“The more online shame cycles you observe,” Andrews writes, “the more obvious the pattern becomes: Everyone comes up with a principled-sounding pretext that serves as a barrier against admitting to themselves that, in fact, all they have really done is joined a mob. Once that barrier is erected, all rules of decency go out the window.”
Most of us have certain stereotypes about the European far right — that it’s just a bunch of blood-and-soil racists. But in an essay in The New York Review of Books, “Two Roads for the New French Right,”Mark Lilla shows that there’s a lot more going on. He found a group of Catholic conservative intellectuals who argue that social conservatism is the only viable alternative to neoliberal cosmopolitanism and who are all fans of Bernie Sanders.
They believe that both the European superstate and global capitalism undermine the cultural-religious foundations of European civilization. They are strongly environmentalist, feel that economic growth should be subordinated to social needs, believe in strong social support for the poor and limited immigration. As Lilla notes, they have a very coherent, communitarian worldview. I found the essay uplifting because it shows that in times of political transition, ideas get shuffled and reassembled in new and impressive ways.
.. In a post called “How This All Happened” for the Collaborative Fund blog, Morgan Housel walks us through 73 years of American economic history. He shows us how many economic phases there have been. And how each phase led to something unexpected.
.. In “How Did Larry Nassar Deceive So Many for So Long?” in The Cut, Kerry Howley blows up the conventional telling of the American gymnastics sex abuse scandal. The story is generally told as a large group of victims finding their voice and “breaking their silence.” But Howley shows that they were telling their stories all along, to every relevant authority. It’s because the abuser, Nassar, had built up an edifice of trust that people couldn’t see the monstrosity that was taking place literally in front of their eyes. Nassar abused many of these young girls while their parents were in the room. He just told them he was doing a medical procedure he called a “sacrotuberous-ligament release.” He might still be doing it today if a police officer hadn’t discovered his hard drives, with 37,000 child porn images on them. It was the hard drives that finally persuaded the world, not the women and their repeated warnings.
Andrew Sullivan has forced me to do something I really don’t want to do — award two separate Sidney awards to the same writer in the same year. But his work for New York magazine this year has really defined the era. His two masterpieces are “The Poison We Pick,” on the opioid crisis, and “America’s New Religions,” on political fundamentalism. If you want to understand America in 2018, those essays are a good place to start.