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‘For God and Empire’

5:05 PM, Mar 27, 2014 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
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Aboard the Wind Surf, at port in Charlestown, Nevis
After a lively morning panel session on the 2016 presidential race, most of our cruisers headed ashore today in Charlestown, Nevis. The great majority went swimming and snorkeling, or toured the island on interesting excursions, or enjoyed Nevis's nice resorts. Let's call those people the normal ones.


But a few of us decided to walk around Charlestown. (Actually I decided to, and my colleagues John McCormack, Mike Warren, and Kelly Jane Torrance went along to humor me.) After all, Nevis was the birthplace of Alexander Hamilton and a home and wedding venue for Horatio Nelson. Two great men! Two proto-neocons! How could we not pay homage to them?

It turns out not to be so easy to pay that homage. Nevis's historic sites aren't quite what one might have hoped. There's nothing left of Hamilton's boyhood house. As for the Nelson Museum, we initially found it padlocked. But the attendant happened to return from her lunch break as we were about to leave, and so we did get to tour the (rather modest) exhibit. We enjoyed one unexpected highlight: the museum also featured five bookshelves of random used books on sale for a dollar each. We did pay our respects at an old Jewish burial ground a few blocks away with headstones inscribed in Hebrew, Portuguese and English, and also at the World War I monument in a central square, with the inscription, "For God and Empire. To the memory of the men of Nevis who served in the Great War, 1914-1918." And we had an excellent lunch of jerk chicken, rice, and beans at a small local establishment, "Blessings Cuisine," near the dock.

That was about it. But as we straggled back to the ship--dusty, sunburned, and perhaps a little worse for wear--I stoutly maintained, "That was really pretty interesting." "Right, boss," my colleagues dutifully agreed--though I thought I noticed a couple of them gazing wistfully at a bunch of our fellow cruisers cheerfully returning from a wonderful snorkeling experience on an air-conditioned bus. But I say: Bah to such pleasure-seeking! THE WEEKLY STANDARD expects that every staffer will do his duty. 

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