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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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The Cause of Unemployment: The Utter Failure of the Welfare State And the Way Back to Honest Work

It all seemed to make sense. Americans were hard workers, but jobs were scarce. So the 1930s Great Depression’s severe unemployment levels seemed the time for the national government to create a New Deal of welfare programs to assist those in need. Three decades later the U.S. waged a “War on Poverty” committed to ending deprivation and moving all into work and middle-class status. And today President Joe Biden wants trillions more to complete the promise.

Conservativism’s John Locke Debate: Strauss Utilitarian, Christian Humanist, or Just Confused?

lmost everyone in the intellectual debate over the future of American conservatism these days seems to recognize that the 17th-century English philosopher John Locke is key to its resolution. At one time, Locke was the unquestioned inspiration for the ideals behind America’s Declaration of Independence, supporting both its justifying “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.” Late 19th- and early 20th-century progressivism changed the thinking on Locke radically, finding him to confuse nature and God. But it was not until a very important 1953 book titled Natural Right and History by the modern philosopher Leo Strauss that Locke’s whole moral position was seriously challenged.

Is Conservative Fusionism Dead or Simply Confronting Changing Times?

I was lucky enough to see the beginnings of modern American conservatism in New York after a visit to my university by the new movement’s prime mover William F. Buckley Jr. — and a bit later by becoming mesmerized by his National Review literary editor Frank S. Meyer, who became the principal promoter of what came to be called the philosophy of conservative fusionism.

The Legacy of Slavery is Not Simply Black and White

It would seem impossible for Yale University’s Henry Louis Gates Jr. to surpass his The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross explaining U.S. slavery but he approaches doing so in his documentary The Black Church about the institution created by slaves to persevere through servitude and serfdom—and provide the hope and determination necessary to become free.

Media Downplay Civilian Control of Military to Punish Trump

The Washington Post has a problem. How should it handle one of its most important leakers of inside government information — a person it exposed — considering that its treatment of him might discourage future leaks from other high-level government officials?

The Bloated Bureaucratic Failure of Afghanistan

My first real experience with government bureaucracy was 60 years ago when I joined the U.S. Army Reserve. We were hustled into a room at old Fort Dix to be given our uniforms. Half of the troops were handed decade-old Korean War combat boots.

Working-From-Home Bureaucracy

How the mighty expert civil service has fallen. Today, branded bureaucrats hardly come to the office, and when they do, they are masked and isolated within the great corridors of their cavernous Soviet-inspired concrete mausoleums.

A Conservative Plan to Replace the Progressive Welfare State in 2024

President Joe Biden’s reckless trillions of dollars in spending and woke-socialist policies are preparing the way for a great conservative revival in the 2022 and 2024 elections. The problem is that conservatives are not thinking boldly enough to take advantage of the opportunity.

Biden Stagflation Presents Historic Opportunity for Conservative Restoration

Journalist David Marcus presents an insightful picture of today’s divided conservative movement that cannot be ignored by serious thinkers on the right, especially those who identify with Ronald Reagan, William F. Buckley Jr., and the modern conservatism they proclaimed.

The Problem With Biden’s Spending Extravaganzas: They Just Won’t Work

Many on the political right have sworn off mainstream media, even avoiding the more centrist practitioners of the genre. But cancel culture is self-destructive for the Right as well as the Left and should be confronted, even if only to keep one’s own perspective fresh. So it’s worth addressing Washington Post columnist and former George W. Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson’s recent writing expressing support of President Biden and criticism of former President Trump and his supporters.