I Repost It Thus!

With a hat-tip to our e-pal David Duff, here’s a tasty little post by “Theodore Dalrymple” on the lasting value of Samuel Johnson’s clarity and insight.

Dalrymple notes Dr. Johnson’s observations about the utopian busybodies and professional uplifters of his day:

We must snatch the present moment, and employ it well, without too much solicitude for the future, and content ourselves with reflecting that our part is performed. He that waits for an opportunity to do much at once, may breathe out his life in idle wishes, and regret, in the last hour, his useless intentions, and barren zeal.

Says Dalrymple about this passage:

Barren zeal indeed! Is that not a description of the favorite state of mind of so many of us? A kind of theoretical zealotry, which never has the opportunity to test its ideas against reality, and knows that it never will, can keep a certain type of mind satisfied for years, decades, and even a whole lifetime. Let the heavens fall, so long as my ideas remain pure!

Such zealotry is not entirely harmless, however. It finds some few who are willing to act upon it, with what results the history of the 20th century (as well as many other centuries) attests. There are some people who prefer the syllogisms of their ideas to the complexities of reality. They are to the world what obsessional housewives are to a house, and they turn a morbid psychological state into a historical catastrophe.

A fine example of preferring “the syllogisms of their ideas to the complexities of reality” is the history of the Progressive movement in the years leading up to World War I, about which I have just read an excellent book. More on that shortly, I think.

Related content from Sphere

One Comment

  1. Whitewall says

    Reality is always hard on the Left, thus the ever increasing need to change their name from Leftist to social democrat, to liberal to progressive, from national socialist to any brand that co-opts Christianity and even to Marxist. Names change but what they are selling never does. They have the lies to prove it too.

    Posted July 29, 2017 at 9:23 am | Permalink