Our final episode of 2019 brings together the entire Power Line gang—John, Paul, Scott, and Steve, along with “Ammo Grrll” Susan Vass—for a look at the current scene and a look ahead to next year. Consisting of excerpts from a recent Power Line VIP member live video chat, John Hinderaker hosts as we review the farce of impeachment, the state of the Democratic nomination contest (including how big a buffoon Joe Biden is), what blue states might actually be in play for Trump (including even Minnesota?!?!), along with a detour into the confused Israeli political scene, and culminating in a constructive proposal from Susan for replacing “The View” on ABC with a show a sane person might actually want to watch. Happy new year, and best wishes from the Power Line crew.More
There are several new wrinkles in the saga of the New York Times‘s egregious and ideological “1619 Project,” which can only mean one thing: time for another episode with “Lucretia,” Power Line’s International Woman of Mystery, and scourge of all things politically correct.
New developments in the story include a stinging letter to the editor of the New York Times magazine from five eminent American historians who are chiefly of a liberal bent themselves, such as Sean Wilentz, James Oakes, and Gordon Wood. For the record, I’m not a huge fan of Gordon Wood (explaining why in this long essay from a while ago) or Wilentz, but it is significant that these historians have decided to take such a public stand. I can only imagine that many historians and political scientists of a liberal bent likely agree with them, but like dissenters from the climate “consensus,” they are afraid to say so publicly for fear of being branded as a privileged white racist. The response of the Times editor is pretty weak, but provides occasion for us to correct the slanders directed at Lincoln from this woeful enterprise.More
Is it possible for conservatives and left-of-center thinkers to have a civil and substantive conversation in the Era of Trump? Steve Hayward decided to find out, and the result is this completely gonzo episode.
Steve sat down for a long and appropriately boozy dinner recently with Nils Gilman of the Berggruen Institute, and Ted Nordhaus of the Breakthrough Institute, for a grand tour through some of the big themes and controversies of the moment, including capitalism, “neoliberalism,” the “plutocratic insurgency” (Nils’s phrase), inequality, bank bailouts, Trump, the idea of progress itself, and ending with a first cut at a debate over the 1619 Project.More
This episode is either an excursion into intergenerational conflict, or the pilot for a 21st century version of The Odd Couple, where Oscar and Felix are a Millennial and an aging Baby Boomer. This week’s episode is actually a crossover show with The Young Americans, hosted by Millennial sports and wonk prodigy Jack Butler of the American Enterprise Institute. Jack recently read Steve Hayward’s two-volume Age of Reagan books, and wanted to pose several challenges to Steve about what—and whether—Millennials might learn from Reagan in the Age of Trump. Steve, an ex-jock, wanted to talk to Jack about his impressive distance running prowess, as well as the etymology of a lot of current slang that the young people are using (like “OK, Boomer!”).
It’s a wide-ranging conversation, covering athletics, youth slang, boomer pretensions, education, Straussian esotericism, but mostly the great questions about Ronald Reagan. But just like The Odd Couple, we never do settle the question of whether a Millennial and an aging Baby Boomer can co-exist without killing each other.More
A few days late because of the holiday week, “Lucretia,” Power Line’s international woman of mystery, joins Steve Hayward once again to resume their series critiquing the “1619 Project,” this time taking up the examples of Alexander Stephens, Booker T. Washington, and W.E. B DuBois, among other thinkers, as well as noting the peculiar objections to the 1619 Project coming from . . . the World Socialists?!? This is going to take a while to unravel. We also have a few topical rants at the beginning about the truly important subjects—chicken sandwiches, cheeseburgers, milkshakes, and french fries.
Exit bumper music this week is Louis Armstrong’s rendition of “Go Down, Moses,” which rather fits the theme of this series.More
More than 50 years after Lyndon Johnson launched the “Great Society” and its “war on poverty” that its architects said would eliminate all poverty in America in ten years, we still have poverty and a legacy of failed experiments in social engineering (Model Cities, anyone?) Author Amity Shlaes is out this week with her latest book, Great Society: A New History, that gives us a fine-grained look into numerous aspects of the Great Society era that most other historians have overlooked.
Amity is the author of several previous books that broke new ground in our understanding of key events in American history, especially her book on the Great Depression, The Forgotten Man, and also a fine recent biography of Calvin Coolidge. In her new book, you’ll learn about a lot more than just what Johnson and his madcap social planners did, including the role of private industry for both good and ill during these days. And the real villain of the story is not who you might expect! You’ll just have to listen to find out. Also, if you listen to Steve’s conclusion at the end, you’ll also be treated to an excerpt of maybe Johnson’s greatest phone call ever, where we overhear him . . . ordering pants!More
This week Steve Hayward hosts Henry Olsen going through the inside baseball of the unfolding Democratic presidential primary season, but also the inside baseball about . . . baseball! Did you know that the Houston Astros colluded with the Russians and Ukrainians to steal the 2017 World Series! So runs the allegation, with hearings no doubt to follow. In any case, Steve actually stumps Henry by recalling the slowest relief pitcher ever, Don “Full Pack” Stanhouse. (And when it comes to reforming baseball to make it great again, Henry has a simple proposal: make the fielding gloves smaller. You’ll just have to listen to learn his reasons why—I’m not giving it away here.)
But the main event of this episode is the Democratic field, with new entrants Deval Patrick and Michael Bloomberg. Henry says to keep an eye on Patrick. We also preview the upcoming British election, which Henry will attend and report on for the Washington Post. The election is setting up as a proxy for Brexit, and Henry expect the Conservative Party and Boris Johnson to do very well. But we’re still almost a month off from the election, so stay tuned.More
John Tamny of Freedom Works and RealClearMarkets joins Steve Hayward this week to discuss his provocative new book, They’re Both Wrong: A Policy Guide for America’s Frustrated Independent Thinkers, just out this week from our friends at the American Institute for Economic Research. Tamny is one of the great imaginative and original contrarian thinkers of our time on matters of economics and policy, as readers of his previous books can attest. (Previous delightful reads from John include Who Needs the Fed? What Taylor Swift, Uber, and Robots Tell Us About Money, Credit, and Why We Should Abolish America’s Central Bank, and Popular Economics: What the Rolling Stones, Downton Abbey, and LeBron James Can Teach You about Economics. Both highly recommended.)
In They’re Both Wrong, Tamny takes liberals to task for their economic and policy illiteracy on everything from taxes, corporate governance, climate change and other favorite obsessions of the left, but also has several chapters criticizing confusions that he thinks both liberals and conservatives share on health care, the minimum wage, education, and a guaranteed annual income. And he thinks conservatives are on the wrong track on immigration and China, among other issues. Agree or disagree, John is an ebullient and optimistic thinker, and a delight to hear.More
The opioid crisis has been prominent in the news for the last several years, while more recently the controversy over vaping has erupted to new heights, with the Trump Administration proposing to ban many vaping products. There are some glaring contradictions and ironies between our attitudes and policy responses to both issues, but it takes someone of Sally Satel’s perception to notice these dimensions.
Sally Satel, a resident fellow of the American Enterprise Institute, practicing psychiatrist and drug treatment expert, and author of several fine books on the contemporary politics of medicine, has been studying both the opioid crisis and the vaping controversy for some time, and joins us today to walk through some of the main aspects of both issues. Interested listeners should see her recent article in The Atlantic on “The Truth About Painkiller Addiction” for more background.More
Whither American conservatism is the question on everyone’s mind these days. Recently I gave a short talk about this topic with the central thought that the American conservative movement was now entering a distinct third phase of its modern existence, though I took the opportunity to say a few words about my first mentor, the late M. Stanton Evans, and what can be learned from his disposition, which was ahead of its time in many ways.
So yes, it does meant that the guest for this week’s episode is me, for which I apologize, though I hope you will enjoy my rendition of some of Stan Evans’s greatest hits—and also his timeless insights into the nature of “The Swamp” that is Washington DC, a phrase I think he may have been one of the first to use nearly 50 years ago. At least this is a short episode!More
What do you get when you combine “Lucretia,” Power Line’s ever popular international woman of mystery, with John Yoo, whose only mystery is his fondness for McDonalds? You get an episode that talks about fake burgers, the evils of soy, the importance of cooking with fat, fast cars, and even Starsky & Hutch.
Oh, we also go into the impeachment circus currently unfolding in Washington, about which John has written recently to the jeers of lightweights everywhere. We didn’t touch much on the series Lucretia and I have been rolling out about the “1619 Project,” but I want to give one quick update: our guest from the show in Episode 146, Lucas Morel of Washington and Lee University, has published over at the American Mind his fine article on the subject, “America Was Not Founded on White Supremacy.” Give it a look. (And go back and listen in to that episode if you missed it.) Meanwhile, listen in now to find out whether the Impossible Burger should be ranked higher or lower than a Nothing Burger.More
This special bonus double-episode tests the proposition that a good podcast format is a conversation among friends at a bar—because that’s exactly what the first segment of this show offers.
Last week I was overseas on the joint cruise of the Claremont Institute and the Pacific Research Institute, both celebrating their 40th anniversary this fall. Following a day tromping around Florence taking in the scenes of various locales for Niccolo Machiavelli, I decided to repair to the smoking lounge with Michael Anton (“Decius”), along with Ryan Williams and Matt Peterson of the Claremont Institute, for an extended cigar smoke over brandy and a chat about Machiavelli’s republicanism.More
Nationalism is the subject of the moment, and both the term and the idea come with more baggage than Paris Hilton and Khloe Kardashian after an afternoon of shopping on Rodeo Drive. I’ve had a few things to say about this controversial topic myself, but I am delighted to feature as this week’s special guest Colin Dueck of George Mason University, who is the author of a new book coming out from Oxford University Press next week: Age of Iron: On Conservatism Nationalism.
Dueck demonstrates that conservative nationalism is the oldest democratic tradition in US foreign relations. Designed to preserve self-government, conservative nationalism can be compatible with engagement overseas. But 21st century diplomatic, economic, and military frustrations led to the resurgence of a version that emphasizes US material interests. No longer should the US allow its allies to free-ride, and nor should it surrender its sovereignty to global governance institutions. Because this return is based upon forces larger than Trump, it is unlikely to disappear when he leaves office.More
Last week I caught up with Hadley Arkes, Edward N. Ney Professor of Jurisprudence and American Institutions emeritus at Amherst College and the founder and director of the James Wilson Institute on Natural Rights & the American Founding, for a wide-ranging conversation about free speech, moral relativism, abortion, and other constitutional questions. Hadley is the author of numerous indispensable books, including First Things: An Inquiry into the First Principles of Morals and Justice, and, more recently, Constitutional Illusions and Anchoring Truths: The Touchstone of the Natural Law.
Hadley is often described as a cross between Thomas Aquinas and Groucho Marx, and heck, since I can’t improve on that, I won’t even try.More
This week “Lucretia,” Power Line’s international woman of mystery, gets promoted to co-host as she and Steve Hayward welcome Lucas Morel to our special series on the 1619 Project. Morel is professor of politics and head of the politics department at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, where he teaches and writes on racial issues in American politics and history. Among other things, Prof. Morel is one of the nation’s leading scholars of Ralph Ellison.
He has a long article on the 1619 Project forthcoming at the Claremont Institute’s American Mind, and we decided to scoop our friends at Claremont by talking through some of the key issues with Lucas ahead of time. Finally, we get around to taking up the important thought of Frederick Douglass, who so far has been conspicuously missing from the 1619 Project. It is also a nice break for Steve to have Lucretia beating up on someone else for a change!More
Last week I was honored once again to be the after dinner speaker for the fall meeting of the Friends of Ronald Reagan, a local civic group in Los Angeles that meets at the California Club to celebrate the enduring greatness and example of the Gipper. It’s always a fun evening, usually capped off with brandy and cigars out on the patio when dinner concludes.
I decided to talk about how Reagan responded to the nonsense 50 years ago about “the Woodstock generation,” which received another self-congratulatory airing this summer on the 50th anniversary of that famous mudfest. There are clear lessons for us today from Reagan’s disposition back then, since we are living through some echoes of that time right now.More
“Lucretia,” Power Line’s international woman of mystery, is back with Steve again this week with the third installment in our special series confronting the pernicious New York Times “1619 Project,” this time taking on the argument that slavery is the central factor in the rise of modern industrial capitalism—a proposal so laughable that we actually spend a lot of our time talking about entirely tangential subjects. (For listeners interested in a serious compilation of the defects of the “slavery=capitalism” line, see Bradley Hansen’s copious blog entry on the issue.)
In addition to the continuing vivisection of the 1619 Project, Steve and Lucretia spend time discussing Steve’s recent LawLiberty essay, “How to Get Through the ‘Nationalism’ Minefield,” which Steve feared the exacting Lucretia might find suspect for its oblique flirtation with historicism. But no! All was sweetness and light, which means Lucretia is mellowing about Steve’s longstanding sentimental weaknesses. But as usual Lucretia gets in the best line of the episode: “Guilt is the greatest form of self-indulgence.” It ought to be the motto of the New York Times editorial page.More
This special double-length episode features a wide-ranging conversation with best-selling author and iconoclast Heather Mac Donald of the Manhattan Institute, with special focus on her new book, The Diversity Delusion: How Race and Gender Pandering Corrupt the University and Undermine Our Culture. I hosted Heather this week at . . . UC Berkeley (!!), and we decided that rather than going with a set-piece speech, I’d interview her about the full range of topics she’s written about.
So we talk about her own intellectual odyssey, the decline of literature in universities, crime and punishment, the drug war, why we’d actually cheer the return of old-fashioned Marxism, as well as the hot button issues of her new book: preferential college admissions and the entire “diversity industrial complex.” We even get to the “T-question” (Trump), where Heather remains skeptical and conflicted.More
We have a new theory about the mainstream media: they have decided to work without editors any more. How else to explain how the Washington Post slandered J.D. Vance with the claim that he decried the “falling white birth rate” (he said no such thing, and the Post had to correct the story), or MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell going to air with a completely uncorroborated story about Trump’s supposed Russian financial connections? Or how about MSNBC’s Chris Hayes (perhaps the least bug-eyed anchor in their stable of Unstables), who thought it profound to say that “if the electoral college wasn’t in the Constitution, it would be unconstitutional,” though perhaps MSNBC just goofed and aired his Saturday Night Live audition tape for a new “deep thoughts” sketch.
But the top honor will have to go to the Washington Post for publishing what may be the dumbest article ever written in the English language: Eve Fairbanks’s August 29 article “The Reasonable Rebels.” The thesis of the article can be stated plainly: so-called “reasonable conservatives” like Ben Shapiro are just like the Confederate defenders of slavery, because they use the exact same words and arguments—words like “facts,” “reason,” “logic,” even “truth.” No really, it is actually that dumb. You can feel your brain cells dying just getting through it, and you have to wonder why the Post has decided to abandon adult supervision.More
The old saying is that “sex sells,” and after the sexual revolution of the last several decades who can dispute that? Meanwhile, “identity politics” is the obsession of the current moment. Is there a connection? Yes, argues Mary Eberstadt in her new book Primal Screams: How the Sexual Revolution Created Identity Politics. Eberstadt, currently a senior research fellow at the Faith & Reason Institute, takes up an aspect of the current scene that ironically hardly anyone really wants to talk about.
Mary summarizes the issue in this recent excerpt in Quillette:More