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‘Fare Thee Well, Fare Thee Well’

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In Impromptus today, I begin with friendship — there has been some buzz about it lately. According to a survey, friendships in America are in steep decline, especially among men. This is not a new topic, of course, and it is not exclusively American. You will remember Digby Anderson, the British writer who for years contributed to National Review. In 2001, he wrote a slim, wonderful book called “Losing Friends.” I reviewed it here, under the heading “A Love and a Virtue.” (Aristotle said that friendship was no less than the basis of society, and described friendship as both “a love” and “a virtue.”)

Are Reagan conservatives and classical liberals responsible for social decay in America? The fraying of communities and the diminution of friendships? You hear that charge from both Left and Right. They say that we promote a dog-eat-dog society, full of “toxic individualism.” The sum total of our philosophy is “You’re on your own.” This, of........

© National Review

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