Hope Without Change?


by Glenn Ellmers


Though he does not use the word in his essay “The Right Now” (Spring 2022), William Voegeli accuses me of imprudence, stemming from an essay I wrote last year for the American Mind, “‘Conservatism’ Is No Longer Enough.” He seems almost incensed that I am not on board with his very definite views about good citizenship. His motto might be described as reverse Obama-ism: Hope Without Change. He writes:

My Claremont colleague Glenn Ellmers wrote last year that the “basic fact” is, “Our norms are now hopelessly corrupt and need to be destroyed” (emphasis in the original). The “political practices, institutions, and even rhetoric governing the United States have become hostile to both liberty and virtue,” he continues. Additionally, “the mainline churches, universities, popular culture, and the corporate world are rotten to the core.” So, he asks, “What exactly are we trying to conserve?” This is how Sisyphus would explain his decision to just let the goddamned boulder roll to the bottom of the hill and stay there.

But then what? Despair generates consequences that vindicate despair….

There are two irresponsible ways to deal with the

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