Author: Roger Kimball

Meet the Democrats’ Newest Strategist

Her name is Vicky Osterweil. It’s a pity that she is only emerging on the scene now. Had her ideas enjoyed broad circulation even a month ago, she could have made a major and clarifying contribution to the Democratic Party’s platform. Many commentators, from the Left as well as the Right, grumbled that the Democrats’ … Continued

Feeling Good Through Feeling Bad

Usually, political conventions are feel-good events. The party faithful congregate, wave flags, and cheer their candidates. Tomorrow is another day! Nothing stands between us and victory except defeat! These Roderick Spode-like sentiments are echoed and amplified by the cheering masses, who never let a dollop of tautology intrude upon and dampen their enthusiasm.  This year, … Continued

What’s to Blame for Trump’s Lagging Poll Numbers?

It’s aliens. I always knew it must be aliens. And here is a report on the Pentagon’s task force on “unidentified aerial phenomena.” Doubtless there will be many revelations. I am looking forward to an explanation of one of the great mysteries of life on earth circa 2020. The mystery, I mean, of how it … Continued

The Man Who Wasn’t There

Those things with which we are most familiar are often hardest to see. This is perhaps particularly true of such fraught subjects as politics. There we are every day staring at the same people, reading news stories that are virtually indistinguishable from one another, and what do we know? Our situation is similar to Alice’s … Continued

The Choice Before Us

Somehow, news that the Antifa-Black Lives Matter nexus burned a stack of Bibles in front of the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse in Portland the other night put me in mind of President Trump’s magisterial speech in Krasinski Square, Warsaw, just over three years ago. A short digression: has any other modern president delivered … Continued

It Doesn’t End Well

Denis Diderot, model of the French Enlightenment that he was, gave memorable expression to that movement’s inveterate anti-clericalism. “Man will never be free,” said the energetic Encyclopédiste, “until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.” They don’t talk much about kings and priests, but the civilization-hating anarchists of the Black … Continued

Our Worship of Power Over Truth

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a column about “purity spirals.” That’s what the journalist Gavin Haynes calls the familiar “moral feeding frenzy” that occurs whenever ideology triumphs over truth. The French Revolution provides vivid historical examples, as did Mao’s cultural revolution in the 1960s. Those caught in a purity spiral, I observed, invariably find … Continued

It’s All About November 3

Everything is what it is, and not another thing.” That lapidary observation from the Sermons (1726) of Joseph, Bishop Butler, is one of the most profound philosophical observations I have ever encountered. One of the simplest, too. In nine short words, it introduces a principle of mental hygiene that Marxists, Freudians, Hegelians, astrologers, sociobiologists, and … Continued

A Magnificent Speech

Donald Trump did not mention Lincoln’s First Inaugural address in his speech commemorating the spirit of American Independence at Mount Rushmore on Friday night. But the president’s speech—perhaps his most forceful and eloquent to date—vibrated with the same energy and existential commitment that fired Lincoln in March 1861.  Lincoln came to office at a time … Continued

A Coup Against Our Institutions

Matthew Spalding, a scholar of the Constitution and dean of Hillsdale College’s Van Andel Graduate School of Government in Washington, D.C., has written an important essay on the troubling possibility that the treatment of General Michael Flynn by the Obama administration and, later, by holdovers in the FBI, the Justice Department, and the CIA, represents … Continued