History lessons

Weekly Standard online editor Jonathan Last takes a look back at the decline of the British empire through the turn of the British elite from support of King and country to pacifism and the Oxford oath: “Rule America?” (I respectfully disagree with Jonathan’s shot at President Bush in the column.) Professor David Gelernter complements Last’s column with a scorching “History lesson.”

Professor Gelernter’s column follows up on Secretary Rice’s response to Barbara Boxer’s obnoxious questions and comments on her testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee earlier this week. Professor Gelernter seems to be of the view that Secretary Rice might have appropriately borrowed Samuel Johnson’s retort to the lady (I can’t find the exact quote this morning; surely it must be here somewhere) that he could answer her question, but he couldn’t give her the brains to understand the answer.

UPDATE: It only took reader John Cooper a few minutes to find the correct Johnson quote for me from Boswell’s Life of Johnson: “I have found you an argument; I am not obliged to find you an understanding.”

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