[VIDEO] Trump and Conservatism: Constitution Day Celebration 

Hillsdale College President Larry P. Arnn, National Review Senior Editor Jonah Goldberg, and Professor of Political Science John Marini discuss presidential candidate Donald J. Trump‘s role in conservatism in America.

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Hillsdale College’s annual Constitution Day event celebrates the signing of the United States Constitution with lectures and panel discussions about the history of the Constitution and constitutional issues facing the nation today.

WASHINGTON - DECEMBER 15: Ethan Kasnett, an 8th grade student at the Lab School in Washington, DC, views the original constitution. (Brendan Smialowski/GETTY IMAGES)

The 2016 event featured U.S. Senator from Alabama Jeff Sessions, Larry P. Arnn, Jonah Goldberg, John Marini, Todd Huizinga, Ronald J. Pestritto, Bradley Watson, F.H. Buckley, and Terry M. Moe.

 

 


Victor Davis Hanson: America’s Versailles Set 

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Like Marie Antoinette, today’s elites pretend to commiserate with the less fortunate.

Victor Davis Hanson writes: During the last days of the Ancien Régime, French Queen Marie Antoinette frolicked in a fake rural village not far from the Versailles Palace—the Hameau de la Reine (“the Queen’s hamlet”). “Peasant” farmers and herdsmen were imported to interact, albeit carefully, with the royal retinue in an idyllic amusement park. The Queen would sometimes dress up as a milkmaid and with her royal train do a few chores on the “farm” to emulate the romanticized masses, but in safe, apartheid seclusion from them.

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The French Revolution was already on the horizon and true peasants were shortly to march on Versailles, but the Queen had no desire to visit the real French countryside to learn of the crushing poverty of those who actually milked cows and herded sheep for a living. It is hard to know what motivated the queen to visit the Hameau—was it simply to relax in her own convenient and sanitized Arcadia, or was it some sort of pathetic attempt to better understand the daily lives of the increasing restivread the full story here,e French masses?

The American coastal royalty does not build fake farms outside of its estates. But these elites, too, can grow just as bored with their privileged lives as Marie Antoinette did. Instead of hanging out with milk maids in ornamental villages, our progressive elites, at the same safe distance from the peasantry, prefer to show their solidarity with the dispossessed through angry rhetoric.

[Read the full story here, at Hoover Institution]

Take the case of Colin Kaepernick, the back-up quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers who makes $19 million a year (or about $20,000 per minute of regular season play). He has been cited by National Football League officials in the past for his use of the N-word, yet he refuses to stand for the pregame singing of the national anthem because he believes that his country is racist and does not warrant his respect. His stunt gained a lot of publicity and he now sees himself as a man of the revolutionary barricades. A number of other NFL athletes, as well as those in other sports, have likewise refused to stand for the national anthem to express solidarity with what they see as modern versions of the oppressed peasantry. But Kaepernick and his peers make more in one month than many Americans make in an entire lifetime. Still, for these members of the twenty-first-century Versailles crowd, the easiest way of understanding the lives of the underclass is expressing empathy for them for no more than a minute or two.

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Lately, the entire Clinton clan has created a sort of Hameau de la Reine of the mind. Chelsea Clinton, for example, is married to hedge-fund operator Marc Mezvinsky (whose suspect Greek fund just went broke), and she once made over $600,000 for her part-time job as an NBC correspondent. She serves in a prominent role and is on the board of the non-profit billion-dollar Clinton Foundation, which has been cited for donating an inordinately small amount of its annual budget (often less than 15 percent) to charity work, while providing free jet travel for the Clinton family and offering sinecures for Clinton political operatives in between various Clinton campaigns.

Hillary-Toast

Explaining why she works at the Clinton Foundation and for other non-profits, Chelsea confessed, in Marie Antoinette style, that “I was curious if I could care about [money] on some fundamental level, and I couldn’t.” She cared enough, though, to purchase a $10.5 million Manhattan apartment not long ago rather than, say, rent a flat in the Bronx. Read the rest of this entry »


Kiss Kiss Bang Bang: Handgun Ownership Rising Most Quickly Among Women

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The almost amusing part of the report, however, was the seeming shock registered by the people at Harvard involved in the study.

Jazz Shaw writes: We hear repeated stories of how gun ownership is on the rise, but who are the people buying the guns? (We’re talking about legal purchases here obviously. The motives and opportunities for criminals are another issue.) It’s a complicated question because there is no “generic” lawful gun owner in the United States.

[Read the full story here, at Hot Air]

But Time Magazine is looking at one particular segment of American gun owners this week and it’s women who purchase a single firearm… specifically handguns. And the most common reason given is self-defense.

According to a new survey by public health officials at Harvard and Northeastern universities, women are more likely than men to report owning a gun for protection. The research, conducted in 2015 but previously unpublished, was recently obtained by The Guardian and The Trace.

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The data shows that, compared to men, American women are more likely to own a single handgun (as opposed to multiple guns). And as fewer men purchase guns, the proportional presence of female gun-owners is on the rise. Forty-three percent of individuals who own just a handgun are women, with almost a quarter of those women living in urban areas. The Guardian noted that female gun-owners were more likely to live in urban areas than their male counterparts, and called the data “the most definitive survey of US gun ownership in two decades.”

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A couple of decades ago this might have been seen as a shocking trend, but in 2016 it seems rather obvious. Men have been buying guns in larger numbers for a long time, but shifts in the social paradigm have made it far more common for women to catch up in this area. Read the rest of this entry »


Why Government Doubles Down on Policy Mistakes

Lawmakers, press and the public need to understand the strength of this “doubling down” phenomenon of and guard against it when adopting policy positions.

In simplified form, the dynamic runs as follows:

1)  Government, in response to a perceived need, takes action to meet that need in a manner that distorts economic behavior and produces predictable adverse effects.

2)  The public consequently experiences problems and expresses concern.

3)  The problems themselves become justification for additional government actions that worsen the distortions and the resultant problems.

4)  As problems worsen, the public more urgently demands corrective actions.

5)  Steps #3 and #4 are repeated ad infinitum.

We have seen and continue to see this dynamic operate in many areas of economic policy. To cite but a few:

Worker Health Benefits

With the best of intentions the federal government has long exempted worker compensation in the form of health benefits from income taxation. Lawmakers aren’t scaling back the flawed policy that fuels these problems.There is wide consensus among economists that the results of this policy have been highly deleterious. As I have written previously, this tax exclusion “depresses wages, it drives up health spending, it’s regressive, and it makes it harder for people with enduring health conditions to change jobs or enter the individual insurance market.” Lawmakers have reacted not by scaling back the flawed policy that fuels these problems, but rather by trying to shield Americans from the resulting health care cost increases. This has been done through the enactment of additional health programs and policies that further distort health markets and which themselves drive personal and government health spending still higher.

Federal Health Programs

The federal government has enacted programs such as Medicare and Medicaid to protect vulnerable seniors and poor Americans from ruinous health care costs.
The positive benefits of these programs co-exist with well-documented adverse effects. For example, it is firmly established that creating these programs pushed up national health spending, driving health costs higher for Americans as a whole. Consumer displeasure over these health cost increases subsequently became a rationale for still more government health spending, rather than reducing government’s contribution to the problem. Examples of this doubling down include the health exchange subsidies established under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), as well as its further expansion of Medicaid. As the problem of high health care costs remains, proposals have proliferated to expand government’s role still further; for example, some have proposed making Medicare available to the entire US population. Though intended to provide relief, such legislation inevitably adds to national health spending growth. Read the rest of this entry »


Changing Who Controls ICANN Jeopardizes Our Presidential Election

It matters to all of us whether we live in the United States or not, if a hostile country can undermine our democratic process.

There is even more alarming evidence this is happening during this election cycle.

Theresa Payton reports: Changing who controls the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) so close to our presidential election will jeopardize the results of how you vote on Nov. 8 unless Congress stops this changeover. When the calendar hits Sept. 30, a mere 6 weeks before our election, the United States cannot be assured that if any web site is hacked, the responsible party will be held accountable. We cannot be sure if a web site is a valid. We cannot be sure if one country is being favored over another. These are all the things ICANN is responsible for and has worked perfectly since the Internet was created. Why change it now and so close to the election? Why does that matter to you as a voter?

Take a look at recent cyber activity as it relates to the election. The Democratic National Convention was breached comprising the entire party’s strategy, donor base, and indeed, national convention. Everything the DNC had done to prepare for a moment four years in the making (if not longer) was undermined by a hacker who had been in their system for some time but waited for the optimal moment to spring it on the DNC – opening day of the convention. The FBI and other U.S. agencies, as the headlines blare, suspect Russia is responsible for the hack. Recently, Vladimir Putin went so far as to say, “Does it matter who broke in? Surely what’s important is the content of what was released to the public.”

It matters to all of us whether we live in the United States or not, if a hostile country can undermine our democratic process. There is even more alarming evidence this is happening during this election cycle. Russian hackers are suspected of breaching voter registration systems in Illinois and Arizona. Arizona went so far as to shut down the state’s voter registration system for a week. No data was stolen but it was downloaded. As for Illinois, some voter data was stolen!

Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] The Obama legacy: More Tyranny and Chaos Abroad

Part of a magazine series examining The Obama Legacy. Read more about this series here.

In foreign affairs, unlike math, the ultimate determination of success or failure isn’t immediately obvious. Major foreign events — wars, revolutions, coup d’etats and treaties — can take a long time to play out.

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The Korean Conflict, once nearly as unpopular as the Vietnam War, is now probably viewed by most Americans as a “good war,” and Washington’s 63-year defense of Seoul as a worthwhile investment. Thirty-seven thousand U.S. servicemen, a number that dwarfs those killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, didn’t die in vain.

Historical judgments are temperamental and subject to change until sufficient good news or bad piles up — and even then things can change given the mood and character of the nation looking back.

[Read the full story here, at the Washington Examiner]

Few Democrats really want to expend much effort touting the foreign-policy successes of Jimmy Carter; more Democrats, but still not many, want to remember how ardently they believed Ronald Reagan would bring on Armageddon. Read the rest of this entry »


FULL-SCALE NON-STOP GLOBAL PANIC: Freaked Democrats Lash Out at Media

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Hillary Clinton cannot seem to seal the deal with voters, and the left is lashing out at the media in frustration.

Noah Rothmans writes: For months, frustrated liberals have bemoaned the fact that Donald Trump receives any fair coverage at all. His xenophobic policies and racially toxic rhetoric, they contend, render him beyond the pale. To “normalize” him as though he were just another politician is irresponsible, and the press should not be giving him equal footing with a more responsible candidate like Clinton.

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This view has recently received traction among liberal commentators and mainstream Democrats as it becomes ever clearer that Hillary Clinton’s post-convention halo is gone. Worse, Donald Trump continues to be mired in scandal, panic-bettyalleged misconduct, and potential fraud, and yet none of it seems to be affectinghis polling.

“He is playing you guys like a Stradivarius. Dominating news instead of Newsweek story, Trump Foundation. Pathetic.”

— the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza

Instead, superficial matters like the health of both candidates—propelled along by absurd displays like Trump’s apperance with celebrity physician Dr. Oz—are sucking up all the oxygen. These have been the prevailing conditions since Donald Trump entered the political fray, but only when Clinton became vulnerable did they become intolerable.

[Read the full story here, at commentary]

“He is playing you guys like a Stradivarius. Dominating news instead of Newsweek story, Trump Foundation,” perennial Republican critic Norman Ornstein barked at the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza. “Pathetic.”

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“[Y]ou can ask any question about Trump, Trumpism or anti-Trumpism except the existential ones,” wrote  newly minted GQ pundit Keith Olbermann, “because the existential ones could lead him to stop calling in to your morning show and providing you with your highest-rated hour for free.”

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[Read the full text here, at commentary]

Even President Barack Obama has become a media critic. “We cannot afford suddenly to treat this like a reality show,” Obama said, lambasting the press for covering the 2016 campaign as though both candidates were acceptable alternatives. “We can’t afford to act as if there’s some equivalence here.” Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] What does China want in the South China Sea? In 60 Seconds

DigitalGlobe overview imagery from June 3rd, 2016 of the Fiery Cross Reef located in the South China Sea. Fiery Cross is located in the western part of the Spratly Islands group.  Photo DigitalGlobe via Getty Images.

Unlike China’s neighbors, the South China Sea‘s islands are not within China’s exclusive economic zone. So what do they want there? AEI Research Fellow Michael Mazza describes China’s motivations for its claims in the waters near the Philippines and Vietnam.

 


[VIDEO] What is Social Justice? 

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“Social Justice” is a term you hear almost every day. But did you ever hear anybody define what it actually means? Jonah Goldberg of the American Enterprise Institute tries to pin this catchall phrase to the wall. In doing so, he exposes the not-so-hidden agenda of those who use it. What sounds so caring and noble turns out to be something very different.


Paper Tiger: Impeach the IRS Commissioner?

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Congress should fulfill its constitutional duty to police executive-branch lawlessness. Don’t hold your breath. 

George Will writes: Republican congressional leaders ardently want conservative members of the House to not force a vote on impeaching the IRS commissioner. The public does not care about John Koskinen’s many misdeeds. And impeachment will distract attention from issues that interest the public. And because Democrats are not ingrates, the required two-thirds of the Senate will never vote to convict Koskinen, whose behavior continues the pattern of doing what Democrats desire with the most intrusive and potentially punitive government agency.

“Congress has become a paper tiger within our tripartite system.”


[VIDEO] Star Trek: The Libertarian Edition

Their mission: to seek out new life and new civilizations, and leave them alone. Trade with them if they want, but mostly leave them the hell alone.

In honor of Star Trek‘s 50th Anniversary, Reason presents the Libertarian parody of the final frontier, with appearances by Gary Johnson and Remy. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] REWIND: Friedrich Hayek: Why Intellectuals Drift Towards Socialism 

Irving Howe, Stanford University, 1962

Irving Howe, Stanford University, 1962

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[BOOKS] The Silencers 

The Intimidation Game: How the Left is Silencing Free Speech, by Kimberly Strassel (Twelve Press, 396 pp., $30)

I Find that Offensive!, by Claire Fox (Biteback Publishing, 179 pp., $14.95)

Fred Siegel writes: 

…Strassel’s chapters on the politicization of the IRS in Obama’s hands make for a striking summary of Chicago skullduggery. In 2012, an election year, the IRS, led by liberal operative Lois Lerner, systematically sidelined conservative (often Tea Party) organizations. The broadest and deepest scandal in IRS history is more than three years old, but there is little chance that Obama’s Chicago-ized Justice Department will hold anyone accountable. Strassel also discusses the attempts led by Senators Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Dick Durbin of Illinois to criminalize criticism of the standard-issue UN position on Unknownclimate change. The senators insist that manmade climate change is a matter of “settled science.” But climate is always changing, and science is never settled.

[Order Kimberly Strassel’s book  “The Intimidation Game: How the Left is Silencing Free Speech from Amazon.com]

In late 2008, after Democrats took control of all three branches of government, the Left realized, writes Strassel, that it could use the federal bureaucracy to deploy campaign finance laws selectively against its opponents. The Left could also call upon “the extraordinary new power of the Internet and social media” to convince “a credulous public” that its assaults on opposition political activity “were aimed at ‘cleaner’ and ‘more open’ elections.” This dynamic constitutes what Strassel calls “the modern intimidation game” that “now defines American politics.”

[Read the full review here, at City Journal]

In Wisconsin, Democrats enraged by Governor Scott Walker’s successful effort to limit the collective bargaining rights of public employees played the intimidation game even while out of power. The state’s Progressive-era laws, designed to ensure fair elections, and its unique Government Accountability Board were turned against conservative activists who supported Walker. Democratic Party county prosecutors pressed an array of lawsuits and used armed sheriffs’ deputies to stage early-morning raids, guns drawn, on the homes of conservative activists suspected of having marginally violated state campaign finance laws—in this case, the heinous crime of having outside committees coordinate campaign expenditures with Governor Walker’s cover_9781849549813electoral efforts. Further, the accused were forbidden by state law of telling anyone, except their lawyers, about the raids. Most of this, as Strassel accurately notes, was “simple harassment.”

[Order Claire Fox’s bookI Find that Offensive!from Amazon.com]

As for real wrongdoing, the Obama administration, as Strassel explains, has slow-walked documents required for the investigation into the IRS scandals and the Justice Department’s Fast and Furious fiasco, in which the federal government inadvertently armed Mexican drug cartels. Moreover, the House committee examining the Benghazi debacle still doesn’t have tens of thousands of Hillary Clinton emails. But the investigation did inadvertently expose the former secretary of state’s home-brewed email server. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] ‘Sex, Drugs, & Robots’: Reason’s Katherine Mangu-Ward on the Future of the Magazine

Reason‘s new editor in chief Katherine Mangu-Ward sat down with former Reason editor and author Virginia Postrel (now a columnist at Bloomberg View) at Reason’s Los Angeles headquarters to talk about the future of the magazine as it nears its 50th anniversary.

Nick Gillespie—and to some extent Matt Welch—their version of Reason was sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll. Mine is more like sex, drugs, and robots,” says Mangu-Ward.

« The News Mausoleum Commentary Magazine

You may know Mangu-Ward’s work already as Reason’s managing editor or from her insightful cover stories covering everything from defending plastic bags to why your vote doesn’t count.

Approximately 48 minutes.

boys-magazine Read the rest of this entry »


European Ruling against Apple and Ireland Vindicates Brexit

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The European Union has shown itself to be a compulsory tax cartel.

 writes: Taxation is bad enough: two consenting parties arrange a mutually-beneficial exchange, and an interloping third party demands a cut.

What compounded injustice then for a fourth party to enter the scene: a super-state/super-bandit who insists that the shakedown wasn’t big enough. No, the victim must hand over more to the lesser thief, even against the recipient’s will and in spite of his protest!

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Thou Shalt Not… Not Steal

Ireland must join the rest of the Union in bleeding the private sector dry.

That is what happened today when the European Commission slapped Apple Inc. with a $14.5 billion bill for back taxes, ruling that Ireland had violated European Union rules by taxing the tech company at too low a rate.

[Read the full story here, at Foundation for Economic Education]

But the Irish government doesn’t want the money! It had promised the low rates decades ago to entice Apple to set up and keep shop in Ireland, bringing the struggling country desperately needed jobs and economic growth. Irish officials are worried that if they renege on that deal, they will risk driving off the geese that lay the golden eggs: Apple, and other businesses as well.

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But no, insists the European super-state: sustainably prudent parasitism is not an option. The Irish government must join the rest of the Union in recklessly bleeding its private sector hosts dry until the whole system collapses under its own dead weight. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] A Milton Friedman Paradox: Illegal Immigration Only Helps When its Illegal 

A large group of Immigrants, guided by two "coyotes" or guides, walk on the desert of Sonora bound for the border with Arizona. This group consisted of 37 border crossers, from four different countries- They included people from Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador and one Brazilian. Sasabe, Mexico. 01/23/05


[VIDEO] Every High School Principal Should Say This

If every high school principal said this, it would change students’ lives and would change America. So what exactly should every high school principal say? Dennis Prager explains.

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[VIDEO] Obama’s ‘Arc of Justice’

“History is not a moral force in and of itself, and it has no set course.”

— David A. Graham

‘The phrase is utterly lacking in feck because it outsources the bulk of the punishment to an abstract future rather than the concrete here and now.’

— Jonah Goldberg

December 2015, David A. Graham writes:

“..Obama’s own fresh contribution to the genre is his invocation of “the arc of history.” It’s his adaptation of an older phrase, “The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice,” which was popularized by Martin Luther King Jr. but coined (evidently) a century earlier by Theodore Parker. Obama has mentioned “the arc of history” a dozen times since his election.

“Forget that history doesn’t tell such simple stories and you end up employing this seemingly inexorable progression as evidence that humanity will continue to improve inexorably in the future. Butterfield warned in particular about the temptation to read moral judgments into history, to assume the thrust of events was determined by or proved the validity of reality over alternative possibilities that had not come to pass.”

The problem with this kind of thinking is that it imputes an agency to history that doesn’t exist. Worse, it assumes that progress is unidirectional. But history is not a moral force in and of itself, and it has no set course. Presuming otherwise embraces the dangerous tendency that the great English historian Herbert Butterfield dissected in his 1931 essay, The Whig Interpretation of History. Butterfield was writing about the inclination among certain historians to see the Reformation as a unalloyedly positive force—a secularizing, liberalizing movement that led inexorably to liberal democracy in the 20th century. Butterfield objected that this wasn’t at all how things worked. It was just a retrospective reading.

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“The total result of this method is to impose a certain form upon the whole historical story, and to produce a scheme of general history which is bound to converge beautifully upon the present,” he wrote. In fact, “the more we examine the way in which things happen, the more we are driven from the simple to the complex.”

“The problem with this kind of thinking is that it imputes an agency to history that doesn’t exist. Worse, it assumes that progress is unidirectional.”

Viewing history from the standpoint of the present not only misrepresented the complexity of events, he wrote, but also risked framing history as a natural progression wherein humans improved over time, going from darker, less intelligent and moral times to an ever-improving present. Butterfield warned against that:

History is all things to all men. She is at the service of good causes and bad. In other words she is a harlot and a hireling, and for this reason she best serves those who suspect her most. Therefore, we must beware even of saying, “History says […]” or “History proves […]”, as though she herself were the oracle; as though indeed history, once she spoken, had put the matter beyond the range of mere human inquiry. Rather we must say to ourselves: “She will lie to us till the very end of the last cross-examination.”

Forget that history doesn’t tell such simple stories and you end up employing this seemingly inexorable progression as evidence that humanity will continue to improve inexorably in the future. Butterfield warned in particular about the temptation to read moral judgments into history, to assume the thrust of events was determined by or proved the validity of reality over alternative possibilities that had not come to pass.

Within a decade of The Whig Interpretation, World War II broke out, providing a visceral example of how the passage of time didn’t necessarily result in progress. But the fallacy recurs occasionally, and Obama seems to have fallen into it. If history is on a trajectory toward perfection, it follows that there can be a right and a wrong side of history…(read more)

Source: The Atlantic

In March 2014, Jonah Goldberg writes:

“…The progression of history is scientifically knowable, quoth the Marxists, and so we need not listen to those who object to our program. Later, Lenin, Stalin, Mao and others would use this reasoning to justify murdering millions of inconvenient people. It was a “God is on our side” argument, minus God.

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In fairness, I doubt Barack Obama and John Kerry have Marx or Hegel on the brain when they prattle on about the right and wrong sides of history. They more properly belong in what some call the “Whig school” of history, coined in 1931 by historian Herbert Butterfield. The Whiggish tendency in history says that the world progresses toward the inevitable victory of liberal democracy and social enlightenment. Again, I doubt Obama and Kerry have ever cracked the spine of Butterfield’s book.

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Still, this administration has used the “wrong side of history” phrase more than any I can remember. They particularly like to use it in foreign policy. In his first inaugural, Obama declared, “To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history, but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.” Ever since, whenever things haven’t gone his way on the international scene — i.e., on days that end with a “y” — he or his spokespeople have wagged their fingers from the right side of history. Read the rest of this entry »