I feel a very unusual sensation -- if it is not indigestion, I think it must be gratitude. -- Benjamin Disraeli?
The very wise Yuval Levin, editor of National Affairs, describes the differing dispositions of liberals and conservatives this way: Liberals are moved by outrage at what is wrong with their society; conservatives feel gratitude for what is right.
"You need both," Levin allows and generously reminded a conservative audience, "We should never forget that the people who oppose our various endeavors and argue for another way are well intentioned, too, even when they're wrong, and that they're not always wrong."
Well, OK, just 99 percent of the time (kidding). As we prepare to observe the 237th birthday of the greatest republic in world history, this conservative, true to form, is moved to gratitude. Thank God I was born here and thus had the great good fortune to inherit a country designed by a providential collection of political geniuses.
Glancing around this roiling world with its desperate millions filling the streets of Egypt, Turkey and Brazil, you reflect on just how complex a successful society is. Popular sovereignty is not remotely enough to provide stability, prosperity and justice. Suffering Egypt managed to oust a dictator in 2011 and then hold an election. But with the advent of Mohamed Morsi as president, Egypt's predicament has only worsened. The police do not provide basic security. Tourism, the largest source of foreign cash, has all but dried up. Sectarian violence has increased. A recent video, available on YouTube, showed a group of young men shouting "Christians! Get them!" and then sexually assaulting several defenseless women. Food prices are soaring. Poverty -- the truly hungry kind, not the relative deprivation of the First World -- is endemic. The poor eat little more than bread. Egypt's economy is in the worst depression since the 1930s, and its leadership is utterly clueless about how to improve matters.
The Muslim Brotherhood may have provided food and blankets to the poor as an outlawed party under Hosni Mubarak, but as Egyptians are learning, Islam doesn't provide a roadmap for governing a 21st-century state.