End the duopoly

Hopeful Altruism Is No Substitute for Radical Politics

Rutger Bregman gives a TED talk, April 25, 2017. Steve Jurvetson / Wikimedia Rutger Bregman is one of the most prolific intellectuals of our age. His books are on display at airports from Frankfurt to Shanghai. In December 2018, Australian media magnate Rupert Murdoch was photographed at a Caribbean beach with Bregman’s Utopia for Realists in his hands. Trevor Noah knows “Rutger” by name. Two Davoses ago, we saw Bregman in a panel at the Swiss forum talking on the subject of taxation. “Taxes!” he proclaimed, “that’s what we need to talk about! I feel like a firefighter at a conference on fire extinguishing techniques who is not allowed to pronounce the word ‘water.’ Taxes, we need to talk about taxes!”

Bregman’s statement ended up on Twitter, views skyrocketed and suddenly the Dutch thought leader found himself trolling conservatives on Fox News, so angering Tucker Carlson that the latter refused to air an interview with him (it was packed with expletives). “The Dutch historian who savaged the Davos elite,” the Guardian ’s headline ran a couple of days later.

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Bregman indeed has a penchant for political grenade-throwing. Starting with his 2017 Utopia for Realists — preceded by a flurry of publications […]

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