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Special Report

In Memoriam: R. Randolph Richardson

By 6.19.15

R. Randolph Richardson, World War II veteran, patriot, businessman, sailor, husband and father, who as president of the Smith Richardson Foundation in the 1970s and 1980s directed and sustained research in economics and national security that laid the intellectual underpinnings of what became known as the Reagan Revolution, died at his home in Long Island, N.Y. last Memorial Day following a long illness. His opposition to communist imperialism and statist subversion of the liberties that made America led him to seek out thinkers who could make the case for free men, free markets, national security. His highly original approach to philanthropy was based on the recognition, shared by a small number of individuals in the immediate post-war years, that American conservatives neglected the battle of ideas, preferring to seek ways of accommodating or getting along with the enemies of freedom instead of confronting them. His impact on the shape and quality of the continuing debate on the conditions needed to sustain a free society cannot be overstated.

A Further Perspective

Pope Comes Out Against Carbon Credits, Disappoints True Eco-Believers

By and 6.18.15

That Pope: What an environmental radical!

Listen to what that preposterous priest just said. He breathlessly claims he’s “concerned about the negative consequences for humanity and for all creation resulting from the degradation of some basic natural resources such as water, air, and land, brought about by an economic and technological progress which does not recognize and take into account its limits.”

Yes, that John Paul II was quite an eco-leftist, technophobe, and doomsday prophet. No, wait a second. He wasn’t, of course. Yet he published a Common Declaration on Environmental Ethics with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew back on June 10, 2002, just 13 years ago. His successor, Benedict XVI, preached along the same lines. And his successor, Pope Francis, earlier today released his environmental encyclical to great acclaim by the global Left and their acolytes in the mainstream media.

Another Perspective

Don’t Call Her Crazy

By 6.18.15

By now everyone is aware that Rachel Dolezal, the ridiculous and obviously white university professor from Spokane who had to resign as the local NAACP chapter president after her fraudulent claims of hate-crime victimhood induced her parents to debunk her equally fraudulent claim to be African-American, is in the midst of her proverbial famous 15 minutes.

And the common judgement of Dolezal, at least on the Right, is that she’s a loon.

This judgment is simply wrong. Dolezal isn’t the least bit crazy. Even the bizarre behavior and statements from this woman — that she was born in a teepee, that a black man she never met until adulthood is her actual father, that there is no “biological” proof her parents are actually her parents, her claiming to have known she was actually black since the age of five despite suing Howard University for discriminating against her based on her European heritage, her plagiarized art, the fraudulent representation of her black adopted brother as her son, and so on — are perfectly explainable.


The Activist America Deserves

By 6.18.15

Rachel Dolezal — the former Spokane NAACP head who falsely, and with remarkable assertiveness, claimed to be African-American before her actual parents emerged last week — has already outlived the limitations of the six-hour news cycle.

Her behavior is so bizarre, her history so variegated, and the mélange of hesitance and stubbornness she projects in interviews so hard to pin down, that she’s only gathering steam as her story plays out. Nothing she does really matters, but everything she does is intensely interesting. Monday saw, among other news items, a media frenzy over what appeared to be a Dolezal sighting at the Spokane airport.

A Further Perspective

Pope Keeps the Faith on Climate Change

By 6.18.15

Pope Francis is releasing an encyclical Thursday on climate change — a draft of which was leaked to the Italian magazine l’Espresso on Monday. The New York Times reports that the encyclical is “eagerly awaited, especially by scientists and environmentalists” — because the pope agrees with most of them. On the right, it’s not all love.

A Times front-page headline announced that the “Pope’s Position on the Climate Tests the G.O.P.” because five 2016 GOP White House hopefuls are Catholic — former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal — and climate change skeptics. So you’ve got scientists in the same corner as the Catholic Church — but not GOP presidential prospects.

No surprise, I would say. Climate change alarmism always has had a lot in common with organized religion. What’s the message of hard-core environmentalists? The end is near. Repent.

Buy the Book

Medicalizing the Human Condition

By 6.18.15

Admirable Evasions: How Psychology Undermines Morality
By Theodore Dalrymple
(Encounter Books, 127 pages, $21.50)

Does it seem to you that most of the findings of psychology are either obvious or daft? Does the whole enterprise reek of morality-canceling relativism by explaining away all manner of bad behavior as being the result of disorders or syndromes that the individual bad actor is helpless before? Does the head trade in all its practitioners (psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric social workers, counselors of all stripes) strike you as shamelessly entrepreneurial, forever coining new diagnoses that can be turned into billable hours for the shrinks? Does it seem to you that the entire credentialed profession has no more insight into the complex business that is the human condition than acute observers — playwrights, novelists, bartenders, chief petty officers, your Aunt Eunice — have had for centuries?

Special Report

Praise ‘Be Praised’ for Its Intent, Not Execution

By 6.18.15

A lengthy new papal encyclical is being rolled out today. A version of Laudato Si, or “Be Praised”—thought by most observers to be final, though the Vatican said otherwise—was leaked on Monday. It is a highly political discussion of the theology of the environment.

In fact, Pope Francis addresses not just fellow Catholics but “every person who inhabits this planet,” with whom he proposes “to enter into discussion… regarding our common home.” Climate change is high on his list. With the UN pushing a new agreement for December, Christiana Figueres, head of the UN Climate Change Secretariat, exulted that the encyclical “is going to have a major impact.”

Political Hay

Jeb Bush’s Education Problem

By 6.18.15

Have you read the new book by ex-Bush 41 White House Chief of Staff John Sununu? Title: The Quiet Man: The Indispensable Presidency of George H.W. Bush. 

Mr. Sununu has done a good deed here, both to the always decent president he served and perhaps most importantly for the historical record. Although in the latter case the book may prove to be a problem for former Florida Governor Jeb Bush as he pursues his Dad’s — and his brother’s — old job.

The other night Jeb Bush sat down for one of those hour-long candidate interviews that Sean Hannity has been doing on his Fox show. Asked Hannity of Bush: “Would you eliminate any government departments? Education? Commerce?” Bush replied:

Buy the Book

Grover Norquist’s Taxation Liberation Movement

By 6.17.15

Grover Norquist has devoted himself full time for over 30 years to thinking about how to limit, and then reverse, the explosion of taxation in America in the twentieth century and beyond. He is quite a treasure for our nation, because Grover has a very powerful mind to devote to this cause, as evidenced by his education as an honors graduate of Harvard College, where I first met him, and Harvard Business School.

The wisdom Grover has developed over the years fighting for this cause is collected in his latest book, End the IRS, Before It Ends U$: How to Restore a Low Tax, High Growth, Wealthy America.  Grover first explains how America went wrong: “Over my many years of fighting big government and its apologists I have begun to see patterns, old tricks that politicians employ over and over again to fool Americans into agreeing to higher taxes.”

Political Hay

Rep. Chaffetz, How Could You?

By 6.17.15

Old-style “bricks-and-mortar” retailers and a few brand-name dot-coms, instead of cost-conscious Internet consumers, seem to have the most influence with Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), sponsor of a bill introduced this week, the “Remote Transactions Parity Act.” The provocative legislation would largely end the tax-free status of much of the commerce done online, something we have managed to avoid since the mid-1990s debut of the commercial Internet.

The bill is being condemned by a coalition of free-market groups—including R Street, Americans for Tax Reform, Freedom Works, Heritage Action for America, and the Heartland Institute—in an open letter to Rep. Chaffetz, released yesterday.

But the National Retail Federation (NRF), the lobbyist for the country’s leading retailers, could not be more pleased.