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Donald Devine

TFAS Grewcock Senior Scholar


Dr. Donald Devine is the Grewcock Senior Scholar at The Fund for American Studies. Devine served as President Ronald Reagan’s civil service director during the president’s first term in office. During that time, the Washington Post labeled him Reagan’s “terrible swift sword of the civil service” for cutting bureaucrats and reducing billions in spending. Today, Devine travels the country teaching Constitutional Leadership Seminars to young people and speaking to groups about reviving the Constitution and saving the marriage between libertarianism and traditionalismHe is also a regular columnist for Newsmax Insiders, The American Spectator and the Library for Law & Liberty.

Before and after his government service, Devine was an academic, teaching 14 years as associate professor of government and politics at the University of Maryland and for a decade as a professor of Western civilization at Bellevue University. He is a columnist and author of eight books, including his most recent “America’s Way Back: Reclaiming Freedom, Tradition and Constitution.” Devine served as an advisor to Reagan from 1976 to 1985, to Sen. Bob Dole from 1988–1996 and to Steve Forbes between 1998–2000.

To learn more about Devine’s lectures and seminars, please visit the links below:

Op-Eds by Dr. Donald Devine



American Political Tribes in the 2018 Election

Everyone knows America is deeply divided, blue and red, for the 2018 election so a new international organization called More in Common has performed a study making it vivid just in time for the midterm election. Merely 53 percent tell More in Common pollsters that they are proud to be Americans. 91 percent of Strong Conservatives do but only 18 percent of Strong Progressives. Pretty much everyone believes in freedom, equality, and free speech but seven in ten say they will only speak freely about race, gender, immigration, and Islam “when I am with people who are like me.”

Book Review: The Virtue of Nationalism

Yoram Hazony’s The Virtue of Nationalism has the great virtue of an easy summary… well, a reasonably easy one. The first sentence presents the author’s thesis that the world is composed of two “antithetical” types of government: universalist empires and free nation-states. There were earlier tribes and some governments that were considered federal, but the former must merge into one or the other category, and federalism must at the end of the day be either overruled by the center or dissolve. Empires “impose a universal political order on mankind.” Nation-states are “bands of brothers” acting as a cooperative “body for the national defense and other large-scale projects.” Otherwise there is anarchy. Empires are bad because they are universal and want everyone to follow their ways. So they use force to control nation-states just desiring to go along in their own good ways.

Bloated Federal Leviathan Stagnates America’s Potential

Tomorrow is the 40th anniversary of the Civil Service Reform Act (CSRA). That reform had died just a few days earlier with the firing of its management CEO Jeff Pon and that power transferred to swamp headquarters at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The OMB coup over the CSRA established Office of Personnel Management (OPM) was made official by appointing OMBs management head as acting director of OPM but retaining her position with swamp headquarters, where a thousand careerists sit adjacent to the White House so they can run the government in their interest — using the president’s name.

We Still Haven’t Learned Uncontrollable Debt’s Painful Lessons

Unemployment is near all-time lows, especially for minorities. Manufacturing production is white-hot and the service sector is close behind. Stocks keep going through the roof. Productivity is the highest in years. Overall, growth is at a vigorous 4.2 percent. Wars are winding down. Life expectancy is up. Infant mortality is falling. Poor President Donald Trump is absolutely flabbergasted that he gets no credit, especially since his loosening of the regulatory burden and tax cuts undoubtedly contributed greatly to the steaming economy. The media would be swooning if this happened under Hillary Clinton. But dangers remain.

The Catholic Priest Abuse Scandal: Getting to the Root Causes

In their American Spectator open letter to the American bishops, Bob Luddy and editor R. Emmett Tyrrell have correctly called the Catholic priest abuse scandal horrific and demanded that the bishops, priests, and administrators who failed to resolve these crimes in their jurisdictions resign or be fired. Apparently Cardinal McCarrick had been disciplined by Pope Benedict but refused to comply and should be first out the door with the other abusers and those covering up, no matter how high it reaches.

Is God Dead… or Is It Nietzsche?

San Diego State University recently announced what it called perhaps the largest ever study of American youth beliefs in which its professors found that today’s is the “least religious generation” in U.S. history.[1] Compared to the late 1970s, 75 percent more 12th graders said religion is “not important at all” in their lives, which the announcement claimed was “part of a larger cultural context” of “rising individualism” that “puts the self first.”

Press Freedom Does Not Grant Right to Dangerously Inflame

When President Donald Trump’s charged that the mainstream media put the "lives of many" at risk with its irresponsible reporting, New York Times Publisher A.G. Sulzberger himself retorted that this rhetoric was "harmful to the country" and actually put journalistic lives at risk. Sulzberger’s claim was backed by Washington Post columnist Rick Noack, using evidence from a study by the European Center for Press and Media Freedom.

Puncturing the Inequality Fact Balloon

It takes a real spoilsport — someone who has twice served as an assistant commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics — to puncture the balloon of those panicking about the supposed crisis of social inequality in the U.S. and the capitalist world. But an extraordinarily impressive analysis published at the CATO Institute by mathematical economist John F. Early does just that.

Illuminating the Intricacies of Swamp Management

It all seemed to begin innocently enough at the most recent Cabinet meeting when President Donald Trump turned to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget for what he called a “little report” about his agency’s ideas on how to fulfill the president’s promise to drain the Washington swamp by restructuring the national government bureaucracy

Making Government Unions More Responsible

For the first time in years, teachers’ unions are winning popular support. West Virginia, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Arizona, and Colorado have held strikes resulting in higher compensation, and the rest of the states’ unions have vowed to follow.