Further observations from the Richard Hofstadter fan club

The Huge Inarticulate Beast

I was discussing with a friend the sorry state of things when it comes to getting congress to enact good policies, and he dragged up this quote from Richard Hofstadter’s “Reflections on Violence in the United States”:

When one considers American history as a whole, it is hard to think of any very long period in which it could be said that the country has been consistently well governed. And yet its political system is, on the whole, a resilient and well-seasoned one, and on the strength of its history one must assume that it can summon enough talent and good will to cope with its afflictions. To cope with them — but not, I think, to master them in any thoroughly decisive or admirable fashion. The nation seems to slouch onward into its uncertain future like some huge inarticulate beast, too much attainted by wounds and ailments to be robust, but too strong and resourceful to succumb.

So, you know, the problems of today are hardly unique. It’s always been tough out there.

from Matt Yglesias

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