Monday, October 25, 2004


...brings us wisdom every day. Take the following for what it is:
As I have said before, I wish this election weren't so important. But I'm afraid it is. If the Americans elected John Kerry in, oh, 1992 or 1996, that would be one thing. If they elect him in 2004 — that will tell us something disheartening.

A little story: Some time ago, England had what was called "the Metric Martyr." This was a fellow — a grocer or a butcher, I forget which — who sold his goods in imperial measures: pounds, ounces, etc. But because England is now beholden to Brussels, he was prosecuted for not using the metric system (hence, Metric Martyr).

I asked our senior editor David Pryce-Jones (a Brit), "How could the British people permit this? I mean, it's their system — the imperial system, or the English system — to begin with." David answered, "The British people wouldn't permit it. The question is whether they remain the British people."

I have thought about that story in the last few weeks.

UPDATE: The following is also a fine bit of prose and sense:
What George W. Bush is doing now is hard, often unpopular, and right. Will the Americans give him another term, so as to finish the job, or at least further it significantly? It could make a great difference in how history views him. Of course, it could also make a great difference in how history proceeds.

Another UPDATE: More from the big N:
I published a letter containing the old wisdom, "Give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day; teach a man to fish and he'll eat for life." Another reader wrote, "I think the more appropriate line about fishing is, 'Give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day; teach a man to fish and he'll try to replace you with someone who'll give him fish every day.'"

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