Thursday, March 02, 2006

NRO's Puddleglum: John Derbyshire

You may recall Puddleglum.

One of the classic characters from CS Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia: The Silver Chair (vol 5).

Puddleglum is, well, always glum--gloomy, sure that the world is going to cave in on him and on everybody else.

National Review, true to its love of dear Mr Lewis, thought that the conservative world needed at least one Puddleglum-esque character on its roster of writers.

Enter John Derbyshire. Born in 1945, educated in England where he studied mathematics at University College London, he came to this country terribly worried that upbeat conservatives like Ronald Wilson Reagan were making way too many people too happy.

Hope, confidence, optimism, morning in America--Bah! A true conservative craves not these things, said Master Derbyshire.

Did W win the White House by the skin of his teeth in 2000? Derb wrote: from beneath the dark sign of Saturn, and with the taste of black bile on my tongue, I offer George W. Bush a wan, pale, shadowed-eyed, melancholic welcome to the office of the Chief Magistracy, and a limp, cold, feeble handshake. Puddleglum himself could scarcely have been more morose. Next to Derbyshire, Hamlet looks like a man on Prozac.

Was W re-elected in 2004 with the GOP winning both houses? Derb wrote: DOOMED, DOOMED, Conservatism is a dead letter, socialism is unstoppable...Which might be true, IF you don't bother to read the 2005 report of the Economic Freedom Network, which noted that economic freedom has risen in 96 out of 105 nations since 1985; a pretty good working definition of conservativism, and sure to send socialists searching for someone to prescribe anti-depressants.

Did W vow to place conservative justices on the Supreme Court? Derb wrote: I doubt there will ever be another conservative on the Court--right before W put two card-carrying conservatives, John Roberts and Sam Alito, on the highest court in the land.

Have Iraqis responded to the latest bombing with admirable restraint? Derb is certain that all is lost. Of course, a part of him knows that's not the view of soldiers on the scence like Ralph Peters: "I flew over the streets of this city on Sunday. The calm made a striking contrast to the media hysteria. No mosques burned. No demonstrations seethed. The closest thing I saw to violence was a children's soccer game played in a suburb." [bold added]

Cheer up, Puddleglum. Put down that copy of Hamlet you've been reading. Try the The Chronicles of Narnia for a bit.

Aslan wins in the end. :)

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