Magazine June 8, 2009, Issue

Of Beauty and Loss

Late in 1914 four young Englishmen, just out of school, met and decided it was their mission to reform their country morally, through poetry. The odds of this quixotic enterprise’s success were ludicrously long to begin with, and they soon got worse. Within two years, two of the four were dead in Flanders. The third survived, abandoned the mission, and lived a normal life. The fourth became the most-read English-language poet of the 20th century, and his name was J. R. R. Tolkien.

This assertion would induce apoplexy in many a member of the Modern Language Association. “Most-read poet? What about

Members of the National Review editorial and operational teams are included under the umbrella “NR Staff.”

In This Issue

Articles

Politics & Policy

Trust the Afghan Army

Along the Durand Line, Northeast Afghanistan — The view from the Karir Pass on the Durand Line separating Afghanistan from Pakistan is spectacular. To the west, a river meanders toward ...
Politics & Policy

The Parent Problem

In late March, the Urban League issued its 2009 “State of Black America” report, which declared that “African Americans remain twice as likely as whites to be unemployed, three times ...

Features

Politics & Policy

Dunce Cap-and-Trade

Democrats in the White House and Congress are now making the most serious push ever for legislation to force reductions of U.S. carbon-dioxide emissions. The stated purpose is to reduce ...

Books, Arts & Manners

Politics & Policy

Shelf Life

The problems of mainline Protestantism in our time — the collapse of what used to be called “the Protestant Establishment” — can make for depressing reading, so it helps that ...
Politics & Policy

Waste Watching

There are very few directors in Hollywood — below the Steven Spielberg league, that is — who can make absolutely any film they want. Consider Ron Howard and Steven Soderbergh, ...
The Straggler

Office Manners

The question going round the dinner table was: Do you have any secret pleasures of a mentionable kind? The subsequent confessions displayed various degrees of weirdness: the lady who sings ...
Politics & Policy

Of Beauty and Loss

Late in 1914 four young Englishmen, just out of school, met and decided it was their mission to reform their country morally, through poetry. The odds of this quixotic enterprise’s ...
Politics & Policy

The Hot Seat

This brisk history of the Supreme Court’s constitutional decisions contains much that is admirable and interesting. Nevertheless, the main lesson advanced by the book has been commonplace at least since ...

Sections

The Long View

Ask Nancy Pelosi

The Speaker of the House responds to your questions. Dear Nancy: I’m a long-time reader, first-time writer. I’ve loved your work in the House of Representatives and have been reading your column ...
Politics & Policy

Postcard From Hubbard Hall

The actresses here fit their parts. Mother, daughter, student, nurse. This play concerns a farm In decline. The barn roof collapses. Chickens die, mysteriously. Gwen plays a concerned daughter. The farmer’s daughter: You know all the jokes. I want to act the traveling salesman, driving, ...
Happy Warrior

Raw Deal

Well, the Speaker has resigned. No, not Nancy Pelosi, but Michael Martin, Speaker of the House of Commons at Westminster. It’s seven-and-a-half centuries since Sir Peter de Montfort served as ...
Politics & Policy

Letters

For the Birds In the picture accompanying Richard Brookhiser’s most recent column (“Bright Wings,” May 25), the bird identified as a phoebe is a phoebe. The bird identified as a crow, ...
Politics & Policy

The Week

‐ This vice-president, by nature, cannot be in an undisclosed location. ‐ Dick Cheney is the madwoman in the attic, the crazy voice that Republicans ought to stifle. So says the ...

Most Popular

Media

The Attacks on Judge Barrett Have Already Started

Some left-wingers aren’t waiting for Judge Amy Barrett to be nominated to the Supreme Court to start attacking her. The attacks over the last few days have been steeped in anti-Catholicism, other types of bigotry, and lazy error. A headline at the left-wing website Refinery29 called her “the Potential RBG ... Read More
Media

The Attacks on Judge Barrett Have Already Started

Some left-wingers aren’t waiting for Judge Amy Barrett to be nominated to the Supreme Court to start attacking her. The attacks over the last few days have been steeped in anti-Catholicism, other types of bigotry, and lazy error. A headline at the left-wing website Refinery29 called her “the Potential RBG ... Read More

Andrew Cuomo’s Horrific Decisions

Observers of New York politics over the past several years understand that Governor Andrew Cuomo’s fanatical obsession with humiliating and overruling his fellow Democrat Bill de Blasio towers over every other consideration in the Empire State. Sometimes Cuomo’s habits come across as merely silly, as when he ... Read More

Andrew Cuomo’s Horrific Decisions

Observers of New York politics over the past several years understand that Governor Andrew Cuomo’s fanatical obsession with humiliating and overruling his fellow Democrat Bill de Blasio towers over every other consideration in the Empire State. Sometimes Cuomo’s habits come across as merely silly, as when he ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Rules Matter

On the menu today: One of Robert Mueller’s lieutenants now writes that the former FBI director failed to subpoena the president and otherwise “pulled punches for fear of incurring Trump’s wrath”; the importance of rules, and how political figures who refuse to apply a consistent standard make governing ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Rules Matter

On the menu today: One of Robert Mueller’s lieutenants now writes that the former FBI director failed to subpoena the president and otherwise “pulled punches for fear of incurring Trump’s wrath”; the importance of rules, and how political figures who refuse to apply a consistent standard make governing ... Read More
U.S.

Systemic Racism? Make Them Prove It.

I  worked in the criminal-justice system for a quarter century. It is run, day-to-day, by the crème de la crème of graduates from America’s top law schools. Those institutions wear their progressive bona fides on their sleeves and proclaim it for all the world to hear. In their offhand rhetoric — ... Read More
U.S.

Systemic Racism? Make Them Prove It.

I  worked in the criminal-justice system for a quarter century. It is run, day-to-day, by the crème de la crème of graduates from America’s top law schools. Those institutions wear their progressive bona fides on their sleeves and proclaim it for all the world to hear. In their offhand rhetoric — ... Read More
Law & the Courts

The Left Wants Regime Change

Constitutional revolution is going mainstream. After delivering lectures about political norms for the entirety of the Trump era -- often with good cause -- much of the Left is now threatening to kneecap an important institution of American government on a partisan vote in an act of ideological ... Read More
Law & the Courts

The Left Wants Regime Change

Constitutional revolution is going mainstream. After delivering lectures about political norms for the entirety of the Trump era -- often with good cause -- much of the Left is now threatening to kneecap an important institution of American government on a partisan vote in an act of ideological ... Read More