Steve settles in with some Japanese whisky while “Lucretia” abandons her “whisky cougar” ways with a bona fide Glenlivet 18 so we can celebrate Amy Coney Barrett’s start turn driving Democrats to embarrass themselves last week. The hearings illustrate what’s wrong with the “side of history” liberals, as expressed in an especially lazy column from Nick Kristof in the New York Times, and a series of coordinated tweets from Democrats trying to assail constitutional originalism, but mostly succeeding only in exposing their own invincible ignorance.

The main event of this episode is reviewing our pick for Article of the Week, Bari Weiss’s essay “Stop Being Shocked” in The Tablet. It’s a great essay, with its bracing warning of the existential threat to Jews from the new illiberalism, but it has two problems: it get Trump wrong (though Lucretia proposes that this may be tactical cleverness), and its focus on the precariousness of Jews under the rising assault from the social justice left may not go far enough in forecasting the menace facing everyone. Guess who foresaw the problem of the Jews a decaying liberal democracy 60 years ago? Yup, that L– S—— guy again.

If you aren’t following Mark Perry’s Carpe Diem blog every day you’re missing out on one of the best sources for common sense analysis of current economic and social controversies. Mark, an economist at the University of Michigan and scholar at AEI, specializes in debunking economic fallacies (such as the perennial feminist talking point that women only earn 78 cents for every dollar a man earns), but he also has hit upon a sure fire method to make life miserable for campus diversicrats: file Title IX complaints against college programs that discriminate against men. So far he’s filed more than 200 such complaints, and has an excellent track record in making colleges and universities back down from egregiously discriminatory practices.

We also talk about his other specialty—using Venn diagrams to illustrate hypocrisy and inconsistent thinking mostly by liberals—as well as some of the economic mysteries of our time, such as why the relentless money-printing of the Federal Reserve hasn’t touched off inflation.

The basics.

This week’s recap starts off with a challenge to find the most unpronounceable scotch whisky you’ve never heard of (like Poit Dhubh, which is unavailable in the U.S.), plus a review of the 10 health benefits of drinking scotch whisky (some of which need a controlled experiment to validate properly, which we’re happy to conduct ourselves).

Once suitably lubricated, we take a victory lap for our prescient discussion in last week’s episode about the machinations of the 25th Amendment, which Speaker Pelosi vindicated with her proposal for the Promote Kamala Harris to the Presidency Commission.

Lots of things to pour whisky shots for this week. Before returning to our short course on Leo Strauss’s perspectives on liberal education, “Lucretia” and Steve reflect on Joe Biden’s long career as a chameleon (if you didn’t know better, you’d almost think Biden had read Richard Weaver’s famous Ideas Have Consequences, since he thinks Antifa is an “idea,” and one that certainly has consequences), and why the 25th Amendment, which leftists have been hoping would be applied to Trump ever since January 20, 2017, is more likely to be applied to a President Biden in 2021 (should such a shudder-inducing possibility come to pass). Did you know that Section 4 of the 25th Amendment essentially gives Congress the power to impeach the President without a trial? We break it all down for you.

Having spent a lot of time on this week’s craziness, we only get about halfway through Strauss’s essay “Liberal Education and Responsibility.” We wrestle with the proposition that the idea of education in American democracy is the attempt to create a universal aristocracy, and understanding the distinction between the civic gentleman and the philosopher. We barely got started on this project before we ran out of whisky in our glasses (and also knowing we needed to take mercy on listeners), so. . . to be continued!

We’re delighted to bring Scott Yenor to the show this week to discuss his important new book, The Recovery of Family Life: Exposing the Limits of Modern Ideologies, which is being officially released tomorrow from Baylor University Press. Unlike many other fine books on the family today that rely chiefly on social science, Scott also brings his immense learning in political philosophy to bear on family questions, from Plato and Aristotle through to de Tocqueville—and even Russian novels.

Yenor takes us through a grand tour of the “rolling revolution” wrought by the ideologies of sexual liberation and unlimited individual autonomy over recent decades, which has led to, among other things, the degradation of love, and a civilization-threatening collapse in the birth rate. Scott has some thoughts on what policy makers can do to reinforce strong family life.

Freshly resupplied with a shipment of Laphraoig, Talisker, and “Murdered Out” dark roast from Black Rifle Coffee, Steve and “Lucretia” drink to the appointment of Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court, smack around Biden a little (but only a little because otherwise it would be elder abuse), and then resume our discussion from two weeks about about liberal education and Leo Strauss’s famous lecture entitled “What Is Liberal Education?”

Among other things, you’ll learn the crucial difference between Socratic skepticism of the classics, and the radical modern skepticism of Descartes, Nietzsche, or Heidegger. And if that doesn’t need a few shots of whisky to choke down, nothing will!

I know we promised listeners that last week’s episode would be the beginning of a three-part series on liberal education rightly understood, but the passing of Justice Ginsburg has thrown us off our plan. But rather than go in for the usual punditry about confirmation battles and the effect this will have on the election, Lucretia and I decided to step back and take on a truly radical perspective on the controversy. What if the Supreme Court wasn’t so important to our political order, and appointment to it were on the level of appointments to the Federal Trade Commission instead? How might that be accomplished?

Lucretia thinks maybe—perhaps—the trouble isn’t with “originalism” versus “activism,” or certain cases and periods when things went notably wrong (like the so-called “revolution of 1937”), but rather that the sweeping judicial review ushered in by the famous Marbury case in 1803 is the root of the problem. It is very nearly a heresy to regard Chief Justice Marshall as the root of all judicial evil, but maybe we haven’t got him, or Marbury, quite right. We go back through the peculiar politics and jurisprudence of the Marbury case, including the striking political parallels between our bitter election right now and the equally bitter contest of 1800, which I suggest could well be considered “the Frigate 93 Election.”

Is there room for another book on the rural voters who delivered the surprising outcome of the 2016 election? Yes, there is, when the book is Trump’s Democrats, by Stephanie Muravchik and Jon A. Shields, just out from the Brookings Institution. Muravchik and Shields do something unusual in this book; rather than do yet another excursion into survey data and statistical mumbo-jumbo, they went out to three diverse areas where Trump flipped a substantial number of Democratic voters, and talked to them.

The result is this compulsively readable and very insightful book that departs from many of the conventional explanations that have taken hold since 2016. (I’ll name just one: in the three areas they studied, there is no evidence that the Trump vote can be understood as a culmination of the Ross Perot-Pat Buchanan-Tea Party movements of the last 25 years.)

Well now we’ve done it! This week Lucretia and I decided to take a break from downing whisky shots over the latest crazy news headlines and drag listeners back into the classroom for a new mini-series. I get lots of emails and comments from listeners and readers about why we surrender the term “liberal” to deep leftists who are profoundly illiberal. It’s a great question, and so Lucretia and I decided to take this as an opportunity to offer an extended excursion into how Leo Strauss handled this question in the Preface to his essay collection Liberalism Ancient and Modern.

Strauss wrote the preface to this collection way back in 1968, and while some specific references are obviously dated (such as the Vietnam War), the main arguments are remarkably prescient for our current moment of badly politicized and degraded liberal education in the universities. One of the things Strauss says in this five page preface is, “Liberal education is not the opposite of conservative education, but of illiberal education.” And he also says, “Progressivism is indeed a better term than liberalism for the opposite to conservatism.”

This week’s three whisky happy hour centers around three percentage numbers: 99, 93, and 100. In looking at the latest craziness from higher education, Lucretia and I conclude scientifically that 99 percent of all college professors give the other 1 percent a bad name (sort of like lawyers); the “93 percent of protests are peaceful” sounds about as meaningful as “the Japanese flyover of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941 was ‘mostly peaceful’ except for 5 minutes or so;” and that we’re still locking down the country even though 99.9 percent of COVID-19 cases aren’t fatal; and another scientific estimate that 100 percent of Atlantic magazine stories about Trump are literal fake news. (Dan Rather, call your office?)

We also drink to President Trump’s executive order banning “critical race theory” training sessions for federal employees and what should come next; the case for looting In Defense of Looting; and how long before Kamala Harris’s picture ends up on milk cartons since she seemed to disappear from the campaign scene this week, while “Dr.” Jill Biden (don’t you ever forgot the doctor part of her name!) is traveling “virtually” to Wisconsin this week, which sounds rather more like the astral projection popular in Marin County, where, coincidentally, a high proportion of anti-vaxxers will heed Harris’s call not to take any vaccine that Agent Orange recommends.

Today is the 4th anniversary of the appearance of one of the most memorable political essays in American history, “The Flight 93 Election,” written by the pseudonymous author “Decius.” It began with this memorable attention-grabber:

2016 is the Flight 93 election: charge the cockpit or you die. You may die anyway. You—or the leader of your party—may make it into the cockpit and not know how to fly or land the plane. There are no guarantees.

As I’m sure you’ve heard, Trump the Dictator is messing with the U.S. Post Office in an attempt to steal the election. He’s removing blue boxes from corners! He’s taking mail processing machines out of service! He’s tying the shoelaces of mail carriers! Can artificial snowstorms be far behind? Or genetically modified super dogs to chase mail carriers away?

This is one of those frenzied stories that has taken wing but deserves to be marked “returned to sender.” As it happens, one of the members of the Postal Service Board of Governors, John Barger, is an old friend of mine, and when I read in the Los Angeles Times that protesters were turning up at his residence, I decided it was time to ring him up and work through some of the myths about what is really going on. Bottom line: there’s nothing to this story. The problems with mail-in balloting won’t be because of any problems with the Post Office. This is a story with no forwarding address. But it may just be part of a larger narrative the left is unspooling to base a challenge to the election if it is close.

After a one week hiatus for jury duty, the Three Whisky Happy Hour with Steve and Lucretia is back, but with a role-reversal: Lucretia bartends this week! Partly this is so Lucretia can school Steve on how to think about vigilantism and the case of Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old who has been charged with murder for what appears to have been self-defense in the Kenosha riots earlier this week.

Our second flight of whisky is inspired by Joseph Epstein’s commentary in today’s Wall Street Journal on “Today’s College Classroom is a Therapy Session,” in which we drink to and reminisce about having one of the toughest “tough guy” professors—the late constitutional historian Leonard Levy. He was terrifying in the classroom in ways that wouldn’t be allowed today—and an experience neither of us would trade for anything. Students today have no idea what they’ve lost with our new emphasis on “safe” and “nurturing” classrooms.

This week’s Power Line Three Whisky Happy Hour finds Charles Lipson bellying up to the bar for a flight of whiskys that begins with a tale of his mis-spent youth discovering the “bootleggers and Baptists” hypothesis in the course of violating numerous federal and state laws, as well as his legendary Henry Kissinger impression.

We take up three topics to go with three shots of whisky: the rapid transition from “broken windows” policing to “break our windows” policing, as Charles explained in his terrific RealClearPolitics column on this topic late last week. Then we turn to analysis of the surprise announcement of the Israel-UAE rapprochement last week, which took everyone by surprise. More to come perhaps? Finally, what does Charles make of the presidential race, and Biden becoming Kamala Harris’s running mate? We all agree that Harris “doesn’t wear well,” but that doesn’t mean the Harris-Biden ticket can’t win.

Are we possibly headed to a complete electoral and political meltdown in November, complete with riots in the streets and threats of secession by some states? Last week something called the Transition Integrity Project (TIP) made huge news with a 22-page report on a simulation exercise of scenarios of what might happen in the event we have a contested election in November. A bipartisan groups of political luminaries, including former RNC chair Michael Steele, former Michigan Democratic Governor Jennifer Granholm, and all-around liberal potentate John Podesta, conducted the simulation, and it set off a media frenzy over the prospects of either Trump or Biden contesting the election result right up to inauguration day, with potential riots in the streets, and “Seven Days in May”-sounding concern over what the military might do!

Nils Gilman

Amidst all the handwringing and near-hysteria about a report projecting possible hysteria, few news stories (or podcasts for that matter), bothered to talk in depth with the two leaders of TIP, Rosa Brooks of Georgetown University Law Center, and Nils Gilman, vice president of programs at the Berggruen Institute in California. As it happens, I know Nils Gilman! He’s a very smart lefty, though he might quibble some with my description of him as such, and I like him personally, though we obviously disagree about a great many (though not all) things. So I decided to ring him up and talk through the TIP report and several related matters, and the result is this fast-paced hour-long show that barely scratches the surface of the many issues that deserve exploration. (So we may need to do a sequel! Let me know what you think.)

This especially fast-paced edition of the Three Whisky Happy Hour with “Lucretia,” Power Line’s International Woman of Mystery, gets off track right at the start, when an incidental mention of the famous 1978 Bakke case turned into an extended revisionist “what if?” thought experiment. From there we turn our attention to logging the accelerating BGR (short for “Biden Gaffe Rate”), which reached two-a-day by the end of this week. How high will the rate go if Biden actually emerges from his basement between now and November and actually campaigns?

From there we read some tea leaves around the question of whether the country has reached a turning point in reaction to the rioting and leftist agitation. A number of events this week suggest we have.

America’s newspaper of record—which is the Babylon Bee of course—is out with the headline, “Biden Campaign Says He Is So Close to a VP Pick He Can Smell Her.” The Bee really needs to stop scooping the New York Times. In any case, in this episode of the weekend happy hour Lucretia and I survey the box canyon Biden has got himself into by pledging to pick a woman running mate who essentially has to be a woman of color. And we give our predictions of who it will be when (and if) Biden clears his head.

Then we move on to the wider issues behind Trump’s tweet about possibly postponing the election. We get into some details about voting, mail-in and provisional ballots, ballot counting, precinct management, and other aspects of the matter that have drawn surprisingly little attention from the non-stop media panic about the election, and believe me, you’ll be wanting a double-shot of whisky after you hear us.

I’m starting to come to the view that having K-12 education and colleges and universities shrink because of COVID-19 might be one of the bits of good news arising out of the pandemic. Our universities are the principal source of the noxious ideas that are plaguing the country right now, and decades of conservative attempts to reverse this slide or reform campuses have proven largely unavailing.

Arthur Milikh

An article by Arthur Milikh in National Affairs recently caught my eye: “Preventing Suicide by Higher Education,” in which he argues that conservatives should move to outright opposition to our universities, before they take the country down any further, and so I knew I had to have him on our podcast to kick around his ideas. He also has an excellent article on “‘Hate Speech’ and the New Tyranny Over the Mind,” which we also discuss in our conversation here.

Lucretia and I are already departing from our nascent Islay-Highland-Irish whisky flight format because we have a guest bartender and malt master on with us for this weekend’s episode—John Yoo! John not only knows the deep history of fine Japanese whiskies, but also the Constitution and presidential power. He has a terrific new book coming out on Tuesday, Defender in Chief: Donald Trump’s Fight for Presidential Power.

The book explores how John came to change his mind about Trump, seeing in Trump’s conduct in office a clear pattern of defending the proper constitutional prerogatives of the presidency, and helping to restore the separation of powers to their intended dimensions. Along the way Lucretia baits John about whether the Supreme Court was a good idea in the first place, and Steve likes John’s “hypothetical”idea for having Trump designate all of his hotels and properties as national monuments.

The estimable New York Post reports on a clear example of “expert” junk science that purports to prove that “men should limit alcohol to just one drink per day.” This is clearly the first step to full communism, plus an obvious ham-handed attempt to shut down our brand new Three Whisky Happy hour. Lucretia and I counter with the supreme wisdom of Lady Thatcher, who once wrote a friend, “Scotch is one British institution which will never let you down.” (In other words, just like Rick Astley.)

Anyway, “Lucretia” (Power Line’s International Woman of Mystery) and I are not deterred by this fake news and used it as an excuse to run long with this episode and refill our glasses often with a flight of Highland and Japanese malts, pondering whether keeping our public schools locked down this fall might actually backfire on the left; the broader significance of the drive to reverse a previous diversity-promotion tactic—blind auditions for symphony orchestras—because they aren’t producing the “right kind” of diversity; and a lightning round where we beat up on the Lincoln Project, whether violent protestors should be sent to Gitmo, and why the media is ignoring the epidemic of suspicious church fires in Europe.