Wednesday, August 3, 2011

a world of infinite complexity

"I learned, to my surprise, that most of the radical ideas my friends and I were suggesting had already been thought of, considered, analyzed, and had problems in their implementation that we had never dreamed of. I learned to respect many of the men who worked in huge bureaucracies, who limited their own freedom, and who made it possible occassionally for the radical ideas of others to be implemented. I learned that the difficulty with many radical ideas lay in the fact that so many varied interests played a role in government, and that most of them were legitimate interests. it was a big country, and it contained more kinds of people than were dreamed of on the shores of the hudson. I learned, in quite strictly conservative fashion, to develop a certain respect for what was: in a world of infinite complexity, some things had emerged and survived, and if the country was in many ways better than it might be or had been (just as in many ways it was much worse than it might be or would be), then something was owed to its political institutions and organizational structures."

--from "on being deradicalized; or, the confessions of nat glazer" by nathan glazer in the october 1970 issue of commentary; quoted in intellectual skywriting: literary politics and the new york review of books by philip nobile. (emphasis added)

is it evolution if, in 40 years, conservativism's primary message shifts from a 1sthand appreciation for the efforts of government and government workers (glazer, a 50s radical, came to conservatism after having worked in the kennedy administration; as a founder of the public interest, his neoconservative credentials are pretty solid) to a wish to drown them in the bathtub?

1 comment:

  1. A thought provoking piece.

    I'd say more, but so far I've written over 3,000 words trying--without writing something I'm happy with....

    Political polarity, like the magnetic polarity of the Earth, is subject to radical swings--the Republican party of Lincoln was nearly 100% the opposite of today.

    Politics is about swaying the public emotions so that they will support your control of government.

    It's all marketing these days.