Francis W. Porretto

Mount Sinai, NY USA

Author's posts

Concerning The Two Party System

     Recall this political convulsion from more than a century ago:      [T]he Republicans, in the early 1890s, led by Ohio Republicans William McKinley and Marc Hanna, launched a shrewd campaign of reconstruction. In particular, in state after state, they ditched the prohibitionists, who were becoming an embarrassment and losing the Republicans large numbers of …

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Depression-Era Songs

     There’s a legend of sorts about the Federal Music Project (FMP), a subdepartment of the Works Progress Administration of FDR’s New Deal. That legend holds that many of the songs that became popular during that era were actually commissioned by the FMP – i.e., their composers were paid to compose popular songs. It could …

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The 13th Day

     The world has been taught to scoff at that which it cannot see, hear, and touch. It has paid a heavy price for its scoffing. I trust I need not enumerate the many tragedies men have inflicted on one another, as faith has retreated and secular humanism, with its innate arrogance and vaulting ambition, …

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Valid Argumentation And Expertise

     The list of fallacies relevant to argument includes one that isn’t, strictly speaking, a fallacy under all circumstances: the “argument from authority.”      If we read authority to mean expert status, there is a place for it in arguments over substantive matters. Problems with expertise-based arguments arise in two venues: The validation of the …

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“Too Much Like Work!”

     Don’t expect the Left or its mascot groups to solve their own problems. They’ve been told – relentlessly, for decades – that their problems aren’t really theirs to solve. No, that responsibility belongs elsewhere…probably to “the government.”      What’s that you say? If they created the problem – perhaps by letting the garbage pile …

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Nightmares of a Wine Enthusiast

     You know, no matter how aggressively you go about it, there are a lot of wines out there you’ll never taste. And that is probably for the best. Because in keeping with Sturgeon’s Law, 90% of them are crud.      As an avid sampler of wineries and their wares, I’ve had some crud in …

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On Making The Best Of Things…Including Yourself

     [It’s become clear that creating an insuperable condition of distrust and hostility between the sexes is a principal objective of gender-war feminism. At one time I thought the disease had reached its peak and would thereafter recede. Given recent events, I am no longer of that opinion. The following piece first appeared at Liberty’s …

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Crisis: The Agar of Leviathan

     You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before. – Rahm Emanuel      Crisis-mongering has a long history:      If I read the temper of our people correctly, we now realize as we have never …

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On Being White

     I’ve been warned. I’ve been reminded. I’ve been catechized about the unwisdom of giving in to fury. It’s not good for me. If it’s good for you, know that I envy you, because there’s a lot to be angry about these days.      The foofaurauw over the National Football League’s decision to “support the …

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Elites And Contempt

     Today’s stimulus for thought comes from this nicely pointed op-ed from William McGurn:      In the last week or so a flurry of articles have appeared arguing for toning down the looking-down. In the New Republic Michael Tomasky writes under the heading “Elitism Is Liberalism’s Biggest Problem.” Over at the New York Times , …

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“Bring Back Our Country!”

     First, a blast from the past: a piece I posted at the old Palace Of Reason about fifteen years ago:      Ever seen Federico Fellini’s movie Amarcord (I Remember)? It’s not the muddled mess so many of his other films were. It’s a memoir of his childhood in a small Italian town, during the …

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The Game Plan

     Is what follows a realistic summary of a major part of the strategy of our political elite, or merely a conspiratorialist’s fantasy?      “The women’s rights movement had three goals. First, it got women into the workplace where their labor could be taxed….So, with more women entering the workforce the supply of labor increases …

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Demographics and the Medicalization of Human Existence

     “When man believed that happiness was dependent upon God, he killed for religious reasons. When he believed that happiness was dependent upon the form of government, he killed for political reasons….After dreams that were too long, true nightmares…we arrived at the present period of history. Man woke up, discovered that which we always knew, …

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Sapir-Whorf In The Saddle

     If you’re unfamiliar with the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis, it’s time to get acquainted with it:      Linguistic relativity, sometimes called the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis or Whorfianism, is a hypothesis in linguistics and cognitive science that holds that the structure of a language affects its speakers’ world view or cognition. The strong version claims that language determines …

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Cause People

     [I’ve received numerous requests to repost this old chestnut, which first appeared at the Palace Of Reason on June 29, 2003 — FWP]      Cause People can be very difficult. Trying. Often hazardous to your health. But they’re getting a progressively larger fraction of the media’s attention, so it’s well to be up on …

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What Are “National Defense” And “National Security?”

     In the midst of the Sturm und Drang over current budget negotiations – is it really a “negotiation” when one side refuses to come to the table at all? – it struck me that a great part of the supposed national consensus about national defense and that other great shibboleth of the power brokers, …

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If This Goes On

     An early Robert A. Heinlein novella with the above title described an American theocracy that was eventually brought down in a violent revolution. I have no idea whether the young Heinlein was subject to influences that might have predisposed him to believe that such a future was probable. However, the Afterword to his collection …

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The Most Awful Day

[This piece first appeared at Eternity Road on August 6, 2005. Today being the 101st — yes, the 101st — anniversary of the day I deem “most awful” in post-Industrial Revolution history, and a number of geopolitical trends having bent in the direction of large-scale replays thereof, I felt it appropriate to repost it. — …

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Do The Right Thing

     It’s more than the title of an overhyped Spike Lee movie. It’s a way of life…or it should be.      Many people talk a good game. They proclaim, propound, and promise. They make extravagant statements about what they would do – or will do – if this or that should occur. They pose as …

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“Compelling Government Interest”

     Time was, I wrote more than I do today about the abstract ideals that undergird freedom. These days, my attention is more focused on current events and what they portend. I’m not sure why that should be, except that it’s clear that, as Jubal Harshaw said in Stranger In A Strange Land, wallowing in …

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