|Capt. Knut Maurer|
Four years ago we went on a train to Mongolia -- four nights in a compartment with nothing to do but read books and drink tea. In other words, bliss! This time we're going on a ship to Norway. We're visiting the region where my father was born, and the city (Bergen) where he grew up, and I'm reconnecting with my maritime heritage. Our ship will be about five times larger than my grandfather Knut's last ship, but on the other hand, it may also be something like five times cheaper!
(And here's a robust -- to say the least! -- defense of vacation!)
Andrew Sullivan wrote a much-commented-on essay about the danger to American democracy (what's left of it) from Donald Trump's apparent candidacy. Is he overstating it? How do you feel about his diagnosis -- an excess of democracy? How are you balancing calm and vigilance? (Assuming that's a desirable state and that you're not here in cozy Bergen with us.)
There is no place I would rather live. But it is not immortal, nor should we assume it is immune to the forces that have endangered democracy so many times in human history.Sullivan's conservatism is of a classical kind that rarely seems to be heard above the counterclaims of today's opportunistic, negotiable, and mean-spirited counterfeit conservatives.
These working-class communities, already alienated, hear — how can they not? — the glib and easy dismissals of "white straight men" as the ultimate source of all our woes. They smell the condescension and the broad generalizations about them — all of which would be repellent if directed at racial minorities — and see themselves, in Hoffer's words, "disinherited and injured by an unjust order of things."
It's a mean old world to try to live in by yourself...