Sixteen years ago I published a little book the principal purpose of which was to call into question the standard popular and academic myth of American Exceptionalism. I spoke about the origin of the European settlements in North America Not as a city upon a hill but rather inas what had come to be called in some circles a White Settler State. I freely confess that when I wrote the book, it simply never occurred to me that I would see an armed insurrection against the United States government fostered and encouraged by the President of the United States.
As more of the seemingly endless stream of videos make their way onto cable news, it is becoming clear how close we came to a genuine disaster encompassing the capture and execution quite possibly of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Mike Pence.
This does not strike me as the time for elegant ironic commentary, but at the age of 87 in the midst of a pandemic I am not really sure what contribution I can make. Perhaps I should reproduce here the passage I quoted 3 ½ years ago from Kierkegaard’s Philosophical Fragments:
“When Philip threatened to lay siege to the city of Corinth and all its inhabitants hastily bestirred themselves in defense, some polishing weapons, some gathering stones, some repairing the walls, Diogenes seeing all this hurriedly folded his mantle about him and began to roll his tub zealously back and forth through the streets. When he was asked why he did this he replied that he wished to be busy like all the rest, and rolled his tub lest he should be the only idler among so many industrious citizens.”