The Spectacle Blog

Hubris

By on 3.10.08 | 6:21PM

Watching all this Spitzer mess unfold this is a timely reminder as we go about this president-picking business. One of the things I loved the most about Ronald Reagan was his humility. A movie star for four decades, he wasn't in politics to prove he was smarter than the other guy. This is always one of life's hurdles, and lest Spitzer take too much of the rap, one doesn't have to be a governor to fall into this pit. Anyone can have the problem. These UCC stories I've been writing about -- the real problem here is not simply the liberal politics, which is a considerable problem in itself.

What is also in play here is a Spitzer-like hubris. As William F. Buckley once wrote, this is also about "the emphatic indisposition by those whose views prevail in critical quarters to accept any challenge to their intellectual hegemony, to recognize dissent from their conformity as serious." This was Spitzer's problem, it is the UCC's problem, it in fact can be a problem that afflicts anyone with lots of power or brains or money or social status. How they handle it will, like clock work, reflect back on them and -- always -- sooner or later come back to haunt.

I feel nothing but sympathy for Spitzer's kids and his wife. But this guy was, as documented repeatedly by all sorts of people from both sides of the aisle, incredibly emotionally immature. Unable to handle his smarts or his temper, with real power in hand he abused it -- and has been caught. The Greeks wrote volumes on this kind of thing. This is why we are conservatives -- the perfectibility of man is a myth. A liberal myth. Ask Governor Perfect.

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