Tom Bethell

Tom Bethell is a senior editor at the American Spectator. A graduate of Trinity College, Oxford, he is the author of several books including Noblest Triumph: Property and Prosperity through the Ages (1998); The Politically Incorrect Guide to Science (2005); and Eric Hoffer: The Longshoreman Philosopher (2012).

recent articles

Church Reform: An Endless Task

The Book of Gomorrah, written in the eleventh century by St. Peter Damian, has now been published in a modern translation by Matthew Cullinan Hoffman, a journalist and graduate student at Holy Apostles College. To the original book Hoffman has added a useful introduction and copious notes. The book manages to be both scholarly and … Read more

The New Environmentalism: Too Many People, Too Few Trees?

Who says you can’t change the world?” said the Earth Day 1990 flyer: both a challenge and a boast. To find the Baird Auditorium of the Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum you had to make your way past the packed crowds of families with small children lined up for the new Dinosaur Exhibit. “In the great … Read more

Press Watch: Feminism and the Failure of Authority

In the library the other day, I took another look at America, the Jesuit periodical, but there does not seem to have been any change under its new editor, George W. Hunt. The journal (paid circulation: 30,000) continues along its grey path of genteel apostasy, its sentiments and editorials deja vu in The New York … Read more

Press Watch: Funding Radical Activism

We have been hearing a lot about church and state lately. Bishops were encouraged to “speak out” when it came to issues of “war and peace.” But with abortion, bishops are expected not to “interfere in politics.” It all depends on the substantive agenda, of course. Liberals are forever trying to disguise their substantive agenda … Read more

Press Watch: San Francisco Follies

I arrived in San Francisco one day too late to witness the display of blasphemy by “Sister Boom Boom” and his followers, “a troupe of men who dress in nuns’ habits and spend their days looking for people to shock,” according to the San Francisco Chronicle. These horrors were on hand shortly before the Democratic … Read more

Press Watch: Collapse From Within

The syndicated columnist Joseph Sobran remarked to me the other day that we live in a very strange time: the wrecker’s ball is to be found inside the building it is aiming to destroy. This is a useful image, and I think those of us who are concerned about the state of the Catholic Church … Read more

Press Watch: Sojourning (Part III)

I had been talking to Joyce Hollyday, one of the pastors of the Sojourners community which publishes a monthly magazine of the same name. As I have already commented (Catholicism in Crisis, April, 1984), Sojourners is interesting since it embodies the very strong tendency of contemporary social-ism (and the amended spelling is intentional) to take … Read more

Press Watch: Loyalty and Catholic Journalism

Today there is a growing number of Catholic periodicals which share the general objectives of Catholicism in Crisis, but still and all it is not a crowded field. Thus it might seem a luxury for our columnist Tom Bethell to make a case against the editorial strategy of the National Catholic Register, a paper that … Read more

Press Watch: Sojourning (Part II)

On Sunday morning I arrived at the Sojourners building, a modern, school-like structure in a quiet corner of northeast Washington, a few blocks away from the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. I was just in time for the 10 o’clock service, which was held in a square, plain room with an unadorned cross on … Read more

Press Watch: Sojourning

There was an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal the other day about Petra Kelly, leading luminary of the Greens, the radical West German Political party. “From U.S. Schoolgirl to German Politician,” ran the headline, under the caption Angry Woman. That reminded me of the analogous transformation of Sonia Johnson, the Mormon feminist who … Read more

Press Watch — Women Religious: Quo Vadis?

What did I do over the Christmas holidays? One thing I did was read a series of articles about American nuns in the Washington Post, by Carol Krucoff. The overall message of these articles, which started on the front page of four successive issues of the Washington Post, and proceeded to cover five full pages … Read more

Press Watch — NCR: Play it as it Lies

Oscar Wilde is said to have remarked that a discussion of socialism would take too many evenings, and I feel the same way about the National Catholic Reporter: a careful examination of its politics would be an exhausting exercise, and one feels that there must be more fruitful ways of spending the day. In prayer, … Read more

Press Watch: God Bless America!

I’ve been spending some time going through back issues of America, the Jesuit weekly, but I’m afraid it has been rather a chore. Rarely do you learn anything new from it, factually. Its 20-odd pages are filled with the standard progressive waffle. Opinions therein seem to have been called from the Nation, Mother Jones, or … Read more

Press Watch: Their Sunday Visitor

Our Sunday Visitor is the largest national Catholic weekly newspaper in the country, with a circulation reported to be over 200,000. (This is said to be “soft” circulation, meaning that it includes free distribution along with paid circulation.) The paper is attractively produced, although I should have thought it could dispense with its magazine- within-a-paper … Read more

The Twilight of Socialism

In addressing the question whether John Paul II is “the first socialist Pope,” as Kenneth Woodward wrote in Newsweek, with more than a touch of wishful thinking, I want to stress that the word “socialism” denotes a pattern of ideas far more extensive than a mere economic system. In his book The Socialist Phenomenon the … Read more

Press Watch

A few days after the Pope’s recent visit to Poland, we began to see something interesting and significant in the news media: a new line of attack on the Pope. It began on Sunday, June 26, in the New York Times. The front-page story (dateline Rome) was unsigned and unattributed to any news agency. This … Read more

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