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Wall Street Journal


  • Originally published 06/25/2013

    Niall Ferguson: The Regulated States of America

    In "Democracy in America," published in 1833, Alexis de Tocqueville marveled at the way Americans preferred voluntary association to government regulation. "The inhabitant of the United States," he wrote, "has only a defiant and restive regard for social authority and he appeals to it . . . only when he cannot do without it."Unlike Frenchmen, he continued, who instinctively looked to the state to provide economic and social order, Americans relied on their own efforts. "In the United States, they associate for the goals of public security, of commerce and industry, of morality and religion. There is nothing the human will despairs of attaining by the free action of the collective power of individuals."What especially amazed Tocqueville was the sheer range of nongovernmental organizations Americans formed: "Not only do they have commercial and industrial associations . . . but they also have a thousand other kinds: religious, moral, grave, futile, very general and very particular, immense and very small; Americans use associations to give fetes, to found seminaries, to build inns, to raise churches, to distribute books, to send missionaries to the antipodes; in this manner they create hospitals, prisons, schools."

  • Originally published 04/23/2013

    Sirens Blare In Honor of Warsaw’s Jewish Insurgents

    A small part of the chasm in Polish-Jewish relations closed on Friday, when, to commemorate the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, alarm signals sounded across the city. Until now, sirens have sounded on August 1, in honor of the fighters of the city-wide Warsaw Uprising in 1944.These alarms mark the moment when an important part of Jewish history—when a small group in the Warsaw Ghetto opted to choose their own deaths, to resist rather than go to the gas chambers—becomes a part of the narrative of Polish history.Often the two narratives, of Jewish suffering and of Polish suffering at the hands of the Nazis, run along parallel lines never to meet.Simcha Rotem, who was honored by Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski with the Grand Cross of the Polonia Restituta order Friday, is now one of only three still living ghetto insurgents....

  • Originally published 03/21/2013

    Fouad Ajami: Ten Years Ago, an Honorable War Began With Wide Support

    Mr. Ajami is a senior fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution and the author, most recently, of "The Syrian Rebellion" (Hoover Press, 2012).Nowadays, few people step forth to speak well of the Iraq War, to own up to the support they gave that American campaign in the Arab world. Yet Operation Iraqi Freedom, launched 10 years ago this week, was once a popular war. We had struck into Afghanistan in 2001 to rout al Qaeda and the terrorists' Taliban hosts—but the 9/11 killers who brought ruin onto American soil were not Afghan. They were young Arabs, forged in the crucible of Arab society, in the dictators' prisons and torture chambers. Arab financiers and preachers gave them the means and the warrant for their horrific deeds.America's previous venture into Iraq, a dozen years earlier, had been a lightning strike: The Iraqi dictator was evicted from Kuwait and then spared. Saddam Hussein's military machine was all rust and decay by 2003, but he swaggered and let the world believe that he had in his possession a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction. The Arab redeemer, as he had styled himself, lacked the guile that might have saved him. A great military expedition was being readied against him in London and Washington, but he gambled to the bitter end that George W. Bush would not pull the trigger....

  • Originally published 03/21/2013

    Roy Scranton: Why Fiction Tells the Truth About War

    Roy Scranton, an Iraq veteran, was an artilleryman in the Army. He is co-editor, with Matt Gallagher, of Fire and Forget: Short Stories from the Long War.This week we look back and think about what it meant that we invaded Iraq ten years ago. What kind of story do we tell? What’s our narrative? It’s not an easy question, but it’s an important one, because the stories we tell about how we got where we were turn into stories about where we’re going.Some might think this is a job strictly for history. Since 9/11, if not before, people have talked about reality outstripping fiction, as if fiction can’t keep pace with events. More, we’re all tired of government duplicity, overblown product claims, scripted reality shows, and faked memoirs. When someone tells us they’ve made something up, we’re apt to feel what David Shields called “reality hunger”: Don’t sell me the well-crafted fake, buddy, give me the real deal.

  • Originally published 03/21/2013

    KKK to protest park renaming

    Officials in Memphis, Tenn., are girding for a rally called by a faction of the Ku Klux Klan at the end of the month, to protest the City Council's decision earlier this year to change the name of three Confederate-themed city parks.The council voted Feb. 5 to change the names of Confederate Park, Jefferson Davis Park, named for the Confederacy's president, and Nathan Bedford Forrest Park, named for a Confederate lieutenant general who was also the KKK's first grand wizard. The new names are Memphis Park, Mississippi River Park and Health Sciences Park, respectively, though the council may change those names later.The council's move came in response to a bill moving through the Tennessee Legislature this year that would forbid local governments from changing names of any parks or monuments named for wars or war heroes, including those involving the Civil War....

  • Originally published 01/25/2013

    After ‘Spartacus’ Ends, There’s a Chance Caesar May Take His Place

    The posters for “Spartacus: War of the Damned” promise that the newest batch of episodes will take viewers to the bitter end. But at last night’s premiere for the final season of the series, “Spartacus” creator Steven S. DeKnight was already thinking about the future.DeKnight told Speakeasy that some preliminary talks are already underway to possibly spinoff a series focusing on Gaius Julius Caesar, who in “Spartacus” is played by Australian actor Todd Lasance. “It’s in the early conversations of a possibility. Rob Tapert, my producing partner and I, we love this world we’ve created together, and we would love to spin it off in some direction with the same style and the same feel as the show. Caesar is definitely a strong possibility.”...

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