Love it or Leave It?

As ululating headline after ululating headline blares forth Wall Street’s apocalypse; as Obamamaniacs promise race riots to break whitey’s collective spirit once and for all; as concepts like Peak Oil move from the fringes to the mainstream of media discourse; as America is forced to apprehend, in Fay Weldon’s droll aphorism, that “the fin has come early this siècle”—a line from Chesterton’s short story “The Arrow of Heaven” takes on ever-greater significance for us outside Americophiles.  That line is this: “He [Father Brown] realized that he was among foreigners, even if he was among friends.”

Never has America appeared more incomprehensible in other lands than she has in the last month.  We who are routinely published in America, who read for preference American books and magazines, who live and sleep and breathe and indeed dream America, who above all treasure our American friendships, are as baffled by what to expect as if we were contemplating Nagorno-Karabakh.  All we can predict is that the mass culture will increasingly bear the same relation to a genuine culture that the Soviet-era Lake Baikal bore to a viable ecosystem.  Now that this long-operating development has been quickened and sharpened by economic crisis of the most visible kind, we find ourselves wondering: For American paleoconservatives, has American residence now...

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