Notes on a Political Shooting

based on what we know, James Hodgkinson had surprisingly normal political beliefs. He hated Donald Trump, he liked Bernie Sanders, he wanted higher taxes on the wealthy. He was not a Communist or a paranoid knight on a shadowy crusade, but an ordinary Midwestern Democrat with far more rage but the same frustrations as many decent liberals.

.. The turmoil of the 1960s and 1970s generated segregationist terrorism on the right and a revolutionary underground on the left, but it did not produce much partisan terrorism, violence inspired simply by fear and hatred of the opposition party. Now, though, we hate each other simply for being Democrats and Republicans more than ever — and violence inspired simply by the polarization of the major parties would be a unique and novel threat.

.. Part of what went wrong in America in the later ’60s was that the liberal establishment carried water for, protected or excused its far-left children’s rage. Part of what could go wrong today is evident in the way that violence in the left-wing core, the university campus, gets met with excuse-making, appeasement and halfhearted punishment from liberal authorities.

Liberals Shun Washington Attorney Representing Jared and Ivanka

she is a partner at WilmerHale, where lawyers charge up to $1,250 an hour and her corner office provides, according to the Washington Post, a “breathtaking” view of the capital. A graduate of Harvard (magna cum laude) and Harvard Law School (cum laude), the 67-year-old Gorelick is a credentialed member of the Washington establishment, of the cognitive elite, even, some might say, of the Deep State. Or at least she was until recently. Gorelick, the Post reports, has made a very bad boo-boo. Among the clients paying her exorbitant fees, you see, are Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner. And for this crime, the Post continues, her liberal friends have cast Gorelick out and formed a “No Jamies Club.”

.. These are, after all, the same well schooled, affluent, smooth-talking men and women who erupt in outrage at the slightest suggestion that a lawyer might decline to represent an unsavory client. What does it say about them that Javanka’s attorney is held to a different standard than Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s?

.. it difficult to know whom I am annoyed by more. There are the liberals attacking Gorelick for representing the Kushners even as they, the hypocrites, take money from liberal bogeymen on Wall Street and in the oil industry and in authoritarian foreign governments

.. Don’t go after me, Gorelick is saying, I’m just paying the bills. Maybe she can build a new guesthouse with Kushner’s money.

.. these craven and cynical “longtime friends of Gorelick” who say one thing on the record and another thing off the record.

.. The Trumps, the lawyers, the lobbyists, the press — they deserve each other. Mark Leibovich’s book about the swamp was called This Town. I have an idea for a sequel. Working title: These People.

A Very British Radical

Now, though, in the imminent British election called by an overconfident Theresa May, a different sort of Trumpian figure is closer to victory than anyone expected. This is Jeremy Corbyn, the radical backbencher turned Labour leader, whose campaign was supposed to be a joke but now finds itself, like Trump’s before it, just a “normal-sized polling error” away from a truly shocking upset.

.. the Corbyn-era Labour Party’s tendency to find itself explaining why its members, activists and sometimes politicians are merely anti-Zionist and not actually anti-Semitic, even as their critiques of Israel or global finance blur into old-fashioned anti-Semitic cliché. Especially since the intersection of left-wing anti-Zionism and Islamist Jew-baiting is probably a more substantial threat to Jewish security in Western Europe than what remains of right-wing anti-Semitism.

.. Corbyn’s inner circle has a similar minimizing tendency where the crimes of Stalinism are concerned, plus the equally inevitable far-left affinity for Latin American authoritarianism. If the specter of long-ago Vichy lurked behind Le Penism, the specter of present-day Venezuela lurks not that far in the background of Corbynism.

.. Corbyn’s fellow-traveling with the Irish Republican Army at the height of its bombing campaigns, or his habit (for which he recently offered regrets) of offering comradeship to Hezbollah and Hamas.

.. All’s fair in love and the last week of a campaign, but still it’s a little audacious, since Corbyn clearly has an old revolutionary’s soft spot for a certain kind of terrorist.

.. a Prime Minister Corbyn would probably make Brexit somewhat softer

.. this amounts to saying that it’s O.K. to elect an extremist with anti-Semitic and authoritarian and even terrorist connections if he or she just takes the official European Union line on immigration and monetary policy.

.. The entire populist phenomenon, left and right, is happening because our establishment is in need of serious unsettlement, and that can’t happen unless movements and ideas with extreme or disreputable associations are allowed into the conversation.

.. May’s attempt to reimagine conservative politics along more populist, “Red Tory” lines strikes me as a healthier response to the moment than Corbyn’s unreconstructed socialism.

Giving Away Your Billion

What would I do if I had a billion bucks to use for good? I’d start with the premise that the most important task before us is to reweave the social fabric. People in disorganized neighborhoods need to grow up enmeshed in the loving relationships that will help them rise. The elites need to be reintegrated with their own countrymen.

.. I’d use my imaginary billion to seed 25-person collectives around the country.

.. A collective would be a group of people who met once a week to share and discuss life. Members of these chosen families would go on retreats and celebrate life events together. There would be “clearness committees” for members facing key decisions.

.. The collectives would be set up for people at three life stages. First, poor kids between 16 and 22.  .. navigate the transition from high school to college.

.. Second, young adults across classes between 23 and 26. This is a vastly under-institutionalized time of life when many people suffer a Telos Crisis.

.. Third, successful people between 36 and 40. We need a better establishment in this country. These collectives would identify the rising stars in local and national life, and would help build intimate bonds across parties and groups

.. The insular elites already have collectives like this in the form of Skull and Bones and such organizations. My billion would support collectives across society