Fairly Recently: Must- and Should-Reads, and Writings... (February 5, 2019)

A very nice Twitter rant from Tom Nichols. In fact, I think it is worse—if they could be bought off, it would be fine.

But they can't be bought off since they have no idea what they want.

The people of the hill country of Kentucky needed the end of pre-existing condition exclusions for the upper half of and access to Medicaid for the lower half of the working class. They buy-off was accomplished. And yet...:

Tom Nichols: "If Trump wanted to add 15 more countries to NATO and fund the World Bank from Social Security taxes, Lindsey Graham would propose the legislation and guys in diners in Ohio would be explaining why it was the right thing to do—as long as some intellectual objected first. I'm not sure how long we have to go on pretending Trump's policies reflect a 'view', any more than any other group of populist idiots. What does the current Italian govt want to do? Heard about them lately? They're bogged down in dumb stuff. Because populism isn't a program. It's stupefying to watch intelligent men and women wishcasting 'idea'" onto Trumpism or Leavers or Europopulists. There's no 'there' there. It's the Seinfeld of political movements: about nothing, but passionately about nothing. Yes, yes, I know. Immigration. Income inequality. Gas prices. Mostly, it's about change, and why people hate it, and why they want to be bought off rather than accept it. More transfers for me, and also, please magically create an idealized version of 1970 that never existed. The tell is that people are aggrieved over things that aren't true. Ask Americans-or even the French-how many Muslims live in their country. How much they think gas should be. What they think was better in 1970 or 1980 or 1990. They can't tell you in any real way. In fact, ask them what they want. As a thought exercise, say: 'You win. What do you want?' They can't really answer that, either, because they know the answer is impossible (or racist, or self-serving). Mostly, they want to piss off other people. That's the key. That's why you can never find a compromise with the hard-core 35 percent in the U.S., or the rioters in Europe. (Short of just sending cash to them as a buy-off.) Imputing 'policy' preferences to them is a mug's game, and it's long past time to stop playing it...