Self-Election and the Elite

Self-Election and the Elite

The idea—I think it’s fairly common—that a profession of liberal or social democratic politics implies a profession of faith in the innate and prior goodness of human nature strikes me as a beggarly question. And so does its obverse, that a profound skepticism about the loveliness of human nature compels a conservative political faith. Nonetheless, the ideas carry polemical weight: applying one or the other, one can make one’s opponent seem naive and oneself realistic, or oneself respectful of human nature and one’s opponent insulting—with consequent denigration of the policies the other proposes.

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Lima