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January 08, 2013

Andrew Klavan: The Historical Case Against Conservative Despair

Nice thought.

One of the central weaknesses of radicalism is that radicals seem to lose track of the causes and foundations of the things even they value. They don’t understand that peace is always and everywhere the end result of superior firepower, improved health the result of greater wealth, wealth the result of hardheaded and often greedy business dealing, and liberty deeply linked to a specific concept of man’s relationship to God. They never consider that it may at least be questionable whether the cornerstone can be removed without the structure toppling over.

Conversely, one of the central weaknesses of conservatism is that conservatives see all too clearly how every good thing we have is linked to everything else. They can trace in a moment how any change in the system might lead to disaster. Expand the definition of marriage and civilization falls. Raise taxes and end up in chains. Allow women to vote and government will become an all-embracing over-protective mother state infantilizing the population. Okay, maybe that last one’s true, but you see what I’m getting at.

...

Things, in other words, are almost as bad as they always are.

But while there are cycles and phases in history — and while everything made by mortals surely dies — modernity has shown itself full of unique moments and last minute rescues. I think of New York City before Giuliani; America before Reagan. Things can look pretty damn dark before the sun comes over the hill.


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posted by Ace at 08:20 PM

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