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Donald Devine

TFAS Grewcock Senior Scholar

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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 ten books, including his most recent “The Enduring Tension: Capitalism and the Moral Order.” 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

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Biden’s ‘Debt Doesn’t Matter’ Theory Guarantees Economic Crisis

So Joe Biden is now president. With the stock markets hitting new highs and mortgage rates new lows every other day, what could possibly go wrong? Multiple trillions in additional government spending to “stimulate” the economy should eliminate any remaining doubts about a vigorous economy for the future, right? A new COVID-19 pandemic policy will now be based on sound, expert-devised, “comprehensive” scientific rules for all Americans rather than decentralizing to states and localities, with government welfare for the many who will lose their jobs and businesses from the shutdowns.

Stop Calling Trump’s Election Challenge Supporters Hypocrites

It’s been a tough year for conservative intellectuals. Of course, there was the usual — being disinvited from university faculties and speaking engagements, being ignored as possible media expert writers and TV guests, and not getting any fancy biographies from Hollywood, Netflix, or even C-SPAN. When was the last time anyone remembered a serious right-leaning author on NPR Books?

A Time for Healing — or for a Very Civil Disobedience?

As one who “seeks not to divide, but to unify,” Joe Biden intoned, “It’s time to put away the harsh rhetoric, to lower the temperature, to see each other again, to listen to each other again. To make progress, we must stop treating our opponents as our enemy.” It is, he said, “a time to heal.”

Why Would Media Frighten People About a Virus?

Every morning we are greeted by blaring headline news telling us how many more of our neighbors have been infected by the “life-threatening” coronavirus, with the total now nearing eight million stricken Americans. CNN’s Wolf Blitzer was typical: “Everyone should be afraid of COVID.” Blitzer was reacting to President Donald Trump’s statement upon leaving the hospital after testing positive for the virus: “Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life.”

Who Is Opposed to What Free Market Capitalism?

Free market capitalism is under siege from the Right these days, perhaps more even than by the Left. Not to pick on any one in particular, but consider David Azerrad. He writes against even using the term “conservative” after years as a conservative think-tank theorist and now prefers the amorphous concept Right because today’s free marketers “actively side with our enemies” by supporting the “barren” libertarianism of “atomized individuals and global markets.”

Parents Win Against Politicians, Media, and Unions on School Openings

Just last month, New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo was complaining, “If anybody sat here today and told you that they could reopen the schools in September that would be reckless and negligent of that person.” House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi chided President Donald Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos for encouraging school re-openings, insisting that “Going back to school presents the biggest risk for the spread of the coronavirus. They ignore science and they ignore governance in order to make this happen.” Then a few days ago, all of a sudden Cuomo encouraged counties to open their schools. Can even Pelosi be very far behind? What happened over those few short weeks?

Is Natural Law Sufficient to Defend the Founding?

As the title suggests Robert R. Reilly’s new book America on Trial: A Defense of the Founding is an explication of the American experiment and the beliefs that supported it, leavened by a deep concern that those ideals are now so under attack that their survival is seriously in doubt.

Explaining America’s Dominant Religion and Cultural Power

Conservatives mostly consider the modern progressive a-wokening as irreligious, even immoral and atheistic. But the other side more than returns the compliment, believing conservatives morally and socially bigoted and corrupt. As the great historian Eric Voegelin tried to tell us long ago, all political movements are religious at bottom. The Left’s is just a secular version.

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.