Best columns: The U.S.
A nervous breakdown over Trump
Michelle Goldberg Slate.com
In blue states, liberals are streaming into therapists’ offices for treatment of a new kind of mental disorder, said Michelle Goldberg. With polls showing that a Donald Trump victory is within the realm of possibility, “a hallucinatory sense of slow-motion doom is descending” on everyone who finds him abhorrent. Shrinks tell me their patients are having Trump-inspired nightmares, insomnia, and digestive problems. They can’t fathom why anyone would support a narcissistic, erratic bully, and fear that Trump will divide the nation so badly we will descend into a civil war, or that he will launch a nuclear attack on another nation. Many have stopped watching TV and reading Trump stories because their feelings have become overwhelming. Therapists tell me that Trump particularly unnerves people of color, who fear his election would usher in a resurgence of open bigotry. Women, meanwhile, see in Trump the worst traits of domineering ex-boyfriends and fathers. For millions of people, this feels “less like an election than a national nervous breakdown.” The most curious aspect of this freak-out, therapists tell me, is that it’s not neurotic. “People with anxiety disorders tend to imagine that catastrophe is imminent—but in this case, they may not be wrong.”
Sweden’s immigration lesson
U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo The Wall Street Journal
To have a better understanding of America’s immigration debate, look at Sweden and Norway, said Tom Cotton and Mike Pompeo. The two Scandinavian countries “have adopted sharply different approaches to immigration, and have reaped sharply different outcomes.” Sweden threw open its doors to Syrian refugees and other migrants in 2013, and more than 280,000 have poured into the small country, the most migrants per capita of any European nation. Swedish society could not assimilate the influx of immigrants—most of whom are poor, young, male, and undereducated—and now must dedicate 7 percent of its total budget to services for them. Not surprisingly, angry voters have made an anti-immigrant party, the Sweden Democrats, the third-largest party in Parliament; amid great political turmoil, the government finally imposed strict border controls this summer. Norway, by contrast, accepted 8,000 migrants on humanitarian grounds but adopted strict immigration limits. Norwegians are largely content with this policy. “The parallels to the U.S. immigration debate are clear.” It’s not xenophobic to oppose largescale immigration, or to want “the priority of America’s immigration policy to be the economic and social interests of American citizens.”
Living in a changed climate
Tim Dickinson RollingStone.com
“Climate change is here,” said Tim Dickinson. Drought, fire, and floods of an intensity not seen before in our lifetimes are wreaking devastation throughout the U.S. Southern California was so hot and dry in August—with 122 degrees Fahrenheit recorded in Palm Springs—that wooded areas exploded like kindling under a blowtorch. One wildfire spawned fire tornadoes and a rapidly moving, 90-foot-high wall of flames that consumed 30,000 acres in a single day. In Louisiana, a bizarre superstorm dumped up to 30 inches of rain, inundating more than 60,000 homes. It was the second “one-in-1,000-year” rainfall event to hit the state this year. Climatologists say there’s no doubt that man-made greenhouse gases are making extreme weather events more commonplace. Why? A hotter atmosphere absorbs more water. In dry climates, that leaves soils and trees bone-dry. In wet regions like the coastal South, “the atmosphere can become supersaturated,” leading to biblical rainstorms. But the devastating weather events we’re experiencing are not “acts of God.” All of us have contributed to making this planet hotter. And the consequences are just beginning.