things forgotten

Here is Edmund Burke, speaking against the popular grain, then and now:
You would have had a protected, satisfied, laborious, and obedient people, taught to seek and to recognize the happiness that is to be found by virtue in all conditions; in which consists the true moral equality of mankind, and not in that monstrous fiction, which, by inspiring false ideas and vain expectations into men destined to travel in the obscure walk of laborious life, serves only to aggravate and imbitter that real inequality, which it never can remove; and which the order of civil life establishes as much for the benefit of those whom it must leave in an humble state, as those whom it is able to exalt to a condition more splendid, but not more happy. You had a smooth an easy career of felicity and glory laid open to you, beyond any thing recorded in the history of the world; but you have shown that difficulty is good for man.

- Reflections on the Revolution in France, pp. 35 (Dover Thrift ed.)
Here are some truly unpopular truths. True happiness is to be found in virtue! Virtue can be pursued by any human person, irrespective of material, social or intellectual circumstances. That this capacity for goodness is the foundation and source of our true equality. That over-emphasis on material equality can create and aggravate inequality, which is written into our very nature. That Nature itself sets limits on politics.

These are some of the things forgotten or ignored by our nation of religiously optimistic pragmatists whose only god is the equals sign. These ideas are more or less entirely absent from our popular political discourse. American politics is nothing but a tired argument about who will give what money to whom. I think this is one reason it's generally pretty boring and never surprising. Modern politics isn't about truth - which is interesting and important and moves hearts and minds - politics is about ambition and power and ultimately, control.

This needs to change!

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