One non-trivial point that seems to have been left out of the commentary about Andrew’s argument--and not mentioned explicitly in the argument itself--is its debt to Michael Oakeshott. Sullivan is a disciple of Oakeshott and wrote his dissertation on him at Harvard. Hence it should come as no surprise that Sullivan’s division of conservatives into two camps--Conservatives of Faith and Conservatives of Doubt--tracks quite closely Oakeshott’s The Politics of Faith & the Politics of Skepticism. Why Andrew didn’t mention this explicitly I don’t know.
13 hours ago
It's the drugs I tell you, the drugs.
Something happened to Sullivan during his summer "hiatus" last year.
If you look at the tone of his blog pre-Provincetown (I think that's where he went) versus post-Provincetown, there was a major change in attitude.
He left as a strong, though sometimes doubting, supporter of the President and returned as a strong doubter.
Did someone or something cause this shift?
I'll take Camus a man of true moral courage.
It's hard to build a national movement from Oakeshott's style of cautious, pragmatic conservatism. To the extent Sullivan embraces the Politics of Doubt as a winner, I think he is going down a lonely road. After all, it's hard to rally people to get excited, walk precincts, and turn out to vote for, the possibility, the principle, that they might be wrong.
In any event, there's something to be said for an energetic, confident conservatism. L'audace, l'audace, toujours l'audace," or as Machiavelli wrote, fortune favors the bold.
Didn't he get a new boyfriend right around the time of the Provincetown move?
Or maybe it was the beagle (they are pretty left-wing). Who knows?
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