Being Nice and Being Cool

In my last post I noted that Joseph Bottum defines American conservatism in terms of a balance between the Bible and the Enlightenment. How does he define American liberalism? In terms of a balance between the two ideals of his pre-epiphany youth: being nice and being cool. Niceness he says (this is all in his “The Events Leading Up to My Execution”) is the feeling of Christianity without its purpose, and coolness is the mood of Enlightenment without its reason. I think that’s brilliant. What a perfect description of, say, President Obama: Christianity without Christ and rationalism without reason. Bottum also notes that’s it’s not really possible to be fully nice and fully cool at once–something Obama is learning the hard way…

One thought on “Being Nice and Being Cool

  1. Pingback: Bottumism | Opus Publicum

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