He's not only one of the finest polemical writers working today, but he was a leading light in the effort to get the American public to consider Donald Trump from a character-and-principles standpoint. His book The Case Against Trump was one of the first salvos in that movement.
But today at NRO he has an essay of the type he does occasionally, in which he says everybody ought to relax, that the United States is still the prosperous, culturally absorbent and resilient country it always has been and that its ills are few relative to those that beset most nations:
Politicos and angst-peddlers left and right want you terrified and anxious, and they want you to believe that these United States comprise a vast impoverished anarchic Eliotic wasteland, a kind of gigantic continental Haiti with lots of shopping malls and a surprisingly large number of Range Rovers.
But if you drive around the country, it doesn’t look like that at all. It looks, for all its very real problems, amazing.
But you will recall that a few days ago I linked to a Dennis Prager piece - also at NRO - that took a far more dire view of contemporary America:
This Second Civil War, fortunately, differs in one other critically important way: It has thus far been largely non-violent. But given the increasing left-wing violence such as riots, the violent taking over of college presidents’ offices, and the illegal occupation of state capitols, non-violence is not guaranteed to be a permanent characteristic of the Second Civil War.He cogently makes his case. I would only add some specific manifestations that I find cause for alarm: the ever-declining number of Americans who consider themselves religious, the corporate acquiescence to the Left (exemplified here in Indiana in the spring of 2015 by Lily, the Ball Corporation, Cummins and Angie's List very publicly and vehemently opposing the state's RFRA law), the extent to which "climate change" indoctrination has infected our educational system, the uptick in rioting to the extent that it is becoming commonplace.
But you what I'd put up as Exhibit A?
The general coarseness of our culture.
How far do you have to scroll down your Facebook feed to find vulgar language?
How much prime-time network television can you watch without coming across such language, or reference to private bodily functions?
How much maneuvering around public spaces can you do without seeing litter?
Such a decline in general dignity makes for the perfect environment for the Left to advance its side in the war.
The conventions, customs, mores and institutions that provided the basis for human interaction based on respect have been under attack for decades, and the onslaught is now reaching critical mass.
I'll even go so far as to say that they have been diminished as a direct result of the disparagement of the notion that there is a higher purpose to our collective life than material well-being. An early sign of the attack was the coining of the term "plastic" and the introduction of the countervailing notion of "getting real." Being "authentic" assumed a place as one of society's top values. "Getting real" was supposed to entail taking a square look at how the nooks and crannies of society actually operated, with all their ills and dangers, with no sense that the only true amelioration for them was something of an eternal nature. Government programs or, in the view of some, economic growth were supposed to take care of it.
And when the higher purpose to this life has been removed from the equation, we're left with a free-for-all.
No, Kevin, for all the outer trappings of a society that is still productive and well-functioning, there is a brittleness and a stench that does not bode well at all.