Shined Shoes Can Save Your Life, Part 4

It was now late winter of 1971 and I was running the traffic division at the 226th MP Company at Fort Benjamin Harrison, outside Indianapolis.

read more »

Shined Shoes Can Save Your Life, Part 3

Sergeant Duke Hock was a legend in the Army while I was still in grade school. He was Jack Reacher before Lee Child was born

read more »

Shined Shoes Can Save Your Life, Part 2

So there we were, in late 1970, having graduated from the US Army Military Police Correctional Specialist Academy, the best-trained prison guards in the world. We had been assigned to one of the worst prisons in the world, the stockade at Long Bình, Vietnam, better known as the Long Bình Jail, or LBJ.

read more »

Shined Shoes Can Save Your Life

A few weeks ago, in a post about J. D. Vance’s book, Hillbilly Elegy, I mentioned in passing that I was convinced that having spit-shined my Army combat boots may have saved my life. I didn’t elaborate, and since then several dozen people have inquired about that brief aside. So here’s the story.

read more »

On Illiberal Democracies, Part 3

Just to make it simple, let’s define Europe’s “illiberal democracies” as those countries where elected leaders profoundly disagree with the liberal, inclusive, affluent worldview of the EU’s political classes.

read more »

On Illiberal Democracies, Part 2

I mentioned last week that I recently visited Switzerland, Austria and Hungary, and that if we think things have gone nuts in the US, we have no idea.

read more »

On Illiberal Democracies

I just returned from one of those whirlwind speaking tours in Europe – three speeches in four days in Zurich, Budapest and Vienna.

read more »

On Hillbilly Elegy, Part 10

The bottom line of J. D. Vance’s book, Hillbilly Elegy, is that far too many people from southeastern Kentucky are trapped in a hillbilly culture that stands in the way of their own success. As if that weren’t bad enough, hillbillies are discriminated against because people aren’t willing to distinguish between good hillbillies and bad hillbillies.

read more »

On Hillbilly Elegy, Part 9

Last week we tried to imagine how Professor Daniel Kahneman, Nobel Prize-winning author of Thinking, Fast and Slow, would react if he saw a couple of hillbillies coming into his store. This week we’ll re-look at that situation, pretending that Kahneman isn’t a Nobel Prize winning professor at all, but a lowly department store clerk.

read more »

On Hillbilly Elegy, Part 8

In 2013 J. D. Vance graduated from Yale Law School, an accomplishment he shared that year with the following fraction of his fellow Americans: 0.00000063.

read more »