Archive for the ‘Peculiar Institutions’ Category

Spectator Sport

Watching President Trump try to beat the Congress into submission has been a uniquely gruesome experience, but also an edifying one. For decades now, the dysfunction of the federal government has been something sensed rather than seen, partly because it was in the interest of the political class to keep it hidden, and partly because […]

Okay, Never Mind Decency. Have You No Sense of Irony?

A question for Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, and all the rest of the Confederate flotsam and jetsam clinging to the present occupant of the White House: The White House, that supposedly august parsonage of liberty’s American church, was built by black slaves. Do you really think you can make us forget that?

What You Don’t See May Nevertheless Be What You Get

The Evolution of Noblesse Oblige

Andrew Carnegie: We’ll buy a lot of books, and build a lot of places where working people can go and read them. This will help them better themselves, and in the process provide a more civilized future for all of us. Bill Gates: The country is not producing enough of the kind of people we’ll need for […]

Presidential Appointees (In No Particular Order)

Jeff Sessions: Looks like Alfred E. Neuman, thinks like John C. Calhoun. Steve Bannon: What stupid people think a smart person ought to sound like. Betsy DeVos: A government-run education system will never be able to produce the amount of ignorance this country needs. Jared Kushner: Once you grab the right one, hang on. Mike […]

The Spiritual Gorbachev

Pope Francis would do well to reflect on what happened the last time a frustrated figurehead attempted to impose glasnost and perestroika on a moribund institution. Once he succeeds in driving all the money changers from the temple, he may find that they were the only ones holding it up.

Righteous Eloquence

Reparations for Ferguson by Ta-Nehisi Coates. All that needs to be said.

Simon Johnson versus the Scumbags

In a pivotal scene from a recent episode of HBO’s Game of Thrones, Lord Petyr Baelish hints at his knowledge of a secret potentially fatal to the Queen Mother, Cersei Lannister, and smugly warns her that knowledge is power. Her response is to order one of her bodyguards to cut his throat. With his attention newly […]

Discomforting the South

From Ta-Nehisi Coates, this eloquent re-statement of fundamental American principles still being trampled on by a legion of racist Dixie apologists. It should be read aloud from every pulpit in the nation. Re-light Frederick Douglass’s torch — here’s someone more than worthy to carry it forward. History is identity. When we erase the painful portions, […]