JANUARY GOES poof, poof, and leaves 2012 even further behind. Our Third World president, Mr. Barack Hussein Obama, took his second oath of office privately—almost secretively—on January 20 in a very eerie setting with just the chief justice and a few family members standing alongside his ever-present Secret Service detail. A more public ceremony took place the next day, though the crowd was exiguous by comparison with the vast throng of meatheads that turned out in 2009, and it was subdued. The second ceremony was an occasion for still more threats to prosperous Americans and promises to mulct them still more in the years ahead. By month’s end President Obama was reaping the consequences of his economic fantasies. The unemployment rate inched up to 7.9 percent, and growth actually shrank in the final months of 2012 by 0.1 percent, signaling continued stagnation and quite possibly a return to recession.
Jerry W. Gerde, a board member of this magazine, passed away in January in Panama City, Florida, where he had practiced law for over four decades. I remember Jer for many things—often very hilarious things—but we should all remember him for at least one thing. Without him I doubt there would have been an American Spectator.
It was he who suggested that I join the conservative movement. At Indiana University in the early 1960s, the administration in its innocence made Jer my roommate. We had never met, yet suddenly Jer, a farm boy from an admittedly non-traditional farm family in Crown Point, Indiana, and I, a native of the Chicago suburbs, were thrust together in an all-male dormitory under the relatively harsh disciplinary system of the university. That is relative to today’s standards. There were hours for the co-eds, dress codes for both sexes, all sorts of rules and thus all sorts of opportunities for getting into trouble…and we did, both of us.
It turns out you can deny evolution and get published on the New York Times op-ed page. Dan Slater did just that, in a January piece called “Darwin Was Wrong About Dating.” Slater, author of a book about online dating, set out to debunk one aspect of a subspecialty known as evolutionary psychology, which, among other things, seeks to use Darwinism to explain behavioral differences between men and women.
Evolutionary psychology suggests that differences in sexual behavior, which we tend to understand in moral or cultural terms, are biologically rooted. Since the male makes the lesser investment in reproduction, men are driven to favor quantity over quality. They are especially attracted to youth and beauty because these are signs of fertility. One man can reproduce with many women, so there is no evolutionary need to be selective. The most efficient way to pass on a genetic legacy is to father as many children by as many women as possible.
TIMES ARE TOUGH for Christian communities in the Middle East. They are being slaughtered in Syria, persecuted in Iraq and Iran, bullied in Egypt, and frightened by the rising tide of militant Islam in almost every Arab country.
But there is one exception to this depressing trend. It is a Gulf state where the authorities have allowed Christian churches to double in size and in number; where congregations are growing exponentially with their services protected under national law; where the biggest problems facing church leaders are expanding their buildings, managing their crowds, and finding enough parking spaces for their worshippers. Welcome to the United Arab Emirates, a Muslim country that shines as a beacon of freedom and tolerance for other faiths in an increasingly intolerant region.
As Israel counted votes in its legislative election in January, your humble correspondent joined reporters at an election night event in Tel Aviv hosted by The Israel Project, where politicians and analysts from across the political spectrum either stopped by or (more often) called in to comment on the news. Among the most amusing was Tamar Zandberg of the far-left Meretz party, who urged the centrist and center-left parties to eschew a coalition with the right. She was only repeating a position her party had staked out in the campaign. But it rang especially hollow in light of the evening’s big news: Yesh Atid, a new centrist party founded by erstwhile journalist Yair Lapid, would hold the second largest number of seats in the Knesset after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud, which had merged for this election onto a joint list with the secular nationalist party, Yisrael Beiteinu. Netanyahu will again lead a governing coalition, and while negotiations over its exact shape are ongoing at press time, there’s little doubt that Lapid’s party will join.