There is no pendulum in modern political life, no natural swing of fashion between "Left" and "Right." Left has always been cool; Right has always been uncool; and when something (such as Mussolini's fascism) ceases to be cool, it is re-filed in historical memory from "Left" to "Right."
But as a rule, the Left always wears the beret. The "visionary" politician is always of the Left. He is, for his time, the embodiment of coolness, and his power in democracy is a pied-piper charisma. Through a time when the churches have been emptying out, he offers "spilled religion" - the slobbering of a religious idealism over the irreligious surfaces of public life.
Only when the vision "fails," in visible catastrophe, do we turn away - usually to some unfashionable hack, to do the thankless job of picking up the pieces. Until enough have been picked up, that we may scout for a "visionary" again; a "nation builder" or whatever. (Always, it involves nationalism; always, it involves socialism.)
Which is why I have come to favour the politics of dullness, the politics of making ends meet, the politics of de-politicization; the politics of prudence.
Me too. And if a "cool" Ivy Leaguer who's stinking with charisma and who has the glib spiel of a snake-oil purveyor down pat tries to con you with some grand yet completely amorphous vision about a "cool" Utopian future, whatever you do, don't, I repeat, don't fall for it.
Don't fall for it again, I mean.