Magazine | May 23, 2016, Issue

Letters

The Apartment of Labor

Scott Lincicome’s comprehensive and illuminating article “The Truth about Trade” (April 11) describes several government policies that have acted to exacerbate current labor-market inefficiencies. One could speculate on the role of an additional government policy in the genesis of the problem — its aggressive promotion of home ownership. Unable to deal politically with middle-class wage stagnation, the government for decades sought to prop up middle- and lower-class living standards by pushing subprime-mortgage availability through the banking system. (It worked pretty well until 2008.) The anchoring effect of home ownership could well act as an additional deterrent to work-force mobility.

J. A. Frascino

Upper Saddle River, N.J.

Crows and Crockery!

In the “The Week” (April 11), the editors referred to Donald Trump’s supporters, contemptuously, as “Trumpkins.” Thimbles and thunderstorms! Is that any way to use the name of an honorable Dwarf, a loyal servant of King Caspian X, and (at the end of his life) a Lord Regent of Narnia? I do hope that an apology to Trumpkin will be forthcoming in your next issue.

Nicholas Arkison

Via e-mail

Tiresome Fleshpots

I appreciated Ross Douthat’s review of the underappreciated Terrence Malick movie Knight of Cups (“Angelic Fleshpots,” April 25). In one respect my reaction differed from his, however. I don’t think Malick needed and failed to portray how “the appeal of a life lived in the moment, and more specifically the appeal of a purely physical attitude toward sex,” managed to keep the main character from hearkening to the call of redemption. I don’t think the allegory was supposed to be that heavy. Bunyan is thematically relevant, but so is the Zen-master character who asserts the completeness and perfection of the present moment, a character whom I see as an exponent of something useful rather than as an adversary. The main character, being aware and perceptive and reflective, discovers within the present moment, which after all includes his own state of mind and his ability to think about it, the unsatisfactoriness of his romantic involvements. Less than wicked, they turn out to be subtly empty. Malick dramatizes that in a convincing way, although perhaps at a cost in drama.

David Rawlston

Via e-mail

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

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Letters

The Apartment of Labor Scott Lincicome’s comprehensive and illuminating article “The Truth about Trade” (April 11) describes several government policies that have acted to exacerbate current labor-market inefficiencies. One could speculate ...
Politics & Policy

The Week

‐ As Abraham Lincoln said, “You’re fired.” ‐ Protesters, many of them riotous, dogged Donald Trump in southern California. In Costa Mesa, they blocked an interstate, threw debris at passing cars, ...
Politics & Policy

Poetry

THE SS NORMANDIE Confiscated from Vichy France, she sat In the Hudson for months until the fire. The smoke was so thick over midtown, rumors Spread the Japanese had attacked New York. The old transatlantic ...

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

The Other Case against Reparations

Reparations are an ethical disaster. Proceeding from a doctrine of collective guilt, they are the penalty for slavery and Jim Crow, sins of which few living Americans stand accused. An offense against common sense as well as morality, reparations would take from Bubba and give to Barack, never mind if the former ... Read More
Politics & Policy

May I See Your ID?

Identity is big these days, and probably all days: racial identity, ethnic identity, political identity, etc. Tribalism. It seems to be baked into the human cake. Only the consciously, persistently religious, or spiritual, transcend it, I suppose. (“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor ... Read More
Culture

White Cats and Black Swans

Making a film of Cats is a bold endeavor — it is a musical with no real plot, based on T. S. Eliot’s idea of child-appropriate poems, and old Tom was a strange cat indeed. Casting Idris Elba as the criminal cat Macavity seems almost inevitable — he has always made a great gangster — but I think there was ... Read More
Health Care

The Puzzling Problem of Vaping

San Francisco -- A 29-story office building at 123 Mission Street illustrates the policy puzzles that fester because of these facts: For centuries, tobacco has been a widely used, legal consumer good that does serious and often lethal harm when used as it is intended to be used. And its harmfulness has been a ... Read More