Burning City On A Hill

I’ve come to despise politics, which is unfortunate because I was raised around political scientists, most of whom I liked.

One of my degrees is in political science and were it not for a (very) late game pivot to public administration and then, after that, business school, I’d have two ornate, framed pieces of paper conferring upon me the solemn right to make arrogant, specious claims about classical political theory and how centuries-dead philosophers would judge our current politics.

As an aside for my younger readers, I don’t recommend eleventh hour course work pivots. Those credit hours cost money and at major universities, they often have a shelf life. Your post-grad advisors may not tell you this, but there’s an expiration date on any promises you might make to yourself about coming back “later” to write a dissertation.

American politics has never been particularly staid. The nation was, after all, founded in bloody rebellion. Intractable disagreements between top officials were once settled with pistol duels. And we killed each other by the hundreds of thousands to resolve a glaring contradiction between a key bit of founding wisdom (“All men are created equal” as a “self-evident” truth) and a heinously cruel socioeconomic institution (slavery). Seen in that light, I guess you could say things have improved, but recent events suggest we’re backsliding pretty fast.

The biggest threat to American democracy is the fraying of the social fabric and the deterioration of public discourse into a profane shouting match couched in poisonous identity politics. One party is engaged in a wholly nefarious effort to leverage state legislatures to strip the electorate of the right to choose a president, a right that was tenuous enough already due to an electoral college system which, like too many of my social science graduate credit hours, is past its sell-by date.

The same party is keen to whittle down voting rights such that the only people whose opinion counts are those inclined to support that party. That’s not going to work out well from a societal perspective because that party’s agenda is out of step with modernity, not supported by the majority on most issues and, increasingly, inconsistent with the inclinations of corporate America.

More dangerous still, the nation’s high court has metamorphosed into a panel of clerics, one of whom seems particularly aggrieved. The risk is that a half-dozen people are inclined to impose a medieval agenda on 331,999,994 other people, based on a religious reading of a 235-year-old document which, among other things, specifically (but not specifically enough, apparently) de-linked religion from the functioning of government.

All of that makes for a regrettable state of affairs. It’s so flagrant that it’s scarcely worth mentioning. Which is why I don’t mention it very often. It’s obvious to everyone and it’s terrifying to most people, where “most” admittedly just means a slim majority. More unfortunate, perhaps, is the other party’s unwillingness to breach decorum to save the republic even when they’re in control of government, as they are for another two months, counting the lame duck session.

Over the years, I’ve worked to professionalize this portal on every conceivable front, going so far as to veer completely away from political satire, even as that was among the most popular content once upon a time. “Pure” political content went mostly extinct here long ago in favor of “softer” commentary folded in with the daily market narrative. The evolution of my editorial bent has severed me well and, I think, served readers well too. Subscriber turnover is basically non-existent, for example. Almost nobody leaves anymore, which I’d like to imagine is a testament to the value of the macroeconomic and market commentary, but if I’m honest is probably also attributable to the near complete absence of anything that’s overtly (or overly, without the “t”) contentious.

I intend to preserve that editorial bent in perpetuity because, again, it’s preferable to readers on both sides of the political spectrum, and also more conducive to civil discussion. But, as the midterm elections in the US approach, I wanted to call market participants’ attention to the points made above about where the GOP and the high court are taking our “city upon a hill.”

Make no mistake: This is more important for market participants over the long-term than 8-handle inflation or any other macro debate you care to have. America is creeping down the road to becoming something that only a small percentage of the populace will enjoy once the transformation has run its course. If this is allowed to continue, future generations won’t enjoy the kinds of privileges we still enjoy today. Privileges like currency hegemony, unquestioned demand for our debt and universal faith in our capital markets. All of that is predicated, in the final analysis, on international assumptions about stability, competency and sanity in Washington. Stability went out the window several years ago. Competency decades ago. Sanity’s next.

To be absolutely clear (and absolutely fair), Joe Biden is a successful politician, a very successful vice president but, so far anyway, a failed president. Relatedly, Biden’s Attorney General would be more at home as vice president and his vice president more at home as Attorney General. The Department of Justice has the capacity to put the brakes on some of the deleterious trends mentioned above, but Merrick Garland is reluctant to do so, perhaps fearing some manner of social unrest. I’d gently note that the social unrest is already here. It boils over at regular intervals. Just days ago, somebody attacked the House Speaker’s husband with a hammer. The richest person on the planet posited a conspiracy theory about the assault, underscoring the extent to which the public consciousness is being gradually poisoned by born-again rightwing populists, and self-styled libertarians. That mirrors the demise of the GOP, which is being similarly poisoned from within. The party is probably beyond saving. Some stalwarts have given up on it. But the country isn’t beyond saving. Or at least one hopes not.

Democrats need to find a savior candidate. I don’t know who that person is, but I do know he or she wasn’t on stage for any of the 2020 Democratic primaries. They (Democrats) need to do this now. Not whenever Biden finally decides to admit that a second term might not be optimal.

Obviously, tackling the pandemic and shoring up the economy were the first priority for this administration, but the fate of the American experiment itself hangs in the balance. On that front, this White House, this Congress and this Justice Department squandered two years the nation couldn’t afford to waste.

To my Republican readers (and I’m beginning to believe that’s actually a small majority), I’d strongly encourage you to consider the fact that what’s happening at the state level, what’s happening with voting rights, what’s happening in terms of the kinds of people who are increasingly likely to occupy GOP House seats and what’s happening at the Court, together risk undermining America’s credibility — and irreparably.

If these trends continue, immigration won’t be a “problem” because nobody will want to come here. That’ll have ramifications for inflation, innovation and the economy more generally. Global investors won’t trust their money in America. In fact, global investors might stop trusting America’s money. Would you keep your FX reserves in a currency issued by a government made up of politicians who are more likely to “study” Alex Jones than John Locke? No? Well why would you expect anyone else to? Would you invoice your oil shipments in a currency issued by a country where the laws are all effectively subject to veto and rewrites by a handful of ultra-conservative religious ideologues? No? Well why would you expect anyone else to?

I could go on, but I think that’s clear enough. Ultimately, I needed to pen a midterm preview for readers, and early this morning I set about something dry, which was basically a paraphrased, slimmed down version of what you could get anywhere else. Then I thought, “Where’s the fun in that?” Instead, I give you the above, submitted for your approval. Or disapproval, whichever the case may be.


Speak your mind

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

63 thoughts on “Burning City On A Hill

  1. I’d love to be able to pen a point by point, dispassionate analysis showing all the ways in which what you’ve written in misguided and alarmist, but … no can do.

  2. sorry for the ad-filled YouTube, but relevant here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HFACj_BfFTg
    this level of discourse, so needed – thanks H!, yet so distant … like from a hill we no longer can climb? But, back to Neil Young, looking for a leader other than yourself? … choose again and step up. we can all lead, right … ‘we the people … ‘

  3. Excellent, eloquent piece, and to your point the situation is dire. We were musing about the same points at the kitchen table two nights back, the Democratic party needs to find a better leader and the Republicans need to stand up to madness that has engulfed them. Seriously, this imperils the whole idea of being an exceptional country.

  4. Great piece H.

    We need a millennial candidate. Boomers need to give up control. (Same goes in corporate) I’d do it, but I’m not very likable as I’ve spent my career writing machine language code.

    Why not you, H?

    1. People gave up on me as a politician around 17 years ago. As one friend put it, despairingly, at the time, “I thought you were going to be a Senator or something.”

      1. There’s still hope for you H, never doubt how low you can go! I believe you can still despire to be a senator if you really wanted to!

          1. speech writer? you know half of congress know next to nothing about how the economy (heck, the government itself) actually functions – you could make somebody (a few) sound absolutely brilliant. they would love that, you would be in high demand (and never need leave your enclave).

    1. The last 20 years. Look at our infrastructure (if you dare), the rise of unfettered state religion and a sharply rising trend in civil disobedience. Frankly I’m not as worried about the topics H raises here as I would be if I were my daughter’s age (50). I’m 78 and won’t be around a whole lot longer and I can still afford my few vices (good red meat and dark chocolate). Besides, I don’t believe mankind’s future is all that bright. My over-under is 2100 and I’m betting the under. Right now two idiot governments are giving serious thought to “nuking” a neighbor, mostly to see what would happen, in the true form of a petulant five-year old. At least 150 countries are mostly locked in poverty, a third of the world has no secure access to potable water or nutritious food. They all have a vote in the future of mankind and it won’t be to let the soccer moms of the US suburbs run the world. And yes, we can tell our kids that when my maternal great grandpa was alive (born in 1847) many of us owned other people and too many still wish to do the same today. Oh yeah, and women weren’t allowed to vote until the time my mother was born (1921) and a great many of us would like to return to that time as well. For too many men, women need to be locked away and beaten when they get out of line. This “civilization is quickly rotting past its “sell-by date.” Enter the cockroaches.

      1. Damn, it dawns on me I’m only 13 years younger than you, and this hits home. My mind believes I’m 30 years younger but my back reminds me I’m wrong. It’s as if you spoke from the future.

  5. My family is from Europe. My youngest daughter, born in the U.S., asked if we could move back. Her excuse, “I don’t want to be killed in school” A month ago it was locked down because a student wrote a threatening message about how to kill the most students in the shortest time.

  6. Great piece, particularly tying politics to US economic global domination. I can’t think of anyone else making these key points, specially politicians. Our only hope may be for your readership to go to 100 million.

  7. From my point of view, a lot of the democrat’s failure rests on Chuck Schumer who repeatedly fails to get his party in line behind important votes. Additionally, democrats are truly horrible at messaging. The GOP do so many crazy things but the democrats do little to capitalize on it. By now, it may be (and probably is) too late. Should such a grand leader emerge to save the day, once the Fox News machine starts up, doubtful the other half would even listen to what this Uber-leader has to say. Silently, behind the scenes, the GOP are working away to make sure next time the command to change the vote comes down, people act accordingly. Still though, it appears in the face of rampant corruption, Brazil will have a peaceful change of power so a thin collar of hope remains here.

  8. Hear him!
    I am waiting for a candidate from either party who feels a mandate to bring the country back together again as one people and to heal the division and mistrust that has been sown between the Blue and the Red. Waiting…

    1. I’m waiting for the same. Someone who might be former GOP, but is willing to compromise on policy and is mainly focused on bringing the nation together.

  9. Thank you so much for this message. I have been with this service long enough to remember your political missives. I know your primary objective is to talk about macroeconomic events and trends, which is where I like your commentary but throwing in a little political piece is welcome. First, you are fortunate that you don’t reside in this country anymore because I believe this country is coming apart at the seams and is happening on a family level.
    I talked to my in-laws over the weekend, and we realized that some people we can’t speak to anymore because they have been drinking the far right’s Kool-Aid for too long. I also recognize that some of our issues today go back to the repeal of the fairness doctrine in 1987. When Fox started in the late 90s, they didn’t have to present a fair news analysis, just their view. Unfortunately, this was the perfect match because so many people are manipulated due to a lack of education. It also seems that most Fox programming is opinion shows not based on facts, just opinions.
    You have said many times that the Republican party had convinced most people to vote against their best interests, and they do it gleefully. I remember talking to a family member on social security and telling her if the Republicans took away Social Security. After all, they believe it is a socialist program, that she would not be able to make ends meet and would have to sell her house and move into an old folk’s home because she could not survive, but it still didn’t change her mind.
    I don’t believe anything will if Jan 6th didn’t convince enough Republicans to leave the party. Also, the blatant gerrymandering that has been allowed to happen in states by the Supreme court to guarantee that Republicans will have control of that state is reprehensible. When Republicans gutted the voting rights act, it was the stepping stone to reimplementing discrimination. Finally, it is beyond the pale that Clarence Thomas does not know what diversity means, I always thought that Supreme Court justices were supposed to be the wisest in the land, but that is not the case anymore. Thurgood Marshall must be rolling in his grave.

    1. A minor correction: unfortunately the Fairness Doctrine wouldn’t have applied to Fox News either way, as it only governed media outlets that broadcast over the public airwaves. Cable stations, being transmitted entirely through networks of private wires, were exempt from the requirement to serve the public interest, as were satellite networks, and later, the internet (as the Fairness Doctrine was not enforced after 1987 but technically still existed until 2011.) You can see the Congressional Research Service discuss this at https://sgp.fas.org/crs/misc/R40009.pdf.

      I otherwise agree with your comments, but that’s a pervasive little factual inaccuracy that I am only aware of because I used to say the same myself. There are a lot of good arguments against things Reagan did, and that would have been another great one, if it was true, but it isn’t.

  10. Hear, hear! Thinking about the trajectory of this country is frightening and fills me with dread. I have visited places where social division was stoked into unimaginable violence and I am under no illusion that it “can’t happen here.” It can. We are not exceptional in that regard. This is a 5-alarm fire, but you wouldn’t know it from they way our leadership is behaving.

    H, supporting your work is the best money I spend each month. Please keep it up.

  11. Particularly excellent! This touches on something that worries me — too many people seem to think this is about the next 2 or 4-year election cycle within our otherwise self-correcting “democracy.” Much like inflation wasn’t a US anomaly, I think there is something much bigger, much longer-term, and potentially existential afoot. Understanding and sunshine may be good disinfectants, but under these circumstances may prove to be merely ivermectin. We need a flamethrower.

    1. The solution is simpler, I think, than most people think. It’s not about who’s “good” or who’s “bad” or pointing “Whataboutism” fingers (e.g., Well you supported Iraq, was that not worse than January 6?”) or even about foundational disagreements on the most contentious issues.

      It’s about stopping the perpetuation of what most of us (even many people caught up in it themselves) realize is unhinged rhetoric and behavior that’s disrupting our daily lives in all manner of ways, from undermining the simplest pleasures (e.g., family gatherings or cookouts with neighbors which are now poisoned by the insanity) to discouraging people from protecting their own lives and those of their families (e.g., take these horse pills off-label, as a human, for a virus, but don’t take that Pfizer vaccine) to creating the psychological conditions and logistical opportunities for people to murder school children in their classrooms to allowing conspiracy theorists to torture the parents of slain children “because free speech.”

      We don’t have to put up with any of that. We can collectively get together and decide all of that is out of the question, and a total non-starter, while simultaneously agreeing that once we get rid of the insanity, we’ll all go back to hating each other and being dysfunctional for all the usual, normal reasons that “only” entail driving each other figuratively crazy, instead of literally insane.

      1. I do agree we have the power to choose, but I’m just very uncertain about what that galvanizing event might be. I felt us come together as a country after 9/11 and then at least some of us when Obama was elected as the first black president. But not sure what it would take now short of something truly historic or existential, although neither Jan 6th nor climate change, respectively, have proven sufficient in that respect.

        I think, and maybe even hope, people will abandon Twitter as Elon monetizes the non-hellscape he is conjuring although I’m not sure that will be enough, although it would be a decent start. As a Philadelphian in a very politically polarized city, however, I will say that nothing pulls this area together more quickly or strongly than a championship run by one of the sports teams. Maybe that’s what we need — recognize the warts and don’t spare the boos or armchair quarterbacking, but at some point we need to rally together and feel good about this country and its potential. In other words, we need more appreciation of the forest, and less focus on all the diseased and rotting trees within. Then again, maybe I just have World Series fever.

      2. H., you might be interested to read an somewhat long but really perspicacious article from Walter Russell Mead, currently only available in the Internet Archive: https://web.archive.org/web/20130817202501/http://denbeste.nu/external/Mead01.html

        Mead breaks currents in American history into trends of “Jeffersonianism” and “Jacksonianism”, the Jacksonians being the ones who are both impenetrably irrational-seeming to the others, and also, currently causing an outsized share of the problems. It’s a particularly interesting essay because it gives a historical context and an unbiased examination to the motivations of the current lunatic fringe… even more impressive because it was written in 2002, even before the advent of the social media that gets widely blamed for the extent of of today’s social/political divisions, yet seems to paint a very accurate picture national developments that only began to reach crisis proportions in the last 6-10 years. At the very least, it provides some insight into these peoples’ apparently destructive, antisocial behavior by explaining how they see themselves. I consider it a pretty crucial read for anyone trying to understand what’s going in in America today.

        The problem is, framed as part of an understandable and much larger historical current and not just as a periodic bout of societal insanity sweeping through like Camus’s metaphorical plague, I’m at an even greater loss to think of what can be done about it.

  12. Hey, Mr White,

    “Joe Biden is a successful politician, a very successful vice president but, so far anyway, a failed president.”

    I believe that our standards for presidents and other leaders have become ever more unrealistic and dramatic. The presidency sounds glamorous, but the reality of it won’t make a movie any of us would watch, and leaders aren’t superheroes.

    Infrastructure, computer chips, gun control. On boring measures like these, Biden’s been OK, not a failure, and his management of our involvement in the Ukraine war has even been masterful.

    Is that open for debate? Sure. But I won’t join.

    Because until we can agree on a baseline for judging presidents and leaders, the discussion will go round and round in a circular rut.

    What’s the ideal we’d measure against? Some former president? Difficult to find an exemplar there that we can all agree on, at least not in living memory.

    A leader in another country maybe? We don’t even know most of their names, and since it seems that few are leaving the US for any other country because it’s better run, it’s difficult to claim that there are leaders anywhere who are noticeably better than ours.

    Or do we each fall back on our own individual expectations and memories of disappointments and try to hash out a leadership scorecard that way? Babel.

    So my pipe dream is that we will lower our unspoken expectations and the pressure we heap on the regular Americans we elect, let them get on with their dull jobs to the best of their abilities, just like the most of us, and maybe pitch in a bit where we can.

  13. You got the part about Biden being a failed president right, a valiant attempt at balance. As Drew wrote above, I could also pen a response but I have discovered that you really can’t change anyone’s mind which begs the question, why go there at all?

    One of the things I appreciate about this service is the absence of your progressive politics penetratingly commentary, that and you are an excellent writer and a key component to my market views. You turnover is low for these reasons.

    I appreciate that you plan only one more piece on this subject and then back to business as usual?

    1. I think I made the editorial bent clear, but I think I should answer your question a little more directly since you seem to disagree with this piece which is, for the most part, unequivocally true. It’s not an opinion article. It’s fact-based. Here’s my answer to your latter question: I’ll write whatever I want to write, whenever I want to write it. You know: Free speech, libertarian and such.

      1. Also, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I think you misread the comment mentioned above — or at least missed the punchline.

        1. Why would you assume I missed the punchline?

          Where did I say that what you wrote wasn’t fact based or untrue?

          In case you missed it, it is “A Question of Balance”, you know, one of the best albums ever released and nothing to do with this except metaphorically. I am surprised that you don’t see balance as in calling out some of the insane policies and rhetoric the Democrats spew. Republicans are equally as bad.

          Of course you can write whatever and whenever you want. I was just picking up on your own disclosure for 1 additional article.

          Come to think of it, I have a title for it, “Free & Fair Elections End Democracy as We Know It”. Just in case you missed it, that was a biting attempt at humor/irony…

          Meanwhile, carry on Mr. White as you see fit.

          Guess I got what I deserved
          Kept you waiting there too long, my love
          All that time, without a word
          Did you really think that I’d forget
          And regret
          The special love I have for you
          My baby blue

          Peace & Love…

          1. You can trust me to deliver everything that you need to know about markets, macro and the intersection of the two with domestic and global politics in the most unbiased cadence I can realistically be expected to conjure given the realities that are right in front of us. As noted in another comment here, there’s a difference between the type of “insane” policies you’re probably referring to and the kind of insanity I’m referring to in this article.

  14. Sadly, the problem may be intractable until the southern states secede. They’ve never stop fighting the civil war.

    My eyes were opened to this way back during the first OPEC oil embargo. While we were driving around trying to circumvent the odd/even days at the gas pump, folks down in Texas were happily sporting “Drive 90, freeze a Yankee” bumper stickers.

    George Wallace and other luminaries, such as Lester Maddox (do any of you still have any of his axe handle lapel pins?), were the first to tap into this open wound and then Karl Rove swung the GOP firmly into their camp. Those Confederate battle flags commonly displayed alongside MAGA signs are not mere nostalgia.

    Sure hope I am wrong! The last elections in Georgia do offer a glimmer of hope.

    1. Derek. I read all your comments and appreciate them. One conclusion that I have come to over the last 35 years or so is that for a great many people today the “south” starts just below the Canadian boarder. Iowa is now in the south, along with Kansas, MO, IN, IL below Chicago, etc.

      1. True. MAGA signs and Confederate flags are a common sight in rural parts of New England as well. But much of this was triggered once southerners took over the GOP leadership. Before that it was not so pronounced.

  15. Some of your your right leaning readers may be out of touch with the macro ignorant element that swells their base. Those patriots have a hard on for autocracy (they would call it winning) and failing that CWII if they do not get their cultural way. They lack a logical concept of our global power as being the reserve currency of the world. That is going to be a rude awakening for them. There is not enough machismo in the status quo of democracy, they think they want some action. Cock your shotgun for effect.

    You would think it is not that dire, and you would be dead wrong.

  16. Recently Bill Barr mentioned that he handed out Barry Goldwater literature as a college student. That made him much more an expert on conservatism than the reactionary conservatives of today. I was about eight years old when my father had me handing out Barry Goldwater literature. As a youngster I tried to understand conservatism and religion. There was a separation for me intellectually. I found both wanting and intellectually bad faithed. Independence of thought and freedom of speech are very important. Confusing and time-consuming. Along the lines of an unexamined life is not a life worth living.
    By today’s standards Ronald Reagan is a flaming liberal. I once upon a time set my self to be a form of libertarian. That now is a form of anarchy. Anarchists are frowned upon intellectually for very good reasons.
    Anarchism is the road 1/3 of the electorate is certainly elaborating without annunciating. God and guns will not make all better. Just ask Putin. It is mostly a bloody walk that Jesus has taken through history.
    There is a Bloodthirst in the land, let’s not kid ourselves. Of course blood will be let if Trump is indicted. The founding fathers were well aware of such things. So is Biden. Will we go peacefully to a sham democracy and state religion?
    Time tells all. It is mostly up to those younger than myself.

    1. As I’m (very) fond of reminding folks, today’s libertarians couldn’t name a single classical libertarian if they had to. As you allude to, political ideologies (“good” ones, “bad” ones and in-between ones) all have their patron saints — someone, somewhere, at some point in history spent a lot of time elaborating on basic tenets. In many cases, those historical persons dedicated their entire lives to such pursuits. Today, the percentage of conservatives, liberals, neocons, neoliberals, libertarians, communists, socialists and capitalists who can actually tell you anything foundational about the -ism they ostensibly live by is vanishingly small. That’s a problem, to put it mildly. You can’t be “a something” if you don’t know anything about it.

      1. Beg to differ on one small point. You can be a neoconservative without knowing anything about it. It has little to do with any real ideology, let alone conservatism beyond a very superficial (and ever-diminishing) resemblance, and who cares where it came from or what it might once have meant when Tucker Carlson is here now to tell you every night what you you believe?

  17. I think the fact that Elon has had control of Twitter for a few days and he’s posting conspiracy theories with links to far right alternate news sites about Pelosi‘s husband in a fight with a gay stripper, I don’t think the narrative in the US is gonna improve anytime soon! He deleted his post pretty quick, but he is such a powerful, dangerous person in control of one of the social media platforms poisoning intelligent debate.
    I fear for my grandkids.

  18. Bravo and thank you. Taking a step back to call out our self-evident reality within a broader historical context is not polemicizing in my book– it is sparking exactly the kind of transcendent conversation that our country needs to, perhaps, find a way out of the rapidly warming water before it boils. This seems entirely appropriate here, at this moment. To borrow another metaphor, I fear the financial community still does not see the forest for the trees (if only our biggest market concern for the future were divining the terminal Fed funds rate!). May we somehow find the leadership to champion what you are helping to cultivate here. So far, no dice. But we can hope.

  19. Spectacularly correct, thank you. If the right give themselves what they want, they will lose what they have. This appears to apply both to their leadership and, most particularly, the legions that follow them. I live in Iowa surrounded by gun packing, Fox watching, Medicare using, Social Security and VA support receiving “regular” folks, jeez….. I emigrated to the US 49 years ago, this country has been VERY good to me. As a proud American by choice, it breaks my heart to read your sage words this very day.

  20. Ezra Klein had a good discussion in the Times yesterday about why right-wing populism is ascendant across the globe. We are clearly going through a major societal transition and people look for simple explanations for changes that don’t align with their worldview, especially when those people are on the losing end of those changes.

    The key question near the end of the discussion though was can our democracy survive long enough to absorb the change with a new generation of voters? In other words, nothing is going to change anyone’s mind about Trump and other right-wing populists at this point, and it’s more of a question of how long until his base support goes from 40% to 30%.How much damage will our institutions sustained before we see that demographic group dwindle enough to make a difference? Generational shifts take time, so we might be waiting a while yet and the risks to our democracy are real.

    1. Thx for citing Ezra Klein.

      As for the question of democracy surviving in the US, of course it can. But will it? Unfortunately, we have to hang in suspense. As Heisenberg said above, early on in his exposition, “American politics has never been particularly staid.” We have done this before. We just don’t have to have personal memory of past agreement or disagreement or fights with each other that we can relate to this awful state of affairs we’re currently experiencing.

      My only comfort is that the US, when left to its own devices (and imaginings) has put itself through a lot of hell. The fact is that we as Americans have endured from each other worse than what we face now. We’re a mean crop. We are impulsive. We are irrational. We are free to think and act. We are human, which means we may not necessarily be self-aware or self-correcting or even reflective.

      We are capitalists, yearning to make a buck and succeed. But no matter. Bottom line, when Americans and American businesses are presented with an American political party having a philosophy that cuts against everything that the country has built over the last 250 years, the American people will tend to stand together strongly against it. That’s what I say, with the caveat that I can’t predict the future. I cannot say I have faith in people generally to be true to their country. But I have a faith in the country, and the fundamental affection of its people for what the country enables among us.

  21. H-Man, well you did a helluva job stirring up the pot with this post and it probably needed a good stirring based upon the responses. What I enjoyed was the fact a political discussion didn’t turn into acrimonious rants by your readers. Maybe we are getting more mellow in our old age or wiser.

  22. GOP messaging is working:

    “Sixty-three percent of Republican respondents agreed that trans people “are trying to indoctrinate children into their lifestyle,” according to the SPLC.”

    Sadly, I could not put my hands on a better survey I heard mentioned on the radio. That poll showed that self-identified Republicans estimated the percentage of the population that was transgender was around 29%. The real number is below 1%.

    Our fellow voters.

    1. My thesis here on our Heisenberg site is that democratic party messaging in meeting the republican challenge is absolutely pitiful and inadequate. I am voting. I encourage everyone to vote. We express our voices through the vote. We can and must shape the vote with our voices as well. But the democratic party seems to be in the stone age on this point.

  23. Charlie Munger released a video last week in which he commented on the current state of affairs. In his usual commonsense way, he speaks in the language of facts about the state of the US economy, investing, and the human tendency to envy.

    Here is a link: Charlie Munger
    I cannot help but love Charlie. He’s just so down to earth and refreshing. A simple, good man.

NEWSROOM crewneck & prints