Magazine | November 7, 2016, Issue


Looking the Other Way on Abortion

Jay Nordlinger’s article “No More Baby” (September 26) concludes that we are a “deeply hypocritical society” because we won’t admit that killing a newborn baby is not much different from killing a pre-born baby by abortion. I agree with this conclusion, but I believe the hypocrisy goes much deeper. Nordlinger asks whether Emile Weaver, who was given a life sentence for killing her newborn baby, is “worse — all that much worse — than her counterparts who dispose of their babies earlier and more neatly.” But by focusing on this question, we avoid other questions that are even more difficult to face: Are these women “all that much worse” than people who support politicians who take pro-abortion positions only because they calculate it will further their career? As their supporters include friends, relatives, members of religious communities, and possibly someone sitting next to us at dinner, isn’t it more convenient for us to place the blame elsewhere? And is what these supporters do “all that much worse” than our choice of easy targets in our determination of where blame is placed?

Joseph Mirra

Bronx, N.Y.

Merit-Based Education Reform

Rarely do we hear intelligent solutions to the problem of America’s failing educational system — even from reformers, who get caught up in the “golden goose” approach of alighting on a single issue. Frederick M. Hess’s “Ten Priorities for Education Policy” (October 24), however, is a practical and rational approach to the entire issue. While teaching in one of the school systems Hess mentioned — Baltimore’s — I had the pleasure of working with fine teachers (and some not-so-fine), but I left, like many others, because of the shortcomings to which Hess intelligently proposes solutions.

Most insightful of all, Hess suggests to “permit for-profit educators to compete on their merits.” This was the marrow of education — of all true learning — from the appearance of the human race on the planet until the late 1800s, when schooling became mandatory. Merit-based, “boutique” education was, on the whole, vastly more effective, cost-efficient, and entertaining to students and teachers alike. I would add to this homeschooling and “unschooling,” which have recently proven to be extremely effective means of education. These small centers of true learning should receive the benefit of tax breaks, freedom from governmental meddling, and a general approbation from the vox populi — for their efficiency, and for their great virtue of relieving an overstressed system and an overtaxed people.

John C. Young

Pensacola, Fla.


In “Russia’s Bloody Tsar” (August 15), David Satter wrote that in May 2007, when he testified before the House Foreign Relations Committee about the 1999 Russian apartment bombings, he was the only person publicly accusing the Russian government of involvement who had not been killed. He mentioned Alexander Litvinenko, the author of Blowing Up Russia, as one of the victims but did not note that Mr. Litvinenko’s co-author, Yuri Felshtinsky is, we are pleased to say, alive and very well.

“Unsullied” (Ross Douthat, October 10) mistakenly identified the flight that Captain Sullenberger famously piloted as United 1549. It was, in fact, US Airways 1549.

NR Editors includes members of the editorial staff of the National Review magazine and website.

In This Issue



Books, Arts & Manners


Politics & Policy


Looking the Other Way on Abortion Jay Nordlinger’s article “No More Baby” (September 26) concludes that we are a “deeply hypocritical society” because we won’t admit that killing a newborn baby is ...
Politics & Policy

The Week

‐ Bob Dylan is to literature as Barack Obama is to peace. ‐ “How is that not classified?” That was the stunned reaction of Clinton confidante Huma Abedin upon learning that ...
Politics & Policy


HOMELAND “. . . I cannot sing Amid this horror.”                      – Anna Akhmatova                      (early draft of “Poem without a Hero”) Months pass without a single word recorded, Eliminating each suspicious link: The terrorizing, barbarizing, sordid, The ones who ...

Most Popular

White House

Trump and the ‘Racist Tweets’

What does “racist” even mean anymore? Racism is the headline on President Trump’s Sunday tweets -- the media-Democrat complex assiduously describes them as “racist tweets” as if that were a fact rather than a trope. I don’t think they were racist; I think they were abjectly stupid. Like many ... Read More
White House

The Trump Steamroller

As we settle into high summer and the period of maximum difficulty in finding anything to fill in hours of television news, especially 24/7 news television, two well-established political trends are emerging in this pre-electoral period: The president’s opponents continue to dig themselves into foxholes that ... Read More

Men Literally Died for That Flag, You Idiots

The American flag’s place in our culture is beginning to look less unassailable. The symbol itself is under attack, as we’ve seen with Nike dumping a shoe design featuring an early American flag, Megan Rapinoe defending her national-anthem protests (she says she will never sing the song again), and ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Ilhan Omar Is Completely Assimilated

Beto O’Rourke, the losing Texas Senate candidate who bootstrapped his way into becoming a losing presidential candidate, had a message for refugees who had come to America: Your new country is a hellhole. The former congressman told a roundtable of refugees and immigrants in Nashville, Tenn., last week: ... Read More

We All Wanted to Love the Women’s Soccer Team

For the first time in my life, I did not root for an American team. Whatever the sport, I have always rooted American. And if those who called in to my radio show were representative of my audience, many millions of Americans made the same sad choice. It takes a lot for people like me not to root for an ... Read More
White House

On Gratitude and Immigration

Like both Rich and David, I consider it flatly inappropriate for the president of the United States to be telling Americans -- rhetorically or otherwise -- to “go back where you came from.” In consequence, you will find no defense of the president from me, either. What Trump tweeted over the weekend was ... Read More

The ‘Squad’ Gives a Gift to Donald Trump

On Sunday, Donald Trump gave the Democrats a gift -- comments that indicate he thinks native-born congresswomen he detests should “go back” to the countries of their ancestors. On Monday, the four congresswomen handed Trump a gift in return, managing to respond to the president’s insults in some of the most ... Read More

The Plot against Kavanaugh

Justice on Trial, by Mollie Hemingway and Carrie Severino (Regnery,  256 pp., $28.99) The nomination and confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court was the political event of 2018, though not for the reasons anyone expected. All High Court confirmations these days are fraught with emotion and tumult ... Read More