Wishin' and Hopin': The Tyranny of Audacious Losers
For example, if one has a cold, one hopes to get better soon. Nothing audacious about that. But if one has end stage cancer, then it's pretty audacious to hope to get better. Which raises the question: is it ever really appropriate to nurture audacious hope, in particular, on the horizontal plane? For to nurture audacious hope would seem to imply the wish for a complete overturning of the order of the world, which is presumably in a hopeless state. In other words, hope only becomes audacious in a hopeless situation.
In the everyday sense of the word, to hope is "to cherish a desire with expectation of fulfillment," or "to long for with expectation of fulfillment" (Webster's). It can also mean "someone or something on which hopes are centered," such as Jesus, Obama, or Bob Dobbs.
What about audacity? On the one hand, it can imply courage, but on the other, a reckless absence of prudence -- for courage without prudence is no longer a virtue.
Now, "hope" is one of the Christian virtues, which is why it is a sin for a Christian to wallow in hopelessness or despair. The whole point is that the Christian -- and the world -- is hopeless without Christ, whose mission it was to save us from that kind of existential cosmic hopelessnes. Therefore, it seems evident that no true Christian would find Obama's message of "audacious hope" appealing, since no Christian should feel so hopeless that he would essentially cash in his vertical hopes for the horizontal fantasies of a silver-tongued leftist.
If Obama were a proper theologian instead of a freelance messiah, he might have entitled his book The Bodaciousness of Fantasy or perhaps Getting Ahead in Life With Sheer Loser Power. With regard to the latter, one has only to look at the type of person who attends a left wing rally or demonstration to know that Loser Power is a formidable force in the world. (Zombie does a wonderful job of documenting the awesome Power of Losers; the images are from her site.)
As Dr. Sanity has written, "There is no doubt that both Clinton and Obama, for all their talk of 'hope' are both heavily invested in misery and failure -- both in their economic philosophy, as well as their desire for immediate (if not sooner) surrender in Iraq.
"You would think that people with real 'hope' would see the progress in Iraq and the turnabout that has occurred in the hearts and minds of the people there. You would think that people hyping 'change' would come up with some ideas and programs that aren't beholden to an ideology that has already failed in country after country, and which has made their economies circle the drain." (Update: notice how the Obama administration has seamlessly taken credit for President Bush's success in Iraq, which is a case of political envy in action, i.e., "stealing" success that they not only played no part in, but actively opposed.)
Now, hope, according to theologian Montague Brown, is "the will that what is good might be," as in "thy kingdom come, thy will be done." It is another way of saying "may the vertical radiate into the horizontal," or my we align ourselves with the Sovereign Good. He contrasts it with wishing, which is "the desire that what one wants might be." Theologically -- and psychospiritually -- the difference could not be more stark.
Brown explains that hope "involves the conviction that, despite appearances to the contrary, truth and goodness will prevail. To hope is to commit ourselves to the betterment of ourselves and the world." We would have no problem at all with the left if they understood hope in this way, and exerted all of their effort -- body, mind, and soul -- at improving (or even governing!) themselves (first) and the world (second), instead of transferring power to the state in order to force people to do their will -- which, in the end, means being compelled to do the will of audacious losers. As Tocqueville observed almost two centuries ago, once these losers discover that they can vote themselves goodies and force others to pay for them, democracy is in peril.
While hope "looks to the future," it is "rooted in reality as it is. In this sense, hope is realistic." However, it is also idealistic, in that "it envisions the perfection of that reality." Furthermore, we must be willing to work for what we hope. Again, this does not mean transferring this responsibility to a coercive and heavy-handed state to simply take from someone else in order to give us what we hope for.
Wishing, on the other hand, "involves the fancy that... our desire will be satisfied. To wish is to invoke fortune to bring us what we want, even if what we want is not good." Wishing is a product of the lower imagination, which has no limits. If you can breathe, you can wish -- and even if you can't, you can still vote Democrat. It "has no particular bond with reality as it is," nor must one dedicate oneself to making the wish a reality. "We wish for all all sorts of frivolous and unattainable things.... [It] is easy and makes no demands on us to choose truth over fantasy or to choose good over evil" (Brown).
For example, I am very much wishing for a new Luxman amplifier, but I don't expect the state to give me one.