The Random Internet Id

The current political moment from a deranged commentor on the internet:

if they can get someone other than trump or hillary to run i might vote fore that person. in a nutshell trumps gone bankrupt many times and he rips people off with his fake college and stuff but hillary has a terrible history as well first of all she charges people o tona money for giving very short speeches then she does things for the people that paid her the money. there was this whitewater land that they owned and they were losing money on it so they ripped off a bank and made lotsa money but because of that the bank failed and government had to spend money than hillary and bill were selling drugs at this airport in arkansas but theyre lawyer found out about it so they killed him and made it look like he killed himself. then theres the policies that the partys want to impose democrats want to raise taxes tell people what kinda lightbulbs they can use force people to fork over theyre guns andd join a currency with canada and mexico. the republicans are like lets force our religion on people and beat up on gays and let big companies run things NO THANK YOU. so i might vote for this other guy. whatever happened to the french guy who wants to be president?

Don’t go into the comments; it’s unsafe down there.

The Random Internet Id

Obligatory Brexit Post

I studied the European Union for a semester in Denmark during my undergraduate years, so I have a positive view of the European project.  What the Single Market has achieved is remarkable and never previously achieved by any group of countries before.  The “democratic deficit” has been a long-simmering problem for the EU for decades, and I am sympathetic to the desire to reform EU governance.  However, the U.K. already had a sweetheart deal with the EU (and was offered a better deal this past winter), so the vote last week I found disappointing.  It seems to be an enormous economic waste and self-inflicted wound for England.  Adding to the chaos, the most vocal proponents for Brexit are acting like the dog that catches the car and then doesn’t know what to do.  This is the best description of how the U.K. arrived at this moment:

The thing people often forget about Aesop’s fable of the boy who cried wolf is that in the end, there really was a wolf. Indeed, the story wouldn’t have its moral if the wolf didn’t show up and ravage the shepherd boy’s flock. Lying has consequences that last far longer than individual acts of deception: it ruins the liar’s ability to convince people when it really matters.

The source of the mistrust between the establishment and the country isn’t difficult to fathom. Next week the Chilcot inquiry will publish its findings into the Iraq war. After Iraq, we faced an economic crisis that few experts saw coming until it was too late. Then followed austerity; now the experts said this was precisely the wrong response to the crisis, but it happened anyway.

When leaders choose the facts that suit them, ignore the facts that don’t and, in the absence of suitable facts, simply make things up, people don’t stop believing in facts – they stop believing in leaders. They do so not because they are over-emotional, under-educated, bigoted or hard-headed, but because trust has been eroded to such a point that the message has been so tainted by the messenger as to render it worthless.

This was the wolf we were warned about. It is now mauling our political culture and savaging our economic wellbeing. We were warned of it by leaders in whom we had no confidence. So we all chose the facts we liked, and we all suffered. The wolf does not discriminate. As Aesop reminds us at the end of the fable: “Nobody believes a liar, even when he’s telling the truth.”

Obligatory Brexit Post

The Midwest

This is a wonderful essay on the Midwest and modern America:

The Midwest is a somewhat slippery notion. It is a region whose existence—whose very name—has always been contingent upon the more fixed and concrete notion of the West. Historically, these interior states were less a destination than a corridor, a gateway that funneled travelers from the east into the vast expanse of the frontier. The great industrial cities of this region—Chicago, Detroit, and St. Louis—were built as “hubs,” places where the rivers and the railroads met, where all the goods of the prairie accumulated before being shipped to the exterior states. Today, coastal residents stop here only to change planes, a fact that has solidified our identity as a place to be passed over. To be fair, people who live here seem to prefer it this way. Gift shops along the shores of the Great Lakes sell T-shirts bearing the logo Flyover Living. For a long time, the unofficial nickname for the state of Indiana was “Crossroads of America.” Each time my family passed the state line, my sisters and I would mock its odd, anti-touristic logic (“Nothing to see here, folks!”).

The Midwest