Trump, Brexit: Where’s the Backlash?

I dutifully got a shot this winter to inoculate myself against four different flu viruses. By exposing myself to weakened strains of these diseases, and preemptively suffering some mild flu symptoms, I can ward off the more serious consequences of a full-on infection and do my part to help stop the further spread of these pathogens. Both the United States and United Kingdom came down with chills...
read more

The Far Right’s War on Culture

The far right is on a roll. Just a few years ago, liberals and conservatives would have considered its recent political victories a nightmare scenario. Right-wing extremists have won elections in the United States, Brazil, Hungary, India, and Poland. They pushed through the Brexit referendum in the United Kingdom. In the most recent European Parliament elections, far-right parties captured the...
read more

Burning Down the House

Doesn’t idiocy ever take a vacation? As August wound down, the populist troika of Donald Trump, Boris Johnson, and Jair Bolsonaro proved once again that the United States, the United Kingdom, and Brazil would be better off with no leaders rather than the dubious characters that currently pretend to govern these countries. In all three cases, these leaders escalated their nationally destructive...
read more

Boris Johnson and the New Battle of Britain

All eyes are focused these days on Boris Johnson, the new prime minister of the United Kingdom. But that’s not the most important news this month out of Britain. The Labor Party has finally come around to opposing the country’s exit from the European Union, though it’s possibly a case of “too little, too late.” The party failed to get its act together before the European Parliament...
read more

Global Game of Thrones

I was surprised to learn that Dagmar Havlova had become a monarchist. In 1990, when I first met the sister-in-law of Czech playwright and later president Vaclav Havel, she was a spokesperson for Civic Forum, the movement that would guide Czechoslovakia from communism to democracy. Virtually everyone in the country at the time was excited about this transformation, about voting, about the new...
read more

Deal, No Deal: Britain’s Fearful Future

It’s not in the text of Dante’s Inferno, but I suspect that those residing in the upper circles of hell regard their neighbors in the bottom circles with a mixture of pity and relief. Cleopatra, buffeted by strong winds in the second circle for her lustful behavior on earth, glances down at the traitor Judas, immobile in a frozen lake in the ninth circle, and sighs, “Ah, there but for the...
read more