Tag: Peggy Noonan

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Summer days are slower times. People go on vacations and otherwise take breaks from many routines. People tire and move on from cable news to sports (go England!) and movies, which are slowly coming back. All good. There are exceptions, and our current culture war is one. Just ask Loudoun County, Virginia, parents. Or parents elsewhere. Preview Open

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Buy Physical Media


A generous helping of shutdown-induced free time has allowed me to catch up on my ridiculous backlog of movies on disc.

Note “movies on disc.” I think it’s safe to say that I don’t personally know anyone who owns as many movies as I do in a physical form. I also own a healthy number of television shows on disc, as well as myriad sports-related selections. In all, I would estimate that I have something like 2,000 discs worth of content, all of which I keep in simple albums for the sake of efficient storage, allowing all of this material to occupy only two small shelves on a bookcase in my den.

Why do I own so many discs in an era in which streaming is now the preferred format?

The COVID-19 Class War


Just a heads up about a Peggy Noonan column that’s right on the money:

It’s not that those in red states don’t think there’s a pandemic. They’ve heard all about it! They realize it will continue, they know they may get sick themselves. But they also figure this way: Hundreds of thousands could die and the American economy taken down, which would mean millions of other casualties, economic ones. Or, hundreds of thousands could die and the American economy is damaged but still stands, in which case there will be fewer economic casualties—fewer bankruptcies and foreclosures, fewer unemployed and ruined.

Quote of the Day: Peggy Noonan on Guns


Last weekend, in the Wall Street Journal, Peggy Noonan asked a rhetorical question: Why do Americans have so many guns? Here is how she answered her own question:

Americans have so many guns because drug gangs roam the streets, because they have less trust in their neighbors, because they read Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road.” Because all of their personal and financial information got hacked in the latest breach, because our country’s real overlords are in Silicon Valley and appear to be moral Martians who operate on some weird new postmodern ethical wavelength. And they’ll be the ones programming the robots that’ll soon take all the jobs! Maybe the robots will look like Mark Zuckerberg, like those eyeless busts of Roman Emperors. Our leaders don’t even think about this technological revolution. They’re too busy with transgender rights.



nailgunWhat is this a picture of? It is a nail gun, a high-quality piece of equipment that will put nail after nail into board after board. Whatever you need nailed, this thing will nail it, consistently and accurately. And that is precisely why it should be called a Noonanator. Or a PowerNoonan. Or a Pneumatic Noonanizer. To understand why, here’s an article in the Wall Street Journal by its namesake titled “How Global Elites Forsake Their Countrymen:”

The challenge of integrating different cultures, negotiating daily tensions, dealing with crime and extremism and fearfulness on the street—that was put on those with comparatively little, whom I’ve called the unprotected. They were left to struggle, not gradually and over the years but suddenly and in an air of ongoing crisis that shows no signs of ending—because nobody cares about them enough to stop it.

The powerful show no particular sign of worrying about any of this. When the working and middle class pushed back in shocked indignation, the people on top called them “xenophobic,” “narrow-minded,” “racist.” The detached, who made the decisions and bore none of the costs, got to be called “humanist,” “compassionate,” and “hero of human rights.”

No Genius in Sight


1943 Casablanca Conference (l-r): Giraud, Roosevelt, de Gaulle, and Churchill.

Peggy Noonan nailed our collective international crises in her WSJ column this weekend. She states that we live in a time where there seem to be no exceptional people — what she calls “genius clusters” — on the international level (never mind in our own country) to step-up to the plate and lead us forward.

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Before NeoCon became a slur meaning war-mongering Jew it referred to a group of classic liberals. Most of them were Jews, and they were anti-Totalitarians who thought NeoMarxists had taken over the Democratic party. They became Republicans, and never looked back. Until now. The leftist caricature of the Republican party is now the nominee. Mr. Trump is the embodiment of unapologetic toxic-masculinity. […]

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“Could you believe those things,” said one Republican Congressman to two of his colleagues, complaining about the size of his steak at a fundraiser the night before. Waiting in the Longworth House Office Building cafeteria to catch up with friends the day after the Trump-Ryan sit-down, as I read over Peggy Noonan’s latest column, that […]

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It Ain’t Over Yet, Part Three


The week before this past one Hillsdale was on spring vacation, and I was on the road — first to DC to give short talks about my book The Grand Strategy of Classical Sparta: The Persian Challenge at a dinner sponsored by the Bradley Foundation and at another held at Hillsdale’s Kirby Center, then on to Claremont McKenna College on the outskirts of Los Angeles, to attend a Montesquieu conference sponsored by the Salvatori Center.

While in DC, I had breakfast with Michael Barone — who arrived armed with a map xeroxed from Robert Putnam’s book Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community and proceeded to try out an idea on me — to wit, that Trump appeals powerfully to those who, so to speak, “bowl alone” and has little appeal for those who “bowl in leagues.” If true, he told me, this suggests that Trump will falter in Wisconsin and do poorly in North Dakota, South Dakota, Washington, and Oregon. Ten of the 11 states, he explained, where people most emphatically tend to “bowl alone” have already voted. Trump won them all, but there are not all that many states of this sort left.

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These are strange times, for sure, and it’s hard to define them in words with any degree of precision. When someone else does, it stands out to me.  I’ve just read the following from Peggy Noonan in the WSJ this morning regarding the curious disconnect between reality and our current executive.  I wonder how deeply […]

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Cue Up The Band


shutterstock_106322621Peggy Noonan writes today in the Wall Street Journal that the US needs a military that acts swiftly and doesn’t brag. I agree with that first point — especially with the suggestion that we should have cut to the chase and sent in the troops to rescue the kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls. The military would have been delighted to execute such an assignment, a good thing would have been accomplished, and we would have demonstrated that America hasn’t completely forgotten how to flex its muscles. Nigeria’s not going to declare war on us. And is the international community likely to get on their high horse over the rescue of innocent girls? And so what if they do?

I wasn’t as convinced, however, by her assertion that great militaries shouldn’t brag. I understand the principle behind it: don’t showboat and let the guns do the talking. But I suspect the truth is that pomp and ceremony have always been a component of military might — and probably for good reason. Triumphalism is actually pretty effective at producing the “shock and awe” factor that great militaries like to inspire in civilian populations, both at home and abroad. I myself tend to react reflexively against propaganda, so the flag-waving jingoism often misses with me, but there’s no denying that plenty of people like it and it tends to make an impression. Compared to missiles and tanks, flags and musicians are cheap and safe. If there’s a chance of forestalling a war with a parade … throw the parade.

On a less utilitarian level, I’m inclined to think that the bragging may actually be a healthy and natural part of military prowess. Of course, I say that as someone who has never had any justification whatsoever to engage in that kind of self-aggrandizement. But I’m guided here mainly by reflection on how soldiers and military pomp were regarded historically. There seems to have been widespread agreement among the ancients that soldiers fought for honor and, insofar as they did their jobs valiantly,  deserved it in a way that few other members of society did. Sedentary brainiacs (read: people like me or Peggy Noonan) find it easy to wrinkle our noses and piously suggest that war is no laughing matter. The people who are throwing the parades, however, know this far better than we.