The idea of a “constitutional conservatism” is back in the news. It came into vogue on the right in response to the pursuit by President Obama—after his victory in the 2008 presidential election and the Democrats’ sweep of both houses of Congress—of ambitious progressive policies.
In his farewell address last week, President Obama contended that his administration had accomplished more than one could have reasonably expected. But Donald Trump’s election threatens the legacy of the president who aspired to be transformative in the manner of Ronald Reagan.
By his flamboyance, crudity, and eclectic priorities as well as by his explicit statements, President Donald Trump has made it clear that the Republican Party is not identical to conservatism. That has always been true of the modern GOP dominated by Ronald Reagan’s long shadow. But the 2016 divergence was of unprecedented proportions.
Much as administrators and faculty may dislike it, the fact is that public colleges are subject to both the First Amendment and the state legislatures that fund them. Legislators shouldn’t micromanage the campuses, but they must set some basic rules.
President Donald Trump’s controversial executive order prohibiting nationals from seven countries roiled by jihadism from entering the United States for three months—and the administration’s bungled roll-out of the order—reminded foreign policy elites in both parties why they feared and loathed Trump. As if they needed a reminder.
In an October 26, 2016, letter to the Wall Street Journal, Professor David M. Post, chair of Yale’s University-Wide Committee on Sexual Misconduct, defended the Ivy League institution’s “procedures for addressing sexual misconduct.” But his formulation betrayed him.
Moderation—the tendency to avoid the extremes and strike sensible balances—does not appear to be President Trump’s strong suit. That so much of the opposition to him is bereft of this much-disparaged but essential virtue poses an even more alarming threat to the long-term public interest.
The controversy over the future of health care in the United States is momentous. But the narrowness of the debate—which swirls around coverage, costs, and who pays—obscures other grave threats to the American health-care system.
On college campuses, outrage over provocative speakers sometimes turns violent. It's becoming a pattern on campuses around the country. A speaker is invited, often by a conservative student group. Other students oppose the speaker, and maybe they protest. If the speech happens, the speaker is heckled. Sometimes there's violence.
The allegation that Donald Trump’s presidency reflects the rise—or resurgence—of fascism in America has little basis in fact. But it is a sure way to amplify the scorn for Republicans gripping many on the left and the resentment of media and academic elites roiling many on the right. Such talk magnifies polarization and further debases American political discourse.
In the Trump era, the conviction has spread among elites—especially, but not only, among progressive elites—that the people have failed them. This very conviction, though, is an indication of how American elites have failed the people.
Administrative law is the collection of rules governing the welter of government agencies -- ranging from the Environmental Protection Agency and Food and Drug Administration to the Securities and Exchange Commission -- that are neither legislatures nor courts but which make binding law.
Donald Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton—as well as his defeat of 16 rivals for the Republican nomination—was nothing if not a repudiation by a significant segment of American voters of rule by elites. Were the people justified?
Donald Trump’s ascent to the presidency precipitated a rift of unprecedented proportions in American conservatism. To prevent a permanent split, conservatives must recover an appreciation of the enduring tensions that constitute their movement. Too few conservatives, however, are focusing on conciliation.
An NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll released in late June contains bad news for the country. Only 37 percent of Americans trust the Trump administration “a good amount” or “a great deal.” Worse, substantially fewer—30 percent—trust the media a good amount or a great deal. Worse still is that the public’s distrust is justified.
The threat to free speech in the United States is by no means restricted to colleges and universities, but they have become breeding grounds, training camps, and launching pads in the campaign to curtail liberty of thought and discussion. It is on our campuses where the battle for free speech will be won or lost.
With the Trump administration careening from controversy to controversy, the denizens of Capitol Hill confirming the people’s low opinion of Congress, and much of elite media validating suspicions that they view themselves not primarily as reliable chroniclers of events but as a valiant political vanguard, it is easy to overlook the ideological pincer movement besieging classical liberalism from left and right.
Following a week of relentless criticism from the mainstream media for ham-handed and vacillating responses to the neo-Nazi march in Charlottesville, President Trump saw his approval rating rise slightly. It’s as if elites have one agenda, and a significant part of the public another.
At a National Archives ceremony last Friday in Washington, D.C., 30 immigrants became naturalized U.S. citizens. In a video, President Trump encouraged them to embrace the “full rights, and the sacred duties, that come with American citizenship.”
In the name of social justice and diversity, students at elite colleges are casting aside the very works that probe those topics so deeply. The central authors of the Western tradition—from Plato and Aristotle to Mill and Orwell—are no longer part of the required curriculum in the social sciences and the humanities. Their absence carries a high price.