Magazine November 3, 2008, Issue

Shelf Life: Confirm Thy Soul

A man walks through the 9/11 Empty Sky memorial at sunrise across from New York’s Lower Manhattan and One World Trade Center in Jersey City, New Jersey, (Gary Hershorn/Reuters)

In her new book, Patriotic Grace: What It Is and Why We Need It Now (Collins, 192 pp., $19.95), veteran conservative author and Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan diagnoses the malady of America’s political culture in the post-9/11 era. The illness began, she writes, with partisan “teamism” — and subsequently “degenerated” into outright “gangism.”

She summarizes the tone of the decade’s politics as follows: “From the Left: Bush lied, people died. The chimp started the war to pay off his corporate cronies. From the lunatic fringe of the Left: 9/11 was an inside job.” And from the Right: “You don’t support the war? Then

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