The Age of U-Turns

Flip-flops get a bad name, but often the best course is to reverse course

RODRIGO RIBEIRO / SAMBAPHOTO / GETTY

It's easy to get the sense these days that you've stumbled into a party where the punch is spiked with some powerful drug that dramatically alters identity. The faces are familiar, but the words coming out of them aren't. Something has happened to a lot of people you used to think you knew. They've changed into something like their own opposite.

There's Bill Gates, who these days is spending less time earning money than giving it away--and pulling other billionaires into the deep end of global philanthropy with him. There's historian Francis Fukuyama, leading a whole gang of disaffected fellow travelers...

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