However wrongheaded you believe your ideological opponents to be, laying “all that ails the world” at their feet represents an absurd politicization of human affairs, and a spur to the most self-deluding sort of utopianism. After all, what ultimately ails the world is its inherent imperfectibility its fallen character, if you’re a Christian; its irreducible complexity and tendency toward entropy and dissolution, if you’re a strict materialist.
This is true on all the great issues of the day. No matter how many lives may be saved or lost because of health care policy, no lives will be saved forever, and every gain will be an infinitely modest hedge against the wasting power of disease and death. No matter the wisdom of our politicians or the sagacity of their economic advisors, no policy course can guarantee universal wealth or permanent economic growth. And no matter the temperature of our discourse, the state of our gun laws, or the quality of our mental health care, nothing human beings do can prevent the occasional madman from shooting up a crowded parking lot.
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