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Lockdowns are coming back and blue-state authoritarians keep granting exemptions to their friends but not their struggling subjects. We all know the impact this has economically and on our dignity. But the hypocrisy of politicians and their buds enjoying lavish entertainment together despite their own restrictions opens a new gap: the social and intellectual stimulation of a public square is available to the few, but not to the masses.
I’m not in a situation to blow my savings at The French Laundry—“Maybe one day,” I sigh to myself. But what’s being withheld by not letting us go to The French Laundry or its more-affordable equivalents goes beyond just entertainment. But we don’t wine-and-dine only for the pleasure of it, and certainly not for survival. We often do so because it’s a manifestation of the public square—a place not in the home where ideas are exchanged, motivations are explained, and alliances are formed.