Detached from America? It depends

 

On Twitter, our friend Claire Berlinski (I could have just said Claire, and you’d know, but I used her whole name as a bat signal in case she gets an alert that I’m talking about her tweet) wrote:

Yes and no. 

The problem with “Yes” is that different people have exactly opposite opinions.

For some: yes, they believe the country is on the brink of authoritarianism, and also there is not enough authoritarianism when it comes to masks and vaccines. The country is threatened by right-wing white supremacists who want to destroy Our Democracy; we’re always one day away from 1/6, and also, the riots of 2020 were regrettable but righteous and understandable. An astroturf cohort of “concerned parents” are violently attacking school boards in an attempt to keep schools from teaching about racism and the history of slavery.

On the other side: yes, because our expectation of minimal competence among the managerial class in government, always grudging and grumpy because they’re so sure of themselves and what’s best for us, has been demolished by two years of flat-footed mismanagement coupled with no diminution in their estimation of their abilities and importance. The current administration is empty at the top, indifferent to actual problems, intent on forcing things on the populace that the populace does not want, incapable of addressing lawlessness and public disorder, and hostile to the Moorlocks in the hustings with their retrograde ideas (like single-family zoning or the desire to buy a pickup.)

But. No, inasmuch as the real world is not the fret-fest of social media, where you stick your head into the yowling maelstrom of the tremulous and neurotic, or the locker-room of boisterous bros who bleep-post to own the libs. In the actual America people are going to bars and restaurants and grocery stores and getting along just fine, bearing up under the new problems, gritting our teeth, and holding doors open for people behind us without worrying who they voted for. Bad ideas come and go in cycles. We’ve been through worse.

Responses:

Uh huh. Comptroller of the Currency nom wants to bankrupt the energy industry, wants the nationalization of the banking industry, the FBI raids journalists’ offices, racial essentialism is the required intellectual posture in the circles of power, commerce,  and education, but the real worrisome thought is ending up like Hungary.

Takes a lot longer slog to get out from under nationalized banks and no carbon-based energy sector, I think.  

And:

Again, there was this thing called “The summer of 2020” when city after city, including my own, had spasms of leftist political street violence (with some assistance from opportunistic apolitical miscreants and alt-right morons) that burned down blocks, killed businesses, and increased crime; the reaction of the bien-pensants was to justify the Uprising and attack anyone who seemed to point out that property damage was bad. We have a record number of carjackings in our city, and I guar-an-damn-tee you there’s not a soul driving around worried that MAGA types are going to bracket their car and drag them out at gunpoint. 

But yes, sure, Trumpian fascism is right around the corner. Be on guard!  Also, report your co-worker for saying something approving about Dave Chappelle. It made you feel unsafe.

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  1. DrewInWisconsin, Oaf Member
    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Echoing Tom Wolfe:

    “The dark night of fascism is always descending on the right and yet lands only on the left.”

    • #1
  2. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Hear, Hear.

    I did not think I’d live to see then70s all over agian.

    • #2
  3. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    I wonder what Claire means by her statement.

    She supported Joe Biden and voted for him (as I recall – could be wrong maybe), he is now enacting policies popular with the political party that he has belonged to for his entire life, so I don’t understand the crazy part.  She supported a Democrat, he’s doing what Democrats do, and we’re getting what we get when Democrats win.  She’s old enough to remember Carter, I think.  If not, she’s well-read.  Look around the world.  This is leftism.

    She may mean that the right wing is out of control.  If that’s the case, I agree, James, that that concern would appear to be overblown if not outright fabricated for political purposes.

    But I don’t think that’s what she means.  I think she finds our lurch to the left to be crazy.

    If that’s what she means, I don’t understand her perspective.  She’s getting what she voted for.

    • #3
  4. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    I think if you really want to “summon the gorgon” it takes more than just typing out her name.  More like @claire

    Oops.  Now I’ve gone and done it.

    But really, hasn’t Claire already been detached from America for at least 20 years?

    • #4
  5. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    James Lileks: We’ve been through worse.

    Yup.

    If we become Hungary, do we at least get kiffles? I can put up with a lot of nonsense if we get kiffles.

    • #5
  6. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Percival (View Comment):

    James Lileks: We’ve been through worse.

    Yup.

    If we become Hungary, do we at least get kiffles? I can put up with a lot of nonsense if we get kiffles.

    But only if they’re FREE!!!!!

    • #6
  7. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    James Lileks: where you stick your head into the yowling maelstrom of the tremulous and neurotic

    Beautiful.

    • #7
  8. Chris O Coolidge
    Chris O
    @ChrisO

    Superb, but a lot of /sarc and /snark indicators missing for the humorless twitterverse. 

    Claire, et al, we’re feeling the pinch of inflation everywhere. This differs from Twitter worries which are largely luxury. No, for the first time in a long time everyone is feeling the cold fingers of government overreach, overreaction, and incompetence.

    Feel a disconnect? Send ten percent (roughly) of your income to me and adjust your budget accordingly. 

    We’re also worried about our children and their life skills development. That is where the school board conversation starts, because a number of people decided it was more important to teach them they weren’t worth a spit. Somehow, they found a way to belittle both victim (“you only made it this far because they let you!”) and bully, for lack of a better word (“Racist! Supremacist!”).

    Oh, yeah, and the Covid horse manure. Seems to me the same questions are asked everywhere, particularly in Europe with its numerous protests. Want to place your concern where it counts? Tweet a bit about Australia, unless you support what is happening there.

    Hey, but no mean tweets, okay?

    • #8
  9. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Chris O (View Comment):
    Somehow, they found a way to belittle both victim (“you only made it this far because they let you!”) and bully, for lack of a better word (“Racist! Supremacist!”).

    This X1000

    • #9
  10. Victor Tango Kilo Member
    Victor Tango Kilo
    @VtheK

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):
    She may mean that the right wing is out of control. 

    An “out of control right wing” means that Government spending is going to be cut and the borders are going to be closed. 

    An out of control left-wing means your town will burn and you’ll lose your job for not cheering loudly enough when the trans-activist middle school float goes by in the George Floyd Day parade. 

    • #10
  11. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Victor Tango Kilo (View Comment):

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):
    She may mean that the right wing is out of control.

    An “out of control right wing” means that Government spending is going to be cut and the borders are going to be closed.

    An out of control left-wing means your town will burn and you’ll lose your job for not cheering loudly enough when the trans-activist middle school float goes by in the George Floyd Day parade.

    Someone’s been taking Lileks Lessons!

    • #11
  12. Blondie Thatcher
    Blondie
    @Blondie

    @jameslileks, for some reason this reminded me of the exchange you had with Rob on the podcast about gas prices, etc. I think because these guys don’t live in our “neck of the woods” they don’t see what we see. You live like the rest of us plebes. I don’t think Claire would last long how you grew up. 

    • #12
  13. Chris O Coolidge
    Chris O
    @ChrisO

    TBH, I feel like Claire is disappointed in our Sweeps episode. She really is detached.

    • #13
  14. Django Member
    Django
    @Django

    I didn’t know anyone still paid attention to what Claire says. 

    • #14
  15. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Did I miss any mention in this thread of the fact that Ms. Berlinski speaks of this sense of “detachment from the United States” from her abode in Paris?

    I mean, come on, man!

    • #15
  16. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    I admit to feeling a sense of detachment from a country that seems bent on apologizing for its history.  But then, unlike Ms. Berlinski, I actually live here.

    • #16
  17. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    I admit to feeling a sense of detachment from a country that seems bent on apologizing for its history. But then, unlike Ms. Berlinski, I actually live here.

    I feel detached from the apologizers — just not detached enough.

    • #17
  18. David Knights Member
    David Knights
    @DavidKnights

    @claire is one of two people who’ve ever blocked me on Twitter. (The other is Rick Wilson)  I haven’t actually missed seeing tweets from either.  I suspect that her absence from the US has been a boon to both her and to the US.

    • #18
  19. Kephalithos Member
    Kephalithos
    @Kephalithos

    Meanwhile, in the Bulwark, Charlie Sykes proposes a solution to the Democrats’ political woes: Complain about Republicans more. I kid you not. This strategy worked so well — so very well! — for Terry McAuliffe, right?

    A few weeks back, Jonathan “Wear your #%&@ mask! Check your #%&@ privilege!” Last wrote a piece arguing that Glenn Youngkin is bad because the people who voted for him are bad because they also voted for Trump, who is bad. The Republican Party’s problem, in other words, is that it has a constituency.

    One gets the sense, after hearing the 1,676th refrain of “Democracy is under threat! We need a one-party state!” that people like Claire Berlinski, Charlie Sykes, and Jonathan V. Last don’t care all that much about democracy. It’s almost as if . . . as if . . . they’re just angry that people don’t want what they’re offering.

    • #19
  20. Franco Member
    Franco
    @Franco

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    I wonder what Claire means by her statement.

    She supported Joe Biden and voted for him (as I recall – could be wrong maybe), he is now enacting policies popular with the political party that he has belonged to for his entire life, so I don’t understand the crazy part. She supported a Democrat, he’s doing what Democrats do, and we’re getting what we get when Democrats win. She’s old enough to remember Carter, I think. If not, she’s well-read. Look around the world. This is leftism.

    She may mean that the right wing is out of control. If that’s the case, I agree, James, that that concern would appear to be overblown if not outright fabricated for political purposes.

    But I don’t think that’s what she means. I think she finds our lurch to the left to be crazy.

    If that’s what she means, I don’t understand her perspective. She’s getting what she voted for.

    I gave up trying to figure out what Claire Berlinski means a long time ago. But it looks to me like the mayor of her sister city in the US is Jen Rubin.

    • #20
  21. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    David Knights (View Comment):

    @ claire is one of two people who’ve ever blocked me on Twitter. (The other is Rick Wilson) I haven’t actually missed seeing tweets from either. I suspect that her absence from the US has been a boon to both her and to the US.

    You mean THE Rick Wilson.

    With enemies like that, you must be a fine upstanding person.

    • #21
  22. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Kephalithos (View Comment):

    Meanwhile, in the Bulwark, Charlie Sykes proposes a solution to the Democrats’ political woes: Complain about Republicans more. I kid you not. This strategy worked so well — so very well! — for Terry McAuliffe, right?

    A few weeks back, Jonathan “Wear your #%&@ mask! Check your #%&@ privilege!” Last wrote a piece arguing that Glenn Youngkin is bad because the people who voted for him are bad because they also voted for Trump, who is bad. The Republican Party’s problem, in other words, is that it has a constituency.

    One gets the sense, after hearing the 1,676th refrain of “Democracy is under threat! We need a one-party state!” that people like Claire Berlinski, Charlie Sykes, and Jonathan V. Last don’t care all that much about democracy. It’s almost as if . . . as if . . . they’re just angry that people don’t want what they’re offering.

    No! It can’t be!

    • #22
  23. Franco Member
    Franco
    @Franco

    James Lileks: In the actual America people are going to bars and restaurants and grocery stores and getting along just fine, bearing up under the new problems, gritting our teeth, and holding doors open for people behind us without worrying who they voted for. Bad ideas come and go in cycles. We’ve been through worse.

    Yes and no. In the actual America, people are complying with all kinds of unconstitutional edicts with nary a whimper ( myself included). Now I can kinda see what ordinary non anti-Semitic Germans ( and Jews themselves) went through in the mid 1930’s thinking it’s just temporary….it’s an overreaction that will correct itself ……surely someone will see this madness and sanity will prevail.

    Few in power are willing to stand up to blatant tyranny. And we understand why. Because they really do have total power over us. Hence the compliance. 

     

    • #23
  24. Kephalithos Member
    Kephalithos
    @Kephalithos

    Franco (View Comment):

    James Lileks: In the actual America people are going to bars and restaurants and grocery stores and getting along just fine, bearing up under the new problems, gritting our teeth, and holding doors open for people behind us without worrying who they voted for. Bad ideas come and go in cycles. We’ve been through worse.

    Yes and no. In the actual America, people are complying with all kinds of unconstitutional edicts with nary a whimper ( myself included). Now I can kinda see what ordinary non anti-Semitic Germans ( and Jews themselves) went through in the mid 1930’s thinking it’s just temporary….it’s an overreaction that will correct itself ……surely someone will see this madness and sanity will prevail.

    Few in power are willing to stand up to blatant tyranny. And we understand why. Because they really do have total power over us. Hence the compliance.

    Standing up to tyranny = threatening democracy.

    • #24
  25. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    I wonder what Claire means by her statement.

    She supported Joe Biden and voted for him (as I recall – could be wrong maybe), he is now enacting policies popular with the political party that he has belonged to for his entire life, so I don’t understand the crazy part. She supported a Democrat, he’s doing what Democrats do, and we’re getting what we get when Democrats win. She’s old enough to remember Carter, I think. If not, she’s well-read. Look around the world. This is leftism.

    She may mean that the right wing is out of control. If that’s the case, I agree, James, that that concern would appear to be overblown if not outright fabricated for political purposes.

    But I don’t think that’s what she means. I think she finds our lurch to the left to be crazy.

    If that’s what she means, I don’t understand her perspective. She’s getting what she voted for.

    Exactly!!

    • #25
  26. Franco Member
    Franco
    @Franco

    Kephalithos (View Comment):

    Franco (View Comment):

    James Lileks: In the actual America people are going to bars and restaurants and grocery stores and getting along just fine, bearing up under the new problems, gritting our teeth, and holding doors open for people behind us without worrying who they voted for. Bad ideas come and go in cycles. We’ve been through worse.

    Yes and no. In the actual America, people are complying with all kinds of unconstitutional edicts with nary a whimper ( myself included). Now I can kinda see what ordinary non anti-Semitic Germans ( and Jews themselves) went through in the mid 1930’s thinking it’s just temporary….it’s an overreaction that will correct itself ……surely someone will see this madness and sanity will prevail.

    Few in power are willing to stand up to blatant tyranny. And we understand why. Because they really do have total power over us. Hence the compliance.

    Standing up to tyranny = threatening democracy.

    Alice in Wonderland meets Dorothy …

    • #26
  27. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    James Lileks: has been demolished by two years of flat-footed mismanagement coupled with no diminution in their estimation of their abilities and importance.

    Biden has only been in office 10.5 months. Is this a dig at Trump for his COVID response? Because I kinda liked it when there were no federal vax mandates and the states got to decide their own path forward. Just sayin’. 

    • #27
  28. Victor Tango Kilo Member
    Victor Tango Kilo
    @VtheK

    kedavis (View Comment):
    Someone’s been taking Lileks Lessons!

    Let’s just say I’m avoiding his decorating tips. 

    • #28
  29. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Kephalithos (View Comment):
    Jonathan “Wear your #%&@ mask! Check your #%&@ privilege!” Last

    You left off “Get the #%&@ vaccine!”

     

    • #29
  30. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    James Lileks: has been demolished by two years of flat-footed mismanagement coupled with no diminution in their estimation of their abilities and importance.

    Biden has only been in office 10.5 months. Is this a dig at Trump for his COVID response? Because I kinda liked it when there were no federal vax mandates and the states got to decide their own path forward. Just sayin’.

    Not quite 10 months.  He started late in January.

    • #30