4.5.17

THE CASE FOR MEDIATING INSTITUTIONS.

In the midst of a rejection of the chattering classes' coming to terms with Our President, Mike Lofgren (who wrote a book that's in the stack of read but not yet reviewed works; I just shifted it toward the top of the stack) makes a trenchant observation about reality checks for bullies.
By the time they reach high school, most American males assimilate the truth that while occasional adolescent high spirits are natural and inevitable, being a consistently obnoxious jerk will eventually get them a stiff right-cross to the jaw. If that lesson didn’t take, they will soon enter the workforce, and their need to pay their bills and keep the repo man from taking their car will be a solid reminder to behave. Trump did not benefit from those lessons. Cossetted by wealth since birth, immune from the real-world consequences of failure that most of us internalize, and surrounded only by sycophants, Trump, the wily con man, is also surprisingly na├»ve.
Focus, dear reader, on the emergence of convention implied in the first sentence, and the value of mediating institutions in rewarding mannerly behavior in the second.

No doubt, the punditry will be parsing the validity of the third and fourth sentences ad infinitum.

Alas, our civic life appears to have come to the pass I anticipated a year ago, while the political world could still crack jokes about the Republican "clown car" of a crowded primary field, and earnestly anticipate the Dowager Empress of Chappaqua picking up the orb, scepter, and unicorn.  "Where there are no ideas, there well might be strongmen."

I'll not be lacking for opportunities to reinforce that claim.  Keep looking in.

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