Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Those who take politics to heart yet do not engage in the day to day details of it seem to me to be subject to a mild variant of bipolar disorder, call it political bipolar disorder (PBPD). The victims interpret any election as either proving that history is marching inexorably on their side, or that a new dark age is here. That there are external, usually economic, factors at work does not seem to occur to them. So a Democratic sufferer will have read 2008 and now 2012 as demonstrating that America is at heart left-liberal and does believe in that change you can believe in; he will be forgetting that in 2010 the Morlocks walked the land, cutting down the Eloi. The Republican sufferer had his moments of euphoria in 2004 and 2010, and is now sure that the end times are at hand.

To say to the Democrat that 2008 did not prove that the world was made over new, but rather that a lot of the electorate was furious at the disappearance of their (apparent) wealth was to waste your breath. To say to the Republican something comparable about 2010, why bother?

The disorder is subclinical. Yet it makes conversations with persons on the other phase impossible, with those on the same phase unprofitable, and with those not suffering from the disorder difficult.

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