- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Slipping esteem

“In traditional Southern households, four weeks after Christmas, comes the birthday of Robert E. Lee, icon of the South, ‘one of the noblest Americans who ever lived, and of the greatest captains known to the annals of war’ (according to Winston Churchill).

“This year marks the 200th anniversary of Lee’s birth, and yet so far it seems to have been marked largely by silence. How many of you noticed, or celebrated yourselves, Lee’s birthday on Jan. 19 (or Stonewall Jackson’s on Jan. 21)? Lee’s birthday is still officially marked in some Southern states, but the great and good general seems to be slipping from America’s consciousness, or at least from America’s esteem. …

“Theodore Roosevelt, scion of a Yankee father and a Southern mother, thought Lee was ‘without any exception the very greatest of all the great captains that the English-speaking peoples have brought forth.’ ”

— H. W. Crocker III, writing on “Robert E. Lee: Icon of the South — and American Hero,” Tuesday in the American Spectator

Liberals ‘disabled’

“How does one respond … when an enemy challenges not just your cherished values but additionally forces you to examine the very assumptions that have heretofore seemed to underpin those values?

“Two things, in my experience, disable many liberals at the onset of this conversation. First, they cannot shake their subliminal identification of the Muslim religion with the wretched of the earth: the black- and brown-skinned denizens of what we once called the ‘Third World.’ …

“The second liberal disability concerns numbers. Any emphasis on the relative birthrates of Muslim and non-Muslim populations falls on the liberal ear like an echo of eugenics. It also upsets one of the most valued achievements of the liberal consensus: the right if not indeed the duty to limit family size to (at most) two children.

“It was all very well, from this fatuously self-satisfied perspective, for Paul Ehrlich to warn about the human ‘population bomb’ as a whole, just as it is all very well for some ‘Green’ forces to take a neo-Malthusian attitude toward human reproduction in general. But in the liberal mind, to concentrate on the fertility of any one group is to flirt with Nuremberg laws.”

— Christopher Hitchens, writing on “Facing the Islamist Menace,” in the winter issue of City Journal

Liberal safari

“It’s helpful, when watching Alexandra Pelosi’s documentary ‘Friends of God,’ to picture her as the late, great ‘Crocodile Hunter,’ Steve Irwin. Mentally swap her urban-hip voice for an Australian accent and her New York clothes for khakis, and she leads a tour through her perceived outback of American Evangelicalism: ‘We’re far from home, mates! Perhaps we’ll spot the Red-Tinted Evangelical Warbler. Crikey!’ ‘Friends of God: A Roadtrip with Alexandra Pelosi,’ appearing on HBO, is a safari film for liberals to gawk at the Evangelical natives. …

“When Pelosi shows thousands of people singing ‘I am a friend of God,’ a club of skateboarders ‘skating for Christ,’ or even an impassioned sermon, those familiar with evangelicalism see nothing odd. However, your average New Yorker or San Franciscan, or even your suburban neighbor who has never walked through the door of a church, sees something very strange indeed.”

— Rebecca Cusey, writing on “Who Are These Friends of God?” Thursday in National Review Online at www.nationalreview.com

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