Politics & Policy

Time‘s Up

It's all about you? Or them?

Steven F. Hayward is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, and the author of The Age of Reagan: The Fall of the Old Liberal Order, 1964-1980. He is presently at work on a second volume, The Age of Reagan: Lion at the Gate, 1980-1989, from which this article is adapted.

Clifford D. May

Naming “Everyone” Man of the Year is not just copping out: It’s jumping the shark. It’s the sort of muddy thinking that impels teachers to say all students are “special.” It’s the basis for what may be Garrison Keillor’s only funny joke: In Lake Woebegone all the children are above average.

As for who should be Man of the Year, I say it’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Remember: The designation does not necessarily go to someone admirable. It goes to the individual who “for better or worse, has most influenced events in the preceding year” and, one presumes, may influence events in the years ahead.

Hitler received “the honor” in 1938 because, Time said, his “figure strode over Europe with all the swagger of a conqueror.” Ahmadinejad certainly has been striding and swaggering conqueror-like over the Middle East this year.

Even more to the point: Ayatollah Khomeini was Man of the Year in 1979. Time called him an “improbable” leader. He doesn’t seem quite so unlikely now, does he?

Ahmadinejad is Khomeini’s disciple. And like Hitler in 1938 he is sending us a warning to which we are not adequately responding. He is telling us that Khomeini’s Islamist Revolution has not mellowed; it has not drifted from radicalism to can’t-we-all-get-along moderation despite the ardent wishes of so many “experts” in the academy and the State Department.

For more than a quarter century, Iran’s Islamo-Fascists have been shouting “Death to America!” and actually killing Americans with some regularity and complete impunity. Ahmadinejad denies the 20th-century Holocaust while threatening a 21st-century Holocaust. He imagines “a world without America.” To achieve these ends, Ahmadinejad & Associates have billions of dollars worth of oil and soon, if we don’t stop him, both nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them.

Ahamdinejad means business. He deserves to be taken seriously. He wins my vote.

Clifford D. May, a former New York Times foreign correspondent, is the president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a policy institute focusing on terrorism.

John J. Pitney Jr.

The Internet is extremely important, but not quite as revolutionary as Time suggests. To a large extent, “You” media are echoes of “They” media. Very few bloggers do any original reporting: most of their work consists of commentary on material from the mainstream press. YouTube does allow individuals to upload their own videos, and the “macaca” incident shows the power of one college student with a camera. But many YouTube videos are just clips from television networks.

For substance instead of hype, my Woman of the Year is Virginia Postrel, former editor of Reason and author of The Future and Its Enemies. On March 4, she donated a kidney to Dr. Sally Satel, a voice of sanity in the field of health policy. In doing so, she helped a leading scholar get on with her life and work, and she drew attention to a critical problem: the limited availability of organs for transplant. Most important, she did a wonderful act of human kindness.

– John J. Pitney Jr. is Roy P. Crocker Professor of American Politics at Claremont McKenna College.

James S. Robbins

Why anyone would care who the editors of Time think is important is beyond me. Their Man/Person/Concept/Whatever of the Year is just a gimmick to sell magazines, always has been, since its inception as a means of boosting circulation during the slow end-of-year period. This year they punted most shamelessly, more so than when they honored “25 and under” (1966), “The Middle Americans” (1969), “American Women” (1975), or “The Computer” (1982). And they overlooked the clear favorite in Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who could stand beside past selectees as Adolf Hitler (1938), Joseph Stalin (1939 and 1942), and previous Iranian heavyweights Mohammed Mossadegh (1951) and Ayatollah Khomeini (1979). At any rate, congratulations to you, to all of you, whoever you are or whatever you did. You earned it.

James S. Robbins is senior fellow in national-security affairs at the American Foreign Policy Council, a trustee for the Leaders for Liberty Foundation, and author of Last in Their Class: Custer, Picket and the Goats of West Point. Robbins is also an NRO contributor.

Lisa Schiffren

As a rule, if Time is for it I am against it, including most of their annual Man of the Year choices. But 2006 was a year when leaders across the culture/planet failed to distinguish themselves in thought or action. So maybe Time’s choice of YOU! — As Revealed by Your Online Activity — makes sense.

Indeed, Time’s implicit acknowledgements should warm the hearts of remaining Reaganite conservatives: Time has affirmed the intelligence and creativity of tens of millions of run of the mill Americans. Given access to information, (the web) mere citizens can analyze data, make complex decisions, and even be quite creative, (and therefore need much less of a nanny state….). Given a venue –blogs — citizens are eager to join the conversation of our time, often more intelligently than the mainstream media’s spokesmen. (Though let us not minimize the amount of vulgarity, petulance, exhibitionism, and crass solicitation produced by our neighbors as well.)

While I cheer all that their choice implies, I would have given the award to pundit and author Mark Steyn for his round the clock, clear, tragic, yet hysterically funny, warning that population is destiny, and our enemies are outbreeding the West pretty irrevocably. If the death of Western Civ is to be avoided, we will have to get serious about reviving those pillars of culture — faith, freedom, and the will to survive that cause people to have babies and to fight for their way of life.

In 2007 I would like to see George Bush exert force of character and the power of his office to turn the tide against Islamofascism in Iraq and around the world. We can all complain when Time doesn’t choose him.

– Lisa Schiffren is a writer in New York.

NR SymposiumNational Review symposia are discussions featuring contributors to and friends of the magazine.

Recommended

The Latest