Short traditions

Technically Hillary Clinton has to be right in claiming an historic moment for her presidential nomination. It just doesn’t feel that great.

As so often in politics, Mrs Clinton’s best chance is the weakness of her opponents. Like his nationalist counterparts in Europe, or the Leave (EU) campaign in the UK, Trump has to take it on trust that nation states still can control their affairs and borders without making themselves poor. It’s not obvious that globalisation will allow that.

There is a hidden struggle going here. I agree with a certain Professor Furedi, speaking in 2014, that many in the West are now exceptionally hostile to their own past. At the same time, many of us are trying to cling to our past, because the future looks less than inviting. But from Darwin onward, science – which so often ends up as arbiter – has been telling us that even the longest established human traditions are but a fleeting moment.

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