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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, The Imaginative Conservative 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 nine 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



Executive Orders, Deregulation, and Bureaucratic Response

Ever since President Donald Trump issued his May Executive Order “Regulatory Relief to Support Economic Recovery,” the permanent-government’s hometown Washington Post headlines and pages have been dominated by warnings about this threat to bureaucratic rule.

Understanding Genes, Decadence, and the Decline of Empires

Everyone on the right seems to have a fixation on human nature these days. At the very top of the social conservative hierarchy at The New York Times, Ross Douthat proclaims the United States absolutely decadent, while near the libertarian pinnacle at the American Enterprise Institute, Charles Murray finds us fundamentally ignorant about our very humanity.

Big Government in the Post-Coronavirus Political World

The government’s Washington Post command center recently used its powerful front page to announce that big government was back. Post chief political correspondent Dan Balz explained that the coronavirus crisis has changed everything. “The role of government has changed overnight.” It represents the “biggest expansion of government authority in generations,” a transformation supported by both political parties.

Trump’s Kiplingesque Coronavirus Leadership

For the past three years, progressive intellectuals and media have depicted President Donald Trump as that tyrant even with little evidence after multiple investigations by his opponents and by the government itself. Yet, when the coronavirus struck, these same critics derided him for the opposite — for not exercising absolute control over the country’s private institutions and local governments. They demanded a single national solution to regulate everyone.

Impeachment, the End of an Era, and the Conservative Challenge

It is difficult to know when an era has ended. The events dominating the news today—presidential impeachment, deep state subversion of secret surveillance courts, confused and prolonged wars, out-of-control debt and government spending, and a radicalized educational and media culture—suggest something quite profound is threatening American governance. But it is not so clear precisely what.

Pandemic Science, Media Panic, and Political Response

There has been no condemnation more critical, more widespread, and more sustained than the mainstream media’s assault on President Donald Trump’s comparison of the coronavirus pandemic to the seasonal flu, citing 2018 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) fatalities data. The CDC has now issued fatality estimates for the 2019–20 flu season as between 24,000 and 62,000 deaths, about the same as the numbers the president used earlier. How about coronavirus estimates? CDC uses the University of Washington model, among others, which reduced (for the fourth time) its estimate from 80,000 fatalities to between 28,000 and 39,000 coronavirus deaths. So was the scientific community, the mainstream media, or the poor, harassed president right?

Building American Institutions During a Cultural Crisis

The American Enterprise Institute’s director of social and cultural studies is among the most serious intellectuals on the Right today. Still, Yuval Levin has set a very high bar for himself in his new book, A Time to Build: From Family and Community, to Congress and the Campus, How Recommitting to Our Institutions Can Revive the American Dream.

The Methodist Split: Who Proposed It And Who Should Bear The Burden

The announcement at the start of this year was dramatic. Liberal and conservative leaders within the United Methodist Church had agreed to split the denomination in two over the issue of same-sex marriage. Their proposal, which would enforce the agreement on the whole church internationally, will be presented to the worldwide General Council in May

No Bureaucratic Drainage in the Washington Swamp

Even critics of the deep state were shocked when Inspector General Michael Horowitz submitted his Report investigating the FBI, the U.S. Government’s most iconic bureaucracy. And the corresponding statements by Attorney General William Barr and U.S. Attorney John Durham promised that when the final facts were disclosed, the damage to Washington’s bureaucratic reputation would be even greater.

Why Americans Fear Trial by Jury

Everyone on both left and right these days is demanding rights—but not the earliest and most important one, the historic right to trial by a jury of one’s peers. Today, over 90 percent of American defendants waive that right in favor of a prosecutor’s proposed plea bargain, because, as Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz notes in his new book Guilt by Association, they are warned that the penalty at the trial stage will be excessively higher.