Magazine | November 25, 2013, Issue


Health-Care Hell

I am writing to you regarding the November 11 cover of National Review.  The allusion to Canto Three of Dante Alighieri’s Inferno of the Divine Comedy featured on the cover is much appreciated and rather appropriate given the ongoing health-care disaster that our country is currently having to endure. As a college Italian instructor and a great admirer of medieval Italian literature and poetry, I was, for lack of a better term, ecstatic to see such a superb literary reference grace the cover of my favorite periodical.

National Review’s cover echoes the final line on a sign that Dante and his guide Virgil encounter upon their entrance and subsequent descent into Hell: “Abandon all hope, you who enter here” — “Lasciate ogni speranza, voi ch’entrate.” It is important to note that there is a rather striking dichotomy between Dante’s journey through the Inferno and our having to endure the ill-conceived and pernicious Affordable Care Act. While Dante’s trek through the Inferno, Purgatory, and Paradise resulted ultimately in enlightenment, understanding, and personal growth, Obamacare will afford us none of this. It will, most unfortunately, merely serve as a perdurable punishment from which we cannot be extricated. Unlike the misfortunes of many of Dante’s sinners, though, this misfortune is not due to any sin of our own, but results from the inherent destructive nature of the Machiavellian regime to which we are subjected.

Lois Lemonda

East Setauket, N.Y.

A Walk on the Mild Side

Jay Nordlinger’s article “Freedom from Fear, for Now” (September 2) was totally accurate. I grew up in New York City during the ’60s and ’70s before moving out to Colorado for school and then staying there to raise a family. The city couldn’t control crime, graffiti in the subways, or filth in the streets. I still remember looking over my shoulder while taking a walk in the foothills of Colorado to see if I was being followed. I remember Times Square, the brunt of our teenage jokes about drugs, hookers, massage parlors, and porno theaters. My parents were ashamed when they took us kids to a restaurant they went to when they dated in the ’50s: It was besieged by massage parlors on both sides. We never went back again.

I now have no fear when I take my wife and kids to see my parents and siblings, who still live in Queens. Times Square is a wonderland to the eyes, and we have no fear of being mugged in a subway car or on a dark street. Rudy and Bloomy have done great things to make the city safe: There is no doubt about it. It would be a shame to see the city once again fall into liberal disrepair, which would once again make it a city that people fear to live in.

Dave Albertsen

Arvada, Colo.

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

In This Issue


Politics & Policy

The Christie Challenge

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The $5 Problem

An examination of Americans’ household balance sheets uncovers something to discourage everyone: For those with preferences for minimalistic government and a maximally free economy, the disastrous state of our private ...
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The E-Word

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A New Agenda

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Books, Arts & Manners

Politics & Policy

Camelot Revisited

On Sunday, November 22, 1964, some 40,000 Americans — a crowd greater than the capacity at Boston’s Fenway Park — visited Arlington National Cemetery to pay their respects on the ...
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The Right JFK

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The Road to Roe

Roe v. Wade was a “reasoned statement, elaborated with great care.” So the Supreme Court claimed in 1992, when it reaffirmed its 1973 ruling that all states had to allow ...
Politics & Policy

Into the Inferno

Twelve Years a Slave, the first non-Tarantino major motion picture in years to offer a slave’s-eye view of the antebellum South, would probably have been guaranteed admiring reviews and a ...


Politics & Policy


Health-Care Hell I am writing to you regarding the November 11 cover of National Review.  The allusion to Canto Three of Dante Alighieri’s Inferno of the Divine Comedy featured on the ...
Politics & Policy

The Week

‐ We can’t keep insurance policies we like, and we have to keep a president we don’t. Can’t win. ‐ New Jersey is the country’s bluest state with a Republican governor, ...

Killer Elite

Double Down, an insider view of the 2012 campaign, reportedly quotes President Obama saying he’s “really good at killing people” when it comes to picking targets for drone strikes. So ...
Politics & Policy


BOCA RATON In the rat’s mouth of wealth one learns to accept opulence as a perk of life dazed by the depth and breadth of it spread on the hyaline sea sparkle & sky cluttered with yachts cutting cream swaths in a ...
Happy Warrior

Those Who Can’t, Govern

For much of last year, a standard trope of President Obama’s speechwriters was that there were certain things only government could do. “That’s how we built this country — together,” ...

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Viva l’Italia?

Italy has just had elections, with very interesting results. I wanted to talk with Alberto Mingardi, which I have. He is one of the leading classical liberals in Italy -- the director general of the Bruno Leoni Institute, in Milan. (Mingardi himself is Milanese.) He is also an authority in arts and letters. In ... Read More

Putin and the Cult of Leadership

On Sunday, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin won an unsurprising reelection-campaign victory against Communist Party candidate Pavel Grudinin, by a margin of 76.7 percent to 11.8 percent. The results were unsurprising because Putin is a tyrant who murders or imprisons political rivals, and who isn’t afraid to use ... Read More

Trump and Brexit Derangement Syndrome

I am not one of those Brexiteers who believe that Brexit and Trumpism are essentially the same phenomenon in two different countries. To be sure, they both draw on some of the same political trends, notably a distrust of elites and an upsurge of popular anger over evident failures of public policy such as illegal ... Read More