Sobran's --
The Real News of the Month

July 2000
Volume 7, No. 7

Editor: Joe Sobran
Publisher: Fran Griffin (Griffin Communications)
Managing Editor: Ronald N. Neff
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(pages 1-2)

	Jeff MacNelly has died, only 52, of lymphoma. He was the 
most brilliant political cartoonist of our time. Every cartoon 
he drew was full of energy, and all his caricatures had real 
*character.* He was never trite; with inexhaustible 
inspiration, he always seemed to have a unique, and hilarious, 
conception to express the ever-new absurdities of politics. 
His work was both technically perfect and superbly alive. Jeff 
was a dear fellow with a smile so healthily boyish that it's 
hard to believe he could leave us so early, and he's taken a 
lot of fun out of this world with him.

*          *          *

	So you think today's clergy are too spineless to defend 
any orthodoxy, do you? Well, the Very Reverend Todd Donatelli, 
the dean of the Episcopal cathedral in Asheville, North 
Carolina, has excommunicated one Lewis Green. Green had 
repeatedly criticized the church for welcoming active 
homosexuals. Refusing to recant, Green said: "I don't look at 
this as a church. It's a liberal Democrat precinct."

*          *          *

	Social critic John Rocker was briefly sent down to the 
minor leagues after some erratic pitching and a shouting match 
with the SPORTS ILLUSTRATED reporter who quoted his "bigoted" 
remarks (uttered, by the way, as Rocker was driving to speak 
at a charity event for children). And the press is still 
hounding him. Ray Lewis, the (black) football player who just 
plea-bargained his way out of a trial for a double murder, is 
getting much gentler treatment: he may be a killer, but at 
least he's not a redneck.

*          *          *

	The gun control debate is so dishonest because nobody 
wants to discuss the racial angle. Liberals are fond of saying 
that America is a "violent nation," but if you point out that 
this is due to the crime rates of racial minorities, you're 
... well, a Rocker. Crime by American whites is as low as the 
Japanese and Swiss rates, if you factor out the Clinton 

*          *          *

	Having protected so many children from Waco to Miami, 
Janet Reno has now successfully protected us from the 
predatory Bill Gates. Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson has 
ordered Microsoft to break up, as punishment and remedy for 
its "monopolistic" practices (i.e., exercise of property 
rights). The true monopoly here is the federal government's 
monopoly of power, in profound and continuous violation of the 
U.S. Constitution. But don't look for antitrust action anytime 

*          *          *

	Richard Epstein, the brilliant law prof at the 
University of Chicago, points out that Judge Jackson's 
"solution" has wrought chaos in the market it was supposed to 
be protecting. He writes in the WALL STREET JOURNAL: "For 
starters, the current hullabaloo over Microsoft has resulted 
in a sharp downturn in the value not only of its stock, but 
also of the stock of its suppliers and competitors, which are 
supposed to benefit from curbing this dreaded monopolist." 
Enumerating other possible harms to third parties, he adds: 
"In the end, my great fear as a consumer is that government 
and judicial hubris will generate vast dislocations for little 
discernible benefit." Except, of course, to the real 
predators: lawyers and politicians.

*          *          *

	Bill Gates proved himself a short-sighted capitalist by 
neglecting to make a prudent investment some years ago: he 
didn't buy off Clinton with huge campaign donations. Without 
that insurance, lightning was bound to strike.

*          *          *

	In a huge embarrassment for state education, the three 
top finalists in this year's National Spelling Bee were all 
home-schooled. The champions of educational tyranny were quick 
to disparage this as a meaningless fluke. How are we going to 
make everybody equal if some kids' parents insist on making 
them excellent? Can't Janet Reno do something?

*          *          *

Exclusive to the electronic version (one entry only):

	Democrats, in the same anti-parental spirit, opposed a 
Republican proposal to abolish the estate tax; Clinton 
promises to veto it as "a tax break for the rich." In the eyes 
of tyranny, your final gift to your children is an 
impermissible affront to Equality.

*          *          *

	Not again! Juanita Broaddrick, who says Clinton raped 
her in 1978 (and is believed by Al Gore, among many others), 
is now being audited by the IRS, as Paula Jones and Elizabeth 
Ward Gracen have been. Clinton ought to choose his women more 
carefully. Every time he hits on one, she turns out to be a 
tax cheat.

*          *          *

	In the wake of the Elian Gonzalez uproar, Peter Angelos, 
owner of the Baltimore Orioles and a big donor to the 
Democratic Party, has pledged not to sign players who have 
defected from Cuba. Let's hope Fidel is properly grateful to 
his Democratic allies. Who says the Cold War is over?

*          *          *

	China now has a unique distinction among (nominally) 
Communist countries: it's being invaded by illegal immigrants 
-- as many as 200,000 so far, according to the NEW YORK TIMES. 
How can this be? The refugees are coming from North Korea, one 
of the world's few remaining *seriously* Communist countries, 
which has kept the Marxist-Leninist faith so stoutly that 
there is nothing to eat there. Many of them are blending into 
China successfully, but they're probably ineligible to play 
for the Orioles.

*          *          *

	Elian Gonzalez, his father, his stepmother, and five of 
his classmates have signed a Father's Day message to Fidel: 
"On this Father's Day, we want to send an affectionate 
greeting, and a well-deserved kiss, to all of you, especially 
to one father whom we love dearly for his unrivaled teachings 
and his infinite love for us, our Commander-in-Chief." No 
comment yet from those who accused the Miami relatives of 
exploiting Elian for political reasons. Or maybe they assume 
these are Elian's real feelings -- a case of psychological 

*          *          *

	Speaking of dishonesty about race: During and after the 
Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York, nonwhite punks, blandly 
described as "youths" by the media, attacked dozens of women, 
mostly white, stripping, fondling, and robbing them. All the 
massive press coverage played down the racial angle, though 
the race of the assailants and victims would seem to be as 
pertinent as their sex. As one wag wrote to the NEW YORK POST: 
"It just goes to show how wrong John Rocker was about New 

(pages 3-6)

	When I was in my teens, I discovered in myself dark and 
disreputable feelings which I dared confess to nobody. My 
elders in respectable society would have been shocked to learn 
of them in one so young; so I was forced to keep them to 
myself. I was embarrassed by them, but not guilt-ridden. I 
didn't think they were anything I should feel guilty about. 
Just because prevailing social prejudices condemned them 
didn't necessarily mean they were wrong.

	In short, I was a reactionary.

	I realized this at the movies. In such films as 
played by American hunks like Kirk Douglas and Burt Lancaster, 
had little appeal for me; I loved the villains, who were 
played by British actors like Laurence Olivier and Paul 
Scofield. It was a convention of Hollywood movies that 
villains in class warfare should be British. This was supposed 
to appeal to the audience's deep-rooted feelings tracing back 
to 1776. Though I was reasonably patriotic, this didn't stop 
me from sympathizing with the Brits. Even such Commie 
screenwriters as Dalton Trumbo, whose script for SPARTACUS was 
based on the Commie Howard Fast's novel (and most of THE 
DEVIL'S DISCIPLE was taken straight from Bernard Shaw's play), 
couldn't resist giving them the best -- that is, the 
devilishly witty -- lines, at the expense of liberal pieties. 
In the same way, the scholars tell us, the character of Vice 
-- perhaps the ancestor of Falstaff -- usually got the best 
lines in the medieval morality plays.

	I also loved such Shakespearean misanthropes as
Richard III, played on film by Olivier, and Coriolanus, as 
played, on a recording, by Richard Burton. Burton had played 
Coriolanus in the early 1950s to great acclaim, and even his 
recorded performance was thrilling: his voice alone was a 
lethal instrument, mowing down the plebeians and their craven 
tribunes with overpowering contempt.

	All these characters had one thing in common: they were 
enemies of Democracy and the Common Man. True, they were also 
enemies of basic human decency, but I was willing to make 
allowances. At least they weren't liberals! I was a teenager, 
and the last thing I wanted to grow up to be was the Common 

	In high school I became the Coriolanus of the student 
council. I voted against *everything.* My classmate Larry 
Brose and I were usually the only two nays on any proposal 
before the council. But Larry, the center on the basketball 
team, was a Republican, I was an out-and-out *reactionary.* 
Not that the other members were anything that could be called 
"liberal," but high school is nothing but fads, and I hated 
fads. When the council voted to have a homecoming queen, 
pretty much on grounds that every other high school had a 
homecoming queen, I voted no. I'm not even sure whether Larry 
voted with me on that one; he probably did, but I don't 
remember. All I know is that I was sure it would produce 
bitter racial differences, pitting black kids against white, 
and that's exactly what happened. Anyway, it was silly. We 
didn't need it. I gravely underestimated the yearning of half 
the girls in the senior class to be homecoming queen. It was a 
shallow adolescent vanity -- unlike my own yearning to look 
like Olivier and sound like Burton.

	I'd also become a Catholic, and this appealed to, and 
aggravated, my reactionary instincts. The Catholic doctrine 
that held the deepest attraction for me was the Natural Law -- 
a permanent moral law, known independently of revelation but 
consistent with it, ancient and eternal and resistant to every 
modern fad. I read St. Thomas Aquinas with deep joy (though 
limited understanding); I loved the Aristotelian discipline of 
his thought. The modern world was careening toward a new order 
that struck me as absolutely bogus -- worse than unnecessary. 
Even as a naive boy I sensed that all the liberal enthusiasms 
were unhealthy for everything that was permanent in man.

	Shakespeare was my touchstone: if the society he loved, 
imagined, and portrayed didn't need something -- free love and 
the welfare state, say -- why did we? His conception of 
society was feudal and Catholic, and it struck me as 
beautifully sufficient, even essentially Thomistic. Whatever 
evils might beset Shakespearean man, he was never confused 
about what was normal.

	I hated the twentieth-century cant of "new" moralities. 
To me this suggested -- though I couldn't spell it out at the 
time -- that morality could become the mere instrument of 
whoever happened to hold power at any given moment.

	Despite how all this must sound, I wasn't a disagreeable 
kid; I was friendly and polite, popular with my classmates (I 
got elected, didn't I?) and dangerously near to being the pet 
of my teachers. In fact I was ingratiating to a fault. It was 
just that I finally got in touch with my inner Coriolanus. It 
was my version of adolescent rebellion, I suppose: a rebellion 
against liberal authority.

	This inevitably led me to right-wing politics. By my 
freshman year in college I idolized William F. Buckley Jr., 
who struck me as a Catholic Coriolanus during his quixotic 
(the word everyone used) 1965 campaign for mayor of New York 
City. He was openly disdainful of politics and its attendant 
corruption and demagogy, and he was literate and witty to a 
degree that seemed, in that environment, miraculous. Even lots 
of liberals agreed that he was the only candidate who brought 
any fun and style to the race.

	At the same time I became fascinated with Ayn Rand, 
despite her ugly atheism. What I liked about her was less that 
she was a libertarian (a label she avoided) than that she was 
an Aristotelian. She insisted on defining the natures of 
things. I was prevented from becoming a more ardent Rand-
worshipper by her bad taste; she uttered dogmas about music 
and literature that were semi-mandatory for her followers. I 
could forgive her, though just barely, for preferring 
Rachmaninov to Beethoven; I could even pardon her for calling 
Mickey Spillane the greatest living writer (I hadn't read him 
yet); but I couldn't excuse her idiotic remarks about 
Shakespeare. Still, she had compelling things to say about 
politics and herd-thinking.

	But I had my real epiphany in June 1965 (at a gas 
station, as it happened). I was 19 years old and I was sitting 
in my battered Ford reading Frederic Bastiat's pamphlet THE 
LAW, when I came upon his axiom that the moral test of a law 
is whether it "performs, for the profit of one citizen and to 
the detriment of others, an act which that citizen could not 
perform himself without being guilty of a crime."

	I was stunned. It seemed obvious, basic, unanswerable. 
But it meant that our "democracy" was, in essence, organized 
crime -- or in Bastiat's phrase, "organized plunder." Much as 
I already hated the legacy of the New Deal, and sickened as I 
was by all the new Great Society programs Lyndon Johnson was 
superadding to it every day, my patriotism couldn't bear to go 
as far as Bastiat's axiom would force me to go. In spite of 
everything, I still wanted to believe that America was 
essentially the Land of the Free.

	But Bastiat stuck in my craw. I reflected endlessly on 
his words. If he was right ... and I saw no way out of it ... 

	Yet it wasn't so radical, after all. St. Augustine had 
said that a state without justice is nothing but a band of 
robbers. Aquinas had said that any positive law that is 
contrary to the Natural Law is void. If, as the Declaration of 
Independence says, government derives its "just Powers" from 
"the Consent of the Governed," the people in the aggregate 
have no right to delegate the power to rob, since they have no 
individual right to rob.

	Shortly afterward I read another little classic of free-
market thought, Henry Hazlitt's ECONOMICS IN ONE LESSON. 
Hazlitt, a Bastiat disciple, confined himself to arguing that, 
as a practical matter, you can't cheat the market; there are 
always hidden costs. He accepted police and military forces as 
a necessity -- the overhead, so to speak, of a productive 
society -- but he pointed out that they produce nothing 
themselves; they merely protect the productive from violence 
and fraud. But it followed that they should be kept to a 
minimum. From this I reasoned that if the Cold War ever ended, 
the huge military budget would evaporate and the federal 
government could (and therefore would) slash taxes. Then we 
could get on with the business of dismantling the welfare 
state, and the federal government and taxes would dwindle 
toward the vanishing point. (It hasn't yet quite worked out 
that way.)

	A little book that helped complete my formation as a 
reactionary was C.S. Lewis's ABOLITION OF MAN. Lewis argued 
that there is no such thing as a "new" morality; there is only 
the eternal one, sometimes called the Natural Law, though he 
used the Chinese term "the Tao," or "the Way," probably to 
avoid sounding narrowly Christian. Whatever name we give it, 
the Tao is universal. Any attempt to abandon the Tao, or 
"improve" on it, was bound to have one result: releasing 
rulers, especially political rulers, from traditional moral 
obligations and freeing them to be tyrants. Writing during 
World War II, Lewis saw that the process was already well 
under way; and though he refrained from criticizing the Allied 
governments directly, he gently implied that they might turn 
out to be as tyrannical as the Axis regimes if the Tao was 

	It's a safe bet that Lewis never heard of Bastiat, but 
he was driving at the same principle: that rulers in every 
generation must be strictly bound by the common rules of 
morality. Moral innovation is the way to political tyranny. As 
a Classical scholar and Medievalist (he denied that the 
Renaissance ever occurred!), Lewis was keenly aware that the 
modern world was based on some dubious but unquestioned 
assumptions. He thought a chief value and purpose of education 
was to free the mind of its immediate environment and to 
fortify it against the political manipulations of the present. 
In his view, Roosevelt and Hitler didn't represent opposite 
principles, as they imagined; they were warring sectarians 
whose basic creed, at bottom, was the same. Both believed, 
though confusedly, that the state was outside the Tao. The 
real problem wasn't that the rulers thought this: it was that 
nearly all ordinary people, in practice, accepted the same 

	In THE PROBLEM OF PAIN, Lewis wrote: "It has sometimes 
been asked whether God commands certain things because they 
are right, or whether certain things are right because God 
commands them. With Hooker [Richard Hooker, 1554?-1600, 
Anglican divine], and against Dr. Johnson, I emphatically 
embrace the first alternative. The second might lead to the 
abominable conclusion (reached, I think, by Paley) that 
charity is good only because God arbitrarily commanded it -- 
that He might equally well have commanded us to hate Him and 
one another and that hatred would then have been right." Will, 
even God's will, can never be the ultimate ground of right.

	Neither, of course, can man's will. But this, according 
what "the modern theory of sovereignty" affirms: that the 
state can make right and wrong by sheer act of will. "On this 
view, total freedom to make what laws it pleases, superiority 
to law because it is the source of law, is the characteristic 
of every state; of democratic states no less than of 
monarchical. That doctrine has proved so popular that it now 
seems to many a mere tautology. We conceive with difficulty 
that it was ever new because we imagine with difficulty how 
political life can ever have gone on without it. We take it 
for granted that the highest power in the State, whether that 
power is a despot or a democratically elected assembly, will 
be wholly free to legislate and incessantly engaged in 
legislation." I can never reread this passage without wanting 
to shout "Bravo!" at seeing an idea so perfectly expressed.

	The modern state is "incessantly engaged in legislation" 
because there is no longer any such thing as Enough. Positive 
law that merely reflects the Natural Law can't satisfy the 
insatiable will of the sovereign state; it must keep devising 
new rules, schemes, programs, services, departments, agencies, 
bureaucracies, until no corner of private life remains. And 
one of the state's most ominous features is its claim to 
authority over education: every child's mind is its property, 
and it will decide how that mind shall be formed, what 
"attitudes" shall be implanted and eradicated, for its own 
purposes, without respect to the Tao. As Lewis succinctly put 
it, "Rulers have become owners." He added: "We are less their 
subjects than their wards, pupils, or domestic animals. There 
is nothing left of which we can say to them, 'Mind your own 
business.' Our whole lives *are* their business." As the 
state offers us less and less protection, "at the same time it 
demands from us more and more. We seldom had fewer rights and 
liberties nor more burdens: and we get less security in 
return. *While our obligations increase their moral ground is 
taken away"* (my emphasis).

	Bastiat would have sympathized with Lewis's deep 
aversion to state education: "I believe a man is happier, and 
happy in a richer way, if he has 'the freeborn mind.' But I 
doubt whether he can have this without economic independence, 
which the new society is abolishing. For economic independence 
allows an education not controlled by Government; and in adult 
life it is the man who needs, and asks, nothing of Government 
who can criticise its acts and snap his fingers at its 
ideology. Read Montaigne; that's the voice of a man with his 
legs under his own table, eating the mutton and turnips raised 
on his own land. Who will talk like that when the State is 
everyone's schoolmaster and employer?"

	The New Society was creating "membership in a debased 
modern sense -- a massing together of persons as if they were 
pennies or counters." It was "trying to drag the featureless 
repetition of the collective into the fuller and more concrete 
world of the family." The family itself would continue to 
exist only as the lowest administrative unit of the state, 
with no moral right to exist independently.

	Lewis would have been shocked, but not really surprised, 
to find the state blessing fornication, contraception, sodomy, 
and abortion. On reflection he would have quickly realized 
that it was headed in this direction all along. The claim that 
the state is morally neutral about these things is sheer 

	My reactionary formation was completed by such writers 
as Edmund Burke, Dr. Johnson, G.K. Chesterton, Hilaire Belloc, 
Michael Oakeshott, Willmoore Kendall, James Burnham, Friedrich 
Hayek, Murray Rothbard, and too many others to name here. 
Through them all, and by studying the writings of the enemy as 
well, I came to see that the essence of the "progressive" 
spirit, which I'd loathed before I knew exactly what it was, 
was a restless alienation from normal and natural human life. 
Chesterton caught it in a phrase: "the modern and morbid habit 
of always sacrificing the normal to the abnormal." The modern 
state begins by condemning the normal life of the market -- 
the free exchange of property, which is alleged to offend 
"social justice" -- and ends by condemning the normal life of 
the family. It aspires to "build a new society" by destroying 
the very bases of normal, natural, and traditional society.

	From the time of my first interest in politics, I felt 
what I now think of as an Aristotelian passion to define the 
state and its purpose and to confine it to its proper 
functions. I always loathed the way the modern state was 
becoming an all-absorbing blob, spreading over all of life 
with false benevolence. In contrast to Oakeshott's view of 
governing as "a specific and limited activity," the modern 
state -- Lyndon Johnson, proprietor -- was an open-ended 
affair, always looking for new objects on which to lavish its 
concern and resources.

	Incredible as it now seems, even to me, I had some 
notion that politicians like Johnson must have meditated on 
first principles and had formed some guiding philosophy. I 
could hardly believe that a man would enter into a political 
career without first having studied Plato, Aristotle, Thomas 
Hobbes, John Locke, and other Great Thinkers. I recently heard 
one of Johnson's old cronies say in a television interview 
that he'd never known Johnson to read a book; by then I wasn't 
surprised. His boorish indifference to principle didn't stop 
him from assuming the role of author and central director of 
the Great Society. He really thought he was just the man to 
lead a renaissance. His Great Society would be a catalogue of 
his own successive enthusiasms: eliminating poverty, outlawing 
discrimination, subsidizing the elderly, teaching pre-
schoolers to read, providing housing, succoring the elderly, 
supporting the arts, what have you.

	It's one of the curious traits of the modern mind that 
it so seldom reflects that the talents required to acquire 
power have no relation whatever to the wisdom and virtue 
required to exercise it properly. Such wisdom and virtue may 
even be handicaps in acquiring it. Maybe this is the basis of 
monarchism and aristocracy: if somebody must rule, at least it 
should be someone who didn't have to achieve power by his own 
efforts, even if his ancestors did. But those who do achieve 
power, like Johnson, are always certain that they have done so 
by merit rather than by low cunning, and that they are 
specially endowed with royal abilities. The utopian mind is 
forced to have faith that power will naturally accrue to the 
man who deserves it, and will only reluctantly come to admit 
that perhaps Joseph Stalin is not that man. And liberals who 
scoff at the idea of divine providence still regard Franklin 
Roosevelt's administration as a veritable "rendezvous with 
destiny." At critical moments, they believe, democracy will 
mysteriously produce the heroes it needs -- Washington, 
Lincoln, Churchill, Roosevelt. (Liberals don't regard a belief 
in miracles as superstitious, as long as it doesn't involve 

	But liberalism hasn't built a Great Society. Far from 
it. What it has given us is the Ignoble Society, a world 
totally unfit for, unworthy of, and insulting to Shakespearean 
man -- man with a soul. I think that's what I've been reacting 
against ever since I was a boy.

	I don't mean to deny my own debt to various 
conservatives, including Bill Buckley, but today's 
conservatism has come to seem a sadly watered-down affair -- a 
philosophy of what Thoreau called "quiet desperation." When 
Buckley founded NATIONAL REVIEW, with its famous pledge to 
"stand athwart History yelling 'Stop!'" the magazine was a 
magnet for unabashed reactionaries, the sort of people who 
wanted to roll back everything since William of Ockham. 
(Richard Weaver, the famous anti-Ockhamite, was a frequent 
contributor.) It went without saying that the legacy of the 
New Deal was evil, that the United States should have stayed 
out of World War II, and that Woodrow Wilson was a damned 
fool. It was nearly as certain that the wrong side had won the 
Civil War.

	But by the 1970s, after Buckley had repudiated the John 
Birch Society and endorsed Richard Nixon, conservatism was 
making its peace with the modern world. No longer was it 
standing athwart History; it wanted to feel that History was 
on its side. Ronald Reagan, Jack Kemp, and Newt Gingrich 
represented a New Deal-friendly version of conservatism, with 
Gingrich praising Franklin Roosevelt as "the greatest 
president of the twentieth century"!

	Gone was the old divine discontent, the apocalyptic 
pessimism, the sense of precious things lost (but worth 
remembering and fighting, against all odds, to restore). In 
spite of its surface optimism, conservatism became literally 
hopeless: it had forgotten what to hope for. Its highest 
aspiration was Republican hegemony, with tax cuts and 
"privatization" of federal welfare programs. And after 
countless concessions to liberalism, it tried, unconvincingly, 
to treat every election as a crucial trial of conservative 
principle. It even adopted such liberal devil-terms as 
"isolationism" and "McCarthyism." Young conservatives no 
longer remembered what the previous generation had stood for; 
they'd become indistinguishable from neoconservatives.

	The central tenet of the neoconservative creed is that 
everything was fine until the 1960s. Bill and Hillary Clinton 
are bad because they represent "Sixties values," and defeating 
them -- that is, replacing them with Republicans -- is all-
important. How dismaying that conservatism should have come to 
embody the great American affliction: historical amnesia.


PLAYING HARDBALL: Bill Clinton has let it be known that if 
Arkansas disbars him as a lawyer, he may move his presidential 
library elsewhere -- perhaps to Georgetown University, his 
alma mater. [Omitted from print version: (I have a 
sinking feeling that in such a case, Georgetown would 
accept the honor.)] "How could he move his library and go 
against his word?" asks a Little Rock real estate developer. 
"It would be a mark against his integrity." You'd think the 
home folks would know him by now. (page 7)

THAT'S PROGRESS: In case you missed it, June was Gay and 
Lesbian Pride Month, by proclamation of our president (late on 
a Friday afternoon, to attract minimal publicity). He spoke of 
a "crusade to outlaw discriminatory laws and practices ..." 
Huh? To outlaw laws? Does he mean that new federal legislation 
should supersede state and local laws? By what authority? That 
of the "living" Constitution, apparently. In the name of 
"civil rights" -- which treat race, "gender," and "sexual 
orientation" as if they were parallel categories -- the 
freedom of association will continue its course toward gradual 
extinction. (page 9)

NOMENCLATURE NOTES: The media continue to refer to North 
Korea's dictator Kim Jong Il as a "leader." Since he's never 
won, or bothered holding, an election -- having succeeded his 
father Kim Il Sung, he's the world's first hereditary 
Communist ruler -- it appears that you can be a leader without 
having any followers to speak of. Kim is now making nice with 
South Korea, perhaps in the hope of getting U.S. aid. (page 

NICE NEWS: Given all the ugly incidents and surly attitudes 
that mar professional sports these days, it's a sweet surprise 
to find an athlete talking like this: "Too many good things 
have been happening in my life lately for it to be a 
coincidence. I put everything in God's hands. I don't have any 
fears." Thus tennis player Mary Pierce, devout Catholic, after 
winning the French Open. SPORTS ILLUSTRATED notes that she 
wears "an immense crucifix," along with a rosary, even on the 
tennis court. (page 11)

YOU MAY ALREADY BE A WINNER: The U.S. Supreme Court has 
ruled -- surprise! -- that even student-led prayers before 
public-school football games are an unconstitutional breach of 
the Wall of Separation. The Anti-Defamation League has 
declared the decision "a victory for Americans of all 
religions." I'm never more suspicious than when I'm told that 
the government has ruled in everyone's favor. Then why was the 
case contested, if even the losers were bound to win? (page 

Exclusive to the electronic version:

AH, LIBERATION! Two decades ago, the scandal of white rule 
ended in Rhodesia. It became Zimbabwe, ruled by the 
enlightened black Marxist Robert Mugabe. Today Zimbabwe has 
reverted to savagery, with Mugabe openly egging on a race war 
against white farmers. As elsewhere in Africa, the black man 
has adopted one of the white man's worst institutions -- the 
state -- while forsaking one of the best -- the rule of law. 
And some people still assume the two are synonymous. But as 
usual, black tyranny doesn't scandalize Western liberals.

THE DEBATE DRONES ON: George W. Bush is taking heat for 
the frequency with which Texas inflicts the death penalty. 
Critics of capital punishment now stress the problem of 
uncertainty. They say that many are executed in flawed 
procedures: inept defense lawyers, evidence suppressed by 
prosecutors, inadequate DNA testing that might clear the 
accused. Fine; I don't think the state should kill anyone. But 
the grounds on which we discuss the question, as C.S. Lewis 
once observed, are as important as the conclusion we reach. 
And the critics keep dodging the issue of *desert:* to hear 
them talk, you'd get the impression that Death Row is 
populated by innocents. If you're a serious opponent of the 
death penalty, you have to be prepared to say that even the 
monster who, beyond doubt, rapes and murders children should 
be spared -- even if his execution would deter others. The 
proper reason is not that he deserves to live, but that the 
state has no right to kill. Sentimental, sociological, and 
utilitarian reasons are worthless.

Reprinted Columns (pages 7-12)

* Courage and Fashion (May 4, 2000)
* Can Dr. Laura Be Tolerated (May 11, 2000)
* The Rivals (May 23, 2000)
* Hate Crimes and Love Crimes (May 25, 2000)
* You'll Never Know (May 30, 2000)
* The Real Al Gore (June 1, 2000)

All articles are written by Joe Sobran

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