The Art of the Painless Coup

REPOST – Originally posted in October 2005



Peggy Noonan wrote a piece [October 27, 2005] in the WSJ that made many people unhappy; some found it defeatist, some found it reminiscent of Jimmy Carter’s “malaise” speech, some found it downright paranoid and semi-hysterical.

I found it to be none of those things. My impression, as one Long Island Irish Catholic Girl reading another, was that Noonan is on to something, but she’s not quite there with it. Perhaps that is because the next step to “there” is a step any successful and credible public figure would be very cautious about taking; it is a step toward the Eternal, toward things seen and unseen. To take such a step is to risk reputation and a life-time of work. I don’t blame her for not taking it.

I however, am not a successful and credible public figure, and I have no reputation to risk. Like Groucho, I have no wish to belong to any club that would have me, and so I can dare to walk where Ms. Noonan could not.

Noonan expressed her belief that, subconsciously, Americans are wandering through their days with a sense of things being, “Off the tracks and hurtling forward, toward an unknown destination.”

Everything…A sense of unreality in our courts so deep that they think they can seize grandma’s house to build a strip mall; our media institutions imploding…Senators who seem owned by someone, actually owned, by an interest group or a financial entity. Great churches that have lost all sense of mission, and all authority. Do you have confidence in the CIA? The FBI? I didn’t think so.

A sense of unreality…yes…and illusions, too.

Some might argue that what is coming “off the tracks” are the easy illusions of 20th century America: The perhaps naive notions that our elected leaders actually seek office to serve the public good. That the press is interested only in presenting the truth, no matter what. That our courts are peopled with lofty higher beings and geniuses who know better than the rest of us. That our churches are both safe havens and by-ways to heaven.

There was a time in America when all of those statements would have been accepted at face value. In our nation’s babyhood we believed and we trusted all the parent figures – the governments, the courts, the press, the churches.

Now, past infancy, we have come to look upon those institutions with the glare of adolescent angst. We’ve observed enough to understand that those in authority over us are not the paragons of perfection we’d so looked up to as toddlers. We see them flawed, weak, seducable, wholly human and fallible, and like good adolescents who have caught Mom and Dad lying or stumbling drunk, we at first sneered about it and gave some voice to our sense of betrayal. Now, we’re merely numb. Since our “parents” in these authoritative roles have proven themselves to be mere creatures, and not heroes, well, we’ve turned up the volume on our ipods, buried ourselves in our trendy lambskin coats and shut our doors to them.

Our older siblings are observing this behavior with a measure of satisfaction. I am not talking about our cousins across the Atlantic. I mean the “elites” whom Noonan writes have decided to find their “seperate peace” in all of this. She writes:

I suspect that history…will look back and see that many of our elites simply decided to enjoy their lives while they waited for the next chapter of trouble…

You’re a lobbyist or a senator or a cabinet chief, you’re an editor at a paper or a green-room schmoozer, you’re a doctor or lawyer or Indian chief, and you’re making your life a little fortress. That’s what I think a lot of the elites are up to.

Here is where I think Noonan falls a little short. These elites are not simply milling about waiting for “the next chapter of trouble.” I think in too many cases they -like troubled eldest siblings, the “first children” who have never quite gotten over the subsequent additions to the family- have been actively fomenting chapter after chapter of trouble, for some 40 years. They are complacently building little fortresses, but they are doing so for a reason. Having written all of these chapters of trouble, they are feeling quite confident that their story is solidly structured, and they are ready for the dénouement they have planned. The anticipation of their surprise ending is making them almost giddy.

The ending, of course, is the coup d’état. Believing that the rest of us, now disillusioned, are no longer clinging to romantic ideals of honor, or truth or nobility, these always-restless First Children, devoted to deconstruction, believe they are about to take down the presidency, the churches, the “old” government and even the “old” media. They expect to put into place something “brand new.” But believe me when I tell you what they are building is older than dirt. And up from it. Which is why they will need their fortresses. Castro lives in one, too.

They’ve been practicing all of this, by the way, perfecting the Art of the Painless Coup so thoroughly that most ordinary folks do not even realize what has occured.

Over the past 40 years these hyperactive First Children have been pulling off small scale coups with varying levels of success. They managed to deconstruct the academies, so that education is less a broadening of knowledge than a narrowing of perspective. They have deconstructed the liturgy to insist that a pantomime in clownface is a vast improvement over 2000 year-old sacrament and liturgy. They have deconstructed government by constructing something so huge and unwieldy that nothing coming out of it is reliable or dependable, and almost no one is accountable, either. They have deconstructed the press to the point where the truth of a story is less important than how it may be framed and spun. They have deconstructed the idea of fascism to mean “those democracies in Israel and America” rather than the freedom-suppressing regimes which surround them.

And all the while they have been busily pulling things apart, they have kept the rest of the family distracted with the television, with the radio, with the cinema – any or all of which have instantly been called into service whenever someone got a little bored and looked around, wondering what these kids were up to. “Abortion?” says Aunt Sally, “Abortion is a terrible thing!” Suddenly every news story is about the grim circumstance of illegal abortion. Suddenly sitcoms are showing the way. “Well, if Maude had an abortion…maybe sometimes it’s a good thing…”

“Free love,” sputters Uncle Jim, “it’s immoral! It’s damaging to the family!” Suddenly every film hero or heroine is having free, uncomplicated, undamaging sex, and flashing some gratuitous T and A at Uncle Jim in the process. “I dunno,” he smiles to Aunt Sally as he settles back, “maybe it’s not all that bad…”

Except that Aunt Sally, having been spoon-fed her enlightenment by media overrun with these busy First Children and their co-horts, is not around to hear him. She has taken off her bra, taken the pill and several dozen lovers, she has “found herself,” lost her children and moved in with her newest partner, Charlene. They own cats and attend drum circles. They protest whenever possible, because a good protest can validate almost any life-choice by pinpointing and naming an enemy, and declaring that enemy an oppressor and a villain, even if that villain is liberating men, women and children and trying to create a safer world. “An illusion!” They shout. “There is no liberation, there is no safer world, there is no nobility, no honor, no truth! All lies!”

I will spare you the part where they strip down to their birthday suits and dance around, their sagging, pendulous breasts swaying out of sync with the drums.


The First Children applaud Aunt Sally. They love the distraction she causes as they work feverishly on their coup.

I think Ms. Noonan’s sense of things being “off-kilter,” is her own gut understanding that the painless coup is near, and perhaps she is not quite sure what might be done to prevent it.

Well, one way to prevent the coup is to be utterly fearless and authentic in pronouncing the things we believe. Pope John Paul II (and now Pope Benedict XVI) made enormous headway against the Painless Coup, which had gone so far as to turn our beautiful churches into bare concrete monstrosities (ready-made for quick-conversion into temples to secular reason) and he managed to reclaim the liturgy and renew appreciation for the Eucharist by repeating the truth over and over, with the reminder, “do not be afraid!”

Thus so, we must repeat, over and over, that while illusions may well be all around us, some amorphous notions, like honor and freedom and truth, are still real. They are not just real, they are Eternal.

We must repeat again and again that America’s honor is no illusion. Imperfect as it may be this is still the land to which – in large or small ways – every free nation owes its current liberty. This is the nation that has routinely sent its idealistic young men off to foreign lands -to die there- not for empire, not for real-estate, but for the protection and advancement of that unseen thing that is freedom, the strengthener of the human spirit, the burnisher of human potential. First Children and their motley co-horts aside, this is still the nation to which millions of creative or industrious people wish to come, it is the nation to which the oppressed call out for rescue and relief.

We must repeat, over and over, that the American Presidency is, like a papacy or a monarchy, larger than the person who occupies the office, and that it is noble. The American President freed slaves when too many would not entertain the notion. The American President has carried the big stick used to overthrow tyrants and bullies both foreign and domestic. The American President has put his airmen to use to keep his vanquished enemies in Berlin from starving in a brutal winter, he has used his navy to bring aid after tsunami. The American President has dreamed great space voyages into reality, has opened closed markets, has encouraged a people to tear down walls. The American President has envisioned tens of millions of people raising purple fingertips to the sky, and made it so.

We must repeat, over and over, that Liberty is the means by which we created creatures are meant to live and to grow and be. That Liberty lives in the Truth. That Liberty lives where people can speak freely, without fear of injury or reprisals. That Liberty lives only when the press is free and unencumbered – when it is detached from events instead of entwined in them. That Liberty lives when people refuse to be intimidated into silence or acquiescence, whether in the workplace or within the community. That Liberty is the fragile thing that diminishes whenever one refuses to acclaim it for oneself.

In between all of those repetitions, we must do something else, if we are to stave off the Painless Coup. We are going to have to turn away from our distractions – the television, the radio, the magazines, the talkshows, the films, the fashions, the escapist entertainment, even the internet. We will have to turn away from these empty things – to make them smaller in our lives, where they and the popular culture now loom so large – and we are going to have to get quiet.

A good musician knows that music is not created only by playing notes, but by understanding the spaces between the notes, and their value. Just so, it will not be enough to simply repeat what is true – if that is all we do, it will only add to the din – there must also be silence, in which to do our other, more powerful work.

It is a cacophony of noise that fuels so many illusions, and allows those “chapters of trouble” to be so deftly written. The overstimulation of our senses has severely dulled our internal sensors. We have lost our bearings and our boundaries so profoundly that we are no longer guarded, interiorly, against scam-artists and tricksters.

We have to get those bearings back – to find our centers and get back in touch with our “gut instincts,” which are there for a reason. And the way to get back to the center – to our center, our “gut” – is through prayer and meditation and contemplation. Prayer has power. No force can stand against it. Not even the force of a generation bearing down and driving hard against everything that came before itself.


It is true that there are many illusions in the world. And on the world stage there stride some masters of the sleight-of-hand and the misdirection – you can recognize them because they are all of a mind, and of a piece, and they are all working different parts of the same trick.

But if you can recognize a trick for what it is, you can prevail against it.

And this is where the Eternal comes in – the things seen and unseen, which I mentioned earlier. An illusionist, no matter how masterful, is still peddling an illusion. He has nothing behind him but his crossed fingers. Prayer is no illusion, and one needn’t be a master to tap into its tremendous force. Even a novice may use it, although one does get stronger with practice and growth comes, for prayer is never stagnant.

Aunt Sally has no idea how disposable she is, or how her raised consciousness has been a mere means to an end, another illusion. In the coming denouement, she and Charlene and poor old, befuddled Uncle Jim will be equally expendable, or useful only for keeping the foodlines and the medical lines straight. They will all be outside the “fortresses” of the elites, with the rest of us, if the Coup is permitted, if the First Children achieve their goal.

So, it is time for the rest of us to turn off the ipods, shed the lambskin coat and come out of our self-imposed exile, ready to do battle. Things are indeed messed up and off-kilter. But no matter how much our parent figures in the government or the courts, or the churches or even the few grown-ups left in the press may embarrass us or disappoint, they’re still ours. They belong to us, and the bond is forever. And it is time to get busy.

Related: Doctor Zero What Democracy is Not

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  • Jane Bunal

    I too saved that Noonan article from 4 years ago because it made me shudder with recognition. It expressed my own sense that this country was unraveling. Just the other day I told my husband that either there will not be an election in 2010 or it will be rigged in favor of the leftists. I don’t know what to do except trust God.

  • Bender

    Peggy Who?nan is part of the problem, not the solution.

  • Jenfidel

    As always, Anchoress, your thoughts are a blessing and an enlightment of current problems.
    It seems, once again, we faced that age old enemy Satan in the guise of the political Left which has waged spiritual, emotional, cultural and political warfare on our great nation intensely for the last 40+ years.
    I find myself praying almost constantly and I’m sure you do, too and you know “whenever 2 or more pray in My Name…”
    Have a Blessed Christmas and thanks again for this early Christmas present!
    We must never forget that the Lord sent His Son to us for just such times as these!

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  • cap MarineTet68

    Dangit! So THAT’S what’s been going on! I feel like I did coming out of the theater watching “Wicked.” It is a marvelous depiction of what COULD have been a “back-story” to OZ. We know what we know of OZ thanks to the original storyteller. Along comes another, and describes things which might have been going on in the background.
    Much of what is written here has been known, or known about, for the 40 years or so that I have been paying attention. It is the manner in which it is encapsulated and described that makes it so powerfully evocative. Thanks much!

  • Working Stiff

    The most important link on this page is at the top of the article:
    ”Reposted due to this”
    Read the ”this” part if you haven’t, and pray.

  • Elaine

    I wish I could say it was painless but it isn’t. I have this sick feeling deep inside of me because I know that the beautiful things in our country are being under minded. I am forever grateful for Christmas and Our Lord who will never let me down!

  • devan

    Television has been the medium through which the liberal agenda has been implemented. Yes, in the early years it was wholesome and relatively smut-free with shows like Father Knows Best, I Love Lucy, Gunsmoke and Leave It To Beaver, but since the 1960′s it’s been all down hill. I can’t help thinking how my mother would react, were she still alive, to 4 hour erections, push up bras (with the models protruding from them) and Trojan condoms, just to mention a few. And that’s just the commercials. Yes, we would do well to pray more but we need action as well. So I suggest we pray to have the strength to do the following actions: THE FREEDOM MANIFESTO

    I read an article in Politico on the agenda of, which explains their new agenda, now that the most liberal politician in our history has been elected President. Got me thinking of what it would look like if the “right” would – hypothetically speaking, of course – develop a plan to resist MoveOn, Obama and the age of huge (not just big) government. These people at MoveOn did not wait for politicians in Washington to step up to their agenda – they stepped up to the politicians and said “you are going to do this, or else.” We Christians and Conservatives, likewise cannot continue to howl and fuss at Republicans who do not fight for the Founding Principles upon which our nation was founded. If MoveOn and the Daily Kos can do it, so can we. And we must. The attack plan below to restore Constitutional government, is just a start but should include:
    1.Establish the groundwork for a boycott of the federal income tax. If you no longer feel the federal government is operating within the confines of the Constitution, you have a moral obligation to become a conscientious objector and simply say NO to the payment of taxes to Washington. Does the Constitution give the Feds the right to bail out labor unions and give non-citizens rights and benefits? If you feel that by doing so, our sovereignty, Constitution and Bill of Rights are null and void then so is any responsibility you may have had for taxes under the 16th Amendment. 2. Begin a vigorous campaign to urge the public to home-school and/or send their children to private schools, with or without vouchers. Then begin a major program to build a private, non-union school system. This is the only way we will crack the huge union dominated government school bureaucracy. 3. Begin to use the legal system to fight big government. If the ACLU can do it, why can’t we? We must begin to bring suit on every issue that threatens our nation’s original freedoms and traditions. 4. We begin a systematic march on the media, especially television. TV is the medium through which the liberal agenda is being implemented. The left learned long ago that a picture is worth a thousand words and the best example of this is the pictures of bodies of dead soldiers they broadcast every time we are in a war they do not approve of (usually when a Republican is leading it!). Holding pro-America, Republican rallies at local TV stations would be a great start – especially if the liberals re-implement the “Fairness” Doctrine. 5. Boycott employers who advertise on far left liberal media outlets like NBC. No patriotic American should buy a General Electric household product as long as Matthews, Olbermann and their ilk are permitted to spew their anti-Republican, anti-American hatred. 6. Expose the controlling roll that unions play in growing a totalitarian media/government complex. 7. Establish an underground network of physicians and health care providers that will fight to preserve private sector medicine. 8. Establish Committees of Correspondence and Safety to provide communications and security – just as our Founding Fathers did. 9. Join the NRA as we have just as much right to carry guns under the 2nd Amendment as the media does to carry cameras under the 1st Amendment. 10. Demand adherence to the 9th and 10th Amendments of the Constitution and promote and support state sovereignty efforts. 11. Tell your health care providers that they do NOT have your permission to enter your private medical information in a Federal data base as required in the recently passed (and unconstitutional) so called Stimulus law. These are just a few of the actions that are necessary to first stop and then roll back the liberal juggernaut that threatens our basic freedoms and liberty. In our Declaration of Independence, our Founders pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor. It is not too late for us to make that same commitment; in fact it is just in time.
    THESE are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. – Thomas Paine, The Crisis, December 23, 1776


    “In questions of power, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.” – Thomas Jefferson

    “I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence (OBAMACARE – mine), the money of their constituents.” – James Madison

  • Elaine (not the one at 7:37 though)

    I like Peggy Noonan and I always have, and I don’t get where some conservatives think she’s “part of the problem.” Yeah, I know she had criticisms regarding Sarah Palin, that she said a few nice things about Obama last year, and all that, but I still think she’s a good writer, and a kindred spirit of mine (just like Anchoress herself) in some sense even though I’m a Downstate Illinois Irish/German/WASP Catholic Girl (that’s not a typo; my mom’s side of the family is very WASP, and my mom is a convert). But, I digress…

    Yes, I have the same worries about things going bad, getting off the track, whatever you want to call it; and my instinctive response is to become even more obsessed with reading the news, reading all the insider political blogs, trying to figure out every possible explanation or prediction, plan for every possible scenario, etc. To unplug, quiet down, and just pray is counter-intuitive for me, it seems like passivity or doing nothing, yet I know it is the right thing to do. Thanks again for your insight!

  • Elaine (not the one at 7:37 though)

    “In our nation’s babyhood we believed and we trusted all the parent figures – the governments, the courts, the press, the churches”

    Well, I’m not so sure about that, now that I think about it. If you think public discourse is uncivil, highly partisan and polarized now, you should have seen it back in the 19th century! People who believe in and trust their government and other institutions usually don’t end up fighting a Civil War, do they?

    Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that trust/construction and mistrust/deconstruction of government and other institutions runs in cycles, and we appear headed toward the bottom of a “mistrust” cycle… the big question, of course, is how far down do we have to go before we “bottom out.”

  • Maria

    I am praying that some Senator is unable to make in to vote December 24 2009

  • Len

    I read a book entitled “If you See the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him”. In essence, when you seek an authority to save you, you do not accept responsibility for your actions and feelings, finding a reason to justify your world feeling out of control.

    While these appear to be complex and impossible times, there really is food, clothing and housing. There really are people with resources out there. And while it is easy to forget, we are able to treat almost every electronic gadget as a necessity.

    So what is all the angst? I have often found in my life that when things get to be too complicated, I have to simplify.

    Most of the things we are confronted with today are not new. They have continued to evolve, but they are still fundamentally the same — food, clothing, housing, family, friends, hopes expectations, etc.

    However, we live in a time when the vast majority have not had to be concerned about the basics. We complicate our lives with the clutter of too much. Too much input, too many things, too many views, coupled with the avoidance of deciding what is important. We seem to want someone else to decide for us and we are so disappointed when they fail us. No one really has to stand for anything because we all wander around holding our heads in disbelief waiting for Godot (or Buddha).

    We are looking for the heroes and leaders outside of ourselves. The more complex we make it, the easier it is too seek solutions from someone else. Quit making excuses. The elite are fundamentally no smarter than anyone else.

    We are our heroes when we remember what is important. We haven’t had to decide that for a long time. Maybe we can’t pass the buck any more?

    [It has nothing to do with "passing the buck" I don't think. But I do wonder if this reckoning is about more than some think, and if more accounts are coming due than might seem obvious. I will likely not post on that until after Christmas, though -admin]

  • By the Sea

    I thought this recent Peggy Noonan article was on the mark: link

  • AB

    No offense, but I think Noonan is a little sharper.

    What we are seeing in the healthcare frenzy, the global warming frenzy, and the other political frenzies is this:

    This is the frenzies of distraction among the politicians, bureaucrats, lobyists, the whole bunch. They know the current political constallation will soon fall. The know the Federal Government will go bankrupt followed by a chain of state bankruptcies. The economy will lurch down into far worse. There life’s work, the programs, policies, their fortunes, their friends careers and fortunes, all will be swiftly destroyed.

    It will be a trainwreck of government institutions and programs, many of them good, but it will end with a Free People.

    The Bill Ayer’s of world may not go quietly–but they will go.

    This will end in fire, not ice.

    dona nobis pacem

    ["No offense, but I think Noonan is a little sharper. " - None taken; she is sharper, that's why she gets the big bucks and I am a lowly blogger-admin]

  • By the Sea

    In Seattle our new mayor-elect has stated that he is in favor of legalizing marijuana. How can we expect our children to grow up in a moral environment, when the leadership is so spineless (and if we are promoting such an environment, does our leadership even care about children)? People are getting murdered daily in Ciudad Juarez and Tijuana over drug trafficking, and here we have a new mayor saying drugs are okay? Ciudad Juarez has become the most violent city in the world, and we have a new mayor saying drugs are okay? We have a growing problem of gangs in our city, and here we have a new mayor saying drugs are okay? What kind of a city can I expect Seattle to be in ten or twenty years? Does anyone really think it is going to be a better city with this lack of leadership?

    I read through Peggy Noonan’s article, and I think the main problem she is trying to present is that of an ever-growing complexity which government increasingly cannot cope with. In reality, the growing complexity is caused by our refusal to teach simple moral precepts. We are too embarrassed to be moral and to teach morality, so we end up subject to the whims and philosophies of those with power. And it is more important for our leaders to be “cool” than to lead with integrity, so we are faced with increasingly harsh consequences–broken families, drugs, and an economy that grows more wild. The harsh consequences we try to patch with more social programs, but it seems the water comes in faster than we can bail.

    I don’t think the economy is faltering due to lack of attention. Indeed, in the last two or three decades, virtually all we hear about is the economy. With sports, it’s all about how many millions or even billions now, that the player makes. With movies, it’s all about box office receipts, not the quality of the film. With Christmas, it’s all about whether the Christmas season brought in enough money. The economy used to be relegated to the business section of the newspaper, perhaps because it was boring. In the last couple decades, it has been constantly front page news, and all of the other newspaper sections have become economy-flavored (even the comics have Dilbert). We focused on the economy like a laserbeam. We focused on the economy because it was “the economy stupipd”…and where did we end up?

  • Jeanne

    This is such an amazing post. Truthful, and putting forth exactly what is happening in bare, bold statements. Gifted writer, thank you.

  • vanderleun

    One of your best. I’ve linked and saved for near future reference.

  • Michael Romkey

    Well said, Anchoress. Brilliant, in fact.

    We live in an world of illusion, where little is what it seems regarding matters big and small: health care “reform,” Tiger Woods, a Nobel Peace Prize for a president who has no past and has been in office 11 days after being elected by adoring crowds who know nothing about him and are determined to ignore what scant record exists…

    I will think more about your metaphorical First Children, because understanding the force behind the march toward the abyss is important. It’s easy to jump to the ultimate root and say, “It’s Satan!” but I think it would be useful to understand better the mechanism by which innocence is methodically ruined and all things noble are dragged through the mud.

    Why is what now passes for culture (television, movies, popular music) so enthusiastic about promoting the degradation of humanity and virtue? Is it because most of its customers are people under 30 who resent authority, are selfish and immature, seek blind approval for their actions and worship at the altar of the almighty “I”?

    The sheer noise and distraction, though, are a big part of it.

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  • Koblog

    The Noonan four years ago is not the Noonan of today.

    The seduction of the First Children is them dangling the possibility to become one of them.

    Go to this school… get a job here… invest in thispolitician… become a member here.

    As Anchoress said, it’s as old as dirt: “Ye shall be as God….”

    When it came to siding with Sarah Palin, plain and tall, or the New York and Washington cocktail parties of the elite First Children, Noonan chose the First Children.

    I quit reading her at that point.

  • Jack

    Their “coup” is the culmination of the campaign of the cultural Marxists.

    Personally, I think it’s time to split up the country. Let the lefties have the northeast and the west coast, and we keep the rest. In 10-15 years, their part will be in the same shape as Detroit. Ours will still be the freest and most prosperous country on the planet.

  • Phil

    Linked. Very well put Madam. I salute you.

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  • Louise

    Wonderful. Thank you. What you have posted is very akin to Hillaire Belloc’s theory of how History works, in his book “How the Reformation Happened.” What we are seeing now that you describe so precisely, is the leftist, “let-it-burn, baby”, Baby Boomer generation (the First Children) come of age, taking its place in the governing class, and (fundamentally-to quote B.Obama) transforming government to its (the B.B’s) ideal.

    The question is, will the next generation, knowing nothing else, and who thinks that this is the way it always was and always should be, will perpetuate such policies? Seeing a whole group of young medical students who believe in gov’t. controlled, universal health care, opposed to a group of practicing doctors who don’t, was a frightening sight.

    I highly recommend Belloc’s book. It will change your notions of how history works and how societies change–in his book, how, two generations after the English Reformation, nobody knew that there ever was such a thing as Catholic England.

  • Louise

    A quick addendum: Belloc’s theories explains H. Reid, N. Pelosi and all the members of Congress and Senate. What expains B. Obama is, I’m afraid, something far more nefarious. To quote the current cliche, it is the “perfect storm”.

    We pray every day for our country, but most of my confessions these days are about despair, I’m sorry to say.

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  • Robert Townshend

    Noonan goes to great length in quoting some boozy pessimism from the mouth of Edward Kennedy. Is she identifying a little too much?

    The rest of the article seems to be a dithery, rambling and neurotic exercise in cosmic despair, more fitting the left (and Andrew Sullivan). Lots of words like “impossibility” and “overwhelming”. (Does the WSJ have an editor?Not only is the “latest thing” crucial, it’s important and necessary and crucial.) She’s not far off Sullivan’s “utterly” and “incredibly” hyperventilating style.

    Do we need this neurosis?

    Peggy Noonan has something in common with Tina Fey. Both these women would faint if they had to perform the duties and functions of Sarah Palin for longer than five minutes.(So would I.)

    I’m not American, but if you guys can find a conservative candidate who knows that a Prius runs on petrol and you have to drill for that stuff, and who thinks the NYT is mainly good for wrapping salmon guts…you shouldn’t be in a hurry with the “vulgarisation” talk.