Magazine article The American Conservative

Letters

Magazine article The American Conservative

Letters

Article excerpt

CHINA'S BABY BUST

Mr. Unz makes a few interesting points ("Chinas Rise, Americas Fall," May 2012). But China is facing a growing demographic crisis. With its one-child policy, China will have a lot more young men and not enough women to marry or have children with. This will put a crimp on the Middle Kingdom being die low-cost factory of the world

While tìieir overall GDP might pass that of the United States, in terms of per capita GDP China will still lag. With an aging population, a looming population decline, and a slowing economy China faces obstacles that the rich world faces but wiüiout the money.

Unlike Europe and die United States, China does not have a social safety net There is no social security for me elderly, who are expected to go and live with their children, a further drain on die spending of Chinese workers.

KEVIN WINTER

Elk Grove, Calif.

UNEXAMINED REVIEW

I was puzzled by die review of my book, The Unexamined Orwell, by Chilton Williamson ("No More Orwells," March 2012) because it is less a review dian it is a litany of ad hominem criticisms conducted by someone whom I've never met. He seems to have placed me in some bogeyman categories diat have triggered his ire, none of which is related to die book and several of which are completely inaccurate as to die person and writer I am. I only wish that readers of The American Conservative could have a chance to read a review of the book itself, not a skewed review of my presumed literary and professional identity.

Mr. Williamson repeatedly misfires. For instance, he calls me an "academician," which reflects die very "Socialsciencespeak" and "Academicspeak" of which he accuses me. Repeatedly he refers to me as "Professor Rodden" or bemoans my book as "anotiier failed attempt by another academic at 'creativity,'" calling die book "a pig's breakfast" of "18 academic articles." Mr. Williamson is obviously unaware that I am no more an academic than he is - I left academe 20 years ago. I write nonfiction and poetry for various publications, including The American Conservative, Modern Age, and the publisher from whom his forthcoming volume is appearing, ISI Books.

All mis is litde more man academicbaiting. Mr. Williamson says that my own prose style, unlike Orwell's, is comparable to "a sheet of crazed glass halfobscured by cob-webs and smuts." He offers no specific example in support of that assertion. Mr. Williamson also associates me erroneously wim "me hard Left" and the "left-leaning establishment," by whom he says Orwell has been treated as a "moral hero." This sort of rhetorical overkill and ignorance of die views of Orwell's conservative and moderate cultural critics are embarrassing.

IfMr. Williamson is no strong admirer of Orwell, I have no objection to that But why dismiss so many distinguished admirers of Orwell as if their opinions count for nodiing? Those admirers include cultural conservatives such as John Wain, Kingsley Amis, Robert Conquest, John Lukacs, Russell Kirk, D wight Macdonald, Peter Viereck, and Robert Nisbet All of mem have responded to Orwell as an inspiring presence, indeed as an intellectual hero, sometimes even explicitiy calling him a "moral hero."

Several of them have also been drawn to speculate on what Orwell would have said about the events after his deatii, die thematic question in one of my chapters, "If Orwell Were Alive Today? Why not address that important historical (and sociological) fact? Instead Mr. Williamson plays lay analyst and psychologizes my own conjectures about "what Orwell would do" as purported evidence of "Roddens projection of his personal obsession with Orwell. …

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