The Education of George Bush

Not by George Bush

I used to wonder at the deep melancholia to which Evelyn Waugh was subject in the last years of his life.  “Papa,” his eldest daughter Meg would plead with him, “why are you so unhappy?”  Waugh’s misery, verging on despair, struck me as unwarranted.  He had, after all, great literary success, a large and creditable family, a magnificent country home; above all, he had his Faith, which regards despair as a sin.  Why was he so unhappy?  

Though considerably more ebullient in my own 50’s, I wonder no longer at Waugh’s state of mind.  It was life in what he called “the Century of the Common Man” that ground him down, mentally and emotionally, as living on in a world half created by, half designed for, a universalized and universalizing proletariat increasingly oppresses my own spirit, and the spirits of close friends.  (Today’s proletariat, armed with cheap contraceptives and a constitutional right to abortion, is no longer fit even for its traditional eponymous activity.) 

Every area of American life, whether politics, economics, the arts, journalism, architecture and design, entertainment, sports, cuisine, dress, manners, morals, religion—everything with the obvious exception of the academy—reflects the mass taste and intellect of the American proletariat.  While the American government wages...

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