Jim Verhulst - Deputy Editor of Editorials
Here’s what to read from the left and the right | Column
Here’s some interesting commentary from the opposite poles of the political spectrum.
In this NASA false-color image, the blue and purple shows the hole in Earth's protective ozone layer over Antarctica on Oct. 5, 2022. Earth’s protective ozone layer is slowly but noticeably healing at a pace that would fully mend the hole over Antarctica in about 43 years, a new United Nations report says. (NASA via AP, File)
In this NASA false-color image, the blue and purple shows the hole in Earth's protective ozone layer over Antarctica on Oct. 5, 2022. Earth’s protective ozone layer is slowly but noticeably healing at a pace that would fully mend the hole over Antarctica in about 43 years, a new United Nations report says. (NASA via AP, File) [ AP ]
Published Jan. 14

We live in a partisan age, and our news habits can reinforce our own perspectives. Consider this an effort to broaden our collective outlook with essays beyond the range of our typical selections.


From “Degrowth Is Not the Answer to Climate Change,” from an interview by Jonas Elvander with Leigh Phillips in Jacobin at

The context, from the interview: Proponents of degrowth rightly argue that free market capitalism is threatening the planet. But pushing austerity on workers in either the Global South or the Global North is no way to achieve a just, sustainable future.

The excerpt, from one of Phillips’ answers: First, growth, whether economic growth or population growth, is not the cause of climate change or other environmental challenges. We have had many other environmental challenges in the past that we have overcome, or largely overcome — such as the hole in the ozone layer, acid rain, lead pollution, and a great deal of air and water pollution in the West — and the solution to all of these did not come from halting growth, but instead from new technologies and economic planning in the form of regulation and technology policy.

From “A Blueprint For Black Liberation,” by Dara Mathis in The Atlantic at

The context, from the author: What was left when the commune of my youth became a luxury apartment building.

The excerpt: Liberation cannot be dismantled by wrecking balls or sales contracts. “The promised land is not a place,” (the founder of the Pan African Orthodox Christian Church) once wrote, and that is what I’ll tell my children: We can rebuild it anywhere, because we carry it within us.

From “The United States Thinks It’s the Exception to the Rules of War,” by Rebecca Gordon in The Nation at

The context, from the author: Unlike the rest of the world, we have “Constitutional rights,” which apparently include the right to commit war crimes with impunity.

The excerpt: In the end, it took more than half a century to establish the International Criminal Court (ICC). Only in 1998 did 60 nations adopt the ICC’s founding document, the Rome Statute. Today, 123 countries have signed. Russia is a major exception, which means that its nationals can’t be tried at the ICC for war crimes in Ukraine. And that includes the crime the Nuremberg tribunal identified as the source of all the rest of the war crimes the Nazis committed: launching an aggressive, unprovoked war. Guess what other superpower has never signed the ICC?


From “The Only Proper Response to a National Gas-Stove Ban,” by Charles C.W. Cooke in The National Review at

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The context, from the author: Most of the “science” that’s being sold by the Anti-Stove Brigade seems extremely thin to me, but, even if it weren’t, I still wouldn’t give a toss about it, because I’m an adult, and I’m aware that life is full of trade-offs.

The excerpt: We did not institute a federal government so that it could micromanage us to the point at which it is determining which cooking equipment we are permitted to feature inside our own homes. That is a private matter — a matter in which the powers that be ought to have no say. For more than a century now, Americans have been cooking with gas — and, clearly, many of them still wish to do so. Indeed, until yesterday morning, nobody had thought much about this at all. There is no Anti-Flicker League, no Mothers Against Gas Stoves. This whole thing has been a top-down affair, contrived by the terminally bored. At some point in the last couple of years, a bunch of hyperactive progressives decided that gas stoves might be a good candidate for their next moral crusade, and, after a cursory review of the idea, they elected to go for it.

From “Temptation Of The Psychonauts,” by Rod Dreher in The American Conservative at

The context, from the author: The taboos against using psychedelics are falling rapidly. There are plenty of news reports about psychedelics being used successfully to treat PTSD and other serious mental health issues. A good friend of mine, a devout Christian, is part of a federally-funded trial for this sort of thing, and reports positive results. Yet there is serious reason to worry about this.

The excerpt: Many of you will laugh at warnings not to do these extremely powerful drugs, for fear of opening doors to a hostile realm populated by evil intelligences that seek the destruction of humans. You shouldn’t. The idea that we know so much better than primitive peoples in the world today, or sages of the past who warned sternly not to go to these places (the Bible, for example, is crystal clear about the dangers of this stuff), is utter hubris, folly born of pride. Alas, we in the West live in a world that has become utterly unmoored from Christianity and its sacred knowledge.

From “‘The Squeaky Wheel Gets the Grease’: Is the House GOP Caucus Stronger After Four Days of Wrangling and 15 Ballots?” by Mike Miller in RedState at

The context, from the author: Now that the dust has somewhat settled after four days, often-heated debates, and 15 ballots, one salient overall question remains to be answered.

The excerpt: Is the House Republican Caucus, and Speaker Kevin McCarthy as well, in a stronger position than it would have been if McCarthy had sailed through on the first ballot? Or weaker? Depending on who’s answering the question, either answer is correct.