Macaulay’s Roman mob

Macaulay cheers on far from non-violent protest.

The crowds protesting the odious anti-some-Muslims executive order are heartening. Unlike the bon enfant Womens’ March, they were focused and angry.

Angry is good here. I thought of the best of Macaulay’s Lays of Ancient Rome, Virginia. Macaulay was a liberal toff. But here, he takes the side of a violent mob protesting with “pebbles, and bricks, and potsherds” against an eerily apt combination of oligarchic lawlessness and sexual and economic predation, with vile sidekicks thrown in. His generation understood that bourgeois liberals need a tiger of popular anger to ride to moderate reforms. Otherwise, Grey’s Reform Act of 1830 would not have been possible. Rioting has become ineffective with modern policing: rioters can’t get close enough to the rulers to throw a real scare, and the economic damage gets diverted onto luckless bystanders like the Korean shopkeepers in Watts. The objection to a “Burn Wall Street” movement is more practical than ethical.

Read the whole thing (not forgetting the Preface) to cheer yourselves up. Three rousing passages. Continue reading “Macaulay’s Roman mob”

The Muslim ban fiasco….

The President’s team had months to prepare this signature immigration initiative. And they produced…an amateurish, politically self-immolating effort that humiliated the country, provoked international retaliation, and failed to withstand the obvious federal court challenge on its very first day.

Given the despicable nature of this effort, I’m happy it has become a political fiasco. It also makes me wonder how the Trump administration will execute the basic functions of government. This astonishing failure reflects our new President’s contempt for the basic craft of government.