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Betsy DeVos: The Fox and the Hen House

They say the opera isn’t over until the fat lady sings. For today, we might say the schoolhouse doesn’t open until the school marm rings the bell. Our national school marm, Betsy DeVos, is lifting the bell as parents and teachers all over the country cry, “No, not with my kids you don’t! Not until [...]

In search of social trust and new habits of thinking

 July, 2020    For many of us, 1968 was the most chaotic and divisive year of our civic lives. Assassinations, police brutality, race riots, violent anti-war protests, military assaults on American citizens, ineffectual political leadership, class hatreds, and corporate predation driven by an unnecessary war. All that was needed to make it worse than 2020 [...]

Tara Reade, Joe Biden, and #MeToo: Showdown in Philosophy 101

June, 2020 Tara Reade’s claim that Joe Biden sexually assaulted her in 1993 puts Democrats and the #MeToo movement in a dilemma. Having taken the stance that Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony against nominee Brett Kavanaugh was sufficient to stop his Supreme Court nomination, what are they to do with Tara Reade’s claim? Should Biden be [...]

This American moment: Philip Roth shows us how to mine the dark truths

May, 2020  How do we make sense of these times? In one moment we’re inspired by the spirit of cooperation and sacrifice that we’re witnessing across the country. In the next we watch in stunned disbelief as an elected official suggests “lots of grandparents” have lived long enough and ought to step aside for the [...]

Catastrophe: Where does it come from? What can be done?

April, 2020          I’m writing this a week before publication. I’m not privy to the totality of facts that you now hold on the pandemic that is altering our lives. I’m going to write the column anyway because it’s not the facts of the catastrophe that interest me. It’s what we continue [...]

Wanted ASAP: Someone to save the Democratic Party from itself

March, 2020   When asked what organized political party he belonged to, Will Rogers famously responded, “I don’t belong to an organized political party. I’m a Democrat.” Mr. Rogers should be around in 2020. He’d really see something.   The Republican Party, craven as they can be, decided in the 1980’s to develop a strategy [...]

What’s wrong with being elite? In search our natural aristocracy

February, 2020 On the political/cultural fronts, we’ve been hearing the word “elite” quite a bit recently and it seems to have become a condition to be avoided (if you’re a candidate with hopes of being elected) or condemned (if you’re a non-coastal voter). This is truly unfortunate. There was once a time when people strove [...]

Attorney General Barr speaks on religion and social dysfunction in America

    Attorney General William Barr spoke on religious liberty in America this fall at the University of Notre Dame. He said, “In short, in the Framers’ view, free government was only suitable and sustainable for a religious people – a people who recognized that there was a transcendent moral order antecedent to both the [...]

When the center cannot hold, things fall apart

Dec. 4, 2019 Turning and turning in the widening gyre The falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall apart; the center cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere The ceremony of innocence is drowned; The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity. [...]

China vs. the NBA: Values on display for the world to see

Written in 1835 when America was in its infancy, Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America may still be the most insightful analysis of American values ever written. His observations on the behaviors and aspirations of the broad spectrum of Americans is remarkably precise. So much so, that we can use his observations about America circa [...]