Traditionally, baseball punishes preening. In a society increasingly tolerant of exhibitionism, it is splendid when a hitter is knocked down because in his last at bat he lingered at the plate to admire his home run.
As advertising blather becomes the nation's normal idiom, language becomes printed noise.
Today more Americans are imprisoned for drug offenses than for property crimes.
Committed partisans are generally the most knowledgeable voters, independents the least. And the more political knowledge people have, the more apt they are to discuss politics with people who agree with, and reinforce, them.
Leadership is, among other things, the ability to inflict pain and get away with it - short-term pain for long-term gain.
I suppose there's a melancholy tone at the back of the American mind, a sense of something lost. And it's the lost world of Thomas Jefferson. It is the lost sense of innocence that we could live with a very minimal state, with a vast sense of space in which to work out freedom.
Popularity makes no law invulnerable to invalidation. Americans accept judicial supervision of their democracy - judicial review of popular but possibly unconstitutional statutes - because they know that if the Constitution is truly to constitute the nation, it must trump some majority preferences.
Arizona's law makes what is already a federal offense - being in the country illegally - a state offense. Some critics seem not to understand Arizona's right to assert concurrent jurisdiction.
Only recently - about five minutes ago, relative to the long-running human comedy - have parents been driving themselves to distraction by taking too seriously the idea that 'as the twig is bent the tree's inclined.'
Being elected to Congress is regarded as being sent on a looting raid for one's friends.
When liberals advocate a value-added tax, conservatives should respond: Taxing consumption has merits, so we will consider it - after the 16th Amendment is repealed.
Constitutional arguments that seem as dry as dust can have momentous consequences.
Some parents say it is toy guns that make boys warlike. But give a boy a rubber duck and he will seize its neck like the butt of a pistol and shout 'Bang!'
The nice part about being a pessimist is that you are constantly being either proven right or pleasantly surprised.
In the lexicon of the political class, the word 'sacrifice' means that the citizens are supposed to mail even more of their income to Washington so that the political class will not have to sacrifice the pleasure of spending it.
The strongest continuous thread in America's political tradition is skepticism about government.
Childhood is frequently a solemn business for those inside it.
Government has the role of suiting people for freedom. People aren't made for freedom spontaneously. There's sort of a 19-year race between when people are born and when they become adults. And government has a role in making them, at the end of 19 years, suited to be upright, trustworthy repositories of popular sovereignty.
Barack Obama hopes his famous health care victory will mark him as a transformative president. History, however, may judge it to have been his missed opportunity to be one.
The first election I remember was Dewey Truman in '48. I was, I guess, seven years old.