Liberty Just in Case

A Dialogue for the September 12th World

Tough History is Coming: Peggy Noonan

Posted by Mark on October 29, 2005

I’ve been reluctant to do much blogging lately, and couldn’t figure out why. I’ve been fighting a nasty sinus infection, and feeling generally blah. Reading other blogs left me with the impression others were suffering sinus infections too. Now I know different.

Truth is, I’ve been overwhelmed, and didn’t realize it until I read Peggy Noonan’s column this morning. Here’s the first paragraphs:

It is not so hard and can be a pleasure to tell people what you see. It’s harder to speak of what you think you see, what you think is going on and can’t prove or defend with data or numbers. That can get tricky. It involves hunches. But here goes.

I think there is an unspoken subtext in our national political culture right now. In fact I think it’s a subtext to our society. I think that a lot of people are carrying around in their heads, unarticulated and even in some cases unnoticed, a sense that the wheels are coming off the trolley and the trolley off the tracks. That in some deep and fundamental way things have broken down and can’t be fixed, or won’t be fixed any time soon. That our pollsters are preoccupied with “right track” and “wrong track” but missing the number of people who think the answer to “How are things going in America?” is “Off the tracks and hurtling forward, toward an unknown destination.”

I’m not talking about “Plamegate.” As I write no indictments have come up. I’m not talking about “Miers.” I mean . . . the whole ball of wax. Everything. Cloning, nuts with nukes, epidemics; the growing knowledge that there’s no such thing as homeland security; the fact that we’re leaving our kids with a bill no one can pay. A sense of unreality in our courts so deep that they think they can seize grandma’s house to build a strip mall; our media institutions imploding–the spectacle of a great American newspaper, the New York Times, hurtling off its own tracks, as did CBS. The fear of parents that their children will wind up disturbed, and their souls actually imperiled, by the popular culture in which we are raising them. Senators who seem owned by someone, actually owned, by an interest group or a financial entity. Great churches that have lost all sense of mission, and all authority. Do you have confidence in the CIA? The FBI? I didn’t think so.

But this recounting doesn’t quite get me to what I mean. I mean I believe there’s a general and amorphous sense that things are broken and tough history is coming.

Tough history is coming. And coming all at once. I haven’t been blogging because there have been too many stories, each of which appears urgent and requires deep thought, requires time. Too much, too fast. And none of them terribly important.

A long time ago, I read Charles Hummel’s wonderful booklet Tyrany of the Urgent. Separating what’s important from what is urgent, and understanding how the Urgent matters can crowd out the Important ones is always a challenge.

It’s something I’ve forgotten here at Liberty Just in Case. All the urgent stories, so eloquently listed by Peggy Noonan, have crowded out the Important stories, and left me so overwhelmed I simply didn’t want to do any blogging.

Liberty Just in Case began as a way to keep my co-workers informed and entertained by stories I found on the internet. I changed on 9/11, and so did LJiC. It became, as the description below the title says, “An ongoing dialogue about Politics, Culture, Religion and the Universe in general in a September 12th world.” It’s that last part, “a September 12th world” that is the guide to what is important at LJiC.

September 11th, 2001 marked the end of an era, and an end to a feeling of protection for me. It was the day this nation went to war. But, in a much more personal way, it was the day I went to war. Oh, I didn’t serve in the military. Too many health problems for that. But I took up the pen, or in this case the keyboard, to promote winning the war in any way I could. In the end, that’s the purpose of Liberty Just in Case, to promote the winning of World War IV. That’s what is important. Other news stories may be urgent, but in the end, winning the war was what brought this blog into being, and will continue to be the driving motivation of its continuance.

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