Friday, March 31, 2023

The Lost History of Western Civilization


A National Association of Scholars Report by Stanley Kurtz.

Write Wherever You Are and Whenever You Can


The prolific Nicholas Bate has suggestions.

Disinformation and Our Times

 Tablet magazine: Jacob Siegel on "A Guide to Understanding the Hoax of the Century."

Matt Taibbi on the Siegel article.

A Malicious Humility

 In recent times we have seen spread through our schools and institutions an improper and uncivilized humility, a malicious form of humility indistinguishable from self-hatred. This is a humility that humiliates, that seeks to blind Westerners to their magnificent traditions and to rub their noses, like misbehaving dogs, in their worst offenses. The effect if not the goal of this movement of self-humiliation is to make Westerners ashamed of their own civilization and to take away from us the very inheritance that our parents and ancestors worked and fought so hard to hand down to us. It makes us reluctant to add to that inheritance and pass it on to those who will come after us.

- Allen C. Guelzo and James Hankins, "Civilization and Tradition" in Where Next? Western Civilization at the Crossroads

Thursday, March 30, 2023

On Making Mistakes

 A Layman's Blog has some wisdom from Charlie Munger.

The Vibes of March


Read This: Shut Artificial Intelligence Down Now!

 "Without that precision and preparation, the most likely outcome is AI that does not do what we want, and does not care for us nor for sentient life in general. That kind of caring is something that could in principle be imbued into an AI but we are not ready and do not currently know how.

Absent that caring, we get 'the AI does not love you, nor does it hate you, and you are made of atoms it can use for something else.'"

Read all of Eliezer Yudkowsky's essay in TIME.

It's Nice That Things Like That No Longer Happen


Phrases to Bring Joy


  1. "The meeting was canceled."
  2. "The tests came out fine."
  3. "The taxes are filed."

"One Does Not Argue"

"One does not argue about The Wind in the Willows. The young man gives it to the girl with whom he is in love, and if she does not like it, asks her to return his letters. The older man tries it on his nephew, and alters his will accordingly. The book is a test of character. We can't criticize it, because it is criticizing us.... I must give you one word of warning. When you sit down to it, don't be so ridiculous as to suppose that you are sitting in judgment on my taste, or on the art of Kenneth Grahame. You are merely sitting in judgment on yourself. You may be worthy: I don't know. But it is you who are on trial."

- A.A. Milne

Wednesday, March 29, 2023



Novels for Our Times (To Be Continued)


  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  • The First Circle by Alexander Solzhenitsyn
  • Back to Blood by Tom Wolfe
  • Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  • Animal Farm by George Orwell
  • Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
  • The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe
  • Radical Chic and Mau-Mauing the Flakcatchers by Tom Wolfe
  • The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope
  • Darkness at Noon by Arthur Koestler
  • A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens 
  • Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
  • Bleak House by Charles Dickens
  • Eagle in the Snow by Wallace Breem

Count the Fingers

Cultural Offering has some very scary photos.

Perhaps we are in "The Invasion of the Body Snatchers."

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Monday, March 27, 2023

Sir Roger Scruton Prize

The prize is awarded by the Common Sense Society

Its values are "Liberty - Prosperity - Beauty."

Very Scrutonesque.

Strategy Two-Step

  1. What does the opposing side want and need?
  2. Take that away from them.



Sunday, March 26, 2023

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Back By Popular Demand




We All Love a Good Story

Wally Bock explores the value of story-telling.

[Photo by Antonio Molinari at Unsplash]

Our Future Lawyers and Judges

The New Criterion on freedom of expression at Stanford Law School.

Latest City Journal Issue on The Not So Golden State


Completely True

 Be wary of half-truths. You may get the wrong half.

- Old Saying

Right vs. Right

The toughest choices lie not in deciding whether to comply with the law but in choosing what to do when both sides are right.

- Rushworth M. Kidder

Check Out "The Escape Artist" by Jonathan Freedland


Friday, March 24, 2023

Back to Dickens

When I was in high school, some classes were assigned A Tale of Two Cities while other classes were required to read Great Expectations.

I always figured that good luck brought the bloody tale of the French Revolution my way. Although I went on to read several other Dickens novels, Great Expectations eluded me.

Until now. 

I started the novel last night and was reminded of the magic of Dickens. Once it's finished, the time will be ripe for re-reading A Tale of Two Cities and Bleak House. [Some of the other novels are fine with one reading. The Pickwick Papers might be worth another shot.]

What's so great about Dickens? The minor but very memorable characters. Most readers of The Pickwick Papers probably remember more about the Fat Boy (who snored while waiting table) than they do about Mr. Pickwick. The Fat Boy's famous line: "I wants to make your flesh creep."

Another tip: If you like Dickens, check out Anthony Trollope's novels. Begin with Barchester Towers. Memorable character: Obadiah Slope. Alan Rickman played him in the BBC series.

Shakespeare and Company

 Black Swan Europa has the details. I'm ready to book a flight.

Coziness, Bias, and the Bench

Althouse explores The New Yorker article that is mainly shocking because the article appeared in The New Yorker.

But they deserve applause for publishing it.

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Crank It Up


More on Stanford

 The Free Press: "Stanford's War Against Its Own Students."

Diversity in STEM


The Sgt. Schultz Defense

The news media have done their best to ignore an influence-peddling story involving the President.

Read Jonathan Turley's essay here.

Unethical Business Behavior

 A great post by Kurt Harden on the weaselly justifications for unethical behavior in business.

Another consultant once told me about a major training proposal he'd submitted to a large organization. He didn't get the project and later on, one of the insiders told him that even before calling for proposals, they had decided on going with another firm. 

Thinking of all of the time he'd put into bidding on the contract, my friend asked, "Then why did you request proposals?"

The man responded calmly and with no embarrassment: "Because we have a rule that we must get at least three proposals before issuing a contract."

Rowing and Horizon

The skill of the rowers and the significance of the goal on the horizon are both essential.

It's never either/or.

Tuesday, March 21, 2023


 "Initial success or total failure."

- Motto of the Naval Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) School

A Conversation Is Not a Tweet

A Tweet does not probe. It rarely provides anything close to detailed analysis. It does not examine what can go wrong or the downsides of the author's proposal.

Tweeting is not heavy lifting. It is far too convenient and fast.

In short, Tweets do not resemble a good conversation where minds meet and, while not always agreeing, people can at least explore each other's reasoning and notice points of hesitation.

Our society needs more conversations and more people who know how to conduct them.

Elementary and high schools should teach converational skills. What used to be picked up as a matter of course is being lost to the mania for screens.

The Conversation Film


Finding a Tribe

"[Bill] Bishop [the author of The Big Sort] argues that we have come to demand living arrangements that won't challenge us. We seek confirmation and validation from those around us, even if it is just a matter of our pastimes. Wesleyan College in Connecticut caters to this desire, by offering twenty-eight different dorms organized around themes, including one for 'eclectic' students.(Apparently even dislike of themes is a theme.) Colgate College in New York has a dorm for the lovers of foreign films. Affinity is a big draw."

- Margaret Heffernan, Willful Blindness: Why We Ignore the Obvious at Our Peril

Monday, March 20, 2023

A Western Career

 True West magazine: A great profile of the career of Robert Duvall.

A Great Research Technique

I can't begin to tell you the things I discovered while I was looking for something else.

- Shelby Foote

Sunday, March 19, 2023

Saturday, March 18, 2023

Made-for-TV Prosecution?

The Hill: Jonathan Turley on the Manhattan DA's case.

Some Lessons You Never Forget

 Wally Bock has lessons from a fishing contest that stand the test of time.

When Late Night Comedians United People Through Humor



I am in the process of wrapping up the first stage of a mega-project involving several people scattered around the country.

Bear with me. This is the point at which the "little" things need attention so they don't become big things.

Friday, March 17, 2023

Social Media Obsession

"The social media cult of celebrity is not something our students compartmentalize.  It is not contained to weekends. It is not what television once was - a part-time distraction or indulgence or unifying factor (when everyone watched the World Series, for instance) or even educational tool (when there were educational series like Ken Burns's The Civil War). Social media is not like that; it is an obsession."

- Jeremy S. Adams, Hollowed Out: A Warning About America's Next Generation

Happy St. Patrick's Day!


First Paragraph

Forty years as a foreign correspondent have taught me that while an understanding of world events begins with maps, it ends with Shakespeare. Maps provide the context for events and the vast backdrop on which they are acted out. But the sensibility required for understanding those events - the crucial insight into the passions and instincts of political leaders - is Shakespearean. 

- From The Tragic Mind: Fear, Fate, and the Burden of Power by Robert D. Kaplan

I'm in the Mood for This


Thursday, March 16, 2023

No Politics at the Oscars?

Commentary magazine: Abe Greenwald has an explanation of the new politics-free climate.

Back to Basics: A Vital Phone List

The other day I was driving across town when I realized that I'd left my phone and my wallet at home.

This has not happened to me in years. I was juggling a bunch of material and, in my rush, simply forgot.

I had the small wallet with my driving license and insurance cards but not the larger one with cash and credit cards. The jarring thing is I realized that if I were in an accident and had to borrow a phone, I don't know the phone numbers of family members. They're stored on my cellphone.

A small list of key numbers is now with my driver's license.

Arriving Today


The Problem on Campus Is not Wokeness, It's Certainty

 Tablet magazine: Ilana Redstone on "Actually, You Don't Know That Much."

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

On My List


As for Stanford Law Transcripts

I am far more interested in learning whether a law student shouted down a speaker than in learning if he or she was on the law review.

BLM Funding Database

 From The Claremont Institute.

Very interesting.

Monday, March 13, 2023

Scaring the British Public

The WhatsApp haul reveals the casual, almost flippant, manner in which decisions were taken to scare, manipulate, and deceive the British public. The messages show that unprecedented powers to restrict people’s liberty were, at times, employed for political convenience rather than to save lives. They show how the decision-makers put their egos above the lives and livelihoods of everyone else.

Read the rest of the Joanna Williams City Journal article on a Covid reckoning in the United Kingdom.

Impressive in So Many Ways


Pros and Cons of Email


  • PRO: The electronic messages are easy to send.
  • CON: The electronic messages are easy to send.
  • PRO: The messages can be easily forwarded to large numbers of people.
  • CON: The messages can be easily forwarded to large numbers of people.
  • PRO: The system makes it easy to communicate without meeting people face-to-face.
  • CON: The system makes it easy to communicate without meeting people face-to-face.

Accountability at Stanford

Jonathan Turley on the Stanford apology that omits one critical thing.

Yea, Florida!

The FutureLawyer on the virtue of dropping Daylight Saving Time

Here in Arizona, we have enjoyed that for years. 

It strikes us as quaint when other states are adjusting their clocks.

Saturday, March 11, 2023

Eagerly Awaited

One of the many reasons why I check
Nicholas Bate's blog every day is to learn about the projects of The Man Who Never Sleeps.

In the pipeline: his spy novel.

Out-Read Your Competitors


Wally Bock has book recommendations for business leaders.

Political Thugs

Steve Forbes was assaulted at a book signing event.

When it comes to freedom of expression, an attack on one is an attack on all.

The Glenn Show


Truth Stands by Itself

Truth does not become more true by virtue of the fact that the entire world agrees with it, nor less so even if the whole world disagrees with it.

- Moses Maimonides

A Common Cause of Insomnia

 I have to tell you - part of it is worrying about what is happening in our country.

- The reason that historian David McCullough gave to his physician on what keeps him up at night

Friday, March 10, 2023

Not a "So-Called Journalist"


"Classical Historian" Site

"History Games and The Socratic Discussion in History."

[Photo by Darryl Low at Unsplash]

Far Better Than The "We're a Social Service Agency" Approach


Our Approach to Teaching History

Over the course of an entire generation, educational professionals have reduced history to nearly an elective. This decision has produced a spike in polarization, incivility, and general apathy. It is in the national interest to revitalize our approach to teaching history: the subject is part of the intellectual infrastructure so important for the nation's long-term civic health.

- Howard Muncy

Are Colleges Practicing Reverse Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Jonathan Haidt on "Why the Mental Health of Liberal Girls Sank First and Fastest."

First Paragraph

The sea is high again today, with a thrilling flush of wind. In the midst of winter you can feel the inventions of Spring. A sky of hot nude pearl until midday, crickets in sheltered places, and now the wind unpacking the great planes, ransacking the great planes. . . .

- From Justine by Lawrence Durrell

The Camera


Thursday, March 09, 2023

The Apollo 13 Mission: The Shift

There were about five instances of goal revision. The most dramatic was the shift in goals from trying to continue the mission while repairing the problem, to calling the mission off and concentrating on returning the astronauts safely. In hindsight, this seems like an obvious shift, but the mission controllers and the astronauts resisted it. In industrial settings, such as running a manufacturing or production process, supervisors have trouble with this type of breakpoint, where they have to abandon business as usual and move to an emergency mode. Sometimes they wait too long to make this shift.

- From Sources of Power: How People Make Decisions by Gary Klein

Let Me Tell You What I Want

Let me tell you what I want. 

In order to do that, I will tell you what I don't want. 

I will also describe my wants not only in terms of results but also with regard to methods. 

We can discuss resources and interim goals if this is a big project but, regardless of the size, I would like you to tell me what you think I want and how we can best achieve it.

In general, I don't want the solution to be worse than the problem and, once the problem is solved, I want us to be well-positioned to deal with the new problems that may emerge.

Correction: that will emerge.

And we will need a clear picture of what, no matter how the plan proceeds, must be achieved or preserved.

Ready? Let's begin.

Wednesday, March 08, 2023

Travel Plans



Jonathan Turley on whether the "Qanon Shaman" got shafted in the sentencing.

I was shocked to see the newly released video of him peacefully walking around with the police officers. 

We'll Put a Little Tree Here


Truly Dangerous

Imprimis: John Daniel Davidson on "The Twitter Files Reveal an Existential Threat."

Fighting The Big Lie

 The New Criterion: James Piereson reviews "Toward a More Perfect Union: The Moral and Cultural Case for Teaching the Great American Story" by Timothy S. Goeglein. An excerpt:

It has always been true that citizens have lacked knowledge about the nation’s history and institutions. That is nothing new. But today it appears that many Americans, in addition to lacking knowledge about our history, reject it entirely as a story of crime and oppression. They think they already know enough to form hard and fast opinions, though much of what they think they know is profoundly wrong. It is not a good thing that the age cohort with the most negative outlook on America is poised to take over leadership of the country. 

Scruton Summer

This will be the summer of reading the work of Sir Roger Scruton.

"Lynching the Deplorables"

 Chris Hedges on civil rights issues and the January 6 prisoners.

Tuesday, March 07, 2023

The Shelby Steele Foundation

Glad to see this up and moving!

I'm in the process of re-reading several Shelby Steele books.

The Title Alone Will Guarantee an Audience


Freedom in the United Kingdom

 Ah, the danger of watching Kenneth Clark's Civilisation series and reading John Locke, Adam Smith, C.S. Lewis, Douglas Murray and the like. 

Details at The Spectator.

Horror Show

I vividly recall talking many years ago with a state Superintendent of Public Instruction who told me that it wasn't important that students learn names and dates because they can look up that information on the Internet.

[Photo by Erol Ahmed at Unsplash]



Sunday, March 05, 2023

Friday, March 03, 2023

Don't Wait. Read.

All waiting rooms should be turned into reading rooms.

[Photo by Clay Banks at Unsplash.]

Quick Look


Are There More Than Two Sexes?

 City Journal: Colin Wright follows the science. An excerpt:

When biologists speak of sex being “binary,” we mean something very straightforward. There exist only two sexes, which are fundamentally rooted in the binary classification between sperm and ova. Males have the function of producing small gametes (sperm), and females large gametes (ova). Other measurable sex differences beyond gametes (which include genetic differences, hormone levels, and average morphological and behavioral differences) are either a cause or consequence of this fundamentally binary and definitional distinction between males and females, and they need not be binary. Put simply, not all sex differences are differences of sex.

The Loss of Candor

The loss of candor is grievous, and in my opinion it may yet prove to be mortal, because if we cannot discuss our problems in plain speech that describes reality, it is unlikely that we will be able to solve them.
- Alexander Haig

Thursday, March 02, 2023

The Competition is Stiff


The worst colleges for free speech.

First Paragraph

In this book I shall indulge myself in one of civilized man's most cherished privileges. I shall decry the decay of civilization.

- From Out of the Ashes: Rebuilding American Culture by Anthony Esolen

A History to Remember When Iran Gets the Bomb

Commentary magazine: "When Netanyahu Spoke to Congress." An excerpt:

In early 2013, the United States and its negotiating partners (Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and China) offered Iran a deal—one that incorporated none of the assurances to Israel. In exchange for a partial and temporary suspension of Iran’s nuclear program, with automatic “sunsets” on the restrictions, the nuclear sanctions would end. Iran’s facilities would remain largely intact, with Iranian concessions eminently reversible once the deal ended.


At Viking Goods Company.

Question for Our Times


In many respects, social media's effects are driving us apart. 

If you were going to create a version of the village square that would strengthen communities and build better relationships, what would you do?

Too Sad


Wednesday, March 01, 2023

Like a Member of Congress

Some of these spiders could straddle over a common saucer with their hairy, muscular legs, and when their feelings were hurt, or their dignity offended, they were the wickedest-looking desperadoes the animal world can furnish. If their glass prison-houses were touched ever so lightly they were up and spoiling for a fight in a minute. Starchy?--proud? Indeed, they would take up a straw and pick their teeth like a member of Congress.

- Mark Twain, Roughing It

Art Break


Art Contrarian looks at the work of Rockwell Kent.

The Kids Aren't All Right

In 2017, I wrote an article asking whether teachers "have a front row seat to American decline." I noted that when teachers get together to discuss education, they have a common complaint: young Americans are "hollowed out." It is not just that many students can't recognize America's leading politicians; it's not just that they lack knowledge that you might expect them to have; it's not just that they appear to have no interest in acquiring wisdom. That would be bad enough, but it goes far deeper, and is far more worrying. They seem bereft of an understanding of what it means to be fully human. What do I mean by that? I mean that they seem mysteriously barren of the behaviors, values, and hopes from which human beings have traditionally found higher meaning, grand purpose, or even simple contentment - and little that is worthwhile has filled this vacancy.

- Jeremy S. Adams, Hollowed Out: A Warning about America's Next Generation (2021) 


 This looks promising and it made the Cultural Offering cut.