National Review / Digital
A Noble Animal
(Getty Images/Ronald Bloom)


I have ridden a horse once in my life, in a party of beginners at a resort. It was not a success. The horses were fitted with English, not Western saddles, and the young man who led the tyros out tried to teach us how to post in one easy lesson. I could not sit down for half a week. If I have to set out on a journey, I call a cab. Yet, child of machinery though I am, I know at one remove two men who made their living from the turf.

One friend’s father was a professional gambler. I assume that anyone who gambles a lot does so as a matter of need, not habit. Gambling is a way to make the universe demonstrate that the gambler is worthy (or, since most gamblers eventually come to grief, a way to demonstrate that he is worthless). There are no atheists in the casinos: A goddess rules the gambler’s universe, Fortuna. When she’s smiling, the whole world smiles at him. Gambling can test the water, the little bet before the big one: George Washington, Virginia gentleman, lived in a world of gentlemanly wagering, but at moments of great tension — heading to the second Continental Congress — he would wager more than usual. Heads I win, tails George III does.

February 24, 2014    |     Volume LXVI, No. 3

  • The Republican party is newly awash with ideas.
  • The EU discovers that it needs affordable energy.
  • Preschool advocates’ claims of success are based on faulty methodology.
  • Our financial regulations tend toward lesser clarity and greater expense.
  • An immigrant’s travails at the DMV.
Books, Arts & Manners
  • Lee Edwards reviews Living on Fire: The Life of L. Brent Bozell, by Daniel Kelly.
  • Bing West reviews Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War, by Robert M. Gates.
  • Robert VerBruggen reviews The Up Side of Down: Why Failing Well Is the Key to Success, by Megan McArdle.
  • Ross Douthat reviews the two most striking Oscar snubs—Inside Llewyn Davis and All Is Lost.
  • Richard Brookhiser discusses horse racing.
The Long View  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  
Athwart  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  
Poetry  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  
Happy Warrior  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .