The New Republic has been on a long downhill slide from its days when it presented a vigorous, thoughtful liberalism that made each issue must-reading for anyone who wanted to follow serious political argument. TNR was known as the “in-flight magazine of Air Force One” during Bill Clinton’s presidency, for example. But I doubt if even Arianna Huffington would want to display it on her private jet these days.
Exhibit 1 is this article by Sarah Jones: Trump Has Turned the GOP Into the Party of Eugenics. Sample:
Of course, none of the people in Trump’s inner circle would describe themselves as eugenicists. They would call themselves capitalists, patriots, and Christians. And yet the Trump administration’s overt obsession with white supremacy—which the 2016 election showed to be the ugly beating heart of the conservative movement—has imbued the platform of the Republican Party with a lurid tinge, changing our understanding of its disdain not only for minorities, but for the weak, the poor, and the disabled. The GOP may loathe the term—indeed conservatives often accuse liberal abortion supporters of being the real eugenicists—but the party’s agenda in many ways channels the spirit of eugenics, even if it does not accept the theory in a literal sense.
It is correct that eugenics was widely popular in the pre-war years across the political spectrum, but it was much more integral and compatible with progressive liberalism, as is powerfully argued by Thomas C. Leonard in Illiberal Reformers: Race, Eugenics, and American Economics in the Progressive Era. (You can find my review of Leonard’s fine book here.)
But wait—there’s more! Exhibit 2:
By Steven Beutler
. . . Physicians like me have also taken notice of Trump’s bizarre, volatile behavior. Given our experience, we can’t help but wonder if there’s a medical diagnosis to be made. After all, many medical conditions exhibit their first symptoms in the form of psychiatric issues and personality changes. One condition in particular is notable for doing so: Neurosyphilis. . .
Given the limited information available, neurosyphilis belongs in the differential diagnosis. We know Trump was potentially exposed to syphilis based on his own statements that he was sexually promiscuous in the 1980s, a period when syphilis cases were rapidly increasing in the U.S.
The one thing that certifiably syphilitic these days is liberalism. Maybe The New Republic should get a blood test.