Beginning-of-Week Roundup

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For starters, here's my Creators Syndicate column. Thesis: The default assumption that so many high-minded Americans bring to public events leads them to, in Jeane Kirkpatrick's words, "always blame America first." Here's a fascinating piece that advances a similar idea, by Oleg Atbashian, who grew up in the Soviet Union. Tantalizing hint: He attributes the default assumption to those who prefer John to Paul as a musician and John to Ringo as a philosopher.

I make reference in my column to the fact that, while all societies in history had slavery, it was English men and women, inspired by evangelical Christianity and Quakerism, who set out to abolish it–and succeeded. The inimitable Mark Steyn pays tribute to their leader William Wilberforce and to their success, with very little in the way of his usual brilliant wisecracks and with a reverence appropriate to the subject. This one ranks very high on my "I wish I had written that" list. One last note: I should have made reference in my column to the recently released movie Amazing Grace, based on Eric Metaxas's book, which according to reports tells Wilberforce's story with considerable accuracy and appropriate respect. I plan to see it soon.

I noted last week the D.C. Circuit's decision overturning the District of Columbia ban on handguns on the grounds that it violates the Second Amendment: This is a very big deal. Judge Silberman's tightly reasoned and elegantly written decision, grounded in Second Amendment scholarship, makes the point that the Second Amendment does not outlaw all gun control laws and suggests that it probably doesn't outlaw most of those on the books. But the District, in effectively outlawing possession of working handguns in one's home, goes too far.

Here is a post from Instapundit's Glenn Reynolds, who's written scholarly articles on the Second Amendment, together links to enlightening columns by the Chicago Tribune's Steve Chapman and by George Will. My hunch is that the Supreme Court will take the case and that it will produce a majority for a position very much like that set out by Silberman.

What is the latest from Iraq? A couple of items. First, a recent poll by a firm I'm not familiar with, Opinion Research Business, produces some interesting numbers. By a 49-26 percent margin, Iraqis prefer life under the Maliki government to life under the regime of Saddam Hussein. The 26 percent seem to be heavily Sunni, as one might expect. Second, most Iraqis don't think they're in a civil war.

And here is some interesting commentary in Don Surber's Charleston Daily Mail blog.