Memorial and Amnesia

     At long last, Washington has a memorial to the 
countless victims of Communism, whose actual numbers can 
only be estimated: 100 million deaths is a reasonable 
figure, though it hardly begins to suggest the myriad 
forms of suffering the hellish system imposed over the 
last century (and is still imposing here and there). Most 
of the credit for this too-modest monument goes to my old 
friend Lee Edwards, who has worked passionately for 
decades to add it to the monument-surfeited capital.

     Unfortunately, President Bush, speaking at its 
dedication, took the occasion to draw an absurd parallel 
between the most deadly form of tyranny in human history 
and the relatively minuscule evil of Islamic terrorism in 
the Middle East, which has yet to rival a single 
Communist state, let alone create the "totalitarian" 
system he accused it of aspiring to.

     He implied that he is leading a heroic struggle 
against a gigantic evil; as if Saddam Hussein (whom he 
didn't mention by name) had been any more than a nominal 
Muslim anyway, let alone a menace to Western 
civilization. Was he trying to insult our intelligence? 
He succeeded only in insulting the memory of those the 
memorial is meant to honor.

President Who?

     THE WASHINGTON POST has run a front-page story on 
Ron Paul, who continues to win enormous Internet support 
from conservatives and libertarians who are fed up with 
what one wag calls "Rudy McRomney."

     Meanwhile, the allegedly conservative WASHINGTON 
TIMES, as far as I can tell, hasn't even acknowledged 
that Paul is in the race.

     If Paul is elected president on a third-party 
ticket, will the TIMES even cover the inauguration? 
Probably not. THE TIMES would never feature any news item 
that might hurt the Republican Party.

Sin of the Times

     Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, the celebrity couple, 
who already have one natural child (plus three adopted 
from the Third World), have announced that they are 
refusing to tie the knot legally until gay people are 
allowed to marry too.

     How's that for self-abnegation? Not to mention 
humility! They will continue to live together, of course; 
all they are asking is that civilization redefine its 
most basic institution to suit them.

     Hey kids! Try not to let fame and fortune go to your 
heads! Actually, Brad is a middle-aged man, though maybe 
not a terribly mature one, and Angelina is featured in 
the current READER'S DIGEST for her humanitarian 
activities -- namely, saving Third World children from 
the awful fate of growing up without parents like Brad 
and Angelina. (Headline: "Angelina Jolie: Saving the 
world one child at a time.")

     I'm waiting for some other Hollywood couple to 
announce that they too will refuse to marry until society 
recognizes polygamy. Would that be too much to ask? Why 
are we singling out sodomy for such tender consideration? 
Tolerance is nice, up to a point, but if one may inject a 
note of candor into this discussion, I really doubt that 
many parents would be overjoyed to learn they had a 
homosexual son.

     I mean, it's not exactly something you'd wish on 
your child. You might, after learning of it, forgive, 
excuse, ignore, or downplay it, but I doubt you'd 
exclaim, "Just what I was hoping for!"

     I am old enough to remember when Elizabeth Taylor 
and Richard Burton were Tinseltown's most scandalous 
couple, their adulterous romps during the filming of 
CLEOPATRA covered by all the gossip tabloids and deplored 
in L'OSSERVATORE ROMANO. By today's standards, Liz and 
Dick seem like Ozzie and Harriet. The Vatican press 
doesn't seem to bother about Brad and Angelina.

     The only thing that is hard to figure out is why 
Brad isn't seeking the Republican presidential 

A Sense of Proportion

     The United States is often said to be the most 
religious country in the Western world. Maybe so. How do 
our news media reflect this fact?

     Well, I read several newspapers daily. Every day 
they have whole sections devoted to business, the arts, 
entertainment, and sports; once a week they have sections 
on health, food, science, and other specialties, with 
more specialized sections on weekends.

     And religion? On Saturdays they bury all the 
religious news on a single page, or half-page, or less. 
They give more coverage to games like chess and bridge. 
THE WASHINGTON POST regularly hides religion somewhere in 
the Metro section, near the weather and the obituaries. 
Good luck finding it. I usually forget it's there.

     And what counts as religious news? Topics like 
anti-Semitism, environmentalist clergy, homosexuals in 
the churches, and Muslim groups' complaints of 
discrimination. In other words, religion seems to be of 
interest only insofar as it is entangled with current 
political interests and fashions.

     If you're looking for bias in the press, don't 
bother with details of partisan slanting or inaccurate 
reporting. The deepest bias is the huge omission of the 
sacred. The Good News is no news.

     How can you possibly report on religion adequately 
if you don't even take the idea of revealed truth 
seriously? Religion is reduced by journalism to a sort of 
inexplicable private hobby.

The "Right" of Suicide

     Dr. Jack Kevorkian has finally finished his prison 
sentence and is free on parole as long as he doesn't 
resume his specialty of assisted suicide. He has been the 
subject of another totally one-sided and admiring profile 
on 60 MINUTES.

     As it happens, I have two dear friends, both devout 
Catholics but prone to sadness, whose fathers killed 
themselves. One found his father's body hanging in their 

     There are no words for this. Suicide is a horribly 
cruel thing to do to your family, to everyone who loves 
you. I can't judge those who do succumb to a temptation 
so alien to me; their despair is unfathomable to me, who 
have always been blessed with a pretty cheerful 
disposition. Even in my darkest times, my friends have 
always been able to shake a laugh out of me, as today.

     I can almost forgive this apostate world for 
normalizing so many other abnormal things when I think of 
this one, which has drawn so many young people into its 
torment. Suicide a "right"? How can you consider these 
kids without weeping? And my heart bursts with gratitude 
for Brother Tobias, a family friend who has made it his 
mission to rescue boys like ours from despair.

     I'm not quite sure how a Darwinian would explain the 
role of men like Brother Tobias in terms of the ruthless 
struggle for survival. Actually, he strikes me as a 
pretty tough hombre for such a soft touch, but life is 
full of paradoxes. He just seems to pop up when someone 
is suffering and needs consoling. May Jesus reward him a 
thousand times.

                 +          +          +                  

     "Our Lord enjoins us to love our enemies. He doesn't 
ask us to pretend we don't have any. It may help us 
forgive them if we can begin by identifying them." REGIME 
CHANGE BEGINS AT HOME -- a new selection of my 
Confessions of a Reactionary Utopian -- is culled from my 
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