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Weekly Opeds 2007

by Christopher Chantrill

President Bush, Man of the Year

Think about this for a moment. Who is the one individual who has made the biggest difference in the world in the last year?

That’s the main criterion that Time magazine uses when selecting its “Person” every year. To quote, Time editors choose:

|  more  |  12/29/07

After Clinton or Obama, Woman-centered Conservatism

Which of the two Democratic frontrunners would Republicans prefer to run against? That was what Hugh Hewitt asked his listeners last week as the Democratic race began to tighten.

But he was asking the wrong question. The right question is: which Democrat would you prefer to have in the White House in 2009, or more exactly, at the next

|  more  |  12/20/07

The Wages of Appeasement

For conservatives the story of the recent National Intelligence Estimate is unbelievable. What would possess the analysts in the federal intelligence bureaucracy to issue a finding that Iran has abandoned its military nuclear weapons program?

Given the secrecy that surrounds all government ventures into nuclear weaponry we wonder how anyone

|  more  |  12/12/07

Things You Are Not Allowed to Say

The good thing about living in the modern era is that we have freedom of speech and dissent is celebrated as the highest form of patriotism.

So when a Nobel laureate like James Watson, co-discoverer of DNA, opines that maybe the reason that Africa is such a mess is because of intelligence you can imagine the reaction. Said Watson, as

|  more  |  12/05/07

Western Reason vs. Islam

Our liberal friends seem to think that the biggest domestic problem Americans face is the lack of univeral health care. And on the global stage the science is settled. The biggest threat to the planet is man-made global warming.

Conservatives beg to differ. We think that the biggest threat to life-as-we-know-it is the present eruption of

|  more  |  11/30/07

Liberals Are Not All Alike

Conservatives tend to talk about liberals as if they were all the same. This is wrong. Liberals are not all alike.

They are all alike in some respects. They all believe in universal health care, a polite way of suggesting that other people should pay for the increasing health problems of Democratic voters. That came through through loud and

|  more  |  11/19/07

Let's Steal the Ideas of the Left

I hold the following truth to be self evident. When solving some intractable political problem, chances are that someone has already solved it. The main thing is to keep your eyes open because sooner than you think, you will run into the solution.

Here in the United States we conservatives are worrying like Scarlett O’Hara about the

|  more  |  11/12/07

S-CHIP and Sacrifice

In the month that has elapsed since President Bush vetoed the extension of S-CHIP into the middle class we have all had a chance to think about the deep philosophical issues involved. For many loyal Democratic partisans the philosophical issues involved had a pungently scatological aroma according to

|  more  |  11/05/07

The End of Socialized Medicine?

Michael Moore’s SiCKO is opening in Britain this week, but the British are not amused. Anyone can extol the virtues of universal government-furnished health care, they say, when they have never had to use it. Writes

|  more  |  10/30/07

Can Conservatives Show That "We Care?"

Last week President Bush successfully stopped the expansion of S-CHIP into the liberal slacker classes.

After last week the creative children of well-to-do parents who would rather buy fancy cars than pay for health insurance will have to pause for a moment.

For this important ethical and moral victory the president should be celebrated

|  more  |  10/24/07

Not With My Kid You Don't

Everyone is properly shocked and outraged at the latest school shooting rampage. They are rounding up the usual suspects and demanding that something should be done. But why be surprised?

When we hesitate to exclude “special” students from the mainstream of schools, we should expect problems. Special students, who may be anything

|  more  |  10/17/07

Let's Talk -- Like Women

A number of conservatives are appalled by the prospect of a President Hillary Clinton. Think what she will do to health care, they warn. Think of three or four more liberal justices like Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg!

We cannot allow that to happen! There must be no retreat: Not one step back!

It is such a guy approach to

|  more  |  10/07/07

Clintons, Baby Bonds, and Dropouts

Never say that Hillary Clinton doesn’t listen.

Back in April 2001, just before the election, the British New Labour government under Tony Blair proposed a “baby bond” of up to $1,600 for every mother’s son or daughter. It seemed to go down well with British

|  more  |  09/30/07

Dueling Health Plans

Back when I was on the board of Music Center of the Northwest here in Seattle, we once discussed whether to offer the faculty benefits. Good idea, said the men; we could set up a 401(k). Good idea, said the women; we could offer health insurance.

Health care is important to women. I recently listened to

|  more  |  09/23/07

That Bush Strategery

It’s a long time since we all joked about President Bush’s “strategery.” Things have got a lot more serious since those days in the early 2000s.

But after a week in which Gen. Petraeus’ report to Congress rocked the Democrats back on their heels, perhaps it is time to talk strategy again.

Last week proved, if

|  more  |  09/18/07

Women are Fickle, You Say?

Listen to the ladies in Iowa.

Stephen Spruiell did, and what he heard isn’t good news for Republicans. Stephanie Frederick, who’s “always been a Rush Limbaugh listener,” says of Sen. Barack Obama: “A lot of what he had to

|  more  |  09/09/07

Labor and Leisure

They are having a problem in the old manufacturing city of Milwaukee these days, writes Patrick McIlheran of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “Once studded with factories, it’s now lined with old, empty buildings along rail lines.”

Don’t worry though. There

|  more  |  09/03/07

Half of High School Grads Fail Seventh Grade Math

For six generations, writes the military historian Victor Davis Hanson, the government has been educating his family in his hometown in California. But things are not going well on the hometown education front any more.

[A]fter a haircut,

|  more  |  08/26/07

After Rove There’s Work to Be Done

The people who run political campaigns are a special breed. It is a measure of their importance that they become political lightning rods. The Clinton-haters of the 1990s wouldn’t have pursued President Clinton so much if he hadn’t been such a superb political tactician. Today’s Bush-haters hate Karl Rove for the same reason. It

|  more  |  08/26/07

Another Fine Mess

Last week was not the best in recent memory. The Fed and the European Central Bank had to rush the global financial system into an ICU and pump in hundreds of billions of dollars and euros to try and control its raging sub-prime mortgage contagion. If you aren’t nervous, you ought to be.

Yet the sub-prime contagion was not the only

|  more  |  08/12/07

The World Of "They're Just Kids"

Last week a liberal mother called into the Hugh Hewitt show and guest host Dean Barnett asked her what she thought about the accusations made by the New Republic’s Baghdad Diarist: Scott Thomas Beauchamp. Did she think his accusations made against fellow soldiers in Iraq

|  more  |  08/06/07

The Real Long War

Color me cynical, but I think that the fix is in on Iraq. In September Gen. Petraeus will report on the surge and declare a qualified victory. Then President Bush will start drawing down the troops. Slowly.

Everyone will feel betrayed. The conservative base will feel that our steadfast support for the war was all in vain.

The netroots

|  more  |  07/29/07

The Rising Tide of Education Subsidy

A rising tide lifts all boats. That’s what President Kennedy said in a happier time when he lowered tax rates.

But what about the rising tide of education subsidies? Last week the House of Representatives passed the College Cost Reduction Act of

|  more  |  07/22/07

The Fairness Doctrine Engine Starter

Could we all hit Pause on the outrage remote just a moment? I know it is the most delicious fun to roll tape on our conservative outrage when Democrats propose to think about a proposal to study an investigation to reinstate the FCC Fairness Doctrine. But let us not lose our heads.

It is perfectly understandable that the United States

|  more  |  07/15/07

Government is Force, Michael Moore

The important thing to know about left-wing agitator Michael Moore is that he just doesn’t get it.

Recently John Stossel interviewed Michael Moore on the ABC program 20/20, and found that Moore

|  more  |  07/08/07

A Defensive Victory in the Senate

It was comforting last week to cold-cock the comprehensive immigration bill. It was exhilarating to watch the young guns sticking it to the pompous old bulls in the very stockyard of bovine pomposity, the United States Senate.


|  more  |  07/01/07

Conservative NextGen

To understand the basic problem of the conservative movement you have only to read the Washington Times piece by Ralph Z. Hollow on the recent “third force” conservative summit summoned by conservative

|  more  |  06/24/07

Don't Frighten the Horses on Education Reform

Everyone is talking about education reform while immigration is in recess. Jonah Goldberg wonders why we bother to have public education, given how screwed up it is.

|  more  |  06/17/07

Should Have Known

The average American may wonder, after the failure of the immigration bill in the United States Senate last week, how such a gigantic cock-up is possible. We look at our own lives, at our jobs, our families, and say: How is it possible to get anything so screwed up? Surely President Bush and the Republicans senators who worked with

|  more  |  06/12/07

Hillary Clinton's On Your Own World
Conservatives have responded with outrage to Hillary Clinton’s “On-your-own society” speech last week here,

|  more  |  06/04/07

Immigration: Mend It Not Rend It

The immigration bill currently before the United States Senate is the usual farrago of band-aids and special interest goodies, trying to patch up the failure of 1986. It is, writes Peggy Noonan in unusually strong language, “a big dirty ball of mischief,

|  more  |  05/27/07

The Legacy of Jerry Falwell

If the United States is a divided nation then it was probably Jerry Falwell who divided it.

Before the rise of Jerry Falwell Governor Ronald Reagan signed a law legalizing abortion for the state of California and nobody thought anything about it. The United States Supreme Court voted 7 to 2 on Roe v. Wade thinking it was just

|  more  |  05/21/07

After Blair: Conservatives Mumble About Welfare State Reform
On the day after British Prime Minister Tony Blair announced his retirement they took down the “new” in “New Labour.”

The British Labour Party removed the logo “New Labour, New Britain” from its web site and substituted just plain “Labour.”

So the Third Way era is over. It was, after all,

|  more  |  05/13/07

Seizing the Moral High Ground for Reform

Last week Mitt Romney cracked jokes with Jay Leno and mildly corrected Chris Matthews about the propriety of a Mormon advising Catholic bishops on church doctrine. But he got his Three Strongs message in: Strengthen America’s military; strengthen America’s economy; strengthen America’s families.

Mild mannered Mitt was

|  more  |  05/06/07

Scarred for Life

Alec Baldwin’s 11-year-old daughter may be scarred for life by his much publicized telephone rage, many commentators agree. At least he has apologized.

But perhaps Baldwin is the one who will be

|  more  |  04/30/07

The Adolescent Society
Some people think that we have extended adolescence way too far into adulthood.

In rural society there is no such thing as adolescence. One day you are a child. The next day they conduct a coming-of-age ceremony and you are a man or a woman.

Not any more. Now you can live in the adolescent twilight zone between childhood and

|  more  |  04/23/07

The Democrats' Shameful Secret
It turned out that National Hypocrisy Week was particularly exhausting this year. In the same week that race-baiter Al Sharpton took down shock jock Don Imus for a racial slur the race-baiting Mark Nifong’s race-baiting indictment of three one-time Duke University lacrosse players was withdrawn by the Attorney General of North Carolina,

|  more  |  04/15/07

Supreme Court Turns Ratchet of Compulsion
Conservatives are properly aghast at the United States Supreme Court’s April 2, 2007 decision. It ruled that the United States Environmental Protection Agency can, if it wants, regulate carbon dioxide as a pollutant, whatever the law may say.

But really,

|  more  |  04/09/07

Pity a Poor Democrat
Don’t think it’s easy being a Democratic officeholder. Here she is, after solemnly assuring the voters that she’ll support our troops as patriotically as any Republican, now recklessly using the lives of our fighting men and women as poker chips in a high-stakes political game with President Bush.

Where will it all end?

|  more  |  04/01/07

Young Democrats Just Don't Get It
Our young liberal friends seem to divide into two camps. There is the camp of enlightened progressives like Jacob Aronson that is dedicated to “Conserving and Consolidating the Progressive Liberal Tradition” and reforming government “along private-sector lines.”

|  more  |  03/25/07

The Sub-prime Blame Game
Thank goodness the Plame Game is over and Scooter Libby safely convicted for—what exactly was it? Now we can concentrate on the next Big Thing; the meltdown in the sub-prime mortgage market.

As a veteran broker commented: “Anyone could have seen that was coming.”

After “Bush Lied” it’s “liar

|  more  |  03/11/07

Democrats Say: We Are Too Patriotic
Among the numerous issues on which Democrats are hypersensitive to criticism—or as you and I might say, critique—is patriotism. Do not dare question a Democrat’s patriotism, at least not like Vice-President

|  more  |  03/04/07

The Fight Against Sprawl
Everyone knows our American cities are blighted by “sprawl.” In the old days, cities were built with a certain regard for aesthetic qualities and the human scale—as anyone knows who has visited the cities of Europe.

In the United States our neighborhoods are cut in two by gigantic roaring freeways, and cities sprawl out

|  more  |  02/26/07

Winning by Losing
So conservative columnist Jonah Goldberg is the first bigfoot conservative to mention the unmentionable. Maybe it would be best for the Republicans to lose the presidency in 2008. Not that he is being defeatist. Not at all. He is thinking about

|  more  |  02/20/07

Manufacturing Failure
It was twenty years ago that we learned of “A Nation at Risk.” The problems in our education system were imperiling our national future, wrote the National Commission on Excellence in Education. But since then nothing much has happened. If anything, the education

|  more  |  02/11/07

Renewing the Conservative Narrative

What a difference there is between a Republican defeat and a Democratic defeat. After 1994 and 2000 and 2004 the Democrats were apoplectic. They’re coming for the children, they roared after 1994. We wus robbed, they spat after 2000. The voting machines did it, they squirmed after 2004.

But like the sensible middle-class folks we

|  more  |  02/04/07

Public Education and The Liberal Way of Conflict
Our public schools, liberals teach us, are a foundation of democracy. Without a socialization in which every child partakes of the democratic culture of the public schools we would divide into warring classes and subcultures.

|  more  |  01/28/07

Reality TV Conducts a Seminar on Racism
In this age of situational ethics and values clarification how do you know when you cross the line?

(I am assuming that you are a member of a traditionally marginalized “community.” For conservatives, of course the answer is: “Don’t. Even Think About It.”)

Suppose you are a celebrity performer on a reality

|  more  |  01/21/07

Enough of the 100 Hours Already
Back in the old days when people took life seriously they didn’t talk about this Hundred Days or that 100 Hours lightly. And they certainly didn’t gin a Hundred Days concept up before the fact.

Napoleon did not issue a press release before the Hundred Days between his escape from Elba and the Battle of Waterloo. And

|  more  |  01/14/07

The 100 Hours of Democratic Superstition
How do you spell superstition? The professional atheists have been busy spelling it out lately, especially Richard Dawkins with The God Delusion and Sam Harris with The End of Faith. There is almost certainly no God, according to Dawkins.

The atheists worship a different God. For Dawkins, it seems to be the power of

|  more  |  01/07/07

The Heedless People Who Didn't Care About Michael Oher
Back in the 1920s heedless rich writers like F. Scott Fitzgerald used to write novels about the heedless rich. They went on their heedless way, these rich WASPs like Tom and Daisy Buchanan, wrecking the lives of poor slobs like auto mechanic Mr. Wilson and his wife Myrtle. Nothing ever touched them. Someone else always took the fall,

|  more  |  01/02/07



Faith & Purpose

“When we began first to preach these things, the people appeared as awakened from the sleep of ages—they seemed to see for the first time that they were responsible beings, and that a refusal to use the means appointed was a damning sin.”
Finke, Stark, The Churching of America, 1776-1990

Mutual Aid

In 1911... at least nine million of the 12 million covered by national insurance were already members of voluntary sick pay schemes. A similar proportion were also eligible for medical care.
Green, Reinventing Civil Society


“We have met with families in which for weeks together, not an article of sustenance but potatoes had been used; yet for every child the hard-earned sum was provided to send them to school.”
E. G. West, Education and the State

Living Under Law

Law being too tenuous to rely upon in [Ulster and the Scottish borderlands], people developed patterns of settling differences by personal fighting and family feuds.
Thomas Sowell, Conquests and Cultures

German Philosophy

The primary thing to keep in mind about German and Russian thought since 1800 is that it takes for granted that the Cartesian, Lockean or Humean scientific and philosophical conception of man and nature... has been shown by indisputable evidence to be inadequate. 
F.S.C. Northrop, The Meeting of East and West


Inquiry does not start unless there is a problem... It is the problem and its characteristics revealed by analysis which guides one first to the relevant facts and then, once the relevant facts are known, to the relevant hypotheses.
F.S.C. Northrop, The Logic of the Sciences and the Humanities


“But I saw a man yesterday who knows a fellow who had it from a chappie that said that Urquhart had been dipping himself a bit recklessly off the deep end.”  —Freddy Arbuthnot
Dorothy L. Sayers, Strong Poison

Democratic Capitalism

I mean three systems in one: a predominantly market economy; a polity respectful of the rights of the individual to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; and a system of cultural institutions moved by ideals of liberty and justice for all. In short, three dynamic and converging systems functioning as one: a democratic polity, an economy based on markets and incentives, and a moral-cultural system which is plural and, in the largest sense, liberal.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism


The incentive that impels a man to act is always some uneasiness... But to make a man act [he must have] the expectation that purposeful behavior has the power to remove or at least to alleviate the felt uneasiness.
Ludwig von Mises, Human Action


[In the] higher Christian churches... they saunter through the liturgy like Mohawks along a string of scaffolding who have long since forgotten their danger. If God were to blast such a service to bits, the congregation would be, I believe, genuinely shocked. But in the low churches you expect it every minute.
Annie Dillard, Holy the Firm


“When we received Christ,” Phil added, “all of a sudden we now had a rule book to go by, and when we had problems the preacher was right there to give us the answers.”
James M. Ault, Jr., Spirit and Flesh

Living Law

The recognition and integration of extralegal property rights [in the Homestead Act] was a key element in the United States becoming the most important market economy and producer of capital in the world.
Hernando de Soto, The Mystery of Capital

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©2015 Christopher Chantrill