Chesterton wisely advised would-be reformers to know what a fence is for before tearing it down. You never know what it might be keeping out. This morning On the Square, R.R. Reno considers the worth of the American Empire and comes to the conclusion—contra Julian Assange—that it should not be torn down:

Nonetheless, I’m against Assange and other would-be radicals who see empire and think evil, for they are also in the grip of a false view. American global predominance is evil compared to what? As compared to increased global conflict? As compared to a corrupt and inept United Nations? As compared to the cold, amoral, calculating self-interest of an ascendant China? Assange talks a great deal about the virtue of transparency. But this entirely abstract and formal idea has no capacity to restrain the perennial human impulse toward violence, chaos, and destruction.

In other words, I’m in favor of defending the American empire, such as it is, because I’m an Establishmentarian. While not inclined to romanticize current arrangements, which are undoubtedly unjust and cruel and riddled with human sinfulness, I very much oppose revolutionary attitudes that make the terrible error, all too common among progressives, of imagining that nothing could be worse than the status quo.