The Book Banners on the Left
Plus: How to Understand Germany’s Policy Toward Ukraine
Recently in The Bulwark:
CHARLIE SYKES: A Flood of BS
TIM MILLER: Trump Is Still the King
You can support The Bulwark by subscribing to Bulwark+ or just by sharing this newsletter with someone you think would value it.
CATHY YOUNG: The Book Banners on the Left.
WHETHER THERE EXISTS in American culture a left-wing illiberalism that threatens freedom of thought and expression under the cover of social justice has been a subject of heated debate in the past decade. At a time when right-wing authoritarian populism is on the rise, many people have viewed warnings about illiberal progressivism as a distraction. Liberal and centrist critiques of leftist intolerance, from the Harper’s magazine “Letter on Justice and Open Debate” in the summer of 2020 to prize-winning historian Anne Applebaum’s Atlantic essay on “the new Puritans” the following year, have been met with purported debunkings and derided as moral panic or whining from people who don’t like to be criticized.
Now, a major liberal institution that has championed freedom of expression for over a century—PEN America, formerly PEN American Center and part of PEN International, the writers’ association whose notable figures have included John Steinbeck, Arthur Miller, James Baldwin, Philip Roth, Toni Morrison, and Margaret Atwood—has issued a lengthy report that strongly comes down on the side of taking illiberal progressivism seriously.
🎥 PODCASTS AND VIDEOS 🎧
Bulwark+ members can listen to an ad-free version of these podcasts on the player of their choice. Learn more at Bulwark+ Podcast FAQ.
H. DAVID BAER: How to Understand Germany’s Policy Toward Ukraine.
“ONE HAS TO KNOW THE WHOLE of Germany, a single piece is dangerous. It is the tale of a tree whose leaves and fruit cancel each other out.” These words of advice come from the poet Heinrich Heine, a satirist who exposed and mocked his country’s many defects. And although Heine lived in the first half of the nineteenth century, before Germany was a unified state, his observation about the contradictions in the German character still has a ring of truth. One need only think of a few stereotypes. The Germans have great respect for order and rules but they refuse to set a speed limit on their freeways. They are reserved and unemotional but enjoy sentimental music with sappy lyrics. They’ve produced some of the wittiest writers and aphorists in world literature but lack a sense of humor.
BRENT ORRELL AND DAVID VELDRAN: Here’s a Kind of Job-Training Program That Works.
JOB-TRAINING AND WORKFORCE-DEVELOPMENT programs have long been plagued by weak wage and job-persistence outcomes. Since the United States spends markedly less on these types of programs than do other developed nations, it’s reasonable to ask whether the weak outcomes are a function of the programs or the funding. Likely, it is a combination of both.
The good news is there are promising alternative approaches to job training that may make a significant difference in employment outcomes.
🚨 OVERTIME 🚨
Happy Monday! I’m back from St. Louis, where we bid goodbye to my much loved father-in-law. It comes in waves, as all losses do. As a former journalist, it was neat to see some of his old press passes—including one from the first Shuttle mission. Going through some old texts, I found this in response to my covering for Joe Perticone in April: “This looks evenhanded and precise -- just what an old news guy wants to read.” Made me sad all over again.
Thanks to all who expressed their condolences, offered meals, etc. And thanks to reader Lynn S., who is local to Saint Louis, for coming to the visitation on behalf of Bulwark readers. It all means a lot. Thank you.
The Rule of Law Still Matters… Our friends over at the Republican Accountability Project are running this ad in Phoenix, Milwaukee, and Atlanta. Please share.
In local news… The ATVs and related crimes are getting out of control.
That former guy… Is not happy about his trial date.
“My wife will tell you sometimes that I forget to take out the trash….” Indeed, Mark Meadows. Indeed. Meadows testified on moving his case to Federal Court today.
The Real Story Behind… Ron DeSantis’ Newest Fired Prosecutor.
Tim Scott gets testy! A NH voter calls him out on standing up to Trump.
The U.S. is pumping oil faster than ever… Republicans don’t care.
Pope says ‘backward’ U.S. conservatives… have replaced faith with ideology.
The LLWS Walkoff… What. A. Game.
The Real Slim Shady… Would like Vivek to stop imitating.
The International House of… Biscuits?
Joe the Plumber (1974-2023)… A fixture of the 2008 election has died, a preview in many ways, of things to come.
Tech support questions? Email email@example.com. Questions for me? Respond to this message.
Editorial photos provided by Getty Images. For full credits, please consult the article.