Magazine June 23, 2014, Issue

Dysfunctional Government

The Fourth Revolution: The Global Race to Reinvent the State, by John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge (Penguin, 320 pp., $27.95)

This book speaks directly to the malaise that has accompanied Barack Obama’s second term in office. “The West,” write John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge, “has lost confidence in the way it is governed.” The authors, both editors at The Economist, are referring to the loss of political confidence not only in America but in Europe as well, where a government capable of achieving an electoral majority has become a rarity. “The modern overloaded state,” they rightly insist, “is a threat to democracy”: “The more responsibilities Leviathan assumes,” the worse it performs them and the angrier the people become.

They argue that

Fred SiegelMr. Siegel is a contributing editor to the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal and a scholar in residence at St. Francis College in Brooklyn, N.Y.

In This Issue

Articles

Politics & Policy

Right Reforms

Liberals are taking the publication of a new collection of essays by conservatives as an occasion to diagnose what ails the Right. The favor should be returned. Liberalism’s reaction to ...
Politics & Policy

#NoNotMe

Collective guilt is en vogue at the moment, the ever-supple concepts of “privilege,” “rape culture,” and “entitlement” having been gradually brought into the mainstream and then ruthlessly applied to anything ...
Politics & Policy

A Concert of Democracies

Russia’s annexation of Crimea and continuing pressure on Ukraine reveal more than the Obama administration’s national-security paralysis and a lack of strategic vision. Like the collapse of the League of ...

Features

Politics & Policy

Fight the Dragon

The standard economic model treats free trade as obviously positive, creating prosperity for all participants. Conservatives, and most neoliberals, have embraced that view and consistently press for further liberalization while ...
Politics & Policy

Victus

There were a few plying the dark arts of lobbying in Washington before it, but Patton Boggs was in some ways the original modern lobbyist shop. A D.C. law firm ...

Books, Arts & Manners

Politics & Policy

Dysfunctional Government

This book speaks directly to the malaise that has accompanied Barack Obama’s second term in office. “The West,” write John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge, “has lost confidence in the way ...
Politics & Policy

High Stakes

In October 1986, President Ronald Reagan and Soviet general secretary Mikhail Gorbachev met in Iceland for what were supposed to be brief working discussions to prepare for a summit later ...
Politics & Policy

The Real Tinsel

The story can now be told. Sort of. Almost 1 million years ago, when then-president George H. W. Bush was running for a second term, his running mate, Dan Quayle, gave ...
Politics & Policy

Monster Mash

Sometimes your feelings about a two-hour movie can be summed up by the way you react to a single fleeting scene. In the latest incarnation of Godzilla, that moment arrived ...
Country Life

Homecoming

As a weekender, I do not subscribe to any of the daily newspapers upstate, so I had no advance notice of Sergeant Shawn Farrell’s homecoming, which happened on a Wednesday. ...

Sections

Politics & Policy

Letters

Is Causation Magical? While I share David Pryce-Jones’s aversion to Gabriel García Márquez’s unforgivable political affiliations and the undue accolades he received in eulogy, I’m not certain that Mr. Pryce-Jones’s article ...
Politics & Policy

The Week

‐ Hillary Clinton has a new book out. At this point what difference does it make? ‐ President Obama gave a commencement address at West Point, which he meant as a ...
The Long View

Memorandum

CONFIDENTIAL TO: POTUS FROM: Strategy RE: Rebranding as “Promise Keeper” Sir: We’ve spent the past few cycles seeing where we are in re: our rebranding efforts, and we think we’re making great progress. In the past ...
Athwart

Argument of the Week

It would appear that writers for Slate wake, stretch, yawn, and think: What comfortable, familiar, harmless aspect of life can we destroy today? What means of arranging society, accumulated over ...
Politics & Policy

Poetry

OVERHEARD “Just think about her name and hit ‘delete.’” I want to interrupt, say, “Don’t believe the steps could be so simple and complete. Love rifles through your trash bin to retrieve each image that ...
Happy Warrior

Personal Library

Not long ago, I popped into a Salvation Army store in suburban Maryland to check out the used-book section. I’d unearthed plenty of gems in similar places, so it wasn’t ...

Most Popular

Books

Three Cheers for the Quiet Ones

People often dismiss shy, quiet characters in literature. Readers prefer to identify with Jo March, Elizabeth Bennett, or Anne Shirley -- those delightful, bold, and charming characters who made a deep impression on us when we first encountered them. While there’s nothing wrong with emulating or admiring these ... Read More
Books

Three Cheers for the Quiet Ones

People often dismiss shy, quiet characters in literature. Readers prefer to identify with Jo March, Elizabeth Bennett, or Anne Shirley -- those delightful, bold, and charming characters who made a deep impression on us when we first encountered them. While there’s nothing wrong with emulating or admiring these ... Read More

The Imaginary Trump

Like Andrew Jackson, Donald Trump is man who represents the age in which he lived. Whatever you may think of the age. Jackson embodied a generation of men who had risen and made their mark in a young country. He represented their desire for greater representation, even if it had costs for slaves and Indians. He ... Read More

The Imaginary Trump

Like Andrew Jackson, Donald Trump is man who represents the age in which he lived. Whatever you may think of the age. Jackson embodied a generation of men who had risen and made their mark in a young country. He represented their desire for greater representation, even if it had costs for slaves and Indians. He ... Read More
Culture

New England Journal of Medicine Pushes Reparations

Reparations would grant African Americans government benefits not paid to other Americans to rectify the awful sin of slavery and the "peculiar institution's" residual harm. It is a favored policy of hard progressives, so of course, the New England Journal of Medicine -- which regularly promotes left-wing causes ... Read More
Culture

New England Journal of Medicine Pushes Reparations

Reparations would grant African Americans government benefits not paid to other Americans to rectify the awful sin of slavery and the "peculiar institution's" residual harm. It is a favored policy of hard progressives, so of course, the New England Journal of Medicine -- which regularly promotes left-wing causes ... Read More
Media

Wajahat Ali, Ctd.

I gather he didn’t like my comment on his New York Times op-ed on the folly of reaching out to Trump supporters. He snipes, “I await The National Review’s piece on reaching out to Biden voters and reading about their ‘elegy’ and understanding their ‘economic anxiety.’” After the 2016 election, ... Read More
Media

Wajahat Ali, Ctd.

I gather he didn’t like my comment on his New York Times op-ed on the folly of reaching out to Trump supporters. He snipes, “I await The National Review’s piece on reaching out to Biden voters and reading about their ‘elegy’ and understanding their ‘economic anxiety.’” After the 2016 election, ... Read More
Film & TV

Bowing Down to Obama

‘How can we miss you when you won’t go away?” political podcaster Yvette Carnell joked two years ago when Barack Obama began his comeback tour by making sideline pronouncements about the state of the nation after his brief retirement. Now the comeback is official, with two new Kool-Aid-drinker Obama ... Read More
Film & TV

Bowing Down to Obama

‘How can we miss you when you won’t go away?” political podcaster Yvette Carnell joked two years ago when Barack Obama began his comeback tour by making sideline pronouncements about the state of the nation after his brief retirement. Now the comeback is official, with two new Kool-Aid-drinker Obama ... Read More