Thursday, August 16, 1787. The State House in Philadelphia was hot, hot, hot. The delegates gathered to “form a more perfect union” were sweltering. Despite the oppressive heat, the windows remained closed and the heavy drapes remained drawn so as to maintain the seal of security under which these critical (and somewhat rebellious) deliberations were taking place.
The indefatigable Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), whose professed aim is "fighting hate and bigotry," and "tracking and exposing the activities of hate groups," has released another study of conspiracy theories and the people who believe in them. "'Patriot' Paranoia: A Look at the Top Ten Conspiracy Theories," by Alexander Zaitchik, is an artful blend of legitimate debunking and smear by association. Since periodic charges of conspiracy-mongering are a time-honored way of lumping real patriots with bona fide extremists of all stripes, we offer a point-by-point commentary on Zaitchik's carelessly-concocted catalogue of conspiracies.
The Telegraph’s Nile Gardner, a Washington-based foreign affairs analyst for the British newspaper, has compared the Obama Administration to the ancien régime of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. French savant Alexis de Tocqueville, famous for his penetrating studies of both the French monarchy and early American society, would likely be “less than impressed with the extravagance and arrogance … among the White House elites that rule America as though they had been handed some divine right to govern with impunity,” writes Gardner. Michelle Obama’s recent sumptuous trip to Spain is an act of indifferent profligacy worthy of Marie Antoinette — she who is alleged to have said, when informed that the poor of France had no bread, “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche!” (“Let them eat cake!”).
There is, if you will, an arresting scene in A Man for All Seasons, Robert Bolt’s magnificent play about Sir Thomas More. The scene concerns an arrest that does not take place at the home of More, the Lord Chancellor of England. An acquaintance named Richard Rich is acting suspiciously and members of the More household, and no doubt More himself, suspect he is spying on the Lord Chancellor and is prepared to betray him to his enemies — a suspicion borne out all too well by later events. Rich has no sooner left than More’s wife, daughter, and son-in-law all clamor for his arrest, a request More might grant but for the inconvenient fact that the man had broken no law.
The Rotunda at the University of Virginia announced last week that the university’s collection of the papers of James Madison are being digitized and added to the larger online library of the documents of our Founding Fathers. According to a press release posted on the Rotunda’s website:
Famed Roman orator, the silver-tongued Cicero, once noted, "It is valuable to look to the words of our Founders, but it is more valuable to study the principles that inspired their words." In the present climate, winds are whipping in from the plains of plutocracy and eroding at an extraordinary pace the bedrock foundations of limited government upon which our Republic was founded. As Cicero witnessed the gradual replacement of his own Republic with an empire ruled by one autocrat after another distracting the masses with mere gimcracks of popular government, he turned to the words of his noble forbearers. We would do wisely to follow his example.
When Matthew Josephson wrote The Robber Barons in 1934, he tipped his hand as to his personal prejudice against the capitalists of the late 19th century:
Pardon me, but if I hear one more time that we can’t deport 12 million illegal aliens I’m headed for the backyard to howl at the moon. Is the American memory so short that we’ve already forgotten the 1950s? This writer is old enough to remember very clearly the mass deportation of illegal aliens that occurred in 1954 in what was officially termed “Operation Wetback” (prior to the age of political correctness).
Fox News host Glenn Beck aired an extraordinary program June 24 explaining how the facts released from the files of the FBI and the World War II-era Office of Strategic Services over the past two decades have vindicated the controversial charges of communism in the U.S. State Department by Senator Joseph McCarthy.
On a bitterly cold day in mid-January, 1842, British soldiers manning the garrison at Jalalabad on the Afghan frontier saw a strange sight. Out of the snowy wasteland rode a single man, badly wounded, on a dying horse. His name, he told the soldiers, was William Brydon.
In May 1970, news was made at Ohio's Kent State University when campus police and the National Guard attempted to wrest control from out-of-control students. The collective temper-tantrum ignited a full-blown coup that had been some 30 years in the making.