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Writers and BEST WRITER

November 28, 2020

Over a career in which I was inclined to publish what I wrote, I amassed a collection of four books and two more awaiting publication and a great many essays. So many, in fact, that a recent application to NEH for a “Scholars Grant” was declined because my resume was too long! I believe that there are a few essays in that mass worth re-reading, but THE BEST writer of books and essays is Theodore Dalrymple. He has written so many articles and books that I must provide a link to a “short” list of his writing lest the munchkins at Facebook block my posts.

Rise of Islam

November 27, 2020

Istanbul, Turkey is familiar to Christians for its former role as capitol of the Byzantine Empire, the cathedral of Santa Sophia, and as a center of commerce and cosmopolitan living.

That was the case until “the rise of Islam,” formation of terrorist organizations such as ISIS and al-Qaeda, and Turkey’s President’s perception of himself as head of a Caliphate.  In Turkey today, “modern” influences are disdained and opposition to the regime in Ankara silenced.  And attempts at a coup were repressed by sentencing coup leaders and participants to multiple life sentences.

What should the United States’ response to the rise of Islam be?

This essay puts that question in perspective.

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 25, 2020

The English colonists we call “Pilgrims” settled a colony at Plimoth Plantation. They were “Puritans” seeking to purify the established Church of England from Papist trappings and practices. Seeking religious freedom, some traveled to America where in Fall of 1621 they celebrated a good harvest.

That was not our first Thanksgiving.

On the banks of the James River, in Virginia, English colonists celebrated the first Thanksgiving. That was December 4, 1619, and 38 men from Berkeley Parish in England vowed:

“Wee ordaine that the day of our ships arrivall at the place assigned for plantacon in the land of Virginia shall be yearly and perpetually keept holy as a day of Thanksgiving to Almighty God.”

Their religious motivation left indelible feelings of faith and fellowship that we remember, just as they did in December 1619, by giving thanks to our Creator,

On October 3, 1789, President George Washington issued a Thanksgiving Proclamation.

Tomorrow, November 26, 2020, we Americans will stand in that tradition and give thanks for the many blessings that God has showered on us.

End of the “Movement”

November 24, 2020

Ideological and intellectual “movements” ultimately become “businesses,” a way to generate income from “ideas” that first sparked the interest of like-minded folk.

The Conservative “Movement” was no exception.

Inspired in the 1950’s by scholars, writers and publishers including William F. Buckley, Jr., Russell Kirk, Friedrich Hayek and Henry Regnery, the “Movement” fostered formation of support groups: Intercollegiate Studies Institute, Young Americans for Freedom, the Philadelphia Society, Voegelin Society, Regnery Publishing and National Review.

Now all are diminished and continue in less interesting ways for those of us who were early subscribers or members.

In my case, I attended an ISI summer school in 1961, attended my first Philadelphia Society meeting in 1965 and managed a Regnery Publishers booth for Henry Regnery at the first CPAC events at the Mayflower Hotel conducted by Human Events in 1961 and 1962. Of course I subscribed to National Review and read Russell Kirk’s The Conservative Mind and Hayek’s Road to Serfdom. During my first semester in graduate school at Notre Dame, I took classes from Eric Voegelin, Gerhart Niemeyer and Fr. Stanley Parry, CSC.

Today NR is unreadable, the Philadelphia Society membership of conservative scholars is severely diminished, ISI has discontinued publishing two critical journals (Continuity and Political Science Reviewer), Regnery publishes “tracts” not serious books and the Voegelin Society no longer features scholars who studied with Eric Voegelin or students of Voegelin.

I saw it coming long ago when I left college teaching in 1981 to work for President Reagan and never returned to teach in a traditional classroom. Indeed, conditions for political conservatives were so bad, I founded my own university. Here’s a link to my history of Yorktown University.

As we face a new government led by 1960’s “Liberals,” we have to ask if any good will come of American politics under Joe Biden. Yes, I report in this essay, we have much to look forward to.