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The Weblog at The View from the Core - Tue. 11/16/04 07:54:43 AM

New City Journal Time

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. As usual, I haven't had a chance to look at anything in depth, so here follows Brian Anderson's synopsis.

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In "Homeland Security? Not Yet," Heather Mac Donald tries to wake us from our firmly held illusion that no one could want to smash the extraordinary civilization Americans have so painstakingly built. Though terrorists quite publicly announce their intention to kill us in our own country, we still behave as if it is a 9/10 world, failing to secure our porous borders, allowing political correctness to trump airline security, and not focusing domestic counter-terrorism efforts on the specifically Islamic terrorism that we are fighting.

A new crop of influential bestsellers, including Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed, is trying to convince Americans that the U.S. economic system doesn't work for many and that only government can lift them out of poverty. As Steven Malanga shows in The Myth of the Working Poor, the scaremongering tomes are economically illiterate, failing to understand how quickly the dynamism of the American economy over the last four decades has propelled millions, immigrants and native born alike, out of poverty.

Everyone knows that family breakdown is central to the plight of the African-American underclass. As Kay S. Hymowitz reports in her moving "Dads in the 'Hood," there's good news and bad news on this front. The good news: black America is starting to take seriously the state of the inner-city family, and ghetto dads are trying to be fathers to their kids. The bad news: the ghetto social structure won't re-knit until the dads and the moms marry and commit to being real families — which isn't yet happening.

Our advanced urban civilization — with its banks, hospitals, computers, and the like — depends on the most exquisitely sophisticated network of power plants and transmission lines. In the fascinating and informative "Can Terrorists Turn out Gotham's Lights?" Peter Huber and Mark P. Mills offer some sound suggestions for stopping the terrorists from cutting the wires that keep the magnificent mechanism humming.

As Theodore Dalrymple observes in "The Frivolity of Evil," civilization rests on the prohibitions that keep in check the potential for evil that exists in every human heart; and if a government relaxes the laws and conventions that promote self-restraint, evil flourishes, if only on the domestic scale, where every man tyrannizes his own wife and kids. And so, Dalrymple writes, not a day has gone by in which he, as a doctor in a British slum, has not heard patients tell of children raped or beaten by their mothers' boyfriends, of 14-year-olds turned out by their own mothers as being in the way of a new affair, and on and on. What kind of society produces families like these — or will be produced by them?

Finally, Robert George and David Tubbs explain why we need a federal marriage amendment.

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See also these, too.

Lane Core Jr. CIW P — Tue. 11/16/04 07:54:43 AM
Categorized as Literary & Social/Cultural.


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