Capital and the capitol: Daily Bullshit, June 21, 2016

So today I noticed that the Wall Street Journal‘s Washington, D.C., newsletter is entitled “Capital Journal.” Yes, with an “a” rather than an “o.” According to the dictionary, this is actually a correct usage for a city as a seat of governance rather than a building where legislative activities occur. But the “o” version also refers to the federal government and is considered synonymous with Washington, and the “a” version also means financial ownership. This distinction doesn’t help.


Homeless college students

Even graduate students are among the homeless in California State Universities. It’s difficult to describe the horror these students must be going through but one student “said her studies were often on the ‘back burner’ because ‘you can’t really concentrate on school and put in any effort when you’re trying to look for where to stay and how you’re going to make ends meet.’”[1]

Rosanna Xia, “1 in 10 Cal State students is homeless, study finds,” Los Angeles Times, June 20, 2016, http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-cal-state-homelessness-20160620-snap-story.html


Brexit

I was expecting to find substantiation of my belief that the “Leave” argument was largely an authoritarian populist phenomenon in Geoffrey Wheatcroft’s article. He certainly recognizes elements of what I call authoritarian populism, but his focus is on an image of Britain as a great imperial power, indeed “the greatest seaborne empire ever known, engaged from the start, in pillage, piracy and slavery dressed up in patriotic colours,” which Brexiteers and their predecessors imagine they can restore.[2]

That said, a widespread distrust of so-called “experts”—urban intellectual authority[3]—seems like it could come straight out of Thomas Frank’s What’s the Matter with Kansas?[4] And the “experts” Griff Witte points to as having less-than-stellar records, including on the Iraq War and the financial crisis, that seem to validate this suspicion[5] could be neoconservative and neoliberal. But Witte writes that

If Britain does vote to go, it will be the culmination of a shift underway for more than a decade as the country has lost faith in those who are supposed to have the answers. The Iraq War, the global financial crisis and scandals large and small involving the high and mighty of British society have all contributed.[6]

That implicates an elite—functionalist conservative—failure in general. Somewhere, Christopher Hayes[7] might well be muttering to himself that he told us so.

Michael Geary and Kevin Lees, however, argue that the British relationship with a uniting Europe has been fraught (and by implication, ill-advised) from the beginning.[8]

Michael J. Geary and Kevin A. Lees, “Brexit and the Long, Slow EU-UK Divorce,” National Interest, June 21, 2016, http://nationalinterest.org/feature/brexit-the-long-slow-eu-uk-divorce-16664

Geoffrey Wheatcroft, “Europhobia: a very British problem,” Guardian, June 21, 2016, http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/jun/21/brexit-euroscepticism-history

Griff Witte, “9 out of 10 experts agree: Britain doesn’t trust the experts on Brexit,” Washington Post, June 21, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/9-out-of-10-experts-agree-britain-doesnt-trust-the-experts-on-brexit/2016/06/21/2ccc134a-34a6-11e6-ab9d-1da2b0f24f93_story.html


Unemployment

Jason Furman, “The Truth About American Unemployment,” Foreign Affairs, July/August, 2016, https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/united-states/2016-06-13/truth-about-american-unemployment


Donald Trump

Michael Gerson, “A delegate revolt has become Republicans’ only option,” Washington Post, June 20, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/a-delegate-revolt-has-become-republicans-only-option/2016/06/20/2a5999ec-3713-11e6-8f7c-d4c723a2becb_story.html


  1. [1]Rosanna Xia, “1 in 10 Cal State students is homeless, study finds,” Los Angeles Times, June 20, 2016, http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-cal-state-homelessness-20160620-snap-story.html
  2. [2]Geoffrey Wheatcroft, “Europhobia: a very British problem,” Guardian, June 21, 2016, http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/jun/21/brexit-euroscepticism-history
  3. [3]Griff Witte, “9 out of 10 experts agree: Britain doesn’t trust the experts on Brexit,” Washington Post, June 21, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/9-out-of-10-experts-agree-britain-doesnt-trust-the-experts-on-brexit/2016/06/21/2ccc134a-34a6-11e6-ab9d-1da2b0f24f93_story.html
  4. [4]Thomas Frank, What’s the Matter with Kansas? (New York: Henry Holt, 2005).
  5. [5]Griff Witte, “9 out of 10 experts agree: Britain doesn’t trust the experts on Brexit,” Washington Post, June 21, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/9-out-of-10-experts-agree-britain-doesnt-trust-the-experts-on-brexit/2016/06/21/2ccc134a-34a6-11e6-ab9d-1da2b0f24f93_story.html
  6. [6]Griff Witte, “9 out of 10 experts agree: Britain doesn’t trust the experts on Brexit,” Washington Post, June 21, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/9-out-of-10-experts-agree-britain-doesnt-trust-the-experts-on-brexit/2016/06/21/2ccc134a-34a6-11e6-ab9d-1da2b0f24f93_story.html
  7. [7]Christopher Hayes, Twilight of the Elites: America After Meritocracy (New York: Crown, 2012).
  8. [8]Michael J. Geary and Kevin A. Lees, “Brexit and the Long, Slow EU-UK Divorce,” National Interest, June 21, 2016, http://nationalinterest.org/feature/brexit-the-long-slow-eu-uk-divorce-16664

One thought on “Capital and the capitol: Daily Bullshit, June 21, 2016

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.