Thursday, October 30, 2008

Optimism is a warm gun
How the smiley ideology kills happiness. By Daniel Larison, from Culture 11. Catholics of course are optimistic about human nature unlike Calvinism (St Augustine’s ideas gone bad) but we also believe it is damaged/fallen so Burkean pessimism (‘no, we can’t’) is the way to go, the way of humility not American exceptionalism/messianism left or right (‘we can change the world’, ‘God is on our side’ — note how Barack Obama’s/Jim Wallis’s and John McCain’s fans sound alike here, both rooted in the happy hunting-ground of sectarianism as Mgr Knox called it). Here ‘no, we can’t’ is grounded in our theology: ‘I can’t change that; I’m only the Pope’ for example.
It has been optimism, which includes the belief that growth and progress are essentially limitless, that every problem has a solution and that the structures of our existence can be bent and changed according to our desires, that lies at the heart of our greatest difficulties.
Keynesianism, living on credit beyond one’s means, theological Modernism... all of a piece, unlike conforming oneself to objective reality, the classic definition of reason.

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