The Corner

RE: Aggressive in Perspective

Seth, I agree with you about McCain and Obama, but less so with the line you quote from Goldwater’s 1964 acceptance speech. It’s a good line, as lines go, but surely it isn’t simply true. Moderation in the pursuit of justice is indeed a virtue. Without it, civilization would be very very difficult, and social improvements could only be brought about through violence. Harry Jaffa knows that, of course, as his profound writings on Lincoln demonstrate, and I know you know it too — it just can’t be repeated often enough. It is a crucial conservative truth. Our definition of justice need not be moderate, but our worldly pursuit of it had better be, I think.

Yuval Levin is the director of social, cultural, and constitutional studies at the American Enterprise Institute and the editor of National Affairs.

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