James Bowman

Yet It Does Fly

If the midterm election were a referendum on President Trump, it is far from easy to tell what its verdict was.

Lubitsch in Our Day

Recent reappraisals err by judging director Ernst Lubitsch by the standards of the wrong era.

Civil Was

We have been put on notice that whenever and wherever Democrats are once again entrusted with power, they may be expected to use it without restraint against their political enemies.

Quid Est Veritas?

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.

Constituting Truth

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.

Paradise Recycled

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

Hungry like the Wolf

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

Principles, Parties, and Polarization

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.

Stormy Weather

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.

Trying Times

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.