The passing of Senator John McCain has been followed by rather extensive ceremony and commentary. Regrettably, in light of the reality that these were occasioned by the death of man who should have been honored and remembered well for his service and sacrifice for his country, both ceremony and commentary seem to have been co-opted as occasions to focus on reason to oppose President Trump.
It does seem that the divisions between the circle of people in positions of power in Washington, D.C., and vast segments of the population in the rest of the country are becoming more clearly defined and more rigidly adhered to. I’m not sure the past weekend’s events note the death of the Establishment; it retains a lot of power. It’s legitimacy in the eyes of many is clear, however.
“A funeral for a world that never was“
I’ve thought that Senator Rubio would make a good President, even though there have been times I’ve been deeply disappointed in his policy decisions. He does seem genuinely to understand the dynamic, though, of the disconnect between the wide swath of the country’s people and those with power. I hope he’s able to encourage the spread of understanding in his circle of power.
Peggy Noonan’s 2016 column “The rise of the unprotected class” was written during the primary campaigns when election watchers were trying to explain the unexpected strength of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders as outsiders. Her column has been a touchstone articulation of the populist moment we’re in.
Now comes David Winston in Roll Call to observe that the Protected Class has yet to come to grips with the attitudes outside their circles: “Two Years Later, the Elites Are Still Disconnected From Voters.” It’s not particularly encouraging as a statement of the leadership competence of those in authority in our key institutions.
A key paragraph:
People’s views of elites isn’t a passing fad. It is an existential threat to government, political parties, the media and even business and academia, because people are fundamentally questioning the motivations and usefulness of so-called experts.
I’ve read a number of warnings about the inevitable end of identity politics, but few as powerful as William Ray’s in his essay, “Unpacking Peggy McIntosh’s Knapsack.”
Check this out, and read the whole thing.
Every time identity politics has been used by any faction in human history for any reason violence eventually follows. No matter how detailed and intricate the justification, no matter how reasonable it can be made to sound as a way to correct for unequal social conditions and historical injustice, it always ends in the same foul basement of mutual fear, loathing, and depravity. It is past time to consign this foul epistemology to the trashcan of self serving debasements and return our attention to the real causes of ‘privilege’; the growing disparities of wealth that divide us, whatever the color of our skin.
One wonders how in the world this got past the “fact checkers” at the Washington Post.
“Trump Country, it turns out, is more tolerant than the left“
Bill Maher expressed hope for a recession so that Donald Trump would lose the presidency. It seems he’ll be disappointed for awhile.
Here’s a bit of information from Bloomberg:
The U.S. levies just a 2.5 percent tax on cars imported from Germany and other European Union members, compared with a 10 percent charge on American cars sent to Europe.
Since the G-7 meetings in Canada last week there’s been a lot of consternation about President Trump’s threats to impose tariffs on imports. He highlighted pretty high Canadian tariffs on dairy imports, ~270%. That was news to me.
I’m for free trade. Every economist in the West is for free trade. Yet somehow trade barriers in the form of tariffs on imports persist across the Atlantic and, ironically enough, in the NAFTA zone. I’m sure there are all sorts of arguments about relative merits and relative economic growth and power that are used to explain these, but as soon as statistics like these, e.g., “270% on dairy” or “4x higher on cars”, start to become known, the average middle class person is going to object to the status quo.
So good on President Trump for bringing these things into the discussion. I hope there’s a way they might be mitigated.
Many have noted the 40th anniversary of Alexandr Solzhenitsyn’s address at Harvard University’s commencement. In this period of political upheaval in the United States, his themes are worth reviewing.
The speech and a translation are here.