Introducing the #FRN Resource List

At Free Radical Network, we read and share a lot of articles and videos each week, but some things we refer back to time and again.  Inevitably, we got tired of trying (and sometimes failing) to keep them all in our heads, so we’re launching our recommended reading list.  Here we offer some of the very best content we have found on a variety of subjects – from strategy to practical politics, to poverty and culture.  Every one of the items on the list has contributed to our thinking in some way, and we want them to become part of our collective resources as a movement.

You won’t many find articles or videos that talk about current events, or political horse races.  And we also don’t think you’ll find this kind of list of important and informative content anywhere else.  But what you will find, we hope, is a lot of great content that will inform and supplement your conservative outlook, and equip you with strategies and tactics to help our conservative ideas win.  

Our hope, of course, is that you read everything on the list eventually, but we also wanted to build a dynamic resource for major topics we talk about often.  We’ll be adding to the list regularly, so we hope you’ll bookmark this page and use it as a resource when you need to find articles on particular topics as well.  And we hope you’ll add your suggestions in the comments as you find great content, too.

And be sure to catch the clips from our show #TheRefinery at the very bottom of the list, where we talked in depth about a lot of these articles and subjects.

We guarantee the content below will make you think, and help you become a better fighter for conservative values.



Practical Politics


 The trick to Being More Virtuous – Arthur Brooks – “Psychologists study a phenomenon called “moral elevation,” an emotional state that leads us to act virtuously when exposed to the virtue of others.” –

The Conservative Heart – How to Build a Fairer, Happier, and More Prosperous America – Arthur Brooks –

Ace – Something MUST BE DONE – ‘One of the most frustrating thing about the politically unaware is their unchanging belief that Something must be done!’ –

14 Dos and Don’ts for Communicating Libertarian Ideas – “2. Make appeals based on the common values you share with the audience you’re trying to convince.” –

Lee Habeeb – Love and Betrayal – “Let’s talk about real hope, not the false hope President Obama peddled, and about the kind of people who make promises they can keep, and the kind who don’t.” –

Conservative Insurgency – Kurt Schlichter

Conservatives should be more like Liberals and Progressives – Leslie Price – “The people with evangelizing tendencies who are conservative, devote their efforts to evangelizing for their church. The people with evangelizing tendencies who are liberal, devote their efforts to evangelizing for their political causes. There’s a massive labor imbalance, massive.” –

Evangelical Conservatism – Ryan Bickmore – “I can also say that living a conservative lifestyle makes me a much happier person. Often when a person sees how happy you are, especially if they knew you when you weren’t happy, they will ask why.” –

Don’t Go Out On The Front Lines Without Training – Leslie Price – “I see a lot of my fellow conservatives wanting to be front line warriors. But they neglect the most important part – BOOT CAMP.” –

For a better GOP, start with better storytellers – Jonah Goldberg – “Whatever the optimal policy might be, if you can’t talk to people in human terms they can relate to, you can’t sell any policy.” –

Great Products HAVE to Have Great Packaging – Leslie Price – “We just have to change our perspective, focus on what the audience wants, what will persuade them, what will appeal to them.” –

Eating The Elephant – Felicia Cravens – “There’s a political strategy at play here; set a big fire to distract from a dozen other small fires being set simultaneously. ” –

Geraghty – Wrong Information Voters – “If you’re one of these perpetually tuned-out voters, maybe words like “conservative” or “libertarian” are signals that indicate, Hey, this is that politics stuff that you don’t like to hear about, so you can stop paying attention now.” –

Ace – The Political Value of Saying Stupid Crap You Don’t Really Believe – “Your average LIV probably has not even considered that legislation to create “more equality” almost always requires less freedom.” –

Kevin Williamson: ‘You Say You Want a Revolution? – “But when defeating conservatives becomes more important to you than moving conservative reforms forward, you become part of the problem.” –

Why Hispanics Thrive in Texas but Not California – “Texas’ rate of Hispanic-owned businesses as a percentage of the Hispanic population is 57 percent, whereas California’s is 45 percent.” –

Drawing a Real Contrast – Andrew Peth – “On each issue, we and our candidates should demonstrate how we want to control our own lives, not the lives of others.” –

Third Party? Not So Fast – David Darnell – Storify – “I became a delegate to the state central committee and four years later became chairman of the county party.” –

Some Thoughts on the Tea Party and the Evolution of Political Parties – Ace – “What every Tea Partier agrees with, even a TPINO like myself, is that government has become too cozy with corporate and other interests.” –

Mike Lee’s Plan to Fix Congress

Family Versus Collective – Andy Peth – “Collectives control people; we free them.  Collectives thrive on conformity; we thrive on challenge.” –

When We Say Conservative, We Mean… – Jonah Golderg – “In contrast, the conservative belief in “what works” is grounded in reality, not hope.”

Gutfeld – Why the Right is Right

In College and Hiding from Scary Ideas – “People ought to go to college to sharpen their wits and broaden their field of vision. Shield them from unfamiliar ideas, and they’ll never learn the discipline of seeing the world as other people see it.” –

Seven Liberal Pieties That Only the Right Still Believes – “1) The right to offend.” –

Intolerance for all – Lee Habeeb – “Today, the predominant sentiment is quite the opposite of Voltaire’s. It’s blood sport now, the way Americans attack each other for simply disagreeing.” –

You Might Be a Cultural Libertarian

Bring Back The Distinction Between Public And Private – “The exception for public accom­mo­dations, however, is just that: An exception to the domain of unreg­ulated private life. Government should defend this private square, not hijack it for political purposes.” –

Sowell’s ‘And Then What?’ Thinking – “As I analyzed how the further economic reactions to the policy would unfold, I began to realize that these reactions would lead to consequences much less desirable than those at the first stage, and I began to waver somewhat.” –

Matt Lewis Podcast – Smart v. Dumb Conservatism

Seven Stages of Liberal Legal Activism – “4. If X is a Constitutional right, how can we deny it to the poor? Taxpayer money must be given to people to get X.” – 

The Real Nature of Politics – Morton Blackwell – “You owe it to your philosophy to study how to win.  You have a moral obligation to learn how to win.”

50 Million Down The Tubes: How 17 Conservative PACs Are Spending Their Money – ‘Perhaps the biggest reason grassroots candidates have been having trouble breaking through in recent years is because such a large percentage of the money that was intended for them is being siphoned off to vendors, wasted, and just plain old pocketed by people in these PACs.’ –

How Bad PACs Are Killing The Conservative Movement – ‘Just as America can’t afford to have any more of our money wasted by the government, the conservative movement can’t afford to continue pouring 50 million dollars per election cycle into PACs that are frittering it away.’ 

The Other Side Is Not ‘Dumb’ – ‘When someone communicates that they are not “on our side” our first reaction is to run away or dismiss them as stupid.’


Big Government versus Free Enterprise

Rise of the ‘Fourth Branch of Government’ – Jonathan Turley – “Our carefully constructed system of checks and balances is being negated by the rise of a fourth branch, an administrative state of sprawling departments and agencies that govern with increasing autonomy and decreasing transparency.” –

Don’t Eat Your Dog: The Surprising Moral Case for Free Enterprise – AEI

George Will – Government for the Strongest – “The Clerisy is, Kotkin says, increasingly uniform in its views, and its power stems from “persuading, instructing and regulating the rest of society.” – 

Red Tape is Strangling Good Samaritans – “Law’s proper role is now seen as instructing people how to make daily choices. Instead of providing the framework for freedom, law has replaced it, creating a legal minefield rather than an open field for free choice.” – 

Federal workers making 78% more than private sector counterparts – “It’s tough out there to be sure, but there’s one segment of the American population where that doesn’t seem to be true. If you happen to work for the federal government – regardless of the job you hold, how well you perform or what happens to the market – you’re probably making way more than your counterparts in the private sector.” –

Study: Government Workers Make 78 Percent More Than Private Sector – “The federal government has become an elite island of secure and high-paid employment, separated from the ocean of average Americans competing in the economy,” – 

The Harsh Truth About Progressive Cities – “Madison, Minneapolis, Austin, Portland, San Francisco. These are America’s most progressive, forward-thinking, open-minded, and social-justice-focused cities. They also have the worst racial disparities in the nation and some of the worst racial segregation.” –

The Science Fiction of Scarcity – “But the world I want to live in is the one where cooperation, through the mechanisms of the market, brings us movies about scarcity and survival, while outside the movie theater we enjoy real-life abundance.” – 

Take a Bow, Species – From polio to poverty, we are winning – ‘The progress made against poverty in the past 30 years is arguably the most dramatic economic event since the Industrial Revolution. It did not happen by accident.’ 


Health Care/Obamacare 

How Government Regulations Made Healthcare So Expensive – “The U.S. “health care cost crisis” didn’t start until 1965.  The government increased demand with the passage of Medicare and Medicaid while restricting the supply of doctors and hospitals.  Health care prices responded at twice the rate of inflation (Figure 1).  Now, the U.S. is repeating the same mistakes with the unveiling of Obamacare (a.k.a. “Medicare and Medicaid for the middle class”).” –

How one GOP congressman tamed pro-Obamacare protesters – ‘Instead of getting defensive or ducking for cover, though, the 36-year-old Michigan lawmaker leaned in, coolly explaining his position on the health care law.’ 

It’s Illegal to Charge Too Little for Teeth Cleaning – ‘In 2013, Dr. Ben Burris ran afoul of Arkansas’ law when he started offering low-cost teeth cleanings at his orthodontic offices.’ 



Politics & Culture-


Conservatives’ Culture Bubble – Lisa De Pasquale – ” Yet, how many conservatives dismissed Dallas Buyers Club because it was a movie about AIDS and had a transexual character? Cato Institute’s Dave Boaz wrote it’s “a terrific movie with a strong libertarian message about self-help, entrepreneurship, overbearing and even lethal regulation, and social tolerance.” –

Ignore Lena Dunham’s ‘Girls’ at Your Own Peril, Conservatives – Kurt Schlichter – “It’s comfortable within the conservative media – it speaks to us and it doesn’t insult us. It’s nice. It’s also, like every other human endeavor, subject to developing into a closed loop echo chamber.” –

In Defense Of Disney Princesses – Meredith Ancret –

Note: This is an omnibus post containing links to several articles on how feminists rail against Disney princesses and offering a counter-argument for why those princesses are actually GOOD role-models for girls.

Dystopian Literature – Nick Gillespie – “None of the books he cites is against community per se. They are against reactionary states that rule by dictate rather than democracy (whether in a the voting booth or the marketplace).” –

This Is How The Left Wins: The Studio System – Jon David Kahn – “But in politics, the studios aren’t Warner Brothers, Sony, or Paramount; the studios are the Democratic media complex, the entertainment community, and academia.” –

Geraghty – Why Are We Here? – “Argue with fervor, but live with sympathy and honored trust. We’re not a movement with a surplus of good people, free time, vibrant energy, and ample cheer. We can’t afford to lose those within our ranks, and when people don’t feel like their allies are any better than their foes, they’re tempted to give up the fight.” 

GUT CHECK: CONFESSIONS OF A SELF-CONSCIOUS CONSERVATIVE – “It’s a tale of two righties: the person who is conservative, and the person who needs to tell you that they’re conservative. It’s the latter who is well-meaning — but generally less devoted to nuance.” – 

How to defend the arts using liberal values – “I don’t know what conditions produce art worth seeing. But I do know what doesn’t. The low- level hysteria around so many sexual, ethnic and political questions. The conformism of liberal culture.” – 

Consider the Source. Really. – A Look at the Untapped Market of You Tube – “Yet here we have Hank Green making a video that takes hits at both Republicans and Democrats for things they did, and 150,000 people watched it; 150,000 people whose first, and probably only, impression about Benghazi comes directly from that ten minute video on You Tube.  Created by a guy with no special knowledge, just some talent for telling a story and editing video.  And a left bias.” –

Waiting for the Conservative Jon Stewart – ‘But rather than talking about the news, as Colbert and Stewart do, or deconstructing a big political issue, as Oliver does, Loftus frequently makes dated references without offering new context to freshen them up.’ 

How Behavioral Science Is Remaking Politics 

My Distraction Sickness, And Yours – ‘But I’d begun to fear that this new way of living was actually becoming a way of not-living.’

Social Conservatism’s Demise Is Neither Inevitable Nor Desirable – ‘Bad things happen when political movements cast off their moral and philosophical restraints in pursuit of raw, naked power. Very bad things.’

How to Get Beyond Our Tribal Politics

Restoring Our Country Must Start In Our Homes And Neighborhoods – ‘Any argument that government is the problem requires addressing the cracks that so many assume are there. If government leaves, then what comes next?’

Remy’s Reason parodies

ReCulture on the Refinery (Featuring Phil DeFranco’s Video)

GOP Teamwork –

Lighting The GOP Unity Candle With A Blowtorch – Stephen Kruiser – “However, even the most dysfunctional families have to come together under a temporary truce for special occasions, like weddings, graduations and funerals.” –

Battle Cons and Wonk Cons Must Work Together To Destroy Liberalism – Kurt Schlichter – “We have to learn to trust each other. We need to ensure we’re on the same wavelength, that we all agree that a smaller government is a goal in and of itself.” –

Arguing With a Calculator – Andrew Peth – “What does the calculator say?  It says, “There are this many Democrats, and they are very united.  So, any splintering of Conservatism—no matter how noble it feels—only ensures Democrat victories.” –

How to Build a Digital Elephant: The GOP’s Biggest Obstacle in 2016 – ‘GOP candidates are facing a mammoth two-pronged problem: 1) the failure of will and lack of funds to field large data-driven get-out-the-vote operations, and; 2) Hillary Clinton’s well funded allies in Silicon Valley, specifically Eric Schmidt and Google.’ 

The Myth of “4 Million Conservative Voters Stayed Home in 2012″ – ‘The missing potential Republican voters are mostly people who have not been regular voters in the recent past, and many of them may not be politically engaged people who think of themselves as conservatives, whether or not their actual beliefs are.’

What Would It Take To Turn Red States Blue?;0.772,NCEW:0.617;0.567,Black:0.057;0.662,Latino:0.421;0.48,A/O:0.307;0.491

The GOP Needs Cities – ‘Unfortunately, there are conservatives who scoff at the idea of winning the trust of city-dwellers. They are the same people who diminished Rubio’s D.C. and Puerto Rico victories, insisting that real conservatism — the kind that “counts,” they say — exists only in the suburbs and rural areas.’

Carly Fiorina: The Rare Republican Whose Bid for President Helped Her Party – ‘She singlehandedly forced liberal media outlets to discuss the Planned Parenthood videos that they had struggled desperately to ignore. How? By telling their story.’

Trump’s America – Charles Murray on our American Values – ‘For its part, mainstream America is fully aware of this condescension and contempt and is understandably irritated by it. American egalitarianism is on its last legs.’ 

New study sheds light on why Republicans won’t call themselves Republican – ‘The perception of former Republican adherents that their party has personally attacked them, continued to present choices as a “lesser of two evils,” select candidates and principles unpalatable to voters to the point where they retain “no hope,” and failed to provide the sense of community that other outlets like talk radio and the Tea Party provide, reveal that ideology takes a back burner to what is essentially a hollow brand for those disaffiliating.’ 


First Amendment

Sorry, Kids, the 1st Amendment Does Protect ‘Hate Speech’ – ‘21% students — and 30% of self-described liberals — agreed with the statement that the 1st Amendment was an “outdated amendment that can no longer be applied in today’s society and should be changed.” Also remarkable was the fact that 35% of respondents agreed that “hate speech is NOT protected under the 1st Amendment.”’

How Free Speech Died on Campus –   


Second Amendment

Guns are not the problem: My story – Kristina Ribali – ‘As a new mom I never really even wanted a gun in my home. That all changed several years ago.’

Firing Lines – 2A Messaging -Felicia Cravens – “Regular, everyday, apolitical people do not give a crap about your Second Amendment rights.  Unless they grew up hunting or around cops or military, they don’t even think about it until something or someone MAKES them think about it.” –

Airport Open Carry Stunt Leads to Predictable Gun Ban Legislation – “When gun rights activists and pro-gun lawmakers have to deal with distracting, grandstanding behavior like Cooley’s, it takes away time we could better spend attempting to pass other pro-gun laws, or dismantle gun control laws already on the books.” – 

The truth about gun deaths: numbers and actual solutions – “When the President went on television after the Oregon college mass shooting he issued a challenge to the media. He asked them to show America the number of gun deaths as compared to the number of terrorism related deaths since the 9/11 attacks.” – 

Phony War on Gun Violence – Charles C. W. Cooke – “If she so wishes, Hillary Clinton can contend theatrically that cosmetically altered rifles are “a danger to law enforcement and to our communities.” But that will not make it true — not even close.” – 

How Many Mass Shootings Are There, Really? 

Why Would Anyone Want a Firearm? – ‘To propose that a government could restrict access to ammunition without gutting the Second Amendment is akin to proposing that a government could ban churches without hollowing out the First. If a free people are to enjoy their liberties without encumbrance, the prerequisite tools must be let well alone.’


Global Warming/Science and Politics

How a Ban on Plastic Bags Can Go Wrong – “But canvas is even more carbon intensive to produce than plastic; studies suggest consumers would need to use a single canvas bag around 130 times before they start achieving any net environmental benefit as compared with a single-use plastic bag. ” –

Is the Science Settled? – Ryan Bickmore – “Those are the stakes: people pushing these Scare Tactics are pushing policies that are dangerous, even fatal.  They can’t be left unchallenged. ” –  

Quote: Chrichton on ‘consensus science’ – ‘I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks.’ 

Do 97% of Climate Scientists Really Agree? –


Religious Liberty 

Ace – Religious Liberty – “A culture without any rough parts, without any Proud Nails that won’t be pounded down, without any Strangeness that people just insist upon because it’s Their Culture, That’s Why, is not a culture at all.” – 

Why Do So Many Liberals Despise Christianity? – “The idea that someone, somewhere might devote her life to an alternative vision of the good — one that clashes in some respects with liberalism’s moral creed — is increasingly intolerable.  That is a betrayal of what’s best in the liberal tradition.” – 

Indiana Shows the Left Has No Concept of Freedom – Robert Tracinski – “The point is not whether you agree about which views are or should be socially acceptable. The point is that this is not a concept of freedom. It’s a regime of state-controlled ideas, softened by an amorphous zone of official tolerance.” – 


Abortion/War on Women/Feminsm – 

Planned Parenthood Undercover Videos – Center for Medical Progress

Fighting Abortion Video Series – The Party of Choice –

Secular Arguments for Life – “This post is not about abortion per se. Rather, I wanted to point out that it is certainly possible (and I might argue more powerful) to make the case for life on purely secular grounds.” –

Ace – Did The “War on Women” Campaign Actually Kinda Work? – “But the Democrats actually did succeed in their primary goal of scaring the bejeesus out of hysterical single women.” –

Judith Grossman: A Mother, a Feminist, Aghast – “The frightening answer is that like the proverbial 800-pound gorilla, the tribunal does pretty much whatever it wants, showing scant regard for fundamental fairness, due process of law, and the well-established rules and procedures that have evolved under the Constitution for citizens’ protection. Who knew that American college students are required to surrender the Bill of Rights at the campus gates?” –

The Truth About Defunding Planned Parenthood and Women’s Access to Health Care – “All women—but especially those facing difficult circumstances—deserve better care for their health and more options than the cold doors of an abortion facility.” –

War on Women 2015 at Think Progress – “But if Democrats can pivot to a pro-women agenda that also talks about the economic struggles women and their families face, can Republicans respond accordingly?” –

The Real Reason Planned Parenthood Trashes OTC Birth Control – “This is not a partisan issue or a pro-life issue. If Planned Parenthood’s behavior is harming women, something should be done about it.” –

Feminist Professor Hit with Title IX Suit – “I wouldn’t be informed about the substance of the complaints until I met with the investigators. Apparently the idea was that they’d tell me the charges, and then, while I was collecting my wits, interrogate me about them. The term “kangaroo court” came to mind.” –  

Carly Fiorina on Abortion Platforms – “Here is what it says: Any abortion, anytime, at any point in a woman’s pregnancy, for any reason, to be paid for by taxpayers. Now, there are Democrats who want to add, ‘to be performed by a non-doctor.’  And this policy has been succinctly summarized by Democrats, such as Barbara Boxer, as ‘it isn’t a life until it leaves the hospital.’” –

Phillip Dick – The Pre Persons -“In the future Dick describes, children are not considered fully human until they have developed the reasoning ability needed to understand basic algebra. Parents can call an abortion truck (much like a dogcatcher) to take younger children to the local abortion center to be euthanized.” –

Be Smart About Sidewalk Counseling Abortion Signs – ‘Rather than just asking women to choose life, offer to be part of the journey.’

Millenials Have Some Surprising Opinions When It Comes To Abortion – ‘If this trend continues where information dissemination about what abortion looks like, and the inner workings of the abortion industry, we may continue to see a steep downward slide of approval for organizations like Planned Parenthood.’

Here’s How Pro-Lifers Can Prove They Aren’t Merely ‘Pro-Birth’ – ‘Pro-lifers are making a critical messaging mistake in the quest to defund the abortion giant by not effectively highlighting the viable alternatives that exist in most markets for health care unrelated to abortion or for those who might consider carrying their pregnancy to term if given the whole picture (including an actual, physical picture of their baby via an ultrasound).’


Economy/ Technology

The All-American iPhone – ‘Imagine that Apple persuaded one of its Chinese manufacturers to open factories in the United States or did that itself. Could it work?’


Poverty, Welfare & Work 


A conservative vision for social justice – Arthur Brooks, AEI –

What works in helping the poor? – Robert Doar, AEI –

What prevents the poor from reaching the middle class? – Megan McArdle, Bloomberg View –

It’s A Trap! – The Refinery 8/5/14 (SNIP) –

Why do people stay on welfare? – The Refinery 7/15/14 (SNIP) –

 How Do You Take Down Poverty? One Toy Block at a Time – AEI


The Work versus Welfare Trade-Off: 2013 – Michael D. Tanner and Charles Hughes – “The current welfare system provides such a high level of benefits that it acts as a disincentive for work. Welfare currently pays more than a minimum-wage job in 35 states, even after accounting for the Earned Income Tax Credit, and in 13 states it pays more than $15 per hour.” –

Check out the full study:

The White Ghetto – Kevin Williamson – “Like its black urban counterparts, the Big White Ghetto suffers from a whole trainload of social problems, but the most significant among them may be adverse selection: Those who have the required work skills, the academic ability, or the simple desperate native enterprising grit to do so get the hell out as fast as they can, and they have been doing that for decades.” –

The Hand Up – Felicia Cravens – “So I’ve been thinking, how do you get from A (a person with low skills and education and also possibly bad habits and poor examples) to B (a person not only capable, but eager to take responsibility for themselves)?” –

Welfare v. Work – Welfare PAYS – Felicia Cravens – “So ask yourself, where are the perverted incentives?  Not on the part of the welfare recipients.  The system that we claim is meant to be “a hand up” is no such thing.” –

Welfailure – Stephen Gluag – “How far does our snark get us? Not very far at all. That’s where I draw the line. I want to win elections, and snark and hate haven’t been working lately.” –

Back in Business – Andrew Peth – “At a heartbreaking time when someone’s greatest desire is to feel needed, leftist politicians instead deem them worthless, dependent, and worthy of only one task:  Voting.  How sickening.” –

Five Factors Impacting Poverty Today – “In light of the available welfare packages, it makes perfect sense that the labor force participation rate for adults ages twenty-five to fifty-four has fallen two percentage points from 2003 to 2013.” –

The Antidote for Income Inequality is Economic Opportunity – Corie Stephens – “The trouble is that lawmakers and pundits often play on people’s very legitimate worries and sympathies. They claim their policies are meant to help the most vulnerable when in reality, the rich are getting richer and the economy stagnates as the government continues to grow. What should concern all of us is not just an income gap, but the fact that politicians are using it as an excuse to expand their own power.” –

CATO: More Evidence of Poverty Traps in the System – “For many low-income workers striving to climb the ladder of prosperity, our welfare system takes away almost all of their incentive to move up from an entry-level job as they do not get to realize almost any of these gains.” – 

James Franco Criticized for Support of McDonald’s – “Franco’s explicitly apolitical op-ed is, apparently, verboten. The only proper way to talk about fast food employment is through the lens of victimhood. If you’re not authoring a treatise on exploitation, your words hold no value.” –

For the Poor – Ryan Bickmore – “If you truly want to help a person, then going through all the red tape and corruption of a large government bureaucracy is not the way to help them. The more personal and local the interaction is the better it will be.” –

Why Government Money Can’t Fix Poverty – “A lack of resources is not our problem. I actually despise that argument. I think it’s a scapegoat.” – 

Why We’re Never Moving Away from Income Inequality – “But here’s the thing: Not everybody has equal market power. The reason for this isn’t merit, or brainpower, or the willingness to work hard, or anything else like that.” – 

Toxic Charity: How to Help Those in Need (Without Turning Them into Beggars) – ‘With all our kindness, our aid, our mission work, people in Haiti are poorer today than they were at the beginning of the compassion boom that began about 40 years ago.’

UNFIT FOR WORK – The startling rise of disability in America – ‘The federal government spends more money each year on cash payments for disabled former workers than it spends on food stamps and welfare combined. Yet people relying on disability payments are often overlooked in discussions of the social safety net.’  

Why I Was Wrong About Welfare Reform

Justice Reform / Asset Forfeiture

Les Mis and Criminal Justice – “If we Americans identify with Jean Valjean, why does our justice system, more than any other in the world, embody the spirit and philosophy of Javert?” – 

CPAC 2014 Panel on Criminal Justice –

The Unthinking “Conservative” Resistance to Criminal Justice Reform – “As fascinating as this discourse into 1970s and 80s pop culture is, it does not substitute for any sort of actual evidence that longer sentences and/or higher incarceration rates lead to reduced crime. It certainly suggests that public perception believes this to be true; that does not equate to it actually being true.” –

Conservative Small Talk – A Guide to Asset Forfeiture – ‘A government entity – like the IRS or a Sheriff’s Department – can seize your cash, your home, your car, or any other assets they like if they suspect that the assets have been used or obtained in the commission of a crime.’

Policing for Profit – Report from Institute for Justice – ‘Civil forfeiture laws pose some of the greatest threats to property rights in the nation today, too often making it easy and lucrative for law enforcement to take and keep property—regardless of the owner’s guilt or innocence.’

These Are Not the Good Guys – Policing in Liberal Cities – ‘Is it really so difficult to believe that there is widespread wrongdoing, and widespread lying about it, among U.S. law-enforcement agencies, particularly those in big, Democrat-run cities infamous for the corruption of their other municipal institutions?’ 

Forfeiture without due process? You bet your civil asset. – ‘People who were not convicted of a crime have their property taken by law enforcement, and many can’t afford a lawyer, or their documentation is delayed, or some minor detail in the paperwork doesn’t please the bureaucratic gods, and suddenly their claim can be dismissed, and their property is no longer their own.’


Outreach –

Republicans Need To Treat Race Like Faith – ‘For many minorities, their race matters to them—they have a racial identity. Effective outreach must account for that identity.’  

The Crisis of Minority Unemployment 

Will I Know Anyone At This Party – NPR This American Life Podcast – 

The Future Of The GOP: Cities And Judicial Engagement – ‘Republicans need to do a better job of resisting the temptation to embolden counterproductive talk show hosts and to overpromise, both of which are harmful in the long-term. It is easier said than done, but many on the right have realized that they must embrace the integrity of their actions if the GOP is to survive and exist as a party based on principles.’

Too Much Stigma, Not Enough Persuasion – ‘Chief among the problems with stigma as a political weapon? It doesn’t work.’

Why I Don’t Relish Leftist Rage – ‘Don’t I want to see them choke on their own rage? Not at all. To give me pleasure, they would have to display a far rarer reaction: heart-felt repentance.’


Videos: Mini-Documentary –




Don’t Touch My Junk! – Felicia Cravens – “Yet, when you talk to people about what liberty looks like for them, when you make it personal, you find point after point of agreement, and that opens the door to more participation.” –

Please Remove Your Shoes – TSA Documentary  

Why The TSA Doesn’t Stop Terrorist Attacks – Adam Ruins Everything

Liberal Media Complex

The American Spectator – They Shoot Cats, Don’t They? – “I laid out the blatant dishonesty. I sent it to 60 Minutes demanding a retraction. I sent it out to a bunch of reporters. And I noted (without mentioning our audiotapes) that Wallace had lied when he said we had refused to cooperate. But no public apology came to match the apology in the private phone call.” –

“Don’t Ever Appear on The Daily Show’ – Megan McArdle – “Your purpose is to look like an idiot on the show, and they have all the tools they need to make sure you fulfill that purpose.” –

Gavin McInnes – The Tyranny of Annecdotes – “No wonder Ralph Nader has a career. If you don’t pay his extortion fees, you’re killing kids. When you have the emotions behind “common sense” on your side, counterintuitive truth is doomed.” –

Basics of Media Bias – Felicia Cravens – “The idea is that by not admitting bias, by hiding it in fact, they are able to push their worldview out to people who are apolitical.  The left narrative gets pushed as a mainstream viewpoint, whereas the opposing viewpoint is sequestered in conservative online ‘ghettos’.” – 

How The Mainstream Media Defames Republicans: The Chris Christie Version – “But after reading the reports of Christie’s supposed outburst it is clear the mainstream media gave more credence to the report that supported the meme that the NJ Governor was a bully, than the version reporting that Christie got on to the train at the last minute not realizing he was on the quiet car, was politely talking on the phone, and wasn’t kicked out but when it was pointed out that he was on the quiet car he moved to a different car where he could talk.” –

How Awful Media Are At Covering Conservatives – “Bush articulated the common conservative understanding that evil exists in the heart of every man and that this human condition isn’t fixed but in fact can be exacerbated by a large centralized government.” –

How To Escape The Age Of Mass Delusion – “American conservatives are by and large clueless about propaganda methods and tactics. And it shows. There are virtually no conservative social psychologists around. You’d think once a liberal social psychologist hits the public over the head with this fact some on the Right would take notice and at least try to get clued in.”

Fox News Makes Trump Look Presidential, Cruz Look Cheap – 

Case Study of Media Bias – ‘In less than 140 characters, Politico put the blame and responsibility entirely on Republicans.’



Andrew Breitbart – Media War – At the Hoover Institute

Left Mindset

Why Bother Understanding the Left? – Leslie Price – “Stop wasting your time arguing with leftists and trying to convince them of anything. Leave that to professional debaters, the people who get paid to argue on TV, the entertainers. They aren’t accomplishing much for the movement, but they are making themselves rich and famous. ” – 

The Trouble With Teaching Rape Law – “About a dozen new teachers of criminal law at multiple institutions have told me that they are not including rape law in their courses, arguing that it’s not worth the risk of complaints of discomfort by students. Even seasoned teachers of criminal law, at law schools across the country, have confided that they are seriously considering dropping rape law and other topics related to sex and gender violence.” –

Lying for the Cause – Victor Davis Hanson – “Two, in the most reductionist sense, there is no downside to lying, if the lie is considered useful for a noble liberal cause.” –

Ten Reasons Why I Am No Longer a Leftist – American Thinker – Thanks to cultural relativism, we were forbidden to object to rampant sexism or the caste system. “Only intolerant oppressors judge others’ cultures.” –

A Brief History of Progressivism – Mises – “What progress is and what reaction is depend very much on where you start and where you want to go. If equality is the goal as many self-described progressives say it is then any progress toward equality should be considered, well, progress.” –

Kurt Schlichter – I Am A Liberal –

Who’s the Real Hobby Lobby Bully? – Megan McArdle – “The interesting question is why people on the other side view ceasing the coercion as itself coercive while arguing that the original law did not, in fact, force anyone to violate their religious beliefs.” –

 ‘I Can Tolerate Anything Except the Outgroup – “Think of Brendan Eich as a member of a tiny religious minority surrounded by people who hate that minority. Suddenly firing him doesn’t seem very noble.” – 

WI and the John Doe Investigations – “They literally lashed out in panic, anger, and you name it to punish people who had voted for Walker, who had raised money for him, who they thought had voted for him. It was the kind of thing that Vladimir Putin does and we all laugh about because that’s what we expect in a tyrannical dictatorship like the Soviet Union or Russia.” – 

Amtrak Derailment Highlights Left’s Theodicy Of Federal Government – “Yes, it’s annoying how some progressives politicize everything. But if it’s understood as a sort of primitive religious reaction to confusion about holy government’s many failures, it at least helps explain why they do it.” – 

My Trigger-Warning Disaster – ‘ I was an activist against sexual violence, supporting survivors on campus, but I was also an educator who believed that learning is about shaking up one’s world and worldview. I didn’t realize that occupying both roles at once would be impossible; failure was inevitable.’

The Actual Pauline Kael Quote—Not As Bad, and Worse [John Podhoretz] 

Why So Many Millennials Are Socialists 

A Confession of Liberal Intolerance

Social Justice Bullies: The Authoritarianism of Millennial Social Justice – ‘One’s words and actions are inextricable from one’s identities. For example: this is not an article, but an article written by a straight, white, middle-class (etc.) male (and for this reason will be discounted by many on account of how my privilege blinds me — more on this later).’

The End of Identity Liberalism – 

In America, a Thousand Little Castros –  ‘As a general rule, the Left refrains from denouncing its own. Movement solidarity is a hallmark of leftism. But this does not fully explain why so many self-proclaimed champions of justice and human rights have ignored, dismissed, or explained away the corruption and murderous oppression of Fidel Castro and other socialist dictators. Something darker is at work.’

DAYS OF RAGE Then and Now – Roots of violence in the left are not so far in the past –  Storify by @hradzka (David Hines)


Liberal Scandals

Grubergate miniseries

Why Benghazi Matters – NR – “Though the substitutionary magic of political theater, the bloodshed in Benghazi became not a blunder by the Obama administration but the fault of its critics.” –

Talking About Benghazi – A Guide – Leslie Price  “At this point, it’s beyond politics – it’s human decency, national security, and a cover-up of terrorism for personal political gain. You can get people’s attention with that.” –


Social Media / Technology / Journalism

A riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma – Peter Ream – “Having information is useless if it is not acted upon.  We have an opportunity to change the tide yet unlike the Allies we apparently don’t have the ability to work together and act on it.” –

Can GOP be Saved from Obsolescence? – “When Anderson then wrote “Republican,” the outburst was immediate and vehement: “Corporate greed.”“Old.”“Middle-aged white men.” “Rich.” “Religious.” “Conservative.” “Hypocritical.” “Military retirees.” “Narrow-minded.” “Rigid.” “Not progressive.” “Polarizing.” “Stuck in their ways.” “Farmers.”” –

The Conservative Journalism Ghetto- Matt Lewis – “This double standard isn’t exclusive to TV talent — or even individual reporters who attempt mid-career leaps from politics to journalism. If you ever see a reference to the Huffington Post next to one about “the conservative blog The Daily Caller,” you’ll know this also applies to entire media outlets.” –

Ace Responds to the Conservative Journalism Ghetto – “So the media always sets up this contest: Between cool reason, expertise, and Science! on one side, and animal political impulses on the other.” –

Jazz Shaw Responds to the Conservative Journalism Ghetto – “They paint a constant picture of the news media as the conservative rage machine and the legitimate news media. In their minds, Rachel Maddow actually is a legitimate news source, but Bill O’Reilly is not. Talking about The Republican War on Women is simply news coverage, but “Religious Liberty” must always be encased in scare quotes.” –

The Old Regime and the Twitter Revolution – ‘The impact of the Internet has been a radical decentralization, the breaking down of gateways and barriers to entry for the transmission of information. But the old imperatives for centralization and control are still there, and they’re trying to reassert themselves.’

Don’t Quit Twitter – ‘Actually, “freedom of expression” starts with “freedom.” It’s right there at the beginning of the phrase. But by recasting it as an issue of “safety,” Twitter de-emphasizes the “freedom” part and sets up a rationale to limit or ban its users in the name of protecting others.’ 

When the Entire Internet Seems to Break at Once – ‘If it seems like there have been more of these sorts of outages lately, it’s because there have.’ 

5 Ways The Media Can Regain The Public Trust – ‘One may have thought that the media would have had the intelligence and decency to reflect on these failures and work to improve them. But without even a moment’s hesitation (there are a few exceptions here and there), the media have picked themselves up and continued down the path that brought them a Trump victory.’

I Helped Create the Milo Trolling Playbook. You Should Stop Playing Right Into It. – ‘You’re worried about “normalizing” their behavior when in fact, that’s the one thing they don’t want to happen. The key tactic of alternative or provocative figures is to leverage the size and platform of their “not-audience” (i.e. their haters in the mainstream) to attract attention and build an actual audience.’


You commit 3 felonies a day –  Kotke – “The volume of federal crimes in recent decades has increased well beyond the statute books and into the morass of the Code of Federal Regulations, handing federal prosecutors an additional trove of vague and exceedingly complex and technical prohibitions to stick on their hapless targets.” –

Police Commandeer Homes, Get Sued – Courthouse News Service – “Henderson police arrested a family for refusing to let officers use their homes as lookouts for a domestic violence investigation of their neighbors, the family claims in court.” –

7 Ways That You (Yes, You) Could End Up On A Terrorist Watch List – ‘While some individuals are surely placed on these watch lists for valid reasons, the murky language of the guidelines suggests that innocent people can get caught up in this web, too, and be subjected to the same possible restrictions on travel and other forms of monitoring.’

Your Vote Isn’t As Private As You Think – ‘”So for example when you disclose people’s recent voting history to others, that’s something that voters are very responsive to. And in the case of prior voting the academic literature has shown that voters are more likely to participate in elections when you disclose or threaten to disclose their electoral participation, presumably because voting is a social norm or a socially desirable activity and they don’t want to be perceived as violating those norms.”‘ 

TITANPOINTE: The NSA’s Spy Hub in New York, Hidden in Plain Sight – ‘It has long been known that AT&T has cooperated with the NSA on surveillance, but few details have emerged about the role of specific facilities in carrying out the top-secret programs.’


Oil and Gas/Fracking

Colorado Oil & Gas Association

spOILed, the Movie – everything you never knew you didn’t know about oil

FracFocus – a site where companies disclose the ingredients used in their fracking fluid

Frack Nation – A Fracking Documentary –


Common Core

Ace on Common Core – “The method that they are offering to avoid rote memorization or the mechanical method of subtraction involving two digit numbers is actuallymore conceptually difficult than the memorization or mechanical “carry-over-the-one” method.” –


Polling/ Election Results

Nate Silver rates the Pollsters – “FiveThirtyEight’s pollster ratings are calculated by analyzing the historical accuracy of each firm’s polls along with its methodology.” –

Maybe Big Data Should Play Smaller Role in Our Politics – Jonah Goldberg – “Big Data is in its infancy, but focus groups, polling and other kinds of market research have been staple tools of political consultants for decades. ” –

How to Speak Geek, Part 1: Descriptives – ‘Entry-level understandings of these things are surprisingly hard to find online. Even the Wikipedia entries for statistical concepts tend to be fairly technical.’ 

Things Poll Apart  – ‘By and large, “In all these cases, polls seem to have understated actual support for right-of-center candidates and parties while coming fairly close to actual percentages for those left of center,” observed Michael Barone, surveying the trends in polling errors in the Wall Street Journal last fall. That’s also a good summation of the problem this year.’

Trump’s comments prompted little notable change in turnout in Hispanic areas – ‘Texas saw little overall change in voter turnout in counties that have a larger percentage of Hispanic adults than the state’s average. That includes the counties along the Texas-Mexico border and three of the state’s biggest counties: Harris, Dallas and Bexar. Turnout in those areas increased by just one percentage point.’

WHY I VOTED FOR TRUMP – ‘What finally decided the question for me was Hillary Clinton’s hostility to the rule of law as exemplified by her behavior and her promise to select Supreme Court justices willing to overturn District of Columbia v. Heller and Citizens United.’

If You Think the Electoral College is a Bad Idea You Don’t Understand the System – ‘Much of the consternation surrounding Trump’s win centers on the fact that, though he crossed the 270 electoral vote threshold needed to secure the presidency, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton actually won the popular vote.’  

Hate Didn’t Elect Donald Trump; People Did – ‘“This is Trump country, Tori,” He said. “These people are desperate, trapped for life in these small towns with no escape. These people are the ones voting for Trump.”’ 

Separation of Powers Is En Vogue Again- Charles C W Cooke – ‘Can it be frustrating to watch your “team” being blocked by the dissenters — especially when it is trying to advance something you care about? Of course it can. But is it worth it? You’re damn straight it is. At least, it’s worth it providing that the system is respected by everybody.’ 

Saving Conservatism From Trump’s GOP – ‘Rather than a conservative party that happens to incorporate cultural grievances, today’s GOP is, in his view, a vehicle for the racial resentment, nationalism, and nostalgia of older white voters.’  

How to recover from the polling disaster of 2016? Look beyond polls. – ‘Some analysts have suggested that “shy Trump voters ” were afraid to admit their true preference to pollsters, but it is not clear why this would cause Trump to dramatically outperform his poll numbers in some swing states but not others, and it doesn’t explain why Republican Senate candidates often outperformed their polls by similar margins.’  

The System Didn’t Work: Populism About Justice, Not Economics

Trump and the American Divide – ‘any liberals consoled themselves that Trump’s victory was the last hurrah of bigoted, Republican white America, soon to be swept away by vast forces beyond its control, such as global migration and the cultural transformation of America into something far from the Founders’ vision.’

Ditching Electoral College would allow California to impose imperial rule on a colonial America – ‘California was 14 points more Democratic than the nation this year, versus 10 points in 2012, 9 points in 2008, 6 points in 2004 and 2000. In the nine elections before that and after California passed New York to become the most populous state in 1963, the average of California’s Democratic and Republican percentages was never more than 5 points off the national figures.’



Students Have ‘Dismaying’ Inability To Tell Fake News From Real, Study Finds – ‘The researchers at Stanford’s Graduate School of Education have spent more than a year evaluating how well students across the country can evaluate online sources of information.’ 

Fake News – ‘At a time of continuing discussion over the role that hyperpartisan websites, fake news and social media play in the divided America of 2016, LibertyWritersNews illustrates how websites can use Facebook to tap into a surging ideology, quickly go from nothing to influencing millions of people and make big profits in the process.’

6 Tips for Identifying Fake News – ‘A lot of people are prone to posting false news from time to time. It isn’t uncommon. Outrageous headlines and celebrity death announcements are always easy clickbait.’

How Fake News Writers Make Money – ‘How much money can you bring in by making stuff up and putting it on the Internet? “I make like $10,000 a month from AdSense,” Paul Horner, a prolific, Facebook-focused fake-news writer told us this week.’

Fake News Warning – This Pizzeria Is Not a Child-Trafficking Site – 

We Tracked Down A Fake-News Creator In The Suburbs. Here’s What We Learned – ‘Coler’s company, Disinfomedia, owns many faux news sites — he won’t say how many. But he says his is one of the biggest fake-news businesses out there, which makes him a sort of godfather of the industry.’

The left’s emerging ‘fake news’ problem – ‘For instance, many incidents in which minorities said they were harassed by Trump supporters in the immediate aftermath of the election were given significant attention by the media and treated with little skepticism. Only after such stories went viral was it revealed that some of the accusers had fabricated tales of abuse. By then, it was too late.’ 

Is Truth Becoming Irrelevant to Conservatives? – ‘But just because the left has ignored and disparaged truth for years is no excuse for the right to do so as well. And unfortunately, truth-free politics seems to be growing exponentially on the right.’

A Finder’s Guide To Facts – ‘Facts have always been hard to separate from falsehoods, and political partisans have always made it harder. It’s better to call this a post-trust era.’


Charts, Stats, & Graphs

Income v. Taxes by Political Math

Chart of the Week: Changes in Extreme Poverty

Gun Homicide Rate Down 49% Since 1993 Peak



Catch the Highlight Clips

Full Episodes of The Refinery


  1. Thank you for this resource

  2. J.d. Bryden says:

    Lots of Kurt Schlichter, Ace Of Spades, Kevin Williamson, and a whole lot more!