Andrew Sullivan offers chicken soup for the conservative soul
It's no great secret that Andrew Sullivan really dislikes Sarah Palin. His aversion to Palin has proven to be extremely embarrassing for Sullivan himself -- he was one of the originators of the "Bristol Palin as mother of young Trig" travesty -- but even audiences that may be expected to approve of his critical attitude toward Palin have tired of it.
But reading The Conservative Soul, it isn't hard to figure out why Sullivan would so dislike and distrust Palin.
In the book, Sullivan writes a great deal about fundamentalists, and the negative impact they've had on conservative political thought. Sullivan defines fundamentalism as the belief that one knows absolute truths about the world and intends to act upon them.
Palin's recent unfunny encounter with the chronically-unfunny Mary Walsh gives a good example of Palin's political fundamentalism. She tells Walsh, appearing as Marg Delahunty, to "have faith that common sense conservatism can be plugged into Canadian politics".
Sullivan wisely warns conservatives that the true nature of conservatism is one that comes with a healthy element of doubt: the proper conservative doesn't believe they know all the truths about the world, and dedicates themselves to the search for the truth.
Likewise, Sullivan warns conservatives to beware of anyone -- conservative, liberal or otherwise -- who claims to have all the right answers. The historical record of such individuals is far, far from encouraging. When such individuals do not produce folly, they produce tyranny instead.
Andrew Sullivan's Palin-related antics aside (and, naturally, fully considered), The Conservative Soul should, nonetheless, be considered vital reading for any political thinker, especially conservatives.