The wife of a president who was elected by conservatives said it’s possible that conservatives oppose Harriet Miers’s nomination out of “sexism.” Just for the sake of argument, let’s give Mrs. Bush a break for a moment. She is not a conservative thinker or a writer, she’s an ordinary woman who swims in the sea of conventional, liberal opinion, and we can’t expect her to know about the deep and substantial reasons why conservatives indignantly oppose Miers; and so, reaching for a conventional liberal reason, which is the only kind of reason she knows, she thinks the conservatives are making all this fuss about Miers because they’re anti-woman. Her explanation is brainless, but understandable.
But here’s a leading conservative, a professional writer on politics, a man who has edited a political magazine for the last 30 or more years, Emmett Tyrrell, who says the reason conservatives oppose Miers is … (drum roll) … “boredom.” Boredom? We’ve already established an excuse for Mrs. Bush’s idiot response, what’s the excuse for Tyrrell’s? Helpfully, he tells us the source of his great insight: “This hullabaloo is but another piece of evidence in support of my long held view that the greatest unsung force in history is boredom.” See? Just like Mrs. Bush, Tyrrell didn’t have to think, he had his own, personal source of conventional wisdom. He just reached up onto the shelf containing the same two or three dead ideas he’s been drawing on for the last 30 years, and picked one of them up, most pleased with himself.
I think the greatest unsung force in history is complacency. Toynbee called it resting on your oars.
Howard Sutherland writes: “Tyrrell used to make me laugh out loud, and think. I fear he used up all his barbs on Boy Clinton, though.”