Previous Articles

  • Worth Reading February 28, 2020 February 27, 2022 by webadminpcw - We have been fascinated by the range of views as to why Putin invaded Ukraine and allied issues of the last week or two and what the interest of the U.S. really is.  There are many sources of actual news and facts available.  Indeed, much to our surprise, for the last week the most reliable source of straight news facts seems to have been CNN.  Once they have to deal with actual facts around the world, and are not selling domestic political propaganda, they have a fine network of reporters, especially inside of Ukraine.  Sadly, this is not true of MSNBC, which chose long ago to get off the rails, but which chooses to remain off the rails even as Ukraine is threatened with extinction. MSNBC still Nuts.  It is also remarkable that in the space of just two days we have seen President Zelensky emerge as a worldwide hero, and the leader of the country of brave men and women, young and old, willing to take up arms and die for their country.  One hopes that such people exist in this country and that the events in Ukraine may focus American minds, especially young people, on the proposition that freedom and liberty are far more important than…
  • Worth Reading February 15, 2022 February 14, 2022 by webadminpcw - JDQB finds it is more than a little bit alarming that the infrastructure legislation has turned into a union cornucopia.  President Biden last week signed an executive order making federal construction contracts greater than $35 million subject to project labor agreements, or PLA’s, thereby discriminating against construction firms who employ the more than 85% of US construction workers who have chosen not to join a union, and thus limiting many of the benefits of the infrastructure giveaway to the 13% of construction workers who are unionized. See WSJ story. On the subject of education, JDQB  recommends this immensely thoughtful (and hence depressing) article from Commentary by Robert Pondisco on The Unbearable Bleakness of American Schooling.  He also finds trenchant Matt Taibbi’s comparison of Justin Trudeau and others to Romanian General Secretary Nicolae Ceauşescu, who, along with his wife, was shot by Romanian citizens shortly after the end of the Cold War because they had no clue that the world had suddenly changed and their day was over. The article is well worth the effort. If this paragraph does not tweak your interest, nothing will: There may be no real-world comparison between a blood-soaked monster like Ceaușescu and a bumbling ball-scratcher like Joe Biden, or an honorarium-gobbling…
  • Thinking About Things: Ruminations on the Need for Universal National Service February 14, 2022 by John DeQ. Briggs - John DeQ. Briggs Since the inception of this 21st-century, our citizenry has seemingly become acclimated to asking not what they can do for their country but demanding that their country do increasingly more for them.  This situation has been accompanied by a steady and increasing national divisiveness.  Some of this is political; some is social; some is economic; all of it is increasingly extreme.  This is not a uniquely American problem, although it seems to be a problem uniquely infecting the liberal Western democracies.  During the summer of 2020, German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer asked:  “What keeps our society together?  What is the mortar in our society?  At the moment, the answer is not very much.”  In this country, the answer is probably more like: “Almost nothing.”  And really, since the end of the Vietnam war, the United States has required very little of its citizens beyond the payment of federal and state income taxes (which are paid by roughly only half of the citizenry), sales taxes, property taxes, and Social Security taxes, and also jury duty for those few who do not wriggle out of it one way or another.  And even on the tax side, there has developed a very loud hue and cry for “the rich” to…
  • Worth Reading January 27, 2022 January 27, 2022 by webadminpcw - For a disturbing analysis consistent with the direction that Pecknold and others see America heading, WDM recommends this article on attitudes of those under-30 on free speech.  The high percentage of this generation that does not value free speech, reflecting one part of what they were taught by the transgressive left that has skillfully taken over education, underlines that delay in countering this influence means ultimate defeat. To bring up a recent victory over the forces of progressivism, Chris Rufo tweeted this First Amendment defense of Virginia Gov. Youngkin’s Executive Order on CRT. Even though he characterizes most Republicans as “bat-shit, crazy, ignorant fools,”, John McWhorter, author of Woke Racism, agrees that woke racism has become a religion with Ta-Nehisi Coates and Ibram X. Kendi as its priests.  For the record, those two despise McWhorter. On the subject of Ukraine, JDQB and MPD recommend this assessment of the stakes involved. In addition to insightful historical context and analysis, the article reveals a correlation between multiple crises and incompetent Presidents – is there some cause and effect here or just very bad luck?  WDM recommends another recent article suggesting possible resolutions that could avoid war and strengthen NATO.  It seems more realistic and factual than the endless name-calling of “war-mongering Neo-Cons” versus “traitors and appeasers.”
  • Replacing the Religion of Progressivism January 26, 2022 by W. David Montgomery - By W. David Montgomery January 25, 2022 I start with an apology for my delay in publishing this issue.  This article is about one of the most interesting essays on the relation between religion and public life that I have read in many years.  It was written by Professor C. C. Pecknold of Catholic University, under whom I was privileged to study several years ago.  After reflecting on Professor Pecknold’s essay for a while, I threw away the article I had been writing and started over.  My plan is to summarize Pecknold’s argument while adding my own commentary on its relevance.  My hope is to introduce you to his work and that of his friends Adrian Vermeule (Harvard Law), Patrick Deneen (Notre Dame Law), and Gladden Pappin (University of Dallas), some of which is found here.  I hope you will be attracted by their thinking about conservatism and hope for America. They also make great comments on Twitter. I hope I will be forgiven for summarizing his (their) thesis in one paragraph. The idea that church and state must be separate is an illusion.  All societies have been linked together by some religion; the new state religion in the Western world is wokeism, for lack of a…
  • Russia, NATO and Us: Will our search for a European security order end in war? January 10, 2022 by Guest Author - By Wolfgang Ischinger Editor Matt Daley recommends this as the best short background to the current face off on Ukraine.  It also charts a reasonable path forward.  It was originally presented at the Munich Security Conference, December 31, 2021. The year is 1993/94. Poland, Hungary, and other former member states of the Warsaw Pact are pushing for NATO membership, German Defense Minister Volker Rühe is promoting this, and the U.S. would rather avoid NATO enlargement because of possible ratification issues in the Senate. Chancellor Kohl is skeptical and decides to discuss the matter personally with Boris Yeltsin. The result: Moscow is absolutely not enthusiastic, but would accept the admission of new members if, in parallel, the Russia-NATO relationship will be put on a fundamentally new, more cooperative basis. It was precisely along these lines that the alliance then negotiated the “NATO-Russia Founding Act” with Russia, starting in 1996. Two core elements: on the one hand, the admission of new members, albeit with considerable restrictions, for example on NATO troop deployments as well as on the stationing of nuclear weapons, and on the other hand, the creation of a consultative body that later became known as the “NATO-Russia Council”. The Founding…
  • Worth Reading for January 11, 2022 January 10, 2022 by webadminpcw - JDQB  likes the Commentary podcast on Bad Prosecutors, which echoes pieces of the main article.   He is also pretty shocked by the extraordinary partisanship of Merrick Garland as Attorney General, which he suspects might be a form of payback to the conservatives for their refusal to vote on his nomination to the Supreme Court so many years ago. See the December 9 Wall St. Journal  article. Finally, he does not know whether to laugh or cry at the Elizabeth Warren OpEd piece declaring that the Supreme Court now “threatens the foundation of our nation” and hence must be destroyed by packing it with enough compliant justices to overcome the current 6-3 split. This is a variation on an expression that famously helped to end the Vietnam War.  When the Pentagon announced that it was necessary to destroy certain villages to save them, their credibility began a steep decline and a loss of confidence in the military increased greatly.  Sen. Warren may meet a similar fate.  On the subject of the Pelosi-run hearings into the events of January 6, Matt Taibbi has written a brilliant piece (also narrated) with a sharp and acerbic pen to condemn the authoritarian designs of the left and critique the more comic authoritarian instincts of Mr Trump, while…
  • Thinking About Things: Societal Respect for The Rule of Law is in Trouble January 10, 2022 by John DeQ. Briggs - John DeQ. Briggs January 10, 2022 Many of our political leaders, and even more of our voting citizens, have not just lost respect for the rule of law as we have known it for centuries, but they seem committed to opposing it, even as it has proved robust in jury rooms and courthouses.   This has become increasingly evident since the summer of 2020, although the attitudinal seeds for this development were sown some time ago.  It is the reaping of these seeds that has become so obvious over the past two years.  Worse yet, the machinery of social media, coupled with intimidating social intolerance on all sides, makes it difficult to imagine the circumstance getting better before it gets worse.  The solution, if there is one, probably lies in major political change, perhaps procedural, that empowers the center and disempowers both the hard left (Progressives and their fellow travelers) and the hard right (Trumpists and their fellow travelers. The Situation.  I will refer in this article to some examples of the societal, and often political, distaste for and disparagement of the rule of law and the embrace of more situationally convenient rules.  These are by no means intended to be exclusive, but rather more…
  • Worth Reading December 14, 2021 December 13, 2021 by webadminpcw - JDQB recommends a deep article by Patrick Deneen of Notre Dame on how the left has changed from the optimistic pursuit of heaven on earth to a pessimistic conviction that nothing has gotten better or ever will because of irremediable racism and oppression.  Naturally, the Advent season is when we anticipate the remedy. We (the editors) have largely steered away from the moral issue of abortion, not because of lack of strongly held views but to stay out of a debate to which we did not feel able to make a unique contribution.  Now the possibility of a decision to overturn Roe vs Wade will make abortion a front and center debate until it is rendered next year, so it is time to jump into the discussion of at least its legal and political consequences.  The New York Sun gives a start WDM likes, and it is along the lines of JDQB’s recent column on secession. Then there is the point, made by a Loyola University Law professor, that no matter what Justice Sotomayor may think, objection to abortion is not only based on religious grounds. Now to a few new examples of how news that conflicts with the woke world view does not appear. WDM recommends…
  • US-China Competition: Nature, Sources, and Prospects December 13, 2021 by Guest Author - By Bilahari Kausikan December 14, 2021 It is privilege to publish, with permission, this guest lecture given by Secretary Kausikan at the Graduate School of Public Policy at the University of Tokyo on 26th November 2021. I was asked to speak about ASEAN views of US-China relations. Southeast Asia is an extremely diverse region. I do not pretend to represent the views of the ten very different countries that make up ASEAN. Mine is a view from Singapore – and please note that I said ‘a’ Singapore view not ‘the’ Singapore view.  I am going to deal with three aspects of US-China relations: the nature of their competition, the sources of their competition, and the probable outcome of their competition.  It is obvious that US-China competition is now in a new phase. Since 1972 when China and the US reestablished contact after the communist victory in 1949, until around 2010, there had been periodic disagreements and tense episodes, particularly over Taiwan and human rights issues, but the overall emphasis was on engagement. Even the Tiananmen massacre in 1989 did not permanently derail engagement. But now the emphasis has flipped around. Engagement will not entirely cease, but the overall emphasis is now on…