R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr.

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WASHINGTON -- On Nov. 10, the conservative movement lost a giant: Herbert London, a Renaissance man, a scholar steeped in the Great Books tradition, a principled politician and a warm, personal friend of mine. I am running out of friends such as Herb. When I say he was a giant, he was 6 feet, 5 inches tall, led his high school basketball team to a city championship in New York City, and played ball well enough for Columbia College to be recruited by the NBA.



WASHINGTON -- Forty years ago this past Sunday, more than 900 men, women and children killed themselves or were murdered in Jonestown, Guyana. Geography buffs will note that Jonestown is just east of Venezuela, where yet another crazed left-wing experiment is being played out today, though on a much larger scale. And hence, the prospect of death on an even grander scale is still possible in that once prosperous country.



WASHINGTON -- Well, it is not all bad news! Official Washington has unveiled its presidential candidate for 2020, and he will be every bit as effective as the Democrats running for the House of Representatives and the Senate were yesterday. He was chosen by official Washington's kingmaker this past Sunday on the op-ed page of The New York Times, Maureen Dowd. He is 81 years old, and he will be 83 when he enters office. 



WASHINGTON -- Last week, upon the arrest of this wretched man, Cesar Sayoc, I heard some good news. Within hours of his arrest, commentators on all sides admitted that, "Enough is enough." Let the recriminations subside. There will be no more virulent charges against the left or the right. Even President Donald Trump seemed to agree, and in his public appearances I detected a note of munificence. He was stepping forward as president of all the people.



WASHINGTON — The midterm elections are fast approaching. All sorts of forecasts are coming out. Oddly enough, no one has asked me what I think the outcome might be. You might remember I disgraced myself in the last election by prophesying that Donald J. Trump would win. I predicted him to be the winner back in the summer of 2016. I predicted his victory throughout the fall.



WASHINGTON — If you have read enough pro-Kavanaugh articles, give this one a pass. You are not going to like it. Yet if you have not heard enough, you will probably like this one. I have nothing but congratulatory things to say about Judge Brett Kavanaugh. As with Justice Clarence Thomas, he is a fighter. He is a gifted defender of the truth. And he is worthy of serving on the highest court in the land. I would trust my case with him, and I would trust yours, too, whether you are with him now or against him. He believes in the rule of law.



WASHINGTON -- My crack team of investigative journalists is sitting on an explosive revelation about a senior Democrat in the United States Senate. When we will publish this story I have not yet decided, but it could come as early as Thursday, when Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh and professor Dr. Christine Blasey Ford will supposedly tell their stories in open-door hearings.



WASHINGTON — Many years ago, in the early 1980s, I was drawn ever so transiently into the bureaucratic intricacies of the Roman Catholic Church in America. There was a saintly priest at Indiana University, Rev. James Higgins, who was driven from the university's Newman Center to a parish some 20 miles away from campus. The archbishop of Indianapolis replaced him with two utter lightweights.



WASHINGTON — On Aug. 8, one of the great historians of his generation and — for a certitude — one of the great teachers of any generation, passed away: Robert H. Ferrell. He was 97. Some thought he was too old to die, but nonetheless he worked to the end. When he retired from Indiana University, we thought he would quietly subside. He did not. He continued to write. Even after pulling up stakes and heading off to Michigan to live with his daughter, he continued to write. The result was that he wrote or edited more than 60 books. But books were not his only area of fecundity. As I said, he was a great teacher.



WASHINGTON -- A fellow Spectatorian is under enemy fire, and we all must rally around him, particularly because he has done nothing wrong and because if those attacking him triumph, we shall all suffer. The cause is free speech. The free speech that is endangered is in Great Britain, but if the forces of censorship win in London, it is only a matter of time before the forces of censorship will be bringing their muzzles to our shores.



Did you see a particular Wall Street Journal front-page headline on Monday? It read "Profits Soar as Economy Advances." That headline will probably be the most important headline of the week. It certainly is of colossal importance. Our economy is robust. The rest of the world is not doing so well. Take, for instance, China. Yet our economy is unusually healthy. If we have to engage in a trade war, it is an auspicious time for us to do so. 



WASHINGTON — It has been a pretty good week for Donald Trump. The economy is growing faster than anyone on the left or in the middle or among the Never-Trumpers believed possible. Inflation is low, and employment is at a record high. Moreover, the president and the European Union reached an understanding on trade last week that signals the likely end of a trade war, at least with Europe.



WASHINGTON — On Friday, Charles Krauthammer, the Pulitzer Prize-winning conservative journalist and writer, released a noble statement to the public. Its final words were: “I leave this life with no regrets. It was a wonderful life -- full and complete with the great loves and great endeavors that make it worth living. I am sad to leave to leave, but I leave with the knowledge that I lived the life that I intended.”



Castelvetro di Modena, Italy — On May 14, a star failed to come out. Tom Wolfe passed away that day. With his passing, the conservative movement lost its greatest social critic and America lost one of its greatest novelists. As a writer, Tom was his own man. He died as he lived: on his terms, or at least as much on his terms as a man can.



WASHINGTON — I ce did a weekly column for the Washington Post. It appeared on Mondays and was picked up in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Boston, possibly Chicago and I believe Bull Snort, Georgia. It ran in a lot of newspapers, but that was many years ago. Things were different in America. Liberals were different then. For one thing, liberals were liberal. Now, of course, they are progressives, and feminists, and, forget not, some are socialists. Who knows — maybe some are Marxist-Leninist socialists.



WASHINGTON — Milton Friedman was not only a brilliant economist — a Nobel laureate, in fact — he was also a gifted writer. In his 1962 book "Capitalism and Freedom," he presciently explained how health care costs were going to leap out of control over the next decades. Sure enough, they did. They multiplied from roughly $1 of every $20 being spent on health care in the 1950s to roughly $1 of every $5 being spent on health care today.



WASHINGTON — Last week the headlines should have abounded with the year's good news. It was the economy: gross domestic product was up some 3 percent and, for the last quarter, nearly 4 percent; unemployment was down to a 17-year low, with black unemployment at the lowest level since such statistics were compiled. The stock market was soaring, up some 40 percent since Donald Trump was elected, and inflation was low. 



WASHINGTON -- My friend and colleague Donald Rieck, president of The American Spectator Foundation, died late last week in an automobile accident. He leaves two charming and very young children. He also leaves many friends throughout the conservative movement and shocked colleagues at The American Spectator. He was 50 years old.



WASHINGTON -- I never expected to come to the defense of The New York Times, but here I am ready and willing to defend what I have hitherto called the Bad Times, as opposed to the Good Times, that being the Washington Times. The New York Times has always been biased, but with the rise of Donald Trump, it has become unbearably biased. Even the obituaries are biased. 



WASHINGTON -- On the occasion of my 50th anniversary of founding and editing The American Spectator, I feel moved to reflect on the parlous condition of the magazine business. We celebrated our anniversary this week, and naturally I composed my reflections before the event. What makes this column something more than an occasion for indulgence is that the sickly condition of magazines is, of a sudden, a hot news item.