National Review / Digital
Inaugural Exegesis


Now that the president has laid out his agenda in broad, sweeping strokes — basically, solar-powered wedding chapels for gay marriages — we can get down to the business of the disappointing second term. It’s usually a letdown for the stalwarts. Recall George Bush saying he’d accumulated political capital and intended to spend it. A few years later, after Social Security reform went nowhere, he was wearing a barrel and staring at a pile of chips on the other side of the table.

It’s possible, though, that President Obama will skip blithely from triumph to triumph, nudging a lowing herd of credulous millennials into the pen of joyless collectivism, emerging periodically to give a hectoring address while jutting his chin at the Future, mistaking hortatory hollering for persuasion.

There were a few notes in the inaugural address that reminded you who he feels he needs to be. On the perils of something once called “global warming,” he said, “We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.”

Maybe he was throwing this out as a bone to the Left, which believes that people are a scourge on the planet and global warming is bad because it will . . . hurt people. At least someone on the anti-human front is honest enough to tell us all we’re nothing but viruses: Sir David Attenborough has compared humans to a disease. As quoted by the Telegraph: “We are a plague on the Earth. It’s coming home to roost over the next 50 years or so. It’s not just climate change; it’s sheer space, places to grow food for this enormous horde. Either we limit our population growth or the natural world will do it for us.”

He’s a member of Population Matters, which wants to decrease the British population so that it resembles Japan’s by 2035: lots of old people living with robot cats, shuffling off to Soylent Green reduction centers when they become ill — defined, in the future, as wrinkly. He wants NGOs to do something about people in less-developed countries (cough wogs cough) so they don’t gnaw at the planet’s withered teats. Prosperity will do that, eventually, but prosperity also means people use more energy as they live better lives, and this means the oceans rise — why, you can just imagine Sir David throwing a chart of projected sea levels across the room, angrily declaiming that this will decimate Miami Beach property values, the fools.

This requires collective action, which the president supports; his use of the word “collective” must have sent a thrill rippling through his tripartite base:

February 11, 2013    |     Volume LXV, No. 2

Books, Arts & Manners
  • Mackubin Thomas Owens reviews Invisible Armies: An Epic History of Guerrilla Warfare from Ancient Times to the Present, by Max Boot.
  • Ronald Radosh reviews Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1944–1956, by Anne Applebaum.
  • David G. Dalin reviews Moynihan’s Moment: America’s Fight against Zionism as Racism, by Gil Troy.
  • Robert VerBruggen reviews The World until Yesterday: What Can We Learn from Traditional Societies? by Jared Diamond.
  • Andrew Stuttaford reviews Psychic Blues: Confessions of a Conflicted Medium, by Mark Edward.
  • Ross Douthat reviews Zero Dark Thirty.
The Long View  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  
Athwart  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  
Poetry  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  
Happy Warrior  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .