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Column Archives, 2003

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Ronald N. Neff
Annandale, Virginia

Current Column          
December 30, 2003
  •   The Mahdi’s Revenge
The foreign policy of “Chinese” Gordon
December 25, 2003
  •   Osama, Where Art Thou?
What are all these multicolored alerts for? Holiday decorations?
December 23, 2003
  •   A Commie Christmas Gift
“Public property” doesn’t really belong to you, and “public servants” don’t really work for you.
December 18, 2003
  •   Scenario for a Comeback
Why did he gravitate to public service in the first place?
December 16, 2003
  •   Triumph!
We don’t know who’s going to try him and we don’t know what the charges will be. All we know is the verdict: guilty.
December 11, 2003
  •   Israel and Rape
Let’s keep Satan out of it, shall we?
December 9, 2003
  •   The War We Are In
Does either of these religions sound like something Christians need to get involved in?
December 4, 2003
  •   The Former Confederacy
A short corrective to American history
December 2, 2003
  •   The Comic Critic
Hugh Kenner changed the way I see the world.
November 27, 2003
  •   “Attacking” President Bush
Power has its magic.
November 25, 2003
  •   Master of the Quiet Style
The man who died on November 22, 1963
November 20, 2003
  •   The Era of Bad Feelings
Once you are committed to nonsense, there is no end to it.
November 18, 2003
  •   The Neanderthal Creed
In most of the great struggles of the past, the issue was decided by power and, sometimes, sheer chance.
November 13, 2003
  •   The Age of Rage
Reversing Tolstoy
November 11, 2003
  •   National Service
The popularity among liberals of proposals for national service is yet another reminder that the connection between liberalism and liberty is strictly an etymological curiosity.
November 6, 2003
  •   Trust the Professionals
Putting up with a lot of lying nonsense
November 4, 2003
  •   The Spirit of Sacrifice
Your patriotic duty to grab a rifle and hand it to someone else
October 30, 2003
  •   Implied or Usurped?
Why you don’t hear the word usurpation in Congress
October 28, 2003
  •   Lansky’s Complaint
Why talk about Israel’s deeds, when you can talk about its critics’ motives?
October 23, 2003
  •   Airbrushing History?
Returning a prize you didn’t earn honestly is not Soviet-style revisionism.
October 21, 2003
  •   Clarifying Premises
You can’t expect people to reach your conclusion from their own, very different premises.
October 16, 2003
  •   “Compassion” and Talk Radio
What would happen to talk radio if Rush Limbaugh were a liberal?
October 14, 2003
  •   Limbaugh the Lawbreaker
Conflating things that are essentially unrelated
October 9, 2003
  •   The Sanity Gap
There is simply no reason to go on living this way.
October 7, 2003
  •   Partners in Paranoia
Why do Jews keep migrating to anti-Semitic countries?
October 2, 2003
  •   Looking Back at Reagan
Strange, the way some men can make you want to believe in them.
September 30, 2003
  •   A New Constitution — Coming Up!
Self-government usually occurs when there are no foreigners specifying how it’s to be done.
September 25, 2003
  •   Nutty Patriotism
It’s only the truth that really hurts.
September 23, 2003
  •   The Night I Met Gwyneth Paltrow
You never know what’s going to happen next. How’s that for a profound insight?
September 18, 2003
  •   Lowly Origins
It’s time this country elected a president who has better things to do than go around eliminating poverty, ending injustice, and stuff.
September 16, 2003
  •   A King in Close-up
Not much of a tyrant, by modern standards
September 11, 2003
  •   Free and Independent
Not anymore
September 9, 2003
  •   Victory in 2004!
Our ancestors didn’t know how good they had it.
September 4, 2003
  •   Bad News from Iraq
Regime change, war on terrorism, the Axis of Evil, weapons of mass destruction — it all seems sooooo 2002 now.
September 2, 2003
  •   Unfair, Unbalanced, and Very, Very Funny
Maybe you have to be a Christian to see how funny sex is.
August 28, 2003
  •   He Had a Dream
I found it embarrassing then; I still do.
August 26, 2003
  •   The Living Dollar
Funny money is no laughing matter.
August 21, 2003
  •   Abe’s Pig
The key to the life of Lincoln?
August 19, 2003
  •   Quagmire in the Sun
Iraqi rifles and explosives could never threaten Americans at home.
August 14, 2003
  •   The New Rules of Usage
Dealing with the forces of Organized Touchiness
August 12, 2003
  •   Can Arnold Make the Difference?
It’s not too early to start the Recall Arnold movement.
August 7, 2003
  •   No Respect
Movie heroes never have to deal with things like overdue bills and embarrassing relatives.
August 5, 2003
  •   Is the Pope Square?
What is the point of “same-sex marriage”?
July 31, 2003
  •   Bush, Sodomy, and Marriage
The practical reason for marriage is pretty earthy.
July 29, 2003
  •   A Gay Man’s Manifesto
Gay people have no relish for persecuting homosexuals.
July 24, 2003
  •   The Meaning of Brotherhood
If I win the presidency, I don’t want my victory to be under the shadow of a suspicion that I owed it to my relatives.
July 22, 2003
  •   The Boys on the Train
George Bush is continuing the service of Bill Clinton of undermining the overblown prestige of the presidency.
July 17, 2003
  •   Dueling Teleocrats
They’re all teleocrats now.
July 15, 2003
  •   Power and Trust
The difference between Bill Clinton and George W. Bush
July 10, 2003
  •   The Dust Settles
The whole rationale for the Iraq war already sounds quaint.
July 8, 2003
  •   The Kennedy Sex Scandals
New Kennedy scandals keep happening at a pace that defies cataloguing, even as old ones come to light.
July 3, 2003
  •   The Three Stooges
Preserving the justices’ cover
July 1, 2003
  •   The Court Can Do No Wrong
The remedy is not a Constitutional amendment; it’s impeachment.
June 26, 2003
  •   The Court versus Federalism
You don’t achieve diversity by gathering mediocre people with the sort of superficial differences that interest liberals.
June 24, 2003
  •   Celebrating Diveristy
Why is “diversity” even an interesting goal?
June 19, 2003
  •   Attacking the Rich
They’re not the real target.
June 17, 2003
  •   Did Bush Lie?
“It’s not a lie if you believe it.”
June 12, 2003
  •   A Farewell to Peck
Gregory Peck was one of the last relics of the old Hollywood star system.
June 10, 2003
  •   Hillary’s Abiding Commitment
Relax and savor the comedy of it all.
June 5, 2003
  •   Lawyer and President
The most fateful speech in American history
June 3, 2003
  •   Now They Tell Us
So it had nothing to do with American defense and national security after all.
May 29, 2003
  •   Justifying War
War has become an American habit, a sort of tradition.
May 27, 2003
  •   A Wonderful Man
A movie doesn’t have to have horses to be good.
May 22, 2003
  •   Jayson Blair and the American Dream
Nobody thanks a liberal.
May 20, 2003
  •   Titus and Lucrece
Another indication that the scholars have gotten “Shakespeare” all wrong
May 15, 2003
  •   Patriotism, Mom, and the Bums
Lately, too many Americans are just talking like bullies.
May 13, 2003
  •   The One and Only
Roosevelt’s legacy: lasting problems that can never be solved
May 8, 2003
  •   Conservatism as Exorcism
The conservative movement has lost its mind.
May 6, 2003
  •   War and Dramaturgy
What the war in Iraq was really about
May 1, 2003
  •   Olivier and His Successors
There are versions that make Olivier’s seem a little old-fashioned, but they have none of his genius for making a line of Shakespeare sound like a trumpet blast.
April 29, 2003
  •   What Young People Don’t Know
They’ve been given the wrong answers without realizing that there were ever questions.
April 24, 2003
  •   The Unmaking of Conservatism
What are the key tenets?
April 22, 2003
  •   Bush, Religion, and War
When a Christian is praised for “success” in the Wall Street Journal, it may be time for him to take a good look at himself.
April 17, 2003
  •   Shakespeare’s Social Life
Oxford seems to have known everybody the Stratford man didn’t but should have.
April 15, 2003
  •   Voluntary Slavery
What we are really seeing is total submission to the state masquerading as patriotism.
April 10, 2003
  •   The Right Feelings
Moral questions are not about the Right Feelings.
April 8, 2003
  •   Minimizing Civilian Casualties
When you wage a “war of choice,” this is what you choose.
April 3, 2003
  •   Telling the Story
According to the hawks, frank reporting, if it contradicts official optimism, amounts to treason.
April 1, 2003
  •   The Media War
Most of the world watched the war through other lenses.
March 27, 2003
  •   Benign Bombers
The time for national self-congratulation is long gone.
March 25, 2003
  •   The Neocons’ World War
We know the sort of things they’re saying in public; what are they saying amongst themselves?
March 20, 2003
  •   The Catholic Hawks
Now abortion is permissible in cases of rape, incest, and the need to topple Arab dictators.
March 18, 2003
  •   Saddam bin Laden
I wonder why people on the winning side bother with me.
March 13, 2003
  •   What Would Jesus Do?
What if President Bush were influenced by the Prince of Peace?
March 11, 2003
  •   Wilson, Bush, and History
History is like a kaleidoscope: shake it and you get an unpredictable pattern.
March 6, 2003
  •   Obsessions about Israel
When you are obsessed with a subject, you lose all sense of proportion about it.
March 4, 2003
  •   Phantom Enemies
Millions of Americans believe that their enemies are omnipotent.
February 27, 2003
  •   So Many Hitlers
Making all sense of measure disappear
February 25, 2003
  •   The Big Peacenik
Big men, when it comes to making fun of the French! Let’s hear them make fun of a Pole!
February 20, 2003
  •   Whacking Our Allies
Just try to imagine any of our brave pundits speaking of Israel the way they speak of France. The very idea is laughable.
February 18, 2003
  •   In Defense of Dual Loyalty
Let’s all declare our interests.
February 13, 2003
  •   The Right Hands
What evidence is there that America’s hands weren’t the wrong hands?
February 11, 2003
  •   France and the Bush Doctrine
The French may not have much of an empire left, but they refuse to be an American colony.
February 6, 2003
  •   What Happened to the War on Terrorism?
This war requires some slippery semantics and a lot of propaganda — which is mostly sheer repetition of nonsense until resistance is worn down, and logic surrenders.
February 4, 2003
  •   Mourning in America
Can we stop the fake mourning now?
January 30, 2003
  •   Tracing the Box-Cutters
Why not high-tech weapons?
January 28, 2003
  •   The School of Experience
Americans saved the freedom of Europeans and now they insist on acting like free countries. The nerve!
January 23, 2003
  •   The Missing Word
If abortion is a “right,” it’s an oddly sneaking and shameful sort of right.
January 21, 2003
  •   King and His Times
Past the peak of his influence, his leadership waning, his following dwindling, by 1968 King had become a rather quaint figure.
January 16, 2003
  •   White Supremacism, Liberal-Style
The Democrats want to retain affirmative action — just a “temporary” measure, you understand — except it has no expiration date.
January 14, 2003
  •   Loose Lips
In wartime, the loosest lips are those of people trying to be patriotic. Thus does war unhinge even sensible people.
January 9, 2003
  •   History and Miss Couric
Pieties to become the “lessons of history”
January 7, 2003
  •   “The Economy” and the Taxpayer
In principle, all our earnings seem to belong to the government.
January 2, 2003
  •   The Sobran Administration
Elect me, and you’ll at least get a president who knows his limitations.

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