An epidemic of pusillanimity

Saturday, June 08, 2013

An epidemic of pusillanimity

It was 20 years ago this Fall that my friend Jeffrey Snyder caused quite a stir, flogged primarily by George Will in News­week, with his essay "A Nation of Cowards."

Initially published in the Fall 1993 issue of The Public Interest, Jeff's monograph later evolved into an eponymous book of essays, and it is the thesis of the most celebrated one which tends to stay with the reader.

(Ironically, only its title seemed to resonate with United States Attorney General Eric Holder, who saw fit to ap­propriate it, but not its reasoning, in his February 2009 speech about race relations in America.)

One has only to look at some of this week's headlines to understand just what Snyder was addressing 20 years ago:

A March incident, however, set the standard for outrage­ous pusillanimity:

Within the closed E-mail discussion group to which Snyder and I have belonged for the past 15 years, our colleague "Milquetoast" coined enuresis ignavus, which term perfectly describes an all-too common societal condition...

"Cowardly pants-wetting by members of the nanny state, with attendant irrational rhetoric in service to the erosion of individual responsibility."

Look around you... it's everywhere, and it's undermining the fabric woven by the Founding Fathers 237 years ago.


1. Scarlett said...

After that school shooting in Connecticut last December, knowing that a school crossing guard was armed, I'd feel my children were safer. Maybe if he's kept it out of view under his safety tunic?

I fully agree on both counts... following Heinlein's aphorism that "An armed society is a polite society," he should have been more discreet.

That said, in something other than a "nanny state," people would not have cared that he was openly armed.
– Dean

2. W.R. Moore said...

Since you mentioned Heinlein... perhaps those so violently (isn't that contradictory?) opposed to firearms should wear a "Peace Brassard" (if I'm correctly recalling the terminology) declaring their status. That way, those wishing to victimize them will be duly aware of the lack of resistance... to say nothing of the lack of spine.

Bravo! And yes, "brassard" is the correct term.

Your suggestion is quite in line with what a small group of Second Amendment supporters pulled on employees of the West Nyack Journal News this past January. (Watch the video.)

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