September 18, 2018

I get the impression that a lot of people think if we could just get rid of Trump, everything would go back to normal. This is an illusion, and it seems to me a dangerous illusion.

The problem is that what most of us consider “normal” is just the situation that has existed since the end of World War II, when society has been dominated by a particular set of institutions like academia, a unified news media, and government bureaucracies. Unfortunately these institutions, as happens to almost all human institutions as time passes, have been growing increasingly corrupt, sclerotic, and isolated from the people they are ostensibly designed to serve, and the people in them (and others in their social circles) have become arrogant, contemptuous, and condescending. (Also, the technologies and social situations for which those institutions were designed have disappeared or become outmoded.) Whatever else you might say about Trump, he spoke for and to the people who were the objects of that contempt, and they were the ones who elected him. Getting rid of him won’t do any good as long as the arrogance and condescension continues, and that hasn’t shown any sign of decreasing.

Rituals of the fall

September 15, 2018

Since it’s September, we once again have the announcement of this year’s Ig Nobel Prizes and the winners of the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest. Follow the links to enjoy.