Category: Correspondence

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Dan Rather’s Troubled Land

If it did nothing else, the farm depression of the mid-80’s has demonstrated that our current agricultural leadership is simply not quick enough to deal with all the monkey wrenches in a politician’s tool box. This is not surprising, since

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Price Supports & Poetic Justice

Next winter it’s Phoenix or Honolulu for me, courtesy of the Writers’ Set-Aside payment I’ll be getting from my Uncle Sam.

The program—a brilliant idea, if you ask me—started with farmers, of course, getting paid to let certain fields lie

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Death of a Communist

Look elsewhere for amusement this month. This is not a lighthearted letter. It is a reflection on the life of a man who was once a friend of mine, a man whose life and work demonstrate that meaning well is

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Snow Job

Around here, folks are awfully worried.

It’s strange, though—we’re not worried about what the nightly news says we’re worried about.

Contrary to (seemingly) popular opinion, we don’t spend every waking moment in a nuclear catatonia. Our children—at least the children

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A Manly Celibate

What the late Axel Springer (1912-1985) was to the world of newspaper publishing, legal scholar Jacques Ellul is to Protestants, and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn is to writers, the vigorous Père Raymond-Lèopold Bruckberger is to the world of contemporary Roman Catholic intellectuals—a

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Dr. Bob’s Unusual University

Bob Jones University. Isn’t that the segregationist place down in South Carolina someplace?

Well, yes and no; or, rather, no and yes. BJU is in Greenville, South Carolina. And it did lose its tax exemption not long ago because its

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The Bismarck Bypass

In their own quiet way, arts activities are as vigorous in the Midwest as anywhere else, a fact that few seem to realize—including Midwesterners.

A year ago I was privileged to escort an emigre lecturer around my state for

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The Captain and His Cause

Our town was recently graced by a visit and lecture from one of the nation’s foremost philosophers. Captain Kangaroo came to this outpost on the Tundra, only a hundred miles or so southeast of Lake Wobegon, to speak at the

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Unto the Least of These …

A few years ago Oral Roberts made national headlines when he confessed to having seen a 900-foot-tall Jesus in the heavens urging the faithful to donate to the “City of Faith,” as he called the medical school he was building

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Potomac Fever

In November, National Review carried an appreciative piece on the very appreciable William J. Bennett, Secretary of Education. NR‘s Washington inside-dopester, John McLaughlin, concluded that “with a bit of grooming, up-front experience, and continued exposure to Potomac fever [Bennett]

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Letter From the Heartland

Some of us come later in life than others to . . . well, to adulthood. I was nearly in my 30’s before I had even an inkling of the realities of civic responsibility or how to be a friend

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Birthday Thoughts

Some folks in these parts—maybe in yours, too—were dismayed when the Congress awhile back whooped through a national holiday on Martin Luther King’s birthday. That one of Dr. King’s close associates was in all likelihood a card-carrying Commie had

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Whose Voice Counts?

“I am teaching you to use a tool more deadly than a pistol.” This is the message beginning journalism students hear from an instructor who spoke last year at a conference on “Our Enemies’ Use of the Media,” sponsored by

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Things We Ought Not to Have Done

In the capital city of a state more conservative than many, in its midsized newspaper more conservative than not, runs a weekly feature called “Single File,” of presumed interest to, yes, area singles (people, not cheese slices).

This week’s article,

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The Ever-Receding Worker’s Paradise

This month the Communist Party of the Soviet Union will adopt another Party program. Released as a draft in October 1985, this program constitutes a definitive statement of where the party is and where it is-headed on its path to

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Odds and Ends From Here and There

The last couple of years have been busy ones, here in the South. Mississippi finally ratified the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, giving women the vote. At Billy Bob’s, in Fort Worth, Merle Haggard stood all 5,095 customers to

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The Modesty of a New Yorker

I may be the only person in America—I am certainly the only one in New England—who did not mourn the recent passing of E.B. White. Of course, I don’t mean to say I celebrated his death. On the contrary,

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Going First Class From Karakorum to Moscow

In August-September 1985, I traveled as a faculty lecturer with a group of Rice University alumni on a journey from Mongolia to Moscow by way of Siberia. The trip began in the village of Khujirt near Genghis-Khan’s capital of Karakorum.

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Letter From Minnesota

American and British negotiators of the Treaty of Paris, attempting to set the northwestern boundary of the new United States, agreed on a line following Rainy River “to the Lake of the Woods, thence through said lake to the most

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Letter From the Southwest

Giving, helping, caring—these are words frequently mentioned in the writings and orations of most religious and social philosophers. Giving and helping and caring are concepts that touch something deep in the breast of civilized mankind and call forth the

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Science and Religion

I gather that the Texas Board of Education has done something commendable, but I don’t know exactly what because the Washington Post (my source) was too busy deploring it to describe it. I assume it was something great because it

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Letter From the Heartland

You can tell Midwesterners from other folks by the way they poke public fun at the Midwest. Iowa recently held a contest to find a state license-plate slogan, and the entry generating the most attention was “Iowa: Gateway to Nebraska.”

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Food for Thought

One of the dumber remarks of the 1984 Presidential campaign—a campaign notable for its dumb remarks—came from Joe Frank Harris, governor of Georgia. Asked if he approved of Geraldine Ferraro, he replied: “Yes. I asked her if she had eaten

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Letter From Washington

We Americans are optimists. As peo­ple of goodwill and great intentions, we find it difficult to comprehend a system of government or a political philosophy that has no place for de­cency or compassion.

From time to time, however, some­thing happens

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Letter From the Lower Right

To begin with, an anniversary: Sep­tember 20th of this year marked a decade since the death of Alabama Representative Ray Burgess. The Honarable Ray, described at the time of his death by the New York Times as “a volatile segregationist

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Tell About the South

Why a monthly letter from the South in a national (indeed, international) publication like this one? A good question that deserves a thoughtful answer.

When Thoreau heard about the construction of a telegraph from Maine to Texas, it’s said, he

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To the Pretoria Station

Governments, Lenin once wrote, never fall unless they are first pushed. Whatever his faults, the old Bolshevik must have known something about how to get rid of unwanted regimes. In the Revolution of 1917, it was the Imperial German government

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Letter From College

The much-ballyhooed young conservative movement of the early 1980’s may soon come to an inglorious and grinding halt. While the early 80’s were marked by a certain gusto on the part of conservatives fighting to overthrow entrenched liberals, the middle

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Did You Ever . . . ?

The past few years have not been good ones for Southern comedians (some of our politicians aside). First we lost the Reverend Grady Nutt, whose gentle Baptist humor was one of the high spots of the syndicated television program Hee

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The Big Guns Sound Off

The Health Sciences auditorium at Emory University was the scene last April of a two-day discussion, presided over by two former chief executives of the United States: Jimmy Carter and Gerald R. Ford. Invitations for the event came from the

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Letter From the Lower Right

Taxing Matters

In a North Carolina newspaper not long ago-a North Carolina newspaper – I  actually read  an  editorial urging Tar Heel legislators to raise the state tax on cigarettes. What is the world coming to?

The state’s present tax,

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Letter From South Africa

I spent March 1985 in South Africa as a guest of several South African universities. I lectured to academic audiences, traveled in the rural areas of Transvaal and the Cape Province, spent a day in Soweto, visited the Crossroads slum

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Letter From Central America

World attention focused on Managua several months ago, as leaders of the Socialist world, led by Fidel Castro, converged on Nicaragua for the most stupendous Marxist levee since Ethiopia’s $100 million bash for Colonel Mengistu. Meanwhile, thousands of Nicaraguan campesinos,

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Letter From Budapest

Observation of intellectual life in Hungary today provides a fascinating picture of a nation living in two worlds and, in certain ways, profiting by both. “East” and “West” become suddenly realities, cultural as well as political. Soviet occupation has compelled

Letter from Canada: Legislating Oppression
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Letter from Canada: Legislating Oppression

The appointment of a Parliamentary Task Force on Participation of Visible Minorities in Canadian Society was the latest in a series of attempts to persuade Canadians that their country must be­ come a miniature United Nations in order to substantiate