Editor's Note: Our least structured thoughts are published regularly as "Notes." These include germs of arguments, random musings, and updates on what we are reading and writing. If you like this post, consider becoming a member to support our work.
It's odd. I remember during the spring and summer when I would hear American (mostly but not exclusively) liberals longing for us to be more like Europe and lamenting that we weren't—and perhaps couldn't be, because of who we we are. We were exceptional but in reverse. Months later, many Americans are relieved that they are exactly where they are, considering the European Union's disastrous vaccine rollout and the resort to the blunt instruments of mandatory curfews and lockdowns. When one thinks of European officials, one is tempted to imagine them as educated, intelligent, and competent. Competence, however, doesn't necessarily lead to competence.
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