*The Uses of Pessimism*

That is the new Roger Scruton book, which I finished with pleasure.  Here is one good passage:

Optimism…is the other side of a kind of existential despair, a longing to retreat from the complexities of the great society to the primordial simplicity of the undifferentiated tribe.  It expresses a kind of distrust of humanity, an inability to allow that we can actually move on from our original nature, and create a flexible, reasonable and charitable "we," which is not a collective "I" at all, but the by-product of individual freedom.  But this distrust is unfounded.  The world is, in fact, a much better place than the optimists allow: and that is why pessimism is needed.


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