restoring our biblical and constitutional foundations


Pessimist or Optimist?

 David Alan Black

A family had two sons. One was an optimist, the other an incurable pessimist. To see whether this was due to heredity or environment, the parents decided to perform an experiment. They placed the pessimist in a room full of brand new toys and left him there for half an hour. Then they left the optimist in the garage, where they had just unloaded a dump truck of horse manure.

Thirty minutes later they opened the door to the first room and saw their son crying his eyes out in the corner. “What’s the matter,” cried the mother, “can’t you see all those wonderful toys?” “Yes,” the boy replied, “but if I play with they Yo-Yo over there it might cut off the circulation in my finger, and if I play with that skateboard I might fall off and scrape my knee, and if I play with that football it might hit me in the eye!”

Then the parents went out to the garage to check on their other son. When they opened the door they saw him digging through the horse manure in an ecstasy of joy and delight. “What in the world are you doing?” exclaimed the surprised father. The boy looked up at his parents and, with a big smile, said, “I just know there’s a horse in here somewhere!”

Should we be optimistic or pessimistic about the future of America?

On the one hand, I am somewhat pessimistic. We have moved so far from being the republic our Founders intended us to be that the obscene politicking that takes place in Washington is not likely to subside any time soon. Then there is the concept of a living Constitution, which judges can and do change in order to meet what they think are “society’s needs.” As long as we continue to ignore and ridicule our Constitution, liberty cannot be defended. Mr. Bush even wants to start a government program to support “healthy” marriage – to the tune of $1.5 billion dollars – even though such spending would be completely unconstitutional and we would be spending money we don’t have. So in the short run I am pessimistic.

In the long run, however, I am optimistic that the neoconservative philosophy that currently runs Washington will ultimately fail. As many paleoconservatives have noted in recent years – from Lew Rockwell to Sheldon Richman to Ron Paul – the United States is insolvent. So it’s just a matter of time before we run out of money. That’s exactly what happened to another empire – the old Soviet Union. That empire collapsed from within. Any philosophy that promotes the warfare/welfare state always collapses eventually. When that happens, people will realize that neoconservatism has nothing to do with conservatism. Hopefully at that point we will return to constitutional principles of government.

It all depends on how quickly we return to our senses. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians, “Let no man deceive himself.” God has a very low estimate of man’s wisdom, including the “wisdom” of the present age. Professing ourselves to be wise we have become fools. Indeed, the heart is so deceitful that we live in a perpetual state of continuous deception. (If you don’t believe me, just tune in to the Democratic and Republican national conventions.)

The only way to lead an undeceived life is to trust and follow the Lord Jesus Christ. “He that believeth on him will not be confounded” (1 Peter 2:6). Such a man will not need to study counterfeiters and imposters. He follows the true Shepherd and ignores the voice of strangers. He is not a believer of the Lie but of the Lord who will make all things right, and so he can be an eternal optimist.

July 26, 2004

David Alan Black is the editor of His latest book is Why I Stopped Listening to Rush: Confessions of a Recovering Neocon.

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