I sometimes wonder if he writes these at 3 AM, with a bottle of whiskey on the table, the only light a naked bulb from the ceiling – and the window open to hear and see the first sounds of the coming Mob.
Bad economic times not only make people less generous and more defensive when thinking about social policy; they undermine public confidence in the wisdom and/or trustworthiness of elites. A national political establishment forced to face the unsustainable nature of the fiscal path it has long followed is an emperor without clothes. Elite commitment to affirmative action and the rest of sixties race policy remains strong — but elites of all races are going to have less and less ability to control the direction of American social policy.
The conditions for a Category 5 hurricane are all there; it is easy to see a political reaction taking shape in this country that would make the Tea Party movement look like a PTA bake sale. They say that great storms start with trivial causes: a butterfly waves its wings and, when conditions are just right, the wind begins to grow.
The country is so angry now that it would not take much more than the right butterfly in the right place to take us to the next stage of struggle over the Great Society legacy.
Be a shame if he does. Then again, I don’t expect the Mob to arrive (in marked contrast to certain members of the American Left jumping up and down in anticipatory glee sparked by London Burning*). And if one does, it’ll be a remarkably well-behaved Mob that will obey all commonsense local regulations and pick up after itself afterward…
*Presumably because they think that any American Mob that shows up will be under their control. Darned if I know why, either.