James Bowman

Resident Scholar

Mr. Bowman is well known for his writing on honor, including his book, Honor: A History and “Whatever Happened to Honor,” originally delivered as one of the prestigious Bradley Lectures at the American Enterprise Institute in 2002, and republished (under the title “The Lost Sense of Honor”) in The Public Interest.

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James Bowman is a Resident Scholar at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

Mr. Bowman is well known for his writing on honor, including his book, Honor: A History and “Whatever Happened to Honor,” originally delivered as one of the prestigious Bradley Lectures at the American Enterprise Institute in 2002, and republished (under the title “The Lost Sense of Honor”) in The Public Interest.

Among the other publications to which he has contributed are Harper’sThe Public InterestThe Washington PostThe Wall Street JournalThe Daily and Sunday Telegraph of London, The Weekly Standard and National Review.

He has worked as a freelance journalist, serving as American editor of the Times Literary Supplement of London from 1991 to 2002, as movie critic of The American Spectator since 1990 and as media critic of The New Criterion since 1993. He has also been a weekly movie reviewer for The New York Sun since the newspaper’s re-foundation in 2002.

Mr. Bowman received B.A. degrees from Lebanon Valley College in Pennsylvania and the University of Cambridge in England, where he also did graduate study and received an M.A. in 1979.

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Quid Est Veritas?

James Bowman

In the pages of our once great newspapers, argument has given way to assertion, policy to scandal, hard news to gossip and speculation, and observation of political life to participation in it — with the result that there can be few people on either side of the political divide who any longer expect news to be the stock-in-trade of the news media.

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Constituting Truth

James Bowman

When a political culture ceases to value truth for its own sake instead of its political utility, it breaks down into violent or quasi-violent partisanship.

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Paradise Recycled

James Bowman

The lives of 19th-century utopians were more interesting than the utopias they imagined.

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Hungry like the Wolf

James Bowman

The purveyors of fake news turn out to be willing customers for fake jokes.

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Principles, Parties, and Polarization

James Bowman

To some political junkies, reading Sam Rosenfeld’s book The Polarizers will be an exercise in almost unbearable nostalgia for that world of political stability and comity and the kind of genuine debate that can only come with mutual respect between those of differing political points of view—as we can see now that both genuine debate and mutual respect appear to have vanished from our politics.

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Stormy Weather

James Bowman

The tale of Stormy Daniels and its failure to arouse the public’s indignation against President Trump might seem to give hope that eventually the public will tire of the media’s scandal culture. But even if scandal fatigue should set in, its obverse, which is government by virtue-signaling, has never been stronger.

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Trying Times

James Bowman

We ought always to be suspicious about retrospective moralizing about the past, which didn’t have the luxury that we enjoy of being able to balance costs that had yet to be incurred against benefits that remained hypothetical in order to decide if a prospective course of action was “worthwhile” or not.

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Zip Ties and Media Lies

James Bowman

Our Rashomon politics is not an artifact of the Trump era but an inevitable outgrowth of an ever-increasing tendency to political moralizing, which itself arises out of identity politics as lately perfected by the left, with the willing cooperation of the media.

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What We Talk About When We Talk About Reputation

James Bowman

In trying to modernize our understanding of the “elusive concept” of reputation, a new book loses sight of its historical meaning.

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The Weekly Standard / March 22, 2018

Review: Lady Bird

James Bowman

Greta Gerwig, who both wrote and directed Lady Bird, has done a wonderful job of taking us through teenage anxiety step by step in a way that feels entirely right.

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The American Spectator / March 7, 2018

Methods of Madness

James Bowman

President Trump’s rhetorical approach is a bold, even reckless strategy in our scandal-obsessed media culture, but it has at least paid the dividend of keeping the media’s ostentatious outrage perpetually at top volume as a distraction from any more substantive coverage of his presidency, which could only be hostile and probably more effectively so.

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Review: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

James Bowman

It’s best to think of Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri as a sort of cinematic parable about forgiveness — both of others and of ourselves.

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The American Spectator / February 22, 2018