Tag: David French

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You know your tech overlord day is not going well when a U.S. circuit court of appeals opinion starts: A Texas statute named House Bill 20 generally prohibits large socialmedia platforms from censoring speech based on the viewpoint of itsspeaker.The platforms urge us to hold that the statute is facially unconstitutional andhence cannot be applied […]

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Why ‘Grooming’ Is Le Mot Juste


Sanctimonious Anti-Trumper David French went on a tear yesterday defending his Democratic colleagues from being labeled “groomers” over their opposition to Florida’s Parental Rights in Education law and defense of Ketanji Brown Jackson’s slap-on-the-wrist sentences for child pornographers. French and other stalwarts of “principled conservatism” like Charlie Sykes and the Bulwark are very upset at this slandering of their noble leftist colleagues and paymasters. The word “groomer” they insist, is slanderous.

You would think that people so closely associated with the Lincoln Project would have a better understanding of what constitutes a groomer. “Redefining grooming and slinging false accusations of sympathy for pedophilia is pure malice,” French rages, never having displayed quite this much pique at Trump supporters being labeled “Nazis,” “fascists,” or “insurrectionists.”

David French and Dubious Interpretation of the Bible


Our friend @bryangstephens wrote a fine post on Saturday criticizing a recent essay by David French, at the Dispatch, about structural racism and reparations.  Some of the comments cited a responsive essay by Michael Anton, ridiculing French for making “the conservative case for hereditary bloodguilt.”

I write separately because both Bryan and Anton did not address French’s Biblical argument in any detail.  I realize that this may be of little interest to unbelievers, but I think that it is important to both Christians and Jews, who accept the Old Testament authorities on which French relies as Scripture.

David French and the Dialectic


The left moves, and has long moved, by dialectic. The activist-academic class introduces a concept or word into the public debate and shoves with all its might, taking its own logic to its flashiest conclusion. This conclusion being nonsense, pushback inevitably follows, prompting the activists to scamper back to their safe, warm mottes. But things don’t snap back to the way they were. No. The terms, ideas, and slogans introduced by the activists stick around. They’re subsumed into the broader culture, their edges rubbed off. They become part of the scaffolding of political debate — the mental furniture of the American mind. It is by this process that figures like David French (who is no longer a conservative) will come, mark my words, to defend transgenderism against the onslaught of transhumanism sometime in the 2040s. It is because of this process that conservatism is all but a myth. Conservatives cannot conserve — not in our current culture, at least.

That David French is no longer a conservative will come as a surprise to nobody. I say this not because of his anti-Trump writings (there are perfectly good reasons to dislike Trump — I voted for him, and I can recognize that), but because David French, like the jolly band at The Bulwark, has shown himself eager to accept the terminology, framing, and general worldview of the cultural left. Just today, he published a piece titled “Structural Racism Isn’t Wokeness, It’s Reality.” French writes:

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Recently I came across an article titled The Tragedy of Voting for the “Lesser of Two Evils” by Austin Rogers, via the Libertarian Christian Institute. I was intrigued by the title because I have been thinking lately about the Christian’s relation to the ballot box. I believe there are many good reasons why Christians ought to […]

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Useless Useful Idiots: Whither The Bulwark and The Dispatch After Trump?


Ever since Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign began to look like it was more than a promotional stunt for his reality show and began to take on the shape of a real run at the White House, there were voices on the Right condemning the whole idea of a Trump presidency. The Right’s most concerted effort took the form of National Review’s “Against Trump” issue, and most on the Right remain critical of the President’s failings even if they support him generally. (This is a marked difference from the last Democrat president, who received virtually no significant criticism from members of his party while in office.) But a sizable group of Republicans (excuse me, “former Republicans”) abandoned their party and became “Never Trumpers” – they were so exorcized by the idea of Donald Trump personally that they could no longer support their party. Some, like Max Boot and Jennifer Rubin, completely altered their beliefs and values because they hated Trump so much.

And from this sprang a whole new cottage industry of Republican-hating Conservatives. A niche craft that once belonged only to David Brooks and David Frum suddenly burst open with a whole field of carpetbaggers toting elephant guns: Charles Sykes, Mona Charen, Jonah Goldberg, George Will, Noah Rothman, Joe Scarborough, just to name a few. And with it has come two political websites to challenge the likes of NationalReview.com, CommentaryMagazine.com, and Ricochet.com: TheBulwark.com and TheDispatch.com.

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In the wake of Bostock v. Clayton County, in which the Supreme Court held that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is necessarily sex-based, a number of conservative legal thinkers have unsheathed rather sharp swords against Republican-appointed Supreme Court justices, past and present. The arguments vary but generally boil down to dissatisfaction with textualism and […]

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Goldberg v. Klavan


I’d like to say that I’ve been dying for a Goldberg/Klavan (of the Andrew variety) long-form podcast for almost three years, all about Trump.  I don’t want a “debate,” despite the intentionally incendiary (or at least flammable . . . or at the very least dyspeptic) title.  I’d like to hear two sides of a divide discuss their differences because I firmly believe most conservatives aren’t Trump purists or Trump haters.

Perhaps I am an anomaly.  Nonetheless, for almost four years now I’ve scratched my head trying to understand one side of the conservative movement that I have always respected (and still respect).  I imagine the feeling is mutual.

French, White Evangelicals, and Donald Trump


I enjoyed reading David French’s columns and musings at National Review. I looked forward to reading his perspective on everything from law to religion. I still enjoy reading much of what he writes.

However, the 2016 presidential campaign and election had a demonstrable effect on French; it changed him. It changed a lot of us, truthfully. Many thought and felt that the country had two less-than-desirable choices on the ballot for president. Frankly, for the center-left, voting for its candidate was a no-brainer. For the center-right, the decision was not so easy. In addition to his recent conversion to Republican politics, there were legitimate questions regarding Donald Trump’s understanding and commitment to what remains of Republican principles as well as questions concerning his personal character, his temperament, and his ability to lead in a role that was outside of his purview.

Despite these and other legitimate concerns regarding the costs of a Donald Trump presidency, he won the election — thanks in large part to the support of white Evangelicals. Christian support for Donald Trump has wedged itself deeply under David French’s skin and he’s (figuratively) spilled loads of ink letting everyone know about his disgust for his fellow white Evangelicals.

David French joins us for a drink today in place of Jim, who will be back on Friday.  Today, David and Greg discuss the courage of Enes Kanter, a Turkish player for the Boston Celtics.  In the wake of widespread NBA cowardice on China, Kanter continues to defy the repressive Turkish government even though it persecutes his family members and he faces threats against his life.  They also wince at President Trump’s Twitter-esque letter urging Turkish President Erdogan to seek a cease-fire with the Kurds and blast Trump for pulling back so suddenly in Syria that our own military is scrambling to get out of there.  They work in a much-needed laugh as Beto O’Rourke now admits he would have law enforcement come and take away your AR-15 and any other weapons he would ban.

At the conclusion of today’s episode, they pay tribute to the late Rep. Elijah Cummings and then remark on David’s upcoming departure from National Review to join a new venture known as The Dispatch.

The Real Difference Between Ahmari & French (I think…)


I thought I was taking a risk by ignoring the ongoing “debate” between Sohrab Ahmari and David French over the last few months. After watching their recent debate at Catholic University, I feel much better about my willful ignorance.

Warren Buffet often says the challenge with investing is to wait patiently for the right pitch to come, even when people in the stands are yelling,”swing, you idiot!” My sense is that French is the guy at bat and Ahmari is the guy in the stands yelling in exasperation. I guess the punditry would be like two sports commentators trying to tease out a game strategy based on that guy’s outburst. It was difficult to identify two positions and I think that’s because there weren’t two different views, certainly not competing visions of the future of conservatism.

As bewildering as the debate was, I was able to notice a clear line of distinction about how they view Christian engagement in the public square, and the metaphor of ancient Rome was helpful in bringing that to light. Ahmari has this view that Christianity became a religion for the masses only after Constantine gave it the official sanction of the empire. (I’m intrigued about why he believes this because I find it completely wrong and backwards.) But on this view, he sees his mission as forestalling the Colosseum and its persecution of Christians. Interestingly, Ross Douthat asked at this point whether Ahmari wasn’t just trying to protect its privileged status, defending Constantine. French, by contrast, sees the public square as neutral-to-hostile space in which Christians do their best to influence and change it in light of the implications of the gospel. This was the only clear disagreement I heard in the debate.

Open Government, Open Season


Rep. Joaquin Castro, Congressman from Texas and Chairman of his twin brother’s floundering presidential campaign, tweeted out the names of 44 of his constituents who gave the maximum amount allowable to President Trump. Many are local business owners, many are simply retirees. Now, they could be targets.

Castro defended himself by pointing out that the list was generated from public records. And it’s true. The Federal Elections Commission requires all Federal campaigns report names, addresses and occupations of every donor no matter how large or small and it’s all entered in a searchable database on the FEC website. The idea is to allow the average citizen to know who ostensibly has the candidate in his pocket. With presidential campaigns now approaching $1B (Hillary Clinton spent a whopping $768M for second place in 2016), the maximum amount any individual can give is a pittance in the grand scheme of things.

To Answer the Challenge of MBD


Michael Brendan Dougherty posed a challenge on Twitter:

I objected to his choice of target as I think French is a good ally and we should be grateful for what he’s done. But I’d like to see one critic engage Sohrab Ahmari’s point about how liberal principles, divorced from a pre-liberal inheritance, resolve disputes in one direction. (@michaelbd)

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Sohrab Ahmari’s latest piece in First Things cause quite a stir and rightfully so. I am a big fan of Ahmari and First Things- though both have disappointed in this episode. I appreciate David French, but he is far from my favorite conservative. David’s cultural tastes are different than mine. He likes the NBA, blockbuster […]

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Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America are cautiously optimistic that at least some border wall funding could be coming in the lame duck spending bill.  They also applaud National Review’s David French for blasting the media’s perpetual outrage at President Trump, even as his administration carries out some actions and policies of the Obama administration, which the media adored.  And they enjoy the GOP win in the Mississippi Senate race while also slamming MSNBC host Nicolle Wallace for suggesting that nooses found on the state capitol grounds were a form of racial intimidation until her own guest explained Democrats put them there to protest Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith.

David French of National Review and Chad Benson of Radio America fill in for Jim Geraghty and Greg Corombos. They commend Justice Roberts for joining the four liberal justices to protect Americans’ civil liberties from warrantless cell phone searches. They also consider the affects of incessant and inappropriate protesting. And they compare Trump’s new family detention policy to Obama’s, finding a difference only in outrage from activists and the media.

David French of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America cheer new poll numbers showing that voters in many states with incumbent Democratic senators overwhelmingly want someone new.  David explains his concern that evangelicals are showing themselves to be hypocrites and damaging their efforts to share the gospel by defending President Trump in every situation.  And they discuss the closing ad from Republican West Virginia Senate candidate Don Blankenship, who uses his 30 seconds to accuse Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of creating jobs for “China people” and labels McConnell himself as “Cocaine Mitch.”

David French vs. Jack Dunphy on the Stephon Clark Shooting


Over at National Review Online this week, I’ve been involved in a polite but pointed debate with David French over the Stephon Clark police shooting in Sacramento.  On March 29, Mr. French wrote a column in which he called the incident “deeply disturbing and problematic.”  Among my objections to Mr. French’s piece was his assertion that police officers consider the “background level of risk” in a situation before deciding on a course of action.  “According to the City of Sacramento,” he wrote, “it’s been almost 20 years since a cop was shot and killed in the line of duty.”

I found it astounding that Mr. French would have that expectation of police officers, and said so in a March 30 post at NRO’s “The Corner.”  Mr. French responded to me in an April 4 piece on NR, to which I replied yesterday.

The Randomness: On David French’s Quest to De-Risk Crime


As a fellow Iraq war vet, I deeply respect the service and perspective of National Review columnist David French. He volunteered out of a sense of obligation to serve in a war he had endorsed. The man put his rear end where his mouth had put others. That he was “inside the wire” as a legal advisor should be beside the point. He risked much more than any pundit. Oh, but that he would do the same with his punditry on policing. On this Mr. French is consistently, dangerously wrong.

I have spent much of three decades observing, reporting on, and training in police work. That study is further informed by my tours as an infantry officer in Iraq and Afghanistan. And the lessons I’ve learned are clear: Mr. French’s ideas will get good people killed by shifting the risk of criminality off of the lawless. Sadly, his effort to de-risk criminality hit a nadir with his column on the death of Stephon Clark.