Published Articles

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

A Review of The Other Solzhenitsyn: Telling the Truth about a Misunderstood Writer and Thinker by Daniel J. Mahoney (2014)

I agree with the tenets of this important book on the life and philosophy of Alexandr Solzhenitsyn, an insightful intellectual profile as recounted by the author Daniel J. Mahoney, a political scientist at Assumption College. Mahoney has in fact written a masterful semi-biographical and inspirational tome on the legacy of Alexandr Solzhenitsyn, a legacy of the pursuit of truth, physical and moral courage, literary genius, and man's insatiable thirst for freedom.

Solzhenitsyn was a towering figure in the 20th century, not only for his unique contribution in exposing the immorality of the communist system, in dismantling the totalitarian gulag system and militating the collapse of the "Evil Empire" of the Soviet Union, but also as a political philosopher, memoirist, and historical novelist of the highest order. All of this is recounted eloquently in this book, particularly Solzhenitsyn's more controversial legacy in the Russia of Vladimir Putin.

As recounted in previous articles, there is no question Solzhenitsyn received superlative...

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Reprinted with permission from Imprimis | January 2015 | Volume 44, Number 1

Jason L. Riley
Editorial Board Member, Wall Street Journal

Jason L. Riley is an editorial board member and a senior editorial page writer at the Wall Street Journal, where he writes on politics, economics, education, immigration, and race. He is also a FOX News contributor and appears regularly on Special Report with Bret Baier. Previously, he worked for USA Today and the Buffalo News. He earned a bachelor’s degree in English from the State University of New York at Buffalo. He is the author of Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed.

The following is adapted from a speech delivered on January 30, 2015, at Hillsdale College’s Allan P. Kirby, Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship in Washington, D.C., as part of the AWC Family Foundation Lecture Series.

Thomas Sowell once said that some books you write for pleasure, and others you write out of a sense of duty, because there are things to be said—and other people have better sense than to say them. My new book, Please Stop Helping Us, falls into that latter...

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Faustino Oramas (1911-2007), known as "El Guayabero de Cuba," was a composer, singer,  troubadour, and Cuban national treasure from Holguín, Oriente, Cuba. This little tribute contains the lyrics to his son "Ritmo Suave." The son, which gained popularity in Cuba in the 1930s, "combines the narrative Spanish canción and Spanish guitar with African rhythms," usually drums and other percussion instruments. The modern salsa is derived from the son. 
This wonderful music is from pre-Castro and pre-Revolutionary times. The Cuban Revolution of 1959 virtually ended the son in Cuba.* We in the free world cannot imagine the frustration suffered by artists like Faustino Oramas, who composed the son masterpieces "Ritmo Suave," "El Tumbaito," "Por Culpa de las Mujeres," "Oye el Consejo," as well as "Candela," the fabulous Cuban son which helped make the Buena Vista Social Club and its singer, Ibrahim Ferrer, famous worldwide!

The Cuban Revolution buried these artists in obscurity and penury and denied them the fruits of their labor. Even after the reconstituted Buena Vista Social Club surfaced, thanks to the efforts of Ry Cooder and U.S. dollars, members...

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Recently, I purchased a firearm at a gun show and had an experience that once again solidified my distaste for collectivist bureaucracies. I often tell my wife and my sons, Ron and Damien, the three people I most often share ideas with, that you would think Americans have had enough experience dealing with bureaucracies at different levels in society that they would see the folly of the greatest bureaucratic scheme of all — socialism/communism. These collectivist systems have as their foundation a multitude of interlocking bureaucracies, which act as judge, jury, and executioner (often literally).

Anyway, back to the story. After filling out the form, the sweet lady asked to see my driver's license and concealed-carry permit. Earlier in the week I had gone to the State Patrol Headquarters and renewed my permit. It had not expired, but they notified me that it soon would and that I could go ahead and renew it.

I received the new permit that day and once home took the old permit out of my wallet and replaced it with the new one. As the lady was filling out the bureaucratic forms she suddenly stopped, looked at me with a sick look, and told me that according to the...

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

With all the issues surrounding President Barack Obama's call for normalization of relations between the United States and Cuba, the "spy" swap and the "mysteriously" pregnant lady in Cuba, there is a real and disturbing mystery that the American media has shamefully ignored. The item was reported only once and then conveniently ignored and already seemingly forgotten, so as not to interfere with the "historic" main event: the normalization of relations brought about by the amicable cordiality among the tough Cuban dictator, the suave (as well as naive and hoodwinked) American president, and the publicity-seeking Pope Francis.

What does all this mean?

First, given the fact we have a lame-duck American president, a president who wants to remain center-stage in domestic as well as world events following the outstanding drubbing of his political party in the recent congressional elections; a president with a history of affinity for left-wing causes including Marxism; a president who kowtows to world dictators, etc. — it should not be surprising that Obama has made this move at this time.

The possible lifting of the embargo may mean that the U.S. may be...

Sunday, December 7, 2014

In the celebrated PBS series by Ken Burns, The Civil War (1990), Southern historian Shelby Foote provides excellent anecdotes that embroider the documentary. In one of these vignettes, Foote mentions a dialogue between a Confederate and a Union soldier, in which the latter asks, "Why do you fight?" The Confederate soldier responds, "Because you are here." Foote adds, "Which is not a bad answer!"

In another vignette, Foote opines, "The North was fighting with one arm tied behind its back." He referred to the gigantic disparity in resources between North and South. That being the case, the North should have done well to untie both arms immediately after the First Battle of Bull Run (a.k.a., First Manassas; July 21, 1861), fought at the outskirts of Washington, D.C. It was here, incidentally, Brigadier General Thomas J. Jackson stood his ground, earned the nickname "Stonewall," and passed through the mist of history into legend.

No Walk in the Park

Both armies were nearly equally matched at that first encounter. Both armies were inexperienced and poorly trained. After the disorganized engagement, though, the Union army was not only defeated, but its retreat...

Sunday, December 7, 2014

I have been following a number of neuroscience issues concerning ethics and morality for years but Dr. Miguel Faria's observations in his article, "The road being paved to neuroethics: A path leading to bioethics or to neuroscience medical ethics," appearing in the August 2014 issue of Surgical Neurology International, helped me understand the intricacies of these issues. As Doctor Faria well knows, the great minds of the world — both past and present — have understood that morality depends on a worldview that recognizes God as the final and only arbiter of moral law (natural law), which transcends man. Morality based on secular principles, as Faria illustrates, creates a hell on earth.

The neuroscientist Sam Harris (photo, left), author of The Moral Landscape, is now leading a crusade to establish that we can derive moral laws from our own reason based on pure scientific understanding — especially neuroscience. In his book, Harris explains that previously neuroscientists avoided the subject of morality and brain function — that is, the field of neuroscience had little to say about the higher functions of human social function, such as moral law. But, he insists that...

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Today we awakened to the dramatic headlines: "Ferguson Businesses Torched in Overnight Protests," "Ferguson Explodes Following Grand Jury Decision Not to Indict," "Ferguson Businesses Burned, Looted." A caption to one of the graphic photos of the burning inferno read: "Protesters take their pictures in front of the burning Juanita's Fashion R Boutique on West Florissant Avenue in St. Louis, Mo. early Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014. Protesters set fire to buildings and cars and loot businesses in the area where Michael Brown was fatally shot after a grand jury declined to indict white police officer Darren Wilson in the death of the unarmed, black 18-year-old" (photo, right). Dramatic events but what could we expect as a result of the mass media having fueled the fire of this conflagration with their non-stop coverage and unremitting and biased sensationalism since last August?

In a previous article, “Let’s not make any more excuses,” I blamed the emotionally charged rhetoric of irresponsible African-American leaders for consistently promoting racial tension for the sustenance of their own political power, not to mention safeguard their financial self-interest. While calling...

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

After talking with young neurosurgeons and residents around the world, they often ask "How do I know what I read is the truth?" I answered that question in a recent editorial.(1)

This month in Surgical Neurology International, Miguel Faria warns of increasing control of medicine by government (politicians and their bureaucrat enforcers) and its consequences as he writes about the recent discussions of neuroethics by U.S. President Barack Obama.(2) He states that "investigating scientists (in this instance, neurologists and neurosurgeons), not only in this country but globally, should recollect and adhere first of all to the traditional, universal, and individual-based ethics of Hippocrates, centered on their individual patients or human subjects, rather than utilitarian, population-based ethics that place monetary considerations or the interest of third parties or the state ahead of the interest of patients." Lest we see the atrocities of the Nazis and Russians on medical experimentation on humans during WWII and the cold war repeated.(3,4)

As a case in point, just last week, Jonathan Gruber, an MIT economist and architect of the Obamacare Healthplan,...

Sunday, November 16, 2014

If the errors committed in the building of the edifice of Western civilization are compared with Plato’s ideal Republic and the perfect State, protected by intelligent but disinterested Guardians and ruled by equally disinterested and totally just Philosopher-kings, then Western civilization loses hands down.(1) But as Aristotle pointed out in his Nicomachean Ethics and Politics, man is subject to errors and thus such ideal utopias created by real men are unworkable and nonexistent.(2) Despite over two millennia of history, no such state has ever been created, and the half-baked facsimiles thereof created by men of means and good intentions, have been only castles in the air, fleeting experiments and utter failures because the well-intentioned dreamers did not take men’s individual needs and aspirations — i.e., human nature — into account. Those experiments that lasted, such as the workers’ paradises of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, not to mention Red China under Mao and Cambodia under Pol Pot, were not utopias, but exsanguinations, brutalities, veritable hells on earth. (Photo, right: Kulaks exterminated in Stalin’s forced collectivization in the USSR, enforced by party...