Two Things We Don’t Need

by Richard Brookhiser

1. Talk of Civil War. I agreed with everything in Dennis Prager’s piece except his title. It does not make it better to try to call it a “non-violent” civil war, because there is no such thing. They are called wars because they are violent, and they happen when your neighbor is so bad that you must kill him, because he is trying to kill you.

2. Talk of Doom. We are all doomed in the sense of Psalm 90, “The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.” To drag doom into politics is almost always attitudinizing, worse when something bad has actually happened, because it substitutes preening for thought. I spent a quarter of a book dealing with the doom and gloom of Henry Adams, and at least he was a genius. Get to work.