America First!

It’s to a great extent a wretched world. It’s beyond our capacity to set it straight. Let’s take care of ourselves and not knock ourselves out worrying about what goes on outside our borders, which, by the way, we should make a lot more secure.

It’s not hard to appreciate the appeal of that philosophy, though it does sound overly self-involved. The trouble with it, besides sounding overly self-involved, is that it is overly self-involved. Worse than that: the road with the sign pointing to it saying “America First” is the road that leads to “America Last.” If we betray our principles and abdicate as a beacon of freedom, democracy, courage and good will — if we allow ourselves to give in to the forces of mean-spiritedness and greed — we’ll end up, sooner than would have been thought possible, on the ash heap of history.