Mark Lilla, The Tea Party Jacobins, New York Review of Books, May 27, 2010:
Americans are and have always been credulous skeptics. They question the authority of priests, then talk to the dead; they second-guess their cardiologists, then seek out quacks in the jungle. Like people in every society, they do this in moments of crisis when things seem hopeless. They also, unlike people in other societies, do it on the general principle that expertise and authority are inherently suspect.
The entire essay is worth reading. Some of what Lilla says strikes me as right, and some as wrong, but I hadn’t previously realized just how well he can write.