‘That Devil Wilkes’

Mike Lee

At the time of our nation’s founding, few men were more admired than the English dissident whom King George III called “that devil Wilkes.” A sometime member of Parliament and a sometime political prisoner, John Wilkes argued that the King’s subjects had rights, and the King’s powers had limits. He spoke out against the king’s tyrannical tendencies before there was a Stamp Act, a Boston Tea Party, or a Declaration of Independence. In colonial America, Wilkes’s name was synonymous with liberty. The story of how his liberty was won inspired one of the most important parts of our Constitution—the Fourth Amendment.

The Truth About Women in the Middle East

In 2012, Mona Eltahawy published an essay in Foreign Policy magazine, ‘Why Do They Hate Us?,’ that drew attention to the unequal and precarious position of women in the Middle East and North Africa. Eltahawy argued that in the Muslim world women are treated like animals by men who disdain and fear them. In the wake of the Arab Spring, she called for a shift in focus from political leaders who oppress their citizens to the men who oppress women in the streets and at home. Her words prompted angry responses from many on the Left who are loath to blame one religion or culture for this miserable state of affairs.

The Men Who Started the Hugo Awards Controversy

A prominent editor of speculative fiction (a term that encompasses both science fiction and fantasy) pinpointed 2012 as the year that the genre “moved away from the white male Anglo Saxon Mayberry of its youth and towards a more mature, diverse, and inclusive future.” His words were an encapsulation of trendy opinion among certain sorts of spec-fic fans. They were also flat-out wrong. If early science fiction and fantasy had an ideology (a doubtful proposition at best) it was techno-cultural utopianism—the opposite of the conservatism of The Andy Griffith Show. The giants of the field wrote in explicit support of civil rights, sexual liberation, and women’s equality. But ideologues must exaggerate past evils to justify their present excesses, and so down the memory hole go Heinlein’s 1961 A Stranger in Strange Land and LeGuin’s 1969 The Left Hand of Darkness.