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Joseph Bottum is the former editor of First Things.

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The Marxist Dalai Lama

From First Thoughts

The Dalai Lama says , “Still I am a Marxist,” on his arrival in New York. It’s true that “Millions of people’s living standards improved” in China because of capitalism, but Marxism has “moral ethics, whereas capitalism is only how to make profits.” . . . . Continue Reading »

A Better Question

From First Thoughts

The advice columnist at Salon receives a letter from a woman worried about her father’s conservatism: This is not the man I grew up with. I think he fears a future he cannot control, and longs for a past that never existed. He is responding to this existential crisis with fear, anger and . . . . Continue Reading »

Breaking News from the PR Department

From First Thoughts

From my inbox, a press release about a new book, in which “Author discusses science, psychology and spiritual enlightenment.” And why not? “Imagine what your life would be like without fear. Imagine living a life filled with love, peace and understanding.” Who could object? . . . . Continue Reading »

Joining the Ghosts

From First Thoughts

Arlen Specter slips away , defeated yesterday in his attempt to gain the Democratic nomination for what would have been a sixth term in the Senate. We could speak here of his failures and his oddities, his political life from the Warren Commission, to the Bork and Thomas confirmation hearings, and . . . . Continue Reading »

The End of Wealth

From First Thoughts

An interesting post from Felix Salmon, in which he writes : an entire generation of Americans started working and saving and buying a house in the early 1970s—and millions of them hit the trifecta, becoming successful in their careers even as their stocks rose and the value of their . . . . Continue Reading »

Imploded or Exploded?

From First Thoughts

Dissent reviews three recent books on the fall of communism. Nothing new, for even casual students of the history, but along the way, the reviewer describes the argument in the books by David Priestland and Archie Brown: The fall of communism, in Russia and Eastern Europe, preoccupies Priestland . . . . Continue Reading »

Heard It Through the Grapevine

From First Thoughts

It’s hard not to mention Michael Kinsley’s column on “Sex Lives of Supreme Court Justices,” in which the former editor wrote: Now that the sex lives of Supreme Court justices have become grist for commentators, we are finally free to discuss a question formerly only . . . . Continue Reading »

Among the Attorneys General

From First Thoughts

In January, when Beau Biden announced that he would not run for Congress, I made an offhand comment about the interestingly large number of reports on Democratic attorneys general around the nation who were not seeking higher office. Our executive editor Dave Blum reminded me of that comment . . . . Continue Reading »