The Realizable Good Before the Unrealizable Perfect

Andrew Sullivan, reacting to the president’s second inaugural:

Over the years, I’ve never let go of that understanding of conservatism’s core truth – that all politics ends in some version of failure, that we cannot change and should not want to change the whole world over night, that constant failure is integral to human life and action – and the key spur to fleeting success. But I’ve also come to accept and more firmly believe that the flip-side to that must never be cynicism or retreat or nihilism. It must be to play our part where we can to fight injustice, knowing that our achievement will be partial, knowing that as soon as we have solved problems, new ones will replace them, and knowing that the process never ends. In fact, the true hero is the one who acts even in the knowledge of inevitable failure, who puts the realizable good before the unrealizable perfect. Yes, over the last six years, Obama has helped me understand his method of community organization, of leading from behind. And it is as conservative in its understanding of how society really changes from below as it is liberal in its refusal to relent against injustice.

This sounds like my politics.

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