And Then He Loudly Cleared His Throat…


…pocketed his monocle, put on his white gloves and top hat…while muttering about how difficult it is to find good help these days. I swear, Ross Douthat is the world’s youngest grumpy old man.

…the WASPs had virtues that their successors have failed to inherit or revive.

Those virtues included a spirit of noblesse oblige and personal austerity and piety that went beyond the thank-you notes and boat shoes and prep school chapel going — a spirit that trained the most privileged children for service, not just success, that sent men like Bush into combat alongside the sons of farmers and mechanics in the same way that it sent missionaries and diplomats abroad in the service of their churches and their country.

And somehow the combination of pious obligation joined to cosmopolitanism gave the old establishment a distinctive competence and effectiveness in statesmanship — one that from the late-19th century through the middle of the 1960s was arguably unmatched among the various imperial elites with whom our establishment contended, and that certainly hasn’t been matched by our feckless leaders in the years since George H.W. Bush went down to political defeat.

Someone needs to sit Ross down and tell him — then maybe explain — the Aristocrats joke.

2 thoughts on “And Then He Loudly Cleared His Throat…

  1. Dear Pres. Obama:
    could you please fire up your Time Machine and send Ross back, slightly more than a century, to the WWI front lines, so that he can see for himself, all that stuff about “the old establishment a distinctive competence and effectiveness in statesmanship”? KThxBai.

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