February 11, 2008


The Politics of Doing Nothing (Thomas C. Reeves, 2/10/08, HNN)

Libertarianism often seems to be a mixture of innocence, greed, and Social Darwinism. Clearly the faith contains a rosy and therefore faulty view of human nature. Brett Stephens of the Wall Street Journal wrote recently, “Mankind is not comprised solely of profit-and-pleasure seekers; the quest for prestige and dominance and an instinct for nihilism are also inscribed in human nature, nowhere more so than in the Middle East. Libertarianism makes no accounting for that. It assumes the relatively tame aspirations of modern American life are a baseline for human nature, not an achievement of civilization….It is beguiling, and parochially American, to believe that things go better when left alone. In truth, as Yeats once wrote, things fall apart.”

Well, of course. The Judeo-Christian concept of original sin is an insight into the incredibly complex nature of human conduct that is strong evidence of its authenticity. The inclination in us all toward evil must be tamed and contained if we are to be civilized and live in peace and prosperity. We can do this by example, education, prayer, and, if necessary by force. To do nothing, hoping that the natural goodness of man will bear fruit for all, is silly and dangerous, being opposed to all we know of human history.

In fairness, while they are immensely silly they're too trivial to be dangerous.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 11, 2008 7:02 AM
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