The Monday Morning Teaser

Looking back on what I wrote last week, I find myself in the strange position of having been simultaneously prescient and naive. On the one hand, this quote from last week’s featured post looks pretty good:

Fortunately, this effort to turn America fascist will fail on Wednesday, with both the House and the Senate declaring Biden the winner. Trump’s supporters will probably riot in response — so much for law and order — but they will achieve nothing.

On the other hand, though, I completely failed to foresee that the rioters could actually penetrate the Capitol and make our elected representatives hide in fear of their lives. As a number of articles have made clear since, we were minutes away from a disaster far beyond the national shame we actually suffered. What if the rioters had gotten hold of Nancy Pelosi or Mike Pence? What if there had been no obvious way for Congress to reconvene to certify Biden’s win? If a rump Congress had counted the electoral votes in some high school gym, with dozens of members captive or missing or dead, the narrative of Biden’s illegitimacy would only have grown.

So anyway, I think the lesson is to keep looking ahead, but with humility.

Two featured posts are coming today. The first was a note for the summary that grew to such unwieldy proportions that it had to become a separate post: “Sedition and Free Speech”. In the wake of the Trump insurrection, companies like Amazon and Apple are disassociating themselves from platforms that helped incite the violence, like Parler. Conservatives are claiming censorship and invoking the First Amendment, which clearly does not apply to private-sector corporations. There is a problem back there somewhere, but it has to do with the large-scale infrastructure of our current marketplace of ideas. My thinking on this is still in process, but I’ll put my half-formed thoughts out there because of timeliness. That post is just about done and should be out shortly.

The second post tries to put Wednesday’s events in a useful context: “The Capitol Invasion is Both an End and a Beginning”. What is ending, I think, is what I call “naive Trumpism” — the idea that Trump says a lot of wild stuff, but is still someone more traditional Republicans can work with inside a democratic system. What is beginning is an open insurrection that appeals to violence rather than the Constitution. Let’s say that gets out by noon EST.

Finally, the weekly summary is left to consider “minor” events like the Democrats winning the Senate, or the post-Christmas Covid surge pushing death totals to new highs. Interesting times. Let’s project that for around 1.

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