The passing American scene certainly is that, always. Still, any sensible journalist should develop the habit of periodically lifting his or her gaze from the crisis du jour in order to remind himself or herself of this: Journalism is evanescent. But, then, this, too, is true: Under the eye of Eternity–or, less grandly, just given time–almost everything is evanescent. Everything, that is, other than the value of the simple virtues and decencies that can make communities flourish and that have made America great and exemplary. That is what Alistair Cooke believed, and what this conservative's sensibility tells him.
Excerpted from One Man's America by George F. Will Copyright © 2008 by George F. Will. Excerpted by permission of Crown Forum, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.