The Corner

An Honorary Montanan

I’ve been telling you about some ugly things here at the Salzburg Festival — let me tell you something good. Met a cabbie the other day — native Salzburger, I believe. An aficionado of America. And a horse lover — he showed me pictures of a stallion he owns. He has traveled the length and breadth of the U.S. (Many Austrians have, I’ve discovered over the years.) He has a special fondness — a special love, really — for Montana. His dream is to retire there to a ranch. He says that Montana is even better for horses than Kentucky. He lost one wife, and his current wife is in the hospital. He has apparently had a hard go. He has daughters, who tell him not to give up on his dream — to have that ranch in Montana. Gosh, I hope he gets it (and I know you do, too).

And we are reminded of a lesson: When European elites (or American elites) are at their most exasperating, talk to ordinary people. Now, I am no apologist for ordinary people — I know too much about the 1930s, among other eras, for that. Trust me, my eyes are wide open, and there is barely a trace of populism in me. But still . . . you know what I mean.

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