Political parties are strange, introverted organizations. Their business is to reflect the democratic pulse of the people and advance good public policies. But politicians aren’t like the rest of us. Vanity, obsession, and, above all, the will to power have been honed to a fine point. Some even hold a belief in their own personal destiny to lead. The result is that a political party is rather like an underwater environment from which the most remarkable creatures at times emerge to rule us, blinking and tottering as they try to adjust to the scrutiny of ordinary people and to the realities of public life.

Britain’s Conservative Party is an especially distinctive case. Western civilization is passionate about the change that nurtures the hope of better things, but here is an organization promising the people of Britain that it will try to keep things, in essence, the same. In democratic terms, it’s against nature!...


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