James Panero on Russell Kirk’s ghost stories and published fiction, part of a series occasioned by Kirk’s centenary, published in the January 2019 issue of The New Criterion.



R. R. Reno on Russell Kirk and the cult and culture of “openness,” part of a series occasioned by Kirk’s centenary, published in the January 2019 issue of The New Criterion.



Daniel McCarthy on Kirk and foreign policy, part of a series occasioned by Kirk’s centenary, published in the January 2019 issue of The New Criterion.



Daniel J. Mahoney on Edmund Burke, Russell Kirk & the conservative ethos, part of a series occasioned by Kirk’s centenary, published in the January 2019 issue of The New Criterion.



Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Ayatollah Air Power


If push comes to shove, could American air power lay waste to the Iranian regime in a cake walk, a turkey shoot? Consider what we know, publicly, of Iranian military capabilities in the air. They have aircraft from the pre-stealth era, drones, and extensive surface-to-air missile defenses. Perhaps, however, their best “air” assets are computer coding and diplomatic shuttle flights.

Photo by Gene Blevins/LA DailyNews

It was not big news when fairly rag-tag forces shot down a low and slow flying armed MQ-9 Reaper drone. After all, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has a wing dedicated to advising foreign forces, including the Yemeni forces fighting other Yemeni forces backed by Saudi Arabia. This is not secret, so the U.S. Central Command was willing to claim Iranian participation in the June 2019 shoot-down:


Mollie Hemingway and Carrie Severino are the co-author’s of Justice on Trial: The Kavanaugh Confirmation and the Future of the Supreme Court (Regnery Publishing). Carrie Severino is the chief counsel and policy director of the Judicial Crisis Network. Mollie Hemingway is a senior editor at The Federalist. We go behind the scenes of the Kavanaugh Hearing, which was maybe the most tumultuous period in modern political history. Both Mollie and Carrie share their findings after interviewing over 100 DC Insiders, including Senators, Supreme Court Justices, and even President Trump.

Get the Amazon Bestseller here: https://www.amazon.com/Justice-Trial-Kavanaugh-Confirmation-Supreme/dp/1621579832/.


Washington Post columnist Megan McArdle returns to The Remnant to discuss the controversy over women’s soccer, the stupidities of the modern Internet, and the virtues of owning a dog.



Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. AOC accuses Pelosi of racial discrimination


This is really getting interesting. The Democrat party, known for both its odd amalgam of special interest groups and its remarkable ability to coordinate these different groups into lockstep support of ever-increasing leftism, seems to be coming apart. I’m sure Donald Trump and some others would like to take credit for this, but it appears to be more of an attempted suicide than an attempted murder. It will be interesting to see how this turns out.

The accusation of racism is pretty much the most vicious attack one can wage against someone in modern America, and for one leftist to attack another leftist in that way really is ruthless. And extremely unusual. I doubt that AOC understands the irony of her accusation, considering the racist background of the Democrat party in the not-too-distant past, but Pelosi probably does. I’m trying to feel sorry for Pelosi, or at least avert my eyes from this humiliating spectacle, but I just can’t. A few years ago, I thought Bernie Sanders was an entertaining old crackpot. But look what he hath wrought! What do you think? Can Pelosi hang on? Or is the Democrat party about to be officially renamed the American Socialist Party?


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Shakespeare’s Ethic


Too much attention is paid to Shakespeare’s talent and too little to his outstanding work ethic.

It is not the number of works which testifies most strongly to his careful determination; it is his originality. His innovations are too regular to be accidental. When I Googled “words and phrases coined by”, Shakespeare’s name was, of course, suggested first by the search algorithm. The breadth of his legacy in this regard is widely known, though most of us are content with snippets.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Silver Screen? Or Distant Mirror?


Half a century ago, as the final year of the Sixties unfolded, Hollywood studios looked at the youthful trends of the previous year and loaded themselves up with inexpensive campus political dramas, left-wing fare that would be ready for release in the spring and summer of 1970. “The Strawberry Statement”, “The Revolutionary”, “Revolutions Per Minute” and “Zabriskie Point” were one-sided bets on what audiences at the dawn of the Seventies would be eager to pay for—sympathetic, appealing violent dramas and coarse comedies about campus rioters who sleep around and curse a lot. To the chagrin of Hollywood planners, who were usually stuck with two-year lead times on feature film projects, they bet wrong. There will always be an audience for violent drama and coarse comedy; it was the “rioters” aspect, the anti-police violence as entertainment that proved to be an astoundingly tin-eared wrong step on Hollywood’s part. It would cause an enduring, decades-long counter-reaction that at the time was dismissed as a transient “backlash”.

The Vietnam War was still near its height as springtime ’70 brought on the protesting season, as it’s been in much of western Europe since the 1830s or thereabout. The first Earth Day was planned for April 22, and would be the most peaceful of the year’s mass demonstrations. The campuses were already primed to explode. Mine literally did in March, when a homemade bomb killed its radical builder and leveled a Greenwich Village townhouse. When President Nixon announced an incursion into Cambodia—okay, raids, an invasion, let’s not be too fussy—the semester was nearly over anyway and many campuses, although non-violent, were also non-functional. When four students were killed at Kent State University on May 4th, school ground to a halt all over the country.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Icon, Part 11a: The Theotokos


During this long break of the Paschal season, which ends with the Ascension, I thought I would turn to another iconographic theme post, similar to my essay on why we have icons in the first place, and specifically of Christ, and discuss what may be the most popular icon type (in terms of numbers of icons): The Theotokos, Mary, the mother of Jesus. Next to Jesus Christ, the second person of the Trinity, no other person is so highly venerated within Orthodox or Catholic churches. Due to the length of this subject, this essay will be in two parts. In the first part, I discuss why she is so highly esteemed, from both historical / traditional reasons, and from experiential reasons. In the second part I will present a sampling of the major forms her icons take, and by what names they are called.

At the outset it bears noting that, outside of Orthodoxy and Catholicism, Mary is rather a controversial figure. Within the Protestant churches, aside from the more liturgical Lutherans and Anglican / Episcopalians, Mary is rarely mentioned aside from Christmas, and traditional understandings of Mary (that she had herself no further children, that she was far younger than Joseph, and that she was taken up bodily like Enoch) are disputed. This is somewhat surprising as both Martin Luther and John Calvin esteemed her greatly, and for all else over which they broke with Rome, on these they remained in agreement. For inquirers into either Orthodoxy or Catholicism, the veneration of Mary remains stumbling block – not just for the imagery all over the churches, but for the liturgical prayers and entire feast days dedicated to Mary. For anyone coming from a church where In Christ Alone is a popular praise song, encountering Mary face to face is jarring, and may feel heretical or bordering on pagan. This need not be the case.


In this special edition of the American Mind podcast, we explore the intellectual roots, political and societal implications of and the antidote to what the Claremont Institute believes is the great threat to America: multiculturalism. The podcast features Claremont Institute President Ryan Williams, Chairman Tom Klingenstein and scholar Charles Kesler, as well as the likes of David Azerrad, Lord Conrad Black, Allen Guelzo, Roger Kimball and Norman Podhoretz. It is narrated by James Poulos, Executive Editor of the American Mind and produced by ChangeUp Media.



Roger Kimball introduces a symposium on Russell Kirk’s centenary, published in the January 2019 issue of The New Criterion.



Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. The Line From Slick Willie to The Donald


This is an expansion of a comment made in another post.

It’s been an interesting ride. The line from Bill Clinton to Donald Trump is drawn with anything but a straight line.


The Democrats headed to South Carolina recently, and there could be something strangely familiar going on, with Joe Biden in the role of 2008 Hillary Clinton and Kamala Harris in the role of 2008 Barack Obama. Plus, will all the craziness in Washington cause any South Carolina Republicans to lose faith in President Trump? A visit with Katon Dawson, former chair of the South Carolina GOP.


This week on The United Kingdom’s Most Trusted Podcast® James and Toby talk about the resignation of Britain’s ambassador to the US, Sir Kim Darroch, after Boris Johnson refused to back him, as well as Big Little Lies, The Little Drummer Girl and Stranger Things.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Remembering the Ross Perot Moment


Establishment politicians and those invested in business as usual use “Ross Perot” as a bogeyman, a warning not to stray from whatever candidate they shovel up and tell us we must give money, time, and our vote. Except that it was Perot who was the most electable candidate until the skulduggery or head fake or whatever rattled him around his daughter’s personal life. He had taken the lead in the polls but never recovered after showing weakness or indecision for that week or so.

He was a successful entrepreneur who criticized the self-licking ice cream cone of American CEOs, who (with their think tank and pundit platoons) insisted that American workers absorb the hit of global wage and employment competition while not subjecting their own gilded packages to critical comparison with the then ascendant Japanese executives. “If you want to make a million dollars, become a rock (music) star!” Ross Perot was not engaging in class warfare. Rather, he was using the contradictory narratives of wage competition and executive compensation to point to larger misaligned priorities in U.S. corporate policy, underwritten by U.S. government policy and muscle. Hence his early criticism of NAFTA as it was being negotiated.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Did The First Debate Prove Russia’s Already Hacked The Election?


You mean to tell me that the Democratic candidates are going to campaign on kitchen table issues like forced busing, reparations, open borders and banning private health insurance and that Putin has nothing to do with it?


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Does America Mean Freedom to be a Jerk?  Yes!


I thought it was a mistake to react to Colin Kaepernick’s antics. He is a moron but is treated as a serious person by many due in part to his critics’ over-reaction. similarly, I am largely indifferent to the ever-so-five-minutes-ago angry-lesbian-progressive shtick of Megan Rapinoe that has upset so many.

The fact is, unless and until you infringe on somebody else’s rights, you can be an ignorant moron in America. Unlike sex, race or IQ, acting like a buffoon is a choice and the Bill of Rights is all about those kinds of choices.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Icon, Part 11b: Icon Types of the Theotokos

Hodegetria icon on the iconostasis of my own church

In Part A I gave an overview of just why Mary is so highly venerated in the Orthodox Church. In this second part I will show some of the major examples of her icon types, and what they each represent. This will not be exhaustive, of course, for styles and types have changed over the centuries, and some nations and regions have seen the emergence of different themes that have not gained as much traction in the wider Orthodox world. Each major type has a different message to convey about both the Theotokos and Christ (for her importance is a reflection of Christ), and so each will be found in a different context within either church or home.

There are certain common elements to how the Theotokos is depicted in all of her different icons. The first thing any viewer should note is that Mary always has three stars (or star-like flowers) on her cloak: one on her forehead, and one on each shoulder. The origin of this theme is so old that it is unclear, being even seen in early Christian frescos in catacombs. On these early pre-iconographic depictions a great amount of what is shown is symbolic in ways that later icons would not do – this was done at a time when Christianity was still persecuted, and was moreover spreading through people whose only prior religious knowledge was of the Roman pantheon. Keeping the artwork symbolic and somewhat abstracted both aided in its teaching, and in evading scrutiny when caught. In these early works, for instance, one will often see Christ depicted as “the Good Shepherd”, a beardless young man tending or carrying sheep. The three stars on Mary are likely a holdover from that time. These stars represent her past, present, and ever-virginity.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Human Misery and the American Model


The nature of our national founding has been under constant attack for what now has become more than a century. We are now closer than we have ever been to losing that struggle and becoming something entirely foreign to the basic concepts which have been the pillars supporting the single most successful and beneficial secular endeavor mankind has yet launched.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Hand Grenade with a Bad Haircut: Ross Perot Dead at 89


H. Ross Perot, the man who could have been America’s first Independent President, died today at age 89. When he ran in 1992 against the incumbent George H.W. Bush and the Democratic Party nominee Bill Clinton he received 19% of the popular vote, the highest since Teddy Roosevelt’s Bull Moose bid in 1912.

An Annapolis graduate, he was a pioneer in computer data systems, twice building companies and twice selling them to make his fortune. And he was generous with his money while being appalled at the government’s generosity with the money of taxpayers. A special cause of his was the medical care of veterans. He personally funded the research of Dr. Robert Haley at UT Southwestern that showed that many vets of the first Gulf War did, indeed, suffer from a chemical-induced toxin syndrome.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: Abraham Lincoln and his Religiosity


Lincoln grew into an intensely religious man, although we rarely hear him described in those terms nowadays. His religious faith became fundamental to his thinking and decision-making during the Civil War; we rarely hear that either. When he assumed the enormous burden of the presidency with war approaching, his faith grew deeper. When his beloved young son Willie died in early 1862, it deepened again—and seemed to continue growing deeper until his death. In the end Lincoln should almost certainly be remembered as the most important religious figure America has ever produced. I don’t mean he was a theologian. But Amos, Isaiah, and Jeremiah weren’t theologians either.

– David Gelernter, The Fourth Great Western Religion