I kind of got carried away, and lost sight of the fact that I failed to send out the 8 October edition. This is part 2, and this series will continue each day until the final chapter from the Atlantic is completed. I found a different quote at the bottom, just for today, that I hope you don't miss. This morning's news is all about the GOP strategy for the mid-term is that they claim to being mugged and mauled by the "mob rule" exhibited by their opponents. Poor old white guys - they own all the branches of government, and are upset by an opponent that uses the only weapon it has. The Dems should rally and not sit silent like a doofus and take all of that energy of "mob reaction" straight to the polling booths. Here is the second part of many chapters to come:
I am including the link, just in case it may work for you: https://data-cdn.theatlantic.com/digital-library/TheAtlantic20181001_compressed.pdf
I CONTINUE, HERE'S A PARENTHESIS, and a reminder: All of this has happened before. Profound political shifts— events that suddenly split families and friends, cut across social classes, and dramatically rearrange alliances—do not happen every day in Europe, but neither are they unknown. Not nearly enough attention has been paid in recent years to a late-19th-century French controversy that pre gured many of the debates of the 20th century, and has some clear echoes in the present. The Dreyfus a air was triggered in 1894, when a traitor was discovered in the French army: Somebody had been passing information to Germany, which had defeated France a quarter century earlier and occupied AlsaceLorraine. French military intelligence investigated and claimed that it had found the culprit. Captain Alfred Dreyfus was an Alsatian, spoke with a German accent, and was a Jew—and therefore, in the eyes of some, not a real Frenchman. As it would turn out, he was also innocent. But French army investigators created fake evidence and gave false testimony; as a result, Dreyfus was court-martialed, found guilty, and sent into solitary con nement on Devil's Island, o the coast of French Guiana. The ensuing controversy divided French society along now-familiar lines. Those who maintained Dreyfus's guilt were the alt-right—or the Law and Justice Party, or the Nation al Front—of their time. They pushed a conspiracy theory. They were backed up by screaming headlines in France's right-wing yellow press, the 19th-century version of a far-right trolling operation. Their leaders lied to uphold the honor of the army; adherents clung to their belief in Dreyfus's guilt—and their absolute loyalty to the nation—even when this fakery was revealed.
Dreyfus was not a spy. To prove the unprovable, the anti-Dreyfusards had to disparage evidence, law, and even ration al thought. Science itself was suspect, both because it was modern and universal and because it came into conflict with the emotional cult of ancestry and place. "In every scientific work," wrote one anti-Dreyfusard, there is something "precarious" and "contingent." The Dreyfusards, meanwhile, argued that some principles are higher than national honor, and that it mattered whether Dreyfus was guilty or not. Above all, they argued, the French state had an obligation to treat all citizens equally, whatever their religon. They too were patriots, but of a di fferent sort. They conceived of the nation not as an ethnic clan but as the embodiment of a set of ideals: justice, honesty, the neutrality of the courts. This was a more cerebral vision, more abstract and harder to grasp, but not without an appeal of its own. Those two visions of the nation split France right down the middle. Tempers flared. Quarrels broke out in the dining rooms of Paris. Family members stopped speaking to one another, sometimes for more than a generation. The divide continued to be felt in 20th-century politics, in the diff erent ideologies of Vichy France and the resistance. It persists today, in the struggle between Marine Le Pen's "France for the French" nationalism and Emmanuel Macron's broader vision of a France that stands for a set of abstract values: justice, honesty, and the neutrality of courts, as well as globalization and integration. From my point of view, the Dreyfus affair is most interesting because it was sparked by a single cause célèbre. Just one court case—one disputed trial—plunged an entire country into an angry debate, creating unresolvable divisions between people who had previously not known that they disagreed with one another. But this shows that vastly diff erent understandings of what is meant by "France" were already there, waiting to be discovered. Two decades ago, di fferent understandings of "Poland" must already have been present too, just waiting to be exacerbated by chance, circumstance, and personal ambition. Perhaps this is unsurprising. All of these debates, whether in 1890s France or 1990s Poland, have at their core a series of important questions: Who gets to dene a nation? And who, therefore, gets to rule a nation? For a long time, we have imagined that these questions were settled—but why should they ever be?
(tomorrow's column on the "Monarchy" was too long to include in this chapter, so stay with it. It gets better)