â€¦ on blogging in the Trump reign.
I sit in one of the dives
On Fifty-second Streetâ€¦
This is the opening line of Auden’s fine poem on the outbreak of the Second World War. A year later, Evelyn Waugh memorably pilloried Auden and Isherwood in his satire Put Out More Flags, as the poets Parsnip and Pimpernel bravely opposing fascism from New York. He had a point. In the summer of 1940, petit-bourgeois Kentish shopkeepers and lumpenproletariat middle-aged farm labourers were joining the Home Guard, Dad’s Army, in order to fight invading Panzers and Brandenburgers, a battle in which they would have got themselves killed. Every wargamed rerun of Operation Sea Lion confirms the wisdom of Hitler’s decision to cancel the invasion, but the shopkeepers didn’t know that at the time.
My excuse for Parsnippery is that I’m not American and don’t live in the USA, so I’m not running from anything. It would still be rather unseemly to egg on others to take personal and career risks from a safe vantage point in Spain. So for the record, let me say just once: I support the resistance to the odious acts and statements of an illegitimate, incompetent and dangerous President, and welcome what non-violent protest you feel up to. On violent protest, I am more with Macaulay than Gandhi and King, as long as it’s effective, which these days it rarely is. I do not expect to say this again. So what am I doing here?
A week ago I had a little exchange with Keith Humphreys. He wrote a post on blindness to â€œsweet spotsâ€ in public policy. I commented that such rational thinking had no place in the age of Trump’s nihilism. Keith rejoined that there are other players than the US federal government.
On reflection, Keith was right and I was wrong. So I, and as far as I am concerned my fellow RBC bloggers, should keep on doing what we have always done, as long as we have readers. There are negative and positive reasons for this. Continue reading “A letter from Parsnip”