Would that I had the facility with language that the writers of the Claremont Review of Books do.
In the most recent issue of this fantastic magazine, Jonah Goldberg has authored a book review – of a collection of essays taken from the past ten years of the CRB. Toward the end of his book review, he had this to say:
At home or abroad, the fundamental question of the Constitution is how, in a free society, shall men user power over other men. The founders’ answer was, in short, very carefully. That is why we have checks and balances, separation of powers, divided government, and all of the other mechanisms that make it hard for us to oppress one another. For this form of government to work, citizens must believe in self-government, an idea itself grounded in the framers’ understanding of human nature as expressed in the Declaration of Independence and elsewhere.
and from a little earlier in the same review:
The American Founders’ vision took into account the one immutable insight of conservatism and the Judeo-Christian tradition: human nature has no history. The genius of the founders lay in their recognition of the fact that not only are men not angels, but no government of men can make it otherwise. The quest to change this fact is at the heart of progressivism of every sort.
As I struggled to say here,
People aren’t perfect. Most of us only have to look in the mirror to reinforce this sad fact of life. People aren’t perfect as individuals and they aren’t perfect in groups. Logic dictates that what is imperfect cannot produce something that is perfect. Thus there will never be a perfect government, in the first place because it is would be comprised of imperfect people and in the second because it would have been designed by imperfect people.
Conservatives know this. Liberals refuse to acknowledge it. Were liberals to come to terms with this, the entire foundation for their beliefs would evaporate.