02 June 2016

Calm vigilance?

Capt. Knut Maurer
Briefest entry ever ... we're on vacation.

Four years ago we went on a train to Mongolia -- four nights in a compartment with nothing to do but read books and drink tea. In other words, bliss! This time we're going on a ship to Norway. We're visiting the region where my father was born, and the city (Bergen) where he grew up, and I'm reconnecting with my maritime heritage. Our ship is about five times larger than my grandfather Knut's last ship, but on the other hand, it may also be something like five times cheaper!

(And here's a robust -- to say the least! -- defense of vacation!)

Andrew Sullivan wrote a much-commented-on essay about the danger to American democracy (what's left of it) from Donald Trump's apparent candidacy. Is he overstating it? How do you feel about his diagnosis -- an excess of democracy? How are you balancing calm and vigilance? (Assuming that's a desirable state and that you're not here in cozy Bergen with us.)
There is no place I would rather live. But it is not immortal, nor should we assume it is immune to the forces that have endangered democracy so many times in human history.


These working-class communities, already alienated, hear — how can they not? — the glib and easy dismissals of "white straight men" as the ultimate source of all our woes. They smell the condescension and the broad generalizations about them — all of which would be repellent if directed at racial minorities — and see themselves, in Hoffer's words, "disinherited and injured by an unjust order of things."
Sullivan's conservatism is of a classical kind that rarely seems to be heard above the counterclaims of today's opportunistic, negotiable, and mean-spirited counterfeit conservatives.

It's a mean old world to try to live in by yourself...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sullivan states brilliantly what I have been suspecting (fearing ?) from early one -- and how things are panning out since he wrote only puts the cap on it! His use of the big lie ("Pew research surveys state 30+% of Muslims want to destroy America) to inflame public fears and enhance his appeal as the unpredictable man on a white horse, is especially scary. When polls showed him catching up or even passing Hillary, I panicked at first. And then I remembered Walter Wink's "Jesus' Third Way". That has already been proved to stop tyrannies in their tracks. The need would be to persuade large groups to look back to MLKing. I have even hinted that within the first year of a Trump presidency I might find myself back in jail again.