I recently told my Beguine editor, Terri Stewart, that, because I regarded the re-election of Trump as quite likely, I considered politics a dead subject for leftists / progressives, at least for the near- and medium-term future, and that I would henceforth write about science, art, philosophy, in other words, anything except politics. I had every intention of abiding by that resolution until I read a column by Hugh Hewitt in the Washington Post of April 27 exulting in his prediction – which, to repeat, is probably accurate – that Trump would not only win the election in 2020, but that the election would not even be “close” (Hewitt’s word, not mine). The reasons Hewitt cites for that prediction, while factually accurate, go straight to the heart of what it means to be a nation – and,
This is an excellent article on presidential power to levy tariffs and to grant pardons. But the article opens out onto an issue that dramatizes why Donald Trump is not a President within the liberal-democratic, rights-centric, Enlightenment-based nature of the American, in fact, the entire Western, political culture. In fact, not only is Trump not a part of that system, he is as alien to that political tradition as, say, a rhesus monkey is alien to a cantaloupe: they are simply radically different kinds of things.
The structure of the Constitution incorporates certain aspects that the Framers selectively imported from the European, especially British, Enlightenment and deliberately built in, and that they intended in 1787 to be the strengths of the Constitution. These stre
As anyone knows who has read more than a half-dozen or so of these “Skeptic’s” columns over the years, especially those emphasizing some aspect of history, one of my all-time favorite quotes is by the German historian and philosopher of history G. W. F. Hegel: “The only thing we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history,” an assertion no less true for being facially self-contradictory. A simpler, more colloquial, and less high-falutin’, way of saying the same thing is “Don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched”. Many of the comments, predictions, and prognostications being bandied about by the liberal / progressive community in advance of the 2018 mid-term elections sorely tempts me to conclude that, having lost the last presidential election, progressives have a