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After Trump: Death of the Republic

March 17, 2020

Nothing contributes to growth of government more than wars, and pandemics.

The growth of the State may be seen in the Administration of President Donald Trump whose sole purpose is to market his persona and to leave the administration of government to wealthy and career military appointees.

Only a few days ago did I realize that President Trump has placed a flag officer at the controls of HHS.  Adm. Brett GiroirI leads the government’s response to Covid-19.

I don’t care if Adm. Giroir is qualified, his presence in a civilian agency violates a principle of civilian rule. Unfortunately, our President is ignorant of these matters and thus places the long term future of our Constitutional order at risk to military intervention.

Peter Wehner’s essay in the Atlantic for March 12 titled “The Trump Presidency is Over” makes a good case for removal of President Trump, to which the President would respond (if he could read) “Over my dead body.” President Trump should read Jim Whalen’s “Allende: Death of a Marxist Regime.” That’s the likely future of the United States after President Trump.


Search for truth in nature

March 15, 2020

The search for truth is associated with “schools” that were first developed in Athens of the time that Socrates and Sophists contended with one another to educate young men of wealthy families.

The concept “Groves of academe” captures the idea of these early schools.

That world was described by Horace, the 1st-century Roman poet, who exhorted seekers of truth: “And seek for truth in the groves of Academe.’

More recently, Simon Schama writes in Landscape and Memory that artistic depiction of groves of Evergreen fir trees were “at the heart of  one of our most powerful yearnings:  the craving to find in nature a consolation for our morality.”

An example of that yearning cited by Dr. Schama is a painting by Caspar David Friedrich, “The Cross and Cathedral in the Mountains.”

The failure of American education to introduce students to those “Groves” and address that yearning is the great tragedy of American higher education in the 21st century.

Looks Count

March 14, 2020

Children of the World War II generation are now in their mid-70s and have lived longer than their grandparents. Barring accidental injury or crippling illness, many will live into their 80s and give few signs of letting up. Their mentor in this age range is Germany’s post-war Chancellor who left office at age 84.

Memories of what Adenauer looked like when he left office have dimmed, but recently three elder citizens give us a good (or bad) look at the ravages of aging.

Joe Biden is clearly senile and looks bad. Nancy Pelosi does her best, but she looks terrible. Donald Trump (age 74 in June) is younger than Biden (age 77) and Pelosi (age 79), looks better than Joe or Nancy.

Looks count and Democrats are not looking good.


BIG bad books

March 13, 2020

“I’m sorry,” but not “really sorry” about the decline of print media. In fact, when occasionally I hold a daily edition of the Washington Post, I’m quite happy to comprehend that this “rag” is diminished in size.

Same with broadcast television.

I seldom watch the local affiliates of ABC, NBC or CBS, nor am I saddened by the passing of Walter Cronkite or the world of “acceptable,” i.e. Liberal news he promulgated and called “objective.”

I read because I’m trained in political philosophy and, thus, I’m a writer of books and commentary in my field, and what I write about requires knowledge that I acquire by reading books. But the books I write–four thus far–are slim volumes.

Unfortunately, many of the books I read are BIG books consisting of 500-plus pages. Try holding any of those BIG books for any length of time and, well, you can’t.

Recently I read an economic political history of the United States from the New Deal to the Great Society of some 700 pages. I read an entire book titled “Great Society” (500-plus pages) and another on landscape and the environment.  That one was 670 pages long! And I read two enormous books about Henry Clay and the Whigs.

Come on. Is that necessary?  Aristotle created our concept of what is “right by nature” in a few paragraphs.

Now, I realize that theory is more compact than narrative history but surely these fellas can write more compactly, say, in 300 pages or even less?

Actually, this is problem with their “enablers,” editors and publishers. Most “editors” don’t understand what their authors are saying, so they permit them to ramble on and on and on.

Do publishers really think that a book priced at $49 that sells 3,000 copies is better than one that is 100 pages long priced at $12.95 that sells 20,000 copies? How many books do we need about gender, race or environmentalism?  Go to “Literary Marketplace” looking for an agent and you realize how stupid is the publishing profession.  From literary agents to editors to publishers, they are all mindful of the same things: gender, race and the environment.

How boring, especially when published in BIG books.


Unraveling of the Trump Presidency

March 10, 2020

Much to the disappointment of my colleagues and investors, I have been very critical of Donald Trump’s administration of his Office.

He brings to office a businessman’s conceit that government can be run like a business and proudly stated that “We have too many people” in government.

His Office of Presidential Personnel was not the center of a concerted effort to nominate or simply hire professionals committed to his philosophy of government–whatever that is. And when appointments were made, he seemed to give preference to persons of wealth, career military and, when necessary, current and former Republican officeholders.

No attempt was made to find and appoint political conservatives with government experience. The few exceptions have done well (Larry Kudlow, Mike Pillsbury, Elizabeth DeVos are three that come to mind) and of those three, two are extremely wealthy.

Lurking behind the curtains in President Trump’s mind are failed enterprises whose failures may be attributed to his dyslexia and bad–even illegal–management.

The President is right to fear federal prosecutors in the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. I suspect that the Trump organization (Donald, Don, Jr., Eric, Ivanka)  engaged in a sophisticated form of money laundering for Russian oligarchs and engaged in the practice of bribing foreign government officials in contravention of the Federal Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).

Because Donald Trump is an “ear learner,” not an “eye learner,” President Trump lacks understanding of details of policy so important in government. And unlike a business where workers are employees, most government executives serve for life and aid and abet the powers and reach of their respective agencies irrespective of who is the Chief Executive. As one CIA agent told me “We know how to take care of people like him” referring to a political appointee critical of the CIA.

That makes government service very risky for political appointees and requires knowledge and valor in opposition to –or sycophancy and acquiescence–the Deep State. The latter two characteristics were dominant, even in the Reagan Administration.

Since January, the President’s dyslexia impaired his response to the Covid-19 pandemic which response was “off” by a mile. Testing kits were inadequate and Labs where test results were processed are too few and easily overwhelmed.

Covid-19 is now affecting the value of stocks thus removing President Trump’s reliance on growth in the value of registered securities. If he’s right, however, and this “pandemic” is less lethal and pervasive as some predict, Trump will do well in the 2020 election.

Add to that the choice of Democrats who may select a socialist or an older man exhibiting signs of dementia as their nominee for President in the 2020 election and Donald Trump’s good luck may continue.

But what are the prospects for the future of our country?


Honoring Gerhart Niemeyer

March 7, 2020

A superb essay by Gregory Wolfe on the work of the late Gerhart Niemeyer, Emeritus Professor of Government at the University of Notre Dame, has been published at Theimaginativeconservative.

A Memorial Seminar honoring Niemeyer has been assembled with many of his former students giving papers in his honor.

A Memorial Seminar

At a time of crisis in American higher education, former students are planning a seminar to memorialize Professor Gerhart Niemeyer’s person, his work and to give some attendees a space to address issues that represent Niemeyer’s influence.

In the mid-50s, Notre Dame was “home” to émigré scholars from East and Western Europe who were expelled from their countries during WW II. What was Europe’s loss was America’s gain and American scholarship was enriched by their presence.

Waldemar Gurian, Fr. Stanley Parry, CSC, then chairman of the Department of Government and a philosopher of “Tradition,” Eric Voegelin, Gerhart Niemeyer, and István Kertész and others on the Faculty from 1950-1970, “made” Notre Dame’s Government Department.

That time, also, was the beginning of the American conservative movement and Gerhart Niemeyer joined Bill Buckley, Russell Kirk and others in writing fortnightly columns in National Review. Even back then, that close an association with “conservatism” was frowned upon in Academe. Their students from that era, however, enriched scholarship, American politics and Catholic education.

During his tenure at Notre Dame, the Soviet Union threatened the United States with a “Cold War” and the American nation sought understanding of Communist Ideology.  Dr. Niemeyer met that need with a rigorous two semester course on Communist Ideology and important essays and publications about Soviet Communism.

A Civil Rights movement began to challenge inequalities imposed on African-Americans by slavery and post-Civil War Reconstruction and required steady and reasonable responses by activists, advocates of “States Rights” and the U.S. government. Stanley Parry and Gerhart Niemeyer developed a strategy for the Eisenhower Administration to address the demands for full civil rights of African Americans.

The recovery of ancient Greek philosophy had begun in the work of Bruno Snell, Werner Jaeger, Eric Voegelin, and Leo Strauss, and Gerhart Niemeyer was a participant in the recovery of that philosophy from modern ideology.

Gerhart Niemeyer was a participant in all these developments in mid-Twentieth Century America and attracted generations of students who wanted to understand the crisis of their times and participate in recovery of political and personal order.

Draft Schedule

9:00    Prayer

9:15    Fr. Niemeyer as Catholic Priest: Personal Reactions of his Students (TBA)

10:15  — Niemeyer and Voegelin: Recovery of Classical Philosophy (TBA)

11:15 — coffee break

11:30  Recovery of Order (TBA)

12:30  Luncheon

12:45 —  “My Colleague, Gerhart Niemeyer: Professor Walter Nicgorski

1:30    (Break)

1:45    Niemeyer, Notre Dame and the Catholic Church (Dr. Christopher Manion)

2:35    (Break)

2:45    Niemeyer and the Crises of his Times:

Niemeyer and Parry: the Civil Rights Movement (Howard Segermark)

Niemeyer: Contra Marx and Lenin (TBA)

4:45    National Review and Modern Age (Dr. Richard Bishirjian)

5:15    Niemeyer at Hillsdale College (Dr. Gregory Wolfe)

6:45    Benediction

Niemeyer’s influence:

Dr. Michael Henry, “The Wisdom of Humility: Gerhart Niemeyer’s Recovery of Political Theory” Political Science Reviewer, Fall, 2002, Vol. 31, No. 1.

Dr. Angelo Codevilla, “Thank You, Gerhart Niemeyer,” University Bookman, 5.5.2013

Dr. Robert Smith, “‘Love Divine’: Remembering Gerhart Niemeyer,” University Bookman, 2.23.2014

Dr. John Willson, “Gerhart Niemeyer, Refugee,” The Imaginative Conservative,   1.30.2014

Dr. Michael Henry, “The Presence of a Teacher,” University Bookman, Spring 2008

Dr. John Gueguen, “A Student’s Teacher: Gerhart Niemeyer,” Political Science Reviewer, Fall,   1998 – Vol. 27, No. 1

Dr. Richard Bishirjian, “Conservatism and Spiritual and Social Recovery,” Theimaginativeconservative, 2.25.2018

Some Issues:

The Catholic Bishops, “Is Education A Social Issue?” Dr. Christopher Manion

The Ruling Class: How They Corrupted America and What We Can Do About It, Dr.       Angelo Codevilla, (New York: Beaufort Books, 2010).

Please access this link and make a tax exempt donation in support of this event. Our goal is $20,000.


Moi ou Vous

March 6, 2020

Elizabeth Warren’s announcement that she is withdrawing from the race for the Democrat Party’s nomination for President was surprising.  Apparently Warren’s effort was to assure that the first woman would be elected to that high office. In other words all those policies she advocated were smoke screens hiding her true intent.

Where does this emphasis on gender come from but in substantial will to power. There are more females than males and if organized into a voting “bloc” the person they listen to has real power.

No, there is more “moi” than “vous” in Dr. Warren’s latest posture.

As a member of an important New Class, she seeks power for herself.  Of this New Class, Irving Kristol wrote: “Though they continue to speak the language of Progressive reform, in actuality they are acting upon a hidden agenda: to propel the nation . . . toward an economic system so stringently regulated in detail as to fulfill many of the traditional anti-capitalist aspirations of the Left.”

Apply that description to Elizabeth Warren and you realize how deep is a lust for power rooted in personal hardship and a willingness to use every angle to get ahead, from claiming native American heritage to claiming she is working for all women.

Frankly, if you believe that you deserve loss of our country to a radicalized Progressive–male of female.