- The Washington Times - Monday, January 1, 2007

Losing start

“It’s only natural, on the threshold of a new year, to think about beginnings. So let me ask my fellow conservatives: When did the modern conservative movement get its start?

“Some of you will probably say in 1980, when Ronald Reagan was elected president. But you have to go back a little further to find the spark that led to Reagan’s election. Specifically, you have to return to the election of 1964.

“True, that was hardly a happy moment for conservatives. Lyndon Johnson soundly beat our candidate, Barry Goldwater, and we saw Johnson’s campaign pull out all the stops to portray Goldwater as a trigger-happy madman.

“Ronald Reagan gave an electrifying election-eve speech, ‘A Time for Choosing,’ that showcased his unique appeal; two years later, he was elected governor of California. The ‘destroyed’ Republican Party was soon winning elections, and American politics was transformed.

“Conservatives didn’t give up in 1964, no matter how tempting it may have seemed. And we shouldn’t give up today.”

Rebecca Hagelin, writing on “Learning from ‘a glorious disaster,’” Thursday in WorldNetDaily at www.worldnetdaily.com

‘Scientist’s pride’

“According to Aristotle, man is the only rational animal, the only being capable of choosing his own path or contemplating the cosmos in which he lives. According to the Hebrew Bible, man is the only being created ‘in the image of God’; capable of sin, aware of death, with longings for immortality, he is also ruler of the other animals. While the philosophy of Athens and the revelations of Jerusalem differ greatly on what elevates man, they agree that humans beings are, or are meant to be, superior to everything else on earth.

“Modern science, by contrast, is not so certain. Its radical ambivalence about man is traceable to the mixed marriage that gave it birth. First came Descartes, who treated the whole material world, including the human body, as a collection of aimless stuff to be mastered and manipulated by the human mind, which stands high above it all. Then came Darwin, who assimilated the whole of man, both mind and body, to the rest of biological life in a seamless continuum. Taken together, modern science treats man as both radically similar to and radically different from everything else in nature.

“Thus modern biologists aim to convince us that man is just another animal. The scientist’s pride in his biological discoveries is humbled only by his belief that pride and shame and everything else are just Darwinian survival mechanisms repackaged in human form.”

Eric Cohen, writing on “The Human Difference,” in the December issue of Commentary

‘Pure showbiz’

“Even in his dotage, led a band as tight as any in the world and executed his signature shimmies, slides, and splits in dance shoes buffed to a high gloss.

“Brown’s showmanship merged the fervent emotionalism of the black church with pure showbiz flashy clothes, vaudevillian theatrics, sweat-drenched movement, and a pompadour flamboyant enough to inspire Al Sharpton (and countless pimps). He was the model for all pop performers who followed him.

“The world is a quieter and duller place now that Brown will never again stride the boards, although you can relive the excitement by playing the volcanic ‘Live at the Apollo’ (1963).”

Jody Rosen, writing on “He Made the World Funky” Tuesday in Slate at www.slate.com

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