Previous Articles

  • The Biden Plan to End Our Gun Violence Epidemic September 15, 2020 by Matthew Daley - The Biden Plan is sweeping in scope; defective in its lack of understanding of firearms, crime and criminals; and lacks empirical data. On the other hand, it justifiably claims credit for Biden’s role in passage of the Brady Bill and the now defunct ban on “assault weapons” and high capacity magazines. It also proposes a number of unobjectionable steps, but these will have at best a marginal impact on the problem. The Biden Plan too often proposes policies based more on wishful thinking than serious research. Strangely, it ignores the fact that gun violence in the US has been declining significantly for decades despite a pronounced increase in the number of guns in private hands and it makes no effort to examine why that is the case and how best we can build on those trends or, put otherwise, what works and what does not. Herewith some of the more important points:
  • Maryland State’s Attorneys Act to Usurp Sheriff’s Authority September 15, 2020 by Guest Author - The Maryland State’s Attorneys’ Association’s (MSAA) Prosecutorial Police Reform Sub-Committee has made a number of recommendations to its membership; it is unclear how many of the state’s attorneys endorse the recommendations, but some of those recommendations bear close scrutiny because they support the effort of groups and lawmakers who want to reduce the authority of local law enforcement to act to protect citizens and reduce funding for local law enforcement.
  • The Dissolution of the American Dream September 1, 2020 by W. David Montgomery - It is not easy to write about the dissolution of the American Dream, yet evidence of its demise is all around us. Believers in an earthly paradise with no police, pristine nature, peace and love would see, if they open their eyes, that their demands have made large parts of our country unlivable. Their belief that it is possible to create heaven on earth justifies the creation of an earthly hell along the way. This, indeed, has been the philosophy of every revolutionary leader and intellectual in the modern era — from Marx, Hitler and Mao to the founders of BLM. Much of conservative thought — in which I include myself — recognizes the imperfection of human nature because it embraces ideas of natural law and individual responsibility that set the standard under which imperfection is recognizable. We do not expect or aspire to heaven on earth, and we certainly do not believe it is necessary to destroy what we have in order to make gradual improvements. Yet unfolding before us is evidence that America is not as exceptional as it seemed to be and is no exception to the general rule that countries and civilizations rise and fall.
  • Thinking about things The Political Industrial Complex: a Positive Path Forward August 18, 2020 by John DeQ. Briggs - We live in a perilous political time. Everywhere we look, most especially in the media, we are confronted with conflict between and among identity groups, political groups, and especially these days ambiguous groups defined by words that obscure their purpose or intent. Words have lost much of their obvious or clear meaning. Social justice combines two words each of which has a clear meaning to create a phrase that with each passing year has become increasingly Orwellian. Nobody really knows what the words now mean and what they mean depends on who is saying them in what context and in what circumstances. The seeming breakdown of civil society and the growing dysfunction of our political system are all amplified by a pandemic that has no end in sight. Yet in the midst of this most depressing set of circumstances in the middle of this most depressing year, I have just read a book that spends its first-half presenting the darkest imaginable picture of our country and our political system, and yet which ends with a sense of powerful optimism that we can put ourselves back together again with some relatively simple and achievable solutions that could re-create the political system…
  • The New York Times, History, and the Emerging Anti-White Majority August 4, 2020 by Guest Author - The main theme of the New York Times 1619 Project (as sociologist Alexander Riley aptly sums it up) is: “It is not just the American Founding that is racist to its core; every facet of white identity, from the beginning to the present moment, is directed in a laser focus toward the oppression of blacks. … Indeed, it is blacks who made everything valuable and worthwhile in this country.” But the Project’s anti-white screed, as I explain below, badly distorts history on four key points: 1. The Times paints U.S. slavery as a unique evil; and by current standards, it was brutal; yet, at the time, slavery prevailed nearly worldwide; and the U.S. system was not as harsh as many others. 2. In any case, the South had no clear path by which it might have divested itself of slavery’s baneful legacy. 3. The Project asserts that slavery and racism have enriched current U.S. whites; they have not, and the Times case relies on studies that other scholars have largely rebutted. 4. The Times also ascribes U.S. blacks’ problems solely to white malice; such a claim is, at best, simplistic. The 1619 Project seeks to justify punishing U.S. whites for…
  • Coming Soon to a City Near You: George Floyd Riots Redux August 4, 2020 by Matthew Daley - When videos showed Derek Chauvin placing his knee on George Floyd’s neck for eight plus minutes and Floyd subsequently died, many – myself included – concluded that we had witnessed a homicide. To quote Mark Lane, we perhaps had engaged in a “rush to judgment.” Certainly, the dominant narrative in the US was that Floyd had been killed by racist police and the Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison raised the charges against Chauvin from third degree murder to second degree murder and charged the other officers on the scene with aiding and abetting second-degree murder. This step was likely welcomed by the many Americans who had concluded that George Floyd was manifestly killed by the police who will understandably expect that Chauvin and one or more of the other officers present will be convicted of murder and sentenced harshly. One can also understand how this expectation has been baked into the public consciousness with the tenor and intensity of media coverage of the encounter as well as the subsequent discussion of and protests against police misconduct.
  • Reflections on White Privilege, Its Origins and Implications July 21, 2020 by W. David Montgomery - White privilege, white fragility, systemic racism -- we are bombarded with these and similar concepts on national media, in big cities, and even in a rural county on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The words seem familiar and give the impression that they are describing something bad about race relations that should be rectified. But to most, on all sides of the political issues, the exact meaning of the words remains obscure. Some shout them to belittle or bully opponents without understanding their origins or purpose, others hear or read them and wonder what it is that deserves such attacks. Understanding where those phrases came from and why they are used has become a necessity for informed participation in debates over race in America.
  • Thinking About Things: A [New England] Republican’s View of Policies for a Unified Way Forward July 7, 2020 by John DeQ. Briggs - So, here we are at last: on the verge of class warfare, racial warfare, gender and other identity warfare, political warfare, a war on police (crime having won the war on crime), the erasure of Western and American history, and the predominance of mob- and group-think. And that just describes the last week or two. There does not seem to be any consensus about anything. It is hard to imagine the speed with which all of this has gelled, although the elements have been building for years. Covid-19 seems to be making a resurgence and the economy seems ready to respond with further decline. Independence Day is upon us and July 4 no longer feels patriotic. One even wonders if the great American Experiment has actually failed. If so, where did it go wrong? Well, I don’t know. But I do feel that everything I read now is mired in analysis paralysis. Everybody has reasons to think other people are wrong. I have read virtually nothing recently about a possible path forward. Accordingly, this column is devoted to thinking about policies from a New England Republican’s conservative point of view, which might serve as a foundation for the future -…
  • Thinking About Things: June 20, 2020 by John DeQ. Briggs - The Ecstasy of the Mob, Moral Clarity, the Press, Virtue Signaling, the Fascism of the Intelligentsia, the 1619 Project comes to main street, a Letter from Istanbul, and the Hinge of History. A. The Ecstasy of the Mob: The murder of George Floyd by a handful of Minneapolis police officers and the reactions and counter reactions to this event around the country and around the world have provided more to think about than can be thought about in days, weeks or months. Nonetheless, one can observe some objective realities and reach some tentative conclusions.
  • George Floyd: Observations on a Recurring Tragedy June 8, 2020 by Matthew Daley - It is a movie that those in my age demographic (mid to late 70s) have seen too many times. These include, inter alia, the murders of civil rights workers, the killing of Emmit Hill, the assassination of Martin Luther King, the beating of Rodney King, the killing of Ahmaud Arbery and most recently the brutal murder of George Floyd by three white and one Hmong police officer. We know the general outlines of the script, this time staring George Floyd and Derek Chauvin. Outrage, followed by protests, sometimes violent, looting, followed by an investigation to identify and prosecute the guilty parties and sometimes by a study commission to identify the root causes of African American grievances and corrective steps. A Hollywood version will likely appear as a “docudrama” mixing fact, fiction and myth. Nonetheless, there are differences which merit note. At the outset, thanks to the ubiquity of smartphones, there is a powerful video and audio record of the killing of Floyd. This led to an unusual, perhaps unprecedented national consensus that Floyd was murdered. Importantly, unlike many, if not most, police killings, this event did not unfold in a few seconds, but in nearly nine minutes as Floyd pleaded…