Still, it’s possible to make out a kind of default position and then to describe the various alternative positions and the arguments for and against them. I want to join those arguments and suggest why they have gone well, sometimes, and very badly at other times.
The basic position appears early in recorded history. I first discovered it when reading the biblical prophets, who have often been an inspiration to Western leftists. The prophets argued that if the Israelites obeyed the divine commandments, stopped grinding the faces of the poor, and established a just society, they would live in their land forever, safe against Assyrian and Babylonian imperialism. Justice would bring security—and also serve a higher purpose: Israel would be “a light unto the nations.” All that was necessary was to sit still and shine.