Tough subjects seem always to end up with Greek or Latin roots. Alienation, bulimia, catastrophe, depression … just go through the alphabet and you’ll find them.
In our fragile democracies, maybe we assign concepts like these, wrestled over by so many psychoanalysts, social and clinical psychologists, political scientists, sociologists, historians, writers for large daily newspapers — even some politicians — that they’ve become contorted and distorted to the point that they are merely suggestive, symbolic, abstracted from the particular.
Many of them become the product of people who differ mightily over the causes and effects of our barely civilized mistakes; for example, the election of Donald Trump to presidency.
Historians have generally proved to be more reliable than other more scientific specialists active in the battle to explain how we wound up electing a blowhard to the nation’s highest office. Here are two words they’ve used, righteously, to explain our mad indifference to failure: Xenophobia and isolationism. [Read more…]