Editor & Publisher of the St. Croix Review.
Our Mission Is to Reawaken the Genuine American Spirit . . .
Barry MacDonald — Editorial
The Vietnam War was a turning point in American history after which it became fashionable to be unpatriotic. Today the Left has almost succeeded in aligning patriotism with racism and bigotry.
For most of our history Americans looked up to symbols of national greatness. Achievements like the Berlin Airlift, the Marshall Plan, the landing on the moon, were sources of pride. The Hoover Dam, the Empire State Building, and the California Aqueduct were national monuments just as much as the Washington Monument, the Jefferson Memorial, and Mount Rushmore.
Evel Knievel was self-destructive, reckless, boastful, and garish, but he was also uniquely courageous in a way that evoked American heroism. Americans admired him as they might have admired the daring of the frontiersmen of the 19th century. He was wild, undaunted, and uncontrollable. Evel Knievel today would be disparaged for his “toxic masculinity” and his “whiteness.”
Perhaps Donald Trump trumps exhibits a bit of Evel Knievel’s allure.
What does a nation look like once its self-confidence and pride is lost? Once the ideal of American goodness has been trashed, what remains of its morale, and where do we find a sense of civic virtue?
Our university campuses are beginning to look like Maoist schools of fanaticism, where deviation from leftist orthodoxy is put down with violence.
America’s genius at Google, Facebook, and Twitter is allied with leftist ideology and is censoring conservative opinion. The technological magic that is doing so much in freeing people from drudgery is also being used for political advantage.
The most powerful bureaucracies in Washington D.C. — the IRS, the Justice Department, the FBI, the NSA, and the State Department — are behaving as if they are accountable to no one. They are secretive. They stonewall congressional oversight. Attorney General Eric Holder was held in Contempt of Congress to no avail.
There are questions whether the Justice Department, the FBI, and the NSA were used by the Obama Administration to spy on the Trump campaign, and after the election, to undermine the legitimacy of the Trump Administration. If the Justice Department has been turned into a political weapon, whom can we trust to uphold Justice?
The Attorney General of California, Xavier Becerra, recently threatened that if California businesses follow federal immigration law they would be prosecuted. It has been reported that the California government will give illegal immigrants drivers’ licenses, and at the same time, register them to vote.
California is rebelling against the laws of the United States. If there is an election in California in which illegal immigrants vote — as a result of California’s rebellion — then the representatives and senators from California should not be seated in Congress, and all the votes of Californians for the presidency should be thrown out.
It is important to understand what motivates the Left. As David Horowitz writes — the issue is not the issue. The Left is always aiming for a goal beyond any transitory issue. The furious energy and accusatory rhetoric of the Left is always seeking to destroy what is. The Left is a battering ram. The goal of the Left is revolution.
The Left does not really care about gay or transgender people. The Left is using gay and transgender people as tools to destroy the traditional family, because a healthy American family is a powerful transmitter of traditional American values.
Abortion is being used, in part, as a tool to minimize the traditional role of fatherhood. If only the mother may choose whether to have an abortion, then the father’s responsibility in raising children is diminished. Men need to be civilized by assuming the responsibilities of fatherhood. If men don’t become reliable husbands and fathers they lose an important part of their humanity.
Also, the Left does not really care about the impoverished people migrating to America. They pretend to be warriors for social justice, but in truth the Left needs a new base of dependant and reliable voters to replace the working class voters they have betrayed with their radical ideology.
The great apostle of Leftism, Saul Alinsky, wrote in Rules for Radicals, that his mission was to take power from the powerful and give it to the powerless. And when those who were previously powerless are comfortable and privileged, Alinsky’s enduring mission remained — to bring them down in turn. There is never an end to the revolution.
How do we combat the Left? Where is America’s strength? It is in the rule of law, and in impartial justice. It is in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. It is in our federal system of government, balanced with states’ rights. It is in the separation of powers. It is in the careful assimilation of immigrants. It is in the preservation of the free market, giving opportunity for enterprise and individual initiative. It is in healthy American families. And most of all, it is in our belief in God. *
The following is a summary of the February/March 2018 issue of The St. Croix Review:
Barry MacDonald, in “Endless Revolution,” exposes the evil nature of Left, and he points to the enduring strength of America.
Allan C. Brownfeld, in “The Deaths in the Washington Train Crash: Was Corporate Money in Politics the Real Culprit?” shows that campaign donations are more important than public safety to some politicians and he names the politicians involved; in “Ken Burns’ Vietnam — and the Vietnam War I Remember,” he relates how the Vietnam War taught him to embrace skepticism and constitutional safeguards; in “Constant Combat Without a Congressional Resolution — Not What the Constitution Had in Mind,” he makes a neglected conservative argument that the power to declare war properly belongs to Congress.
Herbert London, in “Trump’s National Security Strategy Shows He Is Willing to Champion American Values Around the World,” writes that President Trump’s sees China and Russia as disruptive and rival forces to the U.S., but they are not necessarily enemies; in “Congress Is Finally Pulling Funding from Palestinian ‘Pay-to-Slay’” he describes a bill in Congress that reduces funding for Palestinians until Palestinian officials stop subsidizing terrorist killings; in “Putin Seeks to Drive a Wedge Between the U.S. and Egypt,” he sees the Russians gaining influence in Egypt due to uncertain American commitment.
Mark Hendrickson, in “President Trump: His First-Year Economic Record,” gives the President a B-plus; in “The Three Most Economically Significant Stories of 2017,” he demonstrates the humanity of a society based on choice and the free market, and he points out the brutality of socialist economics; in “The Cynical, Perhaps Sinister, Side of Bitcoin,” he applies common sense, and a trained economic perspective, to the buying and selling of Bitcoin.
Paul Kengor, in “Winston Churchill’s Darkest Hour,” reviews the recent movie and a pivotal point in history.
Michael S. Swisher, in “Do Cuts in Tax Rates Cause Deficits?” looks at rates of federal taxation, deficits, and spending; in “Is Trump Really a Protectionist?” he shows how Trump is using leverage to America’s benefit; in “New York Still Above Water!” he examines the art of “apocalyptic prophecy.”
Philip Vander Elst, in “The Communist Holocaust and Its Lessons for the 21st Century,” reveals the hideous nature and the monstrous crimes of Communism.
David S. Hogsette, in “Thoughtful and Sincere Critiques of the Nashville Statement: Honoring God or Fearing Man?” comments on The Nashville Statement, which is a new doctrinal statement composed by a coalition of Christians on the subject of human sexuality.
David Hein, in “Frederic Manning’s Her Privates We: a Mystery of the Great War,” reviews a classic novel of the First World War.
Ray Sinneck, in “Racy Times at the University,” offers a facinorous perspective on current events at American universities.
Jigs Gardner, in “Letters from a Conservative Farmer: Thanksgiving Reflections,” considers the passing generations in America.
Jigs Gardner, in “Writers for Conservatives, 69: The Battle for Japan, 1944-45,” reviews a comprehensive and masterful history of the Asian half of World War II, written by Max Hastings.
The following is a summary of the December 2017 issue of the St. Croix Review:
Angus MacDonald, who founded the St. Croix Review in 1968, fifty years ago, in “Under God,” offers a simple message.
Allan C. Brownfeld, in “Christ Church Turns Away from George Washington — and American History,” comments on the decision of Christ Church to remove plaques honoring George Washington and Robert E. Lee; in “It Is an Appropriate Time to Review Race-based Affirmative Action Programs and Return to the Goal of a Color-blind Society,” writes about university admissions policies; in “An Inspiring Memoir: Kate Mahoney Is with Us Today Because of a (Vatican Decreed) Miracle,” tells an inspiring story.
Mark W. Hendrickson in “The NFL’s National Anthem Fiasco,” considers the roles played by the players, the owners, the commissioner, President Trump, and the media and he offers a simple solution.
Paul Kengor, in “Forgotten Conservative: Remembering George Schuyler,” celebrates the memory of a stalwart anti-communist newspaper columnist in the middle of the 20th century who happened to be black; in “Birthday of a Bloodbath,” he tallies the murders Communist butchers perpetrated on the 100-year anniversary of Communism; in “New York Times: Communism ‘Made Life Better’ for Chinese Women,” he points out that Communist China has 20 percent of the world’s women and over 50 percent of world’s female suicides.
Herbert London, in “Radicalism Challenges American Tradition,” describes an alliance between Islamists and Marxists in an attempt overthrow constitutional America; in “The Really Big Threat,” he believes America, Europe, and Western heritage are imperiled by low birthrates and massive immigration; in “Putin Seeks to Drive a Wedge Between the U.S. and Egypt,” he see the Russians gaining influence in Egypt due to uncertain American commitment; in “Withdraw from the Nuclear Deal Now,” he makes the case the nuclear deal with Iran is not a deterrent and is not in U.S. interests; in “The Emerging New World,” he describes a dark revolutionary force rising in America.
Frank Boreham, a columnist for Melbourne Age from 1936 to 1959, wrote “The Logic of Laughter.” Frank Boreham was an inspiration to Angus MacDonald when Angus was a young man living in Australia. This essay was published in The St. Croix Review, in June, 2001.
Anthony Harrigan, in “The Changing Human Landscape,” reminds us of how much we each depend on each other for stability and peace of mind.
Thomas Martin, in “The Curse of ‘Culture’” castigates pop-theology, and reminds us that the human soul has a built-in capacity for growth.
Harlow A. Hyde, in “The Slow Suicide of Western Civilization,” uses demographic trends as a warning for Western nation of the consequences of falling rates of births.
Jigs Gardner, in “Letters from a Conservative Farmer: Landscapes of My Past,” writes about the impact of seeing cultivated fields reverting to wilderness.
Jigs Gardner, in “Writers for Conservatives, 68: Ernest Thompson Seton (1860-1946),” presents a storyteller with flair of making readers care about personalities of animals, such as a wolf a crow, a rabbit, a fox, a mustang, and a partridge.
Galveston — 1900
Galvestonians had no warning of
The hurricane howling and impending
And six thousand were lost on Sunday night
And debris covered the ground three miles long
And two stories high while the bodies of
The missing were swept out to sea but the
Survivors were left with the question of
Staying or abandoning the island
Fleeing the sticky sweltering summers
Saying good riddance to the mosquitoes
And mostly who would abide in a place
Where God had swept with a mighty hand and
Destroyed years of careful habitation
And they decided somehow to rebuild.
couldn’t be done
because their roots
had taken hold.
Logs of yellow pine from Beaumont Texas
Were driven through the sand forty feet down
Into the clay — and concrete composed of
Crushed granite was layered over as a
Foundation reinforced with steel rods — and
Before the seawall was built giant blocks
Of granite from central Texas were placed
On an apron as a buffer from the
Bay — and granite of diverse sizes made
A riprap breakwater extending out
Twenty-seven feet — and a concave wall
Was raised in sections with the curve facing
The water — and a tongue and groove system
Connected pieces allowing movement.
asserted a wall
seventeen feet tall
above a low tide
against coming storms.
The Galvestonians determined that
Five hundred square blocks of the city had
To be raised seventeen feet so they dug
A canal behind the seawall for the
Dredge boats from Germany and they lifted
Two thousand buildings onto stilts and the
Boats scooped the fill from the bay and by means
Of capacious pipes a mix of water
And sand was pumped into place while the pipes
Were continuously repositioned
And people moved about on hoisted
Boardwalks and by street cars running on rails
That were doggedly reconfigured and
Finally Galvestonians were done.
The engines of the
dredge boats pumped mostly water
but grain by grain of
sand settled in place until
the town was elevated.
St. Patrick’s Catholic Church had the panache
Of a European cathedral — a
Stone structure of monumental heft with
A tower and stained glass windows — that had
To be raised so the Galvestonians
Employed one hundred laborers who turned
Seven hundred jackscrews one half inch at
A time and over thirty-five days they
Raised the church five feet and poured a concrete
Foundation and the feat was accomplished
Without cracking the walls while services
Continued without an interruption
Showing that faith and ingenuity
Can in deed move a mountain of limestone.
Believed the deed
Could be done but
Some had to be
Electricity was coming and they
Used steam engines for dredging but they lacked
The accumulated industrial
Might that prepares people today to raise
Towers in the sky so they relied on
And faith in rebuilding Galveston not
So differently from the Egyptians who
Generated the pyramids — and in
1915 a hurricane stronger
Than that of 1900 assaulted
The island and inflicted terrible
Damage but only six people were lost
And the Galvestonians persevered.
and quite human
to put down roots
on a sand island
exposed to hurricanes.
Total Solar Eclipse
Even though the differences in size and
The distances involved are understood
And the force of gravity propelling
The moon and earth about each other and
Around the sun is accurately known
And even though we know nowhere else in
The solar system do the orbs align
So much like hand and glove for the moon to
So exactly block the sun in passing
With just a rim of light escaping — the
Miracle is that waves of photons flow
In space into the biology of
The eye and somehow sight and consciousness
Come together and comprehend the facts.
For me seeing the
sunlight passing through
cottonwood leaves and
making me happy
is a miracle.
Who could blame Mr. Bean for snoozing in
His folding chair while he was alone in
An empty museum in uniform
As a security guard puffing with
His lips fluttering and then his back slipped
Down the metal chair and he almost slid
Out of the chair while his mouth was open
And then he bent forward with his chest just
About touching his knees and he wavered
On the edge of the chair on the verge of
Collapse but he found a precarious
Point of balance and then he snorted and
Startled and rose back into the chair with
His arms dangling and he was still asleep.
Mr. Bean was
a human noodle
who gave himself to
to make people laugh.
Mom found it in an envelope box while
Dusting bookshelves and I saw spots of age
On the cover as she hesitated
Because I can be cranky but this was
Dad’s doctoral dissertation that he
Came to American to write as he
Wanted an education and in these
Pages remain his youthful pursuit of
A rational basis for faith and we
Knew the millennia of scholarship
The culmination of effort these typed
Words are as he tried so hard to be a
Messenger of wisdom and a leader
For people who were trying to be good.
Mom is a faithful
guardian of each issue
of fifty years of
publishing a journal that
Dad and I did together.
Photons are invisible scientists
Say and the brain exists in darkness yet
Somehow energy is flowing in the
Eyes the nerve cells the synapses and the
Visual cortex and somehow sunlight
And starlight reveal the vastness of the
Universe and the speed of light and space
Time has been calculated but there is
No explanation for how I have a mind
That sees and comprehends the miracle
Of my mother’s motherly concern for
Her gladioli and geraniums
And chrysanthemums that expresses a
Nurturance underlying everything.
until it bumps against its
devolves to geraniums
Cave art in France from seventeen thousand
Years ago is pregnant with hints as the
Bison horses and lions together
Are believed to be on the plains and the
Bulls horses deer and bears are supposed to
Be in forest and there is an ibex
A rhinoceros a feline apart
And artists used scaffolding to reach the
Ceilings and they prized yellow red and black
And they swabbed and blotted and sprayed with a
Tube and even as we stand where they stood
Their language is dissipated but were
They moved to create by desire and
Pride by their dreaming or perhaps pleasure?
Fire in the cave
Carbon dating the tools pointed to the
Paleolithic era but the age
Of the art can not be determined and
Animals predominate but trees and
Grass aren’t depicted and we’ve given names
To the Nave the Apse the Hall of Bulls and
The Chamber of Felines but we don’t know
The words they spoke but the bulls and bison
Are stamping the horses’ hooves are pounding
An archer is thrusting a knee forward
Confronting a line of deer charging and
The life presented bespeaks a throbbing
Heart and surging blood but their manner of
Greeting and courtesy have disappeared.
Light and breath coming
with tourists introduced
fungus and black mold
so scientists are striving
to contain the corruption.
Our Mission Is to Reawaken the Genuine American Spirit . . .
Perspective and Motivation
Barry MacDonald — Editorial
The first issue of The St. Croix Review was published in February, 1968. My father, Angus MacDonald, propelled the course of this journal with fierce energy and determination. As an immigrant from Australia he fell in love with American liberty and believed in the promise of America: that he could become anything he wanted in his adopted homeland by dint of self-propulsion.
He often praised his professors at Columbia University, where he studied in the 1950s to earn a Ph.D. in Philosophy. Being young and earnest, he looked askance at St. Augustine of Hippo because as a young man St. Augustine was dissolute with women and Angus thought when he turned to Christ Augustine infused his Christian faith with too much lusty passion. Angus was upbraided by his professors and directed to reconsider his attitude: Angus said his Jewish professors led him to a better understanding of the Christian Saint.
In describing his studies at Columbia he said his professors never discussed their personal political beliefs. They always confined themselves to presenting their subjects, like St. Augustine or Thomas Aquinas, as well as they could within the context of their times. The professors at Columbia University had no political agendas to advance and wanted to be truthful — how different American universities are today!
Two essays in this issue capture Angus MacDonald’s guiding passions. Angus was a Christian minister for twenty years and he wanted to lead people to contented lives through faith in Christ, and through the practice of decency and purposefulness.
Angus opposed the sentimentality and falsehoods of leftwing politics and he was impatient with authority that wasn’t based in rationality — what he called common sense. Angus was repelled by the rise in the 1960s of an aggressive, revolutionary, and totalitarian, leftwing movement. He founded The St. Croix Review in opposition to the Left.
It may be helpful to recall what was happening in the 1960s. The Watts riots occurred in 1965 in Los Angeles, from August 11 to 16. There were 3,438 arrests, 1,032 injuries, and 34 deaths. The Detroit riots happened in 1967 from July 23 to 28. Eight thousand National Guard troops were summoned along with 4,700 paratroopers. There was looting, arson, and sniper fire. One hundred square blocks were burned. Seven thousand people were arrested, 1,189 were injured and 43 people died.
During the 1968 summer Olympics in Mexico City, African-Americans Tommie Smith and John Carlos won the 200 hundred meter sprints. During the medal ceremony, while the American national anthem was played, they raised their gloved fists in a Black Power salute.
In December 1965, in Time magazine, Milton Friedman wrote “. . . we are all Keynesians now . . .” when describing the “War on Poverty” and the tax and spend policies of economist John Maynard Keynes and President Lyndon Johnson. In 1971 Republican President Richard Nixon was quoted as saying “I am now a Keynesian” when he took America off the gold standard.
Richard Nixon, a Republican, who was not a conservative, founded the Environmental Protection Agency in 1970, giving the growth of bureaucratic power a tremendous boost.
There has been a lot of ruination in America since the rise of the Left in 1968. The continuing protests of the national anthem by NFL players over racial tension shows how shop-worn the Left’s techniques are. The news people, the Democrats, and movies stars are becoming increasingly tiresome in their condemnations of America. And the quietude and timidity of the national Republican Party in defense of American heritage is glaring.
I find hope in hearing the thundering boos of fans when the entire team of the Dallas Cowboys decided to take a knee before the playing of national anthem: it shows the paying customer will not tolerate continuing disrespect for America.
I believe the marketplace of political ideals will reward optimism and a “can-do” spirit, because the grievance politics of the Left is badly corroded. Even though the cries of condemnation of America seem to be reaching a crescendo, the bankruptcy of leftist policies over fifty years is on display.
The Left relies on hate and accusation to motivate people. I believe the time is ripe for politicians who inspire with optimism and visions of prosperity, as Donald Trump is doing. Ordinary Americans want to be successful, and we are tired of the negativity of the Left.
Patriotic American are faced the task of replacing many unmotivated and self-interested Republican congressmen and senators. There is a need for a continuing education of the American people in free-market economics and American heritage. The mission of The St. Croix Review is to reawaken the genuine American spirit of living in a good, great, and growing nation as free individuals.
It takes a streak of independence to maintain that America is a good and great nation, and that we have prosperous days ahead of us — but independence is central to American heritage. I believe that the viciousness of the Left will be its undoing. *
The following is a summary of the October/November 2017 issue of The St. Croix Review:
Barry MacDonald finds reason for optimism in “Perspective and Motivation.”
The essay “Editorial,” by Angus MacDonald, is the inaugurating editorial of volume 1, number 1 (February 1968) of The St. Croix Review.
In celebration of the 50th year of The St. Croix Review, we are republishing “What Is Religion?” by Angus MacDonald (published in April 2002).
Henry Hazlitt, in “The Task Confronting Libertarians,” in a clarifying essay written in 1962, offers inspiration, and a plan of action, for people who want American liberty preserved.
Anthony Harrigan, in “The Ciceronian Example,” describes the famous orator of the Roman Republic warning Roman citizens of the Catiline conspiracy. This essay was published in February 2001.
David L. Cawthon’s “Leadership and the Coding of Our Souls,” is the first essay of a series on great Western philosophers; he describes Plato’s view of leadership. This essay was published in December 1999.
Allan Brownfeld, in “It Is an Appropriate Time to Review Race-Based Affirmative Action Programs and Return to the Goal of a Color-Blind Society,” writes about university admissions policies; in “With a New Academic Year, the Assaults on Free Speech by Antifa and Others Must Be Resisted,” he chronicles the actions of this violent group.
Mark W. Hendrickson, in “Hypocritical Environmentalists Destroy Wildlife Habitat,” makes the case that environmentalists should be made to justify the costs of their policies.
Timothy Goeglein, in “The Fate of the American Family,” reminds us America depends on the health of the American family.
Philip Vander Elst, in “Politically Incorrect Truths about Colonialism and the Third World,” takes a broad perspective on the influence of Western culture in the world and discovers much that is admirable.
Al Shane, a long-time subscriber to The St. Croix Review, explains his life-style in “My Conservatism.”
Jigs Gardner, in “Letters from a Conservative Farmer: Memory,” shares poetry and memory.
Jigs Gardner, in “Writers for Conservatives, 67: Anglo-Saxon Attitudes,” reviews Angus Wilson’s novel Anglo-Saxon Attitudes.
Once the idea was accepted that
All means necessary should be taken
For the protection of the earth with the
Support of technological magic
Designers could offer proposals based
On equality and harmony so
Many thousands could live in a single
Sky Tower and the magnificence of
A building in which everyone would be
Given everything necessary and
The elegance of the suggestion that
People would rise above their squabbles and
Hardships to live peacefully in the clouds
Who could resist the enthusiasm?
Designers would need
to discourage obvious
beehives and ant colonies —
who would choose to be a drone?
The idea supporting Sky Towers
Is love of nature and the knowledge that
People tend to despoil the earth so in
Devotion to Gaia people would be
Willing to minimize their destruction
And gather together and the walls of
Their rooms could be pixilated with views
Of a forest a prairie a mountain
And the sensations of outdoors could be
Recreated with the seasons with sun
And stars and frogs in spring and crickets in
The summer nights and there would be no need
For people to roam about the landscape
And everyone could be safe and happy.
And the designers
could monitor the movement
of many thousands
and we could all celebrate
a sky of changing colors.
I’ve been following descriptions in the
News of architectural miracles
Of towers of steel and glass extending
A mile in height amounting to cities
Containing homes businesses indoor parks
And entertainment centers and what a
Dream for designers of an expertly
Controlled community — but I’d prefer
To live on the ground listening to the
Peeper frogs again in the spring and a
Fountain and a collection of trees on
The eighty-first floor wouldn’t be enough
And if there were birds sequestered within
Steel and glass they would be a mockery.
A mile high tower
would make a lovely target
for a terrorist —
with ingenuity he
could detonate a city.
If people chose to live in Sky Towers
The designers would have discretion to
Apportion living space by applying
Flexible standards according to the
Population’s preferences and perhaps
An equal distribution of room would
Prevail regardless of merit but some
Would have sunlight and scenery and some
Would live in boxes — some would be high and
Some low and as the disparity of
Property could be narrowed quality
Of life issues would remain because in
Comparison some people always do
Finagle better than most of us can.
How many things do
people really need and if
constrained within a
limited space wouldn’t we
be happy with less clutter?
Even though people could be cloistered in
Sky Towers some would refuse to be —
Minerals would continue to be mined
And oil would be drilled and piped and with
The best technology the earth would be
Farmed and the animals slaughtered for our
Consumption — so it’s dubious that the
Designers would establish a perfect
Separation of people and nature
But once the bulk of humanity sees
The wisdom of cooperation it’s
Possible that we could achieve the dream
Of sustainable communities and
Limit contamination of the Earth.
Because it won’t do
to have everyone doing
just as they please — we
need to assure our children
will have oxygen to breathe.
I am a driving animal who sees
Nature going by who stopped on a road
While mommy and daddy geese with goslings
Decided to cross which made me ponder
Dignity as I recalled the day I
Gazed at a goose and it looked at me and
I wondered what could it think with such a
Pinched little head and then it hissed which was
Discourteous and as the family
Ambled sedately on attending to
Their business unconcerned with impatient
People I granted them admiration —
Without a smidgen of embarrassment
The caravan waddled majestically.
Sometimes a goose is
Sometimes a goose is
Irascible — who
Am I to quibble?
There’s a fire in the sky today and the
Newly grown leaves are attuned to the fire
And the grass is rising up and as I’m
Turning in a circle there’s the sparkle
Of the sun everywhere among the leaves
Turning in a breeze and the blue of the
Sky without a cloud appears as a dome
Lit by a disk so bright I can only
See it in glimpses and I imagine
Myself as a leaf buoyant in the wind
Absorbing warm energy but as I
Don’t have ability to turn off my
Thinking I can only aspire to
Momentary poise — then go back to work.
There are mornings when
the sun is drenching the earth
appear fresh as if time stopped
and beauty is eternal.
I meet my friends in the morning and for
A laugh I’ll pretend to be limping with
My left leg and then I’ll limp with my right
Just to see if they’re paying attention
Or I’ll stand behind one of them and lean
One way and then the other and I don’t
Need to use words to enjoy myself — I
Don’t even know I’m smiling — but when I
Have to take a photo of me and I’m
manipulating my cell phone trying
To capture the perfect spontaneous
Smile I’m more likely to smirk or even
Grimace because suddenly it’s very
Difficult to put on a happy face.
I stretch my lips and
narrow my eyes and
raise my cheeks and
make the final effort and
Lift the corners of my mouth.
Thunder before dawn is a drum without
Melody and lightning is a crack in
The dark revealing a fracture in the
Sky at odds with the sounding of the rain
On the roof that lulls and soothes and I’m not
Awake and not asleep but in a trance
Of childlike wonder absorbing the force
Of the night unpredictable and sharp
With clamor and fire as if I’m on the
Edge of battle and doom were in the air
As if violence were imminent and
The covers and the roof aren’t protection
As if nothing could shield me from the spears
And the animosity of strangers.
There’s not a hint of
my childish fear this morning
as the day is bright
and all that’s left of the night
are puddles reflecting sky.
Our Mission Is to Reawaken the Genuine American Spirit . . .
Conservatism Is Soiled by Scowling Conservatives
Barry MacDonald — Editorial
The purpose of conservatism is to promote a humane society. Conservatism is no good otherwise. If conservatism doesn’t uplift Middle America, conservatism is worthless.
The uniqueness of America from its Founding was that ordinary people had the opportunity to exert themselves and make their dreams reality.
Conservatives should tirelessly promote the virtues of the free market, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, the separation of powers, the rule of law, property rights, the sanctity of contracts, freedom of religion, and assimilation.
The culture war we are fighting with progressives has reached a frightful state, and American traditions are in peril. One has only to watch American colleges to see the rule of law, the free market, and the freedoms of speech and assembly threatened — colleges are imparting poison.
Donald Trump has given America a gift. His rise as people react has allowed us to discern among American leadership who are patriots and who are parasites.
George Will has written an essay that drips with contempt, titled: “Conservatism Is Soiled by Scowling Primitives.” Will doesn’t say who the “primitives” are but we can assume they are Donald Trump and his supporters.
Will writes about the life of William F. Buckley and his “high-spirited romp” through America’s political and cultural controversies. He writes that Buckley infused conservatism with “brio” and “elegance.” He writes that liberalism not only dominated mid-century America, it was the “sole intellectual tradition” before Buckley founded National Review. He cites Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s opinion that the Republican Party became the party of ideas because of William Buckley. He quotes Lionel Trilling who wrote that before Buckley conservatism was expressed in “irritable mental gestures.”
Then Will writes “Today, conservatism is soiled by scowling primitives whose irritable gestures lack mental ingredients” meaning I suppose that Trump and his supporters are crude, rude, and stupid.
He remembers Buckley saying he would rather be governed by the first 2,000 names in the Boston telephone directory than by Harvard’s faculty. And he says that Buckley walked a “tightrope between elitism and populism” and never resolved the tension between them. Will writes: “If only he had.”
George Will comments on Whittaker Chambers, whose autobiography, Witness, “became a canonical text of conservatism.” Will writes that Chambers infused conservatism with a “sour, whiney, complaining, crybaby, populism”:
“ . . . It is the screechy and dominant tone of the loutish faux conservatism that today is erasing Buckley’s legacy of infectious cheerfulness and unapologetic embrace of high culture.”
“Chambers wallowed in cloying sentimentality and curdled resentment about ‘the plain men and women’ — ‘my people, humble people, strong in common sense, in common goodness’ — enduring the ‘musk of snobbism’ emanating from the ‘socially formidable circles’ of the ‘nicest people’ produced by ‘certain collegiate eyries.’"
George Will is impressed that William Buckley was a
“. . . Bach aficionado from Yale and [an] ocean mariner from the New York Yacht Club, was unembarrassed about having good taste and without guilt about savoring the good life.”
What I remember from reading and listening to William Buckley was that he was a decent and humane man who was very much concerned with the promotion of American traditions and freedoms because he cared about Middle America and ordinary Americans.
George Will is an articulate writer and has done “yeoman’s work” for conservatism. But it’s a curious fact that when writers are off base they sometimes infuse their writing with unintended irony.
Donald Trump is confronting the entire Washington establishment almost by himself (with the support of his loyal voters). He is taking on the snobs of the left and the right. He’s doing a good job of defending American traditions, and rolling back the excesses of the bureaucratic state.
George Will is offering “irritable mental gestures.” He is “sour, whiney, complaining, [a] crybaby.” George is “screechy.” He is expressing a “loutish faux conservatism” while patriotic Americans are looking for leaders. *