The events at the US Capitol were so appalling and the details that continue to come out so unnerving that I find it almost impossible to comment intelligently about them. Lying in bed last night at 2 AM tossing and turning, I distracted myself by explaining to an imaginary group of students the origin of the phrase "it is a feature, not a bug." I gave as an illustrative example the Trump administration's deliberate policy of separating little children from their parents at the border, explaining that the pain-and-suffering this action caused was not an unfortunate side effect of the policy but was in fact intended as a disincentive to migrants – it was thus a feature of the policy, not a bug. Having explained the phrase, I went on to use it in order to explain the large and growing inequality of income and wealth that characterizes capitalist economies. The unequal accumulation of wealth is the central point of capitalism, it is its reason for being, it is thus a feature of capitalism, not a bug.
All of this is obvious and old hat – or perhaps weak tea - but it was comforting to give a little lecture in my head as a way of enabling me to drift off to sleep, rather like telling old familiar fairytales to a restless child.