Web Notables (Feb. 10, 2015)

Conservatism offers something better, introverted friends, Brian Williams, the left and radical Islam, etc.

By The Editors Published on February 10, 2015

“Web Notables” is a daily feature that highlights articles readers may want to see but might have missed. Compiled by David Mills.

The Privilege of Freedom, from the Intercollegiate Review. Talking about John Paul II’s first trip to Poland as pope, a friend who grew up in Poland told Daniel Hannan, “You know, the Holy Father never once directly criticized the Communist authorities. He didn’t have to. He just offered something better.” Hannan,  a Conservative party member of the European Parliament, responds:

That, I think, should be the creed of conservatives: Just offer something better. . . . Is there a better story to be told than that of the free, English-speaking peoples? Is there a better patrimony than that which we share? It doesn’t matter where our ancestors came from, because Anglosphere values are passed on intellectually rather than genetically. The Anglosphere is why Bermuda is not Haiti. It’s why Singapore is not Indonesia.

An Extrovert’s Guide to Drawing Out Your Introverted Friends, from the website Verily. Don’t ask open-ended questions like “How are you?”, writes Monica Gabriel. “Try getting into the conversation by first offering up a little bit about yourself or your day. This can ease your friend into conversation and provide an opportunity for her to connect with something that you’re sharing.” She offers five other tips.

The Family Tree, Stripped, from the website the Front Porch Republic. “China’s one-child policy has stripped the social space between the state and the individual of every protection that the most natural community, the family, can provide.” We know that, writes Andrew Yuengert, but we may not think of the loss for Americans of shrinking families.

[W]hen average family size falls from four to three, each person loses a sibling, of course, but he or she also loses four aunts and uncles and twelve cousins. The collapse to one child wipes out the siblings, but it also wipes out the aunts/uncles and cousins. . . . The family is most local of all communities, and its decline is at least as great a social calamity as the commercialization of culture and the state organization of society.

Brian Williams and the God Complex, from The New Yorker. “The networks have a stake in promoting their anchors as God-like figures,” writes veteran media critic Ken Auletta. “By showing them in war zones, with Obama or Putin, buffeted by hurricanes, and comforting victims, they are telling viewers that their anchors are truth-tellers who have been everywhere and seen everything and have experience you can trust.”

On top of that, their millions of viewers treat them with “a respectful familiarity [that is] different from the awe displayed to Hollywood celebrities. The anchor is treated as the citizen’s trusted guide to the news. As a result, they can feel expected to dominate discussions, to tell war stories, to play God.” And perhaps make up stories.

Why the Left Casts a Blind Eye on Radical Islam, from the website RealClearPolitics. The Hoover Institution’s Peter Berkowitz summarizes Michael Walzer’s analysis of the political left’s failure to deal directly with radical Islam. A leading leftist thinker, Walzer argues that his fellow leftists fail for several reasons, including their fear of being called “Islamaphobic” and their anti-Americanism.

And also:

Yair Rosenberg of The Tablet reports that anti-semitism in Italy comes predominantly from the political left, not the political right or Muslims.

Peter Smith of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports on the growth of married priests in the Eastern Catholic Churches in the United States, with a history of these ethnically-based churches in this country.

Samuel Casolari, writing for Geneva College’s Center for Vision and Values, argues that a super primary in the south would be bad for conservatives.

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