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Pilgrim’s Progress

Apr 23, 2012, Vol. 17, No. 30 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
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Is it really that hard to express humble gratitude to someone who may have saved your life? Further, how difficult is it to accept that when she found herself face-to-face with a guy famous for being handsome she reacted the way one might expect a young woman to react? Heaven forfend we pause long enough to thank a guy for acting in a rather dashing and selfless fashion, because that’s not “important” at a time when Rick Santorum is waging a war on women’s bodies. (We presume that the driver that nearly plowed over Laurie would have been comparatively respectful of her corporeal autonomy.) 

But before this descends further into the realm of self-parody, The Scrapbook couldn’t help but notice that in February Penny authored a blog post for the New Statesman headlined: “So, it turns out feminism is a CIA plot to undermine the left.” In recent years we’ve despaired a bit about the competence of our intelligence apparatus, but if tone-deaf feminists such as Penny do turn out to be the product of a CIA conspiracy to discredit the left—in that case, we have to say, well done, Langley!

Department of Insults, Well Delivered

"Mr. Wilson, by contrast, seems to recognize little unique about the German situation. -Hitler, ‘in his racial discrimination, was simply being normal,’ the author suggests. ‘The United States and the British Empire were both racist through and through.’ This is a stupendously undergraduate generalization—even if it contains some measure of truth.” (Carl Rollyson, reviewing Hitler, by A.N. Wilson, the Wall Street Journal, April 7, 2012.)

Recommended Reading

The April/May edition of Policy Review, the Hoover Institution’s incomparable six-times-yearly journal, has arrived in The Scrapbook’s inbox, and we commend it to you unreservedly. Editor Tod Lindberg has assembled a symposium marking the tenth anniversary of Robert Kagan’s famous essay on the United States and Europe, “Power and Weakness.” Kagan’s Policy Review essay, improbably for a profound work on international affairs, later became a bestselling book, Of Paradise and Power.

Equally improbably for a work of such trenchancy, Kagan managed to encapsulate his thesis in a one-liner that was both deep and witty: “Americans are from Mars and Europeans are from Venus.” Comments from Lindberg and Kagan (both Weekly Standard contributing editors) bookend the contributions from the 10 Policy Review symposiasts.

A short sample from Kagan to give you a taste of the proceedings:

The essay, and the book that followed, have been viewed as a part of the Bush era, a response to or justification of the transatlantic split that opened over Iraq, a defense or inspiration for Bush’s supposed “unilateralism.” In fact, however, the essay was really a product of the 1990s. The world I was reflecting on was not the world of Bush and de Villepin. It was the world of Clinton and Védrine.

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