Saturday, November 14, 2015


This essay is adapted from Jonah Goldberg’s foreword to the new edition of the classic book What Is Conservatism?.  It is reprinted in its entirety by permission from THE INTERCOLLEGIATE REVIEW, a publication of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute.

What Is Conservatism? is one of my favorite books, despite being what you might call a successful failure. I don’t mean commercially. Frankly, I have no idea how well this book sold, but going by the history of philosophical anthologies, I think it’s safe to assume that it never threatened to hit the bestseller lists. On the other hand, more than a half century later it remains an oft-cited and significant book in its field. Given that most anthologies aren’t read even by their contributors, you could argue that it’s a giant of the genre.

But what I mean by success and failure is something different altogether. First, it succeeds because it is a wonderful book. More important, it served a high purpose. It is The Federalist Papers of American conservatism. Like the patriots who convened in Philadelphia to hammer out a new charter for a new nation, the contributors to this book laid out a new consensus for a new movement. That effort was led intellectually by Frank Meyer and politically by my old boss William F. Buckley Jr. (whose intellectual contributions to the effort were prodigious as well).

Tuesday, November 3, 2015


This essay is authored by Thomas E. Lynch  and is reprinted  in its entirety by permission from THE INTERCOLLEGIATE REVIEW, a publication of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute.  This essay also appears in the Fall 2015 issue of Modern Age.

Clare Boothe Luce, with only a tinge of hyperbole, referred to the 1965 version of New York City as “the biggest urban mess on earth.” In that same year, the American conservative movement’s condition could not have been considered much better. The Republican Party’s right-wing presidential candidate had just suffered a defeat of stunning magnitude, its northeastern liberal wing was in rebellion, and the party’s governing philosophy was up for grabs. With Barry Goldwater routed, the center of gravity in the Republican Party was moving sharply left and toward the East; the two men vying for the party’s leadership, Richard Nixon and Nelson Rockefeller, lived in the same Manhattan apartment building separated by a mere six floors.

In the spring of 1965, the plight of the Republican Party weighed heavily on William F. Buckley Jr.’s mind. At the time, the thirty-nine-year-old Buckley was spending some weekdays in his Park Avenue apartment, commuting to the midtown National Review offices by day and jousting with New York’s highbrow society by night. The city outside his part-time residence was in full-scale decline. The crime rate was high, deficits higher; a drought had made water scarce; traffic was slow; municipal employee strikes were prevalent; the previous summer’s race riots in Harlem were fresh in people’s minds. Over the past decade, nearly a million members of the white middle class had left the city.

“You and I are not in fact running for mayor,” Buckley wrote in his syndicated column in late May. “But suppose we were?”. He outlined, “half in fun,” a ten-point plan for conservative governance of New York City. A few days later, as National Review prepared to reprint the column, Buckley’s sister Priscilla proposed a playful cover banner: “Buckley for Mayor.”

Thursday, October 29, 2015


The following article authored by Matthew Spalding is reprinted in its entirety by permission from THE INTERCOLLEGIATE REVIEW, a publication of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute.

While it is often thought that religion and politics must be discussed as if they are radically different spheres, the Founders’ conception of religious liberty was almost exactly the opposite. The separation of church and state authority actually allowed—even required—the continual influence of religion upon public life. In a nation of limited government, religion is the greatest source of the virtue and moral character required for self-rule.

The health and strength of liberty depend on the principles, standards, and morals shared by nearly all religions. In his First Inaugural, Thomas Jefferson praised America’s “benign religion, professed, indeed, and practiced in various forms, yet all of them inculcating honesty, truth, temperance, gratitude, and the love of man; acknowledging and adoring an overruling Providence, which by all its dispensations proves that it delights in the happiness of man here and his greater happiness hereafter.” In recognizing the need for public morality and the prominent role that religion plays in nurturing morality, the Founders invited the various religious communities to cooperate at the political level in sustaining the moral consensus they share despite their theological differences. While this does not exclude any religious denomination that agreed with this consensus, in America as a practical matter it overwhelmingly meant the Protestant denominations of the Christian faith and a religious tradition formed by Christian theology.

Monday, September 7, 2015


The following is reprinted in its entirety by permission from Imprimis, a publication of Hillsdale College.

The following is adapted from a talk delivered by Professor Wilfred M. McClay on July 10, 2015, at Hillsdale College’s Allan P. Kirby, Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship in Washington, D.C., as part of the AWC Family Foundation Lecture Series.

Historical study and history education in the United States today are in a bad way, and the causes are linked. In both cases, we have lost our way by forgetting that the study of the past makes the most sense when it is connected to a larger, public purpose, and is thereby woven into the warp and woof of our common life. The chief purpose of a high school education in American history is not the development of critical thinking and analytic skills, although the acquisition of such skills is vitally important; nor is it the mastery of facts, although a solid grasp of the factual basis of American history is surely essential; nor is it the acquisition of a genuine historical consciousness, although that certainly would be nice to have too, particularly under the present circumstances, in which historical memory seems to run at about 15 minutes, especially with the young.

No, the chief purpose of a high school education in American history is as a rite of civic membership, an act of inculcation and formation, a way in which the young are introduced to the fullness of their political and cultural inheritance as Americans, enabling them to become literate and conversant in its many features, and to appropriate fully all that it has to offer them, both its privileges and its burdens.

Sunday, June 7, 2015


America’s Suicide, by Michael H. Davison. Dapa Publishing LLC, 2014 v + 199 pp., Amazon price $27.00 hardcover Prime; $15.30 paperback Prime; $7.00 Kindle.

America is an idea, but for many its idea has differing interpretations.  The American idea to some is defined as a providentially divined society constituted solely to express God’s natural laws.  Protecting humankind’s natural rights manifests these natural laws consequentially resulting in an America that presents order, opportunity, freedom, and justice for all its inhabitants.  Arguably that interpretation of the American idea is grounded in America’s Declaration of Independence, which in many respects highlights America’s raison d'être. 

But for many other Americans the American idea is quite different.  Some will contend that America’s idea is a social contract between and amongst its inhabitants. This social contract not only protects humankind’s natural rights, but guarantees any and all human-made entitlements under the guise of social justice, manifested through an arbitrary process of wealth transfer commonly known as redistribution.

Sunday, March 8, 2015


Jason Riley

The following is reprinted in its entirety by permission from Imprimis, a publication of Hillsdale College.

The following is adapted from a speech delivered by Jason Riley on January 30, 2015, at Hillsdale College’s Allan P. Kirby, Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship in Washington, D.C., as part of the AWC Family Foundation Lecture Series.
Thomas Sowell once said that some books you write for pleasure, and others you write out of a sense of duty, because there are things to be said—and other people have better sense than to say them. My new book, Please Stop Helping Us, falls into that latter category. When I started out as a journalist 20 years ago, I had no expectation of focusing on race-related topics. People like Sowell and Shelby Steele and Walter Williams and a few other independent black thinkers, to my mind at least, had already said what needed to be said, had been saying it for decades, and had been saying it more eloquently than I ever could. But over the years, and with some prodding from those guys, it occurred to me that not enough younger blacks were following in their footsteps. It also occurred to me that many public policies aimed at the black underclass were just as wrongheaded as ever. The fight wasn’t over. A new generation of black thinkers needed to explain what’s working and what isn’t, and why, to a new generation of readers. And the result is this book, which I hope will help to bring more light than heat to the discussion of race.

Sunday, November 9, 2014


The following is reprinted in its entirety by permission from Imprimis, a publication of Hillsdale College.

The following is adapted from a speech delivered at Hillsdale College by William Voegeli on October 9, 2014, sponsored by the College’s Van Andel Graduate School of Statesmanship.

Four years ago I wrote a book about modern American liberalism: Never Enough: America’s Limitless Welfare State. It addressed the fact that America’s welfare state has been growing steadily for almost a century, and is now much bigger than it was at the start of the New Deal in 1932, or at the beginning of the Great Society in 1964. In 2013 the federal government spent $2.279 trillion—$7,200 per American, two-thirds of all federal outlays, and 14 percent of the Gross Domestic Product—on the five big program areas that make up our welfare state: 

1. Social Security; 2. All other income support programs, such as disability insurance or unemployment compensation; 3. Medicare; 4. All other health programs, such as Medicaid; and 5. All programs for education, job training, and social services.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


The following is an editorial by James Hall

The Comité De Salut Public during the French Revolution exhibited a pattern for nightmares far removed from their stated purpose as a Committee of Public Safety. The reign of terror that arose from the shambles created by the Society of the Jacobins, based upon extreme egalitarianism, actually produced a most violent outcome.  If you are one of those lost souls who cling to the latest narrative from the designer media reporting machine, the fear factor is working overtime. What can be more impartial than the threat of succumbing to an Ebola epidemic? Well, if you believe this hysteria, maybe the imminent acts of terror from those Islamic fascists; now called ISIS, will get your blood pressure to spike. Both share a paranoia manufactured in the labs of mind control more than in the actuary records of fact.