The government they deserve

Jay Nordlinger writes on NRO:

I have said that left-wingers run stealthy campaigns. I have also said that Americans make free choices, and are responsible for them. How to reconcile these two possibly contradictory assertions? Well, first, a left-wing candidate can’t run so stealthily — and the media can’t be so complicit — that the candidate is utterly unknown. And, second, I often find myself in the position of reminding my fellow conservatives that the country is not nearly as conservative as we like to suppose.

While I disagree with Mr. Nordlinger’s quasi-deification of George Bush, I think he raises a very salient point here. All too often, libertarians and conservatives assume that if only they knew, the people would behave differently. The truth is that by and large, people largely do know or at least have a glimmering of understanding, the problem is that they just don’t care.

One of the great tragedies of Les Miserables is the sad picture of the students, optimistically manning their barricade in the vain hope that the people will rise with them. But the people NEVER RISE. Change always begins with the intellectuals, from the elites, not from the groundswell. The quiet meetings behind closed doors are always much more important than iconic symbols such as the storming of the Bastille.

The die is already cast. George Bush will not change the direction of the nation, indeed, he has promised precisely the opposite. So do what is right because it is right, not because you believe there is a chance of success. If you choose instead to serve expedience and pragmatism, you may as well go all the way and embrace the Nietschean will to power. In my opinion, it is every bit as justified and moral.