Politics and Values (and Snow)


Central Park, New York City, February 2, 2021 (Jay Nordlinger)

I have an Impromptus column today. It begins with California, that heartbreaking subject, and goes on to Burma, AOC, QAnon, presidential dogs, the NFL, and other subjects. See what floats your boat, and doesn’t.

On Friday, I recorded a Q&A — really more of a roundtable — with two young NR-niks from the British Isles: Madeleine Kearns (Glasgow, Scotland) and Cameron Hilditch (Belfast, Northern Ireland, or not far away). Catch them before their accents fade. They will go on to American careers, I believe, and inevitably sound more like us (not that we Yanks all sound the same, thank goodness).

During our “roundtable,” we discuss matters political and cultural. Cameron explains the importance of “loser’s consent” in a democracy. We Americans have had a big lesson in that recently. Maddy recites Robert Burns, expertly. And she puts on a wicked American accent (speaking of those).

She also discusses Jane Eyre, a novel important to her, and many. Cameron discusses George Herbert, a poet important to him.

Time for some reader mail? One letter, please. It responds to another letter, actually — one I had in this post last Friday. The more recent letter goes,

I was struck by your reader who said, “There are people with whom I share values but not politics, and these people are closer to who I am than people whose policy preferences sometimes coincide with mine, but whose values are very different.” This is very much how I feel when I read your columns. You’ll forgive me, I trust, because most of the time my political views could be broadly classified as “Yankee liberal.” . . .

I shared the quote from your reader with an old friend of mine over a glass of something smoky and brown last night, since I felt it also characterizes the relationship I have with him. He and I disagree on almost every political issue that comes up (and so we know by now to avoid bringing those things up). He is what I once would have called with some (ignorant) derision a “Christian fundamentalist.” He’d just say he is a Christian.

He’s also the most ethically consistent man I know. Church is not something he does on Sundays, it’s how he lives his life. He lives in accord with a deeply held set of values. It’s inspiring.

We were in the Army together some years ago, and on the surface we may not appear to have much in common. On closer inspection, the opposite is true, since we share important values. We want to do right by our kids, by our wives, by the people we work with. (He’d add that he would like to do right by God; I’m still working that one out.)

Your post made me think of my friend, and so I shared it with him. When he asked where I’d gotten it, and I said “in National Review,” you can imagine his raised eyebrow!

Marvelous. Again, my column today is here. It closes with a couple of shots of Central Park, in the snow. I’ll throw one up top. Isn’t snow great (except when it isn’t)?

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