Monday Brief

Brief

Sep. 10, 2001

THE FOUNDATION

“The establishment of our institutions forms the most important epoch that history hath recorded. They extend unexampled felicity to the whole body of our fellow-citizens, and are the admiration of other nations. To preserve and hand them down in their utmost purity to the remotest ages will require the existence and practice of virtues and talents equal to those which were displayed in acquiring them. It is ardently hoped and confidently believed that these will not be wanting.” –James Monroe

INSIGHT

“Far better it is to dare mightily things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much because they live in the grey twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.” –Theodore Roosevelt

GOOD NEWS

“…[T]hose who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” (Romans 8:14)

“Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.” (1 Corinthians 13:6)

“A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” (Proverbs 14:30)

“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:10)

“…A people without understanding shall come to ruin.” (Hosea 4:14)

“He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” (Psalm 23:2-3)

“Those who handle the law did not know me.” (Jeremiah 2:8)

ICTUS IMPRIMIS

“What is worst of all is to advocate Christianity, not because it is true, but because it might prove useful…. To justify Christianity because it provides a foundation of morality, instead of showing the necessity of Christian morality from the truth of Christianity, is a very dangerous inversion; and we may reflect that a good deal of the attention of totalitarian states has been devoted with a steadfastness of purpose not always found in democracies, to providing their national life with a foundation of morality – the wrong kind, perhaps, but a good deal more of it. It is not enthusiasm, but dogma, that differentiates a Christian from a pagan society.” –T. S. Eliot

FAMILY

“We are at the edge of a grave, flippant mistake if we discount how easy it may be to undercut conventions long established simply by switching from veneration to mild scoffing; by suggesting that the vow has become implausible because, in the end, no form of marriage is more rightful than another.” –Hadley Arkes

CULTURE

“When asked, ‘If you could be a famous person (for one day), who would you be?’ Close to half of the 9-to-11-year-old girls mentioned either Britney Spears or Christina Aguilera, singers ‘whose images in the media,’ in the survey report’s words, ‘tend to be highly sexualized.’ Along with the Backstreet Boys and ‘N Sync, Spears, 19, and Aguilera, 20, have been the leading lights in the teen-pop boom of the past few years. … Children’s exposure to harmful popular culture is a matter of both supply and demand. Corporate America bears most of the responsibility for the first, parents for the second. Currently, neither is close to meeting their respective obligations. But that doesn’t stop either party from whining about destructive messages poisoning an entire generation of children.” –Brent Bozell

LIBERTY

“Equal protection of law is a human achievement, the product of a thousand-year struggle. Today this extraordinary achievement counts for less than 'gaining a share of the minority vote’ or compensating minorities for discrimination their forebears experienced. When equal protection is lost, it will be lost for everyone.” –Paul Craig Roberts

OPINION IN BRIEF

“Precisely because some great leaders fully understood our malevolent impulses, the Western world has established a set of rules to protect mankind from the unfettered fulfillment of our darkest desires. We call that civilization, and it is a thin veneer atop the explosive forces of human nature, which constantly threaten to destroy it. The rules of civility are not widely accepted, and they require constant vigilance, and not a little brute force, to survive. That is why, in one of the little paradoxes that make the study of history so fascinating, those who talk ‘peace and love’ all the time invariably open the door to war and hate, far more than those who, recognizing our evil inclinations, insist on rigorously imposing virtue.” –Michael Ledeen

EDITORIAL EXEGESIS

“They were popping champagne corks all over Washington on Tuesday, because Phil Gramm announced he won’t seek re-election next year. Taxpayers, on the other hand, may want to indulge in cheaper stuff to drown their sorrows. Few men have made more of a public mark than the three-term Texas Senator…. ‘Remarkably, the things I came to Washington to do are done,’ Mr. Gramm said in announcing his retirement. But none of this happened by accident. It required years of political argument and intellectual conviction by people like Phil Gramm. …Mr. Gramm showed the virtue of conviction in Congress. He had the advantage of not caring what Beltway reporters wrote about him. He also didn’t mind discomfiting his colleagues. These are big pluses in the Senate, a body where one implacable person can usually get something done. He was the first Republican of any prominence to stand up against HillaryCare in 1993. He waged a constant war against federal spending, which really made him unpopular in the Senate. Yet he was also effective as a legislator, breaking the logjam to pass a landmark financial-services deregulation bill in the last Congress. He made himself an expert on both Medicare and Social Security, and free-market reforms for those programs are now part of the mainstream political debate. …Looking back, the lovely irony of Phil Gramm’s career is that this enemy of Big Government proved it is possible to make a difference in government.” –Wall Street Journal

THE GIPPER

“I hope that when you’re my age you’ll be able to say, as I have been able to say: we lived in freedom, we lived lives that were a statement, not an apology.” –Ronald Reagan (1985)

GOVERNMENT

“The idea that every job in this huge, bloated bureaucracy that is the federal government needs to be filled is nonsense. President Bush would do a major service to the Republic and to the taxpayers if he left most of them vacant for the next three years and four months.” –Lyn Nofziger

POLITICAL FUTURES

“As the Pentagon scurries to try to find a replacement for Vieques, it is dismally likely that Bush will concede in hopes of dousing a pestiferous fire – almost any politician would. Let us hope, rather, that the president decides to stand fast against the cranks and their media buddies for the sake of the soldiers, sailors and Marines whose lives could depend in a dangerous future on the intense training that Vieques provides.” –Woody West

FOR THE RECORD

“The per-pupil cost of public schools averages $6,000, compared with $3,100 for private schools. In other words, all else being equal, we could abolish all public schools and the taxes that support them tomorrow, let the market replace them with private schools, and cut the total cost of education by nearly half. Why isn’t this done? The short answer is that there are many people on the payroll of the education bureaucracy who would be unhappy.” –Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.

SELECT READER COMMENTS

“When talking about blanket amnesty, Vincente Fox forgot to mention reimbursement for the astronomical costs of law enforcement, medical services, food, welfare programs, public housing, and educating three million Mexicans who have entered our country illegally – AKA, ‘felony offenders.’”

“There were blacks in the United States who owned slaves – do their descendents have to pay reparations to themselves? My Jewish ancestors were slaves in Egypt. When do I get a check from the Egyptian government? Lets see at 5% interest for 5000 years….”

“In reference to your comment about Econuts being watermelons because they are green on the outside and red on the inside, don’t overlook that watermelon variety that is green on the outside and yellow on the inside.”

The Federalist quotes Ronald Reagan: ‘It’s hard when you’re up to your armpits in alligators to remember you came here to drain the swamp.’ No wonder his successors have made their first priority legislation forbidding the draining swamps, and their second the protection of alligators!”

THE LAST WORD

“Why have the media gone so soft on sharks lately? Why has the shark suddenly become trendy? In seeking answers to these questions, you have to remember that the media used to do pretty much the same thing for Uncle Joe Stalin and Chairman Mao. Whenever ordinary folk think something is evil, journalists take pride in proving the opposite, which they call ‘correcting common stereotypes.’ To which I reply: When you go to the beach, don’t forget to pack your common stereotypes. Franklin Roosevelt could have used a few common stereotypes when he did business with Uncle Joe at the Yalta Conference.” –Joseph Sobran

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