""An old lesson taught at business schools about two ice cream sellers on a beach is useful. If a beach is four hundred yards long, it would make sense for the two sellers to position themselves a hundred yards from the middle and a hundred yards from either end. No one would be more than a hundred yards from an ice cream.
However, in the end each seller inches towards the middle. Those to the outside of him can be taken for granted. Those in the middle are there to be fought for. And so the two ice cream sellers end up side by side in the middle of the beach. The very same thing happens with mainstream political parties in two party systems.
But taken for granted in the analogy is that is a nice sunny day, and that everybody wants an ice cream.
The beach that Jeremy Corbyn must now inch his way across is more like Normandy on D-Day. Brexiteer has his machine guns turned on Remainer (or the other way round, if you prefer). Young is at war with old. A housing crisis splits the country into owners and renters. One generation has been greatly enriched by obscene property price inflation, while the same thing has smashed to smithereens the hopes and dreams of another.
When West raps, “And I basically know now, we get racially profiled / Cuffed up and hosed down, pimped up and ho’d down,” the we is instructive.
What Kanye West seeks is what Michael Jackson sought—liberation from the dictates of that we. In his visit with West, the rapper T.I. was stunned to find that West, despite his endorsement of Trump, had never heard of the travel ban. “He don’t know the things that we know because he’s removed himself from society to a point where it don’t reach him,” T.I. said. West calls his struggle the right to be a “free thinker,” and he is, indeed, championing a kind of freedom—a white freedom, freedom without consequence, freedom without criticism, freedom to be proud and ignorant; freedom to profit off a people in one moment and abandon them in the next; a Stand Your Ground freedom, freedom without responsibility, without hard memory; a Monticello without slavery, a Confederate freedom, the freedom of John C. Calhoun, not the freedom of Harriet Tubman, which calls you to risk your own; not the freedom of Nat Turner, which calls you to give even more, but a conqueror’s freedom, freedom of the strong built on antipathy or indifference to the weak, the freedom of rape buttons, pussy grabbers, and fuck you anyway, bitch; freedom of oil and invisible wars, the freedom of suburbs drawn with red lines, the white freedom of Calabasas.
“”Bolton’s language is instructive. He has called the attacks he proposes “preemptive.” That’s incorrect: Under international law, preemption is an attack on an adversary that is about to strike you, the geopolitical equivalent of shooting someone who has already drawn his gun. The strikes Bolton urged against Iran—and before that against Iraq, and, recently, against North Korea—are “preventive.” They’re based on the fear that those regimes might one day attack the United States or its allies. But the dishonesty is useful: It makes the wars Bolton proposes sound like self-defense.
If Bolton has misused the word “preemptive” to make military conflict seem more necessary, he has avoided the word “war” so as to make military conflict seem less frightening.