National Review

  1. Tax Reform: A Mixed Bag
    It looks like the Republicans pulled it off: On Friday, a conference committee reached an agreement on tax reform. Both houses of Congress are expected to pass the final bill this week, and the president’s signature will make it law. The legislation is a mixed bag. It adds to the deficit at a time when we’re already drowning in debt, and it doesn’t simplify the tax code as much as many had hoped it would. Nonetheless, there are some serious reforms here that should endure even if Democrats retake the government soon. Let’s take a tour of the major high and
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  2. The Trump Administration Bans ‘Diversity’
    The Washington Post reported in a couple of stories over the weekend that the Trump administration has directed some Department of Health and Human Services components to stop using certain words in the budget process, including "diversity." It's not known whether other agencies have received such instructions, or what the reason for the direction is, but speaking just of the ban on "diversity," I'd say this is a promising development. Of course, the word has a legitimate meaning, but these days that's not what it's used for in 99 instances out of a hundred. For a long time, rather, the word
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  3. The Higher-Ed ‘Reformers’ Who Messed It Up in the First Place
    There is a great deal wrong with American higher education. Unfortunately, some of the biggest players in the reform movement are the same folks who helped to create the mess we are now in. That is Anthony Hennen's argument in this Martin Center article. In particular, the Lumina Foundation, which has for many years been pushing the destructive notion that the more people who process through college, the better off the country will be, is now positioning itself as a voice for change. Lumina is behind a policy shop called Higher Learning Advocates. Hennen writes, "Higher Learning Advocates are not likely
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  4. Bruni ‘Gets It’ about Disability Bias — Except for Assisted Suicide
    When New York Times columnist Frank Bruni isn't driving me nuts, it's usually because he's on vacation from his (very well written) column. Today was an exception. Bruni writes evocatively about how people with disabilities "disappear" from the view and concern of mainstream life. It seems Bruni met Nancy, a woman with post polio syndrome on a cruise where he was an invited speaker. After initially attending the formal presentations, she stopped coming because, using a wheelchair, she was ignored by fellow attendees. From, "Are You Old? Infirm? Then Kindly Disappear:" The more I thought about her experience, the more I realized how
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  5. Just Say ‘Yes’ to Prosperity
    The more squared-away among us have been doing their Christmas shopping for a while. People like me are getting started. It’s fashionable to dislike shopping. Men of course aren’t supposed to enjoy shopping, because shopping is a stereotypically female thing, and we men are weirdly delicate in the face of such threats. But many women say they dislike shopping, too: It’s a hassle, it’s stressful, and taking pleasure in the mere exercise of consumption strikes many as suggestive of shallowness. It’s a fine argument, but I don’t buy it. Ayn Rand loved architects, or at least the idea of an architect. Sit-com
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  6. Jerusalem and Middle Eastern Christians
    Christian leaders in the Middle East oppose U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The underlying issue is that Christians in the region side with the Palestinian cause against the Jewish state, on the whole. Exceptions exist, and one could argue that pro-Israeli Christians ought to be the majority in the churches of the Middle East, but that would be another blog post, or a book. Some American Christians, particularly Evangelicals, seem unaware that any tension exists between the Israeli flag on their wall and the Arabic letter nun — N, for Nazarene, a symbol of solidarity with persecuted Christians in
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  7. Whirlpool Has Trapped Washington in a Spin Cycle
    A household appliance will be the next stepping stone on America's path to restored greatness. The government is poised to punish many Americans, in the name of protecting a few of them, because, in the government's opinion, too many of them are choosing to buy foreign-made washing machines for no better reason than that the buyers think they are better. If you are wondering why the government is squandering its dwindling prestige by having opinions about such things, you have not been paying attention to Whirlpool's demonstration that it is more adept at manipulating Washington than it is at making
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  8. If Robert Mueller Will Ultimately Vindicate Trump, Why Fire Him?
    We are seeing two trends in the Robert Mueller matter that should be pulling in opposite directions, but aren't: 1) As far as we can tell at the moment (and this is necessarily speculative), Mueller doesn't seem to be closing in on a collusion conspiracy. If that's true, he's also unlikely to be closing in on a real obstruction-of-justice case. In other words, the best bet right now is that, after catching up people guilty of various, extraneous crimes, the Mueller investigation will leave President Trump relatively untouched. 2) Momentum is building for the idea of firing Robert Mueller. This is a
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  9. On the Nomination of Matthew Petersen
    Matthew Petersen, President Trump’s most recent nominee to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (“D.D.C.”), has come under fire following an exchange with Senator Kennedy, in which Senator Kennedy asked a series of questions designed to demonstrate that Peterson has not practiced as a trial lawyer. Following that exchange, a parade of critics have argued that he lacks the qualifications to serve on the D.D.C. But does he? Petersen currently serves as a Commissioner on the Federal Election Commission (“FEC”), and previously served as its Chairman, jobs that gave him significant exposure to the sort of regulatory cases that
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  10. Listen to the Great Books Podcast
    Next week we'll post the final Great Books podcast of 2017. Subject: A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens. Subscribe for free today and have it delivered to your device immediately upon release. Also, catch up on podcasts from recent weeks, such as: The Road, by Cormac McCarthy; The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain; and The Gulag Archipelago, by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. We'll be back in 2018 with more episodes
  11. The Clinton Impeachment Is Finally Getting the Hollywood Treatment
    Editor's Note: This piece originally appeared at Acculturated. It is reprinted here with permission. American Crime Story show runner Ryan Murphy recently announced that he is planning a series on President Bill Clinton’s impeachment. The History Channel just gave the green light to a show on the same subject. And Amazon Studios is slated to do a film related to what has proven to be the biggest crisis to hit the American presidency in the last 45 years. Murphy’s take is based on CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin’s 2000 book, The Vast Conspiracy. The book appears to pin the blame for Clinton’s
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  12. Was the Steele Dossier Used to Obtain a FISA Warrant Against Trump’s Campaign?
    President Trump ought to direct his Justice Department and FBI to provide the House Intelligence Committee with the FISA warrant application -- any FISA warrant application -- in which they relied on information from the Steele dossier in seeking court permission to spy on the Trump campaign. It may well be that they did not rely on the dossier. It is ridiculous, though, that we are still in the dark about this. I have long experience with how scrupulously the FBI and Justice Department work in the often controversial foreign-intelligence realm. They care deeply about their honorable reputation with the FISA
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  13. Divine Gift Giving
    “We need this book now because now, more than ever, we need the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the wisdom of Saint Thomas Aquinas, and figures like John of Saint Thomas,” Father Cajetan Cuddy, O.P., writes in his introduction to a new English edition of The Gifts of the Holy Spirit by John of St. Thomas, published by Cluny Media. “All of those who stand unafraid of modern complexities and desire wise guidance in their pursuit of the truth should read this book,” he writes. Father Cuddy, a Dominican priest currently studying at the University of Fribourg, talks about truth, the
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  14. What’s Next in the Wake of the FCC’s Net-Neutrality Decision
    Editor’s Note: The following piece originally appeared at AEIdeas, a public-policy blog produced by the American Enterprise Institute. It is adapted here with permission. Well, it’s finally upon us. After three weeks of relentless public debate about net neutrality — including a steady stream of racist, despicable personal attacks on Chairman Ajit Pai and his family — we finally reached the day of action. Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved the Restoring Internet Freedom Order by a 3–2 vote. Contrary to the dominant narrative in some circles, the vote will not end the Internet as we know it, silence minority voices
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  15. A Defense of Catholic Tradition in the Post-Conciliar Era
    ‘And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?” So declaimed William Butler Yeats in “The Second Coming,” a biting premonition of the age of post-industrial secular decadence that was to come, and that was to so haunt another William — William F. Buckley Jr. — that it compelled him to pen in the mid ’60s a wordy apologia, which functioned as a scintillating yet eloquent abjuration against his most holy Catholic Church, its grand concession to the tides of post-modernism, and the resulting liturgy — the Novus Ordo Missae, or Mass of
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