The Spectator U.S
Hunter Biden, the crack-smoking son of U.S. Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden, has a penchant for partying and leaving things behind. Yet even in his dissipated state, he can negotiate self-enriching deals with Ukrainian oligarchs and Chinese Communist Party apparatchiks. Such superpowers are given to few. Cockburn, writing in Spectator U.S., is envious.
The Spectator U.S
Hunter Biden, the crack-smoking son of U.S. Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden, has a penchant for partying and leaving things behind. Yet even in his dissipated state, he can negotiate self-enriching deals with Ukrainian oligarchs and Chinese Communist Party apparatchiks. Such superpowers are given to few. Cockburn, writing in Spectator U.S., is envious.
The Spectator U.S
As G.K. Chesterton alleged, “When men choose not to believe in God, they do not thereafter believe in nothing, they then become capable of believing in anything.” Damien Thompson, writing in Spectator U.S., wonders if the neo-Puritanism of Kamala Harris isn’t a modern iteration of the anti-Catholicism of the Godly Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
The American Mind
A current narrative posits that disparities in the life outcomes of blacks and whites can only be explained by systemic racism. In The American Mind, David Azerrad warns that if Americans accept that their society is steeped in racism, then any presumed solution would only intensify the demands of the aggrieved. 
Simon Leys (1935 – 2014) was a distinguished scholar of classical Chinese art and literature, and one of the first westerners to recognize the appalling toll of Mao’s Cultural Revolution. David Adler, writing in Quillette, recounts Leys’ analysis of the totalitarian dynamics of China under Mao, and the ultimate fragility of civilization.
The Spectator USA
Two defining sensibilities of conservatism are an acceptance of a tragic view of existence and rejection of the perfectibility of man. Writing in The Spectator USA, Chadwick Moore explains how the chaos in the streets, the corruption of American institutions, and the pronouncements of Antifa led him to attend church and re-evaluate religion.
The anti-Trump media delights in delivering bombshell after bombshell against the president. But as the Roman poet Juvenal once asked, “Who watches the watchmen?” Fortunately, independent journalist Sharyl Attkisson is on the job. Her blog lists 145 mistakes made by the major media in reporting on U.S. President Donald Trump.
The American Conservative
As the totalitarian regimes of the 20th century convincingly established, the conflation of politics and science is disastrous. Writing in The American Conservative, Brian Jones worries that Scientific American’s endorsement of Joe Biden is a betrayal of the spirit of scientific enquiry. Politicizing science doesn’t lead to truth or discovery, but to the absolutization of politics itself.
Law & Liberty
It is fashionable these days to view addiction as a disease and the addict as a victim, no more responsible for his or her condition than, say, one who has developed Parkinson’s. Writing in Law and Liberty, Theodore Dalrymple argues that conceptualizing addiction as merely another disease denies human volition, and ultimately de-humanizes the addict.
The Spectator US
The topsy-turvy world of Trump’s America has scrambled traditional political allegiances. For while the President’s character flaws are well known, the Democrats can be equally crazy. Bridget Phetasy, writing in The Spectator US, observes that the choices on offer in November have driven many Americans to despair, leading to an upsurge in political homelessness.
The Critic
Is COVID a once-in-a-century apocalypse that justifies shutting down the economy? UK statistics show that over the past 26 years, 2019-2020 is merely the eighth-worst season for flu deaths. Laura Dodsworth, writing in The Critic, argues imprecise metrics have led to grossly exaggerated fears and destructive policies. Ultimately we need a better way of counting the dead.
American Greatness
Truth is both an intellectual objective and a cultural value. Yet to defeat the Bad Orange Man, many in the American media have abdicated their commitment to truthfulness. Writing in American Greatness, Roger Kimball argues that the deceitfulness of the mainstream media has seriously damaged the “horizon of shared assumptions” that makes public life possible.
To judge by the flurry of recent books and articles, liberalism is either dead or in the ICU. Writing in Quillette, Cathy Young advises that we delude ourselves if we believe classical liberal values are approaching their end days. Every attempt to build a utopian post-liberal future, she reminds us, has invariably ended in a regression to barbarism.
Civilizations have always understood that looters were criminals and looting a sign of civil decay. A chorus of commentators has sought to justify looting since the riots precipitated by the death of George Floyd, however. Frank Furedi, writing in Spiked, argues that adopting the philosophy of violence must eventually overwhelm democracy itself.
The New Criterion
A current orthodoxy is that racism, prejudice and discrimination are exclusively the domain of white people. Anthony Daniels, writing in The New Criterion, reviews two recent best-selling books about racism. Daniels finds both volumes are poorly written, intellectually nugatory and self-indulgent.
City Journal
France’s penchant for translating abstract ideas into practical policies often has disastrous consequences. According to Pascal Bruckner, this tendency has reached new heights during the current lockdown. Writing in City Journal, Bruckner reminds us we’re never done with history’s uncertainty, and hyper-ratiocination only means we risk being deluded by a fantasy of omnipotence.
National Review
We don’t need to look far to find Gwyn Morgan’s “magically imagined world” (above). For decades, California pursued environmental policies “tethered to reality by the slenderest of threads,” to channel P.G. Wodehouse. Victor Davis Hanson, writing in National Review, recounts how a once-innovative and prosperous state has devolved into a civilization in near ruins.
The Trump Administration calls the Israel-UAE deal “a strategic realignment” and an “enormous historic step forward.” Aaron David Miller, writing in NPR, acknowledges that the agreement represents real progress and a win for Trump. But, Miller cautions, it would be wise not to overplay its significance.
American Greatness
Because Donald Trump ran in 2016 on a program repudiating ruling class dogma and practice, once elected he faced a near-universal rebellion in the federal bureaucracy. In American Greatness, Michael Anton argues that this “resistance” demonstrates that real political power now resides in an unelected and anti-democratic deep state.
The American Mind
Brian Giesbrecht’s remapping of North America (above) might be hurried along by the forthcoming American election. According to various simulations, the election could trigger a major constitutional crisis. Americans are suddenly contemplating what a few years ago was unthinkable: the secession of multiple states. Andrew Bausch, writing in The American Mind, suggests that those who want to see the United States remain united need to begin making the constitutional and political case for unity and against secession.
Claremont Review of Books
Americans are in many ways more divided today than they were in 1860. Restoring American unity amidst the current rancour sounds almost comically impossible. Writing in the Claremont Review of Books, Michael Anton lays out an ambitious program for reuniting Americans, focused on a working-class that has been abandoned by both parties.
The hegemony of liberal ideas is ending. In its place is an updated version of Marxism, one wielding an eye-glazing array of terms like “social justice,” “anti-racism,” “critical race theory,” “wokeness” and many others. Yoram Hazony, writing in Quillette, argues that liberals will either have to submit to the new Marxists or assemble a pro-democracy alliance with conservatives.
The chattering classes almost all believe the Enlightenment led to a permanently secular world, unencumbered by the dogmatic superstitions of religion. Tom Holland, writing in Unherd, argues that two recent developments – one in India, the other in Turkey – show that the ancient encounter between the secular and the sacred is far from settled.
Law and Liberty
Strange how we’re more often driven by negative emotions than constructive sentiments. As Nietzsche recognized, resentment is among the most potent political motivators and politicians have become adept at stoking all its versions. In Law and Liberty, Theodore Dalrymple scrutinizes our current historiographical narrative that the past consists of nothing but injustices.
The Critic
Among the scourges of the pandemic is Neo-Puritanism. Lockdowns, social distancing and face masks have given the sanctimonious reason to bully those who object, while turning a blind eye to the suicides, distress, poverty and social dissolution their side has brought about. Writing in The Critic, Patrick Fagan warns we’re sleepwalking into a totalitarian nightmare.
The Critic
In the Victorian Era viral illness incited pathological fear exacerbated by the lack of empirical understanding about what germs were or how viruses mutated. In Charles Dickens’ novels, fevers served a narrative function, leading to the victim’s disfigurement, destruction or moral salvation. Writing in The Critic, Natasha Green suggests that our own paranoid fears aren’t so different from our ancestors’.
Thomas Frank
Thomas Frank is one of the few high-profile journalists to write sympathetically about Donald Trump and his supporters. The native Kansan understands the concerns of Middle America and has taken on the smug, condescending coastal elites. Matt Taibbi, writing in Substack, reviews Frank’s new book, The People, No: A Brief History of Anti-Populism.
The Spectator
Covid-19 was initially thought to be extremely virulent and many governments worldwide locked-down their countries. But more complete data suggest the contagion isn’t nearly as lethal as originally predicted. Lionel Shriver, writing in The Spectator U.K., argues the coronavirus has been grossly oversold by a witches’ brew of bad science, a hyperbolic media and cowed politicians.
National Review
Beijing’s malign actions concerning the coronavirus, Hong Kong, and human-rights abuses against Uighurs (among others) have triggered a backlash in Europe. Writing in National Review, Jimmy Quinn urges European nations to engage in “democratic security” by mobilizing democratic practices to oppose the Chinese Communist Party’s destructiveness.
Spectator USA
The mob violence in American cities is being spun as “peaceful demonstrations” subverted by thuggish police. Writing in Spectator USA, Daniel McCarthy argues that the corporate media manipulate language and twist the truth, largely to undermine Donald Trump. Ultimately, the violence and mayhem matter mainly for their utility in getting rid of the hated Orange Man.
RealClear Politics
For Joel Kotkin, class in America can no longer be understood in terms of left and right. Instead, it is marked by the rise of an academic and media elite and an expansive government bureaucracy. Speaking to Carl Cannon of Real Clear Politics, Kotkin warns of the coming of a new feudalism.
Ever since J.S. Mill dubbed the Conservatives the “stupid party” back in the 1800s, conservatives have been caricatured as anti-intellectual, unsophisticated and inflexible moral busybodies. There’s been an extraordinary turnaround. Matt Taibbi, writing in Substack, points out that the stereotypes once used to slander conservatives now more accurately describe the left.