Oliver Wiseman, CapX

Oliver Wiseman


Washington, DC, United States

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  • CapX
  • HumanProgress.org

Past articles by Oliver:

An all too parochial pandemic story

Michael Lewis’s protagonists see things that other people miss. In The Big Short, it was the small group of investors who anticipated the financial crisis. In Moneyball, it was a coach at the Oakland Athletics who harnessed the power of statistics to upend the conventional wisdom of baseball scouting. In The Undoing Project, it was […] → Read More

Undoing Trump's policies won't solve Biden's border headache

If the polls are to be believed, Joe Biden is enjoying something of a honeymoon period. By the standards of modern America’s hyperpartisan politics, his approval rating is reasonably robust, his big-spending economic agenda is fairly popular and his Covid response has won widespread support. But there is an exception to this rosy picture, and […] → Read More

With his new job, Prince Harry is fully signed up to the misinformation delusion

When the Duke and Duchess of Sussex broke with the Royal Family, they promised that their “life of public service” would continue. Already, Prince Harry has found a useful role: as a leading indicator of which ideas, trends and fads have become nothing more than the shallow fixations of bien pensant jet-setters. A day after […] → Read More

The baby boomers promised freedom but left chaos

American millennials might disagree about what is wrong with their country, but they all know who to blame: the baby boomers. Through sheer force of numbers, the cohort born between 1945 and 1964 have been the most important voters and consumers for almost half a century. They have set the economic, cultural and political running, … → Read More

Is there any room for compromise in post-Trump Washington?

There was a lot to like about the results of last month’s US elections. From a suboptimal menu, the US electorate opted for the best available option: a clear rejection of Donald Trump and an equally unambiguous refutation of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party. Other CapX contributors and readers will surely disagree, but … → Read More

Reports of the death of the Republican Party have been greatly exaggerated

Many obituaries of the Republican Party have been written in the last four years. According to a typical example, a New York Times editorial written two weeks ago titled “RIP GOP”, the party’s ideology “has been reduced to a slurry of paranoia, white grievance and authoritarian populism. Its governing vision is reactionary, a cross between … → Read More

Nothing would be better for the illiberal left than a Trump win

“The only middle finger available”. That is how National Review editor Rich Lowry preemptively explains a hypothetical shock Donald Trump win next week. “After months and months of statues toppling and riots in American cities and a crime wave and woke virtue-signalling from professional sports leagues and absurd firings and cancellations, the year would end … → Read More

The literature of Donald Trump is more righteous than right

Donald Trump’s presidency may not have been good for the health of the Republic, but it has been a boon to its publishing houses. Over the last four years, America’s bookshops and bestseller lists have been stuffed full of works about the 45th President of the United States. From explosive accounts of White House dysfunction … → Read More

Forget getting back to normal - let's make the most of pre-vaccine purgatory

Watching the UK reopening over the summer, it sometimes felt like the Government’s approach was determined by the dictum that “everything not forbidden is compulsory” (or at least subsidised). One minute, Brits were banned from eating in restaurants or going to the office. The next they were given taxpayer-funded meals out and told “go back … → Read More

How Donald Trump went from YIMBY to NIMBY

Two of the more surprising speakers at the Republican National Convention this week were Mark and Patricia McCloskey. You may have seen their photograph online: the preppily-dressed white couple who pointed a pistol and an assault rifle at a crowd of protesters outside their house in St Louis, Missouri, in June. The moment soon became … → Read More

On trade, Trumpism will outlast Donald Trump

Even in a city of ideological chameleons, Joe Biden’s ability to blend in stands out. The Democratic presidential candidate has spent half a century shifting his views to match the mood of the moment. Tough on crime in the 1990s, he has taken up the mantle of police reform a quarter of a century later. … → Read More

The 'degrowth' crowd have produced a slam dunk of wrongness

As Twitter users will know, it is never long after logging on that you come across someone who is wrong on the internet. And yet, for all the obvious wrongness out there, it is harder than you might think to find something that is completely wrong about absolutely everything. However, the authors of The Tragedy … → Read More

Big numbers and little platoons: Washington takes on the virus

Washington, DC, is grinding to a halt. Last week, it was possible to leave your home, see restaurants with customers and streets only slightly emptier than usual, and convince yourself that life as we know it was not about to be put on hold. Not any more. The list of legitimate reasons to go out … → Read More

It's not always just the economy, stupid

American public life is not short on warnings of existential threats. Barely a day goes by without the country being told that Trump is dismantling vital institutions, or that Democrats threaten cherished freedoms or that billionaires are robbing the rest of us of the livelihoods we deserve. In this feverish climate, telling a relatively banal … → Read More

He's no Trump, but Boris may be Britain's Shinzo Abe

A lot changed in British politics on December 12. One thing that didn’t was the tendency to draw misleading comparisons between Boris Johnson and foreign leaders. The most common, and arguably the silliest, is the idea that Johnson is “the British Trump” — a claim made by the President himself and peddled by Jeremy Corbyn … → Read More

Trumponomics is all diagnosis and no prescription

Donald Trump won the American presidency with a dark diagnosis of the country’s problems. In his inaugural address, Trump contrasted the “just and reasonable demands of a righteous public” — great schools, safe neighbourhoods and good jobs — with a bleak reality: “Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities; rusted-out factories scattered … → Read More

A pointless warning

Last September, the New York Times published an opinion piece unlike any it had run before. Its anonymous author delivered a bombshell: “Many of the senior officials in [Trump’s] own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations. I would know. I am one of them.” Fourteen … → Read More

Who can beat Trump?

Insofar as age has been an issue in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, the focus has been the advancing years of two of the frontrunners. Seventy-six-year-old Joe Biden’s circuitous soliloquies and memory lapses leave many wondering if he is fit to be a candidate, let alone the President. Similar questions are asked about … → Read More

The Democratic debate underlined the real trend in US politics

Each of the three leading candidates in the race for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination entered last night’s televised debate — the fourth such event — facing a big, unanswered question. Their answers were a reminder that they are still a long way from the finish line. It was the first debate since the announcement … → Read More

Impeachment is as big a risk for the Democrats as for Trump

On a July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Donald Trump pressured his counterpart to investigate Democratic Presidential frontrunner Joe Biden and his son Hunter, threatening to withhold aid until he did so. That, at least, is the charge. Unlike the disorientating web of Russia accusations that failed to deliver a blow, it can … → Read More