Tag: Ronald Reagan

As an American with numerous friends in foreign countries, it often falls to one to be the interpreter (not to say justifier) of what goes on in American public life. In part, this is simply the normal interplay of people seeking to understand cultures and mores foreign to their own, and it is the subject of a literature has a long provenance, from Xenophon and Julius Caesar to Tocqueville and Twain, to Alastair Cooke (to name only a few). (More…)

You may have missed the news, but the Trump Administration is planning for the US will be in deficit until 2039. This is the most long-sighted claim made by the White House. Otherwise, the Trump vision for America and the world is incredibly short-sighted. (More…)

When the second season of Netflix’s Stranger Things went live on October 27th, millions of people rushed to finish the whole season. Some just wanted to avoid spoilers. But for others, this mode of consumption was necessitated by their desire to participate fully in conversations about the show. (More…)

It is now nearly ten months since Donald Trump took up the reins of power in Washington. It is fair to say that this has been the oddest, and perhaps the most disturbing period since Watergate. Mr. Trump and his associates have been busy philosophizing with hammers, speaking as if they were making the word of their agenda flesh, but governing with a mixture of bluster and indecision. (More…)

It is hard to get away from the impression that we are epigones. This is not, or not merely, the case due to the carnage wrought by Mr. Trump and his various protégés on the none too august institutions of American liberal democracy. (More…)

One occasionally hears it said that just when you think something is foolproof they come out with a better quality of fool. Alarming as it is, this is one of those principles so universally admitted that one hardly thinks that any gentleman (or gentlewoman) would deny it. (More…)

Ken Loach’s I, Daniel Blake is a searing indictment of the 21st UK, which has been subcontracting many traditional functions of the state to private corporations. But the film also asks probing questions about the direction in which every society in the developed world is headed. What will happen to our humanity as more and more decisions are made by computers or people who act like them? (More…)

Since its publication in 1979, Octavia Butler’s Kindred has become a work of extraordinary popularity. It is a common item on high school reading lists and university syllabi throughout the United States, as well as having appeared globally in dozens of translations. (More…)

“Is it me or are a lot of people struggling with depression and insomnia right now?” When a friend in the United Kingdom posted this question a while back, most commenters focused on the winter weather there. I didn’t have that excuse. It’s almost always sunny in the Arizona desert. But that isn’t helping me this year, I responded, because “Trump creates his own weather.” (More…)

I am wont, in these days of political turmoil, to find myself lying awake in the empty hours of the night. At such times I often read and reread the columns of Lewis Lapham. This is not only because of his consummate skill as a writer of short essays, but also because his writing from the 1980s, through the early noughties, functions like a sort of core sample of American culture. (More…)

I have, from time to time, been wont to quote the opening passage of Horkheimer and Adorno’s Dialectic of Enlightenment. It is perhaps the most compelling statement of the deeply unsettling character of the modern world. “Enlightenment, understood in the widest sense as the advance of thought, has always aimed at liberating human beings from fear and installing them as masters.” (More…)

Verso has recently published a collection of Lewis Lapham’s essays under the title Age of Folly: America Abandons Its Democracy. If a book more apposite to our current situation has been published in the last 18 months I am unaware of it. (More…)