WASHINGTON — “What you’re seeing is how a civilization commits suicide,” observes Camille Paglia, the learned iconoclast and professor of humanities at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. She made that observation in a lengthy interview with the Wall Street Journal, the highbrow newspaper that proves daily that intelligent journalism in America is neither dead or near bankruptcy as long as it holds to the right values. Miss Paglia was talking about our civilization and I have nothing to add save one caveat. I recall the late 1970s when America was pretty much in a heap, and suddenly along came the oldest president in American history — a president whom his friend William F. Buckley adjudged too old to govern — and that president, Ronald Reagan, won the Cold War, revived the economy, and still managed long naps in the afternoon.
Miss Paglia, America still has enormous restorative powers, and I think 2014 is going to see those powers revive. Yet, for now you are right.