The Lessons of the WASPs
Plus: Marijuana Politics and the 2024 Presidential Race
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ALEC DENT: The Lessons of the WASPs.
THE REPORTS OF THE WASPs’ death are greatly exaggerated. Descendants of America’s elite class are still alive and well (and rich). They still attend fancy private schools, still own nice homes, still sit on corporate boards, and still lead lives of quiet luxury. Despite the semiregular obituaries, White Anglo-Saxon Protestants are still alive and kicking, as Michael Gross establishes fairly convincingly in Flight of the WASP—it’s just their influence that’s dearly departed. In his lengthy history, Gross makes the case for why that influence needs to return. Oddly, however, he downplays what actually made WASPs great: their faith.
Gross presents his case through the lives of prominent WASP individuals and families. Through the sketches of these men and their descendants, he assembles a picture of how WASP culture came to be and the virtues it embodied—including, at its best, modesty, a sense of honor and duty, civic engagement, and, of course, noblesse oblige.
JEFF REIMER: A Great Historian’s Inner History
PETER BROWN HAS THE POSSIBLY UNIQUE DISTINCTION of being read on a regular basis in two of the most ideologically dissimilar institutions in the United States: the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and the New York Review of Books. He is commonly assigned at the former, and he is a longtime contributor to the latter. It is a testament to Brown’s generosity of spirit and expansiveness of mind that he finds welcome readers at both places.
By any account, Peter Brown has had an extraordinary career. He wrote what is almost certainly the most widely read biography of St. Augustine in the English language.
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DANIEL MCGRAW: Marijuana Politics and the 2024 Presidential Race.
IT CAN BE DIFFICULT TO PIN DOWN the exact moment when the mass of public opinion tips over and a once-fringe political opinion becomes the new consensus. Yet that’s what happened last month, when Ohio voted overwhelmingly to legalize marijuana in their state.
Since 2012, when Washington and Colorado became the first states to legalize recreational marijuana use, cannabis has been mostly a state issue.
A FILM ABOUT A HISTORICAL FIGURE who has been dead for over two centuries is not very likely to stir controversy—but Ridley Scott’s Napoleon has done exactly that with its depiction of the emperor as an insecure, buffoonish, hollow man whose true legacy was some three million dead. The biopic has ruffled feathers in France and drawn criticism from Napoleon aficionados in other countries, not only with its jaundiced view of its antihero—Scott has compared Bonaparte to Hitler and Stalin—but with its historical inaccuracies. Others have lauded the film for stripping away the mystique of the romantic hero and enlightened despot to reveal a proto-Hitlerian mass murderer.
Happy Friday! I hope that your plans for the weekend are festive and fun. We’re going to our local tree lot for the annual Christmas tree. That, and celebrating the 4th birthday of our pup Rusty.
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A Trump dictatorship is increasingly inevitable... We should stop pretending, writes Bob Kagan.
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Love Conquers All… Except in politics, Matt Labash writes, where hate usually does the trick.
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