The toil of all that be
Helps not the primal fault
It rains into the sea
And still the sea is salt
The world is a horrible place. It has always been a horrible place. Barring some huge and unforeseen miracle, it will always be a horrible place. The sooner people realize this, the sooner we can start having realistic political discussions.
Conservatives seem to think that the world is OK – maybe not great, but OK – if only governments would stop screwing things up. To anyone who takes off his or her rose colored glasses for a few minutes (as liberals generally do from time to time, if only to see how conservatives are wrong), this point of view is nonsensical. The world is clearly not OK, and government intervention – while it might cause some harm – cannot seriously be thought a sufficient explanation, given the severity of the world’s not-OK-ness.
Liberals, on the other hand, think that the world’s problems – most of them, or enough of them, anyhow – can be solved. To anyone who thinks through the issues (as conservatives do occasionally, if only to see why liberals are wrong), this point of view is nonsensical. When you try to solve a problem (“you” being a hypothetical political leader with the aid of an inefficient bureaucracy and subject to the usual political motivations), you typically create bigger problems, and you seldom succeed in solving the original problem.
Though I’m rather a social liberal myself, I think the only people who are close to having it right are certain religious conservatives who believe that the fallen state of the world is a punishment for man’s sin and that the only hope of redemption is religious rather than political. In some cases, these are people who do foresee the “huge…miracle” that I earlier described as “unforeseen.”
As for me, Osama Bin Laden has convinced me that religion – Western monotheism, anyhow – is not the right way. And moreover, somehow, I no longer understand how the idea of Original Sin ever made sense to me. (I won’t get into the theological details here.) Maybe I could buy Buddhism (you know, “Life is suffering; there is no self; all is emptiness”), if only these damn American Buddhists would cut their hair and dress like Episcopalians.
(Am I the only person that still reads Housman?)
(Apparently not; Sognaluna does. Jivacandra does. So does St00pidN00bie.)