- The Washington Times - Friday, February 29, 2008

Buckley: RIP

“There will be plenty of eulogies from people who knew William F. Buckley better than I did — and certainly from those who agreed with him more than I did. But he was an honest man, an actual conservative — who, in the end, was quietly appalled by George W. Bush’s radicalism, in Iraq and when it came to the federal budget.

“He was a lovely writer, of course. His book, ‘The Unmaking of a Mayor,’ an account of his own wry run for mayor of New York in 1965, is not only hilarious but also an early — and accurate — critique of the political correctness, unionized sclerosis and wasteful bureaucracy that almost killed the world’s greatest city in the 1960s and 1970s.”

Joe Klein, writing on “Re: End of an Era,” yesterday at Time.com

Older and wiser

“In every way, the evangelical movement in the United States looks as if it is maturing. That means more social and political influence, not less, as the movement broadens, reaches into the elite, and develops messages with wider appeal.

“Yet it also means a more pluralistic and less strident movement, more apt to compromise and less likely to be held hostage by a single issue or a single party.

“The real story of the evangelical political movement today involves neither its death nor its triumph, but rather its slow [and ongoing] shift from insurgent to insider, with all of the moderating effects that transition implies.”

Walter Russell Mead, writing on “Born Again,” in the March issue of the Atlantic

No children

“Economists have modeled the impact of many variables on people’s overall happiness and have consistently found that children have only a small impact. A small negative impact, reports Harvard psychologist and happiness researcher Daniel Gilbert.

“In addition, the more children a person has the less happy they are. According to Gilbert, researchers have found that people derive more satisfaction from eating, exercising, shopping, napping or watching television than taking care of their kids.

“Indeed, looking after the kids appears to be only slightly more pleasant than doing housework, asserts Gilbert in his bestselling, ‘Stumbling on Happiness’ (2006).

“Of course, that’s not what most parents say when asked. For instance, in a 2007 Pew Research Center survey people insisted that their relationships with their little darlings are of the greatest importance to their personal happiness and fulfillment. However, the same survey also found ‘by a margin of nearly three-to-one, Americans say that the main purpose of marriage is the ‘mutual happiness and fulfillment’ of adults rather than the ‘bearing and raising of children.’ ”

“Gilbert suggests that people claim their kids are their chief source of happiness largely because it’s what they are expected to say. In addition, Gilbert observes that the more people pay for an item, the more highly they tend to value it and children are expensive, even if you don’t throw in piano lessons, soccer camps, orthodonture, and college tuitions. Gilbert further notes that the more children people have, the less happy they tend to be. Since that is the case, it is not surprising that people are choosing to have fewer children.”

Ronald Bailey, writing on “Why are People Having Fewer Kids,” Feb. 26 at


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