Harper’s Notes

The Harper Review’s weekly newsletter: merry Christmas from the editors!

The editors

December 26, 2023

On the naughty list: This week, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled 4–3 that former president Donald Trump is ineligible to run as a candidate in the state’s Republican Party primary, citing a clause in the Fourteenth Amendment that bars anyone who has “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” from public office. In a pair of opinion articles, first for Compact and then for The New York Times, Yale historian and law professor Samuel Moyn argues that the Supreme Court has a responsibility to swiftly and unanimously overturn the court’s ruling. Moyn condemns liberals and so-called “Never Trump” Republicans “longing for a magical ending” to Trump’s political career and writes that pundits who advocate for “lawfare” against Trump jeopardize “the very democracy such forces purport to want to save.”

Winter (style) forecast: Despite the prediction that men and women would embrace the elegance of suits and ties after the sweatpants and bizarro sunglasses of the pandemic era, formality hasn’t quite made its comeback yet. Instead, fashionable men like the actors Jacob Elordi and Jeremy Strong are embracing an amalgamation of the two. For example, Jerry Lorenzo, designer of Fear of God, ditched the lapels on his double-breasted jackets, added drawstring waists to his pants, and finished the look with a heavy, luxurious fur coat at the streetwear label’s Hollywood Bowl extravaganza. We at The Harper Review can only hope that the style maxims of The Official Preppy Handbook will make a return in 2024.

Come and trim my Christmas tree: The saucy lyrics of Eartha Kitt’s “Santa Baby” have come to life, at least in their literal sense, with an exhibition that is currently on display at Chicago’s Richard H. Driehaus Museum, Glass to Garden: Tiffany Inspired Floral Designs. Through January 7 of the new year, visit the museum for a curation of works by Louis Comfort Tiffany, famed designer of the Gilded Age, among floral installations commissioned from local floral designers. Nestled among the organic shapes and brilliant colors that inspired Tiffany’s iconic glasswork and housed in the Nickerson Mansion, whose Aesthetic Movement architecture is contemporary to Tiffany and his studio, the exhibition promises a novel way of seeing the perennially beautiful lamps, windows, and ornaments.

How the Malthusians stole progress: A strain of liberal thought has taken hold in the past few years that is more concerned with general flourishing and abundance than with the precise way that wealth is distributed. Treasury Secretary and former chair of the Federal Reserve Janet Yellen recently pointed to this trend when she referred to President Joe Biden’s economic policy as “modern supply-side economics” in an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal. In his politics and public policy blog, Slow Boring, writer Matthew Yglesias provides a theoretical framework for this change in thinking, which he points out is more in line with Reaganomics than the modern left. Rather than being constrained by a Malthusian model, in which there is a set amount of resources to be divided, scarcity in modern, developed nations is largely artificial. Economics is no longer a zero sum game. Yglesias concludes that “we need to rid ourselves of Malthusian intuitions” if we want to make better policy