This is good prose. It reveals academic learning but doesn't show off, perhaps a sign of someone with his feet on the ground. Nonetheless, fine prose can make something sound true even when it isn't. I have to think about this one: "If you are disappointed by your own or your countrymen’s behavior at present, you had too high an opinion of human prospects to begin with." Maybe. It's a good warning about the romantic expectations of youth, which incline toward liberalism, socialism, communism, dreams, fantasy, the Right One, the belief that the universe was created for you and you alone, planned economies, plans in general. (Plans, a good album by Death Cab for Cutie). I've been reading Radical Son, and Horowitz talks about falling for the "romance of communism". Having grown up reading so much, revering Ideas so much, he was practically unfitted for life. I have a hunch this partially explains NeverTrumpers: Will, Kristol, Sykes, Rubin, Boot, Noonan. Despite being mugged by reality, they continue to exaggerate the role of ideas in general and politics in particular. As a young conservative I was of course instructed to have a tragic view of life, which was consistent with the kind of Christian I was trying to be. As I got older, I found life much more enjoyable than tragic. Still, though I'm over the hill, I probably use the word "shock" far too often. I come off as something of a huckleberry. Why am I so surprised and disappointed by the level of deception in America today? I don't know. Maybe it's frightening to have your intellectual beliefs confirmed. I want things to go well as much as the next guy. I didn't expect to be reading anti-communist memoirs in 2021. I thought we said goodbye to all that. I don't mean merely D.C., which has always been full of fraud, but everywhere, every occupation, everywhere people can be found. Too many people are pretending, going along to get along, working half-way, if it all, expecting far too little of themselves and far too much of each other. I have felt this way for a v. long time and am disappointed and surprised to learn this virus has been spreading worse than the Chinese pandemic. Some of it is malignant narcissism. Much of it is plain fraud. I'm one of those people who doesn't like wearing masks. I continue to try to see life steadily and whole. As a student, I had this on my bulletin board:

To measure life, learn thou betimes, and know

Toward solid good what leads the nearest way;

For other things mild Heav'n a time ordains,

And disapproves that care, though wise in show,

That with superfluous burden loads the day,

And when God sends a cheerful hour, refrains.

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I’m not a Calvinist, so I don’t subscribe to TULIP, hence *total* depravity is a bridge too far for me. However, we are certainly fallen and the consequences are always with us. Original Sin, or better and more nuanced, Ancestral Sin, so as to avoid the slippery slope of St. Augustine’s implied “original guilt,” is de facto all about us. We only need to look at ourselves and the world for the evidence we have been, are, and always will be a bloody mess (until Kingdom come). But, as you rightly intimate, not giving up and fighting on are also requirements, even virtues. A bit of threading the needle is our call-to-action. It’s a cocktail of proper pessimism and optimism. Ain’t easy to measure out the proportions, frankly, and the demand to do so begs a lot of questions about *how* we fight on and never give up. Fodder for additional consideration, at least for moi. Thank you for a much needed reminder for Conservatives to be on guard against our own version of building utopia. Under the Mercy.

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Very well done.

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Never give in. Never give up!


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