...[F]rom ages six to eighteen Americans live mostly in what I call Soft America - the parts of our country where there is little competition and accountability. But from ages eighteen to thirty Americans live mostly in Hard America - the parts of American life subject to competition and accountability. Soft America coddles: our schools, seeking to instill self-esteem, ban tag and dodgeball, and promote just about anyone who shows up. Hard America plays for keeps: the private sector fires people when profits fall, and the military trains under live fire.
- Michael Barone