The Nation's Pulse
My name is Upton, and I’m a prohibitionist.” Muckraking novelist Upton Sinclair had hoped to do to drink in The Wet Parade what he had done to food in The Jungle. “Maggie May had the overwhelming impulse to save other people from the consequences of their ignorance and folly,” Sinclair writes of the book’s crusading heroine. “She was sure that they were wrong, and that she was right, and so was entirely unchecked by fears as to their ‘personal liberty.’”
Alcohol’s a helluva drug, even (especially?) for those who don’t imbibe.
Rather than spoil the public’s unquenchable thirst for intoxicating drink, The Wet Parade un-whetted their appetite for Upton Sinclair. Henry Luce’s Time ridiculed the prohibitionist novel as a “sloppy tract.” The socialist scribe wasn’t just wrong; he was late. By The Wet Parade’s 1931 publication date, prohibition was a progressive cause better left in the past if progressives desired a political future.
AMERICA'S DEFENSE AND intelligence communities have gotten into a bad habit of late. We’ve been trusting some of the most untrustworthy people with our nation’s most closely guarded secrets.
We’re not talking about real spies, recruited to betray their country, trained in their tradecraft, successful at hiding within our system for years. Edward Snowden isn’t Aldrich Ames or John Walker. He was a low-level functionary who nevertheless managed to steal and reveal massive amounts of secret information. His leaks caused enormous damage to national security, unveiling in great detail some of the methods and means by which the National Security Agency gathers intelligence.
Random thoughts on the passing scene: Many people take pride in defying the conventions of society. Those conventions of society are also known as civilization. Defying them wholesale means going back to barbarism. Barbarians with electronic devices are still barbarians.
After the government shutdown crisis, the one thing that Congressional Democrats and Republicans finally agreed on was to kick the can down the road a few more months, so that we can go through all this again -- and perhaps again after that.
One of the best peace speeches I ever read was one delivered back in the 1930s -- by Adolf Hitler! He knew that peace speeches would keep the Western democracies from matching his military buildup with their own, or attacking him to prevent his buildup from continuing. Peace speeches by Iran today serve the same purpose of buying time -- until they can create a nuclear bomb.
President Obama really has a way with words, such as calling the problems that millions of people have had trying to sign up for ObamaCare "glitches." When the Titanic sank, was that a "glitch"?
It was named the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and that, right from the start, was, and is, is a double-barreled falsehood. To set the record straight, we can call this worm-infested rose by its proper name — the Patient Be Damned and let Premiums Rip Act.
Since the official roll-out of the new law on Oct. 1, millions of people have lost their existing health care plans — and many or even most of those people are stumbling around in a state of shock, having discovered the sky-high replacement costs on the new insurance exchanges.
The worst is yet to come. As the so-called employer mandates goes into effect in 2014, it will force employers (providing coverage to no fewer than 156 million Americans) to choose between two poisons: They can modify their health care plans to comply with the onerous and often absurd requirements of the law; or they can pay heavy fines for opting out and leaving their employees to find their own way on the insurance exchanges.
Human Exceptionalism, the belief that humans hold a unique status in the order of creation, has been the cornerstone of Western civilization.
This understanding of human life is attested to in Genesis, the first book of the Bible. And, as some rabbis contend, after it, the rest of scripture is merely dicta.
Science divides being into three categories, mineral, vegetable, and animal. At the top of the list in the last category is man. He is described as a rational animal. This makes humans unique and different from the brutes.
I must admit I was getting sick of all the Kennedy nostalgia before it even started. Clintons and Obamas huddled around the eternal flame trying to claim the cult of the Kennedys. And then National Review countering this with a cover story before the day even arrived.
Then yesterday it hit me. November 22 would fall on Friday. Friday, November 22nd. Who could forget? I was walking across the campus around noon at the beginning of my senior year when a guy named Roger Pitman shouted to me across the quad. “Did you hear Kennedy’s been shot? It was just on the radio.”
I rushed back to my dorm — a new “social dorm” where girls would be allowed to visit on weekends for the first time — and turned on the radio. Sure enough, the President had been gunned down while riding in an open car in Dallas. They had taken him to the hospital. It didn’t look very hopeful.
Then my roommate came in. He was a very bright, cynical kid from Long Island who had been enlightening me in the ways and means of radical left-wing politics all fall. I hadn’t quite gotten used to him yet.