Sunday, September 13, 2020

The worm in the apple

A graduate student explains "Why I am a Conservative":
A good political ideology must be concordant with human nature. Ideologies that are not, however inspiring they might sound, will inevitably lead to frustration and ultimately to disillusionment. I believe that conservatism is the political ideology that is the most consistent with human nature. And therefore, I am a conservative.

The fundamental premise, as I see it, of conservatism is original sin. Humans are flawed, fallible, limited creatures. For thinkers in the Christian tradition, original sin was a separation from God and an almost inexplicable drive to disobey his divine orders. For the secular, original sin can be understood as the belief that humans are compelled to imagine and create a moral order that they cannot possibly obey. Humans can imagine paradise, but they are condemned to dwell in the purgatory of earthly reality, bound inevitably by their biological natures. They can, for example, envisage a world of perfect cooperation, a world free from the strife of conflict and competition. But they can never instantiate it. Thus, original sin in this sense is a separation of humans from their moral ideal.

Humans have four chief limitations: They are tribal, local, competitive, and fallible. These traits lie like maggots in the fruit of humanistic idealism and preclude the creation of a progressive’s paradise. Communism, socialism, a world without tribes or irrational attachments — these are fantasies that will never come to pass. The conservative accepts this as the price of moral maturity and attempts to deal with humankind’s frailties and shortcomings without counseling despair but also without promoting utopian optimism. .... (more)

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