Steven Hayward writes at Powerline about a French intellectual, Pascal Bruckner, who explains why –
… apocalyptic fear has gripped so many of our leaders, scientists and intellectuals … You’ll get what you’ve got coming! That is the death wish that our misanthropes address to us. These are not great souls who alert us to troubles but tiny minds who wish us suffering if we have the presumption to refuse to listen to them.
Catastrophe is not their fear but their joy. …
It is the paradox of open societies that they seem to be disordered … threatened by crime, loneliness, and drugs because they display their indignity before the whole world, never ceasing to admit their defects, whereas other, more oppressive societies seem harmonious because the press and the opposition are muzzled. “Where there are no visible conflicts, there is no freedom,” Montesquieu said. Democracies are by their nature uneasy, they never realize their ideal; they necessarily disappoint us, creating a gap between the hope they elicit and the realities they construct.
Freedom is messy, and messiness is fecund. Only where there is freedom do great things grow.