Charles Lipson

Peter B. Ritzma Professor Emeritus

University of Chicago

Frequent contributor: 
Real Clear Politics,
Spectator| World, Newsweek, Discourse Magazine, American Greatness, Wall Street Journal

Why we should still be optimistic about America

In trying times, like the late 1960s and early 2020s, it is important to remember just how robust and stable our country is. We are finally emerging from the Covid years — so badly mishandled by public health "experts" — with school shutdowns (much beloved... “There is a lot of ruin in a nation.” So said Adam Smith over two centuries ago. He reminds us that strong, stable countries like America can survive the pounding we have suffered over the past few years. Our nation may be continually test

The Democrats' "Chicken Little" Closing Argument

It is fitting, somehow, that President Joe Biden gave his final pitch at a nearly-deserted train station near the White House, a once-thriving venue now gutted by crime and homelessness. His shrill message: our democracy won't survive a Republican victory in 2022. He avoided all the kitchen-table issues that are sinking him and his party. His Chicken Little message might be right, though, in one, unintended way. The sky will fall on lots of Democrats in this election. And our democracy will survive.

Violent Crime Is Driving a Red Wave

Fear of crime is second only to worries over inflation and recession. Both issues — personal security and economic security — affect citizens directly. Pollsters say voters see a sharp distinction between the two parties on those issues and that Republicans hold huge advantages on them. They are sending a clear message about crime: give us much better public safety. We are sick of virtue signaling, wishful thinking, and criminals released to repeat their offenses. That’s what voters are saying to pollsters. Soon, that’s what they will say at the ballot box.

Russia's brutal strategy of war is failing

The centerpiece of Ukraine's strategy is eviscerating Russian combat power without getting into a raw slugfest that would sacrifice its own troops. That means knocking out Russian combat power without a head-on battle, wherever possible. How does Ukraine do that? Mostly by executing precision strikes with US and... Ukraine’s devastating attack on the Crimean Bridge and Russia’s sickening response — deliberately targeting civilians — perfectly encapsulate how these adversaries are fighting this

Putin's fresh cannon fodder and nuclear threats won't work

Even as the people of Russian-occupied eastern regions of Ukraine "vote" at gunpoint on annexation, the results of President Vladimir Putin's speech last week are playing out. It was his most important since he invaded Ukraine in February, and while he made two key points, he left much unsaid: • Russia needs a lot more soldiers for the war. What he didn't say is that he must compel them since they've stopped signing up voluntarily. • He is willing to use nuclear weapons to defend Russia if he th

Why Republican governors sent those immigrant buses

Since President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris won’t come to the border, the border is coming to them. On Thursday, two buses of illegal immigrants unloaded in front of Harris’s vice presidential residence. Others have arrived in downtown New York, Chicago, and D.C., to the fury of local mayors and governors. A small planeload caused an uproar on Martha’s Vineyard when it landed on that self-proclaimed sanctuary island. More busloads are sure to come, probably in cities like Philadel

Ukraine’s incredible success turns the tables on Russia

Russian commanders have abandoned major cities and supply hubs, forfeited their hard-won control of vital rail lines and highways, and fled eastward for their lives. Their soldiers have dropped their guns and abandoned vast stores... Ukraine’s swift counter-offensive has captured more territory in four days than Russia’s huge army did in six months. The victories go beyond the 3,000 kilometers of liberated land. The Ukrainians have managed to break and scatter the enemy army across city after c

Ukraine turns the tables on Russia

In Phase 1, Russia tried — and failed — to seize the capital city of Kyiv with a blitzkrieg assault. The idea was to decapitate the Zelensky government quickly and install a puppet regime, subservient to Moscow. After that failed, Russia focused on taking the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine and forming a “land bridge” to Crimea, which Russia seized in 2014. Russia has had some success in this Phase 2 of the war, at... Russia’s brutal war on Ukraine has moved into a new phase, a very encouragin

Biden robs Peter to get Paul's vote

It is a truth universally acknowledged that if you rob Peter to pay Paul, you can count on Paul’s vote. That political axiom is the crux of Joe Biden’s decision to forgive vast quantities of student loan debt. He needs Peter's and Patricia’s votes, and he is bribing them with taxpayer money. Taxpayers know it is not a costless gesture. Their backlash is likely to overwhelm any potential gains. It is a truth universally acknowledged that if you rob Peter to pay Paul, you can count on Paul’s vote

Sanctuary cities seethe as illegal immigrants actually arrive

The surest sign that public policies are simply virtue signals is when the messages don't cost anything. The easiest way to tell when that signal starts to fail is to watch politicians flounder as the costs start to rise and voters demand relief. It was free—and meaningless—for progressive churches to post banners calling themselves "nuclear free zones" during the Reagan era. Their dwindling congregations loved it. It was free, after George Floyd's murder, to post woke catechism signs on your f

How to clean house at the FBI and Justice Department

The two most striking features of the FBI’s unprecedented raid on Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home are its bold intrusiveness and the public’s mistrust of the Bureau’s honesty and integrity. The Department of Justice could have used low-profile subpoenas to force Trump to turn over any documents, including the most sensitive ones. It didn’t. Instead, it sent carloads of federal agents to search the former president’s house. That raid was also unusual in a second sense. Although mishandling federal

Ron DeSantis was right to suspend Tampa's woke prosecutor

This week, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis made another shrewd political move, showing why many Republicans think he is their best shot to win back the White House. DeSantis suspended Tampa’s woke prosecutor, Andrew Warren, for failing to do his duty and enforce the law. The governor didn’t just assert his power. He laid out a clear, detailed, substantive case for why he is suspending Warren from office. This week, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis made another shrewd political move, showing why many

The Decline and Fall of Newspapers

A few years ago, you would have unfolded your newspaper and read opinion and analysis like this. Those days are gone. Today, most of us get our news and commentary online, perhaps supplemented by network or cable television, although TV viewership is far smaller than in the days of “The Big Three.” Buried alongside those iconic broadcasters is the public’s confidence in news from all sources. Only 16% of Americans say they have a “great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in newspapers, only 11

The attack on Lee Zeldin was an attack on our Constitution

Even so, the incident was terrifying, not only because it endangered Representative Lee Zeldin but because it underscores two grave problems facing America. One is the failure of our law enforcement system to treat serious crimes seriously, both to deter them and punish the offenders. This failure makes it a misnomer to speak of our “criminal justice” system. It’s not providing justice, and it's not deterring crime, especially violent crime. The second is... On Thursday, a man jumped onstage an

Houston, We Have an Energy Problem

President Biden’s return from Saudi Arabia with a nearly empty gas can underscores what we already knew: This administration’s energy policy is not only flailing, but incoherent. The president’s genuflection in Jeddah would have been humiliating even if it had been successful. He felt compelled to visit the very regime he called a “pariah,” to fist bump the man our intelligence agencies say ordered the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, to plead with the kingdom for more oil production. All
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