THE GLOBAL NEWSSTAND

Stories that matter from near and far.

Trump Versus the Generals

In 1961 U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower famously warned of the “military-industrial complex,” an unholy alliance that would devour revenues, undermine democratic politics and commit America to endless wars. Early this century American man of letters Gore Vidal updated Eisenhower with his description of the “permanent war party,” one wing of which was called “Democrat” and the other “Republican.” In his presidential campaign, Donald Trump promised to extricate the United States from military adventurism and end America’s “forever wars.” Andrew Bacevich, writing in The American Conservative, was initially hopeful that Trump would follow through. The latest tensions with Iran, however, lead Bacevich to think Trump will likely not prevail against his generals and bellicose advisors.

Trump Versus the Generals

In 1961 U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower famously warned of the “military-industrial complex,” an unholy alliance that would devour revenues, undermine democratic politics and commit America to endless wars. Early this century American man of letters Gore Vidal updated Eisenhower with his description of the “permanent war party,” one wing of which was called “Democrat” and the other “Republican.” In his presidential campaign, Donald Trump promised to extricate the United States from military adventurism and end America’s “forever wars.” Andrew Bacevich, writing in The American Conservative, was initially hopeful that Trump would follow through. The latest tensions with Iran, however, lead Bacevich to think Trump will likely not prevail against his generals and bellicose advisors.

The Archive

Slouching Towards Climate Utopia

The fear that the Earth faces an unprecedented threat from “human-induced climate change” has become an article of faith among the chattering classes. Open dialogue has all-but disappeared, as even professional societies succumb to groupthink. Scientists who stray from the so-called “consensus” are subjected to professional censure. One is Alberta’s Allan MacRae, who had the temerity to write about the damage done to humanity and the environment by radical greens. “The takeover of environmental institutions by extremists is now almost complete,” write Tom Harris and Dr. Jay Lehr on PJ Media, and truth is only one of the victims.

Murder, Treachery, Lust and the State of Nature

Great news for Deadwood fans – a movie version’s out! The HBO TV series vividly traced the history of Deadwood, South Dakota, from a rough-and-ready 1870s mining camp into a thriving small town, bawdily showing how civil society and functioning politics can overtake a lawless state of nature. The May 31 release of the new Deadwood movie enabled Robert Herritt to reflect on its deeper themes in The New Atlantis. “Deadwood inverts a certain rationalist picture of the social and political — of top-down, technocratic deliberation as the ideal of proper action,” Herritt writes. In recognizing reason as subordinate to the exigencies of life, Deadwood subtly presents a Burkean philosophy. That’s certainly one explanation for the aptly named Swearengen’s continuous F-word eruptions.

The Ascent of Media and the Death of Journalism

According to the American classicist and commentator Victor Davis Hanson, the disinterested reporting of events – what previous generations called “journalism” — is no longer practiced in the United States. Instead, we now have something called the “media” consisting of wannabe celebrities who “espouse opinions on nearly everything while knowing almost nothing.” Such “journalists” labour under shrunken vocabularies but possess enormous self-regard such that “most could give an in-depth lecture on Botox, but are ignorant about the U.S. Constitution or basic facts of American history.” Readers can judge for themselves how close the parallels – or how sharp the divide – may be with Canadian journalism.

The Tucker Carlson Phenomenon

In his prophetic 1995 book The Revolt of the Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy, historian Christopher Lasch argued that America’s professional and managerial elites had abandoned the middle classes, isolating themselves in enclaves of privilege. By last year, Fox News’ commentator Tucker Carlson had found the phenomenon so far advanced that, as he wrote in his book Ship of Fools, “Trump’s election wasn’t about Trump. It was a throbbing middle finger in the face of America’s ruling class.” In the Claremont Review of Books, Michael Anton examines the Tucker Carlson phenomenon, and why many now consider him the “de facto leader of the conservative movement.”

The Changing Demographics of American Cities

Among the crowded field of contenders for the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee are four big-city mayors. Yet such candidates have little chance, in part because American cities are suffering from a myriad of afflictions, including gross income inequalities, which are driving out middle-class and working-class families. In a recent study, not one construction worker could afford a median-priced house in Los Angeles, San Francisco, or surrounding areas. In an essay with distinct overtones for Canadian big-city politics, Joel Kotkin argues in City Journal that for cities to remain emblematic of society, they need to attract and nurture the middle-class.

Don’t Let Students Run the Universities

The recent disinviting of U.S. public intellectual Harvey Mansfield at Montréal’s Concordia University underscores the threat to free discussion in our universities. Among the reasons for the closing of the campus mind is the widespread adoption of the therapeutic model of education, which prioritizes the happiness and feelings of students. Little wonder, writes Tom Nicholls in The Atlantic, that the students have decided they’re in charge.

The Only Thing Worse than Populism? Anti-Populism

Populism is being blamed for all manner of ills as leftists worldwide wage an increasingly unrestrained war to delegitimize heterodox opinion. They’re even attempting to smear mainstream conservative parties with the taint of racism and “white supremacism”. But in an honest accounting of the political damage done to date, argues Spiked’s Brendan O’Neill, it’s the anti-populists who have the most to answer for.

Round 1 to Ottawa, but the Game Goes On

When Saskatchewan launched its constitutional challenge of Ottawa’s carbon tax, the usual suspects in academe and the media contemptuously dismissed it as lacking any legal merit. While a 3-2 majority on Saskatchewan’s Court of Appeal last week ruled the carbon tax lies within federal powers, dissenting Justices Ralph Ottenbreit and Neal Caldwell argued powerfully that it violates the Constitution in several clear ways. For a total no-hoper, Saskatchewan’s case is showing surprising legs. With challenges in other provinces underway and an appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada pending, Ottawa might just be sweating bullets.

Think Magically, Act Irrationally

New York Mayor Bill Deblasio jumped into the race for the Democratic presidential nomination this week, expanding the field to 21, and doubling down on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’ Green New Deal by decreeing that another conventional glass and steel high-rise tower will never be built in the “Big Green Apple.” At times like this one needs a bracing dose of rational energy economics analysis from the Manhattan Institute.

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