Pope Francis has succeeded in making a mess for his Church, especially in his understanding of its core teachings.
- At Econlog, David Henderson on the LIBOR scandal and market accountability.
- Russ Roberts next Econ Talk podcast is with Luigi Zingales on politics and crony capitalism.
- Justice Kennedy’s libertarian consistency.
- Point of Law discusses the sop to lawyers afforded by California’s Prop. 65.
- John Taylor’s Debt Fireworks (link no longer available). “In fact, only one thing has really changed. CBO put a ceiling on its projections. They now stop reporting the debt to GDP ratio once it hits 250% or more . . .”
- Jim Rogers explains the collective action of the Declaration of Independence.
The opening “Say!” placed us at the poet’s side at dawn; the second “Say!” makes this a metaphor for the national condition. Key addresses the second “Say!” to all generations of Americans: Are you still brave enough to be free? Your national existence, implies the poet, will be a long vigil, in which America’s true character will be glimpsed sporadically in the reflection of enemy attacks.
Again, Key’s question is not rhetorical, but existential: the answer to the question depends on the response of we who hear it. There are few instances of the second person in poetry with which to compare this, although the device is very ancient. A few come to mind. One is the Song of Deborah in Judges 5:2. Another is Simonides’ epitaph for the three hundred Spartans who held the pass against the Persians at Thermopylae in 480 BC. “O passer-by: tell the men of Lacedaemon that we died doing our duty.” The poignancy of the epitaph is that these dead men must ask a passer-by to bring the news to their homeland. The reader of the epitaph figuratively becomes the messenger. In John Donne’s familiar “Ask not for whom the bell tolls/It tolls for thee,” the subject becomes not death in general, but the very personal death of the hearer. And the second-person address in Francis Scott Key’s anthem asks each of us: “Are you good enough to be an American?” It is a question we should ask ourselves every day.