“You can’t see all the world’s weapons and all its madness and not know that eventually we will face a terrible day or days when everything will depend on our ability to hold together and hold on. Maybe it will involve nuclear weapons, maybe an extended, rolling attack on the grid, maybe bioterrorism. But it will be bad; there will be deep stress and violence. The great question in those days, under that acute pressure, will be: Will we hold together? Will we suffer through and emerge, together, on the other side? Which is another way of saying: Will we continue as a nation, a people?
“My belief is that whatever helps us hold together now, whatever brings us together and binds us close, is good, and must be encouraged with whatever it takes.
“If these are your predicates — America in cultural catastrophe, and hard history ahead — you spend your energies on a battle not to make government significantly smaller, but to make it significantly more helpful.”
“The old conservatism of smaller government, tax cuts and reduced spending . . .
“That old conservatism was deeply pertinent to its era and philosophically right, but it is not fully in line with the crises of our time or its reigning facts . . .
“The federal government will not become smaller or less expensive in our lifetimes . . .
“But beyond that fact is something bigger. America needs help right now and Americans know it. It has been enduring for many years a continuing cultural catastrophe — illegitimacy, the decline of faith, low family formation, child abuse and neglect, drugs, inadequate public education, etc. All this exists alongside an entertainment culture on which the poor and neglected are dependent, and which is devoted to violence, sex and nihilism . . .
“America to my mind is what Pope Francis said the church was: a field hospital after battle. We are a beautiful and great nation but a needy, torn-up one in need of repair.”
— PEGGY NOONAN, Speechwriter and special assistant to President Ronald Reagan
From the WALL STREET JOURNAL, May 4-5, 2019, p. A13