The image of four U.S. marines urinating on the corpses of Afghan fighters is a fitting symbol of American intervention in Central Asia and the Middle East. That picture will live forever in the memories of people in the region, along with the pictures from Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison.
In a recent article on whether one should be optimistic or pessimistic about America’s future, I quoted the former chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts who wrote in Commentary magazine:
I remain optimistic in general terms about the United States.... I am far less confident, however, about the nation’s cultural and intellectual future. There has been a vast dumbing down of our public culture that may be irreversible. There can be no doubt from the many detailed and reliable studies available that Americans now know less, read less, and even read less well than they did a quarter of a century ago.
How does a successful liberal playwright and screenwriter such as David Mamet become a conservative? In a way he probably has always been a conservative but didn’t know it. When you have grown up in a liberal cocoon in which all your friends, teachers, colleagues, and relatives are liberal Democrats, you tend to go along with the flow.
As an industrialist, I’ve taken an interest in President Barack Obama’s insourcing kick which has occurred over the past few weeks, highlighted by his weekly radio and Internet address on January 14 and a speech delivered in the East Room of the White House a few days earlier (I’m certain that he’ll talk about it during this week’s State of the Union Address, too). By "insourcing," the President refers to a reversal of the outsourcing trend by American manufacturers. Some of them, though few in number, are bringing jobs back to the United States.
Imagine that your son has a habit of sprinkling copious amounts of bird seed and setting up impromptu birdbaths in your yard. You then notice that your property is starting to seem like an aviary, and, as beautiful as the birds are, they’re becoming bothersome. So you approach your husband and ask him to remedy the problem. He then promises to build a scarecrow, but doesn’t complete the job.
Throughout the Republican presidential primaries, the candidates have continually expressed ideas that reveal much about how they regard not just themselves, but the nature of America generally and the office of the presidency in particular. There is no better example of this trend than a brief but intense exchange which transpired between Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum during the debate in New Hampshire on January 7.
It’s interesting that liberals accuse traditionalists of wanting to turn back the clock. For they themselves live in 1952. To be precise, where those on the right want to resurrect the virtues of ages past, leftists think that characteristic vices long buried never died. It’s enough to make me want to bang my head against a wall; only, neurological damage has bad effects like uncontrollable drooling and a desire to read The New York Times.
Anyone who has ever been in a Third World country, or even in a slum neighborhood at home, is likely to wonder why there can be such dire poverty among some people, while others are prospering.