The Atlantic’s December issue evaluates the 100 most influential people in American history. It’s remarkable to me that this kind of magazine gimmick is so often irresistible. The moment I saw it on the newsstand, I picked it up.
Of course lists like this are made to provoke controversy and debate. The most impressive thing to me was seeing Ronald Reagan at #17, higher than I would have expected him to be placed, and more proof that his outsized role in recent American history has become an accepted fact. (It was also a nice bit of poetry to see him sandwiched between Andrew Jackson and Mark Twain). The top 10 for the most part are reasonable and not surprising, though FDR seems a little too high at #4 (more important than James Madison?), Dr. King too high at #8, (way ahead of John Adams, for instance, at a lonely #25); Walt Disney at #26 is beyond absurd; Jackie Robinson (#35) ahead of Frederick Douglas, James Polk, and Robert E. Lee … Elvis Presley (#66) ahead of John Brown, Noah Webster and Enrico Fermi. And so on.
The influence of celebrity is even clearer on the Top Living Influentials list, where Muhammad Ali slots just behind William F. Buckley, and Bob Dylan tops them both. But perhaps the most poetic moment of all is that Bill Clinton is tied at #28 … with Chuck Berry.
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?