Chapman’s News & Ideas


Missile Defense? In Mothballs, as Danger Grows

The Los Angeles Times reports that a multi-billion dollar plan to save the U.S. from a nuclear missile attack–a danger growing greater with the passage of time–is a flop.

This is the topic no one wants to discuss. The Reagan Administration promoted “Star Wars” until a nuclear agreement was reached with the Soviet Union. But Russia has revived nuclear war talk, and North Korea boasts of its technology and putative interest in bombing us. Iran today is the preview of what could happen among trigger-happy countries in the Middle East. Read More ›


Continuing Neglect of Today’s Christian Martyrs

UPDATE: The Pope himself made this topic the theme of his Easter message.

The preacher at Pope Francis’ commemoration of Good Friday in the Vatican raised the painful issue of growing persecution of Christians around the world. It is a story that “the institutions” of the world, Fr. Raneiro Cantalamassa said, are not mentioning. Perhaps he was thinking of the United Nations. But he could have been speaking of almost any institutions.

That includes, sadly, the Catholic Church! The mass dispossessions, church bombings, beheadings and other murders, rapes, sale of women and children captives into slavery, etc. go unremarked in parish homilies I have attended in many cities. Isn’t that odd? Maybe there are exceptions, but I have been traveling around a lot lately and have yet to hear the subject broached, let alone made the main topic of a sermon. Oh, on two occasions I did note that the recommended prayers sent out by the Church hinted at the topic, but that’s it.

Yet martyrdom is what happened to the followers of Jesus two millennia ago, isn’t it? It’s a rather important theme in the Christian story. With all its depth and implications, surely this topic should be widely discussed. So should Aid to the Church in Need and other groups trying to get help victims of persecution–often Christians and non-Christians alike. But “silence”, as the Vatican preacher says, is what we get instead.

This is not the first time that the subject of current martyrdoms has been broached lately in the Vatican. Sadly, the message is not getting picked up at lower levels of the
Church, in other denominations or–let alone–the major media. Read More ›


John Wohlstetter Address Economic Club of Boca Raton

John describes to a hushed audience in Boca Raton, Florida the likely and potential crises ahead for Pres. Obama’s final 22 months in office, from growing danger to the Baltic States if Putin decides to “protect” the Russian speaking populations of Latvia and Estonia to the coming executive agreement with Iran that threatens to begin new nuclear armament in the Sunni states. Just in those two matters alone–with NATO’s credibility and the validity of the NPT (nuclear treaty)–at stake, America’s post World War II foreign policy strategy is at risk. Then throw in cyber-war/EMP, Chinese expansionism, ISIS, and the downgrade of US defenses and you have reasons for serious alarm. The case for a major national foreign policy debate has Read More ›


Unsettling “Settled Science”

Stephen Moore has an article in the Washington Times that is worth the attention of skeptics of “settled science.” http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/mar/15/stephen-moore-climate-change-not-settled-science/ Moore, long a staple of economics articles in the Wall Street Journal, describes the attempts of The National Geographic and other publications to marginalize critics of climate change theory. It’s the old story of argument from authority. What Moore does then is tear the argument apart. There are plenty of reasons to skeptical of “settled science.” The embryonic stem cell debate is a recent example that Moore doesn’t mention. The whole nexus of government research dollars and university science departs and left wing politics deserves book-length treatment. And don’t forget the shoddiest case of “settled science,” Darwinian evolution–and the social Read More ›


Catholics Honor Discovery Fellow Wesley J. Smith

The Cardinal John J. O’Connor award of Legatus, the national organization of lay Catholics, was given in Naples, Florida, on Saturday to Wesley J. Smith, Senior Fellow of Discovery Institute, for his tireless advocacy of “human exceptionalism” in bio-ethics, medical practice, and culture. I was honored to accompany him on behalf of Discovery Institute. The convention was attended by some seven hundred delegates.


John West Wins Documentary Award

A documentary film on The Biology of the Second Reich, directed by Discovery Senior Fellow John West (aided by Jens Jorgenson, and based largely on the research of Dr. Richard Weichart, scholar of German history and also a Discovery fellow) has won the “Best Short Documentary Award” of the Los Angeles Film Festival of Hollywood.

You can watch a video version of the film on YouTube for free.

Biology of the Second Reich

Most people now know the story of the Third Reich’s misuse of biology leading up to–and during–World War II. But few are aware that the Germans had prepared the way with a pernicious Darwinism before World War I that may be said to have begun with the writings of German biologist Ernst Haeckel. In the late 19th Century Haeckel was all too ready to admire the racism found in Darwin’s less known book, The Descent of Man. The next step for the German Empire was to apply these theories to the eradication of “inferior” people in Germany and to races in Africa that the Germans governed. Read More ›


Cyber War Concerns Will Not Go Away

How much danger, really, are we facing from foreign attacks on America’s electronic infrastructure? Some, like our senior fellow George Gilder, are skeptical. But another senior fellow, John Wohlstetter, is more concerned. Here is “Faust’s Networks,” his article today at American Spectator.


In 2015, Raise Up “The Men of Issachar”

Whatever you think of the times–and they are capable of varied interpretations, aren’t they?–there is one thing I bet that most of us can agree on: we need new political leadership right now. America is full of brilliant, accomplished and morally admirable men and women. And, yes, the Constitution of the United States does operate (as Prof. Harvey Mansfield of Harvard says) to “call leaders forth.” The nation therefore is blessed with a number of upright state legislators, governors, Congressmen and Senators these days. Mansfield recently mentioned the new senator from Arkansas, Tom Cotton, and the new senator from Nebraska, Ben Sasse. But one could name many others.

But how will they assemble? Between now and 2016 how will some one leader of potential greatness emerge among them to match the great potential of America?

It’s often useful to turn to Biblical history for salutary examples, and so we see that the Book of 1 Chronicles 12:32 tells of a time in King David’s Israel when “the men of Issachar” arose to help steer the state. They were men “who understood the times and knew what Israel should do–200 chiefs, with all their relatives under their command.” It’s fine material for a sermon, not to mention a blog post! I commend, for example, this one. Read More ›


Disguised Income Redistribution

Income inequality supposedly is a major theme for the left–yesterday, today and (presuming Elizabeth Warren’s continuance) tomorrow. We know about the low skill workers who have trouble making a living, though it is amazing how little the left connects their difficulties to the wide acceptance of low wage immigrants. Even more surprising is the lack of political notice of the major shift in income distribution that is the result of artificially low interest rates decreed by government.

Sometimes a letter to the editor sticks in one’s mind, and so it is that as the year ends I recall one to the Wall Street Journal from back in October from a Gerald Betts of Camano Island, Washington. Let me quote it in its simple and profound entirety:

“Before the recession most seniors relied on a combination of Social Security reimbursement and interest on some savings for their basic income. As you know, fewer and fewer retired Americans are qualifying for private pensions. Interest rates fell from 5-6% in 2005-07 to 0.1-0.2% for the past five-plus years. Seniors involuntarily are subsidizing the economic recovery of America. The interest portion of most seniors’ income stream has almost disappeared.”

He’s right. It’s one reason so many seniors are working on and on. Read More ›