June 18, 2007

Optimism and the Stomach

Mark Steyn opines in the latest National Review on the desultory service of America's airlines:
National decline is always inconceivable because the illusion of permanence is so strong: It would have seemed incredible to any five-year-old English boy watching Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee parade that he would be passing his twilight years in a strike-ridden basketcase shorn of empire and reduced to begging from the IMF.

But it seems to me that the state of the air-travel network is symbolic of something. So is America’s decision to surrender to the illegal immigrants — to say that the undocumented insurgents have ensnared us in a quagmire in which victory is not an option. In different ways, both are revealing of structural decay. Not yet fatal, but decay nonetheless.

On the other hand, if I turned up at O’Hare and breezed through and the flight took off on time and it wasn’t the Asian chicken salad for the fourteenth week in a row, I might be a whole lot more optimistic.

What are the chances of that?

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