When There Is No Normal

From left: Activist Tom Steyer, Senator Elizabeth Warren, former vice president Joe Biden, Senator Bernie Sanders, South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg, and Senator Amy Klobuchar on stage for the Democratic primary debate at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, January 14, 2020. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)
History lesson: Radicals eventually will need the norms and safeguards they’ve gleefully destroyed.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE O ne of the ancient and modern critiques of democracy is that radicals destroy norms for short-term political gain, norms that they themselves often later seek as refuge.

Schadenfreude, irony, paradox, and karma are various descriptions of what happens to revolutionaries, and unfortunately the innocent, who suffer their collateral damage when radicals of any stripe use any means necessary to achieve supposedly exalted ends.

Three of the most moving — and terrifying — passages in Greek literature involve such ironic payback. In the third book of Thucydides’ history, the historian relates a murderous civil war (stasis) between oligarchs and democrats on the island


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