While most other podcasts are taking the Thanksgiving holiday off, your three bartenders behind the Three Whisky Happy Hour remain on the job, because no one wants leftover podcasts for the long weekend. Steve and Lucretia had traditional home-cooked feasts, while John, naturally, dined Thursday at a yacht club, sweater knotted properly around his neck.

In the middle of this episode that ranges from the metaphysics of free speech to Nikki Haley’s chances to the Argentinian and Dutch election results along with the Israel-Hamas deal, Steve recalls hearing Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu in person in Washington several years back explaining that the reality of the Middle East is that often the choice is between bad and worse, and this becomes the unifying theme for several of our disparate topic today.

Hoo-boy—pour yourself three-fingers of your favorite high-proof single malt for this episode of the Three Whisky Happy Hour, as Steve, John, and Lucretia throw down hard on the limits of free speech in theory and practice. A lot of people—some of them conservatives (and, ahem, John at times!)—think that banning student chapters of the pro-Hamas Students for (In)Justice in Palestine, as Governor DeSantis has done in Florida, represents right-wing “cancel culture” and is therefore hypocritical. Steve and Lucretia argue that two generations of flabby jurisprudence from the Supreme Court about the First Amendment has left us illiterate about the first principles of the matter.

Thus, we recur to some older writings of David Lowenthal and Harry Jaffa on this point, and suggest that is it not difficult at all in principle to distinguish between political speech that deserves protection and speech from would-be tyrants who, if successful, would take away everyone else’s right to speech (if not right to life in the case of Jews) if they gained power. Whether to do so is a matter of prudence and circumstance, but one of the lessons of history is that if a nation waits too long (cough, cough—Germany in the 1930s—cough, cough) to assert its right of self-preservation against the barbarians in its midst, a free society is lost.

Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal are back in fashion these days, featuring some truly strange bedfellows. Liberal intellectuals told President Biden that he could become the next FDR if he simply spent like a convention of drunken sailors, but some of the “national conservatives” also suddenly like FDR and think we should emulate the New Deal’s economic policies, which surely has Milton Friedman and William F. Buckley rolling over in their graves.

Meanwhile, historians have neglected FDR’s record on civil liberties, with the conspicuous exception of the internment of Japanese Americans in World War II because that is too large a blot to be ignored (though even that story is not understood fully or accurately). Historian David Beito explores this forgotten aspect of FDR and the New Deal in his new book, The New Deal’s War on the Bill of Rights: The Untold Story of FDR’s Concentration Camps, Censorship, and Mass Surveilance. There’s probably a connection between the New Deal’s political economy and constitutionalism and these offenses to civil liberties—the point Hayek made in his misunderstood Road to Serfdom—that modern-day FDR admirers ought to keep in mind

With John Yoo, who accuses Lucretia and Steve of being closet monarchists, back from his jungle adventures in South America (albeit without any archeological relics to satify his Indiana Jones fantasies) and sitting in the host chair this week, the gang offers its two cents on the latest GOP debate (someone—guess who?—is not impressed with Nikki Haley), and the disappointing election results, which, Steve suggests, is like Twain’s remark on Wagner’s music (“it’s better than it sounds”), though with the key takeaway that the GOP is doomed to more election night disappointments as long as it has a deer-in-the-headlines problem when it comes to abortion.

After reviewing a few new legal developments in the largehr Trump saga, we get down to exploring the mounting crisis of anti-Semitism, with an analysis of why this current eruption of anti-Semitism we’re seeing nwo is not your grandfather’s anti-Semitism, but is in fact ax expression of a much deeper problem with the maliganancy of the progressive left. College administrators who think they can weather the storm and wait for the fury to abate on its own are deluded.

With John Yoo still away somewhere in the jungles of South America, Steve and Lucretia are delighted to be joined by a very special guest, Prof. Amy Wax of Penn Law School. Followers of the campus scene may be familiar with Penn Law’s crusade to fire Prof. Wax for the sin of offending against campus orthodoxies on race and immigration, at the same time Penn so conspicuously tolerates anti-Semitism.

Prof. Wax isn’t at liberty to discuss the details of her ongoing ordeal ((you can read more about the case from her lawyer David Shapiro here), but we do get into the thick of several pertinent questions, such as:

Another bonus classic format edition, this time featuring Steve in extended conversation with Col. Austin Bay, one of the proprietors of the indispensable Strategy Page, columnist for Creators Syndicate, and author of the splendid Cocktails from Hell: Five Complex Wars Shaping the 21st Century.

His column last week is a brief and lucid tour through the proxy wars America is currently confronting (against Russia and Iran, by way of Ukraine and Israel), and our conversation goes into much greater depth on both of these conflicts as well as our potential conflict with rapidly-arming China.

Way back in 1960, Leo Strauss wrote in the Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences that “Natural law, which was for many centuries the basis of the predominant Western political thought, is rejected in our time by almost all students of society who are not Roman Catholics.” In the decades since then, however, natural law has enjoyed a revival of sorts, and is implicated today in the rise of constitutional originalism at the Supreme Court.

Hadley Arkes

With John Yoo away this week on a junket to South America, Steve and Lucretia reverted to old times and scheduled a live taping where we fielded questions and comments in a webinar format.

We talked about the reasons to be bullish about the new Speaker of the House, Mike Johnson, along with discussion of the strategic challenges facing Israel and the United States, and more—always more—on the rot in our universities.

In between these three main topics we took up listener questions about social contract theory, whether the U.S. could realistically find itself in a real civil war some time soon, and whether the general challenges of political leadership in a time of deep polarization can be overcome.

The only thing more predictable than a sunrise in the east is a Hamas claim that Israel bombed a Gaza hospital and that the Western media would report it as dictated because the story was just too good to check, though we always thought the mainstream media employed—or so they told us in 2004—”layer and layers of fact-checkers.” Once again, we see whose side our media is on. And it’s not ours—or Israel’s.

Topic 2: Time to “decolonize” all the academic departments that won’t shut up about “colonialism.” Full stop.

Never mind Hamas in Gaza: what do we do with Hamas ideology on American college campuses? On top of the pusillanmous responses of college presidents we can clearly see the emerging theme of moral equivalence between Israel and Hamas, out of which the next step is certain: any attempts to curtail Hamas ideology on campus will be called “cancel culture,” and will be said to prove the hypocrisy of everyone who has been attacking cancel culture over the last few years. And thus niothing will change. At the least, Jews should boycott Harvard, and perhaps the entire Ivy League. Steve suggests a more robust alternative way of thinking about the problem, but John and Lucretia are not convinced.

Topic two is the domestic political scene. Who needs a Speaker of the House anyway? But more curious is the case of RFK Jr., who has now decided to run as an independent nex year. Is there a chance he could actually win, say, for instance, if Biden tumbles down the stairs of Air Force One in early October, and can’t be replaced on the ballot—never mind the prospect that he might draw more votes from Trump than from Biden. The point is, black swan events are becoming so much more common than maybe it is time to bring back white swan events.

Lucretia, freshly back in the U.S. from her adventures with Steve in Budapest, is in the host chair for this week’s episode, and she’s not in a good mood. And it’s not jet lag. Looking out at the concurrent disasters at home and abroad at the moment—high inflation, an undefended southern border, and now war in Israel—she poses a straightforward question: Would any of this be happening if Trump was still president? And more acute to a certified dog-lover: While Trump has many personal flaws, would he kick a dog? The evidence accumulates that Joe Biden is not just a terrible president, but a terrible human being.

From there we take up the inner desires of Kamp Kommandant Hillary Klinton, the good news (for John) of the return of the McRibb, and the demise of Speaker Kevin McCarthy. Which somehow leads to a discussion of President James K. Polk, whom John thinks is an executive to be highly esteemed, drawing immediate 50-cal fire from Lucretia. And we also marvel afresh at the feral genius of Trump’s method of contesting the kangaroo court fraud trial under way in New York.

Settle in with your best chilled Hungarian dessert wine and Philly cheese steak for this cosmopolitan issue, which finds John Yoo—host for this week’s episode—tired out from looting in his home town of Philadelphia, while Lucretia and Steve are together in Budapest carrying on with more conspiracies against the international rules-based order.

John gives us on-scene reports from ground-zero of the “recreational shopping” going on in Philadelphia, plus an update on his three days of testimony in the incredible John Eastman disbarrment trial going on in California. We also cover the aftermath of our event with Heather Mac Donald at Berkeley Law, which made it all the way to Jesse Watter’s show on Fox News, and has gained something like 3 million views online.

This circuitious episode, hosted by Steve in Budapest with John Yoo in Dallas and Lucretia in her undisclosed desert location, starts off with the entirely predictable news that David Brooks drinks his whisky on the rocks (insert shudders and horror here), and quickly moves on to the news that hasn’t broken yet, so we’ll fix it: Gavin Newson is running for president. We know—he hasn’t offically announced, but he’s behaving like a candidate more and more every day. And why has no one noticed that Newsom would also solve the Democrats’ Kamala problem? (See the Constitution, Article II, Section 1, especially the passage that reads, “The Electors shall meet in their respective States, and vote by Ballot for two Persons, of whom one at least shall not be an Inhabitant of the same State with themselves.” That rules out Kamala as Newsom’s running mate, which is okay because Newsom and Harris hate each other.

We also devote too much time to the sartorial severity that is the Fetterman Senate Dress code, and you’ll just need to listen to hear who Lucretia calls “Senator Stripper Boots.”

Lucretia hosts this week, as the fearsome threesome give a brief summary of a recent law school seminar on natural law and the Constitution we presented last week at Berkeley Law before a group of somewhat skeptical students, and then moving on to assaying the Biden impeachment inquiry and Hunter Biden’s smoking gun charge, asking why all the White House spokespeople seem to have come from Nerd Central (we mean you, Ian Sams!), and explaining the fundamental asymmetry of the Administrative State in Democratic and Republican presidencies.

And isn’t it nice that Virginia Democrats have offered us a whole new definition of a “working family”? Who knew that Only Fans might become a new source for campaign contributions. Also: once again the question—are Biden and Harris both on the Democrats’ chopping block for next year?

We’re a day late and a person short this week, as we’re missing John Yoo because of schedule conflicts. Over morning coffee instead of evening single malt, this shortened, ad-free epiode finds Lucretia and Steve wondering if the Branch Covidians can really be getting ready to impose a mask mandate on all of us again, and pondering whether the COVID case of the multiply-boosted DOKTOR Jill Biden should make us wonder whether anyone knows anything anymore.

Could this all be a sign of the deepening panic among Democrats over the latest polls showing Donald Trump stronger than ever, and ever increasing doubts about Joe Biden?

Never mind saving “our democracy”—who’s going to save our gerontocracy! With Mitch McConnell and Joe Biden in a contest for Greatest Brain Freeze Moment, while Dianne Feinstein and John Fetterman look on with envy, we are starting to long for the good old days of the youthful vigor of the Soviet Politburo. Is it time for age limits for high federal office (though Sen. Chuck Grassley, still firing on all cylinders two weeks before his 90th birthday, might want a word with us), or do we just need cognitive tests for office?

Equally alarming is how the Baude-Paulson argument for disqualiftying Trump for the presidency under the 14th Amendment is gaining traction. Could a county registrar of voters in some deep blue percinct throw the 2024 election into complete chaos? John has a good article on this scene suggesting the answer is a hard No, which we review.

Meanwhile, the whole Georgia case gets curiouser and curiouser, as you’d expect in our current Alice in Wonderland world of “verdict first, trial later” phase of Trump-specific law enforcement. But also some good news: the forces of decency are fighting back against the left’s demagogic attack on Clarence Thomas.

This classic format episode of the Power Line podcast features Steve Hayward all by himself, and breaks some news: Steve is returning to Pepperdine University this academic year as the Edward Gaylord Visiting Professor at the School of Public Policy. Steve will be filling the large shoes of the late Ted McAllister, who passed away earlier this year, leaving a big hole in the SPP program.

Pepperdine’s SPP Dean Pete Peterson asked Steve to offer the faculty address to this year’s incoming class of graduate student last week, and he spoke on the relevant contemporary lessons from Max Weber’s famous lecture “Politics as a Vocation,” which intersects perfectly with Karl Rove’s Wall Street Journal essay over the weekend on how America has sometimes been in much worse shape than today. True, but not exhaustive, and supposing natural cycles of history will take us out of our current funk is likely a mistake, akin to fiddling while Rome burns.

Wondering what to make of the first GOP debate, Trump’s arrest and mug shot, and the apparently deteriorating battlefield situation in Ukraine? Then you’ve come to the right place. John Yoo hosts this week while we break it all down in crisp fashion, partly because our schedules this week prevented us from recording at a time suitable to have our whisky glasses filled. Next week, we promise!

As loyal listeners know, yesterday Steve, John, and Lucretia took over the flagship Ricochet podcast in the absence of both Peter Robinson (still somewhere in the Witness Protection Program) and Rob Long (out walking a Hollywood picket line somewhere), and we made James Lileks’ life completely miserable.

We decided that a couple of issues we brought up deserved some extended discussion in this bonus episode, starting with the “trust” question: why do Americans now hold nearly all major institutions, both public and private, in such low regard? We run through a number of factors, from ideology, competence, and corruption, but also wonder about whether our ruling elites today don’t have the same kind of noblesse oblige that characterized the elites of the 1950s (the Dulles brothers get a special shout-out).

The late week news was so screwball that Steve surrendered to Screwball Peanut Butter Whiskey to cope while Lucretia the Lightweight settled for Irish coffee while John, out of place as usual, passed on a liquid lunch to have a real one. (By the way, the Screwball Peanut Butter Whiskey is not recommended.)

Lucretia enjoys her Irish whisky (with real whipped cream!) while waiting to pounce on Steve.