Why is the government shutting down? The same reason it always does.

It is fitting somehow that President Trump’s announcement that he would be “proud” to shut down parts of the federal government in the hope of securing funds for a border wall came just as a federal judge in Texas ruled the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional. Years ago Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) argued that he had no choice but to force a shutdown after Barack Obama unsurprisingly refused to sign a budget that would have defunded his signature domestic policy. For his efforts, Cruz was dismissed as a far-right crank, a poseur, a cheap grifter who raised millions of dollars with his stunt. He might well have been all of these… Read More

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Republicans have become their own caricature of postmodernism

For decades, suspicion of pointy-headed elites in the academy has been a staple of conservative rhetoric, and none more so than postmodernist philosophers and literary critics. By conservative lights, inscrutable scribblers, usually French, were undermining American society by putting out incomprehensible treatises arguing there is no such thing as truth, no opinion is any better than any other, and so on. “The end result is that there can be no more truth or goodness and no need or even ability to make tough choices,” wrote Allan Bloom in The Closing of the American Mind. The conservative view was always about three-fourths caricature — while postmodern writers did have valuable insights… Read More

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How George Soros became a bogeyman

How did a wealthy Holocaust survivor become one of the most hated men in the U.S., Russia, and his native Hungary? Here’s everything you need to know: Who is George Soros?He’s one of America’s leading philanthropists and political donors. At age 88, the Hungarian-born investor has given away at least $32 billion to charities, which puts him a bit behind Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, but as a percentage of his net worth, Soros has donated the most of any living billionaire. Since the 1980s, most of that money has gone to groups that build democracy and civic institutions overseas, particularly in his native Eastern Europe. Early on, he was… Read More

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What made The Weekly Standard great

When it was announced on Friday that The Weekly Standard would print its last issue after nearly a quarter of a century, I was astonished. Who would ever have guessed that The American Conservative, the upstart anti-war magazine founded by Pat Buchanan and Scott McConnell in 2002, would outlast Bill Kristol and Fred Barnes’ neoconservative colossus? If you had asked me five years ago, I would have said it was about as likely as the star of Celebrity Apprentice winning the White House on a reactionary populist platform. It’s worth saying at the outset that I and millions of other Americans of all political tendencies disagreed with the editors of… Read More

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Corruption is eroding American democracy

American imperialism: What is good for? Absolutely nothing. The cynical among you might argue that American imperialism makes a sort of cold business sense. The American state conducts wars around the world, and the American people benefit from defense contracts, cheap oil, raw materials, access to markets, and so on. There is a grain of truth to that argument — but it’s not the whole truth. On net, most of the American empire is a gigantic waste of money. But in the process, individuals like Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) do make out handsomely. As The Daily Beast reports, after announcing his support for pushing the 2020 military budget to an… Read More

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