The Corner

Impromptus

In Praise of ‘Boring’

Edmund Burke by Joshua Reynolds, c. 1769 (Wikimedia)

My Impromptus today offers the usual smorgasbord: political, social, and artistic. Here on the Corner, I’d like to publish a little mail.

In my podcast last week with Kevin (Williamson), I said that I was growing more conservative, in a Burkean sense. In the past, my radical streak was wider. (Probably we all have a radical streak.) And those Burkean virtues — stability, sobriety, common sense, gradualism, stewardship — were a little boring. Or a lot. Zzzzzz.

But the more you learn about the world, the more you appreciate “boring,” because excitement can be a nasty thing.

A reader writes,

I’m not sure whether I would characterize myself as Burkean, but I know what you mean about the shift from a younger radicalism. I think it all has to do with means and ends. Good ends need good means, or else bad means wind up swallowing even the best of ends. People in politics think they don’t fight dirty enough, and before you know it they come to enjoy the dirtiness in and of itself.

So true.

Our reader continues,

I am finding that I’m more of an institutionalist than I ever was. I mean, how can someone call himself a constitutionalist without believing in institutions? What is the layout of our Constitution except interlocking institutions?

In a column last week, I spoke of legacy admissions. (The issue is not cut-and-dried.) A reader writes,

It is a source of no little pride to me that my family is a four-generation University of Michigan family. My grandfather was the first to attend, going to the medical school, and my parents attended in the post-war years, without graduating. (I came along and my dad needed a job!) Most of my aunts, uncles, and cousins went to the U of M, and my mother drilled into her seven children, “If your diploma does not say ‘University of Michigan,’ you wasted your time and money!” When I failed to gain admission for undergraduate study in 1968, she did not speak to me for a month!

I redeemed myself by getting an MBA from Michigan in 1981, and my son received a BS in nuclear engineering in 2010. Family participation in a university experience can be very meaningful. Such things should not be cast aside lightly!

In that same column, I tipped my hat to Wayne Gretzky, comparing him, in fact, to Mozart. A reader writes,

Nice to see a mention of The Great One, my all-time favorite athlete, in today’s Impromptus. My son, now 23, was (middle) named after him. When I told my Beer League hockey teammates, one of them said, “You’ll never have to worry about Gretzky being caught up in some scandal that will make you regret using the name.” He was so right.

By the way, I could never convince my mom that my son was named after Gretzky instead of her brother Wayne. But my dad knew and approved for reasons relating to both Waynes.

Loved that.

Most Popular

Law & the Courts

The Last Trusted Prosecutor in Washington

John Durham may be the most consequential and least known figure in Washington right now. In May, U.S. attorney general William Barr selected Durham, a longtime prosecutor with a résumé so sterling it nearly glows, to investigate the origins of the special counsel’s probe into Russian interference in the ... Read More
Law & the Courts

The Last Trusted Prosecutor in Washington

John Durham may be the most consequential and least known figure in Washington right now. In May, U.S. attorney general William Barr selected Durham, a longtime prosecutor with a résumé so sterling it nearly glows, to investigate the origins of the special counsel’s probe into Russian interference in the ... Read More
World

WHO Failed

Since its inception 72 years ago almost to the day, the World Health Organization (WHO)  has been credited with the eradication of smallpox and the near eradication of other devastating illnesses, including leprosy and river blindness. This record of success makes the current corruption of the organization ... Read More
World

WHO Failed

Since its inception 72 years ago almost to the day, the World Health Organization (WHO)  has been credited with the eradication of smallpox and the near eradication of other devastating illnesses, including leprosy and river blindness. This record of success makes the current corruption of the organization ... Read More

The Eeyore Syndrome

In A. A. Milne's classic Winne-the-Pooh children’s tales, Eeyore, the old gray donkey, is perennially pessimistic and gloomy. He always expects the worst to happen. Milne understood that Eeyore’s outbursts of depression could at first be salutatory but then become monotonous. The outlook of the pessimist ... Read More

The Eeyore Syndrome

In A. A. Milne's classic Winne-the-Pooh children’s tales, Eeyore, the old gray donkey, is perennially pessimistic and gloomy. He always expects the worst to happen. Milne understood that Eeyore’s outbursts of depression could at first be salutatory but then become monotonous. The outlook of the pessimist ... Read More
World

How to Make China Pay

One of the big questions facing the international community today is how to hold China legally and politically accountable for all its dishonesty and harm to people around the world. According to reports, U.S. intelligence agencies have confirmed to the White House that China has deliberately understated the ... Read More
World

How to Make China Pay

One of the big questions facing the international community today is how to hold China legally and politically accountable for all its dishonesty and harm to people around the world. According to reports, U.S. intelligence agencies have confirmed to the White House that China has deliberately understated the ... Read More

The Trail Leading Back to the Wuhan Labs

It is understandable that many would be wary of the notion that the origin of the coronavirus could be discovered by some documentary filmmaker who used to live in China. Matthew Tye, who creates YouTube videos, contends he has identified the source of the coronavirus — and a great deal of the information that ... Read More

The Trail Leading Back to the Wuhan Labs

It is understandable that many would be wary of the notion that the origin of the coronavirus could be discovered by some documentary filmmaker who used to live in China. Matthew Tye, who creates YouTube videos, contends he has identified the source of the coronavirus — and a great deal of the information that ... Read More
Health Care

The Experts Lied to Us about Masks

When the stakes are highest, the truth counts the most. Or maybe when things get really serious, that’s when the people really can’t be trusted with the truth. It’s pretty clear which of these two ideas is the one that has been guiding elite medical, political, and journalistic institutions, isn’t it? ... Read More
Health Care

The Experts Lied to Us about Masks

When the stakes are highest, the truth counts the most. Or maybe when things get really serious, that’s when the people really can’t be trusted with the truth. It’s pretty clear which of these two ideas is the one that has been guiding elite medical, political, and journalistic institutions, isn’t it? ... Read More