Pete Spiliakos is a columnist for First Things.

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Crony Capitalism and the Conservative Politics of Resentment

From First Thoughts

Why it is that conservatives (as distinct from libertarians) are seen as “trying to dismantle the welfare state and remove all economic regulations” when this obviously is not the case? So asks Greg Forster. He’s right that this is one of the many lines of attack from the left, but I don’t think that the biggest problem conservatives face is the sense from the public that conservatives want to get rid of the welfare state. I think that the real problem for conservatives is the idea that they are pro-rich and either ignorant or contemptuous of the priorities of the non-rich. Continue Reading »

True Detective and the Problem of Personal Significance

From Web Exclusives

It has been several months since I saw HBO’s first season of True Detective, but something about the series has stuck with me. Detectives Rust Cohle and Marty Hart investigate a series of bizarre ritualistic killings, but to be honest, I didn’t care much about that. What stuck with me was Rust’s pain and, even more, Marty’s domestic failures. Each man tries to explain and explain away his actions, but neither man is able to live according to his professed philosophy. Both men talk about and talk around the burden of living as beings that matter in a world of other beings that matter. Continue Reading »

Losing By Default

From First Thoughts

Great article by Sabrina Schaeffer in Forbes.  The most important lines are:A central tenet of political behavior research is that public opinion can be massively influenced by elite discourse, especially if elite opinion is all coming from one side . . . huge shift in opinion, across the . . . . Continue Reading »

Obama the Sweet-Smelling Flower

From First Thoughts

Our Forfare Davis has written about the disappointment of some who expected President Obama and his team to keep their distance from the lobbying and influence peddling culture of Washington. I’m not sure why anyone expected different or better. Obama accommodated himself to . . . . Continue Reading »

Beat the Establishment

From Web Exclusives

The divorce papers of Democratic lobbyist super couple Tony and Heather Podesta show that for a certain class of people government is not a public service or a field for settling partisan disagreements so much as an opportunity for self promotion: “As a married couple who both lobbied they . . . . Continue Reading »

Thoughts On Jeb

From First Thoughts

I don’t think Jeb Bush’s position on immigration is fatal to his chances of winning the 2016 Republican nomination for all the reasons Ramesh Ponnuru describes and several others besides. Bush’s support for a combination of policies that include legalization before effective . . . . Continue Reading »