P.J. O'Rourke, who says he became a conservative on the birth of his first child--hint, hint, Apple Strudel (Ah, the naive ideas we held when we were young.)--certainly is an entertaining writer. For example, there's this: Conservatives' 28-year opportunity to fix the moral and practical boundaries of government is gone, says O'Rourke. I can't disagree. I put the blame for this in part on Ronald Reagan leaving office with a very high approval rating, 86 or 88 percent, and not using some of this capital on making social security something one owns and can pass on to one's descendants. I got this from Charles Krauthammer. Yes, the third rail and all that, but making it truly an owned asset for people rather than a "pay as you go" scheme that is clearly unsustainable and violates the tenants of private property: if one dies early--and it can be racial, too, as black men have a shorter lifespan--their accrued money doesn't go to help the spouse and kids. What's that about? That would have potentially been a paradigm shift in favor of the Ownership Society that George Bush did so little to further when we were on the brink of something profoundly libertarian. Oh, well. I've already preordered John Derbyshire's book. Even if George Friedman says America will become even more dominant this century than last, she still feels as if she's fraying, Balkanizing.