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Somebody smarter than me (citation please) said that before WWI, leftism was about hope, and after WWI, leftism was about resentment. Or something like that. But it is obvious that modern leftists look at the world and are profoundly disappointed that things are as they are. They don’t like centralized power any more than you and I do, but what other options do they have? In order to fix big problems, they need big power. So there you go.
Modern conservatives look around the world and see problems, as well. But they also see much that they would hope to preserve. Self-respect and respect for others. Respect for family and religion. The rule of law over cult of personality. Property rights and democratic principles. Even if someone else does better than me under this system of personal liberty, I remain devoted to the principles of enhanced individual liberty and constrained government power. Conservatives are reluctant to destroy that which has gotten so many things right.
Except. Except for the point that in my view, the reason that I’m a conservative is that I take a dim view of human nature. That’s it. If I thought that men were angels, I would be more accepting of government power, even if I wasn’t sure that it was as necessary as modern leftists tend to believe. I fear human nature as much as leftists do. But I take a different view on how best to manage the worst of our impulses.
It’s senior night tomorrow. I’m flying up to Georgetown to recognize my daughter’s accomplishments on the volleyball court. I would prefer to stay here and drink bourbon. But I should be in DC this weekend. So that is where I will be.
It takes time and effort to build anything worthwhile. My daughter has done that over four years as a Division I athlete. And a Computer Science major. And a leader of her peers. And we should pause for a moment, to recognize her efforts.
The barbarians will be at the gate, forever and always.
We should celebrate the good. At least recognize it. We must not allow our tolerance of the intolerable to lead to intolerance of all that is good in our lives.
Just that sentence alone leads me to conclude this essay before I have any more bourbon.
I may write a post on this topic in the future. Or perhaps I don’t have the energy. We’ll see.
But not tonight. I’ve got to pack. Big day tomorrow.
There is much worth preserving in our world. Tomorrow, I’ll do my small part.
I remain concerned about all that is bad in our world. But I will do my best to appreciate all that is good in our world.
Perhaps the second one is more important. Perhaps leftists were right the first time. Perhaps the 10th Commandment has a point. Perhaps jealousy is toxic. Perhaps ambition is healthy. Perhaps our world is falling apart because leftists were right the first time, and they’re wrong now.
Perhaps hope is more important than resentment.
Just perhaps…Published in