Bench Memos

Driving Right

Pardon this personal indulgence as I get ready to head out the door on vacation.

It’s always a pleasure to run across Bench Memos readers, all the more so in unexpected situations. As I was wrapping up the purchase of a car on Saturday, the salesman Matt, taking note of my name, asked if I wrote for Bench Memos. It turns out that Matt is a dedicated reader of NRO and Bench Memos. Even better, he’s an Army veteran who served in Iraq—in the same platoon with David French (whose blogging on the Corner I especially enjoy). Thanks for reading, Matt, thanks for being so patient with me on Saturday, and special thanks for your service to our country.

As it happens, when I last went car-shopping—after Superstorm Sandy demolished our minivan—I had a similar experience. In the waiting room of the mechanic’s shop where I was having a used car inspected, I saw a fellow reading, of all things, Russell Kirk’s The Conservative Mind. We struck up a conversation, and I quickly discovered that he was a big fan of the Ethics and Public Policy Center (the think tank I run) and of NRO. Like Matt, he was also a military veteran.

Straining (admittedly) to connect this post to Bench Memos’ substantive portfolio, I’m reminded that driving is a skill that Justice Kagan “has not yet mastered.” I’m certainly not contending that there is any correlation between being a good judge and being a good driver, but I do marvel at the fact that someone like Kagan who has difficulty with the simple task of maneuvering a car shows no humility about her ability to re-engineer society around the latest progressive pieties. (Ditto for Justice Breyer and riding a bicycle.)

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