"It is easy to confuse what is with what ought to be, especially when what is has worked out in your favor."
- Tyrion Lannister
"Lannister. Baratheon. Stark. Tyrell. They're all just spokes on a wheel. This one's on top, then that's ones on top and on and on it spins, crushing those on the ground. I'm not going to stop the wheel. I'm going to break the wheel."
- Daenerys Targaryen
"The Lord of Light wants his enemies burned. The Drowned God wants them drowned. Why are all the gods such vicious cunts? Where's the God of Tits and Wine?"
- Tyrion Lannister
"The common people pray for rain, healthy children, and a summer that never ends. It is no matter to them if the high lords play their game of thrones, so long as they are left in peace. They never are."
- Jorah Mormont
"These bad people are what I'm good at. Out talking them. Out thinking them."
- Tyrion Lannister
"What happened? I think fundamentals were trumped by mechanics and, to a lesser extent, by demographics."
- Michael Barone
"If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to."
- Dorothy Parker
Monday, January 16, 2017
Sunday, January 15, 2017
Friday, January 13, 2017
Thursday, January 12, 2017
Saturday, December 31, 2016
Sunday, December 25, 2016
Q: During the US election, a rather strange and heated debate took place between liberals that insisted the rise of Trumpism could be blamed on 'economic anxiety' or on racial resentment, as if it had to be one of the two. How would you theorize the relation between economic motivations for voter rebellion and other perhaps complementary causes for the huge transformations we saw in 2016? Do economic problems cause racism or nativism to emerge, for example? Historically how has this usually worked when inequality gets out of control?
M. I really do not think that the causality runs one way only: either from economic problems to racism, or from racism to economic problems. I think that the two work together. But I think that it was always wrong to blame support that Trump has received only on racism or misogyny. By doing this, one commits two mistakes: first, writes off that portion of the population as “irredeemable” since their racism or misogyny makes them impervious to any rational argumentation; and second, entirely plays down economic factors and thus fails to propose any change in economic policy. The view that nativism alone was responsible for the rise of right-wing populism in the US, or even more bizarrely the view held by some that the “losers” in rich countries should not complain because they are better off than workers in China, were just wrong answers to a very real problem.
Q. This kind of an interpretation has received strong pushback in the United States since Trump's victory, with mainstream Democratic supporters calling it either hopelessly leftist or tantamount to rationalizing away racism. Others point to the fact that many rich people supported Trump (as admittedly often supported other Republican candidates). What do you make of this criticism?
M. I do not understand the pushback. Do they really believe that Trump, Brexit, Le Pen, the rise of many right-wing populist parties in Europe etc. have nothing to do with economics? That suddenly all these weird nationalists and nativists got together thanks to the social media and decided to overthrow the established order? People who believe this remind me of Saul Bellow’s statement that “a great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is strong”.
Saturday, December 24, 2016
Tuesday, December 20, 2016
It’s not a struggling region. Updated by Matthew Yglesias