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Much blog-wringing today…

… about whether we’re becoming decadent and late imperial and all.

What makes political decadence possible is the luxury of a secure international position, which makes it possible both to meddle in various global problems where our vital national interests are not really at stake (Afghanistan, Yemen, Libya, etc.) and permits Americans to think that it’s perfectly ok to put climate change deniers, religious fanatics, former body-builders turned actors, and other unqualified individuals in high office.

That sort of thing.

[T]he Weiner episode mark[s] the culmination of several months during which other sideshows involving outrageous male behavior — John Ensign and John Edwards come to mind — dominated news coverage at a moment when our country’s future really is on the line.

That sort of thing.

UD would only ask y’all to calm down and think this through.

We not long ago elected an eminently serious, eminently qualified president, for instance.

And vice-president.

We pay our taxes. Etc.

You want decadent, look at Italy, where they elect Berlusconi and don’t pay their taxes. In a recent New Yorker post about Strauss-Kahn, Adam Gopnik reported that

[F]or lovers of France and French life, there is something deeply depressing … [in] what many in Paris see as the “Italianization” of French life—the descent into what might become an unseemly round of Berlusconian squalor…

The very fact that we react strongly to trivialization and irresponsibility in our country’s politics suggests that we know what it means to be politically respectable. Did you see what President Obama did to Donald Trump at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner?

Let France glance over at Italy and worry. It has plenty to worry about. We have much less.

Margaret Soltan, June 9, 2011 4:47PM
Posted in: democracy

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