By Dan Milyavsky
I hope all that all of my fellow students are enjoying their winter break, and to any of the non-students reading this, I hope that you are enjoying your winter. With the recent transformation of the Northeast into an uninhabitable tundra, I’ve recently been able to relate to what my parents felt like when they worked in the north of Russia, close to Siberia. Okay, that’s an exaggeration, it was still about 30 degrees warmer here than it was over there, but you know what I mean.
We start off the year with a stark reminder of the dual destructive and incompetent nature of government. Chris Christie is in the midst of bridgegate, a scandal in which his top aides ordered the closure of two out of three lanes on the George Washington bridge in order to hobble the town of Fort Lee with insufferable traffic, and thereby punish its Democratic mayor for failing to endorse Christie. Bridget Anne Kelly sent the following terse email to a Christie appointee at Port Authority: “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.” With this brief and impulsive message, she was able to cause thousands of drivers to be stuck in traffic for hours on end for four entire days. Such is the destructive potential of government. What is its potential for altruism, however? David French writes at National Review online: “In the government context, those with even moderate power have the ability to do great harm. But can they also accomplish great good? Not with the same ease or efficiency. Imagine a converse scenario, with an aide impulsively typing, “Time for a better commute in Fort Lee.” What happens tomorrow? Anything meaningful?” The answer, of course, is nothing happens, least of all anything meaningful.
President Obama is embroiled in his own quasi-scandals. The Obamacare website has been mostly fixed, but health insurance premiums keep rising and it is becoming abundantly clear that the law did nothing to fix our inefficient health care system. The Supreme Court is set to hear a case challenging the constitutionality of NSA spying. Regardless of the ruling, the NSA has failed to cite a single case in which its billion dollar domestic surveillance program has stopped a terrorist attack (the same way that the TSA, no matter how many children it gropes, has yet to catch a single terrorist.) And yet, the data collection proceeds undeterred, with the NSA storing all of your phone calls and emails on a massive database for at least a five year period. In needs a court warrant to access the actual content of these communications, but fortunately for the NSA, the court that it has to get authorization from is a secret court, safe from public scrutiny.
Al Qaeda has recently captured the Iraqi city of Fallujah. This would have been unthinkable back when Saddam Hussein was running the country, but after all the “successes” of the Iraq War, Al Qaeda has now gained a strong foothold in the country. The Iraqi government is attempting to retake the cities, but Sunni lawmakers in the Shiite led government insist that the government should stay out. Only a few years after our withdrawal from Iraq, the situation is deteriorating rapidly, and ironically enough the biggest winner of the Iraq war may be Iran. I wonder what Christopher Hitchens would say if he were alive to see this. Perhaps he was pushed to such unceasing support for the Iraq War in part by the rabid anti-Americanism and masochism of leftist opponents of the War, but looking back, its hard to see it as anything but a spectacular failure.
And yet, there is some good news. The NSA domestic spying program seems to be in its death throes, with Obama’s own panel recommending reform. The War in Afghanistan is supposed to drastically wind down this year. Republicans are set to make big gains in the Senate this year, with many Democrats up for re-election in red states. Republicans may not be anything close to the limited government advocates they portray on TV, but they are still better than the Democrats, especially now, with the rise of more libertarian influence within the GOP.
So that about sums up what we have going forward in terms of national issues. What about here on campus? Well, I don’t have anything particularly to say on that score. Aside from the opening of Digman in Dickinson Community, things seem to be pretty much the same. Your college experience is in large part what you make of it, so I can’t really offer any specialized predictions. EDIT: If you pay attention to our Facebook page (and you absolutely should) you’d know that through our journalistic prowess, we’ve uncovered a YouTube video of the Pipe Dream protest. You can watch it here.
But what about the direction of the Review? (I’m sure that you’ve been desperately salivating for the answer to this age old question.) We’ll continue the great work we did last semester, and make sure that our issues our engaging, have eye catching covers, and just the perfect blend of humor, articles about campus events, and analysis of national affairs. And, of course, we’ll continue with our modest and non-self-aggrandizing tone.
If you wanted to join the Review last semester, but didn’t have time, and would like to get involved this semester, it’s never too late. Send me an email at email@example.com
In the meantime, some classic essays you might enjoy reading:
Why don’t we complain more? by William F. Buckley
Send A Message to Garcia by Elbert Hubbard
Some Funny Political Videos You’ll Enjoy:
MSNBC’s 2013 Highlight Reel
And if there’s anything you’d like to recommend, post it in the comments!