The Corner

Revolutionary Defeatism (ctd)

I was intrigued to see this in an earlier post by Megan McArdle:

There is, however, a nascent optimism in the conservative and libertarian policy worlds. The last five years have been pretty demoralizing. Now I’m seeing more and more people who are actually looking forward to going into the wilderness for a little while, where they can get their heads together without having to worry about the intellectual compromises of actual politics. There’s disgust at certain policies that they can’t stop, like the revolting farm bill. But people are kind of excited about figuring out what the next big thing is. Nor are they particularly worried that they will be kept out of the promised land for forty years. After all, four years ago we were talking about a permanent Republican majority.

If there are people who think this way (and judging by some of the e-mails I have been receiving, there are), this is a remarkably insouciant view of what a stint in the wilderness would be like – and how long it would last. As for the notion that there’s merit to be found in stepping out of the arena to think great thoughts, I don’t get it. The most useful ideas emerge from engagement with the world, not withdrawal from it.


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