The current Supreme Court is packed with a very specific type of person: type-A overachievers who have triumphed in a long tournament measuring academic and technical legal excellence. This Court desperately lacks individuals who reflect a different type of “merit.” The book examines the exceptional and varied lives of past greats from John Marshall to Thurgood Marshall and asks how many, if any, of these giants would be nominated today. The book argues against our current bookish and narrow version of meritocracy. Healthier societies offer multiple different routes to success and onto bodies like our Supreme Court.
Between 1920 and 1950 America saw an unprecedented expansion of wealth and power underwritten by
technological innovation, cultural confidence, and victory in war. American elites won World War II, rebuilt the world order with America at its head, inaugurated the jet age and put a man on the moon. The boom led to a larger, richer middle that confirmed America’s best ideals. By the early 1970s that ended. Since then, American elites have captured a disproportionate share of the social and economic rewards over the last 50 years during which time the middle class has shrunk in size and become economically insecure.
This is a story of hope, but also of peril. It began when our nation’s polarized political class started conscripting everyday citizens into their culture war. From their commanding heights in political parties, media, academia, and government, these partisans have attacked one another for years, but increasingly they’ve convinced everyday Americans to join the fray.
If you want to know why American Indians have the highest rates of poverty of any racial group, why suicide is the leading cause of death among American Indian men, why American Indian women are raped at two and a half times the national average rate, and why gang violence affects American Indian youths more than any other group, do not look to history. There is no doubt that white settlers devastated Indian communities in the 19th and early 20th centuries. But it is our public policies today—which deny Indians ownership of their land, refuse them access to the free market, and fail to provide the police and legal protections due to them as American citizens—that have turned reservations into third-world countries in the middle of the richest and freest nation on Earth.
It’s true that we’ve wrung much of the magic out of technologies that fueled the last, long boom. But the next great convergence will ignite in the 2020s. And this time, unlike any previous historical moment, we have the Cloud that amplifies that fusion. The next long boom starts now.
Behind the deeply contentious 2020 election stands a real story of a broken election process. Election fraud that alters election outcomes and dilutes legitimate votes occurs all too often, as is the bungling of election bureaucrats. Our election process is full of vulnerabilities that can be – and are –taken advantage of, raising questions about, and damaging public confidence in, the legitimacy of the outcome of elections.
Something is wrong with American journalism. Long before “fake news” became the calling card of the right, Americans had lost faith in their news media. But lately the feeling that something is off has become impossible to ignore. That’s because mainstream news is not liberal anymore; it’s woke. Today’s newsrooms are propagating radical ideas that were fringe as recently as a decade ago, including anti-racism, intersectionality, open borders, and critical race theory. How did this come to be?
What is culture? Why should we preserve it, and how? In this book, renowned philosopher Roger Scruton defends Western culture against its internal critics and external enemies, and argues that rumors of its death are seriously exaggerated.
Anger now dominates American politics. It wasn’t always so. “Happy Days Are Here Again” was FDR’s campaign song in 1932. By contrast, candidate Kamala Harris’s 2020 campaign song was Mary J. Blige’s “Work That” (“Let ’em get mad / They gonna hate anyway”). This is a book about how we got here—about how America changed from a nation that could be roused to anger but preferred self-control, to a nation permanently dialed to eleven.
We all know the story of Thanksgiving. Or do we? This uniquely American holiday has a rich and little-known history beyond the famous Pilgrim feast of 1621.
This historic narrative combines a critique of more than a century of housing reform policies, including public and other subsidized housing as well as exclusionary zoning, with the idea that simple low-cost housing—a poor side of town—helps those of modest means build financial assets and join in the local democratic process.
On the occasion of its fortieth anniversary, The New Criterion has brought together a winning collection of essays demonstrating the range and acuity that has established the magazine as America’s foremost review of culture and the arts. Edited by Roger Kimball, this spiritual Baedeker is a timely repository of timeless writing about the figures, controversies, and challenges that define our life in the first decades of the twenty-first century.
Harry V. Jaffa (1918–2015), professor at Claremont McKenna College and distinguished fellow of the Claremont Institute, was one of the most influential thinkers of the twentieth century. His hundreds of students have reached positions of power and prestige throughout the intellectual and political world, including at the Supreme Court and the Trump White House.