- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 22, 2006

Ego trip

“Ergot is the natural source of lysergic acid, from which lysergic acid diethylamide is readily synthesized — LSD. What purpose, divine or adaptive, this substance might serve was once the subject of a learned debate that engaged scientists, government officials, psychiatrists, intellectuals, and a few gold-plated egomaniacs. Timothy Leary was one of the egomaniacs. …

“The only things Leary was serious about were pleasure and renown. …

“Leary’s immortal message to this audience — ‘Turn on, tune in, and drop out’ — was quickly picked up on. …

“Leary had confected a science of psychedelics, which he laid out in a long interview in Playboy, billed as ‘a candid conversation with the controversial ex-Harvard professor.’ … In a psychedelic future, Leary explained, ‘each person will become his own Buddha, his own Einstein, his own Galileo.’ … The interviewer, an admirable straight man, asked whether this meant that time travel was possible. Leary allowed that it was.”

— Louis Menand, writing on “Acid Redux,” in the June 26 issue of the New Yorker

Liberal trap

“The Campaign for America’s Future was founded three years ago as a counterweight to the staggering D.C. Democratic Party and its sclerotic think tanks. Every element of the Democratic base had a place [at the group’s June 12 ‘Take Back America’ conference]. …

“But the really activist left-wingers were incidental to the conference; they had as much control over the proceedings as toddlers have over the locks of their playpens. The event was carefully coordinated by the hidebound D.C. Democrats. …

“Activist liberals in the Democratic Party’s base are more or less trapped. They can’t get what they want from the Republicans, and they’re not promised everything they want from the Democrats. … They’ve grown nostalgic for the party that, during the administration of President Bill Clinton, disappointed them on an hourly basis.”

— David Weigel, writing on “The Libertarian Democrat: This Year’s Jackalope,” June 16 in Reason Online at www.reason.com

Que pasa?

“Mexican immigrants like it in America. … Aside from a few loony college professors, the mystic cause of reuniting the southwestern United States to Mexico seems to excite almost nobody. They crossed the desert to escape Mexico, not to rejoin it. Whatever is going on, it isn’t a Reconquista.

“So … good news, right? Assimilation is working? Not exactly. Mexican immigrants may like America, but they are having serious trouble joining it. Well into the second and third generations after arrival, they remain much poorer than other Americans — with unsettling long-term political and economic consequences for the United States.

“Only 7 percent of Mexican immigrants arrive in the United States able to speak English. Few possess much formal education. These deficiencies shunt them into low-wage sectors of the economy. …

“Lacking English and formal education themselves, Mexican-American immigrants do not seem to attach much importance to their children’s acquiring either. …

“Perhaps unsurprisingly, the children of these migrants do not flourish in school. A Manhattan Institute study of the high-school class of 1998 found that only 54 percent of Hispanic students graduated with their class, as compared with nearly 80 percent of their white counterparts. … And of course the children of high-school dropouts are more likely to drop out in their turn.”

— David Frum, writing on “Back to the Future,” in the July 3 issue of National Review

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