The Verdict Is Anti-Utopian Politics

I wrote a piece about the election for The New Ledger (which is one of the most interesting and exciting political websites to come around in quite a while).  In it, I gather up the broken political careers of a slew of Democrats and Republicans since 2006 and analyze WHAT. IT. ALL. MEANS.

Here’s a clip:

The answer, I think, has to do with a particular kind of American conservativism.  Not neo-conservativism.  Not John McCain-style “National Greatness” conservatism.  No, the answer goes back to the nascent conservative movement growing up with William F. Buckley in the 1960’s.  Here it is:

Don’t immanentize the eschaton.

I know.  Some of you just sprayed coffee across the table at the sheer impenetrability of it.  Though the phrase comes from the equally mysterious writings of Eric Voegelin, students in Buckley’s Young Americans for Freedom wore the expression as a slogan on buttons!

Fortunately, the meaning is simple.  Don’t try to bring heaven to earth.  It is an anti-utopian statement.  It means that we cannot achieve the same things as are hoped for in the after-life because we are limited by our own fallen nature and by the means available to us.

You can read the article in full over at The New Ledger.

— Hunter Baker teaches political science at Union University in Tennessee.

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