The Economist is better at synthesis than breaking new ground. Whatever you think of the message, it’s written with an elegance and economy which is a model for the profession. And it has a sharp eye for how past and present intertwine.
The latest issue turns The Economist’s laser eye on the legacy of the civil war, as the US prepares to mark the 150th anniversary of the start of what’s described as ‘America’s bloodiest war’. The first shots were fired at Fort Sumner in South Carolina on April 12th 1861. In all, according to the article, 620,000 soldiers were killed.
The argument makes much of the comparison between the southern revelry and public endorsement of the Confederate cause on the centennial of the start of the civil war and the hugely more restrained commemorations this year.
‘But back then [in 1961]’, the article asserts, ‘the war’s fundamental question – whether all American citizens are equal, regardless of race – was not fully answered. Today it is.’