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The Weblog at The View from the Core - Wed. 04/14/04 05:37:37 PM

It's New City-Journal Time Again

It's that time again. Your Humble, Faithful Blogster has been informed by no less than the Senior Editor himself of City Journal that the latest issue is now available. I haven't look at anything in depth, so here follows Brian Anderson's synopsis.

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American technological superiority is key to winning the long, unconventional struggle ahead, but as Heather Mac Donald's jaw-dropping "What We Don't Know Can Hurt Us" recounts in vivid detail, a determined band of left- and right-wing privacy advocates are having destructive success in crippling and even shutting down some of the government's most promising efforts to draft our technological know-how into the service of national security. Since the advocates have argued by half-truth and innuendo, much of what the press has reported about the government's efforts to understand and analyze the vast amount of electronic data now available is false. Mac Donald's account of the reality of these complex matters, drawn out with crystalline clarity, will astonish — and disturb — you, and is certain to change the national debate.

Victor Davis Hanson's bracing "The Fruits of Appeasement" takes up the theme of how irresolution here at home is our greatest impediment in the current war. When, 25 years ago, President Carter let Iranian Islamofascists hold U.S. hostages with impunity, he set going a chain of inaction that emboldened the terrorists to fantasies of power that led to 9/11. We were going to have to stop the terrorists eventually, by remaking the conditions that spread them all over the Middle East. Hanson brilliantly explains what took us so long — and why it would have been much better to act with dispatch.

Is there any feature intrinsic to Muslim culture that makes it liable — not fated, only liable — to produce such deformities as the death cults that terrorism has loosed upon the world? Theodore Dalrymple, who with many Muslims among his psychiatric patients in a large British city has privileged insight into the explosive pressures that can result when Islam meets Western modernity, provides some profound answers — worth considering carefully as we strive to reshape the Middle East.

Our second cover package looks at some hugely encouraging social changes here at home:

In "It's Morning After in America," Kay S. Hymowitz traces how our culture, after the turmoils of the 1960s, has begun to right itself, as a flood of new data makes startlingly evident. Hymowitz lays out the eye-opening numbers and, more important, explains what the numbers mean. The sixties antics produced wreckage in families, in poor communities, and in individual psyches. Pragmatic Americans, seeing and disliking these results, adjusted, making big changes in their views and their behavior — on everything from love and marriage to work and politics — that augur well for the American future.

As Harry Stein's wickedly funny "Daytime TV Gets Judgmental" shows, even daytime television, voyeuristic and exploitative as it is, registers these positive shifts. From the trashy Jerry Springer Show at one extreme to Dr. Phil on the other, daytime programs are providing ongoing evidence of a growing resurgence in this country of higher standards of decency or morality.

Other fascinating stories in the Spring issue include Steven Malanga on the meaning of the war on Wal-Mart and on the convention center shell game, and Theodore Dalrymple on the death of childhood.

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And I'm still wondering what the "Q" stands for in James Q. Wilson. :-)

See also The New City Journal Is Out.

Lane Core Jr. CIW P — Wed. 04/14/04 05:37:37 PM
Categorized as Literary & Social/Cultural.


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