Magazine | May 5, 2014, Issue

Letters

Virtue and Verse

Roman Genn, in your March 24 issue, drew a splendid cover illustration of the Republican symbol of trust and faithfulness astride a vociferous tool exemplifying productivity and change. It should stand as a serious contender for the party’s rallying image next November and beyond. In a nation so clearly divided between the classes of energetic production and apathetic entitlement, it extols the commendable dimension that can be released from within every responsible voter. 

Too little is said of the virtuousness of work that instills the hope needed to sustain the common travails of life. The accomplishment and reward from completing a regular task, regardless of its complexity, as Kevin D. Williamson reveals in his essay “To Work Is to Live,” must somehow be continuously ingrained in us all. Students in particular must be led in the direction of earning and saving to build secure lives and futures. Instead, they are overwhelmed with how to manipulate the systems that promote the sinecures largely cultivated by academia.

There is a poem that my eighth-grade English teacher, Mrs. O’Hara, introduced to us in 1962. That year was among the last of an era, long forgotten, when a California schoolteacher could freely require us to memorize the last three stanzas of a virtuous literary piece without absurd criticism. How well she knew, and how much I now cherish her leadership and direction. It’s time to recall the philosophy of work conveyed in that poem, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s “A Psalm of Life,” the final stanzas of which are below: 

Lives of great men all remind us

We can make our lives sublime,

And, departing, leave behind us

Footprints on the sands of time;

Footprints, that perhaps another,

Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,

A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,

Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us, then, be up and doing,

With a heart for any fate;

Still achieving, still pursuing,

Learn to labor and to wait.

Rudy Cariaga

Woodbury, Minn.

Correction

In The Week (April 21), we commented on Alice in Arabia, the ABC Family drama that was canceled after being criticized as Islamophobic. The comment ended: “‘If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense,’ the Mad Hatter says in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. His world doesn’t seem so far removed from our own.” The quotation is actually from the 1951 Disney film, not Lewis Carroll’s book, and it was spoken by Alice to her cat, not by the Mad Hatter.

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

In This Issue

Articles

Politics & Policy

Greater Growth

James Monroe had the third eight-year presidency in a row, a period called “the era of good feelings” for its lack of partisan rancor. We are now finishing another string ...
Politics & Policy

A War for Oils

Unveiling original paintings of the world leaders he has known, George W. Bush flouts convention with a daring he only occasionally displayed as president of the United States. First, it ...

Features

Books, Arts & Manners

Politics & Policy

A Texan to the Rescue

John Silber (1926–2012) and New York senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (1927–2003) were probably the most serious first-order intellectuals to commit themselves effectively to high public service in the United States ...
Politics & Policy

Blacklisted

Helen Hunt wasn’t smiling. Neither was Lynn Redgrave, or Steven Spielberg. Well, at least they were clapping — others didn’t even go that far. On March 21, 1999, Elia Kazan ...
Politics & Policy

Noah’s Arc

The religious reception of Darren Aronofsky’s Noah — a weird art-house/blockbuster hybrid, part Malick and part Bruckheimer — has moved in three broad waves. First, long before the movie screened, ...

Sections

Politics & Policy

Letters

Virtue and Verse Roman Genn, in your March 24 issue, drew a splendid cover illustration of the Republican symbol of trust and faithfulness astride a vociferous tool exemplifying productivity and change. ...
Politics & Policy

The Week

‐ Vladimir Putin can count himself lucky that there are no tortoises in Crimea. ‐ A heated showdown between the Bureau of Land Management and Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy cooled several ...
Athwart

Dancing Athwart History

Vladimir Putin’s effortless ingestion of Crimea has produced some novel responses, and while one usually wouldn’t expect English lefty newspapers to get all frowny and harsh, Guardian arts columnist Jonathan ...
Politics & Policy

Poetry

TO BETA, COSMICALLY CONSIDERED If relic radiation bathes the spheres Isotropically, as water is to fish, To an observer here or in Andromeda, Time has an arrow sharp as Cupid’s kiss. If all is that ...

Most Popular

Economy & Business

Who Owns FedEx?

You may have seen (or heard on a podcast) that Fred Smith so vehemently objects to the New York Times report contending that FedEx paid nothing in federal taxes that he's challenged New York Times publisher A. G. Sulzberger to a public debate and pointed out that "the New York Times paid zero federal income tax ... Read More
Sports

The Kaepernick Saga Drags On . . . off the Field

Colin Kaepernick’s workout for NFL teams in Atlanta this weekend did not run smoothly. The league announced an invitation to scouts from every team to watch Kaepernick work out and demonstrate that he was still ready to play. (As noted last week, the workout is oddly timed; the NFL season is just a bit past its ... Read More
World

Israel’s New Way of War

Commuters on Route 4, driving toward the Israeli coastal city of Ashdod on November 12, were shocked by an explosion, a rocket impact next to a major intersection. Had it fallen on a car or one of the many trucks plying the route, there would have been deaths, and the road would have been closed. Instead, police ... Read More
White House

Decide Trump’s Fate at the Ballot Box

If Donald Trump’s presidency is going to end before 2025, it should end at the ballot box. A lot of what has been revealed by Trump’s desire to see Ukraine investigate Joe and Hunter Biden -- or at least publicly announce an investigation -- merely confirms character traits, instincts, and habits that have ... Read More