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Always Look on the Bright Side

9:30 AM, Nov 17, 2011 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
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"Are you optimistic or pessimistic about America’s future?” asks our friend and colleague John Podhoretz in the November issue of Commentary, the august journal he edits. He solicited answers from 41 symposiasts, who replied with a diversity of approach and richness of reflection about the nation and its prospects. Among the contributors who should be familiar to our readers are Charlotte Allen, Paul Cantor, James W. Ceaser, Yuval Levin, Harvey Mansfield, Rich Lowry, and James Q. Wilson. And​—​we hasten to add, with an eye to our job security!​—​we particularly liked the effort from the guy down the hall, our editor William Kristol. Here’s a taste of his contribution:

Post-9/11, and post-financial crisis, and post-postmodernism, the range of possible outcomes seems amazingly wide and the odds on any of them strikingly indeterminate. I suspect our thinking about the future isn’t yet radical enough, either analytically or prescriptively. .  .  . So should one be optimistic or pessimistic? God knows. But I do know that conservatives​—​indeed all friends of political liberty and American greatness​—​should, in the short term, be agonistic. They need to fight. Fight to defeat President Obama in 2012. Then fight in 2013 to repeal Obamacare, to rebuild our defenses, to restore U.S. credibility abroad, and to establish fiscal, regulatory, and monetary sanity at home. .  .  . Then the agenda gets more ambitious and less determinate. But more interesting.

If you want to be pushed to think more about that interesting agenda, read the symposium​—​and subscribe to Commentary (or download its new iPad app).

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