has broken down, resulting in the empowerment of the strongest, the best connected, the best lawyered. And the loudest.

Changing standards (if you can call them that, because nothing seems standard these days) play out in the public policy arena to a degree once unimaginable.

Kim Davis’ lack of legal grounds for her claim of immunity from decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court is the secondary point here. Can we all agree that conscious civil disobedience to civil authorities has consequences on which the stability of the state depends? We can? Thank you.

A Further Perspective

A Short Route to Chaos

By 9.9.15

As Kim Davis sat in jail, she received criticism from not only the usual liberal suspects but also conservative-leaning Christians who take an oddly absolutist stance against civil disobedience by government officials. If a Christian clerk resists an unconstitutional and unjust law to sign gay marriage licenses, why is that morally wrong? It undermines the proper functioning of the government, say her Christian critics. But that argument only makes sense if the smooth functioning of a tyranny is a moral good. It isn’t.

Justify Davis’s civil disobedience and the “rule of law ceases to exist,” says Rod Dreher of the American Conservative. No, the rule of corrupt judges is impeded, and that is all to the good. If the rule of law has been twisted tyrannically, why prioritize its preservation? The unquestioning adherence of government officials to unjust laws does far more damage to the real good for which government exists than the supposed bad example of Kim Davis ever could.

The Current Crisis

The Passing of a Giant

By 9.9.15

Santillana del Mar, Spain

Here I am out in the Spanish hinterland, and John Von Kannon, one of the giants of the conservative movement, has passed on. Known to Spectator followers as the Baron Von Kannon, he was one of my dearest friends and wisest advisors for nearly 50 years. He will be a loss for me and for the conservative movement, but it was God’s call.

Special Report

The Migrant Conquest of Europe

By 9.8.15

We are watching astonishing events unfold in Europe day by day.

A sober New York Times front-page headline reads “Migrant Chaos Mounts While Divided Europe Stumbles for Response.” Television news — less demure and more sensational — treats what’s going on like a sports match, doing nothing to hide which side it is rooting for. The weary asylum seekers are jubilant victors and heroes. Their defiant triumph over heartless Hungarian and Austrian authorities deserves our admiration and applause.

Hundred of thousands of migrants are pouring into Europe this summer. Millions of West Africans and Middle Easterners are eager to join them, and there is no sign the flow will subside. Turkey harbors an estimated 1.8 million displaced people.

Meanwhile, wrenching photographs surface of a drowned 3-year-old Syrian boy, breaking hearts and intensifying public demands for unlimited humanitarian aid. News cameras focus on the sad-eyed women and children, looking for all the world like Madonnas clutching Baby Jesuses, and this is not accidental in the battle for hearts and minds.

Free Market Accountability Project

So Much for This Year’s Labor Day

By 9.8.15

“Of course, nothing helps families make ends meet like higher wages,” President Barack Obama said in his State of the Union address on Jan. 20, 2015.

But rather than those higher wages being produced in the free market by way of higher productivity, better education, improvements in products and services, higher sales volumes, better efficiencies, improved U.S. competitiveness and expanded American exports, Obama called for a quicker and more centrally planned solution to deal with income stagnation, low wages, and economic inequality.

“And to everyone in this Congress who still refuses to raise the minimum wage, I say this: If you truly believe you could work full-time and support a family on less than $15,000 a year, try it,” Obama said. “If not, vote to give millions of the hardest-working people in America a raise.”

Eleven months before Obama called for that hike in the minimum wage, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the federal agency that provides Congress with independent analyses for budget and economic decisions, issued a report on Feb. 18, 2014, on the employment impact of mandating a hike in the minimum wage.