Even without the Canadian truckers providing the St. Crispin’s Day rally point against the Branch COVIDians, you have the feeling that this was the week the edifice started to crumble, when our betters started to contemplate the fate of Nicolae Ceaușescu when they look in the mirror. The science changed, you say? I think that must mean opinion polling science.

Steve and Lucretia also have a polite but spirited exchange over Mitch McConnell (two guesses who’s on each side, and the first one doesn’t count), and we also have updates on Steve’s progress with his 12-Step recovery program for his Deficient Meat Loaf Appreciation Syndome. (There’s been a short hiccup in the steps because Steve discovered, to Lucretia’s dismay, a significant prog rock connection to Meat Loaf’s career breakout moment!) And we are able to announce some good news about the worrisome rumors of supply chain issues for certain peaty single malts.

Hollywood has been liberal to far-left for decades, but in recent years it has become fully Hollywoke. Christian Toto, proprietor of the invaluable Hollywood-in-Toto website, is out with a new book surveying the wreckage of Hollywokeness: Virtue Bombs: How Hollywood Got Woke and Lost Its Soul.

I come to the conclusion that wokeism in Hollywood is arguably worse than wokism on the university campus, because it is much less transparent. While Hollywood makes endless movies about the supposed terror of the McCarthy-era “blacklist,” today’s Hollywood blacklisting against anything not fully woke is much more widespread and insidious.

We do look for some glimmers of hope, from new independent film production efforts from our friends at the Daily Wire and other enterprises, to rumblings in the Hollywood underground that some studio executives may be starting to get a clue that their relentless wokeness is bad for business.

Last week’s episode with Conrad Black defending his pro-FDR thesis generated a lot of reader interest and comments, so Lucretia and I decided to return to the boxing ring to argue out the matter de novo. It will not be a surprise to regular listeners to hear that Lucretia is not persuaded, even by the serious arguments of another of our favorite thinkers after Lord Black, the late scholar John Adams Wettergreen, who argued that FDR’s liberalism and policy architecture was different in degree and kind from the liberalism of the 1960s and after.

In fact, fans of Team Lucretia will likely enjoy this smackdown, though we do save time at the end for some quick reflections on the week’s main news, including our handicap of who has the greatest faceplant this week: Facebook, Zucker or Zuckerberg, or Caryn Johnson (better known as “Whoopi Goldberg”), and some worrying news about whisky!

Almost completely ignored by conservative media, there is a growing generation gap emerging within young conservatives that in some ways resembles the “generation gap” of the 1960s which saw the new left “hippie” generation emerge from liberal homes, as Midge Decter explained in her early book Liberal Parents, Radical Children.

Now it is happening on the right. I started picking up on this story with Michael Anton’s long essay almost three years ago on the phenomenon of the underground but highly popular book Bronze Age Mindset, which, it must be said, is a very different book from The Conservative Mind or The Road to Serfdom. Then I started following a group of mostly younger conservatives who participate actively on Twitter, and sometimes live in the “Spaces” chat communities that Twitter has launched. Most of this younger cohort participate under a pseudonym, because in the age of cancel culture their politically incorrect views, and moreover their transgressive humor (they actually make George Floyd jokes, which is worse than Helen Keller or Anne Frank jokes), would get them instantly censored if not worse.

As regular listeners will know, Lucretia and I have debated “the FDR question” a lot, amidst a flurry of new reconsiderations among a few thinkers and places on the right who think we should hold FDR in higher esteem. But over and over again in this running argument we keep coming back to Conrad Black’s magisterial biography, Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Champion of Freedom . 

While there have been several serious right-leaning thinkers over the years who have offered favorable views of FDR, Black’s is the most capacious and also the most curious. And so we thought, why not go to the source himself, and hash it out with the best. To our great delight, Lord Black accepted our invitation (though insisting we call him Conrad), and hence, this episode’s wide ranging conversation, which is as much about how political life is to be understood as it as about FDR.

After we recorded and posted part 1 of this conversation last week, the news came out that the Supreme Court will hear the Harvard/University of North Carolina affirmative action admissions cases. It has been solidly demonstrated that the universities don’t just use race as a minor, tie-breaking “plus” factor, but indeed put both feet on the scale in favor of blacks and to a lesser degree Hispanics, and heavily against Asian applicants.

This makes for a perfect launching point for the second half the conversation, where we jump in exactly where we left off in part 1. Charles and Steve Sailer had just reviewed the falling crime rates in Hispanic communities, and we resume here with Charles bluntly and directly arguing that affirmative action is the 50-ton elephant in the room, and not just in college admissions. From there we turn to the subject of education, and take up the changing views of meritocracy, and suggest alternatives for preserving excellence in education in a new era where the familiar screens of the SAT and other achievement tests are being quickly abandoned. Charles and Steve have perspectives on these subjects that may surprise listeners.

The idea for this episode was born on Twitter. Someone wondered if Charles Murray would be willing to do a podcast with journalist Steve Sailer, who, like Charles, is willing to confront openly the most delicate aspects of race and class in America—and gets the same treatment from liberals everywhere: complete demonization.

I offered to host, and Charles and Steve, who have never met, agreed.

This week Lucretia really takes it to Steve for his advanced case of DMLAS (Deficient Meat Loaf Awareness Syndrome—and we’re not talking the baked dish here), which surely must make the next edition of the DSM.

But from there we quickly pivot to a recap and demolition of the highlights of this week’s news, starting with Biden’s disastrous press conference, but moving quickly to the heart of the matter—that Biden’s errors stem from the luminous lightweights he listens to that have appealed to his narcissism. (Yes, we’re pointing at you, Jon Meacham! Meacham is reported to be the person who wrote Biden’s appalling lines about how everyone who doesn’t agree with him is Bull Connor.)

Both Steve and Lucretia get through three different whiskys each in this gala episode, recorded with a live audience on Zoom, celebrating the Biden-Harris administration’s worst week in office yet, though as the noted political analyst Homer Simpson might say, “their worst week—so far.”

It took Jimmy Carter three years to hit bottom in the summer of 1979, when even The New Republic declared that he had “packed it in” with his pathetic performance in the “malaise” speech. It’s only taken Biden one year to sink to Carter-levels of incompetence and public disapproval. At least he had a plausible Vice President, even if he was a bit dull (get it—Walter Mondull, as Rush used to call him). Mondale, by the way, considered resigning in July of 1979 he was so distraught at Carter’s collapse. Sadly we have no such hope that our current Vice President might consider the same step.

Dr. Roy Spencer of NASA and the University of Alabama at Huntsville is one of the nation’s most accomplished climate scientists, having won awards for his work developing the satellite monitoring system that provides some of the best weather and climate trend data available. But because he is modest about what climate science actually knows about the future, he dissents from the extreme apocalypse scenarios beloved of the doomsayers of environmental religion.

Google has recently demonetized his website, Dr.RoySpencer.com, claiming that his site makes “unreliable and harmful claims” about climate, but without offering a single specific instance. It is another clear-cut case of ideological censorship by big tech. I decided to catch up with Roy to see whether Google has offered any explanation, and also to ask for his latest perspective on recent climate science assessments. (Not to be missed his is fine book Climate Confusion: How Global Warming Hysteria Leads to Bad Science, Pandering Politicians and Misguided Policies That Hurt the Poor.)

We open this first episode of the 3WHH of 2022 with the existential question: why is Lucretia so mean to Steve? Actually she has a really good reason, but you have to get all the way to the end for the reward—or is it a redemption? (Steve attempts to mellow Lucretia with a Snickers Bar of an op-ed in the middle, with some success.)

In any case, we try to offer some original and comparative perspective on the relentless leftist narrative about January 6, which somehow reminds Steve of . . . climate change. (You’ll just have to listen to learn the parallel, but it works!)

With today’s leftist Ahab-like obsession with the “insurrection” of January 6, it seems like as good a time as any to post the lecture I gave last summer in Budapest (cue scary Dracula music here) last summer on “What’s Going on in America?”  My summary answer: America is having a nervous breakdown. Slightly longer summary: we’ve seen this before in many ways, and sometimes worse, such as in the 1960s.

However, some things about the present moment are much more ominous than in the 1960s, such as how leftist postmodern dogma, which is indistinguishable from nihilism, has settled at the core of nearly all of America’s institutions, including big business and the churches. Recovery from this will be more difficult than it was in the 1970s and 1980s.

For what turns out to be the 300th Power Line podcast as well as the last episode of 2021, we decided to revert to full three-whisky mode with a live audience on Zoom, and an extended conversation with historian Richard Samuelson about the left’s distorted and impoverished understanding of democracy. Steve had his usual Islay peat bombs and Lucretia polished off a bottle of Glenfiddich, while Richard, who is under quarantine with an actual case of the Omigod variant, had a soothing toddy.

In between recalling what the Founders thought about democracy (and especially John Adams’s contributions, since Richard is an Adams expert), Steve offered up his lexicon of what certain terms mean for liberals:

Today’s episode offers up our picks for losers and winners of the year. I won’t spill them here—you’ll just have to listen to find out—but they do fall within the obvious range, though Steve’s winner of the year provides the pivot for answering a listener question about energy. Plus we offer yet another new “Let’s Go Brandon” exit music tune—this one from ab ad hoc country group strangely named “FJB.” I wonder if those are the initials of the individual singing artists?

Today’s minicast takes in the observation of an unlikely source—Nate Silver—about how our politicized “public health” establishment worked assiduously to delay the approval of COVID vaccines last year until after the election so as to help defeat Trump, even though this delay might have cost many thousands of lives.

The historical record notes that George Washington used to include ample supplies of whisky to distribute to voters and campaign workers in the elections of the 1790s, so the subject of election integrity is perfect for this week’s one-off Whisky Shot casts.

Steve and Lucretia review what is gradually coming into sharper focus: the very targeted intervention of nearly $500 million from Mark Zuckerberg decisively swung the election to Joe Biden. Changes in voting rules because of COVID helped, but without the supercharged efforts funded by Zuckerberg through left-wing groups maximizing turnout in key Democratic urban strongholds it is more likely than not that Trump would have been re-elected.

The week after Christmas is the interregnum where we attempt to resume a more moderate level of eating and drinking before the football-anchored binge of New Year’s Eve, and so instead of one three-whisky podcast, Lucretia and I decided—for this week only—to do a short, daily single-shot whiskycast, focusing on just one topic for just 20 minutes or so. So you can binge-listen, even if you can’t binge-drink. We try to be equally intoxicating.

Today’s episode takes up an academic question raised by a listener about a stray comment of Steve’s about how the twain shall never meet between philosophy and political philosophy.

Okay, this episode, intended as a respite from all-issues-all-the-time for the holiday week, also doubles as pure James Lileks bait. Back when Ken Green and I were resident scholars at the American Enterprise Institute, lunchtime conversation often turned to science fiction, and especially our favorite hobby horse—how much we both hated “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” TOS is the only Trek worthy of honor! And William Shatner’s voyage into space this year proves that, as Ken puts it, “Shatner wins!”

But we also branch out beyond the Trek world to talk of other science fiction adaptations, including whether Dune is filmable at all, whether Fox TV might have actually done us a favor by canceling the great Firefly before Joss Whedon could screw it up with his political correctness, why Babylon 5 and Eureka are the best sci-fi shows  most people missed, why Steve thinks The Expanse will not age well, along with the two big questions: DC versus Marvel, and why do libertarians tend to be such huge sci-fi fans in the first place.

We do take a few minutes to look at some recent developments in the world of climate change (speaking of science fiction), as Ken was once an official reviewer for the IPCC on its climate science reports. Plus, you’ll also learn a quick hack for instantly identifying a TV show or movie that has been filmed in Canada. News you can use! And happy holidays.

For what may be our last episode of the year (since next weekend in Christmas),Steve is quaffing Bunnahabhain for this week’s peaty Islay whisky, mostly in the vain hope that “Bunnahabhain” could be added to the National Spelling Bee, just for grins and giggles. But after the usual whisky reviews and insults, we get down to business with special guest “Adam Mill,” whose fine work you can take in regularly at American Greatness. “Adam Mill” is a pseudonym for a lawyer based in the midwest who, like our own “Lucretia,” needs to preserve a modicum of anonymity against the Bureau of Cancellations. He took the name from Adam Smith and John Stuart Mill, which means that not only is the Three Whisky Happy Hour the only podcast with two pseudonymous contributors, but with “Lucretia,” the only podcast that combines ancient and modern pseudonyms.

Since it’s the holiday season, we decided to review a few of the key stories of 2021 (chiefly January 6 and its bizarre and infuriating aftermath, and the palpable collapse of the Biden presidency in its first year), and then “Adam Mill’s” predictions for 2022.

This week’s episode is going up a day early as we had to call Happy Hour for Thursday evening on account of scheduling problems, and Steve and Lucretia welcome to the bar the noted Bourbon drinker and McRibb connoisseur John Yoo. (He’s also apparently a law professor somewhere.)

We review a few of the tea leaves from last week’s Supreme Court oral argument in the Dobbs case, but use this momentous case to talk more broadly about the whole problem of stare decisis (“let the decision stand”) in our jurisprudence. Along the way we entertain some seriously heterodox views, such as the proposition that Brown v. Board of Education never actually overturned the “separate but equal” doctrine of Plessy v. Ferguson. It it has done so, we wouldn’t have the messy regime of quotas and affirmative action today.