Author Archive: John Tierney

REFUGES FROM PUBLIC SCHOOL WOKERY: An Atmosphere of Joy. Dale Ahlquist is the most effective education reformer you’ve never heard of. His network of  Catholic high schools, the Chesterton Schools Network, will open its 69th school next fall, offering students affordable access to a rigorous classical curriculum.

CHRISTOPHER RUFO: Exeter Under Ideology. Left-wing race and gender theory devour the once-prestigious boarding school.

NO, PUBLIC SCHOOLS ARE NOT “UNDERFUNDED”: Correct the Record. School districts need to debunk the misleading talking points from teachers’ unions.

ALEXEI NAVALNY: Martyr for Democracy. The death of Alexei Navalny is an unequivocal revelation of the true nature of the Russian regime

NICHOLAS WADE: Unlocking Antiquity. New technology permits the deciphering of ancient scrolls without opening them—and the rush is on to expand our knowledge of these materials while we still can.

GOODER AND HARDER, NYC: Outrageous–But Not Surprising. The Times Square assault of two NYPD officers, and the release of several of the suspects, are predictable outcomes of destructive policies on migrants and public safety.

UNEXPECTEDLY: A Border Crisis By Design. Most Americans still don’t understand what is happening at the border, but it is unequivocally the intended result of Biden administration policy.

HE WAS ALWAYS WAY AHEAD OF EVERYONE ELSE: Adam Smith on the Negativity Effect. Long before psychologists and economists documented the negativity effect — “Bad is stronger than good,” as Roy Baumeister and I summarized it in The Power of Bad — Adam Smith recognized its many manifestations (like loss aversion — we fear losses more than we appreciate gains) and offered lucid explanations, as Yahya Alshamy and Daniel Klein explain in a new paper.

THE SMOKING GUN: New Documents Largely Confirm That Covid Was Created in Wuhan Lab. Nicholas Wade, the veteran science journalist who forced the mainstream media to stop pretending that a Covid lab leak was a crazy conspiracy theory, describes newly unearthed documents that are being called definitive evidence the virus was created in a lab. In 2022, researchers noted an unusual symmetric structure in the virus that was highly unlikely to be natural, and theorized the procedure for creating this structure in the lab.  The new documents show that in 2018 other researchers, including one from the Wuhan lab, had submitted a proposal to use this exact procedure to synthesize a virus.

ANOTHER DOOMSDAY AVERTED: The Retirement Crisis That Wasn’t. Experts predicted that baby boomers would be broke in their old age — prompting endless media alarms and and calls for the government to intervene.  Instead, the boomers are now one of history’s richest generations.

STAY TUNED: The Covid Governors’ Debate. Except possibly for the Great Depression, the response to Covid was the worst domestic-policy fiasco of the past 150 years. Most Democrats and their acolytes in the mainstream media want to “move on” from the pandemic. But unless Sean Hannity, the moderator, lets Gavin Newsom, the nation’s most zealous Covid authoritarian, off the hook in the debate with Ron DeSantis on Fox News Thursday evening, this is a a golden opportunity chance for 2024 voters to contemplate how the two governors — and Donald Trump and Joe Biden –responded to the greatest test of leadership of their careers. (Spoiler: Most of them flunked.)

CAMPUS INQUISITORS: Harvard’s Double Standard for Free Speech. At the university, you’re free to excuse Hamas’ atrocities and put up murals in Harvard Yard slurring Jews. The Crimson student newspaper will defend your First Amendment rights, and professors will even argue that you deserve to be exempt from criticism. But don’t dare to offend progressives with your research findings, political views or even isolated comments in an interview or blog post.

After the backlash against student groups who blamed Israel for Hamas’ terrorism, the school’s president, Claudine Gay, proclaimed that Harvard protects free speech and academic freedom. Tell that to the scholars with unpopular views who have been denounced, investigated, disinvited, or punished by her and other administrators, and who have endured the Crimson’s outrageous campaigns to slander, silence, sanction, and banish them. My City Journal article details how hard Harvard has been working to earn its ranking from FIRE as America’s worst campus  for free speech.



NOBODY’S FOOL: Richard Russo’s Deplorable Storytelling. Steven Malanga discusses the career and the latest novel of Richard Russo.

Among the many whose stories have increasingly been ignored by what now passes for serious fiction are America’s working classes, who have progressively struggled to find a place in the twenty-first-century economy and social order.

One happy exception is the novelist Richard Russo, who started out trying to establish a career as a professor/novelist but discovered that what really interested readers were his stories about growing up with an often-absent father in a declining upstate New York manufacturing community filled with struggling but memorable characters whom some might call “deplorables.” Russo, who won a Pulitzer Prize for Empire Falls, the tale of a New England mill town and its down-on-their-luck residents, has now returned with his tenth novel, Somebody’s Fool. It’s the third book in a trilogy about upstate New York’s fictional North Bath, a town that first appeared in Russo’s touching comic novel Nobody’s Fool, whose main character, the irascible yet still somehow lovable Donald “Sully” Sullivan, bears striking resemblance to the father Russo says came in and out of his life.

Read the whole thing — and Russo’s novel. If you haven’t read the earlier North Bath books, start with Nobody’s Fool, which made a great movie, too, starring Paul Newman as Sully. Another of Russo’s novels, Straight Man, a lampooning of campus culture, has been turned into “Lucky Hank,” an AMC series now on streaming platforms.

NO SEX, PLEASE, WE’RE ANTHROPOLOGISTS: Dis-empaneled. Bowing to political pressure, two leading anthropological associations cancel a conference discussion on the centrality of biological sex. The American Anthropological Association now wants to pretend that there are not two biological sexes, which is even more appalling than the group’s earlier decision to pretend that there is no such thing as race (never mind the genomic evidence revealing five distinguishable races). The Left’s War on Science continues.

WON’T GET FOOLED AGAIN: The Covid Cover-up. James Meigs provides excellent summary of the lies and corruption of the public-health and scientific establishments.

TWO-PARENT PRIVILEGE: The Indispensable Institution. A new book by an author with impeccable center-left credentials may relax the taboo in policy circles on discussing the importance of two-parent families.

WHAT, ALLOW DUE PROCESS? Campus Inquisitors Worried They Might Have to Conduct Fair Trials.  Now that a court has allowed a former Yale student to proceed with his defamation lawsuit against the university and a woman who accused him of rape, campus bureaucrats and “women’s rights advocates” are fretting that women will be discouraged from making accusations against men if they have to face cross-examination. (The Yale student was expelled after the Title IX hearing, which allowed no cross-examination, but then acquitted by a jury in a criminal trial that allowed cross-examination.)

A board member of the Association of Title IX Administrators described cross-examination as a “basically worthless” procedure — which tells you just how much respect these administrators have for equal treatment under the law. Can you imagine anyone arguing that a woman accused of a crime was not entitled to the fundamental right to cross-examine her accuser? It’s one more example of how both sexes are biased against men, as I point out in “The Misogyny Myth.”