Here’s what to read left and right

We live in partisan times and our media habits can reinforce our own perspectives. Consider this an effort to expand our collective vision with trials beyond the range of our typical selections.


Since “Can the Democratic Party define itself?» an interview with historian Michael Kazin by Isaac Chotiner in The New Yorker.

The background: As the midterm elections approach, historian Michael Kazin returns to the problem of “moral capitalism” and uneasy alliances at the heart of the Democratic economic movement.

The excerpt, from one of Kazin’s answers: There’s also, I think, a bit of what I call “moral capitalism” that was true for (Andrew) Jackson, and was true for FDR, and, for all his problems, for Joe Biden too. The form it took for each was quite different, but in each case moral capitalism meant defending the interests and needs of ordinary people – small entrepreneurs, small farmers, wage earners – and against big interests: against Wall Street, the big investor, and now, of course, big business like Walmart and Amazon. I think there is a continuity in the rhetoric and the ideology there, even if the meaning of all this rhetoric has changed in a major way.

Since “We don’t need billionaires like Elon Musk,” by Paris-Marx at Jacobin.

Context, from the author: Elon Musk’s bid to buy Twitter in the name of free speech is the latest example of his hubris. It’s not just that Elon Musk shouldn’t own Twitter — billionaires shouldn’t even exist.

Excerpt: If we think about the ideal ways to govern a platform like Twitter, it wouldn’t be ruled by the richest man in the world. Certainly having regulations by representative governments might help, but in a truly democratic society this would be governed by users, workers and other stakeholders.

Since “Never again, again,” by Susan Bigelow Reynolds in the Commonwealth.

The context, by the author Calls for world peace no longer interest us. They should.

Excerpt: I am struck by how much we … have lost the taste for peace in the world. We know too much and too little. Indeed, throughout decades of American military involvement in the Middle East, Americans have heard remarkably little about peace, even aspirationally. In a post-9/11 world, the other side of war was not peace but simply a less visible war, a war operated by drones, remote and ignorable.


Of “Floridian Divorceby Neal B. Freeman in The National Review.

The context, from the author: listen to any pair of political obsessives (in Tallahassee) – media types, campaign consultants, lobbyists, all-party rent seekers – and you’ll hear them quickly veer this politically obsessed town’s most reliable conversation starter. The Split. The political marriage of donald trump and Ron DeSantis, never passionate but for a mutually convenient time, is nearly complete. The only questions left are when it will end and how ugly it will get.

The excerpt: Trump likes to say, and he does it with Trumpian repetition, that in 2018 DeSantis was 3% in the polls (not quite) and that without Trump’s endorsement, DeSantis would have lost the gubernatorial election (probably yes). That spring, after trailing for months in statewide polls, DeSantis gave up running as DeSantis and began running as Trump-Lite. His main TV spot featured DeSantis sprawled on the living room rug, teaching his toddlers how to build a wall out of tiny blocks. That fall, DeSantis was elected with less than 1% of the vote against one of the worst Democratic candidates in state history: Andrew Gillum, a (formerly) closeted bisexual man, married to a woman, with a big drug problem and a thin résumé.

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Since “JD Vance, you’re hiredby Sohrab Ahmari in The American Conservative.

The context, from the author: Donald Trump made a courageous decision by supporting the Hillbilly Elegy author of the Ohio GOP Senate primary.

The excerpt: JD Vance has courage, the kind that Trump must have recognized when he decided to endorse Vance, over and against the opposition and underhanded scheming of much of the Republican establishment, including within the Buckeye State GOP.

Since “Why We Have Record Inflation and It’s Probably Not Going Away Quickly,” by Nathan Lewis in The Federalist.

The background, from the author: The track record of economists in diagnosing and solving “inflation” problems over the past 70 or so years has been very poor.

Excerpt: In the end, we really only have two options: the gold standard, or the “Ph.D. standard.” Either we trust gold or we trust a floating fiat currency run by eggheads with PhDs We used to bet on gold and after nearly 200 years we have become the richest country in the history of the world. The last decade of the gold standard era – the 1960s – may have been the best since 1914. The Ph.D. Standard may be tolerable for a while, but the long-term trends are clear: a pattern of artificial boom and bust, accompanied by a long and slow (or sometimes short and fast) fall in the value of the currency.

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