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Practically Idealist
In John Derbyshire’s most informative review of The High Tide of American Conservatism (“Bliss Was It . . . ,” October 4), he uses a familiar quote from Calvin Coolidge in an unusual way: to describe Coolidge, rather than to criticize him. As a resident of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts who must therefore admire Coolidge in secret, this was pleasing to read. But while the quote Derbyshire used is correct, it’s merely the half of it.

Those who wish to paint Coolidge as one-dimensional and terse have got away with leaving off an especially meaningful part of his characterization of Americans. Shortly after saying that “the chief business of the American people is business,” he added: “The chief ideal of the American people is idealism.”

Here is a statement from a well-rounded and perceptive observer. It might have been much better for all of us if Coolidge had chosen to run for reelection.

Lars Wiberg
Via e-mail

Daley’s Second Amendment Record
In the October 4 issue’s “Week” section, you had some positive things to say about Chicago mayor Richard M. Daley, while acknowledging that he is “a massive overspender, a friend of corruption, and a patsy for the unions.” But how could you fail to note his contempt for the Second Amendment?

Recently, after the Supreme Court struck down Chicago’s outright ban on the private ownership of handguns, Daley promised to comply with the ruling, but he is doing so in the most grudging manner possible — making it only almost impossible for Chicago citizens to legally protect themselves.

Of course, as mayor, he has 24/7 armed security.

Bill Brockman
Atlanta, Ga.

 

Remedial Orthography
I will give National Review the benefit of the doubt that the misspelling of “dormitory” in the background of the illustration on page 38 of its October 18 issue is a satiric commentary on the poor quality of current educational standards rather than a mere mistake.

Kenneth Starke
Nellysford, Va.

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