Victor Davis Hanson’s “Two Californias” piece today is the best, most eloquent short piece of observational journalism I’ve read for a very long time.
It is in the fine tradition of Cobbett’s Rural Rides, from which I took the following more or less at random:
The farmhouses have long been growing fewer and fewer; the labourers’ houses fewer and fewer; and it is manifest to every man who has eyes to see with, that the villages are regularly wasting away. This is the case all over the parts of the kingdom where the tax-eaters do not haunt. In all the really agricultural villages and parts of the kingdom, there is a shocking decay; a great dilapidation and constant pulling down or falling down of houses. The farmhouses are not so many as they were forty years ago by three-fourths. That is to say, the infernal system of Pitt and his followers has annihilated three parts out of four of the farm houses. The labourers’ houses disappear also. And all the useful people become less numerous.
I only wish Victor would emulate Cobbett and get angry once in a while.