Back in 2010, Roger Scruton published a book called The Uses of Pessimism. I hadn’t seen it before the last few weeks, and I am just now starting to read it. Here is a sample:
Some will argue that the fault here lies not in the optimism, but in the unrealistic view of human nature that underlies it. It seems to me, however, that the fault lies deeper. There is a kind of addiction to unreality that informs the most destructive forms of optimism: a desire to cross out reality, as the premise from which practical reason begins, and to replace it with a complicated system of illusions….By changing ‘is’ to ‘will be’ we enable the unreal to trump the actual, and worlds without limits to obliterate the constraints that we know.
Such optimists are the people who, in Camus’ phrase, “glorify a future state of happiness, about which no one knows anything, so that the future authorizes every kind of humbug.”