The Perils of Religious Liberty

On January 24, 1774, the young James Madison, twenty-two years old and two years out of Princeton, wrote an exasperated letter to his college friend William Bradford, who lived in Pennsylvania. In Virginia, Madison wrote, a season of intolerance had dawned. “That diabolical, hell-conceived . . . . Continue Reading »

Between Arrogance and Despair

The politics of 2015 reflect the differing moods of liberals and conservatives. Liberals are frustrated at the moment, but are ever more confident in their ultimate victory. Conservatives are even more frustrated, and they suspect that they are going to lose no matter what. It does not have to be . . . . Continue Reading »

Waiting for Superwoman

Carly Fiorina's fierce and passionate attack on Planned Parenthood's fetal organ harvesting operation has gotten praise from conservatives and bitter attacks from liberals. In the process, it has demonstrated all too well conservatism's weak position in popular culture. Given present circumstances, . . . . Continue Reading »

What Have We Learned From the Iraq War?

Knowing what we know now,” would you have invaded Iraq? Jeb Bush stumbled over this question. His answer focused on whether Saddam Hussein's regime had active programs for weapons of mass destruction. But the mistakes relating to WMDs are neither the only, nor the most currently relevant, of the . . . . Continue Reading »

What the White House's Opposition to “Conversion Therapy” Means

In early April, the Obama administration responded to an online petition calling for a “Leelah’s Law” that would ban “conversion” therapies. The petition, launched in response to the suicide of a child born a boy and given the name Joshua Ryan Alcorn who felt himself to be a girl and called himself Leelah, conflated therapeutic practices aimed at treating gender dysphoria and those aimed at sexual orientation change. In response to the petition, the White House added its voice to a growing chorus of opposition to such therapies while doing little to clarify the petition’s confusion: “We share your concern about its potentially devastating effects on the lives of transgender as well as gay, lesbian, bisexual and queer youth,” wrote Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser to Obama. “As part of our dedication to protecting America’s youth, this administration supports efforts to ban the use of conversion therapy for minors.” Continue Reading »

Incoherence, Petulance, and Obama's Middle East Policy

The Obama administration's Middle East policy is becoming something worse than a failure. It is turning into a combination of ideological tics and irritable gestures even as the worst actors gain power.Ross Douthat argues that the Obama administration is shifting the U.S.’s foreign policy strategy from a Pax Americana model (where the U.S. uses military force to impose order) to one of offshore balancing (where the U.S. strategically sides with one local power or another while keeping U.S. commitments to a minimum). If only that were what the United States was doing. A thoughtful policy of offshore balancing would be a dramatic improvement over policies that Obama is pursuing. Continue Reading »