An artist must be a reactionary. He has to stand out against the tenor of the age and not go flopping along; he must offer some little opposition. Even the great Victorian artists were all anti-Victorian, despite the pressures to conform.

Evelyn Waugh, interview in the Paris Review.

There are ways to “stand out against the tenor of the age” apart from being a reactionary, of course, but Waugh’s attitude is a good illustration of why so many great artists and writers have awful politics (and bad political instincts). Cf. Borges, Céline, etc.

A man must be excessively stupid as well as uncharitable, who believes that there is no virtue but on his own side, and that there are not men as honest as himself who may differ from him in political principles.

-Joseph Addison, The Spectator, no. 243, December 8, 1711

It’s dumb to think people you disagree with politically are dumb.

-me