It is election day in these United States of America. Over on the Orthosphere, Bonald has posted a consolation for those of us who find either electoral outcome depressing: “What consolation? An inner dialogue.” (Though, of course, I find one outcome far worse than the other—both for its near-immediate consequences and for what it implies about the nation). Bonald’s lament and hopeful rejoinder reminds me of Samwise Gamgee’s realization of transcendence in The Return of the King:
The land seemed full of creaking and cracking and sly noises, but there was no sound of voice or of foot. Far above the Ephel Duath in the West the night-sky was still dim and pale. There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach. His song in the Tower had been defiance rather than hope; for then he was thinking of himself. Now, for a moment, his own fate, and even his master’s, ceased to trouble him. He crawled back into the brambles and laid himself by Frodo’s side, and putting away all fear he cast himself into a deep untroubled sleep.
Though I agree with Bonald’s overall point, I disagree with his set-up. He finds the current nightmarish trajectory of the West sustainable. I find his pessimism ludicrous. The next post on the Orthosphere is Kristor’s correction: “Evil if Autophagous.” Wickedness devours itself; it cannot last.