On irrational exuberance

For the Globe and Mail, I wrote about the virtues of low enthusiasm when it comes to political candidates:

If this election has taught us anything, it is that enthusiasm for a political figure can be dangerous. It is a pathway to demagoguery, and the absence of enthusiasm is often a sign that the democratic process is working – provided sensible caution does not transform into knee-jerk distrust and other forms of nihilism and zealotry. As citizens, we are not meant to be cheerleaders for presidents; they are meant to serve us. Blind loyalty, in the end, is merely blindness.

Americans entered the 21st century with Alan Greenspan’s warning of “irrational exuberance” on their minds, a term referring to the stock-market bubble but which is broadly applicable as a cautionary tale. Things Americans have been irrationally exuberant about include the Iraq War and the candidacy of Barack Obama – the former a foreign-policy disaster; the latter a president at times denigrated for not meeting obscenely high expectations. Mr. Trump, too, is buoyed by irrational exuberance, as are populist authoritarians around the world.

Read the whole thing here 

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