Reviews and News:

"A functioning republic requires self-discipline and commitment to the common good; where self-discipline fails, discipline must be enforced by the powers of the republic." This was how the Roman Republic became the Roman Empire.

Over at The Washington Free Beacon, I review Peter Lawler's new book on American higher education. Executive summary: "Trigger warnings" and "safe spaces" are a problem on college campuses, but a bigger one—and the real cause skyrocketing tuition and coddling—is federal cash and accreditation.

The true story of Doctor Zhivago's Lara. "The beautiful, widowed Olga Ivinskaya, exiled to the gulag for her association with Boris Pasternak, was as tragic a figure as her fictional counterpart, according to Pasternak's great niece."

The pleasure of carving duck decoys and songbirds.

In Case You Missed It:

The real William the Conqueror: "The cheerful and generous nature many chroniclers ascribed to the victor of the battle of Hastings in fact belonged to someone else."

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Tolkien's Jews: "The dwarves of Middle Earth, the central characters of one of the most beloved books of all time, are indeed based on the Jews. This was confirmed by Tolkien himself in a 1971 interview on the BBC: 'The dwarves of course are quite obviously, [sic] couldn't you say that in many ways they remind you of the Jews?' he asked. 'Their words are Semitic obviously, constructed to be Semitic.' Similarly, in a letter to his daughter, Tolkien reflected, 'I do think of the 'Dwarves' like Jews: at once native and alien in their habitations, speaking the languages of the country, but with an accent due to their own private tongue.' To someone like me, who grew up loving The Hobbit, the discovery that Tolkien had based his dwarves on Jews was startling—and the cause of some concern."

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Shaul Magid asks: "Is it time to take the most-published man in human history seriously?"

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Read The New Atlantis's blockbuster report on human sexuality and identity, written by Arizona State biostatistician Lawrence S. Mayer and Paul R. McHugh of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Among other things, the authors argue that sexual orientation is not determined by biology, that the idea that one's identity as male or female can differ from one's biological sex is not supported by scientific evidence, and that only "a minority of children who experience cross-gender identification will continue to do so into adolescence or adulthood."

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Classic Essay: Richard John Neuhaus, "Can Atheists Be Good Citizens?"

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Interview: John J. Miller talks to R. R. Reno about how Christianity can save America

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