I got into a stretch this summer of reading about African big game hunting from back in the days of the colonial safari.  One of the several books I read was President Theodore Roosevelt’s African Game Trails.

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For the longest time I’ve had a dislike of our 26th president, since I’d read amply about his role in launching the progressive movement alongside the founder of The New Republic, Herbert Croly.  I’d known about his war heroism and had heard snippets about his hunting prowess, so I always had a grudging respect for Roosevelt as well.  But I couldn’t quite admire him given his prominence in creating today’s modern liberal and his corrosive and destructive policies.

Having read of his lengthy foray into the heart of the Dark Continent, however, I’ve been forced — gladly, I might add — to acknowledge that TR was one of the great men of our country’s history.  And having seen into his way of thinking by reading his own words and thoughts, I believe I can see a bit of why he would have helped birth such a destructive force:  because he had no idea what it would lead to.

I believe the modern liberal would be so unfathomable to Teddy Roosevelt that he couldn’t possibly see that creature being the result of what he himself espoused.  A man’s man, of deep useful learning, true heroism, magnificent self-sufficiency, and everyday courage: that was Teddy Roosevelt.  And to him, the sickening, effeminate, effete ward of the state, overeducated in completely useless knowledge and confident that he knows best for everyone else while making a ruin of himself and everything he touches — that is, today’s liberal — would be completely beyond the ken of his imagination.

I’m confident Roosevelt meant well.  The law of unintended consequences touches us all; it’s truly sad that it came home to roost so venomously and disastrously for this true American hero.  And for the rest of us, too sadly indeed.