The Corner

That Brooks Column

If I remember correctly, David Frum remarked at the end of his book on the Seventies that America by the late 1990s was a ‘newly cautious’ society, not a ‘remoralized’ one. I think that Brooks is closer to the truth here: whatever the reasons people have adopted more conservative lifestyles (to use a debatable shorthand), the habit of acting virtuously tends to promote virtue. I’m a little less inclined than Brooks (and most conservatives) to judge some societies as more virtuous than others; it may be that Americans have gotten more virtuous in some respects while getting less so in others. Certainly the period during which Americans became less virtuous in the eyes of conservatives–say, the 1950s to the mid-1990s–saw improvements in certain virtues (such as fair dealing with people of different races). Ok, this has now become a ramble. Let me close it off by saying that Brooks has become one of my three favorite conservative columnists who aren’t working for NR or NRO–the other two being Charles Krauthammer and George Will.

Ramesh Ponnuru — Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg View, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

Most Popular

World

EuroTrip

Dear Reader (Especially everyone who got ripped off ordering that giant blimp online), Imagine an alien race that built its civilization on the fact it literally defecated highly refined uranium, or super-intelligent and obedient nano-bots, or simply extremely useful Swiss Army knives. Now imagine one of ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The Rise of the Abortion Cheerleaders

Is abortion a sad and unfortunate reality — regrettable, as we are sometimes told, but often necessary — or is it a breezy nothingburger, completely “normal,” and something to be giddily celebrated like a last-minute NFL touchdown?  For a long time, the abortion lobby has had difficulty deciding. This ... Read More
World

Europe Needs to Grow Up

It was a hot and difficult summer. And Europeans were pained to hear the blunt assessment that the U.S. would not be able to forever sustain NATO without greater investment on their part. The alliance was heading for “collective military irrelevance” and the current state of affairs was “unacceptable,” ... Read More