Mr. President, Please Consider Following John Adams’s Example The Center - “So, if President Trump sticks to his plans not to attend the inauguration of President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, he has a remaining option that still very much respects the peaceful transfer of government set into place by our nation’s Founders.” Zachary Rose 1/13/2021
The Woke Mob vs. the Trump Mob: the Real Double Standard The Center - “There is a real double standard at work. It is a glaring one, not the one President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris claim exists but, rather, the one they want to gaslight us into accepting.” Alexander Zubatov 1/13/2021
What Ails Us? The Center - “The loss of faith in America, its promises, and its constitutional and democratic ideals augurs not only American decline, but American collapse.” Thomas Koenig 1/12/2021
The Trump Putsch The Center - “While I am happy to endorse some of President Trump’s policies, I am not willing to endorse his self-serving legal maneuvering simply for the sake of these policies I support.” Jonathan Church 1/6/2021
The Historic Unifying Potential of the U.S. Constitution The Center - “Professor McConnell’s extensive study of the substance and scope of presidential power under the Constitution has convinced me that the unifying capacity of the Constitution could perhaps be revived.” Thomas Koenig 1/6/2021
Editor’s Choice: the Best Interviews of 2020 The Center - As has become something of a tradition each year at Merion West, here are our editor’s choices for his favorite interviews of this past year. Erich J. Prince 12/31/2020
H. R. McMaster: How He Sees China, and the World The Center - “And so I think we have to resist the tendency to try to define a new administration’s foreign policy mainly as an opposition to the administration that came before it.” Thomas Koenig 12/30/2020
Walter Lippmann and the Dilemma of Democracy The Center - “In his 1922 book, Public Opinion, Lippmann notes that in a representative democracy, members of the public are expected to form opinions regarding public affairs with which they have no direct contact.” Thomas Koenig 12/29/2020
A Janus-faced America The Center - “Yet, despite the extremes we have confronted this year, there might be a way of turning away from this ‘great divide.'” John Tuttle 12/27/2020
Editor’s Choice: the Best Articles of 2020 The Center - “As is tradition at Merion West, here are our editor’s choices for his favorite Merion West articles of this past year.” Erich J. Prince 12/26/2020
An Enchanted Christmas with John Wesley The Center - “Wesley’s hymns remind us of all that is good in the world and all that is true about the human condition.” Paul Krause 12/20/2020
Kristof and WuDunn’s “Tightrope”: an Essential Book The Center - “Whether one agrees with none, some, or all of their policy prescriptions, Tightrope approaches the status of a must-read.“ Thomas Koenig 12/19/2020
Slavoj Žižek, Leszek Kołakowski, and the Ontological Gap The Center - “I would argue that we must vigilantly guard against viewing ourselves as gods or otherwise infusing and inflating our fallible natures and politics with a divine authority.” Nick Opyrchal 12/17/2020
Escaping Tumblr The Center - “I was also on Tumblr with an agenda. Over the past ten months, I had stumbled deeper and deeper into the neurodiversity movement, which frames autism as an identity as well as a disability and blames society for ‘oppressing’ autistics.” Lucy Kross Wallace 12/17/2020
A Brief History of Nothing The Center - “Historically, human beings worshipped gods or God; modern secular man worships Nothing.” Chris Augusta 12/16/2020
Blowing Up “The Big White Ghetto” The Center - “Williamson puts his finger on a certain, pervasive resignation that hobbles so many lower-class Americans—a resignation that must be explicitly attacked if our nation is to live up to its promises…” Thomas Koenig 12/15/2020
Can a Constitution of Genius Work for a Nation of Imbeciles? The Center - “Ricks writes: ‘In a nutshell, Washington was sensing the limits of virtue as a driver of the new country. He is not often seen as a political philosopher, but in his own quiet way he was ahead of most of his peers.'” Thomas Koenig 12/10/2020
Review: H.R. McMaster’s “Battlegrounds” The Center - “As citizens, though, thankfully we can do more than just hope. We can engage in the sort of good-faith, learned analysis which General McMaster has provided us in Battlegrounds.” Thomas Koenig 12/7/2020
Grant McCracken: Why We Need to Bring Back Honor The Center - “I studied Elizabethan England as a graduate student. It was a society governed by ideas of honor, and I thought, ‘Wow. Maybe some of those ideas could be returned to usefulness.'” Olivia Malloy 12/4/2020
Casting Spells: the Enduring Allure of Leftist Mysticism The Center - “In the case of leftist mysticism, the greatest obstacle to this transformation appears to be human nature, which, in part, explains the bloody reality of socialism and communism.” Gerfried Ambrosch 12/4/2020
The Center Must Hold The Center - “Having engaged with Schlesinger’s thinking, readers should ask themselves: Here in the 21st century, what are the greatest threats to the liberal democratic project at home and abroad?” Thomas Koenig 12/1/2020
The Monstrosity of Gnosticism The Center - “Milbank is perhaps correct, then, in seeing that Žižek is so heterodox in his reading that he has crossed the Rubicon into something detached from the stream of Christian thought.” Nick Opyrchal 11/30/2020
Is the American Economy Significantly Different than Europeans Think? The Center - “Do you realize how strange it is that professionals can move around Europe more freely than they can in the U.S.? And that overall, Alabama has more autonomy over its regulations than France does?”  Mark Hecht 11/24/2020
What Is a Cult, Anyway? The Center - “The word ‘cult’ is tossed around quite frequently in media, but few can offer a precise definition.” Gabriel Andrade 11/23/2020
Review: Carlos Lozada’s “What Were We Thinking” The Center - “Lozada’s book provides a comprehensive, incisive analysis of the intellectual debates that defined the Trump-era. As we plunge forward into a post-Trump presidency politics, it is a must read.” Thomas Koenig 11/20/2020
Finding Hope When All Seems Lost The Center - “The alarming juxtaposition is that on the other side of this brick wall were patients dying from malaria and children being born with HIV. However, the sheer joy and optimism of this village was unbreakable and, in every sense, unexplainable.” David Kim 11/18/2020
I Voted for Trump, and I’m Not a Racist The Center - “But I had never voted in a presidential election until this year. So why did I vote in 2020?” Alexander Zubatov 11/18/2020
Review: Ted Cruz’s “One Vote Away” The Center - “One Vote Away serves as a useful primer on some of the great constitutional issues of our day, while also proving that legal judgment and political judgment are separate matters.” Thomas Koenig 11/17/2020
Meritocratic Tyranny: Big, If True The Center - “But Sandel’s critique of meritocracy runs deeper than lamenting the obvious gap between meritocratic ideals and reality; Sandel takes issue with the ideal of meritocracy itself.” Thomas Koenig 11/13/2020
Ibram Kendi’s Thesis Could Use a Lot More Rigor (Part II) The Center - “In short, Kendi’s consequentialist view of racism as rooted in policy (which, however unpredictably and unintentionally, results in racial disparities) does not explain everything.” Jonathan Church 11/12/2020
“Won’t Somebody Please Think of the Children” The Center - “By becoming so concerned about the plight of children, we have become child-like ourselves.” Gabriel Andrade 11/9/2020
We’re Divided. But Will We Fall? The Center - “French dedicates his book to James Madison, saying, ‘May we remember that you were right.'” Thomas Koenig 11/9/2020
Ibram Kendi’s Thesis Could Use a Lot More Rigor The Center - “For Kendi, it is policy first and racism second. Debatable? That is a racist question. Maybe a presentist interpretation of history? Also racist.” Jonathan Church 11/7/2020
Is the West “at War with Islam”? The Center - “This becomes painfully clear when it is one’s own city that is being attacked. I had cycled through the neighborhood a mere 30 minutes before the attack commenced.” Gerfried Ambrosch 11/6/2020
America: Strained But Strong The Center - “Hopefully, the reality of neither party being dominant will translate into a shared recognition that virtues like tolerance must be rediscovered and resuscitated in our political life.” Thomas Koenig 11/4/2020
To Resist Participating in the Great Lie The Center - “Solzhenitsyn observed through incredible hardship and deep reflection, that, in his country, the lie had ‘become not just a moral category but a pillar of the state.'” Jordan Stout 11/2/2020
“A Cry from the Far Middle”: Lots of Laughs, And a Few Important Insights The Center - “If there is an underlying argument here, though, it is that Americans ought to quit taking themselves—and their own tribe’s political convictions—so darn seriously.” Thomas Koenig 11/2/2020
To My Fellow Catholics, Just Before Election Day The Center - “We must face the reality that the prevalence of abortion is a manifestation of our distressed sociality and corrupted sense of mutual responsibility.” Thomas Koenig 11/1/2020
Rep. Denver Riggleman: Reflecting on His Two Years in D.C. The Center - “And I’ll have to say this: This was the worst job I ever had, but it was one of the best things I’ve ever done.” Erich J. Prince 10/30/2020
A “November Surprise”? History Shows That’s Possible The Center - “The following examples remind us that no presidential race is over until the votes are counted.” Zachary Rose 10/29/2020
Stop Saying Biden Is “A Lot like Trump” on China The Center - “All the headlines about how we will see a continuation of President Trump’s China policies under a potential Biden administration ignore their radically divergent views about the United States’ role in the world.” Matt Johnson 10/27/2020
Appreciating the Legacy of James Randi The Center - “The Canadian-born James Randi, who passed away this past week at the age of 92, will surely be remembered as a modern-day Lucian.” Gabriel Andrade 10/25/2020
What Struck Me Watching the Final Presidential Debate The Center - “Our public discourse must turn away from retrospective litigation and verbal crossfire and, instead, shift towards real politics…” Thomas Koenig 10/23/2020
Paging Mr. Moynihan The Center - “We can only hope that Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s approach to politics will be rediscovered. Books like American Burke should function as essential guides in this most necessary search.” Thomas Koenig 10/21/2020
Ethnic Diversity and Social Trust: a Discussion with Merlin Schaeffer The Center - “Policies that try to tackle diversity problems make it always salient in people’s minds. And that can backfire, even if well-meant.” Mark Hecht 10/17/2020
That Day The Center - “Ten years ago I received a call from my father, Mario Vargas Llosa, telling me that he had won the Nobel Prize for Literature.” Álvaro Vargas Llosa 10/16/2020
America at the End of History The Center - “The universal end-state society, Kojève argued, was the society in which any individual could attain what he desired with ease and without opposition…” Paul Krause 10/15/2020
The Problems with Porn The Center - “And whether or not one believes that sex is sacred, it is hard to deny that the porn industry has commodified sex in ways that rid it of all that made it human.” Galen Watts 10/15/2020
Boredom: a Double-Edged Sword, for Individuals and Society The Center - “Compared to these other negative emotional states, boredom might seem like a trivial complaint. However, boredom can cause real problems if not directed towards healthy and constructive behaviors.” Clay Routledge 10/14/2020
How to Be a Non-Racist The Center - “Non-racism, thus understood, implies colorblindness, not in the sense of literally not seeing skin color, but in the sense of treating it as insignificant.” Gerfried Ambrosch 10/12/2020
The Politicization of Psychiatry The Center - “Given the numerous historical antecedents, it is likely that—probably sooner rather than later—politics would get in the way of such clinical assessments.“ Gabriel Andrade 10/11/2020
Gangs Drive Surging Homicide Rates The Center - “Gang violence is not ‘gun violence.'” Vic Reynolds and Michael Scott Carlson 10/9/2020
What Ever Happened to Answering the Question? The Center - “These were not typical evasions regarding policies; they were evasions regarding principles.” Thomas Koenig 10/8/2020
Assuaging Conservatives’ Fears about a Biden Presidency The Center - “The former option is President Trump; the latter is politics.” Thomas Koenig 10/7/2020
Members of Congress Should Live Together, But Not in Dorms The Center - “…I propose the Republican Party and the Democratic Party collectively raise money from private donors to build a 535-unit townhouse neighborhood in Washington, D.C., where all of our elected representatives will live together along with their families…” Michael Mazenko 10/5/2020
A Vision for Human Flourishing The Center - “Just like we would not accept the transportation technology of the 1800’s, we should not compulsorily accept archaic attitudes toward work, education, possessions, and leisure.” Peter Clarke 10/4/2020
When Identity Politics Meets the Punk Scene The Center - “But to me, an observer with intimate knowledge of punk’s radical history, much of today’s woke rhetoric feels like a throwback.” Gerfried Ambrosch 9/30/2020
Tax Evasion and the Catholic Church’s Plank in Its Eye The Center - “But the hard fact is that the Vatican’s vast untaxed riches—and the Church’s tax-exempt status in many countries—make it impossible for [Pope Francis] to avoid charges of hypocrisy.” Gabriel Andrade 9/29/2020
“The American People”—a Phrase Worth Discarding The Center - “…there are perhaps a few other aspects of the phrase that ought to make it first on the chopping block when considering which expressions really out to be expunged immediately from our national discourse.” Erich J. Prince 9/29/2020
Power Over Principles: the Dual Dangers of Trumpism and Anti-Racism The Center - Donald Trump rode the politics of power and emotion to the White House. If his opponents continue to respond in kind, he might have killed the politics of principle in the process. Thomas Koenig 9/24/2020