One of the lines that came to me in the aftermath of the election, and which the determined pessimists should ponder, is a passage from T.S. Eliot that Russell Kirk used to like to quote:
If we take the widest and wisest view of a Cause, there is no such thing as a Lost Cause because there is no such thing as a Gained Cause. We fight for lost causes because we know that our defeat and dismay may be the preface to our successors’ victory, though that victory itself will be temporary; we fight rather to keep something alive than in the expectation that anything will triumph.
So it came as a surprising coincidence to learn of the passing of Eliot’s second wife, Valerie Fletcher Eliot, just last Friday, at the age of 86. I hadn’t realized she was still alive. And while we’re on the subject of passings, I also just learned this morning of the passing of Thomas McCraw, the great Harvard economic and business historian. Among other fine books (all of which are excellent), his book on Joseph Schumpeter is invaluable. And today the New York Times has an op-ed from McCraw on how Alexander Hamilton would see our current fiscal and economic predicament. Very much worth a read.
So while we’re on the subject of poets, how about a graphical grammatical interlude.
And here’s the t-shirt you’ll want to get to make it through the next four years: