Magazine | July 5, 2010, Issue

Letters

Cuban Racial Demography

Duncan Currie’s article “Spare Not the Stick,” which appears in the June 7 issue, claims that Cuba is “a country that has been majority-black since the 1960s.” In fact, according to the CIA World Factbook, 65 percent of the population is white.

Jonathan Daly

Chicago

Duncan Currie Replies: According to the most widely cited estimate — which comes from the State Department — 62 percent of the island’s population is Afro-Cuban (mixed or black). Ethnologist Carlos Moore, a leading expert on Cuban race relations, believes the actual figure could be as high as 70 percent. As Moore has written, Afro-Cubans were a minority of the population when Fidel Castro first took power in 1959, but the white flight triggered by the imposition of Communist rule soon turned Cuba into a majority-black country. 

Inquisition Inquiries

In his review (“The Light of Reason,” June 7) of Melanie Phillips’s book, “The World Turned Upside Down,” George Weigel asks, “Ought Christians to feel ashamed of the Inquisition?” He answers, “Yes, for using coercive state power to enforce doctrinal claims is always an offense against the God who wishes to be adored by people who are free.”

I would like to ask Mr. Weigel, “By what logic do you believe that people living today ought to feel ashamed of something other people did hundreds of years ago?”

Arnold Knepfer

Corte Madera, Calif.

“Ought Christians to feel ashamed of the Inquisition?” George Weigel asks. “Yes, for using coercive state power to enforce doctrinal claims is always an offense against the God who wishes to be adored by people who are free.” Is that what was offensive about it? I thought the issue was something to do with, oh, burning people at the stake. Don’t worry too much about how that feels, we are effectively told; the real problem is that God wasn’t getting enough good free adoration! Mr. Weigel is to be congratulated for the courage and independence of thought this theological condemnation must have required.

Oscar DeWitt

Oroville, Calif.

George Weigel Replies: As John Paul II reminded us with his calls to cleanse the Church’s conscience in preparation for the Great Jubilee of 2000, Catholicism exists as a community extended over time, such that it’s entirely proper, and indeed imperative, for the Church to seek God’s pardon for the times in the past when its children have sinned — and even more so when actions contrary to Gospel truths were taken in the name of proclaiming or defending the Gospel. That includes remanding those considered heretics over to what used to be called the “civil arm” for capital punishment. Perhaps in the future Mr. DeWitt will treat such a subject with the seriousness it deserves. 

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

In This Issue

Articles

Politics & Policy

GoldenSpike

Readers of this fortnightly would not be surprised to hear someone say, “The stimulus failed.” Most would probably nod in agreement. But they might be surprised to learn that the ...
Politics & Policy

Progress Pains

How bad is the violence in Mexico? According to a Time report, “Frustration with the government’s inability to protect the citizenry against crime long ago reached the boiling point.” Actually, that ...
Politics & Policy

Give Freely

Earlier this year, Thomas Perrin of the James Madison Institute visited the office of Florida state representative Greg Evers. As he pressed a copy of his think tank’s latest report ...
Politics & Policy

Your Money Back

Is Ron Paul’s suggestion that the Federal Reserve be eliminated a “fringe position,” as Josh Barro suggested in the last edition of National Review (“Mend the Fed,” June 21)? It depends ...

Features

Politics & Policy

Turkey Turns

With the “peace flotilla” effort to break Israel’s blockade of Hamas-controlled Gaza, the global Islamist project — a self-acclaimed “grand jihad” to destroy the West — has achieved its greatest ...
Politics & Policy

It’s Complicated

The public’s support for vigorous financial regulation is a wake-up call for conservatives who imagined that the tea party signaled the triumph of conservative ideas. Much as with health-care reform, ...
Politics & Policy

Preferred Risk

A seemingly endless parade of British lizards, winsome cavemen, and good neighbors populates our TV screens. They tell us how much money we could save by switching insurance companies. Here’s ...

Books, Arts & Manners

Politics & Policy

His Own Drum

Christopher Hitchens is truly sui generis: a popular television pundit, a raconteur par excellence, an unpredictable analyst of contemporary politics, a foreign reporter who has hit almost every hot spot ...
Politics & Policy

Free Association

Somali taxi drivers at the Minneapolis–St. Paul International Airport come up twice in New Threats to Freedom, a lively but uneven collection of 30 essays assembled by HarperCollins executive editor ...
Politics & Policy

An Opera Apart

Fort Worth, Texas — Fort Worth, they say, is “Where the West Begins.” And residents of this city like to joke that nearby Dallas is “Where the East Peters Out.” ...
City Desk

Twilight of the Idols

Celebrities are people you know even though you don’t know them.         We know our family, friends, and colleagues. We know of the officers of movements we belong to, and performers ...

Sections

Politics & Policy

Letters

Cuban Racial Demography Duncan Currie’s article “Spare Not the Stick,” which appears in the June 7 issue, claims that Cuba is “a country that has been majority-black since the 1960s.” In ...
Politics & Policy

The Week

‐ We con’t care what they say about him, Al Gore is still boring. ‐ Mitch Daniels, the Republican governor of Indiana, says that the next president — some conservatives hope ...
The Long View

The Long View

Dear Rusty, Can I come stay with you, just for a couple of weeks, while I figure out where I’m going to live? Yeah, I know this is awkward. And I know ...
Politics & Policy

Poetry

LEDA AGAIN Let me compose love as a Romance, lying with you . . . upon moon white sheets and window pane shadows. No more than an eager prisoner here, desire’s fearful captive, you strive beyond this ...
Happy Warrior

Non-Suicidal Tendencies

The other day, noting Bret Stephens’s analysis in Commentary as to why Iran cannot be contained, Jonah Goldberg made a very shrewd throwaway aside: “Arguments like this tend to get ...

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Yes, They Are Coming for Your Guns

At the Democratic-primary debate in Houston last night, Beto O’Rourke formally killed off one of the gun-control movement’s favorite taunts: The famous “Nobody is coming for your guns, wingnut.” Asked bluntly whether he was proposing confiscation, O’Rourke abandoned the disingenuous euphemisms that have ... Read More
White House

Politico Doubles Down on Fake Turnberry Scandal

It's tough to be an investigative reporter. Everybody who feeds you a tip has an axe to grind. Or, alternatively, you find yourself going, "I wonder if . . . ?" You put in your research, you talk to lots of people, you accumulate a huge pile of information, but you still haven't proved your hypothesis. A wise ... Read More
Culture

Four Cheers for Incandescent Light Bulbs

It brought me much -- indeed, too much -- joy to hear of the Trump administration's rollback of restrictions on incandescent light bulbs, even if the ban will remain in place. The LED bulbs are terrible. They give off a pitiable, dim, and altogether underwhelming "glow," one that never matched the raw (if ... Read More