T’was ever thus

An oldie but evergreenie that just ain’t ever gonna grow old or stale. Unfortunate though that is.

It may be inferred again that the present movement for women’s rights will certainly prevail from the history of its only opponent: Northern conservatism. This is a party which never conserves anything. Its history has been that it demurs to each aggression of the progressive party, and aims to save its credit by a respectable amount of growling, but always acquiesces at last in the innovation. What was the resisted novelty of yesterday is today one of the accepted principles of conservatism; it is now conservative only in affecting to resist the next innovation, which will tomorrow be forced upon its timidity and will be succeeded by some third revolution; to be denounced and then adopted in its turn. American conservatism is merely the shadow that follows Radicalism as it moves forward towards perdition. It remains behind it, but never retards it, and always advances near its leader…Its impotency is not hard, indeed, to explain. It is worthless because it is the conservatism of expediency only, and not of sturdy principle. It intends to risk nothing serious for the sake of the truth, and has no idea of being guilty of the folly of martyrdom. It always when about to enter a protest very blandly informs the wild beast whose path it essays to stop, that its “bark is worse than its bite,” and that it only means to save its manners by enacting its decent role of resistance: The only practical purpose which it now serves in American politics is to give enough exercise to Radicalism to keep it “in wind,” and to prevent its becoming pursy and lazy, from having nothing to whip. No doubt, after a few years, when women’s suffrage shall have become an accomplished fact, conservatism will tacitly admit it into its creed, and thenceforward plume itself upon its wise firmness in opposing with similar weapons the extreme of baby suffrage; and when that too shall have been won, it will be heard declaring that the integrity of the American Constitution requires at least the refusal of suffrage to asses. There it will assume, with great dignity, its final position.

Bold mine. Any resemblance to the fraudulent, gassy posturing of present-day Housebroken Conservatives, Vichy GOPers, NeverTrump Pétainistas, and other members of the Kabuki Opposition Collective is wholly infuriating; the above was penned in 1897 (!), but could just as easily have been written day before yesterday. Mark 14.7’s famous admonition regarding the poor also applies to double-dealing American professional politicians: these ye shall always have with you. Despite their grotesquely inflated estimation of their own indispensability; their insight; and the selfless generosity of their contribution to society, what they actually are is an affliction, a foul curse under which all are emburdened, impoverished, and immiserated.

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