The pleasure of being right is one that few of us want to cede, even when we are wrong. I can speak from personal experience on that score. I know that I am not alone, however, which gives me vague comfort at best and distinct unease as a rule. I think of how Rush Limbaugh has built an empire on his certitude which, in my opinion, qualifies as second rate demagoguery at best. De gustibus non est disputandum.

Eighteenth century England changed radically in its one hundred years. The power of the king, always shaky after Charles the First’s beheading, was vastly diminished by 1800. Not only was their a petulant spendthrift in the role of the Prince Regent at that point in time, but his father, George III was periodically insane due to what is thought to be porphyria. Hence, the elected parliament, as corrupt as it was, became all the more important given the state of the febrile monarchy. But perhaps the greatest change in the eighteenth century was the birth of the middle class, a class that would not be denied their say or their share. The British shopkeeper had arrived.

Events are not governed by people even when they think that they are right. Political philosophies are incapable of taking into account such radicals as technology as George Allen ruefully discovered in his bid for elective office in Virginia. Indeed and in a similar vein, the Ayatollahs may survive the challenge to their grasp on power this time, but there will come a day when it will end. That day may be tomorrow or fifty years from now, but their time is running out.

The question that I keep returning to is that of certitude. Personally, I find it so much more interesting to be open to new ideas and new ways of doing things and that certitude seems to, as a rule, preclude such open-ness. It isn’t always conservatives who live in certitude, I might add, but they sure do seem to want to buy up all the acreage and corner the market.


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