Carlton Hayes: The Power of the West

By |2015-05-27T23:49:36-05:00August 18th, 2011|Categories: Culture, Education, John Willson|

(part I, part II) Part III:  Western Civilization (1946-1964) Hayes said in his presidential address before the American Historical Association that it was important for Americans to avoid a messianic triumphalism in the aftermath of the war. “The American Frontier–Frontier of What?” was on one level a lament that Americans had forgotten that they were [...]

Carlton Hayes: Wartime Mission in Spain

By |2015-05-28T00:07:22-05:00August 12th, 2011|Categories: Culture, Education, John Willson|

Carlton Hayes Part II: Spain (part 1), (part 3) When the Brits flew Francisco Franco home from Morocco to take command of what would become known as the “Nationalist” forces to fight against the “Loyalists” who supported the constituted government, Hayes probably thought he was the last person who would get caught [...]

Carlton Hayes: America’s History Teacher

By |2015-05-28T00:09:45-05:00July 25th, 2011|Categories: Culture, Education, John Willson|

(This is the first part in a three part essay. See essays two and three. The American Historical Association, which once was a guild of pretentious professionals and is now a massive organization dedicated to political correctness, has had only one serious presidential election in its century and a quarter of existence. In 1945 [...]

Golfers and Conservatives

By |2019-12-07T12:26:45-06:00July 5th, 2011|Categories: Conservatism, Golf, John Willson|

“Ike’s not a communist, he’s a golfer.” —Russell Kirk I haven’t been able to verify the source of this quotation (maybe there is a Kirk scholar who reads this site and who can), but a cottage industry has grown in recent months using it to bash President Obama in one way or another. Ike, [...]

Town Born! Turn Out! – New England’s Precedent of Independence

By |2013-12-05T22:55:09-06:00July 2nd, 2011|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, John Willson|

We celebrate this weekend a common declaration of independence, the independence of our ancestors from the most far-flung empire in history (unless one considers ours, today); we wave flags and go to parades, most of which, at least in the small towns, are thrilling and fun. Speaking of towns, despite John Adams’s mantra of [...]

The Newest (and Oldest) Faces of Liberalism

By |2017-07-18T15:48:48-05:00June 10th, 2011|Categories: John Willson, Politics|

Alas, liberalism is not doomed, at least not for the near future. It’s been around in one variant or another since the serpent said to Eve, “then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” (Gen.3:5) The Devil of course is a liberal—the eternal “I,” the manipulator [...]

Libya Then and Now

By |2017-06-29T16:27:16-05:00May 25th, 2011|Categories: Foreign Affairs, John Willson|

The National Review published an article in the early 70s by an aspiring young writer who advocated the invasion and permanent occupation of Libya. His argument had nothing to do with regime change or the health and welfare of the Libyan people; rather, he wanted to change the balance of power in the middle east permanently [...]

Jon Hassler, Please

By |2014-01-19T18:18:44-06:00May 16th, 2011|Categories: Books, John Willson, Literature|

Just a quick note, to be followed up later, and inspired by Barbara Elliott’s interest. I started reading Hassler’s novels a couple of years ago, on the insistence of Mark Maier, a good friend and former student. He gave me “North of Hope,” which I would suggest that you not read first. There is [...]

A Post-Modern World of Untruth and Gossip

By |2014-01-09T20:09:34-06:00May 9th, 2011|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Catholicism, John Willson, Russell Kirk, Truth|

[Posting anonymous on the internet—one of the most unvirtuous things a person can do, in my opinion—sparked the idea for this piece.] Executive Lies The American celebrations surrounding Osama Bin Laden’s death have been startling, to say the least.  That he was a murderer and an enemy of humanity cannot be denied.  That we [...]

The Judith Test

By |2016-01-01T20:32:57-06:00May 9th, 2011|Categories: Film, Foreign Affairs, John Willson|

Political assassination is as old as recorded history, which means it is probably much older. The first that we know about is when Cain offed his brother Abel to remove him from God’s favor, and thus putting civilization on an interesting course. We have lived somewhere to the East of Eden ever since. Among [...]

The Samantha Power That Be

By |2014-01-28T11:00:48-06:00May 1st, 2011|Categories: Foreign Affairs, John Willson|

Behold, one of the most important articles for Americans to read, right now, and holler to the heavens about the monster it portrays. Even those of us who pay relatively close attention to the mess that is American foreign policy are probably unaware of the influence Samantha Power has in an increasingly pathetic administration. [...]


By |2017-07-14T11:41:10-05:00April 19th, 2011|Categories: Culture, Ideology, John Willson|

Brad Birzer’s essays of two of Russell Kirk’s many warnings against the evils of ideology and Steve Masty’s pertinent questions prompt me to offer the following thoughts. About a decade ago, just after the 9/11 horrors, our colleague Robert Eden sent an email to the Hillsdale College faculty offering “some basic distinctions as we [...]

“Camelot School” Survives

By |2017-07-10T14:52:49-05:00April 11th, 2011|Categories: John Willson, Leadership, Politics, Presidency|

I watched the entire series, “The Kennedys.” As someone who has a sound understanding of human nature (that is to say, a Christian understanding) I was never particularly attracted to what historian Thomas Reeves calls “The Camelot School” of Kennedy historiography, nor particularly repelled by it. Anybody who is surprised by occasional flashes of [...]