Liberalism at Large: The World According to the Economist

Stefan Collini writes:

‘How do you write like the Economist?’ a new member of staff asked as he began to compose his first leading article for the paper some years ago. ‘Pretend you are God,’ a senior colleague replied. Given that the deity tends not to comment directly on current affairs these days, the anxious recruit may have struggled to put this advice into practice. Browsing leaders from the previous couple of decades might have yielded a more concrete sense of what was wanted. It would appear that omniscience is one attribute of the God-like perspective; absence of self-doubt is another. Then there is a lapidary style leavened by the obiter dicta of powerful individuals, plus a tendency to reiterate a few stern commandments, which one might imagine as: ‘Thou shalt not inhibit economic growth.’ ‘Thou shalt not be parochial.’ ‘Thou shalt not worship false gods – and don’t pretend thou knowest not the ones we mean.’

(LRB 6 February 2020)