The Current Crisis

The Current Crisis

Woman of the Year

By 1.2.14

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.

The Current Crisis

Taking Tolerance Too Far

By 12.26.13

WASHINGTON — In a recent and very good book, John L. Allen comes to the judgment that “Christians today indisputably are the most persecuted religious body on the planet,” and he concludes that “the transcendent human rights concern of our time is this rarely noted persecution.” In the affluent and comfortable West we take for granted a tolerance that is not shown Christians in Egypt, Iraq, Nigeria, or Eritrea, much less North Korea.

Yet the war against Christians exists here at home too. It is not as ugly, but it exists and with it Americans have witnessed an amazing reversal in our history. After all, this country was originally a Christian country. It was a refuge for all Christians, and, as the years passed, all Western faiths—eventually all humane faiths. America became a land of religious tolerance. Given the intolerance toward Christianity that we see in America today, possibly it is time for Christians to rethink this tolerance. Possibly, tolerance can go too far.  

The Current Crisis

A Presidential Museum of the Absurd

By 12.18.13

WASHINGTON — It has been a grim Christmas around the White House. Frankly I think President Barack Obama must be wondering why. Has anyone on the White House staff seen him tee off lately? He is really walloping the old ball, and his putting game has improved too. Moreover, he has been taking many not-to-be-forgotten trips on Air Force One, most recently his trip to South Africa to solemnize the expiry of Nelson Mandela, which was only marred by the sign-language interpretations of Mr. Thamsanqa Jantjie. Mr. Jantjie stood to Mr. Obama’s immediate left gesticulating sheer gibberish to the world’s hard-of-hearing, and, oh yes, there was that blot on his police record. It turns out that Mr. Jantjie was arrested for a particularly grisly murder in 2003, but he never served time so it could not have been that bad. He spent something like a year under psychiatric evaluation before embarking on his new career of incomprehensible hand gestures.

The Current Crisis

An American Tragedy

By 12.12.13

WASHINGTON — A superb report in the Wall Street Journal by that inimitable journalist, James Taranto, moves me to reflect on the modern university and things sexual. Mr. Taranto has come across another of those poor saps, a male student as fate would have it, who fell into the clutches of a predatory female student.

The Current Crisis

The Liars Club

By 12.5.13

WASHINGTON—It is now apparent that our President has lied to us. He lied when he crooned soothingly about improving the healthcare of millions of Americans through vast changes in health policy that would actually lower their costs. Those costs are now going up, and they are going up for almost everyone. They will not come down. He lied when he said we could keep our present healthcare policy. Those policies are rapidly disappearing. He lied again when he said we could keep our doctors. He lied when he said his plan would not involve rationing. I could go on, but in sum he is lying about most aspects of the most massive social policy in American history. It is also the greatest disaster in social policy in the history of social policy. President Barack Obama is a rank amateur.

The Current Crisis

A Gentleman’s Answer to President Karzai

By 11.28.13

WASHINGTON—It appears that President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan is acting up again. As if President Barack Obama does not have enough on his hands with and hotspots spreading around the globe, he now has Karzai, the Importunate. The Afghan prima donna is threatening Our President’s role as a wartime president, a role he has not been particularly comfortable in but at least it is popular with some Americans. Now the playing of “Hail to the Chief” may become somewhat subdued all because of Mr. Karzai’s demands. He is refusing to sign a status of forces agreement allowing us to leave U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan after the war, troops that would be used to protect Afghans!