Few people, I imagine, would deny that the political temperature, not only in the United States but elsewhere in the world, has risen of late, though few of us would admit to having been in any way responsible for this other, far more dangerous, kind of global warming.
It is always the others who are unreasonable, never ourselves. We are principled, they are intransigent. Unlike them, we would be prepared to compromise if only their demands were not so outrageous, if only they didn’t so brazenly demand the total abandonment of all that we stand for.
A major proximate cause of the polarisation of opinion and consequent envenoming of political life is what the authors of this book call grandstanding, though a better word for it (in my opinion) is cant, a word which, oddly enough, they never use.
Theodore Dalrymple is a contributing editor of City Journal, the Dietrich Weismann Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, and the author of many books, including Out into the Beautiful World and the recently published False Positive: A Year of Error Omission, and Political Correctness in the New England Journal of Medicine (Encounter Books).
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