Couple of worthwhile things from the blogger formerly known as Boohab: an examination of class, especially as it pertains to one Lone Gunman and his peregrinations through the middle class; an examination of self-esteem in black girls, and perhaps most poignant (from my perspective) a link to a Ben Stein column in the NY Times bemoaning the fact that while the men of the generation preceding Ben's all did time in the military during World War II, most of the money men now haven't and would most likely consider the suggestion that they should ridiculous. Stein doesn't use the phrase, but he points out that most of the troops doing the fighting and dying in Iraq are men and women from the red counties. Not a lot of Ivy Leaguers in the mix these days. Cobb thinks that when things get desperate they too will pick up a rifle, but given the quality and type of teaching being done at Yale and Harvard these days I have my doubts.
I think the subtext here is that the only things holding this country together are the law and a sense of shared responsibility for the common defense. Respect for the law began to fray during the sixties along with the popularization of draft dodging, and I don't think the country has ever really recovered from that time. Much of the current political frenzy on both sides is a reflection of this situation: one party is fighting the centripetal tendency, one is trying to encourage it, even as their basic philosophies conflict with their objectives.