Niall Ferguson (left), professor at Harvard and the London School of Economics, summarized his latest book, Civilization: The West and the Rest for Newsweek magazine’s The Daily Beast by stating that he is not a “declinist” but is instead expecting an imminent collapse of the United States. He wrote: "I really don’t believe the United States ... is in some kind of gradual, inexorable decline.... in my view, civilizations don’t rise…and then gently decline, as inevitably and predictably as the four seasons.... History isn’t one smooth, parabolic curve after another. Its shape is more like an exponentially steepening slope that quite suddenly drops off like a cliff."
If Robert Taft had been a baseball player instead of a United States Senator, he might have led the league in left-handed compliments. As it was, he was often “damned with faint praise” by people who, while paying tribute to the power of his intellect, quite often suggested both the man and the mind had come of age in the wrong century. The Ohio lawmaker would hear himself praised as one possessing “the best eighteenth-century mind in America” by people who obviously considered an 18th-century mind ill-suited to mid-20th-century politics. Others, frustrated by the Senator’s stubborn insistence on examining the facts of any controversy before deciding whether to go with or against the prevailing political winds, were fond of saying, “Taft has the best mind in the Senate — until he makes it up.”
Rev. Mark Collins (left) of Yorktown, Texas, enjoys a national reputation as a portrayer of George Washington. Since July 4, 2002, Rev. Collins has formally played the role of George Washington at numerous historical re-enactments for churches, the military, schools, rallies, political parties, parades, and “home schooling” events (such as “Frontier Days”). Among his film credits, Rev. Collins portrayed George Washington in The Revolution, a 13-hour mini-series for the History Channel in 2006. He has also been cast as George Washington in a soon-to-be released DVD of the documentary entitled “Behold a Pale Horse,” which includes frank assessments of the direction and future of our Republic from several prominent leaders in the “freedom movement.”
The social and economic upheavals caused by environmental subsidies, as seen in the demise of Solyndra and other energy companies, are devastating but not unpredictable after-effects. Over decades, and even centuries, the U.S. government has indulged in a myriad of legislative actions to funnel taxpayer money into projects of its choosing — and generally speaking, no good has come from them. In fact, history shows that government interference has only hampered the natural flow of markets and depressed the innovative practices of countless American entrepreneurs.
It is a classic story of Americana, with all the excitement, dreams, struggle, disappointment, ingenuity, resilience, triumph, love, loss, and enduring lessons common to the most memorable of such tales. Also common to such sagas — particularly those of the Christian sort — the most enduring impact is still uncoiling with the long passage of years and the generations.
Military commissions have always been controversial in U.S. history, and no more so than in the past 10 years. Military commissions have traditionally been defined as executive branch courts, created by necessity under a system where ordinary courts are not functioning, such as during a rebellion or military occupation of a foreign country. They are distinct from ordinary criminal trials and the regular military system of justice, the courts-martial, the latter being generally required to “apply the principles of law and the rules of evidence generally recognized in the trial of criminal cases in the United States district courts” under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
The truth is out. The leading lady of liberal America between 1960 and her death in 1994, the standard setter of au courant women with her pillbox hats, bouffant hairstyle, and jet-set friends, the Guinevere to Camelot’s King Arthur himself, didn’t much care for lesbians and Martin Luther King and other leftist world leaders.
History is replete with the deeds of successful individuals. Some rose to prominence as the builders of businesses while others served as the leaders of some noteworthy organizations. Still more made their marks as philanthropists, or served their nations in patriotic or religious endeavors, or spent their time and energy to make their own communities better places to live. There are very few of course who, in a busy lifetime, do all of this. William J. Grede was one of those very few.
Sometime in the early summer of 1497, a small caravel, the Matthew, with a crew of 18 men, spied land after weeks of perilous sailing across the dangerous, then-unknown waters of the northwest Atlantic Ocean. Captained by an Italian seaman, John Cabot, whose original name was Giovanni Caboto, the ship had departed Bristol in late May with King Henry VII’s blessing to look for new lands across the ocean. What Cabot and his men saw was a rugged coastline of deep, narrow bays, towering cliffs, and soaring headlands teeming with nesting seabirds — a landscape not unlike many portions of the coastline of Britain and Ireland. Cabot was undoubtedly inspired by the success, only a few years earlier, of fellow Genoese mariner Christopher Columbus, in discovering the islands of the Caribbean. But this was no subtropical paradise peopled with friendly natives; the seas here were rough, cold, and full of icebergs carried south from Greenland. Instead of waving palm trees, the land was forested with fir and spruce, with the more exposed headlands as barren as the Arctic tundra. John Cabot had discovered the eastermost portion of North America, the huge island that soon came to be known as Newfoundland.
Republican presidential hopeful Ron Paul is most distinguishable, on the debate stage alongside fellow GOP contenders, for his opposition to the U.S. wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and now Libya. The Texas Congressman advocates the withdraw of U.S. troops from not only Afghanistan and Iraq, but also elsewhere in the world, such as Germany, Japan, and South Korea.
A new exhibit at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History reveals a bias against two icons of Americans: Christopher Columbus and Thomas Jefferson. The "Race: Are We So Different?" display — developed by the American Anthropological Association — takes what the museum’s website calls “an unprecedented look at race and racism in the United States.”