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(United) States of Denial

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Paul Krugman put up a sobering tweet in the wee wee hours:

There’s no need to exaggerate historical analogies to point out that we’ve seen this movie before.

It seems to me that the most psychological state in America today is denial. This is most obvious on the political right, of course, which is constructed fundamentally around denial of various stripes.

Here’s a story about climate change denial, which drove a weatherman out of Iowa, after he tried to be an apostle to the gentiles on the issue. His employers hired him on the explicit understanding that he would undertake this evangel, but naturally changed their minds as soon as it appeared this might possibly cost them a dollar or two (Blessed be the Market, measure of all things seen and unseen).

Here’s a story about how anti-vaccine paranoia is spreading throughout America, and how Trump is campaigning on promises to exacerbate it as much as possible.

Here’s a story about a woman who barely survived being shot five times, by the assassins sent by Jim Jones to murder Congressman Leo Ryan. Many years later she was elected to fill what had been Ryan’s seat, only to find herself pinned on the floor of the House of Representatives, wondering if she was going to be shot there, by the votaries of a different cult.

Ultimately the kind of denial Krugman is talking about — that of the complacent elites, who don’t exactly support Trump, but don’t exactly oppose him either (“Despite his buffoon-like persona, and the admitted excesses of some of his followers, we can surely work with him if necessary, especially given the institutional guardrails” blah blah blah) — is playing a key role in ensuring that the authoritarian cult that is Trumpism and the Republican party (these are now exact synonyms) is not recognized for what it is.

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