Tag: Best of 2016

In Lieu of Flowers, Please Stop Smoking


I learned something interesting earlier this month. If you want to donate your body to medical research, there’s usually a minimum weight requirement. If you’re an adult, you need to weigh at least a hundred pounds. If you’re too emaciated, for example, from a long illness, they won’t take you.

I discovered this because I spent the latter half of January helping to take care of a terminal cancer patient. One day she could walk down the stairs. The next day she needed help. The day after that, she lost all feeling below the waist.

At that point, there’s no point in doing scans to figure out what’s wrong. Everyone involved understood that the end was fast approaching. The cancer had either spread to her spine or her brain. Either way, it wouldn’t be long, so a call was made to hospice.

Bonfire of the Sophisticates (Part 2)


(Note: This is the second of a two-part essay, the first part centered on the proposition that the Republican party, through its own self-destructive tendencies, has reduced conservatism itself to little more than an academic exercise.)

The second proposition is as follows:

Donald Trump is less an instrument of political vandalism than of utter and complete exasperation.

Bonfire of the Sophisticates (Part 1)


Just a few days before Christmas, National Review’s Rich Lowry — easily one of my favorite writers — penned a sober analysis titled, “The Right’s Post-Constitutional Moment,” in which he laments that, “Trump has captivated a share of the Tea Party with a style of politics utterly alien to the Constitution.” This is especially vexing, Lowry continues, in light of a movement which in 2010 produced “… a class of constitutional obsessives, such as Senators Rand Paul and Mike Lee, who were focused not just on what government shouldn’t do, but on what it couldn’t do, and why.”

Interesting turn of phrase there, using the designation, “constitutional obsessives,” to describe people who took a solemn oath of constitutional fidelity. I suppose I could be described as “matrimonially obsessive,” since I took a solemn and sacred vow of fidelity to my wife, but the term seems a bit quirky somehow, underscoring the Republican view of these upstarts and the voters who sent them, as borderline fanatics. In any event, Lowry goes on to describe Donald Trump in terms that strike this observer as disconcertingly accurate:

Donald Trump exists in a plane where there isn’t a Congress or Constitution. There are no trade-offs or limits. There is only his will and his team of experts who will figure out how to do whatever he wants to do, no matter how seemingly impossible. The thought you can’t do that doesn’t ever occur to him.

The Thing Most Needful


If you have a moment free, read Steve Hayward’s “Crisis of the Conservative House Divided.” If you have hardly a free moment, read it anyway. Then read it again. It is that important.

Steve has cut through the muck — the list of good things that conservatives favor — and he has focused in on the only thing that really counts: whether elections matter any more.

Back in 1733, Charles Louis de Secondat, baron de la Brede et de Montesquieu published an exquisite little book entitled Considerations on the Causes of the Greatness of the Romans and their Decline. In a sly passage directed against the French monarchy, he focused in on an advantage that Rome possessed, which everyone reading it in that year would have  recognized that France did not possess: the capacity to correct course. Then, he alluded to England’s ability to do so.

Where Affordable, Altruistic Healthcare Goes to Die


As conservatives, we’re never surprised by news that Obamacare hasn’t fixed the nightmares facing the typical American confronted with medical bills. Nor are we surprised when Obamacare only makes them worse. A few years ago, Jim Epstein at Reason predicted the demise of health-sharing ministries at the hands of Obamacare’s subsidized exchanges. The good news is that Epstein was wrong: Membership in health-sharing ministries has only grown as frustration with commercial prepaid plans under the Affordable Care Act continues to mount. According to the New York Times,

[M]embership in sharing ministries has more than doubled over the last six years, to 535,000 from about 200,000, according to the Alliance of Health Care Sharing Ministries.

Epstein attributes this doubling to “Obamacare’s disastrous rollout and the extent to which new mandates would drive up premiums and leave customers seeking out cheaper options.”

This week, The Conservatarians — aka, Ricochet Editor-in-Chief Jon Gabriel and Heatstreet contributor Stephen Miller — are proud to welcome the host of “The Greg Gutfeld Show,” er, Greg Gutfeld! As the year draws to a close, we set aside the news of the day and focused on what really matters: the best albums of 2016. You can listen to a song from each on our special Best of 2016 Spotify playlist and can read Greg’s top ten over at Fox News.