Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. I Am Not Your Slave


The constant attacks on American citizens who are white are absurd and insulting. The commentary insisting that all whites must be racist is bizarre and on a closer look, based on no facts at all. I’ve decided that I’ve had enough of these intended insults. (I can only be insulted if I accept the observations.) I’m pushing back. I realize that some black Americans and people on the Left would be outraged at my ideas, and if they had the opportunity would vehemently chastise me.

I don’t care.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Our Unreliable Senior Military Leaders


Our senior military leaders are not reliable when it comes to supporting civilian control by the Commander in Chief. This is not new. Nor does it follow that the rest of the ranks necessarily track with the opinions of the most senior ranks. Consider three recent examples and one older case: Secretary of Defense Esper, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Milley, Command Master Sergeant of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell.

Secretary of Defense Esper and General Milley, together, used the cover of military non-political status to subvert President Trump’s authority. They have no role in invoking the Insurrection Act. They made their political “non-political” stand as Democrat mayors and governors allowed more destruction of property, more deprivation of citizens’ rights, and more killings than was seen in Arkansas in 1957. These two gentlemen knew full well the facts of Little Rock and President Eisenhower’s decision to nationalize the National Guard (taking them out of the control of the white supremacist Democrat governor) while ordering the 101st Airborne Division to go in with fixed bayonets. Yes, bayonets against American citizens. In that light, consider these two senior military leaders’ words.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Honor Clint Eastwood


The last of the stars, a veritable ancient at 90!, is also the most patriotic artist of our times. Yet he doesn’t have a Presidential Medal of Freedom. Bush didn’t want to do it. Trump’s not done it. We don’t even talk about it. Japan did it–France did it–even Obama awarded him a medal (along with Bob Dylan–they both chose to avoid attendance). I say it’s time we talked about it, spread word, got things going. We might find out that honor counts for something after all. Read my essay at Law & Liberty, and if you’re persuaded we should honor Clint, see whether there’s anyone you can tell about it. Read, share, and let’s talk Clint in the comments!


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Juneteenth at 155 years


This is the 155th anniversary of the day slaves in Texas received the news that they were free. On June 19, 1865, Union Army Major General Gordon Granger read General Orders, Number 3, to the people of Galveston. It read in part:

The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor. The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. When the Mob Rules, Bad Things Happen


Our intense national debate over race is not an honest discussion. The cancel culture has effectively silenced one side.

Politicians and commentators can defame conscientious police officers, claim America is a cesspool of bigotry, and even call for the assassination of the President without consequences.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. ACF PoMoCon #18: Richard Reinsch


So this is the second in our series on the late professor of political philosophy and public intellectual Peter Lawler. Today, I talk with my friend Richard Reinsch, the editor at Law & Liberty, and co-author of Peter’s last book, A Constitution In Full, an attempt to retrieve the complex American history that made for the middle-class nation, especially to retrieve the complement to our excessive individualism–our relational being.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. An Open Letter to Martha McSally


Scales of Justice and Boots of TruthSenator McSally,

I want you to win this November, just as I wanted you to win in 2018. Sadly, tragically for our nation, it appears you are on track to be a two-time state-wide loser. That will be the end of your prospects for any position of influence going forward. It may also be the end of our republic. Please help us help you by being your best legislator and candidate. Act on the sustained real courage of Major McSally, flashes of which you have shown in the United States Senate. That way lies victory, if you tell your story true and get your story out by casting aside the counsel of caution, seizing every opportunity in every forum to engage with Arizonans.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The Atheist and the Acorn


This starts with a joke. Not a particularly good one, but perhaps the novelty will save the humor. It’s been a long time since I’ve heard it told.

An atheist is arguing with a priest as they walk through a grove of trees. “How can you believe in a God who created such a disordered universe? Look at these mighty oak trees. See the tiny acorns they produce. And yet the massive pumpkin grows on a feeble vine. If I had designed the world that situation would be corrected, let me tell you.”


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. It’s Going to Be a Bumpy Ride


As the doorbell rang, I let go of the napkin I was fingering and hurried, then slowed down, as I walked to the door. Ted watched me from the other side of the room and smiled reassuringly. My heart felt as if it would leap out of my chest. I took a deep breath, paused at the door, put a smile on my face, and said a brief prayer. As I opened the door, Valerie was on the other side with a silly grin on her face.

She said, “Hey you!! How have you been? She stepped in confidently and gave me a big hug. It felt great, and we held onto each other for an extra moment and then stepped back with tears in our eyes. She saw Ted and called out, “Hey, big guy!” He grinned back.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. From Commentary Magazine’s Editors



“We stand against the mob and all its aims. We stand against the chaos and violence, the silencing of debate, the purging of heretics, the rewriting of history, and the destruction of the greatest country in the world. We will defend the most majestic achievement of humankind, the United States of America, against the most ignoble impulse in human history, to tear down that which is good.”


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. What Should Be Donald Trump’s Pitch


On Saturday, President Trump will be holding a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma – where I was born and where off and on I spent something like thirty-two years of my life.

In effect, thanks to the Wuhan Coronavirus, this will be the true launch of his Presidential campaign, and this should give him an opportunity to address the nation. Some will say that he should “bring us together.” I think the opposite. I think that he should exploit this opportunity to divide the house by pinning the tale on the donkey.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Beware of Tort Liability for COVID Cases


Now that American businesses are beginning to reopen, Congress must decide whether these firms should receive protections against suits for liability brought by their customers and employees who claim that they have contracted COVID-19 at those business establishments. The question has given rise to deep partisan divisions. Republicans, led by Senator Mitch McConnell, are adamant that any reform legislation adopted by Congress should include explicit protections from all tort liability. Democrats, along with their union and trial lawyer backers, oppose any and all protections, insisting that the usual standards of “reasonable care” afford these firms the only legal protection they need.

American Association for Justice CEO Linda Lipsen states the point tartly: “Sen. McConnell has been promoting immunity for companies that act unreasonably for over 30 years…This move to hold this covid package hostage with his agenda items is unpatriotic. Indeed, the trial lawyers and their union allies insist that a blanket waiver will only encourage reckless conduct by firms. Their concerns notwithstanding, a number of states have sought to provide exactly that protection by executive order. Moreover, employers are demanding that both employees and customers sign waivers of liability if they want to return to work or receive their services.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The Future of Our Cities


Buildings on Hamilton Avenue, Detroit.
In 1968, in the wake of the assassination of Martin Luther King, a great many American cities were engulfed by riots. In one such city – Detroit – the mayor, a well-meaning liberal Democrat named Jerome Cavanaugh, made a fateful decision to rein in the police and let the riot burn itself out. To his judgment, the state’s governor – George Romney – deferred, and the riots went on for five full days. “Burn, baby, burn,” they said. And burn it did.

Eighteen years before, Detroit had been the richest city in the United States – with a per capita income exceeding that in every other urban area in the country. By 1968, it was no longer so well situated. But it was prosperous. It was vibrant. The architecture was stunning; the churches, beautiful; the picture palaces, a wonder.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. OTR: cancelled


A Wisconsin public radio troupe performed old radio scripts, reviving old stories for new audiences. It was popular for years, and you can imagine what fun the actors had – tearing into the chunks of ham on the page, or recapturing the timbres and slang of a previous era. 

No more; it’s been cancelled. In the old and new senses of the word.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Home Movies


If you’re under forty, chances are you have no memories of home “movies” that were made of actual movie film, ones that weren’t videotapes that played on your family TV set. Just maybe, if you’re forty-five or fifty, you might have distant memories of your dad periodically dragging out a projector and darkening the living room to show a few glowing memories of a previous year’s Christmas or summer excursion.

And if you’re anywhere near as old as me, you remember when home movies were kind of special, a magical look into the past, and a mark of having made it into middle-class life, a vanished world of long-ago outdoor weddings, family picnics and beach parties.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Revelations of a Post Writer: We Are What We Write


When you write a post, you tell us a great deal about yourself. It’s one of my favorite experiences on Ricochet—getting to know people through their writing, not just learning more about a topic. Did you realize how much you tell us about yourself when you write? If not, let me tell you how you reveal who you are.

One of the first things I notice about a writer is your “eloquence factor.” There are some people who have a gift that I simply love. Their words are linked together like chains of daisies, colorful, graceful, and captivating. I don’t write that way, but I love to read others who do. It is like appreciating not only the utility of the thing, but the art that runs within and through it.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. ACF PoMoCon #17: Defend the Statues


Friends, today is a special UK edition of the podcast. British expat journalist Ben Sixsmith joins me to speak in defense of the statues now threatened in Britain, from Churchill on down. Churchill’s own blood apparently won’t! Somebody should, though, and apparently it’s those of us looking from afar. So we also attack the Tory elites that won’t defend the nation’s honor in its symbols, either in deed or speech. We damn the corporate-manager politicians who do not wield authority and do not seem to know their offices have dignity and importance. Where is Boris Johnson in this moment of national shame?


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Black Lives Matter Goes Mainstream?


Last week, Julie Pace of the Associated Press was on Fox News’ Special Report with Bret Baer. She made a statement that stopped me in my tracks. (I seem to be doing a lot of that lately.) She said, “Black Lives Matter has gone mainstream.”

I asked myself what she could possibly have meant, and when I did a little research, I realized the insidious nature of her comment, and how we are in the process of making Black Lives Matter a mainstream movement.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. 245th Birthday for the United States Army


June 14 is both Flag Day and the Army Birthday. 245 years ago, the Army was first authorized by the Continental Congress. See “Celebrating the Flag and the Army” for the details. This year, President Trump issued the annual proclamation and presided over the U.S. Military Academy graduation and commissioning ceremony this Saturday.

President Trump has made a point of presiding over a different service academy’s graduation and commissioning each year. On each prior occasion, he took the time to stand and shake each new officer’s hand as they crossed the podium. No other president has done this, to my knowledge. Unfortunately, the political theater of COVID-19 prevented President Trump looking each of the newest Army officers in the eyes and shaking their hand. He made the best of the limiting circumstances:*


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The “Flight 93 Election”


Way back in 2016, before we knew for sure that the Obama administration had weaponized the Department of Justice and was using it to tamper with an election, and ultimately to undermine an incoming administration, the upcoming presidential election was described by some as a “Flight 93 election.” Flight 93, of course, is the plane that was brought down in a field on 9/11 by a group of heroic passengers who were determined not to let Islamic terrorists fly the plane into a building.

The idea is pretty simple: some believed that it was crucial that we win in 2016 because another four years of Democratic control could put the nation on an irreversible trajectory to ruin. The analogy with Flight 93 has to do both with the desperation of the situation and with the slim hope for success. In the event, the passengers of Flight 93 died as heroes but died nonetheless. America was more fortunate in 2016: we gambled on a Republican candidate about whom a great many of us were skeptical, and we won more than many of us expected or even hoped.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Flag Day: A Timely Observance


Flag Day is an annual federal holiday, established by Congress. All presidents issue an annual proclamation. It just happens that this year members of our cultural, corporate, and ruling elites no longer affirm this symbol’s positive or unifying meaning. Yet, a review of President Obama’s 2012 proclamation is remarkably similar in tone and substance to President Trump’s 2020 proclamation. This has long represented a nonpartisan consensus, reflected in Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s flag protest assessment: “dumb and disrespectful.”

Consider two iterations, first from President Trump and then from President Obama (emphasis added to highlight common language and themes).


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Minority Success in a Hard, Dirty Trade  


Whaling in the 18th through early 20th centuries was dangerous, required long stretches isolated from family and community, and required participants to live in squalor. Despite potentially high pay, few jobs were harder or less attractive. Except perhaps, slavery.

“Whaling Captains of Color: America’s First Meritocracy,” by Skip Finley, examines the lives of men who became whalers because it beat the alternatives. These included blacks, both runaway slaves and free-born, Native Americans, and Cape Verdeans: men marked by the color of their skin.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. QOTD: True Heroism


True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost. –Arthur Ashe



Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Only the GOP Can Stop the Left’s Radical Agenda


What we are seeing around the nation today is the opportunistic exploitation, by Black Lives Matter and Antifa, of a specific tragedy in order to push a radical agenda. The specific tragedy is an act of criminal police misconduct (alleged, but almost universally assumed, and for good reason) that led to the death of George Floyd. The radical agenda includes calls for an end to capitalism, an end to policing, an end to incarceration, and various other similarly preposterous “woke” nostrums.

What makes this situation unusual is the efficiency with which these radical organizations have leveraged a single outrage into a semi-coordinated national campaign. What makes this situation depressing and somewhat terrifying is the degree to which otherwise sensible-seeming people have rushed to embrace the self-destructive idiocy of these radical movements.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. ACF PoMoCon #16: Pat Deneen on Lawler


Here at the ACF we’ve started a series of podcasts to remember the late professor of political philosophy and public intellectual Peter Lawler on the third anniversary of his death. Peter was a friend and mentor to many of us at the ACF, as well as many others. The first in the series is a discussion with Prof. Pat Deneen of Notre Dame, who has become famous for his book, Why Liberalism Failed, one of the rare books recommended both by conservatives and former president Barack Obama. We talk about Tocqueville, Strauss, the dangers democracy faces, and the right style for conservatives–the debate between post-modern conservatism and traditional conservatism! Friends, listen, read some Peter Lawler, and share our podcast!