Friday 3 September 2010

Wilkinson at The Economist

If you're not reading The Economist's Democracy in America blog, you should be now that Wilkinson's there. The W.W. posts are his. On Glenn Beck:
Mr Goldberg sees it differently, I presume, because he is convinced that a call to the defence of our heaven-kissed American heritage is ipso facto a call to the defence of liberty. I am not so sure. Those whose souls sing to the message of providential American exceptionalism and misty non-denominational pieties are also those most likely to support the use of force to impose conservative morality at home and Western-style democracy abroad. I suspect the tens of thousands who answered Mr Beck's call emerged predominantly from the ranks of those who vigorously defend Arizona's nativist crackdown, who are trying to shout down the so-called "ground-zero mosque", who have cast Barack Obama as a pretender bent on destruction, and who continue to support the strafing of innocents abroad with taxpayer-funded remote-controlled death kites. And I suspect few of them see dishonour in any of it.

In the end, Mr Beck's personal libertarian streak is simply irrelevant if his populism is pitched to and invigorates some of America's most conservative and least libertarian voters. But Mr Goldberg should take heart. Canada is nice this time of year.

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