Chapman’s News & Ideas | Page 19

Aye or Nay in Scotland

Photo by Judi Beck.

Scots are famously (or notoriously) tight; er, frugal. They may look at the upcoming referendum through the lens of Braveheart resentments going back hundreds of years (and to the recent Mel Gibson movie), but those old issues really don’t apply today in any meaningful spiritual sense, let alone a practical one. The smart vote is “No”, as the Scotsman newspaper just said on its front page. Read More ›

The Hobbit Party, by Witt, Richards

J. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings had political messages (and economic messages, and cultural messages, etc.) that contributed, if subtly, to making these enormously popular books–and the films based on them–among the most influential and best loved works of art of the past century. However, the didactic back-story has not been well explored: until now. Read More ›

James Foley Likely Was a Martyr

Serious faith is not talked about on mainstream television very often, so when the parents of James Foley, who was beheaded by ISIS, held a press conference in Rochester, N.H., faith was not a theme the media emphasized. There was however coverage of the parents’ statement that the many prayers for James’ safety were appreciated, as he had noted himself when in a tight situation earlier in Libya. That led me to wonder what else was said. Read More ›


Education Idea of Gorton’s Gets a New Look

Our friend and Discovery Institute board member, former U.S. Senator Slade Gorton, had a number of good ideas while in Congress (and since) that deserve fresh attention. Read More ›

A Just War: Rescue the Christians of Iraq and Syria

Catholics and other Christians often appeal to the Just War doctrine of St. Augustine to decide whether force is justified in combatting armed evil. Many Christians have the de facto position of “Never.” But that usually is a mask for indifference or, worse, appeasement, as it was for many pacifists before World War II. Church congregations routinely are asked to pray for various persecuted and victimized peoples around the world, but somehow there seldom is any mention of Christians. Yet fellow Christians, one would think, should elicit especial concern, since the future of the Church is plainly challenged by persecution, and especially now by the arrant genocide going on in the Middle East. I have been appalled by the reluctance of Christian Read More ›

Criminalization of Policy Differences

Author Mark Helprin (a onetime fellow of Discovery Institute) long ago coined the term “criminalization of policy differences” to describe the tactic of finding legal grounds for suing–and therefore helping handicap–political opponents. For some reason, Democrats seem to employ the tactic most often. Today, of course, we are seeing it in in Travis County (Austin)–where, to borrow an old saying about prosecutors’ influence on the grand juries they call–even a ham sandwich could be indicted. Governor Rick Perry is planning to run for president, so what better way to slow him down than to indict him on some bogus charge? Perry is right to be indignant. He’ll win, but the legal process could well drag on for years, especially if the case is heard Read More ›

Eleanor Roosevelt and the New Ken Burns Series

A new series, The Roosevelts, by the celebrated documentarian, Ken Burns, will air next month (starting September 14), bringing to PBS viewers an early to mid-20th Century world that by now seems exotic. Almost everyone from those times, after all, is gone. But Burns’ evocation of those days may well have some new things to tell us about our own world. Consider Eleanor Roosevelt, who is featured in the series, along with her uncle, Theodore Roosevelt, and her husband (and distant cousin), Franklin. Mrs. Roosevelt is famous for her role as a first lady with a public life that buttressed, but also went beyond her husband’s. Among other unique activities, she personally wrote a daily newspaper column–“My Day”–for nearly three decades, Read More ›

Foundations that Live Up to the Billing

One of the dreariest and most familiar of stories in philanthropy is that of the sound and good person of wealth who leaves his fortune to a foundation, only to have that foundation after his death depart on adventures he probably would have opposed and certainly would not have supported. (Ford, Rockefeller, MacArthur, to name a few.) A choice temptation is to use foundation dollars to campaign for government dollars. Community Foundations have a better reputation and record. State Representative (and Discovery’s director for the Chapman Fellows in Civic Leadership) writes in Philanthropy Daily about the 100th Anniversary of community foundations. There is less mission creep among community foundations than among foundations in general, though the temptations are always there. Regardless, many towns Read More ›