Dispatches from our hero’s private oasis. From Ben’s monthly print Diary.
Hmmm. I slept in my office above the garage this morning. I have gotten into the evil habit of getting up in the middle of the night, reading some upsetting book about Hitler, and then finding that I am too anxious to fall back asleep in my usual bed in my bedroom. The book I am reading now is as good a book of European history as I have ever read. It is Hitler’s Central European Empire by Jean Sedlar. The author, who died recently, was the mother of my dear friend Eric Sedlar, who was married to my other dear friend Tatyana, who died this summer. Too much dying. The book is super smartly written—more than that, supremely brilliantly written, magnificently researched—but tells such sad truths about humans that it disturbs my rest. We humans are made of crooked, hating, hurting wood. “Flawed” is putting it mildly.
Plus, on a more micro level, my usual bed is a total mess. It has stacks of bills, many CDs still unopened, waiting to be played in my ancient compact disc player, many books about how to deal with anxiety, many Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and a big dog.
I found I needed a neater bed at five in the morning, so I packed up my dog and my fat old self, and I walked downstairs, through the dining room, the breakfast room, the kitchen, the laundry room, and then outside along a small (very small) pathway to the stairs to what we call the “Garage Mahal”—my office above the garage.
This all gives the impression that we live in an enormous house. We don’t. It is a normal home and it does not take long to traverse it.
When I get to my office, I am invariably happy. I like being in a room that is NOT littered with my own mess. I put my Mozart piano concertos on my ancient, barely working Discman and go right back to sleep. Usually, I awaken fairly happy.
This morning though, I awakened and started to measure what we as a nation have lost in recent years.
We have lost the freedom to speak in a candid and truthful way. This has happened largely over matters of race. We as a nation are totally right to want to avoid offending men and women because of their race. To use evil names to race-bait our fellow Americans is just an outrage.
But we don’t do anyone a favor if we pretend that all the races in this country are each the same as the others. Yes, of course we all have equal rights under law. That’s mandatory. But it’s a fact that black Americans are in deep trouble in terms of education, unemployment, work experience, family cohesiveness, drug use, and health. We do not do anyone favors by pretending that things are hunky-dory in the black community. They are not, and if we could honestly say that many of the problems of our schools, our prisons, our neighborhoods are closely tied to race, we might be able to at least start to think about them more clearly. It is just plain foolish to ignore people and say we do them a favor by ignoring them.
We really must examine what works for poor black people, in terms of making them more productive citizens, and do more of that. I notice, for example, that the military, by expecting high standards of behavior from people of color, usually gets it. No excuses. Just do it. I wish we could respect all races enough to tell the truth about what we need to do to help them have great lives.
Black people cannot just be swept under the rug. They are people and have feelings and needs and hopes and fears just like everyone else. They deserve respect, especially from the president, who does not give it to them.
I was also thinking about how we cannot tell the truth about science. We all admire study and discipline and the accretion of knowledge. But to pretend that science has all the answers about where life came from or where the laws of physics or motion come from is just fantasy.
We are all supposed to bow down and worship science, even though science changes, can be used for wicked purposes, and is often just plain fraudulent.
The Germans under Hitler were rated as great scientists by many, yet they insisted that science demanded that whole races be exterminated to better mankind. “Science” as practiced by the native peoples of this hemisphere often required human sacrifice. What do we think about that? For decades, science said that babies in the womb were basically the same as bowls of gelatin. Therefore they could be ground up like horse meat and no one would be worse off. Now, we know that babies in the womb can feel pain, enjoy music, behave almost exactly like babies outside the womb. When we kill them, we are killing babies just like the ones so many of us love in our own homes.
If we say that, we are called terrible names. But how far is it from human sacrifice?
Well, I thought about that for a while. Then I went back to sleep yet again. Then I did a few chores, decided it was too cold to swim, and then had some breakfast instead: a toasted bagel.
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.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online