Barry MacDonald

Barry MacDonald

Editor & Publisher of the St. Croix Review.

Tuesday, 19 May 2020 12:49

A Reckoning Very Much Needed

Our vision is to reawaken the genuine American spirit of living in a good, great, and growing nation of free-born individuals.

Our mission is to uphold American liberty, prosperity, constitutional law, and humble government.

A Reckoning Very Much Needed

Barry MacDonald, Editorial

The editorial decisions that shape The Croix Review are made in Stillwater Minnesota, far apart from the powerful cities that influence America. We have the point of view of intelligent Americans who are grateful to be American because we know that outside the United States most people are living in economies that are rigged for the benefit of the few who have all the power. We also know that outside of America, “justice” is the word that the corruptly powerful use, as an excuse, to jail their political opponents simply because they can.

The rule of law — and not of men — and the presumption of innocence, and the separation of powers that we patriotic Americans hold so dear in America are fragile. If ever a corrupt ruling class were to grasp hold of the justice system in America and turn it into a political weapon to use against their political foes it is possible that the rule of law — and not of men — could dissipate in America forever.

Such a scenario has already happened. It will be a test of American resilience to discover whether we can reestablish the rule of law. If the truth were ever told, the Obama administration would be recorded as among the most corrupt in American history.

The writers of The St. Croix Review have not covered in detail many of the scandals that occurred during the Obama administration, such as the abuse of the bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATFE) in allowing the drug cartels in Mexico to get their hands on American-made weapons; the abuse of the IRS in the harassment and denial of tax-exempt status to Tea-party groups preceding the 2008 presidential election; and the abuse of the pay-for-play and self-enrichment scheme that Hillary Clinton engaged in with the Clinton Foundation, while she was secretary of state, as documented in Clinton Cash by Peter Schweizer.

We haven’t covered these abuses, because to get to the bottom of the truth takes determined effort by well-placed reporters prizing out secrets from the equally determined corruptly motivated bureaucracies of Washington D.C., which is exceedingly difficult and time consuming.

The St. Croix Review performs its mission and vision by upholding the precious ideals of liberty and justice enshrined in our Constitution and the Bill of Rights. We remind our readers of the inheritance our Founders have left us, so that our children may enjoy American liberty and American prosperity as we have.

The against-the-grain reporting of Sara Carter and John Solomon over years, document by document, has revealed the corruption of FBI director James Comey and deputy director Andrew McCabe. Radio show host and Fox News commentator Sean Hannity has been dogged in pursuit of the truth. He has given Sara Carter and John Solomon, as well as many other informed reporters, the venue they need to reach the American people. Gregg Jarrett, Mark Levin, Victor Davis Hanson, Mollie Hemingway, Andrew C. McCarthy, and Kimberley Strassel have also provided liberty-defending commentary.

Journalists disparage talk radio by conflating the wild conspiracy theorist Alex Jones with what Rush Limbaugh, Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity, and Mark Levin are doing. To disparage talk radio is to ignore the fact that the day-to-day battle for the direction of American politics among ordinary Americans is being led by supremely well-informed, articulate, and highly motivated talk show hosts like Rush Limbaugh, who may be the best.

We have witnessed a four-year, no-holds barred insurgency, attacking every detail of the Trump administration, consisting of non-stop accusatory and vicious coverage by the majority of the American media. The media have been operating in concert with the Democratic Party, the Washington D.C. bureaucracy, and the progressive intelligentsia. At the same time, the Freedom Caucus in the House of Representatives, Judicial Watch, a select few journalists, talk radio show hosts, and now Attorney General William Barr have been carrying out a counter insurgency.

We are reaching a turning point, in the case of Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, who was pressured into pleading guilty to a charge of lying to FBI agents. Michael Flynn was ensnared by James Comey and Andrew McCabe because they aimed to remove a savvy intelligence officer who could have detected and foiled their scheme to undermine the presidency. Michael Flynn was President Trump’s National Security Advisor. The attack on Flynn was part of a broader assault on the Trump administration carried out by leftover Obama officials and by a cadre of anonymous bureaucrats.

Gregg Jarrett tells the story in “Targeting Michael Flynn — Here’s How the FBI Entrapped and Prosecuted an Innocent Man” (Fox news, April 30, 2020):

“Despite all of their scheming and calculating, the perjury trap failed miserably. Flynn told the truth. . . . The subsequent FBI report stated that Flynn gave no indication of deception. It concluded that ‘Strzok and (redacted FBI agent) both had the impression at the time that Flynn was not lying or did not think he was lying.’. . .

 

“But truth and honesty were alien concepts to special counsel Robert Mueller’s team of ruthless prosecutors. Utilizing the full force of the federal government and its unlimited resources, they intimidated and bullied Flynn into pleading guilty to a crime they knew he did not commit.

 

“All of the exculpatory evidence of his innocence was suppressed and concealed. The Mueller team, according to Flynn, threatened to prosecute his son unless the father capitulated to their demands. That aspect of his coerced plea was also hidden from the court when Flynn finally threw in the towel. Destroyed financially, he was forced to sell his home.

 

“Flynn’s only crime was going to work for President Trump. He became an unwitting pawn in the FBI’s quest to find evidence of a non-existent ‘collusion’ conspiracy with Russia to steal the 2016 election. It turned out to be the greatest mass delusion in American political history.”

 

It is frustrating to bear a four-year disinformation campaign perpetrated by the left-wing American media, with the media covering an odious attack on the rule of law and justice. Whatever one thinks of the merits and demerits of Donald Trump, the arrogance and lawlessness of deceitful bureaucrats must be countered and exposed.

James Comey and Andrew McCabe should be exposed as the malefactors they are, and prosecuted and convicted if possible, because if these erstwhile enforcers of justice are allowed to get away with the persecution of an innocent Michael Flynn, others could do the same to any American citizen.     *

Tuesday, 19 May 2020 12:45

June 2020 Summary

The following is a summary of the June/July 2020 issue of The St. Croix Review:

Barry MacDonald, in “A Reckoning Very Much Needed,” presents the case of Michael Flynn as a travesty of justice and an affront to our American sense of decency and justice.

Michael S. Swisher, in “Donald Trump and COVID-19,” takes a wide view of how governors are handling the pandemic, and he considers the arguments of Never Trumpers.

James Thrasher in “The Life-Changing Love of a Mother,” writes about the person who made all the difference in his life.

Philip W. Gasiewicz, in “1918: When Another Pandemic Struck Close to Home,” he describes first-person witnesses of the catastrophe.

Paul Kengor, in “Trump’s Manhattan Project for COVID-19: Operation Warp Speed,” compares the president’s unrelenting push for solutions with the media’s poisonous opposition; in “Carrying the Cross of COVID-19 This Good Friday,” he considers the somber ritual of the Way of the Cross, held at the Roman Colosseum in Italy; in “Why Not Thank God? Andrew Cuomo and COVID-19,” he considers differing perspectives on the pandemic afflicting America.

Mark Hendrickson, in “Gasoline Prices in the Era of COVID-19,” he explains the “merciless forces of supply and demand” that do come at a cost of human suffering; in “After Afghanistan and Iraq, What?” he questions the rationale for the extended U.S. military occupation of other nations; in “Huge Stakes in the Proposed NFL Labor Agreement,” he assesses the new collective bargaining agreement between the NFL owners and players from both points of view.

Allan Brownfeld, in “Jon Utley, 1934-2020: He Learned History’s Lesson and Was a Gracious Friend,” remembers the life of a vigorous anti-Communist and an honorable American patriot; in “When Politicians Claim That God Is on Their Side,” he writes: “American politics cannot work if one party believes that God is on its side and all who disagree are sinners”; in “Telling the Truth in Today’s Washington: The Case of Captain Brett Crozer,” he supports the forthright courageous actions of an embattled naval captain.

Earl H. Tilford, in “COVID-19: Yes, This Is War,” he considers the essence of conflict and strategy; in “Making Adversity the Way to Success,” he writes about the rigors of becoming a professor of history.

William Adair Bonner, in “The Impact of Faith in our Battle with COVID-19,” recounts the many times America has had to rely on faith to get through difficult times.

David L. Cawthon, in “Locke on Leadership: The Abolishment of Privilege,” demonstrates that many of our underlying assumptions concerning just government come from John Locke, for example the right to life, liberty, and personal property; natural law; the consent of the governed; representative government; the separation of powers; equality; inalienable rights; etc.

Gary S. Smith, in “The Faith of Troy Polamalu,” on the occasion of Polamalu’s being elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, writes about his intense Christian faith and his basic goodness.

 

Francis P. DeStefano, in “‘The Lives of Others,’” reviews a German film that exposes the dark realities of Socialism.

 

Jigs Gardner, in “Versed in Country Things — Spring and Summer,” shares several of his experiences while living “the simple life” farming in Vermont.

 

Jigs Gardner, in “Writers for Conservatives, 81: Earnest Haycox: An Important Western Writer,” reviews a novel he has been compelled to read four times: Bugles in the Afternoon.

Tuesday, 24 March 2020 13:28

America the Beautiful, Part II

Our vision is to reawaken the genuine American spirit of living in a good, great, and growing nation of free-born individuals.

Our mission is to uphold American liberty, prosperity, constitutional law, and humble government.

America the Beautiful, Part II

Barry MacDonald, Editorial

“O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America! God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!”

These lyrics were written by a poet, Katharine Lee Bates; and the music was composed by a church organist and choirmaster, Samuel Augustus Ward. The two never met. The poem was originally written in 1893, was revised in 1904, and revised again in 1913. The lyrics were sung to many tunes for a time until they were combined with Ward’s melody. Ward wrote his tune for the words of a 16th century hymn: “O Mother Dear, Jerusalem” in 1882.

The inspiration for the vision of “America the Beautiful” can be found at the Library of Congress. Katharine Bates writes:

“We strangers celebrated the close of the session by a merry expedition to the top of Pike’s Peak, making the ascent by the only method then available for people not vigorous enough to achieve the climb on foot nor adventurous enough for burro-riding. Prairie wagons, their tail-boards emblazoned with the traditional slogan, ‘Pike’s Peak or Bust,’ were pulled by horses up to the half-way house, where the horses were relieved by mules. We were hoping for half an hour on the summit, but two of our party became so faint in the rarified air that we were bundled into the wagons again and started on our downward plunge so speedily that our sojourn on the peak remains in memory hardly more than one ecstatic gaze. It was then and there, as I was looking out over the sea-like expanse of fertile country spreading away so far under those ample skies, that the opening lines of the hymn floated into my mind.”

 

The poet’s words are from a bygone era, when many American were proud of America, and when Americans were vigorous and confident. They were innocent of the corrosive and pervasive anti-American spirit that we are inundated with today. They could not have imagined the attacks on American initiative and enterprise coming from our universities and politicians. They would not recognize America in the various portrayals of dystopia that Hollywood dreams up, often projecting our nation after its collapse — the consequence of American aggression and nuclear warfare. And today the words “Make America Great Again” emblazoned on red baseball caps provoke some Americans — poisoned by propaganda — to violent reaction.

The vast landscape of America, encompassing prairies, salt flats, river valleys, everglades, deserts, mountains, costal inlets, beaches, and the cultivated fields of farming country, is not the flyover country. Americans of all political persuasions are in love with our extraordinarily varied and bountiful countryside. The environmental movement campaigning for clean water and pure air has indeed righteous motivations — it’s just a shame that socialistic radicals are hijacking our love of nature to assault America’s prosperity, as if a technologically sophisticated nation couldn’t also grow its economy and protect the environment at the same time.

Jigs Gardner writes two columns for The St. Croix Review under the headings “Writers for Conservatives,” and “Letters from a Conservative Farmer.” His “Letters” column is a memoir describing his transition away from his youthful and enthusiastic support for socialism towards conservatism. He was inspired with the ’60s “back to country,” hippy homesteader movement. He left his teaching position at college, and he and his wife, Jo Ann, rented a farm in Vermont. Instead of using modern mechanized equipment they decided to experience nature in the raw using only horsepower and brawn. They experienced the essential American frontier life: it is a grueling and lonely business to wrest a living from the wilderness. Jigs and Jo Ann Gardner were forced to summon the utmost of their intelligence and resolve to survive. The hardships of working the farm and of keeping the weeds at bay taught them an invaluable lesson — the steady accumulation of knowledge and technique shared among vigorous homesteaders opened the way to a more prosperous and, possibly, a more humane society.

After farming in Vermont the Gardners moved to Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia, where they found conditions vastly different and much more difficult. By this time they had outgrown the sentimental ignorance embodied by the hippy homesteader movement:

“In 1971 . . . we bought the last farm recognizable as a farm off a side road in the heart of the Backlands. Working early and late, reconstructing fences, felling trees for lumber, rebuilding the barn, planting gardens, haying, cutting firewood, it was at least a year before we realized what we were up against. We had not had to build barns to withstand one hundred miles per hour winds, nor had we plowed fields of sour cold clay where topsoil was no more than a dark smear at grass roots; we had not lived is such a wild place where owls, ravens, weasels, foxes, hawks, mink, eagles, and bobcats rioted and feasted on our flocks. We had been spoiled by Vermont; now we would be put through a far harder school.

 

“Growing in a marginal environment is wholly unlike farming and gardening elsewhere. Weeds, adapted to a low fertility regime, grow much faster than cultivars, which give much but require much. There is hardly any spring in Cape Breton; the cold clay soil barely warms until late June; it can’t be worked when wet and breaks hoes when it’s dry; it tenaciously shelters weed roots and drains very poorly. Pests and diseases find a happy home in marginal environments, fostering slugs and blights and cutworms, hornworm, earworms, and fungi in their thousands and tens of thousands. It took tons and tons of manure, lime, and eelgrass to rejuvenate the fields, but in 1976 our hay had the highest protein content of any tested in the Province.

 

“And without quite realizing it at first, we were turning an abandoned property into a beautiful farm. The gardens, grown for use — Jo Ann developed an herb business and we sold plants — as well as beauty, were photographed for national magazines, and thanks to the hard lessons she learned there, Jo Ann became a garden writer. But we failed to reverse the local fortunes: the few people here when we came left, and except for our place, the Backlands was empty. Insensibly, we became part of its history, the Last Stand.”

 

America beckons to the nations of the earth, as a light of liberty amidst a world history that is typified by a depressing chronicle of multifarious forms of tyranny. America has demonstrated how to create liberty and prosperity. Our Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights serve as a shield protecting the American people from the arrogant and aggressive agents of a ruthlessly self-interested governing class. The governing class and their partners, the crony corporations, would subject the working and middle classes to crushing taxation and regulation if our Constitutional protections were ever overcome.

Our continuing prosperity depends upon the maintenance of our liberties as established by our Constitutional framework. The American dream appears as a vision of opportunity, enticing the vigorous and enterprising to create for themselves, through the virtue of their own labor, a home, a garden, a farm, a livelihood, a fellowship, a neighborhood, and a city out of wilderness.

American liberty preceded American prosperity. A broad-based and sustainable American prosperity will not long survive the subjection of American liberty.

American liberty is a fragile and precious experiment. American liberty is so fragile because its precious quality is not recognized and given the preeminence it deserves in our educational system. And politicians are constantly tempting the American people to relinquish their freedoms and opportunities in exchange for fraudulent promises and visions that are impossible to fulfill without eventually impoverishing the nation.

The St. Croix Review is dedicated to preserving and honoring the prerequisites of American liberty. Some of these prerequisites are included in the following:

  • The intellectual ferment of millennia
  • Judeo Christian faith
  • Greco Roman traditions
  • Concepts of English common law
  • The European ages of Reason and Enlightenment
  • The courage involved in the American Revolution
  • The exceptional character and intellectual prowess of America’s Founders
  • The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights
  • God-given rights to independence and property
  • The separation of powers
  • The presumption of innocence
  • Free speech     *

Tuesday, 24 March 2020 13:26

April 2020 Summary

The following is a summary of the April/May 2020 issue of The St. Croix Review:

Barry MacDonald, in “America the Beautiful, Part II,” writes that American liberty preceded American prosperity, and a Broad-based and sustainable American prosperity will not long survive the subjection of American liberty.

Mark Hendrickson, in “How Much Should Government ‘Help the Economy’?” makes distinctions between emergency aid, which the American people need in the wake of the coronavirus, and economic intervention to stave off an expected recession; in “After Afghanistan and Iraq, What?” he formulates three principles designed to prevent the United States from becoming mired in unwinnable overseas wars; in “Two Cheers for Capitalism?” he reviews a surprising article by David Brooks in The New York Times.

Paul Kengor, in “A Reagan Message to Bernie and AOC: Here’s Ronnie!” uses an appearance by Ronald Reagan on “The Johnny Carson Show” 45 years ago to contrast Reagan’s vision with the same-old-radicalism current in today’s Democratic party; in “Eerie Echoes of Influenza Epidemic,” he compares the devastating Spanish flu of 100 years ago with the coronavirus.

Allan Brownfeld, in “Socialism and Crony Capitalism: What Would the Founding Fathers Think?” determines that both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump favor heavy-handed government management of the economy; in “Ignorance of History Dooms a Democratic Society to Bad Choices,” he writes that American schools are failing to transmit our precious American history and civics to the next generation; in “Remembering When American Politics Worked,” he makes the case for a return to a more civil, principled, and tolerant politics.

Earl H. Tilford, in “Afghan Imbroglio in Context,” lays out the negotiation and the process involved in ending America’s and NATO’s hostilities with the Taliban; he sees parallels between the winding down of the Afghan and Vietnam Wars.

David L. Cawthon, in “The Divine Right of Kings,” examines Thomas Hobbes’ political philosophy, postulating that in a “state of nature” every man is at war with every other man, and therefore men surrender their liberty to a sovereign in order to secure peace and security.

William Adair Bonner, in “Freedom of the Press in a World of Good and Evil,” reviews the establishment of the freedom of speech in America, and he traces its challenges and affirmation throughout American history, from the founding to the present. He examines the difficulty of discovering the truth, and he asserts that truth can only be understood through the practice of tolerance and faith in God.

Philip Vander Elst, in “Finding God in Tolkien’s Epic about ‘Middle Earth,’” comments on the Christian themes underlying J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy in the Silmarillion, the Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

Gary Scott Smith, in “The Character and Conviction of Washington and Lincoln,” reminds us of the noble qualities of our greatest presidents.

Francis P. DeStefano, in “Cultural Ideology” reveals how out-of-touch with hard-working, courageous, and sincere Americans elitist Hollywood movie makers are.

Jigs Gardner, in “Letters from a Conservative Farmer: How the Ivy League Self-Destructs,” relates yet another instance of an elite American university cancelling a course on Western civilization because the course wasn’t sufficiently attuned to identity politics and climate change, and he questions: Who is capable of recovering from such “life-draining decadence” and such “self-repudiation”?

Jigs Gardner, in “Writers for Conservatives, 3: Israel: Scott Nearing on ‘Living the Good Life,’” explains much of the impetus driving the Green New Deal: vanity and socialism.

Wednesday, 12 February 2020 12:47

America the Beautiful

Our vision is to reawaken the genuine American spirit of living in a good, great, and growing nation of free-born individuals.

Our mission is to uphold American liberty, prosperity, constitutional law, and humble government.

America the Beautiful

Editorial — Barry MacDonald

The authors of the St. Croix Review write for good-hearted Americans who are seeking a balanced perspective of America’s best qualities, alongside a clear-eyed presentation of America’s real challenges.

America has exemplary and humane institutions, and exceptional principles of law, and of governance. We cherish our freedoms of speech, belief, religion, association, commerce, contracts, and livelihoods. We uphold visions of fairness, of decency, of justice, and of law. We defend our right to face our accusers in open court; and we are willing to abide the decisions of juries of our peers. Our self-reliance and independence from the coercive force of government is supremely important to us.

We reject and repudiate the attempts of leftists to impose a sense of collective guilt upon us for the manner and character of America’s founding and settling. On the contrary, American history is an inexhaustible source of inspiration, discovery, achievement, excellence, and heroism. World history would lose much of its modern zest if America were excluded.

From the beginning America has been a uniquely multi-ethnic nation. Legal immigrants from everywhere on earth have been — and are being today — welcomed into America. And immigrants and their children are free to become genuine Americans.

The charity, generosity, and good will on the part of Americans towards the other peoples of the world are unsurpassed. If there is an earthquake, a hurricane, or a tsunami anywhere on the globe, Americans are in the forefront of the rescue. And the U.S. military has proven to be a stabilizing and protective force around the world.

Free speech is one of America’s foundational principles. There is a lust today to suppress, shame, and silence — and even criminalize — speech that does not comport with the aggressive left-wing orthodoxy that is ascendant at our universities and newsrooms, and in our increasingly-bureaucratic government.

Deceitful and hateful speech is best countered by its free expression — and then by its consequent cross-examination and refutation in the open air of public debate.

America remains a land of freedom and opportunity, and millions of Americans are able to rise to prosperity — depending on their determination and energy. And for those who are doing their best to succeed there will always be fellow Americans standing by, eager and willing to give them a hand up.     *

Wednesday, 12 February 2020 12:34

February 2020 Summary

The following is a summary of the February/March 2020 issue of The St. Croix Review:

Barry MacDonald, in “America the Beautiful,” describes the precious principles and institutions that make America a good, great, and prosperous nation.

In “The Inaugurating Editorial of The St. Croix Review,” Angus MacDonald explains why he founded Religion & Society, the educational foundation that publishes The St. Croix Review. This editorial was written in February 1968.

Allan C. Brownfeld, in “For My Five Grandchildren: A Gift of Memory,” writes a memoir recalling his boyhood neighborhood full of immigrants, his education, his work as a Congressional aide, and turning points in American history; in “Questions and Answers for Lauren Lassabe,” he provides a more detailed autobiography; in “Reclaiming the American Political Philosophy,” he makes the case for limited government, free enterprise, balanced budgets, and respect for the Constitution.

Mark Hendrickson, in “AOC’s Ravings Against Billionaires,” reveals the tremendous wealth that billionaires infuse throughout the economy; in “Budget Deficit Capitulation: Our Spending Problem,” he points out that cutting taxes does have a simulative effect on the economy, and thereby government revenue from the lowered tax rates does rise — however, the federal government, year after year, spends drastically too much money and no one of either party seems to care; in “Cheating in Baseball: Past, Present, and Future,” he comments on recent scandals, reviews historical episodes, assesses the increasing influence of AI on the sport, and concludes that American fans insist on integrity; in “The Real Christmas,” he addresses the lingering questions of skeptics, and asserts the blessed message of Christ.

Paul Kengor, in “Remembering Jack Kerouac: Novelist, Beat, Conservative, Catholic,” presents a misunderstood and iconic American writer as he truly was.

Thomas Martin, in “Would an Admiral Make a Good Superintendent of a University? compares the current valuation of football, humanities, competence, character and compassion.

William Adair Bonner, in “Did the Culture War Ever End?” shows how America’s academic elites and institutions of law are redefining the terms of debate and are deepening our foundational conflicts.

Philip Vander Elst, in Christianity and Freedom: A Personal View,” writes that the underlying logic of Christianity is libertarian, and has played a pivotal role in the long struggle against torture, slavery, tyranny and inhumanity.

Earl H. Tilford, in “How Martin Luther King, Jr. Changed Hearts,” recounts the lasting impact King had in the ’60s on his family, and on his own father’s ministry; in “It Is for Professors to Teach and Students to Learn,” he cites his own struggles with botany and the terrorist attack on 9/11 to make a point.

Robert Ghelardi, in “How to Win the Culture War,” presents a critique of Adam Smith’s economics and a revision of economics and culture.

Michael S. Swisher, in “A Response to Robert Ghelardi,” proffers the “marginal product of labor” to Mr. Ghelardi’s arguments.

Al Shane, in “The Great Divide,” writes about America’s dangerous polarization exacerbated by the hatred of President Trump.

Francis P. DeStefano, in “‘High Noon,’” reviews the classic Western film, staring Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly.

Jigs Gardner, in “Letters from a Conservative Farmer: Williams College — An Academic Disaster,” writes about the sad decline of his alma mater into the mire of identity politics.

Jigs Gardner, in “Writers for Conservatives, 80: Israel: A Concise History of a Nation Reborn by Daniel Gordis,” reviews Daniel Gordis’ telling of the pivotal events of Israeli history.

Our vision is to reawaken the genuine American spirit of living in a good, great, and growing nation of free-born individuals.

Our mission is to uphold American liberty, prosperity, constitutional law, and humble government.

To the Readers of The St. Croix Review: I Have a Proposition for You

Barry MacDonald — Editorial

The team of the St. Croix Review, and the foundation that publishes it, Religion & Society, have been fortunate to be working with Robert E. Russell, of Robert Russell & Associates, for two years (2018-19). Robert has a long history of working with conservative causes, and he is an expert researcher.

We have been considering the different ways that we might expand our mission and our vision. We have been reviewing the span of The St. Croix Review’s fifty-two years of publication, and have been assessing our character and our strengths. As part of our efforts, Robert has made a careful study of our readership.

We have known that among our writers and readers there were a Nobel Prize-winning economist, Milton Friedman; and a founding philosopher of the modern conservative movement, Russell Kirk; and a former Attorney General of the United States, Edwin Meese; and a Supreme Court Justice, Clarence Thomas. From the beginning, Angus MacDonald, the founder of The St. Croix Review and Religion & Society, has had a magnetic quality, drawing people of consequence to him.

But what we didn’t know, and what Robert Russell has revealed, is the high quality of our readership. The readers of The St. Croix Review are among the most well-educated and supremely accomplished Americans. Our readers are intelligent, innovative, vigorous, and patriotic Americans. Many of you have been receiving The St. Croix Review for decades.

It turns out that our enduring publication has always been founded upon the excellence of our readers! I doubt whether any other publication has a readership equal to ours!

Among those who attended our 2019 annual meeting in October at the Lowell Inn in Stillwater, Minnesota, were two judges. There were also several military veterans who served as infantry and pilots in the Korean and Vietnam wars; one of them became an airline pilot, and discussed with me his experience of 9/11 — he was not flying that day but he shared his insider’s perspective. We had dinner with a state senator and a mayor. And there was a young man who, with his wife, founded, and is now managing a private school, educating children from kindergarten to twelfth grade.

Many of our subscribers are different types of medical doctors. One is an internationally respected specialist in heart and lung transplantations. There are many educators — from primary schools to universities. We have readers who are retired military officers up to the rank of generals. The clergy of many Christian denominations are subscribing. Our publication is included in the libraries of prominent universities and seminaries throughout America.

There is a retired captain of a U.S. Navy submarine. We have readers who were Eagle Scouts. We have presidents and vice presidents of corporations, who were also long-time civic leaders in their communities. We have a military veteran who established an educational foundation and an endowment fund. There is a former Green Beret who became a senior executive in several corporations. We have specialists in equity and venture capital funds. We have CEOs, and chairmen of boards of corporations, who are also generous benefactors of the arts and culture. We have a retired general manager of the New York Times. We had a Chairman of the Board of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Two of our writers and readers have worked in the White House as advisors to the President. One reader founded many companies, and was a Russian language interpreter. One Army veteran of 82nd Airborne Division wrote 18 books, and became a Lutheran pastor. Another veteran served in five European campaigns, including Normandy, where he was a commander with the 610th Tank Destroyer Battalion, and where he earned the Purple Heart and two Bronze Stars; he went on to found and chair a major manufacturing company in the defense industry. One of our readers was awarded the Navy Cross for actions in the Vietnam War; he served in the Marine Corps. We have distinguished lawyers (one who has been designated a “super lawyer”) and judges. One subscriber is in the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame, and he founded Parts Unlimited Distributing under his umbrella company, LeMans Corporation. A subscriber is currently serving as an ambassador in Europe.

I could go on and on listing the marvelous achievements and accolades of our subscribers. We have a seemingly endless list of distinguished and accomplished readers who are patriotic and good-hearted Americans. All of us together are making America a beautiful, idealistic, prosperous, and liberty-loving nation.

Our Religion & Society team would like to express our gratitude to all of you — our wonderful subscribers! And I have a proposition for you — the same proposition I made to those who attended our annual meeting last October.

Each of us has a story to tell about our experience of growing up and living in America. We each see America from a unique point of view. We are striving every day to preserve America as a nation of open-ended dreams and unlimited potential.

I invite you, our readers, to send us your memoirs and essays. Please tell us about your American life. Please inform us about your memories, discoveries, accomplishments, aspirations, and concerns. You have a wealth of experience and energy — please share it with us! Let us give all of our other readers something to ponder better than the toxic news narratives originating from New York City and Washington, D.C.!     *

Wednesday, 18 December 2019 09:29

December 2019 Summary

The following is a summary of the December/January 2019/2020 issue of The St. Croix Review:

Charles C. Burgess, in “Letters to the Editor” responds to Barry MacDonald’s editorial, “Ominous Events Leading to the Civil War,” providing a Southern point of view.

Thomas Drake, in “Letters to the Editor” throws cold water on the millennials and Democrats who are favoring socialism and Communism.

Barry MacDonald, in “To the Readers of The St. Croix Review: I Have a Proposition for You invites the accomplished and distinguished readers of The St. Croix Review to send the editor their memoirs and essays centered around their memories, discovers, accomplishments, aspirations, and concerns of living the good life in America.

Rema MacDonald, in “The American Spirit,” tells the story of her husband, Angus MacDonald, who immigrated to America from Australia, and who founded The St. Croix Review fifty-two years ago.

Michael S. Swisher, in “Animadversions — Bugaboos of the Chattering Class — the Rule of Experts,” suggests that it might be good for Americans to pare back some of the influence that the technocrats have grasped for themselves over the years.

Paul Kengor, in “Dropping in on the Veteran Down the Street,” shares the story of John Russell Post who served in W.W. II and the Korean War; in “Thanking God at Thanksgiving: 100 Years Ago and Today,” he presents the Thanksgiving proclamations of presidents who spoke for Americans who suffered the nation’s wars; in “Taking Pride in Down Syndrome Children,” he laments the modern-day proclivity to abort the babies who otherwise would grow up to be among the warmest and happiest of people.

Mark Hendrickson, in “Minor Legislation with Massive Implications,” cites a proposal by conservative Senator Ron Johnson that he believes signals the end of spending restraint by both political parties; in “Who Stole Greta’s Childhood?” he responds to Greta Thunberg’s embittered speech at the UN’s Climate Action Summit by agreeing with her that her childhood has been stolen from her — and he points out why she needn’t be frightened; in “Climate Change: Who Are the Ideologues?” he reveals the lust for power motivating elitist ideologues who harangue global populations about our supposed “sins” against the climate.

Earl H. Tilford, in “The Strategic Effect of Operation Kayla,” compares the operation that killed the terrorist leader of ISIS, Abu-Bakr al-Baghdadi, with another groundbreaking raid into North Vietnam to free America POWs; in “When Collusion Twice Saved the World,” he shares first- and second-hand knowledge of when secret communications with the Soviets saved the world from nuclear war; in “Showdown with the Ayatollahs: A Dangerous Situation,” he highlights the tense and precarious situation that exists between the U.S. and Iran — and he praises the caution of President Trump; in “It Is for Professors to Teach and Students to Learn,” he cites his own struggles with botany and the terrorist attack on 9/11 to make a point.

Philip Vander Elst, in “Labour and the Gulag: The Labour Party’s Record of Support for Totalitarian Socialism,” reveals the history of lavish support — up to today — given by Britain’s Labour Party to Soviet Communism.

William Adair Bonner, in “Impeachment Politics in Education,” comments on the erosion of religious faith and the moral foundations in our society. He sees secular, humanistic, and partisan politics, unfettered from ethical restrains, corrupting American education, leading him to pose the question: are the student’s free speech rights being violated in the classroom?

Thomas Martin, in “The University Is Composed of a Soul and Body,” decries the neglected status of the liberal arts in American universities.

John P. Warren, in “One Nation Under God?” cites the decline of religious faith in America, especially among white Democrats, and he asserts the importance of a moral compass to the proper functioning of our republic.

Bruce Spangler, in “How Politics Drove Me to Find God,” describes the issues, the people, and the books that changed his life.

Francis P. DeStefano, in “Fences,” reviews the performance of Denzell Washington in the movie “Fences,” which is about the experience of a black American garbage man. Francis DeStefano sees much in Denzell Washington’s portrayal that reminds he of his own father.

Jigs Gardner, in “Letters from a Conservative Farmer: Socialism,” remembers his youthful dalliance with the Socialist Labor Party.

Jigs Gardner, in “Writers for Conservatives, 79: Lincoln and His Generals,” reviews the conduct of the Union generals, and compares Ulysses S. Grant with Robert E. Lee.

Tuesday, 05 November 2019 12:40

Friends of Our Friends Campaign

Friends of Our Friends Campaign

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Tuesday, 05 November 2019 12:37

Lessons from the Life of John Quincy Adams

Our vision is to reawaken the genuine American spirit of living in a good, great, and growing nation of free-born individuals.

Our mission is to uphold American liberty, prosperity, constitutional law, and humble government.

Lessons from the Life of John Quincy Adams

Editorial — Barry MacDonald

Please read our “vision” and “mission” statements printed above the title. The vision statement is a shared ideal, I believe, between the writers and readers of The St. Croix Review — about building anew the sort of nation we want America to be. The mission statement presents the pillars that we believe must be perpetuated in order to bring about our vision for America.

The vision and mission statements are meant to be provocative. For example, we prompt the question: what is “the genuine American spirit”? We invite Americans who love America to express their opinions on what the genuine American character is or should be. We would like to invite the readers of The St. Croix Review to venture an essay exploring the topic. We have published essays written by our readers, and are eager to do so again.

Historically we are not, and have never been, a nation characterized by an attitude of quietude and submission before governmental authority. We disagree and argue fiercely among ourselves for the advancement of cherished beliefs. Americans are free people. We have an innate desire to see justice done. We want to live with an impersonal and impartial system of laws.

Unfortunately the Left in America is denigrating American history with the intention of undermining the worthiness of our Founding principles and our Constitution. This essay presents an inspiring look at American history, and at an under-appreciated American hero.

Washington, D.C. has become a vortex drawing to itself the nation’s wealth. Its politicians assume God-like authority to regulate and direct every aspect of our complex society. Our freedom of speech and our free exercise of religion are threatened. Not only the politicians but also the media “watch dogs,” educators, artists, and entertainers are all blind to how far from modesty and humility our government is. And too many voters are blind to the house-of-cards our nation has become. What is to be done?

We must hold on to our principles with courage and perseverance. There is no telling how long the battle for dominance will be, or of what events will intervene to change our course. We cannot avoid hard times. Not everyone can take direct action, but we must support those who do effect change. In American history there is no better example of courage and perseverance than John Quincy Adams.

John Quincy Adams was the son of our second President, John Adams. Like his father he had a wealth of experience. When he was ten years old he went with his father on his father’s diplomatic mission to France. For the next eight years he lived in Paris, the Netherlands, Russia, and England. John Quincy Adams became fluent in French and Dutch, and he was familiar with German and other European languages.

He in his turn was appointed minister to the Netherlands, Germany, and Russia. He persuaded Czar Alexander to let American ships trade in Russian ports. He led the U.S. peace commissioners in negotiating the Treaty of Ghent, ending the War of 1812.

As President James Monroe’s Secretary of State, John Quincy Adams wrote the Monroe Doctrine, warning European nations not to interfere in the affairs of the Americas. He negotiated fishing rights off the Canadian coast with England; established a part of the U.S. Canadian border; and negotiated the transfer of Florida from Spanish to U.S. sovereignty.

As our sixth president he promoted education and modernized the American economy. He paid off much of the national debt. But he neglected to build networks of support within Congress, so he was stymied by a Congress controlled by his opponents, and by members who were indifferent to him. He lost his re-election bid to Andrew Jackson in 1828.

Then he did something singular and extraordinary: He got elected to the House as a Representative from Massachusetts; and he served for seventeen years — nine consecutive terms, until his death in 1848.

He felt revulsion for slavery at a time when such sentiment was not ascendant among the powerful in Congress. He wrote:

“Slavery is a great and foul stain upon the North American Union, and it is a contemplation worthy of the most exalted soul whether its total abolition is or is not practicable.”

He spoke of “slave-drivers” and the “flagrant image of human inconsistency” of men who had “the Declaration of Independence on their lips and the merciless scourge of slavery in their hands.”

The following quote appears in John T. Morse’s biography, John Quincy Adams, published in 1882. It reflects a time unshackled by the conformity enforced by today’s political correctness:

“He was by nature a hard fighter, and by the circumstances of his course in Congress this quality was stimulated to such a degree that parliamentary history does not show his equal as a gladiator. His power of invective was extraordinary, and he was untiring and merciless in his use of it. . . . Men winced and cowered before his milder attacks, became sometimes dumb, sometimes furious with mad rage before his fiercer assaults. Such struggles evidently gave him pleasure, and there was scarce a back in Congress that did not at one time or another feel the score of his cutting lash; though it was the Southerners and the Northern allies of Southerners whom chiefly he singled out for torture. He was irritable and quick to wrath. . . . Of alliances he was careless, and friendships he had almost none. But in the creation of enmities he was terribly successful. . . . From the time when he fairly entered upon the long struggle against slavery, he enjoyed few peaceful days in the House. . . . When the air of the House was thick with crimination and abuse he seemed to suck in fresh vigor and spirit from the hate-laden atmosphere. When invective fell around him in showers, he screamed back his retaliation with untiring rapidity and marvelous dexterity of aim. No odds could appall him. With his back set firm against a solid moral principle, it was his joy to strike out at a multitude of foes. They lost their heads as well as their tempers, but in the extremest moments of excitement and anger Mr. Adams’s brain seemed to work with machine-like coolness and accuracy. With flushed face, streaming eyes, animated gesticulation, and cracking voice, he always retained perfect mastery of all his intellectual faculties. He thus became a terrible antagonist, whom all feared, yet fearing could not refrain from attacking, so bitterly and incessantly did he choose to exert his wonderful power of exasperation. Few men could throw an opponent into wild blind fury with such speed and certainty as he could; and he does not conceal the malicious gratification which such feats brought to him. A leader of such fighting capacity, so courageous, with such a magazine of experience and information, and with a character so irreproachable, could have won brilliant victories in public life at the head of even a small band of devoted followers. But Mr. Adams never had and apparently never wanted followers. Other prominent public men were brought not only into collision but into comparison with their contemporaries. But Mr. Adams’s individuality was so strong that he can be compared with no one.”

He was not fitted to cross the countryside rousing gatherings of people. There were writers and agitators who did raise the consciousness of the American people towards the injustice of slavery. There were wild abolitionists, such as John Brown, who took extreme measures and went to war with slavery.

By the way, slavery was an evil of ancient origin not exclusive to Western civilization, a fact not recognized by today’s anti-America critics.

But Adams had to walk a fine line in a House overwhelmingly controlled by his opponents. He said:

“The most insignificant error of conduct in me at this time would be my irredeemable ruin in this world; and both the ruling political parties are watching with intense anxiety for some overt act by me to set the whole pack of their hireling presses upon me.”

At any moment his opponents could combine to slander, disgrace, censure and expel him from Congress. He had to be careful not to give them the pretext. Through strength of will and a bold posture he intimidated a throng of antagonists.

Among fellow lawmakers he could count on the support of no one, but he did enjoy the steadfast enthusiasm of the voters in his district, and, as the years went by, he became the champion against slavery in Congress, and he gained many admirers nationwide. No one else had his prestige, experience, knowledge, ability, courage, and passion.

His method of attack was to present petitions from citizens for the abolition of slavery, and very often for the prohibition of the buying and selling of slaves within the District of Columbia. His stream of petitions forced the slavers to adopt a countermeasure which seemingly stymied Adams for years, yet the measure was unconstitutional and at odds with the conduct of a free government. In February 1836, the slavery interest in the House resolved that:

“1. That Congress had no power to interfere with slavery in any State;

2. That Congress ought not to interfere with slavery in the District of Columbia;

3. That whereas the agitation of the subject was disquieting and objectionable, ‘all petitions, memorials, resolutions or papers, relating in any way or to any extent whatsoever to the subject of slavery or the abolition of slavery, shall, without being either printed or referred, be laid upon the table, and that no further action whatever shall be had thereon.’”

This was the infamous “gag rule” that forbade any discussion of slavery. It was a mistake made by the slave-holding party: they had assumed an untenable position. Adams became the persistent advocate of the “right of petition,” and thus he gained much more leverage with the public than he could have acquired on the issue of slavery by itself.

Year after year when the House established its rules at the beginning of a new term he would stand and say:

“I hold the resolution to be a violation of the Constitution, of the right of petition of my constituents, and of the people of the United States, and of my right to freedom of speech as a member of this House.”

And each time he was confronted with a chorus of “Order! Order!” and voted down.

The public recognized him as an heroic advocate; and a torrent of petitions descended on him, all having to be read, sorted, and presented. He presented thousands of petitions, dozens or hundreds at a time, each time encountering shouts of “Order! Order!”

Some of the petitions were sent by his opponents, praying that Mr. Adams be brought to the bar of the House, censured, and expelled — he read out these petitions, welcoming such a debate, but his opponents avoided the contest.

A great game of antagonism was played out. Some of the petitions were not what they purported to be. Once he hesitated to present a petition, saying he questioned its authenticity: it claimed to be from slaves.

Before he presented it he asked the Speaker for his opinion, whereupon a great clamor arose.

Much vituperation was directed at him. There were cries of “Expel him! Expel him!” There were exclamations that the petition should “be taken from the House and burned.” He was accused of a “gross and willful violation of the rules of the House and an insult to its members.” He was threatened with criminal proceedings before a grand jury so that the people might “see an incendiary brought to condign punishment.”

It was proclaimed:

“. . . he has committed an outrage on the feelings of the people of a large portion of this Union; a flagrant contempt on the dignity of this House, and, by extending to slaves a privilege only belonging to freemen, directly incites the slave population to insurrection; and that [he] be forthwith called to the bar of the House and be censured by the speaker.”

Unperturbed Adams waited for the hubbub to subside. When the occasion arose he pointed out he had not presented the petition. He said beforehand he doubted its authenticity, and he merely asked the Speaker for his opinion of its worthiness. And furthermore the petition of the slaves requested slavery not be abolished! He suspected that the petition had not been written by the slaves themselves but by their owner — thus the air went out of the balloon, the furor dissipated, and his opponents were brought to condign humiliation.

Eventually the tide of public opinion turned against the slavery interest and John Quincy Adam’s “invincible perseverance” was rewarded. At the beginning of each term the rules of the House were established, and year after year the majority favoring the gag rule dwindled. In 1842 the majority was four; in 1843, three. In 1844 the struggle lasted for weeks. On December 3 a vote abolishing the gag rule won by one hundred eight to eighty.

“Blessed, forever blessed, be the name of God!” Adams wrote in his diary. The gag rule had stood for eight years.

On February 21, 1848, at 1:30 p.m. the Speaker was conducting business in the House when he was interrupted by cries of “Stop! Stop! — Mr. Adams!” It was thought that John Quincy Adams rose to address the speaker, but he fell over unconscious. He was surrounded by his colleagues; carried to a sofa in the hall of the rotunda; and then to the Speaker’s room.

Late in the afternoon he was heard to say, “Thank the officers of the House.” Soon afterwards he said, “This is the last of earth! I am content!” He lingered until the evening of the 23rd when he died — in the capitol building where he had fought his bitterest battles.

*****

Presently the Left is advancing the cause of a maternal government, massive and powerful, able to succor multitudes. The American people have been incrementally lured into ever deepening dependence by political promises that cannot be kept. Intellectuals, news people, artists, poets, novelists, actors, and entertainers — most are proponents of big government. To oppose them is to be maligned as a nationalist, a fascist, or a racist. The political and bureaucratic establishment of Washington, D.C. seems solid and permanent — just as the forces supporting slavery once seemed unshakable. But it is not so.

The deceitful practices of the media, and disregard for the rule of law and impartial justice on the part of political insiders are bringing America to a crisis. But the foolish and arrogant delusions of Left will not stand.

America is unique in its Founding, in its Constitution, Bill of Rights, and in its history. We need not fall into some ugly kind of dictatorship. We have the heritage of a free people. We have the experience and memories of freedom. A revival of respect for the Constitution is possible.

What we need is the ability, courage, and most of all, the perseverance of John Quincy Adams. He at times doubted whether slavery could be overthrown, and did not live to see its passing. But he fought for its abolition nevertheless. What we need are fearless advocates for liberty; for a free economy; for justice; for the Constitution; and for the free exercise of religion.     *

Editor’s note: Since December of 2010 the covers of The St. Croix Review have been graced with the exceptional artwork of my daughter, Jocelyn MacDonald. Unfortunately, because she is striving to obtain a master’s degree in fine arts, she will no longer be able do the artwork for us. But we have been very lucky to call upon the artistic talent of a nationally acclaimed painter, William Ersland. His interests include horses, the Old West, equine sports, and the natural beauty of the wildlife and landscapes of America.

Thank you so much, Jocelyn, for the gorgeous inspiration you have given us for year after year! And welcome, William, to our community. We look forward to experiencing your visions of America!

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