Our current state of affairs explains what I find so valuable about Anne Applebaum’s article in the current issue of The Atlantic. Titled “A Warning from Europe: The Worst Is Yet to Come,” the piece is primarily concerned with Poland and Eastern Europe. The reason why the article is so effective for Americans, in my view, is precisely that it is not about the United States. The historical and political developments in Poland that Applebaum reports look very similar to developments taking place here: the elevation of loyalty over ability, the growth of an anti-immigrant xenophobia, and a narrowing definition of citizenship and patriotism. But the fact that most Americans are uninterested and uninformed about, say, the 2010 plane crash that killed Polish president Lech Kaczyński means that her treatment does not immediately trigger some kind of “for or against” reaction.
[more after the jump]Read More