July 4, 1918

This is a letter my grandfather sent home just before landing in France in WWI (where he would lose his leg): On Board July 4, 1918 Dear Mamma and Grandma,When we first embarked… Continue reading

"Piecemeal Solutions" for Africa

That’s the phrase William Easterly uses in an opinion piece in today’s New York Times. He’s right, sweeping programs aren’t going to work.  Not for development in Africa, at least. When we were… Continue reading


Among certain of us teachers of literature, “close reading” has developed a slightly unseemly odor these past few years. Like that steak that has been sitting in the refrigerator almost too long, it… Continue reading

Renovating Academia

Since the start of David Horowitz’s campaign to have his “Academic Bill of Rights” and “Student Bill of Rights” instituted by law for state-run institutions of higher education, academia has closed ranks against… Continue reading

American Christianity, Two Hundred Years Ago

The passages below are from a sermon delivered by William Ellery Channing in Baltimore in 1819: We regard the Scriptures as the records of God’s successive revelations to mankind, and particularly of the… Continue reading

Benefit of the Doubt, Part III

In Democracy in America Alexis de Tocqueville wrote: A great man has sad that ignorance lies at both ends of knowledge. Perhaps it would have been truer to state that deep convictions lie… Continue reading

Benefit of the Doubt, Part II

Sunday night, Doubt by John Patrick Shanley won four Tony’s, including best play and best actress. The play, about a possible case of child sexual abuse in a Catholic school in the sixties,… Continue reading

Benefit of the Doubt

In an odd way, people of faith–be it in a god or in a political system (from right and left, in other words)–have emasculated many of us liberals over the past century, ripping… Continue reading

Deconstructing Horowitz

After months of reading and writing about him, I think I am finally beginning to understand the mindset of David Horowitz, a rightist so extraordinarily dedicated to the destruction of the left. Though… Continue reading

Word Play

The right, of course, plays fast and loose with vocabulary. Words like “Marxist,” “socialist,” “communist,” “Stalinist,” “traitor,” and “terrorist” are often used interchangeably, thereby muddying whatever issue happens to be under consideration. When… Continue reading