A few weeks ago, someone in a comment thread mentioned G.K. Chesterton's Heretics, which I'm finally getting around to reading. Right there at the beginning there was a passage that struck me as worth considering during our post-election wandering in the desert:
Neither in the world of politics nor that of literature, then, has the rejection of general theories proved a success. It may be that there have been many moonstruck and misleading ideals that have from time to time perplexed mankind. But assuredly there has been no ideal in practice so moonstruck and misleading as the ideal of practicality. Nothing has lost so many opportunities as the opportunism of Lord Rosebery. He is, indeed, a standing symbol of this epoch—the man who is theoretically a practical man, and practically more unpractical than any theorist. Nothing in this universe is so unwise as that kind of worship of worldly wisdom. A man who is perpetually thinking of whether this race or that race is strong, of whether this cause or that cause is promising, is the man who will never believe in anything long enough to make it succeed. The opportunist politician is like a man who should abandon billiards because he was beaten at billiards, and abandon golf because he was beaten at golf. There is nothing which is so weak for working purposes as this enormous importance attached to immediate victory. There is nothing that fails like success.
I realize that I'm both less political and less Republican than most people who frequent this site. But the call from some quarters to abandon this or that cause simply because it's not a promising one confuses me.
Do we really want to be the men who will never believe in anything long enough to make it succeed? Is it not true that there is nothing so weak as attachment to immediate victory?