The Corner

Living at 100 (Exhausting)

In the distant past, there was a movie called “The Perils of Pauline.” When I was in college (also the distant past?), there was a movie called “Pauline à la plage.” We all went to see it because — you know … (Oh là là.)

My Impromptus column today is headed “The perils of 100 percentism.” This phenomenon, 100 percentism, is related to tribalism. Also to “My country right or wrong.” And to “totalism,” as WFB would say.

He despised totalism, in part because it was antithetical to conservatism, which is anti-extremist and even anti-ideological.

Can you ever give an inch to the other side? Or is that unbearable? I have had my phases of 100 percentism in politics. It can be an exhausting way to live. It can also lead you down some twisty, screwy paths.

Anyway, here is that column.

P.S. Once, Bernard Lewis was criticizing the American tendency to self-flagellation. He said, “The slogan ‘My country right or wrong’ has become ‘My country, wrong.’”

P.P.S. Challenged on Putin’s political killings, our president said, “What, you think our country’s so innocent?” The PoliSci department at Bennington must have grinned. Looking up, Howard Zinn must have grinned, too.

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