"Mr. Gorbachev—tear down this wall.” Ronald Reagan’s demand in 1987 regarding the Berlin Wall needed no nuancing. It was obvious that many East Germans wanted to enter the politically free and economically prosperous West and that leaders in East Berlin and Moscow could prevent them only by building a physical barrier, guarded by machine guns.
Rosalie Higgins has had a hardscrabble life. She didn’t make it into the air force and she couldn’t complete nursing school. The jobs she was able to get with the computer skills that she picked up in trade school paid no better than $6.50 an hour. At age 66, she lives on her Social Security check of $623 a month, which is less than the rent for a one-bedroom apartment.
"Better to be ruled by a wise Turk than a foolish Christian,” Martin Luther is alleged to have quipped. Whether or not he actually made this remark, the sentiment captures the paradoxical vision that Luther and many other Protestants have brought to politics. Yes, Christ is Lord of the political sphere as well as the spiritual sphere—Luther had no intention of denying that.
Most of the excitement lately in the Republican race for president has been generated by Baptist minister Mike Huckabee. Huckabee’s surge in the polls seems to stem largely from the fact that he exudes one quality the other Republican candidates seem to lack—authenticity.
Dr. Paul Farmer, an infectious disease specialist known for his work in Haiti, has been to Liberia and planned to go back again in the fight against Ebola. According to Farmer, the outbreak of Ebola is a symptom of a very poor and weak health-care system in the three West African countries where it is spreading. In Liberia there is one physician per 100,000 people, compared to 240 in the United States. The president of Liberia points out that the Dallas Cowboys stadium uses more electricity each year than her whole country. Vaccines and drugs don’t exist because Ebola’s victims are poor and—so far—not very numerous (London Review of Books, October 23).