Today, contemplating what to me is a dispiriting political scene in America, I've been thinking of Dinesh D'Souza. He said something brilliantly insightful in conversation with me several years ago. I will paraphrase it.
In a contest between freedom and fairness, fairness will win every time. Fairness will kick the bejesus out of freedom. (Some of us think freedom IS fair, but that's another story.)
In the old days, subjects said of their king, "Is he a good king?" In other words, is he a fair and just king? Few thought of freedom, autonomy, rights -- the pursuit of one's own destiny, come hell or high water.
What does a child say, almost as soon as he can talk? "That's not fair!" It is apparently elemental.
Freedom is a scary thought to people. Ain't nobody want freedom, really, except for a few kooks. "Live Free or Die" is just license-plate pap. No one means it. What people want is protection. What they want is what they regard as fairness.
The Democrats have long understood this. Trump and his Republican Party understand it. You almost never hear Trump talk about freedom, do you? "Freedom" used to issue from every Republican mouth. No more. Populism doesn't do freedom, really: It does fairness.
In America today, you can have pink-hued populism or brown-hued populism. The constituency for freedom -- for the ideals of the American Founding -- is essentially nil. (David Frum was saying this back in the early '90s.)
It took me a long while to gulp this down, but gulp it down I have, and the taste is awfully bitter, I must tell you.

Grouchily yours ...
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