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Thursday, February 11, 2016

Bring Back The Moralists

I just figured out what unites every person in politics I have ever liked or loved: they're moralists. I don't mean in private conduct per se; I mean, they are fervent in their opinions because they believe that politics is morality, writ large. Right, left, or center, every person I have ever appreciated, whether I agreed or not, has believed that taking a position, fighting for it, is the act of a moral person. Doesn't make them right, or prudent. It does mean the person is honest.

If I don't believe that you believe what you are saying, you are doomed in my eyes. As an aside, this is the reason I won't support Ted Cruz, until I must. I am almost sure I agree with what Ted says more than the others. But I don't believe him. I think his guiding light is what benefits him. I'd love to be wrong.

By contrast, is there any doubt that Bernie Sanders believes what he's telling us, to the core of his soul? (With the possible exceptions of abortion, and gay rights. Moral truths, we can't not know.) He's got the energy, precisely because he's got pathos and ethos to spare. He sets people on fire with his indignation. I've no love for collectivism and socialism, but I'll take a dozen of Bernie. In religion and politics, lukewarm people are of no use. We think that passion and compromise are enemies, but they are not. It's often only the deeply principled who can build bridges, because they know in conscience where the bridges can go, and where they cannot. True leaders don't make a show of standing alone; they just do it.

I can remember reading about George McGovern, and Sen. Paul Simon, and thinking, "These are my kind of liberals." So is Bernie, in his odd way.

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