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A path out of polarisation?

By August, 2022March 17th, 20242 min read

This excellent, and very long interview by Bari Weiss of former US Attorney General Bill Barr is a great example of how someone can take a nuanced view of Donald Trump, and articulate a path out of the deeply polarised situation in the US.

If you don’t want to read the whole thing (and even if you do), here are the highlights for me:

  • On Trump: had some policies that were very good for the country, but particularly towards the end, refused to listen to advisors, and is now seeking to sabotage other prospective GOP candidates. This is a departure from so many others who either love/hate everything Trump.
  • The real threat to democracy is “when the majority uses democracy to oppress the minority. When someone takes a transient 51% majority and tries to ram things down the throat of the other 49%, and now we’re finding ourselves sort of oscillating between those two worlds.” This is the current state of politics in the US.
  • The only way out is for one party to “win an election with a decisive majority that allows you to put a program into effect and fix some of these problems going forward”. He thinks the only party who can do that is the GOP, as the Democrats keep shifting further to the left.
  • Interesting discussion on incarceration, and one worth a far deeper study. I didn’t think some of his stats stack up (this area is one ripe for crafting any narrative you want by picking the right stats), but he’s certainly correct in saying you can’t just let people out and focus on root causes. Both approaches need to run in parallel as addressing root causes of crime can take a generation. Again, a nuanced approach to a very complex problem.

After all that, read or listen to the interview anyway. At the end of the day, Barr comes across as highly principled, and someone in touch with the coal face of the justice system (for better or worse).

This was also posted at [Substack].

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