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Column Archives, 2002

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Ronald N. Neff
Annandale, Virginia

Current Column          
December 31, 2002
  •   The End of Bush the Bold
Sending the boy
December 26, 2002
  •   By Permission or by Right?
Who was the richest man who ever lived? Guess again.
December 24, 2002
  •   The Regime of the Sneaky
We have a fairly large vocabulary of words that recognize the conspiratorial aspects of social life.
December 19, 2002
  •   More Than a Slogan
According to Lincoln, the states were never what everyone had always thought they were.
December 17, 2002
  •   Thurmond, Lott, and Lincoln
Far be it from me to defend Trent Lott, who has hurt more people with his groveling apologies than with his offense, but we could use a bit of perspective.
December 12, 2002
  •   America the Hated
Weapons of mass destruction have fallen into the wrong hands: Bush’s hands.
December 10, 2002
  •   Coercive “Rights”
In the mental universe of bogus rights, very few things are wrong in principle.
December 5, 2002
  •   Seeing Both Sides
Thinking is complicated enough, without being further complicated by personalities — even one’s own personality.
December 3, 2002
  •   History, Coming Up!
History is just loaded with cunning ironies.
November 28, 2002
  •   Paying for the Bullet
Paying for the murder of Arab children is now part of what it means to be an American.
November 26, 2002
  •   My Quest for “Firefly”
The happiest, most thrilling sound I’ve ever heard
November 21, 2002
  •   Don’t Blame Limbaugh
They’re only fighting about power, not principle.
November 19, 2002
  •   Learning the Hard Way
No other Western government has been foolish enough to get so deeply entangled in Jewish-Muslim hostilities.
November 14, 2002
  •   The State and the Beehive
That rulers have killed such large numbers of their own subjects and citizens suggests that the state is unnatural.
November 12, 2002
  •   Shakespeare and the Directors
Entering into a world where the feudal and the supernatural co-exist naturally
November 7, 2002
  •   What Elections “Mean”
Changing your mind about which is the lesser evil
November 5, 2002
  •   Reflections on Elections
Oh, goody! More democracy!
October 31, 2002
  •   The Myth of the Tolerant Left
The Left screams only when it’s its ox that’s being gored.
October 29, 2002
  •   The State: Evil and Idol
Sacrificing your life to save your bodyguard
October 24, 2002
  •   The Aura of Evil
Not quite supermen despising bourgeois success
October 22, 2002
  •   The Law of Force
The threat of death is implicit in every parking ticket.
October 17, 2002
  •   Anarchy without Fear
Which word is more frightening: anarchy or state?
October 15, 2002
  •   Taking Care of Peewee
When the government and the media are bluffing us
October 10, 2002
  •   Drugs and the Law
A mandate for limitless government
October 8, 2002
  •   War over Auxiliary Verbs
Forget would, could, and might. How does Saddam Hussein threaten Americans’ liberties?
October 3, 2002
  •   Why Not War?
Today’s conservatives could have taught the old Communists a thing or two about purges.
October 1, 2002
  •   Before It Was Sausage
Dominion over the animals does not allow cruelty.
September 26, 2002
  •   Dreams and Nightmares
Suppose the war on Iraq proves to be a military disaster, or suppose it makes this chaotic world even more chaotic.
September 24, 2002
  •   Conservatism, Old and New
The wars favored by the young conservatives are aimed only at American empire.
September 19, 2002
  •   Burning the Constitution
Let’s formalize it.
September 17, 2002
  •   Chosen for Conquest
All history is “ancient history” — if you don’t want to remember it.
September 12, 2002
  •   A Call for World War IV
Just what we need — another faith-based initiative
September 10, 2002
  •   The First Saddam Hussein
What’s to conserve when conservatives lack a sense of history?
September 5, 2002
  •   Anniversary Thoughts
Let’s stop pretending we can endlessly feel the loss of 3,000 strangers.
September 3, 2002
  •   Bad News from Troy
Even the victors’ lives were disrupted in ways no one could have foreseen.
August 29, 2002
  •   Sticking with the Mets
The spirit of Major League Baseball has become disgustingly crass.
August 27, 2002
  •   The Empire Talks Back
If the administration were honest, it would own up to the “risks of action” and not disparage them.
August 22, 2002
  •   Honesty about the Middle East
The United States apparently has a solemn duty to overthrow dictatorships with lots of oil, but not “democracies” based on racial discrimination.
August 20, 2002
  •   Making the World Democratic
Freedom and democracy are not the same thing.
August 15, 2002
  •   If I Were President
The strained euphemism for aggressive
August 13, 2002
  •   War on Wogs
Their lives are worth less than our pets’.
August 8, 2002
  •   Conservative War-Mania
A casual acceptace of war and indiscriminate killing
August 6, 2002
  •   Why This War?
All the alarm over Iraq rings false.
August 1, 2002
  •   A Kinder, Gentler Saddam Hussein
Moral lopsidedness should always make us suspicious.
July 30, 2002
  •   Laws and Kings
The harshest tyranny of yore had less control over its subjects than the mildest state has today.
July 25, 2002
  •   Why the Wolves Rule
The state is organized force, and it will be headed by those who don’t mind using force.
July 23, 2002
  •   Niceness and the State
How we come to confuse obedience to force with social harmony
July 18, 2002
  •   The English Insult
A fine tradition
July 16, 2002
  •   John Lindh, Patriot
When did Americans lose the right to emigrate?
July 11, 2002
  •   State of the Union, Signs of the Times
Major League Baseball seems determined to rid itself of its remaining fans.
July 9, 2002
  •   Ted Williams: The Sequel
Terrifying news for pitchers?
July 4, 2002
  •   On to Victory!
Let’s make the United States harmless.
July 2, 2002
  •   An Announcement
How presidents are supposed to think, talk, and act
June 27, 2002
  •   Church, State, and School
Apparently, there’s nothing wrong with instilling mindless obedience to the Federal Government into young children, as long as “God” is kept out of it
June 25, 2002
  •   The American Future
The background is already here.
June 20, 2002
  •   Rejoice!
A cottage industry of Shakespeare forgeries
June 18, 2002
  •   How Americans Have Changed
The Second Amendment implies the right of secession.
June 13, 2002
  •   The Optional Constitution
The Constitution is not something separable from the government it is supposed to constitute.
June 11, 2002
  •   Endless Wars
The war the American people have already lost
June 6, 2002
  •   A Palestinian State?
What good would it do, really?
June 4, 2002
  •   The Hollow President
What did the president know? Wrong question!
May 30, 2002
  •   Minor Atrocities
Excess? or policy?
May 28, 2002
  •   A Common Language?
We may think we grasp The Federalist Papers and the Constitution it expounds when we are only grasping some of the pieces, not the whole.
May 23, 2002
  •   Citing Scripture
Raising anew the old question of the exact relation of the Old Testament to the New
May 21, 2002
  •   The Great Problem-Solver
The people who are supposed to be protecting us are continuing policies that put our lives in danger.
May 16, 2002
  •   Your Friend, the State
The state is our enemy, no matter who is in power. Tyranny and freedom are equally nonpartisan.
May 14, 2002
  •   Lowering Our Guard
Ariel Sharon consistently puts his country first — though this doesn’t really distinguish him from most American politicians, who also, just as consistently, put his country first.
May 9, 2002
  •   Our Boy Bill
The genius of America’s greatest talker will have to find other outlets.
May 7, 2002
  •   The New Believers
You have to admire the raw courage of journalists who defend Israel.
May 2, 2002
  •   Addicts of the State
A state is considered a success when it inflicts more harm on foreigners than on its natives.
April 30, 2002
  •   An Apocalyptic Foreign Policy
Like economists and sportswriters, theologians rarely pay for their erroneous predictions.
April 25, 2002
  •   The Catholic Ogre
The enemies of the Church eschew obvious nonsense; they prefer oblique nonsense.
April 23, 2002
  •   Israel’s Idiots
Israel’s most Stakhanovite American apologists aren’t stupid enough to pretend that Sharon is a man of peace. They insult our intelligence with more subtlety and plausibility.
April 18, 2002
  •   Where to Look for Evil
It takes no moral insight to condemn your enemies as evil.
April 16, 2002
  •   The Zionist Dream
So what inviolable rights does Sharon think Arabs should have in Israel? Any?
April 11, 2002
  •   Protestant America
You know what’s wrong with the conflict in the Middle East? Neither Sharon nor Arafat is a Protestant. Really.
April 9, 2002
  •   Shakespeare and the Snobs
If William of Stratford had been a genius, he might have written wonderful plays, but they would have been very different from Hamlet, even if they were greater.
April 4, 2002
  •   The Catholic Position
When the Church disagrees with “the world” and its demands that she change her teachings on sex, it’s the Church who’s obsessed with sex.
April 2, 2002
  •   From Eban to Sharon
According to Sharon, there seems to be a difference between a democratic state and a Jewish democratic state.
March 28, 2002
  •   Big Lies
What the “war on terrorism” and the “pedophile priests” scandal have in common
March 26, 2002
  •   Bad Hair Night
What happens if they give the Three Stooges a Lifetime Achievement Award?
March 21, 2002
  •   Bad Explanations
In this country, facts that induce conscientious introspection are generally considered unfit for patriotic consumption.
March 19, 2002
  •   Can This War Be Won?
The war on terrorism must, in the end, be a war on terrorism’s victims; after all, they’re easier targets.
March 14, 2002
  •   My Two Conversions
The Church’s persecutors — ancient and modern — sense the truth: that she is a threat to unbelief.
March 12, 2002
  •   Killing Gentiles
Anyone with a spark of decency would be ashamed to treat Jews the way Jews treat Gentiles.
March 7, 2002
  •   How Might Makes Right
The Constitution sounds great on paper. But how is the Federal Government to be prevented from exceeding its allotted powers?
March 5, 2002
  •   The Rise of Tax Slavery
The great bait-and-switch
February 28, 2002   •   The Duty of Lying
If journalists defend lying, you have to wonder what they’re lying about. Terrorists certainly will.
February 26, 2002   •   Am I “Anti-American”?
The Anti-American Constitution
February 21, 2002   •   Since September 11
Cutting the government a lot of slack
February 19, 2002   •   Our Chesterton
You not only trust him; you feel that he trusts you.
February 14, 2002   •   Genocide and Wisecracks
You can make a good case that Israel has defeated the very purpose of Zionism.
February 12, 2002   •   In Search of Lincoln
A man oddly hard to pin down
February 7, 2002   •   O Canada!
Why should the ventriloquist let the dummy get all the credit?
February 5, 2002   •   The Cross and the Swastika
How odd: an anti-Semitic Church that has never warned the faithful against Jewish influence!
January 31, 2002   •   On with the War!
Democracy — the best disguise yet devised for minority rule
January 29, 2002   •   Words and Power
It’s no use issuing dire predictions and warnings when people can’t even see what has already happened.
January 24, 2002   •   Anarchism, Reason, and History
The best argument for anarchism is the twentieth century.
January 22, 2002   •   The Art of the Applause Line
All he has to do is be poised, dignified, inspiring, hopeful, and if possible sober.
January 17, 2002   •   Lincoln’s Feet of Clay
The real Lincoln was a politician of humdrum concerns.
January 15, 2002   •   How Killing Became a “Right”
The pro-abortion movement has been consistent only in its inconsistency.
January 10, 2002   •   The Powers That Be
How can rebels expect obedience?
January 8, 2002   •   What Do We Owe the State?
Once the right to command is conceded, there are no limits on its power.
January 3, 2002   •   Defining Conservatism Downward
You can’t equate Reagan’s minor gains with the radical and lasting changes Franklin Roosevelt effected.
January 1, 2002   •   The Greatest, Joyless
A movie that just doesn’t come to life

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