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Public Intellectuals and War

May 13, 2022

Admiral James Stavridis as well as other retired Flag Officers have been trotted out by CNN and MSNBC to comment on Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. As professional military they are trained to fight and win wars and their insight about fighting and winning battles and wars is interesting.

Ukrainian independence is not our fight, however.

President Joe Biden’s incompetent and immoral abandonment of Americans and Afghan citizens who supported U.S. military in Afghanistan is our concern.

More valuable would be discussions about what the Republican members in the Congress should do in January 2023 when they are the majority Party in Congress.

●Shall they Impeach and Convict President Biden?

●Shall they install as Biden’s replacement former President Donald Trump who claims he won the 2020 election?

●At what point and how far should the U.S military engage with Russia?

Where are the public intellectuals who, like Peter Lawler, enlivened our public debates and improved our understanding of issues such as these?

Here are three links to commentaries on the role of public intellectuals today:

https://www.timeshighereducation.com/opinion/university-leaders-cannot-be-public-intellectuals

https://lareviewofbooks.org/article/dilettantes-and-connoisseurs-the-public-intellectual-in-the-united-states

Enrich your Mind and Soul

May 12, 2022

Hillsdale College’s eminent historian, Richard Gamble, has sent notice of a seminar he is conducting via Zoom starting on June 15.

Dr. Gamble is interested in liberal arts education in the Western—Christian—tradition because he understands that recovery of understanding of “Christendom” is central to maintenance of our Constitutional order.

This summer’s ten-week course includes discussions about great but, for some, obscure philosophers, including Clement of Alexandria, Basil, Jerome, Augustine, Cassiodorus and Alcuin.

If you don’t want to spend time online in Zoom, you can read his book “The Great Tradition

Two one-Term Presidents Compared

May 10, 2022

Jimmy Carter enacted a national energy policy designed to promote energy conservation

Joe Biden is moving toward less reliance on carbon fuels

Carter sought reforms to the country’s welfare, health care, and tax law

Biden proposes higher taxes on corporations and wealthy Americans

Carter reoriented U.S. foreign policy towards an emphasis on human rights

Biden emphasizes advance of democracy and less interest in nationalism

Carter pursued further Strategic Arms Limitation Talks with the Soviet Union

Biden’s weakness encouraged Russia to retake Ukraine

Carter arranged the Camp David Accords between Israel and Egypt

Biden exhibits less emphasis on the Middle East

Carter guaranteed the eventual transfer of the Panama Canal to Panama

Biden concerned about post-Soviet aggression

Carter failed to use force to end the Iran hostage crisis

Biden works to bring home Americans incarcerated in Russia

Carter created a US Department of Education

Biden moving to forgive student tuition debt

Carter deregulated airlines

Biden increases regulation of oil drilling

Carter defeated by Ronald Reagan

Biden likely to lose to Mike Pompeo
 

Midge Decter, RIP

May 10, 2022

Midge Decter travelled from the political Left to become a voice on the political Right. She was welcomed into “the Movement” because of the clarity of her world-wise views and because the American conservative movement attracted white male Protestants. Our views reflected ideas and attitudes opposite Catholic and Jewish Americans and opened us to charges that we, like Adolph Hitler, were antisemites. By welcoming Midge as a friend we put a lie to that slander.

I spent formative years in Miami and had Jewish friends with whom I attended Friday Shabbat ceremonies, but when I became a conservative activist I was blamed by a Jewish classmate for contributing to the death of President Kennedy!

As an undergraduate at Pitt I had worked for Richard Nixon’s campaign for President in 1960 and shared anti-Catholic views of my Missouri Synod Lutheran religion. When I decided to become a practicing Catholic in my 30s, my Lutheran mother could not understand why, as she phrased it, I had “turned.”

I remember Midge for an essay she published in Commentary titled “The Boys on the Beach.” She and her husband, Norman Podhoretz, vacationed on Fire Island that attracted large numbers of homosexual “man-boys.” The Catholic Church also attracted homosexuals who were ordained as priests and that led to many instances of pederasty. The “Conservative Movement” like other “movements” attracted homosexuals, and through my friendship with Arthur Finkelstein I met Terry Dolan, founder of NCPAC.  Arthur and Terry were homosexuals. Other conservative leaders also were homosexual.

Midge didn’t like sexual immorality and that affected her attitudes toward conservatives in the movement who committed adultery. In Washington, DC, where attractive women gravitated to powerful men, sexual intercourse with married Congressmen, Senators and Presidential appointees was as common as daylight.

We’ll miss Midge Decter.