House Speaker Ryan

It is fortunate for the Republicans that Democrats and liberals generally have a completely false impression of the meaning of the last two Congresses, though most of the GOP has an equally wrong one also.  The left’s belief in the eventual arrival of a liberal utopia makes it easy prey to the erroneous conviction that, if only the Republican Party, composed of mean-spirited, retrograde, uneducated, and aging white males, could be destroyed either by its enemies or by suicidal factionalism, leftism would reign forever in the new postpolitical era, the end of history.  Though the left has always been able to win elections and command governments, its ahistoricism guarantees its inability to think politically in the long run.

John Boehner’s resignation from Congress is viewed by liberals as further proof that the GOP is the party of gridlock, unable to govern either the country or itself; therefore (they imagine) its demise is at hand, and the Democrats will take all.  Their mistake is to assume that “governing” is necessarily a positive activity, a matter of passing as much legislation as possible in as little time as possible.  This is akin to supposing that “negativism” must always be inferior to “positivism.”  Yet, to respond negatively to what is being widely acclaimed as positive very often is to act rightly rather than wrongly.  A legislative body that...

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