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Joseph Bottum is the former editor of First Things.

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The Conservatives’ Spiritual Leader?

From First Thoughts

David Brooks writes today that “Mitch Daniels, the governor of Indiana who I think is most likely to win the G.O.P. presidential nomination in 2012, is the spiritual leader” of the new wave of conservative Republican candidates. Policy leader, maybe, although I prefer Bobby Jindal. Or . . . . Continue Reading »


From First Thoughts

As you probably know, First Things has a long-standing fascination with names and namings, and we write every year about the Census Bureau’s report on the year’s names for babies. Half our readers love it. Of course, the other half are utterly indifferent when they’re not openly . . . . Continue Reading »

Holy War Over Ground Zero

From the October 2010 Print Edition

There, the sign that says “Sharia,” the hand-drawn letters dribbling down in streaks as though they were bleeding. And there, another sign”this one reading “No Mosque at Ground Zero” in patriotic red, white, and blue. And there, the off-duty policemen come to join in, and there, the . . . . Continue Reading »

Joseph Sobran, 1946–2010

From First Thoughts

Joe Sobran has slipped away, dying at age sixty-four . What can one say? He was a polymath, a genius, and a sometimes brilliant writer of enormous speed and fluidity. And he drove himself nearly mad, embracing conspiracy theories and the crankiest of ways to reject consensus—from the . . . . Continue Reading »

Winning Cheap?

From First Thoughts

It’s mathematically possible to win the presidency of the entire country handily in the electoral college with around 11 percent of the popular vote. Can that be correct? I took the state results from the 2008 presidential election and calculated the cheapest electoral votes (the least number, . . . . Continue Reading »

An Apology for Guenter Lewy

From First Thoughts

Back in 2005, the now-emeritus scholar Guenter Lewy published The Armenian Massacres in Ottoman Turkey: A Disputed Genocide , a book that argued that there wasn’t much evidence that the massacre of Armenians during World War I was caused by a deliberate Turkish plan to destroy the Armenian . . . . Continue Reading »

Disdain Fuels Those Who Feel Disdained

From First Thoughts

Does the Tea Party spell danger for the Republican party’s future? An interesting, if not quite persuasive, column by Stanley Fish: “this, I think, is the wrong conclusion and shows how far progressives will go to avoid looking directly at a phenomenon they have trouble believing . . . . Continue Reading »


From First Thoughts

On Friday, Joe Carter mentioned a survey of the 50 Most Extraordinary Churches of the World . It’s an interesting walk through some great and some curious architecture. Note, however, this quoted description of Number 48, the Third Church of Christ, Scientist , in Washington, D.C.: This . . . . Continue Reading »