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The Reactionary Utopian
Archives, 2005

Joe’s column, “The Reactionary Utopian,” is posted at this site two weeks after it is written. (Every now and then the embargo on a column is lifted early. When that happens columns are posted out of sequence and then the “Current Column” may Read Joe's columns the day he writes them.not be the most recently written column.) Click here to read the most recently posted column. Click on the “Printer-friendly, text version” button that follows the title to access a text-only version to print. The search engine that has been added to this site will search all column archives, as well as articles on the main part of the site and in the other departments maintained on it.

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Ronald N. Neff
Annandale, Virginia

Current Column          
December 29, 2005
  •   Is Darwin Holy?
The glee with which Darwinists attack and insult Christianity tells you what they really want.
December 27, 2005
  •   Darwinian Graffiti
An odd way to vindicate the scientific spirit
December 22, 2005
  •   Junior and Senior
The elder George Bush seemed to content himself with one enemy at a time
December 20, 2005
  •   None Dare Call It Hypothetical
The Constitution is written in plain words the authors mistakenly assumed anyone could understand, even an ordinary Yale graduate.
December 15, 2005
  •   Reflections of a Conspirator
Keeping a secret doesn’t require a conspiracy.
December 13, 2005
  •   Remembering Gene McCarthy
The hero of 1968
December 8, 2005
  •   What’s in a Pronoun?
My seventh-grade English teacher and a key to the Shakespeare-authorship question
December 6, 2005
  •   Good News — at a Price
You have to marvel that any group can be so unaware of its own reputation for arrogant mendacity.
December 1, 2005
  •   Roe and Rot
The more power the Federal Government has, the more surely America is a democracy governed by a majority under a living document.
November 29, 2005
  •   Saddam’s Defense
Making sure Saddam Hussein has a fair trial
November 24, 2005
  •   National Socialism Comes to America
We no longer tell the state what our rights are; it tells us.
November 22, 2005
  •   C.S. Lewis in the Dock
It’s time for another attack on a guy who drives liberals nuts.
November 17, 2005
  •   Slick Willie and Gauche George
Appreciating a guy who plays it safe
November 15, 2005
  •   Orwell’s Fable, Bush’s Reality
Tyranny comes on tiptoe and often by clumsy improvisation.
November 10, 2005
  •   The Post-Bush Era
A new political alignment in the years ahead?
November 8, 2005
  •   Words of Choice
Why are liberals so squeamish about what abortion does to a child?
November 3, 2005
  •   The Constitution and Common Sense
Justices are praised because liberals like the way they vote, not for any special legal insight they possess.
November 1, 2005
  •   The Scooter Saga
You’d think, to hear these folks, that “policy differences” were innocent opinions.
October 27, 2005
  •   Bush versus Bush
Nearly everything the younger Bush does only makes the elder Bush look better.
October 25, 2005
  •   Body Counts
What kind of self-government is it that withholds facts from its own citizens?
October 20, 2005
  •   Who Is to Say?
Bad faith is now good form.
October 18, 2005
  •   O Canada
An axis of ninnies
October 13, 2005
  •   Liberal “Neutrality”
Atheists, for some reason, are never expected to keep their beliefs separate from their opinions about constitutional law.
October 11, 2005
  •   The Price of Bush
How weak a president appears when his party won’t support him.
October 6, 2005
  •   Confessions of a Right-Wing Peacenik
Highly civilized white men have produced the world’s most terrible weapons of mass murder.
October 4, 2005
A reprint from Universal
Press Syndicate

  •   The Insolubility of Politics
Laws are easy to pass and nearly impossible to repeal.
September 29, 2005
  •   Bad Signs for Liberty
The whole idea of “limited, constitutional government” seems to be an illusion.
September 27, 2005
  •   Burying Conservative Infamy
Today, Bill Clinton looks more conservative than Bush.
September 22, 2005
  •   “National Service” and Involuntary Servitude
Making a constitutional Amendment useless
September 20, 2005
  •   “It Seems a Age”
A war that’s gone out of fashion
September 15, 2005
  •   The Era of Bad Feelings, Cont’d.
Feelings and the liberal racket
September 13, 2005
  •   Hamnet’s Father
A strange omission
September 8, 2005
  •   Remembering Russell Kirk
A kind and colorful man
September 6, 2005
  •   Michael Oakeshott and New Orleans
What the government should do instead of Doing Something
September 1, 2005
  •   The Case of the “Randy Rector”
The real scandal could turn out to be the tabloids’ sacrifice of journalistic standards.
August 30, 2005
  •   The Queer Bard?
First Folio Fundamentalism
August 25, 2005
  •   The Patriot’s Creed
Loving your country doesn’t translate into unconditional love for whoever happens to be in charge of it.
August 23, 2005
  •   The Iraqi Constitution
Exporting self-government
August 18, 2005
  •   Lear’s Fool
Everything changes when Lear mutters to himself, “I did her wrong.”
August 16, 2005
  •   The “Seamless Garment” Revisited
What do you do when you’re “personally” opposed to abortion.
August 11, 2005
  •   The President and the Professor
Since Darwin, we have become much nicer.
August 9, 2005
  •   Islam and Terrorism
Prudence is not racial discrimination.
August 4, 2005
  •   Say What?
The gila monster’s come-hither look
August 2, 2005
  •   Inordinate Fear
Islam too has its Walter Mittys.
July 28, 2005
  •   Film’s Great Chameleon
Master of the invisible gesture and the unspoken word
July 26, 2005
  •   What Is This Thing Called Hate?
A fellow may pop off now and then without hating anyone at all.
July 21, 2005
  •   Is Civility Obsolete?
Nobody can be really qualified to possess this kind of legal authority.
July 19, 2005
  •   From Republic to Hegemon
Power tends to expand until something stops it.
July 14, 2005
  •   Cultural Socialism
The socialist impulse has shifted ground.
July 12, 2005
  •   You Call This a War?
This is just the way we’re going to live from now on.
July 7, 2005
  •   Et Cetera, Et Cetera, Et Cetera
What would it take to convince these men that their policy is failing?
July 5, 2005
  •   Destroying the American Republic
The names of the old things have been preserved, but their meanings have entirely changed.
June 30, 2005
  •   Brutus and the Court
The concept of “checks and balances,” parroted in civics classes, doesn’t apply to the Supreme Court.
June 28, 2005
  •   Batty Bore
King Lear is easier to follow.
June 23, 2005
  •   They Made Me a Flag-Burner
Mass-produced objects are not sacred and cannot be desecrated.
June 21, 2005
  •   The New Hillary
Suitably tailored to an era when political liberalism is passé
June 16, 2005
  •   The Language of Lear
The language, like the story itself, overwhelms us.
June 14, 2005
  •   The Acquittal
Liberals have yet to explain why, if sexual pleasure is essentially good, it’s depraved when enjoyed with children.
June 9, 2005
  •   The Gray Lady Shows Her Colors
The Establishment paper par excellence
June 7, 2005
A reprint from Universal
Press Syndicate
  •   Freud, Shame, and Crime
Acquiring more cultures; building fewer families
June 2, 2005
  •   Joe and the Law
How much is enough?
May 31, 2005
  •   Different Strokes
The signs of mortality
May 26, 2005
Reprints from Universal
Press Syndicate were sent to subscribers while Joe recovered from surgery.
  •   Bill Gates, Robber Baron
How dangerous are concentrations of coercive power?
May 24, 2005
Reprints from Universal
Press Syndicate were sent to subscribers while Joe recovered from surgery.
  •   Calling All Grown-Ups
A device for shirking and concealing responsibility
May 19, 2005
  •   Movies as History
Celebrating the normal
May 17, 2005
  •   The Press and Patriotism
Candor in wartime is treason.
May 12, 2005
  •   Kyd Stuff
Thomas Kyd, The Spanish Tragedy, and Shakespeare
May 10, 2005
  •   The News and the Good News
To read the news, you’d never guess that religion has shaped entire cultures.
May 5, 2005
  •   It’s Still the Same Old Story
Do you know whom your congressman had lunch with today?
May 3, 2005
  •   Why No Anti-War Movement?
A greying generation of reactionary optimists
April 28, 2005
  •   Roosevelt and His Critics
An official apology to the entire human race would be fitting.
April 26, 2005
  •   Another Country
What happened when the Catholic Church ceased to exert its gravitational force
April 21, 2005
Reprints from Universal Press
Syndicate were sent to subscribers while Joe recovered from surgery.
  •   The Federal Monopoly
The powerful can change even our moral sense.
April 19, 2005
  •   Honey and Vinegar
Progress does not call for dramatic breaks with the past.
April 14, 2005
This reprint from The Wanderer
was sent out while Joe was recovering from surgery.
  •   “In Our Hands”
What Israelis can say that Americans can’t.
April 12, 2005
Reprints from Universal Press
Syndicate were sent to subscribers while Joe was recovering from surgery.
  •   How Many Enemies?The Government We’re Stuck With
It’s possible to be absolutely in the right and stupid at the same time. The fateful decisions have already been made for us, and all that’s left is a little wiggle room.
April 7, 2005
  •   No column was written for today.
April 5, 2005
  •   The Lost Art of Speaking
Nothing conveys personality so fully as the voice.
March 31, 2005
  •   The End of a Papacy
Whatever great means, John Paul II is what it means.
March 29, 2005
  •   Will Faith Destroy Us All?
Identifying historical causes is hard enough; predicting them is harder.
March 24, 2005
  •   Legal Fiction
Presuming the identity of interests where none exists
March 22, 2005
  •   Family Secrets
Conjugal love isn’t unconditional; at least not always, or not for long.
March 17, 2005
  •   The Vatican Cover-Up
It’s a terrific story, but the research is about as credible as Robert Blake’s alibi.
March 15, 2005
  •   Kramer versus Coherence
The fact that this ruling was issued in San Francisco doesn’t exactly fall under the heading of uncanny coincidence.
March 10, 2005
  •   Bastiat and “Organized Plunder”
One might think a truth so simple and unavoidable would be compelling in every age.
March 8, 2005
  •   English Usage, Old and New
Too many rules; not enough reasons
March 3, 2005
  •   Our Divine Tribunal
Actually consulting the Constitution would cramp the Supreme Court’s style.
March 1, 2005
  •   Justifying War
Mass murder that results in free elections, is still mass murder.
February 24, 2005
  •   Interests and Friendships
In international politics intrigue outweighs benevolence.
February 22, 2005
  •   The War on Norms
Many so-called civil rights are meant to trump others’ moral convictions, property rights, and freedom of association.
February 17, 2005
  •   America, Shouting
Only Americans seem to insist on describing their own country in ultimate terms.
February 15, 2005
  •   The Anti-Eulogy: An Apologia
Immortality just doesn’t last.
February 10, 2005
  •   The Baker Street Shakespeareans
The Sherlockian maxim would put Shakespeare scholarship out of business.
February 8, 2005
  •   America the Frightful
If you choose to be feared, don’t ask to be loved too.
February 3, 2005
  •   State of the Union
Often government winds up trying to solve problems it created in the first place.
February 1, 2005
  •   Bush’s Helpful Critics
No setback can make a real dent in the stubborn ideology of American power.
January 27, 2005
  •   Johnny Carson: An Anti-Eulogy
If nothing else, he was durable.
January 25, 2005
  •   The Utopian Conservatives
Modern conservatives like Robert Taft, Russell Kirk, and Michael Oakeshott wouldn’t recognize them as their own.
January 20, 2005
  •   Other Priorities
What happens to the men who have them and what happens to the men who should have had them.
January 18, 2005
  •   “What Will History Say?”
Nothing is so unpredictable as the past.
January 13, 2005
  •   The End of the Search
Two kinds of resignation — the kind we see and the kind we don’t
January 11, 2005
  •   Osama and Jack the Ripper
The events of 9/11 were immeasurably less destructive than last month’s giant tsunami, but you’d hardly know it from the media coverage.
January 6, 2005
  •   Magnifying the Enemy
The conservatives’ Stalin-like twist of the party line
January 4, 2005
  •   The Dark Lady, and Other Intellectuals
You listened to her in fascination even when she made no sense at all.

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