Magazine October 15, 2012, Issue

Escape from Utopia

I Am the Change: Barack Obama and the Crisis of Liberalism, by Charles R. Kesler (HarperCollins, 304 pp., $25.99)

Utopian rhetoric is so commonplace in our political life that we scarcely question or even notice it. Part of Charles Kesler’s achievement in I Am the Change is to help us see that familiar utopianism in all its strangeness.

Consider a commencement address by newly elected senator Barack Obama at Knox College in 2005. “So let’s dream,” said our future president. Make sure that college is “affordable for everyone who wants to go,” among other things, and “that old Maytag plant could re-open its doors as an Ethanol refinery that turned corn into fuel. Down the street, a biotechnology research lab

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

In This Issue

Articles

Politics & Policy

Fatwa against Free Speech

The cascading crisis involving derogatory depictions of Islam’s prophet, Mohammed, by amateur American filmmakers and French satirists has reinvigorated a 20-year-old demand from the Muslim world for a Western crackdown ...
Politics & Policy

Estonian Economics

Tallinn, Estonia – Sitting shirt-sleeved and without, sadly, his trademark bow tie, in his official residence here in the Estonian capital, this Baltic nation’s Swedish-born, New Jersey–raised president, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, ...
Politics & Policy

The Rapper Barons

I feel like a black Republican, money I got comin’ in.  – Jay-Z, “Black Republican,” 2006 I’m a Republican voting for Mitt Romney, you lazy b****es is f***ing up the economy.  – Nicki ...

Features

Politics & Policy

A Million Steps

Helmand Province, Afghanistan – In early 2011, National Review published “With the Warriors,” my description of the savage struggle to control Sangin District in the southern part of this province. More ...
Politics & Policy

Sharia on the Nile

Just before the “Arab Spring” dominos started falling in Tunis, Mohammed Badi, “supreme guide” of the global Muslim Brotherhood, called for violent jihad against the United States. Yes, yes, we know ...

Books, Arts & Manners

Politics & Policy

Dickens at 200

Dickens was born in 1812, and there are celebrations and commemorative activities taking place in this bicentennial year all over the English-speaking world and beyond it. Along with the works ...
Politics & Policy

Up against It

Nicholas Jarecki’s Arbitrage is a movie about serious things: corporate fraud and police corruption, adultery and manslaughter, race and class, the ways that husbands betray wives and fathers betray children. ...

Sections

Politics & Policy

Letters

Obama and the Founders In “Obama’s Truth” (October 1), Charles R. Kesler does a remarkable job of sorting through some of the muddled thinking in Barack Obama’s The Audacity of Hope. ...
Politics & Policy

The Week

‐ Obama says you can’t change Washington from the inside — and he wants four more years to finish the job. ‐ Most of the polls show Mitt Romney behind, and ...
Athwart

Media Matter

Whenever talking about the YouTube video on which the riots were blamed, it’s important to note that it’s bad. Lousy acting, cheap F/X, costumes from the Halloween store. But what ...
Politics & Policy

Poetry

FIVE NIGHTMARES When I am naked in the dock, I get His cloak and coat. The clock Sweeps the exam away from me, When I have lost the room, but He Teaches me where I stand ...

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