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I am neither a conservative nor a liberal in the capital-letter sense. For every item I favor from the liberal laundry-list (national health insurance, for one) there is a position or attitude that makes the saintly former Stevenson-girl who is my mother feel an attack of hives coming on. And yet neither of us has any faith in the majority. (Was it Lenin who said a democracy can only last until its citizens realize they can vote themselves money from the public treasury?) We're both closet Federalists, I'm willing to guess, secretly longing for the days when Senators were appointed and only landowners could vote. She would add female land-owners to the franchise, I expect. I'll decide that one when it is put to me, which is to say never. We are both Christians, too. Her generation of believers retained the 19th-century progressives' faith in science. For mine the principal scientific breakthrough was the birth control pill and (ugh!) LSD. You can see how we lost our faith in the beneficial transformations of chemistry. I wonder if this disillusionment drives the resurgent flap over evolution, the rise of so-called "intelligent design" theories as an alternative to the secular science that did so much harm in the '60s. But are the ideas of Creation and Evolution mutually exclusive? It makes perfect sense to me that God would use generations of natural selection (with the occasional flash of divine inspiration - how else to explain Louis Armstrong?) as a tool to grow a species He could eventually communicate with. We have a ways to go before He can expect a ribbon at the State Fair, however.

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