What really divides America

Reading the mainstream media, one would be forgiven for believing that the upcoming midterms are part of a Manichaean struggle for the soul of democracy, pitting righteous progressives against the authoritarian “ultra-MAGA” hordes. The truth is nothing of the sort. …

How far-Right are you?

A common form of classroom cruelty when I was at school involved a game we called “Contagion”. The instigator would touch the person next to them, having chosen a low-status scapegoat — usually “Holly”, who wore thick glasses and was …

The self-help guru who conquered Brazil

Brazil has grown increasingly distant from its foreign clichés, those of samba and bossa nova, sensuous coastal cities, Catholicism, cordiality, and collectivism. The Brazil that has incubated Bolsonarism is a more individualistic one, in which evangelical Christianity, popular entrepreneurialism and …

The end of the culture of narcissism

How did political conversation, especially online, become so crazy? Blame fossil fuels.

When Christopher Lasch wrote The Culture of Narcissism in 1979, well into the post-war wealth boom that turbocharged the industrial era, he argued that narcissistic tendencies develop partially …