Today's must read:
Andrew Sullivan loves to beat the "classic conservative" drum. He beats it well today in his reaction to the big Roberts move:
But at some point, conservatism must re-emerge, if only because we so desperately need it. Conservatism is, after all, a philosophy that tends to argue that less equals more, that restraint is sometimes more powerful than action, that delay is often wiser than headlong revolution. It reveres traditional rules and existing institutions, especially endangered elite institutions that the Founders designed to check and cool the popular will. Roberts took a small step toward resuscitating that tradition last week.
It's the first seagull spotted after a decade or two on the open seas.
That's part of why gaffes don't really matter: people aren't paying attention. It's part of why general election debates don't matter much: people aren't paying attention. It's why the "bully pulpit" is consistently overrated: people aren't paying attention.
And remember that those who are paying attention are almost always the most partisan, and therefore the least likely to be affected by new information, at least at the level of vote choice. Yes, there are some true independents who are high-information voters, but very, very, few of them.
Much of what one might call the modern sensibility was this thinker's creation. It is in Rousseau's writing above all that history begins to turn from upper-class honour to middle-class humanitarianism. Pity, sympathy and compassion lie at the centre of his moral vision. Values associated with the feminine begin to infiltrate social existence as a whole, rather than being confined to the domestic sphere. Gentlemen begin to weep in public, while children are viewed as human beings in their own right rather than defective adults.