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The Spymaster

From the March 2021 Print Edition

Last December, while most of us were watching the presidential election lumber toward its disastrous conclusion, two aged ­representatives of a very different political era died. One of the deceased was David Cornwell, better known as John le Carré, the pen name he used while writing novels set in . . . . Continue Reading »

Lamb to the Slaughter

From the October 2020 Print Edition

George Frazier had a story about the first time he met John O’Hara. The journalist and clotheshorse Frazier was introduced to the novelist O’Hara while hanging out at a Greenwich Village jazz club. The famously cranky O’Hara looked Frazier up and down before inviting him to have a drink. . . . . Continue Reading »

The Losers' Elegist

From the May 2016 Print Edition

Russell Kirk: American Conservativeby bradley j. birzerkentucky, 608 pages, $34.95 Drive up Route 131 from Grand Rapids, veer east of the Manistee National Forest, and you come to the village of Mecosta. This is a tiny hamlet of nineteenth-century settlement, much reduced from its ancient . . . . Continue Reading »

Harvard and the Humanities

From the January 2014 Print Edition

Harvard professors do a bad job of holding on to freshmen. In the last eleven incoming classes, the percentage of aspiring humanists has dropped from 27 to 18 percent, and more than half of that 18 percent who began with the humanities ended up in a different division, mostly social science. Why do . . . . Continue Reading »

Divided We Stand

From the October 2013 Print Edition

The Undivided Past: Humanity Beyond Our Differences? by david cannadine ?knopf, 352 pages, $26.95 The history of the French Revolution would prove that many of the ­revolutionaries were more loyal to their local traditions and authorities than to the ­government in Paris, and in the . . . . Continue Reading »

Rawls: A Partial Defense

From First Thoughts

Ralph presents his case against Rawls below. Although I agree with much of it, I think he goes too far. Here are a few rather disordered suggestions intended less to vindicate Rawls than to complicate the picture: 1. We need to distinguish between Rawls an sich (as it were) and what Ralph describes . . . . Continue Reading »

Of Parties and Populists

From First Thoughts

Over at The American Conservative, Larison uses the NY Times/CBS News poll to argue that the Tea Partiers aren’t populists but rather “base” conservatives . He echoes Peter Beinart, who points out the differences between the Tea Partiers and the followers of William Jennings . . . . Continue Reading »

Dutch Courage

From First Thoughts

A brief item of self-promotion: PoMoCon readers who happen to understand Dutch may be interested in a new volume, Conservatieve Vooruitgang recently published by Prometheus. It’s a greatest-hits tour of 20th century conservative thought, with an emphasis on libertarian, pluralist, and . . . . Continue Reading »

Alphabet City

From First Thoughts

In yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, Norman Podhoretz emerged from semi-retirement to express his approval for Sarah Palin . No, I don’t propose to revisit the Sarah, pro- and con- debate, which will remain sterile and tedious until she actually, like, runs for something (or not). But I . . . . Continue Reading »

A Sprawling Debate

From First Thoughts

In a recent post, Randal O’Toole of the Cato Institute takes on Austin Bramwell’s argument that suburban sprawl is t he result of government planning . How can this be, O’Toole asks, when notorious sprawls like Houston don’t even have a zoning code? Bramwell responds by . . . . Continue Reading »