In October 2010, American liberals held their largest demonstration in Washington DC since the great crash of 2008. They did not raise their angry voices to denounce fantastic corporate greed and fraud. They were not furious that speculators had destroyed the hopes of millions of Americans. Instead, they staged the world’s first protest against anger – a rage against rage.
Its organisers, comedians Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, exhorted their followers at the “Rally to Restore Sanity” to wear “I’m With Reasonable” T-shirts – ironically, of course – and set aside political differences in the interests of getting on with their neighbours. Despite the subsequent Occupy Wall Street movement, the pattern Stewart and Colbert set has held. Genteel liberals have allowed American conservatives to all but monopolise political fury since the banks went down. Considering what conservatives allowed financial markets to do, the fact that the right could be furious with anyone but itself is an astonishing story and one that Thomas Frank was born to cover.
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