November 2, 2009

We Are, Indeed, Doomed

I just finished John Derbyshire's We Are Doomed.

The style is sprightly and witticisms abound, concealing the fact that the arguments are deep and the conclusions founded in considerable erudition.

The conceit is the familiar one that conservatism is founded in a belief in the fallenness, or at least the imperfection of human nature, and the complexity and proneness to error inherent in social arrangements. Hence impulses to uplift frequently cause trouble, and social experiments regularly fail.

Running through diversity, foreign policy, immigration and economics, Derbyshire serves up a healthy dose of pessimism.

The one consolation, perhaps, is that when market observers are uniformly optimistic, the bubble is often about to burst, and when the bears rule, prosperity is just around the corner.

When it comes to public policy, however, fuggedabadit. The lampreys have battened on the entrails of the body politic, and will not be easily dislodged.

UPDATE: Edited to delete repetitions caused by careless copy-and-pasting.

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