I really did. As God is my witness.
After all, I’m the guy who had his 15 minutes (or 15 months in my case) of vague, low-level internet fame for writing the “Good News from Iraq” and “Good News from Afghanistan” series. The old diplomatic Belgravia Dispatch blog called me “Panglossian” (an adjective never before or after used to describe me), and a leftie commenter on my old Chrenkoff blog kindly suggested that if I were writing during the Second World War, I would no doubt be publishing “Good News from Auschwitz”. I’m still not sure if he/she/xe was attacking my unrealistic sense of optimism, or implying I was a fascist propagandist, or both.
Truth be told, good news does not really suit me. By temperament, I have always been rather melancholic, if not depressive. Despite all the good fortune I’ve no doubt enjoyed in my life, which stands me in a better place than at least 95 per cent of people on Earth and more than 99 per cent of those who ever lived, I am much more of a pessimist than an optimist. I find it easier to criticise and find problems than praise and find solutions (as all my friends, my former bosses, and my dates will attest to). The negative suits me, as becomes quite evident when you scroll down page after page of recent posts on The Daily Chrenk. Not for nothing there is a “Daily Outrage” tag, but no “Daily Gratitude” or “Daily Blessing”.
But it can get wearing, even for me. One of the reasons why my relationship with politics is so love/hate, and more hate in the recent years, is the relentless negativity, carping, criticism, and abuse that form such a big part of political life and discourse. And yes, I too am part of the problem and not the solution.
So I tried to write a happy blog.
But I just can’t find anything happy to blog about.
The ideas I believe in – free market, free trade, personal freedoms and liberties, small government, low taxes, personal responsibility, robust foreign policy, civilisational confidence, the Western heritage, anti-totalitarianism – are not very popular at the moment throughout the developed world, much less elsewhere. Collectivism, populism, identity politics, moral equivalence, cultural relativism, nanny state, big government are all on the march. I’m not surprised that the left is so dominant and confident, and that the centre, swayed by that dominance and confidence, now leans left; what makes me despair is that my own side of politics does not seem to know what it stands for anymore, and is at best half-hearted in the defence of liberal/conservative/libertarian principles, if at all pretending still to care. Think about the past decade or so – whether you are an Australian, an American, or a Brit who’s right of centre, what lasting and significant political achievements can you point to that the Liberals, the Republicans, or the Tories have chalked up when in power?
What’s the good news in Australia lately, on either the national or the state level?
What about the global situation? Yes, we are defeating ISIS militarily, and I blogged about it – in the context of the media not caring very much about it. Apart from that, the borders of Islam are still bleeding, the Middle East is a mess, crazy Kim continues in power, China and Russia are trying to rebuild the multi-polar world, the European Union and the United Nations resist any meaningful reform.
Expand the horizon from the narrow politics and geo-politics, to the issues of economy, culture, environment, the society generally. Any more luck?
And yes, I am aware of the falling levels of poverty throughout the world, or the progress against certain diseases that have long been the scourge of the developing world. I’m also aware of many cool new gadgets and technological innovations. These topics fall into the category of either slow and steady ongoing trends, which don’t lend themselves easily to blogging about it, or developments in areas I don’t blog about since I have even less interest and/or expertise than in what I do blog about.
So I’m stuck.
I tried to cheer you – and myself – up, and look where we both ended up?
The best I can do is a picture of a cute kitten frolicking in the grass. Enjoy.