Magazine | December 31, 2014, Issue

Letters

Fellow Heroes

I read with great pleasure your piece in “The Week” (December 8) regarding the long-overdue awarding of the Medal of Honor to Lieutenant Alonzo Cushing. However, I feel called upon to question one aspect of your otherwise excellent piece. Lieutenant Cushing may not actually have threatened to shoot any man who retreated from his unit’s position during the Battle of Gettysburg. In the first place, such an act would have been totally alien to Lieutenant Cushing’s gentle character, and in the second place, such a threat would not have been needed. My great-grandfather, Sergeant Frederich Füger, who took over the battery upon Cushing’s death, and who later guarded Cushing’s body until Cushing’s brother Milton arrived to deliver it to West Point, described his commander as follows: “He was a most able soldier, a man of excellent judgment, and great decision of character; he was most faithful in the discharge of every duty, possessed of mental and physical vigor, joined to the kindest of hearts; he commanded the love and respect of all who knew him.”

Thank you again for your acknowledgment of Lieutenant Cushing and his heroism on July 3, 1863.

John G. Northgraves

Millis, Mass.

The Editors reply: Thank you for the explanation, Mr. Northgraves. As you know, many accounts of the Battle of Gettysburg repeat the story of Lieutenant Cushing’s shouted threat, but at this point there is no way to determine what may have been said on a thunderous and chaotic battlefield a century and a half ago. What is not even remotely in doubt, however, is Cushing’s bravery and dedication to the Union, and the justice of his finally joining your great-grandfather on the roll of recipients of our nation’s highest military honor.

A Kinder, Gentler Intelligence

To Ian Tuttle’s spot-on observations about the Left’s love affair with intellect, especially its own (“The IQ Cult,” December 8), I would add that our perception of a person’s intelligence tends to be inversely proportional to our perception of his niceness or warmth. In the United States, that dynamic is correlated with regional accents: Southerners, or at least those who speak like southerners, are felt to be “nicer” than those who speak like northerners, but northerners are felt to be “smarter” and “in charge,” according to a recent study.

Candidates for public office need to balance the two dimensions, perceived intelligence and perceived warmth. A low-information politician can always educate himself, but it’s harder for a cold fish to transform himself into a teddy bear, though he might begin with a dash of self-deprecating humor. When asked about the plight of the intellectual in politics, Adlai Stevenson admitted that “via ovicapitum dura est.”

Duane Sims

Mount Pleasant, S.C.

Henry Olsen — Mr. Olsen is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, an editor at UnHerd.com, and the author of The Working Class Republican: Ronald Reagan and the Return of Blue-Collar Conservatism.

In This Issue

Articles

Features

Politics & Policy

To Carry the Fire

What we call the beginning is often the end And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.       – “Little Gidding,” Four Quartets, T. S. ...
Politics & Policy

On a LARC

Usually one makes the case for a policy before enacting it. Not so with the Left’s new push to promote long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs), such as intrauterine devices (IUDs) and ...

Books, Arts & Manners

Politics & Policy

Getting to Brussels

Since the emergence 25 years ago of his groundbreaking essay “The End of History,” Francis Fukuyama has become one of America’s foremost public intellectuals. Political Order and Political Decay is ...
Politics & Policy

Roots of a Tyrant

One brief paragraph terrorized Joseph Stalin. It was the postscript to the document known as Lenin’s Testament. That document has never been authenticated, yet it weighed on Stalin because, even ...

Sections

Politics & Policy

Letters

Fellow Heroes I read with great pleasure your piece in “The Week” (December 8) regarding the long-overdue awarding of the Medal of Honor to Lieutenant Alonzo Cushing. However, I feel called ...
Politics & Policy

The Week

‐ Think about it from Jeb’s perspective: Would you want to be the only Bush who doesn’t get to be president? ‐ An armed Islamic radical took hostages in a café ...
Athwart

Alienation

Showman scientist and charismatic universe-explainer Neil deGrasse Tyson had some tweets the other day on the subject “When I was your age.” They were lessons about technological progress, aimed at ...
Politics & Policy

Poetry

PURSUIT She was a child possessed with fears Whose dreams revealed another place Where shadowed shapes that lived in mirrors Pursued her at a furious pace. She ran all night and every night And finally slept ...

Most Popular

U.S.

A Home Run by Trump

In 2007, the Justice Department was in disarray. Though it was largely exaggerated, a controversy over the firing of some United States attorneys, the intrusion of politics into Justice Department hiring decisions, and White House contacts with Main Justice forced the resignation of an overmatched attorney ... Read More
Energy & Environment

Identifying the Problem

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is Jonah Goldberg’s weekly “news”letter, the G-File. Subscribe here to get the G-File delivered to your inbox on Fridays. Dear Reader (including all passengers on Spaceship Earth), So, as often happens, a weasel crawls up your tailpipe (I mean of your car, sicko). It ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Donald Trump and the Imperial Presidency

As the writer of a weekly political column in the Age of Trump (ugh), I have lately been wondering if, bereft of an idea, I might just write TRUMP over and over again, 750 times, and get people to read it. An idle thought — perhaps. After all, this was the week when my Twitter timeline was full of mainstream ... Read More