The Hundredth Meridian

Having It All

You could say liberalism is about squaring the circle, if it weren't for the fact that even liberals don't really expect to accomplish this feat: They aim at creating the impression they can effect the impossible, and lying afterward about their success in having done it. In between comes an impressive array or sequence of legislative and bureaucratic initiatives—fudging and futile, as complicated as they are incomprehensible, boring beyond the limits of public attention—whose purpose is to convince the voters, the press, even the perpetrating politicians themselves, that Something Is Being Done and A Solution Is in Sight. Months, occasionally a few years, go by before a) everyone has forgotten the crisis, or b) the politicians and their media apologists declare the victory of liberal ingenuity over the laws of mankind, and of nature itself Nature, of course, knows better, while even mankind can be fooled only in the short run (depending on your understanding of the word "short").

The process is necessarily surrounded by buzzwords, as a range carcass is surrounded by flies. In the old cowtown of Denver, now a city of a couple of million people, the majority of whom seem to be economic refugees from Old Mexico and cultural ones from the Golden State (annually assuming a deeper bronze hue), the loudest buzz being made by the biggest, most aggressive flies from the Republican governor down to the shabbiest...

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