Max Ernst's "L'Ange du Foyeur ou le Triomphe du Surréalisme" is our image of choice when it comes to what David Brooks calls, all aflutter at the novelty of it, "The darker view of human evolution." We've lived there forever, of course. Welcome aboard, Mr. Brooks. Check out locations of the flotation jackets and lifeboats, and then join us in the dining room for a hearty meal. (1937. Oil on canvas. Private collection)
"Most people today share what Thomas Sowell calls the Constrained Vision, what Pinker calls the Tragic Vision and what E.O. Wilson calls Existential Conservatism," writes NYT token conservative David Brooks in "The darker view of human evolution is gaining clout" [via Maggie's Farm]. Gaining clout? We'd love to think so, but unless Mr. Brooks and his friends have been channeling this blog, we doubt it's gaining clout amongst the cognoscenti just yet. If it does, we may have to hang up our blogging gloves and find an honest job. As we wrote in the comments at Maggie's this morning:
"Most people today share" the tragic view of human nature? As a constant railer against the willful persistence, against all evidence, of the utopian view, I think not.
"When you rail, what are your key points and where do we fail in our goals, etc?" asked Maggie's Farm commenter Habu, prompting us to google our own ur-theme, the tragic view of human nature vs. the utopian. Some pretty good stuff out there, if we do say so ourselves, and as we've said before, we are happy to report that after all these years, we still agree with ourselves. If you're interested -- you're not? -- check out the links here. The bottom line:
We believe deeply that the denial of "life's dark side in ourselves" is the key to what's wrong with the utopianist world view . . .
Both Benedetto [Pope Benedict XVI] and the Sheik [Ahmadinejad] understand the power of the press, and each would exploit it for his own vision of the good. One preaches hate, the other, love. One would violently crush all dissent, the other would engage all of humanity in a cosmic conversation. As we blogged last year:
"And we do think we know the answer to Fallaci's 'some human truth here that is beyond religion.' It's the tragic view of human nature -- vs. the left's utopian, blank-slate, noble-savage one that denies any such thing as human nature -- that acknowledges the dark side in all of us and tries to design political institutions -- the U.S. Constitution comes to mind -- that channel our potentially destructive human nature into productive self-fulfillment (can you say invisible hand?) that redounds to the good of the larger community."
Then there are those like Hillary & Company who know better than we do what's good for "the larger community." A frightening reminder in the latest entries to a new series, “Revolutions,” published by Verso, "a well-known British firm specializing in radical leftist gobbledygook," reviewed by John Kekes in City Journal:
Instead of their predecessors’ venality, Robespierre and Mao sought ideological purity, and they had a cold impersonal hatred of those whom they suspected of not sharing their crazed theories.
Head on over and read the whole thing and contemplate the resurfacing of that "cold impersonal hatred" of dissenters just yesterday amongst the nutroots crowd calling -- literally -- for Dick Cheney's head. Then, on a related note, check out Dr. Sanity's latest on the shocking, shocking report that today's kids, the product of the heedlessly pc curricula of the last couple of decades, are self-centered narcissists:
Our cultural focus on enhancing "self-esteem" has resulted in the near-worship of emotions and feelings at the expense of reason and thought; on emphasizing "root causes" and victimhood, instead of demanding that behavior be civilized and that individuals exert self-discipline and self-control -- no matter what they are "feeling."
When will the dregs of Rousseau's Utopianists finally realize that -- as the French say -- tout est relative, and it's all about "The importance of being noticed" by your chosen peers? Not to mention Adam Smith's "invisible hand." As we've blogged a zillion times, there is no honor -- and no really feeling good -- in being handed something you didn't earn.