The Long and Winding Republican Road


Cartoon of the GOP candidates as the Beatles

We moderns like our roads direct, our destinations clear, our paths planned, our routes rational. But we delude ourselves. We presume to know in advance what cannot be known. We bask in the conceit of rational control when such control is not to be had. We’re then disappointed, even angered, when we discover that life is in fact​—​to quote those perceptive Oakeshottian critics of modernity, the Beatles​—​a long and winding road.

But long and winding roads can lead to worthwhile destinations. The limitations of modern rationalism don’t preclude a reasonable outcome to our ...

Cartoon of Scott Walker

Great Scott


Throughout the 2012 election cycle Republicans have pined for a bold, conservative reformer—a leader courageous enough to make difficult choices and ...


Taking Aim at Santorum

The Romney campaign misfires.


Cartoon of Mitt Romney shooting at a target

On Saturday, February 4, a national poll from Rasmussen Reports showed Rick Santorum as the only Republican to lead President Obama in a head-to-head matchup. The next morning, a PPP poll showed Santorum suddenly leading Mitt Romney in Minnesota. So the Romney campaign responded with what are becoming its trademark tactics. Having completely ignored Santorum since New Hampshire, on Sunday afternoon the Romney team sent out a press release calling him “a proud defender of earmarks and pork-barrel spending.” The email contained an oppo-dump of news stories and quotes designed to make Santorum look like a latter-day Ted Stevens.

On Monday a PPP poll was ...

Photo of the United Nations

Amateur Hour at the U.N.

The Obama administration’s Syria policy goes up in flames.


Last week, Russia and China obstructed the Obama administration’s Syria policy by vetoing an anti-Assad Security Council resolution backed by the Arab League, Britain, ...

Antinuclear Assassinations

Antinuclear Assassinations

Who is killing the nuke scientists of Iran? Whoever it is should be thanked.


On January 11 in Tehran, two men on a motorcycle attached a magnetic bomb to the car carrying Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan. Seconds later, the car ...

Photo of troops in Mali

War Comes to Mali

Al Qaeda advances under cover of tribal conflict.


With U.S. forces in Mali 

Cartoon of the GOP elephant

Shrinking Senate Hopes

A GOP takeover is looking more difficult.


A year ago, Republican capture of the Senate in the 2012 election was regarded as close to a sure thing. The political direction of the country had ...

Photos of Assad

Assad@axisofevil.com . . .

Leaked emails show Westerners truckling to the Syrian regime.


In the fall of 2007 Israel reportedly hacked into Syria’s air defense systems and disabled them, as a prelude to bombing a nuclear facility in the ...

Photo of independents squeezed between Democrats and Republicans

Polarization and the Independents

An ever smaller number of swing voters will decide the presidential election.


Late last month, Gallup published a summary of President Obama’s job approval ratings for 2011. The pollster’s findings were stunning: Eighty ...


The Coming Attack on Iran

When an irresistible force meets an immovable object, something’s gotta give.


Photo of A Zelzal missile launched outside Qom, Iran, June 2011

The United States and Iran have been on a collision course since the Iranian revolution in 1979, when elements of the newly proclaimed Islamic Republic took U.S. diplomats and Tehran embassy personnel hostage. U.S. relations with Iran have been bad ever since. The focus in recent years has been the Iranian program to develop a nuclear weapon, but the backdrop is Iran as a growing regional threat, not only to Israel and to U.S. and allied interests in the Persian Gulf region, but also to the many Sunni governments of the Gulf, which fear an increasingly powerful Shiite government in Tehran.

Meanwhile, Iran props up the Assad dictatorship in Syria, meddles in Lebanon through the Hezbollah militia, supports the radical Hamas ...

Photo of a statue of Washington Duke

Affirmative Disaster

A Duke study documents the harm racial preferences in college admissions can do to the intended beneficiaries.


A growing body of empirical evidence is undermining the claim that racial preferences in college benefit their recipients. Students who are admitted ...

Photo of Police arrest workers protesting ‘bullying’ bosses in Shenzen.

Authoritarian Chic

The Chinese economic model is nothing for Westerners to envy— or emulate. Its successes have come from emulating the West.


"We have no plan” and “we are unable to act” have become common refrains among influential Americans who grumble about the decline of U.S. power in ...

Books & Arts

Another Fine Mess

The economic costs of ignorance


Photo of Representative Barney Frank

Defending himself against charges of corrupting the youth of Athens, Socrates told a story. Chaerephon, one of Socrates’ friends, once visited the Oracle at Delphi and asked, “Is anyone wiser than Socrates?” The reply was unequivocal: “There is none.” The philosopher was puzzled. All he knew for sure was that his knowledge was limited. How, then, could he be judged the wisest man alive? What Socrates concluded was that it was his very understanding of his own ignorance which made him wiser than most men. 

“In my investigation in the service of the god I found that those who had the highest reputation were nearly the most deficient,” Socrates said at his trial, “while those who were thought to be ...

Painting of Oliver Hazard Perry at the Battle of Lake Erie, 1812

Northern Exposure

The long, bloody road to U.S.-Canadian amity.


The strategic thinker Eliot Cohen begins this impressive book with a passage that (as he seemingly recognizes) will at first glance strike contemporary readers as laughable, if not ludicrous: ...

Photo of Pinhas Kaganovitch

On the Brink

A haunted vision of a people in extremis.


The great tragedy of Yiddish literature is that, at the very moment when it was blossoming into modernity in all genres, its writers, audience, and cultural matrix were completely destroyed by the ...

Movie Still from Bedazzled

Let’s Misbehave

Sometimes it’s a Good Thing to be bad.


Let’s start with a kind of syllogism. Philosophers write books of philosophy. Emrys Westacott teaches philosophy at Alfred University. Therefore his book, The Virtues of ...

Photo of P. D. James

Austen-Powered Mystery

A modern master salutes a predecessor.


There are only two things wrong with Jane Austen’s novels. There aren’t enough of them. And they’re too short.

Chronicle Movie Still

Magic Screen

From CinemaScope to CGI, the play’s the thing.


There are moments in Chronicle, a male version of the 1976 horror movie Carrie, that actually manage to evoke the wonder of cinema ...


The Dinner Party

Matt Labash’s dine and dash


Cartoon of Bill Ayers pointing to his watch

When I think about the American-postcard moments of my life—-Fourth of July fireworks, Veterans’ Day parades, watching American Chopper reruns—there is none so emblematic as the evening I just spent in the flat-screened glow of the Super Bowl, having a few pops and making chitchat with my new comrades from the Weather Underground.

Everyone celebrates America in his own peculiar way. Before becoming acclaimed educators, citizen activists, and the notorious friends of Barack Obama, Bill Ayers and his wife, Bernardine Dohrn, used to celebrate their America by bombing the Capitol, bombing the Pentagon, and aspiring to bomb a dancehall full of soldiers at Fort Dix, if only their late comrades hadn’t accidentally blown ...


Erroneous Progressive Condescension

Cartoon of anonymous member of the press

The Scrapbook has been pondering a minor detail from an item that appeared here last week. In describing the Planned Parenthood/Susan G. Komen fundraising episode, we mentioned that Greg Sargent, a Washington Post blogger, had been boasting on his Twitter feed about pressure exerted on the Komen foundation by congressional Democrats. Somebody wrote in to push back: “Senators are now censuring private organizations? This is crazy.” Sargent scoffed: “Not quite sure I see the ‘censorship’ at play here.”

At which moment The Scrapbook exclaimed to itself: Bingo! Another example of Erroneous Progressive Condescension. Did you like that ...


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