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 — 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.