QotD: Je Parle Francais Edition

Well, I do speak a little (and read a bit more) of the language of Asterix, but in this case, the French to whom I refer is David French. In an article at National Review Online yesterday, he talks about the polarization of the American political and cultural scene, mentioning (among other things) some rather ominous developments:

 […T]he New York Times’ Thomas Edsall published an important essay highlighting a new study that analyzed the extent of “lethal mass partisanship.” As Edsall observes, the paper contained some disturbing statistics. Among them, “42 percent of the people in each party view the opposition as ‘downright evil.’” A stunning 20 percent of Democrats and 16 percent of Republicans believe “we’d be better off as a country if large numbers of the opposing party in the public today just died.” And if the opposing party wins the 2020 election, 18 percent of Democrats and 13 percent of Republicans “feel violence would be justified.”

But that’s not the QotD. For that, we turn to another portion of the article:

I speak and write quite a bit about national polarization, and when I criss-cross the country, I often ask this question: “Are the people you know who are most obsessed with politics in general more or less angry — more or less gracious — than the rest of your friends?” [Emphasis mine — Prof. M.] Few people respond that their political friends are the most hopeful and tolerant members of their community.

I would suggest that French’s final line is an understatement. Of course, I would also suggest that this argument has been anticipated by Eric Hoffer and W.B. Yeats, but that’s pretty good company.

So ask French’s question. And then, consider where the answer leads.

About profmondo

Dad, husband, mostly free individual, medievalist, writer, and drummer. "Gladly wolde he lerne and gladly teche."
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