Previous Articles

  • Thinking About Things. On American Diversity and its Origins April 13, 2021 by John DeQ. Briggs - Author’s note. This article turned out to be quite different from what I expected to write when I started. I intended to write a rumination about diversity in America and whether it has evolved from a good thing to an arguably bad thing. But in researching the topic, and at the behest of my sister, I read the book that is the subject of this article and the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to bring to this readership a précis of the book, with minimal commentary so that all readers will at least have a common baseline understanding of the fascinating impacts of American diversity over the last 400 years. With such a common understanding, any discussion of diversity should be much more knowledgeable, and certainly more interesting. The book is American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America by Colin Woodard. I am only going to summarize ten of these, putting to one side for now the purely Canadian “First Nation.” I should add that I am providing Woodard’s view of events, some controversial, not my own. His approach is original and insightful, but not always necessarily correct.
  • Editor’s Note March 30, 2021 by webadminpcw - This week we are fortunate to have three timely feature articles. The first two, by guest columnist Elizabeth Ochoa and editor David Montgomery deal with the phenomenon of being “woke”and how it is taking over private affairs and public policy. The third by Matt Daley corrects a grossly distorted discussion of gun violence in the Washington Post. Do not miss the sidebar with John Briggs’s recommendations of a number of articles on wokeness and the rise of illiberal attitudes and policies that are Worth Reading.
  • Our Lady of the Perpetually Offended March 30, 2021 by Guest Author - Many of us fondly remember the old Saturday Night Live skit of “the Church Lady,” performed by Dana Carvey in drag. We laughed at the arrogance, smugness and zealotry of the fundamentalist church lady dispensing her judgmental criticism of those whose lifestyle, behaviors and speech she disagreed with and roundly condemned as the work of Satan. Those of us who have lived in small towns have known exactly that type of person--who wanted to assert their will and beliefs on everyone else in town, and anyone who deviated in any way would be viciously labeled, gossiped about, shamed and shunned, causing fear and misery to others while gloating in their power to control others. Shirley Jackson brought this psychological phenomenon to light in her chilling short story The Lottery. (After reading it, one cannot help being reminded of Christ’s admonition “thou who has not sinned, cast the first stone.”)
  • Where Will It End? March 30, 2021 by W. David Montgomery - It is extraordinary how in the past year the terms “woke” and “critical race theory” have gone from producing blank incomprehension in 99% of the population to capturing the attention of a vast majority. Rod Dreher’s book Live Not by Lies, with its theme of how big business imposes soft totalitarianism based on woke sensibility and white guilt, has become a best seller. Public schools are being outed for indoctrinating students with false versions of American history and imposing woke views on sexuality. The new Administration’s actions affecting the military, health, education, and religion appear to have turned control of wide swaths of public policy over to its most extreme Progressive elements. It would be possible to spend 24 hours a day reading reports, analysis and arguments about these topics. There are some brilliant one-liners, clear and accurate descriptions of the origins and meaning of wokeness and critical theory, and well-stated concerns about where our country is heading. Yet I see few, if any, convincing proposals for how to turn the tide.
  • Muddled Thinking on Gun Violence March 30, 2021 by Matthew Daley - We offer for our readers’ edification an OpEd by Eugene Robinson in the Washington Post that illustrates the muddled thinking and arguments often advanced by media outlets. Its fundamental fallacy is aggregating gun deaths of all types and cherry-picking data on the prevalence of guns in other countries to claim that the vast oversupply of guns in the US accounts for the claimed disparity in gun deaths. Here is what he missed or obfuscated: Most gun deaths in the US are suicides and if Robinson could wave a magic wand and eliminate all guns, there would still be a substantial number of completed suicides. Look, for example, at the suicide rate in Canada where per capita suicide attempts have paralleled those in the US. Indeed because of Canada’s more restrictive gun laws, the percentage of attempts using firearms is about twenty percent lower than it is in the US, but the per capita aggregate number of suicides is very close to the US. People who do not have guns but who wish to commit suicide are often successful in finding alternative methods.
  • Letter from London: Brexit March 16, 2021 by Guest Author - Nearly 5 years ago, Britain voted to leave the European Union and now in 2021, the effects of that bombshell vote are becoming clear. On the positive side, Britain has been able to reform its immigration system, delink its justice system from Europe, and start talks on new free trade agreements. The costs, however, include disruption in exports, threats to London's financial industry, a renewed wave of internal separatism, and an enduring cut in GDP. The Brexit Vote For some years, a segment of the public, fueled by the tabloid press, had been restive about a menu of EU issues, ranging from the power of Brussels regulations over daily life, the European Court of Justice's (ECJ) influence on British trials and legislation, and unrestricted immigration from the EU. Eight Central and Eastern European countries joined the EU in 2004, while then-PM Tony Blair predicted that only 5,000-13,000 additional immigrants per year would enter the UK. Instead, one million EU nationals arrived in the decade that followed. The resentment was greatest in poorer towns and in rural areas compared to cosmopolitan London. Successive governments brushed off voters' concerns, and this enabled populist rabble-rouser Nigel Farage, as leader of the small UK…
  • The Dawn of America March 2, 2021 by Guest Author - The year 1989 was and remains a crucial episode in the history of humanity. The collapse of the Berlin Wall marked the end of an era: the fall of communism in Eastern and Central Europe. Apart from one exception – Romania – the oppressed behind the Iron Curtain overcome their regimes without bloodshed or violence. In the winter of 1989, I was a witness to and participant in the Romanian revolution that led to the collapse of one of the most oppressive regimes in Eastern Europe. It was a time of mourning, but also a time of rejoicing: the totalitarian ideology – we wrongly assumed --was forever gone and buried in the history books.
  • The Coming Inflation Nightmare February 16, 2021 by W. David Montgomery - Many alarming executive orders have been issued in the first days of the Biden Administration, but today I want to discuss a central feature of its economic policies. That is the implicit, and by some loudly shouted, belief that it is possible to pile up ever growing deficits by borrowing from the Federal Reserve. This belief must be spiked. A sub-cult in economics that likes to refer to itself as Modern Monetary Theory, or MMT to the insiders, holds that the amount of borrowing by the Federal government is meaningless. It can always be accommodated, according to this cult, by the Federal Reserve creating money that it lends to the Federal government. All policymakers need to do is keep watch on inflation, and if it appears all that money is beginning to cause price levels to rise, the solution is to increase taxes high enough to siphon off the excess money being spent by consumers. As long as inflation is stubbornly low, despite zero interest rates, the Federal government can spend all that Democrats dream of and really has no need to raise taxes. Members of Congress, whether Democrats or Republicans, love it. The Democrats love to spend the money;…
  • Biden’s Immigration Plan February 2, 2021 by Matthew Daley - This is a first look at President Biden’s immigration plan and will likely be followed by analyses in greater depth as the Congress takes up his proposals. Upon first reading, one is hard pressed to identify any major “ask” of the advocates of increased immigration that has been omitted. Together with President Biden’s Executive Orders, this proposal, if adopted, will vacate restrictions on immigration adopted during the Trump Administration and ease a number that were in place during the Obama Administration. Absent is a clear commitment to controlling our borders (however that is done) and returning illegal/unauthorized aliens to their homelands. The result will be significant increases in immigration of all types to the US, the exact magnitude of which is difficult to forecast due to uncertainties regarding future enforcement policies and factors which drive immigration. The Biden plan does not announce “open borders” as its objective, but one may be forgiven for suspecting that is the direction in which the US will travel under it.
  • Editors’ Note January 19, 2021 by webadminpcw - Instead of our usual original article, we have decided to use this issue to make two appeals, one financial and one editorial, which you can read below. We also strongly recommend that you read the sidebar in which we summarize articles published elsewhere that we believe are “Worth Reading.” The most important events of the past two weeks have been discussed widely and capably by commentators whom we read and respect. As a result, none of us has found a better way to explain, summarize or refute their points. Instead of making an unsuccessful try, we decide to curate those articles and recommend the five we found most interesting and thought-provoking. We will be back in two weeks, as opinionated as ever.