"But war, in a good cause, is not the greatest evil which a nation can suffer. War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing worth a war, is worse. When a people are used as mere human instruments for firing cannon or thrusting bayonets, in the service and for the selfish purposes of a master, such war degrades a people. A war to protect other human beings against tyrannical injustice – a war to give victory to their own ideas of right and good, and which is their own war, carried on for an honest purpose by their free choice – is often the means of their regeneration. A man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for, nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself. As long as justice and injustice have not terminated their ever-renewing fight for ascendancy in the affairs of mankind, human beings must be willing, when need is, to do battle for the one against the other."

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The sky? Still there.

Today, Americans woke up and discovered that . . . the world had not ended. Wall Street did not go supernova (or, to be more astronomically accurate, collapse into a black hole). The global economy was not plunged back into medieval mercantilism. The Dow is up 260 points right now, with other indexes like the NASDAQ and S & P up as well. Overseas markets bounced up and down but did not enter a death spiral. And the dollar is up against the euro. To paraphase Mark Twain, rumors of capitalism's death have been greatly exaggerated. President Bush and congressional leaders have vowed to press forward with some kind, any kind of action; but I am cautiously optimistic that we may, at the end of the day, get through this without more of their 'help'.

On a different - and sadder - note, one of my favorite authors and commentators, P.J. O'Rourke, has been diagnosed with (his words) "ass cancer". It's apparently quite treatable, so P.J. will be be able to regale us with his wit and insight for years to come. He displays both here with signature style. P.J. has long demonstrated that conservativism has a highly refined and self-deprecating sense of humor, and in using humor makes his points far more effectively. Conservatives could do themselves a favor by putting all their Ann Coulters and Sean Hannitys on a spaceship and launching it into the sun and allowing only P.J.'s works in local bookstores.

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