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The ferocity and imbecility of an autocratic rule rejecting all legality and in fact basing itself upon complete moral anarchism provokes the no less imbecile and atrocious answer of a purely Utopian revolutionism encompassing destruction by the first mean to hand, in the strange conviction that a fundamental change of hearts must follow the downfall of any given human institutions.br> It is certainly platitudinous to say that in Russia the more things change, the more they stay the same, but that makes it no less true. Mutatis mutandis , Amis is exploring the same issues that Custine and Conrad were in previous centuries, and Amis is no doubt aware of this — House of Meetings features at least seven references to Under Western Eyes or Joseph Conrad.
Amis’s novel, which takes the form of a Russian man in his late eighties writing a letter to his American-born daughter, begins and ends with the assertion that his country is dying. Russia, after all, has a new cross to bear. On the narrator’s computer is the “Russian cross,” “the graph with its two crinkly lines intersecting, one pink, one blue. The birth rate, the death rate.” Here, Amis channels Mark Steyn when he writes that “On the larger scale, destiny is demographics; and demographics is a monster.”p>Our un-named narrator has returned to Russia, from which he emigrated in the 1980s, to see the slave camp in which he was interned in the Forties and Fifties. On the “Gulag Tour,” he boards a river boat (the Georgi Zhukov ) which becomes a metaphor for contemporary Russia:
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?