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Southern sayings are a treasure for they provide wisdom to the ear. There is a saying that was popular in the south that held that “any human that can birth a child has to have the strength of a mighty warrior”. Once a man views a birth, he should quickly conclude that a mighty warrior is not up to the task of childbirth. He is simply not that strong. While for many the physical and emotional strength of women has never ceased to be that of amazement, their intellectual ability is thought by some laggards to be less than that of a man. This is a miscalculation.
The intelligentsia seems to believe that they are the bastion for intellectual women. It is presumptuous and untrue. Conservatives, Libertarians and Tories, who take solace in the written word, as opposed to the medium of television, have a vast array of writers from which to choose. Occasionally it is difficult to sort the wheat from the chaff. The three women celebrated below are solid beams in a house of matchsticks.
Few write with the clarity about failed social programs better than Heather Mac Donald. Her book, The Burden of Bad Idea, How Modern Intellectuals have Misshapen Society enervates the old liberal mythology of construction of a great society. Within the pages, we glimpse a hell that is the welfare state. Rather than theorize from an office in safety, she has ventured out to converse with those who know the system best: the recipients. What she uncovers is those in the system are the harshest critics. During interviews, absent the community leaders who gain from the welfare state, she elicits the truth. Mac Donald ventured into the three boroughs of New York City that make up the aptly titled Dead Zone. She gathered information that is clearly a sharp refutation of the “Utopia of Welfare”. Ms. Mac Donald goes on in her book to expose the erroneous beliefs of the modern intellectual elite. Her essay on Harvard law school was eye opening as it pointed out a disturbing notion with respect to blacks. Easily one of the best books of the last ten years on the intellectual failure of the elite, it is highly recommended. As an aside, her column in the City Journal permits us to benefit from her wisdom while we wait on her next book.
Mona Charen, the syndicated columnist seen in several hundred newspapers, provides sharp commentary that cuts straight to point. Ms. Charen worked at the National Review, the preeminent conservative magazine, before she became a member of the Reagan Administration. This background gives her insight into the finest president of the last century. One column that Ms. Charen wrote is particularly incisive. On June 21, 2001 she wrote The Question of Reparations. In it, she exposes the weak arguments that somehow those who are descendants of slaves are entitled to monetary reparations. The article states, “If we were to attempt to categorize Americans as oppressors or victims based on their skin color, we will sink into an impossible morass.” This demonstrates the utter impossibility that such action would entail. Ms. Charen points out that people are not clearly defined with respect to racial heritage. It would prove far easier to look for a needle in a haystack with a blindfold affixed to the eyes. Thankfully, Ms. Charen saves us from intellectually embarking on the futile search for the impractical.
Kathleen Parker possesses’ a rare commodity that she uses to her advantage. She tells you what she believes and you do not have to like it. Her columns are clever and to the point. A former winner of the H.L. Mencken award, Mrs. Parker writes about social issues and does so with remarkable wit and clarity. In a recent column, dated May 29, 2002, she spoke for many when she encouraged President Bush to avoid caving into criticism about the war on terror. Of course, she did so with a certain humor.
“But recent events - specifically criticism that the Bush administration failed to properly calculate and inform the American public about terrorist risks - apparently have made Bush change his tune. Suddenly terrorist warnings are as ubiquitous as e-mail Viagra ads. (Does anyone else's e-mail suggest that all of America owns his/her own Web cam and that absolutely every living male is under-endowed, or is it just me?)”
Her columns are overflowing with practical advice and wit. Like Mencken, she may offend the sensibilities of someone with a fixed ideology. That possibility is joyous.
Send email to J. Thomas Lowry - [email protected]