The Conservative Soul


"We cannot shake ourselves free from the arrogant idea that our own planet, our own race, our own generation, our own corner of the earth is the culmination of the Creator's work, and in the events which pass through our field of view the final issues of Creation are being fought out.  If we could better preserve our sense of proportion we might recognize the humiliating fact that the events of our day, visible from our point of view, are but an infinitesimal atom in the great whole.  No one to whose mind this truth was present would dream that, from the mere fragment of the vast drama that falls under his view, he can grasp its real meaning, or conjecture the intentions which it is accomplishing," - Robert Cecil, Lord Salisbury, legendary Tory prime minister, quoted in Andrew Roberts' new biography.

In Salisbury's mind, and his was one of the greatest political minds of the nineteenth century, the notion of allying political conservatism with the theological certainty of evangelical fundamentalism would be literally absurd. At a philosophical level, it is literally absurd. Which is why I earnestly think and devoutly hope that this ghastly political contraption devised by Bush and Rove will soon collapse and, with any luck, die.