State of the Union

The Digest

Takeaways from theamericanconservative.com:

Can Ron Paul lead the Occupy Movement?

Liberals should spend more time with conservatives.

Alan Jacobs and Rod Dreher preview Peter Jackson’s rendition of The Hobbit.

The military-industrial complex braces for defense cuts.

Another Republican internationalist is likely to take charge at the Pentagon.

 

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The Digest

Takeaways from theamericanconservative.com:

Scott Galupo checks the GOP’s pulse on the fiscal cliff (hint: Obama holds all the cards).

Harvard responds to Ron Unz’s piece on the “hedgefundersity.”

Can Luigi Zingales save American capitalism?

“Whether declared by church or state, the war against human nature is by definition lost.”

How to have a real argument.

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TAC Digest: December 3

Today on theamericanconservative.com, Rod Dreher reflected on the decline of marriage-and-family culture:

So what? Well, marriage is good for individuals, good for the children they produce, and good for society. Study after study has confirmed this wisdom at the heart of most religions. [Jonathan] Last points out, though, that there will be political consequences to the rapid decline of marriage-and-family culture. People who aren’t married tend to be more focused on the here and now, and not thinking of the future, and the obligations to stewardship future-mindedness imposes. Also, if they don’t have families to help take care of them, the state has to step in.

Philip Giraldi questioned the effectiveness of Israel’s Iron Dome:

Consider for a moment the economics of Iron Dome. There are currently five operational units that are towed to the sites where are they deployed. They have cost $50 million each.  Israel eventually wants to deploy thirteen of them, all paid for by the US taxpayer. In the recent fighting, the Iron Dome units fired an estimated $25-30 million worth of anti-missile missiles, with a per unit cost of $50,000. The Gazan weapons were largely homemade though sometimes using Iranian avionic parts smuggled in and had no infrastructure costs for the launchers. Most were so-called Qassams, lacking sophistication but costing about $100 to construct. So on a one-to-one basis it costs $50,000 per missile fired from a $50 million launcher to defeat something that might cost $100 to build.

A.G. Gancarski catalogued the slow death of American culture à la “Two and a Half Men”:

If one is trapped in a cubicle for nine hours a day, it is easy enough to see how escapist entertainment like this would serve as a diversion. Those who watch “Two and a Half Men” know–from the promos, the opening scene, and whatever else–that the sordidness of the show is part of the package, and it is a sordidness that is part of the culture now.

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TAC Digest: November 30

This week on theamericanconservative.com, Bruce Bartlett’s soul-searching lamentation over the state of the GOP struck a nerve. Ron Unz’s examination of anti-Asian-American bias in Ivy League admissions policies also created a flutter. Samuel Goldman and Dan McCarthy reacted to Unz’s piece here and here.

Noah Millman contemplated Leo Tolstoy, Scott Galupo reflected on the tragedy of young-earth creationism, and Jack Hunter held out hope for Grover Norquist and small government conservatism.

Finally, Rod Dreher discovered an unlikely hero.

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TAC Digest: November 29

Today on theamericanconservative.com, Ron Unz’s blockbuster article examining the questionable admissions practices of Ivy League universities continued to attract attention. Samuel Goldman was unconvinced by Unz’s conclusions:

The narrowness of Unz’s definition of academic achievement is connected to a broader defect of the piece. In addition to neglecting students’ ability in the liberal arts, Unz does not consider the liberal arts’ contribution to the university as whole. Unz’s model of meritocracy is Caltech. Not coincidentally, Caltech is an engineering school, which has only a vestigial presence in the humanities and liberal arts. Caltech is a wonderful institution. But would Harvard be more “meritocratic” if its student body and course offerings were more like Caltech’s? Would it be a better university? I doubt it, and not only for reasons of self-esteem.

Leon Hadar made the case for Jon Huntsman for Secretary of State. More from Michael Brendan Dougherty and Daniel Larison on Huntsman here and here.

Finally, Alan Jacobs found value in old educational models.

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TAC Digest: November 28

Today on theamericanconservative.com, Ron Unz examined the questionable admissions practices of Ivy League universitiesUnz finds that Asian-Americans are struggling to gain admission into America’s elite universities in numbers commensurate with their talent. Daniel McCarthy has more. Meanwhile, Bruce Bartlett’s piece about his life on the right continues to be a runaway success:

I’ve paid a heavy price, both personal and financial, for my evolution from comfortably within the Republican Party and conservative movement to a less than comfortable position somewhere on the center-left. Honest to God, I am not a liberal or a Democrat. But these days, they are the only people who will listen to me.

Barlett’s lamentation of the GOP’s epistemic closure has already garnered more than 12,000 Facebook likes. It even attracted praise from Bartlett’s former nemesis Paul Krugman.

Finally, Rod Dreher reflected on the Internet and moral freakery.

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TAC Digest: November 27

Today on theamericanconservative.com, Noah Millman put forth a vision of conservatism inspired by the work of Leo Tolstoy. Rod Dreher encouraged this effort and envisioned a different strategy for dealing with objections to evolution.

Scott McConnell noted the House Committee on Foreign Affairs’s blinders on Israel, Daniel Larison expressed relief at American taciturnity in the wake of Iran’s 2009 anti-government protests, and Samuel Goldman found American federalism in rude health. Jon Basil Utley called for cutting military waste, and Brian Doherty reviewed Craig R. Whitney’s Living With Guns: A Liberal’s Case for the Second Amendment.

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TAC Digest: November 26

Today on theamericanconservative.com, Bruce Bartlett reflected on his life on the right, James P. Pinkerton vindicated Israel’s “Iron Dome”, and Samuel Goldman meditated on the usefulness of the liberal arts.

Rod Dreher contemplated Holocaust denial of the Soviet variety, fretted about the state of Christianity in the West, and reflected on the relationship between conservatism and African-Americans.

Daniel Larison critiqued Condoleezza Rice’s interventionism and contemplated the redrawing of borders in the Near East. Alan Jacobs considered the greatest writers of the 20th Century.

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Week in Review: November 12-16

Patrick Buchanan working as an aide to Richard Nixon in 1969

This week on theamericanconservative.com, Michael Brendan Dougherty profiled Pat Buchanan, Scott McConnell and Taki looked back on ten years of The American Conservative, and Tom Woods searched for the elusive “City on a Hill.” Jim Antle identified the libertarian swing vote, and Wick Allison called for a return to fairness.

Rod Dreher and Daniel Larison listed the woes of a defeated GOP and analyzed Bobby Jindal’s presidential ambitions. Dreher also compiled a list of promising and has-been conservatives, spoke of his love for Starbucks, and responded to Alan Jacobs’s post about the decline of free speech in higher education. Samuel Goldman addressed the blind spot of liberalism. Noah Millman and Jacobs discussed the politics of climate change. Jacobs also dissected the meaning of the widely used term, “the common good,” listed his favorite Wikipedia pages, while Millman reflected on the material basis of a marriage culture.

Jack Hunter examined the failed policies of David Petraeus, Philip Giraldi visited New Jersey, Scott McConnell contextualized the ongoing violence in GazaScott Galupo poked holes in Romney’s assessment of his own defeat, and Jordan Bloom noted Rand Paul’s courting of the Latino vote.

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TAC Digest: November 15

Today on theamericanconservative.com, Philip Giraldi assessed Washington’s engagement with the Taliban. Rod Dreher listed conservatives worth listening to, noted Israel’s assassination of a Hamas operative, and the woes of a defeated GOP. Daniel Larison also listed the weaknesses of the GOP, questioned Bobby Jindal’s commitment to populist reform, and Scott Galupo and he poked holes in Romney’s assessment of his own defeat. Michael Brendan Dougherty suggested a return to Buchananite principles and Alan Jacobs listed his favorite Wikipedia pages.

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TAC Digest: November 14

Today on theamericanconservative.com, Scott Galupo and Daniel Larison reacted to Obama’s post-election press conference. Scott McConnell marked the ten year-anniversary of The American Conservative, and W. James Antle III urged the GOP to embrace libertarians.

Rod Dreher counseled has-been conservatives to get off the stage. Larison analyzed Obama’s Russia policy and discussed the implications of a prolonged American presence in Iraq. Finally, Alan Jacobs outlined some guidelines for civil online discourse.

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TAC Digest: November 13

Today theamericanconservative.com, Rod Dreher wondered about Bobby Jindal’s presidential ambitions, spoke of his love for Starbucks, and responded to Alan Jacobs’s post about the decline of free speech in higher education.

Daniel Larison analyzed the conservative misunderstandings of younger voters, and Samuel Goldman addressed the blind spot of liberalism. Thomas E. Woods Jr. reviewed Richard M. Gamble’s In Search of the City on a Hill: The Making and Unmaking of an American Myth, and Jordan Bloom noted Rand Paul’s courting of the Latino vote.

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Debating Marriage

As same-sex marriage becomes commonplace, will conservative Christians and
religious institutions face discrimination? E.J. Graff of The American
Prospect and Maggie Gallagher of the National Organization for Marriage discuss:

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TAC Digest: November 12

Today on theamericanconservative.com, Michael Brendan Dougherty profiled Patrick Buchanan, Wick Allison explained why the GOP must embrace fairness (Rod Dreher’s response here), and Scott Galupo analyzed the internal GOP debate on taxes.

Daniel Larison and Dreher focused on the dangers of the conservative media bubble. Noah Millman and Alan Jacobs discussed the politics of climate change. Jacobs also dissected the meaning of the widely used term, “the common good,” and Millman reflected on the material basis of a marriage culture.

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Week in Review: November 5-9

This week on theamericanconservative.com, Michael Brendan Dougherty explained Romney’s loss to shocked conservatives, Jim Antle assessed Ron Paul’s impact on the GOP, and Daniel Larison ushered in the end of the American Century. Jim Pinkerton explained how Republicans forfeited the economic argument, and Philip Giraldi made some foreign policy recommendations for Obama’s second term.

Rod Dreher discovered liberty in France, contemplated the difference between conservative and liberal mindsets, and Alan Jacobs and he reflected on the contemporary relevance of Maximillien Robespierre. Jacobs also discussed Augustine and the anatomy of evil.

Noah Millman reflected on Romney‘s “Democratic” appeal, revisited his election predictions, and analyzed the class and racial symbolism of canceling the New York Marathon in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Samuel Goldman argued that election day should be a federal holiday, and Scott Galupo proposed that the closeness of the election would significantly blur the next president’s mandate, something Larison attributed to both candidates’ “unimaginative and vacuous campaigns.”

Larison attributed Romney and his allies’ failure to understand their opponent to the loyalist, conservative media. This sentiment was echoed in the editors’ case for conservatism’s hour. Jordon Bloom laid out the five phases of conservative movement grief, Kelley Vlahos analyzed sectarian tensions in the Middle East, and Giraldi explicated the dynamics of the Syrian revolution.

Jack Hunter advocated a return to constitutional conservatism, and Christopher Sandford profiled Imran Khan, the Pakistani cricketer-turned-politician. Larison argued against a Republican embrace of amnesty for illegal immigrants (Goldman’s partial dissent here). Scott McConnell contemplated what Tuesday night’s loss meant for the various factions of the conservative movement.

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Debating Disclosure

Campaign finance experts Heather Gerken of the Yale Law School and Bradley Smith of Capital University Law School debate whether we should ban anonymous political donations to Super PACs and other such groups:

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TAC Digest: November 5

Today on theamericanconservative.com, Rod Dreher discovered liberty in France, contemplated the difference between conservative and liberal mindsets, and Alan Jacobs and he reflected on the contemporary relevance of Maximillien Robespierre. Jacobs also contemplated Augustine and the anatomy of evil.

Noah Millman reflected on Mitt Romney‘s Democratic appeal and analyzed the class and racial symbolism of canceling the New York Marathon in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

Daniel Larison concluded that Romney’s nomination was “inevitable” and was underwhelmed by the the next generation of the GOP. Jordan Bloom reflected on marijuana legalization, Philip Giraldi noted Franklin Graham’s political opportunism, Samuel Goldman reflected on the relationship between infrastructure and the economy, and Scott Galupo took his final shot at naming the “Romney stimulus“.

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Week in Review: October 29 – November 2

This week on theamericanconservative.com, TAC contributors weighed in on how they’re thinking about the 2012 election, Daniel McCarthy considered whether a Romney victory would benefit conservatism, and I found a post-colonial prophet less than prophetic. Robert Murphy pre-empted the Keynesian case for hurricanes, and Jack Hunter opposed drones on pro-life grounds.

Charles Hugh Smith questioned the Fed’s motives, and Kelley Vlahos considered the impact of blasphemy laws on the Egyptian revolution. Paul Gottfried found Romney to be an impediment to Burkean conservatism, and Daniel Larison argued that there is no realist case to made for a Romney presidency. Larison also discussed the utility of a third-party voting and Scottish separatism with Noah Millman. Phil Giraldi warned of the growing CIA presence in Africa, and Larison noted that Romney failing to foreswear a diplomatic solution to a nuclear Iran is no evidence of realism.

Scott Galupo rated Chris Christie’s political ambitions, and Michael Brendan Dougherty reflected on the anti-abortion vote. Alan Jacobs meditated on greatness and how to achieve it and the lessons of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. He also pondered long defeats and final victories. Rod Dreher reflected on the French Revolution and the life and work of Thomas Paine and Jordan Bloom reviewed Paul Cantor’s The Invisible Hand in Popular Culture: Liberty and Authority in American Film and TVSamuel Goldman contemplated the apocalyptic beauty of post-Hurricane New York and Ron Unz lamented how L.A. public schools’ insistence on racial quotas derailed plans for an elite high school.

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TAC Digest: November 1

Today on theamericanconservative.com, Charles Hugh Smith questioned the Fed’s motives, and Kelley Vlahos considered the impact of blasphemy laws on the Egyptian revolution. Paul Gottfried found Romney to be an impediment to Burkean conservatism, and Daniel Larison argued that there is no realist case to made for a Romney presidency. Larison also discussed the utility of a third-party voting and Scottish separatism with Noah Millman.

Millman considered what it takes to make good art, and Alan Jacobs reflected on the lessons of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings.

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TAC Digest: October 31

Today on theamericanconservative.com, 29 of our distinguished contributors weighed in on whom they were likely to vote for in the presidential election. Pat Buchanan endorsed Romney while Samuel Goldman found it impossible to do so and opted for Gary Johnson. Daniel McCarthy felt a Romney victory might heighten the contradictions on the right and force changes in Congressional leadership. Daniel Larison disagreed.

Scott Galupo rated Chris Christie’s political ambitions, and Michael Brendan Dougherty reflected on the anti-abortion vote. Away from election mania, Alan Jacobs meditated on greatness and how to achieve it, and I reviewed Pankaj Mishra’s From the Ruins of Empire: The Intellectuals Who Remade Asia.

In home news, we’re now accepting applications for spring internships – more information here.

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