Below are links to a few articles that I have had the good fortune to get published in other blogs or news sites. Many of them apply the ideas expressed in the essays here to current events in the United States and around the world. I hope you find them a worthwhile read.

What Makes a Patriot?

There is at present some uncertainty and discord in how the terms “patriotism” and “nationalism” are used and understood. The formal definitions of each word vary depending on which dictionary one looks at, and at any rate a dictionary definition will only go so far in explaining such concepts, which are at once both high abstractions and familiar emotions. Yet they are highly consequential to our civic lives and thus to the politics of our Republic. It is worth attempting to fashion a clearer description of each concept and draw a distinction between the two.

In fact, the larger concept of fondness for one’s country is perhaps best divided not into two, but three inclinations: patriotism, national pride, and nationalism. They correspond, respectively, with three more fundamental human emotions: love, pride, and arrogance. Just as the disposition of those feelings in one person can fulfill or destroy a life, their relative prevalence among a people can make or break a nation.

Read the full article at American Purpose.

Puerto Rico Statehood is Conservative

While we on the U.S. mainland were fixated on a presidential election that hung in the balance for five long days, the residents of Puerto Rico voted for statehood.

In contrast to previous referendums on the island’s political future, this one delivered a result that was neither eye-popping nor ambiguous. It asked a clear question: “Should Puerto Rico be admitted immediately into the Union as a State?” A majority (52%) of registered voters turned out, of which a majority (also 52%) chose “Yes.” It wasn’t a landslide; but, in a republic where the people rule but are not compelled to vote, it is sufficient to indicate the popular will.

Read the full article at 19FortyFive.

I also had the opportunity to help make the case for Puerto Rico statehood at a virtual town hall event hosted by the Puerto Rico Statehood Council: video here.

Bind Up the Nation’s Wounds

As was said by Abraham Lincoln one hundred and fifty-five years ago, so still it must be said: “With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds…”

Our nation is wounded again. In 1865, there were more than 500,000 dead from civil war. In 2020, there are more than 200,000 dead from disease, plus a small but growing body count from street violence sparked by police shootings. At perhaps no point in between have political passions been so vindictive.

There are four bandages the next President could apply to staunch the bleeding, none of which are inherently partisan.

Read the full article at Medium.

Sometimes Police—And the Rest of Us—Need to Accept Risk

When I was serving in the Army, a senior commander gathered his officers together for a tactical exercise. The battle we were envisioning wasn’t a skirmish; it was a slugfest, with tanks maneuvering, infantry scaling the high ground, and artillery raining from the sky.

“You can rest assured,” the commander said (I paraphrase from memory), “that I’ll put your ass at risk.”

That lesson came to mind recently when I noticed a common refrain coming from those who have defended the aggressive crowd control tactics on display in Portland. The gist is: “We need to protect law enforcement officers.”

That sounds like risk aversion.

Read the full article at The Hill.

In the debate over statehood for Washington DC, we also need to consider representation for US territories

July 20th, 2020

At the end of June, the House of Representatives passed a bill to make Washington, D.C., the 51st state. It was the latest attempt to remedy a centuries-old problem: that the District’s residents have no voting representation in Congress.

The bill is unlikely to even be considered by the Senate, making it a dead letter for the rest of this year. But it can be seen as a statement of intent and could return to relevance if Democrats gain control of both houses of Congress in November.

If that happens, the new Congress ought to spare a thought for the territories.

Read the full article at The Hill.

We all must do our duty

June 22nd, 2020

Before the Battle of Trafalgar, Admiral Horatio Nelson signaled his fleet: “England expects that every man will do his duty.”

He knew that the next few hours were going to be incredibly chaotic, painful, and hard. He knew that his sailors would feel fear, grief and rage. And he knew that to submit to those instincts would bring ruin.

Duty was, and is, the counterweight to self-destructive instinct.

Read the full article at The Hill.

Abandoning Syria’s Kurds tarnishes our country’s honor

October 16th, 2019

In Kobani, Syrian Kurds fought to the death against ISIS for five months. On the third week of battle, the United States came to their aid with air strikes. On Jan. 26, 2015, the ISIS jihadists retreated.

The Siege of Kobani became known as the “Stalingrad of Islamic State.” It was the territorial high-water mark of the so-called caliphate, which shrunk thereafter under attack from the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on the ground and the U.S.-led coalition from the air. Eleven thousand SDF soldiers died in that campaign, as did 10 Americans.

Now Kobani has been besieged again, this time by Turkey. Under Turkish occupation, Kobani will be repopulated — but not by Kurds.

Read the full article at The Detroit News

Why Mars should be our next stop

November 16th, 2018

Almost 50 years have passed since the United States last put a man on the moon — or anywhere else outside of low-Earth orbit. As China builds an increasingly sophisticated space program, it is high time for America to get moving again.

On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon. 

NASA and the Space Task Group, appointed by President Richard Nixon to advise America’s next steps in space, pushed an ambitious plan calling for a manned expedition to Mars by 1986, at the latest. But Nixon nixed it. 

Perhaps 1986 was not the right time to go to Mars. But 2036 may be.

Read the full article at The Las Vegas Sun.