R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr.
R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr. is the founder and editor in chief ofThe American Spectator.
Latest from R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr.
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.
Here we sit in the comfort of Washington, D.C., and read of the discomfort in Florida. The massive Hurricane Irma moved from the Caribbean up through south Florida, displacing as many as 5 million people. It marched up the west coast, displacing many more. The eye of the storm settled on Naples and Fort Myers, Florida, but it terrified pretty much the whole state, including the largest population of retired Americans gathered anywhere.
WASHINGTON -- Labor Day weekend passed with soggy weather in Washington. It was not as soggy as in other parts of the United States, but it kept me indoors most of the time, so I decided to give some thought to the one American president who I associate with Labor Day, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. To be historically correct, I should associate President Grover Cleveland -- a conservative Democrat -- with Labor Day, for he was the first to make it a national holiday. For some reason, it is associated with FDR -- at least in my mind.
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is in trouble again with his Moral Superiors. His problem, of course, is that he cannot throttle his B.S. Detector. It seems he acquired a B.S. Detector at some point in life that has usually served him well. It certainly did during his long years in business, and it has during his brief time in politics. Now, however, it is problematic.
WASHINGTON — Last week, CNN fired Jeff Lord, its famously pro-Trump contributor, for mocking an activist whom The Daily Caller has reported is a racist and an anti-Semite. Lord addressed him by saying, "Sieg Heil!" What is wrong with that? Is CNN covering for racists and anti-Semites? CNN is the pious cable news network whose servile on-air performers, if they are to stay in the network's good graces, must seek regular counseling on what topics are politically correct, what words must not be uttered on air and how to part one's hair on the set — in the event one still has hair.
I have experienced defeat in presidential politics many times. Actually, I expect most Americans have. You win some, and you lose some. I first experienced defeat in 1964 when then-Sen. Barry Goldwater went down, though I was not even old enough to vote. I experienced it in 1968. I experienced it again in 1976, when my candidate was Ronald Reagan.
Luigi Barzini, my old pal and the author of so many fine books all written from his aerie above Rome -- his finest of which, The Italians, he wrote in English -- once jolted me by saying, "You Americans talk too much." Of course, he said it with affection. Back in the days of the Cold War, he was one of the few European intellectuals who really understood and admired America. What provoked him, however, was the famous euphuism of American politicians.
On the Russia-Trump imbroglio, let us be clear. We are now months into it. A dozen or so culprits have been fingered, some being actually quite amusing. You will be seeing more of the fat British music promoter Rob Goldstone, who has been photographed wearing a baseball hat emblazoned with the letters "C*NTY." He is too good to be ignored.
I have recently been reminded of one of my earliest conclusions about the American left. I arrived at that conclusion when it was relatively civilized. In those days, we called it American liberalism, but even then it was fla fla. My conclusion was that when any entity falls under the dominance of liberalism, it loses all sense of its fundamental purpose. A city loses all sense of its purpose, which is governance. A university loses all sense of its purpose, which is education.