Aristotle, in an inattentive moment, defined man as “the rational animal.” We’ve often thought that “the ungrateful animal” comes closer to the truth. Why? First, reason seems conspicuously absent from so much of the behavior of homo sapiens sapiens. (Why the two “sapiens”? Does the repetition betoken uncertainty about the quantum of wisdom?) The second reason concerns the regular absence of gratitude among men. Blessings seem seldom counted, let alone remembered. We at The New Criterion endeavor to be exceptions to this rule, as to others. For the past several years, we have taken the occasion of the season’s concluding issue to acknowledge publicly our gratitude to the individuals and institutions that make our work possible. The extraordinary dégringolade we have witnessed in the world’s economies since last September lends a special poignancy to our remarks this yea ...