Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A Strict Separation of Your Politics & Your State of Mind

Byron Horatio asks Are You a Happy Conservative?:

Modern conservatives are not generally known for their sunny optimism about the future, about the direction of the country, and certainly not about human nature. When you base your worldview around the assumption that human nature is severely flawed (if not downright amoral or evil), that utopia is a dangerously illusory, and that at a given moment, polite society could easily devolve into madness and's no wonder conservatives are not a cheery bunch.

So how do you separate your pessimism from your "normal," non-political, everyday life? For my own part, as much as I see doom and danger around every corner, I consider myself a very happy individual with a fulfilling life. I love the work I do (painting and the military), have a sizable number of friends, enjoy my hobbies of guns and history, and am planning a lovely wedding with [the future] Lady Horatio.

It's true that I subscribe to Steynian declinism, believe the general population is too far gone to turn back the welfare state, and that good may yet lose in the struggle against evil...and yet none of that really matters to me on a raw, emotional level. I believe, I think rightly, that even should all the apolcalyptic predictions come true, that I would be just as happy, providing life, limb, and my peacemaker remained unscathed.

It's a grave danger to tie up one's personal happiness in the things you can't control. If I were to base my happiness on the success of liberty abroad, the pursuit of justice, or election results every two years, I would have drunk myself into oblivion well before now.

The last thought is a sentiment that I believe many of us share. I’ve mentioned before that as a conservative and a Christian, I would describe myself as what Chesterton called a "happy pessimist." Personally, I find great happiness and satisfaction in my life through my faith, my family, and friends. While I may not quite embrace the same feeling of inevitable doom for Western Civilization as some conservatives have, I do recognize that this is a fallen world and I remain deeply skeptical about any possibility of the prospect of inevitable progress toward a anything close to a state of earthly perfection. I learned long ago that if you leave the fate of your personal happiness in the hands of politicians, celebrities, or sports teams you are guaranteed to be disappointed.