Tuesday, July 26, 2016
We do not yet understand how much even a short period of imperfect peace has changed us.
The gates appeared from nowhere. Ezra Klein, quoted by Brad Delong (knew there was a reason I don't subscribe to Vox): "And I am, for the first time since I began covering American politics, genuinely afraid. Donald Trump is not a man who should be president." Almost everything Trump has said has been said before. In many ways, Trump is a coarser Ronald Reagan. But, no, there must have been no precedents. For a pundit to acknowledge otherwise would be to acknowledge complicity.
That's a stage set, not the real gates. The socialist scholar Corey Robin surprised me by claiming, first, that Trump has no chance (which is what liberals had been saying all along even as he rose to the Republican Presidential nomination) and then, second, by then pointing out that Trump's terrifying pronouncements on foreign policy had precedents. Which is true, but unlike those prior pronouncements they come at a time when the peace of European Union is unraveling and are therefore far more dangerous. The nightmarish echoes of the response to fascism on the part of some European socialists seem to me strong. Orwell, in response to Wells's errors during the depths of World War II, wrote: "Creatures out of the Dark Ages have come marching into the present, and if they are ghosts they are at any rate ghosts which need a strong magic to lay them." For people holding this view, it would seem that the threat is too terrifying to even acknowledge.
Why are peace and prosperity so hard to love? Why are these simple things so very radical?
Friday, July 22, 2016
Can we please stop squabbling among ourselves long enough to keep the vulgar talking yam out of power?
Tuesday, July 12, 2016
And not a word on trade. The Democrats just couldn't dump the damn TPP. That's going to hurt, come the general election. The anti-global sentiment is strong. So, Brexit. Perhaps, so Trump.
Monday, July 11, 2016
Wednesday, July 6, 2016
The purpose of the European Union is to make and keep peace within Europe and in Europe's relations with the rest of the world. Yet every state within the EU has its reactionary factions, which would rather leave the EU, regardless of consequences. People are driven in to the anti- side by years of steady immiseration and then the hard drop into poverty caused by austerity policies, and there is the queasy sense of loss of national identity.
If enough of these factions, all alike and all hating each other, come together the global economy will unravel. The networks of trade that make us a rich world, if not all of us rich people, will be dismantled and all nations will be the poorer for it. Refugees will be turned away to be crushed under brutal autocrats. Possibly shooting wars will follow.
In every country I have examined I can find specific issues, yet somehow all these issues have come together all at once. So I seek a unifying model. In the increasing unification of the world, I think I have found one. The world is now a global village, and people are not comfortable with their new neighbors. I seek in history for parallels, and I find them in the periods before the world wars. As the world become more and more connected, first by rail and telegraph and then by radio, we had vast reactions: World War I and World War II. And, indeed, the world became less unified for a while. But the process of unification continued, and now we have television and the internet, and global challenges that can only be addressed by more unification. And we have a reactionary movement. Dare I hope we can keep the peace?