The Corner

Politics & Policy

‘A Generation Away’

Former president Ronald Reagan speaks at the opening of the Reagan Library in Simi, Calif., in 1991. (Gary Cameron/Reuters)

In Impromptus today, I begin with presidential campaigns — specifically, the factor of age in them. I go on to a slew of other topics, in keeping with the nature of the column. See what you think. Chances are, there will be items you like and dislike.

I’d like to publish some mail springing from my Impromptus on Wednesday. In that column, I said,

There are many — left and right — who disparage trade. Fine. They enjoy the blessings of trade regardless. I wish they could be exempt, somehow. I’d like to sentence them to live a year, or two, or more, without trade: in a condition of autarky, or juche, as the North Koreans have it.

I think the experience would increase their appreciation of trade enormously. After a short time, they’d be howling for Smith, Hayek, and Friedman.

A reader writes,

I used to think that, but my experience is that people who get to experience the consequences of their ideas find someone else to blame, and hang on to those ideas like grim death.

Also on Wednesday, I noted this headline: “Halle Berry says she won’t play the role of a transgender man following criticism.” I commented, “Increasingly, people won’t allow actors to . . . act.”

A reader says, “Anyone thinking of casting Halle Berry as anything other than the gorgeous woman that she is must be insane.”

And yet, I thought of a particular opera singer in a particular role, and Googled this review of mine from 2014:

Isabel Leonard was the “girl playing a boy playing a girl” — i.e., the mezzo-soprano in the role of Cherubino. She was rather convincing as a boy, amazingly enough. Frankly, she looked a bit like Alfalfa, from the Little Rascals.

If Isabel Leonard can pull it off . . .

A reader writes,

Jay,

. . . We share a common Michigan background. We are Reaganites. (My first vote in 1984 was for Reagan, whom I first heard about in 1976 when I was in the voting booth with my dad for the Michigan primary. I couldn’t believe my dad was voting for someone other than the All-American from my beloved Michigan Wolverines. He said I would understand one day, and 29 years later I gave my youngest son the middle name “Reagan.”) Mainly, though, we are supporters of liberal democracy, against enemies left and right.

One of my themes in that Wednesday column was that it is important for advocates of liberal democracy to ally with one another, because illiberals, from all directions, are very good at doing so.

Anyway, a theme to be continued (perpetually). As Reagan often said, freedom is always just a generation away from extinction.

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