"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Thursday, November 1, 2012


Humility is the lost virtue in American politics.   Mitt Romney has it; George W. Bush had it; Barack Obama decidedly does not.   Humility keeps a politician from believing that he can lower the tides, or bring peace in our time, or end poverty, or conquer Europe.   Humility knows that human nature is a constant, and human frailty and sin a reality about which the humble man must be ever vigilant.

I was thinking about this in reading George Will, who quotes Calvin Coolidge:

“It is a great advantage to a president, and a major source of safety to the country, for him to know he is not a great man.”
— Calvin Coolidge

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