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The Intellectual Activist - An Objectivist Review

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The Real "Two Americas"
John Edwards campaigned for the Democratic nomination last year on the class-warfare theme of "Two Americas"--a supposed divide between rich and poor. But I have argued that the real divide in this country is between those who choose to join the American tradition of individualism--and those, usually at the very top and the very bottom of the educational scale, who have embraced collectivism.

In that vein, I was thinking of writing an article called "A Tale of Two Cities," contrasting the chaos in New Orleans to the orderly, largely private efforts in Houston, which has done a magnificent job processing an influx of refugees from Hurricane Katrina. It turns out someone beat me to this idea (though not naming the essential issues as clearly as I would like), so I have linked to that column below.

"A Two-City Tale," Noemie Emery, Daily Standard, September 6

"In 1831, Alexis de Tocqueville defined a long set of traits that made Americans 'different,' and that remain today just as valid: Americans are restless, inventive, pragmatic, entrepreneurial, socially mobile, and so future-oriented they are ready and eager sometimes to let go of the past. None of these things defined what once was New Orleans.... Let us look now at Houston, for it is the second city in this cosmic drama, and one in which Tocqueville would feel right at home. Like so many cities in the Sunbelt, it is expanding, entrepreneurial, based on the future, and the place where the 'much celebrated American can-do machine that promises to bring freedom and prosperity to less fortunate people' comes roaring to life.... If New Orleans was where the Third World broke through, Houston was where the First World began beating it back, and asserting its primacy."

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