Every generation chooses the dramas it requires as an excuse to give others a hard time. Too many people wake up thinking that grave injustices are being committed in Africa, and too few people wake up, look in the mirror, and say to themselves, “I really am an asshole.”
All right. A lot of people die in the Third World, and this morning half the planet woke up thinking about how to make life miserable for the other half. Yeah, I guess it’s horrible. There aren’t that many whales in the sea anymore, Twitter is full of haters, and no doubt the explosives with which jihadist lunatics will blow up innocent people all over the Middle East are being manufactured. The Argentine Enrique Santos sang it best in the old tango “Cambalache”: “That the world was and will be a mess, I already know / in the year 510, and in the year 2000 too.”
Everything seems to have room for improvement. We are living through a pandemic, beer is still not free, and teleworking has brought leggings back into fashion as a multi-purpose garment among women; all that meaty compression cannot be good for the circulatory system, but in any case it is an aesthetic malady. Wherever you look, for several million years, the world has been full of cracks. It is as good a time as ever for you to come to grips with the fact that you cannot fix them all.
The Left needs to change everything constantly, not because everything is wrong, but because it is the only thing that justifies its political existence.
To hell with the reformers. I became a conservative because I like to go down to my coffee shop, greet my waitress, sit at my usual table, and drink my coffee exactly the same every day. It irritates the hell out of me when my usual deodorant has a “new formula,” and I particularly loathe priests who present themselves as renovators of the liturgy and hit us at Sunday Mass with Sandinista camp ditties and rude clapping. You guessed it: I don’t like things that change.
Admitting that all progress is good would lead us to assume that fighting with my dishwasher’s robot-chat-intelligent service technician is better than actually being able to wring the neck of a flesh-and-blood manufacturer.
For the rest of it, the progress they are selling us is not taking us anywhere; it is just a way of life. The Left needs to change everything constantly, not because everything is wrong, but because it is the only thing that justifies its political existence, and even more so now that most of its founding formulas reek of mothballs. There is nothing more pathetic than a sexagenarian pretending to be a teenager, and that, basically, is what the Left is these days.
Nor is there any chance that we can agree on what it means for something to be wrong with the world. To me, for example, it seems to me that Biden’s head is wrong — in fact it seems to me to be horribly wrong, and yet I can’t seem to find any socialist allies to promote a revolution and change it. Maybe because they are all too busy saving the planet and trying to get us to eat synthetic steaks, as if it were a synthetic steak leading the White House — although, come to think of it, that just might be the case.
And of course we never agree on the solutions. Sometimes conservatives really want to fix a problem. Then the Left comes along and presents us with their own solutions: more taxes, subsidizing sex change for turtles, and giving away U.S. citizenship to unicorns. Conservatives, judiciously, flee from all of that.
The dumbest conservative is one who tries to satisfy the Left, because he forgets that progress is a bottomless pit. If tomorrow we were to stop their climate change, the day after tomorrow they would be burning the streets claiming that stopping climate evolution is unnatural and fascist. That’s because the Left, when contemplating Humanity, has a certain ingenuity for finding an abundance of problems that do not actually exist, like when you invite a friend to your apartment and she discovers invisible dirt in unlikely places, no matter how much time you spent cleaning that morning.
The brilliant Nicolás Gómez Dávila said that “the individual does not become interesting until he becomes disillusioned.” And a little later he added, “Maturity of spirit begins when we stop feeling responsible for the whole world.” To be a conservative is to assume that you can’t fix everything. To be honest, there is little you can do for people fleeing poor countries, unless you are willing to send a whole damn army to shoot up, invade, and crush tyrannical governments and local chieftains in their country of origin, to turn that populist swamp into a free country.
But if you’re not willing to do that, because it won’t look good in the Solidarity Yearbook 2021 photo, you can keep to yourself your pamphlet sentimentality about inequality and how wonderful a world without borders would be. The only thing that really has no borders is stupidity, and you can already see what the consequences of that are.
Itxu Díaz is a Spanish journalist, political satirist and author. He has written nine books on topics as diverse as politics, music, and smart appliances. He is a contributor to the Daily Beast, the Daily Caller, National Review, the American Conservative, The American Spectator, and Diario Las Américas in the United States, and is a columnist for several Spanish magazines and newspapers. He was also an adviser to the Ministry for Education, Culture, and Sports in Spain. Follow him on Twitter at @itxudiaz or visit his website: www.itxudiaz.com.
Translated by Joel Dalmau