At 90, Thomas Sowell remains one of a kind

As a libertarian conservative, he’s a minority in the economics profession. Stir in the fact that he’s Black and you get a rare bird indeed

At 90, Thomas Sowell remains one of a kindThomas Sowell celebrated his 90th birthday this summer by publishing his 56th book. Entitled Charter Schools and Their Enemies, the book returns to one of his recurrent themes. He believes that the American public school system fails children from impoverished backgrounds by prioritizing the interests of teacher unions and their political sponsors. In Sowell’s reckoning,…

More than just a Spectator to world events

The long-running weekly publication offers depth, broad perspective on a variety of issues, and doesn’t shy away from controversy

More than just a Spectator to world eventsThe Spectator is a United Kingdom weekly first published in 1828. This purportedly makes it the longest-running magazine of its kind in the English-speaking world. And while the primary focus is current affairs, the Spectator’s subject matter ranges further than that. There’s lively coverage of books, music, film, TV, food and travel. From time to…

Olivia de Havilland was more than an actress

She played two off-screen roles that took courage and independence. She was, to put it simply, a woman of genuine substance.

Olivia de Havilland was more than an actressOlivia de Havilland died last weekend at the age of 104. She was often described as the last survivor of Hollywood’s golden age. Making theatrical movies from the mid-1930s to the late-1970s and continuing in television until 1988, de Havilland earned five Academy Award nominations and won Best Actress twice. Not bad going by anyone’s…

The Congo’s great liberation turned into abject failure

How great plans quickly descended into decades of dictatorship, corruption, kleptocracy and violence

The Congo’s great liberation turned into abject failureThe year 1960 was auspicious for European decolonization of Africa. In rapid succession, no fewer than 17 countries became independent. One of them was the Central African territory previously known as the Belgian Congo. June 30 was its magic date. And given its vast natural resources, some people had high hopes. Alas, things quickly turned…

Cancel culture equivalent to infamous Hollywood blacklist

Pushing back against emboldened righteousness isn’t a task for the timid. J.K. Rowling is not timid

Cancel culture equivalent to infamous Hollywood blacklistJ.K. Rowling – the British author who created the stunningly successful Harry Potter series – is a political liberal. In 2008, she donated £1 million to the U.K. Labour Party. In 2016, she campaigned for Remain in the Brexit referendum. She’s a professed admirer of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. And so on. Despite these…

Gerald Ford blew his chances to be Reagan’s running mate

During 1980’s Republican convention, backroom negotiations and media speculation over a running mate dominated

Gerald Ford blew his chances to be Reagan’s running mateIn July 1980, U.S. Republicans met in Detroit to formally nominate their ticket for the upcoming presidential election. It wasn’t supposed to be an eventful gathering. Ronald Reagan, the former movie star and California governor, had vanquished an array of opponents during the primary season and was thus assured of the top spot. The only…

Statue-toppling and the narrowness of righteous minds

Just because someone else’s history makes you uncomfortable doesn’t give you a moral licence to erase it from public space

Statue-toppling and the narrowness of righteous mindsIf I were a Brit – which I’m not – I’d be materially annoyed at the vandalization of Winston Churchill’s statue and the related attempts to remove it from its perch in London’s Parliament Square. And in keeping with today’s enthusiasm for rhetorical hyperbole, I’d be tempted to consider it the thin end of the…

Floyd Patterson: the boxer who came back

Written off as a hopeless case, he brought a ruthless, coiled fury to the ring, taking back the world championship

Floyd Patterson: the boxer who came backOn June 20, 1960, 25-year-old Floyd Patterson did something that hadn’t been done before. He became the first man to ever regain the world heavyweight boxing championship. Others had tried – including legendary figures like Jack Dempsey and Joe Louis – but none had succeeded. Conventional wisdom speculated that perhaps it couldn’t be done. Although…

The Habsburgs: Rise and fall of Europe’s premier dynasty

They were canny, enduring and keen on expansion. In the end, however, the empire couldn't survive the First World War

The Habsburgs: Rise and fall of Europe’s premier dynastyThanks to a voluble professor of European history at University College Dublin, the Habsburgs first piqued my curiosity in the early 1960s. Then the interest lay dormant until a chance 2011 visit to the imperial crypt in Vienna’s Capuchin monastery. In operation since 1632, the crypt contains the tombs of more than 140 Habsburg royalty.…
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