Friday, February 08, 2008

"Sensible and sure democracy"

Paul Cella at RedState offers up an eloquent and perspicacious homage to the "lived tradition of self government," by way of The Federalist. It's something of a refutation of the brand of conservatism (informed by a modern liberalism as a matter of fact) that idealizes the genius of the American experiment in abstractions only.

He begins:
When Aleksandr Isaevich Solzhenitsyn delivered a brief address to a town hall meeting in Cavendish, Vermont, where he had lived for eighteen years with his family, in exile from Communist Russia, he paid poignant homage to “the sensible and sure process of grassroots democracy, in which the local population solves most of its problems on its own, not waiting for the decisions of higher authorities.” He declared also that, while “exile is always difficult,” he “could not imagine a better place to live, and wait, and wait for my return home,” than that little town. He expressed his gratitude for its respect for his privacy, and spoke warmly of its neighborliness. For his children, “Vermont is home,” for they have grown up “alongside your children.”

With a “God bless you all,” the great Russian finished — to a hearty ovation from those snowbound New Englanders.

Later on:

What then should we make of the school of thought which would construct in our minds an America that is made up of abstractions only, or ideas foremost? What should we make of the theory that what is best, most memorial, admirable, great, unique, etc., about America is the idea alone; a theory often advanced so fervently, not to say feverishly, that not rarely does in tend toward derision or haughty dismissal of the facts or practicalities?

I think we should make of it that it is false and pernicious.

ATSRTWT. Bonus points if you know the meaning of the word "energumen."

1 comment:

Rob said...

I didn't get the bonus points until I looked it up, but having a new, fancy way to say "person possessed by evil spirit; fanatic" is awesome. I am going to try to work it in to future posts definitely...