What to make of the “liberate” protests? Hundreds of people gathering in objection to state stay-at-home orders. For some, they epitomize what is wrong with America. Encouraged by the forty-fifth president, a critical mass of people (“critical” describing the danger of their thought, not its process) acted not only to the extreme detriment of the common good, but their own good as well. Yet catastrophe is no excuse for catastrophizing. Within these “liberate” protests I see what is best about American democracy — the right for the individual to be completely wrong about what is good for themselves and for the community.
At least prior to coronavirus, I had a secret envy of the framers of the United States Constitution. While these individuals certainly made history — and the foundation for our system of government for that matter — their accomplishments were made possible by a unique historical environment. In ordinary times they would have simply been lawyers, merchants, or even forgotten military figures. But they were living through history, and they certainly knew that.
As the coronavirus spreads across the United States, so too will anti-Chinese sentiment.
What is political correctness? To some it is a key reason why the Democrats lost their way and the 2016 election. Others argue that it is a right-wing fiction, a means to rile up the base against an imaginary enemy. Political correctness hasn’t featured prominently in discussions thus far, but as the Democratic primary progresses, it is fairly likely that it will make a reappearance in pundit discussions of 2020, especially if the Democrats lose again. Within Harvard at least, political correctness is more than a phantasmic foe. It is how, despite the diverse backgrounds and ambitions of the greater Harvard community, most come to abide by a consensus view about what is acceptable, especially in public conversation.