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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

In politics, it’s tempting to turn matters of temperament into matters of principle. Having disliked the hippie-dippy mellow aggression of the 1960s, my first instinct was to dismiss the Occupy Wall Street movement as feckless left-wing tribalism — as unlikely to survive the winter’s first strong cold front as the black flies pestering my cows.

Conservative by nature, I dislike big cities, and tend to avoid crowds. Even in my 20s, I’d no more have joined the drug-addled migration to Woodstock than volunteered for sex-change surgery. We spent that week in Dublin, visiting Jonathan Swift’s tomb — the 18th-century Irish satirist who took a dim view of human nature.