Skip to main content

Donald Devine: Donald Trump’s Napoleon Moment

Patrick Buchanan gets right to the core of the phenomenon called Donald Trump with his headline, “The Rebirth of Nationalism.”

Because of America’s two-party system and the dominance of individualistic libertarians and social conservatives in one party and left-egalitarians and interest-group liberals in the other, we forget the basics. As the late great political scientist Aaron Wildavsky taught us years ago there are four fundamental political types: egalitarians, individualists, social conservatives, and—the ones we forget about—what he called “fatalists.”

Read more at The American Conservative

John Horvat: Culture is in the Grits

Your college experience may be characterized by the desire to look beyond your origins and explore the world with grand adventures. There is certainly nothing wrong in venturing out and embracing what the world has to offer. There is a temptation to be avoided, however: to think you acquire “culture” or sophistication by simply experiencing a vast array of choices that includes exotic places, natural foods, and the latest fads.

“Modern culture is defined by this extraordinary freedom to ransack the world storehouse and to engorge any and every style it comes upon,” writes Daniel Bell in his book The Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism. This notion of culture is defined by the individual’s claimed right to experience everything in the name of self-fulfillment. It is a quest Bell describes thus: “nothing is forbidden, all is to be explored.”

Yet this eclectic notion of culture is incredibly superficial and individualistic, cold and artificial. It fails to make those rich connections within a society, its shared attitudes, values, products, and practices. Like so many words in our society today, culture becomes whatever the individual wants it to be.

Read more at Intercollegiate Review…

George Leef: NLRB Cannot Stop Northwestern’s Football Players From Unionizing

Last year there was a burst of excitement in some quarters over the prospect of college football players forming a union. Leftists nearly always think that unions are good because they supposedly promote social justice and when an apparent majority of the players on Northwestern’s team said they wanted to form a union, that gladdened many a collectivist heart.

Then, the regional director of the National Labor Relations Board in Chicago gave the players the green light. Joy!

But on August 17, however, the full National Labor Relations Board unanimously declined jurisdiction, which means that it won’t pursue the case further. Joy was crushed.


Read more at…

Like The Gulag Archipelago, the Planned Parenthood Videos Show Us the Victims of a Utopian Dream

Millions of highly-educated Americans still defend Planned Parenthood. Forty years ago, the same kind of people defended Communism. They might have regretted its excesses, and cringed at some of its methods, but its astronomically high ideals inspired them, especially next to the gritty reality of free competition under law.

The Bolsheviks in Russia, then Mao’s cadres in China, and Castro’s in Cuba, were striving to free men of 10,000 years of historical baggage, to rip up the structures of exploitation that had encrusted us over the centuries, to tear out selfishness from its root in the human heart and replace the squabbling, grasping consumers in the marketplace with a stark and ascetical species: Socialist Man. The Party would use its absolute power for good, and not for evil. It would fill the earth with mandatory Franciscans, men and women forged in the blast furnace of struggle until they were happily poor, proudly chaste and perfectly obedient. They would dwell in the happy paradise that Marx had sketched out for them, free of shortage and strife, dabbling at work in the morning, then writing poetry or hunting as the sun went down. There are colorful icons depicting this heaven on earth which Stalin commissioned, in the style he named “Socialist Realism.”

Read more…

George Leef: Perfect Puppy and regulatory takings

In an ideal world, the law would shield people from aggression by others, allowing them to peacefully use their lives, liberties, and property as they desire.

In our actual world, however, many people cannot resist the urge to turn the law into a sword – into a weapon they can use against anyone who doesn’t live or act in “the right” way.

Examples of such legal plunder and coercive busybodyism pop up constantly. Here’s one that recently came to my attention.


Read more at… 

Warren Coats: Cayman Financial Review

The Third Quarter issue of the Cayman Financial Review is now available on the web:  I am on the Editorial Board and have two articles in this issue that might interest you.  The first discusses the continued decline of U.S. world leadership exemplified in the case of the new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank located in China:
The second is the final installment of my Kabul Bank scandal series.  The failure of Kabul Bank in Afghanistan was probably the biggest bank failure and fraud in history (on a per capital basis).  As this final article looks at some of the legal issues and developments in recovering stolen assets held abroad and Afghanistan’s uneven struggle to strengthen its criminal justice system, Gary Gegenheimer, a lawyer who also worked in Afghanistan, joined me to write this third installment:–Part-III/ 

Bill McClay: History, American Democracy, and the AP Test Controversy

In Imprimis, July/Aug 2015:

Historical study and history education in the United States today are in a bad way, and the causes are linked. In both cases, we have lost our way by forgetting that the study of the past makes the most sense when it is connected to a larger, public purpose, and is thereby woven into the warp and woof of our common life. The chief purpose of a high school education in American history is not the development of critical thinking and analytic skills, although the acquisition of such skills is vitally important; nor is it the mastery of facts, although a solid grasp of the factual basis of American history is surely essential; nor is it the acquisition of a genuine historical consciousness, although that certainly would be nice to have too, particularly under the present circumstances, in which historical memory seems to run at about 15 minutes, especially with the young.

No, the chief purpose of a high school education in American history is as a rite of civic membership, an act of inculcation and formation, a way in which the young are introduced to the fullness of their political and cultural inheritance as Americans, enabling them to become literate and conversant in its many features, and to appropriate fully all that it has to offer them, both its privileges and its burdens. To make its stories theirs, and thereby let them come into possession of the common treasure of its cultural life. In that sense, the study of history is different from any other academic subject. It is not merely a body of knowledge. It also ushers the individual person into membership in a common world, and situates them in space and time.

Read more..

Peter W. Schramm, R.I.P.

I am saddened to share the news that Peter Schramm passed away Sunday, August 16, 2015.  A full obituary and details of funeral arrangements are available at the Ashbrook Center website HERE.

It was during Peter’s tenure as president of The Philadelphia Society in 2010-11 that our board and membership began in earnest the important conversation about the well being of our Society that led us to a successful celebration of our 50th anniversary and beyond to a renewed energy and hope for the future.  Peter did much to call us to a better vision of our fellowship, just as he called so many students to become more serious and more joyful about their intellectual and civic legacies as Americans.  

I have been in awe over the past twelve hours to read the dozens of eulogies that Peter’s family members, students and colleagues have been posted to Facebook.  I asked Dantan Wernecke if I could share his comments with you.  He writes:

If you are a student of Peter W. Schramm, it is likely the first two books he had you read were the the autobiography of Winston Churchill, “My Early Life,” and the “Education of Cyrus” by the Greek writer Xenophon, a student of Socrates. Not Lincoln, not Jefferson, not Washington, Madison, Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli, Shakespeare, Locke, or even the Declaration of Independence, and strange though it was, it was no accident. As new students to the study of politics, we were to read books by one of the greatest statesmen in history and a relatively obscure warrior-philosopher with a funny name. I won’t elaborate his point beyond mention, but unlike the soft-headed college freshman I was years ago, I think I know what this first lesson was intended to teach, or at least I know how I’ve wrestled with it each day since realizing its enormity. And this is the legacy of Peter Schramm. Not shelves of books or writings, but his students: walking, breathing legacies that both internalize and externalize the principles of equality, beauty, citizenship, and manliness he taught and demonstrated in his way, American ideas to be constantly on the minds of his students. It is a legacy that guarantees a renewing of freedom and humanity each time one of us does something good for another person.

Peter will be missed, but long will his spirit live on in those whose minds and hearts he took a role in shaping.   

Take heart, Friends, and tonight lift your prayers and your glasses in memory and thanks that such a man as this was among us.

See also:

Larry Arnn’s reflections at National Review

Josh Distel’s reflections at

The amazing tributes at Peter’s Facebook page.


Don Devine: Jeb Bush Has to Provide Reform Details

Congratulations to Jeb Bush for promising as president to take on the Washington bureaucracy. But, as they say, the devil is in the details.

He has credibility. As Florida governor, Bush cut the state bureaucracy by 11 percent over his eight years. If he becomes president, he now proposes to freeze federal employment and then reduce it by 10 percent over the four year presidential term through attrition.

Bush qualifies this with a “three-out, one in” proviso allowing one new employee for every three slots cut.

This sounds good in today’s rapid news cycle, but the details reveal important qualifications. He relies primarily on retirements to meet his goal. What happens if they are not sufficient?

Read more…

George Leef: Two Bills

Contemplate, if you will, these two facts.

First, you’ve almost certainly heard about the videos that expose the grisly business of Planned Parenthood (PP) in selling fetal body parts. Should Americans who think that this is a moral abomination be compelled to help fund this organization?

Many union members have involuntarily “contributed” to PP.

Last year, unions gave over $400,000 to PP and its political action fund. As Heritage Foundation’s James Sherk and Christa Deneault point out in this piece, the unions did not have to bother to find out whether the members whose dues funded this “generosity” approve of supporting PP or not.

If they had asked, “Do you approve of having $X of your dues money go to support Planned Parenthood,” many no doubt would have said, “Absolutely not.” But due to the extraordinary power given to Big Labor under the law, the wishes of the individuals don’t matter. They can’t say “no” — unless they’re willing to quit their jobs.


Read more…

© The Philadelphia Society 2019 | Webmaster Contact

The material on this website is for general education and information only. The views presented here are the responsibility of their authors and do not reflect endorsement or opposition by The Philadelphia Society. Please read our general disclaimer.