What do you get when you combine “Lucretia,” Power Line’s ever popular international woman of mystery, with John Yoo, whose only mystery is his fondness for McDonalds? You get an episode that talks about fake burgers, the evils of soy, the importance of cooking with fat, fast cars, and even Starsky & Hutch.

Oh, we also go into the impeachment circus currently unfolding in Washington, about which John has written recently to the jeers of lightweights everywhere. We didn’t touch much on the series Lucretia and I have been rolling out about the “1619 Project,” but I want to give one quick update: our guest from the show in Episode 146, Lucas Morel of Washington and Lee University, has published over at the American Mind his fine article on the subject, “America Was Not Founded on White Supremacy.” Give it a look. (And go back and listen in to that episode if you missed it.) Meanwhile, listen in now to find out whether the Impossible Burger should be ranked higher or lower than a Nothing Burger.

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Michael Anton at Machiavelli’s tomb.

This special bonus double-episode tests the proposition that a good podcast format is a conversation among friends at a bar—because that’s exactly what the first segment of this show offers.

Last week I was overseas on the joint cruise of the Claremont Institute and the Pacific Research Institute, both celebrating their 40th anniversary this fall. Following a day tromping around Florence taking in the scenes of various locales for Niccolo Machiavelli, I decided to repair to the smoking lounge with Michael Anton (“Decius”), along with Ryan Williams and Matt Peterson of the Claremont Institute, for an extended cigar smoke over brandy and a chat about Machiavelli’s republicanism.

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Nationalism is the subject of the moment, and both the term and the idea come with more baggage than Paris Hilton and Khloe Kardashian after an afternoon of shopping on Rodeo Drive. I’ve had a few things to say about this controversial topic myself, but I am delighted to feature as this week’s special guest Colin Dueck of George Mason University, who is the author of a new book coming out from Oxford University Press next week: Age of Iron: On Conservatism Nationalism.

Dueck demonstrates that conservative nationalism is the oldest democratic tradition in US foreign relations. Designed to preserve self-government, conservative nationalism can be compatible with engagement overseas. But 21st century diplomatic, economic, and military frustrations led to the resurgence of a version that emphasizes US material interests. No longer should the US allow its allies to free-ride, and nor should it surrender its sovereignty to global governance institutions. Because this return is based upon forces larger than Trump, it is unlikely to disappear when he leaves office.

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Last week I caught up with Hadley Arkes, Edward N. Ney Professor of Jurisprudence and American Institutions emeritus at Amherst College and the founder and director of the James Wilson Institute on Natural Rights & the American Founding, for a wide-ranging conversation about free speech, moral relativism, abortion, and other constitutional questions. Hadley is the author of numerous indispensable books, including First Things: An Inquiry into the First Principles of Morals and Justice, and, more recently, Constitutional Illusions and Anchoring Truths: The Touchstone of the Natural Law.

Hadley is often described as a cross between Thomas Aquinas and Groucho Marx, and heck, since I can’t improve on that, I won’t even try.

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Lucas Morel

This week “Lucretia,” Power Line’s international woman of mystery, gets promoted to co-host as she and Steve Hayward welcome Lucas Morel to our special series on the 1619 Project. Morel is professor of politics and head of the politics department at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, where he teaches and writes on racial issues in American politics and history. Among other things, Prof. Morel is one of the nation’s leading scholars of Ralph Ellison.

He has a long article on the 1619 Project forthcoming at the Claremont Institute’s American Mind, and we decided to scoop our friends at Claremont by talking through some of the key issues with Lucas ahead of time. Finally, we get around to taking up the important thought of Frederick Douglass, who so far has been conspicuously missing from the 1619 Project. It is also a nice break for Steve to have Lucretia beating up on someone else for a change!

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Last week I was honored once again to be the after dinner speaker for the fall meeting of the Friends of Ronald Reagan, a local civic group in Los Angeles that meets at the California Club to celebrate the enduring greatness and example of the Gipper. It’s always a fun evening, usually capped off with brandy and cigars out on the patio when dinner concludes.

I decided to talk about how Reagan responded to the nonsense 50 years ago about “the Woodstock generation,” which received another self-congratulatory airing this summer on the 50th anniversary of that famous mudfest. There are clear lessons for us today from Reagan’s disposition back then, since we are living through some echoes of that time right now.

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“Lucretia,” Power Line’s international woman of mystery, is back with Steve again this week with the third installment in our special series confronting the pernicious New York Times “1619 Project,” this time taking on the argument that slavery is the central factor in the rise of modern industrial capitalism—a proposal so laughable that we actually spend a lot of our time talking about entirely tangential subjects. (For listeners interested in a serious compilation of the defects of the “slavery=capitalism” line, see Bradley Hansen’s copious blog entry on the issue.)

In addition to the continuing vivisection of the 1619 Project, Steve and Lucretia spend time discussing Steve’s recent LawLiberty essay, “How to Get Through the ‘Nationalism’ Minefield,” which Steve feared the exacting Lucretia might find suspect for its oblique flirtation with historicism. But no! All was sweetness and light, which means Lucretia is mellowing about Steve’s longstanding sentimental weaknesses. But as usual Lucretia gets in the best line of the episode: “Guilt is the greatest form of self-indulgence.” It ought to be the motto of the New York Times editorial page.

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This special double-length episode features a wide-ranging conversation with best-selling author and iconoclast Heather Mac Donald of the Manhattan Institute, with special focus on her new book, The Diversity Delusion: How Race and Gender Pandering Corrupt the University and Undermine Our Culture. I hosted Heather this week at . . . UC Berkeley (!!), and we decided that rather than going with a set-piece speech, I’d interview her about the full range of topics she’s written about.

So we talk about her own intellectual odyssey, the decline of literature in universities, crime and punishment, the drug war, why we’d actually cheer the return of old-fashioned Marxism, as well as the hot button issues of her new book: preferential college admissions and the entire “diversity industrial complex.” We even get to the “T-question” (Trump), where Heather remains skeptical and conflicted.

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We have a new theory about the mainstream media: they have decided to work without editors any more. How else to explain how the Washington Post slandered J.D. Vance with the claim that he decried the “falling white birth rate” (he said no such thing, and the Post had to correct the story), or MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell going to air with a completely uncorroborated story about Trump’s supposed Russian financial connections? Or how about MSNBC’s Chris Hayes (perhaps the least bug-eyed anchor in their stable of Unstables), who thought it profound to say that “if the electoral college wasn’t in the Constitution, it would be unconstitutional,” though perhaps MSNBC just goofed and aired his Saturday Night Live audition tape for a new “deep thoughts” sketch.

But the top honor will have to go to the Washington Post for publishing what may be the dumbest article ever written in the English language: Eve Fairbanks’s August 29 article “The Reasonable Rebels.” The thesis of the article can be stated plainly: so-called “reasonable conservatives” like Ben Shapiro are just like the Confederate defenders of slavery, because they use the exact same words and arguments—words like “facts,” “reason,” “logic,” even “truth.” No really, it is actually that dumb. You can feel your brain cells dying just getting through it, and you have to wonder why the Post has decided to abandon adult supervision.

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The old saying is that “sex sells,” and after the sexual revolution of the last several decades who can dispute that? Meanwhile, “identity politics” is the obsession of the current moment. Is there a connection? Yes, argues Mary Eberstadt in her new book Primal Screams: How the Sexual Revolution Created Identity Politics. Eberstadt, currently a senior research fellow at the Faith & Reason Institute, takes up an aspect of the current scene that ironically hardly anyone really wants to talk about.

Mary summarizes the issue in this recent excerpt in Quillette:

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As promised in our last episode, we return early this week with the first in a series of bonus episodes devoted to a deep dive into the New York Times‘s agitprop “1619 Project” that seeks to place slavery and racism as the central fact of the American story. In this first installment, Power Line’s International Woman of Mystery, “Lucretia” (who happens to teach political philosophy and American government . . . somewhere), joins Steve Hayward in examining and explaining some of the myths about the Founding, and in particular the common claim that the Declaration of Independence did not mean to include blacks in its famous phrase “All men are created equal.”

From there Steve and Lucretia go on to discuss the significance of the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, and debunk a number of myths about the Constitution, such as why the famous “3/5ths Clause” did not mean that blacks were only three-fifths of a human being (quite the opposite in fact), how the Commerce Clause and the importation clause were substantial if complete victories for the anti-slavery clause, the deeper story behind the fugitive slave clause, among other things. Only by a gross or intentional distortion of history can someone claim that the purpose of the Constitution was to secure and promote slavery.

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This special double-header-end-of-summer Power Line Show features Steve Hayward and Power Line co-founder John Hinderaker venting about the “1619 Project” along with “Lucretia,” Power Line’s International Woman of Mystery. The “1619 Project” is so badly flawed that in the coming weeks we’re going to produce a series of special shows going point-by-point through its poisonous defects, and explaining why the color-blind principles of the old civil rights movement, derived from the Declaration of Independence, are the best hope for unifying the American people.

And that’s just the warm-up act. The second half of today’s show features Steve and John Yoo in a recent joint appearance on the topic of the rot in our universities today. If this combo doesn’t help you milk the soft power dividend in these final dog days of summer, then nothing will.

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Readers of Thomas Kuhn’s famous book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions will know his central thesis that when anomalies and contradictions arise in a reigning scientific theory it creates a crisis out of which new theories emerge to replace the old. We may be seeing the beginnings of such a crisis for modern Darwinism, which appears to have gaps and contradictions that can’t be explained or explained away. The rumbles about the anomalies in Darwinism are ruthlessly suppressed in the media and in academia, but as with all such crises, the problems are impossible to suppress forever, and the doubts are increasingly leaking out.

See, for example, David Gelernter’s recent long article, “Giving Up Darwin,” in the Claremont Review of Books, or Ricochet co-founder Peter Robinson’s recent Uncommon Knowledge show with Gelernter, David Berlinski, and Stephen Meyer, on this same subject.

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“Prudence” is not just something Dana Carvey liked to lampoon back when President George H.W. Bush was in office. Rather, it is the highest and most essential quality of those superb human beings we used to call “statesmen” before political science and history banished both terms in a fit of egalitarian madness that has yet to abate in our leading intellectual circles.

One antidote to this narrowing of our horizons is Greg Weiner’s fabulous new book, Old Whigs: Burke, Lincoln and the Politics of Prudence, just out from our friends at Encounter Books. Weiner, a professor and currently provost at Assumption College in Massachusetts, sits down with Steve Hayward to talk about how to think seriously about prudence and statesmanship, which begins with a consideration of how to reconcile an apparently glaring contradiction between the political thought and disposition of Burke and Lincoln. Though they were both Whigs and reformers, there are some significant differences. We also veer off into consideration of a related book of Greg’s: American Burke: The Uncommon Liberalism of Daniel Patrick Moynihan.

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By popular demand from listeners, this special edition of the Power Line Show features both Kelly Jane Torrance of the Washington Examiner and “Lucretia,” Power Line’s International Woman of Mystery. Kelly Jane is just back from serving as an official election watcher over in Ukraine, and lays out a delightful political scene that does Donald Trump one better in the TV entertainment division. Plus, as Kelly Jane keeps close tabs on Iranian affairs, we go over what’s going on with Iran’s repeated provocations in the Gulf.

Then we turn the mic over to “Lucretia” for some serial rants about the Supreme Court and its unusual mid-summer ruling last week on Trump’s border wall funding, the Mueller investigation and hearing, raising a new dog, and Steve Hayward’s current drinking and grilling habits (which you can see below). Also, we let down the listener who wrote in thinking he had figured out Lucretia’s identity, but alas no, because our Lucretia would never consent to appear on Conversations with Kristol, which is where our listener thought he had picked up a clue.

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In recent years an arcane term from political science—the “administrative state”—has become a prominent part of everyday discussion. The administrative state refers to the trend, decades in the making, of transferring lawmaking power away from the legislative branch of government to permanent, unelected bureaucrats and executive agencies. The administrative state undermines a central principle of the Constitution—the separation of powers—and dilutes both responsibility and accountability, as well as putting government beyond the control and consent of the governed—”we, the people.”

As the American Enterprise Institute’s Peter J. Wallison explains in his new book, Judicial Fortitude: The Last Chance to Rein in the Administrative State, this constitutional decay came about because the judiciary abdicated its responsibility to defend the separation of powers decades ago, and Wallison argues why and how the Supreme Court needs to lead the way back to restoring the Constitution. In particular, in this conversation we explore the “non-delegation doctrine” and the effect of the “Chevron doctrine” in supercharging runaway and sometimes lawless government-by-bureaucracy. Judicial Fortitudeis a wonderfully compact, quick-moving yet substance-rich introduction to this issue.

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To paraphrase Karl Marx, a specter is haunting . . . well, just about everybody: the specter of a revival of nationalism. This week Steve Hayward attended the National Conservatism Conference in Washington, which was sponsored by the brand new Edmund Burke Institute. As Christopher DeMuth put it, “who knew that the next big thing would be the nation-state.” Of course if you say you are in favor of “nationalism” these days, right away critics on the left will default to charging that you are a crypto-Nazi, but no one who took in any of the conference could think something so silly. The new nationalism proclaimed at this conference promises to disrupt both left and right. The conference attracted a who’s who of leading conservative thinkers, and a ton of media coverage. It is certain to have a long half-life in our political discourse over the coming months and years, so strap in and stay tuned.

This special edition of the Power Line Show features excerpts from Peter Thiel, Yoram Hazony, and Chris DeMuth, along with a conversation about the scene between Steve and Damon Linker, columnist for The Week. In particular we highlight the re-opening of some old questions about liberal individualism itself, which is at the core of things.

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One of my teachers in graduate school, the great constitutional historian Leonard Levy, insisted that “a history must serve its readers with explanations that suit the horizons of their curiosity and with writing that entertains and stirs them.” No one exemplifies that vivid style of biography and history better than Andrew Roberts. I caught up with Andrew in San Francisco this week, where we had a wide-ranging conversation about Churchill, biographical writing, Brexit, Trump, and the prospects for Boris Johnson.

Our conversation was held in front of a live audience, so it has some “authenticity,” as we might say.

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By popular demand from listeners, we’re bringing back “Lucretia,” Power Line’s International Woman of Mystery, on this special edition for the July 4 holiday. Many listeners asked us to offer up mini-tutorials on various aspects of the American Founding and political thought in general, so we break down the Declaration of Independence, drawing notice to five key features—including how some of the specific indictments against King George III remain highly relevant to our current moment.

We also have some fun smacking around AOC, Nike, and the liberal freakout over tanks on the Washington Mall, and conclude with some observations on appropriate food and wine for the obligatory July 4 barbecue.

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You could be forgiven for thinking this week’s Democratic debates were straight out of an old Monty Python sketch, which prompted Steve Hayward to ring up Power Line’s International Woman of Mystery, “Lucretia,” for a full-tilt boogie rant-fest about what ought to be the two main “Freeport questions” that could unravel the Democratic Party between now and election day next year. Are we really going to bring back busing? And how many genders are there? Maybe we can have a new federal commission to answer that question, alongside the proposed federal commission to study reparations.

But wait! There’s more! Steve shares a little bit of inside info on foreign policy from a key Trump insider, and we get in some licks about traffic, large trucks, California’s ongoing follies, raising a “German” German shepherd, and what’s on the grill for July 4.

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